09TBILISI769, GEORGIA: NON-PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION VOWS TO MAKE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI769 2009-04-22 11:11 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5995
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0769/01 1121111
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221111Z APR 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1416
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000769 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/22/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: NON-PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION VOWS TO MAKE 
TBILISI A "CELL" CITY 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  As the non-parliamentary opposition 
promised, rallies resumed on Tuesday, April 22 with roughly 
5,000 protesters staging in front of Parliament.  Levan 
Gachechiladze vowed to make Tbilisi a "cell" city and the 
non-parliamentary opposition brought 50-60 fake jail cells 
and placed them in front of Parliament, the Mayor's office 
and the Tbilisi Courtyard Marriott, blocking traffic in 
Freedom Square.  Non-parliamentary opposition leaders vowed 
to block other government buildings such as the State 
Chancellery and the Presidential Residence to disrupt 
government business and apply pressure to the government. 
Irakli Alasania (Alliance) stated the protests are starting 
to gain momentum and accused the GoG of ignoring society's 
demands for Saakashvili's resignation and all efforts by the 
non-parliamentary opposition to achieve compromise. 
Non-parliamentary opposition leaders intend to bus protesters 
in from the regions for the April 23 rally.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  The non-parliamentary opposition's 
promised "new action plan" turned out to be yet another call 
for Saakashvili's resignation and an escalation by putting up 
more mock jail cells along Tbilisi's main thoroughfare 
Rustaveli Avenue, including a major traffic point in Freedom 
Square.  The small change from last week was their 
announcement of their intention to block other government 
buildings with "cells".  Delivering Utsnobi ("anonymous" - 
pop singer, reality TV star and the brother of Levan 
Gachechiladze) to the Parliament in a jail cell via a pickup 
truck-led procession can only be described as absurd for a 
group that portends to take the reigns of government because 
of President Saakashvili's erratic and unserious leadership. 
It appears the non-parliamentary opposition has determined it 
lacks the numbers of supporters to block streets and 
buildings so it has decided to use the cells to accomplish 
their intended escalation.  For its part, the GoG, bolstered 
by ongoing focus group data, feels confident in its ability 
to let the non-parliamentary opposition continue its efforts, 
feeling that such bizarre antics need no official response 
and ultimately only undermine whatever public credibility the 
non-parliamentary opposition has left.  End Comment. 
 
Saakashvili Must Resign and an Attempt at Absurdist Theater 
 
3.  (C)  Despite attracting only about 5000 protesters, the 
non-parliamentary opposition did not back down on its sole 
call for Saakashvili's resignation.  Levan Gachechiladze 
appeared to be the ringleader of the newly announced action 
plan to fill up Tbilisi with mock prison "cells". 
Non-parliamentary opposition leaders stated that massive 
numbers of protesters from the regions would join them on 
Wednesday, although they gave no explanation as to why such 
protesters did not join Tuesday's rally as previously 
promised.  Irakli Alasania made the claim that the GoG had 
"totally ignored society's demands" and the GoG's only 
response to their offer for dialogue was violence.  (Embassy 
Comment:  Society's demand, according to polls and focus 
groups, has been for dialogue and not Saakashvili's 
resignation.  Alasania's statement, that the GoG has not 
responded to the non-parliamentary opposition's call for 
dialogue, is completely at odds with reality.  In post's 
view, the GoG's offers of dialogue have been refused at every 
Qview, the GoG's offers of dialogue have been refused at every 
turn by the non-parliamentary opposition.  The 
non-parliamentary opposition's only known offer for dialogue 
was for Saakashvili to negotiate his own resignation.  End 
Comment.)  Protesters set up about 20 "cells" in Freedom 
Square in front of the Courtyard Marriott and mayor's office 
to block traffic. 
 
