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“Democratic” elections in Georgia are the opposition prosecution, administrative resources and the deadlock

The secretary general of party “Democratic movement – United Georgia” Vakhtang Kolbaya tells about a pre-election situation in Georgia and the relation of the Georgian society to consequences of war of 2008 year in interview to the Internet portal “The world and we”.

- What do your political movement think of actions of the present Georgian authorities led by Mikheil Saakashvili? What do you consider inadmissible for Georgia in the political system built by him?

Our party “Democratic movement – United Georgia” is oppositional. And this oppositional relation is caused by policy of the authorities both within the country and abroad. The situation in Georgia is aggravated in several directions at once. First of all, it is unemployment and very difficult situation in national economy. And, of course, it is the problems which have arisen after the military conflict of 2008. Here the matter is not only about the lost territories, but that we really can lose the inhabitants of these territories, first of all, the Abkhazians and the most tragic that the situation, which has developed owing to the conflict, is in the deep deadlock now. And the present authorities led the country to this deadlock. The control over 20 % of the territory of the country is almost lost after the war in August, 2008. War caused serious economic consequences, big debts, destruction of investment climate. In comparison with the period till 2008 year, the investments into the country decreased in times, their stream practically ran low.

It caused the considerable losses of workplaces. The problem of unemployment became one of the sharpest in Georgia. For this reason almost the number of people which leave the country increased twice. A large number of our fellow citizens are now in Russia, Europe, the USA. The complicated situation with Russia causes the periodic deportation of our fellow citizens. The difficult economic situation in other countries also aggravates the situation. People, without having earnings here and seeing nothing in the long term, go abroad to earn there.

On October 1, the parliamentary elections will pass in Georgia. In order that the oppositional voices didn't go diversely and that the authorities didn't use it, our party refused to participate in elections. We called the members of our party and our supporters to vote on elections to real oppositional force, that which they will think, i.e. we gave them a freedom of choice of real opposition, instead of pseudo-opposition. Naturally, there is a considerable pressure of the authorities upon opposition forces. The party “Georgian dream” creates every possible financial and bureaucratic obstacles, such laws are accepted which practically don't give possibility to act.

Both legal system and police act in the interests of the power which is completely politicized. The same situation in the Central Electoral Committee – the absolute majority of its structure is completed by the representatives of the power and their supporters. The considerable part of business is politically engaged and serves the authorities. The state and national television channels and other mass media are completely politicized, subordinated and dominated by the power. The existing power also is based on all this system in the aspiration to keep the situation after elections and in fight against opposition. Therefore, there is very difficult political situation in the country. It is noted also by the international observers, representatives of OSCE who were here. The opposition addressed to the authorities with the requirement that the representatives of the international organizations arrived to Georgia beforehand, in long-term business trip, but not just in the day of elections. It is necessary in order that they could observe what happens in the elective legal framework before the elections and really affected this situation.

- Do the authorities of Georgia carry out any repressive actions against the figures of opposition?

Now such activity decreased a little under the pressure of the international observers. The main pressure consists in rigid control of all financial operations of opposition because of that it is almost impossible to develop the activity. Of course, control should be, but in this case it consists in almost complete blocking of financial activity of our organizations. Therefore even the billionaire Ivanishvili who is the main sponsor of “Georgian Dream” has no possibility to make even small financial operations – the possible laws are thought up interfering it. Accounts of party and personal accounts of party members are arrested. For example, our party which has no such financial possibilities as “Georgian Dream” is already fined tens of thousands laris in the various invented occasions.

The special service is organized at the Chamber of Accounts. The party members are called there and forced to slander the friends and colleagues by means of all threats. And the judicial system in Georgia is built now in the following way that there is enough a statement of one witness or, allegedly, the victim that the court passed a sentence. And sentences are passed quickly, without testimony, with the decided, tense indications of one person. Thus the legal system is built in Georgia.

- Do the simple citizens share the version of the present Georgian authorities about the events of August, 2008 and representation of Russia as the main geopolitical enemy of Georgia?

What Russia actually disposes of a part of territories and recognized the independence of these two parts of Georgia, is negatively perceived both by the authorities and the population. But at the same time the most part of the population considers that the versions which are built by the power concerning the August war represent the facts a little. In Georgia the opinion starts to prevail that this war could be avoided, if the power would be more careful, more pragmatic and more far-sighted. Though, the situation was difficult, explosive. The opinion becomes firmer that during that moment the Georgian authorities gave in on geopolitical “bait” as entailed the subsequent events. But if all circumstances and features of policy of Russia were considered, this war could be avoided.

- What does the Georgian society consider as the main reason of the war of 2008?


