Instability in Tbilisi becoming locally stable

What's happening in Georgia these days is nothing more than a struggle for power with a youth protest brought to the front
What's happening in Georgia these days is nothing more than a struggle for power with a youth protest brought to the front

Participants in the 'anti-occupation rally' near the Georgian parliament building, demanding Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia's resignation, plan to organise a fair to continue their campaign with money from sales, focusing on various flash mobs, concerts of local and foreign artists and other events able to catch people's interest. Part of the money from the sale of handicrafts, paintings, and even wine will be paid to activists, simply speaking, to the 'activities managers' of these rallies.

"Politics absorbed everything, our country and people. The people are tired of all this. Let's talk about positive, positive projects, success, development. Now all the people talk about in the country is the Georgian Dream's confrontation with the UNM and the European Georgia party... All noticeable actions are fighting and scolding. Let's do our job, brick by brick, so that tomorrow's Georgia will be more developed and advanced with happy people living there, where everyone have an opportunity to live comfortably. We have such an opportunity, so let's take care of our country," Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze called on. But, as expected, he wasn't heard by his opponents.

What's happening in Georgia these days, no matter what they say, no matter what they swear and hope for, is nothing more than a struggle for power with a youth protest brought to the front, demanding Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia's resignation. However, this demand - the only one that is not fulfilled by the authorities, as well as those already implemented, including the holding of snap parliamentary elections on a proportional electoral system, were formulated by the former ruling party - the United National Movement. Therefore, there is no clear answer of how indefinite the youth protest rally near the parliament is.

Tbilisi has been rocked by protests since June 20. And if the capital is in a fever, then the whole country is shaken. Georgia incurs serious economic losses, not to mention economic sanctions laid aside by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In comparison with last year Tbilisi looks blue. There are no crowds. You should not think that the city is empty, but there is no problem of available tables in cafes in any tourist spot. While a year ago, you had to made a dinner reservation in advance. It is not just about suspending flights between Russia and Georgia. Any tourists, not only Russian, don't need discomfort and unstable situation. They look for a quieter place to relax. And, of course, they don’t care that Georgia's small and medium-sized businesses, directly connected with tourism or oriented towards tourism, are bulging at the seams. These are the hotel and catering industry, transporting, tour desks, souvenirs, gastronomy, trade in general, etc.

Shortfalls will be calculated later. In the meantime, an approximate idea of the situation is given by an employee of a popular 'multi-profile institution' in one of the tourist zones of Tbilisi. According to him, a year ago, each of the 12-15 waiters took orders totaling $2000 daily, but today they cannot make even $500, for example, they sold 500-700 churchkhels in the sales department every day - a candle-shaped candy with nuts dipped in thickened grape juice, but today they cannot sale more than 100.

Estimates of the current situation made by different politicians drive entrepreneurs mad, as these assessments are unhinged from reality. For almost a month, which has brought many to the brink of insolvency and bankruptcy, the government - which is largely guilty of the current situation - did not say a word about possible assistance to businessmen who suffered because of the lack of tourists. And opposition politicians, who started talking about some leveling of tourist flows from Russia and other countries, were unceremoniously called idiots or hypocrites, because it’s impossible not to understand the obvious: it’s not the number of Russians that need to be reduced to eliminate the imbalance, but the number of tourists from other countries should be increased. Although this "imbalance" is most likely a figment of twisted imagination, than a rational search in "resort studies".

Entrepreneurs are especially annoyed by the fact that politicians started talking about this leveling after an American so-called expert, who was once on former vice-president of the U.S. Joe Biden's team, a few days before the June 20 events blabbed at a certain forum in Tbilisi about the danger of an excessive number of Russian tourists. According to this provocateur, or much more like a fool, the danger is that Russian intelligence agents and spies can enter Georgia disguised as tourists. Who over the ocean did rush out of the window during the Cold War, shouting: "The Russians are coming!"? Deja vu?

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze is certainly right. The people are tired of the endless confrontation of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition, preventing it from working from the very first day it came to power, in the person of the United National Movement and European Georgia, representing the former government. The difference between them is that the 'Nationals' continue to see Mikhail Saakashvili as a leader, and the 'Europeans' consider his leadership a remnant of the past, and now - something negatively perceived by the population. This is probably the only difference that does not prevent the two parties from attacking the power with a united front.

If we analyze Georgia's political life in the last decade, then it is simply impossible not to respect the people and the country, even if you hear about them for the first time. What other state, far from being the strongest and being in not the most friendly environment, would stay afloat with the fierce mutual hatred of the two leading political forces, with society split along the principle of political sympathy? Where the main goal of politicians is not the progress of nation, but score-settling, mutual defamation and the thirst for power, and its achievement with the help of defamation, unrealistic promises, idle talks and thoughtless pressure? Where, instead of some gratitude and recognition of the previous government's efforts, the new government, from time to time, denies almost all the successes of its predecessors, and indiscriminately calls all their activities erroneous, automatically increasing hostility?

I don’t want to talk about the majority of other political figures, who woke up and now try to catch their own 'golden fish' in muddy water once again. Some of them have always been insignificant and represented something only in conjunction with more significant figures, and others are as guilty as sin, and if they had a shred of self-respect, they would be ashamed to even appear in any society, let alone offer "their own vision and concern for the fate of the country and the people" at a rally near the parliament or on TV screens.

Georgia will withstand the current political storm, blown up to a degree much greater than it could have been done by the immediate cause. But at what cost? And it's not just the lost income that the poor state needs so much. But the general roll back, which now requires a gradual - it cannot be done right away - return to the recent quite 'nice' positions. Even despite the fact that political rallies are limited to a small area outside the Parliament in Tbilisi, and the rest of the country could be happy to exchange at least half of local politicians for tourists. They will be more useful.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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