The Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – August 18

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SILLY SEASON is well and duly in town with parties lining up to present their candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Two new majoritarian candidates ticked for the United Opposition in Tbilisi mean that the alliance has now stuck to its promise to back the joint candidates in all of the capitals’ majoritarian districts. This is where the good news end and the mess begins: the two men can not be further apart on the political or ideological spectrum. Zurab Japaridze, running in Didube-Chugureti district, who literally took his party’s moniker – Girchi (pine-cone) – as the middle name, is a no-holds-barred libertarian prone to jabs at any government regulation. Irakli Okruashvili, running for Saburtalo district, is a Ray-bans (and an occasional AK-47) toting statist and a former hawk-supremo. The defense minister in Saakashvili’s administration who fell out with the former president in a resounding fracas back in 2007. The list of his labors is longer than those of his namesake, Herakles. Can they rally and win under the same party flag?! Doubtful. In the meantime, the yellow-bannered Lelo and lackluster list of has-beens from the Georgian Dream have put down their own numbers in an already saturated field.

OFF HE GOES Bandana-clad, yet still uncool General Director of the meek Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) Vasil Maglaperidze quit today, leaving a cryptic administrative suicide note that he wanted to maintain the perception of “impartiality and the lack of bias” for the GPB ahead of the polls. One would have been justified to assume – as many of our colleagues did – that Mr. Maglaperidze nicked a spot on the ruling party’s election list. But no, apparently he is off to the greener pastures of academia, teaching journalism to some hapless lads. Why the drama then, you might ask?! In Tbilisi, good money is riding on the party patrons giving lackluster Mr. Maglaperidze a shove before the dead heat of the elections. If we see a wartime consigliere – let’s say with a track record in the ruling party’s mouthpiece, Imedi TV – assuming GPB helm on the ruling party’s ticket, that rumor would be definitively confirmed. In the meantime, the formalities of the selection process would have to be followed. Noblesse oblige.

EMPTY SEAT Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia complained today that his Georgian colleague’s continued absence from Kyiv hurts bilateral relations. As you might recall, Tbilisi recalled its ambassador back in May, being seriously miffed about Saakashvili landing the presidential advisor’s gig in Ukraine. Apparently, the man is still chilling in the capital. What with COVID and all, many Georgians failed to notice, but the Ukrainians apparently do notice his absence.

SHORT CHANGED A man and his 16-year-old son were apparently seriously roughed up by three locals in a broad daylight, in a cafe close to the village of Kvareltskali near Pankisi gorge for the offense of..wearing shorts. That sort of sartorial transgression is apparently frowned upon in Pankisi, as one hapless thespian has found to his cost back in 2019. Locals say, revealing man’s attire is contrary to the local mores. We demur.

That’s full lid for today!


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