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Full Text: Transcript of Saakashvili’s Televised Interview

Transcript of President Saakashvili’s interview conducted by Georgian Public Broadcaster’s anchor Davit Aprasidze on November 4 and broadcasted by all the Georgian leading television stations later on the same day.

Q.: Mr. President, processes develop rather dynamically this November in terms of both domestic and foreign policy. But since the domestic policy is more sensitive issue for the society, let’s start from this one. How would you assess the current processes ongoing in Tbilisi, in Georgia?

A.: Lets start by saying that it is a part of democracy – democracy for which we, all, were fighting for and which we have been actively building for past years – when people, any political force, any individual expressing their satisfaction or dissatisfaction whenever they consider it necessary in frames of law, in those frames which are proper for the democratic society. Naturally, when people hold protest rallies in streets, when they express protest, this is not only their constitutional right, but this is a very important part of absolutely healthy, democratic organism.

On the other hand, I listen to everything what people are saying. It is important to understand that the Georgian authorities and the Georgian President is the President of entire country and of each individual person regardless of their political views. We have the responsibility before each individual, each political party, and naturally, we all, together with these people, share the responsibility before our country and our future. It is a normal [process].

Another issue is what type of technologies is used by part of political parties, who participate in it, what are their goals and final tasks.

Q.: Probably the reasons that have triggered all these are also very interesting.

A.: We will talk about the reasons as well. It is a long theme. But let’s say, first, what the technologies are.

An attack against the Georgian President and the authorities has been launched. A real factory of lies was put into operation. The same persons, who were resorting to this factory of lies in mid 90s against ex-Russian president Boris Yeltsin, are doing this now in Georgia. They arrived here during President Shevardnadze’s corrupted authorities and set up this factory of lies. We have inherited this factory of lies and now it works at its full capacity. The technology works very simply. One should tell as much lies as possible, sling as much mud as possible. The more hellish the lie is, the more often you should repeat it. The greater the lie is, the more hopeful it is that the society will trust, at least, a part of it. As a result, the society’s organism will be weakened and then it will be possible to influence it. This is technology which has been put into operation at the first stage.

An untalented attempt to imitate the Rose Revolution takes place. It is beyond any criticism. The Rose Revolution was not only a very significant event of past years; it really was one of the most important events in Georgia’s multi-century history. It has been recognized worldwide.

As a result of the Rose Revolution, we have turned Georgia – which was doomed for hopelessness and which was widely perceived as an example of corrupt state – into a new country in terms of the pace of development and those achievements, which we have.

The goal of protest rallies is very clear: to create virtual reality that Georgia is weakening. They want to demonstrate that not only the government has been shattered, but entire Georgia has been weakened. 

It is not occasional and we should think about it that during these protest rallies the Russian televisions – televisions of the country with 140-million population, as if nothing else is happening in the world – broadcasts live the protest rallies in Tbilisi. Let’s think about why this happens – this happens because they consider Georgia as a symbol of democracy and democratic development which may take place in the post-Soviet space regardless of the empire’s threats.

I want to say that I am not simply the President of Georgia. We often forget under what circumstances we have to act. I am the President of a rebel nation. I am the President of the nation, which said that regardless of any blackmails and embargos, we will do what we should do regardless of those forces, which are confronting us.

They perceived it as a challenge; they considered that it is a fatal threat and fatal problem for them. Therefore, they think it is necessary to root it out to prevent any further rebels.

Therefore, our protest rallies are not shown [by Russian televisions] for Georgians and even for Russians. They are shown for Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Byelorussians, Kazakhs, Armenians, Azerbaijanis – [to send a message] this is your Georgia, did not you believe that it was a great country, did not you believe that it was very successful, did not you believe that they did not listen to us and would succeed anyway. Now look what has happened to them. Look, what a mess and turmoil they have inside the country.

