Kurban Bayram in Georgia
November 6, Muslims around the world celebrate one of their main religious festivals of Kurban Bayram. 

In Georgia, despite the congratulations of President, the holiday was too modest. The number of mosques in the country, there are about 200 in Georgia, is not enough to accept about 800 thousand Georgian Muslims.  There is only one mosque in Tbilisi, so the Shiites and Sunnis have to pray together. The second mosque was destroyed during the Soviet era, but despite several requests from representatives of the confession the authorities are not going to return the confiscated land to the community. In other regions the celebrations were almost unnoticeable because of overall poverty and discriminatory policy of the government. According to the local media, Azerbaijanis had to go on their usual trade  in the local market in Gardabani.

Saakashvili’s pompous speech about the great role of Muslims in Georgia sounded more like a mockery because the government had never demonstrated any care of them before. In contrast, the largest Muslim diaspora in the country - Azeris, who mostly live in Kvemo-Kartli (one of the poorest regions in Georgia) – is constantly under official oppressionThere is not enough free land for farming, irrigation and drinking water, textbooks and teachers, in Azerbaijani settlements, the unemployment is almost total. 

The police misconduct cases against members of national minority only add fuel to the fire. On June 7, 2011 the drunken local police officers of Sadakhlo village broke into Maharram Guliyev’s house and tried to carry out an unwarranted search. Meanwhile one of the officers shattering Guliyev’s cap spat at it. Despite the complaints of the victim no measures were taken to the policemen by the official bodies. And no one can protect the people as government does not allow ethnic minorities’ representatives to the municipal authorities.

The Caucasus Muslims Office, which united all Muslim republics in the Caucasus, had offered great aid to Azeris in Georgia. However, in 2011 the government of Georgia in violation of the Constitution intervened in the religious life of the country. In order to control not only public but religious organizations as well it established the Muslims Georgian Office.

The population of the Pankisi Gorge, that mostly consists of the Kists practicing traditional Islam has big problems either. With the connivance of the authorities Chechen Wahhabis destroyed the local mosques in the villages and Birkiani and Jokola in 2010 and in their place they built their own ones. Despite numerous requests from the Russian side to permit the cleaning of the gorge from the guerrillas, the Georgian government left their citizens to the mercy of fate choking with hatred for the northern neighbor. The local law enforcement authorities made no attempts to restore justice.

Georgian police plants drugs on people
According to the UN and U.S. State Department's Bureau of Narcotics report, there are about 350 000 drug addicts in Georgia. Comparing this with the neighboring countries, we have 160 000 in Armenia , 20 thousand in Azerbaijan, and 25 thousand drug addicts in Kazakhstan. That’s quite a big difference in this index, isn’t it?

Partly the level of drug use in Georgia is much affected by geography. Afghan drugs are transported to Georgia in via two routes. First one: Afghanistan - Iran - Azerbaijan – Georgia, and the second one: Afghanistan - Turkmenistan - Azerbaijan - Georgia. The main route is the Iranian one, where Georgia gets 9 tons of heroin each year. Nevertheless, despite the fact that both ways are going through Azerbaijan, the situation with drug abuse in this country is much better than in Georgia.

It’s really interesting that under these circumstances Tbilisi recently has taken on a confidential step with Iran as the simplification of visa regime. It turns out that on the one hand Saakashvili seeks to get into NATO, and also tries to restore wasted Washington's confidence; and on the other hand - fully normalize and improve relations with Tehran, which took up arms against almost all Western countries. 

It turns out that geography is not the only factor and authorities indirectly contribute to the development of drug addiction. But why do they do so?

Perhaps this situation is somehow beneficial for Saakashvili's administration. Well, there’s a possibility that almost one of four people between 20 and 60 could theoretically have drugs about himself. If someone was caught for possession of drugs, there would be no suspicion among population - the country’s full of drug addicts. Even when it concerns to politicians or businessmen.

In this way the authorities have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone:
  they can put an "unnecessary" man in jail,
and once again show that police reform is bearing its fruit - a fierce war against drugs is going on.

It happened so in situation with Akaki Daraseliya, one of the leaders of oppositional "Civil Front".  Levan Chitadze, leader of the "No!" movement, tha latter said that drugs in Daraselia's case were planted by the police.

The representative of the youth wing of the oppositional "Georgian party" Shota Yamanidze was also arrested on suspicion of drug possession.  Then Levan Gachechiladze, one of the leaders of the "Georgian party", said that the detention of his young colleagueс was aimed at discrediting his party.

Even billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, a new powerful player on the political scene of Georgia, does not exclude any provocation by the authorities.

"Their (the authorities) problem is that their team doesn’t have smart people who could correctly analyze the situation. I think they have already done the main stuff. They detained father-in-law of my closest adviser and assistant Irakli Garibashvili and tossed him a gun, as they usually do. My friend’s son, a popular DJ, was detained and planted drugs in the same way. The collector car of "Cartu Bank" was arrested as well. My security guards were demanded to surrender arms at half past ten in the evening. Perhaps the prosecutor's office will close the "Cartu Card", they may close my charity fund, qualifying charity as bribery... "- Ivanishvili said.
Thus, even senior opposition politicians fear that they or their families can be thrown in jail for weapons or drugs at any moment. But what can ordinary people do? The authorities leave them no chance to display their own civil position. You can go to rally or protest today, and tomorrow your family will be behind bars on charges of possessing drugs or weapons.

Awareness is a serious weapon in our time. 
You have to be warned and wary of provocation.
 Contact the non-state media if necessary. 
Anyone can be in such a situation.


Georgian authorities to rob banks
A group of masked men attack the collector car. Everything is well thought out and planned. The route of the car is known in advance. Several people held hostage ... It reminds us the screenplay of a Hollywood blockbuster of the early 90s, doesn’t it?

