President Saakashvili said the recent unrests in Georgia were masterminded by Russia and implemented through the help of “some radical opposition parties.”
Mikheil Saakashvili made a televised address to the nation in the evening on November 7 – hours after the riot police dispersed twice thousands of protesters in various parts of Tbilisi with use of tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets. At least 360 people have been injured, officials said.
“We have been hearing for recent months that a huge turmoil was expected in Georgia by autumn,” Saakashvili said. “We have been receiving this information from all the intelligence sources available for us; we have also been receiving this information from the capital city of one of the foreign countries. I have also been hearing information about setting up of an alternative government and that Saakashvili’s government was slated for collapse. I have been hearing this for past six or seven months.”
He said he was reacting on these intelligence reports “calmly.” “Unfortunately I was partially wrong,” Saakashvili added.
The President then spoke about the taped audio and video materials released by the interior ministry on November 7, through which the authorities claim that some opposition leaders – MP Levan Berdzenishvili of Republican Party, Giorgi Khaindrava of opposition group Equality Institute, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the leader of Freedom Party and Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of Labor Party - were cooperating with the Russian counter-intelligence service.
“You saw these material today in the Georgian televisions,” Saakashvili said. “Russian counter-intelligence and its representatives in Georgia have significantly intensified their activities in Georgia recently. Our special services were carrying out a detailed monitoring of their activities. We knew very well that unfortunately they have been trying to gain a foothold among some radical political parties.”
He said that more, as he put it, “incontrovertible evidence” are available which also be released publicly “soon.”
Saakashvili also said that the Georgian foreign ministry has already announced several employees of the Russian embassy in Tbilisi as “undesirable persons” and “they should leave Georgia in the nearest future.”
“We have incontrovertible evidence that these persons played a major role in [recent developments in Georgia]. It was planned there [Russia], financed from there and implemented through the help of their friendly oligarchs,” Saakashvili said.
He then called on those opposition politicians, whom the authorities are not suspecting in having ties with the Russian intelligence for a dialogue.
“We call on those opposition parties – they are in majority, except of several persons who have been seen in the footage receiving instructions from unfriendly foreign country’s representatives – for a dialogue,” Saakashvili said. “I refer to absolute majority of [the opposition] parties: I have no doubt about your patriotism and I have no doubt that we will always be able to find a common language for the sake of Georgia.
Saakashvili also said that the police acted in frames of law while dispersing protesters. He said that the protesters themselves provoked clashes after they tried to block the main thoroughfare in the capital city in front of the parliament earlier on November 7.
Yesterday evening, Russian Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] expressed solidarity to participants of potential turmoil in Georgia and also pledged support. He referred to them as “people” but he was speaking about particular persons. Mr. Mironov on the other hand also said yesterday that riot would start in Georgia’s various cities in the nearest future.
Moreover, one of the Russian oligarchs [referring to Badri Patarkatsishvili] has openly called on the Georgian society to overthrow the government, which is totally inadmissible for any democracy.
“In the light of mass riots and clashes and attacks on policemen – several dozen of policemen have been beaten up – and in the light of persisting threat of provocations, including the armed provocations, I want to state: the Georgian authorities and law enforcement agencies will undertake all the measures to restore democratic order in Georgia and in the streets of Tbilisi.”