New Georgian leader from Anti-Soviet Emigration

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New Georgian leader from Anti-Soviet Emigration

Post by Barbara »

Perhaps the most interesting fact about the newly elected President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, is the fact that her parents left in 1921 as a result of the Soviet Union's takeover of the tiny country.
For a quick recap :

"The Red Army invasion of Georgia (15 February – 17 March 1921), also known as the Soviet–Georgian War or the Soviet invasion of Georgia, was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian (RSFSR) Red Army aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic (Menshevik) government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) and installing a Bolshevik regime in the country. The conflict was a result of expansionist policy by the Soviets, who aimed to control as much as possible of the lands which had been part of the former Russian Empire until the turbulent events of the First World War, as well as the revolutionary efforts of mostly Russian-based Georgian Bolsheviks, who did not have sufficient support in their native country to seize power without external intervention.

The independence of Georgia had been recognized by Soviet Russia in the Treaty of Moscow, signed on 7 May 1920, and the subsequent invasion of the country was not universally agreed upon in Moscow. It was largely engineered by two influential Georgian-born Soviet Russian officials, Joseph Stalin and Sergo Ordzhonikidze, who on 14 February 1921 got the consent of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin to advance into Georgia, on the pretext of supporting "peasants and workers rebellion" in the country. Soviet forces took the Georgian capital Tbilisi (then known as Tiflis to most non-Georgian speakers) after heavy fighting and declared the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic on 25 February 1921. The rest of the country was overrun within three weeks, but it was not until September 1924 that Soviet rule was firmly established. - ... of_Georgia


The New York Times reports on the election :

TBILISI, Georgia — Salome Zurabishvili, the French-born former foreign minister of Georgia, claimed victory in a presidential runoff Wednesday that marked the final popular vote in the country for the head of state.

[ Picture selected by Barbara from elsewhere, did not accompany the NYT article ]. This looks suspiciously like an upside down Cross that the President-elect is wearing. Perhaps it is only an equal-armed Cross and the gold piece fixing the cross to the necklace makes the length of the cross different. Either way, such ambiguity in a largely Orthodox Christian country hardly speaks well about this politician, known anyway for wearing gaudy, oversized accoutrements and earrings such as the blue one she wears in the photo.

With nearly all of the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said that Ms. Zurabishvili, 66, who was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had won more than 59 percent of the vote in the race against Grigol Vashadze, 60, who was supported by a coalition of opposition forces.

Georgia, a nation of nearly 4 million people in the volatile Caucasus region south of Russia, is transitioning to a parliamentary republic that substantially reduces the authority of the president and elevates the prime minister to the most powerful figure in the country.
Once the term ends for Ms. Zurabishvili, the first woman to be elected president of Georgia, heads of state in the country will be chosen by delegates.

“Our choice is peaceful Georgia, united country and of equal citizens,” Mr. Zurabishvili said after seeing an exit poll that showed her heading for victory. “Our choice is the dialogue with those parts of the society who today have not voted for me and who today don’t agree with us. But we all are citizens of one country.”
The election was seen as a crucial test for Georgian Dream. The party is led and funded by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia.

Georgian Dream has dominated the nation’s political scene since defeating former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement in 2012. Mr. Ivanishvili briefly served as prime minister in 2012-2013 and has remained a prominent force in Georgian politics ever since....

Ms. Zurabishvili was born in France and served as French ambassador to Georgia until she became the country’s foreign minister in 2004, but she was fired the following year. Some Georgians have never fully accepted her because she was born in France, and others remain angry after she contended that Georgia was responsible for starting a war in 2008 with Russia.

Ms. Zurabishvili’s opponents cast her as a pro-Russia candidate, a claim she and Georgian Dream strongly denied. Ms. Zurabishvili argued that her background made her strongly qualified to serve as president as Georgia seeks closer ties with the European Union.
“Diplomatic work in France for me was also work for Georgia,” Ms. Zurabishvili said. “Everyone knew that I am a Georgian who fights for its country. I knew very well the price of independence and freedom, because I am the child of the country whose ancestors have sacrificed themselves for the independence and freedom.”

Mr. Vashadze, who served as Georgia’s foreign minister from 2008 to 2012, vowed to re-establish control over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by peaceful means. Georgia lost control of both provinces after the war with Russia, which erupted when Mr. Saakashvili made a failed attempt to reclaim sovereignty over South Ossetia.

“Georgia has outlived many empires and will definitely outlive the current Russian empire,” Mr. Vashadze said. ... hvili.html
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