Giga Bokeria visits ISET, discusses UNM anti-corruption measures
Tuesday, 04 April, 2017

Giga Bokeria, the leader of the European Georgia opposition party, visited ISET to deliver a lecture on anti-corruption reforms in Georgia carried out by the United National Movement government of 2003-2012. Bokeria, a UNM member until 2017, played an integral role in the Rose Revolution, which ousted the late Eduard Shevardnadze, under whose tenure Georgia had become wracked by institutional corruption.

Bokeria was invited to speak to visiting Norwegian students who partook in a four-day visit to Tbilisi to attend an anti-corruption course jointly organized by ISET and NHH (the Norwegian School of Economics).

The former secretary of the National Security Council reviewed the initial reforms undertaken by the UNM government after gaining power, such as within the police, the judiciary, and the education sector. This resulted in an unprecedented level of trust towards state institutions from the public, which in years prior had been accustomed to corrupt police officers, an ineffective legal system, and a dysfunctional education system. However, Bokeria stated that this trust – which he described as being a fundamental motive of the Rose Revolution, and its most important outcome – has been badly damaged by the current authorities over the last five years.

Bokeria explained that the UNM, under the guidance of Kakha Bendukidze (the then-Minister of Economics), eradicated most of the Shevardnadze-era tax laws, and reduced taxes to the lowest possible rates. Former Minister Bendukidze also played an integral role in fighting state bureaucracy, which Bokeria said is ‘typically inclined to increase’.

He summarized the UNM-led era as having been a government that served the people, by eliminating state corruption, increasing the country’s GDP, fostering economic growth (which was exceptional for the region), and keeping to its democratic principles by peacefully stepping down in the face of defeat in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Bokeria’s lecture was followed by a question and answer session, which led to further discussion of a range of legislative issues.