Mikheil Saakashvili: "I interacted with Tymoshenko. But Ukraine must deal with its' issue independently."

The President of Georgia told "Segodnya" about his excellent relations with Mr. Yanukovych, the arrest of Tymoshenko and an allergy to his classmates.

Imagine that an invisible force has lifted you into the air and for a fraction of a second you hang over a precipice. Scared? We experienced this intimidating feeling as well, while standing under the glass dome in the Administration of the President of Georgia - on a glass floor from where one can see through all four floors of the Palace! And then, stepping onto the hard surface, we realized that even if you were to fall into the precipice, you would still have a chance of surviving, contrary to all laws of reason.

Unfortunately, we only had a small amount of time for an interview with the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Therefore we did not have time to ask what he had intended, while ordering the architect to design a hanging glass staircase (by the way, its likeness can be seen in the Bundestag), under the dome of the Presidential Administration. But the design suggests a metaphor. During the "Rose Revolution" the Georgian nation stepped onto a fragile surface - risking a fall into the abyss, but somehow miraculously managed to survive. Although beneath their feet solid ground had not yet been achieved much like Ukraine - after the "Orange Revolution" in 2004. Our countries still have much in common...

Administration of the President. There is a glass floor here through which the four floors of the Palace can be seen. And a glass staircase. Photo: A. Iskritskaya

"Georgia has become fashionable in Ukraine. I accidentally ran into Chernovetskyi in Batumi"

The Press secretary of Mikheil Saakashvili invites us into the office of the President of Georgia. The walls are decorated with light wood. Furniture - snow white. But the main highlight is the second floor with a library. However, the Head of State is still not in the room. After a pause of a couple of minutes, he "emerges" from the secret door and immediately gets to the point:

- Hello! Well, shall we begin? - He asks us, smiling. Apparently, unlike his friend and godfather, the former Ukrainian President - Viktor Yushchenko, he is not used to being late for a meeting with reporters.

- Mister Mikheil! You often visited Kiev in the past. You talked about the friendship of Georgia and Ukraine. But now, the number of contacts between our countries has fallen sharply. Does this suggest a cooling of relations? If yes, what this related to?

- I do not see a cooling of relations. Georgia has now become very fashionable in Ukraine. Such a good relationship, as it is today, has never existed between our two countries. Practically an explosion occurred eighteen months ago. Tourists and businessmen visit Georgia. I often wonder why it happened exactly in that time period. Of course, this was being planned before hand. But apart from that, our countries seem to need each other in a natural way, since both of them are at crossroads. You have experienced a change of power. There have been many political upheavals which are inevitable at this point. And now, your country needs to solve many internal problems and perhaps it does not have enough time for foreign affairs. But on the other hand, Georgia and Ukraine became especially close exactly at this moment. So it's a sin to complain. We often went to Ukraine before. I often visited. Now, more Ukrainians visit us. And I am very happy. This is constructive for Georgia.

- Speaking of those Ukrainians who travel to Georgia. Kiev Mayor - Leonid Chernovetskyi has repeatedly emphasized his love for Georgia in the media. Moreover, he said that he knows you personally and has also allegedly financed the development of tourism resources in your country. And now, according to rumors, he even lives in Georgia. Is this true?

- I have not heard anything about Leonid Chernovetskyi investing in the tourism industry of Georgia - laughing - although, I receive interest in this regularly. But I can affirm to the fact that he visits Georgia from time to time. We have a small country, and if a person appears in public, everybody knows about it.

- Have you met him?

- I met him by accident once. It was in Batumi as I recall. We haven't had a particularly close relationship. Although I am glad that many people of completely different political views, come here.

- In Ukraine, everybody knows about your friendship with the former Ukrainian President -Viktor Yushchenko. When was the last time you met him?

- Last time - a couple of days ago in Krynica, during the Economic Forum. I shook the hand of Viktor Andreevich. Of course, we have a good relationship! As you know, he came to Georgia during the 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict over South Ossetia. Our country needed support the most back then. After all, we were on the verge of life and death. An army of about 100 thousand soldiers came close to our capital, but we did not have enough weapons and soldiers to defend ourselves! And our main weapons were not the troops. The fact that thousands of people came out into the streets of Tbilisi and our friends arrived - five leaders of the former Soviet Union (as well as president of France) held hands near the Parliament... In short, the main thing was not the fact that Viktor Yushchenko was in Tbilisi at a difficult moment, but the fact that he represented Ukraine in Georgia at that time. Our country will remember it forever.

