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Georgia on the verge of revolt03.03.2011 | 15:15
Georgian opposition predicts that the current country leaders will repeat the fate of Arab dictators threatening Saakashvili regime to organize numerous protest actions. But official Tbilisi pretends unconcerned over the matter. But what if citizens of the republic are really able to use the "Egyptian scenario" in mass revolt? GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked head of Eurasia Institute Gulbaat Rtskhiladze about probability of a massive uprising in Georgia and whether the country's president will follow Mubarak.
At a press conference Gubaz Sanikidze, head of National Forum, one of the leaders of Georgian opposition, expressed confidence that in the near future Georgia might recall its recent revolutionary past. The oppositionist explained that the new protest rallies - this time against Saakashvili regime - might be triggered by continued unrest in Africa and Middle East. "Today's situation in Georgia shows that a revolution can start on a minor, even a most insignificant pretext. This will bring Saakashvili before judgment", - Sanikidze is sure.
For some time already the head of National Forum has been toying with the idea that the "Egyptian scenario" might be repeated in Georgia. He is totally sure that Western countries will not support their appointee Mikheil Saakashvili. "He is no more valuable to the West than Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak is, and Georgia is as valuable as Egypt is", - Gubaz Sanikidze thinks.
Indeed, the current situation in Georgia does look "pre-revolutionary". Yet, it does not completely correspond with Lenin's definition when the lower classes don not want to live in the old way and the upper classes are unable to. The air over Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and Gori is heavy with the coming thunderstorm nourished by TV reports from Egypt, Tunis, Yemen that become a fertile ground for the talks on streets of Georgia with common hope to have things go off with a bang too!
However, as Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, a well-known expert, head of Tbilisi Institute of Eurasia, assured GeorgiaTimes correspondent, the country's authorities are calm despite the pitiful situation in the republic. "Certainly, the West might give Saakashvili up, but presently he does not face direct danger since he does not allow the opposition take any steps. Yes, the situation in Georgia can be compared with the situation in the countries that have just faced revolutions. The social and economic background is extremely gloomy with fuel and food prices constantly going up. It's hard for all people suffocated by the state, for both common citizens and businessmen since the money is needed to replenish the budget. GDP has gone down as well as indices of economic growth. There are certain preconditions to claim that Georgia will face a revolt. But unlike Arab states known for a different mentality, people here are more atomized. It's unlikely everyone will go out onto the streets spontaneously", - the expert explained.
He thinks the key difference between Egyptians and Georgians is general level of political activity. "Over the past two or three years Georgia has poured out a lot of political energy. People would have done a lot to dethrone the current regime. Then the opposition was too weak and discredited. Now it is simply nothing", - Gulbaat Rtskhiladze said in an interview with our correspondent.
The only real opponents of current Georgian regime, he thinks, are people controlling Georgian diasporas abroad. However, they are practically fenced off Georgia's political life - thanks to official Tbilisi. "Georgian authorities are not afraid of domestic opposition. They fear foreign forces that have financial, political and other possibilities to fight it", - the head of Eurasia Institute is sure.
According to him, the result of the revolution that may strike in Georgia, will lead to the drastic change in the country's policies - both abroad and at home. Otherwise it will just be a "brush-up" in leadership with a new dictator replacing the old one. "New accents must be put on ideology, orientation in foreign policy, we must reconsider Georgia's place in the world. The problem is not Saakashvili and his people, - Gulbaat Rtskhiladze emphasized. - The trouble is Georgia's self-perception as a subject of global politics".