This is a concrete plan and it is reality. If a person has eyes and ears, he will certainly see and hear it. Of course, I would like to have a wand to turn our country into Hong-Kong, Singapore or any developed region of Holland. But it has not happened anywhere and will not happen in Georgia either.

Let’s talk about from where we have started and where we are now. I recall a statement made by our Patriarch [of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II] during the construction of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. He said that building of a foundation for the Cathedral took two years. And, he said, during these two years the people were very skeptical about the construction. And finally it was built with its full brilliance. Today numerous buildings are being built in Georgia; I am driving everyday and checking the construction process in various cities of Georgia. But it has an importance from the broader point of view: the Georgian state is being built quickly. We have started not even from zero level, but from the catacombs. We were fallen in a huge abyss and we need time, energy, efforts and, what is more important, a great faith to get out of this abyss.

Q.: Mr. President, you mentioned that the construction of a foundation needs a long time. We know that reforms have their social price. But what are the main concerns of the population? Today, when there are numerous problems – growth of prices, social problems – when will the population feel that the construction of a building is over and they also can live in it.

A.: We know it very well that each person in Georgia faces very important problems – this is the problem of unemployment. 300,000 working places were lost within past 15 years only in industry. Several days ago I opened a new construction factory where about 2,000 persons are employed. Several thousands of persons got jobs in industrial giants in Rustavi within past two years. The ferro-alloy plant in Zestaponi works at much more capacity than it worked during the Soviet period. More than a half of mines in Tchiatura and Tkibuli have been put into operation. When I arrived in Tkibuli there was no hope that these mines would have been put into operation. Within past two years we have created several tens of thousands of working places in processing industry.

Of course, it is not enough. It is by 15% less than we plan to create. Of course, unemployment remains a very important problem in Georgia.

Now, about growth of prices – Georgia has not everything, oil prices have catastrophically increased. It means that price on petrol, as well as on transportable goods has increased. Price on bread has increased throughout the world. Accordingly, price on flour and bread products has increased in Georgia as well. World prices on dairy produce have also increased. Prices on other products are also increasing and this naturally hits the Georgian market. What can we do? The only way out is that we should not permit artificial increase of prices, we should not to permit monopolies, as it happened in case of meat and sugar. On the other hand, we should help our citizens earn more incomes, more opportunities to feed themselves regardless of increasing world prices. Of course, this is a serious problem.

When we say that new working places are created, I know well that if you are a librarian over 70, living somewhere in the region and this library actually does not function and a salary is very low – the fact that we have opened numerous technical schools, where we train builders, hotel administrators, road specialists and others – does not change anything for these people, because they have reached a particular age, they cannot apply to this school and courses, they have a sense that they have no future and are unprotected. Of course, the government should take care of those people, who, despite of all these changes, remain hopeless.

But when we talk about the changes in the state machinery, when we say that the Rose Revolution was an epochal event – the Rose Revolution has created a miracle – let’s talk frankly, did anyone expect, including me, that Georgia would develop so quickly. As a result of the Rose Revolution, Georgia, which had no electricity for 12 years, is now illuminated; we had grave corruption, now there is no corruption. Even if we have some corrupted officials, they will be punished regardless of their influence. There was no modern healthcare in Georgia; now we are creating modern healthcare, we are building 100 new hospitals. We will do our best to ensure that the most vulnerable people in Georgia have an opportunity to undergo medical treatment in these hospitals.

The situation at our schools also was terrible. Children were freezing, teachers had no salaries. Recently I visited Tirdznisi, where there is a new school, similar to which I have not even seen in Holland – each school will be similar or better than in Holland, Denmark, Norway. Teachers’ salary will also increase and they will increase starting from next year and I wish that they increase much more and of course, they will increase much more.

Therefore, on the one hand, we have reached a really serious progress in a number of spheres; it is recognized by all critics, if they have not lost their conscience finally; on the other hand, we have to deal with the fates of individual persons. When we have dismissed 40,000 policemen – we returned worth and respect of people to the police, which has never enjoyed people’s respect during the Soviet period – but of course, there are people, who have been dismissed from the state structures, in some cases unfairly.

