Georgian Culture Minister, Nikoloz Rurua, dismissed remarks by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President, Riccardo Migliori, who said “there is little part of Leninism in this electoral campaign,” as “utter foolishness.”
Migliori told journalists after wrapping up three-day pre-election assessment visit to Georgia on August 22: “There is little part of Leninism in this electoral campaign. Leninism is not to present programs, but trying to destroy the enemies.”
“I think these remarks were inappropriate,” the Georgian Culture Minister told journalists on August 23 when asked to comment on the OSCE PA President's remarks. “I completely disagree and this is utter foolishness.”
“I would question motivation of an author of these remarks,” Rurua said, adding that OSCE PA President apparently “does not know what Leninism means.”
“Leninism means not a free country; no competitiveness; no freedom of speech; no freedom at all and execution of political opponents. If that’s the impression he [Migliori] has about Georgia, then he’d better to no longer be…” Rurua was saying when he was interrupted by a journalist, who specified that the remarks belonged to the OSCE PA President.
“It does not matter,” Rurua continued. “Foolishness is foolishness no matter who says it.”
In its statement after concluding three-day visit, aimed at assessing pre-election climate, four-member OSCE PA mission expressed concerns over “questionable decisions” made by the State Audit Office, as well as over judiciary system and expressed hope that in final weeks of the campaign ahead of the October 1 parliamentary elections the Georgian authorities would create “a level playing field for all parties”. The delegation welcomed efforts aimed at ensuring accuracy of the voters’ list, providing transparency in campaign finances and expand media accessibility throughout the country. OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori also said that Georgia was a significant country in the Caucasus region and light of democracy.
The ruling United National Movement (UNM) said on August 23 that it welcomed recommendations by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly mission, but also suggested that some information, based on which the mission made its assessments, was provided by the opposition Georgian Dream’s “lobbyists” and were not accurate.
“It is important for us to win in free and fair elections. Number of steps has already been made for that purpose, including inviting at the early stage international organizations to observer pre-election process… UNM is ready to use remaining  days before the elections for contributing to holding of free and fair elections and we welcome recommendations by the delegation of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,” MP Chiora Taktakishvili, a spokesperson for UNM said on August 23, adding that the delegation “stressed achievements made since the 2008 parliamentary elections, including efforts directed towards voters list accuracy, transparent campaign funding.”
She, however, also said that “in certain cases, information, submitted to the international observers, by lobbyists of a specific political party, is not accurate.”
A spokesperson for the Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition, Maia Panjikidze, said on August 23, that the Georgian authorities’ decision to suspend enforcement of fine against the coalition was a result of “a serious pressure” exerted on the Georgian authorities by “western partners.”
“This pressure will further intensify in coming weeks,” she said. “Eventually this is the only meaningful instrument that will contribute to having a level playing field ahead of the elections.”