IJ@

International Journal of Anarchism

ifa-Solidaritet - folkebladet - © ISSN 0800-0220 - electronic issues ISSN 1890-9485 since 2009 - no 1 (39) editor H. Fagerhus

Bulletin of the Anarchist International


The situation in Georgia
and Abkhazia and South Ossetia

For a velvet revolution in Georgia

The Anarchist International, and its Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFG, i.e. a loose network of subscribers/networkmembers associated with AI, call for a velvet revolt and velvet revolution in the country. So far the support for the Georgian opposition is estimated to about 25-35% of the people in the country, seen as a class as opposed to the superiors in rank and/or income. Thus the opposition movement has so far not got sufficient momentum

i) to  do away with the right-fascist, ultra-authoritarian and totalitarian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili and his nazi light National Movement party, and

ii) to introduce a more libertarian system, on the road to real democracy in Georgia, economically and political/administrative.

Furthermore, the opposition is split regarding organizations and strategy, and to some extent also aims. The opposition is too much political party based, and too little a grassroots-movement and organization based on workers, farmers and students - the people, and their interest - real democracy. The opposition groups and their spokespersons, must

a) unite regarding aims and strategy on a program towards real democracy, and

b) create a broad based opposition network-organization based on workers, farmers and students - the people,

c) with a critical mass, i.e. support from more than 50% of the population,

d) to do away with the right-fascist regime of Saakashvili, say, via mass demonstrations and/or a referendum about the system.

The Anarchist International and its Georgian section, LFG, strongly call on the Georgian opposition in general, to implement this program a) - d), and via a velvet revolt and velvet revolution do away with the right fascist regime once and for all.

NB! This resolution and several other anarchist resolutions of LFG, AI and the Anarchist International Embassy, AIE - about the situation in Georgia - are also published as comments on Georgian and neighbor-countries' newsmedia, and in the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist paper of CGT, Rojo y Negro, search for Georgia at external links related to AI and LFG .

*) The stars indicate the position of the Norwegian economical-political system after the revolutionary change in 1994/95. Georgia is located in the right fascist sector of the fascist quadrant of the map. The degree of capitalism is estimated to ca 75,4 % (ca 24,6% socialism) and the degree of statism  is estimated to ca 66,9 % (degree of autonomy is ca 33,1 %), and thus the libertarian degree is estimated to ca 28.7 % (the authoritarian degree is ca 71,3 %). It is thus an ultra-authoritarian regime with more than 67% authoritarian degree.

Fig. 1. Picture of the Anarchist Economical-Political Map

The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze, president since 1995. The so called Rose Revolution, followed by new elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil Saakashvili into power along with his National Movement party, a right fascist movement . Economical plutarchist market reforms and a slight democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this develeopment has been complicated by two civil conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continue in both regions. The Georgian government put forward a new peace initiative for the peaceful resolution of the status of South Ossetia in 2005.

At least one-third of the Georgian population lives below the poverty line, the official unemployment level is 16% (real unemployment is said to be considerably higher) and the pension is Euros 16 per month. Changes to the labor law mean that workers can be fired without any explanation or effective recourse, leading to widespread dissatisfaction over the government's performance. The labor laws are leading to fear and uncertainty amongst working people and their families, and the absence of social dialogue and basic rights and freedoms compounds this. Unless Georgia fundamentally changes direction to become a stable democracy, the situation will only get even worse.

Saakashvili's term as president has seen Georgia strengthen its ties with NATO and the European Union. But relations with Moscow have soured and Georgia's economy has been badly hit by a Russian ban on Georgian goods. Georgia's snap presidential election 05.01.2008 was called by president Mikheil Saakashvili after huge opposition rallies in November resulted in violent unrest and a temporary state of emergency. Georgia's president "won the election", but many voters worry about enduring poverty despite economic growth. But opposition candidate Levan Gachechiladze has accused the authorities of trying to rig the vote. The authorities have denied this but the BBC's Matthew Collin in Tbilisi says that after a bitter and divisive election the dispute seems certain to continue. Mr Gachechiladze got about 25% of the vote. Along with the presidential election, Georgians were asked to vote on whether they should have a parliamentary election in the coming months, and whether the country should join NATO. Hundreds of foreign observers were monitoring the ballot. The president's opponents charge him with presiding over economic mismanagement and corruption and adopting authoritarian ways.

All in all this has made the system more capitalist, and somewhat reduced the degree of statism. Georgia  has a powerful president (the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: state security (includes interior) and defense) and a parliamentary system that is democracy only in the name, not in reality. The economic-political system of Georgia works very significantly  from the top downwards to the bottom, grassroots, all in all very significantly vertically organized economical and political/administrative. A life expectancy at birth at 70,5 years (2003) combined with a quite repressive political/administrative system in general, contribute to a significant degree of statism. 

The gini-index  is estimated to ca 40,4 indicating it is very significantly a capitalist country, almost as economical plutarchist as the USA, with a gini-index at 40,8. The system is also quite inefficient with a GDP per capita at 778 US $ per year (2003), and this also contributes to a low degree of socialism. Air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water and soil pollution from toxic chemicals also contribute to a high degree of capitalism.

The degree of capitalism is estimated to ca 75,4 % (ca 24,6% socialism) and the degree of statism  is estimated to ca 66,9 % (degree of autonomy is ca 33,1 %), and thus the libertarian degree is estimated to ca 28.7 % (the authoritarian degree is ca 71,3 %). The system is all in all clearly  totalitarian,  located in the right-fascist sector of the fascist quadrant of the economic-political map, see  http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html  or above. Georgia has rank no 103 on the ranking of countries according to libertarian degree, see http://www.anarchy.no/ranking.html  . [For the libertarian vs authoritarian, capitalist vs socialist and statism vs autonomy degree we have used ",", the European standard instead of American/UK standard, i.e. "." as decimal separator. For other figures we have used the American/UK standard. The term "ca" is an abbreviation for the latin circa, which means about or approximately.]

06-07.01.2008: Monitors hail Georgian election. The presidential election in the former Soviet republic of Georgia was broadly "democratic", but had shortcomings, international observers say. The verdict came from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe after a snap vote called by president Mikheil Saakashvili. The election commission said he won about 53% of the vote, - and he will not have to contest a second-round run-off. Thousands of opposition supporters have gathered to protest, claiming the result was rigged. Mr Saakashvili, 40, was an icon of the 2003 "Rose Revolution" - the name given to the largely peaceful uprising against his predecessor, former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. His opponents say he now exhibits the very authoritarianism he once challenged. Election of a significant ruler is not real democracy. The Anarchist International has solidarity with the people in Georgia as opposed to the economic and political/administrative upper classes, and supports their actions to do away with the fascist regime, and increase the libertarian degree in the country.

13.01.2008. Rally against Georgia poll result:  Thousands of opposition supporters have taken to the streets in Georgia in protest at what they say were rigged presidential elections last weekend. Those gathered in the capital, Tbilisi, are demanding a second round of voting. A large crowd filled central Tbilisi's main square, stamping their feet against the cold and chanting slogans against Mikheil Saakashvili. The opposition hopes to mount a show of strength aimed at overturning the election results. They allege that the polls were falsified to keep Mr Saakashvili - who is set to be inaugurated in a week's time - in power. But most of the opposition's complaints about alleged violations have been rejected by the Georgian election commission and the courts. The BBC's Neil Arun, who was at the rally, said much of the protesters' anger was directed at Western observers who have said the polls were essentially "democratic", although there were significant problems. The authorities have warned the demonstrators they will not tolerate any more civil unrest.

20.01.2008. Georgia leader starts second term. The charismatic, Western-backed Mikheil Saakashvili has begun his second term as the president of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. After being sworn in he met Russia's foreign minister, with both countries saying they wanted improved ties. Thousands of opposition protesters held a rally claiming the 5 January poll was rigged. Mr Saakashvili saw his support almost cut in half at the elections. His radical "free"-market reforms during his first term of office have caused widespread discontent. 04.02.2008. The Anarchist International continues to support the Georgian people in their fight against the fascist regime of Mikheil Saakashvili. 15.02.2008. Around 20,000 people protested in central Tbilisi against Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the largest demonstration against the revolutionary leader since he was sworn in for a second term last month. Protesters wore their trademark white neck-scarves at the rally outside parliament. Georgia's main opposition parties have staged a series of demonstrations since the January 5 presidential election which they say Saakashvili rigged. Western monitors said the vote was flawed but still reflected the will of the electorate. The opposition have threatened to set up a tent city outside parliament to protest against the election. 16.01.2008. The Anarchist International supports the opposition's demonstrations against the fascist regime, and will continue to support non-violent actions against it.

Anarchist support to the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia against the authoritarian, fascist rule of Mikheil Saakashvili

The conflict between Russia and the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the one hand, and the authoritarian fascist/nationalistic lead former Soviet republic of Georgia, moved toward full-scale war on Saturday 09.08.2008, as Russia sent warships to land ground troops in the disputed territory of Abkhazia and broadened its bombing campaign across Georgia. The fighting that had sharply escalated when Georgian forces tried to retake the capital of South Ossetia, the  pro-Russian region that won de facto autonomy from Georgia in the early 1990s, appeared to be developing into the worst clashes between Russia and a foreign military since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Shortly before dawn on Sunday 10.08.2008, Georgia's Interior Ministry said that Russian bombers had begun striking military facilities adjacent to the civilian airport at Tbilisi. The explosions could be heard in the city, said Shota Utiashvili, a ministry official. He said that Russia had built up large forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia — breakaway regions that have support from Moscow — including as many as 300 artillery pieces in South Ossetia alone. Russian forces, he said, were also poised just over the border at Larsi, a checkpoint, where they could open a third line of ground attack. As Russia moved more forces into the region and continued aerial bombing, it appeared determined to occupy both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgia's fascist president, Mikheil Saakashvili, said Russia's ambitions were even more extensive. He declared that Georgia was in a state of war, and said in an interview that Russia was planning to seize ports and an oil pipeline and to overthrow his government.

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia left the Olympics in China and arrived Saturday evening in Vladikavkaz, a city in southern Russia just over the border. State-controlled news broadcasts showed Mr. Putin meeting generals, suggesting that he was directly in charge of military operations. Mr. Putin said that dozens of people had been killed in South Ossetia and hundreds wounded, and tens of thousands were reported to be fleeing. Georgia's health minister said that more than 80 people had been killed, including 40 civilians who died in airstrikes in Gori, a city north of Tbilisi. Another Georgian official said at least 800 people, almost all of them civilians, had been injured. Each side's figures were impossible to confirm independently, as was an earlier claim released by South Ossetians and repeated by some Russian officials that 1,500 people had been killed in the territory.

The fighting, and the Kremlin's confidence in the face of Western outcry, had wide international implications, as both Russian and Georgian officials placed it squarely in the context of renewed cold war-style tensions and an East-West struggle for regional influence. Western influence over Russia appeared minimal. The East and West were stuck in diplomatic impasse, even as reports of heavy civilian casualties indicated that the humanitarian toll was climbing. The United Nations Security Council was meeting Saturday to discuss the crisis, but with no resolution. Georgian officials said their only way out of the conflict was for the United States to step in, but with American military intervention unlikely, they were hoping for the West to exert diplomatic pressure to stop the Russian attacks.

"Georgia is a sovereign nation, and its territorial integrity must be respected," President Bush said at the Olympics in Beijing. "We have urged an immediate halt to the violence and a stand-down by all troops. We call for the end of the Russian bombings." No surprise to anarchists, USA has supported a lot of fascist regimes many times in history. Senior European Union officials were adamant on Saturday that both Russia and Georgia were to blame for the recent escalation of the conflict, and that finger-pointing was counterproductive. Cristina Gallack, a spokeswoman Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said that the Union's immediate objective was to reach a cease-fire, and European envoys were reported to be en route to the region. Other Western officials monitored the movements with alarm. "The record is crystal clear," said a Western official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Russia has launched a full-scale military operation, on air, land and sea. We have entered a totally new realm - politically, legally and diplomatically."

Russia appeared to be opening a second front in Abkhazia, to the west of South Ossetia, and to be aiming to drive Georgian troops from the Kodori Gorge, a small mountainous area in Abkhazia that Georgia reclaimed by force in 2006. Georgian officials said 12 Russian jets were bombing the area, shortly after a Western official said United Nations peacekeepers had withdrawn from the area at the request of Abkhazia's de facto government. Russia also notified Western governments that it was moving ships of its Black Sea fleet to Ochamchire, a port on the Abkhaz coast. Georgian officials said they expected Russian troops to land there. Mr. Putin made clear that Russia now viewed Georgian claims over the breakaway regions to be invalid, and that Russia had no intention of withdrawing. "There is almost no way we can imagine a return to the status quo," he said in remarks on Russian state television.

The Anarchist International declares full support to the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia against the authoritarian, fascist/nationalistic rule of Mikheil Saakashvili . The fascist president of Georgia must stop all militarist attacks on the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Stop the war! 10.08.2008

A note from AIE

The AIE is satisfied with the Russian decision to stop the war in Georgia. We at the same time criticize President Bush's aggresive talk against Russia and the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia is a right fascist state, and not at all a real democracy as Bush suggests. Adolf Hitler was also "democratically" elected, similar to Mikheil Saakashvili . However we mean the fascist regime in Georgia must be done away with by a popular velvet revolution, not by Russian arms. We hope this velvet revolution soon will happen, because the people in Georgia must see that Saakashvili's militarist attack on the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and horrible war crimes in this connection, is clearly authoritarian and fascist, and not according to the will of the Georgian people seen as a class, as opposed to the superiors in private and public sector. Saakashvili's war crimes must be punished in accordance with international law. 12.08.2008.

The truth about the Georgian attack

Ein kleines Mädchen spricht die Wahrheit über georgische Angriffe: http://youtube.com/watch?v=H8XI2Chc6uQ (YouTube manipuliert den Aufrufzähler und lässt dieses Video nicht populär werden) 2000 Tote innerhalb von 2 Tagen durch georgischen Angriff - RIP. Für alle Kinder, Frauen, Männer die durch georgische Angriffe umgekommen sind starten wir diese Aktion. Wir sind gegen Propaganda in deutschen Medien! Wir sind keine Medien-Marionetten. Wir wollten die WAHRHEIT! Wir sind das Volk! Verbreite diese Nachricht wie ein Lauffeuer! (Emails, Blogs, Foren, ICQ). Zusammen sind wir stark. 18.08.2008.

Call for revolution against Saakashvili's fascist regime in Georgia. Full support to the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

The Anarchist International and the AIE call for revolution, a popular uprising, against Saakashvili's fascist regime in Georgia. We think this will happen during 2008-9. At the same time we declare full support to the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  The AI and the AIE  have always, and still are, supporters of NATO-membership of Iceland, Norway and Denmark, but at the same time have been against NATO and USA's support to fascist regimes as historically in Turkey, Greece, and Spain (Franco). The NATO and USA's support to Saakashvili's fascist regime in Georgia is a disgrace and must stop immediately. We declare no membership in NATO for Saakashvili's fascist regime in Georgia.   The AI and AIE call for international support for a velvet revolution i Georgia. 19.09.2008

The Anarchist International and AIE recognize the republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo as independent countries

The AI and AIE in general support greater autonomy in the world, and especially autonomy from fascist rule, as in the case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The same rules must apply to these countries as for Kosovo. Only a few countries, i.e. Nicaragua, Russia and the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, have recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia so far, but we think more will come. The AI and AIE suggest a UN peace keeping force to secure the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, similar to in Kosovo. Russia should withdraw when this is established. Furthermore Saakashvili's genocide and militarist attack in the breakaway revolutions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, should immediately be brought for the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. 18.10.2008.

Georgia claims on Russia war called into question

An article in the NY-Times "Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question" by  C. J. Chivers and Ellen Barry 06.11.2008 confirms the anarchists' hypothesis that Georgia and  Saakashvili started the war, quoting: "Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression. Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm ...  according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili's main justifications for the attack. The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s. Mr. Saakashvili ... faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments."

Georgians rally against president Saakashvili

07.11.2008: Thousands of opposition activists have demonstrated in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi - their first major protest since the conflict with Russia. Critics have accused President Mikheil Saakashvili of starting a war with Russia that Georgia could not win. "We are starting a new wave of civil confrontation, and we will not give up until new elections are called," opposition leader Kakha Kukava said. There were about 10,000 protesters at Friday's rally, according to estimates by reporters at the scene. They crowded the steps outside parliament, holding banners and waving flags, calling for democratic reforms. At least five opposition groups were involved in Friday's protests, though one of the leading parties, the Christian Democrats, did not join in. Analysts say some Georgians are reluctant to stoke unrest, fearing that it will be exploited by Russia. 23.11.2008: One of Mr Saakashvili's former allies, Nino Burjanadze, has launched a new opposition party, accusing the president of authoritarianism.

Russia to help defend Abkhazia, S. Ossetia borders

20.03.2009: President Dmitry Medvedev has given the go-ahead to agreements with Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to improve their defense. Despite Western protests, Russia has pledged to deploy military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and help guard their borders with Georgia to protect them against new takeover attempts by Tbilisi. Georgia believes such treaties, which are yet to be signed, are an infringement of its territorial integrity. "President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the signing of agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on joint efforts to protect the borders of these republics," presidential spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said on Friday. This will contribute to secure the autonomy of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Anarchist International and The Anarchist International Embassy declare.

Georgians rally against president

09.04.2009. Thousands of Georgians gathered outside parliament saying they will not disperse until the president resigns. Protesters, numbering up to 60,000, blamed President Mikheil Saakashvili for defeat against Russia in August's war and said he had stifled democracy. The opposition alleged that dozens of members were arrested before the rally - a claim denied by the government. This was the day, 20 years ago, when 20 people died as Soviet Red Army troops crushed a popular protest in the same place. Opposition leaders have deliberately chosen this poignant date for their demonstrations. Estimates of the crowd range between 50,000 and 60,000. The mood was calm as protesters gathered outside parliament on Thursday morning, and there was little sign of a police presence. This is the most organized protest since the war with Russia, and it is one that opposition leaders are likely to be pleased with. Earlier, van-loads of riot police had been seen arriving at Tbilisi's parliament square. Opposition leaders have appealed to the government not to use violence to break up mass protests. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up the last mass protests in Tbilisi in November 2007. The anarchists again call for a velvet revolution against Saakashvili's fascist regime in Georgia.

Georgians plan mass disobedience - Direct actions against the fascist system

10.04.2009.  Georgia's opposition has announced a "national disobedience campaign", warning it will block major roads. About 20,000 opponents of President Mikheil Saakashvili gathered outside Georgia's parliament. One of their leaders, Kakha Kukava, said that "as of 6pm today (14.00 GMT) the protesters will block main streets throughout Tbilisi", the capital. Earlier, Mr Saakashvili rejected their call for him to quit, but said he was ready for a dialogue with them. Opposition parties say his main error was to lead the country into war with Russia last year and plunge Georgians into what they call a crisis. But he hit back on Friday, vowing to stay in office until his term ends in 2013. As mentioned up to 60,000 people attended Thursday's opposition rally in the capital. Hundreds remained in the city centre overnight. Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze said they had "no other choice but to stay here until our demand is met".

Mr Saakashvili appealed for "dialogue and sharing responsibility" on Friday. He urged "unity across the political spectrum". "I want to again reiterate our offer of a dialogue on strengthening our democratic institutions and I want to say that we mean it, this offer is real," he said. Referring to the opposition's ultimatum for him to step down, he said: "The answer is no and it has always been no, because that is how it is under the constitution." Opposition leaders have appealed to the government not to use violence to break up mass protests. Police as mentioned used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up the last mass protests in Tbilisi in November 2007. An opposition supporter, Zaza Adeishvili, said Mr Saakashvili "was brought peacefully to his position and we want him to be taken away the same way, peacefully." "We do not want any violence, we want him to get out of Georgia," he said. Critics accuse him of betraying the promises of 2003 by monopolizing power and exerting pressure on the judiciary and media.

Activists blocked off major roads in the city for six hours and said they would repeat the closures between the same times each day. Roads are to be blocked between 15.00 and 21.00 daily (11.00-17.00 GMT). The number of protesters Friday was about 20,000. "The president must resign, there can be no dialogue with him," said Guka Kvantaliani. Friday's protests ended peacefully. More were planned for Saturday. Police have not intervened and said the protesters were free to hold demonstrations daily. The anarchists say it is not only the rightwing extremist Saakashvili that must go, the whole fascist system must be done away with, and a less authoritarian system introduced, a movement in anarchist direction!

11.04.2009. The protests continue Saturday. Rally to take break for religious holiday on Sunday. Opposition leaders said after holding consultations on Saturday, that the protest rally would not be held on April 12, when Orthodox Christians mark Palm Sunday. "Simultaneous rallies will be held today as it was planned but not tomorrow. We will resume protest rallies from Monday," Salome Zourabichvili told after meeting with other opposition leaders in Tbilisi Marriot Hotel, close to the Parliament building. The protesters are not only members of the opposition, but also tens of thousands of people who do not belong to any of the parties, and came to the rallies only because to live as they live, is impossible. Anti-government protests are continuing for a third day in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Organizers say they will not end their action until the president resigns. They have launched a wave of civil disobedience and picketed government buildings. On Saturday, several thousand people rallied outside parliament, while others blocked roads outside the state broadcaster and the office of the president.

12.04.2009. Some 1,000 opposition supporters rallied in Tbilisi on April 12 demanding that President Mikheil Saakashvili resign. It was the fourth day of protests by opposition supporters who accuse Saakashvili of becoming autocratic and of mishandling last year's war against Russia. Protest organizers had initially called a one-day break from demonstrations on Apri 12, when Orthodox Christian Georgia marks the beginning of the week before Easter. But organizers later said they would hold a small protest after an incident at the opposition protest venue near parliament on April 11. The opposition says unidentified assailants attacked their protest venue, smashing equipment and tearing down banners.

13.04.2009. Demonstrators set up tents outside the Georgian president's residence Monday, turning up the heat on the fifth day of peaceful protests demanding Mikheil Saakashvili resign. With the number of demonstrators down since the protests began, opposition leaders changed tactics and decided to keep the picket outside Saakashvili's residence going through the night. Protesters said they intended to camp out in about a dozen small tents set up on the street. "The fight continues, and today I have the impression that this fight will end soon with your victory," opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze told the crowd gathered in front of parliament before he and many of the estimated 15,000 protesters set off for the presidential residence. "Saakashvili must leave," said Gachechiladze, who ran against him in 2008 presidential elections. "There is no place for him in Georgia's future." The anarchists mean Gachechiladze is overoptimistic. It may take several months of protests to get a breakthrough! Keep on demonstrating!

14.03.2009. The protests continue. "Georgia will not succumb to Russian efforts to foment unrest," President Mikheil Saakashvili said as protesters took to the streets for a sixth day to demand his resignation. Several thousand people rallied outside the parliament in Tbilisi, demanding Saakashvili's, resignation. Dozens spent the night in tents outside his office. The president, who so far has refused to quit, again appeared to suggest that Russian money was behind the campaign and said that Russia had been building up its forces in the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "All that was aimed at domestic unrest and, as the events of these past days show us, no matter how much money is spent and what they might do, Georgia is a stable country," he said during a visit to a health clinic. "It's impossible to cause any serious disturbances here." Opposition leaders say Saakashvili's allegations are part of a smear campaign against them, and reflect the government's indifference to the protesters' grievances. The anarchists agree. Saakashvili is a lier. Russia plays no part in the revolt - it is a protest by the Georgian people, seen as a class, as opposed to the superiors in rank and/or income in private and public sector.

About 50 tents will be put up by presidential residence in Avlabari, Levan Gachechiladze, one of the leaders of opposition declared. According to his statement, cells have been ordered as well and they will be placed outside the presidential residence. As for the tents, Levan Gachechiladze noted that only activists will stay in tents round the clock, and as to the rallies to Parliament, Levan Gachechiladze underlined that rallies to Parliament and to the  presidential residence will be held till until the resignation of Saakashvili. Opposition to hold action of ties in front of Avlabari Residence. Opposition plans to hold action of ties in front of Avlabari Residence at 17.00. Lasha Chkhartishvili stated about it on a meeting in front of the residence yesterday. He called on the action participants, who intend to go to the residence to bring ties there. Kakha Kukava stated that they will hang the ties on the fence of the residence. A part of the protesters, led by leaders of the "Alliance for Georgia," will march towards the Public TV and put ten "cells" in front of its building, a protest against the lack of media freedom.

The Norwegian Knut Vollebaek, the OSCE high commissioner on national minorities, called on the authorities in breakaway Abkhazia "to put an end to the pressure being exercised on the Georgian population in the Gali district. I am deeply concerned about recent developments in the Gali District of Abkhazia, which have led to a deteriorating security situation in the region," he said in a statement released on April 14. "While I understand and welcome the desire of the de facto Abkhaz authorities to strengthen the Abkhaz identity and language, I would like to stress that this should be done in a way that does not negatively affect the rights of persons belonging to other ethnic communities in the region to maintain and develop their own language and culture," Vollebaek said. The Anarchist International agrees with Vollebaek.

15.04.2009. More protests. The opposition leaders announced they would extend their ‘campaign of camps and cells' to the State Chancellery from Wednesday. The State Chancellery, few hundred meters away from Parliament, houses the government's administration and Prime Minister's office. Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People, told several thousand of people, which turned out outside the Parliament on April 15 for the seventh consecutive day, that the protesters would create "more discomfort to the authorities" and would camp outside the State Chancellery. Later, however, when the protesters gathered outside the government's administration, opposition leaders announced that they themselves would not stay there permanently, but instead would leave there a mocked-up cage. Irakli Melashvili of the National Forum told the rally that on April 16 the opposition leaders intended to announce "a plan, which will eventually put an end to the Saakashvili's regime." "I do not want to speak about it in advance and I ask everybody to gather tomorrow again and show Saakashvili that we are not tired, that we will be united to achieve our final goal. Saakashvili should know one thing that there will be no changes in our demand," Melashvili said. "We plan to mobilize more supporters. Since the authorities do not heed to our demands and this number of protesters is not enough for them, we plan to increase our numbers, to create more problems to these authorities."

Gubaz Sanikidze from the same party told the protesters that this plan would be  "interesting, dynamic and of large-scale." "What we have been doing in recent days will gain more scales and not only in Tbilisi, but in rest of Georgia as well," he added. Earlier on April 15, Eka Beselia of Movement for United Georgia party said that from April 21, after the Orthodox Easter holidays, opposition leaders would launch campaign in the provincial regions to mobilize supporters there and to then bring them in the capital city. Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician and one of the key figures during the rallies, told protesters outside the Parliament that "people should be coming" at the rally "like it is their job." "Standing here amounts to being in service of our motherland," he added. Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said the authorities would be responsible "if the situation gets tenser." 

16.04.2009. Opposition plans last phase of dismantling Saakashvili regime. The opposition leaders announced on April 16, that they would keep "modest" rallies over the weekend, during the Orthodox Easter, and would launch "last phase" of their drive to force President Saakashvili to resign from next week, involving mobilization of supporters in the provincial regions. Irakli Melashvili of National Forum told several thousand protesters outside the Parliament on behalf of the opposition leaders that they would launch campaign in the provinces from April 21. He said supporters would be mobilized in Batumi, Poti, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Senaki, Samtredia, Kutaisi, Gori, Mtskheta, Telavi, Gurjaani and Sagarejo from where convoys with supporters would arrive in the capital city to join the rallies in Tbilisi. "Since Saakashvili has failed to hear that Tbilisites do not want him to stay on his post, we will make him understand that entire Georgia does not want him to be a president," Melashvili said. Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician and one of key figures of the ongoing rallies, said the opposition would launch mobilization of supporters throughout the country in order "to strike final chord." "We will move towards more radicalism," Gachechiladze said.

He also told protesters that from next week, his brother, singer and activist Giorgi Gachechiladze, who is in a self-imposed "imprisonment" in "a cell" packed with TV cameras, would briefly join the rally. Giorgi Gachechiladze, with nickname Ucnobi, has turned in to one of the leading figures behind the rallies with his reality TV show Cell No. 5 is viewed as an important tool for anti-Saakashvili campaign; he launched the show in late January on Tbilisi-based Maestro TV and vowed he would not leave the "cell" unless President Saakashvili resigned. Gubaz Sanikidze of National Forum told the protesters that from the next week the opposition would launch "last phase of dismantling of the Saakashvili's regime" with "aggressive and dynamic actions." "The authorities must see how the furious and just Georgia looks like," he added.

"The authorities want to cause a split in the opposition and are trying to achieve it through various methods, including political and non-political methods; but I hope very much that they will fail to achieve it. Anyway, we manage to cope with these attempts in a dignified way and I think, it is a very unpleasant surprise [for them] that the entire opposition stands side by side and beside the society, which demands president's resignation," Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, told journalists after meeting with EU special representative for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby. "There is nothing on the agenda except of Saakashvili's resignation and there can't be anything else. This is the united position of the opposition, which reflects the will of the Georgian people. This is not a whim of a political leader or a party; this is what the society demands and we will not step back in this regard," she said. "The only issue on which a dialogue can take place is the President's immediate and painless resignation. I am sure that no one in the opposition will change this position neither tomorrow, nor day after tomorrow," Burjanadze added.

17.04.2009. Modest protests. With the religious holidays from Friday to Monday, related to Orthodox Easter, opposition is as planned switching to "modest" rallies over the weekend and prepares for giving a new momentum to its campaign from the next week. A small rally was held outside the Parliament on April 17, and mocked-up cages remain at the sidewalk outside the public TV without blocking traffic on Tbilisi's key thoroughfares. Opposition activists are also continuing keeping night vigils outside the presidential residence.

Violent attacks on protesters. Reports of isolated cases of attacks on opposition supporters and activists have been coming almost every day from the very first day of start of protest rallies on April 9. All these cases seem to have mainly similar patterns with a group of men, in some cases in masks, attacking participants of rallies, mainly during the night time, not immediately on the protest venues, but mainly on the nearby streets. Public Defender, Sozar Subari, said in a statement on April 16, that his office had studied "dozens" of cases of attacks on opposition activists and supporters and "concluded that the Interior Ministry has been turning a blind eye" to those cases. He also claimed that in some instances attacks were witnessed by the municipal police officers, but they did not intervene. On April 16 some opposition politicians said that they would be forced to resort to "self-defense" if the police continued turning a blind eye on cases of attacks on opposition activists and supporters. Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said opposition politicians should "show responsible approach" while making decision of this type and also said that civil confrontation and chaos in early 1990s started after emergence of paramilitary gangs in Tbilisi. Victor Dolidze, Georgia's former ambassador to OSCE and now politician from opposition Alliance for Georgia said on April 17, that it was made clear by the opposition leaders that no paramilitary groups were planned. "What we are talking about is simply creation of monitoring teams" to keep a close eye on situation at the protest venues, he said in remarks aired by the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV. He also added that any reference to paramilitary groups of early 90s by the authorities was "provocative."

18.04.2009. Opposition Reaffirms its Sole Demand. Opposition leaders behind the ongoing protest rallies reiterated in a joint written statement on April 18, that they would not step back from their demand of President Saakashvili's resignation. "The authorities are trying in vain profiteering with the issue of a dialogue in recent days. Our joint position on the matter remains unchanged,"a brief statement reads. "We have one topic on the agenda for a meeting with Saakashvili – his resignation and holding of early presidential elections. We have no other preconditions." "As far as resolving of other problems is concerned, we do not hinder the authorities to immediately take steps, which should have been undertaken long time ago, involving dismissal of oppressors, [election] riggers and censors. We would also welcome the international community's meaningful efforts in this regard." The statement was read out for the press by Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, in presence of other opposition leaders. The opposition leaders came up with the joint written statement apparently in an attempt to rebut recent speculation about differences among them over the agenda of a meeting if such takes place between them and President Saakashvili.

21.04.2009. Opposition launches "Town of Cells". Opposition leaders told thousands of supporters at the rally on April 21 that they would not step back in their drive to force President Saakashvili to resign. Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition politician and one of key figures during the ongoing protests, said the opposition was launching a campaign of "a cell town" involving setting up of mocked-up cells on Rustaveli Avenue in front of the Parliament and around key government buildings to mount more pressure on the authorities. "Today we will launch the construction of a town of cells," he told the rally outside the Parliament. "Cells will be installed from the Liberty Square up to this place and this "town of cells" will exist until Mikheil Saakashvili resigns."

"Today we will picket the parliament building by these cells and tomorrow the State Chancellery [the Prime Minister's and government's administration] will be surrounded by these cells… From the day after tomorrow we will start setting up of cells around other government buildings and we will announce about details tomorrow," Gachechiladze added. This portion of Gachechiladze's statement was aired live by the public TV. Two small Tbilisi-based television stations, Maestro and Kavkasia, were airing the rally in live. The idea of installing mocked-up cells on the Rustaveli Avenue came recently from a singer and activist Giorgi Gachechiladze, who is in a self-imposed "imprisonment" in "a cell" packed with TV cameras in Maestro TV studio since late January. Giorgi Gachechiladze, who is brother of Levan Gachechiladze, has turned in to one of the leading figures behind the rallies, as his reality TV show "Cell No. 5" is viewed as an important tool behind the anti-Saakashvili campaign. Giorgi Gachechiladze vowed he would not leave his improvised "‘cell" unless President Saakashvili resigned. Few mocked-up cells were set up last week outside the public TV and the presidential residence.

On April 21 he left his "cell" briefly to address the rally outside the Parliament, where received a hero's welcome. In an emotional speech, combined with patriotic lyrics, Giorgi Gachechiladze told the protesters: "I am sure this nightmare for Georgians will end soon, in several days and the era which is dreamed about by the Georgians will start… Believe me I am permanently in thinking to get him somewhere to arrest him; I am sure I will do that." He also said that President Saakashvili should "wake-up" and realize public protest and resign as soon as possible if he did not want "to be kicked out from his office and arrested." After the speech he went to participate in installing improvised cells on the Freedom Square, before going back to his TV studio turned into the mocked-up cell. 

Traffic on the Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament has been blocked since the launch of protests on April 9. With the expansion of the campaign on April 21 the traffic was also blocked on the Freedom Square, where the Tbilisi City Council is located.  Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, told the protesters earlier that the opposition would launch "active actions in frames of constitution" to mount more pressure on the authorities. "Along with the protest rally on the Rustaveli Avenue, we should carry out active actions in other parts of the city, outside the government buildings… I am ready to undertake very active actions together with you and we will definitely achieve success through these active steps," she said.

Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, told the rally that "we have such a goal which it is impossible to step back from." "Many people thought that our unity would not have lasted for even a week," Alasania said. "But we all believed that our unity around one goal was a precondition for a success." "We plan to make changes peacefully and constitutionally and this momentum will not decrease in Georgia; it will be spread throughout the regions and soon we will all celebrate the victory," Alasania added. Opposition leaders also said that their activists were already campaigning in the provincial regions to mobilize supporters there and to bring them to the capital city in next few days.

Alasania: Protest momentum increases. Momentum of the ongoing protests will increase further and will not wane unless real changes take place in the country, Irakli Alasania said, while speaking in the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV's program late on Tuesday evening: "We are not fighting against personalities; our goal is to change the current system… and if the authorities take real, tangible steps in this direction, we will only welcome these steps, because our major goal is to change the system and to create genuinely democratic institutions."

22.05.2008. Opposition brings supporters from provinces. Several thousand protesters reconvened outside the Parliament for fourteenth day of protests, joined later on April 22 with opposition supporters and activists. Motorcades of several hundreds of cars, honking horns, arrived in the capital city from western and eastern regions of the country on Wednesday evening. Niko Orvelashvili of the National Forum party, which organized mobilization of supporters in the eastern region of Kakheti, said that those who have arrived from the regions would remain in Tbilisi for about a week and would be deployed in improvised cells set up on the Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square.

Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition politician and one of the leading figures at the rallies, told protesters that the opposition planned "town of cells" outside the public TV from April 23, similar to the one which was set up on Freedom Square and part of Rustaveli Avenue on April 21. Currently, there are several improvised cells at a sidewalk outside the public TV without blocking traffic. Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia party told the rally that from April 23 the opposition would launch picketing of public TV  and the State Chancellery [PM's office close to the Parliament]; as well as of the entire perimeter of the Parliament." "Our campaign will end very soon, in several days with your victory," she told protesters. "This is a decisive moment for Georgia and sit is a duty of each citizen to stand here beside you.

23.04.2009. More protests. Opposition says more supporters to join rally from provinces. More opposition supporters will arrive from the provinces later this week to join the protest rallies in Tbilisi, Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said on April 22. A motorcade of hundreds of cars arrived from the regions on April 22 in a campaign which was organized by som of those parties, which are organizers of the ongoing protests, including National Forum, Party of Freedom and Democratic Movement-United Georgia. Tina Khidasheli told the pubic TV's weekly program, Accents, late on Wednesday that the Alliance for Georgia will organize arrival of its activists from the regions on April 24. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said that the opposition decided to mobilize and bring into the capital "only parts of its activists and supporters from provinces at this stage."

Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party also said, when asked what the opposition's strategy was: "The shortest and the most simple answer to that question will be – Maidan, a reference to Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital Kiev - known as Maidan – where a tent city was mushroomed leading to the Orange Revolution in January, 2005. "The Georgian Maidan, she continued, "these people will stand on the Rustaveli Avenue unless they achieve the goal. People stood for month and a half on Kiev's Maidan – whether it will require more than that or less, but we will stand on the Rustaveli Avenue as long as needed, as well as "cells" will be there – "cells" which are the best expression of a condition in which the country is now – the entire country is now in a cell," she said. "We have the only strategy – to defeat the authorities through our firmness," Khidasheli added.

24.04.2009. Protesters rally outside parliament and public TV. Protesters reconvened outside the Parliament for the sixteenth day on April 24, before continuing rally outside the public TV. Like in previous days, opposition leaders were addressing protesters striking an optimist tone saying that their struggle would accomplish "soon" and other saying – "in several days." "He [President Saakashvili] will go from the Georgian political life; he will go from politics forever," Nino Burjanadze, former parliamentary chairperson, and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, told protesters. "There are about 300 cells in this "town of cells" and about 800 people keep vigil in those cells every night; these people are heroes," Zviad Dzidziguri of the Conservative Party told the rally. A motorcade of several hundred cars with opposition supporters arrived from the western regions late on Friday evening and joined the rally in Tbilisi. Alliance for Georgia has organized this second wave of reinforcement from provinces. Alliance for Georgia said its activists will be deployed in improvised cells on the Rustaveli Avenue. One part of protesters moved to the public TV to continue rallying there late on Friday, where on April 23 the opposition set up improvised cells and blocked the traffic on Kostava Street, one of key thoroughfares in the capital city.

25.04.2009. Four members have quitted the nine-seat board in protest over the public TV's poor coverage of the ongoing demonstrations. A member of the public broadcaster's board of trustees, Mikheil Chiaureli, has joined a protest of three of his former colleagues and quit the board. On April 23 three members of the board, Irma Sokhadze; Marina Vekua and Giorgi Anchabadze said they were quitting the nine-seat board in protest over the public TV's poor coverage of ongoing protests. Now five members remain in the board. According to the board's regulations it can still be convened and take decisions as majority of members' presence is required to hold a session. Decisions are made by majority of members present at a session. A contest should be announced to fill the four vacant seats. The President has then to select twelve nominees from applicants and submit them to the Parliament, which has to chose and approve one nominee for each vacant seat. The board of trustees has little say in the broadcaster's editorial policy. It's function is limited in this regard with only setting "the broadcaster's programming priorities" in general.

Opposition says one of its activists shot with air gun. Opposition said that its activist stationed in one of the improvised cells on a street close to the government's administration was shot with air gun on April 25. Television stations showed Temur Beridze, an opposition activist from Batumi, with a blood stain on his face and a wound just below of his right eye. The opposition has claimed that an air gun pellet was shot from a nearby building, which is housing the office of the Interior Ministry's general inspection, an internal investigations unit. Shota Khizanishvili, the interior minister spokesman, said no one had appealed to the police for investigation on the matter. Meanwhile, several thousand protesters reconvened outside the Parliament under grey skies on April 25 – the seventeenth day of protests.

Opposition mounts pressure with "Town of Cells". Opposition activists and supporters, mainly those who have arrived from provinces in recent days, are keeping night vigil in over hundred improvised cells mushroomed on Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square. Most of metal-framed boxes with ropes to imitate a prison cell are equipped with at least two mattresses and are coated with polyethylene to protect "inmates" from rain. Row of "cells" on the Rustaveli Avenue starts immediately from outside the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel down towards the Parliament and then continues towards the Freedom Square, blocking traffic in the area and in nearby streets. A space immediately in front of the Parliament and slightly beyond, of about couple of hundred meters in length, is left free of "cells" leaving room for protesters, who are gathering there late in every afternoon.

Similar cells, but fewer in numbers are outside the government's and Prime Minister's office, close to the Parliament also blocking traffic on the adjacent small street; as well as outside the public TV headquarters, blocking traffic on key thoroughfare and at the presidential residence. Opposition leaders, behind the ongoing protests, say that the campaign would continue unless President Saakashvili resigns. Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said in his address to protesters late on April 24 that he is often asked by foreign journalists how close the opposition was to achieve its goal. "But we are not asking this question: how close the goal is; because this is a goal, which needs to be achieved no matter how far it might be," Usupashvili said.

26.04.2009. Police says two beaten up by pro-opposition activists. The Interior Ministry said it has launched investigation into the case involving attack on two citizens by pro-opposition activists last night. The Interior Ministry posted on its website a video footage showing a verbal quarrel, which then grows into a brawl that took place after midnight close to the building, which is housing the office of the Interior Ministry's general inspection, an internal investigations unit. Opposition activists are blocking the street there with mocked-up prison cells as part of the ongoing protests. The video shows a man, Bidzina Gegidze, a close associate of Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition politician, hitting his fist into the face of a man after the latter swears at him. The Interior Ministry said that the man and his companion, who were beaten up, were residents of that neighborhood. The two men were also accompanied by a woman.

The vide footage also shows a man, Gia Korkotashvili, searching a wallet belonging to one of the citizens who was beaten up. Then he takes something from the wallet and puts it into his pocket. Both Korkotashvili and Gegidze are co-founders of a recently set up organization – Together – which, according to its founders aimed at patrolling and monitoring of the protest venues to prevent attacks on opposition activists and supporters. "As a result of the attack two citizens have received severe bodily injuries. Attackers have seized the citizens' wallets, stole cash and identification documents," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. It added: "The investigation was initiated in accordance with articles 118, 117 and 239 envisaged by the Criminal Code of Georgia," involving inflicting bodily injuries; robbery and hooliganism, respectively.

The video footage was not recorded by the police CCTV camera. The Interior Ministry said that an employee of the Interior Ministry was shooting the video from the building housing the general inspection's office. Gia Korkotashvili, a co-founder of the organization, Together, who is also a radio and TV host, said on April 26 that the incident was "a provocation" with two persons approaching the protest venue and starting quarrelling. He has strongly denied taking money from the wallet and has claimed that he only took identification cards with a purpose "to find out with which special services he was cooperating." He also said that he was ready to cooperate with the investigation. Meanwhile, the Georgian public broadcaster, where Korkotashvili hosts an entertaining show, said it was suspending Korkotashvili from the program pending the results of the investigation. The video footage also shows Giga Bukia of the opposition Conservative Party on the scene. The anarchists condemn the attack, unless it is proportionate in self defense.

27.04.2009. The protests continue. The anarchists advocate continued libertarian federalist collective delegated management of the opposition. Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party and co-chairman of Alliance for Georgia, said not having a single leader was not at all the opposition's advantage, as claimed by some opposition politicians, including the anarchists. "It would have been better if the opposition had united around one leader,"he said in an interview with the Georgian weekly, Kviris Palitra , published on April 27. "We believed that we should have offered the society an alternative leader to Saakashvili; a great part of the opposition should have agreed on a single leader and only afterwards we should have launched a vigorous struggle." In February, when New Rights Party, Republican Party and Irakli Alasania's political team formed Alliance for Georgia, they announced that Alasania would be the alliance's presidential candidate in case of early elections. Announcement triggered criticism from some other opposition politicians saying that with President Saakashvili still in power it was too early to nominate candidates. 

"A leader is necessary when we are trying to change the regime not through elections, but through protest rallies. If we look at the post-Soviet countries, where the authorities were changed in the same way, there was an obvious leader in these countries with the help of which the opposition was managed more easily and effectively,"Gamkrelidze said. The anarchists don't agree: There shall be no single leader/ruler!"Image of the opposition in the eyes of both the international and local society is formed based on actions and statements of that one leader,"he continued. "Today there are lots of leaders in the opposition and this fact is being stressed deliberately – the opposition has no single leader and that there is a 15-party governance. Those who think that the society is not asking a question: if not Misha, then who? – are wrong. The opposition should timely answer this question. I like the idea that there will be many candidates during the presidential elections, but it will justify itself only in case, if free elections are held in the country."Gamkrelidze also said that the current political standoff in the country was "a struggle of nerves and endurance.""In Ukraine the rallies lasted for two months, but the Ukrainian people endured it, although the rallies were held in winter frost; I want very much that our Georgian "ghetto" [a reference to the "town of cells"] to be so clean and well-organized like it was in Ukraine," he added. "The situation in Ukraine is very authoritarian, and is no example to follow in Georgia," the anarchists say. The anarchists advocate continued libertarian federalist collective delegated management of the opposition, and also in the coming new system in Georgia. A single leader is authoritarian and must be avoided. Libertarian federalist collective delegated management means a system working from the people, grassroots, and upwards, not the other way around, and with a delegated council on top, but no leadership. The federalist council may however have a main spokesperson.

Diplomatic contacts by the protesters. Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, told protesters outside the Parliament on April 27, that the opposition leaders had decided to set up a group, which would be in charge of having close contacts with Tbilisi-based foreign diplomats to inform them about ongoing developments and protests, after some misunderstandings by the French ambassador. On April 24 Tbilisi-based diplomatic missions of EU member states, European Commission Delegation and EU's Special Representative for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, released a joint statement which said: "They [the European diplomats] commend both the opposition and the authorities for ensuring the free exercise of this right [of assembly] in a peaceful and secure way, with minimal inconvenience for the normal functioning of institutions and daily life of all citizens." The law on manifestations bans "complete blocking of entrances" of the Parliament, as well as of other government buildings and courts. Currently protesters' improvised cells are blocking the Rustaveli Avenue, as well as some other streets, but not all of them, nearby the Parliament.

"Picketing of a government buildings or the Parliament does not at all mean blocking of those buildings; we are not blocking them. If they [officials and lawmakers] can not enter the parliamentary building because they may feel uncomfortable passing through protesters that's another matter, which has nothing to do with the blocking of the building," Pikria Chikhradze of the New Rights Party, part of the Alliance for Georgia, told Tbilisi-based FM radio station, Ucnobi. Davit Gamkrelidze, co-chairman of Alliance for Georgia, told protesters on April 27, that the group in charge of relations with the foreign diplomats would consist of Salome Zourabishvili; Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia; Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party. "The group will constantly work with foreign diplomats, who are provided with false information by our ‘beloved' authorities," Gamkrelidze said. "This group will have daily contacts with the diplomatic corps, ambassadors, embassies and international organizations in order to provide them with accurate information about what is happening on the Rustaveli Avenue, what is happening in the opposition and in the society and what kind of provocations the authorities are staging constantly."

28.04.2008. More protests including a "corridor of shame". A journalist and a cameraman from the Rustavi 2 TV said they were insulted and the cameramen physically assaulted by unknown young men at the protest venue outside the Parliament on April 27. The cameraman, Levan Kalandia, said three drunken youngsters approached and started to insult a journalist Natia Lekishvili, which grew into a verbal quarrel and then into a brawl. Video footage, aired by the national television stations on Tuesday morning, shows a young man hitting a fist to the cameraman. In a separate incident also involving a journalist occurred, when a reporter from the public TV was reporting live from the protest venue outside the Parliament, standing on a specially erected stage for TV crews; during her reporting a group of protesters were whistling and chanting "Go, Go." "Several people from the radical opposition are now here and addressing us in this form, making our work impossible," the public TV journalist said in live from the scene. After the live link-up with studio was over, protesters continued complaining to the journalist about, what they called, biased and incomprehensive coverage of ongoing protests by the public broadcaster. Meanwhile, activists from the opposition youth groups are forming a small live chain of so called "corridor of shame" at the entrance of the public broadcaster every morning through which employees have to pass before entering into the building. The anarchists condemn the ochlarchist attacks on the newsmedia, but supports the "corridor of shame".

Three protesters attacked by right wing extremist ochlarchists, supporters of Saakashvili. Opposition said two of its activists were beaten up late last night in downtown Tbilisi, about a kilometer away from the protest venue outside the Parliament. The television stations showed one of the opposition activists from Kutaisi with injuries into his head. Also late last night, the opposition Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said that head of its branch office in eastern town of Kvareli was attacked and beaten up by "unknown men". Vano Lomidze told journalists that he was attacked close to Kvareli while driving from Tbilisi to his hometown. He said that attackers verbally and physically insulted him and set fire to his car. The television stations showed the burnt down SUV.

Sokhumi and Tskhinvali to sign border agreements with Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh will sign an agreement on cooperation in border protection on April 30, the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported. The similar agreement will be signed on the same day by Medvedev and South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, RIA Novosti news agency reported on April 28. Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, gave his go-ahead to signing of border cooperation treaties with Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia on March 20. Abkhaz Foreign Minister Sergey Shamba said that the agreement would be one more step towards boosting the relations with Russia, which "actually is a guarantor of peace and stability in the region."

U.S. Official: Georgia is  "area of outstanding disagreement" with Russia. Georgia remains "an area of outstanding disagreement that requires careful management" in the U.S.-Russia relations, William J. Burns, the U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs, said. Speaking at an annual conference of the World Russian Forum in Washington on April 27, Burns said that relation between Euro-Atlantic institutions, Russia and its neighbors also was an area of disagreement. "Most of the world disagrees with Russia's decision to recognize the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – a decision which raised obvious concern over Russia's respect for the territorial integrity of its neighbors," he said. "In London [at G20 summit], our Presidents reaffirmed implementation of the August 12 and September 8 agreements, as well as the discussions in Geneva to bring stability to the region, which we believe are essential to rebuilding confidence." "While the U.S. understands the historical, cultural, and economic ties between Russia and its neighbors, we stand by the right of all countries to determine their own foreign policy and make their own choices about alliances," he added. "USA's support for Saakashvili's ultra-authoritarian right-fascist regime is a shame," the anarchists declare: "USA should, as the anarchists, recognize the autonomous republics  of South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

The only extremist significant party in Georgia is Saakashvili's ultra-authoritarian right-fascist party. A lawmaker from the ruling party, Gigi Tsereteli, who is a vice-speaker of the Parliament, said there was room for more moderate parties in the Georgian politics and supposed that this gap might be filled by possible new parties. "Aggressive, extremist-like political organizations and their doctrines and their platforms will have no future in Georgia and there will be much more supporters for moderate, constructive opposition," Tsereteli said. "This niche, which is broader, will probably be occupied either by the existing moderate opposition groups or maybe new ones will emerge." As usually the authorities are referring to those parties, which are behind the ongoing protests to demand President Saakashvili's resignation, as "radical opposition" and those having seats in the parliament, mainly the Christian-Democratic Movement, as "moderates" with whom the authorities say they have "a constructive cooperation." " The only extremist significant party in Georgia is Saakashvili's ultra-authoritarian right-fascist, rightwing extremist party," the anarchists declare:"do away with the ultra-authoritarain fascist regime of  Saakashvili! Saakashvili must go!"

Opposition spokespersons criticize CoE chief remarks. Some opposition leaders have called on Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General, Terry Davis, to take a closer look on the political situation in Georgia, when making statements on the matter. Speaking at a news conference in Strasbourg on a sideline of CoE Parliamentary Assembly plenary session on April 28, Terry Davis said when asked to comment on situation in Georgia: "I believe that it's much better to discuss and settle disagreements in the Parliament not in the street. I have been consistent in saying that people who criticize President Saakashvili should do so in the Parliament. I understand that some of the opposition parties, who did sufficiently well in the [May 21, 2008] elections for their candidates to be elected to the Parliament, have refused to take their seats. I find it difficult to understand how that can help the opposition, Terry Davis said at a news conference in Strasbourg on April 28. He also said that he himself had spent "a long time in opposition. "The idea of staying away from Parliament just never occurred to us, added.

Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, told protesters outside the Parliament on April 28: "I request our foreign friends, including Terry Davis, whom I really respect – he is Georgia's friend – they'd better look deeper into this situation. "I want to ask him what would be the reaction of the population in Britain or the reaction of Mr. Davis if the fact which happened in our country, had happened there, when [Interior Ministry's senior official] Mr. Sanodze was tossing plastic bags with water from the building of [the Interior Ministry's General Inspection], when they were shooting with air gun and a person nearly lost his eye because of that and when the Parliamentary Chairman said while commenting on the matter that he [Sanodze] was simply kidding – would people in Britain have tolerated it? Would the population of a democratic state have tolerated it? Burjanadze said. "I do not think that Terry Davis, or other Englishmen would have offered to anyone to have a dialogue with Hitler, when the latter was using his paramilitary groups to consolidate his power, Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia's Way party, said.

Eka Beselia of Movement for United Georgia, a party founded by ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, said at the protest rally outside the Parliament that the authorities had left no other options for the opposition except of the street protest rallies. "They have cut all the civilized ways for resolving the problems in the parliament or judiciary. When we refused to take seats in the parliament, it was our reaction to those illegalities that took place during the elections, she added. Koba Davitashvili, the leader of People's Party said in a talk show at the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV on Tuesday evening: "I want to tell Mr. Davis that being an opposition politician in England and being an opposition politician in Georgia is very different… Here we have to deal not with the authorities, but with the criminal gang, who are now among the government and the leadership."

29.04.2009. The protests continue. Opposition activist coerced by police to say he himself burned down his car? As mentioned on April 28 the Republican Party said Vano Lomidze, head of its regional office in town of Kvareli, eastern region of Kakheti, was attacked and beaten up by four unknown men close to Kvareli while he was driving from Tbilisi. The party and Lomidze himself said that assailants had also burnt his SUV. Later the opposition activist told the police he had himself set fire to his own car to use it for "a PR campaign" to portray that he became a victim of the authorities' orchestrated series of attacks on opposition activists. Later on April 28, the Interior Ministry had suggested, that Lomidze had himself set fire to his car, which was insured. The Ministry said that Lomidze bought two liters of petrol in a bottle. It said that the bottle with Lomidze's fingerprints was found nearby to the burnt down car.

On April 29 the Interior Ministry released a video footage of Lomidze's testimony in which he admits setting fire to his car, which was ensured, himself. Police also said that Lomidze was not at all attacked or beaten up either. Politicians from the Republican Party said that the circumstances of Lomidze's plea of guilty remained unclear. Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party said that Lomidze was held by the police for eight hours without an attorney lawyer before giving testimony to the police. Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, told public TV on April 29: "This is ridiculous; you may soon see a plea guilty of mine in which I may say how I have set fire to my own house and left a bottle with my finger prints for the police."

The fight of the opposition will end with the people's victory.  Former chairperson of parliament Nino Burjanadze is sure that the fight of the opposition will end with the people's victory, - Nino Burjanadze stated about it to journalists after meeting with Catholic Patriarch of Georgia. Burjanadze stated that opposition leaders received remission and discussed the situation of the country. "We told him that the fight will continue peacefully. We're sure that this fight will end with victory of the Georgian people," Nino Burjanadze stated. "Remission will not help the opposition", the anarchists say: "only a more massive popular protest will work!"

Opposition to launch protests in provinces. Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told protesters outside the Parliament on April 29, that the opposition planned "to geographically expand rallies" by launching protests in the provincial regions. He did not specify when the opposition planned the move; he said the opposition would provide more details later. "The Georgian people are very furious and very principled and we should show it to the authorities," he said. "The army is in fact on our side; the army is on the Georgian side; many policemen are telling us that they are on our side; they do not want to protect maniac Saakashvili."

Earlier on April 29, the opposition leaders met with a large group of political and economic analysts, representatives of civil society and media to share opinion on ongoing protests and the opposition's tactics. Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, said after the meeting that the opposition was ready for a dialogue with the authorities and also added that the authorities should undertake some concrete steps, which might help to increase confidence towards the government. "The issue, which was pushed forth by the opposition based on the society's demand - Saakashvili's resignation and early presidential elections - naturally is considered by everybody as the only right way for helping the country out of the political crisis," Alasania said after the meeting.

"There are problematic issues in almost all spheres and we may push these various issues and demand from the authorities to take steps [to tackle these issues] prior to a dialogue. Such move could help build confidence. Among these issues there may be the issues of media, the issue of law enforcement agencies. About 80 attacks have occurred recently against the protesters and these facts are completely neglected by the authorities.If the authorities take steps towards tackling these issues that will help building public confidence towards the dialogue. So, at this point these issues are under discussion; meetings will continue [with civil society representatives]," Alasania said.

Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said after the meeting that she saw "no possibilities of talking with the President on any other issue" except of his resignation. "If anyone sees such a possibility, we will not impede them doing that," she said. Later on the same day, Burjanadze reiterated the position while speaking to protesters outside the Parliament and said that the authorities "can not be trusted." "They want to use the dialogue for decreasing of the protest momentum; they will use the dialogue for squeezing the opposition," Burjanadze said. "Many people abroad are surprised when Burjanadze is saying it about the dialogue, but I have a bitter experience, when I trusted them [the authorities when she was the parliamentary speaker], but I have been deceived for many times." As mentioned, the opposition should be prepared for several months of protests to achieve the aims...

Information meeting to be resumed at 17.0 pm by parliament today. An information meeting will be resumed at 17.00 pm by the Parliament today and after the meeting a march in direction of City Hall will be held. As Levan Gachechiladze stated at the rally held by Parliament yesterday, City Hall does not meet its obligation and clean the territory. Therefore a march in direction of City Hall will be held and the rally participants will lug off garbage collected on Rustaveli Avenue to City Hall.Levan Gachechiladze declared that they will bring such mass of garbage to block the street. "Such action will be held every day. We'll bring garbage to City Hall every day until they meet their commitments and clean Rustaveli Avenue . If they do not or cannot fulfill their compulsion they are to leave their jobs and go. We can do this obligation." Levan Gachechiladze said and called the whole Tbilisi to join the rally at 17.00 pm today. Levan Gachechiladze appeals to the society not to pay garbage costs.

"Protest TV star" calls for "March on Tbilisi". Giorgi Gachechiladze, a singer and an activist, a spokesperson for the ongoing protests against President Saakashvili through his reality TV show, Cell No. 5, said he was considering of organizing, what he called, "a march on Tbilisi." "They [the authorities] think that these protests will wane and that [the opposition] will marginalize," he said during his TV show after shortly before the midnight on April 29. "They [the authorities] say that this is only the protest of Tbilisi. I'll show you that is not the protest of Tbilisi… I will come out from the "cell" and lead a march to Tbilisi from the western Georgia… We will walk through the road and arrive in Tbilisi." Earlier on April 29, he left his cells for few hours to meet with an influential leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II.

30.04.2009. Labor Party leader claims he was assaulted.  The political secretary of the Labor Party of Georgia, Giorgi Gugava says their party leader has been assaulted. Gugava held a briefing for media late last night and said the incident occurred in the vicinities of the Tbilisi Lake yesterday, where Natelashvili usually walks after the cardiologic surgery. According to Gugava, there were about twenty men who even tried to use pistols when they learnt that it was the Labor Party leader, but luckily, the guards protected him from the attack. The Labor Party accuses the government of organizing the assault on the opposition party leader. The government is also accused of using other provocations such as placing drugs in the tents a.s.o.

Burjanadze: More effective steps needed. Nino Burjanadze said that the opposition should take "more serious and effective actions" to achieve President Saakashvili's resignation."It does not mean unconstitutional methods, but it means much more effective and much more active moves," she told journalists on April 30. "It is necessary to become more active to make the President, who is deaf and fails to properly assess the situation, to hear the voice of his people better." "Failure of protests will lead to dictatorship", she said. If the ongoing protests fail to yield results, President Saakashvili would further increase its grip on power and Georgia will turn into "dictatorship," Nino Burjanadze said on April 30. "If these protest rallies end without success – I do not want to even say it, but let's say it hypothetically – so in that case it will mean dictatorship, it will mean turning Georgia from the autocratic state into dictatorship," she said while speaking in the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV's talk show. Meanwhile four opposition leaders met with a group of foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi on April 30 to share their views on the ongoing protests.

Russia's border pact with the independent republics South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The deal comes ahead of planned NATO exercises in Georgia next week, which Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has described as an "overt provocation". Russia and NATO only resumed formal contacts on Wednesday. The two rivals have been gradually rebuilding ties after breaking off contacts over the indepence war. But relations remain difficult. NATO expelled two Russian diplomats on Thursday over a spy scandal, infuriating Russia. Mr Medvedev signed the border defense treaties with the leaders of the independent republics at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Thursday. It allows Russia to extend its period of border control at the request of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The five-year length of the deal is significant but it will change little on the ground. While Russia is keen to improve relations with NATO, it is also concerned to show its anger at NATO's plans for next month's military exercises. "One cannot carry out exercises in a place where there was just a war," Mr Medvedev said at the ceremony. NATO has previously said the exercises will be non-aggressive, involve no heavy armour, and be based on a fictitious UN-mandated, NATO-led crisis response operation. NATO says it does not understand why Moscow is upset by the long-planned exercises. Russia says the war games will encourage Georgia to rearm. Moscow has also complained that its southern neighbor is massing troops near Abkhazia and South Ossetia.Tensions over Georgia have become one of the most divisive issues between Russia and the West. During the brief war last August, Georgia's attempts to regain control of its breakaway region of South Ossetia were repelled by Russian forces and local militia. Georgian troops were eventually ejected from South Ossetia and the republic of Abkhazia. The Czech EU presidency said on April 30 it was "deeply concerned" over Russia's border protection treaties. USA is seriously concerned...

Opposition politician: Process in stalemate. Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the leader of the Freedom Party, one of those behind the ongoing protests, said there was a stalemate and he saw no way out of it yet."I fully understand that the current situation is similar to the chess stalemate and no way out is yet seen from this situation," he said in an interview with the RFE/RL Georgian service on April 30. His party is part of Alliance for Freedom, also uniting Traditionalists; Party of Future and Party of Women for Justice and Equality, which was set up in March, 2009. The alliance is part of the group of opposition parties, which are organizers of the ongoing protest. Gamsakhurdia, however, said that his engagement in the planning process was not significant. He acknowledged that "majority of people of course are already casting a doubtful eye on these developments as the process has dragged on." "There have been some people in the opposition, who sincerely believed that Mikheil Saakashvili would not have been in his office by [the Orthodox] Easter [which was marked on April 19]. I was not among those naive people," said Gamsakhurdia, who is son of Georgia's late President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. He also said that he had been offering the opposition to establish "an alternative cabinet" of ministers; he also added that he believed this tactic would have forced the authorities to make more concessions. The anarchists are not naive either. To do away with the fascist regime may as mentioned take several months. By the way in Norway the anarchists have a confederalist "shadow cabinet" that works well. The opposition in Georgia should try one! April 30 marked the twenty second day of protests.

