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An almost former president

10.12.2012 10:26

Ivan Alekseev

The detention of officials from Mikhail Saakashvili's team that started after Georgian Dream's coming to power made ??it clear that the former oppositionists do not intend to "to understand and forgive" and by all appearances, the arrest of former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia and other senior security officials is just the beginning. The new authorities make no secret of the fact that the president may find himself in the dock, as they have repeatedly stated publicly. Mikhail Saakashvili, prior to be delivered up to justice, decided not to waste time and seek refuge in the West.

Using the ties in the U.S. and the EU acquired in the course of the years in power, the president is trying to get back his own from his main political opponent - the Prime Minister, the leader of the Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili. The situation for the latter is complicated by the fact that the appointment of ambassadors is the President's prerogative. Most diplomats are still loyal to Saakashvili and continue to misinform the world community about the situation in Georgia, and the process of change of ambassadors undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was suspended by President. According to the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the parliament of Georgia, Tedo Japaridze, many ambassadors openly sabotage Ivanishvili - in particular, two weeks ago, the Georgian ambassador to the EU, under a specious excuse refused to meet the prime minister when he arrived in Brussels. "Information on the situation in Georgia goes to the West mostly from Mikhail Saakashvili's supporters, who had been always successful in PR, and that is a big problem for the new government of the country," said Tedo Japaridze.

The members of the former ruling United National Movement party have quickly warmed to their role of oppositionists and are generously giving interviews to Western media teeming with words "dictatorship, persecution, settling of scores". The members of Mikhail Saakashvili's team who as recently as yesterday were in power and gave orders to disperse the opposition rallies and arrest the opposition figures, quickly turned into "victims of repression" and advocates for "freedom and democracy". All this is aimed to create the image of victims of political persecution and to win to their side those who had once brought them to power - the U.S. and the EU.

America and Europe, in turn, do not take anyone's part openly but "evince concern" about the processes taking place in Georgia. Thus, among those "concerned" about arrests in Georgia are already the European parliament president, Martin Schulz, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who even made ??a three-hour visit to Tbilisi on her way to Central Asia. The State Department is much "concerned" too, having sent Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip H. Gordon to "clarify the situation". The Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also shown interest in the recent arrests, to which the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili even suggested the Secretary General to send his representatives to Georgia to monitor the investigation process against former officials, but Rasmussen refused saying he has no shortage of confidence in the new Georgian government, but only "admonishes". However the NATO Military Committee's visit to Georgia scheduled for late November has been postponed for a few months and will take place only in the first half of 2013, because now, the main figure of the host country ? the Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Brigadier General George Kalandadze is under investigation.

Despite the fact that the sympathies of the West still prevail on the side of the sitting president, at the home front Saakashvili absolutely loses. The high-ranking officials detained on November 15 for organizing illegal wiretapping the former oppositionists began to give evidence referring to the President too.

Also Georgian Dream's candidate Valeri Gelashvili wants to jail Mikhail Saakashvili; he has already required the Georgian Main Prosecutor's Office to reopen the investigation into his beating six years ago, and to interrogate the President in the case. Valeri Gelashvili was beaten after he refused to cede his private property for the construction of the residence of Mikhail Saakashvili and disapprovingly wrote down in the press about the president's entourage. According to him, "Saakashvili must go to jail, because the attack was planned in his office." Also, according to Gelashvili, also the then Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili was involved in his beating.

The former speaker of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burjanadze offered to testify against Saakashvili and his associates. "I have nothing to worry about, but for the United National Movement it is worth to be nervous," Burjanadze told reporters. The former speaker of the parliament expressed her willingness "to participate in the investigative process on any issue" where her explanations can be required. According to Burjanadze, the "nationals" she now considers her political opponents, want to hide a lot." Saakashvili's former supporter has brought into challenge the legitimacy of the existence of the United National Movement and called that the president and his associates appear in court.

Meanwhile, to interrogate Mikhail Saakashvili, the constitutional majority of MPs must be obtained - 100 of 150 but the former opposition does not dominate the parliament. However, this is not an impossible condition either. The Georgian Dream has 85 mandates and may well win over the members of the president's camp in which case neither Europe nor America will help Saakashvili. Even now everything points to the fact that none of the Western countries seriously intend to animate Saakashvili's "political corpse" despite the formal support. He may even be sacrificed for the sake of establishing a profitable dialogue with the new Georgian authorities. The Moor has done his work, the Moor may be jailed.