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Kakheti – Pre-Election Digest # 2


From August 11 to August 18 Information Center of Kakheti observed 3 facts of interference in journalists’’ activities, 1 fact of assumed bribery of voters, 7 facts of intimidation, 1 fact of watching, 2 detentions, 1 fact of property damage, 5 facts of controversy, 2 cases of failing meetings of the Georgian Dream’s candidates with voters and 2 facts of misuse of administrative resources by the National Movement.

Interference in Journalists’ Activities

Journalist beaten and video-camera seized On August 16, activist of the United National Movement’s Gurjaani office Guram Gurgenishvili physically assaulted journalist Natalia Sarkisashvili of the Information Center of Kakheti when she was performing professional activities; he hindered her work and seized video-camera. 

Insulting and hooliganism in the district administration’s building – On August 17, during the incident in the building of the Gurjaani district administration a citizen, who introduced himself as “dada’s son” (resident of Chumlaki village and activist of the UNM) insulted the ICK’s journalist and was cursing him during about 10 minutes in presence of more than 20 people and video-cameras; he tried to hinder journalist’s professional activists. Besides that Dada’s son was trying not to obey the young people, who wanted to take him away from the scene of incident. He even threatened the ICK’s journalist.

Journalist had her fingers stuck in the door – On August 17, an employee of the Gurjaani district department of MIA Levan Utiashvili did not allow INFO 9’s correspondent Thea Alaverdashvili into the reception room of Gurjaani district governor and banged the door so strong that Thea Alaverdashvili had her fingers stuck in it. Due to terrible pain, the journalist could not continue working. She received minor injury of the body.

In accordance to the Criminal Procedural Law investigative institutions are authorized to start investigation on the incident based on the information spread by media if it contains signs of criminal offence. The media spread video-materials of all three incidents but police has not launched investigation on those facts yet.

Assumed Bribery of Voters

Money prizes assigned to the winners of the competition organized by the National Movement– On August 13, winners of the wrestling competition in Dzirkoki village in Gurjaani district received money prizes and valuable presents. All day long, young people dressed in the UNM election t-shirts were inviting people to the competition. “The regional championship was held in wrestling and teams from Kakheti region participated in it. Three winner teams were nominated and there were 5 wrestlers in each time. Money prizes – 1000, 700 and 500 lari were assigned to them for the first, second and third place relatively. The winners also received a sheep, diplomas and cups. Team from Akhmeta took the first place; Gurjaani team took the second place and Kvareli the third one. The sport event was organization by Georgian Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the prizes were estimated by the Ministry,” Gela Megrelishvili, specialist of the Gurjaani district administration on sport issues told ICK. Giorgi Botkoveli, Kakheti region coordinator of the UNM, said he cannot prohibit their activists to attend the competition in the UNM t-shirts.

Oppression, Intimidation, Watching

Eter Chuchulashvili’s case, Dedoplistskaro – On August 14, ICK learned that head of Dedoplistskaro district medical emergency service Nukri Bagashvili fired nurse Eter Chuchulashvili from job whose brother-in-law Giorgi Narsashvili is head of mobile group of the Georgian Dream’s Dedoplistskaro office. Eter Chuchulashvili was several times requested to ask her brother-in-law to quit Georgian Dream. ICK representatives met Nukri Bagashvili and requested him to show a copy of resolution on firing Eter Chuchulashvili from job. Bagashvili claimed Chuchulashvili was not fired. Several minutes later, ICK met the fired nurse who claimed that the head of emergency service had warned her about dismissal and although the relevant resolution on her firing was not issued yet, Bagashvili had warned her not to come to the office. As a result Eter Chuchulashvili could not perform her duties on August 11; she worked every third day according to the time-sheet. Several minutes after the visit of ICK’s correspondents, Nukri Bagashvili called Eter Chuchulashvili on the phone and notified that she could come to the emergency service at her next working day and perform her duties. Eter Chuchulashvili continued working. ICK continues monitoring of this case.

