Georgia charges photojournalists with spying for Russia

Irakli Gedenidze

Irakli Gedenidze

Three well-known Georgian photojournalists have been arrested and charged with conducting espionage on behalf of the Russian Federation. They include Irakli Gedenidze, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s personal photographer, as well as Giorgi Abdaladze, who works for Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The leader of the alleged spy ring is Zurab Kurtsikidze, who works for Frankfurt-based European Pressphoto Agency. All three were arrested in early morning raids last Thursday, during which their homes and offices were searched by Georgian counterintelligence officers. A Georgian government statement issued the following day stated that the searches uncovered confidential information about the daily itinerary of Mr Saakashvili, as well as a classified diagram of the Presidential office. According to the statement, the classified documents were secretly accessed and photographed by Gedenidze and Abdaladze, who then passed them on to Kurtsikidze. He in turn turned them over to the GRU, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry. Along with the statement, Georgian government prosecutors released surveillance recordings of telephone exchanges between the three photographers, in which they are heard discussing payment arrangements in return for classified documents surrendered to the Russians. Read more of this post

Georgian paramilitaries posed as election observers, say Ukrainians

Viktor Yanukovych

V. Yanukovych

Ukraine’s largest political party has accused the nearby nation of Georgia of sending to Ukraine a team of paramilitary operatives disguised as international election monitors. Vladyslav Lukianov, who represents Ukraine’s Party of Regions in the country’s parliament, has given to the press ten names of Georgian paramilitary agents who allegedly performed “law enforcement operations” in Ukraine, while supposedly monitoring last Sunday’s Ukrainian elections. It appears that three more Georgians, who were arrested on Saturday in Donetsk, reportedly did not possess identity papers or travel documentation, and are so far refusing to speak to Ukrainian security officials. To further complicate the issue, an allegedly wiretapped conversation between Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, and an unidentified woman surfaced in the Ukrainian news media last week. Read more of this post

Polish agency report refutes Russian link in shooting incident

On the evening of November 23, automatic gunfire erupted about 100 feet away from a motorcade carrying Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia, and Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland. The latter was on a state visit to the former Soviet Republic. Nobody was hurt during the incident. Saakashvili was quick to blame Russian forces stationed in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, saying at a subsequent press conference that Russian troops are manned with “unpredictable people [who] weren’t happy to see our guest and they weren’t happy to see me either”. Read more of this post

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