BOILING OVER Coming in as this dispatch is being written, three protesters in front of the Ministry of Interior were detained for disobeying the police orders. The protest erupted after a body of the 23-old student, reportedly a promising programmer, was discovered in a car parked off the road, in a wooded area near the village where she was last seen. The family reported the disappearance four days ago and, having despaired at police inaction, closed off the traffic on the main thoroughfare yesterday. This new death hit the raw nerve as details of police inaction and malpractice keep swirling in the media in the case of Giorgi Shakarashvili, a 19-year old footballer who was found dead after an altercation at a birthday party. The police reform is likely to loom large ahead of the October polls.
WORMTONGUES Russian disinformation continues to peddle anti-NATO, anti-European and anti-US messages, pushing identity politics and nativist imagery, the new media monitoring report from MDF, a seasoned think-tank says. Here is our detailed write-up, worth reading.
GROWING is the new Covid-19 caseload, with 24 new infections reported today. The doctors say 10 come from Gardabani regional cluster, 5 patients had contacts with previously identified carriers, 7 have entered the country from abroad (out of these, 5 are the truck drivers). The doctors are still looking for the source of the two remaining infections.
SPY GAMES Tskhinvali has been on a conspiracy streak recently. Having uncovered Tbilisi’s schemes to sow disease through UAV-portable infected mosquitoes and pandemic-spreading bats, the local spy-busters have claimed a more run-of-the-mill case. They say a “former advisor to the president” Sergey Lipin and his ethnic Georgian wife passed state secrets to Tbilisi. They were convicted to 16 and 13 years in prison, respectively. The Ergneti meeting of the police and security services, facilitated by international actors, will have a lot on its plate, after it – hopefully – resumes.
BOWING OUT Two outspoken ambassadors, Austria’s Arad Benkö and the UK’s Justin McKenzie Smith (in alphabetical order, Excellencies!) are finishing their respective tours of duty and will be bidding Tbilisi farewell. We are wishing them all the best, and are sure they will remain Georgia’s friends whenever the diplomatic winds bring them next… Our Dispatch is ready to keep them updated.
That’s full lid for today!