I posed the question in the comment section in the Israel/Georgia post, pondering the involvement of George Soros in Georgia.
Well, seems my foggy memory served me well:
Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros
He also has a warm relationship with Mr. Shevardnadze's chief opponent, Mikhail Saakashvili, a New York-educated lawyer who is expected to win the presidency in an election scheduled for Jan. 4. Last year, Mr. Soros personally presented Mr. Saakashvili with the foundation's Open Society Award.
"It's generally accepted public opinion here that Mr. Soros is the person who planned Shevardnadze's overthrow," said Zaza Gachechiladze, editor-in-chief of The Georgian Messenger, an English-language daily based in the capital.
That helped put the current perp in power: Mr. Saakashivili. And what of him? What do we know?
A little more background, from 2004:
Georgia on His Mind - George Soros's Potemkin Revolution
Late last fall, Saakashvili led thousands of "spontaneous" demonstrators, bused in from around Tbilisi, brandishing flowers as they invaded the president's palace. This was during the freezing Georgian winter when any roses not black and brittle had to be flown or trucked in, courtesy of the same bankroll that funded the fleet of rented buses for demonstrators: that of George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire and egotist. A former member of the Georgian Parliament said that in the three months before the "Rose Revolution," "from August through October, Soros spent $42 million ramping-up for the overthrow of Shevardnadze."
Soros has publicly committed himself to funding the "democratic" presidency of Mikhail Saakashvili, just as he has publicly committed himself and his money to the destruction of the presidency of George W. Bush, whom he has compared to Yasser Arafat and Hitler. Soros and the United Nations are paying the wages of all of Saakashvili's top government officials--ministers, deputies, the road police, and others--on the grounds that this will keep them from stealing. As if bribery and corruption were simply a problem of immediate financial need, not greed.
Shevardnadze's attempt to rig the November 2003 parliamentary elections was a handy catalyst for the coup, but it was already in the works. The previous summer Soros had flown Saakashvili and his followers to a seminar he sponsored in Belgrade on how to stage your own "Velvet Revolution." And perhaps Soros would deserve some credit--except for the undeniable fact that, ever since his anointing in a crooked election in January, Saakashvili has sounded more like a raging nationalist and authoritarian thug than a democrat strewing rose petals.
There is alot of really good info on Saakashivili here, and some rather unflattering comparisons of him, by his wife of all people:
Saakashvili, now 36, was an only child with an absent father. He was raised by a divorced, domineering, and ambitious mother, and his tough-talking Dutch-born wife, Sandra Roelof, appears to follow in that tradition. (Saakashvili married her in lower Manhattan in 1993 while he was attending Columbia for a year on a U.S. taxpayer-funded scholarship.) In February, Roelof gave an interview to a Dutch magazine for a breathless Vanity Fair-like profile headlined "Sandra Roelof's Fairy Tale: From a Zeeuws Girl to First Lady of Georgia." Roelof seems to have taken to Georgian politics:
Georgia has produced strong leaders. Stalin, Beria, Gamsakhurdia. Even Shevardnadze, before he got addicted to power. They looked beyond Georgia. My husband does the same; he fits in the tradition. This country needs a strong hand. It is incredibly important that respect for authority returns. That laws are less frequently broken, that people simply pay their bills for once. There is hardly a sense of responsibility here. . . . I think my husband is the right person to frighten people. That is not to say it is immediately fascism or something. Should he develop extremist traits he will be alerted to that. All eyes are looking at us now.
The second man to whom Sandra Roelof compares her husband is Lavrenty Beria, Stalin's secret police czar and the Georgian-born father of the Soviet Gulag. Beria, a notorious pedophile, was responsible for the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens. He was executed on Khrushchev's order after Stalin's death in 1953.
Next on Roelof's list is Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first elected president of Georgia, a rabid nationalist completely intolerant of any opposition. He was deposed in a coup in the early '90s and later shot himself in the head (or was murdered). Two weeks ago Saakashvili announced that 2004 would be "the year of Gamsakhurdia," whatever that is intended to mean.
The last of Roelof's major players is Shevardnadze, the mentoring father figure Saakashvili never had, who brought him into parliament, appointed him to his cabinet, and guided him along until Saakashvili turned and stabbed him. Despite the relentless encomiums from the last three U.S. administrations, Shevardnadze was brutal and corrupt. (Saakashvili, who lives around the corner from Shevardnadze in Tbilisi, has never had him arrested.)
Make of it what you will.
Could this be a whole set up? Designed to take out a loose cannon?
ETA: "Republic of South Ossetia" News