TBILISI, DFWatch – A billionaire newcomer politician in the former Soviet republic of Georgia criticizes a radical opposition leader for mismanagement involving a violent clash last spring.
The movement People’s Assembly mobilized all across the country in 2011, ending in a defiant last stand the night before Georgia’s independence day May 26.
It ended in catastrophe for everybody involved; the police had to do some soul-searching after their heavy-handed approach, several people ended up dead and many injured, and several dozen activists were jailed for up to ten years.
Billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday said the activists were heroes, who stood tall against the authoritarian rule of current leader Mikheil Saakashvili.
But he said the most high profile leader of People’s Assembly, Nino Burjanadze, was to be blamed for what happened, because she has a background from within government and therefore knew, or should have known, how the government would react to the demonstration.
Nino Burjanadze was Speaker of Parliament for years and acting president twice, but left Saakashvili’s side spring 2008 and later became one of his most ferocious opponents.
Wednesday she defended herself.
“No one should claim that the latest instance of truth is coming from him and have the right to monopolize the opposition. Maybe it is acceptable in business, when you propose certain proposals to the competitor, he can leave his company but it doesn’t happen this way in serious politics,” she says.
According to Burjanadze, more than 30 000 people have joined her party and she feels responsible for them.
“It’s good I’m not in Georgian Dream [Ivanishvili’s movement], I said once, because if there is any problem, everything will be blamed on me. It’s not excluded that this is the reason, but I don’t want to go deeper,” Burjanadze said.
The founder of People’s Assembly, Nona Gaprindashvili, came slightly to Mrs Burjanadze’s defense Thursday, saying in the interview with newspaper Rezonansi that Burjanadze was not in charge of things; at least not the only one in charge.
Gaprindashvili said ‘I explained to [Ivanishvili] that Burjanadze is a member of executive council and she wasn’t deciding anything there.”