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Mtskheta-Mtianeti – Pre-election Digest # 3

September 3, 2012

From August 19 to August 25, Information Center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti observed 2 facts of firing people from jobs, 1 attempt of failing pre-election meeting, 2 facts of seizing social aid on political grounds, 2 facts of oppression and 3 facts of usage of administrative resources by the National Movement. Police did not respond to 2 facts which contained signs of criminal offence and hindered pre-election meetings of the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidates with voters.

Firing People from Job

Director of Vazha-Pshavela Museum Fired On August 21 ICMM reported that Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia Nikoloz Rurua fired director of Vazha-Pshavela Museum Lela Razikashvili, descendent of the famous Georgian writer Vazha Pshavela [Luka Razikashvili], from job. Lela Razikashvili connects her dismissal with her hosting Bidzina Ivanishvili of the Georgian Dream in Chargali on July 14 and her support for the Coalition. “They wanted to replace me since July 14 because I hosted Ivanishvili. They could not find proper person; no writer or poet agreed them to replace me. Finally, they found a woman with the same family name who worked as a guide in the museum before; now she is the director. It is politically motivated decision. I confirm that I support Georgian Dream but I am not member of any political party,” Lela Razikashvili told ICMM. She had worked on the position during 6 years. She intends to appeal the decision at the court. Tamar Razikashvili is a new director of the Vazha-Pshavela Museum. The museum personnel protest firing of Lela Razikashvili and all five employees refused to continue work in protest.

Accountant of the Liberty Bank’s Kazbegi branch office fired  - Natela Marsagishvili, chief accountant of the Liberty Bank’s Kazbegi branch office is sacked. She believes she was fired on political grounds as she and her family members support Georgian Dream. “I have been working for the Liberty Bank for several years. I have never been reprimanded. The State Audit Office came here and next day, when I came to the office at 09:00 am the leader of the State Audit Office told the bank manager I was fired. The only reason is that my family members support Georgian Dream,” Natela Marsagishvili said. Dodo Bochorishvili-the head of the Public Relations Services at the Liberty Bank flatly refuses the fact of firing Natela Marsagishvili because of political reasons. “It is impossible. I refuse it. We have not fired our employees for their political views and we will never do it; Politics does not work here. Audit inspection revealed some procedural errors and we informed Natela Marsagishvili about it. She admitted her mistakes,” Dodo Bochorishvili said.

Three weeks ago, Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Kazbegi district Mirian Tsiklauri told ICMM that personnel of the Liberty Bank’s local office face problems because of supporting the Georgian Dream. Natela Marsagishvili was not fired from job yet by that time.

Interference, Oppression

Attempt to fail pre-election meeting in Natakhtari –  On August 23, activists of the National Movement tried to fail the pre-election meeting of the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate Dimitry Khundadze in Natakhtari village, Mtskheta district. Local coordinator of the National Movement Vano Kalomletsavi, head of election HQ Soso Shermadini and activist of the ruling party – former convicted Nana Demurishvili warned Dimitry Khundadze several times against holding meeting in Natakhtari. Head of Mtskheta district office of the Georgian Dream Zurab Kobakhidze told ICMM that National Movement’s activists were trying to fail the meeting during half an hour by shouting and threatening. “They were demanding him to leave the village; they were threatening people with creating problems unless they left the meeting. They tried to fail the meeting. We tried to calm them down. Finally, we moved to another place and held our meeting there,” Zurab Kobakhidze said.

Social aid seized from the Georgian Dream’s members in Mchadijvari  – On August 24, ICMM was informed that social aid was seized from the families of the Georgian Dream’s members Koba Karchaidze and Vakhtang Migdisieli in Mchadijvari village, Dusheti district. ICMM’s correspondent checked the information on the place, met the Georgian Dream’s members Karchaidze and Migdisieli. They said the aid was seized on political grounds because both families had been repeatedly examined several months before for social aid and there was no ground to deprive social benefit from them. The Georgian Dream’s members said, before seizing the aid, village governor warned them to support the National Movement or otherwise they would have lost the social benefit. “I joined the Georgian Dream three months ago. I have three underage children, wife and parents. We have no income except my parent’s pension and aid, which they have seized because I joined the Georgian Dream. Before that, the village governor told me since I was taking social aid from the government we should support the ruling party but I refused; then he said he would not help me if they seize my aid,” Koba karchaidze told ICMM. Head of Dusheti district Social Agency Lasha Janashvili did not comment on the alleged deprivation of social aid from the Georgian Dream’s members. Attorney of Mchadijvari village territorial entity Gocha Saliashvili said he had not threatened anybody with losing aid.

Georgian Dream’s Coordinator Was Recruited to Army After Being Declined Three Times On August 20, ICMM reported that Georgian Dream’s coordinator in Mleta zone, Dusheti region Zura Burduli was recruited to the compulsory military service. Zurab Burduli, 25, reported to ICMM that he has health problems and was declined by military office three times on that ground. “Now I am in Tbilisi based recruiters’ distribution office. Head of Dusheti district military service Beso Undilashvili is ordering doctors to write positive answers to all questions because I must go to the army by all means,” Zurab Burduli said. On the same day, Zurab Burduli called ICMM by phone and reported that he was locked in the toilet in Tbilisi Recruitment Office during 15 minutes. “I am banging on the door and asking for help but the personnel of the Recruitment Office, who are standing near the toilet, do not open the door. ICMM called Maia Sikharulidze, head of public relation department of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure. The recruitment office is subdivision of the Ministry. Five minutes after having called the ministry, Zura Burduli was released from toilet. He left the recruitment office too but on August 21, he received a new summon about compulsory military service. Burduli did not appear before the commission. For the participation in the July 1 assembly of the Georgian Dream in Mtskheta he and his friends were summoned to police.

