In a series of public statements culminating in an address to a mass rally in Tbilisi on September 3, Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze said that the August 29 attempt against his life was not directed primarily at himself, but rather was an attempt to reintroduce chaos and rule by criminal groups. He said that at a minimum his assassination would have foiled the project to build the Azerbaijan-Turkey oil pipeline via Georgia.
Suspicions in Tbilisi focus variously on the political and paramilitary group Mkhedrioni and its ally, the Georgian Rescue Corps; on Abkhaz separatists trying to derail the negotiations which are developing in Tbilisi’s favor; and on opponents of the pipeline project.
Another suspect frequently mentioned is the now-fired State Security chief Igor Georgadze, who is known for his ties with Russia’s military and security services, and whose father Panteleimon Georgadze heads an anti-Shevardnadze, diehard communist party. On September 1 Shevardnadze dismissed Georgadze and his deputy Teimur Khachishvili.
Shevardnadze also resubordinated State Security’s elite Alfa and Omega assault units directly to humself; and had Khachishvili and several dozen Rescue Corps and Mkhedrioni activists arrested. After Mkhedrioni leader and reputed crime figure Jaba Ioseliani condemned the attempt against Shevardnadze and terrorism in general, police searches discovered weapons caches and contraband at the parliamentary offices and homes of Ioseliani and other Mkhedrioni leaders.
Meanwhile, the parliament adopted September 1 the laws on presidential amd legislative elections and launched on September 4 the campaign for the November 5 elections.
Georgian-Abkhaz Negotiations Break Down.