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19 years pass since Rose Revolution

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, December 5, 2022
The 19th anniversary of the Rose Revolution passed in the usual mode of celebrating this date for the last years when the UNNM talks about the great importance of this event and the successes achieved since then, while the Georgian Dream sees only the negative. This time, the main issue was the request to transfer Mikheil Saakashvili, the main architect of the Rose Revolution, abroad for treatment.

The Rose Revolution, that is, the events that took place in November 2003, no matter how we evaluate it, are a turning point in the post-Soviet history of Georgia. At the time, the opposition did not accept the results of the last rigged parliamentary elections held by Shevardnadze and invaded the parliament on November 23 under the leadership of Mikheil Saakashvili.

President Shevardnadze resigned. The new government implemented important reforms for the country and took a course of rapid integration with the West. Reforms aimed at the modernization of the country, unfortunately, were not accompanied by the appropriate democratization of the country, which was followed by mistakes and a decline in the government's rating.

As a result, in 2012, the National Movement lost the elections and gave up power. In the West, this was met with approval and they welcomed the arrival of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's block Georgian Dream in power.

If the National Movement was in power for 9 years, the Georgian Dream has been at the head of the country for 10. If Shevardnadze was able to win two parliamentary elections for the adoption of the 1995 Constitution, and Saakashvili also won two, Georgian Dream was able to maintain power even after the 3rd parliamentary elections, although it was clearly difficult in 2020 - the opposition did not enter the parliament for a long time as a sign of protest, because they considered the elections to be rigged. In the end, the Georgian Dream managed to get out of the parliamentary crisis, in which the West gave it no small help.

According to Georgia's Western partners, the government and the opposition in the parliament would cooperate for the benefit of the country and build democracy. However, many in Georgia clearly saw that it would not be possible to end 'polarization' in this way.

On the 19th anniversary of the Rose Revolution, both the government and the opposition are in a difficult situation. Public opinion polls show that the ratings of the opposition parties are very low, more than half of the respondents do not see the party they want and are waiting for the appearance of a 'new force', the 'National Movement' remains the main opposition party, but not only its rating has decreased, but it is also experiencing a deep crisis.

At the end of December, the elections of the governing bodies of the party and the chairman of the party are scheduled. On the 19th anniversary of the Rose Revolution, its main creator, Mikheil Saakashvili, is in prison. His health condition has been causing serious concern for a long time.

The opposition demands that Saakashvili be transferred abroad for treatment, which the government categorically excludes so far. Mikheil Saakashvili announced that he is no longer interested in Georgian politics and does not interfere in it, although the Georgian Dream does not seem to believe this.

According to the National Movement, Saakashvili is Putin's prisoner, and in this case, the government is following his instructions.

Information about Saakashvili's poisoning also spread. Parliamentarian Iago Khvichia came up with a strange proposal - the opposition recognizes the fulfillment of 12 demands of the European Union by the Georgian Dream, in return the government should release Mikheil Saakashvili. However, the fulfillment of 12 demands should be recognized by the European Union and not by the opposition in Georgia.

The main puzzle of the Georgian Dream is these 12 demands. The status of a candidate for EU membership depends on their performance. That is, taking an important step in the direction of integration with the West, which is the officially declared course of Georgia and which is supported by approximately 80 percent of the population of Georgia. This opportunity was created by Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The Georgian Dream claims that it is actively working to fulfill these requirements of the European Union, but the radical opposition prevents it from fulfilling the requirements, and according to the opposition, Georgian Dream only imitates working to fulfill the requirements and, in reality, does not intend to fulfill these requirements.

Today, the main subject of controversy is the law of 'deoligarchization'. Georgian Dream has already developed its draft law and passed it in two readings in the parliament. As they say, the bill is a copy of the relevant Ukrainian law. They also emphasize that this law will not apply to Bidzina Ivanishvili, who has 'left politics', instead they talk about the oligarchs behind the opposition.

The National Movement also presented its version of the deoligarchization law, which Bidzina Ivanishvili cannot stay behind. Obviously, the Georgian Dream can adopt its version of the law, but the European Union requires that this draft law be sent to the Venice Commission before adoption. The Georgian Dream does not want to do this, but without it, the European Union will not consider this request fulfilled.

The current situation - the dispute regarding the fulfillment of the 12 requirements of the European Union will continue for about another year before the European Union makes its decision. However, before that, many things can change both outside and inside the country.