Hunt for traitors in protests-torn Georgia
The political standoff in Georgia shows no sign of easing after talks aimed at getting President Saakashvili to meet his opponents failed on Friday night. Meanwhile, a spy hunt is in full swing in the country.
The opposition has been demonstrating for a month demanding President Mikhail Saakashvili's resignation. It's accusing Saakashvili of staging Tuesday's mutiny, and of inflating the crisis in the relationship with Russia.
Meanwhile, in a bizarre coincidence, a series of recordings has been released implicating various people in an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the administration.
In one of them, a group of opposition leader Nino Burdzhanadze's supporters are allegedly planning to take power using rocket launchers. In another, a group of former senior military officials are allegedly negotiating a coup.
Recently, Georgian police announced the arrest of around 500 alleged mutineers at a military base near the capital. Some are asking, however, why President Saakashvili was shown shaking the hands of the alleged traitors.
“There have been so many revelations over the past several years, people have just stopped reacting,” said an opposition activist, Erosi Kutsmarishvili, of Foundation 2020. “It really reminds me of the Soviet repressions of the 1930s. It's thought all of these hidden camera videos are made by Georgian special services with the only aim – staying at power.”
Vakhtang Maysaya is one of the latest figures at the center of a Georgian conspiracy.
He spent three years in Brussels as a diplomat in Georgia's mission to NATO, and is now a faculty dean at Tbilisi's Institute of Politology.
Accused of espionage for Russia, he made a video-recorded confession.
“During the war between Georgia and South Ossetia, I passed information about Georgia's military,” he said in the video. “In exchange for this, info money was transferred to my bank account.”
Maysaya's admission was published a day after he was arrested, accused of supplying information to the enemy during the conflict in South Ossetia.
Political analyst Nika Chitadze, president of Georgia International and Security Research, who has known Maysaya for years, says he has his doubts.
“He always discussed the pro-Western orientation of Georgia, and was a supporter of Georgia's integration into the West,” he said. “Maybe he was sending some information, but this information was official and open.”
On Friday, Georgian authorities announced a new conspiracy. This time, Irakly Batkuashvili, who heads the military's integration into NATO, is being accused of exposing state secrets.
Batkuashvili’s lawyer said that accusations toward his client may be connected to the case of Vakhtang Maysaya.