TBILISI, DFWatch – The brother and widow of one of Georgia’s most popular politicians in the early 2000s were both planning to go to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s launch party for the Georgian Dream movement Sunday.
“I will go to the launch party as a citizen who is worried about current events in the country. I am pleased that Bidzina Ivanishvil has appeared in Georgian politics. It brings hope that things can be changed, and that’s very important,” Goga Zhvania says.
He is brother of the late Zurab Zhvania, one of the three leaders behind Georgia’s rose revolution, who died in 2005 under mysterious circumstances.
Since then, the government has distanced itself from the family and friends of the late PM. December 9, when a new website was launched to celebrate what would have been Zurab Zhvania’s 48 birthday, the late PM’s widow says none of the government representatives and former colleagues of Zhvania she invited showed up.
“The fact that it’s hard for them to appear even for such a neutral topic as Zurab Zhvania’s online archive is an indication of a worsened political situation in Georgia,” Nino Kadagidze-Zhvania tells DFWatch.
Goga Zhvania is convinced that Zurab Zhvania was killed and the murder kept secret by the government.
Zurab Zhvania was long a prominent public figure. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, he became involved in environmental campaigning, and after independence in 1991 took the lead within the Green Party. In 2003, he led the rose revolution alongside Nino Burjanadze and Mikheil Saakashvili. Afterwards he became prime minister.
In the morning of February 3, 2005, his dead and one other dead body was found in the apartment of a friend. According to the official version, the late prime minister died from carbon monoxide poisoning by emissions from an incorrectly installed gas heater.
There are many unanswered questions regarding his death, because of contradictions between the official version and witness testimonies. Because of these inconsistencies and the government’s lack of willingness to consider any other possibilities than the carbon monoxide poisoning theory, there is a almost a consensus among the Georgian population that the case needs to be better investigated, a view shared by Goga Zhvania.
As many others, he believes Zurab Zhvania died at another location, and from other causes than carbon monoxide poisoning, and then his dead body was moved to make it look like an accident.
“It has been claimed in a number of studies of the case that it was impossible for a person to get poisoned there,” Zhvania says, referring to the many alternative investigations of how much carbon monoxide the gas heater emitted and how much or little ventilation the living room in which he was found dead had.
“Secondly, there is evidence that these people had not been there at all. So I’m saying that they had been brought there dead,” Goga Zhvania says.
The government, however, claims that the case has been duly investigated and rules out any suspicion of foul play.