Monthly Archives: March 2008

08TBILISI528, GEORGIAN OPPOSITION HUNGER STRIKE ENDS, CAMPAIGN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI528 2008-03-28 12:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7364
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0528/01 0881257
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281257Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9197
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000528 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN OPPOSITION HUNGER STRIKE ENDS, CAMPAIGN 
BEGINS? 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 496 
     B. TBILISI 509 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry; 
reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On March 25, after 16 days, the United 
National Council of Opposition (UNC) and the New Rightists 
(NR) party ended their hunger strike.  They said they could 
not ignore a second appeal to stop by the Patriarch of the 
Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, after he visited them at 
Parliament.  One opposition leader was hospitalized earlier 
in the day.  Now, it appears that the opposition is turning 
to the campaign for the May 21 parliamentary elections. 
March 26 marked the last day for political parties to 
register with the Central Election Commission (CEC).  Also on 
March 26, Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze briefed NATO 
ambassadors on GOG steps to prepare for the election. 
Burjanadze underscored GOG commitment to free and fair 
elections.  On March 26, Poloff attended an informal meeting 
of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Free and Fair Elections. 
End summary. 
 
2. (U) On March 25, Conservative MP Zviad Dzidziguri was 
hospitalized and reportedly in a coma as a result of his 
participation in the opposition's hunger strike -- then in 
its 16th day (ref A).  Following this, Ilia II ignored the 
opposition's plea to stay away and visited the hunger 
strikers in front of Parliament and again called on them to 
stop.  Rather than continue the hunger strike, he told them 
to "find other forms" of protest, noting they should do 
everything they can to serve their homeland.  UNC and NR 
leaders then ended the hunger strike, saying they "could not 
deny the Patriarch's request."  (Comment:  The opposition's 
hunger strike did not succeed in forcing any concessions from 
the GOG.  However, the Patriarch's appeal gave them a 
face-saving way out of the situation.  End comment.) 
 
3. (U) The same day, Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze 
expressed her "deep gratitude" to Ilia II for asking the 
opposition to end the hunger strike.  She then said that the 
GOG's major goal is to hold elections in a democratic and 
transparent manner.  She called on the opposition to return 
to the negotiating table and agree on all the issues 
necessary to hold these elections.  UNC leaders Koba 
Davitashvili and others said that they accepted Saakashvili's 
challenge, and would defeat his party in the elections. 
Consequently, it appears that the opposition is now turning 
to the pre-election campaign for the May 21 parliamentary 
election.  As of the March 26 deadline to register with the 
CEC, 60 parties had indicated their intent to participate in 
the coming election. 
 
4. (C) In a March 26 meeting with ambassadors from NATO 
member states, Burjanadze expressed regret that the 
government had not been able to reach a comprehensive 
agreement with the opposition on election reform, something 
she blamed on the fact that many opposition leaders had 
concluded that radicalization was in their political 
interest.  Burjanadze said both David Gamkrelidze and Koba 
Davitashvili had essentially admitted to her that this was 
the logic behind their actions, although Burjanadze argued 
that in fact the opposition had lost ground with voters as a 
result of extreme tactics.  Burjanadze explained how some 
opposition leaders, including David Usupashvili and Levan 
Gachechiladze, had met with her repeatedly in recent weeks 
but felt they had to keep this unofficial contact secret so 
as not to anger their allies. 
 
5. (C) Burjanadze said that even without a formal compromise, 
the government would make additional concessions to the 
opposition, including ensuring that an opposition-appointed 
member of every District Election Commission (DEC) would be 
designated as DEC secretary, the position responsible for 
filling out protocols and for receiving complaints.  She said 
the government remained willing to consider creating a 
parliamentary or interagency commission, chaired by an 
opposition member, to investigate complaints during the 
campaign and on election day.  She said Usupashvili and 
Gachechiladze had asked for a slight delay in the date of the 
election, apparently to provide more time to recover from the 
hunger strike and to get organized.  Burjanadze said the 
government would be willing to postpone the election from May 
21 to May 31, but only if the opposition came forward 
publicly to request it.  Otherwise, she said, the government 
would be criticized for setting the date for after the May 26 
celebration of Georgia's Independence, which the opposition 
had previously asked the government not to do. 
 
6. (C) The GOG has reconstituted the Inter-Agency Task Force 
 
TBILISI 00000528  002 OF 002 
 
 
(IATF) for Free and Fair Elections from the January 5 
election.  Membership of the IATF includes the Ministry of 
Justice, MFA, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and State 
Minister for Regional Coordination Issues.  NDI recommended &#x000
A;that the Public Defender's Office be granted observer status, 
although this has not yet been done.  Minister of Justice, 
Nika Gvaramia, chairs the IATF, as former MOJ Eka 
Tkeshelashvili did during the presidential election.  On 
March 26, the IATF briefed Poloff, NDI, and the OSCE on the 
IATF's composition, goals and target audience (incl. observer 
missions, election NGOs, the Public Defender, diplomatic 
missions, political parties, Parliament, and the media.)  The 
IATF intends to meet regularly and provide election updates 
to these groups.  It intends to focus on transparency, 
inclusiveness, and anonymity.  NDI suggested the IATF also 
include impartiality as one of their guiding principles.  The 
MOIA representative mentioned it is his agency's intention to 
keep the police "as far away from the election precincts" as 
possible. 
 
7. (U) On March 27, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and Deputy 
Speaker of Parliament Misha Machavariani confirmed that 
Speaker Nino Burjanadze will be number one on the ruling 
party's nationwide party list for the May 21 election.  The 
United National Movement changed their official name to 
United National Movement for a Victorious Georgia, when they 
registered on March 26. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) Burjanadze's comments are a welcome sign of GOG 
commitment to better elections, especially given the 
extremely weakened state of the opposition.  Some of the 
opposition's legitimate complaints have been addressed 
(lowering the party list threshold, replacing the board of 
the Public TV Broadcaster, and adding opposition 
representation -- though not at "parity" -- to the DECs.) 
However, others have not.  Nearly all outside observers 
believe the GOG retained the current 75 single mandate 
"majoritarian" districts (based on outdated and highly varied 
current populations of former Soviet administrative 
boundaries) because it believes the system will likely 
advantage the ruling National Movement.  The GOG also enacted 
only some of NDI's and OSCE's recommendations to amend the 
election code (ref B). 
 
9. (C) After repeated interventions by us, including the 
Ambassador with Speaker Burjanadze, the GOG will not remove 
critical information from the protocols, as there was some 
earlier move to do.  The GOG will remove the total number of 
voters and total number of valid ballots from the protocols, 
in an effort to simplify them and reduce the number of 
protocols with clerical errors.  This move is contrary to NDI 
and OSCE recommendations, as it also removes some of the 
verification ability from election analysis.  It will still 
be possible, however, as we strongly pushed, to calculate key 
information such as voter turnout from the information on the 
protocols, which will again be posted publicly on the CEC 
website. 
PERRY

Wikileaks

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08TBILISI527, MAJOR IMPEDIMENTS REMAIN FOR IDPS SEEKING RETURN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI527 2008-03-28 11:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7258
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0527/01 0881128
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281128Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9195
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000527 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC AND PRM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: MAJOR IMPEDIMENTS REMAIN FOR IDPS SEEKING RETURN 
TO ABKHAZIA 
 
REF: 07 TBILISI 2146 
 
Classified By: CDA Mark X. Perry, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Despite recent Russian Foreign Ministry 
claims that a "majority" of ethnic Georgians have returned to 
Gali, nearly 230,000 of an estimated 270,000 Internally 
Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled Abkhazia during the 1992-3 
war remain displaced and unable to return to their homes. 
Security concerns continue to be a primary impediment to 
return, particularly in the predominantly ethnic Georgian 
Gali district of Abkhazia, where reports of robberies, forced 
conscription, assaults and kidnappings targeting ethnic 
Georgians are common. Crime targeting Georgians in Gali 
remains high, with the Abkhaz police and CIS peacekeepers 
doing little to improve the security situation.  Other 
impediments to IDP return include Abkhaz "citizenship" 
requirements, which would force IDPs who return to renounce 
their Georgian citizenship, the illegal sale of IDP property 
to Russian and Abkhaz citizens, restricted access to 
Georgian-language education and the threat of conscription 
into the Abkhaz military, not to mention pervasive hostility 
toward ethnic Georgians by the Abkhaz.  End summary. 
 
