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Georgian style of cohabitation

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, November 20
Ever since the Georgian Dream coalition was elected in October of 2012, the newly imported word “cohabitation” entered the Georgian political lexicon.

Many Georgians, including the politicians, could not understand what this word meant for some time. Until then, there was one popular expression in the Soviet and post-Soviet consciousness – “coexistence,” or “peaceful coexistence.”

This term was very popular during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. It was used as an alternative to war.

But what the cohabitation was, confused and still confuses politicians. What was the need for intensive use of this word? Why has it become necessary?

When western officials introduced this concept to the Georgian political establishment, they meant that the Georgian Dream administration should not try to take advantage of its position and seek revenge for all the wrongdoings committed by the former government.

In the broad understanding of the term, the word means pertains to all the officials who were involved in corruption (this term also needs to be explained in Georgia). For most Georgians it is connected mostly with financial violations, whereas corruption means deviation from the norm. In other words, taking a bribe for the illegal release of a criminal is corruption as well, as it is also corruption when a convicted person is released form detention because of the wishes of a high-ranking official.

So, the question is: does cohabitation mean that the former state officials who did not take bribes, but forced their subordinates to release a criminal or commit a similar offence, be labeled as guilty in the case or not? If we trust some of our western friends– not necessarily and not always.

So, according to this logic, the higher the position the person committing the illegal activities holds, the more chances that this person should be excused, pardoned, or avoid punishment. Where is Rule of Law? Not all citizens seem equal under the jurisdiction of the law in the country.

Ordinary Georgians keep recalling that numerous western officials did not avoid being interrogated, sometimes - detained and even arrested or jailed. The West is very much concerned about the fate of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulya Tymoshenko and connects this issue with the future of the whole country, and whether it should be accepted in the European Union as an associate member or not.

When the Ukrainian court sentenced Tymoshenko to prison, it was based on certain arguments and evidence. Would not it have been better if Western officials carefully and professionally studied her case and how the Ukrainian law was applied to this particular case and proved with convincing arguments?

We would recommend the same approach to Georgia’s western allies to agree with the Georgian authorities, include the western lawyers in the investigation of the cases of the former Georgian officials and find out who was guilty in the brutal dispersal of peaceful demonstrations on November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011, multiple cases of the abuse of human rights, criminal treatment and torture of inmates in the prisons, unauthorized spending of state money, unpunished killings of ordinary citizens by police, and many different cases.

If all this is pardonable, then long live cohabitation!