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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 16:41 GMT
Georgia: What happens next?
Eduard Shevardnadze

A date has been set for elections to find a replacement for Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, who resigned amid massive protests over disputed election results.

The elections will be held on 4 January and opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili is widely tipped as the most likely successor.

Mr Shevardnadze announced the move after meeting Mr Saakashvili, who had threatened to lead a march on the presidential residence unless the president stood down.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Tbilisi to celebrate a "velvet revolution".

Can Georgia now regain stability? Should the Georgian opposition have taken the law into their own hands like this? What will happen next? Send us your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

Georgia does not need to become more divided
Jerry Young, Asheville, USA
Mr Shevardnadze did the right thing in standing down to prevent the "velvet revolution" from becoming a full scale war again, that is the last thing that Georgia needs at this point. It is unfortunate that the leaders in the north and west of the country are taking a hardline stance against the new leaders before they are even elected. Georgia does not need to become more divided, rather it must make every effort to become a united country once again. These territorial differences will only serve to divide the citizens of Georgia. Hopefully, we can see them resolve their differences and began working together for a better country.
Jerry Young, Asheville, USA

Georgia, be afraid. Be very, very afraid. The velvet revolution was about oil and the Bush administration's demand for unhindered access across your country to Caspian Sea oil.
Mary, Toronto, Canada

I think Mr.S has taken a prudent decision at this juncture. But, I don't think there is another alternative to bring the situation into control. May be, this is going to give an opportunity to the offenders to swing into action to spoil the situation and make it worsen.
Austin, India

Look at Georgian football and you'll understand everything. Each player is brilliant but there is no team play at all. Leadership is innate Georgians quality. And Georgia needs true leader, leader who will unite the nation. I try to be optimistic about it, but the awful thing is that I can't see him or her. God save Georgia!
A.Machavariani, St.Petersburg Russia

I was wondering if Georgia's current situation is going become an example for other states of the former Soviet Union, particularly, the Central Asian states...where masses of people are not happy with their presidents' policies...For example, Uzbekistan is often compared to the Iraqi regime, Kazakhstan has a very corrupt government and Turkmenistan is living under a total autocracy...scary rather, however, I think people must think before they follow others example...The president of Georgia has made a wise decision and avoided the bloodshed but I don't think that other rules can be as gentle as him.
Suzanna Begalieva, USA

The new government needs to install trust and faith in their people
Joanne Edwards, Brighton, UK
First they need a Government which can change Georgia's economic problems and the corruption which seems to be part of the problems. The new government needs to install trust and faith in their people, since the last government failed dismally.
Joanne Edwards, Brighton, UK

Unified Georgians may achieve good results, there are many good examples of this. Let me hope that the new leaders will not be intoxicated by power and that everything will be perfect. I believe in my wise and brave people. Good to be Georgian.
Givi Kalandadze, Falun, Sweden

It was typical revolutionary situation in Georgia, when the Government cannot rule as it was used to while masses don't want to live, as they were accustomed. The major result of these events is the birth of Civil Society. Now Georgian population became more self-confident and any future government shall take this into account.
David (aged 35), Tbilisi, Georgia

The people of Georgia were frustrated and angry, but now they know just how powerful they are
Gogi Kavtaradze, Tbilisi, Georgia
Everything will be ok! The people of Georgia were frustrated and angry, but now they know just how powerful they are. Now we know that we can demand that the government work for us, and not the other way around. The most important thing is that the next president, whoever he or she is, won't be able to create a corrupt system like the one Shevardnadze had built because they will know that we people won't agree with it. This new knowledge is a guarantor of public control over the next government.
Gogi Kavtaradze, Tbilisi, Georgia

I am afraid that all separatists from Ajaria, Abchazia and S. Osetia may try to declare independence what seems to lead to a war. It is especially possible because of Russian involvement in the region. I hope that Georgia will deal with all of they problems. I'm with you my Georgian friends.
Aldek, Lodz - Poland

It's hard enough to know who to trust in politics in my own country. As for Georgia the problem is not so easy to define. Is the opposition worse, the same or better than the Shevardnadze administration? Only God really knows and he isn't talking... I just hope for the best for the people in Georgia.
Daniel Taurozzi, Montreal Canada

As an American teacher in Georgia, I've had a unique chance to witness what's happened here recently and see the everyday perspective of Georgians. As much as I'm proud and happily surprised at the lack of violence during this revolution, I worry about the often simplistic political perspective I've witnessed here.

The idea of former President Shevardnadze as the "bad guy," whose removal will fix everything, is surprisingly prevalent. Until more Georgians realize the challenges they face are politically and sometimes culturally inherent, there won't be marked improvement; there will only be moving on to the next scapegoat.
Carrie D, Surami, Georgia

Let's hope that this optimism proves to be well-founded
L, England
Well, at least the whole world is talking about Georgia now, and the overall theme seems to be positive. Let's hope that this optimism proves to be well-founded through the wise action of those to come into power.
L, England

I'm pessimistic about future of Georgia. To my mind, Mikhail Saakashvili is not ready to rule the country. Shevardnadze has left a lot of problems to solve and I'm concerned about even more corruption and crime taking place. Our rich in resources country (inexhaustible hydro resources, fertile soil, favourable climate) could be one of the most prosperous republics of the former USSR. To make Georgia democratic "new leaders" should eradicate unpunishment and irresponsibility.
Alice, Georgia, Tbilisi

Russia will fight to bring Georgia back into its fold, while the US will fight to keep it in its corner to safeguard its oil pipeline. Shevardnadze was a US puppet who did not go far enough for the US. Saakashvili is one of the new breed of US-educated leaders that are being hoisted on peoples in this part of the world. Leaders who will commit fully to the corporate-controlled world.
Russ, Washington DC

Peace will prevail in Georgia
Mike, Canada
Peace will prevail in Georgia, the people have proven it. It is also a warning to future leaders there that you cannot dictate the people for long time. I congratulate the people of Georgia and wish them best luck. As for former President Shevardnadze, he should forget about retaining power again, his people rejected him already and praise his luck for getting away with murder.
Mike, Canada

The resignation of Mr. Shevardnadze will be big loss for Georgia... However, some looses bring benefits too...
Levan, Philippines

It is too early to conclude anything good about Georgia, except that there has been no violence. The real test will be the upcoming election and its aftermath. Should that election be rigged as well, and nobody can guarantee that it will not be, then simply more trouble will follow. What happens say if the ousted administration were to win the election and come back, will the opposition honour the result or simply revolt again.
Ipek Ruacan, Ankara, Turkey

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has resigned amid massive protests over disputed election results. This is what we are told. Is this the real picture? The way I see the country is become like a spongy cake ready to crumble any time if no more dough is put in to cement this and solidify this now. All communist states need the cementing and reinforcing when the cookie crumbles.
Firozali A. Mulla, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania

Incredible....a revolution without a single shot fired in anger. I applaud the Georgian people & wish their nation well.
Jason Yount, Nashville Tennessee USA

What is going to happen next is a process of disintegration of Georgia as a state. It will become another hearth of instability and ethnic clashes will automatically follow. And by the way, the special forces trained by various foreign states who keep proclaiming democracy everywhere on the planet Earth will actively take part in it. Like Zurab from NYC and many more I'm very pessimistic about the future of this country.
Peter, Russian Federation

The problem is that support for opposition is not as overwhelming as it seems
Zurab, NYC
I'm very pessimistic about future of Georgia. These so called 'new' leaders, if they were capable of some changes, could force reforms and changes while they were in power. The problem is that support for opposition is not as overwhelming as it seems - besides, real threat for defragmentation of the country exists. And in such a difficult situation I'm afraid that new leaders will not have enough skills and experience to solve problems.
Zurab, NYC

At least I see hope for future in people's eyes I did not see for more then decade. Mr. Shevardnadze is skilful person in politics and, especially, foreign affairs. His experience and skills will really help future leaders of Georgia to do a better job. I am more then optimistic for the future of my country. Many years ago I saw myself what people in this country can do when there is hope.
Nikoloz, Georgia

I only hope the best for Georgia and its people, that you will get peace and democracy
Sarah, us

There is never any excuse for civil disobedience in my view. I don't know why they want democracy anyway, it doesn't work. It produces a society with too much freedom and not enough responsibility. Look at the West and problems it has.
Paul, Manchester

It happened. The Georgian people have once more time shown, very clearly, what they want - Democracy, Freedom, - and what most important is - own small place in European home. Very important is the attitude of western countries - US and Europe - don't leave us in half way. We want to build a stable, rich, open to everyone country - and we mean it serious.
Levan, Tbilisi, Georgia

The new Georgian government is now very vulnerable to being infiltrated by foreign intelligence. The artists and street politicians rally around the new government and their cause is noble, but they are naive. You can bet that when a country of that size in that part of the world starts anew with a blank slate, that foreign powers are very, very interested in getting their influence in it.
Jeremy, Texas, USA

I think we can all look forward to a bright, prosperous future
Rocky, Tetritskaro, Georgia
I am an expat, and therefore a visitor to this country. What I saw on TV this last week end give me hope for the future of Georgia. Not one local person I have spoken to up to now is negative about the future. I think we can all look forward to a bright, prosperous future. Good luck to the new government and citizens of Georgia. God Bless.
Rocky, Tetritskaro, Georgia

Georgia's population has taken a needed step forward. New elections held after the holidays should be the next. Although the economy is in dire straits, there is a huge shadow economy that needs to be brought into the sunlight and legitimated. Other important assets include the country's vibrant civil society which shows the energy and commitment to go ahead. That includes NGOs, small business, and the education sector with which our university has worked. We are impressed with what higher ed is doing in Tbilisi and around the country. I'm optimistic.
Ardith Maney, Ames, Iowa USA

It was a great joy for all of us! The new leaders did a great job giving people the hope in their future! As a Georgian I am still seriously concerned that Mr. Saakashvili could repeat Georgia's ex-president Gamsakhurdia's fatal mistake: 'Romanticism' in high politics. In order to avoid dissolution of the country and ensure stability, the new leaders should ensure that all stakeholders are well balanced: careful diplomacy with Russia, developing our trade ties with that country and gradually integrating Georgia into the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, where it belongs.
David, Lund, Sweden

Congratulations to the people of Georgia who have shown how democracy can be upheld if the people are united behind their cause, and also achieving it without violence or bloodshed. If only people in the UK could get together like that and force our own very undemocratic leader into giving us our say on the upcoming EU constitutional changes. Fat chance of that happening though I fear.
Alec, Plymouth, England

Don't tell me that 100.000 represents the whole population of Georgia!
Andro Aptsiauri, Kutaisi
There are 5 million Georgians on the planet. On the Freedom Square in Tbilisi there were maximum 100.000 people. I wonder what the rest 4.900.000 Georgians think about all this! No one asked their opinion! I think that the best solution was to make referendum. Because now the future is obscure. And don't tell me that 100.000 represents the whole population of Georgia!
Andro Aptsiauri, Kutaisi

The country will eventually settle down again. Georgians hope that the new legislative/executive force to be elected in 45 days will lay down a smooth path for the country's peaceful entrance into and integration with the Western world. However, there are no guarantees that the new elections might be forged again. Even though the velvet revolution has not changed essentially anything about the life standards in the country, population has a strong optimistic inclination and belief in improvements.
Nina, Bulgaria

Recent events in Georgia are undoubtedly inspirational and example setting. Let the rest of the world share a part of this great victory of freedom and peace. A country plagued with corruption and instability still managed to hold a revolution that not only surprised Westerners but taught them a thing or two about the democracy and the means of achieving it.
Nick, New York, NY

My greatest concern about the future of Georgia is about the breakaway regions of the republic. I doubt that Mr. Saakashvili will act wisely towards Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia (or possibly Adzhara and Javakhk). I worry that his and his colleagues' even more nationalistic approaches will prevent a liberal and peaceful attitude.
Mehmet, Ankara Turkey

This is a fresh start for Georgia
Levan Shalamberidze, Washington DC
This is a fresh start for Georgia, and I hope that Georgian people can overcome its difficulties with its new generation of leaders like Saakashvili, Zhvania and Burjanadze. People showed its togetherness and all Georgians like me have high hopes for the changes for the better.
Levan Shalamberidze, Washington DC

Without wanting to sound righteous about it, what a great thing it is to see not only this situation being resolved by the people without bloodshed or terror, but even more that Mr Shevardnazne feels safe enough to stay in the country after what has happened.
Barry, UK

My boyfriend is entering into Peace Corps. In march and is heading off to Georgia for two years. I would like to hope that he will be safe and that being from the United States will be looked upon kindly. From what I've gathered it seems as if Georgia is very much in the crossroads of its potential. With both bias and reason I hope that they continue their quest for entrance into the EU and western structure. I think the citizens went about their protests correctly. I just hope that there's enough good people within the government able to step up to the pressing demands of the country.
Bridget, Madison, Wisconsin USA

What a sad end to Eduard Shevardnadze. I always thought he was one of the wise men of the old USSR in their push for Democracy. I think he really wanted Georgia to succeed but fell fowl of the endemic corruption in the country.
Roland Brade, Herne Bay, England

Yes, it was a "velvet revolution"! A "revolution of roses" as we named it in Georgia. Today, more than never I'm proud of being Georgian! Our nation proved to be able to establish a genuine civil society. We managed to defend our constitutional rights. We stroke, marched, stood strongly under the rain for several days, we protested against dictator and his corrupted clan, and we did it in a peaceful way. The main battle is left behind and now the brighter days are to come. Now, the future is ours, and it is up to us to build our country. I deeply believe that new generation like those in "Kmara" will insure prosperity of our country. God bless Georgia!
Tamar Khuntsaria, Tbilisi, Georgia

I believe it was to bad for the Georgian community to take power into their own hands, this might cause a lot of instability in the country and I fear increasing crime rate, and the Oppositions shall be blame.
Franklin, Yaounde Cameroon

I am applauding All Georgians to end the stale mate without a drop of blood shed. As a Turkish citizen who is of Georgian descent, I would like to see Georgia and Turkey pave the way for prosperous future shoulder to shoulder.
Ibrahim, Izmit/Turkey

They have compromised the stability of their government
Frank, Providence, RI USA
I'm not sure what there is to celebrate. They have compromised the stability of their government. Instead of overthrowing a government they aren't happy with, they will have to learn to trust the democratic process and use it to replace leaders. The UK has got it right. The ability to cast a vote of no confidence should be put into place. Using a lawless means of changing the government sets a precedent that no doubt others will follow when they are disgruntled.
Frank, Providence, RI USA

All power to the people of Georgia! This near revolution has clearly demonstrated to the world the might of the collective efforts of a nation's people. Political corruption and injustice must be fought everywhere and the people of Georgia are a shining example of that, good for them. I send my best wished and thoughts to the people of Georgia.
John Livingston, England

Anyone thinking Georgia will have remained stable under Shevardnadze would simply be a fool. It's a good thing the people of Georgia see corruption when it stares them in the face! Good show Georgia, maybe now things will improve quickly?
Richard Sweetman, England

I congratulate the Georgian civilians for taking freedom into there own hands with out blood shed. It is a rare people that will actually stand up to a corrupt government.
John, US

I think the ideals of a velvet revolution stand for the peaceful nature of a people obviously fed up with their leaders. Let's hope that future instability can be avoided, by the new leaders of Georgia not falling into the same corruption that the president held. I see this as a great day for Democracy!
S A Laver, Bristol, England

I think this is the most important stage in the history of Georgia, and it will definitely bring considerable changes in the country's economy and social life. I believe the new generation of politicians will bring Georgia to the level of the world's most civilized countries. Democracy is like a cat, it needs freedom to move around.
Nana, Tbilisi, Georgia

The challenge now is to take action against the corruption that exists at so many levels
Seaport, Brigus, Canada
The Georgian people were left no choice after an election whose managing and results were obviously in question. Shevardnadze's apparent participation in vote rigging or unwillingness to discredit the results was his undoing. The challenge now is to take action against the corruption that exists at so many levels of private and public activities. Without a successful move in this direction and unless the quality of life for many begins to improve, support for this new government will also quickly dissipate.
Seaport, Brigus, Canada

We have had enough of the former government members. They had been "eating" our salary, pensions, revenues in the budget, had become as corrupt as they could - really "enough". So, it is time to change at least their faces. Living conditions must be improved, Georgia is far from being a prosperous country, but we have a chance to begin everything from the very beginning.
Ruso, Tbilisi, Georgia

I wonder whether the stance of certain nation states with the situation in Georgia has anything to so with the proposed Caspian Oil Pipeline?
Yasir, England

What has happened in Georgia over the last few days demonstrates what could potentially happen in the other two states in the Caucasus. The similarities in Georgia are there to be seen in Armenia, and Azerbaijan, and the fragmented areas that may seek independence within all these states. Stability in the region is extremely important. The priority is for the people in this area to work together, rather than fragment. The canton model in Switzerland, could be a practical, if idealistic way forward to ensure future stability in the whole area. It existed briefly in the early 1900's.
Nick, UK

Hope, with the help of our unity and endurance we'll strive for stability and better future life
Monica (aged 17), Georgia
In 45 days we are going to have new parliamentary/presidential elections, which will surely end up with opposition's winning. Actually, it will take time to cope with corruption as well as poverty in our country but Georgian people have high hopes in the opposition leaders. At any rate, we'll stand together, help each other and overcome those obstacles/difficulties together with great effort. Hope, with the help of our unity and endurance we'll strive for stability and better future life. Thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to emphasize our thoughts and feelings.
Monica Kalandia, Zugdidi, (aged 17) Georgia

Next will be self confidence and peace all over Georgia - Shevardnadze was the "face" of every evil - corruption, family clans, shadow economics in Georgia. Today Georgians proved that people are united and have nothing against each other - rather they were held in the situation where they had to fight for survival. Now we know that we are the owners of our country and our legislation will protect us. My congratulations to Georgia.
Ann Petriashvili, Tbilisi, Georgia

The peaceful revolution that took place in Georgia is a victory to the whole of humanity as it is a paradigm for my country, Nigeria. I have no doubt that my generation will in no distant future toe this line of humanising mission.
Ezechukwu Dennis, Anambra, Nigeria

Finally! Its about time Georgians got rid of Shevardnadze. Maybe now we can start over and repair relations between our countries that were damaged by his presidency. After all our countries have a lot more in common than US would ever have. The next step is to get the US soldiers out of Georgia - who needs them there now anyway?
IF, Russia

Mr. Shevardnadze's resignation was a great personal step he took to ensure no bloodshed in what could have been a violent situation. I applaud him for recognizing and hearing the voice of the Georgian people! After spending three weeks in Georgia two months ago, I know all the Georgian people want is a "normal life."
Will Ackerman, England

President Shevardnadze, once a major figure in the thawing of the Cold War, showed he was a man of integrity and honour
Anon, San Diego, US
Velvet revolutions are the most blissful of all human political change. Born in Eastern-Central Europe and having witnessed the vast political peaceful dismantling of the Iron Curtain and democratisation will be a highlight of life I will always carry with me. The feeling of elation and excitement of an exciting future I hope the Georgians will also feel. President Shevardnadze, once a major figure in the thawing of the Cold War, showed he was a man of integrity and honour in not pressing the issue to extremes, and that discretion was the better part of power. I hope nothing but the brightest future for Georgia, and prosperity for that ancient and noble people.
Anonymous III, San Diego, USA

Please let the Georgians solve their own problem without foreign intervention. Other countries should stay away from them. Let the Georgian people sit and talk and select the one for their own well being.
Jerry Ag, Abra, Philippines

Today I'm so proud of being Georgian! I wish I were in Georgia. No one blames only Shevardnadze for total disaster he led whole country, but we blame him for creating of huge corrupted bureaucracy and his dictator-like deafness to citizens' voice. He is the victim of his own creature - corruption.
Zaza Kokrashvili, New York

I hope people in opposition are real patriots and don't "sell Georgia" to Russia or America. We probably need their help but can we trust them ?! Time has come for Georgia to prosper!
Pikria Meladze, Auckland, New Zealand

This is a democracy in the making. The good thing is that they didn't have a politicised army. Such things cannot happen in Cuba, Libya and Zimbabwe where a very politicised army exists.
Reuben, New York, USA

Certainly Georgia's [recent] history is far more complex than blaming one politician will reveal. Shevardnadze's resignation will occasion new uncertainties and upheavals, as struggles for movement and change are long and arduous, always unfolding within and producing relations of power. Nevertheless, this revolution is inspiring and ripe with profound opportunities for building a new Georgia.
Erin Koch, Brooklyn, New York

At least the USA will not invade - Georgia has no oil or WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. However, we do have a president who is a master at stealing elections.
Lisa, Dearborn, MI USA

We have now entered into the age of people's power
Mel Lee, Malaysia
We have now entered into the age of people's power. Corporate governance around the world are experiencing a phenomenal change in ruling and handling their subjects whose appetites are increasingly aggressive. More over globalisation epidemic has opened the floodgates of domestic affairs to be meddled by international hands.
Mel Lee, Malaysia

The situation is indeed very difficult. It might seem for outsiders, that it's a real opposition fighting to defend constitutional right and so on - but in fact if we look more closely at the representatives of the opposition, we'll see that almost all of them were members of the Shevardnadze team for several years. It is also true, that there were violations in all elections that have been held in Georgian for the last 10-12 years and these people, who now being leaders of opposition make point of it, - Zhvania, Saakashvili, Baramidze, Burdjanadze - they did not say a word and did not say anything about elections being violated.
Tamara, New York

The Azeri history is very alike of the Georgian one. We had similar events on 15-16 October following the presidential elections this year, but the government managed to suppress those who are fed up with illegal actions of corrupt officials and lots of falsifications in elections. I predict that Shevardnadze, who is a very skilful communist leader, will manage to suppress those who are currently protesting against him. I hope the Georgians will be more successful to defend their rights.
Zahir Ahmadov, Baku, Azerbaijan

The November 2 election was clearly a farce, designed to fool the outside world into thinking that the democratic process, in Georgia, was healthy. I applaud the coup leaders for keeping democracy alive, in Georgia, albeit using somewhat unorthodox methods. Democracy isn't just having elections. It entails giving the people what they want.
Peter Bolton, US

The coup is organized by US democrats not the Georgian people. We hold a deal of information confirming this view. Any attempt of coup is anti constitutional and the west must give a due consideration and evaluation to these developments.
Zviad Pochkhua, Georgian Times , Tbilisi, Georgia

Shevardnadze has been one of the most prominent statesmen in the post-Soviet era. He has always had true politician's courage and hunch and he probably saved Georgia in 1992. But even Shevardnadze, being the product of the Soviet nomenclature, can not entirely change his mentality and embrace the fact that his time now is over.
Dmitry Koublitsky, Detroit, US

I wish Americans could be as brave as Georgians when it came to ousting corrupt presidents.
Jim, US

The statements made by some readers regarding "unconstitutional" and "nondemocratic" change of power are far from reality - all post-soviet countries changed the rule through peaceful demonstrations - Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria to name the few.
Alexander, New York City, USA

What is happening now is indeed amazing and probably time will tell whether it was right or not. Everybody was tired of Shevardnadze's regime and we all got inspired by opposition demonstrations. At this point it's really crucial to keep the peace, because if civil war breaks out, it means another recession and a goodbye to democracy for many more years..
Sopo Giorgobiani, Tbilisi, Georgia

What happened in Georgia gives me great hope for the country and the region
Carolyn T, Toronto, Canada
I spent many months in the Caucasus last year and the entire region is filled with corruption and faux democracy. Fraud was also rampant in recent elections in Armenia, and Azerbaijan. What happened in Georgia gives me great hope for the country and the region.
Carolyn T, Toronto, Canada

Can't say that I have ever supported president Shevardnadze, but I'm confident that it is a shame to force him out from his office like some Georgians have done today. I think this is a fight for political power and that's it!
George, Tbilisi

As an election monitor in Georgia, I witnessed first hand the extent of the fraud that took place. Saakashvili's National Movement was the legitimate winner in these elections and are only taking what is rightfully theirs. The people of the three Caucasus countries have never been able to change their governments through the ballot box because the kleptocrats in power have stolen every single election since independence to continue enriching themselves while their people live in poverty.
Mike Keshishian, Washington DC

This was one of the worst outcomes possible. It seems that this "revolution" served largely as instant gratification for a population that has for years harboured a passionate hatred for Shevardnadze and blamed him for everything that is wrong with Georgia (the truth is obviously much more complex). Shevardnadze, who has failed his country in many ways but whose overall record is mixed, has engaged in tin-eared stonewalling and resorted to his worst Soviet-era instincts. This unconstitutional and as of yet incomplete transition of power will do little to solve Georgia's actual problems, i.e. lack of foreign investment, weak political institutions and unprofessional political behaviour.
Almut Rochowanski, New York, USA

President Shevardnadze has been leading the country into disaster
Vladimer S, Washington, DC
I am a Georgian, and I was raised in Georgia. However, I have not been in the country for 4 years and the situation has changed drastically during this time. From what I have seen President Shevardnadze has been leading the country into disaster and should resign to let the new generation decide which way Georgia should go. This velvet revolution is about removing the corruption and setting real democratic values in place.
Vladimer S, Washington, DC

Shevardnadze's election-rigging attempt was the last straw for the disillusioned society. I applaud them for their stressing a non-violent attitude towards the matter. The main issue now is for the army not to intervene and for the opposition to hold their own, clear elections under foreign observation.
Karol Tyszka, Pozna, Poland

No matter what the parties or the people thought of Pres. Shevardnadze, he was duly elected and should serve out his term of office if he wishes, or be removed from office only through the law. The opposition demonstrators should seek ways to work within the law to bring peaceful change, for the good of their country. Democracy must protect democracy.
Steve Wagenseil, Block Island, Rhode Island, USA

Georgian people know what democracy is and how to defend it as well
Giorgi Kandelaki, Tbilisi, Georgia
I am just a student, I was among those who stormed the parliament. It was an amazing feeling of freedom. Georgian people really hate Shevardnadze. Georgian people know what democracy is and how to defend it as well. If democracy fails in Georgia this time, it will fail for long time to come in the entire region.
Giorgi Kandelaki, Tbilisi, Georgia

I am sitting in my hotel room half a kilometre from parliament and were it not for the TV in my room I would not know that there was a revolution in progress. A wedding party has just driven by, horns blowing as is the custom here, and despite what major international TV networks say, my mobile phone and internet connection are working fine, this far. A state of emergency has been declared - but how would I know? How will this all end, I also can't say but the expectation by the Georgians around me is that it will be peaceful.
Benjamyn D, Tbilisi, Georgia

Election fraud is one of the most deplorable crimes an elected official can commit; when people cannot change their government by democratic means, they have the right to rebel.
Peter, New York, USA

I was born near Georgia and have been to this wonderful country many times. One thing I know is that Georgian people are very hot-tempered. I think Eduard Shevardnadze should resign to prevent a violent civil conflict.
Roman Lukyanenko,

Only a miracle will help us to maintain stability
David, Tbilisi, Georgia
Good times indeed! But for how long? Yes we, Georgians, are happy that Shevi left and proud that we managed it without blood. What next? Newcomers have 45 days to organize new elections. Let me tell you, there is no way they can do it with current resources. Only a miracle will help us to maintain stability. Let's pray and hope for wise and conscientious decisions of fresh leaders and that they will not repeat Shevardnadze's mistakes, otherwise the same will happen to them.
David, Tbilisi, Georgia

Power belongs to the people. Georgians have shown the world that cheating in elections is equal to stealing people's power and that the people can resist the vice of stealing elections. I am not advocating revolutions in Africa but I am sounding an alarm to African leaders of today and tomorrow that any immoral dealing in elections can be dealt with by the force of reason. I salute the people of Georgia. You are heroes to Africa's young generation that is eagerly looking for change in Africa.
Pierre, Rwanda

I am very proud that I put some of my share in this "Velvet revolution". These processes showed that civil society has been developing in Georgia. People are clear about their political and constitutional rights. I am very concerned with the role of Russia in all this as Mr. Ivanov (Russian foreign minister) was taking part in negotiations between two parties.
Gvantsa, Tbilisi, Georgia

Americans can learn much about democracy from the small but proud Georgian nation. A once proud and powerful head of state, Mr. Shevardnadze, resigned because the general public did not agree with his policies and corrupt elections. Bush would never have the gall nor the honesty to even speak of protests that are held in front of the White House. God bless Georgia and God bless Georgians!
Ali Bajwa, NYC, USA

Perhaps I'm in a time warp, but isn't this the very same Eduard Shevardnadze who, as Soviet Foreign Minister under Gorbachev, was largely credited for the peaceful end of the Cold War in Europe? Truly this is a man of great historical significance. Hopefully, in the long run, it is that Shevardnadze that history will remember rather than his somewhat less glorious reign as Georgia's president.
Joe, Mexico

I hope that Georgia will become a member of the European family. We demonstrated to the entire world that we are Europeans, we are strong enough to stand up for our rights. Opposition to Mr Shevardnadze's government was 90% of population, so everything that happened was the need of time. If our powerful neighbours do not intervene in our internal affairs we'll survive and build a free and civil society.
Elene, Tbilisi, Georgia

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