President Saakashvili appointed Lasha Makatsaria, who previously served as the deputy head of the President’s administration, as a new governor of Imereti region.
Makatsaria replaced Mikheil Chogovadze, who was dismissed after a demolition of a World War II memorial in Kutaisi through explosion killed a mother and her daughter on December 19.
President Saakashvili said that these “absolutely innocent” people died as a result of “negligence and incompetence of a number of people, including officials.”
He expressed hope that “concrete perpetrators” would be held responsible. Three employees of a demolition company, SakPetkMretsvi, were arrested in connection to violation of safety standards while blowing up the memorial.
Saakashvili also said that the Imereti region needed “new blood” to ensure that all new projects planned in frames of “Kutaisi – Second Capital City” were implemented quickly and thoroughly.
“The situation, when the local authorities do not care for the fates of ordinary citizens, as I have witnessed myself during one of my recent visits to Kutaisi, should not reoccur,” Saakashvili said.
Meanwhile, speaking with reporters on December 29 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once again criticized the Georgian authorities for demolishing the memorial.
“What they have done is yet another crime… especially as the people died,” RIA Novosti news agency quoted Putin as saying. “For them [the Georgian authorities] restoration of the monument in Moscow is another punch on the nose.”