But I want to say that the only way for Georgia lies through consistent continuation of reforms, consistent development of Georgia’s economy, curbing of corruption. Georgia was a country, which was ruled by “thieves in law” [criminal bosses].

This factory of lie, which is operating against us – they used to say that even Stalin failed to destroy thieves, how could they do it – we have destroyed them, and if they emerge again, they will see what will happen to them; we not only expel them from Georgia, we confiscated their property in Georgia; if we find some more, we will confiscate it again.

We had no armed forces, not only until recently, but within centuries. Various imperial forces made us believe that we were good at dancing and singing, we were good at saying toasts, so we should only lay tables for them and sing “Suliko” [a popular Georgian song], but we should not create armed forces. However, they also used to say that we had great generals. [Russian empire’s] General Bagrationi conquered half of Europe. Mamelukes were controlling the Near East, the Arabian world and most of them were Georgians, including the great ruler of Iraq in the 19th century. Poland was set free from Bolsheviks by Georgian officers in the 1920s. Colonel Amilakhvari, who led the foreign legion in France, was one of the most famous persons in the 20th century. But they say that we should not do it in Georgia.

But we have created real armed forces. Today, they still say – why do you need one more brigade, why do you need to buy something – we need it just because somebody did not want for centuries that Georgia had armed forces. Therefore, I cannot accept this mocking, including from some politicians – one of them was speaking on TV and brought a quotation from a Georgian poem, which said that a Georgian should have an iron heart and even a wooden armor. So, he wondered why we were buying so many weapons. He can himself wear a wooden armor, as we used to wear for centuries. Georgia will have such armors, such weapons, which are needed for its territorial integrity, its security and future. We have created armed forces.

We had no elementary infrastructure. Within 15 years we have not built anything. We were only destroying. This year we built and next year we will continue to build more roads than ever built in Georgia for past 30 years.

Of course, it is not an irreversible process. If someone thinks that it came by itself, it is not correct.  It is a result of enormous efforts undertaken by our people, our government, including those people, who are directly linked to me – our working day lasts for 16 hours. Of course, there always are people, who did not meet our expectations, there always are people, who, we thought, were good initially, but then appeared catastrophic.

But finally there are more honest people, more motivated people, who gained serious experience and who created all these. So, one should not think that this is an irreversible process. Our ill-wishers know very well that there is nothing irreversible. Therefore, they hysterically try to return us where we have started from. I mean hopelessness, absence of electricity.

Presently, hopelessness is sowed through televisions. It is announced by televisions that things go wrong, there is nothing good. But one can avoid this television hopelessness easily by switching to another channel, or by going outside and seeing something hopeful there. But return to real hopelessness means the return of Georgia to lack of electricity, chaos, whistling of bullets, reigning of thieves and those officials, like [ex-governor of Shida Kartli region during Eduard Shevardnadze’s presidency Levan] Mamaladze and others, who have appeared recently, I saw several representatives of previous government, who were hiding for past years and think now, that time has come for their appearance [referring to state minister in Shevardnadze’s administration Avtandil Jorbenadze who showed up at the protest rally].

I think that these people are wrong. They failed to make any conclusions within past years. This is not the same Georgia, which can be pushed away and thrown back to the abyss, which we have avoided at last.

Q.: Mr. President you have been talking about reasons, goals of the recent developments. The fact today is that a large-scale demonstration is ongoing outside the Parliament – maybe with social demands, maybe with political ones; the opposition’s one part is pushing political demands. Let’s talk about these concrete demands. I will not repeat them. What do you think about them, how appropriate they are, whether or not is it possible to meet them?

A.: Firstly I want to say that when people see protest rallies a sense of alarm appears among people. This does not trigger any major emotion or fear in France, Germany, or in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and even in Ukraine when a person comes out, expressed his position and then went back to home. But Georgia has the history of state coups, turmoil, chaos and people remember that all these were beginning with street demonstrations. So I fully understand the part of our society which are more or less nervous about the developments.

