Letting Off an Old (Alleged) Terrorist


Two months left until the elections on October 8, and the political temperature is already approaching its climax. The main oppositional power, the United National Movement (UNM) has made new compromising materials public, putting pressure on the judges of the Constitutional Court, the Minister of Defense, the family members of the President... Georgian Dream is also getting ready to make its vital shot and has announced the release of a partly fictional-partly documentary 24 episode series about the nine years of the UNM in power. Despite this war of compromising materials, the main pre-electoral events are still taking place outside the country.

Last week Russian media revealed that former chief of the Georgian National Security, Igor Giorgadze, was no longer in the Wanted List of Interpol and that charges against him had been dropped (for organizing a terroristic attack against President Eduard Shevardnadze 20 years ago, after which he fled from Tbilisi to find shelter in Moscow). In order to check the veracity of this announcement, Georgian media organized a live studio interview with Giorgadze, who not only confirmed it, but also announced his return to Tbilisi in the near future. “I am waiting for a positive decision from the Court, after which I will arrive the same day in Tbilisi,” said the ex-Security Chief.

On July 7th, the process of Igor Giorgadze was quietly resumed in the Court with a discussion of withdrawing Giorgadze’s guilty sentence for organizing a terroristic attack. Such synchronization of events and the efficiency of the Georgian Court is truly amazing, considering the case of Rustavi 2 was dragged on for so long by the Supreme Court and that the very same court is now working so quickly on a law suit filed by a fugitive alleged terrorist.

Notably, Giorgadze is backed by a political organization: Justice in Georgia, which was banned during Saakashvili’s presidency but renewed work in the period of Georgian Dream’s government. The information about the consolidation of pro-Russian powers around this political organization has been spread and the MPs who left the GD are among them. The Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Tamaz Mechiauri, recently visited Russia and talked publicly about the renewal of diplomatic relations with the country. Mechiauri does not hide the establishment of a pro-Russian political organization and his wish to cooperate with all organizations of that direction.

Although the return of Igor Giorgadze to Georgia is not excluded by Georgian political analysts, they cannot see his place in Georgian politics. As a political figure, Giorgadze is regarded as a used card by Zaal Anjaparidze, “Even in the event of the court acquitting him, I do not think he will be able to gain any significant political or public support given today’s environment. If there is any kind of interest towards him, it is only due to the train of his past that follows him. By 2020 I guess even this small interest won’t exist anymore.”

About the same idea was voiced by the political expert Gia Khukhashvili, who does not exclude Giorgadze’s return to Georgia.

Despite such forecasts, the process is proceeding in the City Court and the next session is already scheduled. Moscow does not hide that it is time Georgia took counter steps for Georgian-Russian relations to return to the former riverbed. Last week’s announcement from Minister of Interior of Russia Sergey Lavrov confirms this further. Both this announcement and the activities of Giorgadze clearly show that Georgia will once again have to respond to the old issue of “Russia or the West?” But before that, Georgia remains the one place in the world where Igor Giorgadze is charged of terrorism and threatened with conviction. The only question is – for how long?

Zaza Jgarkava

28 July 2016 20:50