Headlines from Television News:
- Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, who is visiting Brussels with a working visit, delivered a speech at a meeting, organized by the George C. Marshall Foundation. Gurgenidze addressed an audience referring the recent developments in Georgia, and up-coming presidential election that will take place in Georgia on January 5, 2008. PM also focused on the settlement of so called 'frozen conflicts' in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After the meeting, it was pointed out that the Georgian authorities' main priorities are focused on social and economic policies.
- Malkhaz Akishbaia, Chairman of the legitimate government of Abkhazia held meetings with UN (United Nations) representatives and international key experts at UN headquarters. The meetings referred IDPs returning to their homes. Moreover, an event for IDPs’ community took place, where representatives of NGO of Georgia delivered reports. The event was targeted to throw spotlight of international commonwealth on IDPs case. Malkhaz Akishbaia and non governmental sector has been invited to UN by Irakli Alasania, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations.
- Senior politicians from the nine-party opposition coalition have left for London where they are due to meet with presidential hopeful and business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. The opposition bloc is backing lawmaker Levan Gachechildze for the presidency. Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party and a member of the visiting delegation, told Rustavi 2 TV that discussions with Patarkatsishvili would focus on shaping tactics that “might prove advantageous to the opposition.” Kakha Kukava and Zviad Dzidziguri, lawmakers from the Conservative Party, are accompanying Usupashvili to London. They said meetings with Bruce George, a British Labour MP, and the Georgian community in London were also planned during the visit.
- Presidential candidate Badri Patarkatsishvili has made a comment about resuming of a broadcast license to the Tbilisi-based Imedi TV, which was released by his press service. Here is the full version of this text: ‘The Georgian National Communications Commission has decided to resume ‘Imedi’ TV's broadcasting license. I am sure that no one has a doubt that this decision is the result of the Georgian people's will. At the same time, this decision proves that no regime is able to stop the longing of the people for freedom by the means of terror. This decision is of particular significance for me. It was the will of God to give me the strength, so that the sacred word ‘hope’ first became substantial, and I have built the company ‘Imedi’, and then ‘Imedi’ journalists confirmed the main thesis of the Faith: ‘In the Beginning was the Word…’. Without exaggeration, one can say that all of Georgia has waited for this day to come. Most with hope, others with fear. Those who love Georgia – with hope, those who love only themselves – with fear. The authorities have trembled. Indeed, it could not be otherwise. Saakashvili’s regime has ended on the very day when it opposed itself to the people. We are not cattle to be poisoned by gas and beaten with cudgels. During this November it has been proven that the will of the Georgian people to live in a civilized, democratic, free society cannot be bent. This is our common choice, and we are able to protect it. TV & Radio Company ‘Imedi’ does not belong to me for a long time. ‘Imedi’ is the achievement and the property of the Georgian people. There is no force that can take ‘Imedi’ from us.
- Tbilisi City Court ruled on December 6 to unfreeze Imedi’s assets – the last remaining legal obstacle for the television station to get back on air. The ruling, however, will not go into force until December 7, according to the court. Imedi technicians, hoping to enter the TV studios today, will now, as a result, have to wait another day. “We won’t be able to enter the studios today, because the court ruling doesn't go into force until tomorrow,” Bidzina Baratashvili, managing director of Imedi TV, told Civil.Ge on December 6. “Initially [the authorities] had pledged to let us in on December 5, but now this has been postponed until tomorrow. They are deliberately dragging out the process.” Nino Burjanadze, the acting president, had said earlier this week that Imedi technicians would be allowed to enter the station’s studios on December 5. Technicians need to inspect equipment and determine when Imedi TV can resume actual broadcasting. Imedi’s management has claimed that studio equipment was damaged during the police raid on the television station late on November 7. The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) on December 4 reversed its November 7 decision to suspend Imedi TV’s license for three months. Although Imedi TV will resume broadcasting, “a criminal case against its owner, controversial billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Saakashvili Promises ‘Cheap Credit Bank’
December 6, 2007; Source: www.civil.ge; Interpressnews; Black Sea Press; Prime News
Presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili has pledged, in cooperation with private businesses, to set up a state bank to provide “cheap long-term credit” to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). “We will create a new bank, the Cheap Credit Bank, in a partnership between the state and the private sector,” Saakashvili said on December 6. “What is cheap credit? It means that in the next few months the state will allocate about GEL 300 million and in the following years – about GEL 3 billion… to ensure that everyone can avail of cheap loans for a 10, 20 or 25 year term with only 4-10% interest rates.” Saakashvili was speaking at the opening ceremony of a section of a new highway linking Tbilisi with western Georgia. Nino Burjanadze, the acting president, also attended the ceremony, which was aired live on Georgian TV. In tandem with the proposed bank, the former president said the state would also set up training centers to give basic knowledge about developing business plans. The centers, he said, would be for those wishing to apply for a soft loan from the new bank. “Soon we will open training centers, where people will be able to get some basic business knowledge. After two-week training course these people will prepare a business plan with expert help and will then submit the plan to the bank. The government will grant credit based on this business plan. This is my concrete plan for cheap credit; it doesn't mean free credit, because there is nothing free in this world,” Saakashvili said. Saakashvili also said that because “the state has already been built” in Georgia, now was the time to focus on creating employment opportunities. “The key task for the next term of my presidency will be creating new jobs for everyone who can work; creating business opportunities and taking care of those, who cannot work. The minimum pension should be increased to USD 100 a month,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili Pledges Poti Free Economic Zone in a Month
December 5, 2007; Source: www.civil.ge ; Black Sea Press; Interpressnews; Prime-News
Mikheil Saakashvili, who stepped down as President on November 25 to run for re-election, said on December 5 that a contract on a free economic zone would be signed next month. “In a month we will sign an agreement on a free economic zone and we will turn Poti into a very successful town,” Saakashvili told voters at a campaign rally in the Georgian Black Sea port. On October 16 the Georgian Ministry of Economy announced that a total of twelve companies had submitted bids for the lease of Poti port for 49 years. The port will be leased with an adjacent 400 hectares of land so as to create a free economic zone. At the time the Ministry said it would announce the winner of the tender within two weeks, but nothing has been heard of the matter until now.
TI Georgia Points at Some Tendencies in Government's Economic Policy
December 6, 2007; Source: Sarke Information Agency
Today Georgian bureau of Transparency International published interim results of pre-election period monitoring (by the state of December 3). The organization points at certain tendencies, shown by authority in its approach to economic-related issues. Namely, TI Georgia said that besides the large-scale social projects the government has implemented in November (or announced intention to implement) a number of legislative initiatives, that directly contradict its earlier stances. Among such initiatives – cancellation of demand to individual traders on cash register’s existence, amnesty for disputed property, authorization of interim living space to internally displaced persons. The same time, TI Georgia noted that the government representatives have not made any explanations about changing their position on these issues.
Government of Georgia to Release Extra Credits for Support to Agriculture
December 5, 2007; Source: Black Sea Press
The Government of Georgia passed the resolution today on release of series of credits for support to agriculture. In particular, the resolution was passed on release of the 3% preferential credit to the wineries for the purposes of processing of grapes and export of wine. As Petre Tsiskarishvili, Agriculture Minister of Georgia, declared to journalists upon completion of the sitting of the Government, the credit in the total amount of GEL 1 million would be released for one-year term to 4-5 large plants under mortgage and banking guarantee. Besides, the Government will release GEL 2 million from its reserve fund for funding of the 3% preferential credit for the six-month term under realization and export of apples of the last yield. Petre Tsiskarishvili said that apples would be bought, assorted and exported with the funds. According to the Minister, 70,000 tons have been already supplied, and the population of Shida Kartli, Meskheti and Racha will gain extra GEL 10 million. The Government will release GEL 100,000 till the end of 2007 to the residents of Vakiri village in Kakheti for modernization of vineyards and growing of better sorts of grapes instead of the usual “vakirula” sort. As Petre Tsiskarishvili said, the vineyards in Vakiri occupy the area of 700 hectares, while 50 hectares only would be modernized at the initial stage. Modernization of the rest areas will be carried out next year. Viticulturists will be paid GEL 2,000 compensation per hectare, and the decision with what sort “vakirula” will be replaced is up to them. Petre Tsiskarishvili said that “vakirula” was a hybrid sort that appeared not effective enough for production of wine.