Givi Nanobashvili’s case – Signagi district: Givi Nanobashvili, member of the Georgian Dream from Vakiri village, blames Nugzar Abulashvili – majoritarian candidate of the UNM and Zaza Zedelashvili – chairman of the Signagi municipal board in oppression. “I was standing near the building of municipal board in Vakiri village. Majoritarian candidate Nugzar Abulashvili and chairman of the municipal board Zaza Zedelashvili approached and insulted me in foal language. I asked them why they were insulting me and they said they were ready to cut my throat,” Givi Nanobashvili said.

Both MP and chairman of the municipal board denied accusations. “Georgian Dream’s member? Bidzina’s supporter? Who is a man? I do not know any member of the Georgian Dream who is a man,” MP and majoritarian candidate of the UNM in Signagi district Nugzar Abulashvili said.

Brother-in-law blames deputy regional governor in oppression – On August 16, ICK spread information that Badri Kharebashvili, brother-in-law of the Kakheti regional deputy governor Aleko Kakhidze, who is member of the Georgian Dream’s mobile group, blamed the deputy governor in oppression. Kharebashvili said that on August 3 Aleko Kakhidze called Kharebashvili’s wife Ekaterine Lipartashvili on the phone and warned her unless Badri left Georgian Dream, he would be beaten and narcotics would be planted on him. “After the phone call I personally called him back and demanded not to call my wife again; and if he had any business with me he could call me personally. Kakhidze was not listening to me; he was calling me Russia’s spy and shouting that Ivanishvili had no chance to come to authority,” Badri Kharebashvili said. He joined the coalition on May 28. According to his statement, he decided to make public statement about oppression after he noticed movement of suspicious cars near his car. Aleko Kakhidze did not comment on the accusation.

Georgian Dream’s members are not allowed to live in Tusheti based hotels – On August 11, Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Akhmeta Zviad Zviadauri was in Tusheti in the frame of pre-election campaign. Several hours before his visit, police officers warned owners of the hostels not to host Georgian Dream’s members in their hostels or otherwise they could face problems. Zaza Lagazidze, member of the Georgian Dream’s Akhmeta office accompanied Zviadauri in Tusheti. “Having arrived in Tusheti, our host informed us about the warning. Despite that they did not break rules of mountain and offered us to spend night in their house. Zviadauri did not accept proposal in order not to create problems for them and we spent night in the pasture’s hut in Tsovata, Etelta village. Pasture Zurab Lagazidze was our host. Tax officers have not visited him yet,” Zaza Lagazidze told ICK. “Owners of one of the hostels in Tusheti told us they were warned to tell us that all rooms were busy. We spent night with pastures,” Zurab Zviadauri told ICK.

Teona Tatulashvili’s case – Akhmeta district : Sub-coordinator of the Georgian Dream’s office in Kistauri village, Akhmeta district left the Coalition as a result of oppression. Georgian Dream’s member Zaza Lagazidze told ICK that police officer Zakaria Beriashvili was intimidating Teona Tatulashvili. “She is a young girl with a little child. She worked as a sub-coordinator during two weeks and was agitating in the village. Police officer Zakaria Beriashvili, who is her neighbor, threatened her several times with firing her mother and brother-in-law from jobs unless she left the Coalition. He threatened him with creating some other problems too. Teona’s mother works at a kindergarten and has a salary of 50 or 70 lari,” Zaza Lagazidze told ICK. ICK called Teona Tatulashvili but she said “I cannot say anything; I have left it [Coalition], good-bye.” Police officer Zakaria Beriashvili did not comment on the fact.

“Lagodekhi district majoritarian candidate threatened me with breaking fingers” –Davit Lobzhanidze, resident of Apeni village in Lagodekhi district, who is member of the Georgian Dream, alleged that majoritarian candidate Guram Kakalashvili, who is simultaneously head of the UNM’s local office, threatened him with breaking fingers. “My mother Natela Shekeladze is registered in Kvemo Nashovari village; the same address is indicated in her ID. Every resident of this village received allowance of 1 500 lari as victims of natural disaster only my mother received 1 000 lari because I, his son, am in the opposition party. When I protested this fact in the assembly in Apeni village, acting MP Guram Kakalashvili threatened with breaking my fingers. It was direct threatening and people witnessed it,” Davit Lobzhanidze told ICK.

