Op-ed: today's Georgia is an ordinary feudal state, not democracy
The events that have followed the release of the wiretap allegedly featuring the son of the country’s de facto ruler and the newly appointed prime minister have proven once again that the Georgian authorities do not think they are accountable to the Georgian public.
Many people were surprised that the prime minister of Georgia did not issue any comments regarding the publication of the controversial audio recordings.
In these recordings, a man with a voice similar to that of Bera Ivanishvili, the 27-year-old son of billionaire, former prime minister and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili, instructs people whose voices sound similar to those of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and head of the state security service Anzor Chubinidze; the instructions concern the ‘punishment’ of social media users who ‘spoke offensively or disrespectfully’ about Bera Ivanishvili and demands a full report once his instructions are implemented.
Judging by the content of the conversation, some of the users whose punishment is being deliberated upon are schoolchildren.
As noted, PM Garibashvili did not bother to address the public and explain what really happened; instead, he entrusted some less high-ranking officials with the mission of offering explanations on his behalf, which, on its own, should be treated as the most important factor in this story.
It is very naive to expect that PM Garibashvili, who was appointed by the “popularly elected” party, would attempt to appear accountable to the public and satisfy its legitimate interest about what truly happened in the leaked tapes.
What other controversy does one need to finally realize that the government of this country is not guided by the Democratic principle?
There are people in Georgia who call themselves prime minister, president, speaker of parliament, and so on. However, those are just names, and in reality, these people have nothing to do with the responsibilities and obligations that their official titles imply.
These people do not feel like they bear any responsibility to society or to the citizens who elected them, because their positions, prosperity and success do not depend on public opinion.
They do, however, depend on the favor of one specific person, thus, they feel immense responsibility towards him and his family – something that has manifested quite clearly over the last few days.
Leaked audio recordings have mercilessly exposed the reality in which Georgia has been living for the past few years.
Georgia is no longer a state in the traditional sense. Georgia is a fiefdom ruled by one person, one family, with the help of their attendants. The attendants do not even think about taking the interests of the general public into account or serve the interests of Georgian people in any way.
In a feudal system such as this one, princes and their butlers are not obliged to report to the commoners, and this is the mindset that the Georgian authorities hold, both about their positions and this country in general.
This mindset manifests itself in everything we see: having parties during the curfew, enjoying many undeserved privileges or harassing people for criticizing the “royal” family on Facebook.
The vicious circle of a select number of individuals that stand in place of the “feudal’s” court certainly enjoy themselves, although mainly at the expense of the country’s budget. They reward each other with medals and treat Georgian society and its problems as if it exists elsewhere, somewhere far away.
Today Georgia is faced with a serious choice of whether it will accept the transformation of the country into a ‘pashalik’, much like Adjara during the time of Aslan Abashidze (in 1991-2004) or, better yet, into a modern-day Turkmenistan, or will it choose not to give up the country’s modest achievements that once made Georgia a “beacon of democracy” in the region.