Georgia: Scrutiny of Tycoon's Interests Goes Beyond Imedi
December 5, 2007; Source: Eurasia.Net.Org
The pro-opposition Imedi television channel may be slotted to resume broadcasting, but the Georgian government’s scrutiny of other businesses associated with tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili nonetheless is persisting… Other businesses with ties to Patarkatsishvili are facing intensive government scrutiny. The heaviest interest appears to be on Standard Bank, a retail financial institution owned by Salford Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm, which manages Patarkatsishvili’s business assets in Georgia. On November 24, Standard, one of the country’s largest banks, was placed under the temporary administration of the National Bank of Georgia, a measure usually taken when there is concern about the liquidity of a bank’s assets. A National Bank of Georgia press release states that the central bank stepped in when it became apparent that Standard Bank was on the verge of bankruptcy. However, bank owner Salford Capital Partners maintains that the move represents a systematic government effort to “attack” businesses -- and individuals -- with ties to Patarkatsishvili. Two other Salford assets -- an Internet provider and a beverages company -- have also recently been investigated by the financial police. In a separate matter, a Tbilisi amusement park leased by Patarkatsishvili was forcibly closed on November 7. “We are very convinced that this has been a deliberate and coordinated effort by the government to attack businesses associated with Badri Patarkatsishvili,” Irakli Rukhadze, managing director of Salford’s Georgia operations, told EurasiaNet. “The temporary administration is not there to administer. It is there to destroy [Salford Bank].” Rukhadze argued that Patarkatsishvili’s ties to Standard Bank never went beyond loans. The bank, he asserts, was solvent when the National Bank of Georgia took over its operations. Nonetheless, its association with the tycoon has come at an apparent cost, some observers believe. Rukhadze reports that over the past two weeks Standard has already paid out 25 percent of its total assets, or some 40 million lari (approximately $25 million) to depositors closing accounts. Rukhadze alleged that Georgia’s National Bank is pressuring existing Standard Bank clients to withdraw funds, while blocking new clients from opening accounts. But one such large client contacted by EurasiaNet -- Kazakhstani energy firm KazTransGas -- states that it still has money in Standard Bank. Company officials would not comment on any attempt to pressure them. The National Bank of Georgia did not return requests for comment. In response, Rukhadze says that Salford is planning to sue the Bank of Georgia and current Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, the Bank of Georgia’s former chief executive officer, for picking up accounts from Standard closed under the National Bank of Georgia’s oversight. A letter to other private banks in Georgia warns that “the purchase of any of [Standard] Bank’s assets” could make the institution liable for acquiring property “procured by fraud.” Official scrutiny has also turned on Rukhadze; he has reportedly been named as a suspect in a case of alleged “influence peddling” to a National Bank of Georgia employee, and as a witness in a separate money laundering case. Rukhadze denies any wrongdoing. One Tbilisi-based attorney questioned how far Salford’s lawsuit could go under Georgian law. As long as Standard Bank is under the Central Bank’s temporary administration, its fate is the responsibility of the National Bank of Georgia, noted Ketti Kvartskhava, a partner at BLC Professional Legal Services. Similarly, no other bank -- including the Bank of Georgia -- is liable if they accept Standard Bank clients, she said. “No one can restrict their client to choose another bank or . . . service provider,” Kvartskhava wrote in an email interview. The General Prosecutor’s office could not be reached for comment on the case against Salford. Prime Minister Gurgenidze reportedly met with Salford Managing Director Rukhadze in late November, but his office has declined comment. What the investigation will mean for Georgia’s booming retail banking sector remains unclear, but one recent arrival, London-based HSBC, stressed that it is not concerned. Commented HSBC Georgia Chief Executive Officer designate Anthony Turner: “We take it all with a pinch of salt. … [W]e are not in the game of politics.”
