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Ex-President and his team allegedly speak about revolution

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 28
The State Security Service (SSS) has launched an investigation into an alleged recording between ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and members of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition, wherein they speak about the overthrow of the current Government.

An investigation was launched into the organization of a coup.

The alleged participants of the recording – the authenticity of which has not been examined yet – are ex-President of Georgia and now Governor of Odessa Mikheil Saakashvili, and UNM lawmakers Akaki Bobokhidze, Irma Nadirashvili, Nugzar Tsiklauri, Petre Tsiskarishvili, Akaki Minashvili and Gigi Tsereteli.

In the video, Saakashvili demands the staging of unrest and revolution in Georgia from his party members, the same party which ran Georgia in 2003-2012 before its defeat by the current Georgian Dream authorities in the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.

In the video, Saakashvili is against the peaceful steps taken by the UNM thus far, as well as the possibility of coalition with other parties.

In the recording, Saakashvili’s position was shared by Bobokhidze. He says “200 people fill tents on Rustaveli Ave. We should calculate our expenses, 10 GEL per person per day, how much will it cost to finance a 200-man rally in tents for 2-3 months?”.

Bobokhidze also says “I’ve participated in a coup, a military coup. What can be more dangerous than that?”

A person understood to be Tsiklauri replied: "I think what Kako [Akaki] says is best”.

Saakashvili, said: "I trust Kako’s intuition. We need a revolutionary scenario. Otherwise…”

Tsiskarishvili’s voice was then heard: "They’ll win again, and then…”.

The alleged participants were summoned for questioning by the SSS. The body said all necessary investigative measures will be taken and authenticity of the audio recording will be verified.

Saakashvili commented on the issue in his Facebook post. He believes that Georgia’s former Prime Minister and founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream (GD) Bidzina Ivanishvili is using the “fabricated recording” to win the elections.

“Does Ivanishvili want to prevent the inevitable defeat with such a low-quality fabrication? He will not be able to fool our people!” Saakashvili’s post reads.

The UNM members who allegedly participated in the conversation deny having any conversation of this kind with Saakashvili.

According to Tsereteli, the recording was made up by phrases from various conversations that serves the interest of the government.

“Generally, I have a conversation with Mikhail Saakashvili very rarely. The government is preparing a coup itself," said Gigi Tsereteli.

The other political parties also condemned the release of the private conversation, saying any illegitimate ways of fighting for electoral success are unacceptable.

Georgia’s President’s Press Service said it must be investigated who released the material and appealed to all the parties to refrain from any type of confrontations.

Free Democrats leader Irakli Alasania said the elections should be held in a peaceful environment.

“The Free Democrats, as a healthy force, will always face any provocations with integrity,” he added.

According to the Republicans, such actions before the elections are aimed at provoking an emotional response from the population.

“In the pre-election period, it is very difficult to find out what is true and what is false. That is why we have to be very thoughtful and avoid being misled by emotions,” Republican leader Davit Usupashvili said.

The ruling team says the UNM has no chance to win the election and are simply trying to cause unrest in the country.

According to GD member Eka Beselia, if the recording is proved to be authentic, all those involved will be held responsible.

“The UNM is sure they have no chance and that Georgian Dream is going to win. They are preparing a coup…this is an absolutely disgusting and shameful fact,” Beselia stated.

The United States Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly also made a comment. According to him, the only way to come to power is elections.

“All I would like to say is that everybody needs to be focused on having an election that guarantees that the will of the Georgian people is respected,” the ambassador stated.