Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 105

Georgian head of state Eduard Shevardnadze on October 1 banned the Rescue Corps, paramilitary arm of the political group Mkhedrioni. This organization is linked to organized crime and has been a major factor in Georgia’s turmoil of recent years.

Shevardnadze and Internal Affairs Minister, Lt. General Shota Kviraya, told a conference of law enforcement officials the same day that an arrest warrant has been issued against former State Security chief, Lt. General Igor Georgadze, accused of having organized while in office the August 29 attempt against Shevardnadze’s life, and who has since fled to Moscow. Shevardnadze and Kviraya traced the plot to "Russian reactionaries," "opponents of Yeltsin" planning to replace Shevardnadze with an authoritarian "national salvation committee" comprised of pro-communist and local underworld groups. Shevardnadze said that "the Georgian people would not understand it" if Moscow failed to extradite Georgadze. Russia’s Federal Security Service denies knowledge of his whereabouts. (15)

In the second half of September, the Interior Ministry arrested Rescue Corps leaders and seized some of its and Mkhedrioni’s arms caches. It further arrested the Security Service deputy chief, Maj. General Teimuraz Khachishvili, its Alpha special unit commander Gela Papuashvili, and more than 20 Security Service officers, accused of involvement in the planned coup d’etat. Shevardnadze is relying on the Interior Ministry to purge the Security Service of disloyal elements. Igor Georgadze is known to have connections to Russia’s military and security establishment, stemming from his years of service with Soviet army intelligence. His father Panteleimon Georgadze is the leader of Georgia’s United Communist Party and a presidential hopeful in the November elections.

Revival of River-Diversion Project Denied.