Nobody knows who was first who thought of moving the parliament to Kutaisi from Tbilisi. The society could not realize why it was necessary. Furthermore, they speak about partial movement of the parliament – plenary sessions will be held in Tbilisi and committee sessions - in Kutaisi.
President Saakashvili was first who announced the idea and supposedly he was the author too. Argument is perfect – “Tbilisi Shall Be Relieved”.
Mortality of regions and migration of unemployed people from regions to Tbilisi is really serious demographic problem but it is still unclear how the problem will be settled by partial movement of the parliament to the capital. Nobody has carried out serious survey to estimate the real needs. Nobody has thought that transportation of MPs from Tbilisi to Kutaisi and vice versa will increase budget expenses and whether Georgian population – tax payers – is agree with that.
When Saakashvili announced this initiative, protest demonstrations of opposition parties had finished in Tbilisi. Thus, there was logic doubt that by moving the parliament to Kutaisi the government tries to change the main place for demonstrations. Their goals are the following – if the opposition will siege the parliament building in Tbilisi and arrange shame corridors for MPs, they will not gather on the fields but shelter second building of parliament.
One more motivation, announced by Saakashvili and other representatives of the National Movement, was to return the name of Second City of the Country to Kutaisi. Recently, Batumi competed with Kutaisi to gain this name; there are better conditions for investment in Batumi and even Constitutional Court was removed there several years ago. Thus, the government tried to convince Kutaisi dwellers that at least partly removal of the parliament to the second city will cheer the city up. This argument has kind of logic – Kutaisi will partly be the capital and part of its population appreciates this idea.
However, finally, the government destroyed all arguments and promises which they had given to gain the hearts of Kutaisi dwellers.
The first mistake was selection of the place. They choose the place of monument “Memorial to Victory” by famous Georgian artist Merab Berdzenishvili. Many residents of Kutaisi got astonished by this decision. It meant the government had to move the monument to another place or to destroy it.
What was wrong about the Memorial to Victory - it is symbol of victory over fascism. It is not a statue to a Russian occupant – red soldier. And it is not a statue of Stalin which is standing in the center of Gori….Government neglected the public opinion and the Memorial to Victory as well as hundreds of veterans of the World War II for whom this monument was connected with pleasant memories of the victory over fascism. Simultaneously, the government neglected the deed and fame of the artist Merab Berdzenishvili and once more demonstrated that “washed off people” (President Saakashvili once used this name “washed off” while speaking about Georgian scientists, public figures, writers, artists, etc) still exist in Georgia. Nothing has changed in the brain of the president and leaders of the National Movement from the protest rallies of 2007 and 2009. Their attitudes towards people and their rights have not changed either.
These aggressive, spontaneous and hasty steps once more exposed that the government does not learn past lessons.
The Memorial to Victory was exploded on December 19 – on St. Nicolas Day. We can say that the government toppled the huge monument over Kutaisi dwellers. They say, on December 21, - on Misha Saakashvili’s birthday – the president intended to present the construction of the new parliament and he had to tell pre-election fairy-tales to Kutaisi residents.
Unfortunately, the fairy-tale ended early and very tragically.
The explosion caused serious noise, and “rain” of ruins in the surrounding territory which ended in tragedy. The ruins killed mother and daughter. The stress and insult of local population is incredible; they were compelled to shelter somewhere but many of them could not find shelter on time.
“The reason of tragedy was breached security norms,” said the chief prosecutor at the briefing. In fact, the reason of the tragedy was selfishness of the government; more precisely – several-year-long tradition of selfishness which has turned into impudence for a long time already.
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