Nino Burjanadze: Georgia cannot enter NATO until conflict regulation

About respondent

Nino Burjanadze, leader of the "Democratic Movement", unlike other politicians is resting from the pre elections vanity. At the same time her oppositional colleagues are actively involved in the elections campaign. They are conducting dozens of meetings, but she is only observing the situation from the outside. However Burjanadze as well conducts meetings, but in Moscow, not in Georgia ... She talked with news agency GHN about forthcoming elections, about Georgia's situation on international arena, and about the perspectives of Georgia in NATO membership.

"...Georgian government was extremely unwise in not interesting in a positive side of my meeting with Russian PM, Putin. They have ignored totally, that Putin said we shall return to the pre war situation..."

- Mrs. Nino, in the last time You are not seen factually on the political arena. They said that Yours silence does mean something, but what... What is the reason of Yours silence?

- This is connected with many factors. First - authorities are trying to hide from the population our active steps, and generally hide our party and chairperson. The authorities had changed its tactics in PR campaign, they understood that time-to-time people need a rest from its "black PR". They have to forget about those political parties which are representing the higher political danger for them. The next cause is that my political party is not participating in elections, and naturally, we are not performing any activity in this direction. However it is worth to note that we did not stop to work for a minute, and I am glad that the people's council is created and is developing now in a strong direction.

- Representative people's council, in fact does mean that the council have to get the legitimating form the part of the population and to create an alternate bodies, which practically mean a dual power.

- - Do You think this will involve a new revolution and wave of confrontation among population?

- In its essence the council is like this, what authors said it is. The people's council - will be a very big representative gathering. Every person in the council will represent hundred and thousand people. These people once more will show to Georgian and international; community our mood. Its words will be weighty. I believe that the council has to call the population to protest against a situation. No necessity to make negotiations outside the country. I am sure, if many people will protest on the streets, not only in Tbilisi, but as well in regions, to say about its unwillingness to bear anymore inadequate and irresponsible president (who is always absent and nobody in the country knows his whereabouts and activity for 3 weeks), if a dozens of people will say and demand this, we can get a snap presidential and parliamentary elections, I am assuring you this will happen without any riots and coup d'etat. The authorities will have to recede and to conduct early elections. I am glad that the National Forum welcomes this organization. The energy of political parties and a society may yield positive results.

- We were the witnesses of mass protests, but the opposition did not reach an aim, I mean the snap elections. During the protest actions, last year people thought that if not in April 10 then in April 20 President will resign... The turning point of the last year protest actions was a change of an attitude towards this power. This was not an easy one. For the international community, which was accustomed to the situation that Georgia is moving forward, is fighting with corruption, is wining over the bureaucracy, and was difficult to imagine that revelation - people who are hiding behind the mask of democracy are leading the country to the dictatorship and unhappiness. But it is truth as well that last year events did not lead to the main result; however they unveiled the governmental image. The international community seriously pondered under the problem. They understand that persons in capacity are irresponsible. The attitude towards our authorities is radically different now. The fact is that our authorities were revealed as an instigator of the August war by Tagliavini in Helsinki Commission in USA Congress. This fact was hidden by our authorities. This is a heavy thing, and following the new wave of activity of the Georgian population, more serious results will happen than it was last year. I believe, and then more people will protest, and then easier will be to change the power.

- Your party refused to participate in the local self governance elections, but Salome Zurabishvili, who was with you last year declared about her willingness to participate in elections, as she believes that power have to be changed through the elections. Is your opinion different?

- Is it possible that elections will change this power? I am deeply respecting Mrs. Salome Zurabishvili, she was very courageous during the protest actions and she was defending own opinion, but if we will be more attentive to her past and present position, then we will see that they radically differ. I have not explanations for this change. Probably Mrs. Salome sees such perspectives which are hidden from me. From my point of view I believe that my position is more right. How the present authorities can be changed in case of oppositional winning in the local elections? It is impossible. Merabishvili, interior minister will not subdue to the City Mayor.

