Red Fives in Working Rooms of Rustavi Self-goverment,Military Registration and Recruition Service
Manon Bokuchava, Kvemo Kartli
It has been reported in Rustavi for last few weeks that soldiers of obligatory military service have been agitating in favor of the National Movement. According to the spread information, soldiers have one or two months vacations and they are ordered to collect lists of lists National Movement’s supporters.
According to unofficial information, Mindia Aptsiauri, head of Military Registration and Recruitment Service at the Rustavi Self-Government gives similar instructions to them.
Soldiers didn’t want to talk about these facts with Humanrights.ge
Humanrights.ge got in touch with Mindia Aptsiauri. We told him we wanted to talk generally about compulsory military service and during the interview we managed to ask some interesting questions too.
We found a small poster with number 5 – election number of the National Movement and a large poster next to it on the walls in the working room of Head of Military registration and Recruitment Service. Number five in red, president and an old woman are on the large poster. Supposedly, the poster was prepared during the previous election year because it has an old slogan of the National Movement: “Georgia without poverty”.
Aptsiauri said the posters are old and it is not illegal if he hangs them in his working room. “How could I know that National Movement would still have same election number 5?”
We interviewed Mindia Aptsiauri on August 9 when pre-election time was already officially declared and the National Movement had announced number 5 to be their election number two weeks before.
“There is a big hole in the wall and I am covering it with a poster. Bring me something better and I will replace it,” Aptsiauri said
The building of the Military Registration and Recruitment Service really needs reconstruction. In the end of our conversation we learned that Mindia Aptsiauri supports the National Movement and he might take vacation to assist the ruling party during the final phase of election campaign.
“Our only duty is to recruit people to military service. We send them to Dighomi military base. We do not give other instructions to soldiers. The information you talk about is a false. It is impossible to release soldier from military service for months or even for a day to participate in the election campaign. Their food arrives to the military bases every day and they have to serve during 15 months and if they have two-months daily how should they finish the compulsory military service?” Aptsiauri asked.
We asked whether he is personally interested in election processes and he answered: “why shouldn’t I be interested in the election process?.. But I never use my position for this purpose. I involve the process only after working hours. When the last phase of the election campaigns approaches, I will probably take a holiday and help the party,” he said at the end of our conversation but then asked not to write anything about his possible holiday because things may change.
Aptsiauri categorically denied information about having instructed soldiers to involve election campaign. But he declared that principles of the National Movement are acceptable for him and he is extremely sorry that due to his heavy schedule he is unable to be official member of National Movement.
“Just think over it how young boys of 18-20 can agitate in their neighborhood? What influence can they have?” Aptsiauri asks and believes that it is strong argument against our unofficial information.
Since soldiers avoid speaking about this fact it is difficult to verify this information. However, when the head of the Military Service has election posters of any political party in his working room, he breaches the law.
We contacted Transparency International- Georgia to get their comments on their issue and they clarified that when pre-election campaign is officially launched, placement of similar posters in the governmental agencies violates the law.