Georgian WikiLeaks scandal
Author: By Nino Japaridze
The Internet website WikiLeaks, which gained fame for publishing secret government documents, has been the focus of the Georgian political elite and civil sector as of late.
One of the documents recently published by WikiLeaks was a secret letter written by former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia John Tefft dated September 8, 2009. The letter was sent to the U.S. Department of State. The website published another confidential letter, this one sent by current U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass; this letter was dated February 2010.
The letters refer to the protest rallies that began in the spring 2009 and lasted for several months, as well as the period prior to the local self-government elections of May 2010.
The secret letter sent by U.S. Ambassador John Tefft on September 8, 2009 refers to Nino Burjanadze. The letter conveys to Washington that Burjanadze has no support from the Georgian public. However, because of her political past (two- time acting president) and the active nature of her husband Badri Bitsadze, she is still located on the radar of the Georgian government.
Tefft writes in the letter that Bitsadze receives large amounts of money from ethnic Georgians living in Russia, part of which may be connected to a criminal syndicate. The letter also mentions that, according to the Georgian government, Bitsadze has supported the rioters of Mukhrovani.
The letter states that the leader of “Our Georgia – Free Democrats” Irakli Alasania told the Ambassador that Burjanadze was working to organize protest actions that would aim at replacing President Saakashvili, and that in September 2009, Burjanadze was trying to get in touch with Giorgi Gachechiladze. Gachechiladze is the same Georgian pop-star that goes by the name “Utsnobi” and is the brother of the former candidate for presidency Levan Gachechiladze.
“Irakli Alasania (Our Georgia - Free Democrats) told the Ambassador that Burjanadze was working with Eka Beselia (United Georgia) and Salome Zourabichvili (Georgia’s Way) to try and organize a new wave of autumn protests to force President Saakashvili’s resignation. Alasania said that Burjanadze was trying to convince Giorgi Gachechiladze ‘Utsnobi’, to join the protests. Alasania said his alliance (New Rights and Republicans) would not participate, and added that he was relatively sure Levan Gachechiladze also would not participate.