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Saakashvili counts other people’s money2009-03-05 20:44
The crisis is not the best time for protest actions, Mikheil Saakashvili believes. Recently he expressed his discontent with opposition politicians who spend money on campaigning instead of saving the economy. March 5 is the expiration of the 10-day ultimatum presented to the Georgian president by Irakli Alasania's supporters.
Saakashvili made the right choice of the audience for the ideological confrontation - the workers of Tbilisi electric wagon repairing plant. Those who are most severely affected by the crisis take the president's populist slogans as balm for their souls. "Let's be less concerned about how to take this or that position and think more of stability and the things people have in their fridges", - all information agencies picked up this phrase of Mikheil Saakashvili.
"Georgia's government has all resources to save the national economy but for this there must be peace and stability in the country", - the head of the state assured the workers. Then Saakashvili came forward with an appeal to get united in the struggle against the crisis whether considering the plant employees as intermediaries in the dialogue with the opposition or feeling their critical attitude might be really dangerous.
Speaking before the parliament in mid February the president already acknowledged seriousness of the economic downfall. Then he suggested putting an end to "political squabbles" as the country had to apply all efforts to sustain economy and fight unemployment. Two weeks later new symptoms of the growing crisis appeared in Georgia. Recently the reports of the commercial banks showed decrease in assets which allows experts to start speaking about recession. The volume of cash transfers to Georgia also fell. The national currency - lari - is undergoing gradual drop versus dollar.
Saakashvili has two ways to bring the economy back to life according to his speech at the plant. Firstly he relies on foreign benefactors as the IMF, EU and other "donors" as well as foreign investments. As the president boasted he personally is at the head of the "economic diplomacy" and has already visited a number of European countries and the United Arabian Emirates. As Kommersant remarks, by Saakashvili's order a department on relations with the Eastern countries was formed with the Foreign Ministry starting its work today. Its primary task will be attraction of investments.
Coming protest actions that will result in destabilization of the situation may damage Georgia's image and scare the investors away. This argument against the activity of the opposition was also mentioned by the head of the state in his speech before the workers.
The second resource to fight the crisis is within the country. At the time of the parliamentary debates Saakashvili called on the deputies and ministers to reduce civil service expenses. He even expressed an intention to "tighten his belt" by selling two of his residences in the west of the country and giving the third one to refugees. By the way the president has seven such "villas" of this kind. Meanwhile the construction of Avlabari residence is still in progress regardless of the crisis. According to the information of the Conservative party leader Giga Bukia over 500 mln lari has already been spent on this estate.
Yesterday Saakashvili developed his idea of official expense reduction. He called on non-parliamentary oppositionists to be careful with the finance too. According to him lately the Georgian politicians have earned a lot of money that is not spent on good deeds. At the same time the president asserts that his team and he personally neither earn nor have this "big money". Naturally the president is offended by such injustice.
Earlier Saakashvili's activity was materially supported by Bidzin Ivanishvili, a well-respected Georgian billionaire, whose assets are mainly located in Russia.