Agritechnics Group is Suing Sadia S.A. for Misappropriation of Money
December 6, 2007; Source: Black Sea Press
Agritechnics Group is suing Sadia S.A. (NYSE symbol: SDA) and its subsidiary Wellax Food Logistics for misappropriation of one million four hundred thousand United States Dollars based on a fraudulent transaction. As BLACK SEA PRESS was told at the Companay Agritechnics, the lawsuit was filed in Georgia on October 5th, 2007, alleging that on February 7 2007, Adriano Lima Ferreira and Alvaro Ballejo Fiuza de Castro both attorneys of Sadia and Wellax Food Logistics submitted a fraudulent statement to Deutsche Bank SA Brazil based on which the value of a Bank Guarantee of One million four hundred thousand United States Dollars was embezzled from the claimant. "- Whether you are a listed company or not, business ethics should always remain the guideline and therefore we were shocked to find out that a large listed company like Sadia could get bluntly involved in such dealings" commented Fady Asly, President and CEO of Agritechnics Group. Sadia S.A. (SDA) is a listed refrigerated and frozen protein products company, operating worldwide in the processed product, poultry and pork and beef segments out of its headquarters in Brazil. The Agritechnics Group has been operating in Georgia since 1998 and is well known for its high quality food products, reliable service and competitive prices. It has fairly been holding its good name and solid reputation through years of progressive operation in South Caucasus and Central Asia.
A Free Georgia
December 6, 2007; Source: The Wall Street Journal
Four years after the Rose Revolution helped restore democracy and economic growth to Georgia, our country was confronted with its most severe challenge: extra-constitutional threats that put our national security directly at risk. On Nov. 7, with the entire cabinet and parliamentary leadership assessing developments, we were compelled to make a series of difficult but necessary decisions. Following five days of peaceful protests, opposition leaders radicalized their demands, calling for the storming of the parliament. We watched demonstrations burst into violence. A national television station falsely accused the government of launching an assault on our central cathedral; in the Georgian context, this would be equivalent to an Israeli government assault on pilgrims at Jerusalem's Western Wall. Meanwhile, one of our country's wealthiest men called publicly for the overthrow of the government. And we weighed evidence of subversive activity by foreign intelligence agents. A dangerous pattern was emerging. As the democratically elected leadership of the country, we believed that some in the opposition were trying to short-circuit the democratic process that we had built over the last four years, substituting the street for the ballot box. Reluctantly, and knowing it would frustrate our friends in the West who have championed our democratic and economic liberalism, we concluded that we had no choice but to prevent a further deterioration of the situation. To do otherwise would have meant abandoning the hopes, dreams and needs of our population to the demands of radical forces. I am deeply grateful to the people of Georgia for the wisdom and sound judgment they displayed during this brief period of national difficulty. And I am pleased that all the temporary measures we had to enact have been lifted, including restrictions on Imedi TV, the television station which broadcast the inflammatory reports leading up to the Nov. 7 declaration of a state of emergency. Georgia has faced many trials and tests of late, and I am proud that our commitment to building a European democracy remains unshaken. Georgia today is one of the world's most favorable investment destinations, ranked globally as the No. 1 reformer, according to the World Bank. It has one of Europe's lowest rates of corruption. Unfortunately, this was not always the case. All of us still recall the scars of more than a decade of violence, misrule, divisions and chaos that engulfed our country during the post-independence period. Separatist conflicts from the 1990s remain unresolved as the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are today governed illegally by dubious separatist groups supported by our northern neighbor. So when the abyss seemed to open again, our entire leadership understood that a return to the mayhem and tragedy of the previous decade was unacceptable. Our overwhelming goal has been, and remains, to end painful divisions in our country: ideological, ethnic and territorial. Our tool to achieve this goal has been the institutionalization of democratic practices and values, through the passage of genuine reforms that end corruption and cronyism. In the four years since the Rose Revolution, we have restored constitutional life and belief in the functionality of the state. We have undertaken a wholesale reform of our judicial and criminal justice system in order to ground Georgia in the