Why Shashkin has returned?06.03.2013 | 19:19
New names are adding into the list of officials of the former government of Georgia returning to the country. This time it is about Dmitry Shashkin - the former head of the penitentiary system of Georgia, former head of the Defense Ministry and ex-Minister of Education and Science. On Wednesday night, March 6, ex-minister and his family returned to Georgia from the USA where they stayed for five months.
"Everyone knew that I was in the United States. I am a free man and I have the right to decide where I should be. I am a citizen of Georgia, and I have decided to return home", this is what Shashkin stated in an interview to Georgian TV channels in Tbilisi airport. Minister of the former government has expressed willingness to answer all the questions of the prosecution.
And there are a lot of questions. Due to the fact that Dmitry Shashkin changed several ministerial portfolios, respectively, there are different questions associated with different periods of his activity. So, he is charged for arbitrariness in schools, when there appeared notorious scary figures of mandaturs (a kind of supervisors) exercising vigilance supervision over the school students; sadistic crimes behind the prison bars; non-transparent deals on purchases of automatic weapons. Whichever department headed by Dmitry Shashkin, he was always accompanied by scandals. But Georgian experts believe that above all, one of the most important persons of the former government in the first place has to answer to the main question: why has he fled on the eve of the counting of votes on October 1, 2012, the day of the parliamentary election?
President of the Club of Independent Experts Soso Tsiskarishvili told GTimes about his views on the return of Dmitry Shashkin to Georgia.
- Answer to the question why Shashkin is back into the country is equivalent to the answer to another question: why and what from he has fled on the eve of the announcement of the results of the parliamentary election, even before the vote count? He left the country with his family, though he claimed that was just a trip. And then, being in the U.S., he said that he had left Georgia permanently. The second question is: which realities of today's Georgia and the new government have appeared attractive to him so much that he decided to return. Despite the fact that he held several senior positions, most of the issues that will be played against him are surely related to the period when he held the post of Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, when he controlled the prisons.
-In the case of the return of Bacho Akhalaia, society believes that due to the crimes he is charged for, he has reason to fear for the life: any inmate, who is literally the victim of his hands, may put an end to his life. Thus, there is reason to fear lynching, so Akhalaia feels safer in jail in Georgia than at large abroad, where he has no guarantees of security. Thus, he has returned to save life. And what about Shashkin?
- Unlike Bacho Akhalaia, Shashkin won't be accused of direct initiative of sadistic actions in the penitentiary system, but a part of responsibility lies on him; but he is rather a performer, passively obeying, however, without principles and basic human dignity. He is most likely to become a witness on many cases. And he is in somewhat different position. First, he was in the country, which is not an alien for him. Shashkin was Director of the Georgian governing board in the U.S. International Republican Institute. And namely this Institute recommended him for the post of the head of the penitentiary system of Georgia. That time his appointment was seen as a triumph of democracy in the country. After all, at that time almost all government posts were held by the people from Merabishvili's team, they were assigned on the principle of protectionism, not through democratic way. But once in power, Dmitry Shashkin too quickly abandoned the principles, although he might have never had them. No principles or decency. He may have the U.S. citizenship. I cannot say for sure, maybe it's just a rumor, but I do not presume to deny this. So an agreement at government level on Shashkin's return to Georgia is quite permissible. Georgian government could provide guarantees of his safety and on these terms petition for his extradition, so the U.S. could easily recommend Shashkin to return.
The expert from the "United National Movement" Nika Chitadze, deputy dean of the Social Sciences Department, International Black Sea Institute, believes that Shashkin's return has never been excluded. In an interview to GTimes Chitadze said that Shashkin was guided by the desire to respond to the charges against him.
- How do you think, what was the leading motive in Dmitry Shashkin's decision to return home?
- I think it was a desire to prove his innocence, to answer the endless accusations in his address for the last five months.
- Then a counter-question: being confident of his innocence and being able to prove it, why has he left the country on the eve of the announcement of the results of the parliamentary election?