We checked everywhere -- at the ministry, at the nightclubs, under the bed. The man just vanished into thin air.
Since Georgia's ruling United National Movement lost the October 1 parliamentary elections, speculations have been raging about key officials supposedly burning work documents and hightailing it out of the country. Most of these reports have proven apocryphal, except that 40-year-old Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, indeed, seems to have gone missing.
With billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition preparing to take over most government offices from the United National Movement, Georgian ministers are now busy clearing their desks, and putting away piles of papers, framed quotes of libertarian thinkers, photos of wives and cats.
In a surprisingly cooperative move, the outgoing ministers also are reportedly giving office tours to the incoming ministers to fill them in on ongoing projects, introduce them to the staff and perhaps share a few hints about nearby lunch spots.
Some of the Georgian Dream’s ministerial candidates praised their soon-to-be predecessors for being forthcoming and willing to put partisan struggles aside to make sure the country's governmental institutions continue functioning smoothly during the transition.
But, then, there is the justice minister and his alleged game of hide-and-seek with his proposed successor.
Tea Tsulukiani, the Georgian Dream candidate for the job, has alleged that Adeishvili has left the country and “abandoned his agency and ongoing projects.” Some media outlets immediately said that he was spotted in Frankfurt; others saw him in Vienna, but he might as well be in Vegas with Elvis.
Nobody, including friends and relatives, could confirm for EurasiaNet.org the man’s whereabouts. The ministry’s press office said that Adeishvili left just days after the October 1 election for a hard-earned vacation, but could not specify where exactly he is spending his leave and when he is expected back. Or if he is expected back, Tsulukiani told reporters today.
The Georgian Dream has promised that, post-election, there would be no chasing of United National Movement officials and government functionaries with torches and pitchforks, but also said that those involved in particularly high-profile wrongdoings would be brought to justice.
The justice ministry ranks as one of the government's most controversial agencies, and Adeishvili, a former general prosecutor with close ties to President Mikheil Saakashvili, has long been in the firing line for critics.
So, if anyone has seen the minister, please do let us know. We're getting worried here.