Igor Giorgadze

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Igor Giorgadze (Georgian: იგორ გიორგაძე) (born 23 July 1950) is a Georgian politician, a former Minister of State Security (1993–1995) and the current leader of the `´Samartlianoba´´(Justice) Party.

Career[edit]

Giorgadze was born in Zaisan, Eastern Kazakhstan, on a Soviet - Chinese border. His father General Panteleimon Giorgadze, a World War II veteran and the former head of United Communist Party of Georgia, wanted his son to receive military education. In 1968 Giorgadze got accepted at the prestigious Higher School of the USSR Committee for State Security (KGB) in Moscow. He graduated in 1973 with a degree in Jurisprudence and foreign languages. Besides Georgian and Russian, he speaks Turkish and French as well as Serbo-Croatian and Azeri. Lieutenant-General Giorgadze held various posts with the security services of the Republic of Georgia. From 1980 to 1981 he also took part in combat operations in Afghanistan as a member of the KGB "Cascade" task group in the city of Kandahar. He has been awarded fifteen government decorations, including the "For Merit in Combat" medal and holds the title of "Honorary Officer of the KGB of the USSR".

During the 1992-1993 civil war between the adherents of the first Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his opponents, Igor Giorgadze sided with Eduard Shevardnadze and in 1993, was appointed the country's Minister of State Security. During his ministerial tenure Giorgadze actively promoted working relations with the special services of Turkey, Russia, the United States and grew in considerable influence in the Georgian government.

Downfall[edit]

On August 29, 1995 there was an attempt on the life of, the then president, Eduard Shevardnadze after which Giorgadze was removed from his post. On 4 September, Giorgadze left Georgia after giving a press conference where he announced his plans to move to Moscow. After leaving the country Giorgadze wrote an open letter to Shevardnadze where he called Shevardnadze's regime a "Mafia State". Soon after the letter the allegations implicating his involvement in the August 29th assassinaiton attempt followed and warrants were sent to Interpol for Giorgadze's arrest. In 1997 there was a trial called the "Trial of the Century" where those accused of involvement with the assassination attempt against Shevardnadze were tried. With 13 defendants and 365 witnesses the prosecution was unable to link Giorgadze to the terrorist act as neither the defendants nor witnesses testified against him. Claims against Giorgadze remain unproven yet the charges have not been dropped. Giorgadze himself has always denied any involvement with the August 29th assassinaiton attempt and accused the Georgian government of political prosecution.

Opposition[edit]

In the 2000s, he again attempted to enter Georgia's political arena. In July, 2001 the "Samshoblo" ("Motherland") All-Georgia Patriotic Alliance was officially registered in Tbilisi. The organization, comprising nine parties and popular movements, elected Giorgadze its Chairman.

In 2003 he founded the political party "Samartlianoba" (Justice), and in 2005 Giorgadze became the initiator of the political movement "Anti-Soros" which is an alliance of four opposition parties including Samartlianoba. The movement's name refers to the American billionaire George Soros. The party advocates closer economic and political ties with the Russian Federation and criticizes the current government for its pro-NATO course. However, Giorgadze’s party enjoys minimal support in Georgia, and has been accused of being funded by the Russian security services.

Despite being abroad, Igor Giorgadze attempted to run for President of Georgia in the 2000 and 2004 elections, but on each occasion Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) refused to register him.

On September 6, 2006, Georgian police arrested over 30 members of the "Samartlianoba" party and its satellite political groups in a round-up in the nation’s capital Tbilisi and elsewhere in the country.

The arrested were accused of plotting to organize a violent coup against the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili. Allegations also include receiving illegal funding from abroad and collaboration with the security services of a foreign country.

Georgian media quoted President Saakashvili as saying, "These people will receive what they deserve and their patrons and sponsors will see this. As far as I know hysteric attempts were underway [to plot coup]. The wine embargo [by Russia] has failed to bring results, military provocations as well; so this kind of things [plotting coup] has been left on their disposal, but these attempts will not harm us if we are consolidated."[1][dead link]. The defendants, among whom is Giorgadze's niece Maia Topuria, were convicted and sentenced from 4 to 8 years of imprisonment [2]. Topuria's American legal council have decryed the decision to close the courtroom [3] and have urged the government of Georgia to stop the political persecutions against the defendants [4]. The trial is under appeal in Strasbourg .

References[edit]