Voices from Russia

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Anti-Saakashvili Candidate Claims Victory in Georgia Vote

00 Voting in Georgia. 27.10.13

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On Sunday, an opponent of outgoing president Mikhail Saakashvili claimed victory in the Georgian presidential election just hours after voting stations closed in the former Soviet nation on Russia’s southern border. Initial exit polls gave Giorgi Margvelashvili, from the anti-Saakashvili Georgian Dream party, about 65 percent of the vote in an election that marked the end of a decade in power for Saakashvili. On Sunday evening, outside his party headquarters in Tbilisi, where supporters had already taken to the streets to celebrate his win, Margvelashvili said, “I want to thank everyone who supported me. Thanks to the Prime Minister who facilitated today’s victory”. Margvelashvili is a close ally of Georgian Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who led Georgian Dream to a crushing victory over Saakashvili’s United National Movement in parliamentary polls in 2012.

Twenty three candidates took part in Sunday’s election in the South Caucasus nation, but the presidential position is less powerful than it was under Saakashvili, as laws passed earlier this year diluted presidential powers. Margvelashvili’s main rival, Davit Bakradze of the United National Movement, got about 20 percent of the vote according to exit polls. He said shortly after polling stations closed that the exit polls provided a “clear picture” and that he was prepared to work with the country’s new president. Both front-runners in the election pledged to continue policies of integration with the EU and NATO, and indicated a willingness to improve ties with Russia, which soured badly under Saakashvili.

According to the country’s election commission, turnout amongst Georgia’s 3.5 million registered voters was 46.6 percent. On Sunday evening, outgoing President Saakashvili said that Georgian voters had “spoken” and called on his supporters to respect the election result. A Columbia Law School graduate, Saakashvili enjoyed broad public support early in his presidency after he swept to power following Georgia’s 2003 so-called “Rose Revolution“, accomplishing successful institutional reforms. However, a disastrous defeat in a brief war with Russia in 2008 contributed to a later precipitous drop in his approval ratings. Saakashvili’s bitter political rival, Ivanishvili, is a secretive tycoon; Forbes estimates his fortune at 5.5 billion USD (175 billion Roubles. 5.75 billion CAD. 5.73 billion AUD. 4 billion Euros. 3.4 billion UK Pounds), making him Georgia’s richest man. Ivanishvili, who became prime minister last October, pledged to quit politics after the presidential vote, but hasn’t named a successor yet.

27 October 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20131027/184381244/Anti-Saakashvili-Candidate-Claims-Victory-in-Georgia-Vote.html

Editor’s Note:

Langley’s Charlie McCarthy is history. Shall Georgian-Russian relations improve? Only time will tell us, but Saakashvili’s party went down in flames. However, the turnout was meagre. Most voters didn’t like ANY of the choices on offer and stayed home. I seem to recall that most Georgian soldiers took “French leave” during the 2008 war. They didn’t like the prospects on offer and simply melted away, going home in such numbers that the government couldn’t punish them. A clash between pro-Western factions excited less than half of the voters. Does this mean that the rest are Left voters? God alone knows, but I wouldn’t bet against it…

BMD

 

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Monday, 1 October 2012

1 October 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Mikhail Saakashvili’s Last Battle

Mikhail Saakashvili’s Last Battle

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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Note the pseudo-Napoleonic pose (with traces of a sardonic take on Moses looking out over the Promised Land, but unable to enter), and the title in Russian brings to mind a well-known Russian song Последний бой (The Last Battle) (click here for Dmitri Khvorostovsky singing it)… Yolkin does it again… a complex many-layered visual and intellectual play on images, words, and culture. Gotta love him for that…

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There are different versions circulating about the events surrounding the parliamentary elections in Georgia on 1 October, which fell this year on Monday. In fact, there are quite a few, but none of them is official. To go further, click here for analysis by Vadim Dubnov.

1 October 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://www.ria.ru/caricature/20121001/763543882.html

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Peaceful Protests Against Lawlessness in Georgia

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A week of mass protests in Georgia brought dismissals of ministers and detentions of protesters. Tension in large cities is growing worse ahead of the parliamentary elections. Originally, the protests were against torture of prisoners. Now, people demand more than just punishment for those responsible. Both Georgian politicians and independent experts agree that the prison scandal is bound to affect the upcoming election.

Mass protests in defence of prisoners’ rights have continued in Georgia since 18 September. People went into the streets after TV showed a video of tortures and rapes in a Tbilisi prison. After this shocking material was broadcast, several high-ranking officials lost their posts, among them Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze. Late at night on Thursday, Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia got the sack. Ex-prisoner Gigla Tskhvaradze said, “The protestors demanded this because the unlawful actions in prisons occurred with the Akhalaia’s connivance. I have enough prison experience to know what kind of people work in them. They aren’t human and they don’t treat prisoners humanely. Their higher-ups tacitly support this situation”.