rule of law. We also have been very ambitious in our economic liberalization, denationalizing much of the economy. As a result, business is thriving and for the past four years our economy has been growing by double digits. These achievements must be rendered irreversible. At the same time, we are painfully aware that many Georgians have yet to feel the full benefit of these reforms; it takes time to bring about radical change and even longer for the fruits of these reforms to trickle down. But I am equally convinced that the changes for which we have fought will establish a Georgia that is truly free and prosperous. By removing a corrupt regime and reinventing the Georgian state, we created the conditions for a normal constitutional change in government through elections. Consistent with this pledge, I have voluntarily decided to shorten my own term in office by more than a year and conduct presidential elections on Jan. 5. I will thus return the choice regarding Georgia's future to our people. There is a need for a new mandate. The nation also will decide by plebiscite on the same day whether to hold early parliamentary elections. Our domestic opponents know our shortcomings and they will soon have the opportunity to challenge our government in what will undoubtedly be a free and fair election. Full and equal access to the media has been provided to all parties. We welcome -- in fact, we urge -- the presence of international observers so that there is no doubt as to the quality of our electoral process and no doubt about the outcome. I hope and believe that all my compatriots will be united in ensuring that our national decisions remain ours alone. My government recognizes that an effective, functioning state is the crucial facilitator of change. We have had to establish a state where the police maintain law and order honestly, where citizens pay taxes, and where the government returns that trust by securing freedoms and personal security. Out of the stateless factionalism, we have fashioned something new and exciting in Georgia. Through peaceful overtures, we believe our separatist territories will join our success and that the economically disadvantaged will be included in a prosperous future beyond the imagination of previous generations. In short, our answer to the challenges that recent events posed to our democracy is to accelerate and deepen our commitment to democracy. For my government and the people of Georgia, there is no other choice.
Opposition Cold-Shoulder for PACE Monitor
December 6, 2007; Source: www.civil.ge; Black Sea Press; Prime News
Matyas Eorsi, a rapporteur from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has been criticized by some leading opposition presidential candidates for inconsistency and a pro-government stance. Eorsi, a Hungarian lawmaker, is in Georgia to observe electoral campaigns ahead of the January 5 early presidential elections. On December 6 he met with several opposition presidential hopefuls, including Davit Gamkrelidze of the New Rights Party, Levan Gachechiladze of the nine-party opposition coalition and Gia Miasashvili, leader of Party of Future. Presidential candidate Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party, was represented at the meeting by members of his election campaign office. “He [Eorsi] immediately started accusing us of getting ready for January 6, rather than for the elections,” Nestan Kirtadze of the Labor Party said after the meeting. Kirtadze said Eorsi's position was just a reflection of Georgian government thinking. The authorities have been accusing the opposition of making “pre-determined judgments” on the fairness of the forthcoming election. They have said the opposition is more focused on post-election protests than the election itself. Although other New Rights members remained, party leader Davit Gamkrelidze walked out of the meeting with Eorsi shortly after it had started. He later complained that the PACE monitors “should have said that the authoritarian regime [in Georgia] was not established today, but much earlier” He added that the monitors knew this but refused to say anything. “I demanded that they speak out at least now.” “They do not even know that there is Irakli Batiashvili, who is jailed, and that Georgia has political prisoners and these people should now make conclusions about situation in Georgia,” Gamkrelidze added. Levan Gachechiladze, the nine-party opposition coalition presidential candidate, said the PACE monitors should be willing to respond to violations during the election campaign. “Responding after polling day will be too late,” he said. Matyas Eorsi was last in Tbilisi in November, shortly after the Georgian authorities had imposed a state of emergency. On November 10 he said Georgia had damaged its reputation as “a champion of democratic reforms in the region.” Eorsi was also in Tbilisi in mid-September. His prognosis then - in which he hailed the government's democratic reforms - was in sharp contrast to his November position.