However, this is not the case. Such things really happen in modern Georgia: on October 18, Georgian police (apparently, fans of American movies) arrested the employees of  the bank “Cartu” owned by famous businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili. Six car collectors, transporting cash from the "Bank of Georgia" to the “Cartu” bank  were attacked by the police and put in jail.

According to investigators, the car was carrying "too much money," that seemed suspicious to them. Apparently, it seems to be a crime in Georgia now. It is not clear why the authorities have detained only unsuspecting performers, not the "customer" - Mr. Ivanishvili? Just like in the movies: you have to pass through fire, water and copper pipes to get the main "villain". But who’s the "villain"?

The authorities are trying to make such a villain of a well-known businessman. As soon as Mr. Ivanishvili stated that he intends to create a political party and actually confront the regime of President Saakashvili, the authorities immediately started to suspect the involvement of Moscow. "In order to finance its activities," they think. And the money that the collector car was carrying was the “Moscow money”.

It turns out that the Georgian authorities do not believe that someone without the help of third parties can create an effective political force? It turns out that the country's leadership has openly stated that today in Georgia may not be the opposition, and can only be dispersed political parties, which, according to those same authorities, cannot agree on anything.

The situation is heating up. The press and the Internet discuss the latest events. People like Irakli Alasania (leader of the "Free Democrats"), for example, declared that "the fact, carried out by the Georgian authorities against Bidzina Ivanishvili, is nothing but extremism."

"I am convinced that none of these facts will be able to intimidate the opposition parties that are customized real opposition. It is a struggle, and we expected that struggle to be that hard "- Alasania said after meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who, incidentally, paid visit to Georgia after all the recent events.

The press service of  Mr. Ivanishvili reported that "the Georgian government began an open, aggressive and criminal attack on B. Ivanishvili."
"The authorities act in violation of the Constitution, all international standards and constitute political persecution", - underlined in the message of the press service.

One of the leaders of the Georgian Republican Party Tina Khidasheli also gave her assessment of the situation. 
She believes that "the Georgian authorities were not able to stand those new challenges that have emerged since Bidzina Ivanishvili had entered politics."

"The government itself, with its characteristic style is trying to kill a healthy political life in the country and leave no opportunity for healthy competition. The choice of the Georgian authorities still remains in using the police against all those people who actively show their different opinion. Mikhail Saakashvili and his regime has chosen a very shameful way "- says Khidasheli.

There are numerous statements on the subject. But there’s no action. No protests or rallies. It is worth remembering, for example the audit of "Palitra". It’s the same situation now, but Ivanishvili offices are being checked. Nobody likes it, everyone expresses negative opinion, but de facto, everything remains as it is.
Although the Georgian authorities, perhaps unwittingly do free advertising for Ivanishvili. People talk about it, people discuss it. Isn’t it the essence of PR?

 Obviously, quite a significant player appeared on the political scene in Georgia today. The question is: can he change anything? Will he defeat the main villain? In many ways the audience can give an answer on this question itself.

Georgia rearmed
After the aggression against South Ossetia in August 2008, Georgia has been actively restoring its military potential, widely using help (often free) of western states.
Georgia for a short time significantly exceeded the prewar level of weapons and military equipment. Even after analyzing open sources, it is possible to find enough information about arms sales to Georgia, as well as the amounts of the transactions.

At the same time Georgia paid special attention to weapons capable of hitting a lot of manpower and equipment of the enemy. For example, more than 30 missile launch rocket systems BM-27 Uragan were purchased.

The performance characteristics of these allow to strike to a distance of 40 km. It can destroy everything on the territory of 450 square kilometres (for example the city of Oslo ocupies the territory of 440 square kilometres, and the city of Sukhum (the capital of Abkhazia) ocupies the territory about 370 squre kilometres). So it's evident that Saakashvili is going to destroy something. But what it will be...

United States, Israel, Estonia, Turkey, France, and till the end of 2009 Ukraine became the largest suppliers of weapons and equipment to Georgia.
During the period from 2008 to 2011 Georgia purchased 12 MLRS BM-27 Grad
24 122-mm MLRS RM-70, 12 152-mm howitzers "Dana", 10 MLRS 9K57 "Hurricane",

artillery shells (up to $ 3 000 000), 220 ammo for MLRS BM-21 "Grad", 200 anti-tank guided missiles "Combat", two helicopters UH-1H "Iroquois",

8-12 UAV "Hermes 450",

12 Mi- 8 and 4 Mi-24.

Thus Ukraine has put 700 ammo for MLRS rockets "GRAD" 240ZUR to SAM "Wasp", 150 PM and MANPADS "Igla",

900 missiles and MANPADS.

The U.S., Turkey, Slovakia and Israel had supplied 16 UAVs "Hermes 450", about 5000 M-16 rifles of various modifications and MP5 submachine guns, 80 million rounds of ammunition for them, 15 million rounds of AK-74 and also up to 6000 scopes for sniper rifles "Hensold", "Rantel", "Boxer" and "NVC".

With the help of Austria, the USA, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Estonia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the Czech Republic Georgia was armed with 30 40-mm grenade launchers LL-OB, up to 1 thousand sniper rifles, 40 of which are of Austrian production, up to 1 thousand of of guns, about 31 000 000 rounds of ammunition for small arms, including 600 thousand caliber 11.43 mm., 5 tons of ammunition for grenade launchers, up to 80 thousand meters of safety fuses and detonating cords, and 4 tons of plastic explosives PHF-89 (P-4) and 5500 hand grenades RPG-22.