01.05.2009. Opposition picket of public TV. Hundreds of opposition activists gathered outside the public TV headquarters from Friday morning, picketing the entrances into the broadcaster. "This is a moral pressure on those who continue dirty coverage of protests," Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party, said. "It aims at creating a kind of a moral discomfort to those who instead of covering developments objectively have turned the public broadcaster into [Interior Minister Vano] Merabishvili's and [President] Saakashvili's personal TV station," Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said. He was standing along with activists from the Alliance for Georgia at a gate leading to the broadcaster's yard. Another group of activists from other opposition parties were picketing the main entrance. The activists were forming a small live chain of so called "corridor of shame" at the entrances through which public broadcaster's employees had to pass before entering into the building being booed and whistled by the opposition activists.

Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way opposition party, was among picketers at the gate asking some of the broadcaster's employees, going into the yard, about their opinion on the work of the public TV. In some cases she was telling the employees why she thought the public TV's top management, in particular general director Levan Kubaneishvili, was "corrupt." Activists from the pro-opposition youth groups have installed a so called "desk of shame" on which they were hanging photos of some members of the public TV's board of trustees, as well as of some anchors.

02.05.2009. Opposition politician: No change in strategy. Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party, one of over dozen of opposition parties behind the ongoing protests, said the opposition's strategy of street protests had proved to be effective. "We do not plan to bring novelty to our strategy. Our strategy has justified itself; no changes are made in a successful strategy. Some new tactical steps may be introduced – picketing [at more venues]; expanding [protests] throughout provinces; but the strategy will not be changed," Kukava said in an interview with the Georgian daily, public on May 2.

There have been suggestions coming mainly from non-political circles, that the opposition may also consider possibility of pushing for early parliamentary election, instead of the presidential one. Lasha Tugushi, an editor-in-chief of the Rezonansi newspaper, said that although himself sharing the demand for the President's resignation, opposition's current strategy amounted to "everything or nothing now" and leading to a stalemate. He said that the opposition should also explore other options, including pushing for early parliamentary elections. Tugushi's view, who was speaking in the late night political talk show on Kavkasia TV on May 1, was immediately rejected and criticized by Rezo Shavishvili from the opposition National Forum party. He said in the same TV program that it was not possible to hold fair elections under Saakashvili's presidency

Kakha Kukava also brushed off suggestions that the process was in a stalemate. "The authorities are in a stalemate not the opposition," he said in the newspaper interview. He also said that he personally did not believe that it was possible to negotiate with President Saakashvili. "Saakashvili is insane… That's the information leaked from his security service," Kukava said. "He uses tranquillizers. How can he agree on a dialogue?"

Protesters reconvene for twenty fourth day. Several thousand protesters reconvened outside the Parliament on May 2 – the twenty fourth day of protests in Tbilisi. "We need a new April 9," Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, told the rally, referring to the first day of protests when tens of thousands of people were gathered. "We need it in order to dispel argument of the authorities, who claim that the protests are waning; we need a new April 9 and it should take place in next few days," she added. "We are united around the slogan – Georgia without Saakashvili; and we will reach this goal," Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, told the protesters. "We will have elections this year and we will have new parliament and coalition government too… We had no illusion that it would have been possible to achieve our goal in two days."

After a few speeches by the politicians, the stage was given to prominent, pro-opposition individuals, including actors, singers, writes. Then a concert was held and later in the evening it was joined by Giorgi Gachechiladze, the singer and activist, who briefly left his TV studio turned into an improvised prison cell, to perform at the rally. Gachechiladze, with a nickname Ucnobi (Unknown), has turned into an informal spokesperson of the ongoing protests against President Saakashvili through his reality TV show, Cell No. 5. EU envoy meets opposition politicians... A waste of time and a dead end, the anarchists say.

03.05.2009. Kitsmarishvili on ongoing protests. Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who in a capacity of owner of Rustavi 2 TV played an important role in 2003 Rose Revolution, said the opposition's ongoing protest has been a success so far, but now it was time to show supporters "concrete results." Kitsmarishvili, a former close ally of President Saakashvili and ex-ambassador to Russia, said the opposition should show "flexibility" and should not be "fixated" on a sole demand of Saakashvili's resignation. He said that the opposition should now engage in negotiations with the authorities on concrete issues in order to step-by-step grab those levers on which "the Saakashvili's system" is based."Dismantling of Saakashvili – as a person – is not a goal in itself, but dismantling of Saakashvili's system is a goal," Kitsmarishvili said while speaking at the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV late on May 2. "It is possible to achieve it if [the opposition] takes away step-by-step institutions on which the Saakashvili's system is based; media is among them."

"Now Saakashvili rating, according to the public opinion surveys commissioned by the authorities, is roughly up to 30% and it is in the condition when he [Saakashvili] controls all the national broadcasters. His rating would have been two or three percent in case of free broadcast media," Kitsmarishvili, who defected from the Saakashvili's administration after the August war, said. He also said that negotiations with the authorities should no way be perceived as "a shameful step" or "capitulation." He, however, also warned that the agenda of talks proposed by the authorities involving constitutional changes was "a trap" that the opposition should be aware of. Kitsmarishvili suggested that any constitutional changes, even those involving significant cut of the presidential powers, would not change the current system if not accompanied by change of media landscape.

04.05.2009. Opposition activists resumed picketing of the public broadcaster from Monday morning, lasting till noon. The central entrance of the broadcaster's headquarters was blocked by a live chain of opposition activists sending broadcaster's employees to another entrance leading to the headquarters' backyard. At the gates there another group of opposition activists formed a so called "corridor of shame" through which broadcaster's employees had to pass accompanied by opposition activists' boos. "Public TV news is very biased, which does not give the population to be well-informed about the ongoing developments in the country," Nino Burjanadze told journalists outside the public TV.

"You are working and receiving salary from taxpayers and you are obliged to be in service of the society," Pikria Chikhradze of the New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, was telling a Public TV journalist, who told Chikhradze that picketers were impeding her to perform her duties. When later the same journalist was reporting live from the scene during the public TV's noon news bulletin, opposition activists from youth groups standing around the journalist starting honking horns and sticking anti-Saakashvili stickers on the journalist's shoulders.

Cells will be pitched outside City Hall today. Bidzina Gujabidze, member of the Conservative Party, stated the following to InterpressNews. According to the information of Gujabidze, several cells will be put up outside the City Hall and besides, the damaged cells on Rustaveli Avenue will be replaced with the new ones. "Cells will not be dismantled; on the contrary, news cells will be built up outside City Hall and therefore, a new hearth of cells will be added to Rustaveli Avenue , Freedom Square , Chancellery and GPB." Bidzina Gujabidze declared.

Protesters say to block key highways. The opposition said they would launch blocking of major highways throughout Georgia from May 8 in an attempt to force President Saakashvili to resign. Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum party announced the decision of the opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, at a rally outside the public broadcaster on Monday. He said that on May 8, when blocking of the key east-west highway in various provinces would start, the opposition would give a 72-hour ultimatum to President Saakashvili demanding from him to launch talks with the opposition on terms of his resignation. Sanikidze added that the blocking of the highway in various locations throughout Georgia would last unless Saakashvili resigned.

Meanwhile on May 5, the opposition plans to block for an hour key highways at three locations: at Tbilisi's entrance from eastern Georgia; at the Tbilisi entrance from western Georgia and the highway linking Tbilisi with the town of Rustavi and southern region of Kvemo Kartli. Blocking of the traffic at these locations, Gubaz Sanikidze said, would be carried out from 4pm to 5pm local time. "On May 8 picketing will take place on the central highways in the provinces," the opposition parties' joint statement reads. "On May 8, during the picketing of [the highway] Saakashvili will be given a 72-hour long ultimatum to meet the people's demand about his resignation and about launch of a dialogue with the opposition about peaceful and constitutional transition of power. In case of refusal to meet the demand a picketing with cars will take place on the central highway starting from May 11; exact locations of picketing will be announced on May 10." MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of the reactionary Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), said the decision of "the radical opposition" to resort to blocking of key highways would be "counterproductive step in fight against the current regime."

Bakradze says early elections ruled out. Holding of early elections is something which the authorities and the opposition will "never" agree on, Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said on May 4. "The issue of early elections is not under consideration," Bakradze said. "There may be some issues, on which we will have radically different opinions with the opposition and we will never agree on them; holding of early elections is among them." "Some leaders among the radical opposition are emerging, whose statements indicate that they are ready for a dialogue," he said. "If at least one part of radical opposition shares the authorities' proposal to launch institutional reforms in order to make these reforms a basis on which we will build our dialogue, we will only welcome it and there is full readiness on our side to launch these reforms." Bakradze was speaking at a session of the parliamentary bureau, a body uniting senior lawmakers, which gathers on weekly basis to determine the Parliament's working schedule. The session was held in the town of Gori, instead of the Parliament. No parliamentary session has been held since the launch of protests rallies on April 9 and some of the parliamentary committee sittings were held outside Tbilisi since then. The ruling party officials say that the move aims at preventing a direct contact between the lawmakers and protesters outside the Parliament.

EU's Peter Semneby states that the government has to seriously listen to action participants. EU's special representative to South Caucasus Peter Semneby left Tbilisi yesterday. Semneby stated that the government has to listen to the action participants."Street actions are good process for democracy. This is a legitimate form of expressing protest. The government must seriously listen to the action participants. There are issues that can be considered," Semneby stated.

05.05.2009. Opposition to embark on picketing of entries of Tbilisi and central routes from Today. Today the opposition plans to start picketing of entries of Tbilisi and central routes that will be of warning character. One of the leaders of National Forum Gubaz Sanikidze stated about it on the briefing held in front of Public Broadcasting. Entries of Tbilisi will be picketed by cars on 5 May from 16.00 till 17.00. Namely, picketing will take place near Natakhtari Teki, Kakheti highway, Gombori Teki and Rustavi-Marneuoli square. Highways of regions will be picketed on 8 May. "Saakashvili will be given a 72-hour deadline to satisfy the will of the people about his resignation and start dialogue with opposition on the issue of peaceful and constitutional transmission of government. If the demand is not satisfied, central routes will be picketed by cars on 11 May, spots of picketing will be declared on 10 May", the announcement of the 9 April organization headquarter, HQ, says, that was read by Gubaz Sanikidze. According to the announcement, this decision was taken by the HQ as the government didn't listen to the demand of people. "Hundreds of tens of our citizens fixed their position about Mikheil Saakashvili's unconditional resignation, though the government has shown inability to offer any solution of the crisis to the society. President, parliament and government stopped to function", Gubaz Sanikidze stated.

A mutiny at a military base near Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is over, the Georgian interior minister says. The mutiny at the Mukhrovani base, some 30km (20 miles) from Tbilisi, erupted on Tuesday morning, when soldiers began disobeying orders, Georgian officials said. The mutiny broke out as the government announced it had disrupted a coup plot. The interior ministry said that the plotters wanted to destabilize Georgia and assassinate President Saakashvili. Davit Sikharulidze, the Georgian defense minister, said a tank battalion based in Mukhrovani, close to Tbilisi, staged the mutiny. "Some civilians, who have nothing to do with the battalion, are also there," Sikharulidze told Rustavi 2 TV in a phone interview. "They have not put forth any concrete demand," he added. Koba Kobaladze, who served as commander of the national guard till February, 2004, was arrested on May 5. Earlier on May 5 the Georgian Interior Ministry said that it had arrested Gia Gvaladze, who was commander of the Defense Ministry's special task force in 1990s, in connection with plotting of the mutiny in the armed forces.

Saakashvili asserts the organizers of the plot had direct contacts with Russia, which was giving instructions and money to them, probably a lie. Saakashvili said in a televised address that the mutiny was an isolated case and the situation in the country was fully under control. "The plan was to have military riots at different places all over Georgia," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. "To make sure that at the minimum the NATO training will not happen and at the maximum there is a full-scale military riot in the country." An official in Saakashvili's office said the intent of the mutineers seemed to be limited to disrupting the upcoming NATO exercises. There was no evidence, he said, that they planned a coup attempt. Neither is there any evidence of Russian involvement. He spoke on condition he not be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Hours later, the Interior Ministry said the several hundred soldiers and officers at the base had handed over their weapons and surrendered after speaking to Saakashvili, who suggested that force could be used against them. They were bused to another military base for questioning, officials said. Armored vehicles were later seen stationed around the Mukhrovani base. The Interior Ministry said five officers who had fled the base were detained and six were still being sought, while 13 civilians suspected of involvement were also detained. In a televised address later on, Saakashvili said the mutiny was an isolated case and the situation nationwide was under control. Saakashvili did not directly accuse Russia of involvement, but he claimed the mutiny was organized by former military officers with ties to Russian intelligence services. "This is a blatant challenge to Georgia's stability and constitutional security," he said.

The official in Saakashvili's office said the mutiny was inspired by a small group of disgruntled officers who were involved in a similar action at the same base in 2001. Opposition leaders said the reports of the planned coup were made up; some called it a "virtual coup" and a "staged play." "It's nothing but a tall tale, and we've heard so many of them already," said Georgy Khaindrava, a former Saakashvili ally. "Saakashvili could not make up anything smarter.

Utiashvili, the Interior Ministry spokesman, had said the suspected coup plot was organized by a former special forces commander, Georgy Gvaladze. Gvaladze and another former military commander have been arrested, and other suspects were still being sought, he said. He also had said the ministry has a video of Gvaladze talking to his supporters about the planned coup, and that he is shown saying that 5,000 Russian troops will come to support the coup, and that it was planned for Thursday. The video is probably a swindle.

Moscow rebuffs Tbilisi's claims as preposterous. Russia's envoy to NATO described the charges as "mad". Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow's ambassador at military alliance, said the mutiny in Georgia was the result of "crazy politics of President Saakashvili". Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Georgian government was engaged in its "latest anti-Russian prank." The ministry statement said, "Russia in principal does not interfere in the internal affairs of Georgia." The trouble comes a day before NATO exercises in Georgia. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Georgia's accusation of Moscow allegedly being behind the mutiny, was Tbilisi's yet another "anti-Russian trick." "It is not the first time, when we are unreasonably accused of interference [in Georgia's internal affairs]. Characteristically, each time these accusations are becoming more and more preposterous," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 5. "All sorts of things have been claimed; but till now these claims have not gone so far to assert that Russia is trying to overthrow the Georgian government with the help of the Georgian armed forces," it said. "We want to reaffirm that Russia is not interfering in the internal affairs of Georgia in principle… Tbilisi's interprets uncontrollable developments within the Georgian society as a scheme by external enemy – Russia. It is inappropriate method for resolving problems of the society, especially in such a volatile region like Caucasus."

In a separate development, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he would not attend a planned meeting of the NATO-Russia Council later this month following the alliance's expulsion of two Russian diplomats last week. They were expelled reportedly in retaliation for a spy scandal involving an Estonian official. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer expressed regret at Mr Lavrov's decision. The NATO exercises, which continue through June 1, were originally planned to include about 1,300 personnel from 19 NATO and partner nations. But some former Soviet republics have recently decided not to take part. Among the countries to back out was Armenia. Four other former Soviet republics - Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan and Moldova - and Serbia also had decided to pull out, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported Tuesday. The anarchies of Norway, Switzerland and Iceland are not participating in the NATO exercises either. The exercises were originally planned to include about 1,300 personnel from 19 NATO and partner nations. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the exercise "shouldn't be misinterpreted or misused by anybody for internal political purposes" according to his spokeswoman Carmen Romero. NATO is conducting the training in the framework of the program "Partnership for Peace".

Opposition suspends plans for highway blocking. Opposition leaders said on May 5, that they would not proceed further with their plan to block key highway at three locations close to Tbilisi. Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of the Conservative Party, said in presence of other opposition leaders, those behind the ongoing protests, that the opposition decided to postpone one-hour blocking of the highway for two or three days, before "the circumstances is fully clarified" about the developments in the Mukhrovani military unit. "Saakashvili has started using the Georgian army for the political purposes; in order to obstruct today's planned picketing of the highway by the opposition, he has decided to offer us yet another stage show involving video recordings," Dzidziguri said. "We do not believe even slightly that the Georgian army is a victim of Russian provocations." Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said "we suspect that conditions are being prepared by the authorities for announcing state of emergency." The opposition leaders have also said that that they believed the video footage released earlier on May 5 by the Interior Ministry was "staged". Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, said that the video footage and mentioning name of former military official and his ally Gia Karkarashvili in the context of having links to the mutiny, was "utter nonsense." He also said that he would not make any political statement or political assessment of developments in Mukhrovani because of lack of information. Some opposition politicians suggested that the developments in Mukhrovani could have been staged by the authorities to deflect attention from the ongoing street protests.

Police: 13 civilians arrested over Mukhrovani mutiny. The Interior Ministry said in a brief statement that 13 civilians were arrested "in connection with the Mukhrovani incident." The statement does not give identities of the arrested persons. Apart of civilians, according to the Georgian media reports, dozens of military officers, are arrested. According to Imedi TV a total of 50 officers have been arrested.

UN, EU and OSCE envoys plan to pay a visit to South Ossetia on May 5. Boris Chochiev, spokesperson for the Post-Conflict Settlement Plenipotentiary made the following statement: "I had a telephone conversation with Pier Morel, EU envoy, who informed me that EU, UN and OSCE envoys plan to pay a visit to South Ossetia to hold negotiations prior to next round of Geneva talks. I warned him that the South Ossetian side will not allow under no circumstances representatives of UN, OSCE and EU by vehicles of military observers of mission of OSCE in Georgia on our territory." As he said, he told Morel that the "mission of OSCE in Georgia always covered the facts of criminal activities in Georgia and bears responsibility for the events of August, 2008." "Our representatives are ready to meet EU, OSCE and the United Nations delegation on the state border. South Ossetian side has fixed the stance for many times. Pierre Morel noted that they cannot accept our conditions in any way," Chochiev declared. The next round of the Geneva international discussions on security issues on Caucasus is planned on May, 18-19th.

06.05.2009. Abkhazia accuses Saakashvili of arranging provocations. The leader of Abkhazia, Sergey Bagapsh denies mobilization of Russian and Abkhaz military units along the boundary line of the breakaway region. Bagapsh says the units work in ordinary regime and accuses Georgia of deploying more forces on the other side of the boundary line. Bagapsh thinks the military mobilization must be tied with the NATO exercise in Georgia and the Mukhrovani uprising. The leader assessed the Mukhrovani incident as a "provocation performed by Saakashvili". The South Ossetians have also reinforced control along the boundary line.

The protests continue. Salome Zurabishvili – Mikheil Saakashvili insulted the Georgian army with the Mukhrovani incident once again. Georgian Times reports: According to the statement of Salome Zurabishvili, the leader of Way of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili  insulted the Georgian army once again with the Mukhrovani incident today. Salome Zurabishvili made the following statement at the rally resumed by Parliament. Salome Zurabishvili declared that today it was another venture staged by Mikheil Saakashvili against Georgian army. The disruptor of NATO drills and insulter of dignity of the Georgian army is only – the Georgian President. "Misha is the main fulfiller of orders of Russia. He believed that the charge will be put down by his untalented films, on the contrary, these films will make more people to come out on the streets." Salome Zurabishvili noted. She called the society to join the rally on May 9 – more people than on April 9, to show the Georgian President once again that the protest charge is not extinguished in the society.

Three held over assaulting public TV journalist. Police arrested three activists from opposition youth group over "hooliganism," involving assault on Nika Avaliani, an anchor of the public TV's business news in morning program, according to the Interior Ministry. On May 5 the opposition activists were picketing the public broadcaster's headquarters, which has become a routine part of the opposition's ongoing protests. The picketing, which lasts for few hours, involves blocking of the main entrance of the broadcaster, so the employees have to use another entrance from the backyard; but opposition activists are forming there a so called "corridor of shame;" an improvised cell is also erected at the gates so that the employees had to pass through it.

By the noon on May 5, when Nika Avaliani was coming out from the broadcaster's headquarters he also had to pass that improvised cell. After passing through the "cell" Avaliani suddenly started jolting the "cell", which triggered angry reaction of activists from the youth pro-opposition groups present there. TV cameras captured one activists slapping into the face of Avaliani, which then grew into a very brief scuffle after which Avaliani run away from the scene; but some activists from the youth groups run after him and punching him for several times. Later Avaliani said that he jolted the "cell" in response to a verbal insult in his address by one of the opposition activists. The public broadcaster said in a statement released later on May 5, that "violence by the opposition activists has gained brutal nature."

"Actions by the radical opposition are getting more and more aggressive every day," the statement reads. "Illegal actions by radical activists from the youth groups are taking place in front of the eyes of political leaders and upon their encouragement, which seems to be natural trend in the light of terror declared by them [political leaders]." The statement also accuses the opposition of resorting "to fascist and medieval methods." Also on May 5, Public Defender, Sozar Subari, who has strongly condemned attack on the journalist, met with a group of media experts, civil society representatives and also with some opposition politicians to discuss situation surrounding the public TV. General director of the public broadcaster, Levan Kubaneishvili, was also invited, but he did not attend citing "heavy schedule" and short notice by the Public Defender's Office. Sozar Subari said on May 6, that he plans to meet with Kubaneishvili in next few days to offer some of the proposals on how to resolve the situation around the public TV. He decline to elaborate details of the proposal. The anarchists condemn the hooliganism.

Jaba Jishkariani informs that member of "9 April Youth HQ" Melor Vachnadze is kidnapped. Member of the "9 April Youth HQ" Melor Vachnadze is kidnapped. Representative of the HQ Jaba Jishkariani stated about it to InterpressNews. "Giorgi Zhvania, Melor Vachnadze and I were in the car. We fell asleep at dawn. About 18 people came, broke the rare door of the car and hit us with clubs, they kidnapped Vachnadze. They wanted to kidnap us but we opposed them with clubs and ran away," Jishkariani stated.Vachnadze's location is not known. Vachnadze took part in the incident regarding journalist Nika Avaliani in front of the Public Broadcasting. Giorgi Oniani, participant of the incident is already detained and is in isolator.

Group of Imedi TV employees protest over editorial policy. In a joint statement to the management, a group of Imedi TV employees expressed protest over the television station's editorial policy saying that its news service was not covering ongoing developments in the country objectively, the Georgian daily Rezonansi , reported on May 5. Giorgi Isakadze, chief executive of the Georgian Media Holding, which incorporates Imedi TV, told the Rezonansi that he was aware of this statement, but declined to comment citing that he was not informed about it in details. Bidzina Baratashvili, director general of Imedi TV, has also confirmed that such statement was made by a group of journalists and other employees, including cameramen.

"We believe that the Imedi TV' news service is not covering ongoing developments in Georgia objectively," the statement, reportedly signed by about fifty employees, reads. According to the statement, at a staff meeting held in September, 2008, after the television station resumed news programs, the management has "banned journalists" to interview non-parliamentary opposition politicians and some opposition-leaning experts. Coverage of issues related with problems of displaced persons has also been banned, according to the statement, "under the pretext that it would have created "problems" for the authorities."

According to the statement, the television station's management "blocked" to air statement by Patriarch of Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, on April 8, on the eve of launch of protest rallies, in which he called on the Georgian army not to use force against protesters. The Imedi TV employees' statement says that two journalists of the television stations decided to quit in protest after the Patriarch's remarks were censored. In the statement employees also complain about the editorial policy of not covering cases of attacks on opposition activists, "while the video recordings released by the Interior Ministry are showed regularly, which only aims at discrediting the protesters." The statement calls on the television station's management to take into consideration the employees' complaints and take decisions by May 6.

Georgian war games begin amid Russian criticism. NATO has launched military exercises in Georgia under a storm of criticism from Russia and following a rebellion in the Georgian military. Russia has condemned the monthlong war games as "muscle-flexing" on its southern border, where it sent tanks and troops in August last year in a five-day war to crush a Georgian assault on South Ossetia. The exercises, which will not be in full swing until next week, involve over 1,000 soldiers from more than a dozen NATO member states and partner nations. They are being held at a former Russian air force base east of Tbilisi and a few kilometers from the Mukhrovani base, where the government said tank commanders had rebelled on May 5 and were arrested several hours later.

NATO insists the exercises are in "crisis response" and that the field training pose no threat to Russia. They are seen as a gesture of solidarity with Georgia, whose NATO membership ambitions have effectively been put on hold since the August war. "The NATO secretary-general [Jaap de Hoop Scheffer] thinks that nobody should misuse the exercise," spokeswoman Carmen Romero said on May 5. "This is not a NATO exercise; it is an exercise of NATO with its partners," she said. "This exercise has nothing to do with Georgia. It has nothing to do with Russia. Georgia is just hosting the exercise and nobody should interpret the exercise in a different way and use it for other purposes."

NATO has denied the exercises are aimed at Russia or South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "This issue has been totally misused, I think, by all parties. Georgia is not the object of this exercise, Georgia is the host of this exercise like Armenia was the year before," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said. "The Russians can portray it the way they want... They're not the only ones to misuse this exercise for political purposes. "I can tell you the secretary-general has spoken to the leadership in Georgia to express his concern that they also are misusing this exercise for political purposes."

NATO has promised eventual membership to Georgia, but has given it no target date for entry. The anarchists are opposed to the membership because Georgia is an ultra-authoritarian fascist country. Russia is vehemently opposed to Georgian membership. The mutiny on Tuesday in Georgia is likely to reinforce in the minds of many NATO members that now is not the time to commit the alliance to the defence of such an unstable country.

Russia expels Canadian diplomats. Russia has expelled two Canadian diplomats working for NATO's Moscow office in response to an "unfriendly act" by the military alliance. Last week NATO expelled two Russian envoys from its headquarters in Brussels, reportedly due to spying. The diplomatic spat comes as NATO begins military exercises in Georgia, seen by Russia as a "provocation". As mentioned last August Russian and Georgian forces clashed in a brief war over breakaway pro-Moscow Georgian territories. Nine months after the war in Georgia relations between Russia and NATO were supposed to be getting back on track.Instead, they have taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. Ottawa's ambassador to Russia, Ralph Lysyshyn, was summoned to the foreign ministry where he was told Moscow felt it had been forced into the move. "In response to the unfriendly act on NATO's part... the Russian side has taken the forced decision to revoke the diplomatic accreditation " of the two NATO staff, a foreign ministry statement said. The Canadian diplomats being expelled are the director of the NATO information office in Moscow and her deputy. The Canadian embassy in Moscow said the decision to expel its diplomats was "counterproductive". As metioned this latest round of tit-for-tat expulsions stems from a spy scandal in Estonia in which thousands of pages of sensitive data were handed to Russian agents.

Anti-government clash. Anti-government protesters and police have clashed in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, over the alleged beating of a local journalist. Riot police used batons to force back some protesters who tried to enter a police compound by climbing over a fence, the interior ministry said. Three people arrested for the alleged beating were being held at the site. Television footage showed some protesters walking away with blood on their faces. The protest happened after dark and included opposition party leaders. These were the first clashes between protesters and police since anti-government demonstrations began on 9 April.

On Wednesday evening, several hundred protesters blocked a main road and converged on the police station, where police in riot gear were massing after earlier repelling dozens of demonstrators trying to force their way into the compound. Television pictures showed police and protesters had struck at each other with batons and sticks across a metal gate dividing them. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the protesters had tried to enter the compound. The government had been preparing for possible confrontation with the protesters, who had been blocking streets since April 9, demanding that Saakashvili resign over his bad record on democracy and last year's disastrous war.

The opposition said protest leader Georgy Gachechiladze had been injured in the clash and taken to a hospital. Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said Gachechiladze had climbed over the gate into the police compound. The protesters appeared to have gone to the police station to demand the release of three activists arrested on Wednesday over the alleged beating of a journalist at the offices of the public broadcaster in Tbilisi. "We know that they were trying to enter the police compound and wanted to release their activists from the cells," Utiashvili said. Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze told Georgian radio that police had been attacked. "The police received an order to protect the perimeter," she said.

Police and opposition leaders accused each other of starting the clash, which as mentioned occurred when opposition leaders and protesters marched to police headquarters in the capital, Tbilisi, to demand the release of three jailed supporters. Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said police used truncheons to beat back protesters who were climbing over a fence surrounding the building. Television footage showed at least two opposition leaders and several other people with blood on their bodies and clothing. A top opposition leader, Levan Gachechiladze, and other protesters appeared to have head injuries.

Neither side gave a clear estimate of the number of injured, but it appeared to be as many as a few dozen, and the Russian news agency Interfax cited an official at a major Tbilisi hospital as saying 17 people were hospitalized there with injuries. The official, Irakli Rukhadze, said most were head injuries and none was life-threatening. The opposition said police fired rubber bullets, but Utiashvili denied that. Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zguladze said that police "only protected the building" and did not venture outside its grounds. She said both sides in the clash appeared to have thrown objects at each other, including the staffs of protest flags. Eka Zguladze, the deputy interior minister, said that total of 29 people have asked for treatment in two hospitals of Tbilisi after the confrontation between the police and protesters at the Tbilisi police department. She said that 22 protesters, one journalist and six policemen were among them. The Deputy Interior Minister reiterated that the police showed maximum restraint. She said that the police was protecting the inner perimeter of the police department to prevent protesters from breaking into the headquarters, where along with police office, preliminary detention center is also located. "The police will continue demonstrating maximum restraint," Zguladze said. "But I want to stress that attack on police and infiltration into the police building is a grave crime and it will be eradicated. Will the police use the force? The police will use proportional force – as much as it is needed to eradicate a concrete attack; it will be minimum force."

Shortly after the clash, some 2,000 protesters milled near the police building, blocking a major street not far from its gates. The violence deepened tension in Saakashvili's confrontation with his opponents, already high after he claimed to have talked down mutineers at a military base Tuesday. Several opposition leaders called the incident a charade cooked up by Saakashvili to rally support amid pressure from the protesters. Saakashvili's opponents have been holding persistent street protests since April 9, demanding he resign over Georgia's disastrous war in August and over allegations of authoritarian rule. He has so far refused and said he will remain in office through the end of his term in 2013. There have been isolated incidents of violence, but the authorities have vowed not to interfere as long as protesters do not instigate violence, fearing that a crackdown could swell the ranks of the opposition. A violent police crackdown on similar protests in 2007 damaged Saakashvili's reputation and prompted some former allies to join the opposition. Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, came to power in 2004 after leading peaceful street protests. The anarchists call on the protesters to cool down. Ochlarchy does not work.

07.05.2009. Protesters gather at midnight rally after clash. Several thousand people were gathered outside the Parliament after midnight, following the clash between police and protesters late on Wednesday outside the Tbilisi police headquarters. Opposition leaders addressing the protesters were justifying the march on the Tbilisi police headquarters, which led to the clash leaving dozens of people injured. Nino Burjanadze told the protesters that their march aimed at demanding release of three activists from the youth opposition groups, who, she said were beaten up in the police custody. Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia told protesters: "It is our joint duty to put an end to this violence." "We will not resort to violence and we demonstrated it today when [the protesters] arrived at police [headquarters] with bare hands to demand release of those young people against whom the violence was used after the arrest. In response we have received bullets and blood. It is the duty of each of us to stop it. We should do our best to prevent civil confrontation. Our unity and calmness is the only way which will lead us to our goal."

"When the authorities commit illegal acts, we are not obliged to tolerate it," Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia party told the rally. "This government should go and everything should be done for that; we have the legal right to do that." "We give criminals and terrorist a deadline till 5pm [on May 7] to release hostages [referring to three activists], otherwise we will ourselves set them free; we can not tolerate it any more," Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Party of People, told the rally. "Maniac, ill person is the leader of this country. Saakashvili is dangerous. Saakashvili is Georgia's problem," Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told the protesters and also added referring to those persons who, according to opposition, are engaged in attacks on opposition activists: "We know your names, we know your addresses, but we will not read this list now; however, hours remain before we read this list and Georgia does not lack hunters." Opposition politicians were still addressing protesters outside the Parliament, whose numbers dwindled, as of 2:40am.

Church calls on authorities to release opposition activists. The Georgian Orthodox Church has called on the authorities "to take a political decision" and release three activists from the youth opposition groups arrested in connection with in connection with assault on public TV journalist. The statement says that by doing so the authorities would help "to at least partially" defuse tensions flared up after the police and protesters clashed late on Wednesday. The Georgian Orthodox Church has also called on the political parties not to take any action that might "go beyond the constitutional framework."

Three opposition activists freed. Police released three activists from youth opposition groups after the Georgian Orthodox Church's appeal.
Three activists were as mentioned arrested in connection with an assault on public TV journalist. The arrest and reports that the activists were beaten up by the police after the arrest became a reason of a march of opposition supporters to the Tbilisi police headquarters, which grew into clash with the police.

MIA - Revazishvili, Oniani, Vachnadze were observed to have injuries. MIA of Georgia relased an official statement on the released activists of opposition. "On may 5 of the current year the following persons have been placed in temporary detention center #2: Melor Vachnadze, Giorgi Oniani and Revaz Revazishvili. The detainees have undergone relevant medical expertise and external examination report was written. During the examination of Revaz Revazishvili the following injuries have been observed: small sized scratch, bruises in beck area and extravasation of the left eye. By the time Giorgi Oniani was placed in temporary detention centre he was observed to have bruises in chest area.  As a result of external examination of Melor Vachnadze a small sized bruise was observed in back area."- the officials statement of MIA reads.

Christian-Democrats demand detailed investigation of actions of police in yesterday's incident. Christian-Democrats "demand actions of police taken in yesterday's incident to be detailed investigated in order to make clear if disproportional measures were seized by police yesterday."

Former military commander faces coup charges. Koba Kobaladze, who served as commander of the national guard till February, 2004, has been formally charged with an attempt to stage uprising to overthrow the government. His defense lawyer, Gela Nikoleishvili, said that Kobaladze had been charged under part two of article 315 of the criminal code – "uprising for the purpose of forcibly changing the constitutional system and overthrowing the government or for seizing the power." "He [Kobaladze] calls the allegations absurd and states that he is determined to prove his innocence," his defense lawyer said. Kobaladze was arrested on May 5, hours after a commander of the tank battalion based in Mukhrovani allegedly declared disobedience to the authorities.

Some opposition leaders call for talks. Some of the opposition leaders are meeting with a group of foreign diplomats to put forth their version of events of late May 6, when police and protesters confronted each other at the Tbilisi police headquarters leaving dozens of people injured. "Yesterday was the hardest day in this process of our political struggle," Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, told journalists before the meeting. "The country is really on the verge of disaster. I believe that the only way out from this situation is to stop violence and it can only be implemented through a meeting between the opposition and the authorities. We are ready for this kind of meeting to discuss ways out from this crisis." Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, also said that "situation is very serious and complicated." "It is high time for Saakashvili to wake up and realize what is going on and to meet with us – as we have been demanding for a long time already – to tell us how does he see the way out from this crisis," Zourabichvili said. "We are ready to meet the President and talk with him about his resignation. His resignation is the only way out from this situation. I have said for many times that I do not believe in need of talks on any other issue, but of course if anyone hopes that talking on other issues can also help to resolve the situation of course I will not obstruct it," Nino Burjanadze said. 

Czech ambassador condemns 'attack on police station'. Czech ambassador to Georgia, Ivan Jestrab, said while commenting on the May 6 confrontation between police and protesters outside the Tbilisi police headquarters, that "yesterday's attack on a police station was a criminal act, absolutely intolerable in a democratic society," according to Reuters. He was speaking with journalists after a group of foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi met with two deputies of foreign minister, Alexandre Nalbandov and Davit Jalagonia. Ambassador Jestrab, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency also said that the authorities and the opposition should "start talks on the political solution of the existing situation."

"It is very strange that the ambassadors have made such comments especially without prior meeting with us and probably without an opportunity to see the full picture of what was happening there," Nino Burjanadze said before meeting with a group of foreign diplomats."There was nothing criminal there. There really was nothing criminal, at least on the part of the opposition. If the ambassador meant criminal act on the part of the authorities, yes that's right," she continued. After the meeting with European diplomats, including the Czech ambassador, Nino Burjanadze said: "It seemed to me that the ambassadors had no concrete information about certain issues, including about the fact that special task force [referring to riot police] was constantly chanting ‘Misha, Misha' and it caused great astonishment among diplomats… We provided them with additional information, we are also ready to deliver additional video footage, which will assure them once again and there was no violation of law on the part of protesters." After the meeting the Czech ambassador declined to make additional comments on the May 6 confrontation between the police and protesters and said that he had already made the statement on the matter earlier on May 7.

Opposition calls on Saakashvili for talks. In a joint statement opposition parties behind the ongoing protest rallies said on May 7, that they were ready to meet with President Saakashvili "to present to him with our position" about how to overcome the crisis."Irresponsible and provocative actions undertaken in recent days by the Saakashvili's government has once again put the state in the face of threat of escalation of violence and starting of uncontrollable processes in the country," the statement reads."These developments once again confirm that Saakashvili's regime can no longer secure the safe development of the country and stable fulfillment of international commitments undertaken by the country." "In this situation we reaffirm, that we deem peaceful and constitutional change of the Saakashvili's regime and holding of early presidential and parliamentary elections as the only way out of the current political crisis in the country."

"At the same time, in order to avoid escalation of violence in the country and to proceed with the peaceful political processes, which is the key condition for peaceful, constitutional change of the authorities, we reiterate our readiness to meet Saakashvili and discuss the ways out of the current political crisis." "During this meeting, which should be held in a transparent environment, we plan to present to him [Saakashvili] our position about the above mentioned issues, including about development of political processes in safety and also on those measures necessary for creating fair environment for the elections." The statement was read out by Gubaz Sanikidze of National Forum party at a rally outside the Parliament, where several thousand people were gathered under the rainy skies.

"We have already said our word; now it's up to him [Saakashvili] to name venue and date of the meeting," Gubaz Sanikidze said. The opposition leaders also called on supporters to hold on May 9 a large-scale protest rally – similar to the one held on April 9 when tens of thousands of people were gathered – to mark the one month since the launch of the street protests. Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia – which is among those parties behind the ongoing protests, said on May 7, that the meeting should be held without preconditions. "Events of the recent days have probably demonstrated to the entire society that we are step-by-step moving towards the civil confrontation, moving towards the point from where developments may go out of control," he said. "So I think it is urgent to hold a meeting as soon as possible. This meeting should be held without preconditions if we want to achieve real results. Only during this kind of meeting it will be possible to find out on what we can agree and on what issues we won't be able to agree."

08.05.2009. Bakradze: Efforts underway to arrange talks. Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said efforts were underway to arrange a meeting with opposition leaders, which, he said, probably would take place on Friday. "The [parliamentary] majority and the authorities were always ready for a dialogue. Today I, as the Parliamentary Chairman, want to express a concrete readiness. Today, at any time I am ready and the representatives of the [parliamentary] majority are ready to meet the representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition in order to launch a dialogue on those common issues, which, I hope, we are all concerned about,"Bakradze said in remarks aired by Rustavi 2 TV. Bakradze made the comments following the joint statement by those opposition parties, which are behind the ongoing protest rallies, in which they called on President Saakashvili to hold a meeting.

"The society has heard the statements of the non-parliamentary opposition leaders. First and foremost we have to note the statement by Irakli Alasania," Bakradze said, referring to remarks made with journalists on May 7 by leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia. Alasania said: "I think it is urgent to hold a meeting as soon as possible. This meeting should be held without preconditions if we want to achieve real results." The opposition written joint statement, which was also joined by Alliance for Georgia, does not directly use the word "precondition"; however, the wording of the statement does not imply that the opposition was putting forth any precondition for the talks. "We welcome if there is readiness for moving towards the process of a real dialogue, instead of setting ultimatums as they [the opposition leaders] were doing previously," Bakradze said. "The work over arranging this meeting has already started and I hope and I am sure that this meeting will definitely be held today," he added.

Irakli Melashvili – If Georgian President does not meet decision in several days, opposition will block streets throughout Georgia. Opposition has taken a step for a dialogue, now it is Saakashvili's turn - Irakli Melashvili, one of the leaders of "National Forum" said at the rally by Parliament today. As Irakli Melashvili declared, in case if Saakashvili does not meet a decision vis-à-vis a dialogue, opposition will block streets throughout Georgia. "It's time Saakashvili to show Georgian people and the whole world that he's concerned over the fate of his country and to meet decision timely on setting early election." Melashvili stated and added that "the possibility of holding a meeting is too low as Saakashvili has nothing to say."

Information meeting of opposition to be held in front of Parliament at 17.00. An information meeting will be held today in front of parliament at 17.00. Opposition once more expresses its readiness for dialogue and expects from the government to stipulate date and place of meeting. Irakli Alasania as mentioned considers that opposition must hold meeting with the government without preconditions. Nino Burjanadze considers that the only issue of negotiation with the government is peaceful change of the government. Opposition doesn't plan to end meetings and protests and expects large amount of supporters on 9 May at 17.00.

Some of the opposition ready to meet Bakradze to arrange talks with Saakashvili. Opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests rallies, said they were ready to meet with Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, to arrange "a major meeting" between the opposition and President Saakashvili.Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, told journalists that the opposition has selected a group of four negotiators for that purpose. The group includes: Gubaz Sanikidze of National Forum; Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia; Viktor Dolidze from Irakli Alasania's political team, also part of Alliance for Georgia and Koka Guntsadze, an individual opposition politician. "This group is ready to meet with Bakradze as a preparatory meeting for the talks with Saakashvili," Zourabichvili said after the opposition leaders met in the office of Nino Burjanadze's party Democratic Movement-United Georgia. "Another group of negotiators will be established, which will be ready to meet with Saakashvili after he arrives back [from Prague]," she added. She also said that as of now the opposition had also decided to put off its plans of blocking the key highways.

Meanwhile, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of Freedom party, part of Alliance for Freedom, did not attend the opposition leaders' meeting, and said that he was against of the meeting with either Saakashvili or Bakradze. He said that his party would not participate in such meeting. Alliance for Freedom was among the group of opposition parties, which are organizers of the ongoing street protests. "Meeting with Saakashvili will have no sense," Gamsakhurdia told Imedi television on May 8. "The only way out is peaceful, democratic protest rallies that should lead us to real compromise. I think they [authorities] are not ready for it yet." "We have information that they will not accept any proposal even in respect of the public television, to say nothing about early elections," Gamsakhurdia said.

Burjanadze doubts Saakashvili will agree on talks. Nino Burjanadze said she do not think that President Saakashvili would agree on talks with the opposition. Speaking to reporters after meeting of the opposition leaders, which agreed to hold a meeting with parliamentary speaker Bakradze to arrange talks with the President, Burjanadze said: "Are you sure that this meeting [Saakashvili] will be held?" "I doubt that the President will take such a brave step and meet the opposition because I cannot see any arguments, by which the President can answer to the opposition's arguments. Unfortunately, I do not expect anything positive from any of such meetings and I have said about it not once based on my own experience. I would be glad if I am wrong," Burjanadze said. Although the decision to hold "a preparatory meeting" with Bakradze was made jointly, some opposition leaders said that they disagreed.

Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia – party founded by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili – said that her party was against of such meeting with Bakradze; but she also added that the decision had already been made and those who were against would not object. Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, who has been defending such a meeting, also acknowledged that no all the opposition leaders were in favor of such meeting with Bakradze. "There have been differences among the leaders on the matter, but it will not impede the process," he said. Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of Freedom party, part of Alliance for Freedom, did not attend the opposition leaders' meeting, said that he was against of the meeting with either Saakashvili or Bakradze. He said that his party would not participate in such meeting.

Meeting between governmental team and opposition representatives held at Sheraton Metekhi Palace. Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, said at a news conference before the launch of the meeting, that it was "a positive step made by the both sides." He also said that "the format" of possible talks with President Saakashvili would be discussed at the meeting. This is the first meeting between the representatives of the opposition and the authorities since the launch of street protest rallies on April 9. The meeting between the governmental team and the opposition is held at Sheraton Metekhi Palace. Chairperson of Georgian parliament Davit Bakradze, Minister for Penitentiary, Probation and Legal Aid Dimitry Shashkin, Leader of parliamentary majority Petre Tsiskarishvili, Deputies Zurab Melikishvil, Goka Gabashvili and Giorgi Meladze represent the government on the meeting. Tina Khidasheli, Koka Guntsadze, Gubaz Sanikidze and Viktor Dolidze represent the opposition. Davit Bakradze didn't comment before the meeting, Tina Khidasheli stated that the main goal of the meeting is to find out where and in what format meeting with Mikheil Saakashvili will be held. "We perceive that there is heavy political and state crisis in the country. Opposition power is feeling responsibility try to find way out of the crises," Tina Khidasheli stated. Khidasheli states that preliminary elections are necessary to take the country of the crisis. She stated that leaders of political parties don't attend the meeting as they will meet with leader of the "National Movement" (Saakashvili).

The meeting ended without an agreement. Known for composure, Nino Burjanadze spoke forcefully Friday, a month after opposition forces took to the streets to demand Saakashvili resign over Georgia's disastrous war with South Ossetian militia supported by Russia, and his ultra-authoritarian rule. Without his resignation, there will be no stability here," Burjanadze said. She spoke shortly before the first meeting between opposition forces and Saakashvili's supporters since the start of the protests. As she predicted, the meeting ended without an agreement for a meeting with the president, ensuring the standoff will persist. "We will continue our protests and rallies. They will become stronger and more serious," said Burjanadze. "How can you solve a problem within the framework of democratic institutions when you have no democratic institutions?" Burjanadze asked. But Burjanadze said Saakashvili has betrayed the ideals of the Rose Revolution - protests against elections seen as fraudulent. She has accused Saakashvili of trying to control the media and silence the opposition. And she said he has broken his promise to create a democracy. "He is trying to create an autocratic regime in this country," she said Friday. Burjanadze has also said Georgia needs to repair its relations with Russia, its much larger and more powerful neighbor to the north.

In the first days of rallies, some protesters booed Burjanadze for her previous support of Saakashvili. Four weeks later, she is greeted with applause. She has also found herself and her supporters under increasing official pressure. In late April, authorities accused her of tax evasion - she called the charges part of the government's campaign to intimidate her and other opposition leaders. In March, ten activists of her party were arrested for alleged purchase of firearms in preparation for the protests. Like other opposition leaders, Burjanadze has urged protesters to refrain from violence, and accused the authorities of provoking it. Late Wednesday, police used truncheons to repel protesters who tried to enter police headquarters in the first major violence since the protests began. Burjanadze said police fired rubber bullets, aiming at her and hitting several bodyguards - a claim the government denies. "This president has dug his own grave," Burjanadze told thousands of protesters after the clash. "We will achieve our goal, and Georgia will be a truly democratic country." But while opposition protests have brought thousands of people into the streets, it remains unclear whether they can muster enough popular backing to push Saakashvili out. "The opposition has no leader and no clear program for change," said Vano Maisuradze, a 39-year-old businessman who attended Friday's daily protest. "They just cry 'Saakashvili, resign!' but don't suggest anything in his place."

Police deny firing projectiles at protesters, despite evidence of the contrary. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has strongly denied that the police used rubber bullets or any other type of projectiles against protesters during the confrontation at the Tbilisi police headquarters late on May 6. A number of opposition figures, including Levan Gachechiladze, Gia Maisashvili, Zviad Dzidziguri, Shalva Obgaidze, were seen in TV footage during the confrontation between the riot police and protesters with blood stains in their heads. Some other opposition activists, as well as at least one cameraman and a female journalist from public TV, also two security guards of Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, were also seen having blood stains in their heads. Public Defender, Sozar Subari, said on May 7, that two protesters who were hit by projectiles had lost sight in one eye. Projectiles, which were found at the incident site, visually resemble the ones used in 18mm FN 303 less lethal launcher, manufactured by FN Herstal. According to the producer company, FN 303 is accurate at 25 meters and "offers a very high probability of torso hits at 50 meters." Using compressed air to launch projectiles, the FN303 gives no flash, very little sound and almost no recoil, according to the manufacturer. A senior official from the Interior Ministry has declined to discuss the matters related with the arms available in the police, citing that the information was confidential.

Georgia discussed at Lavrov-Clinton meeting. U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said after meeting with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov in Washington, that they "have expressed on several occasions our concerns about Georgia." "We have had the opportunity to discuss the conditions on the ground there and the need for stability. And I believe that Minister Lavrov as well as the Russian Government recognize that stability and a peaceful resolution to the tensions in Georgia is in everyone's interest," she said at a joint news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister.  Sergey Lavrov said that situation "in the Caucasus, especially in the South Caucasus" was discussed. "True, we do have obvious differences. We do not conceal those. But we agree on one thing: we need to do our best in order to achieve stability there," he said. "And we also agree that we need to contribute in every possible way to preventing any new outbreaks of ethnic tension. We need to facilitate the establishment of procedures to ensure the observance of human rights. And of course, international organizations, including the UN, can play their role. The UN has worked in Georgia and Abkhazia for quite a while. And of course, the OSCE has a role to play. It should not be disregarded. And the negotiations that will take place in Vienna in order to find mutually acceptable arrangements will make it possible to resume the presence of the OSCE. In South Ossetia, of course, we need to find parameters that would be acceptable for all those who will be performing their missions, who will be receiving relevant missions in their respective territories."

U.S. lawmakers call for U.S.-Georgia free trade agreement. Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican Congressman David Dreier introduced a non-binding resolutions calling for the launch of negotiations with Georgia on free trade agreement. "This is a constructive step to assist the people of Georgia with achieving the reconstruction and economic development of their country," Senator Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement on May 7. "A free trade agreement with the United States won't solve all of Georgia's problems, but it will have a positive impact. This is an opportunity for our country to lead. I hope Europe will take similar action and I hope Russia will remove the impediments to trade with Georgia it has implemented." "This week's mutiny attempt in Tbilisi is just another reminder of the need to strengthen Georgia's democratic institutions and ensure that the Georgian people's quest for stability, democracy and prosperity can be fulfilled," Representative David Dreier, the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, said in the same statement. "I can think of no better way to assist them in this endeavor than to expand the international trade that spurs economic growth and brings in new investment."

EU signed a deal with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Egypt and Turkey on May 8 to boost plans for a southern energy corridor.

Summary of the situation in Georgia 08.05.2009

Police clashed with demonstrators in Georgia on Wednesday, raising pressure on the president to resign. The protests are planned to continue, without ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined). Here is a glance at the country:

THE COUNTRY: A former Soviet republic of 4.6 million on the Black Sea in the Caucasus region, bordering Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. Roughly the size of Ireland or South Carolina, Georgia straddles a key energy export route and is the focus of a power struggle between Russia and the West.

POLITICS: Pro-Western ultra-authoritarian right fascist President Mikheil Saakashvili was first elected by a landslide after leading the 2003/4 Rose Revolution that drove out his predecessor. He won a second term in January 2008. The opposition meant the election was not fair. The opposition wants to get rid of Saakashvili's rule and the ultra-authoritarian right fascist regime.

PROTESTS: Saakashvili's opponents have been holding street protests since April 9, demanding he resign over Georgia's war with Russia in August and allegations of authoritarian rule. He vows to remain through the end of his term in 2013.

TENSION: On May 6, police clashed with opposition leaders and protesters in the first major outbreak of violence during the current protests. It occurred when spokespersons of the opposition and hundreds of protesters marched to police headquarters in Tbilisi to demand the release of three jailed supporters.

OPPONENTS: Former ally Nino Burjanadze - instrumental to the success of the Rose Revolution and is now a popular opposition spokesperson.
Levan Gachechiladze - Saakashvili's main opponent in the 2008 presidential election and a prominent spokesperson in the current demonstrations.
Former-U.N. envoy Irakli Alasania - an increasingly popular figure respected for his negotiating skills by politicians in the republic of Abkhazia.

AT STAKE: Critics say Saakashvili has rolled back political freedoms in a bid to hold onto power and he is the ruler of the ultra-authoritarian right fascist regime in the country. Opposition leaders also fear Saakashvili's increasingly hardline stance against Russia threatens to irreparably damage relations with its northern neighbor.

09.05.2009. Zaakashvili is losing US support. Georgia's opposition is intensifying protests and demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili resign. The American-educated president has enjoyed strong backing in Washington since he rose to power in the 2003 Rose Revolution and won plaudits as a champion of democracy. More recently, he has lost some of his support both at home and abroad amid accusations that he has used state power to silence critics and bears responsibility for the August war with Russia. Meanwhile, the Obama administration, still early in its tenure, is formally reviewing U.S. policy on both Russia and Georgia. While the administration has promised unconditional support for Georgia and its budding democracy, it has not promised the same for Saakashvili, Associated Press reports.

Medvedev congratulates Georgia on WWII victory day. The Georgian and Russian people "have never been enemies" and "mutual attraction between the two spiritually close nations will help to develop mutually beneficial, partner relations," Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said in his message to the Georgian people congratulating WWII Victory Day. "On May 9 we honour our fathers and grandfathers who fought shoulder to shoulder on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, crushed Nazism, upheld our freedom, and influenced the entire course of world history," the message posted on the Kremlin website on May 8 reads. "The joint struggle against Nazi invaders is one of the most memorable and heroic pages in the centuries-old chronicles of Russian-Georgian friendship. We will never forget that it was a Russian, Mikheil Yegorov, and a Georgian, Meliton Kantaria, who hoisted the flag on top of the disarmed Reichstag."

"Our common historical heritage and tradition of good-neighborliness and partnership remains a solid foundation for the restoration of trust and mutual understanding between our peoples, peoples who have never been enemies. And despite the fact that today relations between Russia and Georgia are being subjected to severe tests, people-to-people contacts, cooperation between social and cultural organizations, and links between Russian and Georgian Orthodox churches continue unabated. All this gives us hope that the mutual attraction between the two spiritually close nations will help us work together and develop mutually beneficial, partner relations." Speaking at Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9 Medvedev said: "Our victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson to all nations, a lesson which is still topical today, when again and again people appear who indulge in military adventurism… Defense of our homeland is our holy duty... We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be decisively rebuffed."

Meanwhile MoD official charged with disclosure of state secret. Irakli Batkuashvili, who has served as head of combat training directorate at the Georgian Ministry of Defense, has been charged with disclosure of state secret. There has been speculation in the press that Batkuashvili's case could have been linked to the case of Vakhtang Maisaia. The latter has served as counselor at the Georgian mission in NATO in 2004-2008. He was arrested for espionage earlier this week. Vakhtang Maisaia was arrested for alleged espionage in favor of Russia, officials confirmed on May 6. Maisaia, who holds a Ph.D. in political science, served for the Georgian Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry in the past. The accusations may very well be false, i.e. just another trick of Saakashvili trying to put the blame for losing in his militarist attack on South Ossetia on someone else tham himself. President Saakashvili said while meeting with military top brass on May 6, that Maisaia "inflicted a huge damage to the country's security."

Burjanadze, Alasania comment on talks. Nino Burjanadze said President Saakashvili should meet the opposition within next few days if he really wanted a dialogue. "We cannot wait for the President's response [on the opposition's proposals to hold talks without preconditions] for days and weeks," she told journalists after meeting with EU special envoy for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby on May 9. "If the President is adequate and understands that the situation is really critical in the country, if he has proper reactions, naturally we should receive an answer today, within a day about when he wants to meet us," Burjanadze continued. "This meeting should take place today or tomorrow, but we cannot wait for weeks. If we do not receive an answer today and this meeting is not held in one or two days, it means that the President does not want any dialogue and I am absolutely sure that he does not. He uses the issue of a dialogue only for a PR purposes to drag-out the processes and to kill the [protest] momentum." Burjanadze also said that she did not believe it was required to meet with Bakradze, "as no special preparation is needed for talks with Saakashvili."

Irakli Alasania however, said after the same meeting that he would not like to set any deadlines when the talks with the President should take place. "We are ready to prepare for the meeting with the President. Theyesterday's meeting with Davit Bakradze [the Parliamentary Chairman] was a positive step. The fact that no result was achieved yesterday does not mean that the process should be stopped," Alasania told journalists. "I hope that this process will continue logically and the meeting with the President will follow in coming days." "I do not want to speak about exact dates [when the meeting with the President should take place]," he continued. "It should happen in the nearest future. I do not want to create artificial barriers by putting forth a rpecondition and naming dates and ultimatums." He also said that contacts were kept with the Parliamentary Chairman to arrange a meeting with him in order to then agree on format and the date of talks between the President and the opposition leaders. "It will become clear when the meeting may take place with Bakradze in a course of this day [Saturday]," Alasania said and added that he hoped Saakashvili would agree on meeting with the opposition leaders.

EU envoy comments on police, protesters confrontation. Peter Semneby, the EU's special representative for South Caucasus, told journalists in Tbilisi on May 9, that it was "irresponsible to bring the rally" at the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6, when dozens were injured as a result of confrontation between polica and protesters there. "I think this was playing with fire," he said before meeting with a group of opposition leaders. He, however, also said: "At the same time there are obviously other aspects of this incident also that need to be looked at and need to be investigated." "I just had a meeting with the Public Defender [Sozar Subari] to hear about the work that he has been doing in terms of investigating exactly what has happened there; these are all important aspects," said Semneby, who met with the Public Defender earlier on May 9. Sozar Subari, who was at the scene when the police and protesters confronted on May 6, criticized police for acting illegally citing that they were tossing stones and also shooting rubber bullets and other types of projectiles at protesters. The Public Defender has been criticizing the Interior Ministry for use of rubber bullets since November, 2007 when the riot police broke up anti-governmental rallies in Tbilisi. He says that use of rubber bullets or other types of less lethal projectiles by the police is illegal in Georgia. The Public Defender cites the Law on Police, which lists special equipment at the riot police's disposal. The list includes tear gas, water cannons and rubber batons, but not rubber bullets.

Naive EU envoy says opposition, authorities meeting positive step. Peter Semneby welcomed the first meeting between the opposition and the authorities as a positive development, which needs to be followed up. "This is in fact what we have been advocating all the time since this confrontation started. The country needs to move away from political confrontation, from the polarized environment that we have and the political forces need to get together to have a serious discussion about rules of the game that concerns constitutional issues; it concerns election-related issues; it concerns media-related issues and so on," Semneby told journalists in Tbilisi on May 9. "Georgia can not continue to go through these cycles of outbursts in the streets," he said. "Political discourse needs to be moved to negotiation format, to the Parliament, to the political institutions."

"In order to do that also there has to be a broad sense that the rules for those institutions and those institutions themselves are legitimate, strong and that they are established in a way that is sustainable over long period of time and that is what Georgia needs to focus on at this time." First meeting between negotiators from the opposition and the authorities since the launch of street protests a month ago, ended without result late on May 8 with the agenda of the meeting becoming a sticking point. The opposition negotiators, as they had announced it prior to the meeting, were pushing for discussing format of possible talks between the opposition leaders and President Saakashvili; while the representatives of the authorities, led by Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary speaker, declined to discus the issue and instead offered to directly offered moving immediately to issue-based discussion of the authorities' agenda of reforms. The EU envoy Peter Semneby is quite naive, the anarchists declare: "The people cannot deal with an ultra-authoritarian right fascist regime as Zaakashvili's in the same way as opposition politics in UK or Norway".

Rally marks month-long protests. Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Parliament in Tbilisi on May 9, marking one month since the launch of street rallies to demand President Saakashvili's resignation. Opposition leaders, addressing the protesters, reiterated that they were waiting for the authorities' response on their calls for unconditional meeting between them and President Saakashvili. "We are waiting for the response on our question: where and when Saakashvili will meet us?" Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way, told the rally. Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told the protesters that by meeting with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze on May 8 the opposition "took a serious initiative."  "They [the authorities] counted on the opposition's radicalism hoping that we would not have agreed on talks," he said and added that the opposition had confirmed its readiness for talks and now it was up to the authorities to respond when the President would meet with the opposition.

Asked when the second meeting might take place between negotiators from the authorities and the opposition to arrange talks with the President, a lawmaker from the ruling party, Zurab Melikishvili, told Civil.Ge at about 6:30pm on Saturday: "I cannot say anything for now. A statement will apparently be made later." MP Melikishvili was among the group of officials how met with the opposition negotiators on May 8. Opposition politicians say that even if talks with President Saakashvili take place it will not stop ongoing rallies. Nino Burjanadze told the rally outside the Parliament on May 9, that there should be "no step back in our struggle." "Those [opposition politicians], who are addressing you from here have no right to make step back as it will amount to betraying you," Burjanadze told the protesters. "We will not change our demand and not a single other demand can replace our major demand – resignation of Saakashvili."

"They [the authorities] even can not tell us an exact date, when the President is ready to meet the opposition," she continued. "We are waiting for a response today – at what time the meeting will take place. I think this meeting will not take place, because Saakashvili has no enough bravery; but if they have sense of responsibility they should respond to us in next day or two – when and where he will meet the opposition… But I am not going to wait for that response for days and weeks." Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia told protesters that "the road towards changes will definitely be successful." "The yesterday's step of the opposition [to meet with the Parliamentary Chairman] was one of the most courageous steps," Alasania said. "We agreed on the negotiations in order to deliver people's will to the authorities. Do not forget that we can speak with opponents and during these talks we will prove our truth." He also said the protest rallies should maintain"an organized and peaceful nature." "We have not taken even one step towards violence. They [the authorities] try to impose violence on us and our peaceful steps are our response to it," Alasania added. Levan Gachechiladze, the opposition politician and one of key figures during ongoing protests, said at the rally that talks with the authorities were required in order to prevent "bloodshed" in the process of forcing Saakashvili to resign. "If the Saakashvili's repressive regime is not put to an end once and forever peacefully, it will end by force and clashes, but we will not provoke it," Gachechiladze said. "The protests must continue, without ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined)," the anarchists say.

Radical opposition presents own decisions to society members. Georgian opposition considers the society`s involvement into the current processes in the country necessary. The opposition leaders have met with experts and representatives of NGOs and the civil society at the Public Defender`s office and informed them about all the issues regarding the dialogue with the government. Experts and representatives of NGOs presented their opinions to the leaders at the meeting. They emphasized significance of similar meetings. The representatives of the society said it is very important that the opposition feels accountable to the society and informs it about own decisions.

10.05.2009. Putin on the development in Georgia. NATO exercises in Georgia is "a clear signal of support to the current regime," which is far from democratic standards and which suppresses protest rallies, Vladimir Putin, Russia's Prime Minister, said in an interview with the Japanese media. "Rallies are violently dispersed, opposition figures are wounded, shot at with rubber bullets, there is blood in the streets, there are more and more political prisoners, mutinies in the armed forces," Putin said in the interview, transcript of which was posted on the Russian government's website. "Against this background it has been decided to hold military exercises. Of course it cannot be considered otherwise than the support towards the current regime. And what kind of regime is being supported? I think I have already described it. Why support such a regime?"   

"I am not now referring to the bloody events in August last year, when the Georgian regime unleashed a war in Southern Caucasus. Even in terms of a traditional approach of our partners - the United Stats and Western Europe - to democracy, Georgia does not meet any standards today. Why then hold military exercises which send a clear signal of support to the current regime?  We believe this is a step backwards. But we understand that it takes time for brakes to take effect. We very much hope that the current US leadership will "step on the brake hard" and slow down the negative trends in the development of links between our states, and will take the necessary steps to invest them with really new content," Putin said. His remarks followed after he was asked about NATO's ongoing exercises in Georgia amid "resetting" U.S.-Russian relations. "It is the US Administration that has proposed to "reset" them. We agree with that and, of course, we would like to give a new positive impetus to Russian-US relations," Putin said. "Regarding the NATO military exercises in Georgia, that is a signal in a different direction."

