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Mtskheta-Mtianeti – Pre-Election Digest # 1

August 22, 2012

Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti [ICMM] observed 1 fact of assumed bribery of voters, 7 facts of firing people from jobs, 3 facts of intimidation, 3 facts of interference in professional activities and several facts of misuse of administrative resources by the United National Movement [UNM] from August 1 to August 10, 2012.

Bribery of Voters

Distribution of food aid in Tianeti district  – Representatives of the local government distributed food aid in the villages of Tianeti district. The food parcels, which were prepared for the families victimized by natural disaster, are handed to those families who were not damaged by the natural disaster. The food parcel consists of two sacks of wheat flour, 3 liters of oil and 10 kilos of sugar. A citizen from Orkhevi village in Tianeti district told ICMM that only 12 families were damaged by the natural disaster out of total 200 families. However, almost every family received the aid. “My family was not damaged but we also received wheat flour, oil and sugar. They gave products to almost every family. I was very happy and surprised. Everybody accepted the aid,” a citizen said. “Neither Village Zhebota got damaged by hail and wind but products were distributed there too. However, they did not give products to every family – supporters of the Georgian Dream did not receive products,” Zhebota residents told ICMM. Funds to purchase food for the victimized population were allocated from the reserve fund of the government. Employees of the district administration and municipal board, who are also members of the National Movement, distributed food parcels in the villages. Irine Urushadze, lawyer of the Transparency International-Georgia clarified that: “If members of the United National Movement distribute aid for victimized people and beneficiaries of their aid are those people who were not damaged during the natural disaster, it is bribery of voters. There are no boundaries between the local governmental officials and ruling party. If beneficiaries are selected on political grounds, it is pre-election campaign. So, this action is bribery of voters.”


Pre-election Meeting Failed/Misuse of administrative resources  – On August 9, employees of the Dusheti district administration and directors of budget-funded organizations failed pre-election meeting of the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Dusheti district Irakli Tripolski with local voters in Dusheti. Video of the news agency INFO 9 shows that public servants arrived at the meeting in a group. Irma Jangirashvili and Marina Mtiulishvili, employees of the Dusheti district administration, wife of Odzisi village governor and director of the village Public School Sopio Gabrielashvili, director of the Dusheti boarding school Darejan Tomadze, director of the sport school Niko Jikurauli and specialist of Mchadijvari village territorial entity Medea Aratanashvili wrecked the meeting. Mother of Dusheti district governor Besik Shagashvili – Maguli Shagashvili, mother-in-law of Shalva Inashvili – attorney of Dusheti district territorial entity – Luda Dudauri and member of the election HQ of the UNM Tina Sagirashvili assisted them to fail the meeting. One of them was wearing election t-shirt of the United National Movement. They were shouting: “Go, go, go”; “Zurab Otiashvili forever”. Some other people also accompanied the employees of district administration, including a mother of a young soldier killed during the August war. After the meeting was failed, there was physical controversy between local public servants and representatives of the Georgian Dream. When commenting on the incident, district governor Beso Shagashvili told ICK that after 6:00 pm employees of the district administration can go anywhere and it will not be connected with their professional activities. According to the verified information of the ICMM, majoritarian candidate of the UNM in Dusheti district Zurab Otiashvili had instructed the employees of the district administration and other public servants to fail Irakli Tripolski’s meeting with voters. Otiashvili was not yet officially nominated as an UNM candidate. Darejan Tomadze, Niko Jikurauli, Sopio Gabrielashvili and Irma Jangirashvili are his friends. Otiashvili said he does not think he is obliged to comment on the incident.

Interference in journalist’s professional activities– On August 8, ICMM reported that member of the National Movement tried to seize camera from the journalist of Ninth Channel in Tianeti. Former district governor Giorgi Abashvili is head of the UNM Tianeti district office. “We wanted to interview either district governor or his deputy. The security officers did not let us into the district administration’s building. They said the acting district governor and his deputies were not in the office and all of them were in the Tianeti Culture and Rest Part to organize next-day event Tianetoba 2012. We found nobody except employees of cleaning service in the park. They said the former district governor Giorgi Abashvili and his deputies had left the park for the local office of the National Movement. We went to the UNM office but they did not let us in. Giorgi Abashvili had his cell-phone switched off; neither deputy district governor answered our phone-calls. Camera was recording how we requested meeting with them to make comments. When the members of the Tianeti office of the National Movement realized that our camera was on and we were recording it, they initially insulted us and then tried to seize camera,” journalist Tamar Iluridze of the Ninth Channel told ICMM. The video-crew of the Ninth Channel was not allowed into the Tianeti district administration’s building either. Nobody commented on the fact from the local office of the UNM and district administration.

Georgian Dream’s Posters Damaged – on August 7 ICMM reported that somebody wrote National Movement’s election number 5 on the Georgian Dream’s posters in Kazbegi. Nona Sujashvili, representative of the Georgian Dream’s Kazbegi office, told Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti that head of security service of the Kazbegi District Administration Gia Khutsishvili wrote number 5 on their posters. “We hang a lot of information posters inviting people to the Georgian Dream’s Mtskheta assembly throughout the district starting from Dariali to Koba. Head of district administration’s security service Gia Khutsishvili wrote number 5 in red on almost every poster. He does not deny that he has done it; he personally told our activists that he had done it,” Nona Sujashvili told ICMM. ICMM could not get in touch with Gia Khutsishvili despite many attempts.

