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Detailed analysis of the special operation in Zugdidi. What went wrong

Detailed analysis of the special operation in Zugdidi. What went wrong

Briefly about yesterday’s story of the hostage taking in Zugdidi. Unfortunately, what happened yesterday is a very remarkable story, because what happened was not a special case. It’s not just that the terrorist took hostages, kept the whole country in suspense for many hours, and then disappeared with half a million dollars “kindly” provided to him by the authorities. The main problem is. that an extremely dangerous precedent was created, which will inevitably be adopted and will be an incentive not only for crime bosses, but also simply for people prone to crime, as evidenced by the fact of an attack on a collector, in which 75 thousand Lari was stolen, literally on the day after the events in Zugdidi.

  1. Obviously, the law enforcement authorities looked very confused. It seemed that they really didn’t know what to do (which, incidentally, indicates that in crisis situations there is no person, a senior manager, who would really make decisions, however, we saw this even during the special operation on Gabriel Salosi Street). This story showed us the complete incapacity of the authorities to act in crisis situations.
  2. About working with the media. In such a situation, a specially dedicated press relations officer is needed, who constantly not only informs the media, and therefore society, about the situation, but also has certain skills so that this information, which is available to an attacker, is used as a tool that gives specific benefits to law enforcement. However, this did not happen, just as it did not happen during the special operation on Gabriel Salosi Street. As for the plot shown by the Mtavari TV channel, it was not only not provocative, but also very useful for law enforcement agencies. It was from this plot that we learned about the requirements of the criminal, about what he is like, about the location of objects in the space where hostages are kept and about the location of the hostages themselves. However, instead of calmly using this information, high-ranking officials began to threaten the channel. 
  3. We did not see any attempt to free the hostages, or even to alleviate their plight. Initially, a firm political decision was made that there would be no assault. Most likely, in such a situation, the authorities acted correctly, since it was not worth endangering the hostages’ lives, the bad thing is that the criminal knew about this decision.
  4. Unfortunately, some politicians commented on what was happening exclusively on the political plane and on the search for those to blame in another political camp, completely forgetting that in such a situation the main thing is the life of the hostages. Conversations about why they gave money are immoral, since no money costs people’s lives, and if there was no other way to free the hostages, yes, the money should be given to the criminal to save people’s lives
  5. However, it is very strange that the criminal left so easily after the money was handed over to him and the hostages were released. Why was not a mobile group of the anti-terrorist center of 4-5 people created, which could use modern technical means in order to be able to track, pursue and arrest the criminal after the hostages were released? And don’t believe that this only happens in movies
  6. But let’s leave the details of the operation alone, although the devil is always hidden in the details and move on to a global problem. Firstly, although the authorities paid the amount, they do not know the name or surname of the person who was under the mask, and they have no version, at least we do not know for sure about this. Any financial institution can be attacked in this way. But, even worse, many citizens on social networks sympathized with the criminal (a typical “Stockholm syndrome”)

And in conclusion, I cannot but note the dedication of a high-ranking and courageous officer Avtandil Galdava, who personally became a hostage, although he was not obliged to do so, since he is the head of the local police. I am very glad that we have such policemen and there are a lot of them.

Лаша Брегвадзе, Georgian Strategic Analysis Center GSAC