Opposition claims 'success' ahead of talks with Saakashvili, but plans more direct actions. The opposition leaders hailed planned meeting with President Saakashvili for May 11 as their first "major success" claiming that it marks the end the authorities' tactic of "ignoring" the ongoing street protests. "I know you have mixed feelings about these talks," Salome Zourabichvili, a former foreign minister and leader of Georgia's Way party, told protesters outside the Parliament. "On the one hand you are glad that for the first time since the launch of the protest rallies 30 days ago, Saakashvili has at last understood what is going on and realized that it is no longer possible to continue policy of ignoring and that is our first serious success." "But at the same time, I know that you also have sense of doubt and fear: what if he [Saakashvili] will again deceive us... These will be very difficult negotiations, because it is extremely hard to convince a person that it will be better for the country if he quits [the post]," she added.

Zourabichvili is among the group of opposition leaders who have been selected to represent those opposition parties, which are behind the ongoing protests, at the meeting with the President. Three other negotiators are: Irakli Alasania, a former ambassador to UN and leader of Alliance for Georgia; Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum and Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician. Irakli Alasania has said that the talks "are without preconditions." "This is a very positive step made by both the authorities and the opposition," he said in televised remarks. "I hope that this meeting will become a genuine start of coming out from the crisis." Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told the protesters at the same rally that President Saakashvili had offered the opposition to hold the meeting in a newly constructed glass building of the Interior Ministry in the suburb of Tbilisi. "And it is very symbolic," he said, "it demonstrates who is in fact in charge in this country; it demonstrates that Vano Merabishvili [the interior minister] governs this country... He [Saakashvili] is a hostage of Merabishvili."

When Sanikidze announced about the venue of the meeting it triggered some boos from the crowd. Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, however, told the rally: "We have offered that he [Saakashvili] – meet us anytime, anywhere; if he wants to meet us there, we will go there." The opposition leaders also called on supporters "not to relax." "We have gained an advantage as we have destroyed the authorities' myth that as if the opposition was not in favor of talks," Gubaz Sanikidze said. "But it will be a very difficult process." He also said that large-scale protest rallies were especially needed now as "back-up" to negotiating process. "The processes enter into a decisive phase," Eka Beseila of the Movement for United Georgia party said at the rally. "We should try everything that may bring us to our major goal… We should be ready to continue this struggle to the end, which is the resignation of Saakashvili." "The fact that the meeting will take place in the Interior Ministry's building means that we live in the police state, in Vano's state, in the country where the President is afraid to meet the opposition in his residence," Beselia said.

11.05.2009. Opposition figures comment on upcoming talks. Nino Burjanadze said although she did not believe that talks with President Saakashvili would have any result, this chance should anyway be used. The four opposition leaders will meet with President Saakashvili at 2pm local time on May 11 in the newly constructed Interior Ministry's administrative building in the suburb of Tbilisi. Asked if she thought the talks would bring results, Burjanadze responded while speaking at public TV's talk show on May 10: "No I do not believe… I do not expect any results from this meeting; however I will be glad if I am wrong." "As far as there are people, including in the opposition, who still believe that something positive may happen and the result – Saakashvili's resignation – can be achieved as a result of this dialogue – of course this resource should be used and we should try to talk at the negotiating table," Burjanadze said. She said on May 8 that she doubted the President would "take such a brave step and meet the opposition." Asked whether the opposition would agree if the President offered early parliamentary elections and creation of a coalition government in exchange of giving up of demanding his resignation, Burjanadze said: "That's ruled out." "I can tell you resolutely – there will be no talking about coalition government or [early] parliamentary elections tomorrow [at the meting between the opposition and the President]. Tomorrow the opposition will only talk about the President's resignation and only about the procedures through which this issue [of resignation] should be resolved without creating problems for the country," Burjanadze said. "The only way to overcome the crisis is Saakashvili's resignation," she said. "The opposition is going there [at the meeting] with its arguments why the President should resign… Saakashvili was not going to resign in November, 2007, but he resigned and I assure you he will have to resign now too."

Speaking in the same TV program shortly after Burjanadze, Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said about the upcoming meeting: "I want to be maximally optimistic." "The authorities now have an exceptional chance to take a positive step for the first time in years to help the country out from the crisis," Khidasheli said. "I deeply believe that people have moments when they decide to remain in the history as symbols of success and not as a leader who is ousted or tried in court… I sincerely want to believe in this." "The regime change should take place in Georgia – this is the sole way out from this deep crisis. We are not going to engage in a meaningless dialogue on anything else. If the proposal [offered by the authorities] includes some kind of a combination with an eventual result of holding early presidential and parliamentary elections – that's a matter of negotiations… Of course one possible combination may include that Saakashvili will not go, let's say, immediately tomorrow, but on some other concrete date – this date should be clearly declared. But I do not want to go into details of discussing it now. The major issue is that Saakashvili's unilateral rule in the country should be put to the end and presidential and parliamentary elections should be held," she added.

Saakashvili and opposition leaders meet. The meeting of President Saakashvili and four opposition leaders started in the Interior Ministry's newly built administrative office in the suburb of Tbilisi at about 2:30pm local time on Monday. Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way; Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum and Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition figure and a former presidential candidate in last year's early polls, represent the opposition parties at the first meeting with the President since the launch of protest rallies over a month ago. Along with the President, Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze; MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the parliamentary majority leader; a lawmaker from the ruling party, Giorgi Gabashvili; as well as Dimitri Shashkin, the minister for prison system and probation, who has been tasked with negotiating with the opposition, participate in the meeting. TV pictures showed four opposition negotiators arriving in a room with long conference table; the ruling party negotiators arrived shortly after that and President Saakashvili followed them exchanging a hasty handshakes with the opposition leaders before taking seat at the table. No statements have been made before the meeting. President Saakashvili will also meet with a group of lawmakers from the parliamentary minority after talks with those opposition leaders, who are behind the ongoing street protests demanding the President's resignation.

Tbilisi mayor hails the beginning of dialogue. Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava has hailed the beginning of dialogue between the opposition leaders and the president of Georgia after a month of street rallies. Mayor says the demand of the people of Georgia is peace, stability and social guarantees.
"The society has a demand of stable environment, public order and the politicians should not arrange artificial barriers, which bring more problems to the people who have a lot of other problems as well. In most cases the barriers are artificial, that`s why I think it is very significant that the process of dialogue has begun," Tbilisi mayor says.

Saakashvili-opposition talks end. "Perception of the crisis by us and by Mikheil Saakashvili absolutely differ," Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition figure, said in a brief comment made after two-hour talks with President Saakashvili. "He believes that everything is all right in the country and we believe that everything is very bad; that is the only result of this meeting;" he told journalists and added that the opposition negotiators would now meet with other leaders to inform about the details of the talks. He also said that detailed statements would be made at a protest rally outside the Parliament at 6pm local time on Monday. Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, who was among the group of four opposition negotiators, said that the sides had exchanged views on the political crisis in the country. "There are serious differences," he said, "but the fact in itself that the meeting took place is a positive step." "We had an open conversation, a very open conversation," Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, told journalists after the meeting. "But we assess the crisis absolutely differently." Kakha Shartava, leader of the National Forum, said that the opposition negotiations put forth the opposition's major demand about President Saakashvili's resignation and also listened to the authorities' position about the current situation in the country. "Our views mostly do not coincide with each other. We have listened to what steps they are planning to take in future," he told reporters. "If there are some acceptable proposals we will decide at a joint meeting. Our today's mandate was limited by informing them about our vision, pushing the most important issues and listening to their options.

Meanwhile Kakha Kobaidze and Davit Sulkhanishvili, the commanders of the 3rd and 1st infantry brigades of the Georgian armed forces, respectively, were arrested in connection to the May 5 mutiny at Mukhrovani military unit, the Defense Ministry's Military Police said on May 11. The both men are accused of concealing information about the plotting a mutiny at Mukhrovani mutiny, an official from the Military Police said. "These persons were aware that the military mutiny was organized; they also had information who were participating in it; however, they did not notify either their command, or the law enforcement agencies about it," Gaga Kirkitadze an official from the Military Police, said on May 11. Criminal charges against the two men, who were arrested on May 9, have been brought under article 376 of the Criminal Code of Georgia for non-reporting of crime, he said.

Euronews reports: Inconclusive talks in Georgia. Top-level talks aimed at easing the increasing political instability in Georgia have broken up inconclusively. President Mikheil [Mikheil] Saakashvili met opposition leaders after weeks of popular protests against his rule. The President has come under increasing pressure since last summer's resounding military defeat by Russia and the loss of rebel South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Opponents accuse him of being a dictator in the pay of the West. The fallout from last summer's war has included a failed army mutiny and general dissatisfaction with Saakashvili's desire to join NATO. Neither side is expecting an early solution.

Saakashvili meets parliamentary minority. Parliamentary minority leaders, who met with President Saakashvili on May 11, said that they would engage in drafting of new constitution proposed by the authorities. Before meeting with lawmakers from the parliamentary minority President Saakashvili met with representatives of those opposition parties, which are behind the ongoing protests rallies. After those meetings Saakashvili laid out proposals, which he had offered to the opposition groups. One of the proposals, he said, envisages setting up of a commission to work on a constitutional reform to create "balanced system, in which there will be place for both the strong president and the strong parliament." "The Georgian President has offered both the radical opposition and the parliamentary opposition a concrete plan," Dimitri Shashkin, the minister for prison system and probation, who attended the both meetings, said. "We welcome that the parliamentary opposition has accepted those proposals."

MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the rather reactionary Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of parliamentary minority group, said after the meeting that a state commission will be established in the near future to work on the constitutional reform. Vice-Speaker of the Parliament and a member of CDM, Levan Vepkhvadze, said after the meeting that the parliamentary opposition would try to have contacts with the opposition parties behind the ongoing protests on the matter. "The part of opposition, which is holding rallies, should be part of this commission, because they represent quite large part of the society. Their absence will not be positive," MP Vepkhvadze said. MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of CDM, said that during the meeting the President said it clearly that there would be no early elections. "The Christian-Democratic think that the new constitution will itself set new dates for elections," he said.

Representative of Zaakashvili's fascist party: Opposition's tactic unproductive. MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of parliamentary majority, said the opposition would fail to achieve its goals through street protest rallies. MP Tsiskarishvili, who participated in a meeting between the opposition leaders and President Saakashvili on May 11, told journalists: "We have clearly explained to the representatives of radical opposition, that we understand that there are certain problems in the country. But we have also clearly explained that it would be impossible for them to use street rallies and 'cells' for mounting pressure on the authorities and for blackmailing the authorities." "Elections – parliamentary, presidential and local elections – will be held as planned in their original dates," MP Tsiskarishvili added. An influential mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, said on May 11 that the authorities had "a concrete roadmap on how to overcome the existing problems through evolution, without any disorders and without external interferences." Speaking with journalists, before the meeting between President Saakashvili and the opposition leaders, Ugulava said that launch of a dialogue was "very important." He said that any instability will harm the economy and "each citizen." "We understand it very well and I am sure that all those persons in the opposition, who have a sense of responsibility to their own country, will also fully understand it," he added.

The protests continue. The anarchists declare: It is about time the protesters make a joint program for change, in libertarian direction.

After talks opposition calls for boosting protests. The opposition leaders addressing thousands of protesters outside the Parliament on May 11, after talks with President Saakashvili, have called for expending and making protests "sharper," but some leaders have also called for further talks in parallel to rallies. As mentioned four opposition leaders – Salome Zourabichvili, Irakli Alasania, Levan Gachechiladze and Kakha Shartava – met with the President earlier on Monday. After briefing their partners from other opposition parties about the meeting, they address the rally. Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, told the rally that the meeting made clear for her that President Saakashvili "lives in a virtual reality" and that the authorities refuse to even acknowledge that there is crisis in the country. "He [Saakashvili] told us that there was no crisis… I think that he really believes in what he is saying, because of this virtual reality they have created," she said. "Personally my dialogue with them ended today," she said.

Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician, however, told the really that the opposition should continue dialogue "no matter how inadequate" the authorities were. But he also said that in parallel the opposition should further expand its protest rallies, including in the provinces. "We should make our protest rallies sharper and larger, including geographically; we should more citizens part of this process – that's our major goal from now on," Gachechiladze said. "This is an irreversible process and nothing, except of Saakashvili's resignation, can stop it." "There was nothing remarkable at that meeting; one thing I remember: after the meeting I had a sense of emptiness, because it was clear for me that our country needs to be saved," he added.

In a brief speech to protesters, Irakli Alasania, the leader of Alliance for Georgia, said that the meeting, "which ended without results," should not become a source of "disappointment." "Because we are still together and we are still trying to find way out from this situation," he said. "Levan [Gachechiladze] is right when saying that we will talk again with everyone if the country needs it." "But it is up to us to achieve the result through our struggle," he continued. "Naturally our proposal for [Saakashvili's] resignation was rejected. But before the Saakashvili's resignation we should continue our everyday struggle for free media; we should struggle for security of our supporters; these are the issues on which we should continue our efforts no matter of the result [of the meeting with the President]." "We should direct our very calculated steps towards achieving our goals very quickly… The fact that we have been standing here for a month already demonstrates that we will not get tired," Alasania added.

Kakha Shartava, the leader of National Forum party, told the rally that it was "cynical," when, according to him, President Saakashvili told the opposition negotiators that "nothing special was going on" and that the rallies were only held in Tbilisi, but not in the provinces. "The entire Georgia should stand up," Shartava said. "Everyone should come out [in the streets] to protect Georgia." Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, which is part of Alliance for Georgia, said at the rally that there were some expectations among the society towards the meeting with the President. "But to be frank, I have never believed in dialogue with [Saakashvili]," he said. "He can not take this step and resign apparently because we do not seem to be sharp and radical enough." "If the next meeting takes place, this meeting should be held against the background of tens of thousands of protesters standing outside a building where the meeting will be held," Gamkrelidze said. "Today he actually told us: either go home or prevail over me."

Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, told the rally that the meeting was "anyway a positive" step, because it has demonstrated "whether there is or not a chance" to negotiate with the President. "Western states, which now call on us for a dialogue, would not have tolerated what Saakashvili is doing," she said. "We should move to vigorous and active actions from tomorrow in order to wake these authorities up," Burjanadze said. "Saakashvili still has a chance to quit and to show that the country is more important for him than his chair. I do not believe in that, but anyway I want to have at least some hope about it… We will not wait till 2013 or 2010."

Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum party told the rally that on May 12 the opposition will put forth "a detailed action plan," which he said might involve blocking of key highways. The opposition planned to block the key east-west highway, but put it off following the May 5 incident at the Mukhrovani military unit and May 6 confrontation between the police and protesters.

Saakashvili repeat he will serve full term. Mikheil Saakashvili has reiterated that he did not plan to step down and would serve his second term in office in full till 2013. "I will not be the president of this country after four years," he said at a groundbreaking ceremony of construction of, as he put it, "the Europe's best opera house" in the Black Sea town of Batumi late on May 11.

HRW: "There can't be a trade-off on justice". Human Rights Watch called on the authorities "not to abandon its obligations to protect human rights" in the process of negotiations with the opposition. After meeting with opposition leaders on May 11, President Saakashvili said that, among other proposals, he had also offered the opposition "a moratorium on further investigation and legal prosecution of all offences, which occurred because of excessive political emotions in the course of protest rallies." "There can't be a trade-off on justice," Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on May 11. "The government can choose not to prosecute demonstrators, if they've committed offenses. But it cannot choose to abandon its human rights obligations. There have been allegations of serious human rights violations in connection with the protests, and the government has to investigate them."

Dozens of cases of attacks on opposition activists and supporters have been reported by human rights groups and opposition parties in April, since the launch of protest rallies. Human Rights Watch said that it had documented a pattern of attacks on participants of the rallies and concluded that "the attacks appeared to be a concerted effort to intimidate the demonstrators and prevent them from exercising their right to freedom of assembly." There have also been several cases wherein the police investigate actions of some pro-opposition activists. One such case includes a street brawl overnight on April 26 involving activists from pro-opposition ‘patrol group' set up to monitor situation on the protests venues in an attempt to, as founder say, prevent cases of attacks on the opposition activists. Another case, which became a reason of the May 6 confrontation between the police and protesters, involves three youth opposition activists who were arrested for assaulting a public TV journalist. Although the activists were released the case has not been formally closed.

In a May 7 letter to the Georgian Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, and Justice Minister, Zurab Adeishvili, Human Rights Watch called for a prompt and full investigation of the attacks on demonstrators and for bringing the perpetrators to justice."In at least two cases documented by Human Rights Watch, patrol police appeared to be in the vicinity of the attack and in a position to intervene but did not do so," the letter reads."In most cases documented by Human Rights Watch, law enforcement agencies took victims' reports but to the best of our knowledge took no other action. In some cases, the victims were able to name their assailants, or the license plate numbers of the vehicles they used, yet police did not appear to apprehend the attacker or take further investigative steps." "Accountability for these assaults is essential to demonstrate the government's commitment to justice, and prevent any attempts to attack freedom of assembly. Finding and prosecuting the perpetrators would demonstrate that the authorities are not condoned or tolerating such violence," the Human Rights Watch letter reads. The anarchists support HWR and declare "there can't be a trade-off on justice"

12.05.2009. Action participant injured in incident in front of Public Broadcasting. An incident occurred in front of Public Broadcasting yesterday night. The action participants inform that a Geep car driving with high speed bumped into two cells on the square of heroes at about 02.00. The car stuck into the cells. There was encounter between the action participants and the car driver. The action participants tried to take the driver out of the car, but he managed to leave the territory.

American newsmedia about the meeting of Georgia's president and opposition. The Wall Street Journal publishes a report about the meeting of Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili and opposition. "Talks aimed at ending a month long stalemate between Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and opposition leaders calling for his resignation ended with no resolution Monday. Supporters of a loose coalition of parties demanding Mr. Saakashvili quit over what they see as increasing authoritarianism and his handling of last August's war with Russia have been blocking roads and camping in makeshift jail cells outside key government buildings in the capital Tbilisi since April 9" The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the edition, Saakashvili "hinted he might be ready to give opposition representatives positions in government although he has rejected opponents' calls that he resign before his term ends in 2013". "‘The opposition, comprising more than a dozen parties, is united only in its desire to see Mr. Saakashvili leave office, and its leaders said after the talks that government and opposition were still poles apart" the article reads.

"President Mikheil Saakashvili met with a group of opposition leaders on Monday for the first time since they began protests calling for his ouster more than a month ago, but the sides were unable to reach agreement on even minor matters," The New York Times reports. The edition states that Mr. Saakashvili consented to the talks after a week of mounting tensions. "On Monday, Mr. Saakashvili sought to portray favorably the roughly three-hour meeting. He said that he would like to continue contacts with the opposition and indicated that he was open to giving its leaders a voice in developing proposals to overhaul the Constitution and electoral laws. Opposition leaders were more pessimistic, and while Mr. Saakashvili was said to have asked them to halt their protests, they made it clear that they would not. After the meeting, several thousand people gathered once again in front of the Parliament building in central Tbilisi, which has been the site of daily demonstrations since April 9," The New York Times reports.

AmCham: Trafficblockades hit businesses. Businesses are suffering from both the direct effects of traffic blockades, which are part of ongoing protests, and from the picture of political uncertainty, the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (AmCham) said in a statement on May 12. It welcomed dialogue between the authorities and opposition. "In a democracy based on law, political change can only be achieved, just as political power can only be maintained, through the use of legal and democratic means," the statement says. "Residents of Tbilisi and visitors to the city have been inconvenienced by the blocking of major traffic arteries since April 9, and businesses are suffering from both the direct effects of these blockades and from the picture of political uncertainty and instability that they present to partners, customers and investors," AmCham-Georgia said. "We encourage both sides to demonstrate their respect for the Georgian people, and their concern for the viability of the country's economy and institutions, by immediately allowing the life and commerce of the capital to resume unhindered, and to cooperate with each other towards agreement on long term political solutions that will stabilize the situation and benefit the country as a whole." "The protests, including traffickblockades, are fully compatible with "legal and democratic means", the anarchists say: But just as a strike it may hurt the businesses' profits. This is quite normal and acceptable. Although the protests are hurting the economical plutarchists of AmCham, they are fully in the interest of, and in respect of, the grassroots, i .e. the people, seen as a class, as opposed to the superiors in rank and/or income, including the bosses of AmCham."

The right-fascist party is on the defensive. Gigi Ugulava, an influential mayor of Tbilisi and a close ally of President Saakashvili, said on May 12, that the authorities were offering the opposition to develop jointly draft of new constitution "in the shortest timeframes." He said that the new constitution would envisage increase of the parliamentary powers giving the legislative body right to compose the government. "What we offer them [the opposition] is a commission on constitutional reform, chaired by an opposition representative; that means that new constitution will be tabled in the shortest timeframe," Ugulava said. "This new constitution will significantly increase powers of the parliament at the expanse of the presidential powers… The government will be composed by political forces, which will win in parliamentary [elections] and president will not participate in this process."

President Saakashvili said after talks with opposition on May 11 that he had offered opposition a number of proposals including to launch discussions on constitutional reform to create "balanced system, in which there will be place for both the strong president and the strong parliament." Ugulava also said on May 12, that early elections "in the existing situation" was not possible, citing that early elections, both the presidential and parliamentary, had already been held last year and also because of "the economic crisis." "The third major reason is that after the elections, if not these, other political groups will come out with the same demands and mistrust; such a development will lead us to further escalation and will entirely undermine the situation. Therefore, at first we should all jointly draft an election code on which all the key stakeholders agree and then we should test this [election code] on upcoming local elections. We have offered [the opposition] to hold these local elections [in spring, 2010], earlier than originally scheduled [in autumn, 2010]."

He also said that the local elections would be a good opportunity for the political parties to also test their capacity. Ugulava added that after that it would be possible "to speak about the parliamentary elections." He also expressed hope that "a common sense would prevail within the radical opposition leaders and healthy negotiations, which have no alternative, will start." Meanwhile, Dimitri Shashkin, the minister of prison system and probation, who in his capacity of negotiator with the opposition attended talks with the opposition leaders on may 11, said that the authorities were ready to start working together with the opposition on draft of new constitution without delay. "The President has stated it clearly that we will carry out democratic reforms no matter whether the radical opposition engages in the process or not," Shashkin said on May 12. "Too little - too late", the anarchists say: "There is no room for a powerful president in a new system."

Levan Gachechiladze – From today opposition has right to sharpen rallies. From today opposition has a right to sharpen the rallies and extent the geography of protest rallies.Levan Gachechiladze made the statement at the rally resumed by Parliament today .As he noted, despite the fact that opposition knew Government's attitude towards to the results of a dialogue, they still agreed to meeting with the Georgian Government to show the world, and however, this result of the meeting was expected for opposition. "We saw no sign that Government is ready for dragging the country out of the crisis. Moreover, he depicts the situation as if everything is "nice" in the country and that only annoyed people and the ones who lost jobs are coming to protest rallies. We'll sharpen rallies, show public devotion and how may we are. These processes are irreversible and only resignation of the Georgian President will stop them (processes)" Gachechiladze said and added that at the meeting he personally asked Saakashvili vis-à-vis his resignation.

"When the meeting was over Saakashvili stated that we have brought nothing concrete today. What can be concreter when we demand his resignation? The person who we knew met us; he started speaking how strong he is. Do not wrench muscles, it will not work. Irresponsibility of Mikheil Saakashvili is leading the country to escalation and confrontation between people and police regime. Our main target is to carry on fighting. We will not step back until this repressive regime step down." Levan Gachechiladze noted and added that he had the feeling of emptiness on leaving the meeting. "I realized that the motherland is in difficulties and needs to be rescued." Gachechiladze underlined. Levan Gachechiladze also considers that non-recognition of political crisis by Saakashvili is a crime. "Situation in Georgia is beyond all norms. I think that non-recognition of political and state crisis in the country is a crime," Levan Gachechiladze stated after the meeting of the opposition today. He says that if President doesn't recognize state crisis of the country, there is not sense to continue dialogue and sit at the negotiations table with president.

Opposition plans to declare action plan today. Opposition intends to present an action plan regarding protest actions. As Chairperson of Tbilisi organization of "‘National Forum" Gubaz Sanikidze stated yesterday, opposition leaders will introduce a plan to the population today at 17.00 in front of parliament about new protest sites. He says that opposition declares national disobedience and plans to block front-ends. Gubaz Sanikidze asked people to actively take parting the protest. A part of the plan is to go to regions where there will be new protest sites. About the meeting between opposition and president, opposition assesses that dialogue will be over without results. Mikheil Saakashvili called this meeting victory of Georgian democracy, a bad joke.

Opposition spokepersons think dialogue should continue. The leader of the Alliance for Georgia political movement Irakli Alasania believes that despite the ineffectiveness of the dialogue between the president and the opposition leaders held yesterday, the dialogue should continue. "The differences on political crisis and the ways which should be applied to overcome this crisis still remain between the opposition and the government. The issues which were discussed at the meeting yesterday were very important for the country`s political life, that`s why the consultations among the opposition leaders  were still negotiating to take a joint position," Alasania said and added that this position would be voiced soon. The leader of the Road of Georgia movement, Salome Zourabichvili has also said the dialogue with the president is possible only if Saakashvili acknowleges the situation in the country adequately. "We are ready to meet Saakashvili in the future only if he becomes adequate to the current political situation in the country. the opposition is prepared to continue dialogue with the president on the ways out of the crisis but we are not going to become new 'Targamadzes' [the leader of the Christian-Democratic Party]," Zourabichvili said. One of the members of "Alliance for Georgia" Zurab Abashidze states that process of dialogue with the government must continue. Abashidze stated about it after meeting of opposition. He says that opposition has already taken political decision that will be promulgated on the meeting today. He says that opposition intends to continue fight peacefully and constitutionally. "Dialogue will continue till preliminary elections," Abashidze stated.

Opposition plans "Public Parade" on Independence Day.The opposition leaders said on May 12 that they would hold a large-scale "public parade" on May 26 to mark Georgia's Independence Day and vowed they would not let the authorities to hold an annual military parade on Rustaveli Avenue – key venue of the ongoing protests. "May 26 will be a new April 9," Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition leader, told the protesters outside the Parliament on May 12, referring to the first day of the protests when tens of thousands of people gathered at the rally. He said that the opposition supporters would gather at Boris Paichadze National Stadium and then march towards the Rustaveli Avenue on May 26. Gachechiladze said that the stadium was chosen in order to clearly demonstrate large numbers of opposition supporters. He said that it would be easier to define turnout if people gathered in the stadium. The all-seater national stadium has capacity of up to 60,000.

Traditionally, the Independence Day in Georgia is marked with a parade with soldiers and military hardware marching down the Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament. When Levan Gachechiladze announced that the opposition wanted its supporters to gather in the stadium, instead of traditional protest venue outside the Parliament, some protesters questioned the decision suggesting that the opposition deliberately made such a decision to let the authorities hold a military parade on the Rustaveli Avenue. Gachechiladze, however, told the protesters that the opposition did not plan to remove 'cells'. "Only the raid [by the authorities] can remove 'cells' from here," Gachechiladze said. "If they use force, they will meet adequate force here." Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way, said "they will have to roll over my head before removing these ‘cells'." Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, told the rally: "We have gained the right to stand here on the main avenue and to celebrate and not the man, who is living in total ignorance mode." "We want to stand here on May 26 not because we have kind of a whim of doing so," she continued, "but because we do not want the man [reference to President Saakashvili], who was running away from his illusionary bombing [referring to the incident that occured in Gori on August 11, 2008] to review parade of the Georgian army."

The opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, have sent a notification to the Tbilisi municipality informing that they were planning to continue rallies at least till May 26. The municipality is expected to respond on May 13. According to the law a local municipality can reject organizers' notification about their intention to hold a demonstration in case other event is already planned at a venue indicated by organizers. The opposition leader also said on May 12, that they were rejecting "inadequate" proposals by President Saakashvili and had no plans to engage in work of a planned commission, which will work on the constitutional reform. Most of the leaders also said that it was "senseless" to continue dialogue with the President, because he was not acknowledging existence of crisis in the country. Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way, told the rally on May 12, that Saakashvili "is politically insane" ruled by his inner circle, which she described as "a criminal gang." Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, however, said on May 12, that although positions of the opposition and the authorities differed significantly on existing situation in the country, he still believed that the dialogue was needed in parallel to ongoing protests.

13.05.2009. "The traffic will be unblocked tomorrow." The opposition has been blocking one of the capital's key thoroughfares, Kostava Street, outside the public TV with improvised cells since April 14. After the meeting between some of the opposition leaders on May 13, Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of the Alliance for Georgia, said: "The traffic will be unblocked tomorrow."

Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, said the authorities would not hold a military parade on the Rustaveli Avenue to mark the Independence Day on May 26 if "there are no conditions for that."

Opposition  'split' on tactic?  Opposition politicians from various parties acknowledge having certain small differences on the tactic, i.e. regarding talks with the government, but they say that they have a joint position on the need of President Saakashvili's resignation.

More vigorous actions. Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, has strongly rejected the notion of her being a radical opposition figure. "My statements are not radical; my statements are adequate," she said while speaking at the Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV's talks how on May 13. "I would have been radical if I called for hanging Saakashvili," she added. In separate remarks made later on the same day in another Tbilisi-based television station, Maestro, Burjanadze said that the opposition would have been radical if it had "kicked out" the authorities from their offices.  Earlier on May 13, Nino Burjanadze reiterated that she did not believe that negotiations with President would bring any results and said that "more vigorous actions" on the part of the opposition were required to mount more pressure on the authorities.

Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of parliamentary minority, welcomed the President's proposal to establish a commission on constitutional reforms, but rejected a formula of "strong president – strong parliament" offered by Saakashvili on May 11.

14.05.2009. Russia ejects Greek proposal on OSCE monitors in Georgia but the Greek proposal on OSCE Georgia monitoring "remains on table".

Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said "all or nothing approach" whether on the part of the authorities or the opposition would not help to resolve the crisis.

Actions must continue in front of Public Broadcasting. One of the leaders of "Alliance for Georgia" Davit Gamkrelidze states that actions must continue in front of the Public Broadcasting. Davit Gamkrelidze stated to journalists on the action in front of Public Broadcasting that they took decision to open Kostava Street, as citizens were in discomfort but journalists of Public Broadcasting used to enter the building unrestricted. Action in front of the Public Broadcasting continues, the street is still blocked.

The rallies will be sharpen. An information meeting of the opposition will be resumed at 17.00pm today. Before the meeting, the leaders of the opposition will assemble in the office of "Democratic Movement – United Georgia" to discuss future action plans which will be announced later at the meeting. Leaders of the opposition state that the rallies will be sharpen. "Protest rallies will be sharpened till May 26 not only in Tbilisi but in regions as well, however, the epicenter will be Rustavi." Eka Beselia, one of the leaders of "Movement for United Georgia", declared. According to Eka Beselia, daily picketing of Presidential residence in Avlabari and rallies by Governmental Chancellery will be further on held.

Wannabe ruler of the opposition, Alasania, lose support among protesters. Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, told protesters at the rally outside the Parliament on May 14 "not to listen to rumors" and "to respect" decisions of opposition leaders. Opposition leaders had to explain to protesters and defend their decision to unblock traffic on one of key thoroughfares of Tbilisi outside the public TV. The decision, which was made on May 13, was expected to be enforced on May 14, but the opposition has failed to do it after the objections from activists camped in improvised cells there since April 14. It is not yet clear when the improvised cells, blocking traffic on Kostava Street, will be removed. "Today when we say that picket should be moved [from the road] closer to the public broadcaster's premises, that's very right decision and no one should be concerned about it; that is our decision and you have to respect this decision," Alasania told protesters. The protesters don't need rulers, the anarchists say: Alasania is rather reactionary and should not try to rule over the protesters. Nobody should listen to Alasania. But the protesters should use reason...

15.05.2009. Opposition's mocked-up cells would now be installed closer to the public broadcaster. Opposition activists removed improvised cells from Tbilisi's one of key thoroughfares and unblocked traffic outside the public TV overnight on Friday. Kostava Street outside the public TV was blocked since April 14. Opposition leaders decided to unblock the street on May 13, but they had to put off the move after the objections from activists camped in improvised cells. Opposition said that the mocked-up cells would now be installed closer to the public broadcaster, which they accuse of biased coverage of the ongoing protests. Opposition activists will resume four-hour long picketing of the broadcaster's premises at 9am on Friday.

National broadcasters boycott coverage of Public TV's picketing.  Two major national broadcasters – Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV – said they would no longer cover the opposition's picketing of the public broadcaster's premises "in solidarity" to the public TV. The public broadcaster said in a statement that picketing amounted "to insult" of its employees. It also said that  "pressure" exerted on the public broadcaster's employees was not in line with  "law and democratic principles" and it would cease covering the protest. "This protest will not amply to other political developments in the country," the public broadcaster said. Similar statements were released by Imedi and Rustavi 2 television stations. "Apart of solidarity, by doing so [boycotting coverage of picketing] we will prevent any provocation that may occur outside the public broadcaster," the statements by Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV reads. "We believe that any type of pressure exerted on journalists and impeding their work is no matter by whom is unacceptable," the statement reads. "We request all the political forces to respect journalists and not to impede their professional activity." On May 14 few hundred opposition activists resumed picketing of the public broadcasters' headquarters forming at the entrance a so called "corridor of shame" through which employees had to pass accompanied by opposition activists' boos and whistles. The picketing lasted from 9am to 1pm. The similar picketing is also held on Friday. "The national broadcasters are acting like the 4th power of the state, and not as a free press," the anarchists say.

The parliamentary opposition calls for a new constitution. In hotel "Old Tbilisi" the parliamentary minority is discussing structure and mechanisms of work on the constitutional commission at the moment. MPs-  Dimitry Lortkipanidze, Guram Chakhvadze, Paata Davitaia, George Targamadze, Levan Vephvadze and the leader of the "National-democratic party" Bachuki Kardava attended the meeting. As prior to the beginning of the meeting Bachuki Kardava declared, it is necessary to accept a new constitution which will really improve democratic institutes in the country. Paata Davitaia marks necessity of system changes and considers that it is necessary to change model of Government and to replace the presidential model with a parliamentary one.

Any citizen faces a death in today's Georgia – Gia Gachechiladze (Utsnobi) made stated during television Space Bridge with Russian journalists held in the office of RIA Novosti today. "Society and people are forced to protect themselves by themselves as Government is represented as one side and people are on the other side. In the country where guiltless young men are shot down in the street, it is nonsense to speak about justice." Gia Gachechiladze said. According to his statement, Georgian people will unite into one force and will fight againstthe misery offered by Saakashvili and his Government with "clean hands".Gachechiladze noted that Georgia will prove that it can protect its own values and that Georgia is not worth being ruled by Saakashvili's regime; that Georgia can build with love and live with its neighbors in love. "‘Saakashvili's rule was a big exam for Georgian people. People realized that they do not deserve such Government." Gia Gachechiladze emphasized.

Opposition leaders exchanged views with political experts. The leaders of the so-called opposition held consultations with the confidence group of experts late last night in the office of the retired general, Gia Karkarashvili, which is located beside the Public Broadcast. The politicians and the analysts exchanged their views about the current political situation in the country, about a) the street protests which the opposition plans to hold in the future and b) that the demand of the opposition on the president'ss resignation remains in force. Experts said after the meeting that the confronted sides should in the first place take the decisions, which will reduce the tension in the country.  Davit Usupashvili, who leads the Republican Party of Georgia, said they discussed the opposition`s action plans with the experts, who in their turn said the position of the leaders was not as radical as they had expected.

Meanwhile: Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, met with Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, close to Abkhazia. After the meeting Bagapsh said that the agreement on deployment of Russian military bases in Abkhazia would apparently be signed in two weeks. Abkhazia declare that Russia will veto the next report by the UN Secretary General if Abkhazia is mentioned as the part of Georgia, if the mandate of the UN to Georgia is not amended and named a UN Mission to Abkhazia in the document. Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh said also on May 15, that the country's railway and airport would be transferred to Russia with management rights for ten years. "It does not mean sale of the railway; it is a temporary transfer of management [rights]," Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported quoting Bagapsh on May 15. Bagapsh also said that the Russian Railway would allocated 2 billion rubles for repair works on the Abkhaz railway.

U.S. "Regrets" over failure to extend OSCE mission in Georgia. The United States said it "deeply regrets" over a failure to reach a consensus on the Greek OSCE Chairmanship's proposal for continued presence of the organization's mission in Georgia. "For several months, the Greek Chair tirelessly pursued a compromise proposal that would avoid any pronouncement on South Ossetia's political or legal status," the U.S. Department of State said in a statement on May 15. "Unfortunately, Russia insisted on a monitoring operation structured to reflect Russia's recognition of South Ossetia's independence. We commend the Georgian delegation for its constructive approach, and are disappointed that Russia could not accept the Greek Chairmanship's constructive, status-neutral solution," it said. It said that monitoring presence in Georgia was "essential" and expressed hope that Russia would "eventually accept Greece's reasonable and balanced proposal." The statement reiterated the United States' "unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders."

In a phone conversation with Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, on May 14 Vice President Joe Biden "emphasized the United States' unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said. "The Vice President welcomed the Georgian government's measured response to the ongoing opposition protests and its efforts to engage in a dialogue with the non-parliamentary opposition," the White House said in a press release. "He encouraged the government to continue its outreach." And the Georgian President's office said in a statement that the U.S. Vice President expressed "unwavering support for Georgia's legitimate and democratically elected government and for our country's independence and territorial integrity." The White House said that Vice President Biden "underscored the need for Georgia and Russia to exercise restraint and contribute to the stability of Georgia's separatist regions." No surprise that USA supports the ultra-authoritarian fascist regime in Georgia, the anarchists say. As long as it gains USA's power in the world US has supported the ultra-authoritarian fascist Franco-regime in Spain and similar fascist regimes in South America, Greece, etc. A horrible authoritarian policy by the USA.

Saakashvili continues to lie: "Protests with 'irresponsible' remarks hit economy" he falsely postulates. Ongoing protests, accompanied by "irresponsible" statements by some opposition politicians have "seriously damaged" the Georgian economy in recent weeks, President Saakashvili falsely postulated on May 15. "[Inflow] of taxes depend on jobs; jobs depend on investments and when threats have been heard permanently - 'we will blow up the country; block railway; block road; block airport; we will not let anyone in' – I want each of us to think about what damage these statements by irresponsible politicians have brought to the pockets and budget of each Georgian citizen and each family and also to the future of each of us," Saakashvili told a small group of Georgian journalists accompanying him in Jordan on a sideline of the World Economic Forum.

"Thanks God no one takes these [statements] seriously," he continue. "But when month and a half ago it was said that 'on April 9 everything will stop; everything will mess-up; in a week we will deteriorate everything; we will close down everything' – whom are you closing everything for? For our own people? Are we returning back to those times when we closed down railway towards Russia [reference to blockade of a railway juncture in western Georgian town of Samtredia in 1990] and when we messed up the country? This is our contemporary history and some of those people who are making statement of this type now were also participating in those misfortunes, which were taking place at that time [in early 90s]." "Thanks God our society of course has enough wisdom and patience and it is becoming clear that everything will take its place and it's good that threats are no longer taken seriously by anyone. Although we have lost some time and serious economic damage has been inflicted in past several weeks, now we should gain momentum and return back to normal development," Saakashvili added. The protesters have never said they will 'close down everything'. The protesters have not damaged the economy significantly, the anarchists say. The economy is wrecked because of Saakashvili's irresponsible, ultra-authoritarian, economic policy.

16.05.2009. Russian MFA on upcoming Geneva talks. Russia will focus on the need of striking binding agreements ... on non-use of force during the fifth round of Geneva talks planned for May 18-19, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Saturday. "The Russian side will focus on the necessity of developing and providing firm guarantees for preventing aggression and non-resumption of military hostilities by Tbilisi against its neighbors in the region," the statement reads. "For that purpose, first of all, it is necessary to sign legally binding agreements on non-use of force between Georgia and South Ossetia, as well as between Georgia and Abkhazia. It is necessary to create reliable security regimes on the borders of these states, envisaging full and consistent fulfillment of the provisions of the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreements by the Georgian side."

"An important element of security in the South Caucasus is imposing international embargo on supplies of offensive armament to Georgia," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. It also said that the Georgian leadership had failed to learn lessons, "despite the failure of its inhumane adventure of last August." "Calls for restoring territorial integrity by force, which was lost as a result irresponsible policies of the Georgian leadership, are still made in Tbilisi," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. It also accused Georgia of installing "new fortifications and observation posts" and of increasing military presence in the areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "All it happens against the background of deep internal political crisis, to which the present leadership has led the country," the statement reads. "It's not a surprise that in these circumstances the Georgian leadership tries to distract public attention from pressing internal problems by artificially creating… dangerous external tricks."

The Georgian side is also preparing for the Geneva international conference. The Georgian side will once again raise the issues of protecting rights and security of the local population of Gali district, forcefully delivering Russian passports to them, ousting monks from Kodori Gorge and imposing international control over the conflict zone at the Caucasian Security Conference that will be held in Geneva on May 18-19.

Opposition to hold action on Tsereteli Avenue today. The opposition will hold a protest action on Tsereteli Avenue today at 15.00, near the Akaki Tsereteli monument. As opposition leaders stated yesterday, population and bank creditors will take part in the action. Picketing of the Public Broadcasting is not planned today.

The Anarchist International has two comments to the article "Georgia Needs A Different Path To Democracy" and the discussion following this article, at Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty's website:

About anarchy and Georgia... by: A. Quist from: Norway May 16, 2009 16:55.

Anarchy, [an-arch]-y means [an = without, arch = ruler(s)] + y = system, managent as in monarch-y, thus anarchy and anarchism mean "system and management without ruler(s), i.e. co-operation without repression, tyranny and slavery".

This means real democracy, from the people, the grassroots and upwards. Today Georgia has a totalitarian right-fascist regime, far from anarchy. The opposition's fight for a less authoritarian regime is legitimate. It has some anarchist elements, and is supported by the Anarchist International.

For more information about "The situation in Georgia", see International Journal of Anarchism no 1 (39), http://www.anarchy.no/ija139.html . This document is updated daily. Follow the news and comments.

Anarchy vs ochlarchy and the situation in Georgia. by: H. Fagerhus from: Norway May 16, 2009 17:21

Anarchy, [an-arch] -y means [an = without, arch = ruler(s)] - y = system, management as in monarch-y. Thus anarchy and anarchism mean "system and management without ruler(s), i.e. co-operation without repression, tyranny and slavery". That is economic and political/administrative, societal, management from the people, grassroots, and upwards.

Ochlarchy is mob rule broadly defined, an opposite of anarchy and anarchism.

The system in Georgia by now, is a totalitarian right fascist regime, ruled from the top by the strong president M. Saakashvili.

The opposition's fight for a less authoritarian regime is legitimate, as long as it is without ochlarchy. And it mainly is so, and so it shall stay.

The Anarchist International supports the Georgian protesters, as long as they demonstrate without ochlarchy. The anarchists are of course against ochlarchy in all forms.

The system in Georgia and the updated history, including the fight for a less authoritarian regime, are described in International Journal of Anarchism no 1 (39) "The situation in Georgia", see http://www.anarchy.no/ija139.html . This document is updated daily with news and comments, included from anarchists.

Follow the news and comments.

Best regards H. Fagerhus, editor of IJA,

PS. Picture of me and other activists of the secretariate of the Anarchist International , see http://www.anarchy.no/pictures.html .

Link to the article and comments: http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgia_Needs_A_Different_Path_To_Democracy/1623301.html .

17.05.2009. Attempts by the authorities to kill the protest momentum. Peter Semneby, EU's special representative for South Caucasus, met with some of the opposition leaders on May 17 to discuss the ongoing political standoff in the country. Although having no formal role of a mediator, the EU diplomat has been engaged in regular contacts with both the authorities and the opposition leaders since the launch of street protest rallies on April 9. Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia; Nino Burjanadze; Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party and Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way participated in the meeting with the EU diplomat. Opposition leaders said after the meeting that the authorities should take tangible steps in order to demonstrate their readiness for genuine dialogue.

Davit Usupashvili told journalists that the President Saakashvili's proposals, put forth on May 11 after meeting with the opposition leaders, that those proposals were similar to those that have been offered by the authorities in September [2008] as part of, as the President put it, a "new wave of democratic reforms." "There is nothing new in the President's [May 11] proposals; Saakashvili is speaking about these reforms for already eight months, but nothing has been done [to implement them]; so we of course can not consider those proposals as a serious step towards resolving the crisis," Usupashvili said. Nino Burjanadze said after the meeting: "I do not see any ground for continuation of a dialogue with the President, because I do not see anything behind that dialogue except of attempts by the authorities to kill the protest momentum." Also on May 17, EU's special representative met with Paata Davitaia, a lawmaker from the parliamentary minority group, who is a vice-speaker of the parliament.

Georgian delegation leaves for Geneva for talks. The fifth round of the Geneva Talks is soon going to start. The Georgian delegation has already left for Switzerland. Georgia's right fascist Quisling "government" related to Abkhazia and South Ossetia will also be present. The meeting, co-chaired by representatives of EU, UN and OSCE, will take place in Geneva, on May 18-19. The independent country Abkhazia imposes a boycott of the Geneva Talks. Abkhaz leader Sergei Shamba said, despite their expectation, the status of Abkhazia had not been discussed at the talks, that's why they refuse to attend the consultations.

Meanwhile Russian peace keepers, i.e. border guards, are especially reinforcing the border at Akhalgori. Russian border guards are controlling the 70-kilometer section of the border of South Ossetia. Colonel Andrei Zulov, the head of the unit said, all the militants personally expressed desire to arrive in Akhalgori and they had passed strict examination before that. He also said, the Russian border guards travelled an unprecedented distance of 1800 kilometers, in order to arrive in Akhalgori. The peace keepers also say that during the three-day driving on the mountainous roads none of the units of their military hardware has been damaged. Russian military doctors have opened a medical post for the local population at the border. Russian border guards are also to control the border of Abkhazia. Russian border guards will provide reliable protection of the Georgian-Abkhaz border, which is no less secure than the Russian border with neighboring countries, the first deputy head of border control division in the Federal Security Service of Russia said. Colonel Dmitry Korolyov visited the Gali district in order to inspect the work done by the Russian forces there. "The level of reliability and protection of the border will be no less and maybe even better than the Russian border," Korolyov told journalists and added the Russian forces are well equipped. "Currently, the border control unit is provided with the wherewithal to carry out all their tasks. This is mainly the availability of portable systems and devices that provide control over the movement of people and technology to certain areas and borders,"  he said. Dmitry Korolyov also pointed out that the Russian border guards, with local militia, will take the port and the approaches of Sukhumi under control as well. 

18.05.2009. Russia's State Duma speaker visits Abkhazia. Boris Gryzlov, chairman of the State Duma, lower house of the Russian Parliament, arrived in Abkhazia on May 18 for a one-day visit. Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh and other Abkhaz senior officials welcomed Gryzlov – the highest ranking Russian official to visit Abkhazia since the region was recognized by Moscow - in the Sokhumi airport, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported. Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, visited Abkhazia on September 14. 2008.

The protesters discuss "response document". Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said the opposition had almost completed drafting its proposals in response to the authorities' proposals, put forth by President Saakashvili on May 11 after meeting with the opposition leaders. "Some details remain to be agreed," Berdzenishvili told the online paper Civil.Ge on May 18. Berdzenishvili said that "the response document" would include concrete proposals with "concrete deadlines." He, however, declined to discuss details. Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, said in an interview with the Georgian daily, Rezonansi, published on May 18, that there were two possible options out from the current standoff: "Either Misha should go and elections should be held afterwards; or Misha should get rid of those clans, which represent guarantee that no free elections will be held. In case of the second option, he [Saakashvili] opens road towards normal elections and in that case he will prolong to some form his time in office."

Opposition spokesperson to meet Solana. Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party and one of key figures behind the ongoing protest rallies in Tbilisi, will meet with EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, in Brussels on Monday evening, according to Solana's official website. Zourabichvili told journalists before departure to Brussels that she would inform the EU foreign policy chief on ongoing development in Georgia and about the meeting of opposition leaders and President Saakashvili on May 11 in which she also participated. - Peter Semneby, EU's special representatives for South Caucasus, said the meeting between President Saakashvili and some of the opposition leaders was "a good start" and now it should continue with talks on "concrete issues." "What needs to be done now is to make sure that there is a continuation of this dialogue in more detail on concrete issues on the agenda – on constitutional issues; on electoral issues and on media-related issues in particular," he told journalists before departure from Tbilisi on May 18. "I think everybody acknowledges that there needs to be constitutional changes in Georgia. Constitution has to reflect a consensus view in society about how the country is governed. For that reason it is important that it's inclusive and transparent process. We do not have any particular view on exactly how that process should be structured. But it is a matter of interests for us to make sure that it is transparent; that it is inclusive and ultimately what comes out from that process reflects a consensus view," he said.

Saakashvili attacks the protesters in a speech quite similar to German neo-nazis, trying to divide and rule the opposition. President Saakashvili  made a speech on May 18 at a meeting with lawmakers from his ruling National Movement Party, held in Tsinandali in eastern region of Kakheti. Saakashvili said while referring to those opposition parties, which are behind the ongoing street protest rallies: "Various political figures have emerged within the radical [opposition] groups, including those who take more responsible approach and who assess the situation more realistically." He also added that there also were "some people" among those groups "who think that there is no way back and for whom the major political recipe is to mess up the country and to halt the economy." "I want to say that the Georgian society demonstrated special wisdom and has not yielded to any provocation which was plotted both within and outside Georgia, catching our ill-wishers by surprise," Saakashvili said. Speaking about his proposals towards the opposition, Saakashvili said that the goal of the planned commission, which would work on the constitutional reform, was not "to weaken any branch of the government." "The country with so many challenges needs very effective presidential institute..." He also made a reference to ongoing protest rallies in Tbilisi with so called 'town of cells' by saying: "If someone wants to sell scrap there are lots of cages, which can serve as a perfect scrap metal and they can sell their own scrap."

Opposition to hold actions by 'Rustavi2' and Moduli building today. According to the information of Gachechiladze, an opposition spokesperson, today at 12.00pm a meeting with the society will be held in Chess Palace where possible scenarios of May 26 will be discussed, and at 15.00pm a meeting will be held by the building of TV company 'Rustavi 2' and afterwards a public procession to the Moduli building will be arranged.

The protesters introduce their plans to the Georgian Academy members. The protester have introduced their views regarding the current situation to representatives of the Georgian Academy. The meeting was held in the regime of a dialogue. The participants of the meeting talked about how the opposition sees the protest rallies in the future and how the process of the dialogue with the government will be continued. The opposition leaders assert the offers they have received from the government so far are far from reality and they have not been implemented. The meeting has been  held at the academy. "Opposition has not heard serious announcement about the second round of the meeting from the government," Nino Burjanadze stated after meeting with the society at Chess Hall. Burjandze states that the creation of a constitutional commission in the terms of this government is not serious. "The society representatives told us that the reality of the country must be changed. Tactic on how to reach 26 May was discussed, this day to be effective and reach the government's resignation," Nino Burjanadze stated. Representative of "Alliance for Georgia" Viktor Dolidze declares that they won't take part in the work over constitutional changes. He stated that constitutional reforms in the country are of utmost importance, though the preliminary platform must precede all these. He stated that they are ready for dialogue. "We can meet with the government as much as it is necessary, though the issue won't be solved by the 5 point plan," Viktor Dolidze stated after the meeting at Chess Hall.

The negotiations between the right fascist parliamentary majority and the reactionary parliamentary opposition about the principles of staffing the constitutional commission will begin this week. On Friday, the speaker of the parliament urged his colleagues from the opposition factions to launch dialogue about the formation of the commission, which would work on constitutional amendments. Despite the proposal of the speaker, the parliamentary opposition does not plan to elect the chairperson of this commission from among the opposition MPs. They do not rule out to nominate Avtandil Demetrashvili, the former chairperson of the constitutional court, as the chairman candidate. Leader of the rather reactionary Christian-Democrat movement Giorgi Targamadze initiates to create a new constitutional model. He talked about it on the briefing held today. He declares that his plan of development of the country is linked with political reforms and not with revolutions. While the parliamentary opposition mulls over the candidate of the commission chair, the radical opposition refuses to take part in these negotiations.

Opposition lays out 'response proposals'. While keeping the President's resignation as a top demand, opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, have also put forth a number of other demands, which some opposition politicians think may serve as an interim step and important part on the way towards achieving the key goal. In a joint statement released on May 18, protest rallies' organizer parties called for resignation of two powerful cabinet members – Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili. The statement says that two new ministers should be appointed "through the agreement with the opposition." The move should secure "political impartiality" of the law enforcement agencies, according to the statement.
In other demands, the opposition has also called for replacement of Chairman of Supreme Court, Kote Kublashvili, and Chairman of Central Election Commission, Levan Tarkhnishvili, with nominees agreed with the opposition parties. The opposition has also offered holding of early parliamentary elections, simultaneously with the direct election of Tbilisi Mayor, in October, 2009 and also a plebiscite – a legally non-biding referendum, on forms of future constitutional arrangement.

In respect of media, the opposition has demanded appointment of new general director of the public broadcaster, as well as members of its board of trustees through the agreement with the opposition. It also demanded "return of Imedi TV to its legal owner," referring to late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili's family. "In case of implementation of these proposals until May 26, it will be possible to start the process of achieving a national consent and strengthening the Georgian statehood," the statement reads. Politicians from Alliance for Georgia, involving Irakli Alasania's political team; Republican Party and New Rights Party, said last week that they were preparing "response proposals" to President Saakashvili's proposals put forth on May 11 after meeting with opposition leaders. Meanwhile, a group of opposition activists rallied outside the Rustavi 2 TV on May 18 accusing the television station of biased and negative coverage of the ongoing protests; later protesters marched towards the Interior Ministry's special operations department not far from the Rustavi 2 TV, before joining rally outside the Parliament.

19.05.2009. International mediators are struggling to salvage the latest round of talks between Russia and Georgia after a walk-out by the Moscow delegation. Negotiators from Russia and the Kremlin- backed South Ossetia have withdrawn from the Geneva talks after the Abkhaz delegates refused to attend. Grigory Karasin, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister said: "We can't discuss the questions about the security concerning Abkhazia and South Ossetia without the Abkhazians and South Ossetians." It is believed the Russian delegation could return to the talks later today if United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issues a delayed report on the UN's operations in Abkhazia. Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria said: "This is part of Russia's very aggressive foreign policy in order to blackmail the international community that any and all of their positions should be taken on board." Both the United States and Russia are eager to secure stability in the volatile south Caucasus – an important transit territory for Caspian gas and oil deliveries to the West. It is the fifth session of closed-door talks between Russia and Georgia since their brief but devastating war in August over the breakaway territories. Recently though, tension between Moscow and Tbilisi has been mounting.

Fifth Round of Talks End in Geneva. The Geneva talks resumed 19.05.2009. The Russian delegation, accompanied by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian negotiators, joined the fifth round of Geneva talks on May 19. The Russian delegation and the South Ossetian negotiators walked out of the first day of talks on May 18 citing absence of the Abkhaz negotiators. The Abkhaz side as mentioned said it would boycott the talks, citing that the report of UN Secretary General on situation in Abkhazia was not available. Maxim Gvinjia, deputy foreign minister of breakaway Abkhazia, told journalists in Geneva on May 19, that the report was handed over to the sides and it's wording was balanced and satisfactory for the Abkhaz side. Sokhumi protested again wording "Abkhazia, Georgia", which was used in recent report by UN Secretary General released in February. Sokhumi says that UN can no longer use the wording after two of its member states – Russia and Nicaragua – recognized Abkhazia's independence. According to the Russian sources the name of the document does no longer contain wording "Abkhazia, Georgia" and is called "Report of the Secretary-General, pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 1808, 1839 and 1866."

Despite "initial difficulties" the sides discussed in "a constructive spirit" security and stability in the region, as well as humanitarian issues, co-chairs of the Geneva discussions said after the fifth round of talks on May 19. "A key element of this fifth round of Geneva Discussions was that participants began to discuss concrete security arrangements," Charalampos Christopoulos, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office special representative said. "We are also moving forward on humanitarian questions, including on water, where the OSCE is playing a specific role." The Russian delegation, accompanied by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian negotiators, joined the fifth round of Geneva talks on May 19. "Intensive, sometimes tough exchange of opinions took place during today's negotiations about the issues related with security and stability in the region," Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting Grigory Karasin, the Russian deputy foreign minister. "As usually we have been making focus on the need of striking as soon as possible a binding agreements between Georgia and South Ossetia and also between Georgia and Abkhazia on non-use of force. That is the only guarantee that events of August, 2008 will not reoccur," Karasin added.

In a joint press statement co-mediators of the talks, representatives of UN, EU and OSCE, said that the sides agreed to hold the next round of talks on July 1. Like in previous rounds of talks, negotiators from Russia, Georgia and the United States, as well as representatives from the independent countries Abkhazia and South Ossetia met in two working groups on May 19 – one dealing with security matters and another one with humanitarian issues. "All participants recommitted themselves to the implementation of the joint incident prevention and response mechanisms agreed at the last round of Geneva Discussions. The mechanisms remain the best way for all sides to respond swiftly and adequately to security incidents on the ground," the co-chairs said in the joint statement. "Participants discussed a wide range of questions relating to security and stability, notably the non-use of force and modalities of international security regimes." In the working group dealing with humanitarian issues, the sides discussed five "concept papers" related to socio-economic rehabilitation programmes; property and housing rights; facilitating returns; the legal status of refugees, internally displaced persons and other displaced persons, and the rehabilitation of water supplies.

Government plans to fund NGOs. A state foundation to help "develop" and "enhance the role" of non-governmental sector will be established in accordance to the presidential order, Dimitri Shashkin, the minister of prison system and probation, said on May 19. Shashkin, who has been tasked by President Saakashvili to coordinate a "new wave of democratization", is in charge of coordinating work of the foundation."It [the foundation] will provide an opportunity for all non-governmental organizations to receive funding and support from the state in order to settle various outstanding problems in the capital and in the provinces," Shashkin told journalists.

Opposition holding action to support bank creditors. A protest action will be held to support bank creditors, - Davit Saganelidze stated about it on the meeting in front of parliament yesterday.He said that people who took credits out of bank encountered many problems. Opposition leaders will hold a special meeting in front of chancellery today at 15.00 to support the creditors. Saganelidze stated that after the meeting is over in front of the chancellery, the action participants will join the action in front of parliament.

Protesters blocking highway. Opposition activists held a rally outside the newly built building of the Interior Ministry in the suburb of Tbilisi, located close to the key highway linking Tbilisi with eastern Georgia. During the rally protesters, led by some of the opposition leaders, including Nino Burjanadze, Davit Gamkrelidze, Zviad Dzidziguri, Levan Gachechiladze, blocked the highway for about forty minutes. "We have selected that section [of highway] outside the new Interior Ministry deliberately; there are also other roads leading to the airport bypassing the section which was blocked," Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said. "The rally was held there as the Interior Ministry has become a symbol of human rights violations and symbol of violence in Georgia."

Saakashvili against blocking of highways, etc. It is the authorities' responsibility to secure stability and no one will be able to block highways in the country, President Saakashvili said on May 19. "There are people, who say 'we should block ports, airports, roads, because we want the chairs'," Saakashvili said while visiting port town of Poti. "I will do everything in order not to let anyone to ever block roads in Georgia or to block the railway and cause suffering to our people."

20.05.2009. Opposition leaders have left Tbilisi and Mtskheta-Mtianeti department situated at Gulua Street No.8. They made announcement after leaving the building that they could not get legal answer from head of the department Robinzon Jabanidze why about 20 cars are confiscated. Opposition leaders once more repeated their ultimatum that if the cars are not returned till 15.00, central highway and MIA will be picketed.

Opposition figure calls for decision on future tactics. Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party, said the opposition parties, behind ongoing protest rallies, should take a major decision before May 26 on tactics and to decide how to proceed further with the protests. On May 26 – the Georgia's Independence Day - opposition plans a large-scale rally or as it calls it "a public parade." Some opposition leaders described the planned event as "a new April 9", when tens of thousands of people rallied on the first day of launch of the ongoing street protests. Opposition leaders started campaigning in the provinces on May 20 in lead up to the "public parade." The singer and activists, Giorgi Gachechiladze is also involved in the process as he plans "protest concerts" in Batumi and Kutaisi before heading towards the capital city – or "march on Tbilisi" - with supporters to join "the public parade" on May 26.

"May 26 will be the day when Saakashvili will have to recognize that it is not only the protest of Vera and Vake [two elite neighborhoods in downtown Tbilisi], but of the entire Georgia," Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party said while speaking at the Tbilisi-based FM radio station, Ucnobi, on May 19.  Kukava, however, said that by that time the opposition should make clear for the society how it plans to proceed further with the protests – whether it would choose "more radical forms of protests" or would incline towards dialogue including on proposals put forth by the President on May 11. He said that "uncertainty" on the matter was "dangerous" and threatened to diminish protest momentum."It is not a secrete at all there are differences on the matter among the opposition parties," Kukava said and added that some opposition parties were in favor of taking more radical forms of protest, including blocking of key highways, and others, which are "moderates" inclining towards the dialogue with the authorities.

"I am in favor of radical forms of protests as I believe is the only way to fight against dictatorship," Kukava said. "Blocking of highways is not a violation of law and there is nowhere written that it is a violation." He, however, also said that no matter in favor of which stance the decision was made, the Conservative Party would follow the joint decision and would not challenge the opposition's unity."We have a negative experience of working in commissions like the one offered by Saakashvili," he said referring to the proposal to establish a commission on constitutional reforms.

The proposal was rejected by the opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, but was picked up by the rather reactionary parliamentary minority group, which is now in the process of selecting a nominee for the commission chairmanship. Kukava also said that the opposition was fully unanimous on the view that the President's proposals were "totally unacceptable and inadequate." "Even the so called moderates share that opinion," he said. He said that the opposition's joint statement made on May 18 in response to the President's proposals was a combination of two stances within the opposition as it contained both the radical, including President's resignation and more moderate demands, including, among other things, replacement of two powerful ministers for interior affairs and for justice, Vano Merabishvili and Zurab Adeishvili, respectively. "Yes now I am a radical, but I will become a moderate with great pleasure if the authorities start implementing provisions of these proposals," Kukava said.

The opposition agreed to picket and block central highways starting from Thursday May 21.

Meanwhile lawmakers from the parliamentary minority group said, that they had agreed at a meeting on May 20 that draft of new constitution should be tabled no later than December 31, 2009.

Saakashvili's fascist thugs attack protesters.

