Followers of Mikhail Saakashvili with banners and flags of Georgia, October 4, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

12 October 2021, 08:20

"Novaya Gazeta" explains drop of Saakashvili's popularity in Georgia

Residents of Georgia appreciate the reforms carried out by Mikheil (Mikhail) Saakashvili in the first years of his rule, but the changes observed towards the end of his second presidential term reduced his popularity, the "Novaya Gazeta" has concluded after analyzing the situation in Georgia after Saakashvili's return there.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Mikheil (Mikhail) Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia, was detained on October 1 after he returned to Georgia and was placed into the Rustavi Prison, where he went on a hunger strike and promised to hold it until his release. On October 10, Nikoloz Kipshidze, his personal doctor, said that Saakashvili's health condition had seriously deteriorated in recent days.

In Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to three years of imprisonment in a case on abuse of power when pardoning those convicted for the murder of businessman Sandro Girgvliani and to six years of imprisonment in a case on the 2005 beating of MP Valery Gelashvili. The former president of Georgia also faces other charges.

The rally in Saakashvili's support held in Tbilisi on October 10 gathered about 300 people. This was the first action in support of the third president of Georgia organized in the capital of the country, the "Novaya Gazeta" has drawn readers' attention to the article "Misha left – pension didn't grow anymore", posted on October 11 on the newspaper's website.

"This is the second week of Saakashvili's custody; and his supporters in Tbilisi only now decided to gather," Irina Tumakova, the author of the article has noted.

All those who gathered for the rally in Tbilisi have scolded the current Georgian authorities. "Misha made Georgia a country, which had been a territory before. We were provided with electricity for several hours a day; the pension was USD 4, and then increased by 15 times. He left – the pension stopped growing," the special correspondent of the "Novaya Gazeta" has quoted one of the protesters as saying.

The article notes that the slogan "Misha Magaria" was the pre-election slogan of the 2008 campaign, as a result of which Saakashvili took over the presidency for the second term. "Misha" was really tough then; the fruits of his fantastic reforms he undertook during his two presidential terms are still noticeable. However, opinions differ in Georgia about what happened to him by the end of his second term. By the changes that occurred in "Misha", many explain why now, when he, after spending eight years in exile and returning to his homeland, is inspiring the majority of Georgians to a much lesser extent," Irina Tumakova has emphasized.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 11, 2021 at 07:55 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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