The Georgian opposition accused President Mikhail Saakashvili of squandering state funds for purchasing a private jet equipped with one-seat catapult. Saakashvili is also accused of other spending which does not correspond to his activities as the president.
“The president once promised to use only common passenger planes. Now he spends enormous funds on his own comfort, although he continues talking about the crisis and the problems of the population,” Georgian opposition activist Iosif Shatberashvili said.
Mikhail Saakashvili purchased a Challenger-type plane for $56 million on the funds from the state budget. The Georgian president also ordered to equip his plane with one-seat catapult system evaluated at $7 million.
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“The president was frightened with what happened to late Polish President Lech Kaczynski and decided to have a catapult in his plane. Now he can sleep well,” Mr. Shatberashvili said.
The tragic death of Lech Kaczynski, who was one of the most active European lobbyists of the Georgian President, shocked the latter to the very roots of his being. Unlike the late Polish President, Saakashvili has never had a brave heart. One may recollect an episode of the five-day war in the Caucasus in 2008, when TV cameras showed Saakashvili in panic after he took a bird for a Russian fighter jet.
Kaczynski’s death reminded everyone that even presidents are powerless in front of tragic circumstances. The Georgian president travels all the time. He sometimes makes official visits, although they have dropped in number considerably after the armed conflict. He needs to read lectures on Georgian democracy across the Atlantic Ocean, or makes private flights with his family. How can he do without flights at all?
A personal presidential catapult system in a personal presidential airliner is a very good idea for the Georgian president. A year ago he was accused of spending $300 million of budget funds on travel.
“So many refugees are starving in the county at the time when Saakashvili’s family was traveling comfortably. They visited Sahara, and even traveled around Africa on board a submarine. The president was not satisfied with that and visits the most expensive hotel in France twice a week,” Shatberashvili said.
“Poverty and unemployment continue to grow, although the president promised to put an end to both during his pre-election campaign. Our mass media have been suppressed like never before. Georgia has turned into a second-rate post-Soviet country. The Georgian administration believes that people will not be paying attention to what is happening in the country if Georgia has an external threat. Misha [Mikhail for short] delivers speeches about the “enemy” every week and calls upon the people to be prepared for a possible war. He has recently promised to teach all Georgian students how to handle weapons,” Salome Zurabishvili, a former associate of Mikhail Saakashvili and now an opposition activist said.
Georgy Tsagareishvili, an opposition deputy of the Georgian parliament, said Tuesday that he was going to start the procedure in the parliament to impeach President Saakashvili. The official said that there were more than enough reasons for Saakashvili’s impeachment. One of them is about the recent provocative TV report about Russia’s military incursion in Georgia.
On March 13, Georgia’s Imedi TV company aired a fake report about the assassination of South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity and the incursion of Russian troops in Georgia. The report said that Mikhail Saakashvili had been killed. A TV host said afterwards that it was a special report about a possible development of events.
Independent British specialists analyzed the audio tape with conversations of Imedi officials and confirmed that Saakashvili had been informed about the report.
The current political structure of the parliament makes the procedure of impeachment practically impossible.
Parliament speaker David Bakradze said that the statements from the opposition movement were not serious and added that the Georgian administration was working on much more serious issues.
Assigning nearly $100 million from the budget for a private jet with a catapult is a very serious matter, of course.
Will the US administration like Saakashvili’s new jet? America still continues to sponsor “democracy” in Georgia. However, it is very hard to understand what the democratic society and a personal catapult capsule have in common. American tax payers will never understand that for sure.