Many say that the ruling Georgian Dream party is trying to dismantle the legacy of the Mikheil Saakashvili era" />

Tbilisi: Goodbye Rose Revolution Square, hello Square of the First Democratic Republic

Many say that the ruling Georgian Dream party is trying to dismantle the legacy of the Mikheil Saakashvili era

Rose Revolution Square in the centre of Tbilisi may be renamed to Square of the First Democratic Republic.

The mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze, has already supported the idea put forward by the Tbilisi city council (sakrebulo).

The renaming of the square is planned for the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the first Georgian republic in 1918, reports Novosti-Gruzia.

“The 26th of May is the day of the restoration of Georgia’s independence, and this year is the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia. It is one of the most important dates not only for our country, but also for every Georgian citizen,” the Tbilisi city council said in a press statement.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze says that he expects society to support the idea, and that the sakrebulo has 20 days to decide.

However, a portion of the public is very unhappy with the planned name change, including supporters of the former president Mikheil Saakashvili. They believe that this is an attempt by Georgian Dream to dismantle the legacy of the Saakashvili era and its achievements.

The name Rose Revolution was given to the square by the third Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili who came to power in November of 2003 after a ‘velvet’ peaceful revolution which was known as the ‘rose revolution’.

The square in question is in downtown Tbilisi near the Rustaveli metro station. In USSR times the square was called Republic Square, referring to the Georgian Socialist Republic.

It was here in the 80s that, before the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR Yuri Andropov’s visit, an enormous monument was built which was officially called the Spatial Arcade Stand of Ceremonies. Due to its form however, Tbilisi residents called it Andropov’s ears.

‘Andropov’s ears’ on Rose Revolution Square. Architect: Otar Kalandarishvili. In Soviet times, parades and ceremonies for high-ranking officials from Moscow were held here. Photo: Shakh Ayvazov / Archive of the National Library. No date

Hotel Iveria was located here. It was the best in Soviet Georgia, which in the 1990s became a refuge for hundreds of people fleeing Abkhazia during the war.

Hotel Iveria in the 1990s. Many refugees lived here for years after the Abkhaz war ended. Photo: Shakh Ayvazov / Archive of the National Library

In 2005, per Saakashvili’s decision, Andropov’s ears was taken down and deemed a symbol of the difficult Soviet past. The five-star Radisson Blu hotel was built in its place.

In the summer, children often jump into the Radisson Blue Iveria hotel’s fountain. Photo: David Mdzinarishvili / REUTERS

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