Georgia has been marking the fifth anniversary of its so-called Rose Revolution, with calls for unity after the catastrophic war with Russia. Defeat has raised questions about President Mikheil Saakashvili’s leadership, but he continues to defy his critics.
“Georgia is here, and here it will stay. Those people who wish we would disappear will be defeated in the end,” said the President. “We must come together, and continue our struggle because it is just.”
The Rose Revolution has lost its bloom, with Saakashvili accused of authoritarianism and the country suffering the pain of military defeat.
“I think that Georgian statehood was strengthened significantly,” said analyst Alexander Rondeli. “But once more I stress that the August invasion by Russia was a tremendous blow to the Georgian economy, to the state-building process.”
Grass-roots opposition to Saakashvili’s rule is still there. Hundreds flocked to the Imedi television station – a former opposition mouthpiece silenced by Saakashvili as he crushed dissent.
And the president faces a new challenge from an old collegue: Nina Burzhanadze, who helped inspire the Rose Revolution, is launching a new opposition party after falling out with Saakashvili earlier this year.