Subeliani flees Tbilisi26.10.2011 | 12:51
The Ministry for refugees and resettlement might move from Tbilisi to Gori, Georgia's mass media report. Koba Subeliani in charge of the ministry says the issue is under discussion and all options are possible. How should this step be regarded after all protest rallies calling for resignation of the minister in Tbilisi? GeorgiaTimes correspondent gets in touch with Arnold Stepanyan, head of Multinational Georgia public movement, asking him to comment on Subeliani's possible escape.
Presently the situation around refugees has been actively discussed in Georgia. The point is that forced evictees are literally ousted from Tbilisi to provincial towns.
Last week Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili attended an opening ceremony of a 32-building quarter in Poti constructed in cooperation with the European Union for refugees. "It is possible that this luxury apartment, your home from now on, will remain after you return to your native land... Certainly we must get back to our homes - this is my life task, but we can't wait and we have to improve living conditions where you are staying at the moment", - Mishiko remarked adding that Poti "is a promising place in terms of employment and education".
The next day Manana Mandzhgaladze, the president's spokesperson, promised that residential complexes for refugees built as part of a special governmental program, would soon be commissioned in Western Georgia - Batumi, Tskhaltubo and Zugdidi.
Yet, the population of the republic has no trust in brave speeches of the leadership. Refugees complain of inhuman conditions in places they are offered homes, and the opposition states that the opening of a few flashy complexes for forced evictees looks like Saakashvili's attempt to raise his rating at the international arena and disperse suspicions that huge financial flows from the West have been misappropriated.
People keep protesting holding rallies near the building of the Ministry for Refugees and Resettlement in Tbilisi and in front of Saakashvili's residence and the building of parliament. "We demand to stop forced eviction of refugees. We call all forced evictees, all residents of Tbilisi to show more unity and be more active. Otherwise the authorities will lay hands on 350 buildings to throw people out. Then they might switch over to Tbilisians, as we saw many times", - Lasha Chartishvili, chair of the Conservative Party, highlighted at a protest rally. He is supported by Eka Beselia in charge of Solidarity with Political Prisoners public movement. "We, rights defenders, must support refugees with solidarity actions in order to stop violence of the authorities willing to make these people, that were once evicted by force, refugees in their native country. They are treated with utmost severity", - she observes.
It looks like the ruling team is fed up with all kinds of protest rallies. Recently it was reported that the ministry for refugees and resettlement might move to Gori. As minister Koba Subeliani stated, presently this issue is being discussed. "Everything is possible", - he added. Thus, Subeliani simply hides from problems in the periphery. After all, protest rallies won't be so large-scale there. As the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind, right? Arnold Stepanyan, chair of Multinational Georgia public movement, confirms the assumption in a talk with GeorgiaTimes correspondent.
"These rumors are not a surprise. There is a trend in relocation of institutions to other places. You must know that the parliament will be moved to Kutaisi, and one of the ministries has already been transferred to Batumi. Now, obviously, it is decided to transfer the ministry for refugees too. The question is why Gori? True that the town is surrounded by many refugee camps, but refugees are everywhere in Georgia. Besides, it is quite possible that the idea is to avoid politicization of certain events now going on in Georgia. I mean protest rallies near governmental buildings against eviction of refugees to provinces. As we know, opposition parties are not presented so largely outside Tbilisi. Naturally, the support won't be so vivid out there", - our interlocutor explains.