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Cooperation for the Benefit of Democracy

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 19
There was a confusing situation in Brussels when simultaneously, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and PM Bidzina Ivanishvili were visiting Brussels and meeting the same people one after another. The situation was rather awkward and embarrassing. Saakashvili is familiar with all the top officials from the EU leadership, as well as NATO’s top management. For Ivanishvili, however, these were introductory meetings and he was just now getting acquainted with these officials. Saakashvili, with his demagogical speeches, was quite effective; however, Ivanishvili was also quite convincing in his first appearance.

This way or another, European and NATO bosses advised both Georgian leaders to be more cooperative also urged them to refrain from making politically motivated moves. Both Georgian leaders expressed their readiness to cooperate. However, it is very unlikely that an ideal level cooperation will come to fruition. One of the leaders of the coalition, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, responded when a journalist asked him how cooperation with the former ruling UNM will be possible. Kutsnashvili responded that they should marginalize criminals and those who have committed crimes. This is the general approach of the ruling Georgian Dream government– that they should be very accurate in differentiating among those who committed a crime and those who are simply the political opposition.

Saakashvili and his party are demonstrating the loss in the elections and their victory as if they deliberately created the situation for fair elections and as a consequence, lost for the sake of democracy. It looks as though the UNM has very short memory. They did not lose because of their democratic leanings. They lost because the Georgian people were against them and if not for their manipulations prior to the elections, it is unlikely that the UNM would have collected 20% of the votes. The West wants to trust Saakashvili’s claims and therefore demands that the current administration take another step towards democracy in the form of peaceful cohabitation. This is a slogan promoted by NATO and EU officials who very openly explained this to both Georgian leaders during their European visit.

Saakashvili hypocritically agreed to follow the recommendations provided by Georgia’s European allies. Georgian Dream leaders however, think that the old regime’s supporters are not honest; they cheat the West and want to prove to Georgia’s European friends that the Georgian Dream is not a pro-Western force. The major issue that creates concern for the West is the arrest of former high-ranking officials, including ex-Minister Bacho Akhalaia and others. It was said that in Germany they do not arrest former ministers; however, Georgian Parliament Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Tedo Japaridze, responded that German Ministers do not commit such crimes. Indeed, even American President Richard Nixon resigned because of the scandal implicating him in the illegal bugging of opposition party headquarters (Watergate). Likewise, it has been revealed that the former Georgian leadership took part in the illegal eavesdropping on conversations by entering private computer networks, recording secret videos and other disgusting methods of controlling public opinion and introducing fear in society.

Of course it is a very delicate situation; one of the biggest crimes the UNM committed was creating an element of fear in the country which hindered the freedom of expression. This poses an open question to Western society: should people who intruded in the personal lives of individuals, listened to their telephone conversations, recorded illegal videos, blackmailed people and committed other illegal actions, be punished according to the law and a fair court system? Georgian society thinks – YES. Those who violated law should be punished despite their former high-ranking position or the fact that they are now in the opposition. PM Ivanishvili stated recently that the country should treat the representatives of the previous leadership as regular citizens out of respect for our country.