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Monday, 24 October 2016


Nino Burjanadze goes on the offensive

2008-10-28 09:34

The former speaker of Georgia's parliament Nino Burjanadze has sent an open letter to the head of state, ripping apart the bravado of Saakashvili's government. Her former comrade-in-arms, now turned opponent, has not yet been so kind as to continue the open correspondence. The "iron lady"'s address was criticised by David Darchiashvili, chairman of the parliamentary commission for European integration and former head of the Soros Foundation in Georgia, who in recent times has more and more often been a vocal supporter of the authorities' position.


He calls Burjanadze's letter "too emotional" and lacking a convincing argument, and is outraged that the rebel seems to have a "memory like a sieve". "Why does she forget what was good about those years, when she worked alongside the very team which she now talks about it in that tone?" asks the parliamentarian, emphasizing that Burjanadze was a member of Saakashvili's team for five years and consequently bears equal responsibility for what has been happening.

Throughout the history of their rule, there has not yet been a time when the young Georgian reformers have admitted their mistakes. And this is exactly what Burjanadze has called for them to do.

The country's leadership needs to "recognize and admit its mistakes", and it is up to Mikheil Saakashvili to choose "between the promises which he made to the people during the ‘Rose Revolution' in 2003 and preserving his personal authority," writes Burjanadze in her appeal. She believes that "extraordinary parliamentary elections carried out on a democratic basis would be capable" of bringing the country out of its crisis.

At the same time she does not rule out the possibility that both the November events of last year, when the authorities broke up an opposition meeting, and August's military operation could be repeated. "Unfortunately it has become clear that the authorities learnt nothing during 7th November and have begun to make only external, superficial changes," warns Nino Burjanadze in the run-up to the planned meetings of the opposition. In her view, a "further military provocation" could be repeated. Yet in the spirit of the post-war period Burjanadze did not balk at directing some strong words towards her northern neighbour... In her opinion, the authorities' actions make the country "even more unprepared and undefended against a united enemy". In this context, the united enemy is clearly not the financial crisis...

Meanwhile Burjanadze warns that "if there are any further escapades Georgia will once again lose young men, territory, will lose the trust and support of the West once and for all, as well as the prospect of uniting with Euro-Atlantic structures, and in the future will face the sorts of problems which are impossible to predict".

This sharp criticism of the authorities from Saakashvili's former comrade-in-arms is not unexpected. In the first few days after the war rumours began to spread in Tbilisi that the USA was preparing to replace the increasingly uncontrollable Mikheil Nikolaevich. Certain Georgian political analysts, who prefer to remain anonymous, think that the Americans had counted on Nino Burjanadze and Irakli Alasania, now Georgia's representative at the UN. Reports even appeared in the Georgian media stating that Irakli Alasania might replace Lado Gurgenidze as Georgia's prime minister. Neither confirmation nor denial of these rumours followed.

The best pupil of the former president Eduard Shevardnadze and daughter of Georgia's ‘rose revolution' Nino Burjanadze, who left Mikheil Saakashvili's team exactly one year ago just before the parliamentary elections, bravely went on the offensive.

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