The Rose Revolution
23 February, 2012
The Rose Revolution

And there came the time for the November parliamentary elections of 2003 . . . The population of Georgia naturally supported the political team which had suggested an irreconcilable fight against corruption, social injustice and political scheme in the country. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

 

GJ – How did the National Movement proceed further?

S.M. – They insisted that the ‘Legalized thief’ type of mentality be eliminated forever in Georgia. They outlawed corruption and said that the way of life imposed on them and the entire country was unnatural and decidedly unacceptable. When the time of the November, 2003 elections came, the public manifested huge sense of support for those newly born young politicians. The population of Georgia, naturally, supported the political team which had suggested an irreconcilable fight against corruption, social injustice and political scheme in the country.  The Central Election Commission was complete with reactionary cadres of the Citizens’ Union who did all they could to rig the parliamentary elections. This was followed by a fierce public reaction. The crowds filled the streets to ask for the protection of their votes, not just revolution and coup d'etat. On the 22nd of November of 2003 the process reached its culmination. Mikheil Saakashvili and his team rushed into the parliament building with roses in their hands and did not allow the parliament of Georgia (which was elected by the rigged votes) to proceed with its first session and declare its renewed authority.

GJ – On the 23rd of November of 2003 President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned as a result of the Rose Revolution, didn’t he?

S.M. – Yes, he did. And his resignation took place on the backdrop of the 90-percent public support for the National movement and its leaders.

GJ – Regardless his rule’s numerous disadvantages, I would say that he left politics with certain dignity. Certain amount of credit for the bloodlessness of the Revolution goes certainly to him, doesn’t it?

S.M. – Further processes developed so that the constitutional court of Georgia declared the outcome of the parliamentary elections nil & void. The issues of who did more wisely and rationally and who had the lion’s share in the Rose Revolution still remains part of the future study and analysis. It would probably be the fairest thing to say that both sides did their part. It is doubtless though that it is the people of Georgia who deserve the highest credit. When hundreds of thousands of people are involved in the revolutionary process, it must be almost impossible for a leader of one particular side to fully control the situation.

GJ – Exactly like in civil wars, the society caries the blame for dramatizing the situation which takes up the arms for killing its own members. In November 2003, there really was a sense of solidarity in our society among both the citizens and various political forces. Corruption, injustice, drug-abuse, depression, social plight – this all had depressed our people so much that all the hopes for the future were concentrated in the new political movement. Would this be correct to say?

S.M. – Yes! This is but obvious. It is also a fact that the society was unanimous in those days, including the clerical part of it. In those days the Georgian people made a clear statement that they no longer wanted to live with the soviet legacy. The Rose Revolution was a spiritual phenomenon. It was not the attempt of elimination of the state. Neither was it a desire of setting accounts with each other.

S.M. – The fact was that the bigger part of Georgia’s population woke up with a new hope in the morning of November 24th of 2003

GJ – It genuinely was the day of birth of the new Georgia – new but definitely back to perpetual human ideals to be embraced.