The Rebels
01 December, 2011
The Rebels

The leader of the National-Democratic Party,  who had inspired and organized the anti-Gamsakhurdia manifestations in September, decided to take the video-footage, describing the Tbilisi riots, to Moscow to show it to foreign journalists and politicians.  Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – In September of 1991, a serious wave of protesting manifestations rolled over the new national government of Georgia, elected by absolute majority of popular vote of the nation. The Political forces, opposed to

the Gamsakhurdia government managed to earn the trust of part of the population who followed the opposition leaders in actions directed against the fledgling government. The capital city of Georgia was once again overwhelmed by ongoing manifestations and demonstrations in the streets of Tbilisi. On September the 2nd, the first bullet was shot in front of the Parliament House of the country. What happened?

SM – That shot was provoked by the selfsame KGB agents who had tarried in the state security service of the newly independent republic of Georgia. There were scores of them stationed in the national government too. The leader of the National-Democratic Party Gia Chanturia who had inspired and organized the anti-Gamsakhurdia manifestations in September, decided to take the video-footage describing those confrontations to Moscow to show it to foreign journalists and politicians. He was trying to prove to the world community that Georgia’s president was a dictator and autocrat, who used bullets against the peaceful demonstrators. Chanturia was apprehended right on the boarding ramp before flying to the Russian capital.

GJ – As I understand, the Georgian authorities have not committed anything strange or unlawful by arresting him, have they?

SM – Absolutely not! At that time, the act was nothing but a real treason. It was exactly in September of 1991 that the issue of recognition of independence of Georgia and the Baltic Sea republics was hot on the agenda.

GJ – And where was that happening?

SM – In Moscow where there were first the American and then the European politicians, diplomats and journalists. The discussion of the issue of Georgia’s independence was postponed because of the street riots that had started in Georgia at that moment. The arrest of Chanturia was followed by manifestations in front of Georgia’s state TV & Radio Corporation building. One of the reasons of the riots was the untactful behavior of the new leader of the TV & Radio Corporation J. Kopaliani towards his fellow-workers. There was one special circumstance though which needed to have been taken into consideration: 80% of the TV & Radio Corporation workers had been collaborating with the KGB since the time when the soviet regime was still alive. I can’t blame the new administration of the Corporation for having them fired. That’s exactly what they had deserved. It was just the style of Kopaliani that irritated the staff of the TV & Radio Corporation.

GJ – I have slightly different information. At that time I was working for the TV & Radio Corporation and I can tell you for sure that across-the-board firing of people had never taken place, and the staff members who got sacked were compensated in various ways.

SM – This way or that way, both the fired and the still remaining workers had joined the protest manifestation which had damaged the image of the country even more. That’s how September passed. By the end of September the confronting sides reached certain agreement, based on which the demonstration dispersed and people went home peacefully or continued working. The country returned to business-as-usual modus operandi. Except Tengiz Kitovani! He was still digging in on the Tbilisi Sea territory where they had been camping for quite a while now in expectation of the president of the country to have certain things changed. The Kitovani grouping had practically acquired the image of military band formation which did not want to budge. The attempt of negotiations was made between the Kitovani formation and the government of Georgia about the possibility of the National Guard going back under direct state control, but unfortunately the agreement thereby had never materialized. October and November in Georgia were peaceful.

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