29 March, 2012

‘John Bass can give no instructions to Georgian Authorities’ – this declaration of Akaki Bobokhidze, Chairman of the Committee for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources set off a lot of popular discussion. This is an interview with A. Bobokhidze:


Q. – The President’s critical declaration made several days ago about the embassies was unexpected for people. But it was said also that because the West criticizes the authorities due to the election environment, the President has noticed only now that the

staff of embassies look down at our citizens.

A.B. – Georgian authorities always try to protect the interest of Georgian people. That’s why the President said that improper attitude towards Georgian citizens is inadmissible not only for Georgian but also for foreign bureaucracy, functioning on Georgian territory.

Q. – But you said – ‘who is John Bass’, about official representative of USA to Georgia…

A.B. – I just asked who is John Bass for Georgian journalists and opposition. Is he chief of Georgians or USA’s Ambassador to Georgia? I said he can’t give instructions to Georgian authorities.

There are two types of countries: some are our strategic partners, democratic world for whom handing over of power simply means that every new administration  must come through direct and democratic elections. The new Parliament must be elected by means of elections held in legitimate environment. There are countries of other type, including our strategic enemy –Russia, for whom democratic change of authorities means not democratic elections but election of a person whom they wish. This is the difference; when a leader of a democratic country says the word ‘handing over’ and the same is said by a leader of an undemocratic country. The assessment of Georgian opposition of of ‘handing over’ coincides with that of Russia. They consider that ‘handing over’ necessarily means coming to power of some other force regardless of who is supported by Georgian people.

Q. – After George Bush and John Tefft, US Ambassador to Georgia congratulated Saakashvili with the victory in 2008 Presidential elections, the opposition stopped demanding the second round. USA’s support at that time had that much significance.

A.B. – The opposition has a wrong point of view that somebody else has to decide when they must start activity or stop it. The opposition should be active in searching for the ways to approach people and not by running to and fro from the Kremlin.

Q. – What is the basis of your saying that the opposition is looking for the ways to approach the Kremlin?

A.B. – The opposition has already found the way to Kremlin. Ask Subari and Usupashvili about that – they were arguing whether Alasania’s meeting with Lavrov was accidental or pre-planned; ask Nino Burjanadze about that; she said that the meeting wasn’t accidental.

Q. – But on what basis do the authorities call Ivanishbili a Russian-oriented politician?

A.B. – When Ivanishvili’s property is bought by ‘Rosneft’, another Russian state company, a political weapon of Russian state, doubts arise.

Q. – It’s also a fact that the authorities remembered about the increase of pensions and the issue of insurance before the elections.

A.B. – Pensions rise every year, not only before the elections. Shouldn’t we increase pensions because it’s election time?

Q. – Last week Irakli Alasania accused the authorities of organizing the  armed formations.

A.B. – One of those named by Alasania is the Chairman of the Department of National Guard whose direct obligation is doing of what he is doing. Whatever is being done is the formation of voluntary reserve. Voluntary reserve is an official structure. The reserve is functioning in Samegrelo, Imereti, Achara, Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti.

Q. Will the authorities conduct such elections that neither opposition nor the West will have nothing to say?

A.B. – Nobody can win elections in Georgia thanks to a ‘kind foreign uncle’ and let them blame themselves and not the election environment for that. When I look at opposition I recall Ostap Bender’s famous phrase: ‘Zapad nam pomojhet’ (the West will help us). The West’s point of view is most important for us but the decision at these elections is taken by Georgian people.

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