CACDS - Southern Caucasus

GSAC analyst: “Is there a possibility of a compromise against the backdrop of violence? Results of the Georgian Week (December 2-8 December 2019) »

Dear friends, partner CIACAR-South Caucasus - Georgian Center for Strategic Analysis GSAC brings to your attention an overview of the main events of the week in Georgia.

The ongoing confrontation

Georgia's political crisis continues for the third week. The decision of the authorities to reject the proportional system of elections has led to contradictions between the authorities and society. Insurmountable because the government categorically refuses to make any compromises. As for the opposition's willingness to compromise, the opposition political parties and non-governmental organizations have almost exhausted these opportunities by proposing a compromise version of the transition to a Georgian-adapted "German model" of the electoral system. This model is not an exact replication of the model promised by the authorities of the transition to a proportional system, and gives the authorities much more room for maneuver by manipulation in majoritarian districts. But the authorities also categorically refuse to make such a compromise, and for several reasons.

The reason is first, sociological research by both the International Republican Institute of IRI and Edison Research shows that the ruling party, under the existing moods in the society, will under no circumstances be able to gain a majority of votes and form a government alone. According to unconfirmed information, the results of these studies coincide with those of the Georgian Dream itself, which explains the categorical reluctance of the ruling party not to compromise on this issue.

The reason for the second, any concession of the opposition today will inevitably lead to the continuation of the process of erosion in the ruling party, a new stage of which began from the moment of refusal to switch to a proportional system of elections. The task of the authorities is formulated quite simply - to mobilize their electorate, convincing him that the only opposition of the "Georgian Dream" today is the National Movement and Mikhail Saakashvili. All other political parties, non-governmental organizations and even a number of international organizations operating in the country are declared by Saakashvili's agents and members of the national movement. Moreover, those who say nothing at all embarrassed that among the "accused" are not only Republicans and free Democrats who were part of the ruling coalition with the "Georgian Dream" a few years ago, but also such intransigent opponents of nationals as Eka Besselia and Nino Burjanad. The latter became almost the main character of the last week, but we will discuss it below.

So, the motivation of the authorities is quite clear - they do not want to lose the elections. The question is what is the motivation of the opposition parties, the unification of which until recently seemed decidedly impossible. It is clear that for large or potentially large political forces, this is a real opportunity to come to power, albeit in a coalition. As for small parties, the proportional system is the only opportunity for them to be represented in the country's parliament and to remain in the political field of Georgia. The United Opposition operates in three directions.

Legal direction - Thirty political parties submitted to the country's parliament a draft electoral system based on the "German model". The essence of these proposals - the mixed system of elections remains in force, but the principle of allocation of seats in parliament is changing, so changes should be made to the Electoral Code, not to the Constitution. For this, a simple majority of votes of members of parliament is sufficient. The constitutionality of such modification of the "German model" for Georgia is confirmed by the most famous Georgian constitutionalists Vakhtang Khmaladze and Avtandil Demetrashvili. The opposition has already asked the People's Defender of Georgia to submit this bill to the ODIHR / OSCE for discussion. To which the People's Defender replied with agreement.

Diplomatic direction - political parties, non-governmental organizations and the civilian sector continue to inform diplomatic missions in Georgia, seeking to organize pressure on the authorities from Georgia's partners, notably the European Union and the US. On Sunday, some opposition leaders, including New Georgia Party leader Georgy Vashadze, European Georgia Party Chairman David Bakradze, United National Movement Party Chairman Grigol Vashadze, met with members of the European Parliament. “The main interest of MEPs is that Georgia, which is a strategic ally of the European Union and its Member States, conforms to its quality of democracy by Western standards, but they are worried that they see that we have deviated from this path. The main point of this meeting is to tell them how "democracy" in Georgia is thriving, what are the political and moral obligations that the "Georgian Dream" refused and caused the anger of the Georgian citizen, as it was an encroachment on his constitutional right, "Grigol Vashadze said. One of the main topics of the meeting was the violence applied by the supporters of the authorities to the protest participants of the opposition.