BBC reports: "Attack claims mar Georgia demos", by Tom Esslemont, BBC News, Tbilisi: Human Rights Watch says it has documented dozens of cases of attacks against opposition activists by unidentified assailants during anti-government demonstrations in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. In a letter to the Georgian interior minister and justice minister, the director of the organization's Europe and Central Asia division, Holly Cartner, says the attacks follow a striking pattern.

She says that usually the victims have been assaulted while leaving the sites of the near-daily rallies, which began last month. The protesters have been calling on President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign, citing disappointment in his ability to strengthen the rule of law and to improve democratic freedoms. HRW says it fears the attacks "appear to be a concerted effort to intimidate the demonstrators" and to prevent them "from exercising their right to freedom of assembly". The government says it has launched an investigation into each of the attacks, some of which resulted in broken bones and concussion. But one government official has told the BBC that he thinks the opposition is also responsible for provoking other undocumented attacks and for causing a split in Georgian society.

'Men in masks'

Natia Archvadze, a student, told HRW how on 9 April, the first day of demonstrations, she and three friends were driving across a bridge in the centre of Tbilisi when two unlicensed 4x4 vehicles pulled up alongside. "They blocked our way from the back and the side. About 15 men in masks came out and... started beating us," she was quoted as saying.

I met one of Ms Archvadze's friends, Lasha Kopaliani, 20, also a student and the principle victim of the attack she described. On Baratashvili Bridge, he showed me the exact spot where he says he was beaten by a group of masked men. "They started hitting us with rubber truncheons. They hit me across the chest and from the back until I fell," he said. Mr Kopaliani told me that he was surprised that traffic police who had moments earlier stopped him and his friends to check their papers, had not reacted when the unmarked vehicles pulled up.

'Striking pattern'

According to Giorgi Gogia, a Tbilisi-based researcher for HRW, many of the attacks have followed a pattern. "There was a striking pattern in the timing that the attacks took place, the vehicles that the attackers were driving, the appearance of the assailants, the masks they were wearing, and the truncheons they were carrying," he said. Mr Gogia said HRW had sent the letter to the government to try to ensure that the investigation would be more thorough and conclusive than those carried out here in the past.

Apart from personal testimonies, there is little evidence to back up the allegations and, so far, only one piece of CCTV footage has been released. The picture is unclear, but it is possible to see five cars stopping abruptly in a dimly-lit back street at night. Men dressed in plain clothes get out and drag a man out of a sixth vehicle before beating him and leaving him lying on the ground. The event is watched by nearby security guards at the Tbilisi branch of the World Bank.

Growing divide

Government officials point out that the attacks documented by Human Rights Watch took place between 9 and 25 April. Ako Minashvili, chairman of the Georgian parliament's committee on foreign relations, says the number of attacks had diminished since police started patrolling the areas where the demonstrations were taking place.

"Maybe [the government] made a mistake at the initial stage by deciding not to have a police presence around the manifestations," he says. The government decided against putting large numbers of police on the streets to avoid possible provocations by protesters and clashes, such as those which occurred in November 2007.

But the leaders of Georgia's opposition parties, who organised the protests, have been coming under fire for being too radical. "We should look deeper into the cases to understand the trends," Mr Minashvili says. "In the early stages of the demonstrations there were a number of clashes between opposition protesters and citizens which were mainly initiated by opposition leaders who were very radical in their wording and at times very insulting and it caused a split in society," he adds.

One thing is clear - there is a sense of a growing divide in Tbilisi between those who want the rallies to continue and those who yearn for them to end. The city's main street is still blocked with mock prison cells, a symbol the opposition protesters are using to demonstrate their frustration with what they call President Saakashvili's failure to improve democratic freedoms in the country. But now there are also many in the city who would be happy to see the blockade removed even if that meant ending the protests without achieving the political change they once craved.

'Protest TV' hero launches campaign in provinces. Giorgi Gachechiladze, a singer and a host of Maestro TV's show, Cell No. 5, held an open air "protest concert" in Batumi, Adjara Autonomous Republic, on May 20 marking launch of his campaign of "march on Tbilisi" expected to culminate on May 26 in the capital city with the "public parade." A protest rally led by some of the opposition leaders, accompanying Giorgi Gachechiladze, including Gubaz Sanikidze, Levan Gachechiladze (brother of Giorgi Gachechiladze); Tina Khidasheli and Davit Berdzenishvili was held before the "protest concert." Gachechiladze, who is brother of an opposition politician, Levan Gachechiladze, plans similar protest concert in Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia. Meanwhile, the pro-opposition Tbilisi-based Maestro TV said live broadcast transmission equipment, which it rented in Turkey to provide live coverage of the protest concert and a rally in Batumi, was "held" by the authorities and customs clearance procedures "deliberately" dragged out in order to thwart planned live coverage from Batumi. Maestro TV reported that the customs service told the television station's representatives that the equipment would be handed over on May 21.

The debate at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's website continues...

Georgia has an ultra-authoritarian right fascist regime, according to sound arguments, by: P. Johansen from: Norway May 20, 2009 18:19

Answer to Andrew.

Andrew wrote. "To the Anarchist (idiots) posting here that Georgia is "fascist", please try and grow up. You obviously know nothing about the situation here."

An invective as "idiot" is not a sound matter of fact argument. Using invectives is ochlarchy - mobbing, and mob rule. The Anarchist International and the International Institute for Organization Research, IIFOR, are not idiotic.

According to sound arguments, based on a.o.t. UN statistiscs, Georgia has an ultra-authoritarian right fascist regime.

Quoting from IIFOR's research.

"Georgia has a powerful president (the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: state security (includes interior) and defense) and a parliamentary system that is democracy only in the name, not in reality. The economic-political system of Georgia works very significantly from the top downwards to the bottom, grassroots, all in all very significantly vertically organized economical and political/administrative. A life expectancy at birth at 70,5 years (2003) combined with a quite repressive political/administrative system in general, contribute to a significant degree of statism.

The gini-index is estimated to ca 40,4 indicating it is very significantly a capitalist country, almost as economical plutarchist as the USA, with a gini-index at 40,8. The system is also quite inefficient with a GDP per capita at 778 US $ per year (2003), and this also contributes to a low degree of socialism. Air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water and soil pollution from toxic chemicals also contribute to a high degree of capitalism.

The degree of capitalism is estimated to ca 75,4 % (ca 24,6% socialism) and the degree of statism is estimated to ca 66,9 % (degree of autonomy is ca 33,1 %), and thus the libertarian degree is estimated to ca 28.7 % (the authoritarian degree is ca 71,3 %). The system is all in all clearly totalitarian, located in the right-fascist sector of the fascist quadrant of the economic-political map, see http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html . Georgia has rank no 103 on the ranking of countries according to libertarian degree, see http://www.anarchy.no/ranking.html . [For the libertarian vs authoritarian, capitalist vs socialist and statism vs autonomy degree we have used ",", the European standard instead of American/UK standard, i.e. "." as decimal separator. For other figures we have used the American/UK standard. The term "ca" is an abbreviation for the latin circa, which means about or approximately.]"

Best regards P. Johansen, senior researcher of IIFOR

Link to the article "Georgia Needs A Different Path To Democracy" and comments, including from AI, IIFOR and Andrew: http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgia_Needs_A_Different_Path_To_Democracy/1623301.html .

21.05.2009. Opposition blocking two key roads in Tbilisi. Opposition leaders and activists blocked the capital city's two key roads on both banks of Mtkvari (Kura) River in protest against, what the opposition said was, "an illegal seizure" of cars belonging to its activists and supporters.
The blocking of the traffic lasted for over an hour. There were several cases of verbal argument between some opposition activists, including Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, and several citizens, who were complaining about inconveniences created by the opposition's march, which blocked the roads. Traffic movement was paralyzed on the left bank of Mtkvari. Leaders of the opposition and rally participants blocked the road. Nino Burjanadze, Davit Gamkrelidze and Mamuka Katsitadze were on the right bank of Mtkvari. Rally participants were scanning "Go, Misha". The demonstrators wrote the inscription - "Go, Misha" on the road. As the leaders of the opposition stated it is the protest against all the unlawfulness happening in the country.

Nino Burjanadze, one of the leaders of the opposition apologizes to Tbilisi residents for discomfort caused by blocking the roads. "Blocking the roads is our response to the lawlessness that occurred yesterday and the day before yesterday. The essential factor is the fact that society should see that the Government attempts to provoke us by provocative steps. We are trying to refrain maximally; however, I am afraid all these can tense the situation" Nino Burjanadze declared.Nino Burjanadze underlined that the population is to analyze that Government is acting unlawfully.

On May 20 opposition leaders as mentioned said that cars of dozens of its supporters and activists were seized by the police and transferred to penalty parking lot. Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said that two of his cars were also seized. TV pictures showed Gamkrelidze in a brief and minor brawl with the police as he tried to resist them taking away one of the cars.  The Interior Ministry denied any political motives behind the move and said in a statement on the same day that owners of cars were fined because of their involvement "in blocking the traffic movement on main roads of Tbilisi organized by the opposition" on May 19. "They managed to block the main road leading to Tbilisi Airport and have hindered fluent transportation of ordinary citizens, thus violated the articles 120 and 125 envisaged by Administrative Code of Georgia," the Interior Ministry statement said. Opposition activists held a rally outside the newly built building of Interior Ministry in the suburb of Tbilisi and blocked key highway linking Tbilisi with eastern Georgia for about 40 minutes. The anarchists say: Demonstrate with reason and with dignity.

Opposition notifies municipality on further protest plans. The opposition parties behind the ongoing protest rallies formally notified the Tbilisi Mayor's Office on May 21 about with their intention to continue rallies at least till June 26. According to the law an organizer of demonstration has to notify a local municipality in advance about the plans. Notification is not formally an appeal for a permit to hold the demonstration. But a local municipality, according to the law, can reject organizer's notification about their intention to hold a demonstration in case other event is already planned at a venue indicated by organizer. Previously the opposition notified the Tbilisi Mayor's Office about their intention to hold rallies till May 26. No objections were made by the Tbilisi municipality, indicating that the authorities would not go ahead with the plans to hold a traditional annual military parade outside the Parliament – key protest venue – to mark the Independence Day on May 26.

Burjanadze to diplomats: React on illegality. Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, called on foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi to react and condemn "illegal actions" taken by the authorities and in particular she brought an example of one-day detention of relatives of Koba Otanadze, a suspect into the Mukhrovani mutiny. "What is going on? Is it 1937 now in Georgia?" she said while speaking at a protest rally outside the Parliament on May 21. "These people were held just because they are members of Otanadze's family." "We respect each and every word said by you," she continued referring to foreign diplomats. "We respect and we have heard those words that as if it is illegal when streets are blocked; now dear friends, we want to know what your assessment is over the arrest of Otanadze's family members." "I am asking in which country things like that can happen? I want to know which of our friends will tell us that we should tolerate this. A country, an ambassador or any of our friends, who will tell us: 'tolerate this', it means that they are not our real friends; it will mean that we are third-rate people. I hope that there will be no one among those, whom we regard to be our friends and partners, who will tell us that we are not the first-rate people, that we do not deserve democracy and that we should tolerate it. So I want to strongly request you to make a comment whether it [detention of Otanadze's relatives] was or not a blunt violation of a law and international standards for which this country is fighting for." "We will fight for those [democratic] values, but we will require a serious assistance in this process; we will be grateful if they help us, but if not we will do that anyway," Burjanadze added.

Eka Beselia evaluated incident of last night as a harsh expression of a totalitarian and authoritarian regime. Eka Beselia, one of the leaders of  the 'Movement for United Georgia', evaluated yesterday's special operation carried out by MIA as the harsh expression of a totalitarian and authoritarian regime. As Eka Beselia stated at the rally being held on the left bank of Mtkvari, they protest the scenario of the Mukhrovani mutiny and plan to hold a 'silence rally' by MoD. Eka Beselia expressed her condolence to the family of Gia Krialashvili who became victim of the special operation carried out by MIA last night. Georgian police have shot dead a man suspected of playing a key role in a mutiny at a military base earlier this month, the interior ministry has said. Gia Krialashvili was killed in a shoot-out with police as they tried to arrest him in a western suburb of Tbilisi, it said. Two other suspects were wounded.

22.05.2009. A group of taxi drivers protested against blocking of main thoroughfare in the capital city, complaining that barricaded streets in downtown Tbilisi affected their income. Makeshift jail cells have blocked Tbilisi's central Rustaveli Ave. for over one month, and today taxi drivers began protesting the opposition. The rather reactionary parliamentary minority group nominated Avtandil Demetrashvili , a former Chairman of Constitutional Court, to chair the commission on constitutional reform. Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said, that he was ready to meet with the opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests on Monday. "I am ready to meet the representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition on Monday in order to discuss the issues of constitutional commission and other issues of the five-point plan proposed by the authorities, as well as those additional issues, which can be discussed at the request of the non-parliamentary opposition during the dialogue," Bakradze told journalists. The opposition as mentioned said the proposals put forth by the President on May 11 after talks with some opposition leaders, were "inadequate" and on May 18 put forth "response proposals." According to Nika Gilauri, Prime Minister of Georgia, picketing of a central street of the capital exerted bad influence on Georgia's economy. The economical effect of blocking of a few highways is quite marginal, the anarchists say.

Paranoid false claim that Putin was behind the Mukhrovani mutiny from Saakashvili's ruling party. Givi Targamadze, an influential lawmaker from the ruling party, claimed that the failed Mukhrovani mutiny was sponsored by a Russia-based tycoon with links to Russian PM, Vladimir Putin. MP Givi Targamadze, who chairs the parliamentary committee for defense and security, said while speaking at the Rustavi 2 TV's weekly program, Position , late on May 22 that the goal of the plot was "to at least trigger disorders" in Georgia or "at maximum to pave the way for entry of the Russian occupation forces in Tbilisi." "I have been refraining from naming a person who has organized everything, unless this person himself announced that after this failed mutiny he could no longer wait and would run for presidency in the next elections – this is Mr. Ebralidze; and if there is someone who may think that in Today's Russia it is possible to be a billionaire oligarch in St. Petersburg uncontrolled by the most famous St. Petersburgian, i.e. Putin, is very wrong," MP Givi Targamadze said. Alexander Ebralidze is a St. Petersburg-based tycoon, an ethnic Georgian originally from Batumi, who has been living in Russia for over thirty years. Targamadze also said that 33 persons were arrested in connection to the mutiny. Ebralidze is not among them. Ebralidze is not a serious president candidate, and has of course no links to Putin, the anarchists say: This is paranoid nonsense from Georgia's ruling party. The Russian government does not interfere with Georgia's internal affaires.

The NATO parliamentary assembly spring session will open today in the capital of Norway, Oslo, and the MPs will revise the Georgia crisis. The assembly will discuss the agreements reached about the Georgia-Russia tension at the Geneva negotiations last week and the chances of their implementation. The assembly will also cover the situation in Georgia's conflict zones. The delegation of Georgian MPs and the state minister for European Affairs Giorgi Baramidze will also attend the session of the NATO defense and security committee, which will be held within the assembly. As long as Georgia has an ultra-authoritarian fascist regime, NATO-membership is not realistic politics, the anarchists say.

23.05.2009. Psychopathic manipulations from Saakashvili. President Saakashvili criticized one of opposition leaders, Levan Gachechiladze, for remarks made in Zugdidi on May 21. After a protest rally in Zugdidi, a town at the Abkhaz administrative border, which was held as a part of the opposition's ongoing campaign in provinces in lead up to protests on May 26, Levan Gachechiladze told journalists: "I'll tell you directly I am not satisfied with protest charge here… Fortitude, which was always decisive for the Georgia's history, should return in Samegrelo." "To say that people here in Samegrelo lack fortitude is ridiculous and immoral," President Saakashvili, who visited Zugdidi a day later after the protest rally there, said. "There are no such intelligent, wise, courageous and patriot people, not only in Caucasus but in the world like here in Samegrelo and I am not exaggerating." He also said, without mentioning Gachechiladze's name, that such insult was inadmissible "no matter what kind of political motives and goals one may be driven with." "One should not be resentful about others, just because himself is unsuccessful; instead one should think more about why he is unsuccessful," he added. Saakashvili was speaking at a meeting with a group of local residents in Zugdidi of various professions. "I want to hold series of this kind of meetings to listen to the locals' opinions on broad range of issues from internal and foreign politics to economy," Saakashvili said. The President held a similar meeting with a group of locals in the town of Gori on May 23. To call for more fortitude in protests, is not the same as saying people lack fortitude, the anarchists say: The whole speech of Saakashvili in this connection has a strong tendency of psychopathic manipulations. The protests continue...

24.05.2009. The protests continue. May 26 is as mentioned Georgia's Independence Day. Usually the mood in the days leading up to this is positive and festive but not this year. Now there are different opinions about it: some think that the demonstrators at Rustaveli Avenue should remove their cells and clean the street to make room for the military parade and public celebration, but some argue the contrary and recommend holding yet more energetic protest rallies in the centre of the capital. Hopefully the administration, considering its very ultra-authoritarian conduct on November 7, 2007, will not use force to remove the protestors this time. However, some think this is a possibility. The authorities have stated that it is not necessary to hold the military parade at Rustaveli, suggesting it might be held at the Vaziani military base were the NATO exercises are taking place. It is even said that after the August war it might not be appropriate to hold a military parade at all, or if it is held it should be on a smaller scale.

The non-parliamentary opposition plans to hold a huge protest action at the civil parade. Although both sides have recently discussed continuing dialogue, both parties restate their previous demands. The opposition insist on the immediate resignation of the President and the President on his side categorically refuses to go. Neither side is ready to make concessions so far. The protest actions carry on daily in different places and in different formats. Though not always attracting large numbers they still create serious discomfort to those running the country. Parliament has not convened in the actual Parliament building for nearly a month and a half already and the State Chancellery cannot function normally either. The President cannot even enter his Tbilisi residence in Avlabari, so the protest actions cannot be ignored. From time to time the opposition gathers more people in the capital. Now it plans to make more active and acute moves in the regions.

25.05.2009. Opposition figure: "Surprises planned for May 26". Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said the opposition planed "surprises" for the authorities on May 26. On May 26 – the Georgia's Independence Day - opposition plans a large-scale rally or as it calls it "a public parade." Some opposition leaders described the planned event as "a new April 9", when tens of thousands of people rallied on the first day of launch of the ongoing street protests. "May 26 will be full of surprises both for the society and first of all for Saakashvili," Gamkrelidze said while speaking in public TV's program, Political Week, on May 24. He declined to elaborate details. Asked if the opposition planned to announce a single leader on May 26, Gamkrelidze responded: "I am not either confirming or denying that; but I think there will be more important things on May 26."

In a newspaper interview last week Davit Zurabishvili, an opposition politician from Republican Party, which is also part of Alliance for Georgia, said that there were considerations among opposition parties about possibility of naming a single leader, who would establish himself as a presidential contender backed by parties, behind the ongoing protest rallies. It was a joint decision of the opposition parties, which are organizers of the street protests launched on April 9, not to have a single leader. Davit Gamkrelidze was the first to challenge publicly that approach in late April by saying that not having a single leader was not at all the opposition's advantage. There are two opposition leaders, among those who are organizing the ongoing protests, who have publicly said about having ambitions to run for presidency – Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia and Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia.

On May 26 the opposition plans to hold a rally at Boris Paichadze National Stadium, scheduled to start at noon and then continue by march towards the Rustaveli Avenue. Part of opposition leaders are now campaigning in the provinces in lead up to the "public parade." The singer and activists, Giorgi Gachechiladze (with nickname Ucnobi – unknown), leads this campaign which started on May 20. He was in the town of Gori on May 24 and on May 25 he, accompanied by supporters, plans to camp in Mtskheta close to Tbilisi, before joining the "public parade" on May 26.

Alasania says announcing single opposition leader not planned. Irakli Alasania, leader ofAlliance for Georgia, said the opposition would not announce a single leader at a rally on May 26. "I do not think that tomorrow opposition's single leader will be announced; a group of opposition parties [behind the ongoing protest rallies] does not see necessity of doing that today," he told journalists on May 25. He also said: "Apparently grouping of opposition political forces will take place, based on how and according which plan the protest rallies and this peaceful political struggle continues after May 26." He said that work on setting up of a political party was underway based on his political team. Alasania, however, said that forming of his party would not challenge unity of Alliance in Georgia in which his political team is united together with Republican Party and New Rights Party.

Blast at pro-opposition Maestro TV. An explosion, apparently caused with a hand-grenade occurred at the Tbilisi-base pro-opposition, Maestro TV, shattering windows and damaging the television station's iron gate at about 3am on Monday. No one was injured. Maestro TV was airing in live its popular show Cell No. 5 when the blast occurred. Sound of explosion was heard when a temporary host of the show, who is replacing a singer Giorgi Gachechiladze as the latter is currently campaigning in the provinces, was speaking with a viewer on the phone. Then a voice of a female producer was heard screaming that the explosion occurred. Reports say that apparently a hand-grenade was tossed at the television station's entrance door. "We have spoken with a military expert who suggested that RGD type hand-grenade was likely used," Natia Mikiashivili, chief of the television station's news program, said. The Interior Ministry said that investigation was ongoing into the case and criminal charges were initiated under the article of the criminal code dealing with "damaging or destruction of object perpetrated by setting fire, explosion or by any other dangerous means."

Maestro TV said that the police came to the incident site only 50 minutes later and forensic detectives came on the site about 90 minutes later. Mamuka Glonti, owner of the television station also said that 20 minutes after the blast policemen, who were patrolling on a nearby street, were approached and asked to come to the incident site, but, he said, they had refused and left the area. The Interior Ministry said that the police had requested from the television station to hand over footage from CCTV camera installed outside the station's office, but Maestro TV said "they do not possess the recording."
Glonti explained that technical capabilities of the station did not allow them to record and store footage from CCTV camera. Glonti also said that there could be many versions and speculations about what was the reason of, as he put it, "the terrorist act." A number of opposition politicians came to the Maestro TV after the incident was reported. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, blamed the authorities for intimidating Maestro TV.

Bomb blast a terrorist act. Mamuka Glonti, an owner of Maestro TV, slammed the Interior Ministry for not qualifying an explosion of a hand-grenade at the television station's office as "a terrorist act." The Interior Ministry said that the criminal charges were initiated under the article of the criminal code dealing with "damaging or destruction of object perpetrated by setting fire, explosion or by any other dangerous means." "They are ridiculing us; we qualify it as a terrorist act; it was not simply a deliberate damage of a building," Glonti said."Give a proper qualification," he called on the Interior Ministry and added: "Unless a proper qualification is not given to this fact we will not cooperate with the investigation." The bomb blast is a terrorist act, the anarchists say.

Saakashvili's thugs behind terrorist act? Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said there was no political motive behind the explosion at the Tbilisi-based pro-opposition Maestro TV and called on the politicians to refrain from pre-judgments. "It is an alarming fact," he told journalists on May 25. "I call on everybody to refrain from political speculation about this. I am sure that this fact has nothing to do with politics. It should be investigated. The perpetrators should be revealed and punished. I am sure that it will happen so. I will personally oversee that a vigorous investigation is conducted and that the investigation is completed as soon as possible. The perpetrators should be punished to ensure that nobody has a chance to politicize and speculate over this fact." Meanwhile, Public Defender, Sozar Subari, said that tossing a grenade at a television station "is not only a grave offense, but also yet another attempt to suppress freedom of speech and expression." The Public Defender called for a prompt investigation and also to find out why police delayed to come to the incident cite. Maestro TV said that police came only 45 minutes after it reported about the explosion to the police via phone. "We can not accept living in the country where the raid of TV companies, throwing the bombs, beating and intimidating of journalists, restricting freedom of expression and speech, which won't be followed by an adequate investigation and punishment of criminal offenders, is a common issue," the Public Defender said in the statement.

Meanwhile: President Saakashvili announced about plans to set up, what he called, a public council to help society to have its say "in decision-making" and in legislative activities. He said that the planned public council would involve representatives of various sectors – science, culture, business, education "to give recommendations to the executive and legislative bodies." People can give recommendations today in Georgia, so this is in reality no improvement of the system in libertarian direction, the anarchists say.

The anarchists call on the international newsmedia to report about the "surprises" for the authorities on May 26, and the mass demonstration the "public parade". The protests continue...

Burjanadze vows to take "active actions". Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said on May 25 "active actions" were needed to be taken to show to the authorities that there was a crisis in the country. She said while speaking at a protest rally outside the Parliament that those actions, which she did not specify, should be started from May 26, when the opposition plans a large-scale protest rally in Tbilisi. "Tomorrow we are not planning to simply gather, to sing an anthem [May 26 marks Georgia's Independence Day] and then to disperse. I am sure and I promise you that I will be actively engaged in this, that we should undertake active actions tomorrow," Burjanadze said causing protesters' applauses. "Yes we should undertake active actions," she continued, "because the authorities do not hear, they do not want to see that there is a crisis in the country. So we should act more actively and we should show more actively to the authorities that there is the crisis and we should [act] in those venues where it will more disturb the authorities, where it will be specially painful for the authorities; so we will act and act in frames of the constitution and law, but we will act bravely and we will continue our bold steps unless Saakashvili resigns." "I assure you that there will be not a single step back; I will be beside each of you; I will continue struggle and we will struggle unless we accomplish this struggle with success, because otherwise this country is doomed for a failure," Burjanadze said.

Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, a party founded by ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, said that the opposition struggle should definitely be accomplished with success. "I can not understand how a political party can turn back and leave the protest venues without achieving results. We are obliged to change this authoritarian regime," she said late on Monday evening while speaking in the Kavkasia TV's talk show.

26.05.2009. Following the anarchists call to report about the mass demonstrations, Euronews, Associated Press, Reuters and BBC report:

Demonstration - Georgian opposition defies protest ban

Thousands of opposition protestors in Georgia have defied an official ban and held a mass rally in the capital Tbilisi. Popular resentment at the performance of President Mikheil Saakashvili's government has been building for months. There are increasing calls for him to stand down over his autocratic rule and last year's disastrous war with Russia.

Today is Georgian Independence Day, but official celebrations were cancelled by the authorities for fear of clashes. The stand-off is fuelling tension in the former Soviet republic, which is an important transit route for the West's oil and gas supplies, but which Moscow considers part of its sphere of influence. Recent NATO war games in Georgia merely stoked the Kremlin's ire. America and the European Union have urged the opposition to abandon street protests and start talks on reforming Georgia's fragile democracy. (Euronews). Georgia is not a "fragile democracy". It is an ultra-authoritarian right fascist state, the anarchists say.

Georgia's opposition blocks railway station

Thousands of angry protesters converged on the central train station in the Georgian capital Tuesday, trying to block the trains as the opposition raised the stakes in its push to get President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign. Throngs of demonstrators surrounded one train, sitting on the track to prevent it from leaving the station. Police did not intervene. The move marked a change in the opposition's tactics, reflecting protesters' exasperation after six weeks of daily rallies without result. It followed debates between the opposition leaders, some of whom strongly opposed more forceful action for fear of provoking violence.

The blockade at the train station followed a massive rally in which at least 60,000 opposition supporters gathered at the national stadium before marching to the parliament building to push for Saakashvili's resignation. The president has remained defiant, saying he would stay through his second term, which ends in 2013. Opposition leaders warned Tuesday that protesters will also block highways and the Tbilisi main airport to force Saakashvili to resign. They are angry with the president for leading the country into a disastrous war against Russia last year. (Associated Press)

Georgians mark independence with protest rally

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Georgia on Independence Day on Tuesday to demand the resignation of the president, whose government canceled a military parade to avoid confrontation. Protesters waving white ribbons packed the 60,000-capacity national football stadium, in what appeared to be the largest rally since the opposition launched daily demonstrations against President Mikheil Saakashvili six weeks ago. The opposition accuses 41-year-old Saakashvili of monopolizing power since the 2003 "Rose Revolution" that ousted the ex-Soviet old guard of Eduard Shevardnadze. He has come under renewed pressure since a disastrous war with neighboring Russia in August last year.

The government last week called off a traditional military parade planned for Tuesday in Tbilisi to avoid a clash. Protest organizers led supporters in a march to the main Holy Trinity Cathedral instead of the parliament as originally planned. The head of the influential Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, urged dialogue. "It has become a rule in Georgia -- the first two presidents were ousted, and what did we get from that? Would it not be better to listen to each other, we should be able to listen to each other," he told the packed cathedral. Georgia's first post-Soviet president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was ousted during a civil war in 1992.

Tensions are running high in the country of 4.5 million people on Russia's southern border, where Moscow and the West are competing for influence over oil and gas transit routes. Brief clashes between police and protesters in early May, and a failed mutiny at a tank base outside Tbilisi the same week deepened fears of a wider anti-government rebellion. Former Saakashvili ally Nino Burjanadze told the rally: "We will not take a single step back. All we demand is the president's resignation."

RISK OF VIOLENCE

Saakashvili has ruled out resigning. He marked Georgian Independence Day -- reinstated with independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 -- at Tbilisi's military cemetery. "With one hand we fight to free our land from the occupiers, and with the other we build our country," he said in a speech. The U.S. and European Union on Monday urged the government and opposition "to end the current stalemate on the streets and begin negotiations immediately and without preconditions on a new program of reforms to invigorate Georgia's democracy." The government says it is offering reforms to provide a fairer distribution of power. The opposition says it has heard such promises before and wants Saakashvili to go.

Analysts questioned the appetite of the Georgian military to parade with full pomp, nine months after Russia crushed its assault on the breakaway pro-Russian region of South Ossetia. Georgia lost what footholds it had in South Ossetia and the rebel Black Sea region of Abkhazia, both recognized by the Kremlin as independent states after the war. A May 5 mutiny at a tank base outside Tbilisi cast doubt over the loyalty of the military and overshadowed NATO military exercises through May in Georgia, which have angered Russia. But analysts question whether the opposition commands enough support, despite the impact of the global economic crisis. The economy is forecast to contract 1 percent in 2009, down from growth of more than 12 percent in 2007 on the back of broad economic reform and foreign investment. Diplomats warn the longer the stalemate drags on the greater the risk of violence. Watched closely by its Western allies, Georgia is anxious not to repeat a 2007 crackdown by police firing rubber bullets against the last peaceful protests against Saakashvili.

Georgia marks independence day in political turmoil

Thousands of opposition protesters rallied in a football stadium to mark Georgian Independence Day on Tuesday defying authorities who cancelled a traditional military parade for fear of fresh unrest. Protesters almost filled the 60,000-capacity stadium in Tbilisi ahead of a planned march through the capital of the former Soviet republic. Protesters, some camping in mock prison cells, have been blocking roads in downtown Tbilisi for six weeks, demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili resign over his record on democracy and last year's disastrous war with Russia. "This leadership has discredited itself," said 54-year-old protester Lamara Buadze. "We are here and we will stay here until this president resigns."

Authorities called off the usual military rally marking independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, saying they wanted to avoid confrontation with protesters on the parade route along the tree-lined Rustaveli Avenue. The stand-off is fuelling tensions in Georgia, part of a region Russia considers its traditional sphere of influence but which serves as a transit route for oil and gas to the West. In a joint statement late on Monday, the United States and the European Union urged the government and opposition "to end the current stalemate on the streets and begin negotiations immediately and without preconditions on a new program of reforms to invigorate Georgia's democracy."

Analysts questioned the appetite of the Georgian military to parade with full pomp through Tbilisi, nine months after it was humbled by a Russian counter-strike that forced Georgian troops to withdraw from an attempt to re-take the breakaway region of South Ossetia. A brief, bloodless mutiny at a tank base outside Tbilisi on May 5 has also cast doubt over the loyalty of the military and overshadowed NATO military exercises running through May in Georgia to the anger of Russia. The five-day war galvanised Saakashvili's opponents, who accuse him of monopolising power since becoming president following the 2003 "Rose Revolution".

The 41-year-old president has resisted calls to resign, and analysts question whether the opposition commands enough support or unity to unseat him. Opinion polls suggest a majority of Georgians, feeling the effects of the global economic crisis, favour political dialogue to reform the system. But tempers are flaring, and police and protesters have already clashed briefly once this month. Rights groups say a spate of late-night attacks against protesters appear to mark a pattern of intimidation. Watched closely by its Western allies, Gerogia is anxious to avoid a repeat of a 2007 crackdown against the last peaceful demonstrations against Saakashvili, when police firing tear gas and rubber bullets dispersed protesters. (Reuters)

Thousands attend Georgia protest

More than 50,000 opposition supporters in Georgia have gathered on independence day to demand President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation.

The crowd sang the national anthem and heard speeches by opposition leaders in a stadium in the capital, Tbilisi. The opposition has been holding daily rallies since April. Critics accuse Mr Saakashvili of bungling last year's war with Russia and restricting democracy. Earlier, the government called off a major military parade to avoid clashes. The parade was due to travel along the capital's main street, Rustaveli Avenue, which opposition activists have blocked for weeks with mock prison cells.

Political deadlock

The BBC's Tom Esslemont in Tbilisi says independence day is traditionally when Georgians get together to unite behind the country. This year, the thousands who gathered at Dynamo Tbilisi's 60,000-seat stadium are united not just behind Georgia but also in their support for the opposition parties, our correspondent says. To huge cheers from the crowd, who waved red and white handkerchiefs and flags, the opposition leaders walked into the stadium and repeated their demand that Mr Saakashvili step down immediately.

"I'm sure we will win. We will not take a single step back. All we demand is the president's resignation," said Nino Burjanadze, a former ally of Mr Saakashvili who now leads the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party. The opposition supporters are later expected to march to the parliament building, which has been the main location of their protests in the past six weeks. Our correspondent says that although the numbers turning out at daily rallies have been dwindling, perhaps the biggest coup for the opposition so far is that it has forced the government to cancel the annual military parade.

The fact that it is a national holiday and an important occasion in Georgia may account for the large turnout at the Dynamo stadium, but no matter how much support they say they have, the opposition leaders say they will continue their demonstrations until President Saakashvili resigns, he adds. In a joint statement on Monday, the US and EU urged the government and opposition to "end the current stalemate on the streets and begin negotiations immediately and without preconditions on a new programme of reforms to invigorate Georgia's democracy". But, our correspondent says, with Mr Saakashvili insisting that he will not resign, it is unclear how and when these protests will end. (BBC)

No step back – Opposition leaders say.

27.05.2009. Opposition discusses action plan. Some of the opposition leaders are holding meeting to discuss how to proceed further with the protests. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia (involving Alasania's political team; New Rights and Republican Party); Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party; Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia; Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia; Zviad Dzidziguri and Kakha Kukava, leaders of the Conservative Party; Levan Gachechiladze and Koka Guntsadze, two individual opposition politicians and Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People. Leaders from the National Forum party are not yet present.

"The format of protests rallies are being reshaped," Koka Guntsadze told journalists before the meeting and added that discussions would focus on possible "new formats." It is less likely that the meeting will produce a joint action plan for all the opposition parties. Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said that each group within the opposition might have "its own action plan" and that those plans might complement each other. Earlier on May 27, Nino Burjanadze, Eka Beselia, Levan Gachechiladze and his brother Giorgi Gachechiladze, the singer and activist, met with Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II. No comments were made after the meeting. Alasania says to proceed with his own plan.

28.05.2009. Protesters rally at municipality. Protesters rallied for few hours outside the Tbilisi municipality as part of ongoing street protests on May 28. Protesters at first gathered at the Sports Palace by noon and then marched in a drizzle towards the municipality headquarters. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party and Davit Usupashvili, co-leader of Republican Party – both from Alliance for Georgia; Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party; Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way; Eka Beselia of Movement for United Georgia were among the opposition leaders present at the rally. "This building [referring to the Tbilisi Mayor's Office] will become a new target of our protests," Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party told protesters. "This building has turned into a nest of the Saakashvili regime."

Since the launch of protest rallies on April 9, the Parliament has been closed by the authorities citing that the measure would prevent lawmakers from direct contact with protests and avoid possible tensions. Senior lawmakers are instead frequently gathering in the Tbilisi Mayor's Office. "These types of targeted protests will continue in following days as well. But we will also resort to picketing of strategic facilities as well," Zviad Dzidziguri told the rally. Opposition leaders told supporters at the rally that one of the reasons of their decision to hold the protest outside the municipality office was Mayor Gigi Ugulava's "provocative move" to come to the Holy Trinity Cathedral at the time when there were opposition leaders and thousands of protesters, who gathered in the main cathedral after rallying on the national stadium on May 26. Combined with the Patriarch's statement, arrival of one of the key figures in the Saakashvili's administration in the cathedral immediately triggered speculation among protesters that the opposition was making a deal with the authorities.

In her address to the protesters outside the municipality office, Nino Burjanadze explained the opposition's decision to block the railway lines in the Tbilisi's central station late on May 26 for three hours by an attempt by the opposition leaders to avoid a possible bloodshed as emotions ran high among protesters that night. "Some say it was an irresponsible move," Burjanadze said. "But it was very responsible decision on the part of the opposition leaders and one should know the exact context before making [negative] assessments of that move." She said that there were some calls among protesters late on May 26 to storm the public TV headquarters. "If we have allowed them to go to the television station, blood would have been shed," Burjanadze said. Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party told protesters that there were "many provocateurs" on the Rustaveli Avenue that night trying to incite protesters to storm the public TV headquarters. Nino Burjanadze also apologized to neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia "for a temporary problem they might faced when we have blocked the railway." "We do not want to create problems, but when there is no other way we have to struggle including through these methods. Their cargo was delayed much longer during the August war because of Saakashvili's irresponsible decisions," she said.

29.05.2009. Euronews reports: Fears of worse to come as Georgia protests turn ugly. There is real concern in Georgia that increasingly violent protests could degenerate into wider civil unrest. A police officer is recovering in hospital after being stabbed last night in clashes with demonstrators calling for the resignation of the president. Georgia's interior ministry says several other officers were attacked. Opposition leaders though claim a group of plain-clothes policemen sparked the violence by beating up activists with batons. The influential leader of the country's Orthodox Church appealed yesterday for new elections or dialogue to break the deadlock. Street rallies have been held in the Georgian capital Tbilisi every day for the last seven weeks. Those taking part accuse president Mikheil Saakashvili of monopolising power and criticise him for last year's crushing military defeat at the hands of Russia. Roads and railways have been blocked but there has been no police crackdown so far. The anarchists are warning the protesters against ochlarchical degeneration of the revolt. Ochlarchy means no support by the anarchists and other internationals.

Opposition's joint statement on May 28 clash. Opposition parties, behind the ongoing street rallies, demanded from the authorities to immediately release protesters arrested in connection to the clash that erupted between the police and participants of the demonstration outside the Parliament late on May 28. In a joint statement released on May 29, the opposition parties also demanded from the authorities to deploy only uniformed police officers to protect public order at the protest venues. "The authorities staged yet another provocation against its own people on May 28," the statement reads. "Several dozen of persons in plain clothes with senior police officers among them triggered hand-to-hand fight with protesters; several citizens were seriously injured as a result." "The Interior Ministry is again misleading the society and is stating, that protesters attacked policemen. Several protesters have been arrested, who, even if participated in the incident, could not have committed this crime because they could not know that plain-cloth assailants were policemen. Hence, citizens arrested on false charges should immediately be released and an objective investigation should be conducted."

The Interior Ministry said on May 29 that it arrested two protesters, who "participated in assault on police officers." "Because of number of provocations carried out by the authorities since April 9… we demand uniformed policemen with special identification numbers to take duties of protection public order during the protest rallies. At the same time, in order to prevent misunderstanding between uniformed policemen and protesters, representatives of the organizers of the protest rallies are ready to protect public order along with police officers." "We appeal to the international community to provide efficient assistance to the Georgian people, which is fighting for freedom and democracy, in setting [the country] free from the Saakashvili's regime, which is purposefully leading the country towards chaos and bloodshed."

30.05.2009. South Ossetia to run parliamentary elections on May 31. The independent country South Ossetia is preparing for parliamentary elections. The voting process will start at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The pre-election campaign stopped running at 12 a.m. on Saturday. 88 polling stations are opened, six polling stations will be opened in North Ossetia and one in Moscow. The polling lists comprise 52 thousand and 436 voters. The people will have to elect 34 MPs from the candidates presented by four political parties. 80 foreign observers and 150 media representatives will be monitoring the elections. Representatives of the OSCE said, the organization will not get involved in the monitoring process.

31.05.2009. The independent country South Ossetia goes to the polls today. South Ossetia's leader Eduard Kokoity is expected to cement his grip on power nine months after a militarist attack and invasion by Georgia, that attempted to take control of the country. The opposition says Kokoity wants to change the constitution so that he can run for a third term in 2011. An overwhelming success in the parliamentary election would help him achieve that aim.

Opposition removes 'Cells' from Freedom Sq. Traffic on the Freedom Square was reopened late on Sunday evening after the opposition removed its improvised prison cells from there. The opposition installed mocked-up prison cells on the Freedom Square as part of campaign of 'town of cells' on April 21 blocking the city's main square and nearby streets. Activists from the National Forum party have camped 'cells' but the party withdrew their activists few days ago after it had decided to proceed further with its individual action plan with making focus on campaigning in the provinces. 'Cells' are also installed on the Rustaveli Avenue at the Parliament, outside the presidential residence in Avlabari district and outside the government's office, close to the Parliament. They will not be removed so far.

01.06.2009. EU: South Ossetia polls 'illegitimate'. "The holding of such elections is illegitimate and represents a setback in the search for a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia. The EU reiterates its firm support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders," the EU Czech Presidency said in a statement on June 1. South Ossetia's central election commission said that three parties – one officially backing the South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, and two others uncritical to him – cleared the 7% electoral threshold and secured seats in the 34-member parliament. Party of Unity, according to the local election commission, received 46.3% and secured 17 seats; People's Party – up to 22.6%, amounting to 9 seats and the Communist Party - 22.2% with 8 seats. The nationalist "Fidibasta" – Fatherland Party, which described itself as "a constructive, not radical opposition," received 6,37%, failing to secure seats in the breakaway region's parliament. The party has claimed widespread violations and intimidation of voters. The party has also questioned official voter turnout of over 80%. A nationalist Fatherland Party's complaints about the election must be seen with a critical view, the anarchists say. The EU-mega state's, super-state's, point of view is of little interest. EU should recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, not support Saakashvili's right fascist regime. The main Georgian newsmedia are very biased against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Say, Georgian Times only reports the right fascist Saakashvili regime's propaganda, writing about "puppet regime", "private observers" etc., without comments from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The election in the independent republic of South Ossetia, with international observers, seems to be rather fair, as far as IJA has information today.

Another biased Georgian newspaper, "The Messenger", reports the following paranoid twisted travesty of reality: Are US arms supplies over? The Georgian media is speculating about the leaked information that the USA has allegedly stopped supplying arms to Georgia. This news was spread by World Net Daily. If this is true it signifies that the Obama administration has been influenced by Russia. [USA is not influenced by Russia, but dislike the right fascist regime of Saakashvili.] It is known that Russia has demanded that all countries stop selling arms and ammunition to Georgia on the grounds that it is an 'aggressor' and a threat to its neighbours (?!). [Saakashvili was de facto an aggressor and started the militarist attack on South Ossetia last year.]

Of course it is the arrogant Russian policy to try and put all the blame for its own crimes onto Georgian shoulders, and if any country goes along with this it is in the wrong. To accept the Russian allegations means to encourage Moscow's imperialistic ambitions and leave Georgia in frustration and disappointment. [To support the South Ossetian militia when attacked by an aggressor, i.e. Saakashvili, is not arrogant, crime or imperialistic. If Russia attacks Georgia, the anarchists will support Georgia, but it is not at all likely that Russia will be an agressor against Georgia.]

Russia occupies about 1/5 of Georgian territory and is building military bases in the occupied territories at record speed, introducing the most sophisticated armaments and troops into the region. [Russia does not occupy any Georgian territory. Georgia must accept and recognize the independent republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.] To weaken resistance to this illegal action it has already placed an embargo on the sale of Russian-produced arms to Georgia and persuaded the UN to adopt a full arms embargo. [To support the militia of South Ossetia, when attacked by an aggressor, is not an illegal action - it is solidarity withe people repressed violently. The anarchists support the UN weapons embargo. The Georgian ultra-authoritarian right fascists and aggressors must not be allowed to arm.] The USA has since become the sole source of armaments for Georgia, so if the World Net Daily reports are true this is very distressing for Georgia. [To distress right fascists is legitimate.] Military analysts suggest that the arms and equipment supplied to Georgia by the USA are of a defensive character. They are no threat to Russia in particular or any other of Georgia's neighbours. If the US arms supply to Georgia has been frozen this means Russia can control and influence the USA's foreign policy. Obama's campaigned for the Presidency on the slogan "Yes We Can", not "Yes We Can If Russia Says So". [Paranoid nonsense.]

Georgian officials so far have made no comment on this issue. Some Georgian analysts doubt that the information is trustworthy as they feel that America would not give up its strategic interests so naively. [It is not naively to stop supporting right fascism, Saakashvili.] The USA permanently and insistently lobbies for Georgia's accession to NATO, and the recently conducted NATO military exercises in Georgia also indirectly demonstrate US support for Georgia. [This is not correct - about 700 servicemen from a total of 13 countries participated in the last phase of the exercises, including nine NATO countries and four Partnership for Peace (PFP) programme states. Only a few of the NATO-countries participated. It was thus not really a NATO exercise, and NATO has said it should not be used politically by the Saakashvili government.] However there are some other factors which could create a possible temporary suspension of arms supplies. During last August's Russian invasion some Georgian arms of US origin were seized by the Russians as war trophies. Georgia has not yet elaborated an efficient strategic defence plan and the current internal crisis has left the Georgian defence system very vulnerable. It is understandable that in these circumstances a country may think twice about supplying arms to Georgia, even if it is still politically committed to the country's welfare. [This is not the correct reason for an arms embargo]. One way or another, if the World Net Daily report is true it puts Georgia in a very vulnerable position.[Not at all, Russia is no aggressor.] Furthermore it suggests to the population that the country has been abandoned to its enemies. [Not at all, Russia is no aggressor.] It implies that Russia is now the dominant force not only in this region but around the world, and that other countries who used to support Georgia have acquiesced in making this happen. [Not at all, Russia is no aggressor.] IJA's comments in [...].

Georgia's economy will contract by 1.5 % in 2009 because of "street politics" and "crisis of political relations", the government said in a statement on June 1. The resession is due to the international economic crisis, and has no significant connection to the prostests, the anarchists say.

Maestro TV claims blocked from airing in town of Rustavi. Mamuka Glonti, an owner and top executive, of Tbilisi-based Maestro TV station said he had been assured by a local cable television provider in town of Rustavi that it would resume airing Maestro TV on June 1. Tori, which is a cable television provider in Rustavi, a town close to Tbilisi, stopped transmitting Maestro TV through its network on May 30. Maestro TV blamed pressure from the authorities on the company; but the latter cited "technical problems." Transmission of the Maestro TV was suspended in Rustavi last week for few days because of technical problem attributed to damaged modulator; but it was resumed again after the television station itself provided Tori with a new modulator.

On May 30, however, Mamuka Glonti announced through his television that he was contacted by an employee of the Rustavi cable network provider, who told him that the company was forced to stop airing Maestro TV, because of the authorities' pressure."This is yet another attempt to restrict free media and I hope international community and foreign diplomatic missions will speak out against this fact," Sozar Subari, the public defender, said at a joint news conference with Glonti on May 30. "Officially the company again claims a technical problem, which I do not believe is true. It is purely a politically-motivated move. Now they have pledged to resolve 'the technical problem' and to resume airing Maestro TV today," Glonti told Civil.Ge on June 1. Tori executives were not available for the comment. Glonti also said that currently Maestro TV, apart of Tbilisi, also goes out on cable in Telavi, Batumi and Zestaponi. He said that the television was also available for viewers in the town of Akhmeta, but the local cable network stopped its transmission citing technical problems. Meanwhile, Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, said the opposition planned a protest rally in Rustavi in support Maestro TV on June 4.

Opposition plans MIA picketing. On June 9 the opposition will hold a picketing of the newly built headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in the suburb of Tbilisi, Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, told the protest rally outside the parliament on June 1. The rally outside MIA building, he said, would mark two months of ongoing protests, launched on April 9. Before gathering outside the Parliament on June 1 – the 54th day of street protests, few hundred opposition activists and supporters picketed the Tbilisi Mayor's Office earlier on Monday.

02.06.2009. Saakashvili comments on South Ossetia election. President Saakashvili said that parliamentary elections in breakaway South Ossetia, which he described as Russia's "military camp," did not deserve much attention. "It is so cynical and grotesque to hold elections in a military stronghold and military camp that, I think, we will not pay attention to it," he said in a televised comments aired by Rustavi 2 TV on June 2. Saakashvili also postulated that the South Ossetian leader Kokoity,  "is a FSB  [Russia's Federal Security Service] agent of a low level," without proof and called Kokoito a "bandit", also with no proof.

The U.S. Department of State said it "regrets the decision to hold so-called "elections" in the South Ossetia region of Georgia." It also said in a statement that it "recognizes neither the legality nor the results" of these elections. "This represents a step away from a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict," Robert Wood, the deputy spokesman, said in a statement on June 1. "The U.S. reiterates its support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders." The anarchists say the USA should recognize the independent republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and stop supporting the right fascist regime of Saakashvili.

Blast on railway in Western Georgia.
An explosive device went off at about 3:30am local time on June 2, damaging Zugdidi-Khobi railway section in the western region of Samegrelo, Georgian railway officials said. The blast delayed traffic of a passenger train en route from Tbilisi to Zugdidi for about three hours; the traffic, however, is now restored, according to the Georgian Railway's press office. The anarchists condemn the bomb attack.

Maestro TV remains off air in Rustavi. Tbilisi-based Maestro TV remains off air in the city of Rustavi despite earlier pledge by local cable television provider to resume its transmission on June 1, Maestro TV owner, Mamuka Glonti, said on Tuesday. He told Civil.Ge that representatives from the local cable television provider company, Tori, were shunning away from contacts with him. Maestro TV has claimed the authorities' pressure on the local cable network behind the latter's decision to stop airing Maestro TV. Local authorities in Rustavi have strongly denied the allegation and said it was a problem between two private companies and the authorities had nothing to do with that. 

MIA admits firing projectiles in May 6 clash. After an initial rejection, the Interior Ministry has acknowledged firing projectiles to protesters in a confrontation outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6. Dozens of protesters, including several opposition leaders (most of them hit into the head), were injured in the incident and two protesters who were hit by projectiles had lost sight in one eye. Projectiles, which were found at the incident site, visually resembled the ones used in 18mm FN 303 less lethal launcher, manufactured by FN Herstal. The Interior Ministry, however, has been rejecting so far that rubber bullets or any other type of projectiles were used. On Civil.Ge's direct question on May 7 whether the police used FN 303 launchers, a senior Interior Ministry official declined to respond citing sensitivity of the matter. The bimonthly Georgian magazine, Liberali (Liberal), runs an article this week saying that it had been shown by the Interior Ministry two types of launchers, which were used by the riot police on May 6. The one, it said, was ALSL6-type launcher firing rubber bullets (which was also used by the riot police on November 7, 2007) and another one FN 303 firing impact projectiles (on the picture above). "Our official position was not to speak about it [use of launchers] in order not to make the situation tense," Shota Utiashvili, a head of the Interior Ministry's analytical department, told the Liberali. According to outline procedures regarding the safe operation of the FN 303 launchers, an operator should avoid firing a target into the head. The Liberali, however, reports citing the Interior Ministry officials that they were not aware of that instruction outlined in the launcher's safety procedures. "It was dark [during the May 6 incident] and only upper part of body was visible for riot policemen," the magazine quoted Shalva Janashvili, the deputy interior minister.

Opposition calls on diplomats to monitor situation in army. A group of opposition parties, which are behind the protest rallies ongoing since April 9, called on the Georgian partner states to keep a close eye on developments in the Georgian army and criminal proceedings against those held over the reported Mukhrovani mutiny. In a joint statement opposition has claimed that "a purposeful destruction" of the Georgian armed forces, accompanied by "purposeful punitive measures in the army" was underway by the Georgian authorities. The statement was read out Irakli Batiashvili of the opposition Republican Party outside the Defense Ministry on June 2, in presence of Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party; Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Eka Beselia of Movement for United Georgia; Zurab Abashidze, a close ally of Irakli Alasania; Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party; Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party; Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party; Koka Guntsadze and Levan Gachechiladze, two individual opposition politicians.

"After the August, 2008 events the Georgian authorities have started carrying out purposeful punitive measures. This trend has become especially obvious after one of the most discredited representative of the authorities a former head of the penitentiary system, Bacho Akhalaia was appointed as deputy defense minister [in late 2008]," the statement reads."There is a reasonable doubt that the authorities have staged the so called Mukhrovani mutiny after it decided to involve military units in political confrontation and use the army against protesters," the statement reads and then raises the issue of those 33 persons, both civilians and militaries who were arrested in connection with the Mukhrovani incident. One was released on bail and other 32 remain in the police custody. "Since the public confidence towards law enforcement agencies and judiciary is extremely low and since there is no parliamentary and civil control over armed forces, we request you, to use all means at your disposal and establish monitoring over the investigation process [into the Mukhrovani incident] as well as over alarming processes ongoing in the Georgian armed forces," the opposition's appeal to the foreign diplomatic missions reads.

03.06.2009. U.S. Adm. speaks of  the recent Partnership for Peace exercise in Georgia and the "the current prudent policy".  U.S. Adm. James G. Stavridis, a nominee for commander of the NATO forces and U.S. European Command (EUCOM), said he shared "the current prudent policy" of providing Georgian army with training, doctrine and personnel management assistance. "I think it is reasonable for Georgia to possess a capable military for its own defense and to participate in coalition operations," Adm. Stavridis said before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee's confirmation hearing on June 2. "I agree with current, prudent policy to focus our security cooperation with Georgia on fundamental intellectual issues like training, doctrine, and personnel management – the recent Partnership for Peace exercise in Georgia was an example of this. This provides a measured and meaningful way to help a country that has helped us in Iraq and has voiced its willingness to assist the US in Afghanistan," he said.

Asked if there was a way to implement the assistance in a manner that did not provoke Russia, Adm. Stavridis noted importance of transparency in the U.S. security cooperation with Georgia. "Prudent transparency concerning our assistance to Georgia would help Russia to see that ultimately we are merely trying to help catalyze regional stability and enable Georgia to do its part in working against many of the same transnational threats that worry both Russia and the US. The NATO-Russia Council, for example, is a good mechanism to provide this kind of transparency," he said. Speaking about Georgia's NATO integration, Adm. Stavridis said that the decision was made by the Alliance that the country will some day become the NATO member. "Based on the political decisions in the North Atlantic Council, the NATO military will have a supporting role in advancing defense reforms in Georgia and developing interoperability," he said. "EUCOM, as guided by U.S. Government policy, will work in concert with NATO Allies, to assist with the military and security related part of this reform. This is an important part of advancing Georgia's partnership with NATO." Meanwhile, Georgian Defense Minister, Davit Sikharulidze, is visiting the United States this week. Reportedly he is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, on Thursday.

Georgia in 'Global Corruption Barometer' report. Like in previous similar surveys held in 2005 and 2007, the judiciary again topped the list of least trusted institutions with only 14% of respondents saying there is no corruption in the judiciary and 37% say it is vastly corrupt, according to the report, released by the Berlin-based Transparency International on June 3. Opposition parties sign 'Charter of Commitments': A group of non-parliamentary opposition, mainly those behind the ongoing protest rallies, signed on June 3 a Charter of Commitments pledging to adhere to democratic principles when they come into power. The 8-page document consists of three parts with the first one outlining ten commitments; in the second part it lays out, as it puts it, "failures of the Georgian authorities"; and the third part lays out the undersigned political parties' vision and goals, which reads that "the best way to restore civil freedom and turn the country towards progress and development is through early presidential and parliamentary elections."   

The parties also claim that turning of the Charter platform into reality "is achievable through continuing public protest and with following civil disobedience". It also reads that ongoing protests "will stop only if the President resigns." "The President should resign immediately," the Charter reads. "The Interior Minister, Justice Minister, Tbilisi Mayor, Chairman of the Supreme Council, Chairman of the Central Election Commission should also resign and their activities during their presence in office should be subject to the Georgian Public Defender's open investigation." The Charter was signed by 16 parties and individual opposition leaders, including Alliance for Georgia, uniting Irakli Alasania's team, New Rights and Republicans; Democratic Movement – United Georgia; Movement for United Georgia; Conservatives; Georgia's Way; Women's Party; Party of People; Party of Future; Industrialists; National Forum; Levan Gachechiladze; Koka Guntsadze.

The list of commitments includes pledges that the undersigned parties, after coming into power, would secure free and fair elections; independent judiciary; civil control over the law enforcement agencies; transparent governance; inadmissibility of politically-motivated prosecutions; inviolability of the private property rights; free economy; restoration of the territorial integrity "solely through peaceful means." The list also includes carrying out "balanced foreign policy." "Closer ties with our western partners and strengthening of course towards EU and NATO. Normalization of relations with Russia based on Georgia state interests and launch of new stage of relations with Russia based on mutual respect," the document reads.

The Labor Party has refused to join the Charter citing that it did not reflect the social issues; the Labor Party also said that it did not agree with the foreign policy priorities laid out in the document. The Labor Party said in December, 2008 that Georgia should say no to NATO integration. The Freedom Party, led by Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, has also refused to sign the document citing that the Charter reflected general aspirations to which his party was committed in anyway and there was no need for a separate additional document for that purpose.

Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, of the ruling party, said on June 3 that a commission on constitutional reform would be composed of dozens of representatives from five sectors. Representatives from the Quisling Tbilisi-based Abkhaz "government" and a "provisional administration" of South Ossetia are involved. The non-parliamentary opposition parties, those behind the ongoing protest rallies, have rejected to join the commission.

04.06.2009.The protests continue. The non parliamentary opposition will hold a protest rally in Rustavi today. The rally aims at showing solidarity to TV Company 'Maestro' and to discuss the prevailing problems in the region. The motorcade of leaders and activists of the opposition will leave from Freedom Square. The meeting will be held on Shartava Square at 18.00pm. In parallel the traditional information meeting will be held by Parliament today. Meanwhile, Tbilisi hopes for 'objective' report from EU's War Inquiry Mission,  Moscow insists on separate OSCE missions, EU envoy meets opposition leaders and Bakradze tells opposition to engage in existing cooperation formats. President Saakashvili ruled out again the possibility of early elections and said the authorities would not yield to "pressure from the streets." "In the current situation general early elections are totally unacceptable in the light of the economic situation and also in the view that the country has already had several [early presidential and parliamentary] elections last year," he said.

05.06.2009. GNCC puts off Maestro TV satellite broadcast license discussion. Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) said session scheduled for June 5 would not be held citing "absence of quorum." Among other things, GNCC was also expected to discuss at the June 5 session Tbilisi-based Maestro TV's request for issuing satellite broadcast license. GNCC said in a statement on June 5 that the date for holding the session would be announced later. Maestro TV, which goes out on cable in Tbilisi, Batumi, Telavi and Zestaponi, wants to expend area of coverage through obtaining satellite broadcast license after which the television station's single will be available for those having satellite dishes. Maestro TV was also available in Rustavi, a city close to Tbilisi, until the local cable network stopped its transmission last week. Maestro TV has claimed the authorities' pressure on the local cable television provider company behind the decision. Several hundred opposition activists and supporters held a protest rally in Rustavi on June 4 demanding restoration of transmission of the Maestro TV's broadcasting in the city. At the rally Mamuka Glonti, owner of the television station, called on Rustavi residents not to pay a fee to the local cable network, because, he said, the company was violating its clients' rights.

Opposition will hold an action by Regulatory Commission today. Members of 'Alliance for Georgia' and 'New Rightists' Manana Nachkebia called on the society to come to the action. Manana Nachkebia stated in her speech in front of an information meeting that a significant issue was being decided in the Regulatory commission – if TV Company 'Maestro' will be enabled to use satellite broadcasting. Manana Nachkebia calls on the Regulatory Commission to take legal decision otherwise it will case grand protest of the society.

Meanwhile: Saakashvili slams former allies-turned-"foes", and says: "our enemy wants non-existence of Georgia", and he is negative to the rather objective UN chief report on Abkhazia, all in all expressing his usual paranoid twisted travesty of he situation. Georgia wants UN mission, "but not at any price".

06.06.2009. Opposition will continue street protests. Opposition is now considering "a new tactic" of protests, which will be announced in "next few days," Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition political, said after meeting with a group of foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi."We told [the ambassadors] that the ongoing protests will not slow down, until the crisis is resolved in Georgia, until our key demand is not achieved - Saakashvili's resignation," he told reporters after the meeting. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement – United Georgia; Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights, part of Alliance for Georgia; Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way; Eka Beselia, leader of the Movement for United Georgia; Alexi Petriashvili, who is Irakli Alasania's ally, also participated in the meeting.

Nino Burjanadze said after the meeting that although all the meetings with diplomats were always "positive," she was especially "satisfied" with this recent one."It is clear that they [diplomats] have taken a deeper look into the current political crisis in the country. No one, except of our President, denies that there is an extremely sharp political crisis in the country," Burjanadze said."I am not going to take even one step back. We will carry out all those actions – even sharp actions, but within the constitution – which are required for continuation of the protests and for achievement of a final result," she added.

"They [ambassadors] have ascertained that protests will not wane and that this crisis is extremely serious," Salome Zourabichvili told journalists after the meeting. "It can be said for the first time that they are alarmed about the situation and they themselves noted that the situation has really changed significantly… The way out from this situation is elections and a dialogue about the elections." Davit Gamkrelidze said that the opposition was "on the right direction and this road will lead us to our victory." Meanwhile, Pikria Chikhradze of the New Rights Party, said in an interview with the Georgian daily, Rezonansi, published on June 6, that the opposition had managed to explain both to the Georgian society and the international community that it was determined for a long-term struggle in frames of constitution "without breaking into nowhere" – a reference to the Rose Revolution when protesters led by then opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili broke into the parliament chamber when then President Shevardnadze was delivering an opening speech at the newly elected parliament's inaugural session.

"We have done our best to destroy that stereotype, which was established by Saakashvili after the Rose Revolution, that the issues should be solved by bursting into somewhere. Nobody has broken into anywhere and we have disposed the society for a long-term, peaceful struggle. I think, we have demonstrated to everybody both inside and outside the country that no matter how long this struggle will take, we are not going to abandon it without a result. Hence, the authorities should see this reality and act adequately," Pikria Chikhradze said. Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said on June 5, that the opposition would gain upper hand even in case of early parliamentary elections." Aggregate votes of key opposition parties are significantly more than of the National Movement," Berdzenishvili told Imedi TV and radio program. "The parliamentary elections are equally unacceptable and dangerous for the authorities like the early presidential elections. So we state it publicly – either early parliamentary or early presidential elections; or both of them simultaneously.

The right fascist Mikheil Saakashvili postulates Jews behind "disorder". Saakashvili – Criminals living abroad finance attempt of disorder in the country. The president of Georgia postulates he has information that Georgian businessmen living abroad finance attempt of "disorder". Mikheil Saakashvili stated today while opening a tea producing factory in Martvili that money comes not from businessmen living in Russia but from criminals. Namely, he said that the criminals are Bondo Shalikiani, Tariel Oniani. "Money also comes from some Jewish and businessmen from Batumi having seldom surname", he says. Source: Georgian Times.

