icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Georgians protest Saakashvili’s regime on anniversary of revolution

As Georgia marks six years under the leadership of Mikhail Saakashvili, the President's friends-turned-enemies are asking him to smell the roses.

Former Georgian Prime Minister Nino Burdzhanadze has said that she believes that democracy in Georgia was in danger, and there is only one way to save it. “It is absolutely necessary to have early presidential elections to solve the crisis,” Burdzhanadze said.

Often, attempts to draw public attention to Georgian problems are silenced by the authorities. Nana Kakabadze, a chairperson of the Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights NGO has told RT how her organization has attempted to hold an exhibition to mark the 6th anniversary of the so-called Rose Revolution – a wave of protests in Tbilisi that eventually led to Mikhail Saakashvili’s presidency. “We wanted to give a presentation on November 23rd, so people could see films, books on human rights, and lists of political prisoners. But we were told because of a religious holiday on the same day, we couldn't do it,” Kabadze said.

Six years ago, hundreds of thousands of Georgians took to the streets of the capital Tbilisi. They accused then-President Eduard Shevardnadze of rigging parliamentary elections. It was a religious holiday, and many came to protest holding flowers. That’s why it became known as the Rose Revolution. Two young, charismatic leaders: Mikhail Saakashvili and Nino Burdzhanadze were at the forefront of the marches. But today, as Saakashvili has lost many of his supporters, Burjanadze has become one of his fiercest critics. She says the man who came to power six years ago has changed drastically.

“Unfortunately he is a totally different person now. And unfortunately, he has violated all the promises he made in 2003,” she says.

Petre Mamradze, an opposition politician, who earlier held a post in the administration under Saakashvili’s government, says the current Georgian regime is both corrupt and authoritarian at the same time. “We have to fight it, you know,” he says.

Not only people inside Georgia, but also none of Saakashvili’s many friends abroad felt obliged to visit Tbilisi on the anniversary. Even the new US representative in the region – Tina Kaidanow, who has replaced Matthew Bryza – wasn’t in Tbilisi to join the festivities.

Read also: Soviet legacy could have saved Small Europe