Georgia on the brink of war27.10.2011 | 13:00
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has been repeatedly warned that unless he stops political maneuvering, he will face a revolution. This time it's Edward Shevarnadze giving the same advice to his successor. According to the former president, unless the country's authorities restore citizenship to Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and allow him to run in elections, Sakartvelo will face a civil war. Petre Mamradze and Georgi Gachechiladze from the opposition evaluate probability of this scenario.
Georgia is waiting for parliamentary election with the opposition forces full of hopes while the country's authorities, it seems, have already started eliminating competitors. City Court of Tbilisi refuses to restore billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, now a fresh politician, to his civil rights. Politologists are reacting to arbitrariness of the regime with Felix Stanevsky, former Russian ambassador to Georgia, stating that Saakashvili started taking measures immediately after he realized that the man has huge resources to become the president's rival. "In order to discredit this potential rival as much as possible and leave him unable to compete at all", - The Voice of Russia quotes.
By the way, president Mikheil Saakashvili has already been warned that if he uses his repressive machine to strangle public and oppositional space, the polarization inside the population will throw out onto the streets. "We will see processes like those in North Africa", - Irakli Alasania, leader of Free Democrats party stated. - I don't want to make direct comparisons and it is my task to prevent any similar developments, but Saakashvili can provoke that. That is why it's important to have full understanding of things".
Most probably, current leadership will arrive at correct conclusions post factum when a civil war strikes, former president Edward Shevarnadz hints adding that Bidzina Ivanisvhvili's participation in parliamentary election is desired by people of Georgia, as well as international community. "Unless the authorities restore his citizenship and allow him to run in elections, we will have a civil war", - Shevarnadze said.
For the time being, the current regime stands its ground. Yet, already in summer Shevarnadze stated that people of Georgia had always had acute sense of justice, and people don't see any progress in solution of the country's vital problems. "People are discontent for clear reasons: prices are growing, expenses increase and their incomes don't go up. People can't pay so much", - the former president remarked. But patience of Georgians has its limits. Suffice to take a look at the results of a poll recently carried out by US National Democratic Institute. Notorious "territorial integrity" is less important than the problem of unemployment and inflation. Obviously, sooner or later serious social problems will end in an open confrontation with the regime.
By the way, some oppositionists state that the dominant party is thinking how to go on without Saakashvili, their patron. Levan Berdzenishvili from the Republican party told about "certain movements" in the first echelon of Georgian authorities. "Those six people who really rule the country are now considering how to exist without Saakashvili", - VZGLYAD quotes. - I think the ruling party is on the verge of a split".
Is it true that leadership feels proximity of a civil war? GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed possibilities of a social revolt with Petre Mamradze from Unity for Justice parliamentary faction and Georgi Gachechiladze, head of the Green Party.
Petre Mamradze: Civil confrontation is evident. According to various polls, we see 82% of respondents support Ivanishvili and expect him to win and improve the situation in Georgia. On the whole, it's absurd: the most reputable citizen of Georgia is denied citizenship. As for a civil war, this risk exists, but I can't give exact dates since Ivanishvili's story goes in parallel with aggravating social tensions.
Georgi Gachechiladze: Even if parliamentary election scheduled for next year is recognized by international organizations as illegitimate, we will face authority deficit. This will be a difficult situation. I don't know the result of it - anything is possible. So I would advise that the government of Georgia stop dirty struggle against political opponents.