Yakobashvili: violence in Gali benefits de-facto govt. 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
2.  (C)  Georgian Minister for Reintegration Yakobashvili 
expressed frustration during a recent meeting with Charge 
that the Abkhaz de-facto authorities were not doing more to 
improve the security situation in Gali.  He said that the 
violence in Gali benefits de-facto presidential 
representative for Gali Ruslan Kishmaria and other de-facto 
authorities by keeping Georgians living in Gali intimidated 
and discouraging further return of IDPs to Abkhazia.  He 
categorized the violence as 50% criminal gangs targeting 
Georgian families (with the knowledge that neither the 
de-facto authorities nor the CIS PKF will arrest them) and 
50% Abkhaz militia units robbing Georgian families during the 
lucrative hazelnut and mandarin harvests. 
 
Recent attacks highlight ongoing Gali security concerns 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
3.  (C)  While reports of robberies targeting mandarin and 
hazelnut growers in Gali are not new, recent Georgian media 
reports have depicted cases of assault and torture targeting 
Georgians living in Gali, suggesting these attacks are 
ethnically motivated.  UNOMIG Senior Liaison Officer told us 
on March 25 that the Georgian media reports are often 
exaggerated or inaccurate and that there has been a slight 
decrease in the overall level of crime in Gali.  He 
acknowledged, however, that crime remains a serious issue for 
Gali residents and hampers further IDP return.  Two recent 
incidents highlight the ongoing security concerns for 
Georgians living in Gali.  On March 17, UNOMIG confirmed 
Georgian media reports that two masked men broke into the 
home of Gali resident Roman Agrbaia.  Agrbaia was robbed, 
beaten and burned with a hot iron and later died from his 
wounds.  On March 22, UNOMIG reported a carjacking against 
Gali resident Boris Baghaturia and wife, where two masked men 
stole his car (a 24 year-old Lada), 1,500 Rubles (about USD 
60) and a wedding ring.  Baghaturia was apparently struck in 
the head with a rifle, but did not suffer serious injury. 
The Georgian media reported on the Agrbaia crime fairly 
accurately but alleged torture in the Baghaturia case that 
UNOMIG could not confirm. 
 
IDPs' concerns: security, harassment, property loss 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4.  (C)   Many of the IDPs we have spoken with have been 
nearly unanimous in their desire to return to Abkhazia, but 
many fear for their safety should they return.  They said 
they not only feared criminal attacks, but also harassment by 
Abkhaz police and forced conscription of their male relatives 
into the Abkhaz militia (reftel).  It is because of these 
fears that many of the estimated 40,000 IDPs who have 
ostensibly "returned" to the Gali district have done so only 
on a seasonal basis, crossing over into Gali to tend to their 
hazelnut and mandarin crops in the summer months and 
returning to Zugdidi in the winter.  Harvest season is the 
riskiest period for these farmers, who not only have to fend 
off criminal gangs after their money but also have to avoid 
the local authorities, who frequently confiscate as much as 
half of a farmer's nut harvest as a "tax" payment to the 
de-facto authorities.  Many Gali residents fear that they 
could not safely take their hazelnuts out of Gali to sell, so 
they sell them to Abkhaz middlemen who export them to Russia 
for a large profit. 
 
TBILISI 00000527  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
5.  (C)  Abkhaz in Sukhumi are quite open about their 
hostility to Georgians.  They recall the outrages of the 
1992-93 war, but also betray ethnic prejudice as well.   On a 
September 2007 visit to Sukhumi, Embassy officers raised the 
possibility that Georgian drivers from the Embassy might 
bring Embassy officers to Abkhazia in th
e future.  De-facto 
deputy foreign minister Maxim Gunjia discouraged the idea, 
saying it was very likely our Georgian employees would be 
assaulted in the street if they came with us. 
 
6.  (U)  With few exceptions, IDPs have returned only to 
homes within pre-war boundaries of the Gali district (Note: A 
post-war Abkhaz territorial re-organization put small parts 
of this area in the Ochamchire and Tkvarcheli districts, 
permitting the Abkhaz to make the misleading claim that 
returns have occurred in three districts.  End note).  IDPs 
originating from the Sukhumi or Ochimchire districts have 
told us that even if they would risk returning, they have 
nothing to return to; their homes have been either destroyed, 
allowed to decay, or been illegally appropriated by Abkhaz or 
Russian citizens.  Any traveler to Abkhazia is immediately 
struck by the large number of empty shells of houses in Gali 
and Sukhumi.  The houses are evidence both of the large 
number of IDPs who are still absent from Abkhazia and of the 
difficulties in re-establishing them if they return. 
 
7.  (U)  The Abkhaz parliament has further complicated the 
property issue by passing a resolution in 2006 instructing 
Abkhaz courts to suspend all property cases filed by owners 
who had abandoned their property after 1993, allowing Russian 
and Abkhaz speculators to buy IDP property without fear of 
local prosecution.  The Georgian government has issued 
several warnings against the illegal purchase of property in 
Abkhazia and has threatened to sue Russia for illegal 
property transfers at the European Court of Human Rights in 
Strasbourg, using Cyprus cases as a precedent (Note: 
Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights against 
Turkey in the Cyprus case have confirmed that a states' 
interference with refugees' property rights, without 
compensation, is a violation of the European Convention on 
Human Rights. End note). 
 
Additional barriers to return 
----------------------------- 
 
8.  (U)  In addition to safety and security concerns, IDPs 
returning to Abkhazia face a number of additional obstacles 
that prevent them from fully participating in society.  In 
2005, the Abkhaz de-facto authorities passed a citizenship 
law that essentially disenfranchises all IDPs upon their 
return to Abkhazia.  The law defines an Abkhaz citizen as a 
person who has lived in Abkhazia no less than five years from 
the adoption of the "Act on the State Sovereignty of the 
Republic of Abkhazia" in 1999 (Note: Virtually all the 
remaining 240,000 IDPs would not qualify under this 
provision. End note) and forbids dual citizenship with any 
country except Russia.   Such strict residency requirements 
would exclude IDPs who return from participating in higher 
education and limit access to social and medical services 
unless they renounced their Georgian citizenship.  De-facto 
authorities also continue to strictly control education in 
Georgian, limiting instruction in the Georgian-language to 
ten schools in the lower Gali district while maintaining 
control over the curriculum. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
9.  (C)  Georgian IDPs' rights to return are guaranteed by 
several provisions of international law, including Article 13 
of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  These rights 
are further reinforced by several agreements, including the 
1994 Quadripartite Agreement on the return of refuges and 
displaced persons, signed by both the Abkhaz and Georgian 
sides, that call on the Abkhaz to provide for conditions 
allowing for the "safe, voluntary, and dignified" return of 
all IDPs.  The Abkhaz de-facto authorities have a clear 
obligation under these agreements to protect the safety of 
returned IDPs and to facilitate the return of those still 
displaced, obligations that they have clearly failed to 
fulfill.  Russia's responsibility, especially toward the 
property of IDPs, is another issue to be considered. 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI519, FISCAL TRANSPARENCY IN GEORGIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI519 2008-03-27 06:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5739
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0519 0870607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270607Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9184
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000519 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/ACE:MYOUTH, EUR/PGI TCUNNINGHAM AND 
EEB/IFD/OMA:ASNOW, RFIGUROA 
TREASURY FOR OIA 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAID ECON PREL GG
SUBJECT: FISCAL TRANSPARENCY IN GEORGIA 
 
REF: STATE 16737 
 
1. (U) Pursuant to reftel request, Embassy Tbilisi submits the 
following update of information on fiscal transparency in Georgia. 
 
2. (SBU) Fiscal transparency in Georgia is much improved since the 
Rose Revolution in 2004.  The Law on Budgetary Systems (December 29, 
2004, as amended) specifies in detail how the government's budget is 
prepared, passed by the Parliament and administered by the Ministry 
of Finance.  Article 4 of the law requires all aspects of the 
process, except classified information, to be open to the public and 
the press.  In practice, draft budgets under consideration by 
Parliament and the final budget are available to the public on the 
Internet website of the Ministry of Finance and in the official 
register, the Legislative Messenger.  Parliamentary debates on the 
annual budget and occasional supplementary budgets, as well as the 
terms of the resulting budget law, are widely reported in the local 
media.  The state budget includes all known revenues and 
expenditures of the central government, including those of special 
presidential funds for emergencies.  Before 2007, these funds had 
been extra-budgetary and had raised questions about their 
transparency.  The budget figures are generally considered 
meaningful and accurate.  The 2006 Open Budget Index prepared by the 
International Budget Project (IBP) found that all the budget 
documents it deemed important are available except for a "citizen's 
budget".  However, beginning in 2006, the Government has prepared an 
annual "citizen's guide" to the budget and to government spending 
priorities, expressed in layman's terms.  The IBP report faults 
Georgia for the amount of information supplied in the documents, but 
its conclusions are based on data from 2005 and earlier and do not 
include later developments.   Ministries and other government 
agencies provide significant but varying amounts of detail to the 
public about the main directions and priorities of their spending. 
Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior budgets are more 
transparent than in the past.  Clear rules have been adopted to 
govern transfers from the central government to municipalities and 
are in the process of being implemented.  The U.S. Treasury 
Department funds a U.S. citizen resident advisor in the Ministry of 
Finance who provides advice that assists in ensuring transparency of 
the budget.  Georgia has reported to the IMF on its compliance with 
standards and codes covering fiscal transparency, but those reports 
are significantly out of date and refer to periods prior to the 2004 
change of government. 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI516, MEETING WITH UNION OF KURDS OF GEORGIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI516 2008-03-26 14:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0516/01 0861408
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261408Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9178

