Expert opinion
28 November, 2013
Interview with expert Kakhi Kakhishvili

We hope Bidzina Ivanishvili will stay neutral to the end and in case of reasoned criticism of authorities he will side with civil society. By the way, Ivanishvili kept one more promise and, on leaving, nominated Davit Narmania as the candidate for the Tbilisi Mayor’s post. We began the interview with expert Kakhi Kakhishvili with this issue.
K.K. – I think the main criterion for nominating Narmania is that he has no political ambition and
Tbilisi Mayor (certainly, if he is elected) will be tied to “Georgian Dream.”
It’s interesting whether he leaves the ministry after he is nominated as a candidate for the Mayor’s post. If he doesn’t, then he’ll run the pre-election campaign as the head of infrastructure department and this will create an unequal environment.
Q. – In Vilnius, the Georgian delegation will initial the association agreement with the European Union. But Ukraine has officially declared its refusal.
A. – The Ukraine’s refusal will be a serious signal for EU countries to support the partners, deepen relations with the countries that are on their way to EU and at the same time render effective assistance. The assertion by Victor Yanukovich, President of Ukraine that this decision was made under Russia’s pressure and blackmail was a rather calculated move to gain sympathy of the population. Of course, I don’t rule out that when time comes for Georgia to sign the above mentioned agreement Russia will increase its pressure. In such a case we will need the right, balanced policy as never before.
Q. – By the way, in his open letter titled “P.S.” Bidzina Ivanishvili notes that one of his main values is striving for Euro-Atlantic space.
A. – Having read Ivanishvili’s letter, I recalled the famous expression VENI, VIDI, VICI. Indeed, Ivanishvili came to politics, defeated National Movement, then went and left us the government. Ivanishvili ought to keep contact with people and avoid receiving information only from those whom he brought to power.
In case the President and Government put the country on a wrong domestic and foreign track, Ivanishvili’s criticism may have grave consequences for them.
Q. – Is it possible for the events to develop in such a way that the authorities don’t accept the Ivanishvili’s advice?
A. – I don’t think so. Ivanishvili will never lose his influence and authority.
Q. – In the Parliament, Irakli Gharibashvili made an interesting declaration. He said that investigation of facts of elite corruption will start. Which past or present high-ranking officials should feel concerned?
A. – Better late than never. It’s important that all the cases are presented to a court in such a way that after ruling all the questions of both international community and people are answered.
Q. – Leaders of National Movement declare that they are expecting new wave of arrests.
A. – The National’s declaration may have a concrete basis. They see that leadership of Prosecutor’s Office has changed, liberal Chief Prosecutor was substituted by tough Otar Partskhaladze. He is the man who during the Rasmussen’s visit (although for quite unclear reasons but still) dared to arrest about 20 employees of the Mayor’s Office and then declared that they were taken just for a ride.
Q. – Gharibashvili made another interesting declaration that we’ll learn how people kept disappearing without a trace.
A. – Yes, it’s right. Many people say that their family members were taken by Department of Constitutional Security employees and since then these people disappeared. Gharibashvili was Interior Minister for one year and he must have information about such cases. Presumably investigation is on and in near future we’ll learn about many interesting cases.
Q. – On the post of Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Lasha Natsvlishvili was substituted by Irakli Shotadze.
A. – Presumably the new Chief Prosecutor decided to continue working with those people who were beside him for 8-9 years.
Q. – One more interesting staff change – Gharibashvili assigned his former deputy Aleksi Batiashvili as an Irakli Alasania’s deputy.
A. – Ministry of Defense is a power ministry and Alasania is a leader of a coalition-member party. The team is united but one shouldn’t rule out that as time passes somebody may wish to get involved in political processes. Consequently, Gharibashvili needs an authorized representative in the Defense Ministry. Let’s say it directly – Batiashvili was assigned as an Alasania’s deputy for control purposes.