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Georgian KGB officers deprived of pension and dignity15.11.2010 | 18:41
Georgian government is taking revenge on "KGB agents" using economic methods. Those security officials that had retired before 2005 have been practically unpensioned for five years running. Mikheil Saakashvili's government has, at least, increased the allowance for the majority of elderly people up to 100 laris after a three-year nonstop promise to pay 100 dollars, while former militiamen, state security agents and prosecutors, as GeorgiaTimes was told by Christian-Democrat Georgy Akhvlediani, are paid a ridiculous sum of 5-60 laris. Well, that's rather an instructive, cost-saving and ideologically correct policy in the context of hunting witches from the communist past.
Pension stability became one of Mikheil Saakashvili's main achievements as president. Before he came to power, old people had been paid irregularly and had been underpaid. With America's support, the revolutionary government managed to fix pension coverage, though not as large as is desirable. Three years ago, Mikheil Saakashvili made a solemn promise of bringing the payment up to a decent level of 100 dollars; however, he has made it as far as 100 laris, or about 80 dollars for now.
Judging by the plans of Ministry of Finance, one should not expect any pension increase next year. While defending the draft budget before the deputies, Minister of Finance Kakha Baindurashvili explained that the government has not gone back on its word: it was the crisis that prevented it from fixing a 100-dollar amount of payment.
But the crisis did not hamper inflation in Georgia and the amount of 100 laris has turned to be considerably less when recalculated to the consumer market prices.
The government again refused to reconsider the pension payment for the retired security officials. Baindurashvili publicly called them "traffic police officers" and "KGB agents" who do not deserve any state remuneration. "Just remember Targmandze's ministry and what they were busy with. Do you want them to get the same pension as deserving pensioners are paid? The government does not share this kind of opinion", - the minister told the oppositional deputies who promoted the idea of pension increase.
Member of the Christian-Democrats fraction Georgy Akhvlediani answered that one cannot rank 45 thousand retirees of power-wielding structures as "agents" and deprive them of payment on that ground. "Whether they like the pre-nineties history or not, it was part of the history of our state", - he underlined. However, he was not supported by the ruling majority.
GeorgiaTimes asked Georgy Akhvlediani to explain why he defended this very category of elderly people. At this point, it was found out that their discrimination started in 2005. The provision concerning these people was withdrawn from the law on pension recalculation; instead, former security officials were assigned compensations.
- The people who served as colonels and lieutenant colonels for 30 years and retired before 2005 are paid proportionally to the wage level of the 90s. After 2005, security officials' wages increased to 1500-2000 laris, the pension consequently being raised to 500-600 laris; however, the increase did not cover those who retired earlier, which is almost 50 thousand people, - the deputy underlined. - The government that canceled the provision on pension recalculation has made a catastrophic mistake, acting against the law. In the whole world, the retirees of the power-wielding structures have the right for recalculation, so long as their professional activity implies hazard to their life; they fought criminality, they worked for interior ministry, state security ministry, military administrations and ministry of justice. With a wave of a hand, these people were thrown overboard in our country. That's rather a moral problem for them then a financial one, for they have turned needless to the country, being called "corrupted", "traffic police officers".
- All of them?
- Yes, all of them. The Christian-Democratic movement is fighting for these people's rights. Each year we hold 3-4 actions with them so as to somehow press upon the government and make it understand that this is a serious problem of restoring justice. But the government has not got sufficient political will for that. Together with ministry of health, which is in charge of pension issues, we have figured out the sum to be allocated by the budget so as to solve the problem. We got 36 million laris. That's not critical for the government but the officials are simply unwilling to do it. They say these people are "KGB agents". We tell them: what else could they do, there was the Soviet Union, one country, one state security committee? If someone proceeded as an agent after Georgia was declared independent, they should be found and punished. That's another point. But there are those who are shocked because they were said to be corrupted. That won't do.
-How much are they paid now?