The authorities appoint Shevardnadze as the opposition’s “spiritual guide”06.04.2009 | 09:14
The number of slogans and multi-episode TV shows full of compromising material being broadcast in Tbilisi can make your head spin. The scandal over the purchase of weapons by supporters of Nino Burjanadze's party has lingered. There have not yet been any results of the investigation or update to the story. But the authorities have found another figure guilty of political destabilization in the country - Georgia's former president, Eduard Shevardnadze.
Yesterday one of the leaders of the parliamentary majority, Georgi Gabashvili, as VZGLYAD reports, launched into criticism of Shevardnadze: "Surely the former president isn't thinking about a return to power. But those close to him are hungry for revenge." The ruling United National Movement obviously couldn't find any other explanation for the opposition's refusal to enter into dialogue with the authorities. Because after the onslaught of compromising material and traditional accusations of working alongside Russia, the authorities have made their opponents several offers to sit down round the negotiating table. Admittedly, the topic of discussion would not be power. They offered to discuss the following issues with the opposition: how to overcome the
impact of the international economic crisis, the creation and preservation of jobs, protecting the country's security and sovereignty and the establishment of firmer social guarantees for the people.
The leader of the parliamentary majority, Petre Tsiskarishvili, offered a dialogue. The radical opposition turned it down. So the secretary general of the party "For a united Georgia", Eka Beselia, said in an interview with GHN: "We will enter a dialogue only with Mikheil Saakashvili and only if it is broadcast live. The opposition will not enter into a dialogue with Shashkin or Tsiskarishvili. It would just be a farce and it is a sign of yet further lies from the leadership."
The minister for sentencing, probations and legal aid Dmitry Shashkin is holding a meeting. Yesterday he said that the opposition would definitely join the meeting. As ever, opinions on this issue were divided. Some of the parliamentary opposition gave the go-ahead. The Christian Democrat party acted in this way. The other members of the parliamentary opposition said that they were not happy with the place chosen for the meeting - the ministry for probation. So the meeting was put back by a few hours and moved to a different place: instead of the ministry, the opposition are expected in the prestigious Courtyard Marriott hotel. The non-parliamentary opposition again gave the authorities a categorical "no". And they blamed Shevardnadze for all this.
The Silver Fox himself has not made any comment on this issue. But you have to think that holding such power over society and the political situation in the country - and this is five years after his resignation - would flatter any leader. But 81-year old Shevardnadze does not intend to return to politics. "I am a pensioner, I don't meet any of Georgia's officials or politicians. Any talk of my return to politics or to power is just fabrications and fairy tales," ITAR-TASS quotes the former president. But Eduard Amvrosievich did give his successor some advice. "The opposition's demands are not restricted by the law or by international norms. To a certain extent the government is restricted. I would resign so that there is no bloodshed," said the former president in an interview with Imedi TV. Admittedly, he did make the proviso - as long as 10,000 people join the protest actions.
Judging by the results of the plebiscite carried out by the Alliance for Georgia, far more people will be coming to the long-suffering square outside the parliament. That is probably why people have started talking about "Shevardnadze's revenge". But then again, the authorities did not miss the chance to have a dig at his disciple, Nino Burjanadze. As soon as the growing activism of circles close to Shevardnadze was mentioned, the parliamentary speaker David Bakradze immediately accused Nino Anzorovna of making "radical, almost extremist statements". After all her father is a friend and former close ally of the former president, was president of the state bread corporation and was regarded as one of the "paymasters" of the Shevardnadze clan.
But the entire "revolutionary triumvirate" - Zhvania-Saakashvili-Burjanadze - was nurtured by Eduard Amvrosievich himself. They are all his pupils. Admittedly, the Silver Fox has disowned Saakashvili. But definitely not when Saakashvili, having stormed into parliament with a rose in his hands, flew up onto the stage, where a few moments previously Shevardnadze had been standing, and gulped down his tea that was still warm. Shevardnadze only did this in August 2008 when he gave comments regarding the August war to the newspaper La Republicca, saying that this was a "fatal error" by Saakashvili.
And Eduard Amvrosievich spoke respectfully about Zurab Zhvania, who died in circumstances that still remain unexplained, even after the Rose Revolution. "I have lost a friend and my best pupil, and Georgia has lost a great statesman and a wonderful person," he said in 2004.