EU backs Georgia "young democracy" despite concerns
December 6, 2007; Source: Reuters; The Associated Press
BRUSSELS, - The European Union gave Georgia's pro-Western government a firm assurance of its support on Thursday despite wide international dismay of its suppression of opposition protests last month. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner chided Tbilisi for a "somewhat overdone" reaction to the protests that included the muzzling of an opposition television station, but welcomed subsequent steps to bolster democracy. "We know Georgia is a young democracy," Ferrero-Waldner told a joint news conference with Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze after their talks. "A lot still remains to be done," she said. "But ... we will go on trying to keep at the side of Georgia, strengthening the institutions, helping to set up what is necessary," she said, suggesting the EU could aid welfare reforms after the elections. Ferrero-Waldner stressed the need to restore media freedoms but hailed the decision to lift a state of emergency and the former Soviet republic's willingness to allow international observation of a Jan. 5 presidential election. She said Georgia's parliament had taken "encouraging first steps" in creating a credible system of democratic checks and balances, with the introduction of an electoral code and the establishment of a public defenders office. Gurgenidze was in Brussels for talks with officials from the European Union and NATO. He said he would explain the recent unrest and seek future support. Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili called a snap January election after ordering riot police to force opposition protesters off the streets last month with tear gas and rubber bullets. Police also raided opposition television station Imedi, which Saakashvili accused of calling for a revolution. Gurgenidze said on Wednesday a court had lifted a ban on Imedi and it would be back on air by the weekend. Georgia's Western allies had said it should be allowed to resume broadcasting or the presidential vote would be unfair. The station is part owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, and Badri Patarkatsishvili, an opposition leader who is seeking to run for the presidency. Ferrero-Waldner stressed any independence move by the breakaway Serb province of Kosovo should not impact on the breakaway Georgian republics, despite Russian warnings that independence for Kosovo could set a precedent. "We do hope also that Russia will understand that certainly on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, things should remain as they are. There should be territorial integrity of Georgia," she said, adding: "We will certainly watch out."
Dangerous, Unfinished Business
December 6, 2007; Source: The New York Times
…Russia’s position is cynical. It has no power to regain Kosovo for Serbia and the Kremlin plays its own secessionist games in Georgia and Moldova. President Vladimir Putin has simply been using Kosovo as a handy stick to beat the West and to remind the world that Russia still wields a Security Council veto. Serbia’s hopes for a brighter future depend on turning its back on Milosevic’s nightmarish legacy and repairing relations with the European Union and NATO. But this is a hard idea to sell in Serbian politics, and no government will risk it as long as Russia is feeding illusions of nostalgic nationalism. If Moscow makes good on its threats to veto the compromise, Kosovo’s leaders will almost certainly declare independence. Most Western governments say that they would recognize the new (and militarily vulnerable) Kosovo. This would clearly not be a happy situation. But neither would the alternative: leaving Western peacekeepers sitting on the powder keg of an angry and frustrated Albanian majority. The better approach, for all involved, would be an internationally supervised independence recognized by the United Nations. It is not too late for Moscow to play a more constructive role, and to bring Serbia along with it.
The seizure on Imedi TV lifted by court
December 6, 2007
A Tbilisi court ruled today to lift the seizure order on the Imedi TV station’s property. The TV station employees will enter the station’s premises later today to begin preparations to resume broadcasting. The Radio Imedi will also resume its broadcasting. The broadcast license, which had been revoked under the seizure order, has been returned to the station on Wednesday when the Georgian National Communication Commission convened.
On December 3, acting president Ms. Nino Burjanadze announced that, in light of the upcoming presidential elections on January 5, Imedi TV should be reopened despite concerns over its objectivity and journalistic ethics. Imedi TV has been closed since November 7, when it aired alleged incitements to overthrow the government through violent means.
Ms. Burjanadze asked the General Prosecutor’s Office to petition the court to remove the seizure order, explaining that the immediate threat posed by Imedi TV’s broadcasts had subsided and that the need for free media was paramount in the pre-election period.
The General Prosecutor’s Office filed the petition on December 4, paving the way for removal of the seizure order. Although Imedi TV will resume broadcasting, a criminal case against its owner, a controversial billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili is still pending.
