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It’s not my responsibility…2008-10-30 09:43
The Georgian authorities have begun to establish who is to blame for the "Rose Revolution being knocked down by Russian tanks".
Nino Burjanadze, the former speaker of parliament, was the first to mention this. Back at the end of September she formulated 43 questions directed at the authorities concerning the defeat in the war in South Ossetia. And she demanded answers in a live television broadcast. Back then Burjanadze's letter was shelved. The status-quo managed to hold out for another month. But by the end of October the Georgian opposition had begun to stir. Saakashvili's opponents have organized a large anti-government demonstration for the 7th November. Even the admonitions of Tbilisi officials - that anyone who criticises the regime is playing into the hands of the Russians - have failed to help.
"To say that the Russians are close by and now is not the time to carry out actions is just PR emanating from administration offices. Because of the policies of the current regime the Russians will remain in the occupied territories for dozens of years. If we sit back and wait for them to leave, Saakashvili will still be president for about another fifty years," maintained the leader of Georgia's Labour party Shalva Natelashvili on 24th October.
After him an absolute parade of oppositionists came forward. They mainly concentrated on searching for Russian agents within the Georgian president's circle. The former Minister for Conflict Resolution Georgiy Khaindrava listed the Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili and the head of the presidential apparatus Kakha Bendukidze among the ranks of such agents. The general secretary of the Labour party Iosif Shatberashvili declared that the temporary parliamentary commission for studying the August events was a shield for Mikhail Saakashvili. According to the oppositionist, if this commission were working in good faith, it would have long since demanded the president's resignation and would have put the Minister of Defence David Kezerashvili, the mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava and the secretary of the Security Council Aleksandr Lomay behind bars.
"They are criminals, since the August events were carried out under their leadership."
The leader of the People's Front Nodar Natadze has been the most radical in his accusations. He even listed Saakashvili, as well as half the government, parliament and opposition as Moscow agents. Levan Gachechiladze, former presidential candidate from the United Opposition, summed up the generally held grievances: "Saakashvili must answer for all the actions which have harmed Georgia, and for the blood which was shed in August."
Last year the November action was broken up by water cannons and tear gas. But now the circumstances have changed. After the lost war and the irrevocable loss of two provinces the president's approval ratings have fallen to ten percent. Other ways to improve his popularity were needed. And Saakashvili has started to sacrifice comrades-in-arms from the ‘Rose Revolution'. Provisionally laying the blame for the August events on them.
The first to pay the price was the prime minister Lado Gurgenidze. He was dismissed on 27th October. A completely unknown functionary, Grigor Mlagoblishvili, was dragged into the limelight to replace him. The advantage of the new prime minister, in contrast to Gurgenidze, is that he has not been mixed up in anything. Until recently the "young specialist" was Georgia's ambassador in Ankara. Within 10 days he has to present the make-up of his government to the president. There will probably be almost no familiar faces left in it. Saakashvili will have to relinquish his guardsmen - the defence minister, the minister for integration, the secretary of the Security Council and the deputy prime minister.