aarrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh — I missed the biggest political event of the year

How could this happen? How I could be rewriting my book proposal and editing my film at home when 80,000 people were gathering in the heart of Tbilisi in order to show their support for the opposition candidate for prime minister/president????  I could have missed the second Rose Revolution, for pity’s sake.

On the other hand, some Georgian journalists didn’t know that a huge crowd was going to turn out to show their support for Bidzina Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream party. The national TV stations did not inform the public, but that’s no surprise; the national TV stations are controlled by Misha Saakashvili’s party. I’ve heard that word was spread via Facebook and via the TV station owned by Ivanishvili.

To learn more, please read this article in The New York Times. The photo also came from The Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/28/world/europe/tens-of-thousands-in-georgia-protest-president.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Although I can’t report, I will add a little analysis. As I wrote in an earlier blog, I believe that Saakashvili will “pull a Putin.” After 8 years as president, he will serve as prime minister. Misha has already convinced “his” parliament to change the constitution in order to transfer most of the power from the president to the prime minister. Until yesterday, I didn’t think that any party could present a significant challenge to the National Movement Party. Misha’s party simply has too much power. It controls the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government as well as the TV part of the “fourth estate,” the news media. But today–today the opposition has hope, and the National Movement Party is scared. The key event will be the Parliamentary elections in Fall 2012. Will Bidzina’s party gain enough seats to choose the prime minister? Or will Saakashvili’s party prevail? If Bidzina’s party wins, who will become prime minister? If Saakashvili’s party wins. . . well . . . Misha has not denied that he would become prime minister.

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2012.

One final twist. Bidzina is not allowed to run for office. His opposition party, however, introduced a bill that would change the constitution to enable Bidzina to run. Parliament passed the bill. We are waiting to learn if Saakashvili will sign the bill. If Saakashvili signs the bill, Bidzina will NOT run for office. Surprise!! Why not? Because Bidzina disapproves of changing the country’s constitution to benefit an individual, even if that individual is himself. Now, if you’re like me, you’re wondering whether Bidzina would truly stay out of politics after 80,000 people in Tbilisi showed their support? Maybe. Maybe Bidzina will push another into the prime minister role and Bidzina will simply become an advisor to the government. I don’t think that the richest man in Georgia, with $6 billion or so, is seeking power.

Look carefully at this photo. Notice that it says that Saakashvili is building a new Georgia. Not the National Movement Party. Not all Georgians. Just Misha. Moreover, the location of this sign is quite remarkable. It hangs on the front of the Parliament building. Can you imagine the US Congress allowing President Barack Obama to hang a huge campaign sign on the front of its building? The Republicans would go nuts, and rightly so.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

6 Responses to aarrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh — I missed the biggest political event of the year

  1. Sandra Vazquez says:

    Oh Keith I feel your pain! Can’t believe you were so close and yet so far.

  2. ana says:

    i’m very sorry that you missed this great day, but it’s nice that you see everything exactly like it is )) but i think there is one mistake :)) there were about 150,000 and more people ))

  3. ana says:

    And what’s about poster. Aren’t you interested why there is inscription in English and not Georgian?? because only 20 % of people maybe 30%, for the most part teens understand what’s written. And it’s terrible that leader of county things that only he is main, and only he can rebuiled country exceptionally when he only destroys it.He is just trying to be or i don’t know things he is our idol or god 😀 i like very much that you are so objective, we really need exact estimations and good journalists, thanks for this.

    • keithrkenney says:

      I want to make sure that I understand—some of the important writing is in English because most of the older people can’t read English? Misha can write things that he wouldn’t normally write because older people won’t understand what he wrote? I don’t understand. I would have thought that the younger people, who understand English, would be especially upset that Misha believes that he alone can rebuild Georgia.

  4. ana says:

    i’ll explain. most of the people can’t understand it, so why they write in English not Georgian, you’ll agree that it’s not normal, so this inscription isn’t for Georgian people it’s for foreigners, tourist they to think that Misha is idol for us or second David The Bulider like he thinks he is. And yes we are upset and you see we try to correct mistake and make him go home or prison ( for his uncountable treasons and crimes) or mad-house ( because he is really mad).

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