Georgian Dream’s Member alleges police officer cursed him – Young activist of the Georgian Dream’s Dusheti office Tariel Chkhutiashvili said that on August 22, police officer of Zhinvali police department Shengeli Jikurauli had verbally assaulted him. “By 6:00 pm, I was walking in the street wearing a Georgian Dream’s t-shirt. Zhinvali police officers drove past me and asked why I was wearing the t-shirt; one of them Shengeli Jikurauli cursed me in foal language,” Chkhutiashvili told ICMM. Zhinvali police officers did not comment on the fact.

Use of Administrative Resources

National Movement’s election HQ in the building of village administration – On August 22, ICMM spread photo and video materials which shows that election HQ of the National Movement was opened in one of the rooms in the office of Chartali village territorial entity in Dusheti district.  HQ representative Irma Naniashvili told ICMM that they record problems of citizens who apply to the territorial entity and promise them assistance. Levan Natroshvili, coordinator of the Election Monitoring Project at the Transparency International – Georgia: “If a political party is renting the room, it is not violation of the law; but if the room was assigned to the party for free, then it is usage of the administrative resource.” According to the information searched by the ICMM, Dusheti district administration has not signed rent agreement with the National Movement concerning the space in the Chartali village. The leaders of the Dusheti district administration did not comment on the issue.

Majoritarian candidate promised the victimized families to add 3 000 lari to their compensations - Zurab Otiashvili, majoritarian candidate of the United National Movement in Dusheti visited Mleta after the natural disaster. He promised inhabitants to add 3 thousand lari to the compensation transferred by the government. “He was here with board authorities several days ago. He said the government had already transferred 7 thousand lari per family and he would add 3 thousand lari to it. He said they had found additional funds in the local budget. Otiashvili said the sum was ready to transfer from the bank, people just needed to open an account in the bank and victimized families would receive 10 thousand lari. We refused to accept the money until they allocate plots in Seturebi village for us to start construction of the house”, Zemo Mleta inhabitants, incurred after the natural disaster told Information Centre of Mtskheta-Mtianeti. Zurab Otiashvili refused to comment on the issue. 15 families live in the life risky zone in Mleta village Dusheti district. During rains landslide falling from the Lomisa Mountain blocks the River Aragvi and swelling water bursts into the inhabitants’ houses.

Unless you vote for us, do not apply to us for help,”  On August 23, Chairman of the National Movement’s Dusheti organization Zurab Tskaruashvili introduced marjoritarian candidate of the ruling party Zurab Otiashvili in Kobiaantkari village and warned local voters if they vote for the Georgian Dream, they would not have chance to receive those social aid that is envisaged for them in the local budget. “I met Kobiaantkari population two weeks ago and when I left many locals said it is good that Tskaruashvili is talking with us but it is our business what we will do on the Election Day. You can do whatever you want but then do not apply to us for help; at least 15-20 residents of Kobiaantkari village visit us in the district administration and ask to transfer money to them and to assist them; so we do not need… We do not reproach anybody; we support everybody and entire village knows it; will any of you say that Otiashvili has refused him/her to help? Have you applied to him for help and he refused? He has assisted almost 70% of you and you are also obliged, as Georgian people, to put one small brick for the welfare of our country,” Tskaruashvili told people. Chairwoman of the Dusheti municipal board Tsaro Sadzaglishvili and district governor Besik Shagashvili also participate in the pre-election campaign of Otiashvili. They told ICMM that they are on holiday and can attend the pre-election meetings of the candidate.

Facts Containing Signs of Criminal Crime Which Were Not Responded by Police

Pre-election digest # 1 which covered period from August 1 to August 10, provided information about failing of the pre-election meeting of the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate Irakli Tripolski.   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. They were shouting: “Go, go, go”; “Zurab Otiashvili forever”. Irakli Tripolski appealed to Dusheti district police regarding the incident but investigation has not been launched yet. In accordance to the Criminal Procedural Code of Georgia, police was obliged to launch investigation based on the video-materials spread by media.

Pre-election digest # 2 which covers period from August 11 to August 18, provided information which stated that assumed activist of the National Movement Badur Poladishvili verbally assaulted Georgian Dream’s supporters and journalists of the INFO 9 in Duluzaurebi village, Tianeti district. Badur Poladishvili was driving car so fast that people were afraid he could crash somebody. Badur Poladishvili arrived in Duluzaurebi village together with two persons; he got irritated when INFO 9’s camera started recording him. “Why are you recording me? Do you want me to take off now and video-record me then? You bitch,” Poladishvili told INFO 9’s journalists. Although published video-materials demonstrated the action which contained signs of criminal offence, Tianeti district police did not respond to it.

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

See previous digests.

Pre-election Digest # 1 from Mtskheta-Mtianeti


Pre-election Digest #2 from Mtskheta-Mtianeti