Georgia in Foreign Press
21 March, 2013
Georgia in Foreign Press
‘Bidzina Ivanishvili – Popular only at home’ is the heading of an article in The Economist that drew attention of Georgian media and was briefly discussed in various TV shows locally. I would like to talk about some of the most interesting issues that are highlighted in the article.
The piece begins with the discussion weather Bidzina Ivanishvili is having problems with his government’s international public relations or not. According to the author, the international press tends to portray Mr.
Ivanishvili as a person who does not understand democracy and just wants to crush his opponents although the commanding majority in the parliament suggests that his position is secure at home. The cohabitation (the term dropped in Georgia by a European politician – we would rather use the word ‘co-existence’ instead) between the two parties is not effective and Georgia’s image abroad is suffering. Mikheil Saakashvili is quick to criticize the new government in front of foreigners. The last time when he made some vague statements about Azerbaijan, Mr. Ivanishvili had to issue a public statement, apologizing to Georgia’s allies for Saakashvili’s behavior.
The author talks about the complicated process where both sides fail to evaluate the situation objectively and to act shrewdly. The United National Movement makes inappropriate announcements, whereas Georgian Dream Coalition tends to disregard the UNM’s achievements. They are trying to properly handle the Rose Revolution’s dark side, which is impossible without those institutions left by the UNM. However, non-governmental organizations keep making statements about greater openness from government institutions. Furthermore, the reforms concerning the reduction of excessive power of the Interior ministry and the start of dialogue with Russia seem to be good turn of the events. The author claims that the diverse views within the coalition indicate to a greater degree of political pluralism than the UNM-led government allowed.
I would like to add that every week there are new issues discussed by Georgian public. The main stream of criticism is directed to the topics related to Russia. Georgians also keep an eye on the government, criticizing their every step, which leaves me with a feeling that people fear to get into the same river twice. Trying to reduce the risks of getting duped by glib politicians, they consider any possible information to get the wholesome picture of the developments. Therefore, the society pays attention to the comments made by foreigners, taking into consideration the ideas expressed by Georgian intellectuals and brief evaluations of the events from opinion moulders.
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