But I want to allay everyone. Georgia is no longer the country it was in 1990, in 1991 or in 93-94, or like it was in 2001. Georgia was the country at that time and now Georgia is the State with its strong international positions, with its motivated state apparatus, with its very specific course, with knowing where we are going with strategic tasks. So lets remove this…

Q.: So there is no threat of this type.

A.: People should not have any sense of déjà vu that they have already seen it and they should not fear that it will end in a similar way.

Secondly, let’s look at slogans we have been listening – I am not talking about the form of delivering [these] slogans, this form speaks about culture of those [delivering these slogans] and there are televisions here which spend their airtime on airing these things; this is a democracy and one can not blind anything in democracy; a wise person is also well seen and a foolish one are well seen in [democracy] and the society makes its assumptions.

Now let’s talk about pretexts and this is only a pretext and nothing else. There is a concrete oligarch Russian force behind all this, which at the same time is in coordination with a concrete foreign country and its political circles, whose goal is to stir chaos in Georgia ahead of [parliamentary] elections in Russia, which are scheduled in December. They want it for getting rid, what they believe is, ‘Georgian plague’ – this is their motivation.

But on the other hand there are individual, ordinary persons with concrete problems and this is a separate issue, which is a major thing for concern for any government.

At the same there are pretexts pushed for by some of so called political forces – some of them are not even political forces. What do they demand? Holding of parliamentary elections in spring [2008]. There also have been slogans like this: constitutional monarchy; Georgia without President; constitutional monarchy is Georgia’s future.

Now I want to say why these elections are set for the date envisaged by the Georgia’s constitution [sometime between October and December, 2008]…

Q.: Yes Mr. President maybe you would explain this.

A.: It happened after Russia imposed economic embargo, when there was a threat of direct confrontation between Russia and Georgia; between huge Russia and Georgia, which has small territory.

Q.: It was in 2006 winter [Russia imposed full scale economic embargo in late September, 2006]. 

A.: Of course. That was the period when we saw how important Georgia’s internal processes were for Russia. They are so focused on using these processes for their own goals, I mean Russian politicians and decision-makers there. So if Georgia’s elections were held in March, at the time of Russia’s [presidential] election – in March, 2008 – that would have meant that we would be engaged in an election campaign and this in turn would have been very risky for us.

Q.: Let’s clarify it, so it means Russia would have used Georgia’s internal turmoil for its internal consumption and goals.

A.: I think this game is very obvious. We have seen it very well what is happening in the Russian televisions, wherein they provide live coverage of recent developments [in Georgia] as if nothing else happens in the world. Does it indicate on certain assumptions? There is one Georgian TV station [referring to Imedi TV], which broadcasts demonstrations in live and the four Russian TV stations which do the same. This does not happen by chance.

In January or February [2008] the fate of Kosovo – this is part of Serbia will be decided and it is most likely that it will be unilaterally recognized by the United States and European western allies. Russia made it clear it planned to recognize Abkhazia and S.Ossetia in case of Kosovo’s recognition.

Q.: Because this is important ahead of Russia’s elections.

A.: Yes, ahead of elections in Russia. So what the situation would have been. On the one hand we have elections in Georgia and elections in Russia simultaneously; on the other hand there is Kosovo and a real danger of confrontation in Abkhazia. There was an impression that all this was deliberately planned. 

In the light of this situation we, me and Nino Burjanadze [the Parliamentary Chairperson] and others discussed how to act; so we decided to compromise. The new presidential elections should have been held in April 2009. The Presidents generally do not like to reduce their presidential term. I want to say that I have not heard about such precedents. I know many presidents especially in our region, who prolong the term of their presidency for a long time through referendums or other tricks.

But we said that we should reduce the presidential term for approximately eight months – from six to nine months – and prolong the term of Parliament’s term in office and hold elections simultaneously. So, the presidential term will be reduced, while the parliament’s term prolonged and the elections will be held simultaneously.

Moreover, the number of parliamentarians will decrease from 235 members – that is not done by any parliaments in the world – to 150 members [the decision was made in a referendum in November, 2003]. It means that a very useful reform was implemented in terms of revival of the parliament. A very important step was taken in terms of stabilization in the country. The President’s term has reduced.

Afterwards, we agree, to appoint the presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously – if Georgia does not want this president and parliament, they will elect new one, which will work together. If they do not like them, they will again elect new ones and they will work together.

Force is in unity. Disintegrated little country, which faces a threat, cannot function well. It was our motivation. And everybody accepted and understood it. Now, when someone is looking for a pretext – firstly, numerous lies were said on TVs by strange persons and then, when even it did not work, a certain reason became necessary. And this pretext [for the protests] has become this demand to return to the old dates of elections. However, they do not tell people that the President’s term will be prolonged again up to April 2009.

So, this was the decision, for which we assumed the responsibility and all political parties, all politicians know about it very well. I want to say that last year when we did it – and maybe it is our fault – we did not explain about it to the society – although many people guess themselves about many things – but by publicly saying this we did not want to give additional reason to Russia to start accusing us that we were planning something in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But now I am obliged to say it in order to avoid any doubts why this was done and what particular interests were behind it. I am saying it – I, the President of Georgia, who has significantly decreased his first presidential term and the Parliament supported me.

Q.: Mr. President, that part of opposition, which is holding protest rallies, has other demands as well. They speak about change of election administration; otherwise, they fail to see any guarantees that the elections will be fair.

A.: I want to say, that during my presidency, six [various] elections were held in Georgia, including presidential, parliamentary, locals elections in Adjara and so on. So, six elections were held and everybody knows that these elections were held fairly, transparently and without any serious violations.

But, of course, there is no ideal election system. There is a group under the Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze, which is involved in improvement of this election system and election code and we support this group as much as possible.

As far as I know, this group has not stopped working and it still plans to continue working. Any interested person has an opportunity to come and participate in this group. Moreover, we have adopted a law, which envisages state financing for political parties. By the way, such a measure is not always popular among the population. It is better to spend this money on people rather than on the political parties. But, we explain to our people, that our political parties would better take money from the state budget, rather than to run and jump into the pocket of a dirty oligarch.

Some people have accepted these rules of the game, and others not. In this situation, we, of course, are ready to continue improvement of our election legislation. By the way, the reduction of an election threshold [from 7%] to 5% was not a compromise from our side. It was an attempt to integrate as many political groups as possible into the political process. Even an opinion of the smallest group is very important for us because we are a small country, which faces so many problems around, as well as internal threats. I think that we have good partners in the Parliament and we will manage to improve this law through the agreement.

Q.: This logic is absolutely clear for me. But I wonder, whether the Russian threats will be removed by autumn 2008?

A.: We will face both internal and external threats unless Georgia settles the problem of territorial integrity and this is major problem. Several days ago an alarming incident occurred in Ganmukhuri. For how many times are they doing it? After we created this [youth patriotic] camp there, nobody could enter that territory and the entire area breathed freely. If I had permitted those peacekeepers, which entered that territory, to make a mess there and capture this camp, be sure that this part of the Gali district would have been lost again.

Of course, I believed that it was my honorary responsibility to open new facility, and we, together with Gigi Ugulava [the Tbilisi mayor], were moving from one newly opened facility to another, when [Interior Minister Vano] Merabishvili called me [to inform about the Ganmukhuri incident] and I rushed to the airport and arrived in Ganmukhuri.

But I cannot understand – how strongly one should not love his own country not to be glad to see the bandits running away, those bandits about which we were told for years that they would never run away or be defeated. Mocking is totally inappropriate about this issue. There are some things that are impossible to mock about. There are some things that should unite us. Still, I think that those people are mocking who do not represent the society’s opinions. I believe that the society will always be united, as it happened in case of Upper Abkhazia or Adjara, every time when Georgia faces vital problems. This threat will not be removed in a day.              

Q.: By autumn?

A.: I am sure that in the near future we have a chance to settle a great part of the territorial integrity issue. It is known to us and to our opponents, as well. Look, how processes related with [head of the Tbilisi-loyal South Ossetian provisional administration Dimitri] Sanakoev have been developing in recent months. Now, there are attempts to get us back. An attempt to distract Georgia’s attention from this issue – it is the issue of national security.

I want to remind everyone – Russia launched two wars in Chechnya because of elections. I want everybody to understand those threats which Georgia is facing today, ahead of the forthcoming elections in Russia – in December and March, as well as in a transition period after March. I mean also the issue of Kosovo’s recognition and many other factors.

What particular threat is Georgia facing? In April Bucharest will host a NATO summit, which gives Georgia a realistic chance to take a further step towards membership in the alliance. The cornerstone of Russian national security doctrine is not to let Georgia’s NATO membership.

Why are we opening new facilities everyday? We started by opening fountains and facades and then moved to opening to entire cities – on November 8 in Kvareli we will open a new center – it is a symbol that whatever the tricks they stage against us, Georgia will not derail even for a minute. This is my message to my foreign friends, especially to one of them – you can try anything, but we will not change our path. So, nobody should have any illusions in this regard.

Certainly, the risks still remain, but what is our response: to be nervous about our future? No. How did we overcome that embargo last year? The response is – through the calmness of a peasant in the Kakheti region, through the calmness of citrus producers, through the calmness of businessmen, through new investments flowing into the country, through the calmness of the Georgian government.

They want to stir up tensions, but tensions mean when the Parliament is separated, when the government is demoralized, when there is no efficient army, when the policemen are looking from the bushes and do not enjoy respect of the society. You can see how consolidated the absolute majority of the parliament is and how consolidated the government is. When our ill-wishers see it, they cannot be in a good mood. Therefore, we plan to continue in the same manner, although we have particular difficulties, but this does not mean that we should put our heads in the sand, saying that we have no problems. Of course, we have problems and these problems are social, when a person fights for existence.

The fact that we have reduced poverty from 55% to 28% for past four years, this did not settle the problems of those 28%. Maybe, some of them are even poorer taking into account many factors – increase of prices and so on. So, of course, we should be concentrated on this issue everyday. But, on the other hand, keeping focus means that everything we do should be done faster.

Q.: When you were talking about strengthening of state institutions – police, army, education reforms, reforms in the healthcare system – one of the major slogans of the people gathered outside the Parliament is fair judiciary system.

A.: When we are talking about justice and about victory of truth in Georgia, I want everyone to know that there is no goal more important for me, as for the President and citizen of this country, than final victory of just and truth. For me the sense of just is when a child, who studies well, will enroll in the high education institution no matter from where he is and no matter how wealthy his competitor is. The sense of just is when the police arrest only criminals and those who are innocent will be protected. For me the sense of just means, when a person, who is talented, achieves everything he disserves.

So when we talk about the judiciary in Georgia, I want everyone to know that everything will be done to guarantee with 100% the victory of truth in the courts.

Now let’s list everything what I hear these days through television: there is violence in Georgia. Violence in Georgia was when the country was ruled by gangs and thieves. We have minimized rate of violent crimes at least two-fold. Do you think that the fact that cases of stealing of cars in Tbilisi have decreased is triggered by change in thieves’ mood? Or is this the result of brave and hard work of our state structures and the law enforcement agencies. So violence has decreased and Georgia has turned into more peaceful society.

