Author`s name Michael Simpson

Georgia’s Witch Hunting

The scale of the Georgian leader’s appetite is striking. The president, who once was considered Father of the People, is now “Father of the Family” who seized the key posts in Georgia’s economy. The country is experiencing a crisis, economy is destroyed, the unemployment rate is deterrent. 600-700 thousand Georgians have recently moved to Russia. Corruption, anarchy and banditism have reached a critical level. In fact, control over the country is lost and authority of the central government doesn’t apply to Abkhazia, South Ossetia and to Adzharia, to some extent.

The hope for America’s help can be justified only in a long-term outlook (an oil pipeline; plus a military aerodrome in Vaziany abandoned by Russian troops; military bases in Akhalkala and Batumi that Eduard Shevardnadze persistently offers to the USA, and doing so he exerts pressure upon Russia and demands to withdraw Russian peacemakers from the region). As soon as the USA closes the triangle consisting of Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia, it will start speaking to Russia in a different language.

However, this will be in the near future; for the time being, Washington asks Tbilisi for patience and says Georgia’s time will come sooner or later. The Georgian president understands perfectly well that now the USA has no opportunity to pay attention to Georgia, but at the same time he wants financing, and not tomorrow or some day, but right now. In this situation, Eduard Shevardnadze discovered a sphere that people of his circle didn’t control yet. This is financing of non-governmental organizations.

Simply and unpretentiously, Georgian authorities started establishment of control over this sphere. At that, authorities are not scared by the fact that this kind of activity contradicts the European standards. Georgian President Shevardnadze declared already a year ago that it was necessary to establish control over activity of research and development organizations and over grants they get for investigations and scientific works. He explained the intention the following way: “Let’s take for example an organization taking care about the old and financed for these purposes from the West. And then the organization uses the grants from abroad for organization of a terrorist act against the president.”

Shevardnadze also decided to explain his idea to foreign diplomats representing countries that donor non-governmental organizations. He told them that as follows from his long experience, there were good and not quite good research and development organizations, and foreign sources couldn’t distribute grants without discussing the issue with Georgian authorities. And what is more astonishing, Shevardnadze said that if donor countries had a plenty of money to spend, the government could create foundations for transfer of money directly to them. The statement was a bewilderment for both, research and development organizations and diplomats who attempted to explain the very issue of non-governmental organizations to Shevardnadze. However, their reasoning wasn’t convincing for the Georgian president. The idea to control humanitarian financing that is not controlled by governmental officials seems to have stuck in Shevardnadze’s head. The State Security Ministry developed a bill on incomes of research and development organizations. State security officials say the bill will introduce no terrible measures, and add that “the government must control and regulate all financial inflows in the country.”
Dmitry Chirkin

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