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The regime saves itself at the expense of Bendukidze2009-02-10 10:00
On his first day as prime minister, Nika Gilauri has dismissed the head of the State Chancellery Kakha Bendukidze. The opposition is rejoicing. Experts are advising people to wait and see how events unfold.
On 7 February, after parliament confirmed Nika Gilauri as prime minister, he declared on Rustavi-2: Kakha Bendukidze will not be working for the administration any more. But he proposed that Kakha Avtandilovich should become an advisor to him.
In his statement to the Georgian media, Bendukidze was extremely restrained. As GHN news agency reported, he confirmed his departure, saying: "A few days ago Prime Minister Nika Gilauri told me that he would like to see someone else as head of the State Chancellery, and that I should work as an advisor for the regime." The dismissed head of the State Chancellery gave no comment as to whether he has accepted the proposal to give advice to the fifth prime minister Gilauri. Just as he did not mentioned his plans for the future whatsoever.
The opposition is not hiding its joy at Kakha Bendukidze's dismissal. The deputy Georgi Targamadze called it the first correct decision made by Gilauri as prime minister. "If the reason for his dismissal was the danger which the head of the apparatus presents for the Georgian economy, then I welcome it," he is cited by the Trend agency.
The leader of the Republican party David Usupashvili is sure that Bendukidze has already done his "dirty work" and is now just being sent for a "well-deserved rest".
It should be noted that for a long time, mentioning Bendukidze to the opposition has been like waving a red rag to a bull. There is almost nothing he has not been accused of in recent years - of bringing down the economy, putting a squeeze on business, and acting in Russia's interests. The Russian oligarch of Georgian origin, who for almost five years has occupied key posts in the Georgian government, refused to take Russian citizenship. As the opposition argues, it was at Kakha Avtandilovich's doing that strategic facilities in the country ended up in the hands of Russian state companies. VTB, Telasi, and the group called "Industrial investors" were quite favourable towards Bendukidze's slogan: "In Georgia everything is sold, apart from one's conscience", and between 2005 and 2006 they privatised hydro-electric power stations, factories and banks. That is why opponents of the ruling regime have long been insisting on his dismissal.
But Bendukidze is regarded as the father of the Georgian economy - the father of the liberal reforms which, in the view of foreign experts, allowed the country to lead the region in terms of GDP growth over the last few years.