TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has defended an initiative to investigate what happened during the war in 2008 between Russia and Georgia.
The small Caucasus nation fought a brief war against Russia in August that year, and as Russia made a push south it greatly expanded the territory of two breakaway regions which it had helped sustain since the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Georgia already has conducted one investigation of the events in the August war, and it is claimed by some that opening the issue up for new scrutiny will inevitably involve questioning who started the war and whether President Saakashvili is to blame.
But Ivanishvili assured journalists that the new inquest will in no way pose a threat to Saakashvili or the former government.
A few days ago the justice minister said it was necessary to question President Saakashvili about the war. She was criticized for this by a member of Saakashvili’s party who claimed that if the Ivanishvili government does this, it will be catering to the interests of Russia.
On Wednesday, during a meeting with TV chairs and newspaper editors, the PM said that he thinks the government led by the president ‘acted inadequately during the events of the war.’
He said that he didn’t listen to what the justice minister said; however he still thinks the war events are vague and need an investigation, which won’t harm the image of the former government and Mikheil Saakashvili.
Ivanishvili said justice is the most important and it is necessary to study the war carefully.
“I think it is unjustified when troops came ready and started war actions before Russians crossed the border. Undefined armed units were shooting and it might have been absolutely adequate to invite international observers from our president and government and to conduct a monitoring. This process might have ended on this level,” he said adding that he watched each news program during the war and ‘no miracle has taken place.’
“A single grenade rushed into one of the houses and damaged some wall, no one died. It might have being enough to take away 100 persons living in that village and to locate troops there. The only correct step then was to invite the international community,” the PM added.
Ivanishvili further said he thinks it is a cultured form of questioning the president will be subjected to. If it becomes necessary, the president should go along with it, he said.
UNM members still thinks PM’s new statements further the interests of Russia.
“Nobody’s interests will be satisfied, but Russia’s, if this becomes an issue,” said Davit Darchiashvili, a member of parliament for Saakashvili’s party.
Ivanishvili also underlined that he doesn’t’ plan to stay long in politics, but unlike earlier comments he didn’t specify when he may leave.
Ivanishvili said in 2011 that he only planned to stay two years in politics and then leave. He later confirmed this and elaborated that he planned to move on to civil society and control the government as an ordinary citizen.
“I don’t consider myself a politician,” he said today, adding that he doesn’t plan a large political war in the future.
“I want to get back to society as soon as possible and help my country to develop along with society,” he said.
He also commented on the recent disputes over his shares in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, a topic which popped up after an article in the British newspaper The Guardian.
On Wednesday, the PM said that he can see no problem in using offshore companies. He said he uses those companies for “tax optimization”.
“You cannot name any businessman who doesn’t use offshore companies. This is normal and I am no exception,” he said, adding that he doesn’t even remember the name of the company which is registered in the Virgin Islands.