03 May, 2012

Interview with Khatuna Lagazidze, political scientist

After MP Jondi Bagaturia, from the Parliamentary rostrum put under doubt the correctness of recognition of Circassian genocide and spoke about the genocide of Armenians, Azeri Suleimanov, a majority MP from Marneuli called Jondi Bagaturia an Armenian and ‘Bagaturian’ and threw a Vaseline tube at him. We are discussing last week’s important events with political scientist Khatuna Lagazidze.


Q. – ‘The time when you leave the Parliament, will come sooner; I’m planning to stay here a

bit longer’- said Vano Merabishvili, Interior Minister to Jondi Bagaturia during his speech in the Parliament. The Minister also noted that the rating of ‘United National Movement’ is lower than that of patrol police.

K.L. – At the first stage of ‘National Movement’s’ coming to power, high rating of police didn’t cause doubt in many people because one of the first successfully carried out and easily noticed reforms was connected with the police. PR favored this too. But since infamous, regrettable events were connected with police we can speak about decrease of their trust and rating. Unfortunately I don’t have accurate, objective data to say what is the percentage of positively-disposed-to-police people today but I suppose the trust must be considerably lessened; still I repeat that everything is relative and it’s obvious that the trust will be much higher than that of Shevardnadze-time police.

Q. – The Americans, actually, by their frequent declarations point to the authorities that elections must be free, objective, oriented on real results and they should reflect the people’s attitude, otherwise our authorities’ relations with America will be put under question mark. Conversely, the same cannot be said with regard to European Union.

K.L. – Dimitrov’s latest declarations speak about it too. Besides, on the part of EU and UN missions actual handing over of media monitoring to NGOs supporting the authorities is a bifurcated policy and is very interesting because if we compare this to 2003 events, at that time Europe and America sang in unison i.e. the West had unified position but today the situation is rather motley. The reason might be the fact that Ivanishvili’s lobbyist policy is directed to America and Europe was somehow left without attention but the current status quo witnesses that, on the one hand Ivanishvili has to carry out substantial work and on the other - unified attitude of the West toward Georgian authorities as a final verdict has not been announced yet.

Q. – ‘Alasania’s statement became the basis for declaring the Head of EU Mission in Abkhazia a persona non grata’. ‘I think each declaration must be well-weighed so that our common cause doesn’t suffer’, said the Minister. By the way, Merabishvili isn’t the only person among the authorities who voices such accusations. What’s your position about this episode?

K.L. – Alasania made a preventive declaration with regard to those processes that could follow full-fledged activation of the so-called reserve, especially in the places adjoining the conflict region. It was a quite healthy attitude of a politician and former Deputy Minister of Security. It should also be noted that due to his professional habits he didn’t make the concrete information public but passed it to Security Council.

Q. – Saakashvili answered President Medvedev’s declaration in which he mentioned President of Georgia as an ‘empty place’. According to the President, he is ready to resign in case the Kremlin promises to leave the occupied territories.  At the same time he promised the Russian President and Prime Minister to send them those ‘parts’ of his body that caused utmost interest of the Russian authorities.

K.L. – Generally, the topic whether we are adequate with regard to relations with Russia is quite interesting because last week something very interesting, connected with Georgia, happened. It was the agreement of ‘Rosneft’ and American ‘Exxon Mobil’ to explore the Black Sea reserves. ‘Rosneft’ has analogical agreement with an Italian company, i.e. actually a mutual Russian-American-Italian very global project. Besides, according to some information, Russia began preparatory works on Abkhazian shelf in 2010. Interesting in this agreement is that (at least in the part that has become public) nothing is said about Georgia’s participation or interests.

As for Saakashvili’s declaration, I have an impression that we still remain in the past when Russia and Georgia were sworn enemies. Our declared foreign policy goes beyond current geopolitical situation. A question is raised naturally – in this case, when the relations of Russia, America and Europe are transferred to a quite new context, what part of an agreement is our country? Why can’t Georgia abandon the existential role of chained Amirani fighting with Russia? On the one hand this role is becoming even more tragic-comic, but on the other hand it’s more important that geopolitical redistribution of the world is being carried out without asking Georgia’s will. It remains a question whether Georgian authorities have realized this or it’s imposed on them.

Q. – Political coalition ‘Georgian Dream’ is starting the election campaign and on 26-27 May will hold a crowded action. Has time come for the ‘Georgian Dream’ to show its force to the authorities or it’s important for supporters of the coalition as well?

K.L. – Up till today, Ivanishvili’s tactics was unusual and academic for Georgian reality. It seems that time has come for additional public activity in order to on the one hand make psychological pressure on authorities aiming at their demoralization and on the other – to bring hope to people.

Q. – At the Parliamentary session Azeri Suleimanov, majority MP from Marneuli called Jondi Bagaturia an Armenian and ‘Bagaturian’. Confrontation in the Parliament assembly hall started after Jondi Bagaturia reproached Georgian authorities for recognizing Chircassian genocide and inquired what would they tell the representatives of Armenian Diaspora requesting recognition of genocide of Armenians in Turkey. Up till now, Georgia was considered a neutral party in Armenian-Azeri conflict. Is the threat of moving of this confrontation on Georgian territory real?

K.L. – I exclude inspiration of these events from Armenia or Azerbaijan because otherwise we’ll get an All-Caucasian war and this suits nobody. I don’t want to believe either, that these events are inspired by internal Georgian forces and somebody is trying to manipulate with such dangerous issues before the elections. As for Russia, from geopolitical standpoint, destabilization in Caucasus doesn’t suit it either, because considering all mentioned above, globally, everything is redistributed and divided and its implementation requires stable environment rather than chaos and disorder.

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