12 September, 2013
Interview with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili

Today the most urgent topic is whether Ivanishvili leaves or stays in politics. We discussed this and other topical issues with expert Soso Tsiskarishvili.
S.T. – I’m sure as a prudent person Bidzina Ivanishvili will relieve us of agitation concerning the situation that will arise in politics after he quits. When he leaves politics, 2-3 months won’t be enough to gain the result he aimed at.
We, Georgians, are a strange people. I don’t want
to be understood as if I’m proving that Ivanishvili won’t quit politics till January 1, 2014. I only suppose and hope that this will happen. We can also discuss another version when Ivanishvili will resign from the PM’s post till January 1, 2014. This version is supported by declarations of Giorgi Margvelashvili, candidate for Presidency from the Georgian Dream.
Q. - Is Ivanishvili leaving in order to keep former authorities responsible?
A. – It’s possible that after Ivanishvili leaves politics the country may face the threat of chaos. But this isn’t a topic for fortune-telling. The only thing I can say is that everything depends on the mood of the Georgian Dream members.
But we have to find in ourselves the resource to participate in country building.
There indeed is a theoretical basis for agitation that after PM quits there will be chaos. But it’s clear too that Ivanishvili isn’t leaving Georgia and new PM will be a person associated with him. If we also suppose theoretically that Georgia may face chaos, the Georgian Dream will have leverage enough to announce the state of emergency. But I’m sure that by the time when Ivanishvili leaves there will actually be no force in Georgia that will need chaos for self-survival.
Q. – But there are intelligence services of neighboring countries…
A. – Intelligence services of neighboring countries won’t stop functioning regardless who will be PM or how many Ivanishvilis live in Georgia.
Q. – According to Ivanishvili, the prospect of Georgia’s membership of the Eurasian Union isn’t ruled out. This declaration caused agitation. The following day PM had to explain that the Western course is the cornerstone of Georgia’s foreign policy.
A. – I’m sure that the mentioned agitation wasn’t completely unplanned. I don’t exclude that this agitation was indeed planned by Russia. Russia displays great readiness to see Georgia in the Eurasian Union. By the way, on September 6 there was a TV bridge in ‘Ria Novosti’ office in which I also took part. The Russian side was presented by Academician Sergei Glazev, Vladimir Putin’s advisor on issues of integration with post-Soviet space, members of State Duma and representatives of Public Chamber. Russians were happy that Armenia became a member of customs union. But I told them that the information about the mood in Yerevan first becomes known in Georgia and then in Russia. While our interview was aired, there were actions underway in Yerevan against the customs union. Russians reprimanded us why Georgia should become a member of the Eurasian Union and drew an argument that allegedly it’s necessary for our country to use the ‘merits’ of the customs union. But we found out that the customs union was ruled by economic cooperation commission of the Eurasian Union that tells us a lot. By the way, the Putin’s advisor was proving that Georgia actually was already participating in the operation of the Eurasian Union because in trade relations with Kazakhstan or Belarus we use the system and tariffs of the very customs union. The next issue was whether Russia was a reliable partner in this customs union. My argument proved to be inconvenient for Russians. I told them that the Georgian Government gave its consent for the Russia’s WTO membership in exchange of the Russia’s obligation to inform Georgia about the turnover of goods at the Abkhazian and so-called South Ossetian sections of the Georgian-Russian border. Years passed since but Russia hasn’t fulfilled the promise.
Q. – We remember quite well the methods used by Russia in order to make us a CIS member. Is it possible that the same will happen? Will Kremlin not attempt to do something similar, so that we find ourselves in the Eurasian Union?
A. – It isn’t ruled out that Ivanishvili has the information that in the near or far future Russia may require from him to bring Georgia to the Eurasian Union. His decision to quit politics may be connected with this.
Q. – What levers do they have against Ivanishvili?
A. – It can be business, political levers, private relations, threat or blackmail. Information was spread in Georgia that acts of terror were being prepared against Ivanishvili. In the last count, some scoundrels may be found who dream about this. Thus don’t judge the person who has vast space to gather information. Once Ivanishvili told me that he had sources of independent information in many countries but he couldn’t find time in Georgia to observe means of information. Thus, you shouldn’t think that he has a lack of information from any country that is important for Georgia.
Q. – Why can’t Russia ask somebody else, say, the same Margvelashvili or “X” PM - whom Ivanishvili will leave as his “heir” - to join the Eurasian Union (in case he wins presidential elections) after Ivanishvili leaves?
A. – It is because Margvelashvili didn’t do his business in Russia or live there for years. Presumably, Russians think that it will be easier for them to speak about the Eurasian Union with Ivanishvili.
It’s inconvenient for Russia that Georgia hasn’t restored diplomatic relations with them. It’s a fact that the initiative to make the relations warmer came from Georgia. But due to known reasons diplomatic relations won’t be restored.
Q. – Last week Artur Bagdasarian, Secretary of Security Council of Armenia made a strange declaration that allegedly Georgian, Russian and Armenian sides agreed to open the Abkhaz railway…
A. – It’s a propagandist declaration designated for the internal Armenian use. Actions are held in Yerevan against the customs union. By raising the railway issue, they tried to soften their people’s hearts.

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