Will Vashadze pay for his Russian citizenship?03.02.2010 | 23:26
Last week Eurasian Youth Union called on the Investigatory Committee at the Prosecutor's Office (ICPO) to initiate a criminal case against Georgian FM Grigol Vashadze, still a citizen of Russia. According to the organization Vashadze made statements and carried out activities that constitute a crime stipulating responsibility under the following articles: "Humiliation of honor and dignity" and "Fomentation of interethnic strife". The Investigatory Committee accepted the application for consideration but will there be any direct actions against Georgian FM?
Grigol Vashadze acquired Russian citizenship after the collapse of USSR. He has been living and working in Georgia since early 2000s and in 2007 under President Mikheil Saakashvili's decree he was granted second citizenship in Georgia. A year later in February 2008 Vashadze took charge of Georgia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his time in office he repeatedly reproached Russia for "occupation" of Georgian territories and collaboration with "puppet regimes" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
At the end of last year Semen Bagdasarov, Fair Russia faction member suggested revoking Vashadze's Russian citizenship. According to the parliamentarian Vashadze makes use of it to "travel freely and form an anti-Russian charter". Nonetheless, the State Duma didn't favor the initiative claiming that committing a crime involves responsibility, not revocation of citizenship.
Curiously enough, Grigol Vashadze then appealed to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asking to revoke his citizenship and attaching his Russian passport to the letter. Now the Georgian FM's application is under consideration. He physically remains a Russian citizen and in theory can be brought to responsibility under the articles the Eurasian Youth Union (EYU) refers to.
Vashadze has already reacted to the reports in media. He states that both the Ministry and minister will ignore the subject. That's why GeorgiaTimes correspondent tried to clarify this piquant situation with EYU representatives, lawyers and politologists.
Valery Korovin, Eurasian Youth Union leader:
Now our application is being examined by the Investigatory Committee's senior investigator. I think the case against Vashadze will be initiated. I hope it will reach the court and a ruling will be issued. We believe Georgian President Saakashvili in conspiracy with US politicians is pursuing anti-Georgian policy. In spite of these activities Mikheil Saakashvili manages to retain his position as the country leader. So our application to the Investigatory Committee calls attention to Saakashvili's actions since now people start forgetting that. As for Grigol Vashadze at a certain point of time he made a fatal mistake staking on current Georgian president and starting to work with him preserving his Russian citizenship. We believe that Vashadze agreed to become Foreign Minister after the August events against common sense. Yes, he did apply for revocation of his Russian citizenship but it hasn't been considered yet. Even if Vashadze loses his citizenship it will in no way free him from responsibility. I would like to emphasize that we have deep respect for Georgian nation remembering Russia's and Georgia's common history and our statement is directed against Saakashvili.
Vladimir Gagloev, president of "Anti Crisis Center" Moscow Board of Lawyers that provides legal support with regard to EYU application
I think prospects of this criminal case are real since Vashadze spoke about Russia as a Russian citizen and resorted to defense. So he has certain rights and obligations he must observe. This norm of protection of interests is stipulated in other national legislations so I see nothing extraordinary here. As for Vashadze's application for cancellation of citizenship I personally don't like the idea since he can be brought to legal responsibility only as a citizen, while the lack of citizenship will result in ordinary extradition. That is why it is better to have him as a Russian citizenship to ensure a correct and thorough investigation.
Vladimir Anokhin, vice president of Academy of Geopolitical Problems
Here Saakashvili or the person on trial are out of question. This is simple PR to advertise these persons, not the case as such. I don't like the way it is done. There could have been a more serious pretext to create a political background, especially when Saakashvili is concerned. Naturally the Investigatory Committee won't start the case. As a Russian citizen Vashadze was a citizen of Georgia and acted on order of the country's leadership.