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Burdzhanadze shedding tears08.07.2010 | 11:59
On July 5, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Georgia on a visit. Nino Burdzhanadze had hoped to be invited to the meeting with the oppositional leaders but as soon as she got to know that she was waited for only at the National Library, where women-leaders gathered, she turned upset and refused to come to the meeting with Clinton. She said she would comment upon her demarche a bit later. GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed the matter with expert of Information and Analytical Center at Moscow State University Alexander Karavaev, as well as with expert of Eurasian and International Research Center at the State University of Kazan and analyst of National Strategy Institute Yana Amelina.
Institute Yana Amelina.
So, what does Burdzhanadze's refusal mean? Is it just injured vanity, a well-calculated step or a broken vent stack in her bathroom? Anyway, it distracted madam Burdzhanadze from the main track: a serious politician should have a good memory and a cold mind to make the fate of the world, at least, in terms of a relatively small country. Dreaming of Margaret Thatcher and Madeleine Albright's laurels, Burdzhanadze is aiming at no less than the president's seat, following the example of her Ukraine analogue Yulia Timoshenko. And now, she has been denied even the title of an oppositional leader.
Everyone remembers Burdzhanadze's sudden political activity after the Russian-Georgian conflict in 2008. Having always demonstrated loyalty to her revolution associate, Saakashvili, she refused to take part in parliamentary elections according to the party list of United National Movement because of the scandal and chose her own oppositional way.
To strengthen her position in the Georgian arena, Burdzhanadze initiated a set of trips to the United States. She became a frequenter of the White House, State Department, the Senate and Congress, the UN, and delivered speeches in the International Republican Institute and Brookings Institution. There were rumors that Washington was preparing her for taking Saakashvili's place, and I bet the latter was shaking like an aspen leaf. The president did not expect such a match-point: Nino started being considered a perfect alternative to the irresponsible Mishiko.
Even in Russia, Burdzhanadze became an object of closer attention, so she hurried to Moscow, having made a casual remark that she was going to Russia to make big-time politics. She said it as if she slipped off a mink coat. Making public curtseys, she invited the Russian prime minister behind closed doors and then admitted in public that it is in Georgia's interests to take Russian views into account.
And now comes this unexpected demarche in respect of the U.S. State Secretary. Can such daring step of the oppositional leader have an adverse effect on her political carrier and bring down her rating in the eyes of electorate?
Alexander Karavaev: I would not attach much significance to the fact whether she was present at the meeting or not. Yes, Burdzhanadze could grow offended and feel certain discomfort in her respect on the part of the people in the administration who organized Clinton's visit and agreed the list of those whom she could meet. However, I believe one should not pay much attention to this step, for it will have any importance only within a short period of time until the informational reason fades away by itself. I would not associate Nino Burdzhanadze's rating with her presence at this meeting or her absence from it. The point is that Saakashvili has got enough chances to become Georgia's next president should he make up his mind to run for the third term, as well as the third persons that are currently close to the president. As is known, Burdzhanadze is not among them.
Yana Amelina: It is absolutely clear that this step will in no way affect her rating, so long as the whole meeting is generally a pure formality. In fact, the popularity of a certain oppositional leader in Georgia does not depend on that. Burdzhanadze's similar meeting with Putin in Moscow did not produce any effect in terms of rating either: municipal elections were lost by the opposition. Nino does not represent any real public or political powers; neither does she reveal any significant opinion of the active part of the Georgian society. I agree that Burdzhanadze has got no political future. This is attributed not only to her personal qualities, although this fact is not of primary importance, but also to her political past: she has left a long trail of unpleasant situations behind her that are remembered well in Georgia. Her entire current behaviour is irrelevant, to put it mildly. It was ridiculous of Burdzhanadze to possibly believe that America would assist her or anyone in the pro-western opposition to somehow influence the change of political regime. No one needs her and no one is placing stake on her. Burdzhanadze is a person that is soon going to leave.
Thus, the experts share an opinion that Nino Burdzhanadze allowed such an unexpected step only because she knows very well that she is just an oppositional figure in this overall Georgian picture, and even not a secondary one.