Ugulava: Vice-Premier Kaladze must have higher degree of responsibility

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Gigi Ugulava, the mayor of Tbilisi who was suspended from office by a court, commented on statements made by Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Energy of Georgia Kakhi Kaladze. Ugulava was speaking on the Rustavi 2 TV program Pozitsia on 28 February.

"It seems this person cannot really understand what official position he is holding. He did not understand that when he made an absolutely wrong statement concerning Ukraine. This person merely cannot realize that he is not an owner of restaurants, lands and cars, but is the Vice-Prime Minister of Georgia and has higher degree of responsibility. Such absolutely thoughtless statements which he made regarding Ukraine harm not only his personal reputation but also the reputation of the country and spoil Georgia's relations with its strategic partners," Ugulava said.

A month ago, Kakhi Kaladze declared that the events unfolding in Ukraine were limited to the Grushevsky Street in Kiev. In the same Pozitsia program, Kakhi Kaladze explained this earlier statement by saying that that was not a political statement. "I am not an expert, nor do I have experience in making political assessments about events going on in a foreign country. I described the situation existing there when I arrived in Kiev on an unofficial visit. Back then ordinary protest rallies were underway and that was the first day when clashes [between protesters and the Ukrainian special forces] began... I did not really expect that Yanukovych would use guns and snipers against his own population," the Vice-Prime Minister said on 28 February.

Gigi Ugulava also commented on other statements made by Kakhi Kaladze, including the one in which Kaladze demanded that the United National Movement apologize to families whose members died in the fight for the territorial integrity of Georgia and citizens who were displaced from Georgia's occupied territories, as well as on Kaladze's continuous denigrating attacks against the United National Movement. One of such statement Kaladze made in the Pozitsia program on 28 February: "Despite the maximum patience which our government, the [Georgian Dream] coalition, the population of the country has exercised throughout the cohabitation period till today towards this politically bankrupt United National Movement, it seems that inadequate actions of these people have no end. These people established a brazen style of demagogy in the country," Kaladze said.

"As regards him [Kaladze] preaching us morals - this person has recently become too unconstrained and is preaching us morals with the help of the teleprompter," Gigi Ugulava said. "Putting a question rhetorically, of course, the entire society and every generation starting from the 1990s to date must apologize to refugees, including me and everyone... But I shall not accept any claim from this person who owns the hotel Ushba, at the entrance of Tbilisi from Mtskheta, which is full of refugees. When he was a football player and businessman, he met with me many times and I begged him – we had such a tradition to ask those owners who could afford it, to either pay compensation to refugees or to repair their living spaces which we [the Mayor's Office] allocated for them; we thereafter used to move refugees into those housings and register them on the names of refugees. Regardless of my three requests this person [Kaladze] did nothing and kept saying that he was not minting money, wondering why should he give money to refugees. If there is housing unregistered on refugees' names it is the ownership of this very Kaladze and if anywhere refugees live in the worst conditions today it is in the Ushba hotel. I call on him - and he has quite a wealth to afford that – to ensure that refugees are removed from there into other place with normal conditions. It is immoral when this person teaches us moral.

"Let me ask him one more question: Who is Ucha Mamatsashvili? This person is a cousin of [former Prime Minister] Bidzina Ivanishvi. You might not be aware but every large businessman already knows full well who Ucha Mamatsashvili is. This is the person who sorts our relations with the business on behalf of Ivanishvili and together with Kaladze, collects money for [forthcoming local] elections. I declare this with full responsibility. Moreover, let Kaladze explain why Ucha Mamatsashvili, whose office is located in Grato Passage [a luxurious commercial center in Tbilisi] in front of Amirani cinema theatre, accompanies him everywhere? Or what was the status of Mamatsashvili accompanying Kaladze to Azerbaijan or on an official visit to Kazakhstan? Since when being Ivanishvili's cousin became an official position? Ucha Mamatsashvili's brother-in-law was appointed a Deputy Agriculture Minister – is it not nepotism?" Ugulava said.

"Let him [Kaladze] take care of those problems which, unfortunately, have accumulated in the energy sector. It is very embarrassing for him to teach others moral. I remember full well what this person did during six years out of nine years [of the rule of United National Movement] and you know that full well. I have objectively become nervous now because this person has been preaching us morals for the fourth time now, calling us morons and dimwits. Let me tell society that he became an enemy of Saakashvili after Kaladze was refused to purchase lands for a half price. This is the truth because we all remember perfectly well whom Kaladze supported... only now it turned out that those nine years were bad," Gigi Ugulava said on 28 February.

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