Protest direction the opposition announced the continuation of local protests, together with youth organizations, which have already become an integral part of the country's political field. During the protests in the summer of 2018, the youth, who protested against the arbitrariness of the police and supported the protest of the "fathers of murdered children," categorically disassociated themselves with politicians. During the protests over Gavrilov's Night, the distance between youth and politicians was reduced, but youth organizations were not yet part of the political protest and they had their own agenda. Today, youth organizations are already part of the political protest, with hardly a major part. Last week, the opposition held a large march in Kutaisi, a march in Batumi, rallies at the office of the Georgian Dream party in Tbilisi, the office of MP Dmitry Hundadze, the mayor's office of Mtskheta and Kobuleti.

The response of the current authorities

In the course of these actions, the protesters encountered aggressive groups of supporters of the authorities, who in some cases applied to the protesters physical violence. Attacks on the offices of the EDA in Kutaisi and Zugdidi were organized separately. In all cases of violence, the police acted late, so despite numerous calls, the police arrived only after 45 minutes after the attack, although the time from the police station to the end of the car on the car was no more than 3. Government support groups were attended by persons working in state structures and local self-government bodies. The clashes took place at the office of the ruling party in Tbilisi. brought to the capital from the regions to attend a concert dedicated to Georgia's Presidency of the Council of Europe. The concert took place on Freedom Square, while the ruling party's office is on the Kura embankment. In the past week, acts of violence against the political opposition have been used in Tbilisi, Zugdidi, Mtskheta, Kobuleti and Kutaisi. None of the participants in the acts of violence were detained, moreover, they were under police protection. The main danger is that by such actions the authorities practically delegate the monopoly on violence to informal groups.

On Monday, the authorities announced a large-scale procession of their supporters, also timed to "Georgia's presidency of the Council of Europe". To this end, the authorities bring to Georgia their activists from all regions of Georgia. Many experts and politicians say that the situation is reminiscent of the situation of the autumn of 2003, when supporters of the then Ajaria leader Aslan Abashidze came to Tbilisi to support the authorities.

The Tbilisi City Court ruled on the bank card bankruptcy case owned by billionaire Bidzin Ivanishvili. The trial began immediately after the change of power in Georgia in the 2012 year and lasted almost 6 years. Speaking of 2011 events of the year. The Interior Ministry then announced the arrest of 4 on charges of money laundering. And in June 2012, the bureau of execution, arrested in Kartu Bank, the stakes of Ivanishvili, who was actively involved in politics at that time.

Former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, who is in political exile, is sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years and 3 months. Former head of the Enforcement Bureau, active member of the former ruling United National Movement, MP Nick Melia must pay a fine of 25 thousand GEL. But most importantly, he is forbidden to hold office for more than two years. Melia called the court's decision absurd and noted that the purpose of the Georgian Dream is to expel him from the country's Parliament. Nika Melia is one of the most active protest leaders.

7 in December, prosecutor Nick Gvaramy, head of the opposition Mtwavari TV channel, was summoned to the prosecutor's office. guvaria is accused of calling for the overthrow of existing power (post on social network facebook). The co-founder of the Georgian Center for Strategic Studies, David Gandhieri, gave a legal assessment of the insolvency of the charges against Niki Gwaria. The European Court of Human Rights: “…. criticism of the government and the publication of materials in which the leaders and heads of states declare themselves dangerous to the interests of the country should not have consequences in the form of criminal prosecution by the state in which… an accusation of attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional system is .. - which is a violation Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression) CASE OF MEHMET HASAN ALTAN v. TURKEY, (Application no. 13237 / 17), 20 March 2018, §211; ŞAHİN ALPAY c. TURQUIE, (Requête no 16538 / 17), 20 mars 2018, § 181.