Mikhail Saakashvili's Image: Made in USA
Official Tbilisi concludes contracts with influential American public relations offices. One of these companies is Podesta Group, which has succeeded in creating a positive image in international relations and in support of Georgia's economy.
It is the company which helped Mikhail Saakashvili to make his first visit to the United States in 2010 since the president was Barack Obama. The head of Georgia met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other officials. And earlier this year Saakashvili managed to negotiate with the current U.S. president.

Every time Georgia extends a six-month contract worth 300 thousand dollars with the mentioned lobbying company.
According to documents submitted by the company to the U.S. Justice Department, Podesta Group would "lobby for the interests of Georgia and help it in arranging contacts with governmental and non-governmental organizations and the press." In addition, it pledged to organize meetings of Georgian politicians with U.S. congressmen and their aides, and representatives of executive power as well.

In the past, Mikhail Saakashvili, who was educated in the West and speaks English, was a favorite of U.S. President George W. Bush and a frequent guest on Western television channels. He was perceived as the personification of democracy in the former Soviet Union. However, his position was complicated when the EU published a report on the Caucasus conflict of August 2008, alleging that it was Georgia who began the war in South Ossetia.

The once-warm relations between Washington and Tbilisi have cooled after Bush left the White House. Saakashvili was not even invited to the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009.
The contract with Podesta Group is not the only treaty signed by the head of the Georgian National Security Council on behalf of the official Tbilisi. In particular, there is also a similar operating contract with another and equally influential lobbying company in Washington - Gephardt Government Affairs.
                                   -The president of the corporation

On its official website the company says it "has signed a one-year contract worth over 430 thousand dollars to provide representation services" to Georgia and that "the team leader will be the former Democratic leader in the House of Representatives of the U.S. Senate." The site also says that "Gephardt connections with the Democrats and Obama administration may be useful for the Georgian government, which wanted to get U.S. support for NATO membership and to counter Russia."

The name of another lobbying firm, Orion Strategies LLC, became known to mass media in connection with the conflict in Georgia. The co-owner of the Washington-based company is Randolph Scheunemann, foreign policy adviser to the presidential candidate of the Republican Party John McCain. Scheunemann's company had a contract with the Georgian government, and McCain came to the defense of Georgia after the conflict. By the way, it is not a secret that Scheunemann's Orion Strategies LLC successfully worked for the government of Latvia in its own time. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Baltic country acknowledged that Latvia had been paying the companies engaged in lobbying to "promote the integration of Latvia into NATO and finding the right ways of working in the U.S. political environment." The contract with the U.S. cost Latvian Treasury 250 thousand dollars from the budget of the national Ministry of Defence.
Private national firms and companies were involved in creating a favorable international image of Latvia as well. They came over the government in subsidizing the promotion of the interests of the state and of their own business overseas by a large margin. Since 2005, their expenses were almost half a million dollars.

The contract with Orion Strategies LLC 250 thousand dollars worth was executed by the order of Latvia in 2001-2003, and the job of the American company was to create a favorable attitude of NATO member countries to take Latvia into the Alliance. A bit later, 40 thousand dollars was spent in the fight for the right to host the NATO summit in Riga.

It is known that the work of professional lobbyists brings far more benefits than routine diplomatic activities or even visits by officials. Lobbyists know how the laws are approved in the U.S., who plays an important role in the process, how to get to these people and how to convey the information to them. Their activities are far more accurate, relevant and ultimately more effective than the work of a diplomat. So to pay the lobby is a reasonable investment, although there's a certain share of risk.

It seems that the official Tbilisi has not yet recovered from the silent refusal of Europe to accept Georgia as a full member of the Old World. First Europe needs to absorb the shame it was involved into by Saakashvili in August 2008. At that time it believed that this "small but proud country" had become the target of aggression.

But the same Europe was the first to recognize the truth of the war, and now it is watching the development of situation in Georgia, its political somersaults of the politicians, their activity in demonstrating commitment to the values of Western civilization with fear. The Old World is conservative and is already fed up with mistakenly receiving the newly formed states with unresolved conflicts in its bosom.

Georgia belongs to them. And no matter how much money the government allocates to fix its reputation on the international ground, the same key issues will remain: the need of changing the policy, the government's ability to admit its mistakes and to build a life based on trust and respect of other sovereign parties. Large and small, strong and weak, rich and poor, proud and not very ...

Karabakh: what if there be a war?

Reality shows that the Karabakh issue is still far from being solved, and there will be no agreement between the sides of the conflict in the near future. And the talks between Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian with the participation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held in Kazan once again prove it. Each side of the conflict, which began in 1988, continues to stand his ground firmly.

Baku talks about the need to respect the principle of territorial integrity, which means that Nagorno-Karabakh should remain as part of Azerbaijan. Yerevan also recalls the right of nations to self-determination, which presupposes the independence and legal recognition of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Baku said they were ready to grant Nagorno-Karabakh the widest cultural autonomy, but the people of Karabakh, the past two decades living an independent life and where a whole generation of young people was grown in independence; do not want to hear about autonomy within Azerbaijan. Baku demands Armenian troops to liberate regions of Azerbaijan adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh captured during the war (a small part of it is controlled by Azerbaijani forces); Yerevan says that the NKR is ready to do it, if its independence was declared. How to reconcile these polar positions and find the desired trade-off? Where do they get some kind of "Solomonic solution" is hard to say.

In this situation, it is possible that a truce concluded in 1994, will be broken, and hostilities will be resumed. Ilham Aliyev so many times declared an option that Azerbaijan will never agree to lose Nagorno-Karabakh, and will solve the conflict by military means if necessary.

Yerevan and Stepanakert (the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh) consider this possibility and also take appropriate measures aimed at improving combat readiness. It seems that both sides are now on the well-known principle: "If you want peace - prepare for a war."

