Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What they're saying.......

No updates from me today, but here are some noteworthy articles seen at the other blogs on Wednesday 31st August 2005.......

  • Registan has an interesting article about the 'death of the CIS?'

  • Zimbabwean Pundit gives excellent analysis and opinion about the constitutional changes passed by Bobby Mugabe yesterday

And for anyone in the States wishing to help, please do visit:

Thats all for now, should do my own proper update before the weekend.

Regards, Matty

Monday, August 29, 2005

Georgia On My Mind......

You may remember a few days ago I published an article regarding the arrest of Shalva Ramishvili, the Georgian journalist arrested on extortion charges this Saturday.

Well the situation is developing now, as well as going on hunger strike, Mr Ramishvili has made his first court appearance

Naturally he claimed innocence, but as the Georgian newspaper '24 Saati' points out, the government should investigate Koba Bekauri (The MP involved in the scandal) and his activities, otherwise doubts will persist that the authorities are only silencing the unfavorable media and not fight corruption. Bekauri is alleged to have taken an interest-free loan of US $150,000 - from an Israeli-based Georgian businessman. According to the law, an interest-free loan is the same as a gift and public servants can only accept gifts if the value does not exceed 20 times the minimum cost of living. $150,000 is grossly in excess of that.

Ramishvili has now been sentenced to three-months in pre-trial custody. Quite why is beyond me, its not like he's a dangerous criminal or anything. As to be expected a host of opposition politicians have attacked the move, unfortunately I cant find the site, but one raised the issue of "attempting to silence the independent media ahead of the upcoming by-elections"

For those interested in the somewhat questionable make up of the Central Election Commission, heres an interesting article from the excellent 'Civil Georgia'

The main problem with the new CEC is that it is packed with "independents". A good idea in theory, rather than packed with representatives of the political parties, as was the previous case but fails in practice. Gia Kavtaradze, for example is the new Chairman of the commision. Yet in 2002 he founded the legal and financial consulting firm DVNK with current Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli. The whole process has been tarred by the fact that Saakashvili proposed a short-list of 12 nominations, plus one nominee for the Chairmanship to Parliament from 515 applicants. Yes, thats the same parliament stacked with well over 2/3's of Misha's supporters. Quite where 'transparency and accountability' come into that process is a mystery to me.

I pray these elections are free and fair, for the Georgian peoples sake. Theyre too politically tired for another confrontation with the government and so Misha can ride roughshod with whatever policy he chooses. Or perhaps he realises this, and senses his chance to slide towards authoritarianism unquestioned. If the government is planning to rig the elections, then it really begs the question, "why?". Losing 5 seats is hardly going to dent their massive majority, but it sure will dent any dreams of NATO or EU membership. Bush's drive for democracy can do without Georgia tainting it with a brand new dictator, and Georgia's stability and economy can do without it being stained with yet another rigged election.

Carnival of Revolutions

This weeks Carnival of Revolutions is up at 'One Free Korea'

Excellent job!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

CIS Shift

Two recent and interesting posts dealing with the realisation that CIS nations cannot be controlled from Moscow.......

Gateway Pundit deals with the recent summit in Kazan.....

Whilst Siberian Light addresses the end of Russia's cheap gas supply to 'friendly states'......

Paragraphs like this:

“Russia is not happy with the situation when in fact it subsidizes the economies of certain countries by supplying them with energy resources at discount prices while their people remain impoverished,” the Kremlin source said. “Such situations create grounds for ’Orange Revolutions’ which change little in people’s lives but bring to power rulers, some of whom are ... in the pay of the United States,” the source told the state-owned news agency.

at least show that Russia is realising the errors of its past ways. Now if it could embrace democracy things would really start to look up for the region...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Georgian Democracy in trouble?

Interesting news this morning on Civil Georgia that Shalva Ramishvili, a journalist with the private television station 202 has been arrested

All the more interesting when you consider this is the same station that broadcast an interview with relatives of deceased ex-Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

During the interview Mr Zhvania's widow alleged that the General Prosecutor’s Office was “deliberately” stating his passing could only have been as a result of an accident.

“Many contradictory statements appear in the testimonies of the bodyguards [of Zhvania], which makes it clear that they [bodyguards] are simply lying. And the entire investigation and an official version which says that it [Zhvania’s death] was just an accident, is built on these testimonies” - Nino Zhvania

Now im not one for conspiracy theories, but when you consider 'Archevanis Zgvarze' (On the Verge of Choice), a debate show on the privately owned Mze (Sun) TV station, was closed last month after authorities criticized its coverage of local protests, things don't look too good. 'Nochnoi Kurier' (Night Courier), on Rustavi 2, was the first political talk show to get the chop, just a month after Saakashvili came to power.

Many journalists claim that such shows/newspapers are closing for 'financial reasons'. However serious doubts exist in my mind about Saakashvili's 'democratic' intentions. Without a fully free press, and with journalists feeling intimidated by the government, all that can foster is yet more authoritarianism. The up-coming by-elections in Georgia should prove a test for whether Misha is a democrat or just an enlightened despot.

Set Up

Hey and welcome to Democracy Rising! This is my first proper post, containing no democracy related news im afraid!

Inspired by legends of the blogging world, such as 'Registan', 'Publius Pundit' and 'Gateway Pundit' i've decided to start my own site.

"Is there a need for yet another 'democracy' blog?" I hear you ask. Well, possibly not, but we shall see in the coming weeks and months. Obviously if I find nothing to write i'll just close the site down, but if theres a story not being covered by one of the other main sites, expect to see it here. Anything democracy related is welcome, but my main areas of interest are the post-Soviet space, Southern Africa and East Asia.

Due to work/college/a social life, updates to the site may be sporadic, but if you find something worth mentioning on this page, hit me with an e-mail and i'll do my best to copy and paste!

Regards, Matty J


Just testing....