Activation of pro-Russian forces

Patriots Alliance

The only opposition party that has not joined the general protest is the pro-Russian Patriots Alliance. The main goal of its political activity today is to proclaim the Patriots Alliance to ban the National Movement and all political forces affiliated with the party. And since, according to the logic of the authorities, all political parties that testify and demand a transition to the “German system” are nationals, it turns out that the Patriots Alliance is the main opposition of the “Georgian Dream”. “Our main goal is to become a major force in the country we are. We are the main opposition in the country, and this is true, ”said Patriots Alliance leader Irma Inashville. This thesis was made during the party gathering of the Patriots Alliance, which took place on November 30 at the Sports Palace. The key point is that at a time when the entire opposition is demanding a transition to a proportional system, the Patriots Alliance requires the leaders of the two largest opposition parties to be imprisoned and banned. It is clear that such a position completely suits the authorities, which themselves do not stop frightening citizens with the return of the "criminal regime".

Nino Burjanadze's visit to Moscow and the topic of apologies to Gavrilov

From the first day of the protests, Nino Burjanadze announced the thesis that now everyone should work with their centers of force in order to make Ivanishvili leave, that is, in fact, announced the Moldovan scenario. The purpose of the trip to Moscow is to persuade the Kremlin to stop supporting Ivanishvili, at least not to interfere. Burjanadze solved two problems in Moscow, global and local. Within the framework of solving the global problem, Burjanadze must have tried to convince the Kremlin that Ivanishvili had exhausted his usefulness for the Russian Federation, which he had already done, so it made no sense to grab for him and his satellites. In the event that power changes with Moscow's resistance, the consequences can be catastrophic, perhaps far worse than the consequences of the Rose Revolution. In the conditions of democracy, the Russian soft power has far more opportunities than in the conditions of usurpation of the Ivanishvili authorities. Under the proportional system of elections in the parliament of the country, the pro-Russian political forces (that is, it) will be represented much more widely than they are today, and most importantly, this power will not depend on the authorities, as today the Patriots Alliance, which Ivanishvili hung for two days after the elections showing who is the owner of the house. That is, the proposal to move in Georgia to the format of work in which the Kremlin operates in democratic countries from Bulgaria to Germany, France and the USA. It is clear that in such a format of opportunities, Georgia is much larger than in the rich countries of the West.

The local task is more modest, but far more important for the Burjanadze party. After two failed 2013 and 2014 campaigns in Moscow, they made a bid for the Patriots Alliance, which actually turned out to be far more effective than the refined Nino Burjanadze. But today the situation has changed. for the first time since the mid-nineties, a pro-Russian political force in the face of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia has been an integral part of Georgia's political process, with a handshake for other political parties. Thus, Moscow has the opportunity, despite the occupation of the two regions of Georgia, to promote its political agenda.

Did Nino Burjanadze manage to convince anyone in Moscow to speak early. On the one hand, it was not just accepted in the administration and in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs even published it official message about that. Which, incidentally, is significant. The key question is whether Dr. Vazha will be released and whether he was detained at all (this is conspiracy theories). But even if there was an exemption, I would not rush to conclusions. The fight between the Kremlin towers on how to be is going to continue, and who will win the battle is open. One of the indicators of the success of Nino Burjanadze's trip to Moscow may be the fate of doctor Vazhi Gaprindashvili, illegally detained by the de facto authorities of South Ossetia. If Dr. Vazhu is released this week, it will be a clear signal that Burjanadze has been heard in Moscow, and the politician herself will be able to boldly write it to herself.

