Mr. Gregory Karasin, Russia’s deputy Foreign Secretary wants to see broader Georgia –Russia relationships. He made the statement at an international security forum jointly arranged by the Russian foreign ministry and the Russian Parliament (Duma). The round table participants from Germany, Canada, the USA, Turkey, Sweden, France, some of the CIS states and Georgia represented by Mrs. Burjanadze, leader of the Opposition United Democrats are discussing the global security issues.
“We support broader bilateral relations. It’s very good that Mrs. Burjanadze is here. I hope to meet and discuss things with her,- Russia’s deputy Foreign Secretary Karasin told the Georgian Maestro TV, adding that his broader agenda next round talks with Georgia’s special envoy Mr. Zurab Abashidze was scheduled for 15 July.
Mr. Dimitry Lortkipanidze, former MP- turned- an independent human rights champion
spoke to Georgia and the World newspaper reporter.
-A manifestation for decriminalization of cannabis held in front of the Government Chancellery on 2 June stirred a controversy among the politicians and human rights groups. Many people think that soft drugs shouldn’t be a criminal offence and call for amendments to the Penal Code. What do you think?
-The protesters should have differentiated between drug dealing and drug consumption. Semmingly, they were calling for decriminalization but what they actually meant was marijuana legalization. Moreover, the rally had nothing to do with decriminalization or new regulations, for the protesters did not even mention article 273 of the Georgian Penal Code envisaging penalty for a repeated drug abuse within a calendar year. I should say there were a number of suspicious people among the protesters, including the so-called clubbers, who regularly take amphetamines and meta-amphetamines and made no secret of their support to drug abuse. Unfortunately, the Police kept a low profile and overlooked the fact that the adults had brought children with them, which is a criminal offence under article 187: “Engagement of Underage Persons in Anti-social Activities.” In a state proper its an offence subject to rather a severe punishment.
- I believe if a similar protest had been staged during the Nationals’ rule, a number its participants would have ended up in jail moreover that quite a few of them seemed to have been drugged. Why didn’t the police act adequately?
-It was blatant incompetence and irresponsibility for what was up was an anti-social activity involving minors masked as freedom of expression.
-Do you think the rally had been targeted at instigating violence, which would have been attached political connotations?
One thing is clear: they broke the law and did all they could to set up the Police. They ought to have been arrested but the authorities opted for restraint, which I believe was wrong since by doing that they betrayed a more significant value than the Neo-liberal “Freedom of Expression”. The Police violated the relevant law, which states that they are to prevent an offence.
-Talking about Neo-liberals. The other day, Ombudsman Nanuashvili called for special regulations to recognize transgenders. What do you think of it?
- It’s an important point. Three Georgian human rights protectors: Messrs. Soso Manjavidze, Zviad Tomaradze and myself have issued a statement in this connection. However, Ombudsman Nanuashvili did not respond to our questions. The interest groups get plenty of financial backing from abroad, and some of the NGOs are highly critical of us. They call for protection of the so-called sexual minorities and eventually legalizing same sex marriage. It’s the obligation the international liberals imposed on the Republican Party and they will do all they can to fulfill it, all the more so that they are in the foreground within the Ivanishvili coalition. The Republicans are actually in control of the three branches of power. You will remember Mr. Ivanishvili pledge to surprise Europe by democracy in Georgia, and he has lived up to his promise. What we see is a political paradox when an extremely low-rate party (the Republicans) is calling the shots.
- Is it owing to Mr. Ivanishvili’s efforts or was it prompted from abroad?
- Mr. Ivanishvili has been and still is under the Americans influence. That’s why the country is actually US patrolled. US-Georgia relationships are colonial rather than partnerial. Recent appointment of Mrs. Tina Khidasheli the defense secretary right after US Ambassador MR. Norland’s visit to Mr. Ivanishvili is a clear example of it. You will remember PM Garibashvili’s abusive personal remarks concerning her and yet he had to agree to giving her the high office. By doing that he showed he is just another puppet. So, we should not wonder at what’s going on and the statements we hear. It’s actually National Movement #2 ruling the country. The Georgian Dream has even outdone the Nationals in doing the homework…
- Former president Saakashvili has been posting threats against the Georgian Dream on almost a daily basis. He claims he will come back to power before long. Do you think his appointment the Odessa Governor has boosted his stance and that of his party or on the contrary, it may herald the end of their career?
- What’s clear is that Mr. Saakashvili never changes, his as revengeful as ever. You will remember that his very first days in power were marked with arrests of the former government officials, some fair other unfair. What matters that from the very beginning, his rule stood out for intolerance, which resulted in about 40 000 prisoners.
The scenario is the same in Ukraine. A number of arrests have been reported. His rhetoric is the same: zero tolerance.
As to your question whether the governorship is his strength or a weakness: do you think what turned out unacceptable to the Georgians is going to be acceptable to Ukrainians? Are they going to put up with mass arrests, police brutality, harassment, terror? It’s incredible. I am pretty sure Mr. Saakashvili’s political career will soon come to an end. The Ukrainians will soon realize what they are in for.
- There have been speculations that the National Movement and some of the Georgian Dream coalition parties may form a block in the run-up to next year’s parliament election? Do you think it’s credible?
- The Dreamers and Nationals are actually at one. Mr. Saakashvili is bracing for coming back to power. Understandingly, he’s not going to get engaged in the race. As you said, several parties, such as Free Democrats, Republicans, i.e. the so-called Neo-liberals are likely to put together a coalition to presumably be led by president Margvelashvili. That’s how the National Movement with Mr. Saakashvili as its informal leader will revitalize. He will wait until the Neo-liberals gain the parliamentary majority, come on and then will he emerge one again. It’s all as simple as all that. However, the scheme won’t work as long as the public is on the alert. Otherwise, we’ll have to put up with everything, even if they act against the national interests.
Interviewer: Jaba Zhvania