24 November, 2011


Interview with Kote Zhgenti, political scientist

European Parliament adopted a resolution on Georgia in which, besides other issues conflict regions are also mentioned – Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized as occupied territories. As it often happens, the authorities declared this as one more victory of Georgian diplomacy and beginning of another end of Russian occupation.


But the opposition speaks about other issues stated in the resolution. We discussed important problems of previous week with Kote Zhgenti, a political scientist:

K. Zh. –

The resolution is really important – in earlier documents Abkhazia and South Ossetia – Tskhinvali Region weren’t mentioned as occupied territories. It means that European Union recognizes the said Georgian territories as occupied. There are other important moments in the document – appeal to Russia to fully fulfill the 6-point agreement; that refugees have to return to their places of inhabitance and their rights must be observed, etc. All this is good but at the same time, in the same document it is said that we must start normalization of relations with Russia and that dialog is necessary. I think there is one more very important phrase in this document – in case direct dialog between the sides doesn’t take place, the EU takes responsibility to play the role of mediator but this mustn’t be substitution of Geneva format.

Q. – For now Georgian government sees no prospect for regulation of Russian-Georgian relations…

K. Zh. – This one, as well as all other international documents, are seen by our authorities as their own victory. They notice only whatever they like in it; all the rest isn’t even mentioned; in the meanwhile the document contains the issues such as development of democracy, system of justice, media freedom, etc. The authorities haven’t even mentioned or published anything about it. We’ve already got accustomed with such double standards of our authorities…

Q. – At the beginning there was an initiative to include in the resolution the issue of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili being deprived of citizenship but it wasn’t reflected in the text approved later…

K. Zh. – In the resolution there is an appeal calling on Georgian authorities to create circumstances that will enable the opposition to compete in equal conditions. The sentence that concerned Ivanishvili and in which even his name was indicated – unproportional use of force with regard to an opponent – was initially proposed by Austrian Social-Democrats. There was a general mention of pressure exerted on political opponents. The lobbyists hired by Georgian authorities work in USA as well as in Europe. They are everywhere and it’s clear that they were actively involved in blocking this proposition. Declaration of some representatives of our authorities regarding Russia’s alleged lobbying doesn’t correspond to the truth – the MP representing Austrian Social-Democratic party in European Parliament is in no way connected with Russia. He has never been identified as having connections with Russia. Thus, it’s an accusation made up out of whole cloth. I don’t know for sure but allegedly the author of this accusation was held to answer and requested to reject it.

Q. – Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia went to Moscow on a special visit. What results can it yield?

K. Zh. – It’s well known in conflictology that without a contact with the other side there is no likelihood or prospect of settling the differences. If this isn’t feasible on a political level, the existing threads and connections between people or churches should not be disrupted.

Q. – Giorgi Kadagidze who was invited at a Parliamentary faction meeting accused the ‘Kartu Bank’ in politicizing of the situation. ‘The aim of the National Bank is to mark off ‘Kartu Bank’ from political processes. If you can’t do it, the National Bank will see to it,’ he said. How legitimate are the NBG’s claims and the fact that the commission inspecting the ‘Kartu Bank’ demanded full list of depositors and those deposits that were opened in support of the bank?

K. Zh. – There is no politicizing on the part of the ‘Kartu Bank’. The first thing to be considered is that it’s a private bank, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s property. And he declared about his coming to politics only one-and-a-half months ago. In no country happens it so that a person, who owns some property, wants everything or refuses to use his assets after his coming to politics.

For instance, Berlusconi owned several banks and three TV channels but this didn’t create any hindrances for him to become the Prime Minister of Italy. Nobody ordered him to reject his property. What’s more, Berlusconi, unlike Ivanishvili, already was the PM and if anybody, it was him who should have been requested to do so. In what way is it revealed that ‘Kartu’ is politicized? I completely agree with Mr. Nodar Javakhishvili (head of the ‘Kartu Bank’) who declared at the faction meeting that it was ‘Kartu’ that had to claim that the issue was being politicized on the part of the NBG. I think this is the case. Pressure on ‘Kartu Bank’ started after Ivanishvili made political declarations.

Q. – Last week tempers were worked up in ‘big politics’ as well – while commenting on Condoleezza Rice’s memoires in one of the Western publications it was noted that Saakashvili was accused of starting war with Russia. Later Mrs. Rice herself criticized the publication declaring that her words were misinterpreted…

K. Zh. – It really was a misinterpretation and what’s more, from different sides. Whatever was said by Condoleezza Rice is written and an interested party can view it in internet. Rice didn’t say that Georgia started the war. It’s written there that Saakashvili and his Government enabled Russia to drag Georgia into provocation and this is true. The Western press wrote about this war: ‘Saakashvili and his Government ‘jumped’ into the trap’ (it’s a direct translation) and actually this was the case. I completely agree with this point of view –Georgian Government followed the provocation staged by Russia and jumped into the trap. That’s what was said by Condoleezza Rice.


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