Well, and if military action resumes indeed, which scenario might unfold and how would the the nearest neighbours of Armenia and Azerbaijan behave? Let's try to predict it. We start with Russia. Its intermediation in the settlement of Karabakh conflict has had little effect so far. But there is no doubt that Moscow is sincerely interested in lasting peace in South Caucasus. It's because since Russian Empire and Soviet Union it has been closely connected with the region, and because of the situation in North Caucasus which depends largely on the situation in South Caucasus, where an echo of the Chechen war still sounds and insurgents are active. It is clear that the flame of a new Caucasian war could easily spread on Russian territory.

Undoubtedly, in case Nagorno-Karabakh war resumes Moscow will make all efforts to cease fire, but the Chechen terrorists, taking advantage of the moment, can become active and take the side of Azerbaijan which would have extremely negative consequences. Let us recall that during the Georgia-Abkhazia war of 1992 Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basayev helped Abkhazia. However, during combat operations in Chechnya it did not stop the Georgian leadership from sympathizing with terrorists and harboring them in their territory, closing their eyes on their crossing Russian-Georgian border, in other words, to indulge them.

But that's not an idle inquiry how Georgia would behave in case of Nagorno-Karabakh war? Official Tbilisi has never - neither in times of Gamsakhurdia and then Shevardnadze, nor at present, when the country is headed by Mikheil Saakashvili - openly expressed its sympathy to any of the parties of Karabakh conflict or any interest in anyone's victory. However, we can assume that the Georgian leadership is nevetheless closer to the position of Azerbaijan. After all the official recognition of Karabakh as an independent state would automatically entail international recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (recognized by Russia but not by the world community) which withdrew from Georgia after August 2008. So, the Tbilisi authorities are not interested in the victory of Karabakh Armenians for sure.

But at the same time, given the anti-Russian policy and the fact that Moscow mediate in the Karabakh settlement, Nagorno-Karabakh war seems to be to Saakashvili's advantage. Just in order to trigger a wave of instability in North Caucasus, and to show the failure of Russia in solving the Karabakh problem.

Thus, Saakashvili is unlikely to act as a peacemaker in case of war. He will obviously be quite happy with tensions in the region.

There is another factor that should influence the position of Georgia. It is home to quite a lot of and Azerbaijanis and Armenians. There are whole areas inhabited by the representatives of these nationalities. For example, Armenians mostly live in the Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe regiones, in Marneuli - Azerbaijanis. Of course, if tomorrow guns started  fire again in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenians and Azerbaijanis living in Georgia, would be "disturbing" for their brothers. But it can go further than just inner feelings. Emotion and desire to help can give push to the movement of volunteers. And then dozens, then hundreds of volunteers will go to the front to take part in hostilities. In this case, the Georgian authorities hardly would stop them in the manifestation of patriotism caused by the influx of national feelings.

Volunteers, and in much larger quantities will rush to the front and from Armenia. The way Armenia would act in this case is clear. Officially, Armenia didn't participate in the Karabakh war of the early 90s. But it was official version. In fact, Armenia could not remain indifferent, and helped its people in Nagorno-Karabakh with weapons, food, and, of course, volunteers. The same will undoubtedly be at this time.

The Armenian army today is the strongest one in the region, not because of its number, but due to its schooling, organization and trained officers. NKR Army, having much less soldiers than Azerbaijan army, managed to defeat  its enemy. It is true that since that time the government of Azerbaijan has done much to improve the combat capability of its troops, but it is hard to say if it would be enough for military success.
The possible position of Iran and Turkey, bordering Azerbaijan and Armenia, in case of resumption of Karabakh war is also important. Tehran, despite the religious affinity (the Persians, who are the majority population of Iran and Azerbaijanis - Shiite Muslims), does not feel special sympathy for Baku. There are many reasons for such position, it is worth to mention even the longstanding problem of Iranian Azerbaijan (province in northern Iran), which is sometimes raised by Baku. At the same time Tehran has normal, good-neighbor relations with Yerevan. In the early 90s, when Armenia was under blockade because of the Karabakh war, Yerevan received food, fuel and various items needed in the country from Iran. So far, Iran hasn't define its position in relation to the Karabakh problem, and obviously Iran wouldn't interfere in the conflict.
The case with Turkey is not the same. Ankara is an ally of Azerbaijan, and it constantly emphasized that its position on the Karabakh issue was identical with the position of Baku. Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations because of the unwillingness of Ankara to recognize the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Considering this, it is clear that in the event of another war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey's sympathy will be entirely on the side of Azerbaijan. Not only sympathy, but, perhaps, specific assistance. Of cause, the case can hardly reach Turkey's direct intervention in the conflict. Because It would be too risky, and would not find understand of the world community.
If tomorrow the war happened, it could follow such script. We can only hope to escape such possibility due to mediation and help from Russia.

Mikheil Saakashvili vs the Olympic Games: the second attempt

New Stalin decided to encroach on the world sporting traditions…

The 8th of August, 2008 had to go down in history as the beginning of the XXIX Olympic Games in Beijing. The whole world had been prepared for this sporting event for four years and the opening ceremony was definitely stunning. But the live broadcast of the action at the Olympic stadium was interrupted by disturbing messages from the Caucasus. It was the day when Georgia unleashed the war against South Ossetia.

The georgian-ossetian conflict has deep historical roots. After the collapse of the USSR South Ossetia didn’t want to remain the part of Georgia and has taken steps to become an independent state. Georgian army invaded to the breakaway territory, but the Ossetians - an ancient Caucasian people - met the enemy with dignity. Ossetian people defended their land and de facto created unrecognized state with the capital in the city of Tskhinvali. The joint Russian-Georgian-Ossetian peacekeeping forces were brought into the region in order to resolve the conflict and the situation became more or less controlled until the moment when Mikheil Saakashvili became the president of Georgia. When Saakashvili and his team took the helm of the country after the "Rose Revolution" they began to exacerbate relations with Tskhinvali declaring their intention to return South Ossetia under the jurisdiction of Georgia.
It’s a common knowledge that all the wars and conflicts stopped during the competitions in ancient Greece which is the homeland of the Olympic Games and no state had a right to violate that law.

