Shevardnadze Awards Adjarian Leader with Gorgasali Order

By Givi Ordenidze, Civil Georgia

“From now on I can visit Tbilisi without any fear” – said Aslan Abashidze, who has been awarded with Vakhtang Gorgasali Order of First Grade at the opening ceremony of the new building of Batumi University on November 3rd.

Abashidze has been avoiding visits to Tbilisi during the years, fearing to get assassinated.

On November 3rd Shevardnadze visited the autonomous republic, right after a governmental crisis, resulted in dismissal of whole executive government and resignation of the speaker of the Parliament. Protest action, demanding Shevardnadze’s resignation, still continues in front of the Parliament building.

Official reason to visit Batumi was an opening of the university’s new building. But media sources have been suggesting that real motives of visiting Batumi are recent political events and Shevardnadze’s consequent goal to find new, powerful ally.

Negotiations between the president and the leader of the autonomous republic lasted for two hours. Later Shevardnadze said that political issues, such as events in Tbilisi have been tackled during the conversation. The meeting has been dedicated to the plans for crisis recovery and ways of future development, said President.

Vakhtang Gorgasali Order of First Grade appeared to be only the beginning of Shevardnadze’s policy. During the briefing on November 5, Shevardnadze announced Abashidze’s appointment as a Special Representative of the President of Georgia into Regulation Process of the Abkhazian Conflict. President has made such decision on Saturday, while visiting Batumi. Approximately one month ago mayor of Batumi Aslan Smirba had the same initiative.

President said that more representatives of the Adjarian Autonomous Republic should be considered during composition of the new government. After the visit to Batumi, political circles talk about appointment of the members of ‘Abashidze’s team’ to 6 vacant posts of different ministers. Unconfirmed sources say that Abashidze himself could be a prime minister. However, Shevardnadze did not make any comment regarding this information during his briefing on November 5.

Comment on the Topic

Leader of “United Georgia” Faction, Block “Revival”

As of my personal opinion, there was nothing unexpected about this visit. Opening of the new building of the Batumi University has been scheduled few months ago, however it was postponed several times due to President’s visits abroad. Finally, it was decided to hold the ceremony on November 3.

It is natural that along with attending the opening ceremony, Shevardnadze and Abashidze had very serious conversation regarding situation in the whole country, e.g. the directions, into which country’s policy should develop. We think that economic, social and diplomatic aspects of the policy must be changed fundamentally.

As Aslan Abashidze has stated today, President’s and our positions never have been so close as they are in this case.

It is not just accidental, that President has named Aslan Abashidze as a person with authority to deal with issue of restoration of country’s territorial integrity. Abashidze has also confirmed his readiness to work in this direction. As you know very well, Abashidze is not unserious politician, he always is thoroughful when making steps and decisions, thus there are certain guarantees and preconditions.

President has talked about drastic changes in economic policy, creation of environment, really suitable for investments and strong state control on the use of foreign aid.

Improvement of relations with Russia has been discussed too. It is not big news that Abashidze is a most important figure in regard of positive shifts in Georgian-Russian relations.


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