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LARGE TENT The Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) – security talking shop – has resumed after an 11-month lapse today. Security officials from Tbilisi and Tskhinvali aired their concerns and grievances in presence of the international co-facilitators. The IPRMs are the only arrangement that could be reached after the 2008 Russo-Georgian war that helps address security incidents on the ground. Yet, it is too often blocked for political posturing – the latest lapse ensued after Tbilisi refused to accept Tskhinvali’s ultimatum asking it to dismantle the police observation post and S.Ossetians and Russian walked out. At least now they are on talking terms again.
JAILED…AND? Tbilisi City Court sentenced Giorgi Rurua, a large shareholder of the opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi TV channel – to four years in prison for illegal purchase, storage, and carry of arms. Opposition counts Rurua among political prisoners, saying the charges were fabricated and consistently claimed that the 8 March agreement foresaw his release. Even though the ruling party has denied this, the sentencing theoretically opens the way to a Presidential pardon, just as in cases of Irakli Okruashvili and Giga Ugulava, two other “political prisoners” allegedly covered by the 8 March agreement.
SEE YOU IN COURT Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) filed an arbitration claim against the Georgian Government, saying it “undertook an overt and covert campaign to ensure the Project could never succeed.” ADC and one of its major shareholders seek to recover the value of rights on the project, which it says exceeds USD 1 billion.
SWEEPING THE SLATE The new leadership of Adjara TV, a public broadcaster based in the Adjara Autonomous Republic continues to fire the journalists that disagree with its policies, the Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics, a self-regulation body, reported. Apparently, participation in a professional union rally was the reason for sacking three journalists. The channel managers say the three were sacked due to a violent scuffle on TV premises. CSOs issued an angry statement, saying the wave of dismissals amounts to “persecution.”
REMEMBERING RED TERROR A group of Georgian activists and historians marked 30 July as a day of remembrance of the victims of the Soviet political terror in front of the former CheKa (precursor to KGB) building in Tbilisi. On this very date in 1937 extrajudicial mechanisms – so-called “troikas” – was created, which would put their bloody signature under death warrants of the hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens. The activists symbolically read out the list of over 250 Georgian citizens, from the ministers of the First Democratic Republic’s government to ordinary teachers, clerks, and workers who fell victim to the Soviet purges.
WALKING ON WATER… but not quite: Georgia’s PM Gakharia was captured by his cameraman as he was visiting flood stricken Racha province.
That’s full lid for today!