Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli
On December 18, European Commission published its final fourth report on the implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) by Georgia, which states that Georgia successfully finalized the visa liberalization technical process.
Positive evaluation of the EC about visa-liberalization was moderately celebrated in Gori. EU flag illuminations were not installed in the city. The local authority said it was caused by technical problems. Regardless the fact, part of local population celebrated the conclusion of the European Commission.
“It is very important day for our future generations. Local authority did not or could not illuminate the city with EU flags. Here we gathered local citizens, who love our country and support our integration into the European family,” local civic activist Arina Tavakarashvili said.
“We know that in two days they will have demonstration with red communist flags but it does not scare us and we celebrate today’s positive conclusion. Gori population will eventually wake up. One epoch is approaching the end and today we are starting a new epoch,” journalist Goga Aptsiauri said.
On December 21, communists celebrated 136th jubilee of Stalin in Gori and marched with the leader’s photos and soviet symbols from the Stalin Museum to the central square in Gori. Communists from different regions of Georgia arrived to participate in the demonstration. The speakers requested to set up Stalin’s statue in the city and criticized foreign policy of the country.
“We request dismissal of the current city council and new elections. Current local authority does not have moral right to rule the city because they refused us to set up Stalin’s statue,” representative of the movement Stalinelebi Aleko Lursmanashvili said.
“We should go there, where we can understand the language. We cannot understand languages of America and EU. US drew us into the 2008 armed conflict; it was not our war,” demonstrator Nodar Kekelidze said.
On December 22, representatives of the Shida Kartli bureau of the NATO and EU Information Center distributed information booklets about the visa free regime with the EU in Gori.
The information action lasted several hours and local governmental officials also participated in it.