Head of Ajaria Aslan Abashidze resigned and left the autonomous republic of Ajaria along with his son Georgy, mayor of the republic's capital.
The 13-year reign of the “adjarian lion” has ended.
In the course of a live broadcast last night, Georgian president Michael Saakashvili has announced that both Abashidze and his son had left for Moscow accompanied by the Secretary of Defense Council Igor Ivanov. The latter had arrived to Georgia a day earlier to conduct talks with Abashidze.
The “one on one” conversation between Ivanov and Abashidze had lasted for four hours. On Thursday, the secretary's private jet with Ivanov, former Ajaria leader and his son aboard landed in “Vnukovo-2” airport. It is possible that Abashidze will seek political asylum in Moscow.
Saakashvili has introduced direct presidential government in the autonomous republic of Ajaria. In his last night’s televised address, Saakashvili has guaranteed Aslan Abashidze total immunity. However, according to the “Echo of Moscow”, a criminal case has been filed against the former leader of Ajaria for the abuse of his powers. He can also be accused of betrayal of his motherland.
Georgian president Michael Saakashvili has addressed thousands of residents of Ajaria from the window of aslant Abashidze's office early Thursday morning. He stated that “Ajaria will never see dictatorship ever again.”
“This was an amazing mini-revolution and the very first case in the post Soviet era when separatism got defeated,” remarked the president. He also mentioned that he “would be happy to take the first step on the free land of Ajaria.” “This is what's most important, what people have been waiting for all these years,” said he.
Saakashvili said that many politicians had been advising him for the past several months “to leave Ajaria alone because of fears of war. They could not understand that Ajaria is no Abkhazia; Ajaria is no Georgia.”
“I am certain that it will not take long for us to enter Abkhazia and fully unite the regions,” added Saakashvili.
Saakashvili congratulated Ajarians with the fact that Abashidze has “ran away from Ajaria.”
“Aslan has ran away; I salute the entire Georgia. Today, the first and most important step has been made to unite Georgia. I want to congratulate each and every single one resident of Ajaria and everyone else who had offered their help,” stated Saakashvili in his live televised address to the people.
Abashidze's office chair has been burnt and his entire office has been taken to pieces, mainly for souvenirs.
Former Abashidze's supporters will not be persecuted, stated Georgian Prime-Minister Zurab Zhvania in his address to the people.
“Georgian government will not persecute former supporters of Aslan Abashidze. We have come here for love and not to separate the nation,” stated Zhvania in his live televised address. The prime-Minister however warned Ajaria residents that “Georgian leadership will not tolerate marauding.”
“We will not tolerate marauding. Everyone who lays their hands on Aslan Abashidze’s property will be punished. This property belongs to every resident of this republic and will be used to benefit everyone,” added he.
Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov does not leave his friends in turbulent times. Ambassador Plenipotentiary of Georgia in the Russian Federation Konstantin Kemularia in his interview to the “Echo of Moscow” stated that Abashidze “feels safe” in Moscow. “After the 'velvet' revolution in Tbilisi, Shevarnadze lives there and feels absolutely secure. Why should Abashidze be worried, especially since he's got many friends there?” added Kemularia.
Aslan Abashidze's closest friend, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov does not intent to annul his contracts with the ex leader of Ajaria.
Mayor's press-secretary Sergey Tsoi stated in his interview to “Interfax” that “Yuri Luzhkov has never left their friends in time of trouble.” The press-secretary also mentioned that Luzhkov went to the airport to meet Aslan Abashidze on Thursday.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now