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Saakashvili would give peace neither to the living, nor to the dead2009-07-14 14:43
President of Georgia has demonstrated the luxury of his new residence in Avlabari. Things would not be that bad if the residence were not built at the expense of taxpayers, for it is not only the living but the dead Georgians that are suffering from the authorities' wastefulness.
Mikhail Saakashvili invited over one thousand and a half guests to his house-warming party in Avlabari. The work of an Italian architect Mickele de Luchi was worth it. According to Saakashvili, the highlight of the president's chamber is a unique tiny Bible that had belonged to the dynasty of Bagrationi. The president says that the Sacred Book was given to him five years ago in the USA by one of the Bagrationi family representatives and he has kept it in a cabinet in his study.
Besides, the walls of the residence are temporarily decorated with a painting by a world-known Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani, Giorgoba in Bolnisi. As the oppositionists have shrewdly remarked, it was "stolen" by the president's personal bodyguards from the National museum in February when Saakashvili celebrated his 88th anniversary of "Red Army's intrusion in Georgia".
Construction of the new residence in the region of Avlabari was started right after the Rose Revolution at the place of the former police department. The police was suspecting large sums of money to be laundered in this project and demanded relevant expense reports.
Certain figures have been voiced by Saakashvili at the presentation in Avlabari. However, these figures turned out to be much smaller than his political opponents had expected. For instance, according to the president, the construction of the palace cost 13 mln laris (7,8 mln dollars). On the whole, the residence cost "about 0,18 percent of the aggregate state expenses of the last five years". Besides, as Saakashvili explained, the state budget of Georgia grew 10-12 times since the president came to power. That is why, perhaps, the Georgian authorities managed to open "more schools, hospitals, sports grounds than the other countries did" within those five years, as the head of state told the schoolchildren during an excursion around the Avlabar estate. "We managed to do it", - he explained to the children, trying to convince them that it was not only himself that he was thinking about.
However, the opposition has stated more than once that it was not dozens but hundreds of millions of laris and dollars that were spent on the construction of the residence. According to some calculations, this figure amounted to 800 million dollars, the major part of which sum was obtained by way of blackmailing the businessmen.