GEORGIA Possibilities for unity for the opposition in Tbilisi

With a year to go before the elections, the question arises about the real possibilities of an alliance between the different groups and movements that oppose the government. But the distances are still marked and difficult to overcome. It is worrying that the repercussions of what is happening in Ukraine may also overly condition life in Georgia.

Tbilisi () – With a year to go until the parliamentary elections in Georgia, the opposition to the ruling Georgian Dream party is considering possible strategies to defeat it, leading the country towards a more decidedly Europeanist line and moving away from Moscow’s influence. However, the problem is also conditioned by the multiple contradictions that exist within the same opposition forces and that do not seem easy to overcome.

Two very popular Georgian political scientists in the country, David Darchiashvili and David Zurabishvili, discussed the situation in Ekho Kavkaza. The issue being debated is a consideration based on the experience of recent years, according to which the less likely the opponents are to win, the more attempts are made to reunify them before the elections.

Zurabishvili is decidedly skeptical about the possibility of real coordination, given the heterogeneity of the opposition groups and movements, which have different political histories behind them, not without conflicts and still open wounds. The only factor of convergence is the aversion to the Georgian Dream, but it does not seem enough: “There should be an extreme polarization, all or nothing, and that can only happen if the same party in power reaches a level of total radicalization of its members.” positions, which at the moment cannot be confirmed”.

According to the political scientist, “if the elections propose the alternative: with Ivanishvili and Russia, or without Ivanishvili and Europe, then perhaps there will be a confrontation on equal terms”, but the chances of such a clear confrontation taking place are by no means sung. . In that case, if the politicians don’t unite, the voters will surely take sides. Although much depends on the reactions of the European Union to the political events in Georgia and what happens on the Ukrainian front anyway: the more Ukraine can assert a winning position, the more Georgia will be attracted to the West.

Darchiashvili recalls the various experiments of the “Popular Front” of the 1980s, already before the fall of the USSR, which partly fueled internal conflicts in the Caucasian country. In his opinion, the pro-Russian excesses of the Georgian Dream policy could recreate a similar situation, but “it will also be necessary to see if Putin is capable of staying in his position after the failures of the Ukrainian operation.” The “National Movement”, the main opposition party, was founded by former President Saakashvili in continuity with the anti-Soviet and anti-Russian Front.

The Georgian Dream, on the other hand, tries to hide behind the “defence against dictatorship” of the Saakashvili period, which had introduced the military state throughout the country to face the war with Russia. On the other hand, the government’s position is not openly anti-European, on the contrary, it subscribes to 80% of the EU’s requirements, reserving some options to defend its interests, especially those of the founder Ivanishvili. However, Darchiashvili assures, there are many in the party who strongly support Georgia’s entry into NATO and the EU, “it is not a bunch of fascist and Putinist fanatics.”

Government propaganda stresses that the West’s interest is not in Georgia, but that its main objective is to weaken Russia, and therefore “great caution” is required. This would be the line taken by Ivanishvili, rather than “conspiring with the Kremlin.” In fact, both ends of the Georgian political spectrum are concerned about the excessive radicalization of Ukrainian politics, which in turn could overly condition the life of neighboring Georgia.

However, the “Saakashvili factor” remains open, the uncertain fate of the former president, in prison and seriously ill, who is not granted the possibility of receiving treatment abroad, as requested by his supporters and the Ukrainian government itself, whose nationality the “presidential dissident” possesses. All the opposition parties, the two political scientists conclude, “are in favor of Saakashvili, but at odds with each other”, and the former president, as much as he could influence Georgian politics, is not famous for his ability to agree to the contenders

Photo: Flickr / Vladimir Shioshvili

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Written by Editor TLN

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