Why does the Georgian Dream (GD) government refrain from bringing arrested former president, Mikeil Saakashvili, to a civil clinic? What are the government's fears based on? Who is responsible for the current political tension in Georgia and who carries the responsibility to resolve the crisis? - expert on Caucasus issues, Mamuka Areshidze, has answered Front News questions.
The whole political elite is responsible for the existing tension and, first of all, it is the responsibility of the government and then other political forces to take steps to resolve it. This is an axioma.
It is the government's job not to allow unrest. The government is fully responsible for this. However, the opposition also has its big responsibility in this regard. However, we have the opposition, I mean the radical United National Movement (UNM) opposition, which is only interested in taking the office. Considering this aspect, It is on the government to defend its supporters and the state interests.
Q. You say that the UNM is taking steps to come to power. Isn’t the government acting in a way to maintain its authority?
A. Of course, the government acts to preserve its power. It must be in the way. You will never say that people running the country do not wish to stay in power. It is nonsense.
Q. Why is it impossible to fulfil the main demand of the opposition and bring Saakashvili to a civil clinic which would allegedly discharge the situation?
A. I believe that Saakashvili’s transfer to a civil clinic will be followed by the transformation of the clinic into a type of a revolutionary centre. Even the prison has been used for the goal by the opposition and let’s imagine what would happen to a civil clinic which lacks proper infrastructure to ensure peace?
Q. You say that the government is unable to prevent unrest if Saakashvili is brought to a civil clinic?
A. The government is able to cope with the challenge. However, civic confrontations have such deep roots in Georgia and escalation is so high at the moment that the situation pushes me to think that another unrest may lead to a civil war.
Q. You say that it is a pre-civil-war situation. Where is the outcome?
A. Public consensus, dialogue may prevent unrest. However, I can not see the force inside the country which would be able to push the dialogue due to high polarization and stress. The situation is so complicated that the government has a little room to maneuver.
Q. Will the government not remove a basement for the opposition’s protest if Saakashvili is transferred to a civil clinic?
A. No, this will not happen as the opposition will raise other demands then.
Q. A previous political crisis was resolved by the involvement of the EU. Is there a necessity for the involvement of a foreign force again to solve the tension?
A. I remember that the Georgian patriarchate has several times mediated to help the parties solve such tension. In some cases it was a successful mediation. However, the patriarchate’s rating was higher that time than it is now. Much has been done, especially the opposition,to discredit the church. As for the involvement of foreign politicians, we have seen that despite the involvement of the European Council President Charles Michel, the radical opposition refused to join the EU-mediated agreement. Then the ruling party withdrew from the agreement. All in all, in the end the Georgian politicians acted in the way they wished. According to this, the EU is very unlikely to mediate.
The only force which is now able to help Georgian parties resolve the tension is the US, but with its strong statements and not diplomatic reverances.
The US is able to demand the creation of the situation from the parties which is beneficial for its interests in the region - this is stability which is crucial after recent developments in Afghanistan. The US needs a reliable force to firmly return to the region, I mean to the Caucasus. It can now rely on Georgia alone in the region, nevertheless Turkey is a NATO member state, as Turkey acts based on its own interests. In the end, the US is able to help Georgia resolve the tension because it needs stable Georgia in the region.