Dimitri Shashkin, who has served as minister for prison system, then education minister and most recently as defense minister, confirmed on October 22 that he had left the country.
“I have decided to leave Georgia with a hope that I’ll be back to again serve my country, my people,” Shashkin wrote in a message posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday morning. “I’ve spent the happiest four years of my life with Mikheil Saakashvili’s government and together we have all elevated Georgia to the zenith of its development.”
After the defeat of President Saakashvili’s UNM party in the October 1 parliamentary elections, several senior official have left the country, among them was Shashkin, as well as Zurab Adeishvili, a long-time and influential justice minister in outgoing government. Officials say that Adeishvili is “on leave” in unspecified country. After the elections Shashkin’s spokesperson said that the acting defense minister was “visiting the U.S.” and was due to return back to Georgia on October 6.
Shashkin, who before joining the government in February 2009 was U.S. International Republican Institute’s program director in Georgia, says in his Facebook post he’s “proud” of reforms he had carried out while serving first as prison system minister in February-December, 2009, then as education minister in December, 2009-July, 2012 and finally as defense minister.
“I won’t be surprised if you hear ‘unheard stories’ about me in the nearest future. Those who know me, they won’t believe these [stories] and those who don’t know me I want to assure them that I have always observed the laws,” Shashkin writes and adds: “I do not regret any of my decision taken during last four years and I am ready to answer any question.”