PARAMILITARY GROUPS BEFORE ELECTIONS?
22 March, 2012
PARAMILITARY GROUPS BEFORE ELECTIONS?

 

Our respondent names names

‘Before we get new Holms in Zugdidi (Samegrelo, West Georgia), please display your reaction on all this. We still can avoid the dramatic events we may face if this continues till October’, declared the leader of ‘Free Democrats’ Irakli Alasania at the meeting with the diplomats accredited in Georgia and added that paramilitary groups are being created in Samegrelo that can be used by the authorities during civil confrontation.

 

 

‘Why are paramilitary groups set up, who arms them and why are they waiting for something to happen? This indicates that Saakashvili isn’t going to hold free and democratic elections’. This declaration made by Irakli Alasania before the diplomats was reciprocated by civil society ‘For Peaceful Georgia’ and demanded: ‘Immediately inform us where, in which part of Georgia are such paramilitary groups being formed, who are the organizers, financiers and members. In case the above information is hidden from people, you will bear the same responsibility as the founders of those groupings’.

In Zugdidi we contacted Kakha Mikaia, a member of ‘Protect Georgia’: ‘Whatever was declared by Alasania before the diplomats isn’t new. Formation of paramilitary groups under the aegis of voluntary reserve has completed. Former members of ‘Mkhedrioni’ (paramilitary grouping of ‘90ies), former ‘Forest brothers’ and, it can be a pity but -former supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia participated in it. This process was headed by Bacho Akhalaia, Minister of Defense.

Q. – What are these formations doing today?

A. – For now they are locally moving from place to place, nothing else. The armed groups controlled by authorities are in every city and village. I welcome actualization of this issue thanks to Irakli Alasania; informing of diplomatic corps about it is very important. I agree with him that authorities will use these bands for provocations; I don’t exclude civil confrontation either.

Q. – How many people are there in these groupings?

A. – In some villages there are twenty, in others about forty (I don’t want people to think that they are walking armed in the streets.) For example, in Shamgona village there is an 80-men-strong group that is headed by Demiko Gabunia, a well- known criminal, once Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s supporter and then a Special Operations Department member. The group exists under the cover of voluntary reserve and is given an official form. Nobody can say that it’s a band formation; nobody can find weapons either.

Q. – Up till now Samegrelo was considered to be the region that supported Saakashvili. What caused the creation of paramilitary groups?

A. – Bidzina Ivanishvili’s appearance filled the population of Samegrelo with great hope. The authorities fear that concurrently with ‘Georgian Dream’ becoming active, the people’s mood may change, which will result in the decrease of the number of ‘National Movement’ supporters.

The groups called voluntary reserve have nothing to do with the protection of territories. Voluntary reserve was created to protect Saakashvili’s administration, not the territories.

Q. – Some people asked Alasania to give the names of group leaders in Samegrelo. Do you know their names?

A. – Alasania didn’t give a baseless information… I’ll name the names of the heads of paramilitary groupings: I’ve already named Demiko Gabunia; others are Vakho Zarandia, Anzor Chkheidze and Figaro Shonia.