Commission chairperson did not give working tables to commission members from the opposition parties– On August 13, members of Gurjaani District Election Commission from the Conservative Party of Georgia and Industry Will Save Georgia stated that Nato Begashvili, the head of the Election Commission, does not allow them to work because of the political reasons. Both parties are united in the coalition Georgian Dream. Only those two members of the DEC do not have working places in the office. The Head of the District Election Commission refused them to study applications of the Precinct Election Commission membership candidates. After the ICK spread information, the commission members received their working tables and places and CEC spread special statement which states that information about candidates of commission membership is not public.

Illegal watching- Dedoplistskaro district: On August 13 ICK reported that certain people watch Georgian Dream’s office in Dedoplistskaro. “This car with darkened window-glasses has been standing opposite the office entrance for about one month. A man is holding a camera and video-records everybody who enters and leaves our office. They are standing here from morning till late evening. It negatively influences feelings of our supporters. Many of them refrain from coming to the office,” Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Dedoplistskaro district Lekso Tamazashvili told ICK. “They are standing here from morning till evening. Another car was also standing here DIM 029 but it left us alone. They record everybody who comes. I noticed that the person talked with deputy chief police officer of Dedoplistskaro district Levan Natroshvili. Sometimes he receives instructions from the district governor too,” member of the Georgian Dream’s Dedoplistskaro district office Giorgi Nasrashvili said. Gela Lekashvili is driving violet Ford RCR 669. He said he is cameraman of the TV-Company Real-TV though could not provide relevant identification card. “I am not watching anybody. I am just standing here to enjoy nature. I love it. I grew up here and I love local air and fall of leaves,” Gela Lekashvili said. His brother Gocha Lekashvili is officer at the border police. At different times Gela Lekashvili worked at the petrol station and poker-club; he has not received journalistic education. According to the ICK, Lekashvili’s family members are also activists of the National Movement.


Georgian Dream’s two supporters detained in Sagarejo On August 17 and 18, Sagarejo district police officers detained supporters of the Georgian Dream Kamarat Mamedov and Natik Rasulov regarding the August 17 incident in Iormuganlo village. On August, Tina Khidasheli, Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Sagarejo district was meeting residents of Muganlo and Keshali villages when local governmental officials arrived there and tried to fail the meeting. “I arrived at the Signagi temporary detention setting at about 12:00 pm where detainees were placed. I provided attorney order but they did not allow me to see detainees and to study case materials. They explained the detainees were already interrogated and no longer needed lawyer’s assistance. It is abuse of power when they have a prisoner in the detention setting, the lawyer provides attorney order and they do not allow him/her to meet the client. I do not know the charge they are arrested for,” lawyer Tengiz Bezhashvili told ICK.

Damage of Property

Georgian Dream’s member alleges sand was put in his car’s engine – Gocha Begiashvili, meeting coordinator at the Georgian Dream’s Tsnori office, said several days ago sand was put in his car’s engine that damaged his car. “About a week ago I took the car to the washing service. I was standing about 10 meters away from the place. When the washer finished his work I left the area. But the car pulled down in Tsnori center. Craftsman examined the car and said sand was put in the engine. Then went back and asked the washer what had happened; he said two men had come, one of them took him aside and asked about the price of washing car. When they finished talking the washer returned back to the car and the second man was standing near the car-door. The washer thought they were with me. He said he did not know those people but could recognize them,” Begiashvili told ICK and added that he paid 500 lari to repair the car. Another member of the Georgian Dream’s Tsnori office Shalva Chabashvili also confirmed that sand was put in the engine. “When we took the car to the craftsman he looked into the engine and said there was sand inside it,” Shalva Chabashvili said. Gocha Begiashvili has not appealed to police.

Controversy, Interference 

Incident in Telavi On August 13, young activists of the National Movement and Georgian Dream had argument in Telavi. The controversy started after the UNM activists met Georgian Dream’s activists on the road, called them Russia’s spies and threw Russian money at them. “Say what time do you want to return from the Georgian history? You are selling everything for money. It is shameful. Georgian Dream is Russian money. They were giving money to everybody to purchase people with Russian money,” the UNM activists were shouting. Patrol police officers arrived at the place and neutralized situation.