A separate case is a question about Burjanadze's apologies. 6 December the TASS agency reportedthat Nino Burjanadze apologized for the anti-Russian provocation that occurred during the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy in the Georgian Parliament during the summer and cited the politician's statement: “I will not be afraid to apologize for this absolutely heinous incident. Excuse me for interrupting you, but I will not finish until I apologize, because I believe that this is an insult to the Georgian people, the Georgian state in the first place. ” Nino Burjanadze denied the TASS message by writing on his page - “It is regrettable that you ask your guest to come for two years and then because of your own brainlessness a situation arises that you cannot rudely manage and explain to the public and cannot apologize for this. It is regrettable what followed. However, from a political point of view, a positive followed - through our youth we have achieved proportional elections, but it is a pity that people lost their eyes there. There were no apologies for Gavrilov, it was a regret that followed these processes. Both specifically regarding the crackdown on the rally, and about the lame form of protest by some specific people. " One explanation for this strange story may be the version that someone is trying to disrupt the Burjanadze mission in Moscow, though it is only a version.

Last week, passion broke out over the issue of opening in Tbilisi “Russian Language and Culture Centers”announced after the meeting in Prague by Senator Grigory Karasin. Civil society has reacted extremely painfully to this statement. The Special Representative of the Prime Minister Zurab Abashidze had to explain: “At our meeting, Mr. Karasin made a small comment that the Russian Visa Center, a commercial structure and issuing visas for Georgian citizens, plans to open Russian language courses more than a year ago. As I understand it, the courses will also be on a commercial basis ”…

Other news

Detention of monk Swimon Kavtaradze with a large drug party in Zugdidi, reincarnated conversations around the problems of the Georgian Church. Although the monk has pleaded guilty, many believe it may be a continuation of a campaign to discredit the Church's institute in a community whose new phase was a "church scandal" begun a month ago.

Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili called on the Anaclius Development Consortium to acknowledge that they could not carry out the project and said. that the government will present its plan of action if, by 31 December, the consortium does not attract an investor willing to invest $ millions in the 600 project. It is clear that in the conditions of political crisis and criminal prosecution of Mamuki Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, it is almost impossible to find an investor without additional guarantees of the government. The authorities practically do not hide that their main purpose is the removal of the Anaclius Consortium, which includes the TVS Group holding, from the project of construction of the deep-water port of Anaclius. It is also clear that such a decision will lead to lengthy litigation and freezing of the project indefinitely.

On Sunday the doctors held an action at the Ministry of Health demanding that the new regulations be abolished and the financing of the universal government insurance system reduced. The universal health insurance system is considered a major achievement of the Georgian Dream, but the financial shortfall has forced the government to cut spending almost twice. On Friday, at a meeting with the heads of the clinics, the Prime Minister promised to deal with the problem.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili inspected the facilities of the military infrastructure of the 6 Artillery Brigade, the 3 Infantry Brigade in Kutaisi. Next year, Georgia's military infrastructure is expected to spend 100 million lari (about 30 million US dollars). 6 Artillery Brigade, 3 Infantry Brigade in Kutaisi. Defense is not cheap, but important, said the Minister.

In Tbilisi, 53 died Georgian filmmaker Zaza Urusadze. The cause of death was a heart attack. The most famous work of Urusadze is the film about the war in Abkhazia "Mandarins". The film was nominated for the 2015 Academy Award in the category "Best Foreign Language Film". And in 2016, the picture by Urusadze became the winner of the Catalonian Antonio Gaudi Award in the category "Best European Film".

In the first quarter of 2020 of the year Georgia and Azerbaijan plan to hold inter-parliamentary commission, which will address all issues of economic cooperation between the two countries. Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zurab Pataradze said this.

At the invitation of the Bella Fund, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine visited Tbilisi Pavel Klimkin. Pavel Klimkin met with representatives of the Georgia expert community and shared his views on Ukraine's foreign policy and options for developing the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

We bring to your attention an interview with the co-founder of the Georgian Center for Strategic Analysis GSAS Theon Akubardia - The risk of "Putinization" of Georgia, or any success of Georgian democracy is a threat to the Kremlin, published on the website of the Ukrainian Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CIAAC).

Regards,

GSAC Georgian Center for Strategic Analysis