November 23 marked twenty years since the Rose Revolution of 2003. Civil.ge has collected statements made by the Georgian ruling party and the opposition on the occasion of the revolution.
Shalva Papuashvili, Speaker of the Parliament: “[On the occasion of the United National Movement’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rose Revolution] it turns out that in the end they are celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of a man-hating system, which is very grave. There are many people in this country who were victims of the UNM regime, and of course to present this as a kind of celebration is to make fun of the victims of the UNM regime.”
Mikheil Sarjveladze, “Georgian Dream”: “To celebrate this day and make this day more pompous, I think, is politically immoral… Because… a number of families became distressed and became victims of this tragedy, and therefore there is a very large part of our society that does not celebrate anything related to these political processes… It seems that they have not even realized that they have actually harmed and they owe an apology to the huge part of the Georgian people… who really lived under conditions of terror.”
United National Movement: “Today [November 23], 20 years have passed since one of the most important events in the recent history not only of independent Georgia, but also of our region. The Rose Revolution was a change of values that changed the civic consciousness of the entire Georgian society and made the process of European integration of our country irreversible. November 23, 2003 is considered as the starting point of European integration and democratic development in the post-Soviet space. The “Rose Revolution” brought back to the Georgian people the belief that we can independently create a successful and democratic state. The failed Georgian state became the number one reforming country in the world, which the President of the United States of America, who came to Tbilisi, called a “beacon of democracy”.
Zurab Chiaberashvili, European Georgia, participant of the Rose Revolution: “Today, Georgia would not be able to talk about membership in the European Union, joining the Euro-Atlantic structures, [EU candidate] status, if it were not for the Rose Revolution and the liberal, democratic reforms implemented by the Rose Revolution government under the leadership of President Saakashvili. Today, our state still stands on the solid foundations laid after the Rose Revolution.”
Zviad Dzidziguri, Conservative Party Chair, participant in the Rose Revolution: “When unlimited power falls into the hands of a certain party or a certain person, then alienation from one’s own society, alienation from the people begins, and this is what happened to Saakashvili and his government in the following years. As opposed to the first years, when they started reforms, police reform, the process of managing the budget, businesses started paying taxes, gas and electricity [became available], roads construction began – of course the people had a positive reaction to that.”