Georgia: Thriller with terrorists in Tbilisi

Lasha Tughushi, Liberal Academy Tbilisi (Georgia, Tbilisi)

Subscribe for Newsletter

Download PDF

The entire country of Georgia watched live the terrorists deception and elimination in Tbilisi. The incident once again placed the emphasis on the security and inviolability of the state borders issues. Moreover, as for the media space, it completely stole the show from both the economic successes and even from the Eastern Partnership Summit results that proved to be unsatisfactory for Georgia.

Domestic Policy. Anti-terror operation with victims

On 21-22, November in the aftermath of an anti-terrorist operation, Ahmed Chatayev was killed in Beri Gabriel Salosi Avenue in Tbilisi. He was suspected of being the mastermind behind the Istanbul Ataturk airport attack in June, 2016, that resulted in 46 dead and about 200 injured.

The main questions following these developments are mostly concerning how one of the most influential figures of the Chechen wing of the terroristic organization “Islamic State”, a 37-year-old commander of Yarmuk battalion whose name is on the international terrorism black list, happened to enter Georgia. What was the purpose of his stay? Where was that significant armament bought and what was it aimed to use for as the supply was enough to fire back at special forces officers for 20 hours?

During the special operation one person was detained, two group members were eliminated and one person who was in the apartment,Ahmed Chatayev, blew himself up. One representative of the Georgian special forces was killed as he suffered a severe head injury as a result of a grenade detonation. Earlier Chatayev was able to escape from the Georgian justice. In January, 2013 due to the lack of the evidence all charges against Chatayev regarding the illegal acquisition, possession and bearing explosives were discharged by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. Moreover, Chatayev was reimbursed with 5000 lari that he had paid as bail.

Following the request of the Georgian side, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation joined the ongoing investigation. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia stated that the investigators are to answer all questions in the nearest future and it is logical to assume that there is a lot of interest, especially against the backdrop of the fact that, according to the unofficial information, two eliminated men were Russian.

Economy. Georgian  wine in the Guinness Book Of Records

The Guinness World Records website updated the information in its section on the oldest wines and now there is an article on the oldest wine from Georgia. According to this website, some wine residues discovered south of Tbilisi date back to 6000–5800 BC. The website says that the new discovery is 600–1000 years older than the wine residues thought to have been the oldest before, they were discovered in Iran and date back to 5400–5000 BC.

It is natural that such a discovery can boost not only the historical and cultural, but also economic significance. “Georgia is the homeland of wine”— this is a brand important both for the wine-making and tourism as well.

The withholding position of some capitals, expressed by not recognizing the European perspective, is not understood in Tbilisi

In January–October, 2017 Georgia exported 61 mln bottles of wine to 50 countries, which is a 59% rise against the previous year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, as for the reported period, the wine export made up $134.6 mln, which is 52% more against the same period in 2016.

The export growth was recorded with the following countries: China (41%), Russia (87%), Ukraine (48%), Poland (18%,) Latvia (31%), Belarus (42%), USA (68%), Germany (57%), Israel (149%), France (187%), Azerbaijan (76%). And the top five exporting countries include Russia (38.4 mln bottles), Ukraine (6.2 mln), China (6 mln), Kazakhstan (2.7 mln), and Poland (2.2 mln bottles).

Apart from the traditional areas, some new hi-tech and industrial projects are being currently discussed and coordinated. The launch of the electric buses production  is also planned in Georgia. FREGABUS company is creating a consortium together with the Chinese largest corporation ZTE and German EURABUS. According to the memorandum, a plant will be built in Georgia and production will be launched. The main target is an access to the European markets.

Another similar idea appeared in November, which signifies the tendency. The possibility of building a plant on producing eco and hybrid automobiles in Georgia was discussed by the Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili and the Vice Mayor of the city of Xianyang of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Xiaofan at the meeting within the frames of the Silk Road Forum in Tbilisi. Starting January, 1, 2018 the new free trade agreement between Georgia and the PRC will enter into force to create some additional opportunities.

Foreign Policy. Summit of Georgia’s shattered dreams

It is obvious that Georgia had great expectations regarding the Eastern Partnership summit. These expectations had to do with acknowledging the European perspective of the country. Many believe that this may become a serious incentive for Georgia and will boost more efficient reforms, better understanding of stability and long-term perspective. The withholding position of some capitals, expressed by not recognizing the European perspective, is not understood in Tbilisi. Despite the contradictions, Tbilisi is ready to deepen the reforms and successfully implement the Association Agreement. Discussions can be heard more frequently regarding some opinions that Georgia needs a plan to figure out when and after taking which measures it can get ready to apply for the EU membership.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Georgia will purchase 410 Javelin missiles and 75 Javelin command launch units as well as related elements of logistics and program support. The Georgian officials highlighted that these weapons are only meant for strengthening the defense capabilities of the country.

The estimated cost of the probable purchase of the Javelin anti-tank missile system is approximately $75 mln. This information was followed by the negative remarks of the Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Grigory Karasin, the Russian side “once again highlighted the risks of the military cooperation deepening between Tbilisi and the NATO member states” and underlined that “Washington changed its training program for the Georgian peacemakers into a program of preparing the regular military units”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation also mentions some other risks and states that another military training center in Georgia is being planned with the U.S. assistance.

Tbilisi reacted to such remarks calmly. The government is not going to abandon its own defense despite the concerns expressed by the Russian side.