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000516 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: MEETING WITH UNION OF KURDS OF GEORGIA 
 
Classified By: CDA, a.i., Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
 1. (SBU) On 25 March 2008, Poloff met with Vitali Nabiev 
(Anqosi), chairman of the NGO Union of Kurds of Georgia. 
Nabiev's organization represents the Georgian Kurdish 
Diaspora in Tbilisi (about 30,000 people mainly in the 
capital whom he described as Yesids) and Iraqi Kurds in 
Kurdistan.  His purpose in meeting U.S. Embassy contacts was 
to thank them for assistance to Kurds in Iraq and to promote 
more dialogue and interaction with younger Kurds who have a 
positive impression of the West, but so far have knowledge 
only of the East (Russia.)  He voiced few concerns, although 
religious freedom and updating the national registry to 
include traditional Kurdish family names were discussed.  End 
Summary. 
 
------------------------- 
Union of Kurds of Georgia 
------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  Nabiev's organization, which was formed about a 
year ago, is one of approximately eight organizations in 
Georgia which represent Kurd interests.  The Kurdish have 
been present in Georgia for centuries, many of them 
emigrating from Georgia to Russia in the last years for 
employment reasons.  The Kurdish Diaspora primarily live in 
Tbilisi (90%), with the remainder sprinkled liberally 
throughout Georgia in lesser numbers.  Nabiev said his 
organization, which employs five people (men and women), 
represents many younger Kurds.   His primary goal in 
establishing contact is to expand dialogue with the West, as 
many Kurds have positive impressions of the U.S., but have 
traditionally only known the East (Russia).   In his opinion, 
there is no dialogue currently between the U.S. Embassy and 
the Kurdish community.  Nabiev described his organization as 
active, sitting on committees for minorities and religious 
freedom within the Public Defender's Office, and working 
positively to represent its constituents.  Nabiev said that 
he firmly believed that he needs to work with the authorities 
to resolve issues, before bringing them to the attention of 
the international community. 
 
----------------------------- 
What are the Kurds' concerns? 
----------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU)  Nabiev seemed reluctant to delve into too much 
detail about concerns, only mentioning the first and second 
items from the list below.  According to the Public 
Defender's website, Kurds' principal concerns are: 
 
-- Adequate allocation of broadcasting time for Kurdish 
programming on television and radio 
-- Registration of Kurds traditional surnames in the public 
registry 
-- Problem of learning the mother tongue 
-- Preservation of Kurdish culture, language, and religion 
 
----------- 
Yesid Faith 
----------- 
 
4.  (SBU)  Nabiev said that there is no temple outside of 
Iraqi Kurdistan for those of the Yesid faith to pray. 
(Comment:  Yesid is a religion closely associated with the 
Zoroastrian faith.)  His organization had recently met with 
the mayor of Tbilisi about finding an acceptable location to 
build such a structure, but no solution had resulted. 
According to the Public Defender's web site, the Kurd 
Diaspora has applied to the state several times for land upon 
which to construct a religious building.  The Head of 
Property Management Service of Tbilisi, Pikria Ugrekhelidze, 
has promised the Kurds to help find a location which would be 
appropriate.  Nabiev added that the Kurd community is "trying 
to be careful not to irritate the Mayor of Tbilisi" and has 
assured local officials that practitioners of the Yesid faith 
would not be proselytizing in order to allay any perception 
that the religion is threatening to the prevailing Georgian 
Orthodox religion. 
 
----------------------------- 
Kurdish Names in the Registry 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  (SBU)  Members of the Kurd Diaspora met with 
representatives of the Civil Registry Office (Ministry of 
Justice) about updating registry records to permit the return 
of historical Kurd surnames.  (Comment:  Nabiev's historical 
Kurdish surname is Anqosi.)  Nabiev gave two reasons for 
wanting the updates.  First, it is important to regain family 
names, but secondly, there are practical implications.  For 
example, some Kurds have Armenian sounding names, which 
prevent them traveling easily to Azerbaijan and other areas 
for work.  Previously the process for changing a name in the 
public registry required a certificate from the Special 
Commission of Ethnography which did a family genealogical 
search to verify lineage.  This commission no longer exists. 
Therefore, no names can be updated in the registry. 
According to Nabiev a special law is necessary to address the 
issue.  The Public Defender has promised to find a solution 
to the issue through cooperation with the Ethnographic 
Institute. 
 
---------- 
Mass Media 
---------- 
 
6.  (SBU)  Nabiev, a journalist and native Georgian speaker, 
did not seem overly concerned about lack of media coverage in 
the Kurdish language.  He said that currently public radio 
carries 10 minutes of Kurdish language
programming a week, 
and until recently he himself helped publish a newspaper in 
Russian, Georgian and Kurdish.  Nabiev plans to resume this 
service again soon.  He was hopeful that the pending 
appointment of a new director of public television would soon 
permit more frequent Kurdish language programming. 
 
-------------- 
Other Contacts 
-------------- 
 
7.  (SBU)  Nabiev has well-entrenched contacts with the 
Russian Embassy.  He explained many Kurds currently reside in 
Russia and experience difficulties after communications and 
travel links between Georgia and Russia were severed. Nabiev 
has lobbied on behalf of these Kurds to the Russian Embassy. 
 Nabiev planned to establish contact with the British Embassy 
to thank them for their assistance in Iraq and expressed 
regret that there is no South Korean Embassy in Tbilisi so he 
could do the same.  (Comment:  The Republic of Korea Zaytun 
Peace and Reconstruction Division has been present in Erbil, 
Kurdistan, since 2004.  According to recent survey results 
listed on the Kurdistan Regional Government web site more 
than 80% of the people in Erbil would like the Koreans to 
extend their stay.  End comment.) 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C)  Nabiev was quick to establish up front that he was 
not meeting with Poloff to air a list of concerns or ask for 
grants.  His primary reason was to establish more regular 
contact and dialogue.  Poloff agreed to put him in contact 
with the Embassy's Public Affairs Section to get information 
on cultural and educational opportunities, offered to meet 
with representatives from the Kurdish Diaspora to learn of 
religious or minority discrimination issues, and welcomed 
meetings with members of the Kurdish community in outlying 
regions when Embassy officers are traveling in Georgia. 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI509, ELECTION CODE AMENDED FOR MAY 21 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI509 2008-03-26 05:20 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4592
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0509/01 0860520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260520Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9159
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000509 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: ELECTION CODE AMENDED FOR MAY 21 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 
 
REF: A) TBILISI 444 
 
1. (U) Summary: On March 21, the Parliament of Georgia amended 
Georgia's election code (reftel) by a vote of 134-2.  All but one 
opposition member of Parliament boycotted the proceeding.  The 
deadline for registering political parties is March 26.  This cable 
summarizes the main points of the amendments and their likely 
influence on the election.  End summary. 
 
The Electoral System 
-------------------- 
 
2. (U) The 150-member legislative body is now comprised of 75 
single-mandate "majoritarian" districts and 75 nationwide 
party-list, proportionally-elected seats.  This constitutes the 
opposition's foremost complaint against the government.  They are 
demanding that the 75 single-mandate seats instead be chosen by a 
"regional proportional" system.  Such a system would allocate those 
seats in each region (containing several districts with one seat 
each) proportionally by party.  The Parliament has decided that each 
district's seat will be elected by a majority of the voters in that 
district.  Candidates for majoritarian seats must be presented by 
parties or election blocs registered at the CEC.  Signatures of 
supporters (previously 1,000) are no longer required. 
 
Boundary Problems 
----------------- 
 
3. (U) Unfortunately, Georgia's electoral districts (called 
"rayons") are divided quite unevenly (with districts representing 
between 6,000 and 160,000 voters).  If all 75 districts receive one 
MP, it raises an issue of fairness and "one man, one vote" as 
unequal districts devalue the vote of one citizen in relation to 
another.  Opposition groups are especially upset because Tbilisi is 
under-represented per capita compared to the rest of the country. 
Tbilisi has only 10 of 75 seats, despite being home to one-third of 
the country's population.  It is also where the opposition is 
strongest.  Many observers comment that the 75-single mandate 
constituency structure as passed by Parliament favors the ruling 
party. 
 
