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Opposition MP Links Tensions with Russia to Upcoming Polls
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 May.'08 / 13:22

The nine-party opposition bloc has alleged that President Saakashvili was trying to capitalize on tensions with Russia ahead of parliamentary elections.

Speaking in a live talk show, Samkutkhedi (Triangle) aired by Rustavi 2 TV late on April 30, MP Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party – part of the nine-party bloc – said there was “a serious suspicion” that the Saakashvili’s administration was trying to use tensions with Russia and developments in breakaway Abkhazia for distracting public attention from the May 21 parliamentary elections.

He also alleged that capitalizing on tensions with Russia had already turned into the Saakashvili’s usual “pre-election PR stunt.”

“Every new wave of tensions, peak of tensions in Russo-Georgian relations comes just on the eve of elections,” MP Kukava said and cited spy row with Russia just few days before the local elections in October, 2006. “It was a real hysteria about the [spy row] issue and this hysteria ended immediately after the local elections,” he said.

“And there was the Ganmukhuri incident just before the presidential election… The same is happening now. We think this is very dangerous provocation. Of course we are not saying that Russia is part of this stage show; Russia as usually behaves aggressively… but instead of carrying out consistent policy towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian authorities are using the situation for their pre-election PR stunt,” MP Kukava said.

He has also claimed that President Saakashvili’s major goal now was to distract public attention from elections “to some other matters.”

He also said that recent developments resembled those of early 90s when, as he said, then head of the state Eduard Shevardnadze “launched the Abkhaz adventure because he had problems with supporters of [expelled] President Zviad Gamsakhurdia.”

“Like Eduard Shevardnadze, whose adventurous moves sacrificed Abkhazia just for retaining his own power, today Saakashvili is ready to undertake any type of adventure and provocation, including in Abkhazia just to retain power and just to distract attention [from elections],” MP Kukava said.

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