Thursday, August 21, 2014


Georgia

After Elections, Many Georgian Officials Disappear, Leave Town

Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin has reportedly left on a "business trip."
Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin has reportedly left on a "business trip."

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By Robert Coalson
As the historic peaceful transfer of political power unfolds in Georgia, some outgoing officials with the former government apparently are not waiting around to find out how the story ends.
 
Since the October 1 elections, which were won by the opposition Georgian Dream coalition of billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, a growing number of senior officials and former officials from the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement have disappeared. Georgian media have been rife with speculation that they have fled the country in fear of possible prosecution by the new authorities.
 
Among those missing in action since the election results became clear are Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin, and former Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia, who resigned in the wake of a scandal following the recent release of videos showing prison inmates being abused.
 
Also missing are former Deputy Defense Minister Data Akhalaia, who is Bacho Akhalaia's brother, former Corrections and Legal Assistance Minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, who also resigned following the prison-video scandal, and Georgian Railways Director-General Irakli Ezugbaia.
 
Officially On Vacation
 
Former United National Movement lawmaker Givi Targamadze, formerly the chairman of the parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee, also reportedly left Georgia earlier this month.
 
RFE/RL's Georgian Service contacted the offices of most of these officials and was told they are officially on vacation and no information on their whereabouts or expected return date is available.
 
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Nino Potrzhebskaia said Shashkin left on a business trip to the United States, but she did not know where he is now or when he will be back.
 
Neither Saakashvili nor acting Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili have commented on the disappearances.
 
The ministers had all turned in their resignations following the election, although the government pledged to continue working until a new cabinet was installed.
 
Georgian Dream coalition leaders have called for investigations into unspecified individuals from the Saakashvili government, despite efforts by both sides to carry out a smooth transfer of power.
 
Lia Mukhashavria, a lawyer with the Tbilisi-based NGO Human Rights Priority, notes that merely leaving the country is not illegal and, despite the wave of rumors, any investigations into the missing officials would need to focus on specific allegations.
 
"An investigation would have to be launched. If it is centered on a specific fact, then these facts will dictate which people will be implicated," Mukhashavria says. "If the investigation is focused on an individual, a high-ranking official, then, of course, that person has to be stripped of his position so that the investigation can be carried out. What we have now are just rumors that cannot be the basis of a judicial procedure."
 
On October 15, Saakashvili issued a decree under which hundreds of high-level officials in all three branches of government will be allowed to keep their diplomatic passports for up to one year after leaving their posts.
 
The decree covers parliament deputies, members of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, the prime minister and government ministers, the head of the national bank, the mayor of Tbilisi, and top-level officials in the presidential, government, and legislative administrations.
 
Passports For Life
 
In addition, Saakashvili and his wife will be able to keep their diplomatic passports for life.
 
Tea Tsulukiani, who has been nominated to become the next justice minister, visited the ministry on October 9 to find that Justice Minister Adeishvili was missing and no one was in charge. "Even if he has not left Georgia, I know for sure that he has left his agency," she told Maestro TV. "He left his responsibilities. He abandoned a huge structure with a lot of employees. He just went away."
 
David Jandieri, an aide to Tsulukiani who is a Georgian Dream representative on the joint transition working group with the United National Movement, describes Tsulukiani's visit.
 
"After the announcement about the transfer of power was made, Tea Tsulukiani and I had a meeting with Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani. She informed us that the minister was not in Georgia because he was on vacation," Jandieri says.
 
"He went on vacation soon after the elections, and in his absence his authority had been delegated to the deputy. This was the only explanation Ms. Burjaliani provided."
 
On October 16, Saakashvili restored Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship, which had been stripped in the run-up to the election. The move clears the way for Ivanishvili to become the next prime minister when parliament convenes on October 20.
 
Nonetheless, tensions remain high. Former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze, who is not a member of Georgian Dream, told Interfax on October 12 that Saakashvili and other officials had committed "a huge number of crimes" and should face "a fair trial" and "go to prison for a long time."
 
On October 11, Ivanishvili adviser Ghia Khukhashvili told journalists that Georgian Dream was examining the situation at Georgian Railways and that new leadership there was likely.
 
RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent Nino Tarkhnishvili contributed to this story from Tbilisi

Robert Coalson

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack from: US
October 16, 2012 14:47
That is the "smooth transition" in a words of RFE/RL and other US government propaganda outlets. Looks like Shakes-villi and his clan are already on the run. Excellent, that exactly how things are supposed to be in US-propped "democracies" around the world. As a new freedom fighter takes on the old one flees or ends up in jail. This is true US-inspired democracy. Remember I asked if a cave being prepared for Misha where he can die heroically amongst Muslims and piles of extrement like his predecessor Gamsakhurdia did?
In Response

by: Victor from: US
October 16, 2012 18:03
Georgia could be a mini Ukraine in less than a year...who knows? So this is a prudent move.
In Response

by: Levan from: Rome
October 17, 2012 09:57

I am wondering why idiots like you are allowed to comment on international issues when you dont understand any sh...t.. go and comments on garbage disposal issues of Frisco or Ivanovka or some other forgotten villages.. you morron!
In Response

by: Joni Simonishvili from: Tbilisi Georgia
October 19, 2012 11:57
The clan is large, as it has lots of outside support, I hope many of the foreigner here will run too - those that have been participating in this feeding frenzy for the last eight years - all the while they talked about how democratic was this country. Georgian is not out of the woods yet - as it is still a Banana Republic in many ways, just look at who imports the bananas!!!

by: Sven from: Swiss Cottage
October 16, 2012 20:25
If these people are stripped of their position, as is mentioned above, does that mean that their diplomatic passports will be revoked?

