While a struggle is intensifying in Georgia between Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili over investigations and arrests of former senior government officials, a battle over the nomination of the country’s top military officer appears to be resolved.
Since November 7, when 32-year-old Brig. Gen. Giorgi Kalandadze, a hero of the 2008 war with Russia, was arrested on charges of alleged physical abuse of soldiers, Georgia’s military has been without a permanent chief of staff.
As commander-in-chief, President Saakashvili could have appointed a new chief of staff, but he remained a staunch backer of Kalandadze, denouncing the charges against the brigadier general. Saakashvili also spoke out against the arrest of former defense minister Bacho Akhalaia and nearly a score of other former officials, characterizing the moves as part of a witch-hunt by the Ivanishvili government.
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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.