These unwritten rules survive to this day but Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili decided that this "anachronism" is not for him and he broke the age-old traditions. On the 8th of August, 2008, the opening day of Olympic Games in Beijing, Georgian troops launched the military operation "Clear Field". The name speaks for itself. The principal goal of that operation was the total destruction of the Ossetian people. Sleeping Tskhinvali was shelled by the Georgian artillery and the tanks entered the city, Russian and Ossetian peacekeepers were killed by their "Georgian colleagues". During the five days of the war the capital of South Ossetia has been almost completely destroyed. Hundreds of civilians died and thousands became refugees. Only the forced military involvement of Russia prevented an ethnic disaster.
The events occurred in South Ossetia have been repeatedly called the genocide, and genocide has no statute of limitations by international standards. Genocide is the extermination of certain population groups by race, national or religious grounds.
Beyond all doubt the date of operation "Clean Field" was not coincided by chance with the start of the Beijing Olympics when the whole world’s attention had been focused on sporting events. However Saakashvili’s actions had not gone unnoticed by the world community. A lot of efforts were made by international organizations to find those responsible for starting the war.
On the 1st of October, 2009 the head of the International Commission of the European Union to investigate the conflict in Georgia, Heidi Tagliavini declared that the cause of the five-day war had been the massive shelling of Tskhinvali by Georgian multiple rocket launchers “Grad” on the 8th of August, 2008. That shelling led to civilians’ and Russian peacekeepers’ casualties.
Three years have passed. The next Winter Olympic Games to be held in 2014 in the Russian city of Sochi are coming.

Over the past two years the Georgian leader tries all possible ways to break one more sporting event calling to boycott the 2014 Olympics.
Mikheil Saakashvili’s arguments seem to be absurd. He talks about the lack of security and environmental harm to the region. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) denies all the accusations from Tbilisi. Jean-Jacques Rogge has no doubt that the security of the Olympic Games will be organized at the highest level. The construction of sports facilities and infrastructure is under the direct supervision of the IOC representatives, so the ecology problems are also out of the question. "It is very difficult to build in the mountains, but those companies involved in construction, are the highest world-class companies and we are satisfied with the progress," - said Rogge.
After several unsuccessful attempts to discredit the preparation of the Winter Olympics in Sochi Mikheil Saakashvili decided to use another tactics. As soon as possible the Georgian parliament adopted the resolution recognizing the genocide of the Circassian people in the XIX century by the Russian Empire. Circassians are Caucasian people who lived for a long time on the area where there is a city of Sochi today. In the middle of the XIX century these lands ceded to the Russian Empire as a result of the Caucasian war and the part of the Circassian nation moved to Turkey. It’s curious that until quite recently the Georgian side did not express any interest in the subject. And it’s not surprising because the Circassian volunteers fought on the Abkhazian side against Georgia in the early 1990-s.
Speaking of “the genocide of Circassians” Georgian president evidently wanted to spoil the image of the Olympic Sochi but in vain. Adopting this resolution Georgian parliament has put itself in a very awkward position. Since that moment the questions to Tbilisi have appeared in neighboring Armenia. It’s interesting that Armenia has repeatedly called for Georgian parliament to recognize the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 the last time as recently as on the 24th of April, 2011 less than a month before adoption of "Circassian" resolution on May 20. However the Georgian side rejected these requests every time despite the fact that the genocide of Armenians in 1915 is recognized by more than 20 countries around the world.

Considering the mass extermination of the indigenous population as the cause to boycott the Olympiad, it seems very strange that the next in turn Olympic Games had been held in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. It's a common knowledge that during colonization of the North-American continent the number of Indians had decreased from 3 million people to 230 thousands in 1900 year. In the middle of the XIX century there was a practice of rewarding for dead Indians: about 5 dollars for the Indians` scalp. In comparison with these atrocities moot fact of the genocide against the Circassians looks not very convincing.
Let`s come back to Georgia. Saakashvili tries to prevent holding the Olympic Games in Sochi forgetting about the fact that the population of Georgia haven`t supported any of his initiatives no longer. And the striking testimony of that were the massive demonstrations in 2007, 2009 years and finally events in May 2011. And especially after these events dissatisfaction of the Georgian people with the ruling regime not calmed down but even increased. As far as we know all these demonstrations were dispersed severely. Policemen used tear gas, rubber bullets, truncheons and beat unmercifully the demonstrators.
International human rights organizations insisted on the investigation of the facts of beating of peaceful demonstrators and using the excessive violence against protesters more than once, but still none of criminal case was opened on the matter. And even after the events in May 2011 when all the Georgian people were talking about the fact that policemen had killed two demonstrators and placed surreptitiously their bodies on the roof of the store Saakashvili did nothing. The authorities said that the demonstrators had died because of the electric shock on the roof.
At the same time the Georgian authorities assert that the country fully meets the requirements of the real democratic state. And with it all they intentionally conceal the number of political prisoners in the country. The political repressions are striking with their scales now. Every nonconformism threatens with jail, tortures and persecution. This situation reminds about the Soviet period of 1937 and the unmercifully Stalin’s repressions.