- For example, Inga Grigolia, one of oppositional candidates said that Saakashvili started the fight against Shevardnadze namely from the "Sakrebulo" ...

- There is a slight difference between Saakashvili and other politicians - people who came to the politics recently. Despite my criticism towards him, I have to admit that he is a purposeful person, and always knows what he wants. He always firm in his determinations and follows the aim radically. When Saakashvili was a Sakrebulo chairperson, at that time the country was ruled by already weakened but adequate and responsible president, who worked even in weekends, moreover (Shevardnadze) has no a habit to disappear suddenly from the country for 3 weeks and to leave the country to the mercy of fate... And strange though it may seem, the president at that time was no Kakha Targamadze (MIA minister) but Eduard Shevardnadze. I am not about to criticize the people who took a decision to take part in elections... If someone did not noticed the difference between Georgia before 2008 and the Georgia which is presently, such person knows nothing about politics, or simply it turns the blind eyes.

- What results from the meeting with Russian Prime minister Putin?

- I said many times and will repeat now, I have seen the willingness to cooperate. I have seen that Russia is ready to talk without taboo about anything.

- But for what expense?

- This depends upon the political will and the cleverness of negotiators. Usually upon this the diplomacy is based. The reasonable diplomacy always can defend state interests for the minimal expenses. But our authorities are not clever enough and adequate. They are megalomaniacs and are not making concessions, however eventually they are loosing everything. They receded to Russia 20% of our territories, allowed the Russian army and military bases, and blocked our chance to enter NATO for the nearest 10 years. Why nobody talks about the fact that, according to the preliminary data Bosnia got the MAP, and at the same time Georgia having far better chances to get it - did not. Our authorities loosed the chance to get a MAP.

- The last events in Ukraine, invoked the opinion that a restoration of USSR is possible. In the post Soviet area Georgia is the only country where is not an explicit presence of Russian influence. Do you think that the Ukrainian scenario is possible for Georgia?

- The absurdity of USSR restoration is better of all known in Russia... But Russia always will fight for the spheres of influence. Ukrainian president signed the document for the prolongation of Russian bases for the 40 mlrd USD, cheap gas, chance for closer relations with Russia and at the same time get the guaranty from NATO that its doors always will be open for Ukraine. From the other side - Georgian president allowed Russian bases to Abkhazia and S.O. without legitimating and for the undefined term. Withdrawal of an army always is easier under the agreement, as it might be cancelled, but when the Russian Army stays without any agreement, there is a big difficulties to take a positive decision. We did not get for this any cent, and at the same time we loosed 20 % of our territories and we are continuing to loose territories in Mamisoni and other ones. And nobody cares about the ownership of Tbilisi water, Inguri water plant WPP. The Yanukovich government openly for the determined payment passed to Russia what it demanded. But the Georgian government gave to Russia much more. Saakashvili strengthened the negative influence of Russian Federation and at the same time nobody in international community recalls Georgia. No international conference is reviewing the Georgian question. No serious person meets with Georgian president. Compare the looses of Yanukovich and Saakashvili: no one appointed by Russian Tsar dare to recede to Russia what did Saakashvili - Abkhazia , S.O. Tbilisi water, now they gave Georgian railway and so on and so on...

- What perspectives for integration of Georgia in NATO?

- Unfortunately I am not seeing the chances for NATO membership in the nearest future, for the 10 years. Moreover until conflicts problem will not be regulated and Russian tanks will be in Akhalgori, we will not became a NATO members.

- Do you think we should refuse the NATO integration?

- We should do the realistic policy. We should not lie to the people that everything is all right and the NATO doors are open for us. If they are open then we should say for what conditions will be they open, and we should say to people the real facts. We should actively continue to work with NATO, EU and other international organizations. For Georgia partnership and strategic cooperation with western countries has a principal importance. Our Western partners always considered as an important task - the regulation of relationships with Russia. They always expressed the wish that Georgia did not become an additional problem in relations with Russia. Georgia should not become a headache for our partners, but it should become one of the subjects upon which the constructive discussion is possible. This will allow to our partners to provide an aid for our state.

- Will you vote for anybody in the forthcoming elections?

- No party is worth to vote. But I am cooperating with them and I am consulting with oppositional partners. I have no problems with oppositional parties, but I determined own way and own visions and made them open for public. I am upholding the idea of public council.

- After such declaration, if suddenly any oppositional candidate will win, you will be alone, is not it?

- It is impossible that City Mayor will become an oppositional candidate. But if such fantastic scenario will happen, I will congratulate the winner, but immediately will continue to fight for the early elections. The problem of the country is not a City Mayor, this is only a part of the problem, of the ugly system. Gigi Ugulava is a part of this ugly system of trying different posts, and operating with hundreds of millions USD. This is a terror, this is an exploiting of administrative resources. Did you think what will happen if Zviad Dzidziguri and Irakli Alasania asked a Bank administration to work as an operator for one day? Do you think they will be allowed to do this? So, Ugulava is not a main problem for the country, the main problem of the country is President.

- In his interview with Russian "Komersant" Merabishvili, MIA minister said that Georgian opposition is a weak one... Do You agree?

- Partially I agree, but the reason for its such impudence is in the uncoordinated opposition. Authorities get what they wished and separated the opposition through the lie, bribery or recruiting. The authorities have methods against which the opposition is powerless. In fact the opposition has no possibility to make public its opinion. The opposition is deprived of possibility to exist. And not only because the business is under the terror, but as well because the opposition representatives and its relatives are fired from jobs. Mreabishvili and Saakashvili are operating with hundreds of millions of black money, 4 TV channels and politicized police. Merabishvili is giving to own "zonder brigades" huge bonuses for beating and insulting of opposition. It is difficult to resist to this. But if the opposition is so weak then why so much money are spent against us? I think the fight will be hard one.

- Didn't you say to Putin to withdraw the army from Georgia at least for the short term?

- We talked about all painful subjects, which are between us, but I counted the reality in which we are now, and what is possible to do at this stage and what should be done at the next one. Even if the Russian Army was withdrawn from Perevi for sake of me, then Saakashvili would drug them back, up to Tbilisi for spite of me.

- You are not the only politician which met Putin and attended the Kremlin. There was Zurab Nogaideli, after these detained children were released in Tskhinvali. But after yours visit no such presents from Putin were evident.

- I did not ask presents. But I believe that what they did for Mr. Zurab it was very positive. Our shame is that we hardly thanked Nogaideli. Parents of the children were afraid to say thank you. If a leader of your oppositional party can travel to Moscow and to release children then why not use this? Stupidity of this government is in that as well that they did not even interested in a positivism of my meeting with Putin. They ignored totally what Putin said - we should return to the prewar situation. When he said that there is no prohibited themes and all subjects should be revived. The total ignorance is connected with the fact that they did not want to notice what others did. Take for instance case with Patriarch in Perevi. Saakashvili could not bear what Patriarch did; will he bear anything of Burjanadze or others? The credo of Saakashvili is - if he cannot do anything then nobody should do it. There is many examples of such attitude, including my presence at power, when I was not allowed to interrupt in Georgian-Russian problems under the demand of German side. Instead of me Giga Bokeria was directed there, and the negotiations failed. Saakashvili was afraid that Burjanadze will decide anything. Even if Russia will withdraw the army from Abkhazia and S.O. tomorrow, Saakashvili will start a war and will turn back the army.

- Your party did not enter any political alliance. Can you fight independently with ruling party?

- I can say one thing: I am not intended to make close connections with parties which have differed viewpoints. If one political party considers that it has to move in one direction and the other is moving in other, there impossible to reach a result between them . I hope that there will be forces which will stand along with society and we will appoint the early parliamentary elections. This is a main aim. The country has to be rescued.


Talked Teimuraz Chumburidze