The Sour Grapes of Georgian Dream

In Batumi, tomatoes and eggs were thrown at the house of the Head of the Constitutional Court as people protested against the decision of the Constitutional Court with regards to the release of ex-Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava. So far, this is how the government reacts to the verdict of the country’s highest judicial body. However, sooner or later it will have to take a more serious decision.

So, what should the government do with the decision of the Constitutional Court to release the former Mayor of Tbilisi from initial imprisonment? As people in Georgia would say, the Georgian Dream is currently in a situation when execution and non-execution of the court decision can both lead to headaches. Add to this the so-called ‘rebranding’ within the Georgian Dream, not to say anything about the wine-makers in Gurjaani shaking the economical vines with their Grape Revolution. In brief, the government is surrounded by a number of problems, but as the development of events shows, the issue of former mayor Ugulava is still the most important.

On the un-concealed hatred scale of Georgian Dream, the former mayor Ugulava stands on a lower rung than political prisoners, former defense minister Bachi Akhalaia and former interior minister Vano Merabishvili. The ‘Dreamers’ are certain that both Akhalaia and Merabishvili were ‘eating the flesh of innocent prisoners’ for nine years whereas Gigi Ugulava is ‘only involved’ in ‘corruption’. Based on this reality, the government could not achieve public discretization of Ugulava. His achievement during the mayor’s term only added to it. During his term, Tbilisi turned from a provincial city into the most modern megapolis in the region. The confused government is facing this dilemma today: release the highly-rated opponent and have problems on the political front or put him back in prison and have problems on the diplomatic front. Now everything depends on the “taste” of the government.

The views of the government supporters are shared on social networks, with comments indicating early “joy” and the expectation that the government will not release Gigi Ugulava. “Do not worry; they will not release him. Ugulava will spend several more years in prison! It is already decided and no one can change the decision,” – writes journalist Bondo Mdzinarashvili, pro-governmental party Patriotic Alliance figure.

Former opponent of the United National Movement and current political expert, Valeri Gelbakhiani, says that the government has no other choice but to release Gigi Ugulava from prison. “Otherwise, it will result in violence and a violation of the Constitution. Violation of the Constitution gives grounds for impeachment and in that the United National Movement (UNM) will have the support of the international community,” Gelbakhiani says. He adds that the UNM has achieved discretization of the government, i.e. made it clear that the government is violating said Constitution. It is clear from comments how big a dilemma the government is facing. UNM supporters fear that Ugulava will be released but then will quickly be sent back to prison. Mamuka Gamkrelidze, former Ambassador of Georgia to China writes on his Facebook page that the government will not be able to release Ugulava. “Releasing him and leaving him outside prison means digging their own grave. The only way out is releasing him and then putting him back on the grounds of final sentencing. But the final sentence needs a proven crime, which currently cannot be proved,” Gamkrelidze writes. Putting people to prison on ungrounded charges is not a new practice for the government. This is why this assumption of Gamkrelidze is not pointless.

Before the government decides whether to release Ugulava or not, the phrase of the former interior minister Vano Merabishvili said two years before at a court hearing becomes very topical: “A wan period is starting in Georgia…” Of course, the key word is ‘wan’ here. However, today we can directly say that the ‘wan’ period is ‘jamahery’, ‘jamahery’ of the Georgian Dream. Although ‘jamahery’ means the rule of the masses, in fact we all remember what it meant and whose rule it meant in the recent past. We should also remember how its initiator ended his political career.

Zaza Jgharkava

17 September 2015 20:44