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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Wednesday, March 7
Rumors swirl around prospective Channel 9 staffers

Kakha Bekauri, the newly-named General Director of Channel 9, has been actively hiring senior staff, according to Rezonansi.

Reports say that Vako Avaliani, of the Free Democrats’ press service, was named head of News. Other sources indicate that Inga Grigolia, a former TV reporter and currently one of the leaders of Christian-Democratic party, was also offered a job. Potential senior news reporters are Vakho Sanaia and Natia Lazashvili.

Bekauri has neither confirmed nor denied the rumors. Both Avaliani and Grigolia deny that they will be moving to Channel 9. Lazashvili has admitted to being in negotiations with the network, but maintains that she has yet to make her decision. Sanaia declined to comment.

Will the UNM survive without Saakashvili?

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze who, as President, was also a chair of his party. After Shevardnadze’s resignation, his party soon disappeared.

To determine whether or not the United National Movement (UNM) will survive without Saakashvili, Rezonansi interviewed three public figures.

“If Saakashvili leaves his post in the National Movement party, I am sure there will be the same situation as during Shevardnadze’s time,” said Gogi Kavtaradze, a movie director. “A leader is a leader, if the organization doesn’t have a head representative, it is very [problematic].”

“Saakashvili has power, authority, popularity, and a variety of tools for life, which he uses not only for himself but also for his party. After his resignation, if the party doesn’t disappear, it will become a very weak one.”

“The [UNM] is the same type of power party as was the Citizens Union in the past. By the way, this party [Citizens Union] was divided in two parts back in the past. One contained the people who had power [who stayed by Shevardnadze’s side] and the other was that ideological part, who were able to create new political powers,” said George Margvelashvili, a philosopher.

“I think today the National Movement is a party based on power. Naturally this creates a problem for political power, because after the current leaders leave, it will face some difficulties.”

“I still believe that National Movement has a side that has an ideological vision and ambitions. This side will be able to continue as a separate political party. I also think that this party will be able to shred down that huge [bubble] that is created around the National Movement; and which only exits for the sake of powerfulness. These powers could have been united around ideological ideas. “

“The life-giving power of the National Movement is Mikheil Saakashvili and his power. If Saakashvili leaves politics or loses his power, I think the National Movement will be gone. We will witness this very soon, because this party is not one with a distinct structure or ideology,” said Aleksander Elisashvili, a journalist.

“The National Movement is a name based on group of people with lots of power. I think this party will disappear as soon as the government leaders leave.”