President Saakashvili, who once called Batumi his “daughter”, has made this Black Sea resort town a showcase of his drive to transform Georgia into tourism destination; this drive, he says, also aims at destroying, as he put it, “slave mentality”, which Russia was planting for years to make Georgians believe that they are losers. Saakashvili receives many foreign dignitaries visiting Georgia in Batumi and personally takes them on tour of the city, showing them ongoing or planned projects. When one art critic called facelift in Batumi and in some other towns “architectural bijouterie” and “kitsch”, citing that the process in many cases harms authenticity and identity of local urban architecture of each individual town, Saakashvili, while opening a new Radisson Blu hotel in Batumi, responded: “You poor.”

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