07.06.2009. Will the Tagliavini Commission be biased? NATO, USA, EU and the Georgian government, do not recognize the elections held on May 31 in South Ossetia and are in general hostile to the small independent country, but the anarchists recognize the elections. Not to recognize the elections, is an attack on autonomy and democracy. This hostility towards South Ossetia may perhaps also influence the Tagliavini Commission's work. Thus this commision may be biased against South Ossetia. This EU Commission led by the Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini is in Tbilisi. The Commission has been convened to discover the cause of the Russian-Georgian war last August. Its results should be known in July. The most important answer its report will give will be who provoked the war.

As mentioned an article in the NY-Times "Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question" by  C. J. Chivers and Ellen Barry 06.11.2008 confirms the anarchists' hypothesis that Georgia and  Saakashvili started the war, quoting: "Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression. Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm ...  according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili's main justifications for the attack. The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s. Mr. Saakashvili ... faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments." The NY-Times questions Georgia's claims on the conflict with South Ossetia, and can hardly be seen as a spokesorgan for Russia...

Velvet revolution in the autumn 2009? Georgia will be in "deep political and economic crisis" by autumn and there will be either elections or a revolutionary scenario by that time, Zurab Nogaideli, who now leads the Movement for Fair Georgia opposition party, said on June 7. Among some other former allies, Nogaideli was one of the targets of President Saakashvili's criticism in his June 5 speech, when he said that he sacked Nogaideli in November, 2007 because of having "doubts about his efficiency and honesty." Saakashvili also said that "unfortunately" Nogaideli had "earned much money" during his presidency, suggesting that Nogaideli was involved in the corruption. Responding to the allegation, Nogaideli said while speaking in the public TV's program, Political Week, that Saakashvili was "in hysteria", leveling "hysteric allegations."

He said that the President attacked him only about two years after his had quit the government and only after he engaged actively in politics. "By the way, immediately after my resignation Saakashvili awarded me with St. George's Victory Order and when doing so he did not tell me anything about my ‘inefficiency' and ‘dishonesty'. He would not have even dared to tell me this; because his government would have fallen apart if he dared to tell me this at that time, because he would have lost January 5 [2008 early] presidential elections; he would have lost elections in Adjara and he would have not garnered 52% even through ballot rigging and he would have lost elections in the second round of polls," Nogaideli said. Nogaideli, who is native of Kobuleti, Adjara Autonomous Republic, and his party are not engaged in the ongoing street protests, but are campaigning actively and developing party infrastructure throughout Georgia. According to the Movement for Fair Georgia a party requires a network of about 25,000 activists throughout the country to have a solid representation at the polling stations and to achieve success in the parliamentary elections.

Nogaideli said on June 7 that that for now his party is not yet ready, but would meet that target by September. "The country is in a very grave condition; we are entering into the phase of deep political and economic crisis," he said. "There will be either elections in autumn or some type of revolutionary scenario, not necessarily similar to the one that happened in 2003; that may be scenario similar to [19]91-[19]92 [referring to civil war that ousted late president Zviad Gamsakhurdia] and Saakashvili will be a creator of that, because it is up to him to decide in which direction the country should go. Add to that deep economic crisis, accompanied by delays in distributing salaries and pensions and all these will create a very grave situation by autumn." "I prefer elections," he continued. "By September we will be ready to win elections, even under the current [electoral] system. But if there are no elections, we should force Saakashvili to hold elections. I hope there will be no need for revolution. From September we will start rallies to demand elections… He will be forced to hold elections, because his government is falling apart; people are very angry and we are on the verge of civil confrontation." "By September we will be ready either to win elections including in the condition of this electoral system or to start pressure on the authorities, which will force the authorities to call the elections," Nogaideli added. Revolution is OK, the anarchists say, but it must be a velvet revolution, not with ochlarchy, i.e. mob rule broadly defined.

08.06.2009. 'Cells' removed from part of Rustaveli Ave. Opposition has further reduced number of mocked up prison cells by removing those, which were installed immediately outside Tbilisi Marriott Hotel on the Rustaveli Avenue. Improvised cells remain blocking traffic on the Rustaveli Avenue outside the parliament. A week ago opposition removed improvised cells from the Freedom Square and in mid-May 'cells' were removed from outside the public TV reopening traffic on Kostava Street. Opposition plans a rally outside the newly built Interior Ministry's headquarters in the suburb of Tbilisi on June 9 – marking two months of the street protests. Meanwhile President Saakashvili signed an order formally endorsing a commission on constitutional reforms on June 8. According to the document, the commission's purpose will be to amend the current constitution. Avtandil Demetrashvili, a former chairman of the Constitutional Court, has been appointed as the chairman of the commission. Twenty political parties have been invited to nominate one representative to take a seat in the commission, including those, which are behind the ongoing protests rallies. These parties, however, have as mentioned rejected to participate.

09.06.2009. Opposition rally marks two months of street protests. Opposition activists and supporters are marching from the Parliament to the General Prosecutor's Office and Ministry of Interior, marking the two months of street protests, on June 9. Opposition leaders said that they plan a live chain around the buildings to protest against, what they call, "police state" and "political police." The rally will be held outside the old building of Interior Ministry and not at the newly built ministry headquarters in the suburb of Tbilisi, which houses most of the administrative staff, including the minister's office and patrol police headquarters. The General Prosecutor's Office and the old building of the Interior Ministry are located next to each other.

Gachechiladze meets Saakashvili. Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition politician, who is one of the key figures behind the ongoing protest rallies, is holding a meeting with President Saakashvili. The meeting, which started at about 9pm, is taking place in the president's Shavnabada residence outside Tbilisi. Gachechiladze announced about his plans to accept a proposal for a meeting at a protest rally outside the former headquarters of the Interior Ministry. Several thousands protesters made a live chain around the Interior Ministry's and General Prosecutor's buildings to protest against, what they call, "police state" and "political police." Gachechiladze told the protesters that the meeting would be held without "prior agreed agenda." "I should deliver my opinion about how to overcome the crisis - that is his resignation and he should tell me his opinion," he said. He also said that the reaction of his partner opposition parties, who are behind the ongoing protests rallies, on his decision to meet with Saakashvili was "mixed." "None of them is radically against of it but the opinion is mixed," Gachechiladze told Tbilisi-based Maestro TV. "I myself am a bit concerned and disturbed because of negative experience of the past."

The announcement was also met with mixed reactions by protesters with some of them booing the decision. One protester shouted: "Don't go alone" at the meeting without other opposition leaders."This meeting is necessary," Gachechiladze told the protesters. On May 11 President Saakashvili met with four opposition leaders - Levan Gachechiladze, Salome Zourabichvili, Irakli Alasania and Kakha Shartava - who had a joint mandate of all the opposition parties, which are organizers of the ongoing protests, to negotiate with the President. Unlike the May 11 meeting, in today's talks Gachechiladze will participate in an individual capacity. Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of opposition Conservative Party, said that the decision about Gachechiladze's planned meeting with the President was not discussed among the opposition parties.

Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said he would not advise Gachechiladze to agree on the meeting in the proposed format – face-to-face talks with Saakashvili without presence of other opposition leaders, "because it is much easer to discredit Levan [Gachechiladze] in that case." Gachechiladze also said that he would speak about the details of his meeting with President Saakashvili in the Maestro TV's talk show, Cell No. 5, which is hosted by his brother, a singer and activist Giorgi Gachechiladze, who has turned into an spokesperson of the  ongoing protests through his popular TV program.

Gachechiladze: opposition rallies will continue. "The rallies of the opposition will continue and they will become more radical that they are today" Levan Gachechiladze announced at the Cell #5 talk show broadcast on Maestro TV after his meeting with president Saakashvili.The meeting took place at the Shavnabada presidential residency and it lasted three hours. Gachechiladze concluded after the meeting that the president has failed to see the crisis in the country so that he could acknowledge the necessity of resignation. " The president does not see the crisis and says that the budget does not have problems and the governmental elements have not collapsed, however, at the same time he says that there is a political stalemate - this is admitting to the crisis," Gachechiladze said. According to the opposition leader, he also put forth the issue of the opposition supporters arrested during the rallies, which the opposition has been holding since April 9. The president said the cases of these people would be replaced.

10.06.2009. Alasania:  "Gachechiladze had my mandate in talks with Saakashvili". Unlike other opposition leaders, Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said that Levan Gachechiladze enjoyed with his personal "mandate" in talks with President Saakashvili. One of key opposition politicians, Levan Gachechiladze, met with President Saakashvili late on June 9. Gachechiladze said after the meeting that the President pledged that cases of number of opposition activists arrested after the launch of protest rallies on various charges would be reviewed. Gachechiladze expressed hope that those activists would be released soon. Alasania told journalists that he welcomed the fact of the meeting and said that although there was major differences in the positions between the sides, if the reached agreement is fulfilled that would be an important step for restoring confidence towards the negotiating process. He also said that it was "a brave" step on the part of Gachechiladze to agree on talks with Saakashvili. "We will continue close cooperation with him [Gachechiladze]," Alasania added.

Senior U.S. diplomat visits Georgia. Philip H. Gordon, a new U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, who visits Georgia as part of his trip to South Caucasus states, will meet President Saakashvili later on June 10, according to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi. Meanwhile, he plans to meet with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze; Defense Minister Davit Sikharulidze; Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze; Secretary of National Security Council Eka Tkeshelashvili and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Meeting with Prime Minister, Nika Gilauri, is also planned. Gordon will also meet separately with representatives of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition. The U.S. diplomat will meet with board of directors of American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (AmCham) on June 11.

Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the parliamentary minority group and of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), met with the visiting Philip H. Gordon. "He [Gordon] expressed his position that time for supporting personalities is over and time is coming when they will actively support the development and strengthening of democratic institutions. This is very important," Targamadze told journalists after the meeting. He said that ongoing political developments in Georgia, as well as issues related with security were discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by MP Nika Laliashvili of the Christian-Democratic Movement. After meeting with Giorgi Targamadze, the U.S. diplomat met with three opposition leaders: Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Levan Gachechiladze.

Gordon on U.S. 'Interests to see a democratic Georgia'. Philip H. Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said that a democratic Georgia would be good for Tbilisi's Euro-Atlantic integration. "One of the other messages I wanted to bring to Georgia, beyond demonstrating our interest and support to Georgia, is our interests in seeing a democratic Georgia. That would be good for Georgia and good for Georgia's aspiration to join Euro-Atlantic institutions," he said at a joint news conference with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, in Tbilisi on June 10. "We appreciate the fact that there had been political protest in a tense political environment; we also appreciate the way the government has shown restraint in dealing with those protests and we encourage the Georgian government to pursue democracy and free media, free press, free speech, anti-corruption – these are principles the United States always stands by and the more Georgia can be a flourishing democracy the more likely it is to be the western partner that we value and we want to work so close with," Gordon added. He made the remarks after he was asked to comment on the internal political situation in Georgia. A young Georgian journalist used the term "political crisis" once while asking this question.

After the U.S. diplomat finished his comments, Foreign Minister Vashadze also responded, referring directly to the journalist: "I would not advise you to use this term ‘political crisis' so often, because you have not seen what the political crisis is because of your [young] age. What is now happening in Georgia it is not a political crisis, it is a political process." Speaking at a government session on June 10, President Saakashvili, who met with Gordon later on June 10, has also strongly rejected notion of having a political crisis in Georgia. "There is no political crisis in Georgia," he said in a live televised meeting with cabinet members. "What are the signs of political crisis? It is when the government is disintegrated, like it was during Shevardnadze's [presidency], when the government was like a circus with its members quarreling with each other and incapable to take decisions. Nothing like this is now happening; the government is consolidated. This sign of political crisis is absent," Saakashvili said."The second sign is of political crisis is when the economy totally collapses with the government failing to distribute pensions and salaries. We do not have that sign either," he added.

Three opposition leaders meet Gordon. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia and Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition political, met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip H. Gordon on June 10. Nino Burjanadze said after the meeting: "It was a very important meeting. He confirmed his and the new U.S. administration's deep interest in Georgia and the support to the Georgian people and it is very important. The mistake, when a concrete leader is supported instead of the people and the state, should not be repeated. And we obviously saw this stance." "We discussed current problems in Georgia. We also discussed that we are living in a police regime. We also discussed the current state of affairs with human rights and freedom of media. We also spoke about the Russian factor," Levan Gachechiladze said. "We had a very detailed conversation about the internal political situation in Georgia, how we see the participation of the United States as of a strategic partner in defusing this crisis," Irakli Alasania told journalists after the meeting "We also spoke about the situation in conflict zones, about the necessity of presence of international missions in Georgia." Alasania, who also briefly met separately with the U.S. diplomat before other two opposition figures joined, said that he discussed issues related with his planned visit to the Unite States. The anarchists mostly agree with Gordon quoted above, regarding the situation in Georgia.

Meanwhile the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday about plans to hold a major military exercises in North Caucasus from June 29 to July 6.

11.06.2009. One injured in three blasts in Zugdidi. An employee of local railway station in the town of Zugdidi was "badly injured" after an explosive placed in an empty train carriage went off at 11:55pm local time on June 10, the Georgian Interior Ministry said. A separate blast occurred 30 minutes later after an explosive placed in a trash can on the same railway station went off and in a third case an explosion hit a truck outside the local police station in Zugdidi at 2:50am local time on June 11, the Interior Ministry said. No one was injured in two latter explosions. "These explosions have been carried out by forces which are not interested in stability in this region," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Zugdidi, a town in western region of Samegrelo, is located at the Abkhaz administrative border. The anarchists condemn the bomb attacks.

Some opposition parties rally at UN Tbilisi office. The National Forum, The Union of Traditionalists and their supporters rallied outside the UN Tbilisi office, objecting to the last report by the UN Secretary General in which Abkhazia is no longer mentioned as a part of Georgia. They were also demanding that the UNOMIG continues with operating in Georgia in the current format. The UN Security Council is to discuss the mission extension on June 15. The leaders of the opposition parties say they have handed over a letter of protest to the representative of the UN office in Tbilisi.

Georgian crime boss arrested in Moscow. A Georgian-born crime boss Tariel Oniani has been arrested by Russian militia in Moscow, Russian news agencies have reported. Reportedly, his bodyguards have been also arrested. Oniani is suspected of organizing a kidnapping of a Georgian businessman, whom the kidnappers had captured for two days demanding 250,000-dollar ransom from his family. The hostage has been released, however, the abductors continued with intimidating the family. Tariel Onian has lived in Europe since the1990-ies. Spain`s police conducted a large-scale special operation against him in 2005, but Oniani managed to escape. He returned to Russia in 2006 and took the citizenship of the Russian Federation. Tariel Oniani has been wanted by Interpol for many years.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of Saakashvili's constitutional commission, Avtandil Demetrashvili, considers that if all political powers are not involved in the commission's work, product legitimacy quality will be low. President Saakashvili said that he had offered the opposition, behind the ongoing protest rallies, to take posts of deputy ministers in some of the key ministries – a proposal, which has already been rejected by the opposition. And South Ossetians continue with reinforcing the border with Georgia.

12.06.2009. Opposition calls for halting  'political persecutions'. A group of opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, said in a joint statement that the authorities continued "politically-motivated persecution" of opposition activists."The political persecution continues even after the pledge made by President Saakashvili during the meeting with one of the opposition leaders [Levan Gachechiladze] to review cases" of opposition activists, who have been arrested on various charged since the launch of street protest rallies on April 9, the statement says. The statement was read out by Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party (DMUG), in presence of other opposition leaders, who where gathered in the Public Defender's Office.

In the joint statement the opposition parties said that the authorities were employing "two ways for the politically-motivated persecution." "The first one is when the authorities carry out direct terror and assaults on [the opposition supporters and activists] through their informal groups. And the second method is carrying out terror on the pretext of violation of law [by opposition activists]," the statement says. It also says that "up to 200 cases of violence" against the opposition supporters and activists since the launch of protests remained unresolved by the police."Politically-motivated persecution of citizens will further escalate already existing political crisis. Illegal arrests of people will trigger sharp escalation of the situation and the authorities will be fully responsible for the consequences," it reads. "We call on the human rights groups, media, international organizations and the diplomatic missions to use all the means at their disposal to help to immediately halt this machinery of repressions."

Meanwhile the protests continue, a few protesters scuffle with parliament guard, throwing eggs and stones. One accident began after the Chairperson of the parliament David Bakradze's car  went out the parliament.  As "InterPressnews" correspondent informs, participants of the protest actions tried to make "corridor of shame" for Chairperson's car. Their  experiment  was suppressed by the police, which provoked frictions between police and action participants. Some of participants are hurt. The anarchists condemn the throwing of eggs and stones, i.e. ochlarchy.

13.06.2009. Five held over incident at parliament. Five activists from the pro-opposition youth groups have been arrested for "insulting verbally and physically" lawmakers and the parliament guard during the incident outside the Parliament on June 12, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on Saturday. It also said that court had already sentenced three activists – Kakhaber Giorganashvili, Davit Aptsiauri and Mamuka Baliashvili – to 25 days in prison and one activist – Kakhaber Beintrishvili – to 30 days in prison. Well deserved, the anarchists say. If the oppositions' actions degenerate into ochlarchy, they will lose anarchist and other international support. A French diplomat also condemns the incident.

14.06.2009. The United States has condemned "the attacks by protesters on members of Parliament, including the Speaker" in an incident that took place outside the Parliament on June 12. The statement released by the embassy in Tbilisi says that the United States "regrets the decision of some protest leaders to endorse these assaults on both people and property." "These actions undermine the protest leaders' prior statements calling for non-violent action. These attacks both interfered with official activities and crossed a line from free expression of opinion to criminal activity.  We ask all those who support a wider political dialogue and responsible governance to condemn these attacks and urge the leaders of the protest actions to stop these attacks immediately.  The United States calls on both the Government and the leaders of the non-parliamentary opposition to reengage in constructive talks and dialogue without delay," the statement reads. Mass demonstrations combined with dialogue are basic to anarchist strategy, but we have not much hope for results of talks with the ultra-authoritarian, rather totalitarian right fascist regime of Saakashvili, the anarchists say.

Two more activists arrested over incident at parliament. Police arrested two more activists from the opposition youth groups for "insulting verbally and physically" lawmakers and the parliament guard during the incdident outside the Parliament on June 12, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday. The court has sentenced Tornike Chkhartishvili to 25 days in prison and Kakha Terashvili to 30 days in prison. As mentioend five activists were arrested over the same case Friday; three of them were sentenced to 25 days in prison; one – to 30 days and one was released after being fined with GEL 400.

The anarchists remind the international newsmedia and mandated person that the opposition in general is democratic and non-ochlarchical. More than two months of mainly non-ochlarchical protests show this clearly. Too much weight should not be put on the 06.05.2009 ochlarchy and the 12.06.2009 ochlarchy.

Anarchist policy: We warn South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the Georgian opposition against FSB and CIA manipulations. Aim for Georgia: The Norwegian-Swiss model, and NATO membership. The Saakashvili, Russian and USA models are out. The anarchists have recognized South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Kosovo as independent countries. In the long run, say, China and Russia must also give up repression of freedom-loving people that want their own independent countries... We don't think USA's favourite Irakli Alasania shall lead the opposition and be a strong president. The Swiss model with a collective cabinet council and a president that only is a spokesperson, is the best solution.

Opposition leaders comment on incident at parliament. Opposition leaders say that the June 12 incident outside the parliament should not be considered and assessed as an isolated case without taking into consideration "entire context" of developments of recent two months in the country. "Of course no one likes when someone is throwing a stone. But we should consider this [June 12 incident] in the context of the entire developments… Not a single person responsible for attacks on protesters has been arrested; while they [the authorities] are arresting only protesters," Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said in the public TV's program, Political Week, on June 14. Kakha Kukava, co-leader of Conservative Party, said on June 14, that the international community's assessments should be "unbiased"; he said that before the June 12 incident "hundreds" of cases of attacks on opposition activists and supporters had taken place in last two months. "All these should be evaluated in the context of the recent developments and it should be stated what has triggered aggression against lawmakers; it is a fact that violence triggers violence and we have been warning both the authorities and the international community about it," Kukava said.

Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said that "throwing stones is absolutely unacceptable" and "it requires adequate assessment from all the political parties." "But we should not also forget the context in which this is happening – a very difficult political situation," Alasania said while speaking in the public TV's program, Political Week, on June 14. As mnetioned seven activists from the pro-opposition youth groups have been arrested in connection with the June 12 incident. One of them has been released after being fined with GEL 400; four of them were sentenced to 25 days in prison and two of them to 30 days in prison. EU's special representatives for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, has also condemned June 12 incident and said in an interview with the RFE/RL Georgian service that the opposition leaders should explain their supporters that actions of that type, which took place outside the parliament, were unacceptable. He, however, also said that arrests of opposition activists in the current situation might further complicate the political situation. The European diplomat also said that there had been cases of attacks on opposition activists and those cases should also be investigated by the authorities.

Alasania says he plans a new party in July. Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said he would inaugurate his political party – Our Georgia-Free Democrats - in early July. Speaking in the public TV's talk show, Political Week, on June 14, Alasania said that his party would continue cooperating with his political partners in frames of Alliance for Georgia – New Rights and Republican parties. Alasania again reiterated that he would pursue a three-pronged tactic, involving "targeted, issue-based protest rallies," instead of permanent street protests; negotiations with the authorities and working with the international community in order to make their engagement in resolving the political crisis more active. "Our activities will move into a political process," he said. Responding to a speculation about Levan Gachechiladze's possible joining to his planned party, Alasania said: "It will become clear in early July, when the party will hold its inaugural congress." The anarchists are warning Alasania against splitting the opposition! There are enough of parties already! This is playing into the hands of Saakashvili and his divide and rule policy!

15.06.2006. Bakradze: "Time to move from throwing stones to talks". He said that that "it is time to move from throwing the stones to a dialogue." "All political leaders should acknowledge that the only way, which will bring good to the country, to them and to their supporters is dialogue based on mutual respect," Bakradze said. "We should sit down and solve all differences through a civilized way instead of forcing a certain part of our society to throw stones and to commit a crime."

Medvedev speaks on Russia's "red lines"on Georgia. Russia is ready to discuss issues related with stability in the Caucasus with western powers, but Moscow has two "red lines" in respect of Georgia, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, said in an interview with China Central TV. The first one, he said, was recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "Our decision is irreversible; the decision we have taken was certainly painful," Medvedev said. The second "red line", he said, was Moscow's "attitude towards the current regime in Tbilisi". "It is our view that that this political regime has committed a crime and we will have nothing common with this [regime]," Medvedev said. "At the same time, after elections, which will take place in Georgia sooner or later, we surely will be ready to return to discussions of various issues if the Georgian people elect a new leadership capable of maintaining a friendly dialogue with Russia and with close neighbors of the Georgian state - peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

He also reiterated Moscow's arguments about the August war and said that "everything that happened was a result of irresponsible and delinquent policy pursued by the Georgian leadership." Medvedev said that Moscow had to intervene to protect the citizens and eventually decided to recognize the two breakaway regions. "The United States took a rather tough stance regarding these actions," he continued. "It is for this state [the U.S.] to decide. But we took our decision all by ourselves, without reckoning upon any support in this regard since this was our humanitarian, and, if you wish, simply and solely moral duty in that situation." The anarchists are again warning about Russian Medvedev-Putin-FSB manipulations in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The right fascist Saakashvili-regime takes off the silk-gloves. Protesters attacked at police headquarters. Police, some in plain cloths and in masks, armed with batons attacked about 50 protesters from the youth pro-opposition groups, which were rallying outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that "the opposition supporters blocked the main entrance and the road. Police tried to unblock the entrance and the road, while the protesters resisted police officers. Police arrested the protesters during resistance". But eyewitnesses, including a Reuters photographer, who was on the site during the incident told Civil.Ge that protesters were not blocking the street and were standing in line at a sidewalk on the opposite side of a small street at the main entrance of the Tbilisi police headquarters. He also said that the police had seized cameras from journalists. Another photographer, Zurab Kurtsikidze from European Pressphoto Agency (epa), who was also there, was beaten; he had bruises on his head and back.

Maestro TV and Kavkasia TV, two Tbilisi-based television stations, also said that their crews on the ground were attacked during the incident. Both television stations have ceased airing their usual programming in protest. "In protest against violence against our journalists at the Tbilisi police headquarters today, Maestro TV and Kavkasia TV stop broadcasting," a written statement which is aired on the both televisions instead of their usual programming reads. Irakli Abashidze, a close ally of Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, was among those protesters beaten by police outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15. Abashidze has been hospitalized with multiple injuries in his head and with broken nose, according to a doctor treating the opposition politician.

A total of 39 protesters were arrested in the incident that took place outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15, Eka Zguladze, the deputy interior minister, said. She said that the Interior Ministry would request the court to fine and release most of the arrested activists; but in several cases the Interior Ministry would seek sending of some activists to jail for a month. Zguladze said that although protesters were blocking the street outside the Tbilisi police headquarters, that would not have become a reason for dispersing the rally. She said that the police decided to intervene after the law enforcement officers identified among protesters three persons, who were wanted by the police in connection with the June 12 incident outside the Parliament. She said that when the police tried to arrest three wanted activists, protesters resisted which grew into the clash. In an initial written statement after the incident, the Interior Ministry said that "the opposition supporters blocked the main entrance and the road. Police tried to unblock the entrance and the road, while the protesters resisted police officers". The anarchists condemn the police violence and ochlarchy.

Meanwhile IIFOR's senior researcher P. Johansen has posted the following comment to the article 'Georgia's Alasania Seeks A Middle Ground For Opposition' at Radio Free Europe's website:

Anarchist policy - by: P. Johansen from: Norway June 15, 2009 15:00

Anarchist policy: We warn South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the Georgian opposition against FSB and CIA manipulations. Aim for Georgia: The Norwegian-Swiss model, and NATO membership. The Saakashvili, Russian and USA models are out. The anarchists have recognized South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Kosovo as independent countries. In the long run, say, China and Russia must also give up repression of freedom-loving people that want their own independent countries... We don't think USA's favourite Irakli Alasania shall lead the opposition and be a strong president. The Swiss model with a collective cabinet council and a president that only is a spokesperson, is the best solution.

Alasania says he plans a new party in July. The anarchists are warning Alasania against splitting the opposition! There are enough of parties already! This is playing into the hands of Saakashvili and his divide and rule policy!

Medvedev speaks on Russia's "red lines"on Georgia. The anarchists are again warning about Russian Medvedev-Putin-FSB manipulations in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The right fascist Saakashvili-regime takes off the silk-gloves. Protesters attacked at police headquarters. Police, some in plain cloths and in masks, armed with batons attacked about 50 protesters from the youth pro-opposition groups, which were rallying outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15. The anarchists condemn the police violence and ochlarchy.

More information in International Journal of Anarchism http://www.anarchy.no/ija139.html .

See http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgias_Alasania_Seeks_A_Middle_Ground_For_Opposition/1745078.html .

More information about the anarchist Norwegian-Swiss model, see http://www.anarchy.no/ija137.html .

Police apologize for attacks on journalists. The Interior Ministry has acknowledged that it was the police "mistake" that journalists were injured and impeded to perform their professional duties during the clash that took place outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15. "We regret and apologize for that… This is our mistake and we acknowledge it," Eka Zguladze, the deputy interior minister, said. "The Interior Ministry will spare no efforts not to repeat the same in the future." Maestro TV and Kavkasia TV, two Tbilisi-based television stations, said that their crews on the ground were attacked during the incident. Both television stations have temporarily ceased broadcasting in protest. Zurab Kurtsikidze from European Pressphoto Agency (epa), was beaten; he had bruises on his head and back. Video and photo cameras were also seized by the police from number of journalists. Eka Zguladze said that the police had returned all the equipment seized from journalists. Reuters correspondent in Tbilisi has confirmed that photo camera had been returned by the police. Davit Akubardia, head of the Kavkasia TV, said that the police had returned the television stations video camera, but it was broken and Maestro TV has also confirmed that its video camera was returned.

Gamkrelidze calls on diplomats to react on attack on protesters. Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights party, part of Alliance for Georgia, called on the western diplomats in Tbilisi to react on the incident outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15, in which, he said, police "aggressively and brutally attacked" protesters."I call on the ambassadors, including [U.S. ambassador to Georgia John] Tefft and [French ambassador Eric] Fournier to make one more relevant statement. This action by [President] Saakashvili and [Interior Minister Vano] Merabishvili was incited by their [statements]," Gamkrelidze said. He was referring to the statements made by the French ambassador and by the United States condemning the June 12 incident outside the Parliament. The U.S. statement as mentioned said that "the attacks by protesters on members of Parliament" on June 12 "crossed a line from free expression of opinion to criminal activity." And the French ambassador said in a statement on June 13 that the incident was an insult of democracy.

Meanwhile Salome Zourabichvili, a leader of opposition Georgia's Way party, said she was ready to accept President Saakashvili's offer and take a post of deputy interior minister. The anarchists are warning Zourabichvili against splitting the opposition! This is playing into the hands of Saakashvili and his divide and rule policy!

Maestro and Kavkasia TVs resume partial broadcast. The two Tbilisi-based television stations partially resumed broadcasting at 10pm on Monday, hours after suspension in protest against attacks on their TV crews filming clash outside the Tbilisi police headquarters. But instead of resuming their regular programming, in a coordinated move, both of the television stations are airing a live footage from two protest venues – Kavkasia TV from outside the Parliament and Maestro TV from the presidential residence. The live footage from those venues, according to the television stations, is a pre-emptive move amid speculations that police might remove opposition's improvised prison cells.

16.06.2009. Alasania's political team: Authorities on the path of civil confrontation. Irakli Alasania's political team said in a statement that with the police "violent action" involving police attack on protesters on June 15, the authorities "stepped on the path of civil confrontation." "Our Political Team has repeatedly called on the Government to solve the present crises in the country through dialogue, but with this violent action the Government has itself refused the process of peaceful negotiation and has openly stepped on the path of civil confrontation," the statement reads. "Notwithstanding this fact we once again urge the Government to become wary of the situation, to return to the legal framework of relation with its own citizens and to choose the rational political ways out from this acute political crisis," it added. A member of the Alasania's political team, Zurab Abashidze, was as mentioned among dozens of protesters who were attacked and beaten up by the police outside the Tbilisi police headquarters. Abashidze was hospitalized with multiple injuries in his head and with broken nose, according to a doctor treating the opposition politician.

Alasania's team, which has plans to turn into a formal political party in early July, called on the diplomatic missions in Tbilisi "to give the adequate reactions/assessments to such actions by the authorities, to call on the Government of Georgia to resolve the current political crisis through the peaceful democratic means." Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, departed to the United States on June 15 where he plans to meet with Alexander Vershbow, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs; Philip H. Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; Gov. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, according to Alasania's press office. He will also make a presentation on the Political Crisis in Georgia: Prospects for Resolution at the Brookings Institute. 

Meanwhile five activists from the pro-opposition youth group, including its leader Dachi Tsaguria, arrested during the Jube 15 incident at the Tbilisi police headquarters, have been sentenced to 30 days in prison. Others sent to prison for a month are: Giorgi Sabanidze, Merab Chikashvili, Mikheil Meskhi and Giorgi Chvitarishvili. The Tbilisi City Court fined others with GEL 400 and released them. The Interior Ministry said that total of 39 protesters were arrested for resisting police orders. And Russia has on Monday vetoed a UN Georgia Mission. The vote in the Security Council was 10-1 with four abstentions — China, Vietnam, Libya and Uganda. The mission's mandate expires at midnight New York time – 8am Tbilisi time on June 16. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon instructed his Special Representative for Georgia, Johan Verbeke, to take measure required to cease the mission. The anarchists and the UN Secretary-General regret that the Security Council has been unable to reach an agreement on a continued UN-mission contributing to a stabilization of the situation on the ground.

Reuters reports that Georgia accused Russia on Tuesday of not wanting "witnesses" in Abkhazia after Moscow vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of U.N. monitors. Diplomats say it is unclear how long the U.N. mission has to pull out, or whether some kind of presence can yet be salvaged. Reuters also reports: "Further instability would worsen tensions in Georgia, where masked police on Monday beat dozens of opposition protesters in Tbilisi. The opposition is demanding President Mikheil Saakashvili quit over the war and his record on democracy. The country of 4.5 million sits on Russia's southern border, at the heart of a transit region for oil and gas to the West. Abkhazia and South Ossetia threw off Tbilisi's rule in wars in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union." The anarchists mean the Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, should be replaced by UN-peacekeepers as soon as possible.

Zourabichvili's bid for deputy interior minister's post seems to fail. Senior lawmakers from the ruling party said on June 16, that an opposition politician Salome Zourabichvili could not simultaneously hold the post of deputy interior minister and participate in protest rallies. Salome Zourabichvili, a former foreign minister and leader of Georgia's Way party, as mentioned said on June 15 that she would accept President Saakashvili offer proposed to the opposition last week and would take the post of deputy interior minister. Zourabichvili said that she wanted to accept "the challenge" in order to monitor the ministry's work from within and to investigate dozens of cases of attacks on opposition activists and supporters.

President Saakashvili's immediate response made shortly after the Zourabichvili's statement was that he would not object to her appointment on the post. Zourabichvili however also said later on June 15 that her decision to agree on the post did not mean that she was ceasing protesting or demanding President Saakashvili resignation. "It seems that she does not understand the essence of the proposal correctly," MP Pavle Kublashvili, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal affairs, said on June 16. "Taking post in a ministry means taking a responsibility on proper work of this ministry. If she thinks that during the day she should serve in the ministry and in the evening she can announce in a victorious voice at a protest rally that the entire ministry stands beside [protesters] and that she can use this [proposal] for escalating tensions – of course we will not give such a chance to anyone."

"If they [opposition politicians] really want to take part in governance and to take responsibility over the activists of any ministry, they will have this chance, but using this for fueling tensions is irresponsible," he added. "She wants to make this body [Interior Ministry] super politicized by this move, which is totally unacceptable," MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, leader of the parliamentary majority, said. MP Giorgi Gabashvili said that the opposition should not consider the President proposal "out of context." He said that the proposal should be part of a broader agreement between the authorities and the opposition. "Our proposal will remain in force, but this type of appointment will only take place if we agree on cooperation modalities with the radical wing of the opposition in next few days. Of course it can not happen if these aggressive rallies, confrontational rhetoric and the tactic of splitting the society are maintained," MP Gabashvili added.

Maestro and Kavkasia TVs resume broadcasting. Two Tbilisi-based television stations, Maestro and Kavkasia, resumed regular programming on Tuesday afternoon less than 24 hours after suspending broadcasting in protest against police attacks on their TV crews and other journalists filming and covering the clash outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on June 15. "This decision by our television stations to suspend broadcasting might sounded a bit strange, but it was our protest because all the recorded footage was seized by the police and what should we were supposed to show to the views? We are not radio stations," Mamuka Glonti, owner of Maestro TV, said on June 16. Kavkasia TV said that although the Interior Ministry returned seized video footage, the recording was "edited and sound deleted."

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry, which has acknowledged that journalists were attacked and apologized for the incident, said in a statement on June 16, that it had conducted an internal investigation into the case. "Two employees have been severely reprimanded; four more employees reprimanded and three have been suspended from duties pending investigation," the Interior Ministry said. Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, condemned attacks on journalists and apologized "to journalists, who have been impeded from performing their professional duties." He also called on the Maestro and Kavkasia TVs to resume broadcasting. "The authorities will do everything in order to prevent reoccurrence of this kind of cases," he added.

More about anarchist policy for Georgia: More information about the aim for Georgia, the anarchist Norwegian-Swiss model, see http://www.anarchy.no/ija137.html . The anarchists call on the opposition to join forces with the labor, farmers' and students' confederations and NGOs, to get momentum to do away with the fascist regime. A policy to lower the gini-index and increase economic growth, more electricity, etc., is necessary, in general a policy for more autonomy and socialism, a movement of the system in libertarian direction, see the Anarchist Economic-Political Map, http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html and the General Theory of Anarchist Economics, http://www.anarchy.no/aneco1.html .

This note is also published as a comment by Radio Free Europe, see http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgias_Alasania_Seeks_A_Middle_Ground_For_Opposition/1745078.html .

Saakashvili on Russia's UN Mission veto. Saakashvili has his own nationalist right fascist interpretation of the UN security council meeting. He said that Russia's goal "is to collapse the Georgian state." "Yesterday it was the first serious test on non-recognition of occupation," he continued. "I think that the international community, together with us, has clearly expressed its position and gave a precise answer to this major question [of Georgia's territorial integrity]." "Meanwhile, here, on our territory we are left face-to-face with the aggressor…  At this point we have to deal not with separatist governments, but with the aggressor and occupant… We should continue our struggle. I think, yesterday we received serious international legal arguments for our struggle… We have a long road ahead but we should pass this road to complete de-occupation and liberation of Georgia," Saakashvili said.

NY-Times, that hardly can be seen as pro-Russian, indicates however that Saakashvili is the aggressor: As mentioned an article in the NY-Times "Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question" by  C. J. Chivers and Ellen Barry 06.11.2008 confirms the anarchists' hypothesis that Georgia and  Saakashvili started the war, quoting: "Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression. Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm ...  according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili's main justifications for the attack. The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s. Mr. Saakashvili ... faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments." If the Tagliavini Commission is unbiased it will probably come to the same conclusion, that Saakashvili is/was the aggressor. Time will show.

Meanwhile Russia's president has issued a draft for defense cooperation deals to be negotiated with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. Medvedev has instructed the Defense Ministry to involve the Foreign Ministry in holding talks. A previously published draft agreement envisages building defense bases to enhance security and maintain stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The three parties also intend to enhance control of their airspace, reconnaissance and interstate defense supplies.

Public defender probing into police attack on protesters. Public Defender's Office (PDO) said on Tuesday, that it was "thoroughly studying" the June 15 incident outside the Tbilisi police headquarters. PDO said that among those "brutally" beaten by the police also was its representative, Vakhtang Menabdze, who was monitoring the rally and who wore a special uniform with identification sign of "Public Defender".

17.06.2009. Georgia, U.S. strategic partnership council planned. An inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Council will be held in Washington on June 22 based on the charter signed between the two countries in January, Philip H. Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, said. In his prepared statement before the Subcommittee on Europe of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gordon said that the move "reaffirms our commitment to deepen cooperation with Georgia." "The United States strongly supports Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty and its commitment to further democratic reform," he said. "We will maintain solidarity with the international community in refusing to recognize the independence of these separatist regions [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia] of Georgia. We regret that Russia blocked the extension of the OSCE and UN missions in Georgia."

Russian general says to reduce Abkhaz and South Ossetia deployment. Russia will reduce number of its military personnel in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from initially planned 3,700 in each of the breakaway regions, according to Russian Chief of the General Staff of Army, Gen. Nikolai Makarov. "Number of the Russian servicemen in those military bases [in Abkhazia and South Ossetia] will be reduced to some extent, because the figure, which was planned initially, is, perhaps, a lot," Makarov said in an interview with the Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, on June 17, without specifying exact numbers. "Our troops are deployed there with a purpose to stabilize the situation in those regions and to protect territorial integrity of newly independent states – South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Therefore, there will be not a very large contingent of [Russian] troops."

Joint statement by UN Secretary General's Group of Friends. The following is the text of a Joint Statement by the Spokespersons of the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and France as members of the Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General."We deeply regret Russia's decision to veto a resolution on the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), which has resulted in the termination of the Security Council mandate for the Mission after 15 years of valuable service providing military transparency on the ground, promoting the human rights of the local population, and seeking to create conditions for the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees. We note that Russia had twice accepted a reference to UNSCR 1808 since the August conflict, in resolutions 1839 and 1866. The closure of the UN mission, like that of the OSCE mission, is a setback to international efforts to resolve this conflict. We call on all parties with forces on the ground to exercise the utmost restraint and to abide by the August 12 and September 8 ceasefire agreements. We call on all participants in the Geneva talks to commit themselves to continuing efforts to find a peaceful and political resolution to the conflict and to alleviate the plight of refugees and IDPs. We reaffirm our firm support for the European Union Monitoring Mission. We also reiterate our strong support for Georgia`s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders."

The Anarchist International: South Ossetia and Abkhazia may join Georgia if it becomes an anarchy. Georgia's "internationally recognized borders" are disputed, the anarchists say. The AI has as mentioned recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries, on the reason of autonomy for repressed. However if Georgia becomes a real democarcy, i.e. anarchy, it is possible South Ossetia and Abkhazia voluntarely will join Georgia. But today Georgia has a rather totalitarian, ultra-authoritarian right fascist system, far from anarchy, and thus South Ossetia and Abkhazia will not voluntarely join Georgia, so it is best and most libertarian that they are independent countries.

This note is also published as a comment by Radio Free Europe, see http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgias_Alasania_Seeks_A_Middle_Ground_For_Opposition/1745078.html .

Protests of government repression. An opposition Alliance for Georgia said on June 17, that ten of its activists had been arrested in last few days in various parts of Georgia mainly with charges related to illegal possession of firearms and one with drug-related crime. The Alliance, which unites New Rights Party, Republican Party and a political team of Irakli Alasania, said that apart of Tbilisi, arrests were conducted in Gori, Lanchkuti, Chokhatauri, Chiatura, Tkibuli and Adigeni. According to the Republican Party most of the arrested persons are its activists. "Lots of people are behind these [arrested] persons – their families, friends and supporters and the authorities should stop challenging the people; otherwise they will receive an adequate response. I declare it with full responsibility," Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party said on June 17.

"Saakashvili should choose – how he will go [from his post]: whether he will go like his teacher [ex-president Eduard] Shevardnadze, or like dictators in some European countries did," she added. In a written statement on June 17, Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, who currently visits the U.S., said thatthe June 15 violent crackdown on the peaceful protesters and beating of Zurab Abashidze, his close ally, outside the Tbilisi police headquarters "has to be assessed as the terror attack on politicians having different points of view." He said that the trend "indicates that the authorities have chosen violent 7 November 2007 path for resolving of the acute political crisis."

"This is the road to inevitable civil confrontation, the responsibility for which has to be fully borne personally by Mikheil Saakashvili," Alasania said. "We consider the numerous violent acts by the authorities as their response to our multiple calls to urgently start the dialogue to resolve the current political crisis." Meanwhile, the opposition Conservative Party said in a statement on June 17, that total of 20 opposition activists have been arrested over various criminal charges and 10 – in connection with various administrative offenses since the launch of street protest rallies on April 9. It also said that over 100 cases of assaults on opposition activists and supporters were registered by various human rights groups and opposition parties since the launch of the protests with none of them being investigated by the police.

Also on June 17, patrol police removed the opposition's improvised prison cells from the road on Ingorokva street, where the government's administration is located; a building housing Interior Ministry's internal investigations unit is located on the same street. Opposition activists from the Conservative Party, camping there for over a month already did not resist. Bidzina Gujabidze of the Conservative Party said that they themselves planned removing 'cells' and reopening of the traffic on the street later on Wednesday evening. "It seams that this information leaked and the patrol police decided to score points in the eye of their bosses," he said.

Opposition plans to move to regions. The leaders of the radical opposition assembled in the office of Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia. The leaders held consultations and discussed their plans for moving street rallies into the regions. But before the departure, the opposition plans to hold large-scale demonstration at the Tbilisi City Court. Leader of the National Forum Kakha Shartava was attending the consultations last night. He said he would always attend such meetings; however, their party would not participate in the demonstrations, which are not focused on the result. Leader of the Georgian Way Salome Zourabichvili was also present at the consultations. She said she was still waiting for official consent from the interior minister to appoint her as his deputy. Salome Zourabichvili announced two days ago that she was prepared to occupy the position of the deputy interior minister after the president`s proposal.

Meanwhile Irakli Alasania is holding meetings in Washington. Irakli Alasania leader of 'Alliance for Georgia' met Alexander Vershbow deputy of USA Security Secretary in Washington.They discussed the issues of regional security, military aid and situation in occupied territory of Georgia.Besides Irakli Alasania met Daniel Rozenblum coordinator of the USA Department of aid of Europe and Eurasia. Political crisis was one of the essential issues discussed by Irakli Alasania and Daniel Rozenblum. At the meeting they discussed the issue of financial aid that will be transmitted to the Georgian democratic institute's development. Irakli Alasania talked about his meeting to Senator Jack Reed about the political crises in Georgia.

Irakli Alasania is selling out the progressive opposition for a place on the top of the Georgian hierarchy. He told the audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington on June 17, that his political associates would present to the society and to Saakashvili's so called "commision on constitutional reforms", "amendments that we would like to see in the constitution." "We already have our suggestions on the electoral code and electoral commission," he added. "We are prepared to work with the government and of course that should be part of a package to change the electoral calendar and to approach general elections," Alasania said.  "We have to negotiate with the government how will be the best to bring these political forces ... into the parliament and to continue debates [in the Parliament] and how to take this discourse from the streets in the Parliament," he added. He also said that he believed "the process will be joined by other opposition leaders" as well. If this happens all the leaders of the opposition will sell out the people, grassroots, as opposed to the superiors ind rank and/or income, for a place in the sun, on the top of the hierarchy, and join the top heavy pyramid in Georgia, the anarchists say. Alasania, who together with his political partners from the Alliance for Georgia – Republican and New Rights parties, were initially cautious about joining the street protest rallies, said that he decided to do so back in April "predominantly because of making impact on the processes" so that processes "to go in more peaceful way." The anarchists call on all protesters to show the traitor Irakli Alasania the back. The protests will continue, without violence and ochlarchy in general, and without Irakli Alasania and his collaborationists.

18.06.2009. The Russian troops deployed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia will take part in the defense exercises planned in North Caucasus from June 29 to July 6, according to General Vladimir Boldirev in the Russian land forces. "Today the Russian military bases deployed on the territories of these republics are absolutely combat-ready units, which are capable to fulfill any tasks on protection of the peaceful population against possible terrorist acts or direct aggression," Interfax news agency reported quoting Gen. Boldirev. The Russian Defense Ministry said on June 11 that Kavkaz-2009 drills would feature more than 8,500 personnel, up to 200 battle tanks, 450 armored vehicles and various types of about 250 artillery systems.

Meanwhile the co-chairs of the Geneva discussions from UN, OSCE and EU are holding talks in Tbilisi ahead of the sixth round of talks scheduled for July 1. Charalampos Christopoulos, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office special representative; Johan Verbeke, the UN Secretary General's special representative and EU's special envoy for crisis in Georgia, Pierre Morel, met with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze on June 18. In a joint statement the three diplomats said that all three organizations remained both firmly committed to and involved in the Geneva discussions. In a statement on June 18, the EU Czech presidency expressed regret about "Russia's decision to block" presence of UN observer mission in Georgia. "The EU reaffirms its commitment to the EU Monitoring Mission as well as its support for the ongoing discussions in Geneva, and calls on all participants to pursue these discussions in a constructive manner. The EU calls on all parties with forces on the ground to exercise the utmost restraint and refrain from violence," it said.

PACE monitors say Abkhazia may slip into "human rights black hole". A group of rapporteurs on the August war from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said "without a UN Mission, Abkhazia is in danger of slipping into a human rights black hole." In a joint statement Luc van der Brande, a lawmaker from Belgium, Mátyás Eörsi, a lawmaker from Hungary and Corien Jonker, a lawmaker from the Netherlands, said that on Russia to show flexibility in order to find a solution for international human rights and monitoring presence in Abkhazia. "Without UNOMIG in Abkhazia there will be no independent human rights protection and monitoring, and an almost complete lack of any international presence. Those who will suffer are the people, and particularly those living in the Gali region," the statement reads. "No one wants a further exodus from the Gali region, but without human rights protection guarantees and monitoring, this exodus will become a real risk."

Protest venue at president's residence raided. Dozens of law enforcement officers, some in uniforms and others in plain cloths, "raided" a protest venue outside the presidential residence in the Avlabari district in Tbilisi late on June 18, opposition activists camped there for about two months said. Television pictures aired by Maestro TV showed torn banners and damaged improvised prison cells. Opposition activists, mainly those from the Movement for United Georgia, said that some of the activists were beaten and several arrested. It was not immediately clear how many of the protesters were arrested if any. Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia said that activists from her party would restore damaged ‘cells' and continue round-the-clock protest outside the president's residence.

OSCE high commissioner to discuss situation in Gali district in Vienna today. OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Knut Vollebaek will deliver a report the situation in the Gali district of Georgia`s breakaway Abkhazia at the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today. Knut Volebaek will speak about the pressure upon ethnic Georgians in Gali district, who are forced to take the Russian-Abkhazian passports and the problems of their movement. The OSCE commissioner urges the international society to intensify its attention towards the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia. Georgia`s official representative will also deliver a speech in Vienna today. The anarchists support the work of Vollebaek.

19.06.2009. Parliament holds session. Parliament is holding a session – the second one since April 9 when street protest rallies started and the first one since the June 12 incident outside the legislative body. During the parliamentary sitting Giorgi Akhvlediani, a lawmaker from the Christian-Democratic Movement, called for a transparent investigation of the June 15 incident outside the Tbilisi police headquarters and another lawmaker from the parliamentary minority group, Guram Chakhvadze, called for holding debates about the ongoing political developments in the country.

Opposition warns of "civil confrontation" EU Special Representative to the South Caucasus Peter Semneby, who is paying another official visit to Tbilisi, has described the incident at the Tbilisi Police Department on June 15 as "unacceptable". "Both sides should learn to respect each other. I hope these incidents will not be repeated," Georgian media quoted Semneby as saying on June 18. The EU envoy met representatives of the "radical" opposition on Thursday. Nino Burjanadze from the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili from the Way of Georgia and Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party met Semneby in the Tbilisi Marriott Hotel. The subjects of the meeting were the current situation in Georgia and the way of resolving it and the June 15 incident and the "terror imposed by the Government," opposition leaders have said.

Former Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze stated after the meeting that the opposition presented video footage of the June 15 incident. "In the footage given to Semneby it is clearly seen that a policeman is holding a steel hammer. Which is a bigger crime – throwing stones or using a steel hammer? We have presented concrete examples of the oppression and terror and unjust detention taking place in Georgia. We call on the EU and the diplomatic corps to stop Saakashvili's terror, otherwise the situation will get out of control. When there is a syndrome of impunity, protest grows," Burjanadze noted. Salome Zourabichvili asked the EU envoy to help her obtain her promised appointment as Deputy Interior Minister. "Peter Semneby has called for dialogue every time he has visited Georgia. This is a normal position for an international organization such as the EU. In this case I have given my response to the main proposal of the dialogue and I have asked Peter Semneby to help us on this issue." Zourabichvili said after the meeting.

Co-leader of the Conservative Party Kakha Kukava said he warned Semneby about the possibility of civil confrontation in the country. "We informed the EU Special Representative about the detentions and raids. Saakashvili will pull society into civil confrontation if such actions are not stopped," Kukava stated, adding that usually dialogue is not conducted with "terrorists." "The Salome Zourabichvili incident indicates that holding dialogue with the Government is pointless. Mikheil Saakashvili did not keep his word about appointing Zourabichvili as a Deputy Interior Minister, so there is no sense in having a dialogue with Saakashvili," the leader of the Conservatives said. Meanwhile, Free Opinion House, a public organization established last January, has released a special statement condemning acts of violence from any side. "Since April 9 (leaving alone the November 7, 2007 events) we have seen a lot of open, hidden and provoked acts of violence.

However, none of these have been investigated objectively. It is significant that journalists are often the victims of this violence," the statement, signed by 40 people, including political scientists, experts and journalists, says. The statement says that there is a dangerous tendency which "leads the country into confrontation and worsens the political crisis in the country day by day." The signatories call on the Government to investigate each case of violence, otherwise the signatories place the responsibility for "any violence and provocation" on the Government. Political analysts say civil confrontation in the sense of a confrontation between two parts of society is unlikely. Political commentator Gia Khukhashvili has said that most probably a confrontation between the "semi formal" police units and part of society can be expected. "The Government has supporters, but they are silent, because it is not very popular to support the Government which has made a lot of mistakes," Khukhashvili said. "The administration is inclined towards dictatorship. There are only two ways forward, either the people bring the processes to a peaceful end or the Government establishes a dictatorship in Georgia," the analyst said, adding that "it is a pity that some foreign diplomats are helping to strengthen dictatorship in this country." The anarchists condemn both police and protesters' ochlarchy.

Public defender criticizes diplomats for 'double standards'. Public Defender, Sozar Subari, said that "some ambassadors" in Tbilisi had "a double-standard approach" while dealing with ongoing political developments in the country. He said that while making statements about the June 12 incident, which took place outside the Parliament, describing it as "an insult of democracy" – a reference to the French ambassador's statement – "they make no comments" about the June 15 incident outside the Tbilisi police headquarters. "This is a clear example of double standards… Some of the ambassadors here have a clear double-standard approach and this is not a right approach," Subari said while speaking at the Maestro TV's program on June 17. "Throwing eggs and stones it's not about democracy; it is hooliganism and the state should react on that and the state has reacted… Protesters were besieged [by the police on June 15 outside the Tbilisi police headquarters] and brutally beaten up. That is exactly what requires to be assessed. And it is very strange that diplomats are making assessments about issues like where a protester can install his tent and whether throwing of a stone is a democracy or not. We all remember riots in France few years ago when cars were burnt down and shops raided; that was not about democracy; this is hooliganism which should be appropriately responded by the state."

The statement released by the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi also condemned "assault against members of Parliament" and said that those attacks "crossed a line from free expression of opinion to criminal activity," calling on protest leaders "to stop these attacks immediately." The Czech ambassador, Ivan Jestrab, was the first among western diplomats in Tbilisi to condemn the incident shortly after it took place and British ambassador, Denis Keefe, said he agreed with the statements of his Czech, French and U.S. colleagues. 

Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said on June 18 that after condemning the June 12 incident, the western diplomats – and she especially focused on the U.S. ambassador – should also condemn the June 15 incident outside the police headquarters. "I demand from Mr. [John] Tefft [U.S. ambassador] to make a statement about the June 15 events; I demand from him to condemn and to call it what has happened on June 15 by its name. The statement that the opposition 'crossed a line' was perceived by Saakashvili as a green light for continuation of violence and it requires to be responded by the international community and we are now working on that direction and I hope to have results," she said. In separate remarks Tina Khidasheli said few days ago, while speaking on the same matter: "I am not sure that Mr. Tefft is reporting back to Washington about developments in Georgia properly." Tina Khidasheli also said that EU's special envoy for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, made "the most appropriate" statement while commenting on the June 12 incident. Semneby said in an interview with the RFE/RL Georgian service that the opposition leaders should explain to their supporters that actions of that type, which took place outside the parliament, were unacceptable. He, however, also said that arrests of opposition activists in the current situation might further complicated the political situation. The European diplomat also said that there had been cases of attacks on opposition activists and those cases should also be investigated by the authorities.

Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said on June 17 while speaking to an audience at the Brookings Institution, that "some of the criticism" voiced by the opposition politicians towards some of the western ambassadors "is founded on the unbalanced way some of the diplomats actually approached" recent developments. Alasania also said that "people expect that diplomats also be that decisive in condemning" attacks on protesters. Irakli Alasania- American Senators To Be Ready To Raise a Question To Investigate Incident Of 15 June. As leader of "Alliance for Georgia" Irakli Alasania affirms, American senators are ready to raise a question to investigate objectively  the incident of 15 June.

Irakli Alasania held a meeting in US Senate and House of Representatives. At the meeting Alasania talked about crackdown of peaceful demonstrators, beating of Zurab Abashidze severely and about violence towards journalists. As Alasania stated, Georgian society demands principal dependence to such cases, as it was after the incident by parliament. Also Alasania states, that US Senate representatives, privately, Senator and Congressman Akison Shwarts, US Democratic Party National Committee chairman Howard Den and Senator Jack Rid, expressed extreme trouble about the mentioned incident.  At the meetings they talked about a new election calendar, police distance in the election processes, necessity of ceasing political repressions, improvement of quality of freedom of media, new election code's and commission's composition. Irakli Alasania directed US Senators' and Congressmen's attention to a difficult situation in the armed forces, international organizations' reinforcement and preservation.

Police deny raiding protest venue. The Interior Ministry has denied any involvement in a raid on a protest venue outside the presidential residence late on June 18 and said that police had only intervened after a clash erupted between the local residents and protesters camped in tents and mocked up prisons cells there. Shota Utiashvili, head of the Interior Ministry's information and analytical department, told Civil.Ge on June 19, that the incident started with a verbal argument between a group of local residents and protesters, which he said grew into a scuffle with some locals being beaten. He also said that local residents responded with smashing mocked up prison cells on the protest venue. Opposition activists said that dozens of men, some in police uniforms and others in plain cloths, raided a protest venue. Television pictures aired by Maestro TV showed torn banners and damaged improvised prison cells. Public Defender, Sozar Subari, who visited the protest venue shortly after the incident suggested that the police would probably start claiming that it was a scuffle between the protesters and locals, "but that's not true." Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, whose party activists, among others, are camped outside the presidential residence, said that it would be possible to find out exactly who attacked protesters if the Interior Ministry made footage from CCTV cameras installed at the protest venue public.

Meanwhile Gela Bezhuashvili, the head of Georgian intelligence service, said Russia had intensified efforts aimed at "destabilizing" Georgia and "overthrowing" the Georgian government, including through "supporting the idea of early elections." Bezhuashvili made similar remarks on March 20 during the parliamentary committee hearings. He said at those hearings that the Kremlin aimed at regime change in Georgia "through internal disorders and destabilization."

OSCE mission to leave Georgia on June 30. The OSCE mission wraps up operation in Georgia after Russia vetoed extension of its mandate. The mission head Terhi Hakala held a summarizing press conference today and said the mission would depart from Georgia on June 30. `The worst happened what can happen to a mission, which tries to prevent conflicts between communities in these conflict zones, it really was the war. "We've been supporting Georgia and Georgian people, we have been supporting the reforming process," Terhi Hakala has said. She said it was regretful that the mission failed to evade war. The organization will continue operating in Georgia in various formats and assist Georgia in carrying out serious reforms. Georgia will make efforts to enlarge the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia in order to provide it with access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgian MPs stated on June 18.

Russia must respect Abkhazia's autonomy, the anarchists say. A row of Russian and Abkhaz flags flutter in the Black Sea breeze in front of the central administration's headquarters in the Abkhaz capital. Along the winding beachfront promenade, locals point out the properties rumored to be earmarked for Russian investors. It's a poignant vista for this country that has long been trying to convince the world that it is an independent country. There was euphoria here 10 months ago when Moscow recognized Abkhazia's independence from Tbilisi following the five-day Russia-Georgia war. But as Russian troops, cash, and influence pour into this tiny and picturesque Black Sea region, many Abkhaz worry that rather than winning their coveted autonomy last August they may have simply traded one overlord for another.

Sipping iced tea in an outdoor cafe overlooking Sukhumi's beaches and ramshackle piers, local journalist Inal Khashig, founder and editor of the opposition newspaper "Chegemskaya pravda," says Sukhumi's independence bid was supposed to "mean independence not only from Georgia but from any other country as well." Still, fears of Russian domination are far from unanimous. And even when they do exist, they are tempered by an even deeper animosity toward Georgia, which considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia part of its sovereign territory. "The situation is normal. It's better than normal. I'm not afraid we'll be assimilated by Russia. Over the past 200 years we've had experience with the Russians and we've had experience with the Georgians. We know where the danger comes from," says Batal Kobakhia, who chairs the human rights committee in the parliament. Batal Kobakhia, chairman of the Human Rights Committee in Abkhazia's de facto parliament, isn't worried about Russian influence.

A powerful anti-Georgian current runs through Abkhazia, where bitter memories still remain of the 1992-93 post-Soviet war for independence with Tbilisi. More than 15,000 people died in the 13-month campaign, and 250,000 ethnic Georgians, who made up the largest ethnic group in Abkhazia, were expelled. The displaced Georgians, Kobakhia says unapologetically, "will never be able to return." Similar declarations can be heard from virtually every Abkhaz, regardless of political stripe. The West doesn't fare much better, with many Abkhaz complaining the international community has failed to engage the territory. Nicaragua is the only country, besides Russia, to recognize Abkhazia's independence. In addition the Anarchist International and the Anarchist International Embassy have recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

International aid organizations and Western investors have kept their distance. Even commercial ventures, like the clothing giant Benetton, cancelled plans for a store in Abkhazia amid protests from Georgia. Abkhaz visibly bristle with indignation at the suggestion that they are becoming Russian vassals. They point out that their ancestors fought a series of bloody rebellions against the Russian Empire in the 19th century. The largest of these, in 1866 and 1877, resulted in hundreds of thousands of Abkhaz being deported. Khashig argues that many Abkhaz view rebelling against foreign domination as something of a birthright. "Even in the Stalin period we gathered, protested, and demanded our rights," he says. "This in our genetic code. We value what happens here. We can't do much but we have to do something." The Abkhaz independent streak extends to local politics. Many in Abkhazia proudly remind visitors that Moscow's preferred candidate in the territory's 2004 presidential election, former KGB officer Raul Khajimba, was soundly defeated by Bagapsh. During that campaign, posters and billboards of Kajimba together with then Russian President Vladimir Putin were plastered all over Sukhumi. Prominent Russian politicians came to Sukhumi to campaign for Khajimba as did the popular singer Iosif Kobzon. Russian State Duma deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky even threatened that Russia would close its Abkhaz border if Khajimba wasn't elected.

Many Abkhaz say their choice in that election should dispel any doubts that Abkhaz take their independence seriously and will resist any foreign domination: "Russia supported one candidate and we made our choice. This is the attitude of the Abkhaz when there is pressure to do something that does not fit with their interests or security," Kobakhia says. "Abkhaz never allow anyone to talk to them like this or to force them to live in a way that is different from their style and their traditional values." Whether the Abkhaz will be able to maintain this stance on Moscow will be tested in December, when they hold their first presidential elections since securing Russian recognition of their independence. The anarchists call on all countries to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

20.06.2009. Gachechiladze says traveled abroad to raise funds for protests. Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician and one of key figures behind the ongoing protests, said he had traveled abroad this week to raise funds for "continuing struggle." He did not speak about the details of his trip to Europe or whom he met with."Let the authorities know: yes I was there to get money. Whatever they [the authorities] say about it, I know that I am honest before my country. Time will come and I will say where I was and whom I met. I returned with very optimistic pledges [about funding]; we need money to boost our movement and for our victory," Levan Gachechiladze told protesters outside the Parliament on June 19. "I am sure this money will reach us in several days, very soon and we will put forth new strategic and tactical elements on how we should continue our struggle," he added.

