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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1010 2009-06-02 12:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1010/01 1531209
O 021209Z JUN 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001010 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2019 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Only a few hundred protesters rallied in 
front of Parliament on June 1; a similar number blocked 
traffic for one hour in the afternoon in front of the Tbilisi 
Mayor's office.  Cells continued to be removed by protesters 
from Rustaveli Avenue, with protesters and cells concentrated 
in the areas immediately adjacent to the Parliament.  Irakli 
Alasania (Alliance) told the Ambassador that he was in 
discussions with Speaker Bakradze about a negotiated 
settlement out of the current impasse.  Alasania indicated 
that the current sticking point was pre-term parliamentary 
elections.  Alasania described fellow leader Levan 
Gachechiladze as lost and Nino Burjanadze (Democratic 
Movement - United Georgia) as completely out of touch with 
reality.  Some non-parliamentary leaders announced plans for 
a massive rally on June 9 in front of the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs to mark two months of protests.  Meanwhile, 
opposition tv Maestro's broadcasts were stopped in Rustavi. 
Maestro claims political intimidation, local officials claim 
technical issues.  Post has raised the issue with the 
Government and is investigating.  End Summary. 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Alasania seems poised to take a more 
active leadership role moving towards dialogue but, as of 
now, only David Usupashvili (Alliance - Republicans) and the 
National Forum are relatively receptive to his initiative. 
Having spent the better part of two months trying to convince 
his non-parliamentary colleagues to join him, he appears 
content to go it alone if need be.  Alasania's tactic is to 
try to convince Saakashvili that it is in his best interest 
to proceed with local, then pre-term parliamentary elections 
and the Government is taking a hard look at the idea. 
Nevertheless, Alasania recognizes that the GoG's skepticism 
of the motives of the non-parliamentary opposition and 
ability of some of its leaders to enter into good faith 
negotiations is well founded.  Even if he lacks 
non-parliamentary partners, Alasania might yet find 
significant common cause with the parliamentary opposition 
who are quietly pursuing similar goals.  End Comment. 
Protest Actions Stagnant 
3.  (C)  A group of a few hundred protesters gathered in 
front of the Tbilisi Mayor's office on June 1, blocking 
traffic for roughly an hour.  A similar number gathered in 
front of Parliament to hear speeches calling for 
Saakashvili's resignation.  Zviad Dzidziguri (Conservatives) 
told the crowd that when the opposition comes to power, it 
will prosecute Saakashvili for his crimes.  Dzidziguri added 
that they would organize a large rally in front of the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs on June 9 to mark two months of 
protests.  Despite the ongoing talks, potential compromise 
supporters David Usupashvili was again reported in the press 
as saying that his one demand was Saakashvili's resignation. 
Burjanadze and Eka Beselia (United Georgia) were quoted in 
the press as being totally against any negotiations with 
Saakashvili short of negotiating his resignation.  Protesters 
plan to picket Parliament on June 2.  Meanwhile, cells 
continued to be removed from Rustaveli avenue. 
Alasania Cautiously Moving Forward 
4.  (C)  Alasania told the Ambassador June 1 that he would 
not be joining in further protests.  He said he had reviewed 
the focus group data provided by IRI (Embassy Note:  The 
local IRI rep told Poloff that she has recently had numerous 
discussions with Alasania's team about the focus group 
comments.  End Note.) and said he was committed to building 
Qcomments.  End Note.) and said he was committed to building 
his party and setting out on his own.  Alasania said this did 
not necessarily mean the break up of his Alliance with New 
Rights and Republicans, but admitted that he and New Rights 
leader David Gamkrelidze had different philosophies as to how 
to proceed.  Alasania mentioned Usupashvili and National 
Forum members as possibly supporting his idea to agree to 
local elections then pre-term parliamentary elections some 
time in 2010, preferably in the spring of 2010.  Alasania 
said a defined political timetable would lessen tension and, 
in his view, actually strengthen the position of Saakashvili 
by dissipating political radicalism.  He said that a key 
ingredient to political stability was ensuring that there was 
a Parliament that was more representative of the Georgian 
political spectrum. 
5.  (C)  Alasania said he would also focus on bringing the 
continuous rallies to a halt as they had served their 
purpose.  He admitted he faced significant resistance to that 
idea.  Alasania said that Gachechiladze was completely "lost" 
and that he did not necessarily view him as a partner. 
Alasania detailed his disagreements with Burjanadze whom he 
described as completely "crazy".  Alasania said that even he 
lost track of the fact that protests and destabilizing 
Georgian only served Russian interests.  He hoped he could 
TBILISI 00001010  002 OF 002 
appeal to some of his colleagues
' patriotism to end the 
stalemate.  Alasania said that he was in regular contact with 
Speaker Bakradze regarding a compromise and that 
parliamentary elections were the current sticking point. 
Alasania believed that appealing personally to Saakashvili to 
convince him would likely be necessary.  Alasania thought 
that if Saakashvili could be convinced that the protests 
would stop, he would strongly consider his (Alasania's) 
arguments.  Alasania admitted that some would continue to 
protest, but he expressed optimism that if his deal were 
accepted, the radicals would be so marginalized that their 
political support would be meaningless.  Alasania said that 
he would also appeal to Saakashvili's desire to cement his 
legacy as the man who led Georgia to be a modern democratic 
Maestro TV Programming Stopped in Rustavi 
6.  (C)  Broadcasts of Maestro TV in the South-Eastern city 
of Rustavi were halted on May 30 and May 31.  According to 
Rustavi contacts, Maestro remained off the air June 1, 
although the press reported that broadcasts resumed later 
June 1 after Maestro provided the cable operator with a 
replacement modulator which was allegedly the cause of the 
technical problems.  Maestro TV representatives said cable 
provider Tori took its broadcast off the air due to political 
pressure.  Maestro TV remained on the air in Tbilisi and in 
other municipalities.  Ombudsman Sozar Subari held a joint 
press conference with the Maestro TV owner and called the 
incident "another attempt to restrict free media" and called 
upon the international community to condemn the move.  Post 
raised the incident with the Government is currently 
Parliamentary Opposition Still Chugging Along 
7.  (C)  On June 2, Giorgi Targamadze (Christian Democratic 
Movement - CDM) briefed diplomats on the CDM's view of the 
current crisis.  Targamadze said that dialogue should begin, 
and he was hopeful that certain members of the 
non-parliamentary opposition would drop their radical agenda 
and pursue meaningful negotiations.  Targamadze cited 
Alasania, Usupashvili, and National Forum as potential 
partners with whom consultations were ongoing.  Targamadze's 
plan tracked almost exactly with Alasania's plan, indicating 
that certain non-parliamentary and parliamentary opposition 
could make common political cause.  Targamadze stressed that 
simply holding elections without engaging in institutional 
reforms would not solve anything.  He said he was not 
speaking to and would not speak to more radical 
non-parliamentary leaders like Burjanadze, Zourabichvili, 
Beselia and others whom he described as having dubious 
personal agendas.  Targamadze asked the international 
community to push both the GoG and more moderate 
non-parliamentary opposition leaders to the negotiating 
table.  Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli 
said his party, Movement for a Fair Georgia, would 
participate in the newly-established state commission for 
constitutional reform. 


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