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Did Ivanishvili remind Kremlin of his loyalty?

By Giorgi Gvakharia
Georgia Online, 03 September '12

On August 8th, during 12 pm news program on the Georgian 9th Channel, the owner of which is the head of the political union "Georgian Dream”, billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, the presenter said the following: "Russia got officially involved in the war on August 8, when its military units and heavy machinery legally entered the region."

Three hours later, however, the TV channel apologized for the inaccuracy. "The material about the history of 2008 war was prepared by the agency "GHN" and information service of the 9th channel once again apologizes for the fact that the material was allowed to go on air without specification and verification. 9th Channel once again confirms that we disagree with the wording of the text."

On the one hand, it’s surely impressive when people admit their mistakes and know how to apologize. But let’s look at this from another perspective. The agency "GHN” was named as source of the information, which was aired without "specification and verification". This means there is complete trust towards this agency. And trust, as we know is something you need to "earn" or deserve by hard work. In this case, "substitute " at a right moment. However, this has to be done extremely carefully, with no much noise. But the clients tried so hard to seem innocent, that they sometimes “sew it with white thread”.

Let’s get back to the subject. Why was this one sentence followed by so much controversy? There is no need to look for any supernatural explanation, and reinvent the wheel. Let’s just turn to the commonly accepted notions of international law and try to explain – what does legal presence of military units of one country on the territory of another mean ... In this case, let’s consider the example of Tskhinvali region.

There can be only two options here. First one - the territory of Tskhinvali region had historically been the territory of Russia and Georgia occupied it - and the invasion of Russian troops had "liberating" nature – in that case, presence of Russian troops on the originally Russian territories is legal. And the second one - the government of Georgia has officially authorized the deployment of Russian troops on Georgian territory.

Even if we are talking about relocation when rotating peacekeepers - these manoeuvres are by law supposed to be agreed several months in advance. At the same time – and this is pretty important – that cannot include heavy machinery.

However, none of these factors was present. Then what kind of "legal" entry are [they] talking about?

The answer is simple. Perhaps someone in Kremlin had a thought – maybe Boris (Bidzina) Grigorievich [Ivanishvili] became too “Georgian”, while in Tbilisi? So they sent him a message - to express himself... Well, they didn’t have to wait for too long – turns out he didn’t become “too Georgian”.

His own channel said that the Russian Federation legally sent troops into Tskhinvali region of Georgia. Then, to justify oneself in front of Georgians, he apologized and blamed “GHN” agency in everything. The agency, in its turn, also apologized and said that the misunderstanding happened because the word "legally” was not placed in quotation marks inadvertently, which changes the meaning of the whole sentence.
So that's it - over? But one cannot assume people are so naive. In fact, Ivanishvili made it clear that he remains true to his pro-Russian course. At the same time he showed the population of Georgia that he is "not guilty" ... Simply, annoying mistake occurred - someone forgot to put quotation marks...

Even if so, what about the statements and positions of representatives of an elite group of the ideologists of the "Georgian Dream" - such as Tina Khidasheli and Paata Zakareishvili? One of them thinks that only strong Georgia can recognize independence of Abkhazia, and for the other, this is not even a major issue in meetings with representatives of the Abkhaz side. Khidasheli doesn’t even consider Abkhazia as part of Georgia!

I'll finish with a question that one blogger Gocha Gvaramia asked his opponent: “if Russia insists and justifies its actions as an operation for enforcing peace, then, maybe someone could explain what did they do in upper Abkhazia - there was no even gunfire there? ... Or do we consider this "legalization"/"echo" from the "sleeping Tskhinvali"?

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