LOBBYISTS’ WAR FOR GEORGIA
12 July, 2012
LOBBYISTS’ WAR FOR GEORGIA

Why didn’t Saakashvili have face-to-face meeting with State Minister?

Against the background of recent appointment/sacking process conducted by the authorities, UN General Assembly’s resolution on Georgia was left beyond public attention. With this issue we began our interview with Mamuka Areshidze, an expert of Caucasian issues:

 

Q. – At the UN General Assembly, Armenia didn’t support the resolution about Georgia, considering elaboration of schedule of refugees’ return and creation of living conditions for them. Why does Armenia always have such a position?

M.A.

– Armenia never supports such decisions at International Organizations because it has identical problem with Azerbaijan. In case they support a resolution about Georgia, Azerbaijan will put a question – if Georgian refugees must return to their places of former residence, why shouldn’t Azeri refugees do the same in Karabakh? Some countries, which have received remuneration for recognizing Abkhazia’s independence refused to join this resolution. Neither was the resolution signed by Serbia that is under Russia’s influence. Mostly the countries that have friendly/liaison relations with Russia refused to support the resolution. This is not ideological but financially and politically motivated refusal.

Q. – Keen debates were held on Georgia in European Parliament as well; there they discussed sanctions of the administration imposed on its main opponent Bidzina Ivanishvili. Behind the scenes these debates were even named as lobbyists’ war.

M.A. – It seems that lobbyists of both sides did a good job. 12 people took the floor on this issue in European Parliament. One part held neutral position, some supported ‘Georgian Dream’ and others – the authorities. I think neither of the sides should be content with the result. During the debates Bidzina Ivanishvili was called an ‘oligarch’ incorrectly and inappropriately. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s being a businessman or his profession is insignificant. The main thing is how a person can change existing situation in the country. My profession is that of a drama director, so does it mean that I have no right to be a political scientist or an expert in Caucasian issues?

Q. – Several days ago it was published on social network that in October the choice will be made between Russia and the West.

M.A. – I don’t agree with this assessment because not only Russia and the West are involved in the current Caucasian processes. Turkey, Iran and Israel are also participants of these political games. Their interest will of course influence the choice.

Q. – A lot is to be settled in the country, for instance relations between civil and spiritual powers. The information that Gigi Ugulava, Mayor of Tbilisi shouted at the Patriarch was disturbing for Georgian people.

M.A. – I’d like to be objective – it’s the authorities’ gravest offence with regard to the Church that is consolidator of Georgia and Georgian nation. Ugulava’s shouting is nothing compared with the deeds they commit to weaken the Church. The Church is attacked totally, from all directions and it’s a pity that some spiritual figures favor this.

Q. – How far can oppression of ‘Georgian Dream’ go?

M.A. – For 6 months I’ve been observing Bidzina Ivanishvili’s psycho-type and I’ve guessed how this person could gain this amount of money; he’s a good manager of handling crisis situation, he is much stronger at critical situations than in everyday life when nothing important is taking place. Arrest of accounts and selling of the bank is no tragedy for him. The tougher the situation, the more skillfully he manages it.

Q. – As it was said, Saakashvili began cadre reshuffling  as a result of  considering Ivanishvili’s factor.

M.A. – Appointing of Merabishvili as the Prime Minister isn’t a usual event. I think this wouldn’t happen without involvement of a third party and this party is Russia. I’m not saying that Vano Merabishvili is Russia’s agent but his appointment is a message meant for Russia. If Saakashvili wouldn’t increase Vano’s rights, I’d think that he didn’t trust him and he’d remove him from the Interior Ministry. This means that Vano Merabishvili will have to hold the elections and he’ll also be responsible for the results. Mikheil Saakashvili is putting Vano in this situation – you have to win the elections, your fate depends on this.

Q. – Rumors have it that Saakashvili expected Hillary Clinton’s guarantees but didn’t get them.

M.A. – The Administration is trying to get maximum guarantees from their friends and former partners who are considered to be players in the Caucasian space. It was planned that Clinton would first meet with Saakashvili together with the group and then – face to face; but after meeting together with the group, the State Minister didn’t have face-on-face meeting with him; so angry President rushed out somewhere and then came to the press conference. For me it was a sign that he didn’t get from Clinton the type of message he expected.

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