This headline shouldn’t concern us. It has a sarcastic meaning, but should not be taken as mockery. It is only a convenient metaphor for understanding today’s processes, because this naturally derives from the government’s early formula – ‘Merabishvili (or the Interior Ministry) is the government’s spine’ they said. Today there is an operation in progress for this spine, writes Ramaz Sakvarelidze, political commentator.
Osteochondrosis is caused by many things – trauma, workload, immobility, clumsy movement, age, bad habits, etc. Seems like everything gathered up here. For eight years, the government pegged the majority of its functions on the Interior Ministry. Except for reducing crime, which the ministry managed perfectly, it was instructed to construct housing for refugees, to take care of children’s moral at schools instead of the teachers, to defeat the opposition instead of the ruling party with rubber batons and bullets.
The government was relying on the Interior Ministry and got sloppy, got lazy – broke off contact with the population. They didn’t even bother to present a program to them, not to mention accountability, didn’t participate in TV debates. Or why was all this necessary? Vano Merabishvili with his huge system was standing on guard of the ruling party’s security. Years passed this way, and the young government, impregnated with motionless policy, grew old, just like Brezhnev’s Soviet Politburo. This oldness wasn’t only reflected in going gray early. First of all, it was reflected in that the government’s maneuvers became common and predictable. On the other hand, people got fed up with the government. This is the heaviest load to carry.
The government, spoiled by Merabishvili, prepared everything to permanently prolong its own existence (every old person dreams about immortality), and at this time Bidzina Ivanishvili unexpectedly stepped into politics. Society didn’t even know his face. They only knew that anything from churches to police cars will be taken care of by this person. The person stepped from legend into politics. The spine wasn’t ready to carry this loan and it bent (in addition, Ivanishivli repeatedly openly expressed sympathy towards Merabishvili).
They used force, but Ivanishvili didn’t aquiesce. They illegally deprived him of millions, but the multi-billionaire patron didn’t step back. They blamed him of being a Russian agent – he didn’t start making excuses. They didn’t give him citizenship and French citizen Ivanishvili gathered unprecedented amount of Georgian citizens in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and other places to rally in his support. The Interior Ministry’s experienced machine wasn’t able to successfully work against this person. There could be two reasons for this – the machine needed rehabilitation, or its controller didn’t want a serious confrontation with Ivanishvili. Saakashvili didn’t lose time solving this puzzle and solved it with one blow – he gave the post of Prime Minister to Merabishvili and appointed Bacho Akhalaia in his place. Akhalaia’s style of management is very much alike the president’s.
Let’s see, whether the spine can endure this operation. Part of the employees at the Interior Ministry have already left. There is an assumption that this cleansing will continue. There is an assumption that punishing groups will multiply at this ministry. There is also an assumption that dissatisfaction among the rest of the employees at the ministry will increase. There is an assumption that forceful confrontations with Ivanishvili will become more frequent and this sharp movement will strengthen the crisis in the government. Let’s see.