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Tragedy Caused by Explosion of “Memorial to Victory” Increased Aggression towards the Government

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

Deconstruction of the Memorial to Victory in Kutaisi ended in tragedy. Two people - 8-year-old Nino Jincharadze and her mother died as a result of explosion. According to official information, investigative team of the prosecutor’s office investigates the accident. At the moment, technical director of the “Sakpetkmretsvi Ltd” (the company which carried out explosion activities) Avtandil Darsavelidze was arrested.

Kutaisi dwellers heard the explosion at 4:00 pm on December 14. Before that, policemen were mobilized on the place and two warning shots were heard. However, it was not enough to avoid the disaster during the deconstruction of historical monument; this fact was actively protested by population before the tragedy.

According to official statements of the government security norms were not preserved for what certain people shall be charged under Article 240, Part I and II of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The crime envisaged under the article is punished by imprisonment from 2 to 5 years. The statement caused serious protest in Kutaisi dwellers.

“Why are they looking for a guilty person? They should not. The government is guilty in everything because they did their best to receive similar tragedy in Kutaisi. They could not destroy the monument without explosion. We immediately said that it would cause tragedy but nobody listened to us. It was punishment of the God because we dismantled the symbol of victory on St. Nikolas Day. What should they build here in order to overwhelm this tragedy?! Today they say on TV the tragedy is being investigated and everybody will be punished who is guilty. It is false. The truth is that they should not have had exploded the monument,” said a woman from Kutaisi on the place of tragedy who hardly helped her tears.

People expressed their aggression even before the explosion. Various organizations held protest demonstrations in the surrounding area of the monument. They prepared petitions to local and central authorities. Demonstrators opposed deconstruction of the Memorial to Victory as a sign of victory over war and violence. After the explosion it is hard to find a person in Kutaisi who appreciates the idea of explosion of the memorial.

“In the country, where short time ago we heard real explosions and people were extremely scared, monuments should not be exploded. Has not our government realized that it is time of construction and not deconstruction?! We are fed up with blood and disaster. I was there when the monument fell down; I was crying when such a huge building fell down and turned into ruins. Any person, who witnessed the explosion of the monument, might have had heart attack because of huge emotions,” said Irakli Basiladze from Kutaisi.

Local non-governmental organizations and political parties protested the fact. At a special briefing on December 19, they assessed the accident as vandalism.

“When shall our government at least realize that history of our country did not start in 2003? What happened in Kutaisi is an attempt to destroy our past. We should not be surprised that one day they will not like the monument “Kartlis Deda” (Mother of Georgia) in Tbilisi and explode it. This monument in Kutaisi was set up in respect of 300 000 Georgian warriors who died in the World War II and its deconstruction insulted memory of those people and their families… There is not a family in Georgia whose member did not participate in the war. It was attempt to make our population forget their history,” said executive secretary of the Kutaisi office of the Democratic Movement for United Georgia Manana Managadze.

Members of opposition political parties think that liability of certain people for the accident is not correct. They clarify that the government is the only guilty side in this tragedy and today the government shall be punished instead the regional governor and head of concrete company.

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