Paata Burchuladze enters political scene

Giorgi Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively for ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’
Paata Burchuladze enters political scene

The world-renowned Georgian bass Paata Burchuladze said at the first congress of his party ‘State for the People’ that his political organization intends to change the government and "completely change the paradigm of the relations between the people and the state."

The Congress that took place in the so-called Small Sports Palace was constituent. Paata Burchuladze appeared before the public as a politician and spokesperson: "We have to change Georgia and create a new state for the people. This the reason why we intend to be in power, and our victory is inevitable," the newly-born politician said, promising at the same time that he and his team "will be much more effective than any previous governments.’’ "A party that will awaken sleeping Georgia is being born today. The new state will be based on the values ​​of love and mutual respect," Burchuladze concluded.

Then the new leader of the party introduced his team to the audience. Its distinctive feature is there are no recognizable politicians. Apparently, it is Paata Burchuladze’s principled position. He has repeatedly said that all Georgian politicians have been discredited for a long time. Their unscrupulousness, mutual hostility and opportunism over the last 25 years (since the collapse of the Soviet Union) has led to the disappointment of the people and discredited the very idea of ​​independent statehood.

Therefore, Paata Burchuladze invited new people to his party – those who are successful in their professions: doctors, lawyers, jurists, economists and so on. The most iconic of them is journalist Merab Metreveli and expert Khatuna Lagazidze. "Our goal is to change people's attitudes towards political institutions, strengthen civil society and restore people's confidence in the political process," Khatuna Lagazidze told ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’, adding that the new political movement "is already supported by a huge part of the Georgian people."

Objective observers and recent opinion polls fully confirm this fact. Citizens of Georgia express great interest in the ‘State for the People’ party, multiplied by the personal popularity of Paata Burchuladze. Paata is respected not only as a world-famous opera singer who has been performing on the most prestigious opera stages of the world for more than thirty years, but also as a philanthropist and public figure. Several years ago, Paata Burchuladze founded the ‘Lullaby’ fund in order to help homeless families.

‘Burchuladze's Fund’ worked under the auspices of full support from the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II. The benevolence of His Holiness and Beatitude Patriarch toward Paata Burchuladze is considered to be one of the most important resources of the leader of the new party. But Burchuladze has other trump cards in the struggle for power. According to a recent survey conducted by the US Republican Institute (IRI), a significant percentage of Georgian citizens sympathize with Burchuladze and his party. Thus, ‘State for the People’ may well claim to be in first or second place in the parliamentary elections scheduled for October 8th. Taking into account the fact that Georgia is a parliamentary republic in accordance with its Constitution, victory in the autumn elections means the acquisition of full power.

According to the same survey, 60% of citizens still haven’t decided how they will vote. Sociologists say that this category of voters are likely to support Paata Burchuladze, as they are tired of the current politicians and political parties. Especially against the background of the negative results of Georgia's development in the past quarter of a century, when the country lost 20% of its territory and hundreds of thousands of people became refugees, as well as social problems, including unemployment, which remains without an effective solution. And if a significant part of "disillusioned voters who are unclear" will take part in the elections on October 8th, they are likely to vote in favor of a completely new political force, led by the world-famous singer and respected public figure.

In addition to the Georgian Orthodox Church, Paata Burchuladze is supported by representatives of the creative elite, the technical and scientific intelligentsia. But the most important political resource of the world famous singer is his non-political bias. Burchuladze is associated neither with the previous, nor with the current regime. He sharply criticizes both the ‘Georgian Dream’ ruling coalition of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, and former President Mikheil Saakashvili and his party ‘United National Movement’.

At the same time, Burchuladze’ political views, his programs and projects in the country are not clearly articulated. At the congress the singer stated that if Georgian citizens want the country to become a full member of NATO and the European Union, they should vote for the ‘State of the People’. At the same time, Burchuladze promises to "improve relations with Russia.’’

Similar promises were given by all the presidents of Georgia, but they failed to combine these two projects – the Euro-Atlantic orientation and conciliation with Moscow. However, his mission in Georgian politics will be considered to be completed if Paata Burchuladze will be able at least not to worsen relations with its northern neighbor, maintain the current status quo, and prevent the return to power of Mikheil Saakashvili and his Radical team.