Expert opinion
One more falsification – PM Appoints his own advisor
03 February, 2011

‘The new breath in the situation came from the American Ambassador’

TV project – “the President of Georgia answers people’s questions” – proved to be so significant an event last week that it overshadowed interest in the revolutionary uprisings in the North Africa and Near East. Another remarkable domestic event was appointment of tax Ombudsman for Georgian business. Can Giorgi Pertaia, former advisor of Georgian PM, really protect freedom of business when he himself is reported to be in shackles as

long as his salary comes from the state budget?
This and other issues were the subject of our dialogue with political expert Soso  Tsiskarishvili:
A: The form of this dialogue with people resembles the fruits of Putin’s imagination; it seems these two politicians have not succeeded in breaking the chain that ties them to each other. We did not find out whether the President was aware of 18 Georgian sailors who remain captives of Somali pirates. I think he intentionally harassed the veterans. He accused them of something which is beyond any moderation. This time again the public clearly saw who was behind violent crackdown of the veterans.
Q: They asked a question about the issue of rising prices and inflation. The President replied that we could not escape them. Was the answer acceptable?
A: I remember the time last year when President Saakashvili was sleekly asking his western colleagues how they delt with inflation in their countries, and boisterously offering the hand of help via his specialists who were successfully developing economy in Georgia. I rule out that social discontent is in the interests of the Authorities because the resistance of people would be dubbed as the Kremlin intervention into the Georgian reality; and they would name a person as a puppet of Moscow targeted to replace the current President.
Q: The last conclusion of Human Rights Watch on the quality of democracy, media freedom, attitudes to IDPs and penitentiary system is extremely critical. Will the criticism change the ways Authorities handle democracy?
A: Contrary to the previous years, so far I feel all the foreign diplomats are well aware of what is going on here. The new breath in the situation came from the American Ambassador. His predecessor was a Saakashvili’s apologist emphasizing that the main thing is to avoid uprising. This approach has changed now. Mrs Clinton looked profoundly informed about the state of the art in Georgia at the time of her visit to our country.
The fact that the beating of a woman by a policeman caused a very quick response from the American Ambassador in one hour from the incident is a result of a new approach to the events unfolding in Georgia. The poor pointer of our compass is expected to stick to both western and northern directions simultaneously, whooshing from Singapore to Tehran back and forth. Meanwhile, they offhandedly ejected from the not-for-sale list of state property the gas pipeline – one of our main peace guarantors - that still sustains our function on the European-Asian conjuncture. By doing so, they immediately ignited tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan because they both want to purchase the pipeline. Instead of pursuing policy of active neutrality in the region, we began to implant a strange policy of balancing up the sides. Sometimes we offer delight to Armenia and other times it is Azerbaijan to receive our cordial appeasement. Eventually we are likely to aggrieve both neighbors.
Q: The talks about the need to protect business resulted in the introduction of tax Ombudsman position. Will the novelty improve business environment in Georgia?
A: I have repeatedly expressed a wish of having the Business Ombudsman in Georgia. Though, it is a total falsification when the Prime Minister appoints his own advisor on this position. I do not think this will do any real favor to the interests of business. It resembles attempts of a handcuffed person to wave a hand. Did Giorgi Pertaia not advise to his former boss to behave himself? It’s a sad reality that neither the newly appointed person, nor the PM is capable of making difference and alleviating the situation. Protection of business does not mean examination of validity of tax payment requests.
Q: Will the cooperation with Bollywood help boost employment and do you share optimism of the Economy Minister on that? The Bollywood took along a Hindu investor on the current visit to Tbilisi. This investor bought four hospitals in Tbilisi.
A: The Minister made an odd statement. She said during the shooting of every film 1000 people would come out in Georgia. Shall we stage a Battle at Waterloo with real corpses scattered around in piles?! Those guys from Bollywood – they say they are going to shot a romance. So, why does she brandish so big numbers every other second? When a businessman buys a hospital with mere 300 thousand, the price of a five-room apartment in the central Tbilisi, the entire story turns dubious and we are prompted to ask questions. The project on 100 hospitals is the most serious proven case of crook business masterminded by Kakha Bendukidze, the former Economy Minister of Georgia.

‘The new breath in the situation
came from the American Ambassador’