10 Giant Steps Back – “That is What Mikheil Did!”– Georgia’s United National Movement (2003-2010): Words and Deeds

Below is a list of the promises given by Mikheil Saakashvili and the United National Movement versus their actual “achievements”:

Promise #1: Integration of Georgia into European and Euro-Atlantic structures through maintaining stability in the country, upholding human rights, promoting free market economy
and reforms within the judiciary system.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #1: 

Integration has been postponed for indefinite time and today Georgia is farther away from this goal than it was in 2003. Instead of making efforts to achieve regional stability, the Georgian leadership has staged shows, imitations, falsifications and provocative simulations – all this with the aim to hyperbolize the President’s personality, replicate the regime’s fake successes and further aggravate tensed relations with Russia. For the later purpose, televised counter-propaganda of the Russian positions in the North Caucasus is used. Mass psychological terror of population by hoaxes of forthcoming disasters and  in case of protest-expression (Imedi TV Hoax on March 13, 2010).

The Georgian society is now more disintegrated and confronted than it was in 2003. There is no culture of respect and consideration of different opinions and those of the opposition. Numerous acts of violence, including unlawful operations by the Law Enforcement Agencies as well as deploying illegal “Sonderkommandos”, were planned and executed by the authorities towards peaceful protestors. Numerous cases of intimidation and terror against the members of the opposition parties were observed. Numbers of arrests for fabricated/false accusations as well as numbers of political prisoners are constantly increasing.



Promise #2: Reintegration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Georgian state. [The “specified” promise in January 2008: restoration of Georgian jurisdiction over South Ossetia by 2009].

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #2:

Refusal to apply verbally declared model of peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts, strong militarization of society and public consciousness, fascination with “muscle-flexing” and rise of military rhetoric. Opinions of foreign and local experts ignored; the country recklessly drawn into Russian provocation which resulted in the August 2008 war with severe consequences for the Georgian state. In addition to previously lost territories (early 1990-ies), the control over two regions of South Ossetia and Kodori gorge has been also lost. Over 150 Georgian villages were destroyed and more than 30,000 people had to flee their homes to become so called “new” Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The Russian Federation recognized the independence of both former Georgian provinces and there is a threat of their further international recognition. Russian military bases were re-established in Georgia, additional, new bases opened and the Russian military presence strengthened in the Caucasus.



Promise #3: Democratic division of state powers through maintaining balance between executive, legislative and judiciary systems. Creation of two-house parliament. Formation of full-fledged institutions of self-governance. Establishment of western democratic principles of state governance.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #3:

Regression of democratic institutions. Misbalance between the state branches. Rewriting constitution to increase presidential power, decreasing the role of the parliament. Restoration of soviet-style self-governance system. Building of the Russian-style vertical power where self-governance system is absolutely not controlled by public and governors are merely silent and obedient executors of the presidential will. In result of the rigged parliamentary elections in 2008, the ruling party holds 80% constitutional majority in the parliament. In order to mislead Western institutions, pseudo-opposition parties and wirepullers, which in reality represent satellites and marionettes of the ruling party, are cultivated. Using Russian “experience”, the future constitution is being tailored in favor to Saakashvili’s personality. Since the first days of their rule, the leadership of the United National Movement has been implementing an immoral and unprincipled human resources policy when selection and promotion are based not on the cadre’s professionalism and/or business capacities but on their loyalty, obedience and adulation towards the government. Moreover, the almost “teenager” government of the National Movement purposefully applies ageism into human resources policy: 45-60 years old specialists are dismissed from diplomatic, educational and academic positions and massively substituted by absolutely inexperienced, politically-committed individuals. This has caused a temporary collapse in a number of institutions and fields. As a result, clan-party governance, instead of being weakened, has been further strengthened and
evidently turned towards autocracy.



Promise #4: Creation of independent and impartial judiciary system. Reform of jurisprudence according to the western standards. Reform of the penitentiary system and protection of prisoner’s rights.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #4:

The judicial reform has failed. The court has become an impotent appendage of the prosecutor’s office. Intimidation and terror of lawyers along with purposeful policy towards creating the circle of grafted lawyers have been applied. Double standards have been embedded when supporters of the authorities, committing severe crimes, get light punishment or are pardoned whereas individuals – not loyal towards the government – are punished more severely even in cases of insignificant offences. The rule of law does not exist – an order by the Minister of
Interior is superior to the law.
Justice is heavily politicized. Dozens of political prisoners are in jails. Unprecedented increase of cases filed by the citizens of Georgia against the state of Georgia in the European Court of Human Rights and artificial delay of the government’s participation in the hearings of these cases (Girgvliani case, Ratishvili case, etc.) during the election period. Total unaccountability and encouragement of sadistic treatment of prisoners against the background of façade decoration of the penitential system. Massive purchase of torture tools (fixed wall restraints, metal “thumb-cuffs” and electroshock “sleeves” and “cuffs” that deliver 50,000 V shocks) documented by International organizations. Increase in number of prisoners from 10,000 to 30,000 within a 6 year period (government officials try to hide this information, admitting only “around 20,000” prisoners).



http://humanrights.ge/index.php?a=article&id=3654&lang=en http://humanrights.ge/index.php?a=article&id=3655&lang=en


Promise #5: Fair elections.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #5:

Creation of a refined unprecedented system for rigging elections through unexampled methods of pressure and threats (i.e. intimidating families of prisoners, exploiting school teachers in the process of rigging, intimidating members of election commissions, effectively denying acceptance and examination of complaints) and unprecedented utilization of administrative resources.