4.  (C)  Levan Gachechiladze announced to the crowd at one 
point that the MOIA had illegally confiscated their cells and 
started to set off with a small group of protesters to 
"liberate" them.  MOIA representatives had no idea as to what 
Gachechiladze was referring.  Apparently Gachechiladze 
himself was confused returning to the stage briefly 
thereafter.  Gachechiladze's brother Giorgi, better known as 
the singer Utsnobi who has spen the better part of the last 
few months in a "cell" demanding Saakashvili's resignation on 
a Tbilisi cable channel (and interviewing opposition figures 
from his "cell" on his Maestro TV reality show) was given a 
hero's welcome at the rally.  He was brought in by pickup 
truck in his "cell" with a procession of about 200 
protesters.  In all, about 60 "cells" were delivered to 
Rustaveli avenue and Freedom Square with the promises of 
more.  One press report said that the opposition planned to 
construct 5,500 more "cells."  Non-parliamentary opposition 
leaders promised more information on their "new action plan" 
to be delivered at Wednesday's rally.  GoG and MOIA 
representatives told Post that they have no plans to 
 
TBILISI 00000769  002
OF 002 
 
 
intervene, making the apparent political calculation that the 
non-parliamentary opposition's actions are largely 
self-defeating.  MOIA representatives expect the rallies to 
last a couple more days then die out. 
 
Targamadze Unloads On Non-Parliamentary Opposition - Not Fond 
of Saakashvili Either 
 
5.  (C)  In a roundtable organized by the International 
Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to facilitate dialogue between the 
business community and opposition leaders, only Giorgi 
Targamadze (Christian Democratic Movement "CDM") and his 
advisors attended.  (Embassy Note:  ICC is headed by Fady 
Asly, a former AmCham head and long-time Lebanese resident of 
Tbilisi, who has been highly and openly critical of the 
non-parliamentary opposition's motives and the effect of the 
protests on Georgia's business climate.  End Note.) 
Targamadze assessed that the intransigence of the 
non-parliamentary opposition will only make Saakashvili 
stronger and themselves weaker and he predicted that the 
ultimate losers will be the Georgian people.  He lamented the 
lack of communication among the political elite and a lost 
sense of moderation on both sides.  Targamadze got a notably 
positive response to his observation that "today's political 
elites are captains of radicalism".  He sharply criticized 
the non-parliamentary opposition's extreme position of 
calling for Saakashvili's resignation in spite of little 
apparent public support but also noted that Saakashvili came 
to power as a radical.  Targamadze noted that the 
non-parliamentary opposition has not called for other GoG 
resignations, only "Misha's," stating that the rallies have 
nothing to do with legitimate criticism of the functioning of 
the government, only personal political agendas and personal 
animosity towards Saakashvili.  Targamadze noted the irony 
that a number of those "crying" for democratic reform had no 
problem doing business with Shevardnadze. 
 
6.  (C)  Targamadze drew a distinction between the CDM and 
the non-parliamentary opposition saying that the CDM was 
interested in pursuing sustainable pragmatic policies and 
reforming institutions.  Targamadze said that his party sees 
Saakashvili's record as mixed with positive and negative 
aspects whereas the non-parliamentary opposition viewed 
Saakashvili's record as wholly negative.  In Targamadze's 
view, the major mistake of the non-parliamentary opposition 
was their singular demand for Saakashvili to resign and to 
continue to protest until their ultimatum was fulfilled. 
Targamadze said that after April 9, the non-parliamentary 
opposition could have pocketed huge democratic gains in 
media, local elections and election code (which Targamadze 
described as better than many in Europe), the judiciary, and 
many other areas.  Targamadze said history shows that time 
and time again, the non-parliamentary opposition refused to 
compromise on any issue.  (Embassy Note:  Targamadze noted 
that Giorgi Gachechiladze (Utsnobi) was offered the Public 
Broadcaster Directorship in 2008 which he refused.  End 
Note.)  Targamadze said that real democratic leaders need to 
step forward from the non-parliamentary opposition but noted 
that they will be branded as traitors and sell-outs much like 
he was/is.  He indicated that a real leader understands that 
democracy is hard work and not simply organizing protests and 
leveling criticism.  Targamadze's presentation was 
well-received by the business community representatives. 
Qwell-received by the business community representatives. 
TEFFT

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