The reason is covered in the long term of the conflict, in its unsolved ending. The main reason is that the conflict was stretched for long time and a situation came into the deep deadlock. Now I argue not as the politicians, but as the person who well understands this conflict, knows genesis of this conflict both in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia. It is easy to start the conflict, but very difficult to solve it. The great value has that the participants of the conflict always were guided by the third party. Abkhazia and South Ossetia set hopes upon Russia, the Georgian party upon the west. But own possibilities for conflict solution almost weren't used. And it led to that it burst where it was very thin.

Russia denies that was one of the conflict parties though the Georgian party insisted on it. But the events of August, 2008 showed that Russia had own geopolitical interest in this conflict. Certainly, upholding of the interests in geopolitics is normal situation, but not at the expense of infringement of interests of other party.

But in any case the conflict which lasted for ten years, ended with what it ended. We consider that the present authorities hardly can deduce this conflict to the normal course. They have already no objective possibilities for this purpose. It is almost impossible to make something intelligible and pragmatic for a resolution of conflict, favourable for South Ossetia and Abkhazia and for the Georgia at today's character of the authorities.

- What is the role of NATO, the western partners of the present authorities in the events of August war? Did they influence in any way?

I don't think that NATO urged the Georgian authorities on that occurred. Or that NATO urged Russia on these events. But the statements of Russia that it doesn't want to see Georgia as a part of NATO are known. Therefore I also say that, proceeding from the real events, the authorities of Georgia should be more pragmatic and far-sighted. Though, nobody has the right to forbid the independent state to undertake those steps which it considers necessary. But not to reckon with that occurs round you is not diplomatic, not far-sighted certainly and it is not the policy at all.

Even if the interests of Russia that they don't want to see Georgia in NATO are declared, it doesn't mean that Georgia should refuse it. But it is necessary to make the policy so that as they speak in the Caucasus “both the meat remained whole and the skewer didn't burn down”.

By the way, Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, declared that she advised and categorically warned Saakashvili of not straining a situation in conflict places and that Georgia should behaved more carefully and pragmatically in the actions. And she warned and NATO warned that it is fraught with what it ended. Therefore, unfortunately, we have that we have. Thus, I don't think that NATO was the instigator or the accelerator of these processes.

- There is an opinion that Saakashvili's regime is completely headed by the West, by NATO. Does it correspond to the facts?


Saakashvili is the person, who entirely focused to the west. There is the irritation already in the society how the authorities of Georgia look with desire at senators of the USA, try to manipulate the support of the White house. And it can affect the results of elections in Georgia. The political circles say that Saakashvili managed at all rejection of Russia to give all valuable in Georgia to the Russian business management. Except gas and oil pipelines, the Russian businessmen head the Ingursk hydro power, other essential objects.

The electric power is also headed, for example, Tbilisi city network. Both gold, and copper ores which are extracted, are headed by the business to which the Russian businessmen are connected. Therefore, it is difficult to believe that Saakashvili so badly treats the Russian business in Georgia. And it is together with his obvious westernized orientation. In any case the role of the leader in policy is that he should be predicted, adequately to react to events.

Unfortunately, the present authorities have no that and consequently the partners, the West and Russia criticize Saakashvili and the authorities just that there should be predicted leaders in policy. The state should be open in the actions, and its steps are calculated on any adequate actions. But, unfortunately, the Georgian authorities don't have it.

- What is your forecasts concerning the upcoming elections, how the votes can be distributed and what are the chances at opposition?

If the elections would be honest, predicted, opened, fair, so, naturally, the party in power hasn't enough chances. Though, it is impossible to deny that it has any electorate. But the notorious administrative resource will be involved besides – the corresponding impact on state employees, army and police will be made, that they voted “rightly”. And plus to it all that mechanism of intimidation which the power uses. All this does the result of elections almost predicted.

The power has high motivation to keep the situation by means of all possible methods.

Certainly, the population has high motivation to change an existing situation. As Churchill told: “Democracy is the worst form of government until you don't compare it to the others” (it is not literal translation). And it has the absolutely real bases for present Georgia.

This power heads the country for eight years and people need something new, people should have the chance to elect those leaders who are close to them on spirit and can make the changes necessary for Georgia. But the present power speaks, no, let we head this country for 10-15 years more. And president Saakashvili spoke about it the following– I don’t give the country to somebody else which I built. Here are such approaches of the democratic leader to democracy.

Therefore the great value has the influence of the international organizations and institutes on a course of elections not only in day of vote, but also before. Unfortunately, such actions already are late – less than a month left before the elections and everything that it was possible to make, the authorities already made. I do not know, whether is it possible to change something for such term. But if the West shows serious interest in practice, instead of in words in that the elections will pass openly, honestly, democratically, still there is a chance that these elections will pass how it is provided by democracy in the highest sense of this word.

Viewed : 1563   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 11 September 2012 21:30

Source: The world and we

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