Adam Mikhnik – I did my best so that everyone could open their own TV and radio in Poland


images/stories/articles/portrets/michnik.jpgWell-known pole journalist, former dissident and public figure Adam Mikhnik visited Georgia again. This time he attended the conference organized by Institute of Liberal Security of South Caucasus.

Mikhnik met with students, professors and journalists in Tbilisi State University. Representatives of Poland’s civil society Ian Iakub Vignansky, Iacek Kozlovsky and Vitek Hebanovsky gave speech concerning Poland’s state and society.

The key figure was Mikhnik of course, he focused upon the democratization of post Soviet countries, peculiarities of modern Russia and media-related problems.

Mikhnik reckons that the main threat of post soviet states like Georgia is absence of democratic culture.
“Democracy is freedom in terms of law and state. The system of fair play is very weak in post soviet states. This system is related to free market economy. Taking Russia as an example, I can tell you that state rules are set by oligarchs and spec-service adjusting law to their own likes”, stated Mikhnik.
According to Mikhnik, one more problem in post soviet countries is wrong comprehension of history.

“Always arises the question concerning the approach to history, decommunization and lustration. There were long debates about these issues in Poland. Whose owning KGB archives used them against their political opponents. End of Communism implies end of the idea. Communism was replaced by Nationalism in the Balkans and it’s the example of Nationalism being the top of Communism. Kremlin has always used the idea of Nationalism in Poland and the Balkans, inspiring certain processes. Although Moscow’s inspiration wasn’t always the only reason. There was certain readiness in our country and elsewhere for undemocratic processes to start, stated Adam Mikhnik, While speaking about modern post soviet states, the pole public figure underlined that the key conflict in these countries is between the ideas of civil and ethnic societies. In this contex, Mikhnik referred to traditional religous confessions. “Church and religion in general contributes a lot in building a new state, church played a positive role in Poland in the fight against Communism. During the last 20 years the role of religion has drastically increased and it’s apparent that its rhetoric is changing. It is transforming from Bible language to political one and contradicts everybody thinking differently”, - remarked Mikhnik.
Mikhnik talked a lot about Russia. Basically, he referred to Russia’s undefined future.

Which way will Russia go? What does Russian modernization mean? Is modernization possible without democratization? May democratic Russia be non-imperialistic? We have got no answers to these questions. There is double threat concerning the point: on one side, Russia may become threat for democratic progress in general in entire post soviet space, on another side, Russia may stgart destabilization because of the modernization. Destabilized country having nuclear weapon is always a great threat for the entire world”, stated Mikhnik. The pole journalist referred to processes undergoing in Georgia. He evaluates Russia as the biggest threat for Georgia nowadays. While speaking about August war 2008, he underlines that it’s absurd to claim that there has been no mistakes from Georgian side before and after the war.
“Even in Moscow nobody believes that huge a and imperialistic Georgia attacked small and oppressed Russia. Although I can’t claim that Georgia hasn’t made mistakes either and the Georgians haven’t exaggerated in assessments. President Saakashvili thought he could do everything and this had its impact on the facts occurred.
Georgia has a big tradition in fighting for freedom, but hasn’t got the past of a state respecting law. Modern Georgian elite is deprived of patience. I think there is only one chance for post soviet countries - compromise philosophy. It’s a general rule to allocate space for compromise and debates. Where there is no compromise, there is “Putinism”, that can be assessed as a threat for all post soviet states”, - remarked Mikhnik.

InterPressNews put him a question how realistic he considers Georgia’s democratization while there is no transparency in media owners’ identity and the country’s media independence index gets lower and lower every year. Mikhnik replied that similar problems are in Poland as well.
“If you think that we had no media problems in Poland, you are greatly mistaken. Let’s take our former President Kachinsky. He was a good person, but a bad President and I didn’t agree with him in many issues. His brother Iaroslav Kachinsky did his best to kill independent media in the country”, stated Mikhnik.

As refers to TV Imedi, Mikhnik says that he would like Imedi to have democratic management. “ I want Imedi to be staffed with professional journalists and publicists cooperating with each other. I won’t make any comments as I don’t know the running programmes. The question whether he wants Imedi to run as it works today or be closed as a television altogether, Mikhnik answered that this was similar to asking : would you prefer to die by cholera or the plague?
Mikhnik did everything so that everyone had opportunity to open Tv or radio, but he doesn’t want people to watch all those scums of society.

Adam Mikhnik – the co-founder of the movement “Solidarity” and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza first visited Georgia on November 29, 2007in order to support Imedi. “I arrived, listened to everybody and is now leaving Georgia with hope. There were rather tough negotiations with the Government, still you will be able to watch Imedi in a weak… If Imedi isn’t open in a weak’s time, I’ll have to publicize it by all media worldwide that Georgia government don’t want mediapluralism during election campaign, also talking about thre fact that Georgian democracy faces a serious threat and all negotiations with me was just a manipulation from the government and my invitation was just an alibi for them. However, I hope I will speak differently in a weak. “Georgian government is on the right way”, stated Mikhnik before departure at the press conference held on December 1, 2007.