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“Black Hundreds” Against Ivanishvili28.11.2011 | 13:46
The United National Movement, the dominant party of Georgia has no doubt about winning the coming parliamentary and presidential election in the republic. Their recent invention is creation of special armed groups ready to start confrontation with the opposition. Will competitors of Mikheil Saakashvili be scared to see crowds of athletic young men in the streets of Georgian towns or will such measures lead to further alienation between the society and the ruling top? GeorgiaTimes correspondent discusses the issue with Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, head of the Institute of Eurasia.
Recently the ministry of defense of Georgia reported on the beginning of a training program for common citizens aimed at creation of a "volunteer reserve" of the Armed Forces. However, the local opposition is sure that the irregulars are recruited in order to disperse protest rallies. Indeed, the start of armed conflicts in the region that would require involvement of dozens of thousands of common citizens is unlikely. The country has no external threat. Tbilisi also realizes that forced return of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is pointless. Most probably, the non-military add-on to the local army is needed to counteract the internal enemy.
The country leadership has only one enemy - oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili. Representatives of the ruling top have been moving like a bunch of squirrels alarmed by the appearance of a hungry vulture. On the contrary, the opposition is lifting spirits. Mikheil Saakashvili's opponents had long been in need of a man able to unite implacable rivals. Dispersion of rallies at the end of May hit a serious blow to the protest movement. And the appearance of Kartu Group leader is likely to inspire the population to organize new actions.
The authorities are ready to oppose Ivanishvili's influence with brute force in the form of "Black Hundreds" tasked to disperse the opposition. The country leaders have rich experience in creating such groups: both Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Edward Shevardnadze never refused to punish their political opponents with the help of mercenaries. Looks like the current president is adopting methods of his predecessors.
Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, a well-known Georgian expert, believes that in reality the Defense ministry is setting up anti-opposition groups that have nothing to do with army replenishment. "This information must be viewed in light of the military budget increase justified by imaginary threats from Russia, as the leaders claim, though things are completely different in fact. The opposition too, is viewed as a sort of threat connected with Moscow. The authorities are seriously concerned about the presence of such a strong figure as Bidzina Ivanishvili, so they deliberately divide the society into two poles. Saakashvili and his supporters will stop at nothing, including bloodshed, in order to prevent victory of a new force", - the expert said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
According to our interlocutor, the opposition must not react to provocations of the ruling regime and start an armed confrontation. "We must work in compliance with law and be well-organized. Ivanishvili has raised a serious wave inside the society. Yes, he has made some mistakes, but he has also made really powerful steps as well. Besides, the nation is so dissatisfied with their lives, they are so sick and tired of Saakashvili, that it makes it easier for the opposition to deal with the population", - Gulbaat Rtskhiladze emphasizes.
"It is necessary to organize activities at the local level creating branches of the new movement. The authorities will continue to violate the law, but totalitarian machine is unable to work in full swing, and this moment must be taken advantage of. The breaking point might take place after the New Year with the situation coming to a boil. This will be the end of signature collection for revocation of Bidzina Ivanishvli's citizenship. This will be a powerful blow to current authorities. When people of the country get united in this way, the "militia" artificially created by the authorities will have doubts whether to comply with orders of people against whom the entire country revolts", - the expert sums up.