Promise #6: Protection of freedom of the media

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #6:

Strict political control over media. Monopolization of 92% of independent TV stations by bankrupting them through criminal schemes or transferring, secretly or openly, control over them to other people who are in close relations with the authorities. Concealing the public information about TV ownership. Direct or indirectly bribing of journalists, their intimidation and terror. Financing pro-government TV channels (including private TV companies) through the state budget, promoting and rewarding pro-government journalists.



Promise #7: Creation and training of the strong professional army in accordance with the NATO standards.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #7:

Ineffective investment of huge funds into building up of the Georgian army, large part of which was wasted on corrupt transactions. Participation in illegal corrupt schemes of arms trade. Instead of promotion of experienced and specially trained professionals in the Georgian army, an odious and biased character, who previously served in the police system and was mentioned in the US State Department report as alleged of sadistic treatment and killing of prisoners, has been appointed as a Minister. The police terror system introduced in the Georgian army and security services, besmirching their good reputation through false accusations and fabricated cases.


Promise #8:  Creation of strong, efficient, trustworthy and non-corrupt police.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #8:

Police regime, a “backbone”, supporting the system of authoritarian government, was established. The Ministries of Internal Affairs and Security, as well as Police and the Border Guard Departments, were merged into a monstrous organization. A practice of mass, illegal wiretapping of citizens was set. A practice of on-site elimination of dozens of citizens was introduced and encouraged by announcing so called “zero tolerance” approach. Investigations of cases of people killed by police are pending and/or concealed from the public. Political police established and turned into the ruling power; providing unconditional backing and concealing/covering up the crimes by high-rank police officials. Individuals, who continuously appear in ombudsman’s reports as suspects of criminal and sadistic acts, are not dismissed from the police system.



Promise #9: Defeating corruption. Protection of private property rights and their inviolability. Creating best conditions for the business and attracting investments. “Employment! Employment! Employment!”

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #9:
State racket of businesses and elite corruption embedded: corruption, while reduced at the middle and lower levels, has become concentrated and is flourishing within a small circle of Saakashvili’s ruling clan. Behind continuous, demagogic PR campaigns of the “centenary projects” of the “world importance”, there are frequent cases of embezzlement and mis-appropriation of funds, existence of corrupt schemes in “allocating” tenders. Non-transparent selling of the strategic objects to Russian or offshore companies of dubious origins or even to fictional companies with similar names of some real entities. Frequently, and since 2008 – constantly, – unreal, hyperbolized investments have been advertised and announced but then dissembled and forgot.
Private property of thousands of citizens was illegally destroyed and/or taken away, people being illegally evicted from their owned apartments.
Mass terror of businessmen and proprietors by tax, police and force structures – often through placing narcotics furtively as an “evidence” or through “confession testimonies” made under the influence of furtively injected drugs or under threats towards family members/relatives or minors.

Putting big, medium and small business under tax and political pressure. Unauthorized acts by tax police, factual system of suffocating businesses effortlessly vis-à-vis façade propaganda of easy start of business. Instead of creating efficient economics and genuine aid to small business, 2-3 month long “employment” campaigns are initiated with the aim to promote pre-election PR campaign and attempt to bribe population. As a result, investments have sharply diminished, businesses have been closed and poverty and unemployment have risen abruptly.



Promise #10: Creation of social security system. Establishing accessible and efficient health and education systems. Building 100 new hospitals. “Georgia without poverty!” (Propaganda promise previously tested in Honduras and trumpeted in Georgia by Greenberg-Quinlan-Rossner). Increase of salaries and pensions. A minimum pension in 2009 should have become 100 US dollars.

– Not achieved!

«Achievement» #10:

Pensions have increased only by 5 GEL in Georgia and by 10 GEL in Tbilisi only (before elections). A minimum salary could not even reach 50 US dollars. Colossal amounts were spent on PR and promoting pseudo image of “flourishing Georgia” instead of directing them into the economic development. Advertismenet of fake ratings before elections by paying money to western lobbying companies (including Greenberg-Quinlan-Rossner, authors of populist Honduras propaganda slogan). Flaunting with cynical demagogy and entirely groundless and false “statistics”. Purposeful destruction of science and education system. Failure of the health reform. Increase of inaccessibility of health care for the vast majority of population. None of the announced 100 new hospitals were built. Unprecedented system was created where several monopolistic pharmaceutical companies not only produce drugs, but also own the network of chemist’s shops, private hospitals and even insurance company, which guarantees total monopolization. Created at the expense of public hospital sector and with elitist protectionism of government, a private medical-insurance sector became a monopoly and public health care became catastrophically inaccessible. Funds in a poverty subsidy system created by the government are frequently distributed inefficiently in favor of friends and relatives of government officials, who somehow “get” in the list of people below the poverty line.



Main References:
US State Department Report on Georgia (2009) –
Freedom House Report on Georgia (2009) –
Failed State Index 2009 –
International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia: Heidi Tagliavini Report (2009) – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/30_09_09_iiffmgc_report.pdf

Georgia’s Public Defender’s reports (2006-2009) –  http://www.ombudsman.ge/index.php?page=21&lang=0

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