30 May, 2013
Interview with Mamuka Areshidze, an expert

Ex-premier Vano Merabishvili is in prison. Expert Mamuka Areshidze thinks it’s an absurd that general secretary of the ‘National Movement’ was allegedly arrested to overlap the May 17 events.
M.A. – To say the truth, at this stage I didn’t expect Merabishvili’s arrest. He is general secretary of ‘National Movement’ still having lots of supporters in the West. I thought the Georgian authorities would shun this but as it seems the new powers presented
sufficient arguments to the West and Merabishvili’s arrest was not followed by much ado.
Q. – But nevertheless everybody reciprocated this issue – from USA to OSCE. Do you consider this as not much ado?
A. – Unless the new authorities presented serious arguments to the West reciprocation would be much more acute and noisy. Something else amazed me – detention of ‘National Movement’s’ general secretary was most actively responded by Armenia and Azerbaijan. But later Merabishvili’s deep contacts with these countries became known to me. It’s not excluded that there were some business schemes in which together with Merabishvili Armenian and Azeri political elite was also involved. It is to be noted that not only Saakashvili but the so-called Liberty Institute wing of ‘National Movement’ is evidently trying to distance from Merabishvili. As it seems, they are best aware of crimes committed by the former premier.
Q. – Is it probable that Merabishvili starts giving evidence?
A. – Merabishvili is an accomplished criminal but I can’t say the same about Davit Bakradze or Giga Bokeria. The investigation will have so many proofs that Merabishvili’s evidences won’t be obligatory.
Q. – After Merabishvili’s detention the experts almost in unison started proving that the next person would be Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Namely, the episode of hypocritical employment Merabishvili is accused of, figures in Ugulava’s case as well.
A. – In Ugulava’s case it’s more that corruption. I will say nothing about the fact that in every tender there was a kick-back. There are other interesting issues too: for instance, Tbilisi Mayor’s office issued a permission to construct a Wahabite mosque in Ponichala and this created unhealthy situation there.
Q. – A protest action was held in Ponichala. But the Mayor’s Office specified that it wasn’t a mosque but a house.
A. – The Mayor’s Office is lying, thus placing itself in a ridiculous situation.
Q. – Probably the discussion whether May 17 occurrences were coincidence of events or well planned provocation will take quite some time. By the way, Bidzina Ivanishvili himself didn’t exclude that it was a provocation financed from outside.
A. – I think it’s obvious. Let’s recall the video tape – in the micro-bus surrounded by the action participants, a young man is asking the other where the diplomats are. It’s a fact that LGBT people are used as weapon for political struggle, they didn’t know it themselves. It’s a fact that they are financed from abroad. Besides, unless they felt strong support they wouldn’t take to streets.
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