Nino Burdzhanadze: authorities realize they have committed crime31.12.2011 | 16:55
Nino Burdzhanadze, leader of Democratic Movement - United Georgia, once a member of Saakashvili's team, has been one of the main opponents to the current regime for a long time. In an exclusive interview with the newspaper Nino Anzorovna shared her vision of the coming parliamentary election and her opinion of demonstrations in Moscow. The most well-known oppositionist in Georgia states: despite pressure, she continues the struggle against current regime in the republic.
Parliamentary election will be held in Georgia in 2012. Will it be fair and transparent, as the authorities claim?
Based on today's situation, it is absolutely evident that the authorities are not going to hold fair and free elections. It is not surprising since leaders realize they have committed so many crimes over their time in office that any democratically elected government will raise a question about their responsibility, and a fair trial will rule out a clear verdict. So they do their best to preserve power. All these law drafts the authorities have adopted recently reconfirm their refusal to hold free and fair elections.
Does the dominant party have worthy rivals?
The leadership of the country puts all political parties that will run in election in such a position that they will simply fail to be competitive to the authorities. I mean limited financing, an obligation (according to new legislation) to present expenses reports once in three weeks to the Accounts Chamber. I think you understand: that means parties do nothing else but reporting. Then there will be discussions whether this idea was right or not. Besides, the authorities control media resources, particularly electronic mass media. As a result, the country fears people who don't think like the authorities. In this situation it is impossible to discuss free and fair elections.
There were many people opposing Saakashvili's policies in the streets of Georgia during demonstrations of People's Assembly in May. Yet, the leadership of the republic criticizes recent protest rallies in Moscow predicting an orange revolution in the Russian Federation. How fair are such comparisons?
Indeed, both our party and People's Assembly have done a lot to help political process survive in Georgia. The fact that the world saw that Georgia won't tolerate dictatorship we are heading for, is the merit of People's Assembly and Democratic Movement. You should remember that nearly 13,000 people were present at the demonstration in Tbilisi, though the authorities have ignored that speaking that several thousand people went out to support the opposition referring to people as to a few individuals protesting against regime. I'm keeping a keen eye on the way our leaders cover recent events in Moscow. What I see makes me smile. Because we are told that unprecedented crowds gathered, large-scale demonstrations continue and so on. Certainly, no matter how many people go out onto the street, any wise government should pay attention to their demands. Yet, comparing the scale of rallies in Georgia and Russia I only can say that considering proportion of the population in Georgia and Russia, 30,000 in Tbilisi is at least half a million people in Moscow. Certainly, Georgian authorities stick to anti-Russian hysteria. But this is ridiculous. Russia will defend itself, Russian people and government will settle their problems. Our government had better think of those problems we are facing now.
In your opinion, will there be long-awaited unification of the opposition, also around you as the leader of Democratic Movement - United Georgia and a potential candidate for presidency, in the run-up to the parliamentary election?
I don't think anyone should want to unify all oppositionists because they are very different. I think, only those forces should get together that want a new regime instead of the one destroying Georgia, and have free elections - not substitution of the authority and penetration into the ruling elite. I'm sure sooner or later this will be done.
Which opposition parties you think deserve seats in parliament?
There are opposition forces in collusion with the government. There is the so-called opposition represented by satellite organizations of the dominant National Movement. There are parties whose goal is to have three or five representatives in parliament. Unfortunately, really active opposition that wants to save the country from the criminal regime is scarce.
Despite growing pressure from Saakashvili, do you continue to champion prosperity of the nation?
We continue to be very active. Democratic Movement - United Georgia and People's Assembly have not ceased their work even for a day despite heavy pressure on us, our family members and activists. For instance, 37 members of our movements are now imprisoned on the charge of resistance to the police. Some were given long terms - eight, ten, twelve years. Others are still waiting for the verdict of the court. And we realize that such pressure is typical of an authoritarian regime.