Is OSCE a functional organization?
09 December, 2010
Is OSCE a functional organization?

After his impressive address to the European MPs, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to transfer positive emotions to Georgia. So he publicly declared: “We should not scare entrepreneurs and penalize them severely; Georgia builds on small and medium enterprises; they and the revenue services should go hand in hand.” Yet, it is interesting where do the revenue service officers take entrepreneurs’ hands in their hand?
As for the WikiLeaks scandal, last week it was certainly a big event for the entire

world. It touched Georgia also. The WikiLeaks author is being sought for two rape cases. Most probably it would not take long to arrest him, if we consider those who are looking for him.
We talked with expert Gia Khukhashvili on this and other issues.
Q: Do you think the situation worsened to such an extent that even Saakashvili now feels the urgency to woo businesses? Or is it a sign of the new step forward in state development?
A: We have heard many such statements. In reality, the Authorities are engaged more in the intensive elaboration and use of oppression tools than in the establishment of partnerships. What we have on the ground is a nomenclature capitalistic fabric, where nomenclature not only directs business but also runs a rather strict and rigid authoritarian machine which business is to endure at all times. I doubt liberal approaches would prevail in this matter because it’s a long time since the Authorities prefer eggs over chickens. Accordingly, administration is likely to worsen further, instead of following brighter alleys.
Q: Confrontations are on the rise around the Ministry of Education and Science. Just recall the infamous dismissal of school directors…
A: Ideological pressure of the Authorities is mostly directed at students and school children with an aim to form a new type of Georgian. This ideological pressure requires accentuation of ideological work at the expense of educational efforts.
Accordingly, we have been witnessing imposition of commissars in schools, rather than pedagogues. With his sentiments, behavior and priorities, Shashkin resembles a People’s Education Commissar. He has no faculty of the 21st century education minister to aspire for meaningful reforms in the education system and stay clear of excessive preoccupation with discipline. So, transformation of yesterday’s school security attendants into today’s directors comes as no accident. It is also a part of the ideology in the making.
All these are done in a way that more or less matches methods used by the Soviets in their heyday. The only thing is that today everything is subject to tightening of belts, so that while the Soviets needed the entire system of Partkom, Komsomol and the likes to have the job done, the current rulers ardently squeeze everything down to one man’s affair. But do not necessarily think of security attendants as the names can be elusive. Allow for other alternative names, say, this can be a Commissar, or one-man Partkom, or director or even a dreadful but unnamed intelligence officer.
Whoever is there, he or she will be supposed to sow ideological seeds to help change consciousness, or rather foster mental mutations. I think this project will fail. Yet, they go to all lengths to advance their agenda. School #173 is a shining symptomatic case. There was this bulging thirst for freedom which went over the top to our surprise and delight, creating a serious predicament for the education Commissar who was dearly but unsuccessfully trying to hook the restive youth down to a dialogue regime. His categorical tone of the million budget tirades aired in front of the children was excruciatingly dampening.
Normally, these sorts of questions are discussed in different places and situations. The form itself can be already unacceptable. Even more, it is frustrating that such a conflict happens at all between the Ministry of Education and Science and the children. On the other hand, we should welcome existence of free thought and protest in youth as such. This means that after all the Georgian society still nourishes a potential to continue fight for ideals, the potential which even current Authorities once had before their dawn in the Government.
Q: A little time ago the Authorities themselves started to talk about introduction of transparency in media space. Namely, offshore companies will be prohibited from owning media outlets in Georgia. Earlier the final version of the draft law envisaged an allowance for such companies if they owned less then 10% of stakes. However, it seems the activism of the media expert group proved to be worthwhile as this allowance vanished from the final version.
A: I would like to congratulate our friends on the fruitfulness of their fight, even if the fruits are minor. Indeed, it’s not enough. The Authorities said they did not understand arguments of opponents criticizing the 10% allowance disregarding the prospect of an open gap through which investments of uncertain origin could have flooded the TV space. Sometimes certain persons appear in the limelight out of the blue, whose previous businesses and properties we never have heard of in the first place. But this conspicuousness does not prevent them from investing millions in TV channels. Where do these millions come from? This issue must also be raised because sources of the “dirty” money could be not only the offshore zones but mere suitcases flying over the borders and posing no less threat to transparency of media ownership.
Q: Health of media space is directly related to state security as confirmed by the recent WikiLeaks scandal. By the way, on the one hand, it is called a diplomacy 9/11, on the other hand others like publication of diplomatic correspondence and call it transparency.
A: So far, we are not able to properly size up the scales of all these. The scandal is likely to cause fatal and serious reverberations in bilateral or multilateral relations. American diplomats will have to try hard to stay genuine to their foreign colleagues. Perhaps, American foreign policy may find itself in a kind of temporary isolation even.
Q: Do you think WikiLeaks is a brainchild of one or two men or there is much more sinister cloud behind it?
A: I believe Russian intelligence services are behind it. It was not an accident that the material was published just in the eve of the OSCE Summit. Start and maintenance of this sort of operation are in the capacity of few national spy agencies in the world. Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union and subsequent crisis, the Russian Intelligence managed to revive all the three components it used to have originally. Despite the skepticism some people in Georgia may feel, the Russian Intelligence does possess strong intellectual capacity for such an operation. Plus they have old traditions, theoretical technologies and most importantly finances.
Gigantic Russian economy is effectively controlled by the intelligence services feeding them with astronomical volumes of money. Right now Russia is making first steps on its way to the realization of their Veliko-Derzhavniy mission. On the one hand, it’s a response to infamous spy scandals when a dozen of agents were caught in the United States; on the other hand, we are dealing with very long-term plans.
Q: The WikiLeaks scandal probably did affect the OSCE Summit. Is OSCE a functional organization if we judge by the Astana Summit as an example? The caprice of one, if big, country spoiled the adoption of the whole formal document, so that the participants had to do only with a trifle memorial declaration.
A: This organization was effective in the conservation of conflicts. By the way, this is also one of those critically needed jobs. Some times objective circumstances dictate conservation of a certain conflict to avoid its turning into a volcano. This topic is so complex and multi-faceted that OSCE would hardly be able to solve it alone. Yet, I would not be too much skeptical, despite the above said reasons.
Obviously, WikiLeaks greatly contributed to the strained atmosphere in Astana. State Secretary of the United States is having a hard time, especially due to one specific document where she practically ordered American diplomats stationed in the UN to collect private information about their foreign counterparts. So, it came as a no surprise that the Summit rode on rather rabid waves.

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