Especially as the Georgian president publicly compares himself with Stalin and is proud of the fact that their birthdays are the same – December, 21. And after all that how can anyone call Georgia the state of highly developed democracy? More likely the situation shows that Georgia aspires to dictatorship with strongly pronounced features of the police state.
For example the cases of oppression of media representatives became frequent in “democratic” Georgia. Recently four press photographers were arrested and accused of spying. The representatives of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs don’t provide any testimony of their guilt and say only that the information on this case is secret. In consideration of that the arrested journalists worked in the international agencies and in the Georgian president’s press office this case would have to be investigated as transparently as possible and all the necessary facts should be made public. Else there are some doubts about the legitimacy of the police actions. Everything that happens inside of Georgia seems rather unusual for the country whose president is constantly talking about democracy. The ruthless dictator implementing the real genocide against his own people is hiding under the mask of freedom fighter.
According to experts, opposing the Olympiad in Sochi 2014 Mikheil Saakashvili is guided not by the political, economic or social interests of Georgians or other people but he pursues only his personal business goals. Recently he officially declared that Georgian town Batumi will soon become the main Black Sea resort and will eclipse Sochi. But with it of course he didn’t mentioned that all the construction of tourism infrastructure in Batumi is controlled by him and his clan. Even investors can’t enter this market segment in Batumi not to speak of private businessmen. And this is not a single example. Most areas of the country's economy are monopolized by Mr. Saakashvili. In this case any monopolist would be reasonable to speak out against the Olympiad so as not to incur losses in his own business.
Meanwhile the construction of the stadiums, ice arenas, ski areas and related infrastructure advances accelerated pace in Sochi. The interim commissions of the International Olympic Committee come to Sochi regularly and evince satisfaction with the pace of preparation for a sports forum. It remains three years before holding the Olympic Games in Sochi but the city has already changed beyond all recognition: there are new airport terminal, modern world class hotels, tens of kilometers of new roads. Sochi-2014 certainly will be a great sports festival. And Saakashvili won’t be able to prevent this.

Михаил Саакашвили vs Олимпийские Игры: вторая попытка

Новый Сталин решил посягнуть на мировые спортивные традиции…

8 августа 2008 года должно было навсегда войти в историю как день начала XXIX Олимпийских игр в Пекине. Спортивный праздник, к которому весь мир готовился четыре года, предваряла изумительная по красоте церемония открытия. Однако транслируемая ведущими мировыми каналами картинка действа на Олимпийском стадионе была прервана тревожными сообщениями с Кавказа. В этот день Грузия начала войну против Южной Осетии.

История грузино-осетинского конфликта имеет давние корни. После развала Советского Союза Южная Осетия не захотела оставаться в составе Грузии и предприняла шаги к собственной независимости. Грузия ответила вооруженным вторжением на мятежную территорию, но осетины – древний кавказский народ – достойно встретили противника и отстояли свою землю, де-факто создав непризнанное государство со столицей в Цхинвали. С целью урегулирования конфликта в регион были введены совместные российско-грузинско-осетинские миротворческие силы и ситуация более-менее контролировалась до прихода к власти в Тбилиси Михаила Саакашвили. Он и его команда, возглавившие страну после «революции роз», пошли на резкое обострение отношений с Цхинвали, заявив о намерении вернуть Южную Осетию под юрисдикцию Грузии.
Всем известно, что на родине Олимпийских игр, в древней Греции, во время соревнований прекращались войны и конфликты, заключались перемирия, и ни одно государство не имело права нарушить этот закон.

Эти негласные правила существуют и по сей день, но президент Грузии Михаил Саакашвили решил, что этот «анахронизм» не для него и пренебрег вековыми традициями. 8 августа 2008 года, в день начала Олимпийских игр в Пекине, грузинские войска начали военную операцию «Чистое поле». Название говорит само за себя. Речь шла о тотальном уничтожении осетин. Спящий Цхинвали был обстрелян грузинской артиллерией, танки вошли в город, российские и осетинские миротворцы были убиты своими «грузинскими коллегами». За пять дней боевых действий столица Южной Осетии была практически полностью разрушена. Сотни мирных людей погибли, тысячи стали беженцами. Только вынужденное вмешательство России предотвратило этническую катастрофу.
То, что произошло в Южной Осетии, уже неоднократно называли геноцидом, а по международным нормам геноцид не имеет срока давности. Геноцид - это истребление отдельных групп населения по расовым, национальным или религиозным мотивам.
Без сомнения, дата операции «Чистое поле» не случайно совпала с началом Олимпийских игр в Пекине, когда внимание всего мира было приковано к спортивным соревнованиям, но действия Саакашвили не остались незамеченными мировым сообществом. Немало времени и сил было потрачено международными организациями на поиск виновных в развязывании этой войны.
1 октября 2009 года глава Международной комиссии Евросоюза по расследованию конфликта в Грузии Хайди Тальявини заявила, что «причиной "пятидневной войны" стал массированный обстрел Цхинвали артиллерийскими установками типа "Град" со стороны Грузии в ночь на 8 августа 2008 года, повлекший жертвы среди мирного населения и российских миротворцев».
Прошло три года, приближаются очередные зимние Олимпийские игры, которые планируется провести в 2014 году в российском городе Сочи.