The 30% Threshold 
----------------- 
 
4. (U) For the 75 single-mandate seats, the candidate who wins the 
most votes is declared the victor if he has more than 30 percent. 
No runoff election is required.  This means a candidate can win with 
a plurality, rather than a majority of votes.  When there are two or 
three candidates, this system usually does not constitute a 
significant concern.  However, with multiple candidates in a single 
district, this could easily lead to someone winning the seat with 
only 30.1 percent of the vote (meaning nearly 70 percent of the 
constituency did not support that candidate).   The opposition would 
prefer a 50 percent threshold, like the Presidential elections, and 
a run-off of the top two candidates if no one received more than 
half the vote. 
 
Abolishment of Additional Voters List 
------------------------------------- 
 
5. (U) Same day voter registration has been abolished.  Those voters 
who registered at the polls in January have been added to the 
general voters list.  Same day registration and specially counting 
procedures for such votes caused confusion in January and will be 
avoided in the May parliamentary elections. 
 
Structure of District Election Commissions 
------------------------------------------ 
 
6. (U) District Election Commissions (DECs) will now mimic the 
composition of Precinct Election Commissions (PEC) and the CEC, with 
13 total members (7 appointed by the government and 6 appointed by 
opposition parties).  This is a significant improvement over the 
previous structure.  Many of the decisions made by the CEC regarding 
complaints processes during the Presidential elections were 
uniformly 7-6 votes.  Thus, the ruling National Movement party will 
continue to dominate the PECs, DECs, and the CEC. 
 
7. (U) The DECs will also have increased powers, including the right 
to tabulate votes cast in the precincts and the right to cancel 
election results from polling stations. DECs were denied these 
rights during the January 5 presidential election.  Even without 
this authority, the DECs were largely blamed during the presidential 
election for perpetrating fraud and manipulating results (i.e. 
changing the protocols).  On the other hand, the more balanced, 
multi-party composition of the DEC is a safeguard that may help 
prevent such manipulation from occurring. 
 
Protocols 
--------- 
 
TBILISI 00000509  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
8. (SBU) To date, Post has not been able to confirm whether or not 
voting data will be removed from the protocols, where election 
results from the PECs is reported.  Such a move would be undesirable 
as it would reduce the transparency of the election.  On March 19 
and 20, Poloffs stressed to ruling party MPs and the CEC that 
removing key information such as the number of valid
ballots and the 
total number of voters -- which has previously been suggested by the 
CEC "to avoid simple mistakes" -- would be a step backward on the 
part of the government.  We will continue to advocate that the 
protocols require all important information to be included and 
clear. 
 
Disputes and Appeals 
-------------------- 
 
9. (U) Decisions made by PECs and DECs can be appealed to the next 
higher level election commission, and CEC decisions can be appealed 
to the courts in two steps.  First, to the District or City Court, 
and then to the Appeals Court.  The decision of the Appeals Court is 
final.  DECs and PECs cannot finalize their results before the 
disputes have been resolved. 
 
10. (SBU) If appeals sent to the election commissions are faulty 
(i.e. lack certain legal requirements or technical information), the 
commission is obliged to indicate those faults to the claimants and 
indicate a timeframe during which those faults should be corrected. 
Only if these faults are not corrected within the given timeframe 
does the commission have the right to decline consideration of the 
appeal.  This revision is universally seen as a positive step if 
properly implemented. 
 
Miscellaneous Clarification 
--------------------------- 
 
11. (U) The amendments clarify certain terms in the election code, 
including: qualified election subject (a political entity which 
qualifies for funding from the state budget), pre-election campaign, 
pre-election agitation, and majoritarian district.  Furthermore, the 
amendments clarify the rules of administering election funds and the 
terms and use of administrative resources.  Misuse of administrative 
resources was a key charge against the National Movement in the 
presidential elections. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
12. (SBU) On balance, the amendments to the election code are an 
improvement compared to those in effect on January 5.  However, the 
changes must be implemented in good faith for a positive outcome. 
Nearly all outside observers agree that the GOG designed the 
single-mandate districts to the advantage of the ruling National 
Movement. 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI503, THE TROUBLE WITH GEORGIA’S OPPOSITION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI503 2008-03-24 11:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2740
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0503/01 0841145
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241145Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9150
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000503 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: THE TROUBLE WITH GEORGIA'S OPPOSITION 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 444 
     B. TBILISI 364 
     C. TBILISI 437 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4 (b) and 
(d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Recent protests and a hunger strike (ref A) 
by opposition MPs demonstrate the continuing radicalization 
of Georgia's opposition.  The opposition's confrontational 
style and inability to negotiate effectively with the 
government beg the more important question: Why is Georgia's 
opposition so ineffective?  In Georgia, the problem is not 
the lack of an opposition, but rather the state of the 
opposition and Georgian political culture.  Fragmented, 
devoid of effective leaders who shine in the spotlight, 
politically immature, and without a clear agenda, the 
opposition is at pains to articulate any public platform or 
goals.  Although they compelled the ruling National Movement 
(UNM) to negotiate (ref B), they have been unable to cement 
an agreement among themselves or with the UNM.  One 
underlying cause of the opposition's incoherence is that 
Georgia has no history of multi-party governance.  No 
precedent exists in the country's history for a democratic 
transfer of power.  This lack of political experience 
challenges all of Georgia's parties and largely explains the 
current situation.  Despite the opposition's poor state, they 
have made some notable progress and we should not write them 
off just yet.  They, or those who will follow them, are 
critical to Georgia's democratic development.  The 
government's current denunciations of the opposition 
notwithstanding, many Georgians recall current authorities 
using the opposition's same tactics not so long ago.  End 
Summary. 
 
----------------------- 
Opposition Protests, 
Hunger Strike Continues 
----------------------- 
 
2. (U) A review of the past few weeks provides a snapshot of 
the opposition's inconsistent and often extreme tactics.  On 
March 9, the United National Council of Opposition (UNC) 
staged a protest before Parliament.  The opposition New 
Rightists began a hunger strike (ref A) the next day in 
Speaker Burjanadze's Parliamentary office.  On March 14 
Burjanadze called on the opposition to halt their hunger 
strike and resume dialogue.  The opposition responded with a 
call for Burjanadze's resignation and another street protest 
on March 16.  Meanwhile, MP and former presidential candidate 
Levan Gachechiladze has used increasingly vulgar language to 
publicly deride both Burjanadze and President Saakashvili. 
The hunger strike continued on March 21.  The same day, 
Burjanadze refused the "compromise proposal" the opposition 
put forth after meeting with the Georgian Orthodox Church 
Patriarch.  These actions confirm Post's earlier forecast of 
further radicalization in Georgia's opposition, but beg the 
more important question: Why is Georgia's opposition so 
ineffective? 
 
-------------------------------- 
The Problems with the Opposition 
-------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) During his November 2, 2007 visit to Tbilisi, EUR 
Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried said that, like any 
functioning democracy, "Georgia needs a strong, active 
opposition."  In Georgia, the problem is not the lack of an 
opposition, but rather two things: the state of the 
opposition itself, and Georgia's immature political culture. 
The country lacks any experience with a multi-party system or 
a democratic transfer of power between governments.  During a 
recent roundtable on election code reform, an Estonian 
elections consultant told Poloff, "The problem here is with 
the (political) culture.  Neither side trusts the other.  The 
Georgians are basically where we were in 1994." 
 
------------------- 
Internal Challenges 
------------------- 
 
4. (C) Currently, the opposition (including the UNC as well 
as the Republican, New Rights, Christian Democrats, and Labor 
parties) suffers from multiple problems.  First and foremost, 
the opposition is fragmented into multiple, disparate 
parties.  Egotistical personalities regularly form new 
individual parties (five new ones in the past two weeks) they 
can chair, rather than play a supporting role in an 
established party.  Many of these weakened parties now face 
widening cracks within their own ranks (the Republicans left 
the UNC, key lieutenants have left Okruashvili's Movement for 
 
TBILISI 00000503  002 OF 004 
 
 
a United Georgia, and 15 of Gachechiladze's election 
headquarters staff quit citing his "uncertain" political 
vision). 
 
5. (C) Complicating matters, even when the opposition MPs 
work together they have no power to check the UNM's 
constitutional (two-thirds, plus one) majority in Parliament. 
 Having been rendered impotent in the voting process, the 
opposition MPs have taken the symbolic stand of boycotting 
Parliament on all issues except national security.  This only 
further removes them from any involvement in the democratic 
process. 
 
6. (C)
General difficulties the opposition parties face 
include a dearth of skillful, charismatic political leaders. 
To overcome this lack of natural talent, many opposition 
leaders compensate with increased volume.  Furthermore, no 
opposition parties have clearly articulated programs or 
platforms in a broad way to the public. 
 
7. (C) A further problem is that the opposition possesses no 
meaningful funds with which to pursue its agenda.  Opposition 
leaders often argue that Saakashvili's UNM extorts "campaign 
contributions" from large businesses in Georgia.  True or 
not, the opposition parties have no significant benefactors 
since the death of businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili. 
 
8. (C) In the face of their powerless position, the 
opposition has generally displayed little strategic thinking 
or consistent tactics.  The main "unity" of the united 
opposition largely consists of jointly trying to oust 
President Saakashvili from power, so that they can seize it 
themselves - hence the second problem.  Opposition parties 
tend to do little real research to identify issues with 
voters, and don't always trust the results of independent 
research, such as the Post-funded IRI political surveys (ref 
C). 
 
------------------------- 
Some Real Accomplishments 
------------------------- 
 
9. (C) Despite the myriad challenges, the opposition is 
neither totally inept, nor stupid.  Since November 2007, the 
UNC has held together longer than anyone thought possible, 
notwithstanding the Republican Party's recent departure.  The 
opposition challenged Saakashvili in the January 5 election 
and showed the entire country that Saakashvili's once 
unanimous support no longer exists.  With a combination of 
public pressure in the street and reaching out behind the 
scenes, they brought the UNM to the negotiating table on a 
diverse range of issues.  Consequently, the UNC did achieve 
some measure of success over the past six months.  Examples 
include: Saakashvili's resignation and the ensuing 
presidential campaign, lowering the party-list threshold for 
Parliament to five percent, restoring parliamentary elections 
to the spring, and adding opposition representation to the 
electoral commissions. 
 
---------------- 
Closing the Deal 
---------------- 
 
10. (C) However, politics in Georgia is a rough business, and 
the UNM plays the game better than anyone on the other side. 
The opposition and UNC have been unable to come to consensus 
among themselves on many issues.  The UNM has, and will, 
exploit this vulnerability every time.  Republican Party 
Chairman David Usupashvili told Poloff, after trying to 
negotiate between the UNC and Burjanadze, that he 
"understands now why every opposition politician wants their 
own party, so they can always get their way." 
 
11. (C) The art of compromise does not much exist in Georgia, 
and can hardly be seen at all among the opposition 
politicians.  Even when they can reach agreement with the 
government, they have been hard pressed to close the deal. 
Often, the UNM will agree to something (such as lowering the 
threshold or changing the majoritarian system), but will 
exploit the opposition's inability to agree to newly-attached 
conditions prior to setting the government concessions in 
stone.  The opposition has not figured out how to pocket a 
concrete agreement, and use it to build their political 
capital toward future issues.  Rather, when they realize they 
have been had by the UNM, their primary reaction has been to 
resort to the street and denounce the government.  Often, 
they follow this emotional action with equally immature 
rhetoric. 
 
------------------- 
All is Not Yet Lost 
 
TBILISI 00000503  003 OF 004 
 
 
------------------- 
 
12. (C) The UNC is badly worn down from their hunger strike 
and has lost public standing.  Still, the opposition has some 
opportunity with a public that appears hungry for an 
alternative to the UNM's perceived heavy-handedness.  The 
fact that people are tired of the protests does not reflect 
increased support for the current government.  A recent 
survey by the local think tank, the International Center for 
Conflict and Negotiation, showed that Saakashvili and his 
government are not all that popular.  The results showed that 
respondents anticipate some significant change in government 
after the parliamentary elections.  IRI's February poll 
results (ref C) showed that roughly one-third of the country 
does not like Saakashvili, nor many of his cabinet members. 
Although UNM government leaders currently denounce the 
opposition's protests and rhetoric, many Georgians remember 
well these same officials protesting and joining in hunger 
strikes not so long ago when Shevardnadze was President.  In 
fact, many in the current government were allied with many in 
the current opposition in bringing about the Rose Revolution. 
 For example, Gachechiladze served as Saakashvili's 
parliamentary campaign manager in 2001, and the two worked 
closely together during the revolution. 
 
13. (C) Some opposition politicians, notably Usupashvili and 
the Industrialists' Zurab Tkemeladze, have opposed calls for 
further radicalization.  They continue to desire legitimate 
compromise with the UNM that will allow their parties a bona 
fide chance to earn true representation in Parliament. 
Without better funding and some engaging candidates (like 
Saakashvili, who is a natural at working the crowds and 
debating the issues), this remains a daunting task.  Given 
the UNM hard-liners' propensity to press their current 
advantage and stack the deck for elections and composition of 
Parliament in their favor, the opposition has their work cut 
out for them. 
 
------------- 
The Way Ahead 
------------- 
 
14. (C) The future of democratic development in Georgia 
requires that a stronger opposition form, in order to make 
Parliament a bona fide check on the executive branch.  This 
will also require the evolution of Georgian political culture 
to accommodate multiple parties, political compromise, and 
governance without an unchecked majority. 
 
15. (C) How can this happen?  Among the current opposition, 
there is not a great deal with which to work.  The opposition 
is incredibly weak and the UNM has demonstrated scant 
willingness to make unilateral moves to surrender any of 
their real power, even in the interest of building democracy. 
 The UNM's argument is that it cannot willingly give up power 
to an opposition so radicalized that it has announced it will 
impeach President Saakashvili.  After the May parliamentary 
elections -- the last in Saakashvili's presidency -- this 
argument will be less convincing.  Post continues to 
encourage dialogue and compromise between the sides.  As 
importantly, Post continues to believe that truly fair 
parliament
ary elections are the best way forward - and is 
providing assistance toward these. 
 
------------------------------- 
Other Opposition Possibilities? 
------------------------------- 
 
16. (C) The UNM has flaked off a bit at the edges already, 
but it has never been riven in two.  Besides a slow maturing 
by today's opposition leaders, another possibility is a major 
fracture in the UNM.  Last year, Irakli Okruashvili was 
unable to pull away sufficient support to make himself 
viable.  We know that Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze 
has toyed with the idea, but for the time being has rejected 
it.  Such a split has occurred in other countries of Central 
and Eastern Europe within a short time after their democratic 
revolutions, but Saakashvili's movement has proved unusually 
durable.  There is no guarantee that two, or perhaps more, 
parties resulting from a split would be stronger or any less 
personality-driven than in the current situation. 
 
17. (C) Another unrealized possibility lies in the trade 
union movement in Georgia.  The 350,000 union members in 
Georgia have distinct needs and concerns, which are shared by 
a large number of their family and friends.  The unions have 
only recently ousted corrupt and ineffective leaders and are 
just beginning to find their voice as representatives of the 
workers in collective bargaining, against some significant 
odds.  For the time being, they have pronounced themselves 
apolitical, which has been a historically wise choice in the 
 
TBILISI 00000503  004 OF 004 
 
 
former Soviet Union.  However, the labor unions, loosely 
unified under Georgia's version of the AFL-CIO, the Georgia 
Trades Union Council (GTUC), form a block of votes that 
properly organized could be mobilized for any candidate, as 
is the case in the United States.  The GTUC member unions can 
be somewhat fractious, but if the union leadership could 
articulate a program, and party candidates would compete for 
their support, it might result in a stronger, more 
issues-based opposition.  The Embassy recently sponsored an 
International Visitor program for the GTUC president and 
several other labor leaders, who came away impressed by the 
way the labor movement in the United States participates in 
the political process.  More such experiences and 
encouragement might spark a salutory move into politics on 
the unions' part, despite the risks. 
 
------------------------ 
May Elections and Beyond 
------------------------ 
 
18. (C) For now, however, the responsible opposition that 
exists should be encouraged toward competing to the best of 
its ability in the upcoming elections and must avoid the 
temptation to boycott.  Similarly, any push by the UNM to 
unfairly gain an exaggerated advantage in Parliament (whether 
by coercion or administrative means) should be rejected, as 
this will only further alienate the government from the 
people and lead to more opportunity for an undemocratic 
opposition personality to emerge.  The best outcome for the 
foreseeable future is likely to be a Parliament in which the 
opposition has a greater role, obliging it to become more 
responsible.  This would lay the groundwork for the 
opposition to put forth ideas that resonate with the public, 
and to find candidates who can effectively carry that message. 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI497, GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE MARCH 21

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI497.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI497 2008-03-21 13:45 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1445
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0497/01 0811345
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211345Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9146
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000497 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE MARCH 21 
 
1. This cable contains current items of political, 
economic, and social interest concerning Georgia during the 
weeks of March 8-21. 
 
Okruashvili Asserts Control of Shrinking Party 
--------------------------------------------- - 
2. On March 15, the political party United Georgia elected its most 
prominent founder, former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, to 
the post of chair of the party in absentia.  Former party chair Gia 
Tortladze and former party secretary Gia Tsagareishvili, both MPs, 
formally left the party March 15.  These are not the first 
defections from the party this month.  On March 4, MP Keti 
Makharashvili announced that she was quitting the party and would no 
longer remain in politics.  On March 11, a group of young members of 
the party held a news conference in the offices of the ruling 
National Movement and announced that they were leaving Okruashvili's 
party to join the ruling party.  These young party members said they 
objected to the opposition's tactics of street protests and tents. 
Okruashvili, who is currently in France fighting extradition to 
Georgia on corruption charges, gave an interview to Rustavi 2 
television March 20, in which he strongly criticized both the 
government and the opposition for their tactics in ongoing 
negotiations, and spoke favorably about a possible election boycott. 
 
 
Christian Democrats Plot Party's Course 
--------------------------------------- 
3. On March 11, Poloffs met with Giorgi Rukhadze, the head of the 
international division of the newly established Christian Democratic 
Movement, which is led by former Imedi TV anchor Giorgi Targamadze. 
Rukhadze said the Christian Democrats are a center-right party based 
on Christian ethics and traditional moral values, but also strongly 
support separation of church and state.  The party sees Christian 
Democratic parties in Germany and Poland as models.  Financially, 
the party hopes to rely on small and medium-size businesses and 
foreign supporters.  The party supports reduction of poverty, a free 
market economy, development of agriculture, membership in NATO, and 
social dialogue between all classes of the population.  Rukhadze 
said the party currently has approximately 5,000 members all over 
Georgia.  Rukhadze said the party has not decided yet whether it 
will participate in elections alone or in a block with other 
parties. 
 
Women's Party Established 
------------------------- 
4. MP Guguli Maghradze (who left the ruling United National Movement 
in November) founded a new political party, the Georgian Women's 
Party, on March 12.  The new party describes itself as center-right 
and will focus primarily on supporting women's active involvement in 
politics.  Maghradze says the party plans to cooperate with all 
political forces for whom the principles of equality and justice are 
important.  She said the party would consider running in the 
parliamentary election in May, but she did not indicate if it would 
run together with other parties.  Perhaps suggesting a likely 
alliance, Nikoloz Liluashvili, the political secretary of the 
newly-formed opposition Christian Democratic Movement, congratulated 
Maghradze at the event in which she announced the new party. 
 
Former Patarkatsishvili Supporters Form New Parties 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
5. Gocha Jojua, who headed the late Badri Patarkatsishvili's 
presidential campaign, officially launched a new political party 
called Our Georgia on March 14, with the stated goal of creating a 
state based on justice and "removing Saakashvili from power."  Jojua 
said that while the party currently has no financial backing, it 
would try to keep the identity of any future donors secret to 
protect them from retribution by Saakashvili.  Another political 
party which emerged from Patarkatsishvili's campaign team is the 
Democratic Party of United Georgia, which was established on March 
19.  Gia Shervashidze, former commander of interior forces, is the 
chairman of the party and Davit Shukakidze, who headed 
Patarkatsishvili's election headquarters, is the secretary general. 
Shukakidze said that the party would have a center-right 
orientation. 
 
Georgia-Russia Flights Reportedly to Resume Soon 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
6. Russian aviation authorities have informed the Georgian side of 
their agreement to resume air traffic between Russia and Georgia on 
March 25, on the basis of accords between aviation authorities of 
the two countries.  Air traffic between Russia and Georgia stopped 
in October 2006 as a part of Russia's economic sanctions against 
Georgia.  Moscow had previously told Tbilisi that the resumption of 
air traffic required the payment of Georgian airlines' debts for the 
services of Russian air traffic controllers.  Georgia's biggest 
airline, Georgian Airways, has already paid USD 2 million for air 
navigation services to Russia.  The rest of the debt, which i
s about 
USD 1.7 million, will be paid gradually by other air companies until 
the end of 2008 in line with a schedule agreed upon with Russia.  A 
separate outstanding issue is an alleged debt to Rosaeronavigatsia, 
accumulated in the early 1990s by Georgian companies that later went 
bankrupt.  Georgian Airways denies it has any obligation to pay the 
Roseaeronavigatsia debt. 
 
TBILISI 00000497  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
Georgia Attracts Arab Investors 
------------------------------- 
7. A billionaire Saudi prince, Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud, listed as 
number thirteen in Forbes 2007 rankings of the world's richest 
people, arrived March 14 on a visit to study Georgia as a potential 
location for investment.  He met with high-ranking Georgian 
officials and traveled to several regions, including Adjara, where 
President Saakashvili personally familiarized him with investment 
opportunities.  Two other groups from the Arabian peninsula have 
already demonstrated their confidence in Georgia's economy.  Arabian 
Rakeen, established in the UAE in 2006, is implementing the 
ambitious Uptown Tbilisi project in Dighomi, on the outskirts of 
Tbilisi close to the U.S. Embassy.  The project envisages a USD 630 
million investment for an 80,000 square meter development, including 
a premium residential area and commercial and entertainment centers. 
 Another project of the company is a complex in Tabakhmela (Tbilisi 
suburb), designed by the American company TAA, that includes 
residential villas, a medical clinic, tennis courts, a golf course, 
and a school.  Another UAE company, Dhabi Group, has acquired 
Standard Bank, previously owned by Badri Patarkatsishvili, and 
intends to acquire controlling stock in the Kempinski Hotel 
construction project in Tbilisi from Swiss investment company 
Capital Vostok. 
 
Romanian Senate Chairman Visits Georgia 
--------------------------------------- 
8. During a four-day visit, Chairman of the Romanian Senate Nicolae 
Vacaroiu met Parliament Speaker Burjanadze, Prime Minister 
Gurgenidze, Finance Minister Gilauri and other senior officials.  On 
March 17 Burjanadze and Vacaroiu discussed economic cooperation and 
the importance of Romania's support for Georgia's NATO integration, 
including at the upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest.  Burjanadze 
asked Vacaroiu to provide Romanian observers for Georgia's upcoming 
parliamentary elections. 
 
Government Hosts Human Rights Forum 
----------------------------------- 
9. On March 15, the Georgian government held a Human Rights forum at 
a resort on Georgia's Bazuleti Lake.  NGO representatives dealing 
with prisons, juvenile justice, minority rights, and domestic 
violence were invited.  The Minister of Justice, the Prosecutor 
General, representatives from the penitentiary system, and the 
Public Defender participated in the meeting, which was chaired by 
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze.  A representative 
from UNICEF made a presentation on the current situation of juvenile 
justice in Georgia and future plans to address deficiencies. 
Government representative made opening remarks and fielded questions 
from NGO representatives throughout the daylong session.  According 
to the Public Defender's office, this is the first time the 
government has organized such an event since 2003. 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI496, PATRIARCH CALLS FOR DIALOGUE, BURJANADZE REJECTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI496 2008-03-21 13:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1414
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0496/01 0811323
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211323Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9144
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000496 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: PATRIARCH CALLS FOR DIALOGUE, BURJANADZE REJECTS 
OPPOSITION "ULTIMATUM" 
 
REF: TBILISI 473 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4 (b) and 
(d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: On March 20, Georgian Patriarch Ilia II 
called on the United National Council of Opposition (UNC) and 
the New Rightists (NR) to end their hunger strike (reftel) 
and return to dialogue with the ruling National Movement 
(UNM).  At the same time, Ilia II called on the UNM to "take 
steps to lessen confrontation and promote the resumption of 
talks."  Following the Patriarch's call, UNC leaders and NR 
Chairman David Gamkrelidze met with Ilia II at his residence. 
 The opposition leaders unanimously presented a "compromise 
proposal" to Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze, following 
the meeting.  The proposal agreed to drop all other 
opposition demands if the UNM would agree to elect 75 
majoritarian seats in Parliament according to "regional 
proportional lists" rather than by single mandate districts. 
Burjanadze, visibly tense in a live TV address, rejected the 
opposition's proposal as an "ultimatum."  She said that the 
opposition should pay due respect to the Patriarch and 
immediately accede to his request, ending the hunger strike. 
Burjanadze said the UNM is ready to continue dialogue, but 
did not address the Patriarch's call for the government 
itself to take steps and ease tensions.  Later, former 
Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, in a live TV interview 
from Paris, criticized the opposition and called again for 
President Saakashvili's peaceful ouster.  End Summary. 
 
Patriarch Appeals to End Hunger Strike 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) On March 20, the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox 
Church, Ilia II, called on the UNC and NR to end their hunger 
strike, now in its twelfth day.  Ilia II said the strike had 
"moved to a stage threatening to human life, which is 
non-Christian."  He also said the authorities were "looking 
for a way out of the current situation, something that can 
only be done through agreement between all sides."  Ilia II 
appealed to both sides to "remember that, based on state 
interests, making compromise is an attribute of the strong; 
it does not mean weakness or stepping back." 
 
3. (U) In the evening of March 20, UNC leaders and NR 
Chairman David Gamkrelidze met with Ilia II at his residence 
to explain their reasons for launching the hunger strike. 
The opposition leaders unanimously signed and presented a 
"compromise proposal" to Parliamentary Speaker Nino 
Burjanadze, following the meeting.  The proposal agreed to 
drop all other opposition demands if the UNM would agree to 
elect 75 majoritarian seats in Parliament according to 
"regional proportional lists" rather than by single mandate 
districts.  Their proposed system would involve drawing new 
districts that would each contain a more equal number of 
voters than the current, UNM-supported system.  Votes in each 
district would be tabulated proportionately by party lists. 
UNC leader Koba Davitashvili said "we will not stop the 
hunger strike if this single demand put forth by us is not 
met, and the Patriarch will understand this decision of ours." 
 
Burjanadze Refuses "Ultimatum" 
------------------------------ 
 
4. (SBU) Later in the evening on live TV, a tense Burjanadze 
refused the proposal as an "ultimatum, and totally 
unacceptable."  Burjanadze thanked the Patriarch "for 
expressing his care and calling upon our opponents to end 
their hunger strike."  She then criticized the opposition for 
not "unconditionally ending the hunger strike" following the 
Patriarch's appeal.  Continuing, she said the proposal 
constituted a "political demand put forth toward the 
Patriarch himself."  Burjanadze deemed it "totally 
unacceptable to set political demands as a precondition to 
ending the hunger strike."  Burjanadze did not address the 
Patriarch's call for the government to ease tensions.  She 
merely restated that the government is "ready for political 
dialogue and many issues need to be negotiated to hold free 
and democratic elections." 
 
Okruashvili Comments on Crisis 
------------------------------ 
 
5. (U) Later still on March 20, former Defense Minister 
Irakli Okruashvili said Georgia is in "a serious political 
crisis" in a live interview on Rustavi-2 TV.  Awaiting an 
extradition hearing in Paris on April 16, Okruashvili said 
the crisis was caused by "inconsistent" actions by the 
opposition and the authorities' "tough stance."  He described 
 
TBILISI 00000496  002 OF 002 
 
 
the opposition's demands regarding the Central Election 
Commission Chairman, Burjanadze's resignation, and 
more-or-less seats in Parliament as meaningless.  Rather, 
Okruashvili said the opposition should focus on maintaining 
freedom of speech and demanding the restoration of Imedi TV. 
He accused President Saakashvili's government of trying to 
appropriate Imedi TV from deceased oligarch Badri 
Patarkatsishvili's family (septel).  Okruashvili once
 again 
repeated his call for the "peaceful ouster" of President 
Saakashvili. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
6. (C) Following the Patriarch's appeal to both sides, and 
their meeting with him, the opposition's proposal could have 
provided a face-saving way out of the current standoff for 
both sides.  The proposal is similar to one put forth by the 
Republican party on March 18.  It likely would give the 
opposition a better chance in the 75 majoritarian seats than 
the existing single mandate districts.  It also would avoid 
constitutional amendments and allow representative seats for 
the separatist regions.  Burjanadze's comments were more 
terse than usual, and she appears to be under significant 
pressure from the UNM.  With no movement on either side, the 
situation remains a lose-lose proposition for both, for which 
the increasingly-detached Georgian electorate will pay the 
price.  Perhaps the return of President Saakashvili tonight 
from his successful visit to Washington will provide an 
opportunity to break the stalemate. 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI495, FUTURE OF IMEDI TELEVISION IS CLOUDY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI495 2008-03-21 13:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1405
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0495 0811309
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 211309Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9143
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000495 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2018 
TAGS: PGOV EINV GG
SUBJECT: FUTURE OF IMEDI TELEVISION IS CLOUDY 
 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (U) The GOG's forcible closure of Imedi Television on 
November 7 was a serious setback on Georgia's path to 
democracy that drew international opprobrium at the time. 
The GOG allowed Imedi to return to the air on December 12. 
The station again ceased broadcasting on December 26, this 
time because news anchors and other key staff resigned after 
its owner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, was videotaped in 
negotiations that raised suspicion he was seriously planning 
a coup against the Georgian government.  Imedi has remained 
off the air since that time. 
 
2. (U) The Georgia National Communications Commission has 
informed Imedi's manager, Bidzina Baratashvili, that Imedi 
will lose its license if it remains off the air after March 
26.  We have spoken to Levan Nanobashvili, an attorney for 
Imedi, who says that there is no legal impediment to Imedi's 
return to the air, and in fact, according to Nanobashvili, 
management intends to restart broadcasting in time to prevent 
loss of the license.  The station seems to have the equipment 
and the personnel to do so, at least in a limited way. 
Reportedly, the assets of the company are not frozen by any 
court order at this time. 
 
3. (U) As with other Patarkatsishvili holdings, such as 
Standard Bank, determining the true owner of Imedi is not a 
simple matter.  Patarkatsishvili continuously held himself 
out as Imedi's owner and was universally recognized as such. 
He clearly exercised control over its editorial views. 
According to Baratashvili, Imedi Television is wholly owned 
by a company, I-Media, which in turn is owned 70 percent by 
JMG Consulting Group and 30 percent by Universal Limited. 
JMG is owned by one Gogi Jaoshvili, a friend and business 
partner of Patarkatsishvili, and Universal is owned by Paata 
Namsuridze and Vazha Totladze.  Opposition leader Goga 
Khaindrava is quoted as saying that the ownership of JMG also 
includes the company Maudi (owned by a U.S. investment firm) 
and a Patarkatsishvili foundation, Gamarjveba, although it is 
not clear why Khaindrava would be well-informed about Imedi's 
ownership. 
 
4. (C) Reports have surfaced that Jaoshvili has sold his 
interest in JMG and/or Imedi TV to one Joseph Kay, also known 
as Joseph Kakalashvili.  Kay/Kakalashvili is extremely 
low-profile, but it appears he may be an owner of the Rustavi 
Metallurgical Works in Rustavi and the Zestaphoni ferro-alloy 
plant.  He is reportedly a relative of Patarkatshishvili.  He 
may also be known as Lord Joseph Kay, although there is no 
British lord of that name listed on the House of Lords 
website.  According to the website of Tri-Valley Corporation 
(a U.S. oil exploration firm) Lord Joseph Kay is an owner and 
member of the company's Executive Advisory Board.  He is 
described as having been born in Georgia, to have emigrated 
to Israel as a teenager and then settled in the United States 
where he became a citizen.  He is listed as being Chairman of 
London International Bank Ltd, an investment bank, and as 
having numerous other business interests, including steel 
manufacture and Florida real estate.  He is said to play a 
significant role in U.S.-Georgia economic relations, 
including projects involving appearances with President 
Saakashvili. 
 
5. (U) Badri Patarkatsishvili's widow, Inna Gudavadze, has 
charged that the sale to Kay by Jaoshvili was coerced by the 
Government of Georgia and is part of a scheme to divest her 
and Patarkatsishvili's heirs of their rightful interest in 
Imedi.  Members of the opposition, as well as Irakli 
Okruashvili in Paris, have raised the alarm and leaped to 
Gudavadze's defense.  A demonstration under the slogan "Get 
Imedi Back" is planned for March 24 outside the Parliament. 
Gudavadze met on March 19 with Nino Burjanadze, Chairman of 
the Parliament.  Burjanadze denied that the government is 
seeking control of Imedi, and that the matter of ownership is 
strictly "an internal family dispute" with which the 
government will have nothing to do.  She also said she had 
offered the names of people who could better answer 
Gudavadze's questions. 
 
6. (C) Lewis Robertson, who represents News Corporation in 
Georgia, has told us that News Corp was close to finalizing 
the purchase of Imedi with Patarkatsishvili just before he 
died.  He considers the dispute over the station's ownership 
to be a family situation but seems sympathetic to Gudavadze. 
Gudavadze has said she wants to put Imedi back on the air and 
bring in "an international independent media company to 
manage it." 
PERRY

Wikileaks

08TBILISI493, THE POLICE: INL TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE UPDATE –

WikiLeaks Link

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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI493.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI493 2008-03-21 11:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0493/01 0811141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211141Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9140
INFO RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN 2271

UNCLAS TBILISI 000493 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR INL/AAE, G/TIP, EUR/ACE, EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: NA 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV MARR KCRM GG
SUBJECT: THE POLICE: INL TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE UPDATE - 
FIRST QUARTER CY08 
 
Ref: TBILISI 60 
 
1. Summary: INL Tbilisi activities in the first quarter of 2008 run 
the gamut from forensics to first aid.  Some ongoing projects were 
completed with fanfare, e.g., opening of the Police Academy's 
English Language Center, while others are being launched, such as 
evaluation and assessment of Georgia's fingerprint database 
capabilities. Training programs for forensic ballistics examiners, 
military personnel, and horse-mounted police officers continues. End 
Summary. 
 
Fingerprint Database 
-------------------- 
 
2.  Two FBI CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Service) 
representatives visited Tbilisi January 20-25 to evaluate 
fingerprint programs in Georgia and explore how the USG might 
support Georgian law enforcement and begin sharing fingerprint 
records.  INL Tbilisi is committed to supporting the purchase and 
installation of an automated fingerprint identification system 
(AFIS) and accompanied the CJIS team on their assessment.   The CJIS 
representatives met with Laboratory Directors and fingerprint 
section personnel to assess techniques and record-keeping at both 
the National Forensics Bureau (NFB) and the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs' lab.  Both labs have skilled personnel and demonstrated 
appropriate techniques for completing a standard 10-print 
fingerprint card. The Ministry of Justice's NFB Lab  does not have 
an automated database for storing prints but files the cards 
according to the Henry classification system (most common 
internationally).  The MOIA lab maintains an automated fingerprint 
database, but the system -- manufactured in Belarus -- has limited 
capabilities. 
 
3. The CJIS representatives held a joint meeting with Deputy 
Minister of Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze and Deputy Minister of 
Justice Maia Kopaleishvili to provide an outbrief.  The Ministries 
agreed that a new AFIS system would be administered by the Ministry 
of Justice, -- with full access available to users -- including the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs.  Agreement between the ministries on 
the system's administration had been a major impediment to a new 
AFIS purchase.  With agreement now in place, INL, under the aegis of 
its ongoing forensic development project, will support the visit of 
a contract fingerprint specialist to map a way forward.  The 
specialist will travel to Tbilisi in April to develop tasks, 
timelines, and identify forensic and law enforcement personnel who 
will be the GOG's point of contact for the procurement process, the 
development of SOP's and quality assurance mechanisms, as well as 
training on a new AFIS system. 
 
Forensic Ballistics 
--------------------- 
 
4. February 4-13, ATF Advisor Richard Gryzbowski provided joint 
training for forensics ballistics examiners from Georgia's National 
Forensics Bureau (Ministry of Justice), the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs forensics lab, and two firearms examiners from the Armenian 
national forensics laboratory.  The training followed on a previous 
session in Armenia last November, as well a visit to a firearms 
factory in Poland last July.  During this training segment, 
examiners were given a proficiency test designed to be more 
difficult than U.S. firearms examiners routinely take every year to 
maintain professional accreditation.  The NFB examiners passed the 
test with flying colors thanks to the availability of a comparison 
microscope, which INL provided to the lab in September 2007.  The 
MOIA firearms examiners -- without the aid of the modern microscope 
at their lab -- incorrectly identified some of the evidence. This 
turn of events was a troubling indicator for Georgian forensics 
since the MOIA examiners process about 90 percent of bullet and 
cartridge case evidence from criminal cases.  In a subsequent 
meeting with MOIA Lab Director Gena Shainidze, Mr. Gryzbowski noted 
the skill and competence of the examiners and cited outdated 
equipment and poor working conditions as the reason for the MOIA 
examiners' poor marks.  Shainidze noted his intention to purchase a 
comparison microscope for the lab in the near future.  Mr. 
Gryzbowski will conduct his next training session, jointly again 
with the Armenian firearms examiners, in June. 
 
Anti-TIP Training at Ministry of Defense 
---------------------------------------- 
 
5. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) continued to 
implement INL's anti-TIP training and awareness program for Georgian 
military personnel.  During the week of February 20-26, IOM provided 
89 non-commissioned officers and 219 officers with a basic 1.5 hour 
training on Trafficking in Persons at the NCO and Officer training 
academies.  The training session included the following topics: the 
Georgian Ministry of Defense's zero tolerance policy on TIP, the 
internationally recognized definition of TIP, NATO's policy on TIP, 
Georgian Penal Code Provisions on TIP, various forms of TIP, and 
 
reporting mechanisms for soldiers, especially those deployed 
overseas. 
 
6. The
format of the training was interactive with a 45 minute power 
point presentation, a written testimonial from a Georgian victim, 2 
case studies, and a True/False Quiz at the conclusion of the 
presentation. In each training sessions, soldiers appeared engaged 
and asked many questions, pushing the training session past the 
2-hour mark. Some of the questions asked included: 
 
-- What does a soldier do when they find a victim? 
-- Have there been any cases of soldiers caught trafficking in 
persons? 
-- What is purpose of the training for soldiers? 
-- What is difference between an unfair labor contract and 
trafficking in persons? 
-- When an employer fails to pay wages--is that trafficking? 
And finally ... 
-- Can a soldier shoot a trafficker? 
 
7. In January, IOM provided the Ministry of Defense with training 
materials, including material for the 2000 soldiers now serving in 
Iraq (Reftel). In March, IOM and the Ministry of Defense, will train 
instructors at the military academies about human trafficking in 
order to ensure sustained dissemination of anti-TIP information. 
 
First Aid/CPR Training 
---------------------- 
 
8. After assessing the inadequate training of Georgian law 
enforcement on First Aid techniques, INL Tbilisi sponsored a 4 day 
"train the trainer" seminar on First Aid at the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs (MOIA) Police Academy February 18-21.  The class was 
attended by 7 future First Aid trainers from the academy staff and 
the Patrol Police.  The chief instructor for the course was Dr. 
Kakhaber Chikhradze, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the Gudaushauri 
National Medical Center in Tbilisi. 
 
9. Course content focused on topics most relevant for law 
enforcement officers, including, clearing the airway, CPR, visual 
examination of a victim and establishing the seriousness of an 
injury, triage techniques, shock treatment, use of cervical collars, 
traction splints, vacuum splinting, bandaging techniques, and safe 
secure movement of patients. The students also received a lecture on 
assisting in emergency childbirth cases. 
 
Police Academy: New English Language Center 
------------------------------------------- 
 
10. On Friday March 7, Ambassador Tefft, together with OSCE 
Ambassador Hakala, MOIA Minister Merabishvili and Deputy Minister 
Zguladze, participated in a ceremonial opening of the new English 
Language Center at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Police Academy. 
The project was jointly funded by INL and the OSCE Mission to 
Georgia. 
INL funded renovation of the classroom space, language lab, library, 
instructor offices and connecting corridors for $47,000.  The OSCE 
provided approximately 20,000 Euros for computer and language lab 
equipment, and reference materials for the library.  INL also 
provided a $14,400 grant to the Police Academy to fund 3 instructor 
salaries for one year.  The instructors, identified for us by ETAG 
(English Language Teacher's Association of Georgia), will develop 
the basic ESP (English for Special Purposes) curriculum and provide 
classroom instruction.  The Academy will pick up the instructor 
salaries in January 2009. 
 
11. In response to a proposal by PAS Tbilisi, the Bureau of 
Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) awarded a grant to bring an 
English Language Specialist to the Police Academy for one month to 
finalize the basic ESP curriculum, oversee its implementation, and 
develop a specialized curriculum on law enforcement-specific 
language.  PAS is covering the per diem and in-country travel 
expenses of the Specialist. 
 
Horse-Mounted Police 
-------------------- 
 
12. On February 25, two Georgian horse-mounted police officers began 
a 10-week training course at U.S. Park Police Headquarters in 
Washington, D.C.  The training in police equestrian skills includes 
appropriate techniques for horse-mounted patrolling, with special 
emphasis on community policing concepts, traffic control and 
enforcement, ceremonial events, and crowd management.  The two 
Georgian officers were featured in Washington's local Fox News 
Morning segment March 14. 
 
13. Following completion of the course May 5, U.S. Park Police 
instructor Eric Evans will return to Tbilisi to provide a one-month 
training course to the entire mounted unit, emphasizing the main 
 
 
skills taught in the 10-week course.  INL supports the development 
of the mounted unit not only as an effective addition to Georgian 
law enforcement, but also as a vehicle for community outreach.  The 
model of police officer as public servant is a new concept in 
Georgia, and public skepticism of the police remains.  Utilizing 
mounted patrols will allow the police to project their presence in a 
more approachable manner, even as they carry out their law 
enforcement duties. 
 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks