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Transnational nomenklaturist corporatism

 

 By Bessarion Gugushvili
Soviet Analyst, Vol. 22, Numb. 3, July 1993, pp.4-12

 

GROZNY, CHECHEN REPUBLIC:

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Comment

 

The approaching collapse of the Communist system and its Evil Empire - as signalled by the 'five-year plan of state funerals' of Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko - prompted the ruling class of the former 'Indestructible Union', the imperial mafia, to ponder its own future. Their leading lights began to develop, and once Gorbachev had won power to implement, a plan for transforming the Communist imperial mafia, such conversion being the hidden essence of ‘perestroika' and 'new thinking'.

First among them was Shevardnadze, who, alone among the highest members of the nomenklatura, possessed invaluable experience of collaboration with the ‘black’ economy - a shadowy and criminal proxy for the free market in the USSR. As Georgia's Minister of Internal Affairs and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party, Shevardnadze had conceived, and later put into operation, a total, deeply integrated and superbly organized system of bribery, extortion and; collusion which eventually reached - and began to infiltrate - the highest levels of power in the Soviet Union, enabling this provincial politician to rise to the very Olympus of the imperial nomenklatura.

The plan called for the regulated 'surrender' of political power by the CPSU, accompanied, and at certain stages anticipated, by the organisation of a CPSU economy in the former Soviet Union and the transfer of hard currency looted by the CPSU to the West. Working in tandem, the two initiatives would create the economic base of the new power élite, restoring the power of the nomenklatura in the post-CPSU, post-USSR era of 'free states'.

'GRAB-AT-ISATION' AVALANCHE

The avalanche of elemental, uncontained privatisaton - justly referred to as 'grab-at-is-ation' by the ordinary people - was helpful in advancing this aim, as, unleashed with superior skill by Yegor Gaidar, economic chaos and mass bankruptcy engulfed the former Soviet Republics. The assets, lying dormant in the West, could now be used to seize key economic spheres in the former USSR, resulting in the 'second coming' or re-establishment of the imperial mafia, now transformed and aligned with certain political forces in the West - in short, in the rejuvenation of the Communist nomenklatura. [And since the looted finds were deposited with banks in the West, the Soviet nomenklatura had all of a sudden become clients of these banks en masse -Ed.] .

The nomenklaturist mafiosi hoped that dirty CPSU hard currency, now finding its way back to the former Soviet Republics, would masquerade as foreign investments. This is especially dangerous because the foreign investments in question are supposed to play some kind of civilising rôle, bringing with them a fresh and desirable range of economic, and ultimately political, relationships. Hence the genesis, or origin, of such investments is of exceptional importance: it is bound to influence the character of the social and political economy, which ultimately emerges.

A report published in Soviet Analyst [Volume 21, Number 6, page 5] is worth t noting in this connection. Apparently, yet another aspect of the 'penetration of commercial structures [by the CPSU]’ has been the emergence of hundreds of ‘joint’ ventures which are wholly capitalised with ‘laundered’ CPSU money. Thus the ‘native’ as well as ‘foreign’ capital for such joint ventures consists mainly of Communist Party dollars and Communist Party roubles.

Independent Georgia, the legitimate Government of the country, and its President - which decisively challenged the legitimacy of these structures - were all naturally unwelcome, as far as the transnational nomenklaturist corporatists established by Shevardnadze and his comrades were concerned. For this reason, the legitimate Government has been systematically discredited as ‘dictatorial’ by the nomenklaturist class and their Western cohorts. The example of Georgia's ‘democrats’ is a cautionary lesson to which all ‘ex’-Soviet Republics and nations must pay heed.

It will become evident from what follows that the junta-run Georgia, like many former Soviet Republics, is literally chock-full of these Communist Party-funded ‘joint’ enterprises, feeding the new bourgeoisie of the old Communist nomenklatura and its ‘market democrats’, with power, money and weapons at the expense of unprecedented poverty, robbery and genocide among the people of Georgia.

This, then, is the situation at the outset - a dreadful state of affairs which frustrates all attempts to construct a Western-type economy in Georgia. Instead of stratifying and boosting the middle classes as a bulwark of democracy, the criminal cleptocracy - a dictatorial élite possessing monopoly powers - divides the country socially into a few bourgeois grandees and the mass of the proletariat, compelled to obey the ruling clique, as in certain banana republics of Latin America, by the force of arms.

This is one of the effects of the currently continuing Communist dictatorship, and to date the main effect of ‘perestroika’. Obviously, there is nothing new about the secret transfer of funds abroad by dictatorships in crisis. It was by such means that the economic resources of Nazi Germany were ‘safeguarded’. However in this connection the Communist Party has outperformed the National Socialist Party.

IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT SUPPORT

In this era of computerised banking, the movement of colossal sums in the Communist Party’s possession could not possibly have passed unnoticed - either within the USSR, or else in those counties which have accepted placement of the loot. In particular, according to Soviet Analyst [Volume. 21, Number 6, pages 3-5], over the past few years official Communist Party organs have been involved in the transfer of huge volumes of capital - in contrast to the pattern established in earlier years, when smaller sums were distributed via Western banks to finance local Communist activities.

By 1991 Western analysts had come to the conclusion that a ‘mass movement of capital’ was in progress. Some Western specialists who have studied the transfers assess the cumulative total at $280 billion.

The money was placed in some 7,000 bank accounts throughout Europe, particularly in Lyons and Marseilles, as well as the Near East and Latin America. In addition, so-called ‘friendly firms’ - in reality, business fronts of the Communist Party abroad - were established in a number of Western counties. This is essentially how the contemporary global Communist Party ‘economic underground’ came into being.

Financial operations on such a large scale required systematic Support and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Communist Party's main foreign policymaker, controlled by Gorbachev's factotum and ‘one of the fathers of perestroika and New Thinking’ - Eduard Shevardnadze.

Equally, Western governments could not have failed to notice - and, having noticed the huge money flows, could hardly have failed to respond with appropriate technical measures with respect to the multibillion-dollar resources being shunted around, especially given the possibility that these could destabilise the financial and economic situations in certain of the countries in receipt of the funds in question.

At this sensitive stage, the Communist Party’s nomenklatura would have had to have placed their cards on the table - and, having done so, in effect collude with certain key figures and moving forces in Western politics and business. It is increasingly clear that Shevardnadze’s chief party assignment, as head of the Soviet Foreign Ministry was to mastermind this collusion.

Thus the cancer of the nomenklaturist Mafia, created by Shevardnadze in Georgia, which first spread to involve the top echelons of Communist Party leadership, went on to infect men of influence in the West - thereby producing a transnational nomenklaturist corporate network with multibillion-dollar assets at its disposal.

For their part, the political circles in the West which colluded with Shevardnadze’s mafia in preparing the ground for the economic return of the party nomenklatura - helping them to mask their financial dealings and assisting them in the laundering of funds - extracted certain interesting concessions in return, particularly with respect to East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe, and the Baltic States.

In its many external dimensions and positive aspects, this quid pro quo is being extensively, one might say arrogantly, promoted. However there is considerable evidence to suggest that its hidden agenda has less to do with considerations of high policy - the establishment of democracy, in the eyes of the West, and the achievement of Socialist regional objectives in the eyes of Moscow - than with mafia greed. The relevant evidence for this conclusion will be detailed later in this analysis.

PREPARATORY VISIT TO FLORIDA

The key published reference to the collusion at issue is to be found in the Georgian junta’s official newspaper Sakartvelos Respublika [‘The Georgian Republic’ dated 7th March 1992, the very day of Shevardnadze’s return to Georgia as ‘leader’ of the junta. According to the newspaper: ‘From 28th February to 1st March E. Shevardnadze was in Florida, in the United States. Sources close to the former Soviet Foreign Minister have indicated that he visited the state at the behest of America’s business circles’.

The report went on to reveal that ‘during his meeting with the businessmen, Shevardnadze announced the establishment of the Fund for Restoration and Democracy in Georgia [alias the Shevardnadze Fund for Democracy and National Revival: see SOVIET ANALYST, Volume 21, Numbers 9/10, box on page 23] (FRDG) and called on his audience to work with the organisation.’

The Georgian newspaper also revealed that a protocol had been signed at the meeting obligating the management of the ‘Brooke Group Limited’ to participate in the following projects:

1. Creation of an overall strategic concept for Georgia's economic redevelopment.

2. Reconstruction of the port of Batumi.

3. Expansion of the Batumi airport.

4. The construction of new petroleum storage facilities at Batumi.

5. The reconstruction of the port of Poti.

6. Rebuilding of chemical enterprises.

7. The development of Georgian resorts.

8. Establishment of enterprise zones.

To any uninformed reader, with perhaps little knowledge either of Georgia’s current economic and political realities or of Mr. Shevardnadze's involvement with them, this intelligence may seem benign - evidence, surely, of the ‘fatherly’ concern the ‘democrat’ Shevardnadze has shown for the restoration of his ‘lesser motherland’ and of the willingness of American capital to support such a worthy cause.

But the reader should remain alert:

1. At the time when the protocol was signed Shevardnadze was not only not an official representative, with powers to negotiate on behalf of the country, but was not even a citizen of the independent Georgia.

2. The economic objectives of the protocol encompass the geopolitical backbone of Georgia’s entire economy and are strategic monopolies - not only in the local context of Georgia and of the Caucasian region, but also of the whole of the southern USSR as well as of northern Iran and Turkey. This is to say nothing of the fact that they are the national property of the Georgian Republic, and cannot be employed or alienated, exclusively or otherwise, for private ends by any Fund - even one established by the ‘fatherly’ Eduard Shevardnadze, in conjunction with foreign businesses which have the tell-tale characteristics of Communist Party ‘friendly firms’ about them.

3. Geographically, a significant proportion of the national resources listed in the protocol belongs to Georgia’s autonomous regions like Abkhazia or Adjaria; and to make use of them or to alienate them without consultation with the local authorities, people and governments, is to invite serious political consequences - such as were indeed rapidly to follow.

4. A majority of projects listed in the protocol signed with the Brooke Group Limited involves the oil-gas, oil-gas processing and oil-gas-transportation industries and facilities - whereas the products themselves originate and undergo primary refining beyond the borders of the Georgian Republic. In short, the projects concerned have regional and geopolitical and geoeconomic significance.

Accordingly, the central question arises: why did Shevardnadze, with no apparent involvement in Georgian affairs, who was ostensibly residing peacefully in Moscow as a private individual and a Russian citizen, suddenly travel to the Urged States, to distribute among certain American businessmen and possibly through them, officials, the wealth and natural resources of Georgia?

How does all this connect with the events in Georgia in September, October and late December 1991? With the punitive war against western Georgia in Megrelia and Abkhazia? With the invasion of oil-rich regions of the former USSR by ‘foreign’ companies? With the attempted appropriation of strategic routes and the export to the West of oil-gas products via the Caucasus [Poti and Batumi in Georgia, Azerbaijan-Armenia, Chechenia and Ingushetia and Ossetia in the north]?

Or with the peculiar silence of Western and Russian ‘democratic’ politicians and media concerning the monstrous violations of human rights which have been taking place without respite in Georgia or Ingushetia, or about Yeltsin’s hysterical assault on the unilaterally declared political independence of the Chechen Republic?

BAKER'S FIRST TBILISI VISIT

Some answers to these questions emerge from events which antedate by some two weeks the signing of the Miami protocol.

On 18th February 1992, only 33 days after the military punch in Tbilisi, the US Secretly of State, James Baker met the Junta’s acting Prime Minister, Mr. Sigua, in Moscow. Mr. Baker had visited Mr. Shevardnadze at his Moscow apartment on the preceding day. According to a front-page report in Sakartvelos Respublika dated 20th February 1992, the Baker-Sigua meeting had been ‘arranged’ by the American Ambassador to Moscow, Mr. Robert Strauss - a businessman with a known interest in the petroleum industry - and a young Georgian diplomat, a certain Mr. D. Chikvaidze.

The meeting between Baker and Sigua became the subject of much speculation in Georgia, since in the course of a Russian Television address Mr. Baker had stated that the United States would not restore diplomatic relations with Georgia unless President Zviad Gamsakhurdia was rehabilitated. At the end of the meeting Baker stressed that the meeting ‘is not to be construed as recognition of the present Government of Georgia’ - that is, of the illegal junta. But the details of the meeting itself were shrouded in secrecy.

As for the Baker-Shevardnadze meeting held ‘at Baker’s request, Shevardnadze analysed the situation in Georgia and put to his guest several questions to which Washington must pay special attention’ [Sakartvelos Respublika, ibid]. No Western media source, at that time or in the preceding weeks, had so much as speculated that Mr. Shevardnadze would return to Georgia [just as no Western intelligence agency or publication had foreseen the ‘changes’ orchestrated in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union by the ‘inner KGB’ before they occurred, with the exception of Anatoliy Golitsyn - Ed.].

Ten days later, Mr. Shevardnadze surfaced in Miami, Florida. It would appear that Washington did, after all, pay special attention to the questions put to Mr. Baker. A further week passed, and on 7th March 1992 Shevardnadze with tears of emotion in his eyes, was embraced by the leaders of the Georgian nomenklatura at Tbilisi airport.

MIAMI PROTOCOL IMPLEMENTED

On the same day A. Chikvaidze, father of the aforementioned D. Chikvaidze, was appointed the junta's acting Minister of Foreign Affairs. It may be mentioned that this distinguished secret policeman, noted for his momentarily misguided support of the August Coup in Moscow, had previously served Shevardnadze as Consul General of the USSR in San Francisco and later as Soviet Ambassador to The Netherlands. Now the junta’s new man rushed to put the Miami protocol into practice, paving the way for Communist Party dollars to be re-routed to Georgia.

The charter of doe new Fund was not published in Georgia until 11th March 1992, well after the signing of the Miami protocol [Sakartvelos Respublika, dated 11th March 1992]. This text shows that among the founders of the Fund for Democracy and Reconstruction in Georgia are Eduard Shevardnadze himself (‘personal savings’ and lecture fees’ are mentioned), a Foreign Policy Association which he runs, a Union for Economic Reconstruction which he controls, and several ‘foreign’ and Georgian businesses. Thus, Shevardnadze is at every level the founder, manager and actual proprietor of the Fund.

The launch the Shevardnadze Fund took place in Tbilisi as early as 13th March 1992 - at the luxurious Metekhi Palace Hotel [Sakartvelos Respublika, 14th March 1992] owned through the Austrian firm ‘ABC’ by the nomenclaturists Khabeishvili, Mgeladze and Shevardnadze. At the launch, Shevardnadze declared that ‘the Fund must become one of the main links in the struggle for the salvation of Georgia’, leaving no doubt which interests had the upper hand.

Additional information concerning this Fund appeared in an article published in Izvestia No. 92, reprinted in Sakartvelos Respublika dated 24th April 1992]. The article explained that ‘details concerning the FRDG's capitalization have not yet been disclosed, but sources close to the Fund maintain that it can easily perform the fiction of a parallel budget for the nation’.

SUDDENLY, GEORGIA'S INTO DRUGS

As indicated, the assets of the new Fund, an offshoot of Our Shevardnadze’s Foreign Policy Association, are said on good authority to be comparable to the state budget of a country the size of Georgia. If this is the case, what, then, is the financial clout of the Association itself?

In this connection the testimony of Anatoliy Lukyanov may be relevant [cited in the 'Bulletin of the International Society for Human Rights, Frankfurt-am-Main, July 1992]: ‘Many Politburo members have appropriated Communist Party funds, and Shevardnadze, who has invested them in the narcotics trade and ethnic conflict, is among them.’

At around the time Shevardnadze was getting ready to be ‘appointed’ head of the Tbilisi junta, Georgia was becoming an important transit point on the drug route from East to West. According to Moscow Television, it was Turkish, not Georgian, customs officials and police located at Sarpi (Batumi) who seized a record 1400kg shipment of narcotics, smuggled by Turkish citizens along the following drug route: Afghanistan to Central Asia to Georgia to Turkey and thence on to Europe. Another such route - Central Asia to North Caucasus (Ossetia) via Georgia and Turkey to Europe - has also been activated. Both routes are within the control of Shevardnadze and several Central Asian Turkish nomenklaturist bosses associated with him.

The connection between the Georgian drug barons and their Turkish counterparts is underscored by frequent short visits made to Turkey ‘on important state business’ by the head of Georgian ‘drug executive’ - which is what the Mkhedrioni, packed with obvious drug addicts, is. Others who make such visits include one of the leaders of the junta, J. Ioseliani, and his aide-de-camp, Z. Vepkhvadze.

This reality is worth contrasting, in passing, with a curiously snobbish statement by G. Sikharulidze, the chief political commentator of Sakartvelos Respublika [15th February 1992] ‘Turkey’, he wrote, ‘is a democratic country, the Government of which is formed from the highest social strata’. Sikharulidze appears to have meant that some Turkish nomenklatura bosses come from ancient aristocratic families.

The Georgian, Russian and European media have carried many accurate reports concerning the widespread drug addiction prevailing among the Mkhedrioni thugs. But none is evidently willing to broadcast the fact that this bulwark of the Shevardnadze junta is also the executive arm of a global narcotics business.

An especially disturbing feature of the predominance of the Mkhedrioni is the fact that financial and humanitarian assistance Prom the West, as well as the ‘life-saving’ Russian credits, are being used almost in their entirety to subsidise the drug dependence of the Mkhedrioni and other ‘fighters for democratic ideals’.

According to Sakartvelos Respublika [23rd June 1992], 10,000 of these brave men need to be subsidised in order for their drug dependence to be controlled and satisfied. A single dose costs anywhere between five and ten thousand roubles. A simple calculation shows that at current prices the monthly allowance must run to at least two to three billion roubles, or 30 to 35 billion roubles annually, which represents a quarter of the Georgian state budget!

Without their fixes, in the words of this newspaper, ‘10,000 armed and infuriated men would tear the whole country apart’. Incidents are on record in which aggressive Mkhedrioni attacks in Abkhazia and Megrelia had to be called off because the troops had not received morphine in time to be geared for their highs.

MKHEDRIONI ESTABLISHED WITH COMMUNIST PARTY 'DIRTY MONEY'

In Georgia itself it is an open secret that the Mkhedrioni gangs were set up, organised and armed as long ago as 1988-89 using Communist ‘dirty’ money under the supervision of Shevardnadze's associate, the Secretary to the Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party, Mgeladze, who was also the Minister for Agricultural Production - and thus head of by far the most corrupt of the domestic ministries. The Mkhedrioni even tried to hustle onto the international stage during the run-up to the Gulf War, when J. Ioseliani, on Shevardnadze's orders, made a big show of wanting to go and attack Saddam.

It was then that Shevardnadze formed his ‘friendship’ with James Baker and George Bush - as well as the US General J. Shalikashvili, who was subsequently appointed Commander of NATO troops in Europe. Mr. Shalikashvili has become a sizeable landowner in doe wine-growing area of Kakheti - a fact which speaks for itself.

Many issues are raised by the existence of the Miami protocol - placing as it does under the control of an obscure American firm not only the lion’s share of the productive resources of Georgia - of vital importance to a vast region of the former USSR - but also, the development of a strategic concept for the development of the entire country. The central question to be answered, obviously, is this: what are the forces which implemented this collusion, which not only relies upon ‘foreign investment’ to line the pockets of the mafia, but also presupposes and demands the forcible overthrow of the legitimate government in Georgia and radical modification of political systems throughout the region

PREPARATIONS IN AMERICA

To inject some clarity into this ‘confusing’ situation, we turn first to the activities of a group of ‘dissidents’ from Georgia, namely the Gudava brothers and the husband-and-wife team Chanturia-Sarishvili.

Not long before Eduard Shevardnadze was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, the brothers Eduard and Tengiz Gudava were 'exiled' from the USSR - that is, dispatched by the KGB - to the United States. Once there, without delay and with no apparent financial difficulties, the brothers founded nothing less than a ‘Center for the Acceleration of Democracy in the USSR’. In retrospect it can be seen that the main aims of the Center were to create financial structures for the ‘movement for national liberation’ in Georgia.

During 1988-91, the Gudava brothers concentrated on discrediting two of the leaders of Georgia's patriotic movement, namely M. Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia, in the American press, using, in particular, the Russian-language news paper Novoye Russkoye Slovo [the ‘New Russian Word’] which published dozens of articles smearing these leaders, and the legitimate government of Georgia, as instruments of dictatorship. This was a classic KGB smear campaign, conducted with the assistance of agents of influence.

In May 1992 Eduard Gudava arrived back in Tbilisi to meet his patron Shevardnadze on 5th May, at the Metekhi Palace Hotel, he and Chanturia gave an interview to the newspaper ‘Droni’ [‘Times’, No. 19/84, 16th May 1992], which casts fresh light on the group’s activities and, more generally, upon the post-perestroika secret activities of the Communist Party nomenklatura representatives in the West.

‘At the time of the Moscow putsch’, said Gudava, ‘we decided to close down all the Center’s programmes since we felt that their mission had been accomplished.’ In what way was the Moscow putsch a signal for Guvada to abort his fruitful mission?

The answer is to be found not in the circumstances of the putsch, but in the events which took place in Tbilisi. For this was the moment when Sigua and Kitovani began their first attempted coup d’état in Georgia, which soon matured into a permanent, creeping putch throughout September and October, culminating in the bloody days of December 1991 and January 1992.

The closing down of the Center’s programmes coincided with other relevant developments, as well. The weeks which immediately preceded the ‘August Coup’ in Moscow were remarkable, according to SOVIET ANALYST [Volume 21, Number 6], for the unprecedented size of Communist Party transfers of dollars through German banks, in particular. The wall of money accelerated to the point at which the dollar went through the roof on the foreign exchanges - only to depreciate sharply as vast profits were taken. Thus, by August and September, the first stage of the Gudava brothers' mission and their Center, had been completed. The groundwork for the coup d’état in Georgia had been well and truly prepared.

GREEK INTERESTS INVOLVED

Additional insights into the circumstances surrounding the September coup in Tbilisi can be deduced from official coverage of the relations between the junta and Greek business and political circles. The Greek Ambassador to Moscow, I. Gunaris, has asserted [see Sakartvelos Respublika dated 17th April 1992] that ‘the decision to make a state visit to Georgia [by an official Greek Government delegation} had to be taken last year [that is, when the legitimate Government was still in power in Georgia]. Everything was ready, blat then came September and we received news from Tbilisi that an armed conflict was under way. In such conditions our visit became impossible, as we did not wish to encourage what was happening by diplomatic contact’.

From this it is clear that the Greek Ambassador chose to ignore the mass executions, the beatings, the pogroms and the torture of supporters of the legitimate Government by Shevardnadze’s junta. Why did none of these atrocities have the slightest effect upon relations between Greece and the junta? What had the legitimate Government of Georgia ever done to displease the Greek ‘democrats’? The answer to such questions is clear from reports of the visit by the Democratic Party of Greece to Georgia published in Sakartvelos Respublika on 14th May 1992. As the newspaper now explained, ‘work has been completed on a joint Greek-Georgian marine enterprise… The Greek guests have shown great interest in the reconstruction of the seaport at Poti, its financing and planning’. Greek interests, therefore, are enmeshed, are they not, with the very same outside interests which have already been identified. Obviously, the local Communist Party has been hard at work through agents of influence in Greece.

PRESS AGENCY DISINFORMATION CHANNEL ESTABLISHED IN U.S.

But let us return to die Gudava brothers’ activities in the United States. In the course of his interview with ‘Droni’ [see above], Eduard Gudava explained that ‘during perestroika, we were able to start up a news service in the United States which received, translated and disseminated information from all parts of the USSR. We operated a typically American magazine, Independent Press Digest, intended for readers with an interest in the ‘Soviet phenomenon’. It is difficult to imagine that these intelligence-gathering activities, or their financing, escaped the attention of the US secret services.

Eduard Gudava went on to explain to 'Droni' that after the Center had been deactivated in August 1991, ‘on the basis of the Center we created a new organisation called Transcominternational, based on the same idea of the ‘opening up of a closed system’. Presumably the new corporate shell was intended to mask other activities. Gudava further explained that ‘I have already begun work in order to establish a new Georgian organization [based in the United States]... This will be a purely Georgian organisation to be entitled ‘The Georgian-American Fund’. We will be closely allied with the FRDG [Shevardnadze’s Fund], which is already established in Georgia. The whole idea, function and sphere of operations of the two organisations are so identical that it is possible that we will act as the FRDG’s American arm’ [sic]. No further comment is necessary.

Further intelligence concerning Eduard Gudava's activities in the United States, his rôle in the Tbilisi coup d'etat and the forces supporting him, appeared in a letter dated 22nd March 1992 from I. Goldstein to E. Shevardnadze, published in the newspaper Iberia-Spectrum No. 40, 23rd-29th April 1992]. This letter stated that ‘in September 1991, on the instructions of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, I conducted negotiations with a representative of the opposition, Eduard Gudava. He, along with his brother Tengiz Gudava, represented in the West the political party of G. Chanturia [National Democratic Party]. E. Gudava, a good friend of mine, was in New York, I was in Tbilisi, and we had two hour-long telephone sessions. In the interim, Eduard had consultations with those he was representing... Unfortunately Eduard was told to stand firm on the ‘Gamsakhurdia must go’ line. The spilling of blood in Tbilisi and the devastation in Rustaveli Avenue could not have been avoided.‘

This is why, in August and September 1991, the Gudava brothers’ Center was able to consider its mission to have been accomplished, and turned to concentrating upon the recycling of Communist Party dollars back into Georgia in the form of Western ‘investments’.

But with whom was Gudava having his consultations in New York, while the fate of the legitimate Government of Georgia and of its democracy was being decided?

THE NDP IS A KGB FRONT...

The paths of  E. Gudava and Shevardnadze converge in the context of the Shevardnadze Fund and of large economic and intermediary transactions involving American firms. Mr. Gudava’s relations with the National Democratic Party, it turns out, were motivated by practical considerations.

Gudava helpfully explained what these were in his ‘Droni’ interview after a journalist had asked about his membership of the National Democratic Party (led by the husband-and-wife team of G. Chanturia and I. Sarishvili): ‘My [NDP] membership is largely symbolic’, he said. ‘The NDP was the only [political party in Georgia] which was interested in establishing links with the West, and had done so. Its staff managed to locate me, and now we work together.’ This establishes that the Gudava brothers are are tied in with the National Democratic Party, headed by the Chanturia-Sarishvili team [see this page].

What is the NDP? It is a small, ‘controlled’ party with carefully concealed, yet significant, sources of revenue. It controls a substantial number of underground paramilitary groups. Its members are involved in large scale racketeering and narcotics trafficking. It has links with the German ‘radical Right’, which officially protested to President Zviad Gamsakhurdia when Mr. G. Chanturia, the head of the party, was arrested following the second Tbilisi putsch attempt in October 1991. Finally, the National Democratic Party was actively involved in die September and October coup attempts in Tbilisi.

Who is G. Chanturia? He is a double agent. During his ‘imprisonment’ in 1983 for ‘dissidence’, Mr. Chanturia worked as a KGB informer (‘hen’) and was put in charge of the prison’s housekeeping facilities. After documents confirming this fact appeared in the Georgian media, he was challenged to a televised debate by the head of the KGB prison in question, Colonel T. Dalibazashvili, but declined to participate, fearing complete exposure. In 1988-89, working through the Gudava brothers, G. Chanturia began cooperating with certain Western secret services.

…AT THE CORE OF NEW STRUCTURES

Who is I. Sarishvili? She is the actual head of the Georgian Information and Intelligence Service, Shevardnadze’s analogue of the Georgian KGB. Sarishvili and the National Democratic Party are at the center of one of the most mysterious episodes to have taken place in Georgia since the military coup - namely, the abolition and dispersal of the entire apparatus of the KGB's former structures in the Republic - the apparatus which had reared Shevardnadze and had served him loyally and brutally for two decades - and the subsequent creation of an entirely new system, headed by the simpleton I. Batiashvili but actually run by Sarishvili, Chanturia and the NDP. Since 1989, this organisation had been acting as Shevardnadze's intelligence service, while at the same time forging prospectively lucrative relationships in the West.

An interview given by Sarishvili to the newspaper ‘Kabadoni’ [21st May 1992 offered a valuable clue to the CPSU-dollar expectations of Shevardnadze’s entourage. ‘Unfortunately, we will not be able to find a solution to Georgia's socio-economic crisis by ourselves. We must make the right choice: whose help we are going to receive and with whom we are going to collaborate? There is the West, and there is our traditional choice, Russia - traditional, in the sense that for many years we have been chained to her. Today, Russia cannot help us because she is herself in a difficult position. But Russia can act as a bridge.’

But exactly which ‘traditional’ Russia did Madame Sarishvili have in mind? The Russia of the imperial nomenklatura and CPSU dollars? How can such a Russia be a bridge?

This reference to Russia acting as a ‘bridge’ for Georgia represented a radical departure from that same National Democratic Party’s stated policy, as expressed in a declaration signed by die NDP’s Press Officer, V. Khukhunaishvili, and published in Sakartvelos Respublika on 29th April 1992 under the heading: ‘God Alone we Obey: 75 Years of the NDP’. The party’s statement read, in part: ‘Nor did we change our stance with respect to Georgia’s independence. No to any special relationship with Russia! No to all confederations and pacts! Go west - bypassing Russia!’ But four months later, the same Madame Sarishvili declared in Sakartvelos Respublika [of 28th October 1992] that ‘Eduard is the only force that can take Georgia to the West, bypassing Russia’.

GENSCHER INVOLVED IN GEORGIA

The revised destiny of Georgia was also hinted at in certain Georgian media coverage following the final putsch, of the close relationship between Herr Hans-Dietrich Genscher - the former German Foreign Minister who resigned suddenly in May 1992 following revelations contained in the Stasi files from eastern Germany, and who was close to the chief Soviet administrator of agents of influence, Alexander Bessmertnykh - and Eduard Shevardnadze.

Sakartvelos Respublika [11th April 1992] published the text of a speech by Genscher given in Vienna during an award ceremony on 14th February 1992, when Shevardnadze had received the Order of St Augustine [sic!] ‘I am honoured’, the German Foreign Minister said, ‘to announce that the St Augustine of 1992 is my good friend Eduard Shevardnadze. From this day forward he is Eduard Augustine Shevardnadze. During l 990 he helped me in my election campaign, in my native city of Halle. I promise him that I will return the kindness during the elections in Georgia’.

But consider this. As of 14th February 1992 - one month after the putch in Tbilisi there had been no mention, either official or even quasi-official - in Georgia or anywhere else of Shevardnadze’s impeding return to his ‘lesser homeland’, to say nothing of any elections. Yet Herr Genscher knew, and promised to help. [Observe our exclusive information about Bessmertnykh, given above - Ed.] Genscher’s promise was not made public Until April 1992.

It is worth adding that on 25th January 1991, Sakartvelos Respublika had reported that E. Shevardnadze had met Genscher, who had shared with the former Soviet Foreign Minister ‘his’ plans for the creation of new structures governing the architecture of Europe. The German Foreign Minister had asked about the situation in the USSR generally, and in Georgia in particular. He had said that under certain conditions and in a certain situation, the Federal Republic of Germany would be able to lend support and assistance to Georgia.

Those hypothetical conditions and that situation were soon to become reality. On 12th April 1992, Genscher had the opportunity to put his promise into practice. He arrived in Georgia. Whereupon the newspaper ‘7 dge’ [‘7 Days’, No. 12/49, 15th-21st April 1992] resolved the mystery of Genscher's relationship with Eduard Shevardnadze, by revealing the nature of the deal struck between them. As the Georgian newspaper quoted Shevardnadze, the dictator said that ‘by recognising Georgia, now on its way towards normalisation, the Federal Republic of Germany in effect receives carte-blanche for its activities in the Caucasian region.’

JUST AS IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

[Thus Herr Genscher, the ‘friend’ of Bessmertnykh and Shevardnadze) set the scene for the mass recognition by Western countries of the illegitimate régime of Shevardnadze in Georgia. The other key Western powers were, as usual, weak and feckless: thy mainly followed the German example. This, of course, is precisely what happened in the former Yugoslavia: and the whole world knows the results of Germany's precipitate and arrogant recognition of three ‘ex’-Yugoslav states against the wishes of the weak European powers - Ed.] .

Peaceful protests in Tbilisi by the many thousands of Georgians who turned out to demonstrate their support for the legitimate Government of Georgia during Genscher's visit, were abruptly dispersed by the gangs of Mkhedrioni and members of the National Democratic Party with unusual cruelty - using German shepherd dogs which are now unavoidably referred to as ‘genschers’ in Georgia. By the same token, 7.6mm calibre Kalashnikov bullets of the type pumped By the junta's terrorists into the backs of peaceful demonstrators in the course of James Baker’s visit to Tbilisi no more than a hundred yards from the podium where this ‘great democrat’ stood embracing Shevardnadze and Ioseliani - have been known ever since that notorious episode, as ‘bakers’.

These, then are the weapons of ‘democracy’ employed to repress ordinary Georgian people: lethal ‘genschers” and ‘bakers’ [see: ‘Democracy and Human Rights in Georgia’, Report by the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, 1992, page 10].

But while any had recognised the sovereignty of Georgia under Shevardnadze, which it had failed to do under the legitimately elected Gamsakhurdia, Russian troops remained stationed in Germany. So Shevardnadze undertook to guarantee to receive and to quarter certain troops being withdrawn from Germany in the region. Furthermore, Shevardnadze has given his consent to new settlements in Georgia by people of German origin once located there by the Russian Empire, as well as by ‘Soviet’ Germans.

Genscher’s visit also had other undertones. A. Ghikvaidze, the junta’s ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs’, claimed in Sakartvelos Respublika on 8th May 1992 that ‘the visit raised Georgia’s prestige in the eyes of the international community. Here is one example of why this is so. Certain circles in the Arab countries now believe that Georgia can act as a mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict... The American Senator, Alan Cranston, has mentioned Shevardnadze and former President Carter among a list of figures suited for this task’. Shevardnadze’s ambition, it seemed, was already somewhat circumscribed by his modest homeland. It transpired later that the Shevardnadze ‘government’ had ‘established’ close relationships with elements of the Palestinian movement and with Iran.

BAKER'S GOLDEN FLEECE METAPHOR

Has Shevardnadze bitten off more than he can chew? The fact is that ‘dear Augustine’ (actually Augustine George, since of late he has undergone a ‘Christian conversion’) is having to manoeuvre with great care, as was evident from his relationship last year with Messrs Bush and Baker. That Shevardnadze must operate within constraints of a subtle nature was made clear at the notorious dinner given in Mr. Baker’s honour during his visit to Tbilisi on 25-26 May 1992. James Baker II, that brilliant orator and powerful thinker, spoke as faithfully recorded by Sakartvelos Respublika, in its issue of 27th May 1992:

BAKER: ‘In ancient times there was a beautiful and enchanting land, cursed by a terrible curse. To flee this land [from the curse], a young leader and his courageous friends took a path riddled with great dangers. For their land to have peace and prosperity, they had to liberate the sacred treasure. This sacred treasure was guarded by a sleeping monster. Moreover, on the way there, they met terrific obstacles. They had to harness fire-breathing bulls, and to sow a vast field with the poisonous teeth of a snake. Despite all this, thanks to their joint efforts their nobility, audacity and devilish conspiracy, God intervened and they survived their ordeal’.

One can perhaps forgive the former US Secretary of State - in the words of the well-informed British journal SOVIET ANALYST this ‘useful idiot’, used by Shevardnadze for personal gain - his comprehensive ignorance of the Classics, and of Greek Mythology in particular. But what are we to make of the distinct impression given by Mr. James Baker’s speech - that the troubles and hazards in his version of the story of the Argonauts, contained a specific message?

Here it is the message it contained. Colchis, the historic western part of Georgia incorporating Megrelia and Abkhazia, is cursed with a terrible curse - although by whom or for what reason, we are not told. Colchis is either the property or the fiefdom of the foreigner - the Greek Jason and his friends. The Argonauts come to bring peace and prosperity to Colchis - rather than to steal the Golden Fleece. It is clear that these mythological events amount to a collective metaphor for the contemporary revenge of die nomenklatura, complete with the sacred dollar treasure of the Communist Party, the wars and putsches against the cursed land, and a hellish conspiracy: all the ingredients of the Greek myth seemed, Mr. Baker was implying, to be matched by events as they were unfolding. In fact, even as he was speaking, he was compelled to pause to take in the fact that the hideous racket of machinegun fire in the adjacent streets reps resented government atrocities in the course of being committed against unarmed people.

NOTHING TO OFFER AFTER ALL

It would be comforting to believe that Mr. Baker had not allowed himself to have the wool pulled over his eyes to the point of complete blindness. But one thing is for certain: Shevardnadze had been deceiving Baker, and all his other Western ‘friends’. Neither in Georgia nor in the Caucasus does Shevardnadze enjoy significant support among the population - other than among the corrupt nomenklatura and the mafiosi. His grandiose promises to the Germans and the Americans in the Caucasus have amounted to so much hot air - it since his arrival has been the sill for permanent civil war, almost total anarchy, banditry and general destabilisation - all of which he is responsible for having let loose in the region. These circumstances combine to prevent the Communist Party-dollar Argonauts from profiting as anticipated from the betrayal of the Caucasian peoples - although, judging by the money being made from illegal shipments via Georgian Airlines to Vienna airport, everyone is doing their best [box, page 7]. Colchis is unafraid of the curse of the nomenklatura, while the ‘Greek’ leader is not young enough to abduct the proud Medea and must content himself with an elderly lady of generous proportions.

UNDESIRABLE FOREIGN OPERATORS

Yet still the fire-breathing bulls keep on ploughing up the suffering Caucasus, and still the enemy continues sowing dragon teeth on our land.

For instance, Georgia has been flooded with Western ‘businessmen’ of the most unsalubrious type. One example is a certain G. Bonomi, an Italian ‘businessman’ who is chairman of the holding company ‘Georgia-Italy’. According to ‘Droni’ [4th April 1992], this gentleman reported that ‘since from 1983, I’ve been working in Latin America... At the request of the Government of Peru... I have carried out a prison reform there. In the prisons, factories were created for the inmates to work in’. Congratulations, Signor Bonomi, you have a good nose. Your experience and services will be invaluable to the ‘democrat’ Shevardnadze. The Georgia-Italy enterprise will undoubtedly be very successful. There’s plenty of work for you in Georgia’s overflowing prisons and torture chambers, and you are sure to be handsomely rewarded.

PARADISE FOR MAFIOSI

Yet Shevardnadze is fatally hampered in the doing of his various noble deeds by native, well-established mafiosi syndicates which have ‘come of age’ since he seized power. Their motto, adapted from the American film classic ‘The Magnificent Seven’, insists that banks in Georgia can only be robbed by Georgians. Accordingly, they combine to protect their turf with ruthless efficiency.

They are busily siphoning oil along the entire length of the Baku-Batumi pipeline which now resembles a sieve. They control the seaport at Poti and the oil terminal at Batumi - stealing vast quantities of oil, a fraction of which goes to pay off some of the junta’s key people. They intercept and rob every form of transport which crosses into Georgia - collecting local ‘taxes’ and ‘customs duties’. By force of arms, they strip bare state-sector enterprises and private businesses alike; and nor are they squeamish when it comes to exploiting the lucrative potential of ‘joint’ ventures.

So Shevardnadze is caught in the middle. On the one hand, he is indebted to the transnational nomenklaturist club network, which has helped him to market himself him as a ‘democrat’, and is now demanding to reap its dividends. On the other hand, he is indebted to the now flourishing and over-mighty native mafiosi, whose cooperation has enabled him to return to power in Georgia and which now covets and steals its share of the spoils. . .

GEORGIA POINTS THE WAY

Georgia’s experiences provide a window on what has been happening throughout the so-called 'former' USSR. They reveal what Western analysts and opinion seems reluctant to recognise - inter alia that:

  •  The ‘market’ economy said to be ‘emerging’ in the region is impregnated from the outset with corruption, and infected by monopolistic arrangements fixed up by the transnational nomenklaturist network.

  •  Western interests are collaborating intensively with the new ‘ex’-Soviet ‘market’ super-empire - which has now, for the first time in history, penetrated the financial citadels of the West, through the recycling of nomenklaturist hard currency to and through the Western banks, of which the ‘ex’-Soviet élite have become customers.

So: do CPSU dollar influence policy making and the taking of strategic decisions?

And does all this not mean that the Evil Empire is not only not dead or weakened, but to the contrary - that it has turned itself round and gained a new lease of life?

nomenklatura (sov.)- nomenclature

 

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