This isn’t merely a sadistic attitude to prisoners. Georgian public figures said in VOR interviews that most of the torture victims are principled opponents of Saakashvili’s régime. Nikolai Khomeriki, President of the Foundation for the Unity of Russians and Georgians, said, “This is one of the methods that the authorities use in struggling against dissent in Georgia. Bacho Akhalaia and his brother are Mikhail Saakashvili’s henchmen. They’ve always kept the Georgian people’s nerves on edge. They employ illegal armed gangs that beat people during mass protests. Undoubtedly, Akhalaia’s one of the filthiest people in Georgia. Ahead of the elections, Saakashvili specially appointed him Interior Minister, and his brother Deputy Defence Minister, to intimidate Georgians, to spread terror all over the country. If anyone dared say a word, they’d punish them. Certainly, all this was done with Saakashvili’s knowledge and consent”.

In addition to resignations, the authorities took an unexpected step. Former ombudsman Georgi Tugushi became the new Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance. The President also instructed Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili to reform the penitentiary system. However, people are sceptical about these moves. They don’t believe that the government will identify and punish all those responsible for the outrages either. It’s true that the government arrested some ten prison employees, but new protests on Friday broke out because the only penalty that Bacho Akhalaia faced was dismissal. The authorities seem to have recovered after their initial shock; they’re talking more about who needed this scandal, rather than about the facts of the crimes. Saakashvili talks about a war of compromising evidence ahead of the election. The Prokuratura and other Georgian judicial bodies said that the scandal is a provocation of the opposition.

The opposition, in turn, is taking an active part in public protests. It’s about a week before parliamentary elections in Georgia, and many people are using the meetings for making political declarations, amongst them Aleksandr Shalamberidze, one of the leaders of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats Party, who said, “What’s happening in the prisons and in the country in general can’t be tolerated. We need another government, and that’ll happen as a result of the 1 October parliamentary elections”. Meanwhile, the protests in Georgia haven’t grown more violent. People participating in the protests, as well as politicians and public figures, are vocal in their desire not to yield to provocations. They believe that if their protests are to result in régime change, this should happen peacefully, for the first time in Georgian history.

Soso Shatberashvili, a leader of the opposition Georgian Labour Party, told VOR, “The authorities could decide to stir up tensions intentionally; if things get worse, Saakashvili would impose a state of emergency, and, probably, would open fire on the people. We’ve already experienced this. He now dreams about postponing the elections”.

Experts agree that Saakashvili’s image has been damaged. It’s worth mentioning that a scandal broke out inside his favoured Interior Ministry after it’d undergone the reforms that Saakashvili was so proud of. For a long time, the Georgian police had a stellar reputation. This image was so strong that Brussels repeatedly ignored tortures reported by opposition sources. Only after evidence mounted up did the EU and the OSCE officially condemn the practise. Feliks Stanevsky, former Russian Ambassador to Georgia, and deputy head of the Department for the Caucasus at the Institute of CIS Studies, believes, “We shouldn’t expect any further steps from the West. I think that the Western leaders are being too lenient with Saakashvili. Even pro-Western opposition forces repeatedly warned the USA and Europe against offering so much support to the Saakashvili regime, but it’s in vain. The USA adheres to its pro-Saakashvili line despite the latter’s taste for dictatorial manners”.

Nobody dares to predict how events will unfold next week. On Friday, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia Ghudushauri-Shiolashviliof all Georgia addressed the nation, calling on the people to avoid riots. He condemned torture in prison and asked people to “peacefully wait for the elections”. Some hours later, more arrests took place, with some people reported injured during clashes in Tbilisi overnight.

22 September 2012

Polina Chernitsa

Aleksandra Dibizheva

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_09_22/Peaceful-protests-against-lawlessness/

Editor’s Note:

Did you read or hear ANYTHING in the Western media about the violence in Georgia, or about Saakashvili’s brutal actions towards his own people? You didn’t, did you? That’s because pseudo-journalistic lickspittles such as Serge Schmemann and Sophia Kishkovsky only write the pabulum that their corporate paymasters want them to… after all, they can’t put their good jobs on the line for such a chimerical thing as the truth, can they?

You can’t be informed if your only source is the New York Times or Fox News… they’re two sides of the same coin. Right-face or left-face, they’re all shills for the current system… there’s not not even one with decency or integrity left, not one in the lot of them. They’re not going to put their well-paid situations on the line for the sake of the truth… why? No one else does, these days… at least, that’s how they rationalise their cowardice and cupidity to themselves. They turn their heads as the torturers from Langley ply their trade in foreign parts and train willing hands from other countries to do so, as well. Who wants to upset one’s gravy train over that? They’re just wogs…

Pass the jug… we all need it again…

BMD

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