Vano Matchavariani: A new type of authoritarianism
Based on the latest events in the country, Ivanishvili concluded that he had everything under control, everyone was put in their place – both in the Dream and in opposition, there are also no problems with international partners. That is, he considers himself a winner at all venues. And in fact, he’s not so wrong.
I personally know Bidzina Ivanishvili for many years, this is a person who says one thing, thinks another, and does the third. This is his style, he runs the country like a holding company, appointing and firing directors. He is not a politician, not a party leader, for him this is the same business as everyone else. He is playing a completely different game, and therefore the opposition should have understood this in order not to yield to Ivanishvili where it is really important for him. As for our international partners, we can certainly hope that in the end they will begin to put pressure on the authorities, but these are only hopes. or they will start, or they will not start. After all, nothing happens by itself. For the second month now we have been hearing the same thing from the opposition, but they did not have a plan of action, and they still do not.
See what happens. the opposition came to the quite logical conclusion that it makes no sense to talk to Ivanishvili. He held the previous elections as he wanted and is going to hold them in the future. Ivanishvili sees all this, exactly the same as he sees on the stuffing about his departure. After all, everyone perfectly understands that Ivanishvili will not go anywhere, and he has nowhere to go. He rules the country, and he has tremendous experience in such an informal government. He can at any time resolve any issue with any representative of the authorities from the Georgian Dream. by the way, exactly as he did with the representatives of the authorities during the times of the National Movement, until Ivanishvili himself decided that this was not enough for him and began to make plans to replace the National Movement with a political force completely under his control. So this is a very familiar topic for him, this is his style. Ivanishvili’s informal influence on the government has not begun since 2013. By the way, at that time, the only principled opponent of such close relations with Ivanishvili was Giga Bokeria.
Today Ivanishvili understands that with the arrival of the new administration in the White House, it is necessary to mimic and update the facade. The naive belief of our opposition that with the arrival of Biden everything will settle by itself may collide with the very harsh truth of life. That is why the opposition needs to think over its actions well, otherwise the Ivanishvili regime may not only not weaken, but also strengthen. You shouldn’t have any illusions about the fact that the West does not understand who Ivanishvili is and what they are dealing with. Everyone there knows and understands very well. This phenomenon also has its own definition – a new type of authoritarianism. This is now being written and spoken about in the world. This is the situation when everything is seized for “insiders”, and the majority of the population is simply cut off from any opportunities. All this is known.
But here is a very important point, which our partners constantly tell us about – sorry guys, but today we simply have no time. Both the United States and Europe have faced too serious problems and challenges in recent years. Yes, there are people in the Biden administration who understand well both what Russia is and the situation in the region. And yes, they understand the indisputable fact that if the Georgian authorities were interested in the development of democracy, they would not just do everything. for the opposition to enter parliament, but also to offer the opposition seats in the government. And it would be a huge step towards Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. But Ivanishvili does not see the country as a common political project of the authorities and the opposition, despite the fact that even according to their election results, the authorities and the opposition have approximately the same number of supporters. What should our partners do in such a situation? They cannot offer more than they have. Yes, the situation may indeed change by the spring. Of course, if the opposition takes the right steps and once again does not become Ivanishvili’s scapegoat for political sins. so I think this is just the beginning.
Vano Matchavariani, GSAC