[Marxism] Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros

ar168 at canada.com ar168 at canada.com
Wed Nov 26 20:52:59 MST 2003


 
Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros
By MARK MacKINNON
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
 
Tbilisi — It was back in February that billionaire
financier George Soros began laying the brickwork for
the toppling of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.

That month, funds from his Open Society Institute sent
a 31-year-old Tbilisi activist named Giga Bokeria to
Serbia to meet with members of the Otpor (Resistance)
movement and learn how they used street demonstrations
to topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Then, in the
summer, Mr. Soros's foundation paid for a return trip
to Georgia by Otpor activists, who ran three-day
courses teaching more than 1,000 students how to stage
a peaceful revolution.
 
Last weekend, the Liberty Institute that Mr. Bokeria
helped found was instrumental in organizing the street
protests that eventually forced Mr. Shevardnadze to
sign his resignation papers. Mr. Bokeria says it
was in Belgrade that he learned the value of seizing
and holding the moral high ground, and how to make use
of public pressure — tactics that proved so persuasive
on the streets of Tbilisi after this month's tainted
parliamentary election.
 
In Tbilisi, the Otpor link is seen as just one of
several instances in which Mr. Soros gave the
anti-Shevardnadze movement a considerable nudge: He
also funded a popular opposition television station
that was crucial in mobilizing support for this week's
"velvet revolution," and he reportedly gave financial
support to a youth group that led the street protests.
 
He also has a warm relationship with Mr. Shevardnadze's
chief opponent, Mikhail Saakashvili, a New
York-educated lawyer who is expected to win the
presidency in an election scheduled for Jan. 4. Last
year, Mr. Soros personally presented Mr.
Saakashvili with the foundation's Open Society Award.
 
"It's generally accepted public opinion here that Mr.
Soros is the person who planned Shevardnadze's
overthrow," said Zaza Gachechiladze, editor-in-chief of
The Georgian Messenger, an English-language daily based
in the capital.
 
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