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Caucasus University Dean Says Dismissed for Criticizing Bidzina Ivanishvili

Soso Berikashvili, Dean of the School of Economics of the Caucasus University (CU), wrote on Facebook on May 14 that he was forced out of the university for criticizing the ruling Georgian Dream founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili over the controversial “offshore” law, which allows the shareholders of offshore companies to repatriate assets tax-free.

“On the morning of April 29, Kakha Shengelia, the president of Caucasus University, summoned me and told me that the SSSG [State Security Service of Georgia] demanded my dismissal because “I swore at Bidzina. (This is a lie; I didn’t swear at him, I just strongly criticized him because of the “offshore law,” anyway, this is not essential),” Berikashvili wrote. Berikashvili added that he was formally dismissed on May 7 on the formal grounds of “reorganization.”

Rector Shengelia has denied the allegation, saying Berikashvili was “the weakest dean and laziest employee of the Caucasus University.” He called Berikashvili’s actions “treason” and said it was “shameful.”

“For a very long time, I maintained a relationship with him, despite the difficulties, solely for the sake of the university, and in the end, I was forced to fire him. Unfortunately, this coincided with the time [of protests], which he made excellent use of,” wrote Shengelia on Facebook.

Several other lecturers of the university, including Levan Berdzenishvili, Davit Kashiashvili, Niko Nergadze, Nino Robakidze, Salome Ugulava, Dato Chumburidze, Rusiko Kobakhidze, Levan Moseshvili have resigned their posts today, in protest over the rector’s decision to sign the letter of the 38 rectors condemning an ongoing student boycott.

One of the lecturers, Niko Nergadze, wrote, “The management of the Caucasus University in recent days has taken a position that makes it impossible for me to continue relations with it. First, it dismissed the Dean of the School of Economics, Soso Berikashvili, for political reasons. Then it signed a statement, the spirit of which is many students and lecturers oppose.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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