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Opposition member’s car explodes in central Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 6
Late on October 4, the car of an opposition United National Movement (UNM) member, Givi Targamadze, exploded in central Tbilisi.

Targamadze and his driver, who were in the car that time, were left safe, suffering ringing ears and minor contusion, while four passers-by received injures, the condition of one of whom remains critical; the man is currently in a medically-induced coma.

The exposition in central Tbilisi, near the Baratashvili bridge, took place when Targamadze and his driver left the UNM office late on September 4.

The blast took place in the backside of the car, inciting injures to four people walking there that time. The condition of a man and a woman was assessed as severe after the incident, while the remaining two escaped the exposition more lightly, with several, non-lifethreatening injuries.

Targamadze said his car was allegedly destroyed with a remote controlled explosive device.

Members of the UNM are pointing fingers to the current ruling government, and some of them say the exposition was planned by Georgia’s State Security Service.

Member of the UNM Giga Bokeria said the State Security Service can be suspected of doing this as “there was a controversy between Targamadze and the agency.”

Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, now the Governor of Odessa and the citizen of Ukraine wanted by Georgia’s law enforcers on several charges, wrote that “Targamadze was chosen as a target because he had been in active contact with the law enforcement bodies, which scares Ivanishvili (Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister, founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream, which defeated the nine-year rule of the UNM- established by Saakashvili,).”

"Boris Nemtsov, who knew Ivanishvili very well in Russia, told me last year in Kiev that Ivanishvili was ready for any kind of violence,” Saakashvili added, and congratulated Targamadze on his survival.

Georgia’s law enforcers have already launched an investigation into the case under the article which pertains to an assassination attempt in aggravating circumstances.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili made an urgent statement the same night and stressed those behind the crime would be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law” and “no immunity or foreign citizenship would protect them.”

“What happened isn’t not only an act committed against the state, but also a provocation set up by Georgia’s enemies to instigate instability in the country ahead of the October 8 Parliamentary elections,” Kvirikashvili said.

“This heinous crime can only serve the purpose of a force that is unable to make its peace with the free and peaceful electoral environment in our country. I address the organizers and those who carried out this provocation: You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No immunity or foreign citizenship will protect those implicated in this crime,” Kvirikashvili added.

Members of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party said the investigation would reveal the truth, but they expressed their view that such an act was in the interests of the UNM and said the UNM was “very good at organising and staging such incidents.”

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili said it was a “terrorist attack” and was also “an attack on normal democratic processes” and it needed a political assessment.

Leader of the opposition Free Democrats Irakli Alasania said the attempt to murder an opposition leader triggered a “feeling of non-observance in public” and was making the election environment unhealthy.

“It is alarming that criminal groups freely commit such actions and hold the public in terror,” Alasania said.

The diplomatic corps condemned any and all violence and appealed to all to maintain the “calm” election environment.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze said he could see a motivation of the UNM and not the Government in the exposition.

“We should wait for the investigation, but exploding or even killing, which fortunately didn’t happen, of Targamadze will give nothing to the ruling power as he is not even a leading figure of the UNM and his liquidation will change nothing in the opposition party. I could see the motivation of the UNM more as the fact, especially when Targamadze escaped safe, would at least increase protest attitude of the UNM supporters to the ruling power,” Sakvarelidze said.

The analyst also unveiled his suspicion that Targamadze himself could be aware of the explosion.

“He had no adequate reactions after the exposition, he was suspiciously calm,” Sakvarelidze said.