In a broadcast to the country yesterday, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze charged that “an evil power” and its “special services” had helped organize and finance the recent Zviadist-military putsch. Without naming that power, Shevardnadze remarked that it acts “both outside and within Georgia” to destabilize the country and thwart international transit and pipeline projects. Shevardnadze vowed to stick to Georgia’s chosen “strategic course” toward independence and “geopolitical function” as an international transit route–in other words, Georgia’s Western orientation.
The president defended his decision to use the army against the rebels without prior parliamentary approval of a national state of emergency, which approval is required under the constitution. Shevardnadze pointed out that because the revolt centered in a military unit, it was the army’s responsibility to restore order. Moreover, he felt that any evasion of straightforward action on his part–as would have resulted from calling a parliamentary debate–could have allowed the rebels to seize Kutaisi and advance on Tbilisi (Tbilisi radio cited by AP and Reuters, October 26).