The west exerts serious pressure for early parliamentary elections? Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights party, part of Alliance of Georgia, said on June 20 that "the west exerts serious pressure on the authorities to, at least, appoint early parliamentary elections" to resolve the political crisis in Georgia. He has suggested that the series of arrests of opposition activists, including in the provinces, might be the sign that the authorities were taking measures in advance to deprive opposition of its powerbase on the ground in the provinces in case of the parliamentary elections. Gamkrelidze said that head of the New Rights Party's regional branch in Khobi, western Georgian region of Samegrelo, Edisher Jobava was arrested by the police on June 19 on charges related with drugs. The opposition Conservative Party said on June 20, that its chief activist in Khobi, Soso Keburia, was also arrested on the similar charges. Davit Gamkrelidze called on the western diplomats in Tbilisi to help "to stop this repressive machinery and enable the opposition to continue its activities."

Meanwhile President Obama has nominated John R. Bass for ambassadorial post in Georgia to replace John Tefft, who has served in Georgia since 2005

21.06.2009. Blast kills one. A driver of an ambulance vehicle accompanying EU monitoring patrol at the Abkhaz administrative border, died in a mine explosion Sunday. "The details of the incident remain unclear at present," the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said in a statement. It said that at about 11.00am local time one of EUMM armoured vehicles carrying out a routine patrol near Eristskali was slightly damaged by a mine explosion, the accompanying ambulance was also damaged and the driver injured by the explosion; he died of injuries after being hospitalized. The Georgian Interior Ministry said that a doctor in the ambulance vehicle was hospitalized with no life-threatening injuries. "The EUMM has an agreed mandate to carry out unhindered patrols in the areas adjacent to the administrative boundary line," Hansjörg Haber, head of the EU Monitoring Mission, said. "We are still looking into the details of this incident, but I would like to make clear that any unprovoked attacks on our unarmed monitors and their patrols, going about their legitimate duties, are completely unacceptable. We intend to contact the authorities on both sides of the administrative boundary line to investigate the details of this incident and ensure that nothing like this happens again." The anarchists agree.

No clarity over destroyed bridge, border in Racha. An apparently blown up bridge in high mountainous region of Georgia, not too far from the Russian border, and reports about alleged pull back of Georgian border guards several kilometers deeper into the Georgian territory triggered wave of opposition's accusations that the authorities were "covertly conceding territories to Russia." News broke on June 11 that the bridge over the Chanchakhi river was blown up and that the local residents of one of the nearby villages, Glola, were blaming the Georgian law enforcement agencies for that. The bridge, in the province of Racha, was on the road leading to the Mamisoni Pass on the border with Russia. The narrow and rocky road, a section of the Ossetian Military Road, which can be traversed only with off-road vehicles, has not been used for transpiration purposes between Russia and Georgia for decades; it, however, is used by locals for reaching pastures. The bridge was located close to the village of Gurshevi, about eight kilometers from Mamisoni Pass on the border with Russia. The now deserted village of Gurshevi, like the Mamisoni Pass, administratively was part of the former Autonomous District of South Ossetia, located on the north-western edge of its administrative border.

22.06.2009. Zviad Dzidziguri – Peaceful actions of opposition to last throughout summer. Peaceful actions of opposition will last throughout summer, - Conservative Zviad Dzidziguri made this announcement today, after consultations held in the office of 'New Rightists'. He says that there will not be serious changes in the strategy of the opposition and continued concerted actions will take place in future. Dzidziguri states that peaceful events will continue and facts of violence that have acquired 'repressive character' against opposition representatives will be stressed. Dzidziguri considers that the whole world has to be informed about these facts. Leader of the Conservatives states that opposition's unity is firm and that nobody has any feeling about break up.

23.06.2009. Levan Gachechiladze - American Vice-President Joe Biden to come on 27 June. Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze stated that the American Vice-President is coming to Georgia on 27 June in order to verify the country's democratic institutes. Levan Gachechiladze also talked about his statement related to financing and said that every tetri will be used for Georgia. As to foreign visits, Gachechiladze said he intends to go everywhere as in Washington so in South Ossetia if they let him in. "I'll tell them that Saakashvili is not the whole country", - stated Gachechiladze and talked about the oppostition's future plans. He said a big action will be organized by the Supreme Court on 26 June.

25.06.2009. IJA will report from the big action in the evening 26.06.2009.

PACE: Attacks on protesters a matter of 'serious concern'. Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) said in a resolution passed on June 24 that "growing number of attacks by unknown assailants on opposition activists and peaceful demonstrators participating in the protest rallies that started as of 9 April 2009 is a matter of serious concern and needs to be fully investigated." The PACE resolution "the state of human rights in Europe and the progress of the Assembly's monitoring procedure" draws a general picture of the human rights situation in 14 member states - those subject to the PACE monitoring or to post-monitoring dialogue. Georgia is among those eleven countries, which are currently under monitoring. Others are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Three countries are engaged in a post-monitoring dialogue - Bulgaria, Turkey and Macedonia. In respect of Georgia, the resolution also notes that although Georgia's the Law on Freedom of Speech and Expression is "a model for the region, weak editorial independence, low professional standards and self-censorship persist." The resolution also says that "excessive use of force and ill-treatment by the police continue to be issues of concern in most countries under consideration", including in Georgia, as well as in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Russia, Macedonia, Turkey and Ukraine."Overcrowding and poor conditions in prisons and pre-trial detention centres continue to be issues of concern in all countries under monitoring or post-monitoring, as well as in most European countries," it reads.

26.06.2009. Opposition organizes a large-scale action in front of the Supreme Court. After the information meeting by parliament opposition and their supporters will organize walking towards the Supreme Court. Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze has stated that 26th of June is "International day against torture" and this is a symbolical day when people tortured by the president will gather by the court with the request  to restore justice.

Michael Saakashvili: "Conclusion of Tagliavini Commission will not cause my retirement". In an interview with Saakashvili published in the Spanish newspaper El País, the Georgian ultra-authoritarian leader has declared that he will not retire, even if the Tagliavini Commission will come to a conclusion that he bears responsibility for the August war of last year.

29.06.2009. Opposition parties plan to hold a large-scale rally when U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, visits Georgia in late July. Opposition leaders, who met on June 29, said that the move aimed at demonstrating to the international community that protest in Georgia is not waning. "We should organize a large-scale rally to also demonstrate to the world and not only to the Americans that the Georgian people are strongly determined to democratic aspirations, to get the country back on democratic track and to demonstrate our pro-western stance," Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party, said. White House said last week that the Vice President would visit Georgia and Ukraine on July 20-24 to demonstrate U.S. support "for continued democratic and economic reforms" in the two countries. Seems like Levan Gachechiladze has mixed up the date for Biden's visit quite a bit. The IJA will report from the large-scale rally.

01.07.2009. Freedom House, an american research institute, that cannot be seen as an organ of Russia, has done an investigation published by Civil Georgia, concluding: "Scores in the survey are based on a 1 to 7 scale, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic development and 7 the lowest. An overall democracy score is an average of ratings for separate categories, involving electoral process; civil society, independent media, national and local governance; judiciary and corruption. Georgia's overall democracy score, according to this year's survey, is 4.93 down from 4.79 in the last year's similar study and 4.17 in 1999-2000. The same score stood at 4.96 in similar study released in 2005." This confirms the anarchist hypothesis that the present Georgian system is very authoritarian.

16.07.2009. Irakli Alasania on July 16 announced the formation of a new political party called Our Georgia -- Free Democrats, which he hopes to use as a vehicle to broker a peace between the country's warring political factions. In an interview with RFE/RL in his Tbilisi office, Alasania explained that the time had come for Georgia's long and bitter standoff between Saakashvili and the opposition to come to an end. It is clear that Alasania with the new party and the Alliance for Georgia is selling out the people and the opposition in hope for a place in the sun on top of the Georgian fascist system, the anarchists say.

20.07.2009. Mass demonstration Wednesday 22.07.2009. Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia's Way party has called on supporters to gather on Freedom Square on Wednesday evening. She and leaders from the Conservative Party – another supporter of the rally – said that the gathering should demonstrate to the visiting U.S. Vice President Biden that the Georgian society is strongly in favor of democracy and western values and the rally should no way be perceived as anti-western. "'It's time for change in Georgia' should be the slogan of the rally," Zourabichvili said on July 17. Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician has also called for the rally. Alliance for Georgia, included Alasania, has said it would not take part in a rally. This split in the opposition opens for divide and rule policy from Saakashvili, the anarchists say, and repeat the call on the real opposition (not Alasania & Co) to join forces with the labor, farmers' and students' confederations and NGOs , to get momentum to do away with the fascist regime.

22.07.2009. US Vice President Joe Biden will head for Georgia today, after a visit to Ukraine that called for a delicate diplomatic balancing act. Mindful of the White House plan to press the "reset" button with Moscow, Biden also assured Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko that this will not come at Kiev's expense. Yuschenko wants closer ties with the West – but feuding with his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko has paralysed decision-making and raised concerns in Washington about Ukraine's stability. Biden is due to arrive in Tbilisi from Kiev later today. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili proposed a series of electoral reforms to parliament yesterday, ahead of Biden's visit. Tbilisi also says it is holding "preliminary talks" on US involvement in the EU monitoring mission on the boundaries of Georgia to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. More than 200 were deployed last year after a five-day conflict when Russia crushed a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Observers say Moscow is unlikely to welcome a broadening of their mandate.

A group of opposition parties has planned to rally on the evening of July 22 on the capital city's main square to express "Georgia's attachment to western and democratic values and to greet and welcome" U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden. A joint appeal by the opposition parties to the U.S. Vice President, described as "the address of the Georgian people," reads: "It's time for change in Georgia" – a slogan under which the rally will be held on Freedom Square. Conservative Party (led by Kakha Kukava and Zviad Dzidziguri); Georgia's Way (led by Salome Zourabichvili); Party of People (led by Koba Davitashvili); Democratic Movement-United Georgia (led by Nino Burjanadze); Movement for United Georgia (ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili's party); as well as Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician, have called for the rally. Alliance for Georgia has as mentioned refused to participate, as well as the National Forum. Nino Burjanadze and Levan Gachechiladze will be among those opposition leaders expected to meet with Vice President Biden in Tbilisi. "It is more than a hundred days that we are demanding the very same changes that President Barack Obama's new administration has set as a goal for itself and for the world. It can be said that Georgia today is the country which more than any other needs this change. It is time for change in Georgia," the joint address to the Vice President reads. It says that President Saakashvili "failed the ideals of the Rose Revolution and has betrayed the course chosen by his own people." It also blames Saakashvili for setting "on the path towards authoritarianism" and for dragging Georgia into war with Russia last August. "We are awaiting your visit in Georgia with the greatest hope and we believe that the new posture of your administration is what we need in order to give back to our people the right to free choice and free elections and that will help to bring the country once and forever out of its dark past," the address to the U.S. Vice President reads. In a joint address by a group of Georgian journalists and media organizations, they urged U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, who will arrive in Tbilisi on July 22, to also focus on media-related problems during his visit. The appeal, which also addresses the Georgian authorities, calls on the government to set the national television stations free from its "press" and to make television stations' ownership issues transparent.

At the same time of US Vice-president Joe Biden's visit, action of political prisoners family members will be held at the Tbilisi Airport line. According to action organizer's information, action will start at 15.00 and last till Biden's arrival. They will demand release of political prisoners.

U.S. Vice Resident, Joe Biden, arrived in Tbilisi on Wednesday evening after visiting Ukraine. Georgian PM Nika Gilauri; Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria and Georgia's Ambassador to the U.S. Batu Kutelia, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Tefft welcomed Vice President Biden in the Tbilisi airport. The streets and main thoroughfares in downtown Tbilisi are shut down for security reasons, including those in vicinity of the presidential residence in the Avlabari district of the capital city. Police removed part of mocked-up prison cells from part of Rustaveli Avenue, which were installed there by the opposition as part of their street protest rallies over three months ago. The removal took place without the opposition's resistance, which said recently that it planned to scrap that form of protest.

Address of the Georgian people to the Vice President of the United States of America, Mr Joe Biden.

Today is a historic day for Georgia. We are assembled again in Freedom Square, in order to once more reaffirm Georgia's attachment to Western and democratic values and to greet and welcome America's Vice President Mr. Joe Biden. For more than a hundred days we have been demanding the very same changes that President Barack Obama's new administration has set as a goal for itself and for the world. It can be said that Georgia today is the country which more than any other needs these changes. It is time for change in Georgia.

On Freedom Square we again assemble today - political parties, nongovernemental organizations - Georgian society, pluralist and multifaceted, but united around the very same demand for which we stood here at the time of the Rose Revolution, during an American President's last visit, and at the time when the Soviet Union was collapsing: "To be able to live in a free and democratic society."

We are the same people who in 2003 during the Rose Revolution called for a Government elected through free and fair elections, democratic state institutions as a condition for the nation's strengthening and for justice and freedom as the only way leading to the development of the country.

Despite the unconditional support of the United States of America, to this day this aim has not been achieved. For state institutions do not yet stand at the service of our citizens, because our democratic institutions, the media, Parliament, the judiciary, private business, are still usurped by a corrupt and clannish governing team.

Over the years, instead of consolidating state institutions, the unconditional support given to a limited group of people has thrown Georgia back to the days of authoritarianism, which in itself was one of the main causes of destabilisation. This authoritarian trend created a rift between society and the Government, and left the country unguarded against the foreign enemy while the emerging crisis became almost irreversible. The consolidation of personal ties at the expense of political principles raised questions as to American intent. It fostered among the governing few an unchecked self-confidence and assertiveness, among the consequences of which we can count the tragic August 2008 war.

Mikheil Saakashvili has failed the ideals of the Rose Revolution and betrayed the course chosen by his own people. He has set himself on the path towards authoritarianism And with his adventuristic actions, he has lost for Georgia the prospects of real independence and swift integration into the Euro-Atlantic family. Instead of restoring, as promised, the territorial integrity of the country, he dragged Georgia into a war which led to the loss of additional territories. Instead of the promised free economic development, the main assets of the Georgian economy have been handed over to Russia and its capital. Every day the Georgian state gets weaker and the trust in Georgian institutions more fragile.

The help and support provided by the United States of America for Georgian independence and sovereignty have proven invaluable and unprecedented. It is only natural that Georgia expects from the new administration concrete measures in order to revive its democratic institutions: the Army, which as a result of the war and political repression is on the verge of destruction; the Police, which as a result of ultra-politicisation is terrorised and has lost its capacity to function; the Judiciary, which as a result of political interference has turned into a repressive machine in the hands of the governing team; the media, which is simply dying; private property, which is totally undefended, and the free economy and business, which find themselves under the constraints of state racketeers.

Expectations are high!

Hope in Georgia remains alive!

The struggle for real democracy goes on!

We are awaiting your visit to Georgia with the greatest hope and believe that the new posture of your administration is what we need in order to return to our people the right to free choice and free elections which will help to bring the country once and forever out of its dark past.

We express the hope that America will support the will of the people so that in Georgia a democratic system is restored, early, free and fair elections are appointed, the media is freed from Government censorship, citizens are allowed to defend their elementary rights through a fair process of law, and we can reach our objective – free elections - not from the street, but through a normal political process.

Political parties, members of the April 9th organization.

This address will be adopted by the Georgian people on July 22, at 19.00, on Freedom Square.

Shalva Natelashvili, leader of opposition Labor Party, called on visiting U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, "to convince Saakashvili in necessity of his resignation." "If the United States shows political will in this regard Saakashvili will obey to the U.S. administration and it will save not only Georgia, but also the U.S. international image as the world's superpower," he said at a news conference on July 22. MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of parliamentary minority, said Georgia should become "President Obama's peaceful, democratic policy's major implementator in the entire region. We have a serious mission in this regard. Like any other ordinary Georgian, I also expect lot from this visit, in particular strengthening of Georgia's national security system; an ordinary Georgian expects from this visit more or less improvement of economic, financial and social conditions, which is directly linked to internal political stability in the country," MP Targamadze told Rustavi 2 television station. Giorgi Targamadze will meet with Vice President Biden on July 23, along with Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition politician. He said that at the meeting with Biden he intended to hand over an appeal by a group of Georgian journalists and media organizations. U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden "should tell Saakashvili that future economic aid is dependent on an end to his increasingly authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic rule," Nino Burjanadze, leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia, wrote in an article published by the Guardian.

The opposition will gather by the Philharmonic instead of  parliament at 18.00 and hold an action. As leader of "Movement For United Georgia" Eka Beselia stated to "InterPressnews", because of shut down Rustaveli and Freedom Square, opposition will not hold action at the Freedom Square. Leaders and activists will gather by the Philharmonic and decide were to hold action. Opposition planned to hold action by the parliament at 19.00

19.00. Mass demonstration.

20.44. Opposition supporters shut down Melikishvili street, that made a cork. Supporter's decision was followed by the dissatisfaction of drivers and little incidents, but opposition is not going to open the street. Levan Gachechiladze, Salome Zurabishvili, Nino Burjanadze, Zviad Dzidziguri, Eka Beselia and others are attending the action.

20.46. Opposition leaders and their supporters are gathered in front of Philharmony. Melikishvili Avenue is still shut down. Opposition activists with their party and Georgian flags have flags of the United States. Action participants have posters with opposition demands in English and photos of political prisoners. Opposition leaders emphasize that this is not a protest action, but greeting. They will express their position for US Vice-president about the existing situation in Georgia.

21.54. Opposition action by the Philharmonic is over. Before the end of action action participants song a national anthem. Because of action Melikishvili Avenue was shut down, and stopped street traffic is restored. As Kakha Kukava stated, opposition information meetings by the parliament will be renewed from 24 July.

21.59. President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has decorated US Vice-president Joseph Biden with St. George Order.

In the evening Euronews TV has a report from the event a.o.t. with a video of the mass demonstration. Euronews Website reports: "Biden carries US support to Georgia." America's message of unwavering backing for former Soviet states has arrived in Georgia, on the latest leg of Vice President Joe Biden's diplomatic tour. He is telling Georgian leaders that Washington supports their application to join NATO , but is also urging them to cut out political in-fighting and pull together. Biden delivered much the same message to Ukrainian leaders yesterday. He criticised what he called political ‘posturing' and said they should seize the moment. "You have never been at this place before. The chance for your people to establish a truly independent, free and prosperous country with defined borders for the 21st century," he said. Disagreements between President Viktor Yushchenko and his Prime Minister have irritated Washington and delayed vital loan payments. Biden said they should resolve their differences ahead of next January's elections.

23.07.2009. Euronews Website reports: "Russia vows to stop Georgia re-arming." The high-profile visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Georgia has drawn a harsh warning from Russia. Moscow said it would not allow Georgia to re-arm, and accused Tbilisi of provocation ahead of the anniversary of last summer's brief war. Russia considers Georgia part of its sphere of influence, but President Mikheil Saakashvili said those days have gone "Our choice is irreversible. We decided to join the free world, Europe and the North Atlantic Alliance. This was supported by the Georgian people, overwhelmingly in a referendum, a free poll, and nothing is going to reverse it." Biden reiterated Washington's support for Georgia: "We are confident about your future and you should be confident about our willingness to stand with you." Tension remains high over the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, with Russia accusing un-named states of hiding arms supplies to Georgia in shipments of humanitarian aid. And Abkhazia claimed to have found a cache of weapons hidden by Georgia in the disputed Kodori Gorge. Local defence sources said the arms were placed there eight months ago, ready for any Georgian attempt to re-take the strategic area.

Biden said USA would not recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries, and urged the world not to do so.

Thus both Russia and USA are on collision course with the Anarchist International that recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries and urge the world to do so, but not accepts Georgia as a part of Russian sphere of influence, and welcomes Georgia as NATO-member if it does away with the ultra-authoritarian fascist system.

As mentioned the American Vice President Joe Biden has re-affirmed Washington's unwavering support for Georgia, but ruled out a military solution to its breakaway regions, according to Euronews.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in his speech delivered in the Georgian Parliament on July 23, that he arrived in Tbilisi with a "simple, straightforward message – we the United States stand by you on your journey to a secure, free, democratic and once again united Georgia." He called on Georgia "to keep the doors open to Abkhaz and South Ossetians so that they know they have other options besides status quo." "Instability or renewed conflict guarantees, in our view, continuation of unacceptable status quo," Biden said. "There is no military option to reintegration; only peaceful and prosperous Georgia has a prospect of restoring territorial integrity by showing those in Abkhaz and South Ossetia a Georgia where they can be free and where their communities can flourish, where they can enjoy autonomy within the federal system of government, where life can be so much better than it is now for them; show them the real benefits of your nation's model." In his speech, Biden said that the United States "fully support" Georgia's aspiration to join NATO. "We will work to continue to help you meet the standards of NATO membership," he said, but he avoided naming any concrete timetable or deadline for Georgia's accession to NATO. Biden said that the United States would continue supporting Georgia "to fulfill democratic promise" of Rose Revolution.

Biden-opposition meeting. "Sides exchanged their points of view at the Biden-opposition meeting", -  one of the leaders of the opposition, Levan Gachechiladze, said. They raised two issues. Only Georgian people concerns who will be the President of Georgia and when elections take place, another issue - USA will not support Georgia if people do not strive for democracy, human rights and freedom. They also talked about that the population doesn't rely on Saakashvili for he deceived his people many times. Nino Burjanadze, Irakli Alasania, Levan Gachechiladze and Giorgi Targamadze attended the meeting at the hotel Tbilisi Marriott.

The U.S. Vice President left Tbilisi on Thursday evening.

24.07.2009. Rustaveli Avenue, the capital city's main thoroughfare, was unblocked outside the Parliament on July 24 – fifteen weeks after the avenue was blocked with "cells", as part of the group of opposition parties' anti-government protests. Opposition will not hold daily meetings by the parliament - leader of  Movement "Defend Georgia" Levan Gachechiladze has announced at the latest information meeting by parliament. As Jaba Jishkariani announced, daily meetings will not be held from tomorrow. Opposition is not going to stop fighting and they will inform society about future plans. According to a statment of one of the opposition leaders, Nino Burjanadze, they will hold actions, when they consider it necessary.

Uve Schram visits Georgia. Deputy Head of the international fact-finding mission for the conflicts in Georgia, Uve Schram, has arrived in Tbilisi. Germany`s former ambassador to Georgia will meet with Georgian journalists and introduce his visions of the mission operation in Georgia. The international investigation commission was formed a month after the Georgia-Russia war last August under the decision of the European Commission. The mission had to present a report on Georgia-Russia war, its reasons and consequences by the end of July, but the report was postponed for a month. Heidi Tagliavini, the head of the mission said they had to look into new facts and evidences about the conflict.

25.07.2009. U.S. says not asked to join EU monitoring in Georgia. The U.S. Department of State said "at this time, the U.S. has not been asked to participate" in EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, which is observing situation on the ground at the Abkhaz and South Ossetian administrative borders. "The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia is doing an excellent job in maintaining stability and we strongly support its continued efforts. This is an EU mission, and it will determine the make up and mandate," it said. The Department of State put out the written comment on the matter on July 24 in response to a question asked at a news briefing a previous day if the U.S. had any plans to join EU's monitoring mission in Georgia. Georgia's senior officials said ahead of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Tbilisi, that there were "preliminary talks" ongoing to involve U.S. in the EU's monitoring mission. Georgia had earlier expressed that it wanted U.S. to join the EU monitors.

John Beyrle – USA-Georgia collaboration will embrace all spheres. As Ambassador of the United States to Russia John Beyrle stated to BBC, USA-Georgia collaboration embraces military hardware supply and other spheres as well. The US Diplomat stated that USA is not going to send american observers to Georgia, but hopes that consultations on OSCE and UN observers mission prolongation to the region will be held. As John Beyrle stated, USA has stated many times that NATO's door is open for Geogia, but Georgia has to work much to be ready for this membership. Deputy Minister of Forign Affairs Grigory Karasin together with the Russian representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, made comments on US Vice President Biden's statement on military collaboration with Georgia. They stated that Russia will impose sanctions to all the enterprises which supply Georgia with attack weapons. Rogozin named USA and Ukraine as Georgia's suppliers of weapon.

Medvedev: Diplomatic relations to be resumed with Georgia. Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia will be resumed, it is just a question of time, Dmitry Medvedev said in the exclusive interview with the NTV Russian TV Station. The Russian president said the Russian and the Georgian peoples have very warm and historical relationships that should not yield to the Saakashvili regime. Dmitry Medvedev reiterated that the issue of Georgia, as well as Ukraine, remains the main difficulty in the normalization of the US-Russian relationship.

26.07.2009. Medvedev and Clinton on Georgia relations. Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said he was sure that Moscow and Tbilisi would resume ties some day based on "new realities" that had emerged after the August war. "I am sure that some time later our relations will be restored on a new basis, taking into account those realities, which have been created and taking into account those tragic pages, which these relations have passed through recently," Medvedev said in a pre-recorded interview aired by Russian television station, NTV, on July 26. He said that President Saakashvili harmed historically close relations between Russian and Georgian nations. "Regimes, like that of Saakashvili, come and go, but feelings between the nations remain," Medvedev said. He also said in the same interview that it was "gradually understood" by NATO that it was not ready "to absorb" states like Ukraine and Georgia. On Ukraine he said that the idea of joining the Alliance was not popular among its citizens. And on Georgia he said: "Does NATO need a state that has that many problems?"

US Secretary of State has talked about Georgia and Ukraine`s integration into the NATO and the 'restart' of US-Russia relations in an interview with David Gregory of Meet the Press, broadcast on NBC. "If Ukraine and Georgia someday are eligible for and desire to join NATO that should be up to them." Mrs. Clinton said. When questioned about the restart of relations with Russia, Mrs. Clinton said that the process had begun however, US would never accept the spheres of influence in the 21-st century.
"Now, every country faces challenges. We have our challenges. Russia has their challenges. And there are certain issues that Russia has to deal with on its own. And we want to make clear that as we reset our relationship, we are very clearly not saying that Russia can have a 21st century sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. That is an attitude and a policy we reject. We also are making it very clear that any nation in Eastern Europe that used to be part of the Soviet Union has a right now as a free, sovereign, and independent nation to choose whatever alliance they wish to join. So if Ukraine and Georgia someday are eligible for and desire to join NATO, that should be up to them," Hilary Clinton said.

27.07.2009. Labor Party sums up Biden's visit to Georgia. Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili has summed up the visit of the US Vice President Joseph Biden to Georgia. He said it was a "voyage of vicegerent to its right-less colony". He said the visit has shown that the guest praised the country's destroyer and declared imperative support to dictator Saakashvili, Natelashvili announced at the briefing today and added it was a continuation of the Bush policy. He said the new administration of the United States did not have different approach to Georgia. The Labor Party leader urges Russia to pull out its forces from Georgia and addresses the United States to let the Georgian people elect its government itself.

End of street protests for now. Daily protest rallies demanding President Saakashvili's resignation in Tbilisi by a group of opposition parties ended on July 24 – 107 days after the launch on April 9. Opposition politicians, behind the campaign say "it's not an end of the struggle" and the opposition's drive will continue from autumn; although at this stage they fail to give specific plan saying consultation will continue on the matter between the opposition parties. "We need to restore our forces and resources; we do not drop our demands… We will restore our forces and restart it again," Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition political, told protesters on the last day of rally on July 24. Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary chairperson and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said opposition would resume protest "when we deem it necessary in a form, which will be appropriate." "The protest charge is high in the society; what we, the opposition, are doing is to direct this charge within the political course; but it can go beyond this course if the authorities do not become reasonable… I mean that this sense of protest, which is in the society, may spill out from the political processes and we, the leaders, may not be able to control it," she told the public TV's talk-show, Political Week, on July 26. Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia's Way party, described the campaign as "passing a halfway" towards achieving the goal. "I am today even more optimistic, then I was before; I can say that we have already passed a very difficult halfway… We have passed this way without going beyond the constitution," she told the public TV's talk-show Political Week on July 26.

Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia that has mainly split from the real opposition, however, acknowledged that at this stage the campaign failed to bring tangible results. "The reason why this stage of [protests] did not bring result is that there was no alternative to Saakashvili," he said in an interview with the Georgian weekly, Kviris Palitra , published on July 27. "At this stage the Georgian society, as well as the international community, could not make a choice between the worst and ambiguity." He, however, also said that although Saakashvili maintained grip on power, "the protest rallies have weakened him very much." "Today Saakashvili is vulnerable and the opposition should try to replace him as painlessly as possible," Gamkrelidze said and added that achieving of holding early parliamentary elections could be a step in that direction.

At this point, however, focus seems to be shifting in direction of local elections, which President Saakashvili has offered to hold on May 30, 2010, instead of next autumn. The proposal also includes direct election of the capital city's mayor. "It's always worth to run in elections if they are fair, especially if Tbilisi mayor is elected directly. From the political point of view, directly elected Tbilisi mayor will be second heavyweight political figure after the President," Gamkrelidze said. Echoing his political partner Irakli Alasania's remarks, who is the leader of Alliance for Georgia, Gamkrelidze also said that a proper electoral environment should be established before the local elections, involving free media and depolitization of law enforcement agencies. Opposition also says that with the end of street protests problems facing the country have not faded away and they will not without real democratic reforms by the authorities. "It's now up to Saakashvili to decide: he should either compromise or resign," Salome Zourabichvili said and added that U.S. Vice President's speech made in the Georgian Parliament on July 23 should serve as a guideline for both the opposition and the authorities.

29.07.2009. News from the Tagliavaini inquiry mission. Head of EU-funded mission, probing into the August war, Heidi Tagliavini, met with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, on July 28 in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in its press release that the Russian side underlined once again "importance of objective assessment of causes of happened in [August, 2008] and the exact sequence of events." It also said that the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister stressed on "relevance to documentary confirm the fact of Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia… with taking into account all the materials handed over previously to the experts of the mission by the Russian side, as well as by representatives of other countries and international organizations." The inquiry mission with an official name Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, was initially expected to table conclusions by July 31, but it requested two more months.

30.07.2009. U.S. declines Georgia arms supply request for now. U.S. Defense Department official said Georgia was not ready for weapons acquisition, the issue pushed by President Saakashvili before the Vice President Biden's visit to Tbilisi. Celeste A. Wallander, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, however, also told a congressional panel on July 28, that the issue was "not off the table" in the future. She made the remarks at the hearing of U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe after she was asked to comment about President Saakashvili's statement made in an interview with The Washington Post asking the U.S. to provide Georgia with defensive weapons, involving anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems. One of the members of the committee, Representative William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who spoke strongly against selling the U.S. weapons to Georgia, asked the U.S. Defense Department official: "If we are going to reset relations [with Russia], why add fuel to a volatile situation?" Celeste A. Wallander responded that President Saakashvili made those remarks on need to supply Georgia with defensive weapons just before the Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Tbilisi and the latter had an opportunity to address the issue while visiting Tbilisi. "He [the Vice President] was very clear… The United States supports a responsible and robust defense cooperation program with Georgia that is focused on improving Georgia's [military] education, training, command capabilities building NCO corps," Wallander said. "But Georgia is not ready for the kind of weapons acquisitions that the President [Saakashvili] floated. In the future, that's not off the table, but certainly the United States is not in the position of believing that Georgia is ready for that kind of defense acquisition," she added.

04.08.2009. Medvedev and Obama call for calm. In a phone conversation on August 4, the Russian and U.S. Presidents discussed the situation in Georgia and "the need to decrease tensions in the region," the White House said. Also on August 4, after the phone conversation between Medvedev and Obama, Vice President Biden called President Saakashvili on the same matter. The Kremlin said in its English-language statement that the two Presidents "exchanged views on lessons to be learned from the Georgia crisis that took place one year ago." Both the White House and the Kremlin said that Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, called his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, to wish him happy birthday."President Obama reiterated the importance of working through established crisis management mechanisms such as the Joint Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism and underscored the need for international monitors," the White House said. The European Union said it was concerned with the recent accusations of shellings leveled by the Georgian and South Ossetian sides in recent days. "The European Union Monitoring Mission [EUMM] patrols on the ground in Georgia have seen no evidence so far to confirm mutual accusations of shellings," the Swedish presidency said in a statement released on behalf of EU on Monday evening.

05.08.2009. U.S. calls on Georgia for reforms to prepare for 2013 polls. The United States encourages the Georgian authorities, opposition and civil society to cooperate on democratic reforms to prepare "Georgia for the first end-of-term electoral transfer of power in its history, in the 2013 presidential election," Philip Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said. Speaking at a hearing at hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations' subcommittee for Europe – One Year After the August War, Gordon said that opposition's street protest rallies from early April to late July reflected "the need for strengthening Georgia's democracy in a number of areas." He listed independence of media, strengthening the rule of law by improving judicial independence, enhancing political pluralism and creating a stronger, more active civil society, enhancing institutional checks and balances and strengthening electoral processes among those areas. "As we come to the anniversary of the August War, we can take pride in the work that the United States and our international partners have done over the past year to support Georgian independence and territorial integrity. We should maintain that commitment, but also redouble our efforts to help Georgia become a model of democracy and prosperity for the entire region," Gordon said. Gordon only mentions the lack of political/administrative democracy in Georgia. The main problem is however the lack of economic democracy, a.o.t. a  low GDP per capita and a high gini-index, i.e. much economical plutarchy, the anarchists say: Real democracy means both economic and political/administrative democracy, anarchy!

07.08.2009. Georgia marks anniversary of the August war on Friday with a number of ceremonies with one involving a nationwide minute of silence at 3pm local time to commemorate those killed in the war. Official commemorations began at midnight in Gori and in a number of other Georgian towns with lighting of a "bonfire of unity." President Saakashvili will address to the national from Gori later on Friday evening. Many of the commemoration events are planned in Gori – a town, which along with Tskhinvali, suffered most of the last year's war. Senior officials will gather in the town by midday to lay the foundation for a monument on which names of those killed during the war will be engraved. According to the Georgian government's report 412 Georgian citizens were killed in the August war, including 228 civilians; 170 military; 14 policemen. 10 military servicemen and 14 policemen remain missing. A Dutch and two Georgian journalists were also killed during the military hostilities.

Meanwhile in Tbilisi, a Soviet-old armoured personnel carrier is blocking the capital city's main thoroughfare, Rustaveli Avenue; it is part of an outdoor installation, also involving various types of other expositions, designed to depict, what the organizers say, is "two centuries of Russian aggression" against Georgia starting from 1783 Georgievsk Treaty under which eastern Georgia became the Russian empire's protectorate. In the lead up to the anniversary, the Georgian national television stations started airing a number of different spots on the last year's war with some of them running under the banner "Struggle Continues." One of the spots is a compilation of extracts from the senior Russian officials' quotes with Foreign Minister Lavrov saying "the Georgian people is a friend of the Russian people" and President Medvedev saying "we respect and love the Georgian people" and then the footage of Russia aircraft firing missiles to the Georgian positions is shown with words on the background reading: "Russian love."

Meanwhile, pro-opposition Maestro TV renewed airing one of many of its anti-Saakashvili TV spots saying that the President signed "capitulation treaty" under which Georgia lost more territories and then a narrator starts listing names of dozens of those villages, which came under the Russian forces control after the August war both in upper Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "Yes Russia has taken over several dozen of villages… but Russia's eventual goal was full annihilation of Georgia," President Saakashvili said in a pre-recorded lengthy interview aired by Imedi TV late on August 6. He said that's what Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov told then his U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice. This is not confirmed by USA as far as IJA knows.

He said that the Georgian army could have resisted overwhelming Russian invasion and protected areas, which eventually came under the Russian control, but "that would have meant destruction of the Georgian army and there would have been no one to protect Tbilisi." "Those saying that Georgia launched the war are marginalized group of politicians in Georgia," he said. On August 6 the Georgian government released a report detailing its version of events leading up to the war and justifying its decisions prior and during the military actions. In his article published by the Washington Post on August 6, President Saakashvili wrote that Russia's 58th army crossed over Georgia's internationally recognized borders and began "a long-planned invasion aimed at toppling my government and increasing Moscow's control over our region." This is probably not true as far as IJA knows.

As mentioned an article in the NY-Times "Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question" by  C. J. Chivers and Ellen Barry 06.11.2008 confirms the anarchists' hypothesis that Georgia and  Saakashvili started the war, quoting: "Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression. Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm ...  according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili's main justifications for the attack. The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s. Mr. Saakashvili ... faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments."

Meanwhile, the Guardian had on August 6 a joint commentary piece by the leaders of the independent countries Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity and Sergey Bagapsh, who write that a year ago Georgia's leaders "ordered a military attack on unarmed civilians in South Ossetia." "The free nations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are threatened by western complicity in our isolation and intimidation by Georgia," the Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders write.

As mentioned Mr. Putin said that dozens of people had been killed in South Ossetia and hundreds wounded, and tens of thousands were reported to be fleeing. Georgia's health minister said that more than 80 people had been killed, including 40 civilians who died in airstrikes in Gori, a city north of Tbilisi. Another Georgian official said at least 800 people, almost all of them civilians, had been injured. Each side's figures were impossible to confirm independently, as was an earlier claim released by South Ossetians and repeated by some Russian officials that 1,500 people had been killed in the territory.

EUMM: The situation remains "broadly calm". Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, said he had been reassured by EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) on the ground in Georgia that the situation remains "broadly calm" at the Abkhaz and South Ossetian administrative boundary lines. He said in a statement on August 7 that "some tension" in run-up to the August war's anniversary was a result of "public statements and alleged violent incidents." "EUMM has not found evidence to support the various claims concerning alleged incidents that have been made over the last days," Solana said. "Access by EUMM to both sides of the administrative boundary line would further contribute to confidence and prevent incidents." EUMM said on August 6 it had intensified patrols in the areas adjacent to breakaway regions' administrative border on the eve of the last August war's anniversary. On August 3 EU Swedish presidency called on all parties "to refrain from any statement or action that may lead to increased tensions at this particularly sensitive time." The anarchists call for peace and calm...

08.08.2009. Medvedev tells Sarkozy Moscow is fully in compliance with its commitments. In a letter to his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, writes that a new reality has emerged after the August war, which can not ignored. "Obviously, as a result of Mikheil Saakashvili's adventurous policy a new geopolitical situation has emerged in Transcaucasus, wherein it is hardly possible to neglect independent existence of two new states," the letter, extracts from which was posted on the Kremlin's website, reads. Medvedev stressed on the need for signing of non-use of force agreements between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali and Tbilisi and Sokhumi. "I am sure that only creation of such legal framework will help avoid new splashes of violence and will rule out reoccurrence of the last year tragedy," he says.

Medvedev also stressed on the need for all countries "to refrain from supplying Georgia with weapons for an extended period of time." "In those days [of military hostilities last August] the involvement of France in the capacity of the EU presidency in our efforts towards stopping the aggression unleashed by Mikheil Saakashvili was effective and productive," Medvedev tells Sarkozy. "Actually, the agreements from August 12 and September 8, 2008 still remain the only "code of conduct" in this area of Transcaucasus.  Russia fulfilled its commitments under these documents in full already by last October." He also expresses hope that chances for "finding proper formulas for extension of activities" for OSCE and UN missions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, respectively, still remains. He, however, also adds: "Of course, all the three sides – South Ossetian, Abkhaz and Georgian - should agree with them." Meanwhile, the commander of the Russian 58th army states Russian militants didn't intend to occupy Tbilisi in the August 2008 war.

Eduard Kokoity is demanding from Mikheil Saakashvili to confess he's guilty. Leader of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity demands from president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili to admit he's guilty. "Saakashvili is criminal and if he regrets we are thankful. After the brutality he committed against Ossetian and Abkhazian people, Saakashvili has not moral right to speak. Saakashvili and the whole criminal regime, agitating war against Ossetian people must take the politically right decision and follow the Russian example", - Kokoity stated. He says that recognition of Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence is necessary to resume trust between the nations. Kokoity alleges that Ossetian side didn't have war against Georgian people and they are going to live in kind neighborhood with Georgians. "We once more declare in the days of lamentation that we'll fight for peace and stability. But we also demand those who arranged genocide of Ossetian people and murders of peaceful citizens to be punished', - Kokoity stated.

10.08.2009. US: "We don't intend to arm Georgia". The United States will provide training and equipment for those Georgian forces, which are scheduled to be deployed in Afghanistan later this Autumn and next year, Matthew Bryza, an outgoing U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, told journalists in Tbilisi on August 10. "We will indeed provide training and assistance to these Georgian soldiers, who will be putting their lives on the line in pursuit of our shared strategic interests and our common values," Bryza, who met with senior Georgian officials and some opposition leaders, said. "What we are not doing is simply coming up with a plan to provide a large number of new weapons that will be deployed here in Georgia – no; we are training and then providing equipment, the Georgian forces will need on the ground in Afghanistan," he added.

He said that the U.S. and Russia shared common interest in defeating terrorism in Afghanistan. "Anybody who is rational will be pleased that the United States is helping Georgia to develop its professional force, except for Taliban and other targets that will be fighting against these Georgian forces in Afghanistan," Bryza said. On August 6 the Georgian Parliament gave its green light to Georgian troops deployment in Afghanistan. Georgia will to send an infantry company later this autumn and a battalion-size unit in 2010. The infantry company will be deployed under the French forces and the battalion under the U.S. command; two servicemen will be stationed under the Turkish command. Moscow has not followed commitments under August 12, agreement, Bryza also stated. "We don't intend to arm Georgia", Bryza said. "We support Georgia and establishment and development of democratic system in this country", Matthew Bryza stated.

12.08.2009. Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to Abkhazia, promising the equivalent of 330 million euros next year alone to build what he called a 'modern border defence'. It is his first visit since Russia recognized Abkhazia and nearby South Ossetia as states independent of Georgia. The Georgian foreign ministry said his trip has raised tensions in the Caucasus. "I can see how intensely the people here have welcomed our delegation, and that shows their feelings towards Russia. Russia has done a lot these last few years – particularly last year – to support the Abkhazian people, and to build the independence of the state of Abkhazia," said Putin. It is a year since Russian troops crushed the Georgian military in a war over South Ossetia. Putin also promised 55 million euros to prop up the Abkhaz budget. Abkhazia's economy minister Kristina Ozgan said: "We have found that since 2003, when tourists started coming back to Abkhazia again, our annual economic growth has reached 25 to 30 per cent." Abkhazia hopes it will once again become the tourist jewel of the Black Sea it was during Soviet times, Georgia's foreign ministry called Putin's visit 'another attempt to destabilize the region'.

14.08.2009. EU's Swedish presidency said in a statement on behalf of the bloc's member states on August 13, that it did not consider Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to breakaway Abkhazia "helpful for the international efforts to stabilize the region." The Anarchist International calls on EU and USA to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.

South Ossetian, Georgian sides meet. The Georgian and South Ossetian sides held third meeting in frames of incident prevention and response mechanisms with participation of Russian representatives on August 14. The meeting, facilitated by EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, was held in the village of Dvani on the Georgian side of the administrative border with South Ossetia and was the first one in over two months. The last meeting in this format was held on May 29; since then the Georgian and South Ossetian sides held one ad hoc informal meeting on July 31, but the Russian representatives were not present. At the August 14 meeting the Georgian side raised a shooting incident, wherein, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry its police post near the village of Dvani came under fire on August 12 from the village of Mugut on the South Ossetian side of the administrative border, south-west from Tskhinvali.

Shota Utiashvili, head of the Georgian Interior Ministry's information and analysis department, told journalists after the meeting, that during the talks, the South Ossetian side "acknowledged" that shooting took place and pledged to investigate it. In remarks posted on the South Ossetian website, South Ossetian negotiator, Merab Chigoev, said that "the fact of shooting was confirmed by our Defense Ministry." "As no one in South Ossetia is interested in the incidents of this type, we have stated that if shooting really took place from the South Ossetian side, we would take all the necessary measures to find out circumstances of this incident. At the same time we have demanded a similar approach from the Georgian side in respect of those incidents, which take place due to the Georgian side," Chigoev said. He also said that at the meeting the South Ossetian side raised the issue of the need to clarify whereabouts of five South Ossetians, which Tskhinvali says, were detained by the Georgian side. Two of them, according to Chigoev, were detained on August 8, 2008 and three – in October, 2008. The sides agreed to hold next meeting in the same format in early September in the village of Ergneti on the administrative border.

Sokhumi claims Tbilisi's head behind blasts. Abkhaz official has alleged that "the Georgian special services" were behind two blasts, which killed two and injured three people on August 12. Explosive devices went off in Gagra and Sokhumi on the day when Russian PM Vladimir Putin was visiting Abkhazia. "We have to assume that it has been done by the Georgian special services, which can not accept recognition of Abkhazia, as well as the visit of the head of the Russian government," Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported quoting Beslan Kvitsiani, deputy chief prosecutor of the country. He also said that the same type of explosive was used in both of the incidents. Meanwhile, Terry Davis, secretary general of Council of Europe, said in a statement on August 14, that explosions in Abkhazia "can only be described as terrorism." "It is time for everyone in the South Caucasus to recognize that terrorism is a crime and totally unacceptable in today's Europe," he said.

NY Times: South Ossetia tries to disarm citizens. Authorities in breakaway South Ossetia have called on citizens to turn in their arms voluntarily and plan to offer from USD 300 to USD 400 in exchange for each Kalashnikov rifle, The New York Times reported on August 14.

15.08.2009. The German newspaper Die Zeit concludes that Mikheil Saakashvili is well in the political saddle so far. The President made the opposition hang around in the sun for several months. Exhausted oppositionists took a pause in Summer. The journalist also stated that Tbilisi has one million of population and a third of the population supports the opposition. The President made a surprise for the oppositionists in response of the actions and stated that Tbilisi mayor will be elected by direct elections on May 2010. 

19.08.2009. Abkhazia urges EU, UN to press Georgia to stop piracy. Sokhumi will resort to "proportional measures" to protect vessels en route to Abkhazia if Tbilisi continues their detention, Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in his appeal to UN, EU and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on August 18. Georgian coast guard detained a Turkish cargo vessel carrying fuel to Abkhazia's capital Sokhumi on August 17. The Georgian so called "law on occupied territories" bans economic activities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi's authorization, totally neglecting the fact that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are independent countries. Sergey Bagapsh writes in his appeal that the detention of the Turkish cargo vessel was the "third case of Georgia's piracy" this year. "This incident proves continuing Georgian policy aimed at destabilization of situation in the region. It uses various methods for this purpose – political, as well as economic pressure on Abkhazia," Bagapsh said and also blamed the Georgian side for masterminding two explosions in Abkhazia – one in Gagra, which killed two people and one in Sokhumi on August 12.

"Absence of adequate assessment of the Georgian authorities by numerous international observers and the international community is regarded by the Abkhaz side as a deliberate encouragement of Georgia's aggressive policy, which may lead to escalation of tensions," Bagapsh said. He also said that viability of international mechanisms set up after the August war, including Geneva discussions, would depend on the international community's ability "to influence on Georgia to prevent further provocations." "We also seek your assistance in return of the vessel, seized by the Georgian border guard [on August 17]," Bagapsh writes in his appeal. "Otherwise, the Abkhaz side reserves the right to resort to proportional measures to protect cargo heading to Abkhazia and we put the blame for possible consequences fully on the Georgian side."

Several opposition activists were released from detention following a meeting between Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and some opposition leaders a week ago, an opposition politician said on August 19. Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analytical department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), confirmed that some opposition activists were released from pre-trial detention. Utiashvili said that in some cases "grave crimes" are implicated to opposition activists and indicated that it would be hardly possible to find a compromise with the opposition over those cases.

20.08.2009. Georgian piracy continues. Georgian coast guard detained a vessel heading from Abkhazia, the second case of this type in last two days, the Georgian Border Police reported on August 20. The vessel, flying the Cambodian flag, with seven crew members onboard – all citizens of Syria – was transporting 1,255 tones of ferrous metal scrap from Sokhumi to Turkey, according to the Border Police. Mikheil Saakashvili is a criminal pirate. The anarchists demand that the Georgian piracy vis-a-vis Abkhazia must stop!

21.08.2009. "Libertarian"? PM Nika Gilauri said he had dismissed Lasha Zhvania from the post of Economy Minister. "I am dissatisfied with the work of the Economy Ministry and the Economic Minister and from today he has to quit his post," PM Gilauri said. The decision did not come as a surprise as recently Imedi TV aired a series of reports on persisting disagreements between PM Gilauri and Lasha Zhvania. Reports of this type on the national television stations involving insider stories about differences between the government members are extremely rare. The reports on the Imedi TV, which is now headed by President Saakashvili's long-time ally Giorgi Arveladze, immediately triggered speculation on anticipated reshuffles in the cabinet. After the PM Gilauri's announcement, Zhvania convened a press conference and in his opening remarks he said that few days ago he was contacted by a journalist of Imedi TV, who "told me that she was deeply sorry about the assignment, which she had received and which involved preparing a negative story about me."

He said that there were "very important issues" on which he disagreed with the Prime Minister, including on the need "to speed up a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union." "Unfortunately this opinion is not shared by PM Gilauri and his team, involving some of those persons, who were deputy economy ministers and who were sacked by me after I became the Economy Minister," Zhvania said, apparently referring to Vakhtang Lezhava, now an economic aide to the Prime Minister. "I have a conceptual disagreement with this team, which is Kakha Bendukidze's team," Zhvania said, referring to claims that former government member Kakha Bendukidze's "libertarian approach" is at odds with "the regulatory approach" of the EU.

The Anarchist International and IIFOR use the term libertarian in the usual meaning anarchist, but Zhvania probably uses the word "libertarian" meaning something like the policy of the so called Libertarian Party of USA, located in the right liberalist sector of the economic-political map i.e. an extremist liberalist, ultra-authoritarian economical plutarchist system. It is not libertarian in the ususal meaning of anarchist/anarchism = significant socialism and autonomy. The "Libertarian" Party is not anarchist or close to at all. "Libertarian" as Zhvania uses it thus probably means an extreme form of liberalism, right liberalism, and thus not really libertarian meaning anarchist. In this issue of IJA the reporters/editors have used the term libertarian meaning anarchist, not meaning right liberalism or similar, i.e. extremist liberalist, ultra-authoritarian economical plutarchist systems.

Kakha Bendukidze, a leading figure behind Georgia's economic reforms of recent years, was the state minister in charge of reforms from 2004 to 2008 and then briefly held the post of head of the government's administration. Although he quit the official post in February, 2009, it is largely believed that he has not been sidelined from the government's economic policies. Speaking at a news conference earlier on August 21, PM Gilauri listed number of issues over which he was "dissatisfied" with the Economy Ministry, including a failure to sign an investment protection agreement with the Czech Republic. PM Gilauri said that because of absence of this agreement two Czech companies had failed so far to implement additional investments – one EUR 125 million by Block-Georgia for the rehabilitation and construction of hospitals project. For the same reason, PM Gilauri said, the Czech company, Energo Pro, the largest electricity distributor in Georgia, had failed to invest additional USD 80 million.

"I am not saying that that I am dissatisfied about the Economy Ministry for not attracting new foreign investors – although there are problems in this regards as well. The Economy Ministry has failed to create conditions for already existing foreign investors to fully implement their projects," PM Gilauri said. In response the ex-Economy Minister said that although he regarded PM Gilauri as "a very good person", he also believed that Gilauri was "a weak Prime Minister". "He [Gilauri] does not know elementary principles of management. It was a mistake to task Healthcare Minister [Sandro Kvitashvili] to negotiate with the Czech side," Zhvania said. He also said that after he took over the task a visit by the Czech Finance Minister was planned, now scheduled for August 27, when Georgia would sign the investment protection agreement with the Czech Republic. Gilauri also criticized the Economy Ministry for "absurdly minimal" income from the privatization process; only GEL 15 million has been received from privatization in the first seven months of this year, the Prime Minister said. The figure, he said, does not include income from issuing licenses for the use of natural resources. But Zhvania said that in the first eight months the state budget had received GEL 117 million from the privatization process, instead of initially target of GEL 76 million.

He also said that he would remain a strong supporter of President Saakashvili and denied speculation that he intended to join Irakli Alasania's opposition Our Georgia-Free Democrats party. "Irakli Alasania is my close friend and a godfather of my son; but I do not deem it right to change political views based on friendship," Zhvania said. "Wherever I am, whatever position I may hold – whether in the government or in private sector - I will remain President Saakashvili's supporter," he added. Lasha Zhvania, who was Georgia's ambassador to Israel before becoming a lawmaker in May, 2008, was appointed on the post of Economy Minister in December, 2008. Grigol Mgaloblishvili was the Prime Minister at that time. PM Gilauri said he would name the new Economy Minister within the next two weeks. During the press conference on August 21 PM Gilauri also criticized some other ministers. He said he was dissatisfied with the Healthcare Ministry, because of a failure to fully implement project of '100 hospitals'. Gilauri said the Finance Ministry should improve the work of tax service and the Agriculture Ministry – to pay more attention to the upcoming grape harvest. On the Energy Ministry PM Gilauri said it should foster speeding up of the process of installing individual electricity meters for households in the provinces. The Georgian daily, Rezonansi, reported recently that major cabinet reshuffle was anticipated involving most of the ministers, except of interior and justice ministers, Vano Merabishvili and Zurab Adeishvili, respectively.

23.08.2009. USA will meet Quisling regime. The leader of the so called "Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia", Sakashvili's Quisling-government in exile that Georgia recognizes as the "government" of Abkhazia, will meet with USA. This pro-Georgian government maintained a foothold on Abkhazian territory until it was removed by the fighting in August 2008. The leader of the "Abkhaz Autonomous Republic", the Quisling Giorgi Baramia will visit US government representative tomorrow.  They will discuss the situation in Abkhazia. Baramia will inform the representative about the situation in the region.  Georgian media report that it will be a closed meeting and the comments for the media will be made after the meeting. The meeting will be held at 11.00 tomorrow.

24.08.2008. Day of Georgian Constitution marked today. Georgia marks the 9th anniversary of the adoption of Georgian Constitution on August 24. According to the decision of the Georgian parliament, August 24 is a day-off and a national holiday.
The Constitution of Georgia was approved by the Parliament of Georgia on August 24 1995. It entered into force on October 17. The Constitution replaced the Decree on State Power of November 1992 which had functioned as an interim basic law.

25.08.2009. Georgia arrrests ship captain over Abkhazia. A former captain of a Turkish cargo vessel, Buket, was arrested on August 24 on the charges related to "unauthorized" entry into the breakaway Abkhazia's port, the Georgian Border Police said on Tuesday. An Azerbaijani citizen, Ilgar Manverdiev, was arrested in Georgia's port of Batumi, where his current ship was docked, according to the Georgian Border Police. "On June 14, 2009 he delivered with tanker [Buket] 2,600 tones of gasoline from Ukraine to the port of Sokhumi," it said. Buket itself was detained by the Georgian coast guard in mid-August when it was transporting 2,000 tones of gasoline and 700 tones of diesel fuel to Sokhumi. Its current captain was remanded in two-month pre-trial detention. The Georgian Border Police said that Buket was detained for "multiple" unauthorized entry into the Abkhaz port.

The Georgian so called "law on occupied territories" bans economic activities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi's authorization. This is a mafia law.  A Turkish operator of the cargo ship, Densa Tanker Operators, said Buket made five trips to Sokhumi in last twelve months. The operator company said in a statement last week that Buket was detained by the Georgian coast guard outside the Georgian territorial waters, as well as the country's economic zone - 96 miles from the Turkish port of Sinop and 256 miles from the Georgian port of Poti – in the international waters.

The Turkish business daily Referans reported on August 25 that Turkey's Eastern Black Sea Exporters Association called on the government to raise the issue of seizure of the Turkish vessels with the Georgian authorities. According to this report Georgia seized about 100 vessels in last 15 years and still holds 10 vessels, including cargo ships and fishing boats. The anarchists demand: This piracy of Sakashvili must stop!

In a separate development, but related to "unauthorized" Abkhaz entry, Georgian court sent a captain of cargo vessel, Afro Star, to two-month pre-trial detention. The vessel with seven crew members – all citizens of Syria – onboard was detained last week by the Georgian coast guard when it was sailing from Sokhumi to Turkey. The anarchists condemn the Georgian arrests of the captains, based on Sakashvili's mafia laws.

26.08.2009. Medvedev: Decision on Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognition irreversible. As Abkhazia and South Ossetia mark one year anniversary of their recognition by Russia on August 26, President Medvedev said that he had "no regrets about this decision" to recognize these regions. "I deem [this decision] legitimate – from the point of view of international law – and just, as well as necessary. This is an irreversible decision to which we will be adhering," Medvedev told journalists during his visit to Mongolia. Also on August 26, South Ossetia's leader, Eduard Kokoity, met with Russia's PM Vladimir Putin, in Moscow. Meanwhile, in Tskhinvali, the authorities marked the anniversary with a number of official ceremonies including opening of a Gazprom-financed gas pipeline Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali between the country's capital and Russia's North Ossetian Republic, enabling the region to receive gas from Russia bypassing rest of Georgia.

According to Gazprom it spent 15 billion rubles (about USD 475 million) for construction of the 163-kilometer pipeline. Putin said at the news conference after meeting with Kokoity that South Ossetia could now even serve as "a transit state" through which Russia could supply gas to Georgia. Putin said on August 26 that Russia was also contributing to international financial assistance to Georgia via IMF. "It once again confirms that we are not interested in humiliating Georgia; we are not interested in having winners and losers," Putin said. "We are interested in creating a stable situation, which would guarantee a long-term peace and stability for all the people living in the Caucasus region." The money paid to the IMF is appropriated under the decision of the Executive Council of the organization and not by any particular state, the anarchists say. Also on August 26 an explosive device went off close to a music school in Tskhinvali center at 12.05pm, the authorities reported. No one was injured. Few hours later, South Ossetian authorities blamed the Georgian side for masterminding the explosion.

Meanwhile PM Nika Gilauri appointed Georgia's ambassador to Spain, Zurab Pololikashvili, as new Economy Minister on August 26.

27.08.2009. Opposition says authorities continue repressions. A group of opposition parties called on the foreign diplomats in Georgia to react on the authorities' "continued political repressions" against the opposition activists and their family members. "Despite its pledge and commitment undertaken before its people and the international community, the Georgian authorities still hold dozens of political prisoners. The authorities continue political repressions against the opposition parties' representatives," eleven opposition parties and one opposition public movement said in a joint statement on August 27. The statement is joined by Conservative Party (leaders – Kakha Kukava and Zviad Dzidziguri); Democratic Movement–United Georgia (led by Nino Burjanadze); Georgia's Way (led by Salome Zourabichvili); Party of People (led by Koba Davitashvili); Party of Women for Justice and Equality (Guguli Magradze); Traditionalists (Akaki Asatiani) and Alliance for Georgia, involving three parties – New Rights (led by Davit Gamkrelidze); Republican Party (led by Davit Usupashvili) and Our Georgia-Free Democratic (led by Irakli Alasania). The statement was also joined by opposition politician Levan Gachechiladze's public movement Defend Georgia.

At the August 12 meeting a group of opposition leaders handed to the Interior Minister lists of activists arrested for various, as the opposition says, "fabricated charges." One of the lists, handed by the Alliance for Georgia, contained 48 activists, including from other opposition parties. Since then, according to figures from Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, led by Irakli Alasania (part of Alliance for Georgia), they have been in contact with the Interior Ministry officials and a tentative agreement was reached on release of ten activists. Only three opposition activists, however, are released so far – two from the Republican Party and one from the New Rights Party (both part of Alliance for Georgia), according to the opposition politicians. They were released on bail after a court settlement, which means that charges are not yet dropped from those three activists.

The opposition parties' joint statement reads that the campaign of "repressions" also involves arresting opposition politicians family members, "which are in fact held as hostages." The statement brings an example of one of the leaders of the Movement for United Georgia party, Eka Beselia, whose son Rati Milorava and brother Sergo Beselia were arrested and charged with hooliganism and resisting police orders on August 19. Court released Milorava on bail and remanded Sergo Beselia in two-month pre-trial detention. This is the second case when Rati Milorava was implicated in hooliganism. The opposition parties' statement reads that the case against Beselia's family members was fabricated by investigators through "pressure and false testimonies of witnesses".

Meanwhile the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) said on August 27 it had fined five Russian companies with GEL 50,000 each (up to USD 30,000) for "unauthorized broadcasting" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These fines have of course no meaning, because Abkhazia and South Ossetia are independent countries.

28.09.2008. The end of Georgian piracy. Russian coastal security service will protect the ships entering Abkhazian territorial waters, together with Abkhazian frontiers. Russian frontiers will mainly protect the ships from Georgian militarist coastal security service. As Russian border protection service deputy Chief General-lieutenant Evgeny Inchin states, Georgians act aggressively in the sea.

02.09.2009. Bagapsh ordered to destroy Georgian ships in Abkhaz waters. Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said he had ordered the Abkhaz navy "to destroy" Georgian coast guard vessels if they entered Abkhaz  "territorial waters," the Russian news agency, Interfax, reported on September 2. "This step is dictated by the continued acts of piracy by Georgia," Bagapsh was quoted by Interfax. He, however, also said that the Russian navy would not be involved "in resolving this issue." Deputy head of Russian Federal Security Service border guard department, Yevgeny Inchin, said on August 28 that a unit of the Russian border guards in Abkhazia also includes coast guard boats, "which will solve these issues, meaning providing security for [ships]" bound to Abkhazia. According to the Georgian and Abkhaz sides a total of four cargo ships en route to, or from Abkhazia were detained by the Georgian coast guard this year. In one of such cases, involving detention of a Turkish cargo ship, Buket, in mid-August, the ship's Turkish operator company said that it was seized by the Georgian coast guard in international waters. The Abkhaz leader compared Georgia's action to those of Somali pirates and added that "actions of this type should be followed by an adequate response." The Georgian FM responded: "Bagapsh is a criminal", a strange answer from a pirate country as Georgia... And EUMM is concerned over Abkhaz maritime incidents.

03.09.2009. Russia warns Georgia against more piracy. Further seizure of cargo ships en-route to Abkhazia by Georgian coast guard may cause "serious armed incidents," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on September 3. "Besides the fact that such actions of the Georgian leadership violate international maritime navigation rules and is an attempt to impose sea blockade on Abkhazian coast, they are fraught with aggravating the military-political situation in the region and may lead to serious armed incidents," Nesterenko said in remarks posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website. "Full responsibility for possible unpredictable consequences completely lies on the Georgian side," he said and added that Georgia had not yet given up plans for "forceful resolution of the territorial issues." The sides are expected to address the issue at a routine security talks on September 8.

04.09.2009. Opposition's plans. Strategic plans of the non parliamental opposition will be known at the end of September. The leader of Movement for United Georgia, Eka Beselia, stated that the opposition works on the strategy and they will state about their position at the end of September. Meanwhile the United States hopes Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point on Georgia-Russia border will be reopened and the two countries "will be able to resume commercial and tourist links in the future," the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said. The statement was made ahead of handing over of a modernized Kazbegi border crossing facility to the Georgian government on September 4.

06.09.2009. Blast on railway in western Georgia. An explosive device went off on a railway section in the Zugdidi district, western Georgia, when a passenger train was about to pass the site where the explosive was planted about three kilometers away from the Abkhaz administrative border, the Georgian television stations reported. No casualties were reported as a result of the explosion; windows of an electric locomotive were shattered and some parts of its engine damaged, a local railway official said. The railway itself was not either damaged seriously and the rail traffic was restored shortly after the incident, according to the official. The anarchists condemn the attack.