На протяжении последних двух лет грузинский лидер пытается всеми возможными способами сорвать еще один спортивный праздник, призывает бойкотировать Олимпиаду-2014. Аргументы, которые приводит Михаил Саакашвили, вызывают, по крайней мере, недоумение: недостаточный уровень безопасности и нанесение вреда экологии региона. Но все эти обвинения со стороны Тбилиси отвергает сам Международный Олимпийский комитет. У его главы Жан-Жака Рогге нет сомнений, что безопасность зимней Олимпиады, вне всякого сомнения, будет организована на самом высоком уровне. Строительство спортивных объектов и инфраструктуры ведется при непосредственном контроле со стороны представителей МОК, так что о нанесении вреда экологии региона тоже речи быть не может. «В горах очень трудно строить, но те компании, которые занимаются строительством, это компании высочайшего мирового класса, и мы очень довольны их прогрессом», - отметил Рогге.
После ряда безуспешных попыток скомпрометировать подготовку зимней Олимпиады в Сочи Михаил Саакашвили решил прибегнуть к другой тактике. В кратчайшие сроки парламент Грузии принял резолюцию о признании факта геноцида черкесского народа в XIX веке со стороны Российской империи. Черкесы – кавказский народ, долгое время проживавший, в частности, на территории, где находится город Сочи. В середине 19 века эти земли в результате многолетней Кавказской войны отошли к Российской империи, а часть черкесов переселилась в Турцию. Любопытно, что до недавнего времени грузинская сторона не проявляла никакого интереса к данной теме. Что неудивительно, поскольку черкесы являются народом, родственным абхазам, и черкесские добровольцы принимали активное участие в боевых действиях в Абхазии против Грузии в начале 1990-х годов.
Заговорив о «геноциде черкесов», грузинский президент, видимо, хотел испортить имидж Олимпийской столицы 2014 года, но тем самым парламент поставил себя в очень неловкое положение. Так, в частности, появились вопросы к Тбилиси у соседней Армении, которая неоднократно обращалась к Грузии с просьбой признать факт геноцида армянского народа Османской империей в 1915 году, в последний раз – не далее как 24 апреля 2011 года, то есть менее чем за месяц до принятия «черкесской» резолюции 20 мая. Однако грузинская сторона эти просьбы неизменно отклоняла, несмотря на то, что факт геноцида армян 1915 года признан более чем 20-ю странами мира. 

Если и рассматривать факты массового истребления коренного населения как повод к бойкотированию Олимпиады, то кажется странным, что очередные Олимпийские игры проводились в Солт-Лэйк Сити и в Ванкувере. Ведь за время колонизации североамериканского континента численность индейцев снизилась с 3 миллионов человек до 230 тысяч в 1900 году. В середине 19 века даже существовала практика вознаграждения за убитых индейцев: до 5 долларов за скальп индейца. По сравнению с этими зверствами, спорный факт геноцида черкесов смотрится не очень убедительно.
Вернемся обратно в Грузию. Саакашвили пытается помешать проведению сочинской Олимпиады, забывая о том, что население Грузии уже давно не поддерживает каких-либо его инициатив. Ярким доказательством тому стали массовые демонстрации в 2007, 2009 и, наконец, майские события 2011 года, после которых недовольство грузинского народа правящим режимом не только не утихло, но наоборот выросло. Как известно, все эти демонстрации жестоко разгонялись. Полицейские применяли слезоточивый газ, резиновые пули, дубинки, жестоко избивали митингующих.
Международные правозащитные организации не раз настаивали на расследовании фактов избиения мирных демонстрантов и применения чрезмерного насилия к митингующим, однако до сих пор не заведено ни одного уголовного дела на полицейских, участвовавших в разгоне демонстраций. И даже после майских событий 2011 года, когда вся Грузия говорит о том, что полицейские избили до смерти двух демонстрантов, затем подкинули их тела на крышу магазина, Саакашвили «спустил всё на тормозах». Власти заявили, что демонстранты якобы «погибли от удара током на крыше».
В то же время, руководство Грузии утверждает, что страна полностью отвечает требованиям настоящего демократического государства. И при этом намеренно утаивает количество заключенных, особенно по политическим мотивам. А в настоящее время политические репрессии просто потрясают своими масштабами. Любое инакомыслие грозит тюрьмой, пытками и преследованием. Это уже напоминает советские времена 1937-го года и беспощадные Сталинские репрессии. 

К тому же грузинский президент открыто сравнивает себя со Сталиным, гордясь тем, что даже дни рождения у них в один день – 21 декабря. И как после этого можно называть Грузию, государством с высокоразвитой демократией? Скорее, сложившаяся ситуация говорит о том, что Грузия стремительно скатывается к диктатуре с сильно выраженными чертами полицейского режима.
К примеру, в «демократической» Грузии участились случаи притеснения представителей СМИ. Недавно были арестованы четыре фоторепортера, которых обвиняют в шпионаже. Никаких доказательств их вины представители МВД не предоставляют, говоря лишь о том, что информация по этому делу является секретной. Учитывая, что арестованные фотожурналисты работали в международных агентствах и пресс-службе президента Грузии, это дело должно было бы расследоваться максимально прозрачно, все необходимые факты должны быть обнародованы, иначе возникают сомнения в легитимности действий полиции. Все происходящее внутри Грузии выглядит довольно необычно для государства, президент которого постоянно говорит о демократии. Под маской борца за свободу скрывается жестокий диктатор, который творит самый настоящий геноцид против своего же народа.
По мнению экспертов, выступая против Олимпиады 2014 года в Сочи, Михаил Саакашвили руководствуется отнюдь не политическими, экономическими или социальными интересами народа своей страны или каких-либо других народов, а преследует исключительно личные коммерческие цели. Совсем недавно он официально заявил, что грузинский город Батуми станет в скором времени главным черноморским курортом и затмит собой Сочи. Но при этом он, естественно, не упомянул о том, что всё строительство туристической инфраструктуры в Батуми контролируется им и его кланом. Даже у инвесторов возникают проблемы с вхождением в любой сегмент рынка Батуми, не говоря уже о простых грузинских коммерсантах. И это не единственный пример. Большинство сфер экономики страны монополизированы господином Саакашвили. В данном случае любому монополисту будет выгодно выступать против Олимпиады, дабы не понести убытки в собственном бизнесе.
Тем временем в Сочи ударными темпами идет строительство стадионов, ледовых арен, горнолыжных спусков и сопутствующей инфраструктуры. Промежуточные комиссии Международного Олимпийского комитета, которые регулярно приезжают в Сочи, выказывают удовлетворение темпами подготовки к спортивному форуму. До проведения Олимпийских игр остается еще три года, а город уже изменился до неузнаваемости: новый терминал аэропорта, современные отели мирового класса, десятки километров новых дорог. Сочи-2014 года, безусловно, состоится, и это будет грандиозный спортивный праздник. И Саакашвили не удастся помешать этому.

