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Written Statement of Bidzina Ivanishvili
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 7 Oct.'11 / 14:41

Unofficial translation

October 7, 2011

President Saakashvili’s total monopoly on power and constitutional amendments, which clearly reveal Saakashvili’s intention to maintain power and stay in leadership beyond any constitutional term, prompted my decision to establish a political party and to run in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
 
Numerous small, large and unforgivable mistakes, which have been made and are still being made during Saakashvili’s leadership, would have prompted any sober-minded and reasonable politician to quit the politics pre-term and would have asked for forgiveness to his people.

A politician, who respects own country, people or has an elementary self-respect, would have realized that it’s impossible for him to stay in politics through legitimate means and would not have tried to replace legality with violence and falsehood.

1- Actually no free business exists in Georgia because of the unprecedented pressure exerted on the Georgian business through use of tax [service], prosecutor’s office and judiciary – it [the business] is totally controlled by the Saakashvili group with its financial revenues; aggressive dispersals of protest rallies, cruel beating of protesters and their persecution has become a norm; there are fatalities and missing persons after the May 26 dispersal of the protest rally; arresting people and releasing [accused] under so called plea agreement after paying money. This method of arrests have extremely terrorized large part of the Georgian population and brought them to unseen level of poverty.

2 – It is depressing to listen to all those lies pouring out of media sources. Torrent of boasting and lies on daily bases about Saakashvili’s achievements is extremely humiliating. It is appalling, that Saakashvili deems the society as stupid. This machinery of lies created by the President makes it difficult not only for an ordinary citizen, but also for a professional analyst to make difference between white and black. Pseudo-opposition politicians, parties and media sources, engaged in this web of lies, created such an environment wherein even the most active part of the society became distrustful towards the political process, losing any hope to change something through elections.

Of course all these would have been impossible without total control of the media sources. All the television stations, including Maestro and Kavkasia TV is controlled by Saakashvili. These television stations represent special purpose pseudo-opposition media sources.

Maestro and Kavkasia TV mainly cover Tbilisi. As you are well-aware the most informed public lives in the capital; even without these two television stations people [in the capital] know it very well what the reality is. Except of those who are directly linked to Saakashvili’s government (those working for or being financed by the government), Saakashvili actually has no supporters in the capital city. As a result criticism voiced by these television stations [Maestro and Kavkasia TV] does no harm Saakashvili; but they serve several important functions:

  • Providing platform where pseudo or real opposition can regularly voice their position and criticize Saakashvili. Along with politicians, angry citizens are also able to participate through call-in talk shows critical about the government’s policies and express their anger – shortly speaking to let steam off: to some extent it helps to release aggression and reduce need for resorting to other means (street protests etc.);
  • The Georgian citizens and foreigners are permanently being reminded that two opposition television stations exist in Georgia, where the authorities are regularly criticized and by doing so Georgia is portrayed as a heaven for democracy and freedom of opinion;
  • Promoting pseudo-opposition;
  • Criticizing real opposition at the right time with right angle (for example by pseudo-opposition);
  • Providing special information ‘in a right way’ at the right time;
  • At many occasions on May 26 Maestro ‘had no time’ for opposition and sometimes even had no such willingness;
  • In cases like May 26 or even in more acute cases these two televisions will act exactly in the way favoring to Saakashvili. For that reason these two pseudo-opposition television stations are more effective for Saakashvili than for others (on this issue see my separate statement about my bid to buy a television station).

Fortunately, a real opposition also exists in Georgia, but because of above listed and other reasons, they are not able to seriously resist Saakashvili and his National Movement. As a result from the existing perspective, Saakashvili has almost guaranteed to make his dream come true – to stay in power forever.

Saakashvili fails to realize key point: longer he stays in power with the use of these methods – violence and falsehood – more hardship it will bring to the country and certainly more hard his fate will be – there are numerous examples of that in the history; it’s even enough to recall the most recent history.

