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The Rose Revolution Eight Years On

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 25
The eighth anniversary of the Rose Revolution was celebrated with as much pomp as the ruling authorities could muster. The ritual has long been established in Georgia. The president has to open a different, significant and rehabilitated place even if it is not entirely completed. This year he opened a statue of Ronald Regan seated at one of the benches in a park. He also opened the renovated David Aghmashenebeli Avenue (former Plekhanov street) where the local residents complain that only the facades were renovated and the buildings have not been completed as had been promised. The president also opened a shopping mall in Dighomi district claiming it is the biggest in continental Europe, though it will not be finished or activities started until spring at best.

Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili mentioned that since the Rose Revolution Georgia has moved into new epoch. Security Council secretary Giga Bokeria mentioned that Georgia was a good example of how a country could escape from hardship and move in the direction of a worthy life.

While Saakashvili and his team boastfully praised the achievements of the Rose Revolution, the opposition challenged them on almost every point. The opposition countered that only some layers of the population close to the ruling power and their activists enjoy a good standard of living whereas the rest of the population, pensioners, and the unemployed are doomed to poverty.

Out of the three leaders of the Rose Revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania, only Saakashvili went on as the leader. Burjanadze is now in the radical opposition and Zhvania is dead. Saakashvili boasts about the achievements of the Rose Revolution, Burjanadze criticizes his government's conduct and states that the Rose Revolution has not fulfilled its promises and has frustrated democratic values. According to her, the defeat of corruption, the elimination of poverty and the improvement of the court system and other issues have not been carried out adequately. The leader of the parliamentary minority Christian Democrats party, Giorgi Targamadze, said that he was expecting a critical self evaluation of government. According to him, since the revolution there have been many shameful tendencies in the country such as the abuse of human rights and the violation of property rights, he also criticized the tradition which prevents the change of political governance in the country smoothly.

Some analysts explain the failures of the revolution by pointing to the inexperience of the younger generation that came to power after the Rose Revolution. Others think that the revolution's ruling team deviated from the goals it set at the very beginning which led the country to catastrophe in the 2008 war with Russia. There has also been a shift from democracy in an authoritarian direction. Analysts are unanimous in considering the 2008 lost war as the major failure of the revolution's authors. They also suggest that the major slogan for the opposition should be not change of government but the conducting of fair elections. Such elections will really show how people assess the Rose Revolution eight years on.