People Fired from Jobs

Jaba Gomiashvili –Jaba Gomiashvili was fired from the rescue-team in Gudauri; on July 1, 2012 he met Bidzina Ivanishvili at the entrance of Stepantsminda on horseback; several days later he took Georgian Dream’s flag to the Mkinvartsveri Mountain. Deputy head of the Georgian Dream’s Kazbegi office Nona Sujashvili informed ICMM about it.

Giorgi Tsamalidze – Georgian Dream’s supporter Giogi Tsamalaidze was fired from the hotel Rooms Kazbegi. “They said I had breached rules when traveling to Tbilisi; but I do not know which rules I have breached,” Giorgi Tsamalidze said. Nobody commented on the issue at the Rooms Kazbegi.

Various – deputy head of the Georgian Dream’s Kazbegi office Nona Sujashvili said a nurse of Kazbegi hospital Diana Avsanjishvili was fired from job because of her political affiliations.

Avsanjishvili said head of Culture Service of the Kazbegi district administration Tsitsia Katsashvili was sacked because her husband publicly announced discontent about the National Movement. Kazbegi district governor Davit Gudushauri said Tsitsia Katsashvili quitted job based on her personal resignation letter. “A week ago she filed resignation letter; the family runs a business and she left job to assist family in business. Some people cannot implement orders of new administration; others do not treat elderly people properly when they apply to our office for help. We should not connect dismissal of every person with opposition parties,” Kazbegi district governor said.

Several employees of the Liberty Bank’s Kazbegi district branch office were compelled to write resignation letters because their support of the Georgian Dream; among them was Nino Kushashvili, head of the branch. Reportedly, Mtskheta-Mtianeti regional governor Tsezar Chocheli requested the administration of the Liberty Bank to fire those people. Patrol police continues particular control of our supporters and activists. Only Georgian Dream’s supporters are fined with large sums,” Georgian Dream’s Kazbegi office reported to the ICMM. Dodo Bochorishvili, head of public relation department of the Liberty Bank, categorically denied information about politically motivated dismissal of their personnel from Kazbegi office.

Politically Motivated Intimidation, Discrimination

Tianeti district governor demanded his attendants to lead discontent citizen out of the meeting area– Tianeti district former governor Giorgi Abashvili demanded his attendants to lead a discontent citizen out of the meeting area in Zaridzeebi village. Mtskheta-Mtianeti regional governor and Tianeti district governor were meeting local people in Zaridzeebi village. One woman did not hide her discontent towards the governmental officials and blamed them in inattention. As a result Tianeti district governor requested to take her out of the area. Regional governor Tsezar Chocheli called pro-oppositionist news agency INFO 9 partial and enemies of people. “You are very biased TV and that’s why you can just stand aside and watch my meeting with people. You are enemies of these people,” the regional governor said.

People demanded to vow on the icon they will vote for the National Movement  – On August 3 ICMM reported that elderly people from Pshavi were asked to make people vow on the icon that they would vote for the National Party. One of the elders said representatives of the ruling party visited him at home. “Nobody has visited us since 2008, but they know that there are traditional festivals now and many people arrive in Pshavi. National Movement members also arrived here. They came to my house and asked about problems in the village and what we requested from the government. I was surprised that someone asked this kind of question because very few people live here now. There are many problems, I said. They did not promise anything. They asked me to advise people to vote for the National Movement and to make them vow on an icon that they will vote for the National Movement. I won’t do this, this isn’t right,”-Khevisberi said. According to him, the members of the ruling party met other elder people with the same request in Pshavi.

It is noteworthy that various media sources have reported that the National Party made people in Svaneti to vow on the icon that they will vote for them. Recently, Muslim population of Dmanisi district was asked to vow on a Koran that they will vote for the ruling party.

Aid in Choporti Village Distributed according to Political Views – population of Choporti village in Dusheti district victimized by natural disaster received aid of 2 sacks flour, 3 liters of oil and 10 kg of sugar. The victimized families, who support Coalition Georgian Dream, did not receive food aid. “Hail destroyed our corn-field. The corn was ready to harvest but we could not get anything from there. Several other people also were damaged by the hail and they received aid. Since my husband Tamaz Chincharauli supports Georgian Dream, they did not give products to us,” Maia Chincharauli, resident of Choporti village told ICMM and added that several other people did not receive aid in their village because of their political opinions. “Everybody knew that natural disaster had damaged our family too; it damaged my vine-yard. Although I have three children and am disabled person they did not aid me. When I asked them reason, they said I had not petitioned for help. I definitely know that neither other victims have applied to the government for help but they received products. They were calculating damage and nobody needed to send petitions. Then I asked whether I was punished because of my presence at the Georgian Dream’s assembly and because I had a family member who supports the Coalition, they said it also influenced their decision “what did you expect when you give shelter to your relative?” My cousin Khvicha Iarajuli, an active member and supporter of the Georgian Dream, lives in my house. I also attended their assembly in Mtskheta. And they did not give aid to those people, who attended the Georgian Dream’s assembly in Mtskheta,” Marine Buchukuri told ICMM. Chairwoman of the Dusheti municipal board Tsaro Sadzaglishvili clarified with ICMM: “Part of Choporti village population was really damaged by the natural disaster. All of them received aid. Most of them support Georgian Dream. We do not discriminate people on political grounds. If somebody wants to be a martyr, it is another problem.” Local people said the representatives of the local government distributed food parcels in the building where the United National Movement has an election HQ now.

Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Will Publish Pre-Election Digest Every Saturday before October 1, 2012
Responsible person for the content of the digest Gela Mtivlishvili
Cell phone:  599 34 34 77