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Have mercy, Mishka The Ruler!2010-08-20 18:51
Another grant of pardon is coming in Georgia by the day of Mariamoba - the Assumption of the Virgin. On the eve of each great holy day, President Mikheil Saakashvili does a charitable deed by releasing his fellow countrymen. The carrot-and-stick corrective approach is in full swing: a law-abiding Georgian society is formed in prisons.
"A thief should be kept in prison", - Vladimir Vysotsky's character used to instruct. Mikheil Saakashvili seemed to take this maxim closer to heart than many other leaders of the post-Soviet space. One hundredth of the Georgian population is in prison, considering the fact that there are no more than 3 million people in the country. The rest have emigrated to get away from the revolutionary president's justice and order.
Eventually, the prisons housing just 5-7 thousand people were packed four times. Those caught even for pettiest offenses serve their sentences according to the European judgement system: punishments under Criminal Code are put together in one long sentence, while before the Rose Revolution, there had been an old time-tested Soviet system when the sentence was awarded for the most grievous crime.
Is Mikheil Saakashvili appalled by the state of affairs? It looks like he isn't. Those who left are called "exported thieves", so there is no point in regretting their departure, while those who stayed must learn the new rules well: if you are the president's close associate you may reckon upon a country house for one lari but as soon as you move away the property will be impounded and God save you from getting on the dock. The same is about business: entrepreneurs loyal to the government might reckon on private auction sales and government orders but as soon as they resist the exaction of the ruling party they are instantly accused of corruption and sent to prisons for correction. Or, as Saakashvili would put it, for export.
The main point is that the correctional process goes on smoothly and many Georgians are so much intimidated that they are afraid to admit the truth of having become the slaves of several white and grey eminences' headstrongness.
Fear is perfectly combined with such means of encouraging the reclaimed as pardon. It is granted by Mikheil Saakashvili several times a year: before Christmas, on the Easter eve, on the eve of the spring and summer Giorgoba and Mariamoba in August. These holidays give Georgian prisoners a chance to find themselves among their friends and family.