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Unrest in Georgia - Getting the facts straight

President of Georgia"Mr. Saakashvili said the presidential election would be held in January. It was originally scheduled for autumn next year, but the opposition wanted it brought forward.'"

BBC News Online
This is pure miscommunication or disinformation. Opposition actually wanted to abolish the institution of presidency and introduce either parliamentary power or constitutional monarchy. They demanded to bring forward parliamentary elections, not the presidentials. By announcing presidential election, the President delivered a huge surprise to the opposition, which is not prepared for it organizationally nor do they have any eligible candidate so far. Some of the leaders, facing the charges of high treason in favor of Russia, documented by Georgian security services, followed the expelled Russian “diplomats” (actually Russian secret service staff) and fled the country running for shelter to their puppeteers in Moscow.

Here’s the story.

When Mr. Saakashvili’s government came to power, the country was lying in ruins in every imaginable subject. We didn’t have decent roads even in downtown Tbilisi. Our cities looked like third world slams, our education and healthcare systems were falling apart, shops and stores looked pathetic, we were deprived of electricity, winter time was an horror, our territory was turned into the safe haven for all imaginable kinds of mafia, the country’s territory was decimated by separatists supported an sponsored by Kremlin. We didn’t have national security, we didn’t have army, and our soldiers were starving. We didn’t have anything reliable. Total hopelessness reigned over the nation.

Just in three years the country changed drastically, there’s progress in everything starting from the re-built army to economic growth to healthcare to education. The country’s being re-built literally and figuratively. There’s well-founded hope that Georgia’s territorial integrity will be finally restored de-facto.

Life changed and so did its criteria. We don’t need doctors that can’t even tell chickenpox from influenza anymore, we don’t need engineers who got their degrees by bribing professors and deans; we don’t need corrupt officials and cops… All these dismissed remnants of the soviet “dolce far niente” feel deceived, robbed off their “prestige”, deprived. They want to go back, under the wings of “Big Brother”, or to the “blessed” times when nothing depended from one’s hard work, from one’s individual skills, from one’s talent. All one needed to survive was to have some handed-out power and ability to steal and commit frauds.

People who were getting salaries for doing nothing have to struggle now and either adapt to the new reality, or acquire new professions to make the living. People who were making tons of dough by stealing from the state and from fellow countrymen, people who can’t find their niche on today’s market, failed politicians, failed businessmen, frustrated people… They’re angry. They want revenge. They want their power, social and political statuses back; and they use temporary hardships and discontent of honest people to achieve their own selfish goals.

For five days police and security services, without interfering, were patiently witnessing the manifestation staged and led in the middle of the city, in front of the Parliament Building by the opposition leaders, who in their confused eloquence incidentally forgot to mention the social problems –which is the issue that actually brought people to the protest. All they delivered was insults and calls for a violent overthrow of the constitutional order. They do not care about ordinary people’s social problems – which nobody denies exist –these problems have been brought by painful but necessary economic reforms, by moving country’s life from dependent to productive regime, by cleaning out the “stables” of government, state and private institutions from rampant ignorance and corruption, by introducing the radical reforms into healthcare and education system.

By the end of the very first day thousands of people got the only message: that from the leadership of the opposition there wouldn't be any message addressing the issues people were concerned with. People saw the big lie and they left, disappointed. In fact, by the last day not even a tenth from the initial number of participants was left. The leaders and their immediate recruits sensed that the whole thing was coming to an embarrassing end for them, so they needed to close it with an aura of glorious martyrdom. Encouraging the young, exited individuals, as well as their specially trained groups they started provoking and attacking police, ignoring the explicit warnings and reminders that the permit for manifestation has expired the previous day and they had to leave the area. Instead, the protesters started riot. The police had to act quickly and effectively as they are required to act in any western country, if the law is being violated and the orders are ignored. (We have seen in some counties that people get actually shot to death if they don't stop when security officers order them to. Sometimes turns out that the victims were innocent, they were just running, minding their own businesses. Just like the Brazilian victim of confusion in the London tube.)

Well, the rioters on the Rustaveli Avenue didn't run. They actually decided to charge and fight police. Rioters lost. The order has been restored.

The Kremlin-inspired, planned and organized attempt of pushing the country into chaos and helplessness once again failed miserably.

There's a lot of work to do, lots of problems to solve and lots of issues to deal with. But basically the current policy and strategy are the only acceptable ways for the country that constantly faces the danger of being re-occupied, deprived of its territories and its independence.

Social problems that ordinary people are facing will be solved with time and hard work. One thing is clear –the hand-out era is over. The future in Georgia belongs to people able to actually earn everything they’re looking for in their lives.

There’s no doubt whatsoever, that Mr. Saakashvili will be re-elected and Georgia will follow the challenging but well-rewarding path.

Nato Nartkoshvili

New York, NY 

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