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Ninth anniversary of the Rose Revolution

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 23
On November 23rd Georgia commemorates the ninth anniversary of the so-called Rose Revolution in which members of the United National Movement (UNM) led by Mikheil Saakashvili, entered Parliament and forcibly removed the ruling Shevardnadze Administration from power. The UNM "Rose Administration" promised to change Georgia for the better.

Every year the Rose Administration pompously celebrated the date. The Rose Administration started counting years from 2003, similar to the Soviet tradition of counting years from the October Revolution of 1917 onwards. On this ninth anniversary however, the UNM is not in power anymore. The new Georgian Dream (GD) government will not commemorate November 23rd with triumphant speeches but rather reflect on the shortcomings of the Rose Revolution.

After coming to power the Rose Administration expected to be in power for many years. UNM leaders cited Japan and Mexico as examples of countries where one party effectively ruled for decades. Being in office for a long time will tempt anyone to abuse their power, and the Rose Administration did not resist the temptation. Nine years ago Georgian society was united under the UNM's slogan of combating corruption, defeating unemployment, fighting against injustice and restoring territorial integrity. However in nine years the UNM managed to lose popular support. While petty corruption was eliminated elite corruption remained. Unemployment increased and a large portion of the population became even poorer. The disastrous 2008 war with Russia almost certainly guaranteed the permanent loss of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Meanwhile the democratic reforms stalled and the country began to drift away from the right direction.

Bidzina Ivanishvili bravely managed to consolidate opposition forces and Georgian society around him. Ivanishvili's party Georgian Dream stunningly won the parliamentary elections on October 1st. Since coming to power last month the new government has promised to implement justice, punish all former government officials who are guilty of corruption and abuse of power and restore the rule of law. The time has come when political analysts and the population as a whole can quietly assess and evaluate what happened on November 23, 2003 and the nine years afterwards. Now we can understand what was done right, what was done wrong and what can be done in the future to avoid the mistakes of the Rose Administration.

For the past nine years many unanswered questions have accumulated around the Rose Administration: the mysterious death of Prime Minister Zhvania, the brutal dispersal of protest rallies, the lost war with Russia and the poor economic situation. The Georgian Dream government is also supported by a majority of the population who hope that this time things will get better. One thing at least was done properly. This time the new administration took power legally after elections. This already means something.