“Democratic” dictatorship or all in Saakashvili’s hands04.12.2009 | 16:17
Georgia is yearning to join European structures, both the opposition and authorities are unanimous here. The more paradoxical is the decision to turn out Russian experts or condemn a politologist for espionage. Do Saakashvili's personal decisions comply with "democratic values" Tbilisi says to adhere to: whom to let in the country or deny access, whom to condemn and whom not? It looks like a bout of spy scare.
Recently President Mikheil Saakashvili personally explained his new inadequate decision to deny Russian experts the access to Georgia. However it was not Mikheil Nikolayevich but his spokesperson Manana Mandzhagaladze who publicly presented "new rules" of entry to the country. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is sure the Russian experts turned out from Georgia are actively cooperating with Russian special services and are actively supporting occupation of the Georgian territories, the Spokesperson said.
According to Mandzhagaladze SergeyMironenko, director of Russia's State Archive and Nikolay Silayev, senior researcher of the Center for Caucasian Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations were denied access to Georgia for a joint conference with their Tbilisi colleagues.
There has been no evidence proving Sergey Mironenko's and Nikolay Silayev's cooperation with the special services. Maybe Mikheil Nikolayevich has personal data base of Russian special agents. At all events this looks rather strange: the entry to the country seems to be controlled by personal decisions (albeit presidential), not by the law.
It is true that for Russian citizens it is easier to come to Georgia than to go to Russia for Georgians. Accusing of "discrimination" for nationality the Georgian authorities keep underlining that Georgia is a democratic country and its borders are hospitably open for Russians too. It is said a visa can be obtained right in the airport without bureaucratic delays and endless queues.
It's right - but only in part. Since now it's the president who seems to have undertaken the functions of chief supervisor. As it is believed in Tbilisi everything is in compliance with international standards so eagerly referred to by the Rose Revolutionaries.
Saakashvili's spokesperson remarked that the president disallows two categories of people to stay in Georgia: "soldiers of occupational troops and spies planted by Russia's security service". But Mikheil Nikolayevich welcomes Russian tourists, business people, culture figures, sports people and common citizens to Georgia, Mangzhagaladze stated.
It is not informed whether Saakashvili and his confidants will continue to label tourists, business people or culture figures as spies. At least judging by the recent incident - no one's guaranteed.
For instance Georgian expert Gogi Khutsishvili who favored the visit of Russian colleagues in the run-up to the prescheduled conference is shrugging his shoulders. "I was invited to the meetings scheduled for today and tomorrow but I don't know who had planned these meetings that would involve the Russian experts as participants", - GHN quotes.
In keeping with the best traditions of all totalitarian regimes the ruling elite is enviably unanimous. As Shota Malashkhia, head of the interim parliamentary commission for restoration of territorial integrity said "the society will offer an adequate response to those who invites such experts". Irakli Kavtradze, deputy head of parliamentary committee for international affairs called the deported Russians "Putin's court emissaries".
Russian experts comment on the incident with irony. Senior researcher of the Institute of Scientific Information for Public Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexey Miller who was proclaimed a Kremlin agent in Tbilisi believes somebody thinks it's too boring without scandals in Georgia.
"Looking at the group only a ping pong team could look more harmless. And the visa denial to two of the four followed by the return of the whole group shows that somebody didn't want contacts between Russian scholars and their Georgian colleagues", - he said highlighting that he didn't want any scandal flare-up, Polit.ru reports.
When the scandal with the Russian experts was gathering pace the city court of Tbilisi started hearings on the politologist Vakhtang Maisaya case. He is accused of espionage in favor of Russia.
Maisaya was detained in May 2009 on the day when the strange Mukhrovani mutiny was suppressed. Then Tbilisi was in the mid of opposition rallies calling for President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation.
Saakashvili personally accused the expert of espionage asserting that a few years before he had allegedly been recruited by Russian special services. At the time of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 Maisaya "informed the enemies on disposition of our troops every 1.5-2 hours and the adversary was throwing blows there", the president stated.