Monthly Archives: October 2008

08TBILISI2025, GEORGIA: CABINET RESHUFFLE DRAWS LITTLE REACTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2025 2008-10-31 09:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9891
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2025 3050930
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 310930Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0323
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002025 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: CABINET RESHUFFLE DRAWS LITTLE REACTION 
 
REF: A. A) TBILISI 2009 
     B. B) TBILISI 1987 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a. i. Kent Logsdon for Reasons:  1.4 ( 
B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Summary/Comment:  In a widely anticipated move, four 
new Cabinet members were nominated October 29 to head up the 
Ministries of Justice, Culture, Refugees, and Environment. 
The shakeup drew little reaction among the press or 
opposition as all are familiar names and loyal Saakashvili 
backers who represent no change in governing philosophy or 
policy initiatives.  The Parliament must still approve the 
Prime Minister and the new Government slate.  Saakashvili 
hailed the move as providing new blood and new energy to 
continue the implementation of his programs, but added that 
new PM Mgaloblishvili retains "full autonomy" in forming a 
new cabinet.  Despite the public pronouncement, Saakashvili's 
reshuffle seems to confirm that he is the one choosing 
ministers.  The reshuffle amounts to little more than 
maintaining the status quo. There is little evidence thus far 
that calls from the opposition outside parliament for 
Saakashvili's resignation have found resonance with the 
public and recent polling (reftel B) suggests that 
Saakashvili maintains public support.  The timing of the 
announcement, an indicator that that Saakashvili is 
responding to a public perception that changes are needed 
following the August conflict and may well have been designed 
to deflate opposition calls for rallies on November 7.  End 
Summary and Comment. 
 
Expected Move Causes Little Stir 
-------------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  The rollout of the new ministers was hailed by 
President Saakashvili who was visiting Norway.  He stated 
that .. "one phase of the governmental program was over and 
now they needed new blood and new energy to continue 
implementation of other economic programs."  Speaker of the 
Parliament Bakradze was quoted as saying that "(i)t is 
logical that minor changes are carried out in the cabinet, 
because this government has passed through the major test 
which was the war; so I do not see any reason for major 
changes."  Opposition response was equally predictable with 
Gigi Tortladze (an independent opposition politician in 
parliament) stating that he did not view these appointments 
as significant policy adjustments.  Tortladze said that 
"Mgaloblishvili will not have his own team just as (former 
Prime Ministers) Gurgenidze and Noghaideli did not." 
Nevertheless, there has been little outcry from the 
opposition about the move.  Reftel A reports views suggesting 
that Mgaloblishvili and his team may have a short term in 
office. 
 
Deja Vu All Over Again 
---------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU)  The new Ministers are members of Saakashvili's 
larger circle with some of them retaking positions they 
formerly held.  The new Minister of Refugees and Resettlement 
is Koba Subeliani, who was held the same position  from 
November 2007 until May 2008 when he became a Member of 
Parliament.  Subeliani, like many Cabinet members is young 
having just turned 30, but was widely hailed in the weeks 
following the conflict as the leading government voice on 
dealing with the IDP issue.  The current Head of President 
Saakashvili's Administration, Zurab Adeishvili will become 
Minister of Justice, a position he held from December 2003 
until February 2004.  Adeishvili recently turned 36. 
Governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti region Goga Khachidze, also in 
his late 30s, will become the new Minister of the 
Environment.  Grigol Vashadze who is currently a Deputy 
Foreign Minister and married to Georgia's leading ballerina, 
will become the new Minister of Culture.  Vashadze is 50 and 
Qwill become the new Minister of Culture.  Vashadze is 50 and 
has spent most of his life in private business. 
LOGSDON

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08TBILISI2022, GEORGIA: BUSINESS EXECUTIVES FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2022 2008-10-31 09:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9876
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2022 3050912
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 310912Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0319
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002022 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: BUSINESS EXECUTIVES FOR NATIONAL SECURITY 
REVIEW CURRENT CHALLENGES 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i.KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) A 
ND (D). 
 
1.  (SBU) Sumary:  Business Executives for National Security 
(BENS), a nonpartisan organization of senior private-sector 
representatives, visited Tbilisi October 19-21, accompanied 
by the Deputy European Commander (EUCOM) Vice Admiral 
Gallagher and EUCOM POLAD Ambassador Katherine Canavan.  The 
visit provided the group with a strategic overview of Georgia 
and the challenges it faces as it attempts to integrate into 
the Euro-Atlantic community.  BENS facilitates an exchange of 
information between the United States government and the 
private sector which has proven beneficial for solving 
problems, by recommending solutions from a business model 
perspective.  Several delegation members visited Tbilisi on 
the group's last trip to Georgia in spring 2006.  End 
Summary. 
 
BENS Objectives in Georgia and the Caucasus 
 
2.  (U)  The BENS group visiting Tbilisi consisted of 11 
business executives, headed by General (retired) Charles G. 
Boyd who serves as President and Executive Officer.  During 
their stay in Tbilisi, members of the group met with senior 
Georgian government officials including the President, 
opposition and civil society groups, as well as international 
monitors from the OSCE, European Union Monitoring Mission 
(EUMM) and UNOMIG.  The BENS group traveled to Gori to view 
first-hand the damage that occurred as a result of the 
conflict in August, including at the First Brigade base just 
outside of the town of Gori. 
 
BENS Meeting with President Saakashvili 
 
3.  (C)  President Saakashvili described the challenges 
facing Georgia in the aftermath of the August conflict and 
told the group that he was committed to pursuing an 
aggressive democratic reform agenda.  He outlined for the 
group the values shared by the United States and Georgia and 
described Georgia as a leader in the post-Soviet space. 
Saakashvili warned that Russian aggression in Georgia would 
have a ripple effects in Ukraine, Estonia and other parts of 
Europe.  When asked if the Russian relationship was too 
important for the U.S. to be distracted by events in Georgia, 
Saakashvili told the group that the West could not afford to 
view Russian action as an isolated incident.  He described 
Russia's intentions to oust American influence from the 
former Soviet space and alleged that Russia wanted to prevent 
Georgia from achieving its goals of joining NATO and European 
institutions.  Similar themes were mentioned in the meetings 
of the BENS group with Deputy Foreign Minister Vashadze and 
Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Chairman Ambassador Lasha 
Zhvania. 
 
What is BENS? 
 
4.  (U)  Businessman Stanley A. Weiss founded the group in 
1982 with the goal of engaging and educating leaders of the 
U.S. business community on U.S. national security issues.  By 
visiting U.S. allies, partners, and nations of interest, BENS 
members learn first-hand the challenges that American's 
military and diplomatic corps face. BENS delegations 
typically meet one-on-one with the country's government to 
include its President, Prime Minister, Defense and Foreign 
ministers and military commanders.  BENS members come from a 
broad range of business sectors and political views yet they 
are united in their commitment to a strong, effective, 
affordable defense and developing ways to prevent the use of 
weapons of mass destruction.  BENS members who participated 
in the visit to Tbilisi are as follows:  Charles G. Boyd, 
Stanley A. Weiss, John W. Keker, Ramon Marks, Mark Treanor, 
QStanley A. Weiss, John W. Keker, Ramon Marks, Mark Treanor, 
Reggie Gibbs, Alfred Golstein, Frankin Pitcher Johnson, Jr., 
Donald V. Smith, Mary Boies, and Robert Cohn.  EUCOM Reps 
were POLAD Ambassador Katherine H. Canavan and Vice Admiral 
Richard K. Gallagher. 
LOGSDON

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08TBILISI2018, GEORGIA: LOW TURNOUT EXPECTED FOR NOVEMBER 3 ELECTIONS IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2018 2008-10-30 17:15 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9337
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2018/01 3041715
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301715Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0311
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002018 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: LOW TURNOUT EXPECTED FOR NOVEMBER 3 ELECTIONS IN 
ADJARA AND TBILISI 
 
REF: A) TBILISI 1072 
 
1. Summary and comment: On November 3 elections will be held for the 
Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, which is 
institutionally an important component of Adjara's autonomy but a 
plays a minimal national role.  By-elections for the national 
Parliament will also take place in two districts of Tbilisi.  The 
seats in Tbilisi were vacated by opposition politicians who declined 
to take their seats following the May elections.  Seven political 
parties are participating in the Adjara elections and five are 
running in Tbilisi.  The ruling United National Movement (UNM) and 
Industrialists are participating in the Adjara elections, but not in 
Tbilisi; UNM chose not to run in the Tbilisi by-elections, partly to 
allow space for opposition parties in the Parliament, given their 
current majority.  Public interest and media coverage of the 
elections are generally low.  The UNM is likely to win the majority 
of the Adjaran Supreme Council seats.  The Christian Democrats, who 
are getting positive public feedback for taking their seats in 
Parliament are favored in Tbilisi.  Results are unlikely to affect 
policy in Tbilisi, but some analysts will undoubtedly interpret the 
results of these elections as an indication of public views on the 
Government's performance during and since the August conflict with 
Russia.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. On November 3, elections will be held in Adjara (a 
semi-autonomous region in southwest Georgia, bordering Turkey) for 
the Supreme Council, or local Adjaran parliament.  The Adjaran 
Supreme Election Council is conducting the elections.  Seven parties 
are competing for 18 seats.  Three of the parties, the 
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), "We Ourselves," and "Qartuli 
Dasi" (Georgian Group), make up the minority in Georgia's national 
Parliament.  The other four parties include: the ruling UNM, 
Industrialists, "Georgian Politics," and the United Communist Party 
of Georgia.  Most opposition parties, including those that were part 
of the united opposition coalition, are boycotting the elections 
(despite their calls in Tbilisi for new parliamentary or 
presidential elections).  The Conservative Party publicly admitted 
that it registered for the elections only to take advantage of 
guaranteed televised airtime allocated to parties during the 
electoral campaign.  Although the Conservative Party has not 
nominated candidates, the party is using the airtime to call on 
voters to boycott the election and support the Conservatives' 
agenda. 
 
 
3. Most opposition parties boycotting the elections cite the new 
political reality they claim has emerged since the August conflict, 
as their reason not to participate.  However, the Labor Party 
announced its boycott before August.  Other opposition parties, 
including the Republican Party (which is historically strong in 
Adjara), say that there are more important priorities than the local 
elections in Adjara, including working out joint opposition tactics 
on how to achieve an early general election.  According to the 
results of NDI focus groups in Adjara, voters see the Supreme 
Council as not affecting their daily lives in any way and are 
therefore, not interested in participating in these elections 
 
4. By-elections are also scheduled for November 3 in the Vake and 
Didube single-mandate constituencies of Tbilisi.  The Central 
Election Commission (CEC) is conducting these by-elections.  Both 
contests were called following the June resignation of the 
candidates elected in May (reftel), the New Rightists' Davit 
Qcandidates elected in May (reftel), the New Rightists' Davit 
Gamkrelidze and Davit Saganeldze, in protest at what they called 
"the fraudulent May 21 parliamentary elections."  The recent 
International Republican Institute poll on political attitudes 
indicated that the Georgian public supported the CDM's decision to 
enter Parliament and work within existing political frameworks. 
This was reflected in increasing public confidence in the CDM, and 
significant drops by the non-Parliamentary opposition. 
Interestingly, the CDM is running a candidate only in Vake district 
and not in Didube.  This may lend credence to claims by some  that 
the CDM is colluding with the UNM.  However, CDM's candidate, Tamaz 
Kvachantiradze, was Minister of Education under Shevardnadze and  is 
well-known and respected .  The CDM may be focusing its limited 
resources on just one candidate in order to maximize efforts.  The 
CDM is also working hard, en masse, in the Adjara campaign.  This 
may be yet another sign that the party is further pursuing its 
public agenda of creating a grassroots party. 
 
5. Most opposition parties are also boycotting these majoritarian 
by-elections in Tbilisi.  The UNM has refused to nominate 
candidates, "since the seats were won by the opposition."  In 
addition, a win by the UNM in either constituency would simply add 
additional seats to its already lopsided parliamentary majority. 
The opposition Ind
ustrialists and Conservatives are refusing to run 
in Tbilisi.    The Conservatives are not putting candidates forward 
for the parliament, as they consider  the current Parliament 
illegitimate due to flawed elections in May 2008.  While the 
Industrialists have not publicly explained why they are not running 
a candidate in Tbilisi, it is likely due to their solidarity with 
 
TBILISI 00002018  002 OF 002 
 
 
the New Rightists who renounced seats in parliament following the 
May election. Only six parties have registered candidates for 
Tbilisi: the CDM, We Ourselves, Qartuli Dasi (Georgian Group), 
National Democratic party (NDP), "Georgian Politics" and the 
Radical-Democrats. 
 
6.  Public interest in both the Adjaran and Tbilisi elections is 
low.  The Georgian public, having already experienced a presidential 
and parliamentary election in 2008, appear to have election fatigue. 
 In addition, the August conflict with Russia has many citizens 
thinking of security and not elections.  Consequently, public 
interest in the elections is low.  The public does not view the 
elections as a referendum on Saakashvili, his management of the 
conflict or the National Movement party. 
 
7. Both the CEC and international election-related organizations 
expect low turnout.  Media coverage during the pre-election period 
was low, and lingering questions about the quality of the voters' 
list (i.e. names of deceased, others not in Georgia remaining on the 
list) could also be potentially problematic.  Embassy Tbilisi and 
USAID will send three teams of election observers to Adjara, as well 
as visit polling stations in Tbilisi.  The UK Embassy and some 
others will also observe; ODIHR and OSCE will not be formally 
observing these races. 
 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI2017, GEORGIA: RED CROSS STAFF MEMBER SHARES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2017 2008-10-30 13:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9335
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2017 3041351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301351Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0310
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002017 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: RED CROSS STAFF MEMBER SHARES 
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT IDPS 
 
Classified By: CDA Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Begin Summary and Comment:  A Tbilisi-based 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff member 
shared her observations about IDPs and GoG efforts to address 
their situation with Poloff during an October 22 meeting. 
ICRC is currently the only international organizations that 
has country-wide access or presence; therefore, IDPS have 
been seeking assistance from ICRC regarding their return. 
ICRC is usually cautious about sharing information.  The 
surprising openness reflects ICRC's serious concern for the 
situation of IDPS who live in Gori and about the lost 
livelihoods of Georgians who previously traveled to 
Tskhinvali but no longer can.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
2.  (C)  Dka Dulic (please protect), ICRC Protection 
Coordinator, shared with Poloff the following observations 
with regards to displaced persons as a result of the August 
hostilities.  ICRC has access all over the country including 
the  buffer zone, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.  Her staff is 
international, but does not include any Russians. 
 
3.  (C)  According to Dulic, Georgians (or so it appeared 
from their names) have been coming to ICRC offices asking for 
help to cross into South Ossetia.  Some of them before lived 
in Gori and traveled everyday to Tskhinvali for work.  Now 
their jobs and livelihoods are gone as they cannot pass 
through the checkpoints. 
 
4.  (C)  There is some opinion among ICRC staff members that 
GoG did not properly consult with IDPs before busing them 
back to their point of origin.  She specifically mentioned a 
quote in the press from parliamentarian Koba Subeliani (who 
was named on October 29 as the new Minister of Refugee 
Affairs), who stated, "Damage to houses are less than what we 
expected--we expected more damage.  It is safe for IDPs to 
return as Georgian police have taken control over de-occupied 
areas."  She suggested that he issued this statement to give 
legitimacy to GoG actions to get IDPs out of the camps and 
back home very quickly.  (Comment:  Poloff also heard this 
from a visiting academic, who said the GoG chose not to issue 
remuneration to families hosting IDPs in order to discourage 
lengthy stays. End Comment.) 
 
5.  (C)  According to Dulic, when Georgian police were able 
to return to the former "buffer zone" in undisputed Georgian 
territory located behind the Russian checkpoints, they 
arrested any South Ossetians they found there, and some 
remain in detention.  She didn't have specific numbers, but 
was planning to visit detention facilities to get a better 
idea.  Those IDPs from the Abkhaz war in the 1990s have been 
very dissatisfied with what they believed was preferential 
treatment from the government in settling the August 7 IDPs. 
IDPs from Kodori in the Abkhazia region, estimated to be 
about 2000 people who were also displaced in August, were 
particularly bitter about the lack of inclusion in 
resettlement discussions and actions. 
LOGSDON

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08TBILISI2016, GEORGIA: PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION INVESTIGATES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2016 2008-10-30 13:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9330
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2016/01 3041321
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301321Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0307
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 002016 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION INVESTIGATES 
AUGUST ACTIONS 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Kent D. Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) an 
d (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  An Ad-hoc Parliamentary Commission 
investigating the Georgian-Russian war of August 2008 began 
its hearings on October 25.  The Commission was designed to 
obtain evidence from government officials, who "were directly 
or indirectly involved in decision-making during the August 
events."  The Commission is chaired by the leader of the 
opposition party "We Ourselves," MP Paata Davitaia.  The 
Commission is comprised of nine MPs, including three from the 
opposition.  All of the Commission hearings are public and 
broadcast live on Georgian TV.  Certain sections of the 
hearings, considered to be sensitive, are currently closed 
for the press.  According to Davitaia, even these parts may 
eventually be declassified, as "they shed light on many 
important questions and should be disclosed for the public 
benefit."  He said the Commission's goal "is not to determine 
who fired first on August 7, but rather assess the 
government's actions, and also to determine if it could have 
acted differently."  Several significant leaders have 
testified, and more are scheduled.  It remains to be seen 
whether President Saakashvili will also testify.  Note that 
complete testimony is available o-line at: www.civil.ge. 
End summary. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  Such an investigatory commission, conducted 
live before the Georgian public -- and chaired by an 
opposition MP -- is a new achievement in Georgia.  While the 
commission does not have direct authority to mandate changes, 
it is being given open access to question those in the 
government involved in the conflict.  Davitaia told poloff 
that parliament modeled the investigatory commission on the 
9/11 Commission, as a means to bring actions of government 
leaders into the public sphere.  As expected, those who have 
testified have stressed that the armed conflict was a result 
of targeted Russian aggression and intervention, leaving the 
government no choice but to respond and try to protect 
Georgian civilians in South Ossetia.  Furthermore, they have 
largely agreed the denial of MAP (at April's NATO Bucharest 
Summit) not only gave Russia an opening to increase pressure 
on Georgia, but indeed encouraged Russia to invade Georgia 
now since NATO declared Georgia "would become a member in the 
future."  The Commission is, however, also asking serious 
questions about domestic politics, and the answers do not 
appear to be scripted.  The fact that Davitaia, both a 
opposition parliamentarian and an IDP himself, was chosen to 
head the commission shows the review of August events is not 
meant to be merely a show of support for the Saakashvili 
government but rather a serious inquiry.  Public reaction to 
the Commission's work remains to be seen, but general 
interest is high.  Overall, the Commission is an important 
step in increasing government transparency, which can not 
only generate goodwill but also help the country and 
Parliament reconcile the government's actions in August and 
ensuing consequences.  How the administration or Parliament 
will use the results of the Commission is unknown, but so far 
it is a positive, necessary -- and genuine -- exercise in 
representative government and national accountability. 
 
COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION 
 
3. (U) The Commission consists of ten members, half 
opposition and half from the ruling United National Movement 
(UNM) party.  Chairman of the Commission is Paata Davitaia, 
leader of the opposition party "We Ourselves" and a former 
Qleader of the opposition party "We Ourselves" and a former 
member of the United Opposition.  Interestingly, Davitaia is 
also an IDP from the 1993 Abkhaz conflict and his wife is 
Abkhaz.  Other opposition members include: Vice-Speaker Levan 
Vepkhvadze (Christian-Democratic Movement), Nikoloz 
Laliashvili, Dmitri Lortkipanidze, and Ramaz Tedoradze.  UNM 
members include: Givi Targamadze (Chair of Defense 
Committee), Giorgi Gabashvili, Khatuna Gogorishvili, Gia 
Goguadze, and Akaki Minashvili. 
 
GELA BEZHUASHVILI, HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE 
 
4. (U) At the first hearing on October 25, Intelligence 
Department Head Gela Bezhuashvili and Foreign Minister Eka 
Tkeshelashvili testified before the Commission.  Answering 
direct questions from the Commission members, Bezhuashvili 
emphasized Russia's motivation to militarily intervene in 
Georgia to thwart Georgia's strengthening statehood, its 
pro-western course, and some positive development in conflict 
resolution (especially in the Tskhinvali district).  In 
response to a question from Givi Targamadze, Head of the 
Defense and Security Committee, Bezhuashvili conceded that 
the NATO Bucharest Summit, which denied MAP membership to 
Georgia, amounted to giving Russia an "indirect veto" and 
untied Russia's hands. 
 
TBILISI 00002016  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
FM EKA TKESHELASHVILI 
 
5. (U) Tkeshelashvili emphasized that the conflict was not 
only about Georgia's separatist regi
ons, but was part of a 
bigger picture, involving Russia's geopolitical ambitions of 
restoring its empire.  Georgia's success in its Euro-Atlantic 
integration and its role as an energy transit route was 
perceived by Russia as a major threat to its regional 
interests.  Tkeshelashvili spoke about President 
Saakashvili's proposal to his Russian counterpart on a staged 
settlement in Abkhazia and Russian's subsequent rejection of 
the plan.  Tkeshelashvili also stressed that there was no 
major readiness among the international community to confront 
Russia, as it was surmised that Russia's stance could be 
changed through prolonged negotiations. 
 
MINISTER FOR REINTEGRATION TEMUR YAKOBASHVILI 
 
6. (U) At the second hearing, held October 27, the Commission 
heard testimony from State Minister for Reintegration Temur 
Yakobashvili and NSC Secretary Alexander (Kakha) Lomaia. 
Yakobashvili spoke about the Georgian government's latest 
steps to initiate talks with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi, and to 
change ineffective negotiating and peacekeeping formats.  He 
emphasized that after Russia's withdrawal from CIS sanctions, 
and the April 16 decision to establish direct contacts with 
the separatist regions, it became clear that Russia was 
"getting ready for something."  So, the GOG stepped up its 
diplomatic efforts to no avail.  Yakobashvili stressed that 
President Saakashvili did not order troops to capture 
Tskhinvali. 
 
NATIONAL SECURITY CHAIRMAN KAKHA LOMAIA 
 
7. (U) NSC Secretary Lomaia commented on Georgian Peace 
Keeping Force (PKF) Commander Mamuka Kurashvili's 
publicly-reported statement during the conflict that he would 
"restore the constitutional order of Georgia (in 
Tskhinvali)."  Lomaia said that Kurashvili's statement was 
not sanctioned and was wrong "in its essence."  Lomaia, 
following Yakobashvili's statement that Saakashvili did not 
order the taking of Tskhinvali, said that the President gave 
three orders to Georgia's armed forces: 1) stop a convoy of 
Russian tanks advancing on Tskhinvali; 2) neutralize firing 
positions targeting Georgian villages; and 3) ensure minimal 
casualties among civilians. 
 
PKF GENERAL MAMUKA KURASHVILI 
 
8. (U) During the third hearing held October 28, the 
Commander of Georgia's PKF Battalion Mamuka Kurashvili and 
his superior, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Zaza 
Gogava, testified before the Commission.  Much controversy 
had emerged regarding Kurashvili's above statement on 
restoring "constitutional order."  During his testimony, he 
said that his August 7 remarks were "impulsive, and not 
authorized by his superiors." 
 
CHAIR OF JOINT CHIEFS GOGAVA 
 
9. (U) Gogava also testified before the Commission on October 
28.  His public testimony lasted over three hours, the 
longest to date, and provided much detail on Georgian MOD 
actions in and around Tskhinvali.  Gogava described Russian 
actions as changing significantly around August 9, a theme 
that other leaders have also keyed on.  He said the MOD was 
not prepared for the "full-scale Russian aggression with the 
goal of invading Tbilisi" that began on that day.  Still, he 
rebuffed suggestions that the MOD had overestimated their own 
capabilities, saying "a military man would make a mistake if 
he underestimated his enemy."  When asked who ordered him to 
launch military operations, Gogava replied that the decision 
to put the military on its highest alert was made in 
agreement with President Saakashvili at 2:00 PM on August 7. 
Qagreement with President Saakashvili at 2:00 PM on August 7. 
He deferred additional details to the closed session. 
 
HEARINGS CONTINUE 
 
10. (U) The Commission will also hear testimony from Minister 
of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili, although his hearing 
has yet to be scheduled.  According to Davitaia, the 
Commission also intends to invite Saakashvili.  However, the 
Commission cannot compel the President to testify, and it 
remains to be seen if he will. 
 
RADICAL OPPOSITION DISMISSIVE 
 
11. (U) The non-Parliamentary opposition dismissed the 
Commission from its inception, demanding instead an 
 
TBILISI 00002016  003 OF 003 
 
 
"independent" investigatory commission be created.  Recently 
these opposition representatives claimed that Saakashvili 
should not have nominated a new prime minister or initiated 
any cabinet changes until the Commission completed its work. 
Saakashvili rebutted this criticism, saying that any possible 
cabinet changes will not hinder the Commission work. 
Instead, he called on the Commission to continue its 
investigation, and said that all former or remaining cabinet 
members "will continue cooperation with the Commission."  The 
non-parliamentary opposition will likely reject any and all 
of the Commission's conclusions.  In the meantime, opposition 
parliamentarian Davitaia, who chose to retain his seat, 
chairs the hottest ticket in town and is daily providing 
evidence of the possibility for a genuine opposition within 
Parliament. 
 
NOT A STAGE SHOW 
 
12. (SBU) While the Georgian Parliament has had investigatory 
commissions in the past, none has tackled such a critical 
issue in such a transparent manner.  The witnesses are coming 
to the hearings well prepared, but this fact does not prove 
that the hearings are staged, as some radical oppositionists 
allege.  The questions fielded are direct, and the presence 
of opposition MPs (including Davitaia, himself a former 
prosecutor) precludes the possibility of this commission 
providing only a one-sided view of August's events.  In many 
cases the commissioners are using questions from their 
constituents and prominent thinkers which have been posed 
publicly. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI2009, GEORGIA: NEW PM MAY HAVE A SHORT TENURE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2009 2008-10-28 14:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

O 281449Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0301
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 
USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002009 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: NEW PM MAY HAVE A SHORT TENURE 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) AND ( 
d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary and Comment.  President Saakashvili 
announced on October 27 the resignation of Lado Gurgenidze 
from the post of Prime Minister and his nomination of Grigol 
Mgaloblishvili to the position.  Gurgenidze's departure had 
been expected for many months, but the appointment of 
Mgaloblishvili caught nearly everyone in Tbilisi by surprise. 
 Mgaloblishvili is a 35-year-old career diplomat who has most 
recently served as the Georgian Ambassador to Turkey. 
Tbilisi's elite are already predicting a short tenure for the 
new PM and further changes to the cabinet are expected to be 
announced before November 7.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
VICE SPEAKER SPEAKS (MOSTLY) HIGHLY OF NEW PM 
 
2.  (C)  Vice Speaker of the Parliament Gigi Tsereteli told 
poloff that Mgaloblishvili's appointment would be 
well-received in the Parliament.  He brought no political 
baggage with him and no visible party loyalties beyond those 
to the President.  He described Mgaloblishvili as agreeable 
and "handsome."  When questioned, Tsereteli acknowledged he 
wanted to stress the positive.  He said that Mgaloblishvili 
was considered a strong diplomat but would not represent a 
threat to any of the incumbent minister on a policy level. 
 
3.  (C)  Tsereteli said that he had known the Prime 
Minister-nominee for many years, since they had grown up in 
the same neighborhood (the Vake district of Tbilisi). 
Tsereteli said that he had been approximately seven years 
ahead of Mgaloblishvili but knew him as a smart and capable 
student.  Mgaloblishvili came from an intellectual family and 
his grandfather was a well-known ear, nose and throat 
specialist who had treated Tsereteli as a young person.  He 
said that despite his age (he is 35), Mgaloblishvili has 
served with distinction in Turkey, working closely with a 
traditional government. 
 
SAAKASHVILI'S DECISION-MAKING 
 
4.  (C)  The Vice Speaker said that President Saakashvili was 
still deciding whom to nominate as late as mid-day on October 
27 and only made his decision late in the day.  One 
well-placed business contact told us that Saakashvili 
considered Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and Minister of Finance 
Nik Gilauri for the PM job, but decided that each were needed 
on their current portfolios.  Many of his closest advisors 
were surprised by the decision to nominate Mgaloblishvili. 
Tsereteli said that the timing of the nomination was partly 
designed to deflate calls for public demonstrations on 
November 7.  Saakashvili's timing eclipsed former Speaker of 
the Parliament Nino Burjanadze's announcement that she was 
launching her own political party "Democratic Movement - 
United Georgia."  Tsereteli said that according to the 
Constitution, Mgaloblishvili was required to meet with the 
Parliament and propose a new cabinet within ten days. 
 
REACTION FROM BUSINESS LEADERS 
 
5.  (C)  Several key business leaders told us that they were 
frustrated by the timing of the announcement (made during the 
visit of Deputy Secretary of Commerce John Sullivan) but 
otherwise were not concerned about the nomination.  Some 
speculated that Mgaloblishvili was a placeholder for 
Saakashvili's intended nomination of Tbilisi Mayor Ugulava. 
Some business leaders knew the new PM-nominee from Turkey and 
spoke highly of his work.  Universally, our interlocutors 
told us they expected additional cabinet changes shortly. 
QNona Tordia, Chairman of the Tbilisi Aircraft Factory, 
described herself as a life-long friend of Mgaloblishvili's 
family and said that she had not known him to have political 
aspirations and was surprised by the nomination. 
 
FUTURE PLANS FOR GURGENIDZE? 
 
6.  (C)  Gurgenidze did not attend an October 27 reception 
with the visiting Commerce delegation, but sent a text 
message to one attendee saying, "freedom."  He has told 
Embassy officers frequently during the last several months 
that he wanted to return to the private sector.  He is 
expected to continue to coordinate donor assistance to 
Georgia via a new executive branch commission.  Rumors 
suggest he may return to the Bank of Georgia or establish his 
own fund. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1988, GEORGIA: LACK OF ACCESS KEEPS HOTSPOTS HOT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1988 2008-10-24 15:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8907
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1988/01 2981523
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241523Z OCT 08      (ZDK MANY SERVICES)
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0290
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0135
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4707
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2195

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001988 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR GEORGIA MONITORING GROUP AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: LACK OF ACCESS KEEPS HOTSPOTS HOT 
 
TBILISI 00001988  001.2 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: CDA KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Summary and comment.  Georgia has so far avoided 
major provocations since Russian troops withdrew from most 
undisputed Georgian territory, but several potential sources 
of friction remain.  Among them are Akhalgori; ongoing 
tension along the administrative boundaries of South Ossetia 
and Abkhazia; Perevi; and the ever-present rumor mill. 
Increased EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) activity has helped 
deter troublemakers, but the inability of the EUMM and the 
OSCE to enter South Ossetia reduces their ability to monitor 
events and encourage real restraint.  UNOMIG is receiving 
less and less cooperation from de facto forces, thereby 
losing some of its ability to deter trouble.  The Georgian 
side is publicizing what it sees as ongoing aggression in 
Akhalgori and elsewhere, leading to confused and sometimes 
inaccurate reporting, such as the late October 24 reports of 
200 armed South Ossetians coming across the border -- a story 
that appears to be a misreporting of a botched carjacking in 
a border village of Didi Kurvaleti by 15-20 Ossetians.   The 
Georgian press continues to cover Russian statements about 
the EUMM's inability to provide security, when contrasted 
with Russian intransigence in providing access north of the 
boundaries.  A renewed push for EUMM and OSCE access to South 
Ossetia, and EUMM and unrestricted UNOMIG access to Abkhazia 
-- in order to ensure restraint on both sides of the 
boundaries -- must continue to be a priority for the U.S. and 
the EU.  End summary and comment. 
 
AKHALGORI 
 
2.  (SBU) International observers agree that Akhalgori 
remains a potential source of real difficulty.  The Interior 
Ministry told post October 23 that Russian forces had sent 40 
additional armored vehicles to Akhalgori, along with an 
unknown number of troops.  The EUMM and OSCE were unable to 
confirm this information, but both observed that Russian 
forces had reinforced their southernmost checkpoint on the 
road to Akhalgori, just north of Odzisi.  Local residents are 
still able to travel in and out of Akhalgori, but entry is 
restricted for anyone else.  Press reports suggest the fee 
for non-residents to enter is 1,000 lari, although some say 
no one without residence can enter anymore.  An Embassy staff 
member reports he is unable to visit his family's ancestral 
home in Akhalgori because he is not resident there.  Recent 
press reports suggest ethnically Georgian young men in 
Akhalgori are now subject to Ossetian conscription, which 
would encourage them to abandon the town. 
 
3. (SBU) The Russian motivation for retaining and apparently 
strengthening control over Akhalgori remains a subject of 
debate.  Various Georgian officials have suggested the 
primary interest is strategic, because access to the 
Akhalgori Valley provides access to the hills to the east, 
which overlook the A-301 north-south highway (the old Russian 
military highway) and potentially enable Russian forces to 
close off that artery.  Another possible interest is 
political; no the valley lies within the South Ossetian 
administrative boundary, and Russia may want to help its de 
facto friends establish a firm claim to the entire territory. 
 EUMM officials have suggested the Russians may be holding 
Akhalgori as an eventual bargaining chip.  One local 
QAkhalgori as an eventual bargaining chip.  One local 
commentator offered a more ominous spin on this 
interpretation, warning that Russia's intention was to use 
Akhalgori and other specific points of contention to tie up 
international negotiations and deflect them from more 
fundamental issues. 
 
4. (C) The Georgians, meanwhile, may not be sitting idly by. 
On October 16 the EUMM reported to diplomatic colleagues that 
it had observed about 20 Georgian military forces (as opposed 
to Interior Ministry forces) north of Bazaleti, not far to 
the east of the Akhalgori Valley.  On October 23, the EUMM 
reported observing construction between the villages of 
Bantsurtkari and Ananuri, also east of Akhalgori, of what it 
believes could be new barracks for the Georgian military (the 
EUMM has not been able to confirm the purpose of the 
construction).  The presence of a mere platoon of soldiers or 
the construction of barracks by themselves might be 
innocuous, but he location so close to Akhalgori could raise 
tensions. 
 
TROUBLESPOTS ALONG THE BOUNDARIES 
 
5. (SBU) The administrative boundaries put residents of both 
undisputed Georgian territory and the breakaway regions, as 
well as their respective officials and law enforcement 
 
TBILISI 00001988  002 OF 004 
 
 
bodies, in close proximity.  In many cases the boundaries lie 
along open fields, with no effective boundary control, and 
m
ovement in both directions is easy, especially at night. 
The friction along these contact points has not yet erupted 
in renewed hostilities, but it could at any time.  Although 
international monitors are not always able to make an 
authoritative determination of events, and in some cases 
disagree on what likely occurred, the following incidents 
reflect some of the sensitivities that any particular 
incident could ignite. 
 
6. (SBU) One of the primary sensitivities is the presence of 
Georgian Interior Ministry personnel near the boundaries. 
From the Georgian perspective, the Interior Ministry presence 
is crucial to maintaining order and deterring attacks.   For 
its part, the EUMM does not consider its mandate as providing 
security directly, but rather monitoring the provision of 
security by the appropriate agencies -- in particular, the 
Georgian Interior Ministry.  The EUMM recently noted that 
some previously unmarked Interior Ministry vehicles now had 
"POLICE" (in English) written on the side, providing 
increased transparency (post personnel have observed some 
such vehicles near the boundary still without markings).  The 
EUMM has also expressed its satisfaction that the Interior 
Ministry carries appropriately low-caliber weapons near the 
boundary.  (Embassy Note:  We will urge the EUMM to make more 
of these observations public in order to demonstrate that the 
Georgian side is not in violation of the ceasefire.  End 
note.)  The EUMM would like to provide the same monitoring of 
local law enforcement in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but 
currently does not have the access or the contacts to do so. 
 
7. (SBU) On October 21, a Georgian Interior Ministry vehicle 
was damaged by a mine near the village of Avlevi, southwest 
of Tskhinvali and northwest of Gori.  One officer was 
slightly injured.  The location of the attack was outside 
South Ossetia, but only about 500 meters from the boundary. 
The OSCE reported the mine was a Russian MON-50, an 
anti-personnel device similar to a Claymore.  The EUMM 
determined the explosion was detonated remotely by wire, 
meaning that those responsible were within several dozen 
meters of the vehicle when they detonated the device.  The 
EUMM noted that traffic had traveled on the road in question 
throughout the day without incident, suggesting this one 
particular Interior Ministry vehicle was singled out as a 
target. 
 
8. (SBU) The evening of October 17 and the morning of October 
18, gunfire was reported on both sides of the administrative 
boundary just south of Tskhinvali, near Zemo Nikozi (outside 
South Ossetia) and Gujabauri (inside); no one was injured. 
The Georgian Interior Ministry claimed in both cases it was 
drunken soldiers firing into the air on the South Ossetian 
side; Russian forces claimed the October 18 shooting was 
aimed at a Russian checkpoint just inside South Ossetia.  The 
EUMM and OSCE received conflicting reports and were unable to 
confirm either version.  Russian forces informed the OSCE of 
the October 18 shooting shortly after it occurred, indicating 
they had been prepared to return fire, but refrained from 
doing so to give the OSCE a chance to investigate.  Russian 
forces did not allow the OSCE across the boundary to conduct 
Qforces did not allow the OSCE across the boundary to conduct 
an investigation there, however. 
 
9. (SBU) The morning of October 19, the town of Khurcha, 
north of the Enguri River but outside Abkhazia, came under 
attack; no one was injured.  UNOMIG believes rockets hit the 
town, citing pictures of impacts that show greater damage 
than rifle- or machine gun-fire could produce; the EUMM has 
questioned whether rockets struck, suggesting some of the 
damage could have been from previous attacks.  UNOMIG noted 
the presence of a Russian BMP-1 armored vehicle across the 
administrative boundary at the time, which carries a weapon 
that can shoot the projectile UNOMIG believes was fired (a 
SIG).  Locals reported to the EUMM that the attack was caused 
by a local criminal dispute.  A house hit in the attack, 
which UNOMIG believes to be the main target based on the 
number of impacts near the house, had recently been chosen as 
a local headquarters for the Georgian Interior Ministry. 
 
THE PROBLEM WITH PEREVI 
 
10. (SBU) Both EUMM and OSCE monitors agree the Russian 
checkpoint at Perevi is outside South Ossetia.  (Although the 
EUMM would like to locate an authoritative map to confirm 
that finding, the best information it has at the moment -- a 
map from the Georgian Geographic Institute -- supports that 
conclusion.)  The location of the checkpoint, at a fork in 
 
TBILISI 00001988  003 OF 004 
 
 
the road, allows Russian forces to control movement both into 
the village of Perevi (which is outside South Ossetia) and 
into South Ossetia.  Although the Russian side officially 
contends the checkpoint is inside the boundary, Russian 
forces at the checkpoint itself conceded to the OSCE it is 
outside the boundary, but said there was no other suitable 
location for it -- presumably to control the movement on both 
roads.  Moving the checkpoint into South Ossetia would 
prevent the Russians from controlling the road leading into 
Perevi, which loops back into South Ossetia after passing 
through the village. 
 
11. (SBU) On October 20, the Russian checkpoint did not allow 
a World Food Program shipment of 12 tons of foodstuffs to 
pass into Perevi.  Previous WFP shipments had successfully 
reached Perevi; it may have been the absence of the Russian 
commander from the checkpoint that led his deputy to block 
the delivery.  French Foreign Minister Kouchner objected to 
the lack of access to Perevi in his remarks at the October 22 
donors conference in Brussels, and the WFP successfully 
delivered the shipment October 24; the EUMM attributed the 
Russian change of heart to Kouchner's intervention. 
 
12. (C) One potentially troubling element of the Perevi 
situation is the EU's apparent hesitancy to press the point 
with the Russians.  The EUMM has not yet committed to a final 
determination that the checkpoint is outside South Ossetia, 
although it has located fairly authoritative maps, and it is 
unlikely to find anything more authoritative.  French 
Ambassador Eric Fournier suggested to the Charge that 
Kouchner did make the point firmly and publicly in Brussels, 
but in fact, the foreign minister's prepared comments 
(emailed to EUR/CARC) only objected to the lack of access to 
the village of Perevi, not the location of the Russian 
checkpoint.  Finally, recent EU public statements (e.g., EU 
High Representative Solana's October 10 statement on the 
withdrawal of Russian forces and the EUMM's October 17 
statement on unexploded ordnance) seem to suggest that Russia 
has complied with its obligations to withdraw from undisputed 
Georgian territory, not leaving the EU much room to object to 
the Russians' continued presence outside South Ossetia 
without revision of
its previous public statements. 
 
THE RUMOR MILL 
 
13. (C) October 23 and 24 reports of the presence of 
increased Russian forces in South Ossetia in general, and 
Akhalgori in particular, have heightened fears of Russian 
intentions and possible provocations.  An October 22 report 
in the press that women and children were evacuating 
Tskhinvali, which both de facto South Ossetian officials and 
the Georgian Interior Ministry refuted, also raised concerns. 
 The Interior Ministry reported to post that a story was 
circulating in South Ossetia that the Georgian side was 
planning to attack on November 1 in order to try to help 
Senator McCain in the U.S. presidential election.  The 
evening of October 24, a breathless MOIA official reported 
that 200 armed South Ossetians were crossing into the 
Georgian village of Didi Kurvaleti; EUMM and OSCE monitors 
later clarified that 15-20 South Ossetians had crossed into 
the village and attempted to hijack a car.  After failing, 
the Ossetians threatened to return.  EUMM monitors remain on 
the scene. 
 
INCREASING RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENTS IN ABKHAZIA 
QINCREASING RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENTS IN ABKHAZIA 
 
14. (SBU) In recent days, access in and out of Abkhazia has 
become increasingly difficult.  The morning of October 24, a 
pedestrian bridge along a railway bridge was blown up just 
north of Zugdidi, near Shamgona, destroying a basic link 
between Zugdidi and Gali.  Another pedestrian bridge a few 
kilometers away was rendered impassable by an apparent rocket 
attack on October 19.  The Russian checkpoint at Pakhulani 
began blocking all access into Abkhazia around October 21. 
UNOMIG patrols have heard numerous stories from locals that 
access into Abkhazia has become more difficult, more 
expensive, or no longer possible at certain crossing points. 
UNOMIG itself has experienced an increased amount of 
resistance from Abkhaz officials, who in some cases have not 
allowed UNOMIG patrols to pass and in other cases have either 
not spoken with the patrols or expressed keen disapproval 
with them.  UNOMIG has experienced such fluctations in 
cooperation before, and is therefore not ready to pronounce 
this recent friction a long-term trend, but notes that the 
level of cooperation does seem to have deteriorated in recent 
days. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001988  004 OF 004 
 
 
15. (SBU) UNOMIG also reports an increasing amount of 
excavation activity at Abkhaz and Russian checkpoints. 
 
COMMENT: WE'RE MORE THAN HALF BLIND 
 
16. (C) Much of the tension and mistrust currently 
threatening the administrative boundaries could be alleviated 
by access to the other side of the boundaries for the EUMM 
and the OSCE.  Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has been 
quoted in the press as blaming the EUMM for not doing enough 
to provide security.  To a large extent, this accusation 
stems from a fundamental disagreement between Russia and the 
EU about the nature of the EUMM.  Although we may not be able 
to resolve that difference of opinion, one simple way for the 
Russians to enable the EUMM to do more to ensure security -- 
if that is in fact Russia's aim -- is to allow the mission to 
monitor both sides of the border.  If Russia continues to 
refuse access to the EUMM, it will have difficulty arguing 
with a straight face that the diminished security along the 
boundaries is the EUMM's fault.  The same logic applies to 
Russia's attitude toward the OSCE.  The international 
community will have exponentially less ability to prevent 
renewed hostilities without access north of the boundaries. 
We should continue to make that access -- and a similar quest 
by the EU for that access -- a primary focus of our 
diplomatic efforts. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1987, GEORGIA: IRI NATIONAL VOTER SURVEY: GEORGIANS

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
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. #08TBILISI1987.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1987 2008-10-24 13:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3403
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1987/01 2981316
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241316Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0287
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001987 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: IRI NATIONAL VOTER SURVEY: GEORGIANS 
UNITED BEHIND SAAKASHVILI 
 
REF: TBILISI 437 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Kent D. Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) an 
d (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  The latest USAID-funded International 
Republican Institute (IRI) poll, based on 1,500 surveys 
conducted from September 23 to October 1, showed that the 
August war with Russia dominated the national mood.  IRI said 
the poll showed that Georgians believed that Russian 
aggression was an ongoing effort, and their government was 
not responsible for starting the war.  President 
Saakashvili's performance during the war was viewed 
positively, and only nine percent supported a call for his 
resignation.  Despite the war and economic pressures, the 
country remained optimistic.  Slightly more people said the 
country is going in the right direction than did in February 
(reftel).  Confidence in nearly all public institutions has 
increased, and petty corruption, according to the 
respondents, remained low.  Georgians continue to value an 
opposition, dialogue, and the democratic process. 
Respondents approved the Christian-Democratic Movement's 
(CDM) decision to enter Parliament.  Those parties that 
refused to enter Parliament lost influence.  Georgians 
overwhelmingly expressed a desire for internal stability in 
the country and were strongly opposed to internal political 
instability.  War and Russian aggression were people's 
biggest fears.  Not surprisingly, regaining the separatist 
regions had surpassed job creation as a priorities for the 
government.  Georgians rejected the concept of independence 
for Abkhazia and South Ossetia's and they believed the 
regions will again be part of Georgia, but only through 
peaceful means.  Georgians supported Saakashvili's efforts to 
integrate Georgia in to NATO and EU membership.  Those polled 
cited "electricity" and "roads" among the government's most 
significant achievements.  The ruling National Movement (UNM) 
was regarded as the most capable political party in 
addressing people's problems, and Saakashvili's approval 
rating led all political figures in the poll. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  The poll results indicated a patriotic surge 
of support and solidarity for the country, its government, 
and institutions following the war and in the face of 
continuing Russian pressure.  Strong support from the 
international community appears to have reassured the 
Georgian populace, and they continue to look to the West for 
support, security, and development.  This poll suggests that 
the government has an opportunity to pursue its mandate for 
democratic reforms and economic growth, which would likely 
benefit the country long-term.  More immediate influences on 
the national mood will be Russia's next actions and how 
winter progresses.  Suprisingly few respondents raised free 
media or the need for more participatory democracy as 
priorities for the Government.  IRI briefed the results of 
the poll to both Government officials and opposition 
politicians, both in and outside of the Government.  The only 
part of the poll not released to political leaders is the 
"ballot test" of how many votes each political party would 
receive if a vote was held immediately; instead, each party 
received only its results for how well it polled with the 
public. End Summary. 
 
3. (U) The International Republican Institute (IRI), in 
conjunction with The Gallup Organization, conducted a 
USAID-funded poll across Georgia from September 23 to October 
1, 2008.  1500 adults (age 18 ) were randomly interviewed 
face-to-face, and the poll contains a margin of error of 
three percent or less.  (Note: an electronic version of this 
Qthree percent or less.  (Note: an electronic version of this 
poll has been sent to EUR/CARC.  End note.) 
 
Confronting Russian Aggression 
 
4. (SBU) Above all, IRI said the poll shows that Georgians 
believed the country was still at war against Russian 
aggression.  They believed their government was not 
responsible for starting the war.  These critical points 
explain Saakashvili's widespread support and the lack of 
support for the non-parliamentary opposition who have called 
for his resignatin.  His performance during the war was seen 
positively by 77 percent of the population, and only nine 
percent of Georgians support calls for his resignation at 
this time.  They believe this would play into Russia's goal 
of toppling Saakashvili's government. 
 
Optimism Despite Failures 
 
5. (SBU) The war was seen as the government's biggest 
failure, leading ahead of losing the territories of Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia and the government crackdown on November 7 
last year.  62 percent of people reported a worsening 
 
TBILISI 00001987  002 OF 003 
 
 
economic picture as well.  Still, the country remained 
optimistic about the future (76 percent reporting themselves 
optimistic versus 18 percent pessimistic).  More people said 
the country was going in the right direction (47 percent) 
than did in February (41 percent). 
 
Confidence in Institutions Rose
, Corruption Reported Low 
 
 
6. (SBU) Confidence in nearly all public institutions has 
increased since February.  The Georgian Orthodox Church 
remained atop the list (with a 92 percent viewing it 
favorably).  Tied for top place was the Army.  The police 
increased as well (84 percent citing confidence versus 77 
percent in February).  Public perceptions of the performance 
of both the army and police during the war was high.  The 
Central Bank (62 percent down from 65) and Education system 
(56 down from 58) slipped only a few points from February. 
The media basically stayed the same with 72 percent viewing 
it favorably (compared to 73 in February).  Reports of petty 
corruption remained very low, 96 percent of respondents say 
they had not had to pay a bribe for any government service or 
decision in the previous 12 months.  Only 0.7 percent said 
they had been asked to pay a one-time bribe. 
 
