Lying in Wait: Camp Burjanadze


Nino Burjanadze was in Moscow. Again. For the former Speaker of Parliament, this is already the fourth meeting with the Russian authorities in the last seven months. Although this time Burjanadze didn’t meet Vladimir Putin, she did have time to visit high ranking officials during her week-long stay. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister – Giorgi Karasin, for example, who is overseeing Georgia, and also the Speakers of Duma and the Federation Council. Burjanadze claims her frequent visits merely serve the purpose of “melting the ice” that has formed between Tbilisi and Moscow since 2008. Nevertheless, it is obvious that her visits serve a completely different purpose: the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

If we closely observe the political moves that Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia takes, we will see that she is the only active politician who openly and undeniably cooperates with the Kremlin. Unlike leaders of other parties who secretly express their fondness yet openly stand on a completely different political platform. Patriotic Alliance and its leader Irma Inashvili would be a good example, not to say anything about the retrograding wing of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD). It seems that the electorate that is oriented towards the Kremlin really appreciates the straightforwardness of Ms. Nino, as the December NDI polls showed- a solid 4% for Burjanadze over Inashvili’s Patriotic Alliance. Obviously, 4% is not enough for success in the Parliamentary elections. However, for such an experienced political figure as Nino Burjanadze, it still means a lot, especially if we take into consideration that the same NDI poll revealed some 36 % of voters have not yet decided who to vote for. Political analyst Gia Khukhashvili says that if we imagine that today’s government is somewhere in the street, it is not unimaginable that exactly Nino Burjanadze would be that leader to pick up at least part of the majority from the pro-Russian camp.

The sincerity of a politician about what his or her goal is and how he or she wants to achieve it makes it easier for voters in any country to make their choice. Therefore, everyone who thinks that Nino Burjanadze is a politician of the past is deeply mistaken. The ex-Speaker’s decision is not to “leave the battlefield” but rather to “lurk” and wait for the favorable moment when the National Movement and the Georgian Dream will once again annoy the majority of voters with their squabbling in the Kutaisi Parliament, voters who like certainty and unambiguousness. This, plus some general confusion and obscure political moves from the ruling party added to the mix.

As Gia Khukhashvili says, exactly this obscurity might lead to failure for GD because if the ruling political party does not know what it really wants, it is surely doomed to be defeated. “I always say that Saakashvili was a sadist, but he had a goal and a target. He had a figurative gun and fired at his enemies. Today, this gun is in the hands of GD, but due to their mentality, they neither fire it at others nor want to give it up. That is why, from time to time, they accidentally shoot themselves in the foot,” says Khukhashvili. It is truly hard to guess what the governing Party really wants. Not so for Burjanadze, who has made a clear point of her choice in favor of the Kremlin.

Therefore, it is too early to “write off” Nino Burjanadze: she hasn’t gone anywhere far – she is merely lying in wait for an ambush. For four years already, the 60 % - 40 % proportion, formed in October 2012, has been creating turbulence and a constant sense of controversy which adepts of democratic romanticism call ‘pluralism” and what in reality is categorically unacceptable to the socio-psychology of our people. Just the right moment for the ex-Speaker to appear on the stage holding her Russian vector with a big chance of a successful hunt!

Zaza Jgharkava

25 February 2016 19:05