After the 2008 fraudulent elections I decided to provide assistance to the opposition forces and in order to make a right decision whom and when to support, I have been seriously observing [opposition parties].

I have ascertained, that without personal involvement it would have been very difficult to achieve needed result; for that reason I have decided to personally coordinate following political processes for some time – for about two-three years:

  • To win absolute majority in the 2012 parliamentary elections through unification of my political party and healthy political forces;
  • To define and elaborate together with the people the optimal model of governance; to carry out such constitutional amendments that will not only eradicate possibility but also willingness to personally tailor constitution in the future;
  • To participate in formation of the new government in a capacity of either Prime Minister or Parliamentary Chairman and to assume responsibility for its normal functioning in order to completely eradicate elite corruption in which Saakashvili’s current government is engulfed;
  • To launch creating independent judicial system and to make it an irreversible process;
  • To create perspective for restoration of Georgian state’s jurisdiction over Abkhazian and South Ossetian territories;
  • To create genuinely interesting investment climate and to lay foundation for prosperity of business, instead of the existing situation when the business is monopolized by a single group;
  • To accomplish agriculture project [involving investing USD 1 billion in this sector] and to make the second project involving University of Technology and creating high-tech employment opportunities real;
  • To start sorting out relations with Russia;
  • To deepen friendship and integration with the United States and European Union.

The society will see a full and exact list of what I am going to do in the planned political party’s program.

I think, that it will take about two or three years to resolve the above mentioned problems. After that I am going to quit politics and to actively participate in the country’s public life and its development.

If we recall our most recent history, out of the three presidents, we ousted the first two ones before their term expired, while the third one can lead the country to a disaster – it is obvious and it is easy to explain that the problem is not in presidents but in the society. We should acknowledge that the society with ancient culture suffers the lack of political culture today.
 
We, the society, should learn how to elect and what is more important, how to control the head of the state and its government (recall how during the election period Saakashvili was asking for a tie from his party members, and after the elections, initially, he was taking an ordinary air flights… today he allows himself to do everything and does not take into consideration the Georgian society’s [interests]).

In the nearest future we have to create the critical mass of civil society (and its further development will take years and decades), whose interests will be taken into consideration by any government, which would not even be willing to do what Saakashvili’s present government now dares.
 
In order to create an initial momentum, I consider it essential to establish a public information center (television, radio, newspapers, websites); I will manage to create such center in parallel to my political activities within the above mentioned two or three years. Along with that part of intelligentsia, which fortunately Georgia still has, we will be able to establish proper management rules to ensure that the information center is maximally objective, ruling out any form of bias.

Journalistic professionalism and principles plays a huge role in successful functioning of the information center.

I am well aware, that today the absolute majority of journalists do not have a choice. Often they are forced to forget the country’s interests in order not to lose source of income for their families.

From now on, I offer all journalists, who will be dismissed for their jobs because of their impartiality and adherence to principles, a job in the headquarters of the future political party with a salary not less than that they have now. At the same time, they will enjoy an advantage while staffing future information center.

And finally, I want to explain as much as possible my decision. During my whole life I was rejecting any probability of going into politics. I believed that I could have done more as an ordinary citizen free of any additional obligations, but present political atmosphere showed me clearly the need of changing my opinion about this issue. After long deliberations and analysis I came to a conclusion, that I had no choice other [than going into politics]. I ascertained that it would not be possible to correctly manage political processes and yield desirable results only through providing financial assistance to opposition. I assure you that it took much of my efforts to make this kind of decision.

I acknowledge that this explanation will not be enough for my opponents and I also understand that it will require the rest of my life to prove my sincerity to the society.

And one more thing: about one third of my capital, in the form of various businesses, is located in Russia. To avoid emergence of additional questions among the society during my political activities, I will sell my businesses in Russia before the 2012 parliamentary elections. For the same reason, I will say no to dual citizenship and will revoke my Russian and French passports in the nearest days.

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