Seems like a bit too much of a coincidence to me, that the people who've gone missing are the very same ones who were likely to bear the brunt of any legal proceedings for the persecution and prison abuse which went on under the previous regime (except maybe the Georgian Railways guy - what's he been up to? One of Misha's inner circle with his finger in too many pies?)

I'd hope that they'd be found and made to answer any charges leveled against them.
In Response

by: anonymous from: Georgia
October 17, 2012 11:36
Irakli Azugbaia, head of the railroad, did not flee the country. His office sent out a press release confirming that he has not fled. Please do a better job of fact-checking.
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by: Alex from: LA
October 18, 2012 08:12
Yes, i agree with that kartveli, or in my mother tongue, vratsi, He is on permanent vacation.

by: Mamuka
October 16, 2012 22:44
Was Dato Akhalia ever at MOD? I thought he was at Internal Affairs with one of the mysterious Special Units.

by: Anonymous
October 17, 2012 05:35
Georgia will deleted from history. There is no "double-head" snake alive, every head will try to go on a different way, and Georgia the snake will die. Great snake America and great bear Russia will delete the Georgian double-head-snake.
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by: Alex from: Germany
October 17, 2012 15:21
Don´t drink and write.
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by: Alex from: LA
October 18, 2012 08:14
Alex from Germany, it Tcha Tcha season in Georgia, so they all drunk as hell now, I wish I was there with my Hai family.
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by: Alex from: Germany
October 18, 2012 12:49
Sounds like there is vodka season in Russia 12 months a year, na zdorovye "Alex" !

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 17, 2012 14:59
Just as I was saying a couple of weeks ago: everyone who thinks that being friends with the US is going to EVER be good for you - look at the team of Mischa Saakaschwili (or, once again, look at a similar case of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, or at that of Julia Timoschenko and her friends in Ukraine) - just look at what is happening to these "democracy-promoters" in Georgia.
As long as they were "performing" (i.e. helping the US spoil Georgia's relations with the republic's biggest neighbour Russia) - they had all the support of the US administration. Once they stopped performing and lost an election - George W Obama could not care less about these guys.
Most of them will be lucky to get a "political asylum" somewhere in the Czech Republic of Poland. Those who do not have enough connections to get one, will most probably end up in prison in Georgia. Just as another US-lackey - Mubarak - did in Egypt, and just as Julia did in Ukraine. And maybe like Tadic and his former team in Serbia soon, who knows...
The US just have nothing to offer to their lackeys - Beavuses and Buttheads themselves are too short on cash and influence these days :-)).

by: Alex from: LA
October 18, 2012 08:08
So i wanted to comment on this: 9/11 'Mastermind' Khaled Sheikh Mohammed Appears At U.S. Tribunal. Is he a terrorist or a militant? since there is no commenting on sensitive subjects to RFE/RL. I'm guessing terrorist since it's against our and our allies interest, what ever that might be, (hick up from wussy french konyak.) lol it's funny where french is not a mistake when its not capital but muslim and islam and english and american and other stuff.) is russian? damn it's not a mistake, i guess computers hate french too... lol turkey is same only because there is an animal with that name. Anyway .... Da Tvarish Stalin give my lands away, to your kind and your true brother neighbors that defended your borders for thousands of years, I'm not talking about turkey's, they disillusion-ly delicious. Wow I sound like Jack and Camel's baby boy.
On this piece of master journalism I would like to say they are running away with their stolen wealth to the nation that helped them steal and plunder LEGALLY (with an echo Legally, legally ...) UK being #1 country hosting criminals that stole from their nations, that moved their wealth to. I wish upon those nations what crimes they committed against others, because there is no law that is carried out against those that hide behind it. For example: Nazi's Genocide against European nations (Poland, Romanians, Jews, Russians, Ukranians, Belorussians, etc...) Ohh ya those that think Russian and Ukrainians, they suffered more losses than everyone else combined in the War, just because they were at war doesn't mean it was NOT genocide. (in case of Azeri's 1000 deaths is not a genocide it's a massacre) I wish the same upon those nations, to go through the same experience their ancestors did to others, because I don't believe in any punishment that was enacted on the wrongdoer except in the Jewish Genocide, because we punished the Germans and Palestinians in the process they had nothing to with , with creating a state on their ancestral lands, that even their own holy book talks about, unless they removed those part to suit their agenda, just like they claim to be the first monotheistic religion in the history. I'm sorry Jewish people your scientist and historians proved that for more that 2,500 year they were polytheism and hide the truth after their religious turmoil was settled, which weaken the Hebrew states of the time so much that the some pharaoh ran over those kingdoms with ease. I meant to keep it short but what the hell, let's see if i offended anyone to get this on RFE/RL. If this doesn't get posted than I hurt someone's feeling and I already know who's, since I know one of those kinds of people very well. one word come to mind, NEPOTISM......
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
October 19, 2012 10:00
The Russians carried out plenty of their own genocides Alex.
I'd say, considering the massive damage done to the countries they have occupied, the Russians are the No.1 criminal in that regard. Interesting how Britain and India have excellent relations, while the Russians are pretty much universally detested (OK except for in Armenia).

Btw, the Chinese suffered more losses than anyone in the war, remember WW2 was a lot more than just the eastern European front. Also, a hell of a lot of the Ukrainian deaths were caused by the Russians, they have not forgotten.

And your Armenian anti-semitism is showing...... remember, Chritianity, be it Armenian Apostolic, Georgian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutherian, whatever, is based on Hebrew teachings.
In Response

by: Rasto from: front of my comp
October 23, 2012 13:24
I do not understand why morons who cannot properly spell/write in Russian always try to pretend that they can :(...all the time..Does it looks that cool?? Any ideas Alex?

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