10.08.2009. Venezuela recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia. Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, said on September 10 in Moscow that his country was recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Russian news agencies reported. Chavez told his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, that he would consider the two regions as sovereign states "from Today," he was quoted by the Russian news agencies. "Venezuela is joining the recognition of the independence of the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Chavez was quoted by Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies.

11.09.2009. Party calls on opposition to select single leader. The Conservative Party called on "non-collaborationist" opposition parties to confront the authorities through creating an alliance, which will be led by a single opposition leader, selected by the parties through internal elections, or as the Conservative Party, put it, through "primaries." "The Conservative Party of Georgia believes that the only chance to confront the government's anti-national policy is to unite the opposition's healthy, non-collaborationist forces," a statement issued by the Conservatives Party on September 11 reads. "Based on the mistakes of the past, this alliance should be more organized than previously existing spontaneous unions with joint headquarters. This alliance should have a single leader, other responsible persons and joint structures in the provinces." "No matter which strategy we will choose – resumption of protest rallies or participation in the elections - the setting up of an opposition alliance will be much more effective in struggle against the authorities," the statement reads. The party called on the opposition forces to hold consultations and make a decision before October 1 on "how we plan to further develop political process." The anarchists advocate continued libertarian federalist collective delegated management of the opposition, and say NO to nationalism!

14.09.2009. US official meets some from the opposition. Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Tina S. Kaidanow, met separately on September 14 with Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats and of Alliance for Georgia. Alasania said after the meeting that issues related with need to change the electoral environment in the country, as well as media and security issues in the context of situation in respect of conflict regions were discussed. Burjanadze said after the meeting that although Kaidanow was appointed on the post only just recently, she showed "deep knowledge" about developments in Georgia. "We have talked about the need for democratic development and stability in Georgia. Despite the pledge for 'democratic wave' made by the authorities' ahead of the U.S. Vice President's visit, no progress have been made in this respect; on the contrary, steps backwards have been made," Burjanadze said.

15.09.2009. Bomb attack. An explosive device, which went off early on September 15 in Zugdidi railway station, damaged a passenger train's carriage; no one was injured, the Georgian media sources reported. An Interior Ministry spokesman said the police was investigating the case. The anarchists condemn the attack.

Abkhazian Orthodox Church has officially announced independence from Georgian Orthodox Church at a meeting held in the Sokhumi Cathedral attended by all religious leaders of the Abkhazian Church on Tuesday.

16.09.2009. NATO chief calls for engagement with Russia. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted on Wednesday as calling for an "open-minded and unprecedented dialogue" with Russia to reduce security tensions in Europe and confront common threats. Rasmussen, who took over as NATO chief last month, said in an interview with Britain's Financial Times he would ask senior officials to visit Moscow to hear the Kremlin's views on how NATO should develop strategically in the long term. "We should engage Russia and listen to Russian positions," said the former Danish prime minister, who has made boosting ties with Russia a top priority since taking office. Rasmussen acknowledged differences remained between NATO and Russia on issues including the aftermath of last year's conflict in Georgia and the alliance's possible enlargement to Georgia and Ukraine, both former Soviet republics. But Rasmussen said he wanted to begin an "open and frank conversation (with the Kremlin) that creates a new atmosphere."

He said he had a "vision" of a "true strategic partnership" in which both sides collaborated on Afghanistan, terrorism and piracy. "Russia should realize that NATO is here and that NATO is a framework for our trans-atlantic relationship. But we should also take into account that Russia has legitimate security concerns," said Rasmussen. He said he was prepared to discuss a proposal from Russian President Medvedev for a new security architecture in Europe. The 28-member alliance has put the subject of Georgian and Ukrainian NATO membership on the back burner in the interest of getting relations with Moscow back on track, but says membership remains open to countries that meet NATO standards. Rasmussen said climate change "could lead to battles over scarce resources, notably a lack of drinking water and a lack of food, leading to armed conflicts." "We will see an increase in climate refugees and that will destabilize the situation in regions that are already unstable," he said. Rasmussen said there would be security implications for the Arctic. "In a few years' time, polar sea routes will be open to navigation. We will see new access to energy resources and it will increase competition in this part of the world. That might lead to conflict," he said.

20.09.2009. South Ossetia marks indepence day. South Ossetia marked the 19th anniversary of independence on September 20, the Day of the republic, a.o.t. with a military parade in the capital Tskhinvali. Meanwhile Russia will deploy ten coast guard boats in Abkhazia to patrol its territorial waters, Interfax news agency reported. According to this report Sobol and Mangust type of patrol boats will be deployed in the Abkhaz port of Ochamchire.

21.09.2009. Der Spiegel: The independent experts of the Tagliavini commission blame Georgia for South Ossetia war. An EU expert commission has put the blame for last summer's South Ossetia war on Georgia, but also holds Russia partly responsible, the German newspaper der Spiegel has learned, according to Spiegel Online International. The report, which stems from an initiative by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his colleagues from the Benelux countries, holds that Moscow escalated the conflict through its massive deployment of troops. The international commission, which is headed by the Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, wants to keep its findings under wraps until next week because she first wants to present the results to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. After that, the ambassadors of the 27 EU member states in Brussels and the Georgian and Russian governments will be simultaneously informed of the commission's findings.

The publication of the report is set to spark renewed debate about who is responsible for the war. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, probably a big lier, has already complained that "some idiots say we started the war." Tbilisi is afraid that the report will reduce the chances of Georgia being allowed to join NATO within the near future. The conflict broke out on Aug. 7, 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. Russian forces quickly repelled the Georgian attack and advanced into Georgia. Hundreds of people, including many civilians, are believed to have died during the fighting before a ceasefire was agreed upon on Aug. 12.

22.09.2009. Alasania, the traitor of the opposition, is against a velvet revolution. Irakli Alasania said that "the only democratic way" to change the government was through elections. "We are against of any revolutionary change of the authorities and we will oppose those who will argue in favor of this way," he said. "Our major goal is to change the current electoral system and to come into power through elections," Alasania added. The anarchists say a velvet revolution is democratic, and the people of Georgia can have both a velvet revolution and participate in elections. For a velvet revolution in Georgia!

24.09.2009. Bomb attack. At the village Dvani approximately at 11.00, occurred a strong explosion. The explosion was preceded by intensive shooting. As a result of the explosion and shooting nobody suffered. The anarchists condemn the bomb attack.

25.09.2009. Irakli Petriashvili re-elected for second term as chairperson of labor confederation. Irakli Petriashvili has been re-elected for the second term as chairperson of labor confederation. 191 delegates participated in the voting, 183 voted for Irakli Petriashvili, three were against, and five bulletins were annulled by the commission. The labor confederation will do everything to develop democratic processes and protect right of employees.

26.09.2009. Protest action of street traders with support of 'Conservative Party' will be held by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, MIA, today. 'Conservatives' inform that the street traders demand from patrol police to stop harassing them - illegally ousting them from the territory of Dynamo Stadium since 12 September, prohibiting having street market there. The action will be held by the building of MIA in Ortachala.

28.09.2009. Protest action directed at parliament by the movement "On November, 7th". Members of the movement "On November, 7th" have brought for parliament an requirement addressed to all deputies concerning creation of court of inquiry. They demand investigation of the murders of Sandro Girgvliani, Amiran Robakidze, Zurab Vazagashvili, etc. The movement gives to the authorities term till October, 13.00 14th. One of the activists of the movement, Jaba Jishkariani, has called the people for public revolt in the event that such commission will not be created. As he said, they will not stop, and will put to authorities "dot blows".

30.09.2009. The EU's Tagliavini commission's report is published, and the main international newsmedia are reporting about it. As a) EU has not recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and b) supports the right fascist Sakashvili regime's claim of "Georgian territorial integrity", i.e. "right" to rule over the independent countries South Ossetia and Abkhazia, c) the report may be somewhat biased against South Ossetia and Abkhazia and lack objectivity. Below we have quoted in full the reports by Reuters, Associated Press and BBC, that cannot be said to be pro-Russian or pro-South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Anarchist International is especially sceptical to the Tagliavini commission's conclusion that Georgia's initial attack, also on many civilian people, was not a genocide against the South Ossetian population. The full report of the Tagliavini commission is presented at http://www.ceiig.ch/ , the website of the "Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia".

Reuters reports: Georgia started war with Russia: EU-backed report. An independent report blamed Georgia on Wednesday for starting last year's five-day war with Russia, but said Moscow's military response went beyond reasonable limits and violated international law. The report commissioned by the European Union said both sides had broken international humanitarian laws and found evidence of ethnic cleansing against ethnic Georgians during Russia's intervention in the rebel province of South Ossetia. Each side said the report backed up its interpretation of the war. But the findings were particularly critical of U.S. ally Georgia's conduct under President Mikheil Saakashvili and are likely to further damage his political standing. They could also deepen Western concerns about his leadership and the stability of the former Soviet republic which have set back its hopes of joining NATO and the EU and shaken confidence in oil and gas routes running through the South Caucasus.

"In the Mission's view, it was Georgia which triggered off the war when it attacked Tskhinvali (in South Ossetia) with heavy artillery on the night of 7 to 8 August 2008," said Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, who led the investigation. The report said the war followed tensions and provocations by Russia, but Tagliavini said: "None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack lend it a valid explanation." Saakashvili had said Georgia was responding to an invasion by Russian forces when it attacked breakaway South Ossetia, but the report found no evidence of this. It said Russia's counter-strike was initially legal, but its military response violated international law when Russian forces pushed into Georgia proper. "Although it should be admitted that it is not easy to decide where the line must be drawn, it seems, however, that much of the Russian military action went far beyond the reasonable limits of defense," the report said.

RUSSIAN PUSH

Russian forces pushed deep into Georgia, taking control of the main east-west highway, the Black Sea port of Poti and the strategic garrison town Gori. Russia has recognized South Ossetia and the other rebel province, Abkhazia, as independent states. Russian jets bombed army bases and the military airport, and more than 100,000 civilians on both sides were displaced at the height of the conflict. Some have been unable to return. "It confirms what we've known all along -- who started the war and who bears responsibility," Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the EU, said of the report. In an apparent reference to the United States, which has strong links with Tbilisi, he said: "I expect those countries and leaders that have been vocal in supporting Mr Saakashvili will now think twice."

Georgia said the report proved Moscow had been preparing for conflict all along. "The report proves that Russia was all the time preparing this war and August 7 and 8 were the culmination," Georgian State Minister for Re-integration Temur Iakobashvili said. But Saakashvili is likely to be privately concerned by the report. He could now face more political problems in Georgia, although he has survived months of protests and is unlikely to face a new leadership challenge. Georgia also looks isolated, with Washington intent on setting aside some of its disagreements with Moscow in order to improve relations with its former Cold War foe. Tbilisi says 228 Georgian civilians were killed in the war and 184 Georgian servicemen are dead or missing. Russia says 64 of its servicemen and 162 South Ossetian civilians were killed, but also says the figure for civilian deaths could be higher. The report found no evidence to support Russian allegations that Georgia was carrying out genocide against the South Ossetian population. But it said there were "serious indications" of ethnic cleaning against ethnic Georgians in South Ossetia and found Russian forces "would not or could not" stop atrocities by armed groups in areas they controlled. Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE58T4MO20090930 .

Associated Press reports: EU report: Georgian attack started war with Russia. Georgia's attack on its breakaway South Ossetia region marked the start of last year's war with Russia, which retaliated with excessive force, an EU-commissioned report said Wednesday. The report on the five-day war in August 2008 lay blame on both sides, but cited Georgia as starting the conflict with its night shelling in South Ossetia - an act it said was not justifiable under international law. The EU report went on to blame Russia for conducting a military campaign deep inside Georgia. "All this cannot be regarded as even remotely commensurate with the threat to Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia," the report said. Russia's retaliation went "far beyond the reasonable limits of defense," it said, criticizing the devastating Russian assault on a tiny neighbor that in recent years has moved closer into the West with hopes of joining NATO. In a first reaction, both sides said the report vindicated them. The Russian Foreign Ministry said "the core conclusion of the report is that the current leadership of Georgia unleashed the aggression."

Georgia's EU Ambassador Salome Samadashvili said the question of who fired first on Aug. 7, 2008, was immaterial without considering two decades of friction. She said the "report gives the full context," referring to Russia's invasion of Georgia's separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said it was "not a pro-Russian report, (but) it provides an unequivocal answer to the main question of 'Who started the war?'" Georgia's assault on the South Ossetian capital of Tshkinvali "marked the beginning of large scale hostilities," Chizhov said. "Of course, this had been preceded ... by a lengthy period of growing tensions and provocations."

The report, written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, also addressed claims of ethnic cleansing of Georgians living in South Ossetia, but did not pinpoint who it thought responsible. "There was evidence of systematic looting and destruction of ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia. Consequently, several elements suggest the conclusion that ethnic cleansing was indeed practiced," the report said. Georgia welcomed the conclusion. "It's very important that this report verifies that there was a massive violation of human rights, ethnic cleansing conducted by so-called South Ossetian troops on the ground ... and tolerated by Russian forces," Georgian Cabinet minister Temur Yakobashvili said[.]

Western capitals have generally tended to see Russia as the aggressor. EU countries said in a statement they hoped the report "can contribute toward a better understanding of the origins and the course of last year's conflict." Chizhov said the report should encourage a rethink among "those leaders who have been hesitant" to blame Georgia for the war. He rejected the notion that Russia responded with disproportionate use of force. "Russia's reaction was quite proportional, swift and to the point," he said.

The war ended with Russian forces decimating Georgia's military and driving its troops out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Russia has since recognized as independent states. Russia keeps thousands of troops in the regions, from which it has blocked EU monitors. Blaming Georgia is seen as boosting Russia's effort to get international recognition for the regions - only Nicaragua and Venezuela have followed suit. It also could undermine Georgia's hopes of soon becoming a NATO member. Putting the onus on Russia, however, could reinforce Russia's belief that the West is biased against it. The report is based on research by 30 European military, legal and history experts. The EU mandated the report last year to investigate the "causes and roots" of the conflict, but not to determine guilt so it could be used for compensation claims. Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE58T4MO20090930 .

BBC reports: Georgia 'started unjustified war'. The war in Georgia last year was started by a Georgian attack that was not justified by international law, an EU-sponsored report has concluded. However, the attack followed months of provocation, and both sides violated international law, the report said. Russia said the report delivered an "unequivocal answer" on the question of who started the conflict. But Georgia said the investigation proved that Russia had been preparing for war all along. The report said about 850 people were killed in the August 2008 war, and that more than 100,000 fled their homes, about 35,000 of whom are still displaced.

It was commissioned by the Council of the European Union, and written by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, with the help of 30 European military, legal and history experts. The conflict erupted on 7 August 2008, as Georgia shelled the breakaway region of South Ossetia, in an attempt to regain control over it. The previous months had seen a series of clashes. Russian forces quickly repelled the assault, and pushed further into Georgia. The conflict lasted for five days before a ceasefire was agreed. Russia pulled back, but built up its military presence in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

'Not justifiable'

"The shelling of Tskhinvali (the South Ossetian capital) by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia," the report says. It adds later: "There is the question of whether [this] use of force... was justifiable under international law. It was not." It also says Georgia's claim that there had been a large-scale Russian military incursion into South Ossetia before the outbreak of war could not be "sufficiently substantiated", though it said there was evidence of a lower-level military build-up. The report states that while Russia's initial actions in fighting back against attacks on its personnel in South Ossetia were justified, its subsequent actions, in pushing far into Georgia proper "went far beyond the reasonable limits of defence" and was "in violation of international law". "Furthermore, continued destruction which came after the ceasefire agreement was not justifiable by any means."

Given the European Union's relations with Russia have improved compared to a year ago, the EU may welcome the report itself, but may want to distance itself from the content, says the BBC Brussels correspondent Dominic Hughes. EU countries said in a statement the report was not about apportioning blame, but they hoped it could "contribute toward a better understanding of the origins and the course of last year's conflict". Russia has recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent and has vowed to protect them. However, Georgia and the vast majority of the international community still views them as part of Georgia, and the report's author said Russia's recognition "must be considered as being not valid in the context of international law, and as violations of Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty." Aid agencies say a refugee crisis continues in the region, with the Russian-backed authorities in South Ossetia refusing to allow tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians back to their homes in the region. Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8281990.stm .

Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said shortly after the EU-funded report on the last year's August war was released that the document denies Russia's claims that Georgia launched the war, according to Civil Georgia. Temur Iakobashvili, representing the right fascist Sakashvili regime, is lying, because he talks clearly against the conclusion of the report itself and the main international newsmedia's reports about the matter.

01.10.2009. The mainly pro-Saakashvili Georgian newsmedia publish comments on the Tagliavini commission's report. According to Georgian Times, EU comments on the report of the independent investigation commission in the following way:
"The long-term resolution of Georgia's conflicts should be based on complete respect of Georgia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognized by international law, including OSCE Helsinki Decree and the UN Security Council Resolution. " The EU statement says nothing about the short-term.

According to Civil Georgia, President Saakashvili said on October 1, that the EU-funded fact-finding mission into the causes of the August war "said even more truth than I could ever imagine," and concluded "It is a great diplomatic victory of Georgia." This conclusion may be questioned.  Also according to Civil Georgia, the U.S. Department of State said it has yet to review a voluminous report by EU-funded fact-finding mission into the August war. "I think we recognize that all sides made mistakes and miscalculations through the conflict last year," Philip J. Crowley, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, said on September 30. "But our focus is on the future and we hope that Georgia and Russia – we expect them both to abide by the agreements that they made under the ceasefire agreements in August and September of last year, and we expect them to live up to those commitments." "In the meantime, we continue to express our strong support for Georgia's territorial integrity," he added.

Interpress-news (IPN) has a statement of  'Alliance for Georgia'. The Mission's Report harshly assesses actions of the Georgian government. In particular 'The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia…'. We believe politically irresponsible and indiscreet decision of President Saakashvili to open fire towards Tskhinvali has jeopardized Georgian statehood and its development as a free state. IPN also reports: "Report of [EU-mission] once more proved that Georgia has irresponsible and incapable government that is threat to stability of the country, drawing the country to the deadlock," leader of 'Democratic Movement – United Georgia' Nino Burjanadze stated.

02.10.2009. More comments on the Tagliavini commission's report. Civil Georgia reports: Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, suggested that the report would become "a tool for Russia to mount more pressure on Georgia." "And I wonder what strategy the Georgian authorities have and how they will counter those attempts by Russia," Kukava said. According to Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili's interpretation, the report would trigger "further isolation of Georgia." "The EU special commission has unambiguously declared Georgia as an aggressor in unleashing the war. It means further international isolation of our country, irreversibility of its further disintegration, acceleration of the process of further international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and self-destructing civil confrontation in our country at a final stage," Natelashvili said on October 1.

Comments by lawmakers from the parliamentary minority were mostly in line with those made by the ruling party lawmakers and government representatives, Civil Georgia mentions. The newspaper also has a second comment of Saakashvili: Unlike his first comments on the August war report made on October 1, in his recent remarks on the matter, Saakashvili spoke more about the part of the report which says that "shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of August 7-8 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict." "I want to say again with full responsibility – it was a holy duty of mine and all of us to respond with all type of resistance, when a foreign country's army enters into your country," he said. It was however the militarist right fascist Saakashvili's troops that attacked the independent country of South Ossetia, included civilians, not the other way around. The Tagliavini commission's report states explicitly that "Operations started with a massive Georgian artillery attack" on the night of Aug. 7 and that this attack was not justifiable under international law. They also say that Georgian claims of a Russian military incursion prior to this attack are not "sufficiently substantiated." But Russia is also criticized.

03.10.2009. Even more comments... In an opinion piece published on RFE/RL website on October 2, Salome Zourabichvili, leader of opposition Georgia's Way party, laid out her vision on how "to move forward" following the report by the EU-funded fact-finding mission into the August war. Zourabichvili, who was among the strongest supporters of lengthy streets protest rallies this year to force President Saakashvili resign, writes that the Georgian President should be held responsible for launching "the military aggression against Tskhinvali." "If in the future we ever want to renew ties with the populations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whoever succeeds Saakashvili will have to address the consequences of his actions. We shall have to ask for forgiveness for the assault upon Tskhinvali," Zourabichvili says. "We, the opposition -- if we are given the responsibility for Georgia's destiny -- will have to face up to the fact that, albeit to a much lesser extent, we too bear responsibility for not having more effectively opposed Saakashvili's bellicose rhetoric and instincts." She says that the question of returning to Georgia the whole of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is not one that "can realistically be addressed at the present time."

Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said on October 2 that a report by EU-funded war inquiry mission, was "quite objective." Lavrov, who pays a two-day visit to Abkhazia, said: "A conclusion has been made, that the war was started by the Saakashvili's regime and that Russia responded in full compliance with the UN Charter." Lavrov also said that although so far only three countries have recognized Abkhazia's independence, "number of those countries, which are accepting that Abkhazia's independence is for a long period, is increasing," Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported. "The Abkhazia's independence is not reviewable," Lavrov said. He also said that Moscow and Sokhumi were discussinga plan of cooperation to protect Abkhaz-bound ships from Georgia's provocations."We are sure that it will be possible to provide such an escort, which will guarantee protection from this type of provocations," he said.

04.10.2009. HRW: Georgia, Russia should be pressed to probe war crimes. The international community should press Georgia and Russia to bring to justice those who violated the laws of war in last August's conflict, Human Rights Watch said on October 1. "The international community is largely focusing on who fired the first shot, but the need for justice should not be ignored," Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said. "The people whose lives were ruined by fighting are still waiting for justice. It's hard to imagine how there could be any real reconciliation without it." In its voluminous report on the August war released in January, 2008 Human Rights Watch said "violations of the laws of war" were committed by all the parties. The rights group's recent call for the probe comes after the EU-funded fact-finding mission released its report on the August war on September 30.

05.10.2009. Burjanadze calls on opposition for unity. Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, called on "all the opposition parties, irreconcilable to the current regime" to join forces in order "to put an end" to the present authorities. "Otherwise, we believe, that this regime will lead our country to new bloodshed and eventual disintegration," Burjanadze said on October 5. "We believe that futile compromise, negotiations and dialogue with this criminal regime is useless and possibly disastrous," Burjanadze said: "We call on all the opposition forces, irreconcilable to the current regime to establish democratic front, where mutually agreed actions would prevail over competition between separate leaders." She linked this call to "the reality", which she said, emerged after the release of the EU-funded August war inquiry mission's report. Burjanadze again said that the report "confirmed recklessness of the Saakashvili's government and its incapability to bring the country out of deep social-political crisis." Burjanadze also said that following the report Georgia also faced "threat of international isolation."

06.10.2009. Danish Foreign Minister visits Sokhumi. After holding talks with the Georgian right fascist leadership in Tbilisi on October 5, Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moeller, visited Sokhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, on Tuesday. Sergey Shamba, Abkhazia's foreign minister, who along with Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, met with the Danish Foreign Minister, said EU's policy in respect of Abkhazia "is based on unrealistic approach and is directed on maintaining of Georgia in its previous borders, which were artificially created by Stalin," the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported. "EU's position causes incomprehension in Abkhazia and it can not contribute to resolution of the conflict," Shamba said.

08.10.2009. Burjanadze calls for more street protests. Instead of focusing on local elections, the opposition should join forces to mount pressure on the authorities and achieve early presidential elections, Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), said on October 8. Speaking at Rustavi 2 TV's late-night political talk show, Position , Burjanadze said she disagreed with the Alliance for Georgia's decision to run in the local elections, which President Saakashvili has offered to hold on May 30, 2010. On October 5 Burjanadze called on "all the opposition parties, irreconcilable to the current regime" to establish "democratic front" in order "to put an end" to the present authorities. She said on October 8 that "all the legal means" should be used by the opposition to achieve this goal, including street protest rallies.

09.10.2009. Political prisoners. Opposition Conservative Party said on October 9, that it had identified 67 persons, which were arrested by the authorities for political motives. Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, said at a meeting with a group of human rights activists and lawyers that his party was pushing for a joint memorandum of the opposition parties, which would lay out "mechanisms" for achieving release of these "political prisoners." He said that memorandum would probably be signed in two weeks. The list of 67 persons include 37 opposition activists, which according to the Conservative Party, were arrested after the launch of street protest rallies in April. More than half of them, the party said, were arrested under the "fabricated charges" related with illegal possession or carrying the arms and others for charges related with drugs.

The list also includes Koba Kobaladze, who was a commander of the National Guard till 2004; he was arrested on May 5 and charged with coup plot. His case is heard by the Tbilisi City Court as part of a trial into what is known as Mukhrovani mutiny. Kobaladze, who has testified before the court, denies charges. The list also includes Sergo Beselia, a brother of Eka Beselia, leader of opposition Movement for United Georgia; Nora Kvitsiani, a sister of wanted warlord Emzar Kvitsiani; and supporters of ex-security chief Igor Giorgadze.

14.10.2009. Clinton on 'status-neutral' approach to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said in Moscow on October 14 that it was now important that "neither the Georgians nor the South Ossetians nor the Abkhazians do anything provocative." "And we have told that to the Georgians, and I am confident that the Russian Government has told that to the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," she told an audience at the Moscow State University. "It is a very difficult set of relationships at work in Georgia. But the first and most important goal must be to make sure there's no more conflict. If there are problems to be resolved, they should be put within the diplomatic political arena and to avoid any further military action whatsoever." "Therefore, we believe that it's important to have a constant presence of observers and peacekeepers so that there is no basis or no room for something that would lead to further bloodshed to occur," she said. "In my meetings with Minister Lavrov [on October 13], we have discussed how we can perhaps go back to the drawing boards to create a status-neutral approach to create that kind of buffer zone, that kind of observer position through Geneva, through the UN, through the OSCE," Clinton added. She also said that was the issue which the two countries saw "differently", but it was important to keep on talks on the matter.

Opposition meets to discuss tactics. A group of leading non-parliamentary opposition leaders gathered on October 14 to exchange views and to lay out their vision on their future tactics. After the meeting, which was organized by a public movement, Defend Georgia, led by Levan Gachechiladze, politicians were saying that mainly two differing positions had been identified at the meeting with one group of parties pushing for the need to run in the local elections and another one being against of that. "Mainly two ways have been put forth - one more radical, involving street protests and another way implying going through elections and improving electoral environment," Levan Gachechiladze said. But Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum Party said later on the same day that he had an impression that many opposition parties attending the meeting "had no position at all." Labor Party was not present at the meeting. Its leader Shalva Natelashvili said: "Despite my respect to those parties, the Labor Party has few things in common with them."

Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, reiterated at the meeting her position that the opposition should unit and push for the early presidential elections, instead of running in the local elections. Remarks by Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia (party founded by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili) echoed Burjanadze's position.

"We should run in May [local elections] and win in the capital city," said at the meeting Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, united his Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, New Rights and Republican parties. "If we win in the capital city, it will be an indication that change is possible and that the transition is starting in the country," he said in remarks aired by the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, which was the only television crew allowed by organizers to film the meeting. Alasania plans to run for Tbilisi mayoral office and the Alliance for Georgia nominated ex-public defender Sozar Subari for the Tbilisi City Council's chairmanship in the local elections, which President Saakashvili offered to hold on May 30, 2010, but no date has yet been formally set. Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People, also spoke in favor of running in the local elections. Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told the participants that his party wanted to know whether they would run in the elections even if the electoral environment did not improve. "We need an answer on that question. Sozar Subari was saying yesterday that it is worth of going into elections even under the current electoral system, citing that the opposition won elections in Tbilisi during the presidential elections in January, 2008," Sanikidze said. "We have made our decision [to run in the elections]; we came here and offered it to you... Instead of asking each other rhetorical or hypothetical questions, one would better table a concrete plan; we have put ours," Irakli Alasania responded.

Later, after the meeting, Gubaz Sanikidze said that the National Forum had a plan, the same one, which he said, his party was pushing for in late May, during the street portest rallies, but was not shared by other parties. He said that the plan involves mobilization of supporters in the provinces through an intensive campaign and preparing ground for a nation-wide disobedience. "I deem it fruitless and waste of time to negotiate with Saakashvili, because it's impossible to make him compromise through a dialogue," Sanikidze said. Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia's Way party, who did not attend the meeting as she is not in Georgia right now, said few days ago that she did not deem these two views about the tactic within the opposition incompatible to each other. She said that she would support Alasania's mayoral ambitious, but would also be with other group of opposition parties, who are pushing for more radical steps, including street protest rallies.

The anarchists say a) the worst problem in Georgia is the lack of economic democracy, with the degree of capitalism/economical plutarchy at about 75,4 % (ca 24,6% socialism), b) the next worst problem is the lack of political/administrative democracy, with the degree of statism at about 66,9 % (degree of autonomy is ca 33,1 %), c) all in all a right fascist regime where the libertarian degree is estimated to ca 28,7 % (the authoritarian degree is ca 71,3 %). Without a movement of the system in horizontal, libertarian, direction, election of a new president will just be the "shame shit in new wrapping", continued right fascism. Mass actions, dialog - also via free media - and not just partly press freedom as today, a shift in the system towards horizontal organization, economic and political/administrative democracy, and then elections including referenda, elections of democratic -- not autocratic -- types, etc, is the way forward.

21.10.2009. Georgia in RSF Press Freedom Index. Press freedom has improved in Georgia and the country jumped 39 places to number 81 on a 2009 ranking by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released on October 20. 120th ranking in the previous similar index for 2008 was mainly attributed to the death of three journalists during the August war. Georgia was ranked 66th in the similar index by FSF in 2007 .

31.10.2009. New Public Defender submits human rights report to MPs. Giorgi Tugushi, new public defender, sent a human rights report, covering the first half of 2009, to the Parliament, saying the human rights record in the country for the reporting period was "grave." Drawing up of the report was started before expiration of ex-public defender Sozar Subari's term in office in mid-September and it was finalized under the supervision of his successor Giorgi Tugushi. The report, in particular one of its sections covering situation in the prison system, has become a source of controversy between the Public Defender's Office (PDO) and the Ministry for Probation and Penitentiary System. "One of the most problematic fields in Georgia remains the penitentiary system," Giorgi Tugushi writes in the preface to the report. The report itself identifies overcrowded cells in several prisons; poor healthcare for inmates, as well as ill-treatment of inmates in some prisons among the problems. In case of Prison No. 2, located in Kutaisi, the report says that "illegal use of force, beating, torture and ill-treatment [of inmates] has become a norm for the [prison] employees."

The report says that according to the information provided by the Ministry for Probation and Penitentiary System a total of 54 inmates died in the reporting period. But the report also says that information obtained from each prison facility separately shows that in fact inmate death number reached in the reporting period 62, instead of 54 provided by the Ministry. Dimitry Shashkin, the minister for probation and prison system, told Imedi TV on October 30, that he would question objectivity of the report, which, he said, was compiled by now opposition politician, ex-public defender, Sozar Subari. In separate remarks to Rustavi 2 TV also on October 30, Shashkin said: "This report was prepared by the former public defender, who is now a leader of one of the opposition parties [Subari jointed Alliance for Georgia, which unites three opposition parties]." He also said that the report showed the violations in the penitentiary system was not of a "systematic" nature.

Giorgi Tugushi, however, defended the report and said cases described in the document were "verified." "Mr. Subari probably has not even seen the section of the report which is about the penitentiary system, because at the time when he left the office this section of the report was not yet completed," Tugushi said. The report acknowledges "close cooperation" between PDO and Ministry for Probation and Penitentiary System.  In the preface to the report, Tugushi writes that "excessive use of force by the police, as well as investigation of cases of torture, inhuman and humiliating treatment [of detainees] still remains a problem." "It can be said, that these issues already represent a systematic problem, because cases which are promptly and effectively investigated are extremely rare," the public defender writes.

05.11.2009. Labor Party leader visits U.S. Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, left for the United States on a seven-day visit on November 5. Natelashvili will hold meetings in the U.S Congress, according to his party's press office. "The topic of my meetings remains unchanged: how to save Georgia and how to overcome the current dictatorial regime in the country," Natelashvili said before departure. 

07.11.2009. Protest crackdown anniversary marked. A rally was held on November 7 outside the Parliament to mark a crackdown on anti-governmental demonstrations two years ago, also involving police raid on Imedi television station, during which hundreds of protesters were injured. Several non-governmental groups, which are fierce critics of President Saakashvili's administration, took the lead in organizing Saturday's rally (including Georgian Academy; Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights and several pro-opposition youth groups).

During the rally, which lasted less than an hour outside the legislative body, organizers read out appeals to western governments warning that President Saakashvili's "authoritarian regime will lead the country to a large-scale destabilization;" they called on the European Union to make its aid to Georgia conditional to democratic reforms and to set deadlines to the Georgian authorities for implementing specific democratic reforms. Organizers also demanded from the authorities to release "all the political prisoners;" to return Imedi TV to the family of its founder, Badri Patarkatsishvili, and to secure proper electoral environment for holding free and fair elections.

Before rallying outside the Parliament, several hundred of protesters gathered outside the public broadcaster's office to demand fair and unbiased coverage of political events in the country. Also on November 7, a group of non-parliamentary opposition parties gathered at a conference called by former foreign minister Salome Zourabichvili's Georgia's Way party dedicated to assessment of President Saakashvili's years in power. Representatives from the Conservative Party; Movement for United Georgia; Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Party of People; Movement for Fair Georgia; Greens Party; Industrialists; Party of Women participated in the meeting; Levan Gachechiladze founder of pubic movement Defend Georgia was also present. National Forum and Alliance for Georgia were not present.

Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, who on this day two years ago was parliamentary speaker, said it was possible to avert November 7 events. She said that the authorities deliberately used force against protesters in order "demonstratively punish those who dared to speak out against the authorities." She also said that after the January, 2008 snap presidential elections "we all made a choice in favor of stability, turning a blind eye on democracy"; Burjanadze, who at that time was an acting president, was referring to assumption that by not pushing for repeated elections, the opposition averted confrontation, but instead had to in fact accept results of the fraudulent elections. "August 7 has showed that it is impossible to make a choice between stability and democracy. In case of Georgia it is impossible to be a stable country, if it is not a democratic one," Burjanadze said.

Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia's Way party, said at the conference, that throughout the recent two years, the opposition used "all the methods of political struggle" but failed to influence on Saakashvili's administration, which, she said, "is heading towards totalitarianism and which we are failing to stop." The system is totalitarian...

In his remarks made at a meeting with a group of students on Friday, the rightwing extremist President Saakashvili defended the authorities' decision to break up the protest rally two years ago as "a necessity"."Two years ago there was a clash between the police forces and the large demonstration," he said. "I want everyone to understand it clearly what do I regret about and what I do not regret." "The fact that police protected public order so that no one died is something that would have happened in many countries, if a country is a civilized one; this is the obligation of the state and the right of the state." He said that "foreign forces also were" behind those protest rallies, but also added that participation of those "foreign forces" was not a "decisive" factor. "We used those methods [to break up the rally]. It was a necessity and it was our obligation," he said.

He said that the problem was not the break up of the rally itself. "Things should not have come to that point" when the break up became necessary, he said. "The government and the opposition were radically differing on almost each and every issue and it is now a big lesson for everyone – the lesson for the government that more explanations, more patience and more listening is required and also a lesson that extremism is disastrous. Every time when we attack each other it amounts to sending an invitation to our enemy to attack us."

09.11.2009. International PEN calls Georgia to end attacks on journalists.

The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 75th Congress in Linz, Austria, 19-25 October 2009:

Concerned that today the mass media in Georgia is under strict censorship, especially the electronic media, and in spite of the public demand for a reduction of government control of publicly financed television;

Brings to attention the situation of the independent television station "Imedi" that, on 7 November 2007, was raided by police who damaged equipment, physically assaulted journalists, and forcibly handed control of the channel to businessmen loyal to the government;

Also refers to the denial of access to satellite broadcast to the independent television channel "Maestro", limiting even further its already restricted broadcast capacity;

Points out that government controlled broadcasting organizations are led by companies that are themselves part of the government administration, and thus information that is broadcast by them are far from independent;

Refers with alarm to incidents during April to June 2009 when officers of the Ministry of Interior officers set upon peaceful protestors, severely beating them and assaulting journalists who attempted to cover the events, seizing their recording equipment;

Fears that freedom of speech and the independent media in Georgia is under severe threat from the government;

Therefore calls on the Georgian government to abide by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it acceded in 1994, and which specifically guarantees the right to freedom of expression and association by:

• Ending attacks and intimidation against journalists
• Relieving control of public service broadcasters
• Ensuring a truly independent and impartial media in Georgia.

International PEN press release (Source: The Georgian Times 04.11.2009).

11.11.2009. Burjanadze says her party among 'irreconcilables'. Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said with the authorities' efforts the opposition became divided into "negotiators", inclining towards engaging in a dialogue with the authorities and "irreconcilables". She said on November 11, that her party's "road passes through the irreconcilable front." "We continue our daily struggle to strengthen group of irreconcilables," she said. "I am sure that Saakashvili will not change electoral environment; he will not give up monopoly over information and will not set media free. Any elections held under the Saakashvili's tenure will only further strengthen the regime… Elections should be held in Georgia without Saakashvili," Burjanadze said.

16.11.2009. Council of Europe calls for immediate release of teenagers from Tirdznisi. The Press division of Council of Europe spread statement by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Samuel Žbogar. "We are deeply concerned about the prolonged detention of teenagers by the de facto authorities of South Ossetia. Nowhere in Europe should teenagers be detained as a result of political and security issues," the statement reads. The Secretary General and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Anarchist International call for their immediate release. Ossetian militia detained the 4 teenagers living in the village Tirdznisi on November the 4th: Giorgi Romelashvili (Born in 1995), Aleko Sabadze (born in 1995), Viktor Buchukuri (born in 1993) and Levan Khmiadashvili (born in 1992). Tskhinvali alleges that the juveniles had hand grenades and explosive materials and they are also accused of illegal crossing of the country's border.

22.11.2009. Most of the radical opposition doesn't plan any protest events for 23 November on the 6th anniversary of Rose Revolution. Leader of "Conservatives" Zviad Dzidziguri stated that this revolution brought only bad to the country. "Facades have been painted, fountains, roads have been made, but territories are lost, human rights and media freedom are neglected, court depends on the government," Dzidziguri stated. One of the active representatives of the opposition, leader of People's Party, Koba Davitashvili also spoke about negative results of activity of the government brought by the Rose Revolution. He says that territories, democracy and quality of freedom of speech have been reduced in Georgia after the revolution, while unemployment and poverty have risen. The "Movement 7 November" however intends to mark the 6th anniversary of the fascist Rose Revolution by following the tracks of the president. As one of the leaders of the movement, Jaba Jishkariani said, they will go everywhere Mikheil Saakashvili goes. Jaba Jishkariani states that he avoids from specifying place of actions held. He says that the movement will show their protest by whistles, megaphones and posters.

Report highlights non-transparent TV ownership. Georgia's current regulation of the broadcasting sector has proven insufficient to ensure a transparent media ownership and to promote a competitive, pluralistic television market, Transparency International Georgia said in a report released on November 20. The report, which is an attempt to shed some light on ownership of Georgia's broadcasters, also provides an assessment of country's TV market environment and television landscape. It says that those who are aiming to anonymously control private TV stations have taken advantage of liberal regulation, allowing foreign ownership of television outlets, and established off-shore post boxes in tax havens.

23.11.2009. Police arrested three activists from the pro-opposition youth group "Movement 7 November" on November 23 accusing them of violation of law on rallies. Dachi Tsaguri, Jaba Jishkariani and Irakli Kordzaia were detained when the three activists were standing in front of the Parliament, protesting against the government's policies. Two of the participants of the three-man rally were holding pictures of Duta Robakidze and Sandro Girgvliani and the third one was holding a small English-language banner – "Public TV for People". Shortly after they arrived outside the Parliament, chief of Tbilisi patrol police, accompanied by several other policemen, approached the activists telling them that they were arrested for violation of law on rallies. The law bans holding of rallies in a 20-meter radius from the Parliament building. According to the controversial amendments passed in the legislature this summer, violation of this provision of the law envisages imprisonment for 90 days. Source: Civil Georgia.

Natelashvili sums up six years since revolution. Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili summed up the results of Saakashvili`s presidency on the sixth anniversary of the Rose Revolution in Georgia and reiterated his demand regarding the resignation of the president. Natelashvili said that six years before Saakashvili organized an anti-constitutional, violent revolt with the help of corruptive forces and foreign centres and obtained the leadership of the country. "Since then, Georgia`s has been separated in three parts and the territory in our control has turned into a colony of foreign powers under the presidency of Saakashvili and his team," Natelashvili said at the briefing today. Natelashvili urges the society to acknowledge that a change of power in Georgia was an inevitable necessity and to join the demand of the Labor Party to put Saakashvili's regime in political, international, legal and diplomatic isolation. In addition, Natelashvili called upon the international community to reinforce pressure on the Georgian government in order to give up positions peacefully, without bloodshed.

South Ossetia marks 20th anniversary of Georgian aggression. South Ossetia marks 20 years anniversary of Georgian aggression on 23 November. Various events are scheduled regarding this date in the republic. The president's administration declared that action "Ribbon of Heroism" will be held throughout the republic. Ribbons of the color of the South Ossetian flag will be delivered to the population. A meeting will be held at the entry of Tskhinvali, and a memorial board will be set up there. Events will be over by concerts and fireworks.

25.11.2009. Human rights group slams arrest of three-man rally. A legal advocacy and human rights group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), condemned arrest of three activists from pro-opposition youth group on November 23 as "a rough violation" of freedom of assembly. Police arrested Dachi Tsaguri, Jaba Jishkariani and Irakli Kordzaia when these three men were standing outside the Parliament protesting against the authorities' policies in presence of several journalists. Shortly after they arrived outside the Parliament, chief of Tbilisi patrol police, accompanied by several other policemen, approached the activists telling them that they were arrested for violation of law on rallies. Late on November 23 the Tbilisi City Court found the three men guilty of violation of rules of holding the rally and for resisting the police orders and fined each of them with GEL 500 based on article 173 and first paragraph of article 174 of administrative offenses' code. Video footage from Maestro TV and iTV.ge, whose reporters were present there at the time of arrest, clearly shows that the three activists obeyed the police orders and followed them into the police cars without any resistance.

At the time of arrest policemen told the three activists that they were arrested because of violation of law on rallies, which, among other things, bans holding of rallies in a 20-meter radius from the Parliament building. "But the police themselves wrote down in the arrest protocol that we were standing 30 meters away from the Parliament building at the time of our arrest; but the judge simply ignored it," Dachi Tsaguria said on November 25. Chief of Tbilisi patrol police, Giorgi Gegechkori, told the three activists at the time of their arrest that they were standing within a 50-meter radius from the Parliament building, which, he said, was a violation of the law on rallies. The law, however, says rallies are banned within 20-meter radius. GYLA said in a statement on November 24: "Unfortunately, the Tbilisi City Court, like in other similar cases, declined to accept the defense lawyers' arguments and took the biased decision without objectively analyzing circumstances." The three activists said they would appeal the Tbilisi City Court decision to the Court of Appeals.

26.11.2009. Ombudsman: Three-man rally arrest violation of freedom of assembly. Public Defender's Office said the arrest of three activists from pro-opposition youth group on November 23 outside the Parliament was a violation of constitutionally guaranteed freedom of assembly and manifestation. The three activists were released after the Tbilisi City Court found them guilty of violation of rules of holding the rally and for resisting the police orders and fined each of them with GEL 500. The court's ruling says that the three activists, standing 25-30 meters away from the Parliament's entrance were violating the law on rallies, obstructing movement of pedestrians. It also says that the three activists failed to present to the police permission on holding a rally and insulted policemen physically and verbally at the time of the arrest. "The argument that they failed to submit a relevant permission to the police is groundless from the legal point of view… The law does not envisage the need to take permission for holding rallies or manifestations," the Public Defender said in a statement released on November 25. "Available video footage [shot at the time of the arrest] clearly shows that three activists were not blocking the pavement and were not either obstructing free movement of pedestrians… The claims that the participants of the rally insulted policemen physically and verbally are not confirmed by the video footage. It clearly shows that three activists obeyed the police orders and followed them into the police cars without any resistance," the statement reads.

Batumi-based newspaper says its journalist blackmailed. The Batumi-based weekly newspaper, Batumelebi, said law enforcement officers attempted to "blackmail" and "intimidate" its journalist, including through use of "stigma persisting in Georgia" towards homosexuality. It said in a statement on Thursday, that on November 25 head of the newspaper's journalistic investigations unit, Tedo Jorbenadze, was summoned by Interior Ministry's Special Operations Department's (SOD) local division in Adjara Autonomous Republic to talk about "some personal matters" and "about his sexual partner." Before going to the SOD's Adjara headquarters in Batumi, Jorbenadze informed about the summoning newspaper's director and editor-in-chief, Mzia Amaglobeli and Eter Turadze, respectively, who decided to accompany colleague at a meeting with the law enforcement officers. However, according to the statement, the editor and director were not allowed to attend a conversation between Jorbenadze and the officers. The Batumelebi said that during the meeting Tedo Jorbenadze was shown what seemed to be cropped black-and-white photos of near-naked men also featuring the journalist himself. "Tedo Japaridze was told [by law enforcement officers] that there was an interest towards the Batumelebi newspaper by special services of foreign countries, in particular Turkey and Russia and they needed his assistance and cooperation," the Batumelebi said. "After receiving a refusal [from the journalist], Jorbenadze was warned that these photos would have been sent to his ailing father, as well as to his colleagues and disseminated through internet. But Jorbenadze told [the law enforcement officers] that they would not intimidate him with cropped photos and left." The newspaper said it intended to request the prosecutor's office to open investigation into the case, which it described as "Soviet KGB-style method of recruitment."

30.11.2009. Batumi-based newspaper alerts international organizations over its journalist blackmail. Following an attempted blackmailing and intimidation of its journalist last week by the law enforce officers, the Batumi-based weekly newspaper Batumelebi said it has appealed to the international organizations for support. The award-winning newspaper said on November 26 that officers from local unit of Interior Ministry's Special Operations Department tried to persuade its journalist, Tedo Jorbenadze, who coordinates the paper's investigative reporting team, on cooperation otherwise threatened, including through use of "stigma persisting in Georgia" towards homosexuality. "We have been forced to appeal for support to you, the international community, because our security is no longer guaranteed," the newspaper's appeal made on November 30 reads . "The Batumelebi and the independent media in Georgia in general have always greatly appreciated support from international media organizations and human rights organizations. We hope that you will support us once again and that you will help us to defend the rights and freedoms that we have as human beings and professionals." The newspaper's publisher, Mzia Amaglobeli, said that Tedo Jorbenadze had already appealed the local prosecutor's office in Batumi with a request to open an investigation into his case. A legal advocacy and human rights group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), which provides legal assistance to the newspaper over this matter, said that the case represented "a rough violation" of the journalist's rights and the investigation should be immediately launched to hold perpetrators responsible. (Source: Civil Georgia). The Anarchist International supports Batumelebi's fight for freedom of expression and human rights and freedoms in general.

02.12.1009. Police probe into journalist's blackmail claims. The Interior Ministry's internal investigations unit has launched a probe into claims by the Batumi-based weekly newspaper, Batumelebi, that its journalist was blackmailed by the law enforcement officers, a senior official from the Interior Ministry said. Shota Utiashvili, head of the information and analysis department at the Interior ministry, said in brief interview with the public TV's program, Dialogue with Davit Paichadze, on December 1, that the case "contains clear signs of blackmailing". He also said that the probe currently focused on efforts to identify those police officers who were, as claimed by the newspaper, attempting to blackmail and intimidate the journalist. The case has been mainly ignored by the national television station's news programs, but it was picked up by a newly launched program on the public TV, hosted by journalist Davit Paichadze, which is aired twice in a week.

03.12.2009. CoE's Commissioner for Human Rights Tomas Hammerberg proposes the Georgian and Ossetian sides to exchange illegally detained people. Tomas Hammerberg has made the corresponding statement at a special press-conference. "Both sides must make steps towards release of illegally detained people", he stated. The Tskhinvali leadership has promise to release two Georgian juveniles in ten days, Mr Hammerberg said, adding he hopes the Ossetian side will keep its promise. According to Tomas Hammerberg, his proposal on exchange of detained people was grounded on meetings with relatives of the detainees. He says he is ready to continue work on the issue if the sides wish it, adding activation of effective mechanisms are needed for preventing similar incidents in the future. "Release of earlier detained citizens is necessary for effective work of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism", he stated. He also touched upon the people lost without any trace. According to him, there exist mobile telephone recordings showing how three citizens of South Ossetia are being interrogated and bitterly quarreled. "As it seems these people are not alive any more, as they couldn't be found in any prison", Tomas Hammerberg noted. The Anarchist International supports the work of Hammerberg in this matter.

Jaba Jishkariani, Irakli Kordzaia and Dachi Tsaguria from "Movement 7 November" will appeal to the European Court by the end of December regarding violation of the right to freedom of expression on 23 November 2009, lawyer Mamuka Nozadze told InterpressNews. According to him, they are now waiting for a decision by the Tbilisi Court of Appeal. After appealing to all instances in the country, they will appeal to the European Court by the end of December. The lawyer alleges the rights of Dachi Tsaguria, Jaba Jishkariani and Irakli Kordzaia to freedom of expression, ensured by the tenth article of the European convention as well as the Georgian constitution, had been violated. Dachi Tsaguria, Jaba Jishkariani and Irakli Kordzaia were detained in front of the parliament building on 23 November 2009 while expressing protest against murders of Sandro Girgvliani, Buta Robakidze, Zurab Vazagashvili and others. According to police chief Giorgi Gegechkori, they had violated the law on manifestation and meetings.

04.12.2009. Protest letter: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum urged President Saakashvili to ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out into the reported attempts by the law enforcement officers to blackmail a journalist from the Batumi-based newspaper, Batumelebi. "We are seriously concerned that Georgian security services would seek to blackmail a journalist and interfere in editorial freedom. Such tactics are reminiscent of the Soviet-era KGB and have no place in a modern democracy," Gavin O'Reilly, president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of the World Editors Forum, said in a letter sent to President Saakashvili on December 4, also published by Civil Georgia. As mentioned the Interior Ministry said earlier this week that its internal investigations unit was probing into the blackmail and intimidation claims by the Batumelebi journalist.

07.12.2009. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION (ITUC): Georgia: Serious Violations of Workers' Rights in the Name of Liberalisation. A new ITUC report on the respect of fundamental labour standards in Georgia, released today to coincide with the WTO's review of this country's trade policies, strongly denounces the country's 2006 Labour Code, which has caused massive violations of the rights of Georgian workers and trade unions. Although the government had made a formal undertaking to respect those rights in its application for the EU's trade benefits under the GSP+ scheme, workers' rights are blatantly disregarded in practice. In 2006, under the new Labour Code, the extreme neo-liberal government [the system seen all in all is not liberalist, but right fascist] eliminated labour inspection in the country. Unsurprisingly, the authorities provide insufficient protection for union members and organisers. Under the Labour Code, unions are in practice unable to benefit from the protection of the law: court cases on discrimination and freedom of association are lost because the courts apply the anti-trade union provisions of the Labour Code. The law gives a de facto green light to union busting and marginalisation of collective bargaining, and there are many reports of anti-union discrimination and restrictions on the right to strike.

Commenting on the situation, ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder stated that "anti-union actions such as intimidations and dismissals without explanation, and a failure to comply with ILO core conventions, cannot be tolerated any longer. The Labour Code of 2006 is a travesty of workers' rights." Although Georgia has ratified all eight ILO conventions on core labour standards, there are serious inconsistencies between the Labour Code of 2006 and Georgia's international commitments to respect workers' basic human rights. In particular, the government has failed numerous times to comply with requests by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations to bring the Labour Code of 2006 into line with ILO core labour standards conventions. Furthermore, the report notes that discrimination in access to employment and remuneration is widespread, with serious impact on women. Despite having ratified ILO conventions 100 and 111, the principle of "equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value" is not applied in law or in practice.

Finally, child labour and forced labour are prevalent in the country, but law enforcement, monitoring and prosecution are weak."It is vital that the government ensure the adequate functioning of the Tripartite Commission set up in December 2008, with ILO support, to revise the Labour Code in line with ILO conventions," concluded Ryder.  "Otherwise, it is difficult to see how Georgia would be complying with its GSP + obligations, which require it to respect the core ILO Conventions in order to get European Union trade preferences." To read the full report: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/20091203094519-Microsoft_Word_-_Georgia_2009_final_.pdf . The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.

14.12.2009. President election in Abkhazia. The Sokhumi regime leader Sergey Baghapsh, leader in the yesterday's presidential elections in Abkhazia with 59,4%, once more declared that Abkhazia would never be a part of Georgia. As Apsni Press reports, the statement was made by Baghapsh on the press conference held after declaring the results of the presidential elections. "I well perceive that recognition of Abkhazia as independent state is a hard process. We have chosen our route no matter EU or USA like it or not. Abkhazia will never be a part of Georgia. We have found enough friends to have relations with," Baghapsh stated. The Sokhumi regime held presidential elections on 12 December. According to the data of the CEC of Abkhazia, Sergey Baghapsh wins gaining 59,4%.

15.12.2009. The Pacific island of Nauru recognized Abkhazia by establishing diplomatic ties with Sokhumi on December 15. Nauru is the forth country after Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to recognize Abkhazia's independence. Nauru is member of the UN.

16.12.2009. Nauru recognized South Ossetia by establishing diplomatic ties with Tskhinvali on December 16. Nauru is the forth country after Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to recognize South Ossetia's independence.

19.12.2009. South Ossetia released on Saturday three Georgian teenagers, two detained on November 4 and one in early July.

21.12.2009. Russian MFA: Blowing up WWII Memorial "Act of state vandalism". Russia's Foreign Ministry said that "barbaric" demolition of a World War II memorial in Georgia's second largest city of Kutaisi was "an act of state vandalism, insulting the feelings of any civilized person." "This sacrilege, committed in Kutaisi, is yet another disgraceful act by the current leadership in Tbilisi in its maniacal drive to erase historical memories of its own people," it said. A mother and her young daughter were killed in an explosion to demolish the 46-meter-high memorial aimed at making the way for a construction of a new building of the Parliament [19 December]. The victims were killed by lumps of concrete sent hurtling into the courtyard of their home. A chief technician of a Tbilisi-based private demolition company, SakPetkMretsvi, which was in charge of demolition of the memorial complex, was arrested. The prosecutor's office said security norms were violated. Some Georgian media reports suggest that the demolition could have been held hastily. Initially the demolition was reportedly planned for December 21; opposition parties, protesting against the authorities plans to tear down the memorial, were planning to hold a protest rally that day. (Source: Civil Georgia)

Opposition to hold demonstration in Kutaisi. Several leaders of the opposition have gathered at the Rose Revolution Square and left for the city of Kutaisi today. They are going to stage a demonstration against the 19 December accident in the city. They will condole with the family of the victims and tell citizens of Kutaisi that the city must become a university city and that it does not need the parliament, Temur Shashiasvhili, leader of the White Movement, told InterpressNews. Shashiashvili once again accused President Saakashvili of the 19 December tragedy. "All decisions are made by the President and all tragedies come from him, though others are always blamed", he said. Salome Zurabishvili, leader of the Way of Georgia, actors Gogi Kavtaradze, Dimitri Jaiani and others left for Kutaisi too. According to Temur Shashiashvili, the rest of the opposition will join them in Kutaisi.

24.12.2009. Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point between Russia and Georgia will be reopened tentatively in March, 2010, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry. A formal protocol on the decision to reopen the border will be signed within next two weeks, Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on December 24. Russia's federal agency in charge of border infrastructure (Rosgranitsa) said that the decision was reached during the meeting between Georgia and Russian officials on December 23 in Kazbegi, Georgia. The meeting was held with the mediation of diplomats from the Swiss embassy. The Anarchy of Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties after the August war. Land traffic between the two countries through Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point was closed by Russia in July, 2006; two other border crossing points are located in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but they are considered by Georgia to be operating illegally and entry into Georgia via Abkhazia and South Ossetia is banned by the Georgian law.

21.01.2010. Georgia in Human Rights Watch World Report. Human Rights Watch's World Report 2010, released on January 20, overviews major human rights trends in Georgia for last year mainly related to opposition's street protest rallies, police, criminal justice system and media freedom. A section of the voluminous report, which concerns Georgia, says that although the authorities "tolerated protracted protests" by the opposition parties in April-July, 2009, police used excessive force in number of cases and in this regard the report gives brief accounts of May 6 and June 15 incidents outside the Tbilisi police headquarters.

The report also notes on the series of incidents in April and early May involving attacks by unidentified men in civilian clothes, often armed with rubber truncheons and wearing masks, beating and threatening a number of individual demonstrators leaving protests at night. "The authorities opened over 50 individual cases, but failed to meaningfully investigate — suggesting acquiescence or support for such attacks," the report says. Human Rights Watch said that the Georgian Parliament in July passed "regressive amendments" to the administrative code increasing administrative detention, including for minor hooliganism and defying police orders, from 30 to 90 days. This measure, which apparently was made in response to the street protest rallies, "appears excessive given that pretrial detention for criminal charges is only 60 days," according to Human Rights Watch.

The report also notes that despite construction of new prisons and several presidential pardons, problem related with prison overcrowding still persists. "Although official statistics showed a decrease in the use of pretrial detention, the total number of prisoners increased to 19,504 by June 2009, a more than 50% increase since 2006. The frequent use of consecutive custodial sentencing is largely responsible for this increase," the report reads. On media freedom, the report notes mixed environment "with diverse print media, but nationwide television broadcasting limited to the state-owned public broadcaster and pro-government Rustavi 2 and Imedi stations." The report also says that lack of transparency of media ownership remains a concern. According to the report more than a year after the August 2008 war "impunity for violations of international humanitarian law by all sides " still remains. The report says that although the United States and European Union deepened their engagement and financial support of Georgia, they "failed to make full use of their leverage to ensure meaningful human rights improvements." Source: Civil Georgia.

17.02.2010. Moscow and Sokhumi signed on February 17 a number of treaties, including on "military and military-technical cooperation" setting terms of use of military base in Abkhazia for at least 45 years. The treaty with possibility of extending for 15 more years envisages creation of a joint Russian-Abkhaz military base in Abkhazia, Itar-Tass news agency reported quoting a Russian Defense Ministry source. "The agreement sets terms for joint use of the base by Russia and Abkhazia for the purpose of protecting sovereignty and security of the republic," the source was quoted. According to the Russian sources, Moscow currently has about 1,700 troops in breakaway Abkhazia. The treaty was signed after a meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh in Moscow.

Treaties on cooperation in the transport sphere, including on air traffic, as well as cooperation agreements against illegal migration and on joint measures during the emergency situations were also signed. Speaking at a joint news conference with Bagapsh, Medvedev said that the Abkhaz leader's official visit to Moscow marked a new milestone in bilateral relations. "We have passed a long way before signing these documents today – starting from the time when we were not yet recognized [by Russia, three other UN countries and the AIE]," Sergey Bagapsh said. "[Russian] state agencies were helping us much and very often. Today we are formalizing all these efforts." At the same press conference, Dmitry Medvedev said that President Saakashvili "is persona non grata for Russia." He said that despite of the August war, started by Saakashvili, he was sure that "sooner or later we will return to normal relations with Georgia." "It cannot be otherwise, but personally I will have nothing to do with the present President of Georgia," Medvedev added.

"This agreement creates a foundation for the development of Abkhazia as an independent state", Medvedev said at a signing ceremony in the Great Kremlin Palace. The Anarchist International and the Anarchist International Embassy mostly agree with Medvedev in this case. According to Reuters NATO swiftly called on Russia to reverse the deal, saying it violated the restrictions on military forces stipulated in the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement after the 2008 war. "We do not consider any agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the regions of Georgia as having any validity," the alliance's spokeswoman Carmen Romero said 17.02.2010. According to Reuters, "the European Union and NATO have repeatedly expressed concern that a Moscow-led military build-up in Abkhazia threatens Georgia's territorial integrity. It is also watched with unease by Western powers for its proximity to crucial energy routes which flow to the EU." Medvedev said the base would not violate Russia's international obligations. The Anarchist International and the Anarchist International Embassy mostly agree with Medvedev in this case.

As the Anarchist International and the Anarchist International Embassy a.o.t. are strong supporters of a) Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic membership of NATO in the present situation [but not for a world close to the anarchist ideal, but we are far from that today], and b) of NATO as a defender of democracy and based on democracy, the AI and AIE find this attack from the NATO spokeswoman on the independent countries of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and support for the right fascist system in Georgia, very wrong and an outdated "cold war" approach. The AI and AIE demand that NATO sticks to democracy, and not defends fascism! To sell out democracy for "crucial energy routes which flow to the EU" is not acceptable!

22.02.2010. Clinton urges closer NATO ties to Russia. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Monday for closer cooperation between Russia and NATO, the trans-Atlantic alliance that Moscow views with suspicion as a relic of the cold war and a potential threat to its security. In a speech launching an international seminar on revising NATO's mission for the 21st century, Clinton rejected Russian calls for a new European security treaty that Washington believes would lead to a diluting of NATO's influence in Europe and beyond. "Let me state this unambiguously: While Russia faces challenges to its security, NATO is not among them," she said. "We want a cooperative NATO-Russia relationship that produces concrete results and draws NATO and Russia closer together."

Among Russia's chief concerns is NATO's intention to offer membership to the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia in the long run. The anarchists say a clear NO to NATO-membership for Ukraine and Georgia, as long as they are totalitarian fascist states. Russia also is troubled by U.S. plans to place anti-missile defensive weapons in Romania and possibly other eastern European nations. The anarchists say a clear no to these anti-missile "defensive" weapons.

Clinton called for more military openness between NATO and Russia. Relations were frozen in the months after Russian and South Ossetian forces fought a war with Georgia, started by the Georgian militarist and right fascist Saakashvili-regime, in 2008. "European security will benefit if NATO and Russia are more open about our armaments, our military facilities, and our exercises," she said. "NATO and Russia should have a regular exchange of information on posture, doctrine, and planned military exercises, as well as specific measures to permit observation of military exercises and to allow visits to new or significantly improved military installations."

Later, in a question-and-answer session with her audience in a hotel ballroom, Clinton was asked whether she can imagine the day when Russia becomes a NATO member - given that the Soviet Union's military might was the reason NATO was created in 1949. "I can imagine it," she replied. "I'm not sure the Russians can imagine it." More broadly, Clinton said NATO needs to revise its basic doctrine, known as its "strategic concept," to take into account the changing nature of threats faced by alliance member countries. A group of experts led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is working to update NATO's strategic concept. It was last revised in 1999, before the alliance began substantial military operations beyond its borders - most notably in Afghanistan.

The new concept is expected to be formally adopted at an alliance summit in November 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. NATO nations had a major falling out over the Iraq war in 2003, with several, including France, Germany and Belgium, opposing it and blocking alliance participation. NATO's basic purpose has changed little, Clinton said. "I believe that the original tenets of NATO's mission - defending our nations, strengthening trans-Atlantic ties, and fostering European integration - still hold," she said. What needs to change is how the alliance pursues its goals, she added. "As any good soldier knows, success in a protracted struggle is not simply a matter of having more troops or better equipment. It's also a function of how effectively you adapt to new circumstances," she said. "You don't win by fighting the last war."

