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Sheremet to stand before court for insult06.11.2009 | 17:25
Former Defense Minister of Georgia, now opposition Movement for United Georgia leader is going to sue TV journalist Pavel Sheremet in court. The Georgian "hawk" doesn't like the way the author of "Saakashvili. Georgia. Shattered Dreams" depicted him in his book. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked Pavel Sheremet why he had offended Irakli Okruashvili.
The presentation of Pavel Sheremet's book was held in Tbilisi as early as in April. A bit later the book was presented in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow when the Russian journalist remarked the book had aroused irritation of the Georgian president's administration.
It's clear why basically: now the Georgian-Russian relations are paradoxically confrontational - like iron on glass - and each side sees its own truth only. The truth is always in the middle, as we know. Pavel Sheremet's book is a search for truth.
As he confesses, in his book he tried to dispel myths popular in Russian and Georgian societies.
Over the last six months after Sheremet's book presentation so many events have take place - only springtime rallies and political squabbles around them look like a multi-volume detective story. And suddenly Irakli Okruashvili decided to make amends for the insult with the Russian journalist.
As he told a representative of the Georgian opposition the journalist pictured him as a "rather negative character". According to him the book was written at the request of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Who could have thought that the Georgian "hawk" was so touchy?
Irakli Levanovich, nicknamed "the hawk" for his scandalous promise to greet the New Year 2007 in Tskhinval when he was Defense Minister, is also known for the phrase that even "fecal masses" can be sold on the Russian market (when he was hurt by Russia's embargo on Georgian wines).
Later he stated he was ready to apologize to Russia for nasty words but only upon the return to Abkhazia and Tskhinval district (this is the name of South Ossetia in Georgia).
Later Okruashvili grew a most fierce opponent of the Georgian president. In 2007 after a number of loud accusations against the president on a terrorist attack on businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili being in preparation and Saakashvili's involvement in arms procurement deals for the Ministry of Defense Okruashvili was arrested. He was charged on several articles - money laundering, negligence, abuse of rank and bribery. The ex minister was released from jail on bail of USD 6 mln. He immigrated to France that offered him a political asylum. Now from Paris he is heating up opposition moods in his motherland
He is an ambiguous figure, as you see. Nonetheless, the lawsuit against Pavel Sheremet looks strange, to put it mildly: that's below him, so to say.
As GeorgiaTimes correspondent found out the issue on the start of the lawsuit hadn't been defined yet. Movement for United Georgia secretary general Eka Beselia said on the phone that Okruashvili was really considering that but hadn't taken the decision yet.
Pavel Sheremet was quite surprised at this turn of events. "I didn't expect that". - he told the GeorgiaTimes correspondent remarking that no Okruashvili's representative including his lawyers had got in touch with him. 'They have my contact information. So I'll be happy to answer all their questions", - Sheremet says.
According to the journalist this book is not only about the Rose revolution but about the events around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"I went to Tbilisi, met with people, politicians, spoke about current problems. There was an impression the war was inevitable, - Sheremet replies. - And the book is not anti-Georgian as many want to see. It's about the dreams of the young president whose personality is not at all well-defined. He has failed to fulfill his main dream - to unite Georgia and redo what David the Builder did. The dreams of refugees to come back to their homes have been shattered too. Like the dreams of people in Georgia and Russia who were hoping for improvement of relations".
- Except for Okruashvili were there other politicians who expressed their bad feelings? - I ask Pavel Sheremet.
Publicly like Okruashvili did - no. But the relations grew worse with Saakashvili and Merabishvili. At least I can't interview either of them. The opposition was positive about the book. Nobody said I was wrong. I'm still on good terms with Burdzhanadze though I'm harder on her in my book than on Okruashvili.
My colleagues reproached me for omitting Russia's empire ambitions in the book. I write about that. It's hard for Russia to put up with Georgia's secession and its openly pro-Western course. But truth in Georgian-Russian relations is complex. Just like the conflict in August. This or that side will find what it likes and what it can't agree with.
- You spent a lot of time in Georgia talking to politicians. What kind of people are they, the Georgian politicians, how different are they from their Russian counterparts that it makes it impossible to find a common language?