OpinionMeister

Friday, February 04, 2005

Georgian PM Found Dead

The Associated Press reports:
Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, who helped lead Georgia's revolution that toppled the corruption-tainted regime of Eduard Shevardnadze, died early Thursday in a friend's apartment from what officials claimed was an accidental gas leak from a heater.

Georgia's interior minister said there was no reason to suspect foul play, but a lawmaker reportedly pointed the finger at ``outside forces.'' His remarks were aimed at Russia, which has ties with Georgia's separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and prompted a terse response from Moscow.

The lawmaker, Alexander Shalamberidze, noted that the death of Zhvania, 41, came days after a car bombing that killed three policemen in Gori, the city nearest to South Ossetia. Zhvania, considered a moderate influence in the government of this former Soviet republic, had been trying to negotiate settlements with the separatist regions.

Without a context, this story just sounds like a freak accident. However, there is a context, and that context is the poisoning of Yushchenko in Ukraine. I am left with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that, where former Soviet republics are concerned, that former KGB agent running things in Russia views murder as just another option for advancing Russian policy.

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