Tamaz Shavshishvili: "They kidnapped me and violated every conceivable standards of treatment"

Giorgi Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Tamaz Shavshishvili: "They kidnapped me and violated every conceivable standards of treatment"

Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, speaking at the rally in the Kiev city center, has vowed to launch the process of "people’s impeachment" of Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko on December 3. Most likely, it will happen at the Independence Square, where all the landmark events of modern history took place. But the Ukrainian authorities do not intend to abide fate. Having leaked the report to the media about plans to expel Saakashvili, who was deprived of citizenship after Poroshenko's decision to strip his "student friend" of the Ukrainian passport, Ukraine's special services have started to kick the Georgian ex-president's inner circle allies out of the country.

One of the deported persons was a cameraman of the Georgian TV company Rustavi-2, Tamaz Shavshishvili, who worked with Saakashvili for several years when the latter was president, and now, since the ex-president became the leader of the opposition party, he has performed the same functions. The Ukrainian authorities, monitoring Saakashvili's activity in the local media, decided to expel Tamaz Shavshishvili from Ukraine, so that high-quality videos, video addresses and statements by the chairman of the Movement of New Forces party did not appear in the media. Tamaz Shavshishvili told Vestnik Kavkaza in an exclusive interview about the implementation of the plan to free Ukraine from him.

- Tamaz, you were not just deported, but also beaten. How are you feeling?

- I'm fine. I do not intend to surrender and will continue my struggle.

- Do you mean an application to court?

- Of course. First, to Ukrainian courts, and then to the European Court of Human Rights. I will seek to ensure that my exile is recognized as illegal, and my status was restored in Kiev, where I was accredited as a Rustavi 2 resident correspondent. They kidnapped me and violated every conceivable standards of human rights.

- How did this happen?

- Fifteen men in masks, armed with machine guns and pistols, rushed into my apartment. They beat me up, pushed me to the floor, I was blindfolded, put in a car and taken somewhere. Cars were changed several times. Then, as I understand it, they put me in a helicopter. Put me on the floor. We flew for several hours. I remained blindfolded until we arrived in Odessa, by ferry I was sent to Poti. It lasted about 9-10 hours. I was kidnapped in the morning, and on the ferry I was at 8pm. Then there was a long way to Georgia.

- You speak Ukrainian. Did the kidnappers say anything?

- They were silent. They did not even talk to each other. I tried to start a conversation with them, said that I am a journalist, but I did not get any response.

- Why were you deported and the journalist of Rustavi-2 was left in Kiev?

- I cannot explain it.

- Did you often film Saakashvili?

- Yes, but I filmed everyone. Including President Poroshenko, the mayor of Kiev, I filmed all the press conferences, all important events - I was doing my job as a resident correspondent of the accredited television company.

- Did you shoot the Maydan in 2014?

- I visited it a couple of times in those days in Kiev for filming.

- Did you actively help Mikhail Saakashvili?

- I'm just a cameraman. It was my job. I covered the events.Nothing else.

- Were you followed?

- Maybe, but I did not notice it until the last day.

- How did your Ukrainian colleagues react to your deportation? Do you feel their support?

- Of course. I have many friends there.