08TBILISI17, GEORGIAN ELECTION AND AFTERMATH: THE GOG ESTIMATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI17 2008-01-04 13:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4806
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0017 0041312
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 041312Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8566
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000017 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2017 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN ELECTION AND AFTERMATH: THE GOG ESTIMATE 
OF THE THREAT AND PLAN FOR DEALING WITH IT 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT. REASONS 1.4 (b) & (d) 
 
1. (C) In recent meetings, Prosecutor General (PG) Adeishvili 
and key officials at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA) 
have expressed serious concerns about security on election 
day and opposition protests after the election.  Having 
uncovered Patarkatsishvili,s coup plot, the MoIA has taken 
steps to respond to the threat.  But the threat remains.  The 
PG said the level of risk from Patarkatsishvili depends on 
how much cash he can smuggle into the country to buy 
agitators.  The Georgians are aware of attempts by 
Patarkatsishvili to establish many small accounts at banks 
around the country at amounts below the National Bank of 
Georgia,s requirement to report cash transactions.  The PG 
said he knows of withdrawals from existing Patarkatsishvili 
accounts, but believes the cash available will be much less 
than Patarkatsishvili had planned for.  But the PG said 
Patarkatsishvili,s supporters are not the only ones they are 
worried about.  He said the MoIA has credible evidence that 
supporters of the United Opposition candidate, Gachecheladze, 
plan to have weapons and Molotov cocktails available for use 
after the election. 
 
2. (C)  MoIA officials have said their first worry is 
security of polling stations on election day.  With 3,400 
precincts spread across the country, the MoIA doesn,t have 
enough police to protect them all.  In his secretly taped 
conversation with MoIA official Kodua, Patarkatsishvili laid 
out his scheme to ruin the election on January 5 by having 
agitators interfere with polling stations.  The call by 
opposition leaders yesterday for supporters to gather outside 
of polling stations on election day has increased concern by 
the MoIA.  The MoIA admits the polling stations are 
vulnerable.  Their plan is to have police units poised to 
react to trouble at the precincts rather than try to take 
preventative measures, so as not to inadvertently provoke 
confrontations. 
 
3. (C)  The MoIA,s next worry is concurrent rallies 
beginning on January 6 that could lead to clashes between 
supporters of different factions, with the police caught in 
the middle.  Opposition leaders have fed this concern by 
declaring that if the United National Movement (UNM) 
celebrates by public gatherings immediately after the 
election, they will call their supporters to the streets to 
protest.  Both the UNM and the opposition have requested 
permits for rallies following the elections: UNM to take 
place at Freedom Square and the opposition starting at Rike 
Park across the river and continuing to Freedom Square. 
 
4. (C)  There is plenty of talk in Tbilisi about how many 
supporters the opposition parties can bring to the streets to 
protest the elections, motivated either by greed or by 
principle, and whether they will be armed.  The MoIA will 
have a better idea once they see what happens and judge the 
temperature on election day.  The PG estimates the opposition 
will have far fewer protesters than the 50,000 who came out 
for the November 2 demonstrations, but even 20,000 determined 
protesters can pose a serious threat.  As a Deputy Minister 
told us yesterday, the MoIA is hoping for the best but 
preparing for the worst. 
 
5. (C)  The MoIA has a more thoughtful plan and is better 
equipped now than in early November.  They have equipped the 
police with modern riot gear and acquired armored personnel 
carriers in case the police need protection from firearms and 
Molotov cocktails.  We have heard the plan involves putting 
police inside government buildings while leaving the 
demonstrators free to carry out peaceful protests on the 
streets.  If the protestors try to storm buildings or resort 
to violence, the police will respond quickly to disburse the 
demonstrations.  The PG told us they will not allow a street 
mob to overthrow the government and will take whatever steps 
are necessary to enforce the results of the election. 
 
6.  (C) Comment:  The attitude of opposition leaders has 
grown more defensive, aggressive and combative as the 
election has approached.  They seem to recognize that 
Saakashvili will likely win, are frustrated and spoiling for 
a fight.  If Saakashvili wins, all sides expect rallies and 
protests starting on January 6.  The extreme political 
polarization and high emotions of the people make a 
combustible mix.  Meanwhile, a major snowstorm has descended 
on the country and the snow is forecast to continue through 
Sunday, January 6.  The snow not only will decrease voter 
turnout but will dampen the enthusiasm of demonstrators.  The 
weather combined with Orthodox Christmas on January 7, will 
hopefully reduce or at least delay the threat of violence. 
End Comment. 
TEFFT

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