The Dispatch – 25 January

Suicide pact works out — Trash Culture is in — Opposition Strongman Gets Medieval – Pinecones-at-Arms: One Wants a Gun, another Revolution

NUMBERS THAT BITE The latest public opinion poll backed by NDI seems to suggest that Georgia’s opposition has succeeded in its collective suicide pact. Georgians want a diverse parliament: 76% of all surveyed believe it is important that all elected political parties participate in the parliament in order for the new parliament to represent the interests of the people. The government’s stock is up, even though people still think the country is moving in the wrong direction.

So, the desperation pushes forward…

…THE TRASH CULTURE For months now, the pandemic and related restrictions have compromised the mass protests. The ones who still venture outdoors, apparently compensate for the low participation by action that might capture the attention of the multitudes glued to their screens. The latest of such pranks went a bin too far. On January 23, an opposition activist sneaked up Irakli Chavleishvili, who wished to take up his seat in Adjara’s legislature, and dumped trash on him. Reason for such – quite literally – odium? Apparently, Chavleishvili, a former Republican party member, broke the ranks and decided to defy the opposition boycott of the legislature. What could have been a regrettable isolated incident, kicked up quite a stink in the opposition. Two senior UNM figures – Roman Gotsiridze and Salome Samadashvili – condemned the action firmly, but found themselves pelted with “dislikes” and “angry faces”. They were accused of being snowflakes, who would rather throw flowers at their enemies – yes, enemies – then go for a real, dirty showdown.

…THE GARBAGE PHILOSOPHY Social-media fuelled debate over that garbage bin turned, somewhat unexpectedly, philosophical. Debates raged over the justification of violence, ethics of protest, and the freedom of expression. Psychology, political science, law, and philosophy scholars got all stirred up, cheered by the rank-and-file of bored, locked-down Facebook politicos. On the defensive, Mrs. Samadashvili quoted Abraham Lincoln. On the offensive, UNM’s newly-elected chieftain Nika Melia suggested that those who condemn the garbage-wielding patriot would have also shunned Sachino Baratashvili – who famously threw his king’s traitor off the cliff. Looks like the UNM holds itself to XVI century standards.

…SOME REAL DRAMA The worst thing is, that the ruling party seemed to ride the wave of social media dissent and promptly threw the perpetrator into jail. Fingers were pointed and “I told you so” reverberated in opposition corners. But seeing that the animus towards the Georgian Dream started to outweigh mutual hatred within the opposition, the ill-chanced bin-raker was released on bail.

…MORE NAVEL-GAZING Iago Khvichia, a splinter-pinecone, fears Nika Melia, UNM’s boss. He is bigger than me, stonger than me and I have an impression he might have threatened me during the phone call, complained Khvichia. He added, he might want to carry a gun to feel secure, and admitted he might break the boycott just to get it – MPs are entitled to carry.

♪ YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION While Khvichia is after one gun for self-defense, his former party boss Zurab Japaridze is pondering revolution. Warning that authorities are ready for anything if they feel no resistance, Japaridze confidently noted that he was the one ready for a “revolutionary scenario.” It does not necessarily have to include brutal and violent measures, he calmed the listeners. Girchi is moving towards revolution “by peaceful means.” (Well ♪ You Know ♪ We’d all love to see the plan ♫) And judging by that poll, nobody seems to be queuing up for the “revolutionary scenario” – even the peaceful one.

That’s all for today, we’d get back with the bizarre and the curious in Georgia’s politics on Wednesday!