15 December, 2011

Harassment for political views

In the villages of Sachkhere district (western Georgia) Supporters of Georgian billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili are facing problems that are unimaginable for the civilized world. Citizens with different political views are being dismissed from their jobs.

We tried to find out if they sacked Chorvila village (the home village of Ivanishvili) School Director, who allegedly drank a toast to Bidzina Ivanishvili.


Inga Zambakhidze, Chair of the Opposition Faction of Sachkhere Sakrebulo (local assembly): “So far Chorvila School Director Nukri Gogitashvili

remains on his position. Consequently, the news is not authentic. However, it’s a fact that citizens are being persecuted for their political views. Schools are visited by the revenue inspectors. The directors are forbidden to talk about these facts. We instantly spread information about the orders of the district administration to the school teachers and directors to forego the salary extras paid to them by Bidzina Ivanishvili. The pressure on the people reached the climax after the presentation of public movement Georgian Dream. They phoned many families to intimidate and harass them. Almost daily we hear of the people who are fired from their jobs for mere sympathizing with Bidzina Ivanishvili.


Temur Kvesadze, former swimming pool director: “They fired me without mentioning the reason in the official order. However, Nodar Abzhandadze, Sakrebulo Chair, directly told me that I was sacked for my support for Bidzina Ivanishvili. My dismissal order is signed by Zurab Tsertsvadze, Sachkhere Gamgebeli. They detested our appeal to the President, reported by Maestro, to return citizenship to Bidzina Ivanishvili. Abzhandadze demanded explanations from me. I was honest. I said I would always remain a supporter of Bidzina Ivanishvili. In reply, he said that in this case the only thing left for them was firing me. Just before they formalized the order, I received a phone call and a full package of swear words and harassment. I cannot repeat what they told me…”


Rusudan Nozadze, former specialist at Jalaurta Village Sakrebulo: “They blockaded our village. Nobody reacted when the heavy snow jammed the road. No one even tried to clean the highway. We have little children. God saved us that we needed no medical emergency help. The medics would not have made it to our place. In the past, we did not have such problems because Bidzina Ivanishvili was providing the whole district with transport and mechanisms. Today the situation has changed. Few days ago a villager died but the family could not arrange the timely funeral because of the road obstructions. I was so enraged that I travelled to the district center on foot (quite a long journey) and met with the district head Tsertsvadze. I asked him why they were ignoring the people. He said that they had only one tractor but nevertheless would not turn to Bidzina Ivanishvili for help. Then I reminded him that in the past they used to request such help without any problem. He cut me short by remarking that they would receive the help from Ivanishvili as a donor not as a politician! In the end, I returned home empty-handed. At home, I switched the TV on. As you know, we receive only the National Movement TV channels. So I accidentally watched a “heart-breaking” story about the alleged sacking of a laborer from the organization ‘Atu’ (belongs to Bidzina Ivanishvili) just for hosting Gigi Ugulava the other night. In short, Rustavi -2 journalists told an excruciatingly sad story about the dire situation of the laborer who had to feed his family of wife and two toddlers but who suffered a deadly blow from Ivanishvili. I tried to learn more about the story. I found out that this guy has never been fired. Actually, he himself frequently drops out of the work. Moreover, he seems to suffer from alcoholism. By the look of it, the so called visit of Gigi Ugulava to this guy’s house is the domain of pure imagination of the National Movement TV channels. I felt fed up for good. I am myself a mother of three little children and am sitting at home without a job just because of political conviction and watch such inflammatory TV reports. My problem is that I cannot tolerate injustice.

P.S. We attempted to get in touch with the local self-governance body. The Gamgebeli assistant promised us that Zurab Tsertsvadze would call us. However, he did not live up to the promise. It seems, for Mr Tsertsvadze silence is “gold”.

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