Ivanishvili’s “Bread and Circuses”
Since May 17 the country has been divided into three camps: supporters of Saakashvili, Ivanishvili and Orthodox traditions
Author: By Zaza Jgharkava
Prime Minister Ivanishvili fulfilled one more “dream” of its supporters. He arrested the “backbone” of the Saakashvili government, Vano Merabishvili. Upon the court decision, the former Prime Minister was sentenced to two months preliminary imprisonment. As for the former health minister and Kakheti Governor, Zurab Chiaberashvili, he was released on 20,000 Gel bail.
After October 1, the Prime Minister managed to follow through with several campaign promises within the framework of the “Restoration of Justice” program. It declared unprecedented amnesty, arrested the former defense minister BachoAkhalaia and after 5 months of hesitation, risked detaining the former Prime MinisterVano Merabishvili.
Though Ivanishvili’s supporters expect him to fulfill the social promises he made, the Prime Minister says that people will have to wait for at least 2 years in that regard, explaining that the situation will take until 2016 before it noticeably improves. Before that, as the saying goes – “If there is no bread, people should at least be given entertainment.”
The PM is clearly adhering to this, as the continuous arrests and the ongoing process of the “restoration of justice” illustrates that there is no lack of entertainment in Georgia at this time. The court process of BachoAkhalaia has been going on for three months and Merabishvili’s case will add to that.
Unlike Akhalaia, the Prosecutors’ Office is not accusing Vano Merabishvili of throwing “apple bits” to soldiers. The former Prime Minister is currently accused of a more serious crime. In particular, there is talk about 5 million GEL spent by the Employment Ministry for creating the database for the unemployed, which according to the Prosecutor’s Office, was illegally distributed to some 22,000 people.
“They were registered as non-staff workers. In fact, they have not performed any work and received money for voting in favor of the United National Movement and conducing election agitation for that party,” District Prosecutor, Ilia Jalaghonia, said at the press briefing after the arrest of Merabishvili.