Then, they say: the Georgian [Orthodox] Church is confronted. One can say any type of lie, but 250 churches have been reconstructed in recent two years, during my presidency. Unique frescos were almost destroyed in Ubisa, but we have just recently renovated it and saved it. In 2000 a priest from Ananuri was requested for Gel 5,000 to reconstruct the Ananuri [Church’s] roof. Since then we took care of all these churches. Two days ago I was in Kutaisi and I said there that we were launching a large-scale reconstruction works at the Gelati Cathedral and I plan to take my next, the second presidential oath in the Gelati Cathedral.

In the light of all these developments both internally and internationally, we have confirmed once again that the Georgian people are wise, the political elite is mainly consolidated and open for a dialogue and the level of political culture is increasing – although there are people who have never had any political culture and there are hopelessness cases and these [people] in every society are called marginal groups and as usually these groups become isolated from the democratic processes in the country.

A machine of lies is put into operation against Georgia and the Georgina people; there are attempts to create, at first illusion and then, the reality of erosion of the inner system. This is exactly what Aslan Abashidze [the ex-Adjarian leader] was doing. He created the machine of lies and attempted to turn Georgia into a fiefdom, but we have put en end to [Abashidze’s] these attempts and no one else will ever be able to do this again.

What is now happening in Georgia is an attempt by dark, black force – who has no responsibility and love towards Georgia and which is directly linked to Georgia’s foreign factors – to demand from us to share power, consult with me on how to rule Georgia. We will never let it happen. Power in Georgia belongs to the people and the power is executed by the democratically elected President and the Parliament. All other attempts to turn this process backward through lies and blackmail are doomed to a failure because now in Georgia there are strong and consolidated, free and democratic institutions. So speaking with these people on the language of Aslan Abashidze, on the language of Russian oligarch, on the language of blackmail and lie is impossible. 

We will protect the interests of the people till the end. There has never been and will never be any compromise with these dark, black and 100% negative forces at the expense of the Georgia’s interests and economy and future and I want everyone to know this.

Q.: Mr. President how will processes develop, what are the country’s major challenges and major threats and also when will the elections held?

A.: Firstly, both the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in the autumn of 2008 as defined by the constitution and nobody can blackmail us. Everything in Georgia will happen whenever it is envisaged by the constitution, law and the country’s national interests.

No one will ever be able to put processes out of its constitutional frame with ultimatums, televised blackmail and money. This is one of the huge lessens that we all have learnt.

Georgia has serious challenges. This is the territorial integrity. We will resolve this issue regardless of resistance from foreign and some internal forces.

In economy we have the challenge of unemployment and now we are planning a new employment program. It means creating of condition wherein the employer meets potential employee. I am glad that several new enterprises have been set up. And now there are more possibilities to create more jobs. This year will be launching three-fold larger program than we had last year. At least 100,000 people will undergo this program.

This winter we have distributed electricity vouchers to all the families – and it will be enough for some of them for the entire year – and in the provinces we are distributing flour because I want to overcome this winter without having even a single hungry and cold person.

Salaries of not only teachers will increase starting from next year, but from spring minimal pension will also increase up to GEL 50 per month. And other measures to further protect socially vulnerable people are also planned because it is impossible to live on GEL 50 if one has no other source of income.

Where this money does come from? From fast economic growth and through further fight against corruption. Georgia’s economy will grow by 14%, which is one of the highest in the world and this is a result enormous efforts undertaken by each of us. The fact that the country is developing on the daily bases is a result of hardworking Parliament and Government and these people understand it very well that all these achievements need to be maintained and we will maintain. We have already built the foundation and now we have started construction of the most beautiful part of our statehood, wherein there will be a dignified place for each Georgian citizen.

I do not think it is right to speak about the problems all the time, but everyone should know that I constantly think about these problems. Because eventually the country’s development is not measured by figures, it is measured by individual success of each family. This is very important for me.

I want to stress that each success has been made possible not only thanks to the government, but thanks to each person and citizen of this country.

The government will sacrifice itself for restoring of the country’s territorial integrity. But the government can’t do it alone, if each of us does not believe in this.

Q.: Thank you Mr. President, wish you success.


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