Inofrmation Note on Imedi Reopening>>
USA has made its choice on Georgian Presidency - Russian MPs
December 5, 2007
BBC Monitoring Caucasus
Text of report by Georgian TV station Rustavi-2 on 5 December
[Presenter] Andrey Lugovoy [who is accused of murdering a former member of special services, Aleksandr Litvinenko, in London] has made his first comment as a [Russian] MP.
At a news conference held at the Interfax news agency office today, [Russian] Liberal Democratic Party [LDPR] leader [Vladimir Zhirinovskiy] and number two on the [LDPR] ticket Andrey Lugovoy commented on 5 January  presidential election [in Georgia].
Zhirinovskiy prefers to have [Georgian tycoon and presidential hopeful] Badri Patarkatsishvili as Georgian president, but he believes that Saakashvili will remain number one in Georgia in accordance with the US decision.
As for Lugovoy, he reaffirmed that he is on friendly terms with Patarkatsishvili. He maintains that Saakashvili's policy is aimed at exterminating the Georgian nation.
At the same news conference, Lugovoy explained that he was Georgia's fan because Georgia is his second homeland, he speaks Georgian, and has spent most of his life in Tbilisi.
[Zhirinovskiy speaking in Russian at the Interfax office] [Georgia's] master [the United States] has made its choice. This is why Mikheil Saakashvili will remain in the presidential post. Georgia is needed as a NATO military land base to crush Iran, to control Caspian oil, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, and to continue to set fire to Russia's North Caucasus. This is why Misha [Saakashvili] will remain there for a long time, until the US foreign policy course changes.
As for Badri [Patarkatsishvili], he would have been more suitable to us.
[Lugovoy speaking in Russian at the Interfax office] I have known him for quite long and I can say that he is quite a decent and honest man. I was embittered to watch how the entire power system of Saakashvili was being built in order to deteriorate relations with Russia and create in the whole of Georgia an enemy's image for the Russians who have been trampling it [Georgia] for 250 or 300 years.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, when Georgian kings urged Russia to incorporate Georgia, there were only, I believe, 100,000 or 150,000 Georgians remaining, and they were cruelly massacred by the Turks. Without the Russian soldier who came to Georgian territory, there would have been no such nation as the Georgians now at all.
“He is a Hungarian Jew” - Levan Berdzenishvili, MP on Matyas Eorsi, the Head of the Council of Europe’s Delegation to Georgia
December 6, 2007
The SPECTER program
“As for Matyas Eorsi and Dieter Boden, they are completely different persons. As you know, Dieter Boden is sent by the UN and he is a better person than Matyas Eorsi, and he is much more aware about the situation than Matyas Eorsi is. As for Matyas Eorsi, he is the head of one of the factions in the Council of Europe. The composition of this faction includes Georgian MPs as well. Concurrently, Matyas Eorsi is the head of the monitoring team in Georgia. There are only two persons in this team: Matyas Eorsi and Kastriot Islam; the latter is from Albania. Matyas Eorsi is a Hungarian Jew. He is the head of a very interesting and strong faction, but in both places he is seen to be biased..I have been fighting against this man for four years, and I am trying to prove to him that the Georgian government’s behavior is bad, but Eorsi does not want to believe this. Now it seems that he finally believed it, but is still inclined toward the government position. Yesterday we refused to meet him in the Parliament, because it made no sense. On December 17, I am planning to visit Paris to attend the session of the monitoring committee. Matyas Eorsi isn’t visiting Georgia because of elections; he is here to present his version of how the Government of Georgia is fulfilling its responsibilities in the Council of Europe, at the committee which is going to be discussed in January. His current report is more critical than the previous one, but he still tries to soften critics. This is the role of Matyas Eorsi. As for Dieter Boden he is obliged to head the group of observers. We shouldn’t look at international observers that way we look at Matyas Eorsi, because his position differs from the one of the Council of Europe. The countries that are represented in the Council of Europe—for example, UK, France, Germany—have a critical attitude towards the current government. You all know the position of the French ambassador and other diplomats; although they stick to the rules of diplomacy, they stand by the Georgian people and they aren’t singing Hosanna to the government.”