(no subject)

ცენზურის სესახებ ქართულ ინტერნეტში

სიტყვის თავისუფლების ფასი ძალიან დიდია. როგორც ჩანს, ეგვიპტის წინა ხელისუფლება კომპიუტერულ ტექნოლოგიებში სათანადოდ ვერ ერკვეოდა, რადგანაც საშუალება მისცა მეამბოხეებს გამოეყენებინათ ინტერნეტი. საქართველოს მთავრობამ კი მოახერხა ცენზურის ორგანიზირება და საკმაოდ „წარმატებულადაც მოღვაწეობს“.

 მოვლენებს პერიოდულად ვაკვირდები ქვეყანაში ,სადაც ჩემი დიდი ბაბუა დაიბადა და რევოლუციის გამო    იტალიაში მოუწია გადასახლება. 26 მაისის მოვლენების ემოციებით დატვირთული,ერთ გამოკითხვას გადავაწყდი და მოვინდომე ხმის მიცემა, მაგრამ რატომღაც საიტმა ჩემი ხმა არ მიიღო. გამიკვირდა, ბრაუზერი გადავარეფრეშე, მაგრამ .....ეჰ, საიტის მეპატრონეებს ალტერნატიული მოსაზრების გამარჯვება არ აწყობდათ .

ამით ჩემი თავგადასავალი არ დამთავრებულა. შევედი ფეისბუქის  ჯგუფში ,სადაც ბლოგერები სააკაშვილს მორიდებით აკრიტიკებენ , 2-3 კომენტარი გავაკეთე და ჩემი აზრიც გამოვთქვი. შემდეგ დღეს კი მომივიდა გზავნილი,სადაც დამემუქრნენ, რომ თუ არ შევწვეტდი ამ საქმიანობას, სერიოზულად ვინანებდი, თან „მანათლებდნენ“ რაღაც ლინკით, რომელიც „ასაბუთებდა“, თითქოს სახურავის ტავზე ნაპოვნი ადამიანები დენით დაიღუპნენ.

ასეთი ნეტში არაფერი  არ მინახავს! მე არ მეშინია, რადგანაც საქართველოსგან შორს ვარ, მაგრამ წარმოგიდგენიათ რა დღეშია ხალხი?! არცაა გასაკვირი მათი შიში და სიფრთხილე.

არ შევეშვი. გავაგრძელე ობიექტური ინფორმაციის გავრცელება, მაგრამ პოსტები აღარ იდებოდა. სპორტული ინტერესი გამიჩნდა , ინტერნეტ-კაფეს მივაკითხე და იქიდან როგორც იქნა გამოქვეყნდა.

აი მიშას ქებაზე კი პრობლემები არაა. პანფილოვი და „სუხუმი“ ს ნაწერი უპრობლემოდ ტირაჟირდება. რა საშინელი ტყუილებია? ასე გააყალბო ფაქტები ?! ეს შესაძლებელია მხოლოდ მაღალი ჰონორარების ან გონების სრული დაბინდების პირობებში.

არ ვიცი ბეჭვდით  მედიაში როგორაა საქმე, მაგრამ ასეთი ცენზურა წარმოსახვაშიც კი არ ჯდება-ან უნდა შეეგუო და შუა საუკუნეებში გადახვიდე ან უნდა შეცვალო ეს ხელისუფლება .

About Internet censorship in Georgia
 Amazing how valuable freedom of speech is. Apparently, the previous government of Egypt was not so advanced in computer technology, once it made it possible to organize an uprising via the Internet. But the Georgian government is smart enough to establish censorship in the global web.

 From time to time I follow the events in the country where my great-grandfather was born. He emigrated to Italy after the revolution in 1917. After the tragic events of May 26 I came across a social poll abut the lack of democracy in Georgia. Out of habit, I tried to vote. But I failed to my surprise! I was trying to update the page and was cursing the ISP, but in vain - the browser was showing an error. I was astonished, of course, but that's not the end of my misadventures. I was admitted to a group in Facebook where bloggers cautiously criticized Saakashvili and his regime. I posted my comments a couple of times and he wrote a small note, something like a look from the outside, and invited my friends to this group. The next day I received a personal message that said that if I go on distributing the "wrong" information I will regret it. And a link that lead to a small piece of news saying that two people were allegedly killed on the roof of the house by electric current on the night of May 26! I’m not a newcomer in the web but I have not seen anything like this before! Though I was not frightened a lot because I’m too far from Georgia it was very unpleasant. And I wonder how the Georgians must feel receiving such a message?! Scaried! No wonder people in Georgia are afraid of speaking the truth and calling a spade a spade.

 The further the worse! I had problems with the posting of my notes, persistent errors occurred. I got really angry and didn’t give up just out of a sporting interest. Only when I changed the location (Internet cafe), I managed to post my thoughts.

 But there is no problem with praising of Saakashvili's regime! See for example such famous bloggers as Oleg Panfilov and Sukhumi. Nothing is sacred for such people. Only those who have gone mad or have gotten a great fee can turn the facts upside down in such a way...

I do not know what the case is with other media in Georgia but the Internet censorship by the government is intolerable. In such cases, people should either accept the situation and live like in the middle ages, or... really change the government!


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