Interview with Tengiz Kitovani

Tengiz Kitovani, former Georgian Defence Minister, spoke to RT about the latest developments in Tbilisi.  He says the arrest of Irakly Okruashvili on suspicion of corruption  could backfire on President Saakashvili and his Government.

Russia Today: First of all, what kind of effect could Okruashvili's detention have on the political climate in Georgia?

Tengiz Kitovani: You know, the opposition have being prepared for this kind of thing for the last two years. The Georgian authorities thought they could intimidate people with arrests, but Okruashvili’s statements, and then his arrest, really pushed forward the affair. This is a big mistake, the arrest of Orkruashvili who has supposedly done something wrong. They should not have done it. They should have given him an opportunity to broaden his political line so that everything passed smoothly. Now Saakashvili’s government has really lost a lot. Now it will turn out that he is guilty of many terrorist actions in Georgia.  Okruashvili obviously spoke what was on his mind about the death of Zurab Zhvania (Georgian Prime Minister). Everyone suspected he was murdered, nobody believed he poisoned himself with gas. That statement pointed out that Saakashvili’s government knew about that.

RT: What do you personally think of the accusations made by the Prosecutor? Is there any substance to them?

T.K.: You know, if it were his guilt, than he should have been accused of corruption and other crimes when he was removed from the Defence Minister’s post. But no, he was accused precisely at the time he joined the radical opposition.  That is the reason why he was accused.  That was a great mistake. Why didn’t they charge him before and why didn’t they arrest him earlier? Why now when he made his statements? A very vivid statement where he said that the Government is engaged in terrorism and murder? That is why he was arrested on criminal charges, you see. Why? Nobody’s stupid here, we all understand very well it was a farce. In my opinion, that is why they arrested Okruashvili and imposed a ban on all the charges he brought against the Government.

RT: What is your forecast? What could be the next development?

T.K.: I do not know how long it will last but the people will not be content until Saakashvili steps down from his post, together with all his followers. It was a fateful step for Saakashvili to arrest him at this point. People around him are bad, they do not know the character of Caucasian people. They are very emotional and they have been waiting for the moment that Saakashvili decided to make such a mistake. And he did it and they will respond to this mistake.  It will be a very bad ending for Saakashvili. He is, in fact, like Shevardnadze [ex-president of Georgia], this is the style of Shevardnadze. He had many political assassinations during his rule.  He had a certain person to remove his political opponents. Saakashvili is doing the same thing, the same style, as if his teacher was Schevardnadze.