She cited the example of recognizing that NATO is now engaged in combating security threats far beyond the borders of its member nations. "Many threats we face have little or no respect for borders," she said. "Whether we're battling piracy, the menace of terrorism, or the prospect of weapons proliferation, we must be prepared to address new dangers regardless of where they originate."

28.02.2010. For a velvet revolt and velvet revolution in Georgia. The Anarchist International, and its Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFG, i.e. a loose network of subscribers/networkmembers associated with AI, once more call for a velvet revolution and velvet revolt in the country. So far the support for the Georgian opposition is estimated to about 25-35% of the people in the country, seen as a class as opposed to the superiors in rank and/or income. Thus the opposition movement has so far not got sufficient momentum

i) to  do away with the right-fascist, ultra-authoritarian and totalitarian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili and his nazi light National Movement party, and

ii) to introduce a more libertarian system, on the road to real democracy in Georgia, economically and political/administrative.

Furthermore, the opposition is split regarding organizations and strategy, and to some extent also aims. The opposition is too much political party based, and too little a grassroots-movement and organization based on workers, farmers and students - the people, and their interest - real democracy. The opposition groups and their spokespersons, must

a) unite regarding aims and strategy on a program towards real democracy, and

b) create a broad based opposition network-organization based on workers, farmers and students - the people,

c) with a critical mass, i.e. support from more than 50% of the population,

d) to do away with the right-fascist regime of Saakashvili, say, via mass demonstrations and/or a referendum about the system.

The Anarchist International and its Georgian section, LFG, strongly call on the Georgian opposition in general, to implement this program a) - d), and via a velvet revolt and velvet revolution do away with the right fascist regime once and for all.

The Anarchist International and its Georgian section, LFG, strongly calls on the Georgian opposition in general, to implement this program a)-d), and via a velvet revolt and velvet revolution do away with the right fascist regime once and for all.

This resolution from IIFOR and AI is also published as a comment to an article at Radio Liberty, at the Georgian pages, see http://www.rferl.org/content/Saakashvili_Says_Georgia_Will_Survive_Putin_Era/1969621.html . It is also a link to this issue of IJA in the comment.

01.03.2010. Georgia reopens border crossing with Russia. A mountain pass between Georgia and Russia has reopened in a rare sign of cooperation between the former Soviet neighbors. The Verkhny Lars border crossing is effectively the only land frontier as the others run through the Russian-backed independent countries Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

IIFOR says the decision to reopen the border is more economic than political, benefitting mainly traders from Russia's landlocked economic ally Armenia. Moscow closed the crossing in 2006 as relations soured with Georgia's pro-Western government, climaxing in a five-day war two years ago when Russian armed forces and South Ossetian militia crushed the right-fascist Georgia's militarist assault on South Ossetia. As a result of the conflict Russia cut air links with Georgia and Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties. Several charter flights between the two countries have been operating since the start of the year although full air links have yet to resume.

Saakashvili defends his right fascist system, but says has no intention to stay in power after 2013. President Saakashvili ruled out any scenario that would enable him to stay in power after his second and final presidential term expires in 2013. In an interview with Russian weekly, Kommersant Vlast, Saakashvili, responding to a question what may change in Russia-Georgia relations till 2013 taking into view the Russian leadership's stance that it will not have ties with Saakashvili, the Georgian President said:"Who told them [the Russian leadership] that the present Georgian leadership will exist only before 2013?" "Yes, I won't be running for presidency, but it does not at all mean that the ideology, which I represent [i.e. right fascism], will not remain a priority for the Georgian population. There won't be Saakashvili, but there will be some one else, but the course will remain the same," he said. LFG comments: "We hope not!"

Asked what would be his plans after 2013 and if he would try to introduce the parliamentary system, Saakashvili responded: "The last thing what I will do is to tailor the constitution under myself." "I think that there should be strong presidential system in Georgia. Each person has certain resources and by 2013 I, as the leader of the country, will probably have my resource exhausted. Maybe, resources will be restored after several years. I do not know."  "But, anyway, it is correct that there are limits on presidential term. I do not think that Georgia will become a parliamentary republic. We face so many challenges today. Reforms, which we were implementing, required concentration of power in order to prevent a situation wherein a small group could block serious reforms. But any government should be balanced by free media and other institutions. It is impossible to have a free country without it," Saakashvili said.

"But Georgia is not a free country, but has a right fascist totalitarian and extremist regime, ruled by the big boss/arch Saakashvili", a spokesperson for the Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFG, associated to Anarchist International, declares, and adds: "For a velvet revolution soon!"

04.03.2010. The Anarchist International supports of course an autonomous and independent development in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. An interesting report of Radio Liberty 24.02. 2010 underlines this:

Interview: Breakaway region's leader says South Ossetia 'building independence'

Eduard Kokoity, the leader of South Ossetia, has denied speculation that the breakaway Georgian region will merge into Russia. Kokoity sat down in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz with RFE/RL Echo of the Caucasus correspondent Oleg Kusov to discuss the future of the region, his government's work to rebuild its tattered infrastructure, and local politics.

RFE/RL: Inside Russia and abroad people have been discussing the future of South Ossetia. Some are saying that a possible scenario is the unification with North Ossetia in the Russian Federation. Others speak of South Ossetia as developing as an independent state.

Eduard Kokoity: The people of South Ossetia conducted a referendum on this topic and expressed themselves clearly and precisely. And it is not by chance that the Republic of South Ossetia was recognized as an independent state. This is logical. And that is why we are now building our independence, a free state. We are obliged and grateful to the Russian Federation. Russia is our main strategic partner and this has been the case for many centuries. Today Russia is doing everything it can so that South Ossetia can get up on its feet on its own as an independent state. Of course, there are a lot of people who want to accuse Russia of annexing foreign territory, but nothing remotely like that is going on here. Russia today is establishing interstate relations with us, is signing interstate agreements. States that are trying to annex foreign territory -- like many in the West suppose -- never sign such high-level interstate agreements or strictly fulfill them. So we are now building an independent Republic of South Ossetia.

RFE/RL: Let's talk about reconstruction work. Some -- particularly in the opposition -- are saying that no such work is going on.

Kokoity: As far as the so-called opposition is concerned -- the opposition is within South Ossetia. But there is also a handful of offended people who use the pages of various newspapers here and in Russia to present themselves as an opposition -- they are practically all former South Ossetia bureaucrats who failed to cope with their direct responsibilities. These are offended people. As for the reconstruction of South Ossetia, this work is proceeding. Perhaps not at the tempo that a lot of people would like, definitely. There are some people who, if you listen to them, think it was possible to reconstruct South Ossetia in two months. Others said it could be done in a year.

But this state -- its entire infrastructure -- was destroyed over the course of 20 years. We aren't talking about a five-day war. Practically all the documentation was destroyed. So we are restoring all this today. We are approaching this matter in a very comprehensive way. But today we see efforts to discredit the leadership of South Ossetia, to accuse them of embezzlement -- this is being done by dishonest people. Practically all of South Ossetia has been turned into one big construction site. We are restoring residential housing. The house and housing that we are building now in South Ossetia for our citizens are significantly more modern and have more living space and better conveniences. We aren't talking about one-room flats with an entrance hall and a toilet. We are building practically complete, attractive, and modern European housing.

Second, we are practically building all utilities from scratch. This is because the utilities date from 1957, from the days of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Since 1957, they have not been renovated. We now have to create the electrical grid. We are building roads. But these things are hard to publicize -- they aren't very glamorous. For instance, we reworked some enormous hills in order to build a road in the Leningorsky region. This year we will begin construction of roads in the Naursky region and road construction in Kvaisa. In order to expand and improve the state economy as a whole, we have to undertake some serious projects, including international ones.

Of course, this primarily means with the Russian Federation and today we are preparing to sign off on a series of projects, including providing for trade relations with the Russian Federation, customs relations. This will help develop the economy of South Ossetia as a whole.

Russian connections

RFE/RL: There was a lot of noise recently when a Russian news agency reported that Vadim Brovtsev, the Russian businessman who heads the South Ossetian government, plans to resign.

Kokoity: I really don't even want to comment on that, since Vadim Brovtsev and I have very good relations. He is an excellent professional. This report is the desire of many people who do not want the best for South Ossetia. It is an effort by people to create tension between the Russian Federation and South Ossetia, for the most part. After all, it was because of my request to the Russian Federation that this Russian specialist was chosen to head the government of South Ossetia. Since financing is coming from the Russian Federation, we are very interested that Russia itself exercise control over those funds. And in the very near future, specialists from the Audit Chamber of Russia will be invited in order to lay to rest all these rumors.

The constant visits to us and the complete understanding and support of the leadership of the Russian Audit Chamber are evidence that the leadership of South Ossetia has nothing to hide. We are working absolutely honestly. There are efforts to smear us, to discredit us, first of all, in the eyes of the Russian public. But we won't let these forces do that. As far as Vadim Brovtsev is concerned, he has made no such statements. Our most recent meeting with the presidium of the parliament showed that the government and the legislature of South Ossetia are ready to work together constructively.

'Laughable' rights activist

RFE/RL: Another story that is getting a lot of attention in the media is the arrest on arms-possession charges of the human rights activist Fatima Margiyeva, editor of the newspaper "Pozitsiya."

Kokoity: I think it is laughable to consider such people human rights activists. If a mother rejects her own children, can she be a human rights activist? I have had dealings with Margiyeva for a long time, going back to when she practically took for herself the funds that I personally transferred to her to organize an intellectual club for students. Is there in South Ossetia an intellectual club for students created under the project of the president of South Ossetia with funds transferred to Margiyeva? Of course not. Then they found in her house -- not again because of some order from the top -- such an arsenal in her home. And suddenly she becomes a human rights advocate. There is the law -- and this is not a question of the president, a question for the president. There is the law and the justice system. The justice system will sort this out.

And every criminal tries to turn themselves into some sort of great human rights activist or some sort of great opposition figure, primarily to attract attention to themselves and also to discredit us, of course. Margiyeva has violated the law many times. Even when she had signed a pledge not to leave the country without informing judicial authorities, she repeatedly traveled beyond the borders of South Ossetia. As far as civil society in South Ossetia is concerned, that civil society is pretty solid and serious. In this regard, I will completely support nongovernmental organizations. But on the other hand, there are some leaders of so-called nongovernmental organizations who start saying all sorts of nonsense like that they are paying taxes to the budget of the republic of South Ossetia. Sometimes this is even funny.

I will definitely gather them all together. I just feel ashamed for them when they are lying in front of the whole world. The president has a special state adviser on work with nongovernmental organizations. And those nongovernmental organizations who meet us halfway, who work with us, they are satisfied and they don't have any problems. We will support them. We don't want nongovernmental organizations to be, as we call them today, "controlled." We want them to be involved in all spheres. I just would urge everyone to observe basic decency, that's all.

13.03.2010. Fake report sparks protests in Georgia. It seems that one Georgian television station Saturday may have made a serious error in judgment in its search for ratings. As part of a new talkshow, it broadcast a fake report, saying that Russian tanks had entered the capital and that President Mikheil Saakashvili had been killed. All somewhat believable, bearing in mind the history of animosity between Russia plus South Ossetian militia and Georgia. Once viewers found out they had been the victims of TV trickery, they converged on the station, protesting angrily. One angry lady shouted: "Just tell me, how could they do this? It's disgusting!" Another man was equally outraged: "When the situation is so tense, it's a criminal act to make jokes on these topics. They should answer for this, in court." Saakashvili sent a spokeswoman to rebuke the show, saying viewers should have been warned on-screen and in advance that the report was not real. For many Georgians, it stirred up memories of the conflict over South Ossetia between the two countries a year and a half ago, which displaced 200,000 people. The LFG and AI condemn this bad taste joke.

14.03.2010. There is outrage in Georgia over the fake TV report that caused widespread panic by claiming that a Russian invasion was underway. As mentioend angry viewers besieged the private station Imedi TV when they realized the report was a hoax. It touched a raw nerve in a country where memories are still fresh of the five-day war with Russia and South Ossetian militia in 2008. Critics accused the channel of pro-government propaganda. "The aim was to blacken people's names and demonstrate who are the 'true patriots'," said Nino Burjanadze, a spokesperson of the Georgian opposition. Some of President Saakashvili's opponents recently met Russian leaders in Moscow and called for the two countries to restore ties.

"People won't forgive it," said Burjanadze, "Saakashvili was behind it". As mentioned the President's spokeswoman said the TV report should have carried a proper warning. The programme said it was a simulation of possible events, to show what the worst day in Georgian history might look like. But the information was lost on many. Imedi TV used archives from the 2008 conflict when Russian and South Ossetian militia crushed an assault by Georgia on the independent country South Ossetia. Russian tanks came to within 45 kilometres of Tbilisi. The spoof programme prompted pandemonium by saying that this time they had entered the Georgian capital and as mentionend, that President Saakashvili had been killed.

The paranoid rightwing extremist and right fascist President Saakashvili said on Sunday that Imedi TV's fake report as if Russian troops advanced to take over Tbilisi with the opposition's help "was maximally close to what may really happen." Speaking at a meeting with local residents in the Bolnisi district, Saakashvili said that it was "unpleasant what we saw yesterday" and added that the TV station, despite making a brief notice in advance that it was "a simulation", should had ran a warning caption on the screen in the course of the entire report. "But the major unpleasant thing about the yesterday's report - and I want everyone to realize it well - was that this report is maximally close to reality and maximally close to what may really happen, or to what Georgia's enemy keeps in mind," Saakashvili said. The Anarchist International and the Libertarian Federation of Georgia condemn this paranoid speculation of Saakashvili.

22.03.2010. A part of the opposition agrees to work on joint tactics. A part of the opposition gathered on March 22 at a meeting initiated by the Labor Party and agreed to establish a joint working group to work on joint tactics on how to, as they put it, promptly change the current authorities. Apart from the Labor Party, the meeting was attended by Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Levan Gachechiladze, leader of Defend Georgia; ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, as well as representatives of his political partner parties – Conservatives and Party of People. Gogi Topadze, leader of Industrialist Party and Tbilisi mayoral candidate and representative from Party of Freedom also participated.

Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of Labor Party, said after the meeting that the participants had agreed on text of an appeal to the international community calling for holding an international conference to discuss two issues: "end of the dictatorship and restoration of democracy in Georgia and second - restoration of Georgia's territorial integrity." "Taking into consideration need for coordination between the opposition parties, we have decided to establish a working group, which will prepare strategy for a prompt change of the authorities," Shalva Natelashvili said.

He said that it was decided to appoint Giorgi Khaindrava from public movement Defend Georgia as chairman of the joint working group. Khaindrava said that he would launch consultations not only with those parties, which participated in the meeting, but also with others, "who seriously want to participate in the struggle." "This struggle will be very sharp and difficult and it will definitely end with the success of the Georgian people and for that to happen, we need to elaborate a joint action plan," Khaindrava said. Alliance for Georgia, National Forum, Georgia's Way, as well as Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, refused to participate in the meeting. One of the reasons cited by these parties was presence of Zurab Nogaideli's party at the meeting.

"Regardless of political sympathies or antipathies we should all stand by each other in this struggle. Let's chose political partners, when the time for choice will come. There is no time for choosing from whom to take water when you have to fight against fire," Nino Burjanadze said at the meeting. Koka Guntsadze, who is a member of Irakli Alasania's party, part of Alliance for Georgia, was present at the meeting. Guntsadze, however, said that he was there in an individual capacity, not representing either Alasania's party or Alliance for Georgia. The Anarchist International and the Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFR, welcome the efforts to create a joint tactic for increased libertarian degree in Georgia, and remind of the progressive anarchist policy vis-a-vis Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

25.03.2010. NATO: Fake TV report 'unwise'. A fake news report by Georgian television station, Imedi, on March13 was "unwise" and "unhelpful", James Appathurai, the NATO spokesman, said on Wednesday. He made the remarks after asked at a news conference in Brussels if NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, would raise the issue when he meets President Saakashvili on March 25. "I do not know what he [the Secretary General] intends to raise, but I do know, that from NATO's point of view this hoax television broadcast was unwise, unhelpful and, let's say, not seen positively within NATO," Appathurai said. Asked if the fake news report could have any effect on Georgia's eventual NATO membership, Appathurai responded that these two issues should not be linked. "Georgia's membership in NATO is certainly not for tomorrow; there are fundamental and I think long-term reforms that need to take place," he said. "This television broadcast has taken place; it is now finished, but if you are to ask what NATO thinks of it, the answer would not be approval."

26.03.2010. Georgian activists demand release of political prisoners. Dozens of Georgian opposition activists held a protest in Tbilisi demanding the immediate release of political prisoners, RFE/RL's Russian and Georgian Services report. The protest was organized by an opposition alliance consisting of the For A Just Georgia movement, the People's Party, and the Conservative Party. People's Party leader Koba Davitashvili told RFE/RL that many political activists have been jailed on politically motivated criminal charges. He said they should all be released. The Anarchist International and the Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFR, demand release of all political prisoners in Georgia!

30.03.2010. Tenth round of Geneva talks. Negotiators held tenth round of Geneva talks on March 30 and agreed to meet for the next round of talks on June 8. "Against the background of a relatively calm and stable general situation, it was noted that tensions continue to exist," co-mediators, Antti Turunen of the UN, Pierre Morel of the EU and Bolat Nurgaliyev, the special envoy of the Kazakh OSCE chairmanship, said in a joint statement. "It was highlighted that provocative actions and rhetorics are not helpful for the ongoing efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground and should therefore be avoided," they said. According to co-mediators, during the tenth round of talks the participants continued discussion on different draft proposals related to the non-use of force and international security arrangements. The issue of missing and detained persons was also discussed.

According to co-mediators the participants welcomed the ongoing contribution by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg, who has mediated release of several Georgian and South Ossetian detainees and has also sent two experts to oversee investigations to find out whereabouts of those persons from the both side, who are missing since the August war; the focus is now made on three Ossetians missing since October, 2008. "The participants also reviewed the issue of release of all detainees, and agreed that a solution leading to a release of all would be a further positive development," co-mediators said. On March 29 and March 30 Tbilisi released six persons - four residents of breakaway South Ossetia and two Russian citizens from North Ossetia.

01.04.2020. Public defender unveils 2H'09 human rights report. The Public Defender's Office submitted this week a report on human rights record in Georgia covering second half of 2009. A significant part of the 328-page report addresses situation in the prison system and detention centers, saying that penitentiary system "still remains one of the problematic issues." The report says that "extremely overcrowded" cells represents one of the major problems. The report lists eight facilities where number of inmates exceeds its capacity limit. "Overcrowding in several facilities causes unbearable conditions, which in some cases can be described as inhuman treatment of inmates," the report reads. The Public Defender's Office says that although ongoing process of building new facilities will help to ease the problem, it is not a solution. The report instead calls on the authorities to drop the policy of "zero tolerance" towards any type of offense.

The report notes increase of complaints submitted by inmates to the Public Defender's Office about their mistreatment by prison officials. In respect of the judiciary system, the report says that the Public Defender's Office has analyzed number of criminal and administrative cases heard by the courts. "Lack of proper justification of interim rulings and final verdicts represent one of the most problematic issues in the judiciary system," the report reads. It says that during the analyzing of criminal cases heard in the courts, this problem has been revealed for multiple times "indicating that insufficient justification of decisions is a systematic problem." ccording to the report it "often" happens, when a judge declines motions submitted by defendant's attorney lawyer, simply citing that motions are unjustified, but a judge does not give a detailed explanation. n respect of police, the report says that there have been cases of mistreatment of detainees by the police in the reporting period.

The Public Defender's previous report, covering the first half of 2009, noted increase of such cases, as well as misuse of power by the police in western Georgia. The same trend is observed in the second half of 2009 as well," the report says. The report says that the Public Defender's Office is aware of seven cases of physical and verbal assaults on religious minority groups that took place in the reporting period with six of them against Jehovah's Witnesses and one against evangelical Protestant group.
The report says that no one has been held responsible for this type of assaults in the reporting period. The Anarchist International and the Libertarian Federation of Georgia, LFR, demand stop in human rights abuses in Georgia.

15.04.2010. Opposition rally outside parliament. Several hundred people gathered outside the parliament at an opposition-organized rally on April 15 "to express solidarity" towards "political prisoners" and "persons held in prisons illegally." The rally was a follow-up to a joint appeal, which a large group of opposition parties, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary, made earlier this week calling on international community and Tbilisi-based foreign diplomats in an attempt to highlight the problem of "persons held for political reasons." Although protesters briefly blocked the Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament,  the rally dispersed peacefully with no incidents reported. The Anarchist International, the Libertarian Federation of Georgia, and the Anarchist International Embassy in solidarity back the 'joint appeal' and the rally.

30.04.2010. Protesters blocked on April 30 Tbilisi's main thoroughfares, Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square, for more than an hour demanding release of "political prisoners" and "illegally arrested persons". The rally was dispersed peacefully by the evening; organizers said they would again hold demonstration on May 6.

06.05.2010. Police state. Several protesters and some policemen were injured in a clash on May 6 as a group of opposition activists tried to make their way towards the Interior Ministry building where police forces were marking newly proclaimed Day of Police with a parade. Nino Burjanadze's party, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, which was one of the organizers of the May 6 protest rally, said in a statement that "private police" of Vano Merabishvili, the interior minister, and President Saakashvili "staged a bloody St. George's Day". "With today's [police] parade, the authorities confirmed once again that the police and the army are means of political pressure," Burjanadze's party said in the statement.

Opposition groups, including Levan Gachechiladze's public movement Defend Georgia; National Council (Conservative Party, Party of People and Movement for Fair Georgia); Nino Burjanadze's Democratic Movement-United Georgia, announced on May 3 about the plans to hold the protest rally against the government's decision to proclaim May 6 as the Police Day. The first reason, cited by them, was that May 6 is celebrated as St. George's Day and the second reason, they said, was that May 6 also marks the one year anniversary of a confrontation that took place at Tbilisi police headquarters in which dozens of protesters were injured when the police fired projectiles at the demonstrators. The LFG condemns the violent ochlarchy, and mainly the police ochlarchy.

08.05.2010. Medvedev: Good Russian-Georgian relations will be restored. In a message to the Georgian citizens, congratulating with the Victory Day, the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, Medvedev expressed confidence that "good, open and constructive relations, based on solid foundation of cultural, spiritual and historical ties" will be restored between Georgia and Russia. "Any attempt to destroy Russian-Georgian friendship is doomed for a failure," the message, posted on the Kremlin website on May 8, reads. Fighting fascism side-by-side in World War II, the message reads, is of a special importance "in our common and multi-century history of relations between the Russian and Georgian people."

Medvedev also says in the message that memory of those fallen in fight against fascism obliges Russian and Georgian people "to take care of traditions of friendship, good neighborly relations and mutual assistance." "It was no accident that a sacrilegious action of the current [right fascist] regime in Tbilisi to destroy World War II heroes' memorial in Kutaisi triggered a wave of outrage. I am sure that any attempt to destroy Russian-Georgian friendship is doomed for a failure. Like the memorial in Kutaisi will be recreated [in Moscow], good, open and constructive relations between our countries will also be restored… It can't be otherwise," Medvedev says. The Russian President also sent two separate congratulating messages to the leaders Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

18.05.2010. Labor Party calls for election boycott. Labor Party, led by Shalva Natelashvili, again called on the opposition parties to withdraw from the race and boycott 30 May local elections. "I am calling once again and finally to our dear colleagues from the opposition: do not become part of a trap – with the name local elections - set by the terrorist regime with a purpose to save itself," Shalva Natelashvili said on May 18. "Let's thwart [through boycotting] these so called elections, which will amount to an inevitable end of the current authorities," he said. Natelashvili also claimed that the authorities, through the Interior Ministry's operatives, were offering his party EUR 4 million in an attempt to convince the Labor Party to run in the elections. Natelashvili, along with his three other party members, is formally a lawmaker; but MPs from the Labor Party are boycotting the Parliament and have not participated in any of its sittings. Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze's Democratic Movement-United Georgia, as well as National Forum party is also boycotting the local elections.

30.05.2010. Euronews-Reuters reports: Georgia leader seen passing first post-war vote test. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is expected to pass his first electoral test since a 2008 war with Russia on Sunday, aided by a fragmented opposition that has struggled to capitalise on public anger over his rule. The municipal vote, which will include the first ever election for mayor of the capital Tbilisi, is also being seen as an early test for potential successors to Saakashvili, who is due to step down in 2013 after a decade in power. Relations with former Soviet master Russia remain fraught, with some opposition leaders calling for closer ties in the hope of ending a Russian embargo on Georgian wine and mineral water, and restoring direct flights between the countries.

But an opinion poll showed that jobs and poverty top the list of voter concerns. The Georgian economy contracted by 3.9 percent last year. "I'll vote for a candidate who offers a better economic and social programme because unemployment, low salaries and pensions, as well as medical insurance, are the main concern for ordinary people," said 68-year old pensioner Khatuna Mumladze. Three election blocs and 14 political parties will battle for the support of 3.5 million eligible voters for seats in 64 municipal councils, including one in the capital. Voting will begin at 8 a.m. (5 a.m. British time) and polls are due to close at 8 p.m. Western support for the 42-year-old Saakashvili has waned over his record on democracy and the war, when an assault by Georgia's U.S.-trained military on the rebel region of South Ossetia triggered a crushing Russian counterstrike. Saakashvili says he has created a model democracy in a region dominated by rigged polls and long-serving authoritarian leaders. Critics accuse him of monopolising power, marginalising the opposition and manipulating the media.

RULING PARTY IN POLE POSITION. Saakashvili faced down months of protests last year but his [right fascist - nazi light] United National Movement still enjoys solid support. Opponents are threatening to take to the streets again if they deem the vote unfair, but serious disturbances are not expected. "This is the first chance we've had to gauge the level of support that the government has after the 2008 war," said Lawrence Sheets of the International Crisis Group think-tank. Because the opposition is dogged by differences and does not have a coherent platform, however, it has struggled to present voters with an attractive alternative to Saakashvili's rule.

Opinion polls by the respected U.S. National Democratic Institute and other Western organizations suggest the ruling party will win most of Sunday's polls comfortably. Gigi Ugulava, a member of the ruling party, looks likely to retain his post as mayor of Tbilisi — seen as a potential springboard to the presidency. His closest challenger appears to be Irakly Alasania, a mild-mannered former U.N. envoy. Western monitors found serious shortcomings in the 2008 presidential vote and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is sending more than 300 observers for Sunday's poll. The West is keen to stabilise the volatile South Caucasus, a transit route for oil and gas to Europe.

Later: Results of two separate exit polls, commissioned by three Georgian largest broadcasters and released shortly after the polling stations were closed at 8pm, put incumbent Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava from the right fascist - nazi light - United National Movement, Mikheil Saakashvili's party, far ahead of his opposition rivals.

31.05.2010. Days before final election results. The local councils are constituted of both party-list and individual mandate seats and it is likely to be several days before a comprehensive picture emerges of how much power Saakashvili's right fascist - nazi light - United National Movement, will be able to wield. The election observers' mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said elections "marked evident progress toward meeting international standards, but significant shortcomings remain to be addressed." A statement from the mission cited systemic problems in some regions of the country including ballot-box stuffing. It also criticized many television stations for bias in campaign coverage, although it said the country's public broadcasting company had balanced coverage.

Early results Monday from the nationwide local elections in Georgia showed candidates from President Mikheil Saakashvili's party dominating. The most closely watched contest is for mayor of the capital Tbilisi, the first time the post has been determined in a direct election. The Central Elections Commission said incumbent Gigi Ugulava, a Saakashvili ally, had about 54 percent, more than 20 percentage points ahead of his nearest challenger. That was based on tallies from about 55 percent of the city's voting stations.

Saakashvili weathered weeks of demonstrations last spring demanding his resignation. The brief 2008 war, started by Saakashvili, saw Russia drive deep into Georgian territory and two separate territories break entirely with Georgia. The war damaged Saakashvili's reputation, which already was tarnished by complaints that he was showing an authoritarian streak. But the opposition lost luster when last spring's protests fizzled out inconclusively and opposition factions have not been able to coalesce into a unified front. The right fascist system in Georgia seems to prevail.

02.06.2010. RFE/RL reports: Georgia's ruling party wins local election. Georgia's Central Election Commission today released the final results of municipal elections that show President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement won the May 30 poll. Three election blocs and 14 political parties competed for seats in 64 municipal councils. The [right fascist] United National Movement received almost 66 percent of the votes and its candidate, incumbent Gigi Ugulava, won the first-ever election for mayor of the capital, Tbilisi. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) observer mission said in a statement that the election was "transparent" and marked "evident progress towards meeting international standards." But the statement added that "significant shortcomings remain to be addressed." It noted "systemic irregularities," including several cases of ballot-box stuffing and an "uneven playing field favoring contestants from the incumbent party."

Ghia Nodia: Unusually quiet elections mark end of revolutionary cycle in Georgia. Georgia's May 30 municipal elections marked the end of a political cycle that began in the fall of 2007, when the country's opposition collectively decided that since it was impossible to change the regime of President Mikheil Saakashvili by means of elections, it needed to mobilize popular discontent to achieve the same result. In short, a replay of the Rose Revolution that brought Saakashvili to power in November 2003. There have been three such attempts. The first, in November 2007, culminated in the dispersal by force of demonstrators who were demanding Saakashvili's resignation. The TV channel Imedi, on which the opposition had relied heavily to mobilize support, was vandalized and closed down. On that occasion, the authorities were badly rattled. The president even resigned in order to schedule presidential elections one year earlier than necessary, and he won them, although it took quite an effort.

The second attempt was in the spring of 2008 when the opposition launched a hunger strike to protest what it was convinced was the falsification of the presidential ballot, hoping that such a dramatic move would galvanize the people. But the authorities calculated -- correctly -- that no one was ready to die for political ideals. An appeal from the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church made it possible for the opposition to end their protest without losing face. The war with Russia in August 2008 gave the revolutionaries new hope: They inferred that the West had finally lost all illusions about Saakashvili and would not oppose his departure, so all they needed to do was to apply a modicum of pressure. But "Misha" and his team responded coolly and in an organized fashion to last year's spring offensive, and the opposition found themselves back where they started.

The municipal elections were brought forward by six months and the prize of direct elections for the post of Tbilisi mayor was created specifically to lure the revolutionaries into normal electoral politics. The plan proved successful beyond all expectations: The public had lost faith in the viability of revolution, while opposition had lost its orientation and disintegrated into numerous splinter groups. It proved unable to pose a serious challenge to the party of power even in the Tbilisi mayoral elections, although objectively speaking it could have done so.

Breaking a trend. Many in Georgia consider the past three years as a sort of inoculation against the syndrome of permanent revolution. The myth that if you gathered a few tens of thousands of angry citizens outside the parliament building and demanded the government's resignation, the government would comply without fail, was demolished in November 2007. The nation's next inoculation was against political hunger strikes: they are one bluff that no one believes in any longer. Last year it became clear that you can't topple the regime by a prolonged siege. The authorities may even give you temporary use of Tbilisi's main thoroughfare, but that won't cause the country to fall apart.

The authorities managed to fracture a historic trend: extreme radicalism ceased to be a winning strategy. The results of the most recent elections confirm this. Of the various opposition parties, it was the moderate wing comprising the Alliance for Georgia and Christian Democrats that achieved relative success, while the radical National Council polled only 7-8 percent of the vote. How long will the inoculation prove effective? We don't know yet. What we can say is that today the Saakashvili leadership can breathe more or less easily for the first time for the past several years.

There are two years to go until the next (parliamentary) elections, the radical opposition has fallen into a depression, there has already been one war with Russia and there is no indication at present there will be another, and there are signs that Georgia is emerging from economic crisis. True, no real progress toward resolving the twin problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is likely or even possible in the foreseeable future, but there is a positive side to the deadlock: one fewer major problem on the agenda. The one danger lies within the leadership itself: if it allows itself to sit back and relax, it could start to make mistakes.

On the horizon. What will dominate domestic politics over the next two years? The most interesting, and objectively the most important development will be the preparations for the transfer of power. In the almost 20 years since Georgia became independent, there has not been a single constitutional transfer of power. Everyone remembers that and will be watching closely how events unfold as the time comes for Saakashvili to leave office. Mikheil Saakashvili's second and final term ends in 2013, and he has publicly stated many times that he will respect the constitutional limitations. But his enemies both at home and abroad make no secret of the fact that they are hoping for the worst case scenario. Saakashvili "will not simply step down," or if he does, the "Rose revolutionaries" will turn on each other. In any event, everything will end in yet another standoff.

People are already speculating that a conflict is brewing between influential Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and Gigi Ugulava, who by virtue of his reelection as Tbilisi mayor has the best chances of succeeding to the presidency. There are no visible indications whatsoever to substantiate such speculation, but what else is there left to hope for besides a split at the very top? A second group of skeptics predicts a repeat of the Russian scenario: Saakashvili formally steps down as president but remains in power, as former Russian President Vladimir Putin has done under nominal President Dmitry Medvedev. The future is unpredictable, but it is fair to assume that after the May 30 elections, people will forget about the opposition for a while as all eyes are turned on the real or imagined contradictions within the government.

Ghia Nodia is professor of politics at Ilia State University. The views expressed in this commentary are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.

04.02.2011. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC. Georgia: Life toll to neo-liberal "success" policies. Georgian authorities are often very proud with the evaluation of the business climate in their country in the annual report "Doing Business" of the World Bank Group. Currently Georgia ranks 12th of 183 countries (2011), up one place from last year, just in front of Finland (13), Sweden (14) and much ahead of Germany (22nd). The tragic events in the mines of Tkibuli in the last several months, however, reveal a staggering picture about the social impact and human costs of the "success" story. [Georgia has a right fascist system, also with a neo-liberal tendency, but the system is all in all ultra-authoritarian fascist and not a form of liberalism!]

On 22 January 2011 an explosion in the Tkibuli Mindeli mine took the life of one of the miners and sent several others with heavy injuries into intensive care. The accident did not come as much of surprise, as there was information of a concentration of methane gas of over 6%. The miners refused to go down the mine but were forced by the company management. In the preceding days, two other brigades were similarly forced down the pits despite the obviously dangerous conditions.

The grim record of this way of operation of the company sends chilling signals for the future: nine lives lost in the last nine months and many more injured. It also reveals the deeply embedded cynicism and lack of any sense of responsibility in the conditions of "doing business" in Georgia. This is a hardly surprising result when one takes into account the unique labor law that cuts across workers and trade union rights, that discourages collective bargaining and has erased any monitoring and control of conditions of work along with the specialized institutions for that purpose. Georgia is a unique case of a country where labor inspection has been abolished. Also, not surprisingly the labor law is the focus of complaints and of criticism by the the ILO since it was adopted in 2006.

After the last case at the Tkibuli Mindeli mine, the workers went on strike for protection of their rights and of the victims of the reckless policy of the management. The ITUC is very concerned about the developments in Georgia, which are beginning to influence the emerging labor relations system in other countries in the region. The ITUC strongly supports the actions of the workers of Metallurgical, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers Trade Union, a member of affiliate GTUC, to make the management and authorities respect the rights of all workers in Georgia. The ITUC is also continuing to apply pressure in support of ILO recommendations to bring the labor law and related legislation into conformity with international labor standards. At its second meeting the ITUC Human and Trade Union Rights Committee included Georgia as the country where workers' rights are at risk.

"While the unions have been recognized and an agreement signed in Tkibuli, this happened only after the workers took radical industrial action. There are plenty of other companies in Georgia where workers are denied their rights," said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary. "This situation must be changed. The labor laws must be brought into conformity with Georgia's international obligations, pressure on unionists must be stopped and the special agency supervising  labor conditions must be reinstated," she added. The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 301 affiliated national organizations from 151 countries and territories.

05.05.2011. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC. Georgia: Europe's black sheep for workers' rights. Georgia is rapidly becoming the black sheep [i.e. blue & brown ochlarchy & right-fascism] of workers' rights in Europe. The workers are being pressed to work in unhealthy and dangerous environments, trade union activists are being dismissed, and trade union leaders are being harassed and threatened. The whole existence of independent trade union organizations is put at risk. This coming Friday 6 June there is a country hearing on Georgia in Brussels. Fifty people representing trade union organizations and NGOs from all over Europe will come together to discuss the serious problems concerning human and trade union rights in Georgia.

"Ten years ago we witnessed in the post-Soviet union area the same brutal union busting as we now see in Georgia," said Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the ITUC. "We will continue supporting the Georgian Trade Union Confederation and would not hesitate to use all the International and European instruments we possess to confront the anti-unionism policy of the Georgian government. We did so in the Belarus case that finally led to the withdrawal of the European GSP because of workers' rights violations. Our US affiliate the AFL-CIO has already initiated the investigation procedure by the US government regarding respect of the workers' rights in Georgia," she added.

Despite numerous promises to the International Labour Organisation [UN] and contrary to the international commitments taken by the country, the Georgian government has not taken any steps or measures towards making trade union and labor rights respected in the country. While on one hand Georgia is presenting its successes in terms of economic growth, on the other hand it keeps silent on the growing number of human rights violations and the total disregard and ignorance of health and safety issues, which has led to costs in  workers' lives on an increasing scale. Employers also did not refrain from targeting workers who sought to establish a union, using the provision of a medieval labor code the Georgian government is so proud of. Georgia is one of the very few countries in the whole world that does not have a labor inspection.

"How can a government ignore core labor rights – on freedom of association and collective bargaining, on health and safety at work – and count on success of processes of association with the European Union?" asks Irakli Petriashvili, president of the Georgian trade union confederation GTUC. "European decision makers should not have any illusions that behind the democratic façade there is a government that is devoted to busting the democratic values and interests of workers. We cannot accept the increasing insecurity and lack of rights and the fact that workers are risking and losing their lives at work and that their organizations are being attacked by the authorities," added Petriashvili.

When? The meeting takes place in the CSC building, Rue de Trève 31, Brussels 6 May 11 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Trade union leaders from Georgia will be available for interviews. Contact: For more information please contact Kristin Blom, ITUC, +32 0487 38 44 91.

26.05.2011. Two die as police break up Georgia protest. Two people were killed and 37 were injured after Georgian police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse an antigovernment demonstration in the capital Tbilisi early Thursday morning. Source: The Wall Street Journal.

06.07.2011. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC. Investigations into abuses of labor rights in Georgia. New report reveals labor law shortcomings in Europe. A new report released by the ITUC reveals shortcomings in labor laws in EU member states, including insufficient protection from anti-union discrimination and unreasonable restrictions on the right to strike. The report, submitted to the WTO trade policy review of the 27 EU member states this week, also criticizes European Court of Justice rulings which have eroded fundamental workers' rights, and cites persistent discrimination against women at work.

"EU countries need to correct deficiencies in labor legislation to allow working people to fully exercise their rights under international law. Erosion of these rights leaves workers without proper protection, and holds down incomes at a time when Europe desperately needs economic demand to pick up," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. While the report emphasises that core labor standards are generally respected in law and practice, it makes key criticisms in the following areas:

-              Rulings made by the European Court of Justice, which have been criticized by the ILO and dramatically undermine workers' rights including the right to strike;

-              Despite equality legislation, discrimination against women in the labor market continues. This includes a high concentration of women in low-paid jobs, a persistent gender pay gap, and lack of opportunities for women in senior management;

-              Economic exploitation of children, which although it is not widespread, does affect particular groups including Roma and children from North Africa and Asia.

EU support for core labor standards in several aspects of its own trading system is welcomed, including its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+), under which developing countries that respect the core ILO standards are eligible for improved access to the European market. The ETUC and ITUC are currently seeking GSP investigations into abuses of labor rights in Georgia and Uzbekistan.

07.07.2011. CNN has sent several unbalanced positive reports about Georgia on TV recently. IJA 1 (39) has a more balanced and objective approach.

08.07.2001. Anarchist International direct action against repression of reporters in Georgia. The Anarchist International AI/IFA and LFG have started an international campaign for immediately release of detained photo-reporters and an end of repression against reporters in Georgia in general, based on the following e-mail to AI & IJA etc.

----- Original Message -----
From:
Ucha Nanuashvili
To:
hridc@hridc.org [and AI/IJA]
Sent:
Friday, July 08, 2011 2:26 AM
Subject:
The Human Rights Center Calls Upon the Government of Georgia to Immediately Release Detained Photo-Reporters

The Human Rights Center Calls Upon the Government of Georgia to Immediately Release Detained Photo-Reporters

Last night, at 3:00 am, people in civil clothes simultaneously detained famous photo-reporters in their houses; they are: photo-reporter of the European Press-Photo Agency Zurab Kurtsikidze, photo-reporter of the Associated Press Shah Aivazov, personal photographer of the president of Georgia Irakli Gedenidze, his wife - photo-reporter of the Georgian newspaper "Prime-Time" Natia Gedenidze, and photo-reporter of the Foreign Ministry of Georgia Giorgi Abdaladze.

The family members still do not have verified information about the whereabouts of the detainees. Cell-phones were seized from them and the photo-reporters cannot call their relatives. News agencies spread information that supposedly detained photo-reporters are accused of espionage. The MIA has not made statement on the fact yet and does not clarify the ground of their decision to arrest photo-reporters. The Human Rights Center assessed the detention of the photo-reporters as an impudent violation of the freedom of expression and calls upon the President of Georgia and the Minister of Interior to immediately release the photo-reporters. The Human Rights Center appeals to the international organization and diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia to promptly respond to the fact and suggest the government of Georgia to release the detained photo-reporters. The Human Rights Center calls upon the civil society to rise against the terror of people exercised by the Ministry of Interior that has recently acquired very dangerous forms.

The Human Rights Center 07.07.11

Detained Photo-Reporters Do Not Plead Guilty - 07.07.2011

Early in the morning of July 7, from 3:00 am to 5:00 am famous Georgian photo-reporters were detained simultaneously in their houses: photo-reporter of the Associated Press Shah Aivazov, photo-reporter of the European Press-Photo Agency (EPA) in Georgia Zurab Kurtsikidze, personal photo-reporter of the President of Georgia Irakli Gedenidze, his wife Natia Gedenidze and photo-reporter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Abdaladze.

The family members did not have information about the whereabouts of the detainees until midday. They were looking for the photo-reporters in various police stations. The detainees could not call their family members either. In the afternoon, the MIA announced that Counter-Intelligence Department arrested the photo-reporters who are accused under Article 134 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. According to the MIA, the detainees are accused of providing several organizations working in favor of the Special Forces of the particular foreign state with the information against the interests of the Georgian state; they cooperated with the organizations due to their professional activities. At about 12:00 pm photo-reporter of the Associated Press Shah Aivazov was freed. He made a short comment with journalists and said he was interrogated as a witness and treated him politely. He said he had no information about other detainees. Aivazov did not answer other questions of the journalists.

At 1:00 pm journalists held a protest demonstration in front of the so-called Moduli building – office of the Special Operative Department of the MIA. The Human Rights Center also participated in the demonstration. Soon, the lawyers left the Moduli building and made very short comments. They said the law enforcement bodies had launched the case under Griffith Secret and could not speak about details. Gia Abdaladze's lawyer Ramaz Chinchaladze said the detained photo-reporters do not plead guilty. Editor of the Alia Holding Dimitry Tikaradze said Giorgi Abdaladze started hunger-strike in protest.

The Human Rights Center's lawyer Nino Andriashvili protects Zurab Kurtsikidze from the EPA. She said Kurtsikidze had some signs of oppression on the face. The European Press Photo Agency tries to find out reasons of the detention of their photo reporter Zurab Kurtsikidze with the government of Georgia; the editorial department of the agency told the InterPressNews. "We have permanent contact with them and we are trying to find out what he is accused of," the agency representatives said. They added they do not know which particular photos became ground of Kurtsikidze's detention. Georgian Journalistic Ethic Charter, with 200 journalists in it, is concerned about the detention of photo-reporters and requests the MIA to immediately clarify the reasons and official ground of photo-reporters' detention.

Best wishes, Ucha Nanuashvili

Executive Director
Human Rights Center (HRIDC)
3-A, Kazbegi Ave., Entrance 2, 4th Floor, Apt. 22
Tbilisi, 0160 Georgia
Tel: (+995 32) 37 69 50
Fax: (+995 32) 38 46 50
Cell: (+995 99) 50 80 36
Email: hridc@hridc.org

Web-Site: http://www.hridc.org
VISIT OUR ONLINE MAGAZINE AT: http://www.humanrights.ge
A SORRY CAMPAIGN: http://www.apsni.org
Video Portal on Human Rights: http://www.hridc.tv
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders: http://www.caucasusnetwork.org

Associated Press reported - Georgia: Photographers 'infiltrated institutions'. Georgia vigorously defended the arrest of three photojournalists suspected of spying, saying Friday they conducted a "serious infiltration of our institutions." Rights activists in the former Soviet republic have raised freedom-of-speech concerns over Thursday's detentions of the three, including the personal photographer of President Mikhail Saakashvili. An Interior Ministry statement said they were accused of providing information to a special service of an unspecified foreign country to the detriment of Georgia's interests. The three passed written documents to a spying network run by an unspecified country, Saakashvili's spokeswoman Manana Manjgaladze said. No charges have been filed.

Georgia has repeatedly accused Russia, with whom it fought a brief but costly war in 2008, of conducting espionage and trying to organize terrorist attacks in Georgia. "There is one point I should make very clear: this case is about a serious infiltration of our institutions," Manjgaladze said in a statement. "It is possible they will be charged for passing confidential information." The ministry statement identified the suspects as Irakli Gedenidze, the photographer for Saakashvili; Zurab Kurtsikidze of the European Pressphoto Agency and Foreign Ministry photographer Georgy Abdaladze. Gedenidze's wife also was arrested.

Kurtsikidze's attorney, Nino Andriashvili, told The Associated Press that her client says he is innocent. She declined to comment further. Abdaladze's lawyer, Ramaz Chinchaladze, told Georgia's Rustavi-2 television that he is innocent. Chinchaladze read aloud a statement from Abdaladze, the Foreign Ministry photographer, to reporters. "I have never betrayed my homeland with my work. I consider this all to be insanity and do not consider myself guilty," Chinchaladze quoted Abdaladze as saying. Associated Press photographer Shakh Aivazov was also detained Thursday, but was released after several hours without being charged. Aivazov had his computer and computer discs seized after security forces entered his home before dawn Thursday, and was still awaiting the return of the equipment Friday. Abdaladze, a contract photographer, also has worked as a stringer for the AP, most recently covering clashes between police and protesters in Tbilisi in May.

The non-governmental Center for Human Rights said the detentions were an attack on media freedoms and demanded the photographers' release. Several people have been convicted recently by Georgian courts on charges of spying for Russia. In the most recent such ruling late Wednesday, a court in the Black Sea port of Batumi convicted a Russian citizen and eight Georgians of espionage and gave them prison sentences ranging from 11 to 14 years. Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told Russian Ekho Moskvy radio Wednesday that his agency captured most of the Russian spies operating in Georgia, but is still tracking a few who are left.

The spy flaps have aggravated already tense relations between the two former Soviet republics. Russia has dismissed the spy arrests in Georgia as a fabrication. Under Saakashvili's leadership, Georgia has strongly cultivated relationships with the West [and] has said it aims to join NATO. In a brief comment Friday, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "I think we would say here what we say to the Georgian government and to governments around the world privately - that we expect a free, fair, accountable, transparent judicial proceeding in this case and in others."

16.09.2011. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC: Georgia – Striking steelworkers forced back to work by police. One hundred and fifty striking workers at the Hercules Steel plant in Kutaisi, Georgia, were forced to end their strike and return to work in a sudden raid by an overwhelming force of police yesterday. Fifty police vehicles, led by the local Governor, descended on the strikers and detained more than 40 of them for several hours. Managers then went to workers' homes to threaten them, and police made several more workers sign statements that they would go back to work.

When the workers established their union on August 4, the company immediately fired six of its elected representatives, provoking a warning strike by the workers on 2 September. The company then fired more of the workers, after which the workforce launched a full-scale strike with several members also going on hunger strike. "Georgia's state repression of freedom of association is getting even worse. This government is behaving like a totalitarian dictatorship, and this should not be tolerated by the international community," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. The Anarchist International AI/IFA, IWW and LFG join the resolution of ITUC. The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 301 affiliated national organizations from 151 countries and territories.

22.11.2011. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC: EU must act now on labour rights in Georgia. The ITUC has applauded the decision by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to examine whether Georgia should continue to receive US trade preferences in view of the poor labour rights record of President Saakashvili's government. The USTR action follows a request submitted by the AFL-CIO. The European Union has so far refused to take similar action, even though its rules for trade preferences have stronger labour standards for beneficiary countries than does the US.

"Europe has strong social values, and it is deeply disappointing that in relation to Georgia, they are not standing up for those very values.  We urge them to reconsider their refusal to extend support to the workers of Georgia, who are subjected to serious violations of fundamental rights at work," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

"In Georgia, the government itself has sought to eliminate trade unions, sometimes by force, has promoted government-dominated unions and has prohibited the transfer of voluntary member dues in order to choke off the unions' financial resources.  Georgian courts have ignored obvious anti-union discrimination, instead reading the protections of the trade union law out of existence," explained ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "The EU cannot allow this behaviour to continue to be rewarded."

To see the ETUC's statement on this issue:  http://www.etuc.org/a/9288. The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 308 affiliated national organisations from 153 countries and territories.

23.11.2011. Secret service ochlarchy in Georgia. In a reply to a newsletter from the Anarchist International, AI, about 'Social justice and social security' sent 22.11.2011, updated at http://www.anarchy.no/socialjustice.html, the Georgian newspaper Batumelebi sent AI the following story:

Batumelebi Identify Blackmailer Policeman. Davit Devnozashvili, the policeman who was blackmailing and intimidating Tedo Jorbenadze, journalist of the Batumelebi in 25 November 2009 is now identified. Newspaper Batumelebi are applying to the Prosecutor General's office to timely hold Davit Devnozashvili's interrogation. On 20 November the Newspaper Batumelebi tracked down the individual, who, on 25 November 2009, was intimidating Tedo Jorbenadze, Coordinator of the Investigative Group of the Newspaper Batumelebi, in order to force him into secret cooperation with the agents of the special security forces. The blackmailing occurred in # 4 Griboyedov str. Batumi, in the office of the former KGB .

The Newspaper Batumelebi applied to the Prosecutor next day, 26 November 2009, with the formal claim to launch investigation. However, the Prosecutor have reiterated that the investigation were unsuccessful to identify the individuals who had called Tedo Jorbenadze on 25 Nov. in # 4 Griboyedov str. Batumi and had threatened with blackmailing. Through the procedures of investigation, the officers had to throw light on the identity of "Mr. Davit", a person, who, in November 2009 applied Soviet KGB methods against the journalist in one of the Departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Adjara. The KGB blackmailer threatened Jorbenadze to disseminate defamatory photos of him. Eter Turadze, Editor-in -Chief of the Newspaper Batumelebi and Mzia Amaglobeli, Director of the Newspaper Batumelebi witnessed the fact as they accompanied Tedo Jorbenadze.

In December 2009 the investigators handed several photos of suspects to Tedo Jorbenadze, Eter Turadze and Mzia Amaglobeli, however, none of them portrayed the mysterious "Mr. Davit". Meanwhile, the last round of the independent investigation of two years brought Batumelebi to the trails of the suspect, "Mr. Davit", same as Davit Devnozashvili.

Born in 1971, Davit Devnozashvili lives in 26 Dolidze str,. Tbilisi. Mzia Amaglobeli, Director of the Newspaper Batumelebi made a personal identification after she had visited him at home along with the staff of the Newspaper. Shortly after Devnozashvili confirmed in their dialogue that he had worked in Batumi, Mzia Amaglobeli called the Police to notify that they found the suspect who had abused his authority blackmailing Jorbenadze. The crew of the patrolling police arrived to the address 26 Dolidze str., with Captain Khvicha Kirvalidze, chief of the crew, followed by a group of investigators, which arrived next on the place. The inspecting officer of the District confirmed that Davit Devnozashvili's address was accurate and that he worked for the law enforcement agency.

Remaining for an hour on the scene of investigation, the police led persistent telephone consultations. At 18.34 pm the crew of the police officers said to Mzia Amaglobeli that they had talked with the higher ranking officers. Although they confirmed that investigation was in the process, and the apartment of the suspect was under surveillance, they left the place without the necessary paperwork, despite continuous demands on the part of the Newspaper to get the report filled out.

The efforts of the Newspaper Batumelebi lasted two years to have the case of blackmailing and intimidation of a journalist investigated by the law enforcers. In 2009 Batumelebi applied to the international organizations for the assistance. The MDLF, an international organization and partner of the Batumelebi submitted a plea to the Georgian President and Senator McCain, as well as to a number of other US Senators. Gavin Karl O'Reilly, then President of the World Association of Newspapers, and Xavier Vidal - Folch, President, World Editors Forum applied to President Saakashvili of Georgia, asking for scrupulous investigation and punishment of the criminals.

Human Rights Watch reflected in their account report for 2010 the uninvestigated case related to attempt of blackmail in the former KGB office of the journalist Tedo Jorbenadze. In 10 January 2010, at the caucus with the NGOs, the topic of which was media independence, Georgian President mentioned the Newspaper Batumelebi. Tamar Khidasheli, then Chairperson of the Young Lawyers Association of Georgia, could recollect the President's words, the implication of which was as follows: "Batumelebi are not in the position to motivate the government for their intimidation". Saakashvili also mentioned that although the Newspaper checked out several photos handed by the officers, they couldn't identify the offenders among them.

While the investigation was making successive futile attempts to "unmask the mysterious "Mr. Davit"", President Saakashvili's decree # 1107/02 of 11 July 2011 rendered to the same Davit Devnozashvili an apartment , 67, 17 sq. m. into private possession for just 1 GEL. The Public Registry confirms that Devnozashvili is a current owner of the apartment.

Newspaper Batumelebi''ltd
48 M. Abashidze Str. Batumi.Georgia
16 Chubinashvili Str. Tbilisi.Georgia
Phone: (+995 422)270359 ; (+995 32)2960830
Mob: (+995 77)456336;
E-mail: mziaamaglobeli@gmail.com
Web: www.netgazeti.ge
Web: www.batumelebi.ge
Web: www.presscafe.ge
Web:www.media.org.ge
Web: www.pliaj.ge

27.05.2012. Mass opposition rally in Tbilisi, Georgia. Tens of thousands have thronged the streets of the Georgian capital to attend a political rally organised by a Georgian billionaire and opposition leader. Bidzina Ivanishvili, one of the country's richest men, is campaigning ahead of October's parliamentary poll. The protest is the largest anti-government demonstration in years. President Mikheil Saakashvili's second and last presidential term ends in January 2013. Although his future plans are unclear, he has not excluded becoming prime minister. Mr Ivanishvili made his entry into politics last October, announcing that he was forming a political party with the aim of winning the parliamentary vote and assuming the post of prime minister. He has used his wealth to unite the opposition and fund his election campaign.

Addressing the crowd he said: "The parliamentary elections slated for autumn pose the question 'to be or not to be?' to our country. "We will win, no doubt, although just wishing is not enough for a victory." Mr Ivanishvili's supporters accuse President Saakashvili of authoritarianism and say he is not doing enough to tackle poverty and unemployment. However, many Georgian voters are suspicious of Mr Ivanishvili, who earned his wealth in Russia during the 1990s. The BBC's Damien McGuinness, in Tiblisi, says the demonstration is being seen as a test of the opposition's public support. The turn-out - which the opposition claim was as high as 300,000 people - suggests that Mr Saakashvili's ruling party may have more of a fight on its hands than originally expected, our correspondent says. A year ago, four people were killed after police clashed with violent protesters during another opposition rally. Before Mr Saakashvili came to office after the Rose Revolution of 2003, Georgia was almost a failed state, with high rates of criminality. There are fears, our correspondent explains, that a change of leadership would take the country back to that time. Source: BBC.

19.09.2012. Protests erupt in Georgia over prison abuse videos.  Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili dispatched police Wednesday 19.09.2012 to replace prison guards who were suspended after videos allegedly showing them beating and raping prisoners sparked protests. The minister of prisons resigned over the scandal. The demonstrations erupted in the capital Tbilisi on Tuesday night after footage of the torture was shown on pro-opposition television channels. Thousands of people joined the protests on Wednesday, blocking two main streets and calling for the resignation of senior ministers.

01.10.2012. Parliament election in Georgia. The main opposition party is the Georgian Dream coalition, with the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili as leader. Saakashvili's nazi light National Movement party is the other main party in Georgia.

02.10.2012. Parliament election - results. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded his party's defeat Tuesday, setting the stage for the nation's first peaceful, democratic transition through election since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The results of Monday's election means Georgia will have a multi-party parliament, boosting democracy in the nation, observers say. Saakashvili conceded his party's loss to a coalition headed by billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, said Sergi Kapanadze, Georgia's deputy foreign minister. In a statement released by his office, Saakashvili said he would assist the transition to a new government and that his party would now assume the role of the main opposition. Source: CNN

22.11.2012. INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION - ITUC. Georgia: ITUC Calling on New Georgian Government to Improve Workers’ Rights in the Country. In Tbilisi today, the ITUC has called on the new government to take concrete actions to improve industrial relations in the country and ensure the respect of labour rights in the country. The ITUC Deputy General Secretary Jaap Wienen has delivered in person the ITUC – ETUC roadmap for Georgia to the government. This roadmap lists the international trade union movement recommendations for an effective implementation of international labour standards in law and in practice and the normalisation of the industrial relations processes in the country.

The roadmap provides detailed documentation of dramatic and systematic violations of fundamental workers’ rights, particularly the right to organise and to bargain collectively (Convention 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organization - ILO), which Georgian workers and trade union members have faced for years. So far, the Georgian labour code does not protect from discrimination and union busting, and it puts workers in a difficult situation, at the mercy of their employers.  There is no labour inspection at all, and trade unions are systematically victims of anti-union acts and policies.  For years, the ITUC has been monitoring this situation and has reported to international organisations such as the ILO, the EU and the Council of Europe. Unfortunately, the previous government was not willing to make any changes, despite numerous requests from the relevant international institutions.

“We can see hope in the eyes of the workers and the Georgian Trade Union Confederation,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary. “The recent victory of the Georgian Dream Coalition opens the door for respecting Georgian workers’ rights.  The workers are standing up to fight for their rights. But there is no time to waste, and the new coalition must act in line with its promises. The labour code must be changed, and workers must have the right to organise and to bargain collectively implemented and protected in practice. Real social dialogue that has been missing for years in the country will ensure stability of industrial relations and the role of a strong trade union movement.”

See the ITUC Letter to Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister of Georgia: http://www.ituc-csi.org/workers-rights-in-georgia.html. See the ITUC – ETUC Roadmap: http://www.ituc-csi.org/a-roadmap-for-georgia.html. The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 308 affiliated national organisations from 153 countries and territories. The International Workers of the World, IWW/AI, supports ITUC's resolutions in this case.

12.06.2013: ITUC: Special focus on seven countries at risk for trade unionists and trade union rights: Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Guatemala, Burma, Fiji, Georgia and Bahrain. Unemployment rates and income inequality are increasing globally. Trade unionists continue to fight for jobs, rights and equality. This fight often costs them their jobs, and sometimes even their lives, in various parts of the world. Since 2006, the ITUC, the largest social movement of the world, has been monitoring violations of trade union rights. This report points at key findings in 87 countries with a special focus on seven countries where the existence of trade unions and other democratic institutions are under extreme risk: Burma/Myanmar, Bahrain, Fiji, Guatemala, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Georgia. According to the ITUC report, despite international legal instruments that protect and promote freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, unions and their members are still exposed to severe violations of their rights. Unions are increasingly under attack, fighting to maintain the ability to effectively promote and defend the interests of workers. The ITUC-report: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/survey_ra_2013_eng_final.pdf .

27.10.2013. Georgia is voting for a new president in an election that will end Mikheil Saakashvili's decade-long rule, but is unlikely to end political uncertainty in the former Soviet republic. The front-runner to replace Saakashvili is Georgi Margvelashvili, a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, which defeated the president's party in an election a year ago.

17.11.2013. The new president Georgi Margvelashvili was sworn in on 17 November 2013.

27.06.2014. Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova sign partnership agreements with the European Union, in a move opposed by Russia.

10.11.2014. Georgia signed Association and Free Trade Agreements with the EU in June. However, mounting concerns about the use of selective justice, administered by the current government against its political opponents, cast a shadow over the process of European Parliament’s ratification of these agreements. The governing "Georgian Dream Coalition", following the dismissal of the Minister of Defence and the resignation of several members of the Cabinet, is on the verge of collapse. Georgia's political future looks increasingly uncertain, while Russia is solidifying its gains in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, deepening the political and economic integration of these regions to the Russian Federation.

12.03.2017. Numerous people have been injured in clashes between protesters and riot police in Georgia. Demonstrations over the arrest of several men over unpaid parking fines turned violent in the Black Sea city of Batumi. Protesters gathered in front of a police building, demanding the release of the drivers. The Interior Minister was quoted as saying those involved in the violence would be punished. But then, apparently attempting to calm the situation, he reportedly said the arrested men would be released. Source: Euronews.

06.09.2017. ITUC - Georgia: Government Interference in Trade Union Affairs. The ITUC has condemned a politically motivated defamation campaign against the Georgian Trade Union Confederation and its President Irakli Petriashvili, launched by some prominent political figures including members of Parliament aligned with the Georgian government. The campaign, including attacks in the mainstream media and on social media channels, follows the strong support given by the ITUC-affiliated GTUC to protests by railway workers in a labour conflict on 24 August:https://www.ituc-csi.org/georgia-lack-of-respect-for-social.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, "The GTUC, under Irakli Petriashvili's leadership, has always championed workers’ rights in Georgia, regardless of which political tendency is in power. He has brought this commitment to the international level, including as President of the Pan-European Regional Council of the ITUC since December 2015." The ITUC views the publicity campaign against the GTUC as a worrying sign of state intervention into trade union affairs in view of the forthcoming GTUC Congress. Union activists and delegates have been reporting for several months that ruling party officials are putting pressure on them and on local union structures to undermine the GTUC leadership. "We deplore any interventions in GTUC democratic processes by the State or political officials, which would be in clear violation of ILO standards.  Given the seriousness of this case, we will not hesitate to bring the case to the ILO, European Union, Council of Europe and other relevant bodies," said Burrow.

[This note is written by IIFOR 05.01.2008 updated 2009-10-11. The note is adopted as a resolution by the Anarchist International and sent to anarchists, syndicalists, media and mandated persons world wide, included the main Georgian labor confederation contact@gtuc.ge, the Georgian embassy in Copenhagen copenhagen.emb@mfa.gov.ge, civilgeorgia@una.ge and gtze@messenger.com.ge. It is also adopted as a resolution unanimously decided upon by the The International Anarchist Congress - The 10th Anarchist Biennial 29-30.11.2008. IIFOR has got a mandate to update the resolution on behalf of the congress and the Anarchist International.]


Back to homepage