A child was sent to meet Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Kurdgelauri On August 15, Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Telavi district Gela Samkharauli visited Kurdgelauri village. Village governor Eldar Gigitelashvili sent his underage son to meet the candidate; the child tore the Georgian Dream’s newspaper. “Such people are mentioned in this newspaper, who allege that Russia started the war [in fact he wanted to say Georgia but made mistake]. Where was your Georgian Dream when my relatives and our citizens were killed? Where was Bidzina Ivanishvili then? Tell me, where he was; why did not he stop Russia? Why does not Ivanishvili assist us? He lost those 80 million lari and transferred then it to us. He was distributing refrigerators among people; it is fact. I watched it on TV,” the village governor’s son said. Georgian Dream’s representatives asked Eldar Gigitelashvili to take his son out of the meeting place but in vain. Later, the little boy starting crying and said an activist of the Georgian Dream had grabbed him in the neck and tried to remove him from the place. “Who grabbed the child? Why did you make him crying? The child has pure heart and you are swindlers,” Eldar Gigitelashvili said.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4APgdi4OI&feature=player_embedded

Contraversy in Apeni On August 15, residents of Apeni village in Lagodekhi district were holding assembly in front of the office of the village territorial entity. Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Lagodekhi district Luka Kurtanidze went to meet them. An assembly participant Davit Lobzhanidze asked the attorney of Apeni territorial entity Tina Kavelashvili to answer people’s questions and clarify why the victimized people of the second category received allowance of 500 lari instead promised 1000 lari. Kavelashvili said she was waiting for the district administration members. Soon, National Movement’s majoritarian candidate in Lagodkehi Guram Kakalashvili and district governor Dimitri Loladze arrived at the place. MP Kakalashvili shouted at the man, who had asked clarifications from the attorney “why are you shouting at this lady, man?” Kakalashvili grabbed the man and demanded to leave the area. The assembly participants protested the MP’s behavior and approached Kakalashvili. He shouted: “do not touch me or…”

The situation got so tense during the assembly, that police officers arrived at the place

Incident in Tsinandali – On August 17, Georgian Dream’s activists were pasting posters with slogans “damaged was not reimbursed” in Tsinandali village of Telavi district to inform population about the issue. Attorney of Tsinandali territorial entity Archil Megutnishvili, who was wearing election T-shirt of the National Movement, demanded the young people to remove posters. “Take them away, now,” the attorney told the young people. After the Georgian Dream’s members replied to him that he was restricting freedom of expression, Archil Megutnishvili demanded them to leave the village. “I do not care about your expression; I have told you take them away. Everybody is happy with our government and take them away. I do not want to act impudently but they are provoking me; young people of my child’s age. Do not you hear me? I will make you hear me. Get off here, go and paste them some other place. I do not care, get off here,” the attorney was shouting wearing National Movement’s t-shirt. Irine Urushadze, lawyer of the Transparency International Georgia told ICK that the attorney had breached the election code which guarantees right to agitation and this action is punished by fine of 2 000 lari. According to the verified information, Megutnishvili is not on holiday. He did not comment on the incident with the ICK.
Incident in Gurjaani District Administration – On August 17, an incident occurred in the building of Gurjaani district administration. Georgian Dream’s members accompanied Keto Tatulashvili to meet deputy district governor to find out her case after she complained about her problems with the Coalition members. Deputy governor Goga Petruzashvili initially received Georgian Dream’s members and several seconds later, after a lot of journalists entered his working room, he demanded everybody to leave the room. While Georgian Dream’s representatives and journalists were leaving the deputy governor’s office, Goga Petruzashvili personally left the room. Keto Tatulashvili was still complaining about the local authority. Irakli Kadagishvili, Georgian Dream’s Kakheti regional coordinator, asked the deputy governor to pay attention to the citizen and in reply to it, Petruzashvili called him demagogues and provocateur. The situation got so tensed that police officers were called to the deputy governor’s office. Deputy Head of Gurjaani district police Gocha Sibashvili demanded the journalists and Georgian Dream’s members to leave the office. At that moment Keto Tatulashvili felt bad. The administration personnel called emergency brigade and when doctors arrived at the place, only Real-TV’s camera was working on the governor’s reception. Other journalists requested permission to enter the room but police officer Levan Utiashvili banged the door and Journalist Thea Alaverdashvili of the TV-9 had her fingers stuck in the door. The journalist was injured. The doctors said she had received minor injury. 

Incident in Iormuganlo – On August 17, Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidate in Sagarejo Tina Khidasheli was meeting residents of Muganlo and Keshalo villages where representatives of the local self-government arrived and tried to fail the meeting. Governor of Duzagrami village Mukhtar Ismailov, Lambalo village governor Alakhiar Abdulaev, Tulari village’s representative in the municipal board Vekil Vekilov, nephew of the Keshalo village governor Tavtukh Kachiev and employee of the district administration with criminal record Ilgar Gajiev were particularly active during the incident; the latter tried to break the camera. Those people were particularly aggressive towards Giorgi Nanuashvili of the info.9.com; they thought he represented news agency INFO 9 and verbally and physically assaulted him. Tinatin Khidasheli filed complaint against Duzagrama village governor at the Iormuganlo police for the interference in her pre-election campaign.  

Incident in Mashnaari – On August 13, young activists of the National Movement tried to fail the meeting of Gela Gelashvili, majoritarian candidate of the Georgian Dream in Signagi district in Mashnaari village. When the candidate was introducing people with their pre-election program, the National Movement’s activists were signaling from several cars. So-called independent journalist Natia Mirianashvili and her “camerawoman” were accompanying the activists of the ruling party. Natia Mirianashvili and other activists of the UNM were calling traitors, Georgian Dream’s spies and stupid to the journalists of the news agency INFO 9 and TV-Company Ninth Channel.

Misuse of Administrative Resources

Agitation posters in the office of social service On August 13, ICK published photo and video materials which demonstrate that election posters of the National Movement are pasted in one of the rooms in the social service office at the Gurjaani district administration. “I am crazy about Saakashvili. Even if I had not worked here, I would have loved him. My mother does not work here but she is also crazy about him. I love this person. I respect him very much,” specialist of the social service Marine Chitinashvili told ICK.

Aggitation posters in the building of village administration – On August 16, ICK published video and photo materials which demonstrate that election posters of the National Movement are on the walls in the working room of attorney and specialists of Chalaubani village territorial entity. Election numbers of ruling party are pasted to the windows of second floor in the building. Irine Urushadze, lawyer of the Transparency International - Georgia thinks that in this particular case employees of the village territorial entity breach the norm which prohibits placement of agitation materials in the interior and exterior of the self-government agency. “The public servant, who has hung posters in his/her working rooms, misuses administrative resources and sanction envisaged by the Election Code 2 000 lari shall be imposed on him/her. The election administration and inter-institutional commission shall get interested in this fact. Similar facts were observed during 2010 elections and a public servant was punished for the misuse of administrative resources,’ Irine Urushadze told ICK.

Recommendation of the Interagency Task Force On August 17, Interagency Task Force for Fair Elections release recommendation to local self-governmental agencies and state institutions:  Interagency Task Force has been informed about several instances where election campaign posters and the electoral number of the ruling party have been posted in state offices. The IATF considers this to be the misuse of administrative resources during the electoral campaign. This violation of electoral legislation is punishable by a fine of 2000 GEL. It must be noted that it is within the competence of the CEC to draw up administrative violation protocol. The IATF recommends that local administrations and state agencies:
• Remind their employees immediately that posting party symbols in the offices of local administrations and national agencies violates electoral legislation
 • Proactively monitor whether any such violations are taking place in their agency and, If so, to eliminate such practices.

Information Center of Kakheti will publish pre-election digest every Saturday before October 1, 2012
Responsible person for the content of the digest Gela Mtivlishvili Mtivlishvili@gmail.com
Cell phone:  599 34 34 77

See digest # 1 from Kakheti region on the following link: http://ick.ge/ka/articles/11979--n1.html

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