GEORGIAN PERIODICALS IN CIVIL WAR MODE
16 August, 2012
GEORGIAN PERIODICALS IN CIVIL WAR MODE

Interview with Mamuka Areshidze, political scientist

 

Everybody and everything in Georgia are in possession of pre-election fever. The authorities being under time pressure because of Ivanishvili’s unexpected appearance in politics can’t cope with issuing fines or other sanctions. It seems they hope in Saakashvili’s team that victors are not judged… We are talking about the peripety in Georgian politics with political scientist Mamuka Areshidze.

Q. – Bidzina Ivanishvili was imposed to pay one more fine, this time GEL 20 million, only for

not returning the money on his account as required by the audit service. Is there anybody inside or outside of the country to speak out?

M.A. – The authorities have picked up time – August as a rule is politically passive month; besides – international point of view isn’t clearly defined. But in this case, to put it mildly, neutral position of our foreign partners is incorrect because all this is infringement and crushing of elementary civil rights.

The authorities held the initiative, wrapped their moves in democratic cover and managed to retain the hue of attractiveness in foreign partners’ eyes for whom, in most cases, closing of eyes was preferable. This way Georgia too retained its democratic image. Today the situation is changed; the authorities have lost initiative and this time it’s in the hands of rivals, i.e. the opposition.

The authorities don’t think about the results any more. Earlier Giga Bokeria, Secretary of Security Council even said that they wouldn’t retreat before anything, be it even isolation. As it seems the time has come for acting according to this principle and international point of view has become of secondary value. They seem to think that when they win and finalize everything the well-known principle according to which the victors are not judged will come into effect.

Q. – In the regions of Georgia the journalists are again followed by people with microphones and cameras in their hands trying not to let them work. Even Security Council of Georgia reciprocated to this fact. Do you think a person should be punished for such actions?

M.A. – The people are so much politicized and the whole country has become so ugly in this respect that the journalists are in the mode of civil war with regard to one another. They still meet each other in the places of mass gathering and try not to talk about politics. I’m looking forward to the unfortunate day when the journalists will physically confront each other. It will be a prelude to serious civil confrontation. Do you know why I’m saying all this? Today such a situation is created in Georgia, everything is so much mixed and Georgian journalism is in such a dire situation that I can’t say what a normal journalism is, what obstruction to journalists’ work is and what - not. I’d like to underline one important factor – unfortunately there is a serious deficit of morale in the country and people; amoral individual and amoral people can’t build up a morale state.

The authorities are doing their best to increase the deficit of morale and it will have very negative effect on the coming generation.

Q. – The TV Companies 9th Channel and ‘Imedi’ have aired two, absolutely identical information: ‘Russia got involved in military activities on August 8 and legally brought in the military divisions and heavy armament on Ossetian territory’. It’s well known that the former TV Company is sharply critical to the powers while the latter – loyal. Despite this, as it turned out, journalists of both Companies aired identical texts spread by GHN Information Agency without checking it.

M.A. – In one of the translations inverted comas were removed from the word ‘legal’ and for some reason this text was spread and everybody – not only ‘Imedi’ and Channel 9- repeated it. Besides, it was incorrectly translated first form English and then – from Russian. This casus was used by the authorities for political reprisal.

Q. – Putin’s declaration about getting ready for the war was assessed as another victory of Georgia. Do you think it was confession on part of Russia’s President?

M.A. – Has anybody seen a KGB Colonel ever unintentionally utter something, when even drunk? OK, he confessed in Russia’s aggression and we all were glad. It can be interpreted in this way – Russia started the war but what do I need this interpretation for? I’ve seen with my own eyes how Russia was beginning the war in March of 2008; there’s even more – in July of 2008 while being interviewed by your newspaper, I analyzed and prognosticated possible development of events and recounted the actions that Russia actually realized later in August.

Medvedev’s uncalculated moves made Putin PR himself because all these were preceded by Chief of Joint Military Stuff  Baluyevski’s declaration that Medvedev had nothing to do with it and if Putin hadn’t given the assignment, outcome of the war would be different.

This was followed by the reaction of Medvedev who arrived in Tskhinvali on the August war anniversary as the saver of South Ossetia. It was under this context when Putin made a statement that he himself was the savor and generally mastermind everything and nobody gave Medvedev a cuss. Thus, this kind of explanation can also be given to Putin’s declaration. In general I’d like to say that Georgian authorities’ rhetoric that followed Putin’s declaration was calculated on simpletons, uninformed people.

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