Oppositional Idea and New Presidential Initiative
28 October, 2010
Oppositional Idea and New Presidential Initiative

Interview with political expert Soso Tsiskarishvili

According to the research conducted by international organization ‘Reporters Without Borders’, Georgia holds 100th place in the international media freedom rating.


Oddly enough, just a week ago we were told at the meeting at the United Nations that information space in Georgia had drastically improved compared to previous years. It seems both we and our foreign well-wishers got accustomed to current situation when equal distribution of open air time for opposition and governmental representatives brings

nothing but satisfaction. On top of it, diplomats prefer easier the-glass-is-half-full stance at the expense of the more sober glass-is-half-empty one. This topic primes our interview with political expert Soso Tsiskarishvili:

Q: As a consequence, Georgia got an oblique 100th place in the world media rating. Yet, international organizations such as the UN and EU look upbeat, talking about improvement of the situation in Georgia.
A: These organizations have different pivots. ‘Reporters Without Borders’ depict the real picture, which shows stubbornness of Georgian Authorities in the sphere, which is called media freedom. When for years you are covering up the names of the owners of TV companies, it is politics. This is the politics which exactly is a subject of assessments by the ‘Reporters Without Borders’. However, they have a number of specific facts which prove that the population is turned into zombies and that journalists are still restricted.
Donors are accountable primarily to their own populations. When a long-lasting funding of democratic advancement in any country results in nothing, they have to start filtering information that goes to their potential electorate to sustain atmosphere of optimism and impression of unrelenting progress and ward off any chance of jeopardizing their affairs officially.

Q: As the opposition parties who initiated the popular representative council stated, they would not let the people who would attend the upcoming 25 November meeting of the council go home. Nor they will take these people to church. Instead they plan to finish the war on that day. Is a part of the opposition still trapped in the illusory notion of blitzkrieg?
A: I do not see maturity in the Georgian society to move towards a drastic change in the current situation. So, this sort of statements by Georgian politicians about unconditional and swift changes looks more like a wishful thinking than the reality check. The popular council is not a recipe for a quick job.

Q: During a preparatory meeting of the council Nino Burjanadze, former Speaker of the Parliament, mentioned dictatorial and tyrant rulers. However, nobody at the meeting recalled that once Burjanadze too was in the Presidential team and in her role of the Parliamentary Speaker at the time she had never noticed the rampant dictatorship and tyranny.
A: It is hard to have a critical approach to the relations of two former allies. I’d rather restrain myself from commenting because instituting mayhem is one thing and blaming somebody for something is the other one. I am not oriented at dissecting individual problems between politicians. I only listen to positions which are public and which I take note of.

Q: According to the recent survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 67% of the polled people support the course of Saakashvili and National Movement. Furthermore, the survey highlights two most popular opposition leaders: Christian-Democrat Giorgi Targamadze and former Governmental official Irakli Alasania.
A: First I’d notice untimely character of the survey because there is no expectation of regular elections in the country. If it is about internal party interests then normally the results should not have seen the daylight in the first place. If it is about disinformation of the public then it has a bad timing. If the ruling power is fearful of or even expecting extraordinary elections without us knowing about it, then it is a clear message to the public that results of such extraordinary elections would be identical to what the survey has shown.
Naturally, these survey results have no scientific value, or even a burden trust for that matter. To say the least, the Georgian President and the Tbilisi Mayor are counted as clients on the website of this polling organization. I am not sure if citizens of any country should feel proud about the fact that their president is somebody’s client. What is more, one is prompted to ask a few questions. Where did these “clients” get the money to pay for the polling services? How much did they cost them? How many months of salary did they have to shell out?

Q: The President has even come forward with a new initiative to impose sanctions regarding uncultivated lands. Would this move be fair?
A: When over 100 thousand ha – out of 800 thousand ha - of arable land of the country is not cultivated, it comes to the attention of the President on his 7the year of office! Market economy gives preference to encouragement, not to the penalizing practice. Let us slash by half the land tax to those owners who regularly cultivate their lands and double it to those who do not use them at all. For all purposes, the land tax is already too smaller than sums being collected into the budget from procedural settlements. The penalty-driven parole predominates only in a country where procedural settlements are more important than the land itself. Has anything been done to have these lands cultivated? Where are the election-day tractors disappearing? And generally, why our self-infatuated Authorities are shying away from identifying the agriculture as a priority sphere of the country? I have not seen a single manufacturing entity out of 100 promised during the elections. By the way, the same goes for the unmet promise of 100 hospitals. I see only glassy police buildings. The Authorities created self-manufactured problem, that is, they are not allowed to increase taxes by themselves. Instead, they vested the power with people by way of referendum.

Q: Last week Kokoiti, de facto leader of so called South Ossetia met with the residents of Vladikavkaz and gave a return call to the former residents of the Russian-occupied Akhalgori district. Does it mean upcoming troubles for the remaining Georgian population of Akhalgori district?
A: I feel pain in my heart at the impotence of Georgian Authorities feeling the need of more attention to the Akhalgori population. I mean both IDPs and those who remain there. A different, tailor-made policy is required so that they feel assured that they will remain rightful citizens of Georgia without any need to abandon their homes and the area as a whole. The Georgian spirit must be retained there. Politicians come and go but the lands that historically belong to us, should not be abandoned. Or else we won’t be able to justify ourselves in the eyes of our descendants.

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