The messenger logo

Roadblocks to true Georgian democracy

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 18
Georgia's foreign allies have praised the fact that the country has passed its democratic exams successfully. However, the country still faces several serious challenges and problems. So, to continue its move towards democracy and to ensure that this process is irreversible, it is necessary for Georgia to overcome these obstacles.

President Saakashvili has claimed several times that Georgia is not a post-Soviet country anymore and highlighted the Rose Revolution's role in this achievement. Opponents of the National Movement meanwhile, have oft repeated that Georgia has indeed become an independent state. However, it has followed the Soviet system of governance which was established by Edward Shevardnadze who himself came from the Soviet system. The Rose Revolution inherited that system and then made it more radical.

Analysts Gia Khukhashvili told Rezonansi that Georgia was not able to escape from the previous system. The ruling power blamed the Georgian Dream coalition for the country's return to the past, but in reality, the UNM returned Georgia into the previous century to a time when the use of violence and suppression was the major tools for ruling over society. International research has illustrated that Georgia adhered to a hybrid system which possessed both democratic and authoritarian characteristics. One person– the president of Georgia– became the sole leader of the country, providing no alternative and almost no chance for anyone to contradict him. Everything was done in this direction and the constitution was ignored and amended according to one person. One party, headed by the president, ruled the parliament. The absence of a free and independent court was evident and the illegal bugging and monitoring of citizens was also apparent. The suppression of any kind of free expression of ideas, preventive detentions of potential dissidents, the manipulation of the elections and many other egregious behaviors created a system that eventually collapsed, because the population became fed up with Saakashvili and his regime.

So what currently stands in the way of Georgia's continued development?

First of all, the country should avoid all possible cases of authoritarian management. The system should be demolished and new models of governance should be established, implemented and promoted. The defeat of the Saakashvili regime does not mean Georgia’s victory. The country will become victorious only when it the country institutionalizes a system that is not dependent on the will and wishes of one person. Strong civil society and strong institutions should prevent the country from drifting towards authoritarianism.

The second possible challenge is derived from feelings of revenge and the desire to punish all those who had committed crimes. There is a strong charge of such feeling within the population–those who suffered from the irregularities and crimes of the previous administration. As David Usupashvili, the future chair of the parliament suggests, a free and independent court should decide and rule and accordingly punish those who committed any crimes. If this is not done, society will be frustrated. According to him, a multi-party system should be created. It is very important that the victorious power should not be identified as a state. The state should be the priority of all the political parties: parties might come and go, whereas the state should be forever. Only in this scenario will democratic institutions function properly in the country.