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Eduard Shevardnadze belated apologies (08.07.12)

Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has apologized to the people of Georgia for his main error, - the handover of power to the current leader, Mikhail Saakashvili.

Eduard Shevardnadze’s emotional admitting his key blunder is symbolical in that Saakashvili is being abandoned even by the people of his own ideological fold. One could never suspect the former Georgian leader of any pro-Russian sentiment. According to experts, Shevardnadze came into “fruitful contact” with US special services long before Saakashvili surfaced on the political horizon, and embarked on a path of distancing himself from Russia. What’s more, it was when he was still a Soviet Foreign Minister that he signed an agreement with the US Secretary of State James Baker on the so-called Shevardnadze-Baker dividing line, whereby part of the Bering Sea, rich in fish and boasting numerous oil and gas deposits fell within the jurisdiction of the United States. Russia as the legal successor to the USSR stood to lose.

So, the statements by Shevardnadze that he is sorry about Saakashvili should by no means be seen as a good-will gesture to Moscow or an effort to gain some political dividends. It is no more than a statement of fact. Shevardnadze, who’s been nicknamed “fox” in Georgia, again played cunning when mentioning some “handover of power” to the current Georgian President. The illegitimacy of the political leaders who took over from Shevardnadze has inevitably plunged Georgia into no end of problems, says the leader of the Free Georgia party, Kakha Kukava, and elaborates.

"Today Georgian politicians are under no civilian control, Kakha Kukava says, so they keep making mistakes. I think Shevardnadze wanted to be Georgia’s life-long President. But the people of Georgia didn’t quite like the idea, so everyone in Georgia, me included, revolted against Shevardnadze, and failed to see that the one who came to take over was even worse. Saakashvili has asserted himself as an authoritarian and corrupt leader. Almost everyone in Georgia is enormously resentful about his performance. I think we should expect some kind of revolution in Georgia in October. And who will come to power as a result of that revolution is yet another puzzle for Georgia."

The coming to power in Georgia of the West’s puppet, Mikhail Saakashvili, dotted all i’s. The country set a course for the west and went ahead full steam, although the Georgians were traditionally friendly with Russia. But analysts in Brussels and Washington perfectly realized Georgia’s geopolitical significance in the region and bent every effort to ensure that the Trans-Caucasus republic would become their reliable ally and a counterbalance to Russia’s influence. Saakashvili was elated by the West’s financial and military aid, so he tried again to use force to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia under Tbilisi’s control. But the 2008 act of aggression against the two republics had the reverse effect, - it prompted Russia to defend and recognize them. Russia was then followed by other countries. The bloody adventure resulted in the severance of diplomatic relations with Moscow, which meant that Tbilisi lost the opportunity to negotiate Georgia’s territorial integrity for good.

This is by no means the only instance of bad luck in Saakashvili’s national policy. In another development Georgia caused to collapse the Council of Europe’s plan for repatriating the Meskhetian Turks, who were deported from Georgia in the 1940s. Georgian officials bent every effort to prevent the Meskhetian Turks from returning to their historical homeland. The Georgian President has repeatedly pointed out that Georgia is a poly-ethnic country. But in point of fact, the situation is quite the opposite. Today, Georgia’s national minorities, including Armenians and Azerbaijanis, are at one that the Georgian authorities look down on them. What Georgia is building de facto is a mono-ethnic state.

Also, there are few, if any, democratic freedoms in Georgia. Experts are agreed that Tbilisi has imposed an authoritarian regime on the country and is toughly suppressing opposition protests and any dissent. This is an inalienable part of Tbilisi’s official policy.

Ever more political forces in Georgia insist that the current leader should step down, and that an end be put to the bankrupt regime. But Saakashvili, Shevardnadze points out, may go to any length to retain power. Meanwhile the West, now that it’s grown aware of Saakashvili’s true worth, is energetically looking for someone who could take over from the puppet who has discredited himself. Politicians in the West would hate to even think about the loss of influence in the region. But then, the people of Georgia stand a chance of reversing the situation during the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in the country.