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Fighting corruption in Saakashvili style2010-01-06 13:54
In due time, some writer said about America that a man who stole a loaf of bread there goes to prison but a contriver who stole a railway goes to the Senate. This was said a long time ago. Today, no one steals any railways, neither in America, nor in Russia, nor Ukraine, nor Georgia. However, the essence seems to be one and the same: everything depends on the scale of the event.
For instance, an attempt to receive 150 laris (about 100 dollars) ended rather sadly for local Kobuleti Police Department Inspector Jemal Gogmachadze. After he was taken by the officers of General Inspection of Ministry of Internal Affairs in the act of getting a bribe of 150 laris (that is it!) from a person whom the inspector promised to accompany timber and settle any possible problems, the future of Mr. Gogmachadze is far from happy.
The current Georgian legislation implies up to 9 years of imprisonment for a crime of such kind. Inspector Gogmachadze should be aware of existence of the so-called special "provocative groups" in the Georgian police (members of these groups are selected from the people who do not know each other and who were never caught in any close connections with security officials), due to which efforts thousands of Georgian policemen and state officials found themselves behind bars, being awarded rather long-term sentences.
That is what the Georgian democracy looks like. "The law is strict but it is the law", - these are the favorite words of the politicians who have got legal education. Today, this statement is realized by the common Georgian citizens, local administrations' officials, policemen and even road guards who ceased extracting bribes for the performance of their direct responsibilities.
One might say that the Georgian methods of corruption control are not quite in line with the letter of the law. Some citizens in discharge of their duties provoke others who are in discharge of their duties as well and then catch them by the hand. However, President Saakashvili ventured to initiate a special program on identifying corrupt officials at the lower level of the state service and law-enforcement authorities.
As to the top echelons of power, things are more complicated here. For instance, when Nino Burjanadze was Mikhail Nikolaevitch's associate and occupied the post of the speaker of parliament, she was allowed to acquire a state country house in a fashionable suburb of Tbilisi, Tskhneti, for several dollars only. But as soon as she quarreled with Mr. Saakashvili and joined the ranks of the opposition, the illegality of the privatization transaction started being talked about on every street.