Books on Georgia
Update No: 322 - (25/10/07)
Lashing out at Russia
It is irksome to be harrassed. But sometimes it can be convenient too.
President Mikhail Saakashvili was in a political jam in early October. His
dismissal of a security minister on September 28 had the opposition in uproar,
with street demonstrations. The minister had accused him of nefarious
activities, even a request for a convenient murder by security forces.
One might as well be in Russia!
As it so happens, Russia came to the rescue - as a scapegoat.
Saakashvili praised Georgian grape farmers for not "kneeling down"
despite the Russian embargo on Georgian wine, in a speech in the eastern
province of Kakheti on October 15.
He also promised tractors and fertilizers next year and lashed out at what he
suggested was a "staged" vineyard protest, broadcast on Imedi TV, the
media company co-owned by business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who also heads
the main opposition group.
After visiting various vineyards in Kakheti, Georgia's main grape-growing
province, the president delivered a speech at the vintage-end festival in Telavi.
Saakashvili invited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian health
inspectors to try Georgian wine in Kakheti, "to show them that Georgia is
not kneeling down and that it is impossible to defeat Georgia."
In March 2006, Russia placed a ban on Georgian wine imports, ostensibly on
health and safety grounds. The embargo has severely affected Georgia's wine
industry, as Russia formerly bought an estimated 70 percent of the country's
Saakashvili reiterated his claims that the embargo was being levied by Russia to
pressure Georgia into surrendering its breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South
The wine issue has become a political focal point in recent weeks, as a
particularly fruitful vintage caused grape prices to plummet, hitting farmers
hard and compounding the problems caused by the embargo.
The political opposition has accused the government of not doing enough to
assuage the situation. Referring to a recently aired Imedi TV report in which a
vineyard owner purportedly destroyed his crop in protest at not being able to
obtain a reasonable price, Saakshvili remarked, "Some people…take money
for cutting down their vines and showing it on TV. But others are working round
the clock to sell their harvest in order to strengthen both their own families
and the entire country."
Ruling majority MPs have suggested the Imedi TV report was staged and that the
farmer was paid off, as part of an attempt by Patarkatsishvili to discredit the
Saakashvili also appeared to compare Markozashvili, a Georgian historical figure
famous for betraying King Erekle II of Kakheti and Kartli, with Patarkatsishvili.
"Today people like Markozashvili have TV stations, today people like
Markozashvili have money and various means, but they do not have the Georgian
Acknowledging that this had been a particularly tough year for the wine
industry, he promised the provision of many tractors and a "great
quantity" of fertilizers, as well as a doubling of Georgian wine exports by
2008. "This means that if we have the same harvest next year," the
president added, "we will sell it far easier."
Patarkatsishvili's vision of happy Georgia
The opposition are clamouring for elections in the spring. Following the
adoption of the manifesto by the united opposition, Georgian business tycoon
Badri Patarkatsishvili published his vision of the development of Georgia.
Historical aims and strategic priorities of Georgia
A) Historical aims of Georgia
Three historical aims face Georgia: independence, territorial integrity and
democratization of all spheres of the country having vital importance; at
present, the country has achieved only part of them, but some very important
results on its way to fulfill these historical aims.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia achieved political independence
and its political status as an independent sovereign democratic state has been
to precisely defined under the constitution of the country. However, Georgia's
political independence necessarily needed and needs today to be strengthened by
A2) Territorial Integrity
The hardest legacy of the country ensued as a result of the revolutionary
changes in the 1990s . They involved a partial loss of territorial integrity.
It must be noted that all countries included in the former Soviet Union (except
the Baltic countries and Belarus) faced problems of separatism. The Kremlin had
ruled for centuries by divide and rule.
In this context, solution of the problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia becomes
basic for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia, in turn
essential for democratization.
The main essence of revolutionary change experienced by Georgia, as well as
other post-Soviet countries, lies in democratization of all spheres of society.
During the period since achieving independence, the Georgian people and the
first and second presidents laid the foundation for their new democratic
political system and new market economy. In essence, an irreversible process of
democratic reforms has started.
This means that the revolutionary process is over in Georgia and the country has
transferred to the stage of evolutionary development, which has to prove to all
citizens of Georgia the advantage of new political and economical construction
in comparison with the former, communist one.
B) Strategic priorities of Georgia
The first and main strategic priority of Georgia lies in achieving the
economical independence of the country.
Lack of resources, first of all of energy carriers, made Georgia objectively to
appear in a very grave condition.
In spite of it, the Georgian people tried to pass a very difficult exam - to
change their mentality. The essence of market economics lies not in economical
mechanisms alone, but also in mentality. Today, the majority of population has
realized the necessity of taking responsibility for their own lives and
well-being of their own families. They are not waiting any more, for the king,
secretary general of Central Committee or state official to solve their