Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 106

Georgia’s former state security chief and accused terrorist, Igor Giorgadze, has surfaced yet again in Russia with an interview in the current issue of the weekly “Moskovskie novosti.” As in his previous interviews with Russian media, Giorgadze taunts the Georgian government and President Eduard Shevardnadze personally. Wanted in Tbilisi as a prime suspect in assassination attempts against the president, Giorgadze in his interview dismisses the latest conspiracy uncovered in Georgia (see the Monitor, May 24-25) as a “theatrical show” and “an insult to our people” perpetrated by Shevardnadze (Moskovskie novosti cited by Russian news agencies, June 2).

Last week, Georgia’s Prosecutor General Jamlet Babilashvili announced that Tbilisi had forwarded to Moscow the latest in a long series of requests to extradite Giorgadze for trial on charges of terrorism. The request included data about Giorgadze’s recent movements in Russia. Those movements are from time to time known to the Russian mass media, but Russia’s law enforcement and security agencies consistently plead ignorance in response to Georgia’s extradition requests.

Igor Giorgadze’s father, the retired Soviet General Panteleimon Giorgadze, stated in Tbilisi that he meets with his son periodically. Giorgadze Senior maintains that the charges against his son are designed to discredit the United Communist Party ahead of the parliamentary elections (Itar-Tass, Kavkasia-Press, Prime-News, May 28). Panteleimon leads that party while Igor is a member of its Central Committee and the party’s Moscow representative.

Igor was flown to Moscow clandestinely by the Russian military command in Tbilisi following the 1995 assassination attempt in which Shevardnadze was injured. Russia’s current prime minister, Sergei Stepashin, was instrumental while internal affairs minister in covering Giorgadze’s traces in Russia. During a visit to Tbilisi shortly before becoming prime minister, Stepashin promised cooperation in extraditing terrorism suspects from Russia to Georgia (see the Monitor, February 25). However, expectations that Giorgadze and his associates might be brought to justice have not been borne out.