Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 120

According to an official of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) yesterday, the extradition of Georgia’s former State Security chief Igor Georgadze "will not even be discussed" until Tbilisi shows "serious evidence" of Georgadze’s involvement in the August 29 assassination attempt against head of state Eduard Shevardnadze and other terrorist acts in Georgia. Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD) and the FSB would only move to arrest Georgadze "if shown documents which would prove his guilt beyond doubt," the official said. The two agencies would also carry out instructions from Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office in the case, he added. Also yesterday, Russia’s MVD minister Anatoly Kulikov firmly stonewalled on the issue at a meeting in Yerevan of senior Internal Affairs Ministry officials from CIS countries. And on the same day, the Interpol’s Georgian bureau chief (a Georgian national) announced that he had asked Interpol’s central authorities to take over the effort to apprehend Georgadze and bring him to justice. According to this official, Georgadze makes no attempt to conceal his whereabouts in Moscow, "which suggests that he has high-ranking protectors in Russia’s secret services." (18)

Shevardnadze obliquely suggested the same thing in a letter to UN Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, observing that "the forces of terror have not laid down arms in Georgia, and the main problem lies not with the actual executants, who are insignificant, but in the powerful forces directing and harboring them." (19)

Notwithstanding the FSB official’s assurances that the Prosecutor General’s instructions would be carried out, Kulikov publicly refused to execute that prosecutor’s arrest warrant on Georgadze the day it had been issued. Kulikov’s argument was also that Georgadze’s guilt had not been proven–a standard impossible to meet to the Russian "power ministries’s" satisfaction. Shevardnadze had made the resolution of the Georgadze case into a test of Georgian-Russian relations. He is already being forced to climb down from that position in the face of the Russian power ministries’ demonstration of their political influence.

Abkhazia Scuttles Scheduled Round of Negotiations with Georgia.