baltvilks (baltvilks) wrote,
baltvilks
baltvilks

Georgia: After "Democratically" Performed Coup d'Etat


freedom at risk

Some of the prime minister’s public statements, in which he has talked about pursuing UNM officials until they stop “hysterically lying”, have the flavour of a witch hunt.

Having criticised Mr Saakashvili for using state institutions for political ends, Mr Ivanishvili should give the judiciary space in which to do its work independently. Inquiries into the last government’s conduct would command more confidence if there is less shouting from politicians on the sidelines.

Mr Saakashvili’s allies are warning that such conduct puts Georgian democracy at risk. While that is too alarmist, the premier’s high-handedness is not without cost. Unchecked it could undermine the country’s efforts to integrate more closely with the European Union and Nato. This is one of the Rose revolution’s better legacies. Mr Ivanishvili should not undermine it.

FINANCIAL TIMES

November 26, 2012


Editorial–Georgia’s bad dream

When President Mikheil Saakashvili swiftly conceded his party’s defeat to his fierce rival, Bidzina Ivanishvili, after last month’s Georgian parliamentary elections, it raised hopes that the transfer of power might avoid the score-settling that has disfigured the country’s post-Soviet politics.




Although Mr Ivanishvili railed against alleged abuses of power by Mr Saakashvili during the campaign, he too seemed willing to be conciliatory. The new premier promised not to seek revenge against the president’s United National Movement, which had ruled Georgia since the “Rose revolution” of 2003.


It has not taken long for this flowering of cross-party cordiality to wither. Since the poll, the prime minister has pursued a widening campaign against politicians and officials connected with Mr Saakashvili. There has been a wave of arrests of officials and former ministers. In the latest sweep, a group of interior ministry employees have been charged with conducting illegal surveillance of Mr Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition during the campaign.

Few doubt that Mr Saakashvili has questions to answer about the way the UNM ran Georgia before the election. In its desire to dominate affairs, his government too often blurred the line between party politics and state institutions. The sense that the government used the justice system for its own ends was a factor in its defeat. Some of the treatment meted out to Georgian Dream was highly questionable.

But Mr Ivanishvili’s party must take care not to fall into the same trap in its thirst for redress. Some of the prime minister’s public statements, in which he has talked about pursuing UNM officials until they stop “hysterically lying”, have the flavour of a witch hunt.

Having criticised Mr Saakashvili for using state institutions for political ends, Mr Ivanishvili should give the judiciary space in which to do its work independently. Inquiries into the last government’s conduct would command more confidence if there is less shouting from politicians on the sidelines.

Mr Saakashvili’s allies are warning that such conduct puts Georgian democracy at risk. While that is too alarmist, the premier’s high-handedness is not without cost. Unchecked it could undermine the country’s efforts to integrate more closely with the European Union and Nato. This is one of the Rose revolution’s better legacies. Mr Ivanishvili should not undermine it.

LE FIGARO (TRANSLATION)

November 24, 2012

The new Georgian government is multiplying cases of abuse

By Isabelle Lasserre

Opposition members are denouncing a witch-hunt that began with the victory of the pro-Russian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in the parliamentary elections. Twenty-one political figures have reportedly already been arrested, and others should follow.
 

For ten years, on the other side of the old Iron Curtain, the supporters of freedom and of democracy had their eyes set on Georgia. Led by a reformist coalition that favoured integration to NATO and to the European Union, this small Caucasian country of 5 million inhabitants had become a model for the region’s States, who were eager to free themselves from the Russian yoke. The peaceful transition of power following the parliamentary elections had only confirmed that feeling.
 
Yet the Georgian example is now under threat. Since it has won the elections, the Georgian Dream coalition, led by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, has been leading a true witch-hunt against opposition figures. Begun on the day that followed the transfer of power, the wave of arrests launched against people close to the president Mikheïl Saakashvili, whose mandate ends in the autumn of 2013, is continuing.
 
The Georgian Dream evokes the organisation of a Nuremberg Trial
 
Twenty-one political figures are reportedly in jail today, including the ex-Defence minister and high-ranking civil servants of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Others, such as the mayor of Tbilisi, could follow. The Prosecutor has warned that he had files against every member of the ex-Government. And the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has claimed that the attitude of the new opposition members, who “lie,” who “continue to describe themselves as angels” rather than “apologise for the crimes they committed,” “will not diminish the probability of these arrests continuing.” The Georgian Dream went so far as to evoke the need to organise “a Nuremberg Trial” for the ex-leaders.
 
Their actions are not limited to these arrests. They are also targeting some media and the institutions that report to the country’s president. Political and financial pressure are also exercised against opposition parliamentarians, that the new government would like to bring on board in order to obtain a constitutional majority within the parliament. This would allow the coalition to launch a procedure to dismiss the president. Seven MPs have already given in. The Prime Minister does not want to pursue cohabitation. “I have told Saakashvili several times that it would be easier, for him, to resign,” claims Ivanishvili. “He has lost the elections. Why is he still in power?”
 
“It is difficult for us to accept that every citizen is equal”
 
Why does the new government hold such a grudge against the old team? Of course reforms were imposed at lightning speed on society. Like in every country of the old communist world, some people were the victims of transition. But the quick rapprochement with NATO and the European Union, which came hand in hand with more difficult relations with Moscow, is not a strategic priority for the Prime Minister. The billionaire, who made his fortune in Moscow and who is reportedly close to the Kremlin, first and foremost wants to improve relations with Russia, which still occupies 20% of Georgia’s territory.
 
But the main rejection is that of the multicultural policies of Mikheïl Saakashvili, and notably of his decision to make all religions equal in Georgia. In the new Prime Minister’s entourage, some figures make public declarations that would make, in France, Marine Le Pen pass for a leftie. “The old government considers that the protection of minorities, including sexual minorities, constitutes a democracy. Everyone is considered to be an equal member of society in European countries. This is difficult for us to accept, because it goes against Orthodox ethics," claims Manana Kobakhidze, one of the parliament’s spokespersons. Her colleague Murman Dumbadze, for his part, considers homosexuals to be “sick people,” in “need of medical treatment.”
 
Faced with these “alarming signals,” the president’s entourage is sounding the alarm. “It would be a disaster for Georgia, and beyond it for the entire ex-Soviet space, if the democratic elections are followed by the creation of a new authoritarian system putting opposition members in jail,” worries Raphaël Glucksmann, an advisor to Saakashvili. Putin, for his part, must be very happy indeed...

Link: http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2012/11/24/01003-20121124ARTFIG00294-le-nouveau-pouvoir-georgien-multiplie-les-derapages.php


Tags: coup d'etat, georgia, ivanishvili, saakashvili
Subscribe

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments