08TBILISI2107, GEORGIA: CHANGES AT THE BORDER POLICE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2107 2008-11-12 05:18 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #2107 3170518
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120518Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0395
INFO RULSJGA/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEADRO/HQ ICE DRO WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TBILISI 002107 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PARM PREL KSTC KNNP GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: CHANGES AT THE BORDER POLICE 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION. 
 
1. (SBU) Summary and Comment: General Zaza Gogava, former 
Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces at the Ministry 
of Defense, was appointed Chairman of the Georgian Border 
Police on November 4, following the resignation of Badri 
Bitsadze.  This new position is widely seen as a demotion for 
Gogava for failures of the army during the conflict, although 
some government critics believed that Gogava should not have 
received any government position at all.  Rumors of a merger 
between the Border Police and Patrol Police swirled after the 
announcement, but in a meeting between Gogava and EmbOffs on 
November 7, it was clear that while no final decisions about 
reorganizing the Border Police have been made, a major 
upheaval was unlikely.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
CHANGES IN THE LEADERSHIP 
 
2. (U) On Wednesday, October 29, Badri Bitsadze resigned his 
position as Chairman of the Border Police, saying that he was 
a victim of a government campaign to discredit the Border 
Police.  He linked this campaign to the fact that he is the 
husband of former parliamentary chairperson and head of the 
opposition party Democrat-Movement United Georgia, Nino 
Burjanadze.  Bitsadze's deputy, Eka Gigauri, resigned as 
well.  Saakashvili appointed General Gogava as Chairman of 
the Border Police on November 4, after replacing him as Chief 
of the Joint Staff with Vice-Colonel Vladimer Chachibaia, a 
graduate of U.S. training programs and a close contact of the 
Embassy. Despite thanking Gogava for his work with the army, 
Saakashvili blamed Gogava for his role in the failures of the 
army during the conflict, according to press reporting. 
 
RESTRUCTURING BEING CONSIDERED 
 
3. (SBU) After the announcement of the change in leadership 
at the Border Police, rumors swirled about a possible merger 
between the Border Police and the Patrol Police.  In a 
November 5 meeting with EmbOffs, the Head of the Ministry of 
the Interior Office of Analysis Shota Utiashvili, said that 
the Patrol Police would staff ports of entry in place of the 
Border Police in order to address problems of access to 
different databases, public image and corruption.  None of 
the current Border Police staff would be fired, but would 
simply change uniforms.  In a November 7 meeting between 
Gogava and EmbOffs, Gogava indicated that there would not be 
a merger between the Border Police and the Patrol Police, but 
that changes in staffing at ports of entry were still under 
discussion.  EmbOffs were left with the impression that 
Patrol Police would take over this function. It was made 
clear by Gogava, however, that the Border Police would retain 
control of the "Green Border" - the border space in between 
authorized ports of entry. In fact, Gogava stated that his 
focus during his tenure will be on improving conditions at 
the Green Border.  He also stated that the merger of the 
Coast Guard and the Navy is in the final stages of approval. 
It will remain under the Border Police control as a civilian 
organization. 
 
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 
 
4. (U) Gogava was born on July 14, 1971.  He graduated from 
the Tbilisi State Technical University in 1994, and in 1995 
began serving in Georgia's State Security Service special 
task unit "Omega," specializing in counter-terrorism, and 
continued to work in counter-terrorist units in various 
offices of the Georgian security services for the next 
several years.  Gogava also received counter-terrorism 
training in the United States.  In 2003, Gogava was named 
Qtraining in the United States.  In 2003, Gogava was named 
Chief of the Counterterrorism Division of the Special 
Operations Center.  From 2004-2006 he was Commander of 
Special Forces Brigade of the Ministry of Defense, and in 
2006 he was named Deputy and later Chief of the Joint Staff 
of the Armed Forces of Georgia.  He is married with three 
children, speaks native Georgian, fluent Russian, and is 
currently learning English. 
LOGSDON

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