Domestic Politics, Dialogue, and Internal Stability 
 
7. (SBU) The democratic process remained important in 
Georgians' eyes.  They expressed the desire for additional 
democratic development.  86 percent (up from 84) said an 
opposition is important to Georgia's governance.  The same 
percentage wants to see dialogue between the opposition and 
the government.  Georgians overwhelmingly wanted internal 
stability in the country.  Only six percent said that 
internal political confrontation would be acceptable now. 
Respondents (67 percent versus 18 against) approved the CDM's 
decision to enter Parliament after the May election. 
Similarly, 60 percent opposed the United Opposition members' 
decision to not join Parliament, and only 19 percent 
supported it.  Those parties that refused to enter Parliament 
(Labor, the New Rightists, Conservatives, United Opposition) 
have lost public confidence in their ability to solve 
problems.  And the CDM is now viewed as the second-most 
recognizable opposition party (some had previously considered 
it pro-government) after the Labor Party (in February they 
were fifth). 
 
Separatist Regions More Important than Economy 
 
8. (C) People were asked what should be the top priorities of 
the government.  Regaining the separatist regions (60 percent 
as a first priority) surpassed creating jobs (22 percent), 
despite 62 percent of people saying the economic situation 
had worsened over the past two months.  Integration into EU 
and NATO (15 percent) and implementation of reforms (3 
percent) followed.  The ruling National Movement (UNM) was 
seen by 40 percent of respondents as the most capable 
political party in addressing people's problems (it was 39 
percent in February).  35 percent said they did not know 
which party was most capable.  Although the CDM earned itself 
second place with 5 percent (below its 11 percent in 
February), this was ahead of the next closest opposition 
party -- Labor with only 2 percent confidence.  (Comment: 
Again, this indicates that the CDM's constructive engagement 
and criticism in Parliament, the media, and the regions is 
paying dividends for the new party.  End comment.) 
 
Fears Remain, Longing for Territories 
 
9. (SBU) Resumption of war and Russian aggression top he 
list of people's fears, followed by the loss of Georgia's 
territorial integrity.  Georgians (91 percent) said they 
Qterritorial integrity.  Georgians (91 percent) said they 
would never accept Abkhazia's or South Ossetia's independence 
(only 4 percent said yes).  However, respondents 
overwhelmingly said they supported reintegration of the 
separatist territories only via peaceful means. 
 
Government Credited with Gaining International Support 
 
10. (SBU) Electricity and roads remained the government's 
biggest achievements, although gaining international support 
was a new mention.  Support for NATO and EU membership was 
strong at 86 percent.  A majority (54 percent) supported NATO 
military bases in Georgia, with 33 percent opposed.  Poll 
responsdents overwhelmingly appreciated their country's 
external relations - Ukraine and the United States topped the 
list of favorable relationship ratings at 97 percent each. 
France and the EU both received 94 percent favorable ratings. 
 Lithuania and Germany were 92 percent, Poland was 89 
percent, Turkey 88 percent, Azerbaijan 86 percent, Armenia 65 
 
TBILISI 00001987  003 OF 003 
 
 
percent, and Iran 49 percent.  Relations with Russia were 
viewed as "bad" by 97 percent of respondents. 
 
Political Leader Ratings 
 
11. (C) The poll again tracked ratings of political leaders, 
asking the respondents to rate them favorably or unfavorably. 
 Topping the list was President Saakashvili (75 percent 
favorable and 21 percent not).  A surprising second was 
Public Defender/Ombudsman Sozar Subari (70 percent favorable, 
15 percent unfavorable).  As additioNEQQ=QAHwVQc>, CDM leader Giorgi Targamadze tied for third with 70 
percent.  In descending order of favorable approval ratings 
came the following: businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili (65), 
former Speaker Nino Burjanadze (63), PM Lado Gurgenidze (57), 
Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava (57), Irakli Okruashvili (56), and 
Giorgi Baramidze (53) and parliamentary Speaker David 
Bakradze (52).  Most opposition members fell somewhat. 
Republicans Tina Khidasheli (51) and David Usupashvili (50), 
New Rightist David Gamkrelidze (49), Levan Gachechiladze 
(45), Koba Davitashvili (44), Kakha Kukava (43), and Shalva 
Natelashvili (33) all slipped from their February ratings. 
Some ministers improved, including FM Eka Tkeshelashvili 
(43), MOIA Vano Merabishvili (33), and Economic Minister Eka 
Sharashidze (31).  CDM Vice Speaker Levan Vepkhvadze (18 
percent favorable and 23 percent unfavorable) was largely 
unheard of (44 percent said they did not know the name). 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1985, GEORGIA: A/S FRIED MEETS OPPOSITION, BOTH INSIDE

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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. #08TBILISI1985.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1985 2008-10-24 12:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3355
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1985/01 2981214
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241214Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0284
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001985 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR A/S FRIED AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: A/S FRIED MEETS OPPOSITION, BOTH INSIDE 
AND OUT OF PARLIAMENT 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND ( 
D) 
 
1. (C) Begin Summary: On October 20, Assistant Secretary 
Daniel Fried and Ambassador Tefft met with Georgian 
opposition parliamentarians.  The MPs told Fried they were 
working to help the country through its post-invasion 
recovery and were pursuing democratic reforms.  The group 
spoke about the Anti-Crisis Commission (ACC), and its 
progress to date on democratic and social reforms.  The 
Parliamentary Commission to investigate the August events, 
headed by an oppositino MP, was focused on whether Georgia 
could have avoided military action.  Fried encouraged the 
commission and opposition to ask hard questions.  In a 
separate meeting, Fried and the Ambassador met with civil 
society representatives and the opposition outside 
Parliament.  The group believed that the country was divided, 
and some argued that Saakashvili had too much power.  They 
claimed Georgian democracy hung the balance, and urged 
conditionality for foreign aid to Georgia.  Fried told both 
groups that a military solution to Russian occupation did not 
exist and urged their support for a peaceful way forward. 
End Summary. 
 
PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION FOCUSED ON THE TOUGH QUESTIONS AND 
PARTY BUILDING 
 
2. (C) On October 20, Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried and 
Ambassador Tefft met with Georgian opposition 
parliamentarians, including Christian Democratic Movement 
(CDM) Chairman Giorgi Targamadze, Vice Speaker Levan 
Vepkhvadze, Gia Tortladze, and Paata Davitaia.  The MPs told 
Fried they were pursuing democratic reforms in Georgia via 
constitutional methods and believed they were making progress 
developing an opposition with real political authority. 
 
3. (C) Targamadze said his party was promoting peace and 
development as a response to Russia's August invasion, while 
trying to continue to build a grassroots following. 
Tortladze, Chair of the ACC, explained the commission's 
progress to date on democratic and social reforms, and its 
continuing goals.  He said progress has been made on 
political party funding, media freedom, in particular 
restoring some political talk shows, lowering small business 
tax liability, and helping return the Writers and Composers 
Building which was privatized.  Tortladze cautioned that the 
ACC must ontinue its efforts until the local elections of 
2010 in order to ensure democratic reform would take hold. 
Davitaia serves as chairman of the Parliamentary Commission 
to investigate the August events.  He told Fried that the 
Commission was focused on investing the question of whether 
Georgia could have avoided military action, rather than who 
fired the first shot.  Fried encouraged the commission and 
Davitaia to ask hard questions about Georgian munitions and 
tactics used in Tskhinvali and South Ossetia.  Vepkhvadze 
noted that he was the first opposition Vice Speaker in 
Parliament since the Rose Revolution. 
 
4. (C) Tortladze also asked Fried if Georgia could pursue a 
bilateral agreement on defense with the United States, since 
NATO MAP is extremely unlikely in November.  Fried 
acknowledged the request and said he would review it in 
Washington. 
 
CIVIL SOCIETY AND NON-PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION 
 
5. (C) In a separate meeting, Fried and the Ambassador met 
with civil society representative and the non-Parliamentary 
opposition.  Attendees included former presidential candidate 
Levan Gachechiladze, Republican Party Chairman David 
Usupashvili, Conservative leader Kakha Kukava, Georgian Young 
Lawyers Association (GYLA) Chairman Giorgi Chkheidze, and 
QLawyers Association (GYLA) Chairman Giorgi Chkheidze, and 
International Republican Institute (IRI) Chief of Party 
Dimitry Shashkin.  The opposition members claimed they were 
working for unity in the country.  Chkheidze said that 
democratic reforms were needed, and urged progress on 
democracy, media freedom, and the rule of law.  Shashkin 
pointed out that the Georgian people wanted dialogue between 
the government and opposition, and IRI helped create the ACC 
with this goal.  Shashkin noted (supported by fresh polling 
results reported septel) that Georgians perceived the country 
was still under threat from Russia, and they were not 
interested in domestic instability and internal conflict. 
 
6. (C) Opposition leaders alleged that Saakashvili had 
consolidated power via extra-legal means, co-opted the 
Constitution to serve his interests, and eliminated 
Parliament's power to serve as a check on the executive 
branch.  Usupashvili believed that the government wanted to 
weaken Parliament as much as possible, and said the 
 
TBILISI 00001985  002 OF 002 
 
 
government directed all judges and the courts.  Fried said 
that democracy must be strengthened in Georgia and once power 
was peacefully transferred through constitutional means 
during normally-scheduled elections, Georgia would be 
considered fully democratic. G
achechiladze and Kukava argued 
that they were more effective in opposition outside 
Parliament (they renounced their seats won in May), as 
Saakashvili was only afraid of street protests and Russian 
tanks.  The politicians said their parties would not 
participate in the November Ajara elections for the Supreme 
Council, a local regional body.  (Comment: None of their 
parties would likely succeed in Ajara, so the boycott is 
somewhat meaningless. End comment).  In a seeming 
contradiction, they claim new elections remain their ultimate 
goal.  On October 20, Gachechiladze publicly called for a 
peaceful street rally on November 7 to remember the 
government's crackdown last year; it remains unclear how many 
people will turn out. 
 
7. (C) Regarding the invasion and current situation, 
Usupashvili suggested a roadmap of democratic reforms, and 
urged that incoming foreign aid to Georgia be conditioned up 
reforms by the government.  He asked Fried to keep such 
stipulations in mind at the Brussels donor conference. 
Chkheidze agreed that dialogue and maximum transparency were 
critical to any assistance plan designed to recover from the 
invasion and develop the country.  He noted that the 
Parliamentary investigatory commission "does not include 
non-political actors."  Finally, Usupashvili said "democratic 
reforms by the President would be the best answer to Russian 
aggression," and again asked the U.S. and international 
community to hold Saakashvili accountable for such reform. 
 
8. (C) Fried told both groups that a military solution to 
Russian occupation did not exist and urged all his 
interlocutors to support peaceful resolutions to the 
conflicts, no matter what the timeline.  He argued that 
economic and political development hold the key to Georgia's 
future.  Fried agreed that Georgian democracy needed much in 
the way of development, and encouraged the opposition to 
pursue it via constitutional methods. 
 
9. (U) Assistant Secretary Fried has cleared this cable. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1982, GEORGIA: A/S FRIED VISITS GORI, CHECKPOINTS

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
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. #08TBILISI1982.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1982 2008-10-24 10:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3249
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1982/01 2981040
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241040Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0279
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001982 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR A/S FRIED AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: A/S FRIED VISITS GORI, CHECKPOINTS 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND ( 
D) 
 
1. (C) Begin Summary: EUR Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried 
and the Ambassador visited the Gori Field Office of the 
European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), which conducts 
patrols to the south and southwest of South Ossetia, October 
19.  So far, the EUMM has been denied access into South 
Ossetia by the Ossetians, and has had little cooperation from 
the Russians.  Fried visited the final, Georgian-controlled 
checkpoints on the way to Akhalgori, and spoke with local 
farmers and villagers near the administrative boundary whose 
homes had been destroyed, their livestock stolen, and their 
holdings lost.  One farmer was kidnapped the previous week 
and held by Ossetian bandits for three days.  The Georgians 
continued to be unable to secure the entire administrative 
boundary, which consists of open terrain and a patchwork of 
fields and orchards.  Shida Kartli region's governor, Lado 
Vardzelashvili, confirmed that the security situation in his 
region was his most critical challenge, noting that a robust 
Georgian police presence was necessary to reassure returning 
IDPs.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C) Assistant Secretary Fried and the Ambassador met the 
EUMM Gori Field Office's commanding officer, Stephan Burel (a 
French Gendarme).  The EUMM is overseeing the 
Sarkozy-brokered Russian-Georgian ceasefire.  The field 
office, one of four in the country, is conducting patrols to 
the south and southwest of South Ossetia along the 
administrative boundary.  So far, the Ossetians have refused 
all access into South Ossetia, and the EUMM had no 
working-level contacts or cooperation from the Russians.  All 
communication with Russian forces is handled by the EUMM HQ 
in Tbilisi.  Burel noted that he has tried to engage the 
Russian and Ossetian forces, with no success.  He said the 
Ossetians were always drunk by noon, and the Russians would 
not speak with him.  The field office currently conducts 
three day patrols and one night patrol daily.  Burel said 
that Georgians were returning to their homes in the area, and 
he received reports of Ossetian incursions into Georgia 
approximately every three days.  All EUMM personnel are 
completely unarmed.  Burel said small arms would do his 
observers no good in facing the more heavily-armed Ossetians. 
 
3. (C) The same day, Fried visited the final Georgian 
checkpoint in Odzisi on the road to Akhalgori.  The Georgian 
police showed how the Russians have established checkpoints 
for the Ossetians, and are manning each with up to 50 
soldiers.  The Georgian police were allowing Georgians and 
Ossetians to cross the administrative boundary to and from 
Akhalgori and South Ossetia.  They reported, however, that 
the Ossetians and Russians were only allowing those Georgians 
with "residence cards" to enter back into the occupied 
territories.  The police also noted that the Russians had 
renovated a road from Akhalgori to Tskhinvali that would 
handle heavy equipment and be passable in winter. 
 
4. (C)  Fried spoke with local farmers and villagers in Zemo 
Khviti, southwest of Tskhinvali and right next to the 
administrative boundary.  Some had their homes destroyed and 
livestock stolen.  One farmer was kidnapped at night by 
Ossetian bandits on/around October 15, and only released 
three days later.  In addition, the kidnappers stole the last 
52 of the farmer's cattle.  He said that if he were younger, 
he would likely have been killed.  The farmer's equipment and 
about 50 more cattle had been stolen earlier during the 
Qabout 50 more cattle had been stolen earlier during the 
Russian invasion.  Fried visited an elderly lady's home that 
was destroyed by an artillery shell and a farm association's 
warehouse that was hit by a Russian rocket.  The association 
lost significant equipment to Ossetian thieves following the 
invasion.  They thanked the OSCE for providing a new tractor 
to their association.  The visit confirmed that security 
along the administrative boundary, which consists of open 
terrain and a patchwork of fields and orchards, was tenuous. 
Many of one farmer's holdings, for example, laid between 
across the boundary in South Ossetia and he no longer had 
access to them. 
 
5. (C) Fried then met with Shida Kartli region's governor, 
Lado Vardzelashvili.  The governor confirmed to Fried that 
the security situation in his region was his most urgent 
problem.  He said the EUMM cannot access those places in 
South Ossetia where tens of thousands of Georgians lived and 
determine the people's condition now.  Continuing incursions 
of Ossetians was fomenting fear among the Georgian 
population, although the EUMM was helping counter this in 
those areas they could access.  Vardzelashvili was also 
concerned by the Russians establishing border guards and 
stations along the administrative boundary.  The Georgians 
were arresting Ossetian looters they encountered in 
Georgian-controlled territory.  Still, the Russians would not 


TBILISI 00001982  002 OF 002 
 
 
stop Ossetians from raiding south, and the Georgian police 
cannot secure it completely against Ossetian incursions. 
Without improvement in the security situation, namely an 
increase in Georgian police presence, Vardzelashvili said 
more Georgians would have to abandon villages close to the 
administrative boundary where they already required police 
protection. 
 
6. (C) Fried told Vardzelashvili that although we all want to 
return to August 6, the Russians would undoubtedly remain in 
South Ossetia for a long time.  He noted Vardzelashvili's 
point that secuity for Georgians in unoccupied and occupied 
Georgia was a priority facing the GOG.  Fried said the first 
will be easier than the second, but that the USG would try to 
help on both.  He stated that Georgia certainly has the right 
to defend itself and enforce its laws, but strongly cautioned 
against any Georgian provocations in the occupied areas. 
Finally, Fried agreed with Vardzelashvili that if Georgia 
could grow its economy and address humanitarian concerns, 
eventually the Ossetians could decide to rejoin Georgia. 
 
7. (C) Assistant Secretary Fried has cleared this cable. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks