The Daily Dispatch – June 15

Welcome back! The Daily Dispatch is our editorial take on the past day’s news. You can subscribe here to get it in your mailbox . Click to write to us! We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions. Giorgi Tskhakaia has been browsing the news for you.HITMAN APPREHENDED, TARGET: JOURNALIST Georgian security forces have apparently foiled an attempt at journalist’s life. Four days ago, heavily armed security officials apprehended an unknown man in the capital. Nika Gvaramia, director of opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi TV, made a stunning announcement yesterday that the Georgian authorities foiled a plot to murder popular anchor of Mtavari Arkhi, Giorgi Gabunia. He named the arrested man as ethnically Ingush citizen of Russia. Gvaramia alleged that “the hitman” was operating on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s orders, who plotted vengeance against Gabunia’s expletive-laden tirade against President Putin. In a late-night statement, the State Security Service confirmed a Russian national (identified only by initials, which match the name mentioned by Gvaramia) was arrested on charges of using forged documents, adding he was also being investigated for planning a contract killing. As things stand, the case bears all the hallmarks of signature killings contrived by state elements in Russia worldwide. A feather in the cap of the Georgian intelligence. And a chilling message for outspoken Georgian journos. Let’s hope a covert inquiry will unravel more facts about the plotters’ identity.TREADING A TIGHTROPE The United Opposition, an omnium-gatherum of Georgian opposition parties, is charting its convoluted course towards an election deal. Nino Burjanadze, former acting President (twice) who now heads United Georgia – Democratic Movement – a junior partner in the club, announced she was giving ground by not running in any of 30 majoritarian districts – clearing the way for other leaders. On the other side of the spectrum, UNM’s Grigol Vashadze sought to back-pedal on his party’s promise to field only two candidates in the capital (out of eight), suggesting that other members of Strength in Unity – a coalition of UNM’s satellite parties – may want to put forward contenders (most likely, Giorgi Vashadze of New Georgia). We’ll keep an eye on this horse-trading.DISCOVER TERRA INCOGNITA – while staying in home country. Domestic tourism is the new buzzword for the government, which can’t count on foreign travelers going on a splurge this summer. PM Gakharia was first to beat the drum for staycations as a means to pep up the virus-ridden economy. President Zurabishvili, who has a reputation for promoting what many deem uninspiring enterprises (touting ‘archeological tourism potential’ of Georgia, and adding a wooden Christmas decoration to UNESCO list of intangible heritage), has taken initiative to advertise off-the-beaten-track sites. “Together with you, I want to take up visiting less known places in Georgia that abounds with prime tourist spots,” Zurabishvili addressed fellow citizens, posing in front of a late-medieval castle in Lamiskana village – an hour’s drive from Tbilisi. Many Georgians, seeking authentic tourism experience, may indeed opt for unsung places of their native land. “Discover Georgia,” concluded the President, and swiftly donned a face mask – as the virus will not be taking the day off anytime soon.That’s full lid for today!

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