Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 97

The latest issue of Russia’s leading red-brown newspaper, Zavtra, carries an interview with Igor Giorgadze, the suspected organizer of the 1995 bomb attack on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. Giorgadze, at that time chief of Georgia’s State Security Department, and several associates fled directly to Moscow with assistance from Russian intelligence immediately after the abortive coup. From his Russian haven, Giorgadze calls in the Zavtra interview for a change of regime in Tbilisi. He also confirms that he has joined Georgia’s United Communist Party, which is led by his father, the former General Pantelimon Giorgadze.

The Giorgadze problem has been a major irritant in Russian-Georgian relations since 1995. Moscow has stonewalled all requests to extradite Giorgadze and his group for trial on charges of terrorism. After claiming that the evidence was insufficient, Moscow professed to have lost track of Giorgadze’s whereabouts.

Zavtra is known for its connections to Russia’s military and intelligence circles. Reacting to the interview, Shevardnadze commented on national radio that Russian law enforcement agencies could have found Giorgadze; and that “this international terrorist is warmly and well protected in Russia for reasons easy to guess.” Prosecutor General Jamlet Babilashvili has yet again requested his Russian counterpart Yuri Skuratov–and, additionally, Interpol chief Raymond Kendall–to apprehend Giorgadze. (Radio Tbilisi, Russian agencies, May 18 and 19)