An opposition lawmaker was slapped by a ruling party MP in the Parliament chamber, after the former said it was Saakashvili’s “military adventure” that led to August war and subsequently to recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Moscow.
The incident occurred after lawmaker Petre Mamradze from the newly established opposition faction in the legislative body took the floor on September 27 as part of routine statements usually made by MPs during sessions on Tuesdays. Before the launch of the session lawmakers paid tribute to fallen Georgian soldiers, who died for struggle for Georgia’s territorial integrity, with a minute of silence to commemorate September 27. Eighteen years ago on this day Abkhaz forces, backed by their allies from Russia, captured Sokhumi after almost two weeks of siege. In Abkhazia September 27 is celebrated as “the day of liberation of Sokhumi”, while in Tbilisi this day is known as “the fall of Sokhumi”.
In his remarks, like other MPs who spoke before him, MP Mamradze spoke about those events of eighteen years ago, but unlike others he mentioned the August, 2008 war with Russia saying: “Everyone should understand, that after the military-political adventure carried out by Saakashvili in 2008, when he served the Russian military-political machine on plate the opportunity to recognize independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the current policy has indefinitely postponed…”
He failed to end his sentence because as he was saying these words a ruling party lawmaker Akaki Bobokhidze started shouting at MP Mamradze, then approached him and slapped him in the face.
Other ruling party lawmakers grabbed MP Bobokhidze to distance him from MP Mamradze, who stood idle without responding MP Bobokhidze even verbally, as the latter continued to verbally insult Mamradze calling him “provocateur” and “scum.”
Few minutes later Bobokhidze took the floor and apologized to the audience for his “aggression”, but he also made it clear that his apology “is not addressed to the one against whom my aggression was directed.”
Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze called on MP Bobokhidze and other lawmakers for “restraint”, but also said that it was “emotionally difficult” to listen to remarks like those of MP Mamradze.
“I call not to make statements, which are in direct conflict with the national interests of Georgia; do not use this [chamber] for attacking and harming the interests of Georgia,” Davit Bakradze said.
Ruling party MP Giorgi Gabashvili said, referring to MP Mamradze, who was a member of ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s now defunct party, that “pro-Russian forces are so bankrupt, that the only thing they can do is to stage this kind of 20-second shows.”
And another ruling party lawmaker Nugzar Tsiklauri told other members of the parliamentary faction of which MP Mamradze is a member: “Are you Mamradze too? Are you Putin too and can you repeat those words, that it was Georgia which attacked Russia?”