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'There Is no Way to Peace; Peace Is the Way' - An Appeal to the Georgian Nation

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Will the President Be Punished for “Great Diplomatic Victory?”

Roman Apakidze
Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia with Heidi Tagliavini as a head published the report on September 30. In the report the government of Georgia is blamed for launching the war. The report also casts responsibilities over Russia and blames it for provoking the conflict, for usage of disproportionate force, ethnic cleansing and for breaching the ceasefire agreement.

Although President of Georgia assessed the report as “Great Diplomatic Victory of Georgia”, in fact it is very crucial conclusion for Georgia and for its government as well. This “Great Victory” might be followed by many negative outputs. The most important of them is that South Ossetia and Abkhazian de-facto governments shall have right to block any peacekeeping activities initiated by Georgia. Hence, the de-facto governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be able to declare any time that they do not trust the peacekeeping initiatives of Georgia because once it resulted into armed conflict against them. This issue will seriously complicate the peacekeeping and trust-building activities.

Political opponents of the government are encouraged to blame the president of Georgia and the government as a whole for launching the conflict and it is much more concern for the current authority of Georgia. Opposition parties already speak about the impeachment and criminal liability of Saakashvili.

Supposedly, the president of Georgia should be concerned by the fact that influential European media sources also started speaking about the possibility of Saakashvili’s resignation.

“If Saakashvili stays in the position, the West shall support the country and integrate it into western structures,” wrote influential German Newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine”. The issue raised by this newspaper shall be doubled painful for Saakashvili. Since losing the war Saakashvili has been trying to identify himself with Georgia. His attempt to identify the government of Georgia with the state is not convincing enough for European Media sources. Opposition parties say that by the demonstrations in Rustaveli Avenue in August 2008 Saakashvili wanted to demonstrate to the West that the population was supporting him and to show that the population of Georgia was also responsible for launching the war. Before the war, the government tried to demonstrate that the society also wanted “to restore the constitutional order” in South Ossetia.

The responsibility of Saakashvili for the “Great Diplomatic Victory of Georgia” will be depended on the activity of the Georgian society. If the society accepts the government’s interpretation of the report, Saakashvili will keep his position easily.

The government of Georgia tries to interpret the report in its favor and the national TV-companies controlled by the government announce only those parts of the report where Russia is blamed for various crimes. Nobody argues that the report is too crucial for Russia too and it is blamed for ethnic cleansing but the attempt of the government to escape its own responsibility shows that Saakashvili is not going to divert from his policy and to support the democratization process of the country.  Increase of government’s control on the TV-companies demonstrates the above-stated.

The position of the pro-governmental TV-Companies coincides with the position of the government of Georgia. Today, the president stated: “Report of the Tagliavini Mission proved that everything what we said last year was truth.” It is not right because the government claimed last year that Georgia did not start the war.

2 Oct. '09