“I Love OSCE for Breaking Silence”
06 September, 2012

 

Interview with Levan Berdzenishvili, one of the leaders of Georgian Dream

In a letter addressed to the democratic world, the leader of Georgian Dream vowed for its coalition to subscribe to any result of upcoming elections if six conditions warranting fair elections are met. “The Georgian parliamentary elections to be held on 1 October will decide the fate of the country. Ultimately, you will have a crucial say to either enable the u-turn of the country towards democratic development or face further

fight with authoritarianism and post-communism,” – Bidzina Ivanishvili says in his appeal. We interviewed Levan Berdzenishvili, member of the Georgian Dream coalition:

 

 

A: Having the recent statement by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in mind, I believe a conclusion by OSCE and other organizations is likely to be more objective than the similar one in 2008. Although Gia Nodia and Saakashvili hope that we would be hilarious for having 20-25%, we plan to get over 50%. Bank accounts of six parties are frozen but this does not stop them to reactivate them any moment we place money there. I love OSCE for breaking silence about illegal deeds of Control Chamber. They are unhinging me. Today I submitted a report on behalf of Republican Institute. It has no penny but keeps preparing 25-page reports for me twice a month. There are zeros everywhere, nothing else. I sign and stamp the reports of zeros. Meanwhile, Control Chamber turns a blind eye on the fact that the banner of National Movement plainly tries to bribe constituency by advertising vouchers worth 1000 Lari.

Q: After Ivanishvili challenged Saakashvili to participate in public debates, National Movement suggested Merabishvili instead. Why has Ivanishvili refused to hold debates with Merabishvili?

A: Because the leader of the coalition is challenging his par - the leader of National Movement. Saakashvili is an experienced political figure; he started as an MP way back in 1995. In contrast, Bidzina Ivanishvili is a newcomer to politics. When a newcomer invites an experience politician to the debates, the latter is supposed to seize the opportunity. If Saakashvili tries to find an excuse by saying that he cannot accept the invitation because he is a President, then he ought to stop traversing around the country to and fro, claiming that he is not a President but a Chair of National Movement. When he meets people in villages, he presents himself as the Chairman of National Movement and calls the locals to vote for his party. So, we expect explanation on our question whether Saakashvili would sit down in front of Bidzina Ivanishvili for public debates.

Q: President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly says that he can discern signs of Leninism in the pre-election campaign.

A: In 2006 Republican Party tabled a document entitled From Rose Revolution to Neo-Bolshevism. I took it with me to the European Council where I was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly at the time and handed it to Matthias Iorsh, Chair of our fraction there. On noticing the word Neo-Bolshevizm, he raised eyebrows and said that the term was too far-fetched. Now it’s not just an observer group of European Council Parliamentary Assembly who calls us Bolsheviks and Leninists. No one else but President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, an even more reliable authority in terms of objectivity, made such critical statements regarding the Authorities.

Q: Chiora Taktakishvili stated that it was said about Georgian Dream.

A: The terms - Leninism and Totalitarianism - apply to those who are in power. You cannot call Lenin them if they have no power to rule. Leninism means the way Lenin ruled the country. That’s why Minister of Culture Nika Rurua unwittingly blurted that the observers were bribed. If we are capable of bribing the President of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly then the elections must be a piece of cake for us. In that case, it is really odd why we bought this man if he was going to call Bidzina a Leninist and Misha a dissident, oppressed, imprisoned, stripped of money and endowed with arrested bank accounts thanks to the Control Chamber. When you appoint as a Minister of Culture a murderer and bandit whose criminal past is beyond doubt,  you ought to expect that he may say something stupid any time. Mr Rurua, the translator of Havel, wears spectacles in his vein attempt to pass off as an intelligent man who is not known for rampant banditry. And this guy dares to assess words of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly! Nika Rurua is the sneakiest person. He would plan 6-7 step murders and has achieved such a mastery in grabbing other people’s properties that no one would believe that an ordinary journalist duped this super-experienced man.

Saakashvili ends his Presidential term in 2013. If we chose his party, it would usher backwardness. After the double Presidential term,  you must go. He’s a young, pitiful man. But don’t we too deserve pitying? He came to rule the country as a young man firing all old people, policemen and teachers above 40. Now he says he would stick to power by all means and would shoot at us if we are to prevail in the election.

Q: President says it is Georgian Dream which is actually preparing itself for it. President readies for the kind of victory that would discourage it “to use its dirty hands”.

A: No one else but the State owns weapons. We have no weapons. We have even no money on our bank accounts. We are doing everything with bare hands. But truth is on our side. These words by Saakashvili speak of his intention to win with a huge gap. He ordered local authorities and CEC to concoct 80% for him. This time the guy wants to attain unattainable, i.e. he wants the constitutional majority. In his place any sensible man would dream of something like 51% only. Neither CEC, nor local Authorities can deliver 80%. It’s not easy to grab thousands of votes. We are preparing for the 1st of October, not the 2nd of October.

Q: Ivanishvili mentioned adventurism when talking about the special operation in the Lopota gorge. What do you make of it?

A: First of all, I wonder how have at least 17 heavily armed men managed to cross the border of Georgia? What those people who are entrusted with fending off such groups are doing? Who were they? Maybe they were Daghestani guerillas, terrorists but nobody has identified the group. When people die, the President is supposed to show pity and assume his part of responsibility for the deaths because he failed to protect those killed. In contrast, this guy swings his fists and tries to prove that everyone is protected. If everyone is protected, why 3 of our guys got killed? Why has it happened in the area which they have been claiming to be calmest and most protected? Now it transpires that Georgia is completely unprepared for the fight against terrorism. It turns out that we are capable of only chasing the enemies. They claimed they surrounded the intruders yet six men escaped…

Q: Lastly, I’d like you to comment on six demands of Ivanishvili. It seems if they are not met, you would not recognize the upcoming election results. What would be your next steps?

A: This appeal is expected to have the Authorities come to their senses and make allowances. We will take part in the elections without fail and protect all the votes with legal means. We are telling the West that they’d better stand by our side now so that we are spared much more work to protect our votes later. This appeal does not amount to boycotting. I do not rule out that the Authorities would agree to negotiate on some, if not all, of the demands. Should Saakashvili choose to be non-responsive, the appeal is aimed to influence Western partners at least.

 

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