News broke on January 26 that Commander of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Gogi Tatukhashvili, filed for resignation, ten days after he was appointed at this position by President Saakashvili.
The Georgian daily 24 Saati (24 Hours) reported on January 27 that Gogi Tatukhashvili, who has always been regarded as a close associate of President Saakashvili, had to resign because of disagreements with Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili.
Tatukhashvili told RFE/RL Georgian service on January 26 that the reason behind this decision to resign was his desire to retire, but analysts doubt that he would have resigned just for this reason alone - less than two weeks after being appointed Commander of the National Guard.
In an article published by 24 Hours, military analysts Koba Liklikaldze writes that disagreements between Defense Minister Okruashvili and Gogi Tatukhashvili began long before the latter was appointed as Commander of National Guard.
“Tatukhashvili was always against the current way of training of reserve forces… He has revealed several cases of improper exploitation of military equipment… He was against the purchase of old military hardware from abroad… he was also against the reduction of the four-year training course in the Military Academy to one year,” according to the paper.
These issues, as well as recent media speculations about Tatukhashvili’s possible appointment by the President as Chief of Staff of the Georgian Army “was a serous challenge” for the Defense Ministry’s leadership, 24 Hours writes.
Before the Rose Revolution, Gogi Tatukhashvili was chief of security for Mikheil Saakashvili. Later he was appointed Commander of the Internal Troops of the Interior Ministry. After the Internal Troops were transformed into the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Defense Ministry, Tatukhashvili was appointed as the Commander of this Brigade.