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Tbilisi to change politics for PR2011-02-16 20:46
Everuthing that the current Georgian regime pursues is described in two Latin letters - PR. Over the years in office, Tbilisi politicians have become masters of self-promotion. Probably it makes sense to write a motto on the country's emblem: Result is nothing, image is everything! For domestic PR-campaigns Georgian rulers have enough charisma, while in the West they have to resort to professionals. It has been rumored for a long time that in the international arena Tbilisi employs foreign lobbyists. Now this information is officially confirmed by vice speaker of Georgian parliament Mikheil Machavariani.
According to first deputy chair of Georgian parliament, a number of private Western companies are in charge of the country's image-making. But Mr. Machavariani didn't specify the amount taxpayers pay to foreign political technologists trying to preserve a favorable opinion of Saakashvili regime. And these are huge amounts. As GeorgiaTimes wrote earlier, an annual contract with a PR-company adds USD 1 mln in the expense item of Georgia's government. Both Washington and Brussels have a lot of such firms that make common Georgians pay for their services.
"These are not directly lobbying firms but there is a service contract with Georgia since we face a rather prosperous rival, i.e. Russia, and Georgia must have its positions represented well", - Mikheil Machavariani remarked. This is not Saakashvili's invention, he added. His predecessor, Edward Shevarnadze often resorted to this practice.
There is a question why the current country leader follows the example of his political adversary he himself overthrew. According to the Rose Revolution organizer, last minister of foreign affairs of the USSR was an inheritor of Red Empire's totalitarian traditions while his successor Mikheil Saakashvili is an apostle of democracy in the highest sense of the word. Still, real improvement of people's living standards, not skills of Western lobbyists must advertise the current regime at best. For the time being, however, Mishiko fails to put up a brave front.
In May 2009 then minister of economic development of Georgia Lasha Zhvania relied more on US lobbyists than on the head of the state to rehabilitate the country's good name. "American experts will help us create Georgia's positive image in the international arena", - he said then. So it's strange that Mikheil Machavariani does not want to use the word "lobbyists" speaking about companies promoting interests of Tbilisi in Washington.