Has Biden come to bid farewell or to support?22.07.2009 | 23:09
The Georgian government is expecting the US Vice President Joe Biden to arrive soon. This visit obviously means support of the current authorities. Still, the opposition is also getting ready carefully for Biden's arrival, hoping that he would criticize the autocratic tendencies and encourage democracy. It looks like a big pile of written complaints has been prepared for the distinguished visitor. Whose side is the American going to take?
While being a senator, Joe Biden already visited Georgia last August, having backed Saakashvili in his hardest times, when the latter's hopes were frustrated after the failed adventure that cost the lives of peaceful Ossetians and Russian peacemakers. According to the Business Georgia portal, the allocation of a one-billion-dollars donor assistance from the USA is also considered to be Biden's merit.
The Georgian leader has more than once expressed his gratitude to Joseph, remembering that it was this politician who admitted that the November 2007 crisis was an outcome of "external interference".
All these facts give the Georgian authorities grounds for assuming that this time, the US Vice President is also going to help his protégé. This was stated the day before by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Jalagania. According to him, this visit "is practically the logic continuation of the US new administration's policy of supporting the Georgian government, its domestic and foreign policy, which started with the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Charter signed this January".
However, before Joe Biden's visit to Ukraine and Georgia, National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken referred to the purpose of this trip in a very ambiguous way. "We hope that these leaders, many of whom recently inspired not only their people but the whole region and the whole world, will be able to fulfill their pre-election promises in their everyday life, will be able to take difficult decisions and to work in cooperation", - he said. These words were taken by many people as an instruction for Victor Yushchenko and Mikhail Saakashvili to be ready to resign. This being the case, Biden's scheduled meetings with leaders of the Georgian opposition acquired a very special meaning. As the Commersant Russian newspaper supposed, the Americans decided to perform a kind of casting for the role of the future national leader.
However, some of the oppositionists have doubts as to Biden's capabilities. One of the oppositional leaders Levan Gachechiladze thinks that the US Vice President will not allow any unguarded remarks. The only thing Saakashvili's opponents may do is describe the situation in the country as it is, not as Saakashvili would like it to be. The problems are partly touched upon in the appeals prepared by the opposition and the media representatives.
"Saakashvili has betrayed the revolutionary ideals and took the path of authoritarianism", - the leaders in disgrace are saying. According to them, the Georgian state does not serve its people any longer, for all the democratic institutions, such as the media, the court, the parliament and private industry, are corrupted and usurped by the ruling kindred. Authoritarianism has become the main reason for destabilization, having created a huge gap between the people and the authorities, having made the country helpless before the enemy and the crisis irreversible, as the authors of the message believe. They are pointing at the problems of the army which is on the verge of total destruction; of the police that have lost their functions; of the court that has become a repressive instrument of the ruling group; of the dying media; of the business pressed by the state racket. At the end of their message, the oppositional leaders express hope (or, rather a phantasm of a hope) that the USA will support an early, just and free election, as well as other demands made by the participants of the meeting.
This message in hand, tonight, the radicals are going to bring thousands of people into the streets to hold an action with a slogan of "The time of change has come". According to leader of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia Nino Burjanadze, this is not an action against Joe Biden; it must become an appeal to back the true supporters of the democratic values. However, Irakli Alasania and Zurab Nogaideli, who are no less loyal to the Western values, decided not to bring their supporters to the meeting. Alliance for Georgia even wrote a message of its own addressed to Biden, containing less clamour than the messages of other Saakashvili's opponents. Alasania's supporters asked to see to it that no administrative resource is used during the next election and that political reprisals are ceased. Alliance for Georgia hopes that the USA will assign their representative for the negotiations between the government and the opposition and will again support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Another message to Biden has been prepared by journalists. They are asking to help the public TV channels get rid of the government's pressure, return Imedi to Badri Patarkatsishvili's family, cancel the newspapers and journals distribution monopoly and investigate the cases of violence against journalists.