Christening. Viktor Yushchenko became the godfather of Saakashvili five years ago.

- What is your relationship with the current President of Ukraine - Viktor Yanukovych?

- I have an excellent relationship with Viktor Yanukovych! I came to Kiev and met with him even when he was in opposition; visited him at his country house. By the way, I've never made it a secret. All my friends, including the Ex-President -Viktor Yushchenko, know that I maintain a relationship with his chief political opponent. That's how it should be. We are talking about relations between people of Ukraine and Georgia. But such relationships are not based on nepotism or kinship.

"I interacted with Tymoshenko. But Ukraine must deal with its issue independently"

- How do you assess the political situation in our country? You are well acquainted with the former Prime Minister - Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister - Yuriy Lutsenko. What do you think about their arrest? Would you give them asylum?

- Naturally, I interacted with Yulia Tymoshenko and other Ukrainian politicians. But Ukraine should decide many things independently based on the rule of law (both domestic and international) and the international reality. For example, we were very tough in our country - without ceremonies. After the "Rose Revolution" not only political figures of the previous government (a few ministers, Chairman of Control Chamber and members of the president's family) were brought to justice on corruption charges, but also many members of our own team. Including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Mayors as well as four members of parliament from the ruling party - my former colleagues, who I respected and counted! More than 40 judges were also tried. And this is a lot for little Georgia. If we adjusted this number to Ukraine's standards, it would be four hundred! I note that our approach was not based on politics. We treated all equally: Whoever was caught had to face the charges.

- If we are not mistaken, your corrupt officials had to "share" the property with the state budget...

- Yes. Almost all members of the old government, were then arrested on charges of corruption, were released through a very large monetary compensation to the state budget. For example, we had a serious pension debt. And the son-in-law of Eduard Shevardnadze, who was also arrested, paid the debt to people for 3 months. The Head of the Georgian Railway contributed tens of millions in state budget. And the Head of the Control Chamber was left without his huge country house. It currently shelters the disabled and the poor. However, such a soft policy, we held in regard to the "formers". And to the corrupt members of our team - we applied more severe penalties. Many of them have served sentences.

- Tell me please, who is investing money in the economy of Georgia out of the Ukrainian entrepreneurs today? We heard that one of the investors is - Kolomoisk ...

- As for Ukrainian officials, I have no information - Mikheil Saakashvili is clearly not being completely forthright- I can simply say that there are a lot of such people. Ukrainian businessmen are investing very seriously in our country now. Moreover, most of them are representatives of small and medium-sized businesses.

"Irakli Gedenidze just got caught by our Counterintelligence during one of the regular inspections,"

- People sometimes compare you to the President of Belarus - Alexander Lukashenko. They say that each of you is governing his country with a tough hand. In your opinion - is this a correct comparison?

- You cannot tell me anything new that I literally haven't just read in the newspapers - laughing. But before I answer your question, I would like to stress that at the level of interpersonal relations the Georgians and Belarusians get along excellently. By the way, the same is true with the Russians, who increasingly visit our country. Although our countries are of course very different. You say: tough hand. Yes, there is really an order in Georgia. But it is based on complete media freedom. And despite everything that has been said - I was blamed for all possible and impossible sins; our government still has the support of 70% of the population on almost all issues.

- And what happened to your personal photographer- Irakli Gedenidze? It's hard to believe that he could be a Russian spy....

- Everybody knows the fact that some people are working against our country - everyone knows that. You see, today spies are not those who move in submarines and jump with parachutes...

- People say that Irakli Gedenidze was your close friend?

- No. I would not say so. We have peer relationships with all our employees. We trust them and we don't put them under surveillance. It just so happened that he was caught by counterintelligence during a regular inspection. And we are very good at counter-intelligence. While discharging the KGB (there is national security service in Georgia. - Ed.), we hired only the young (when the Head of the Agency started working, he was about 23 years old) into the structure and as a result, though we have a small intelligence service (I will emphasize that our country has no money for numerous intelligence personnel) it is a very efficient service. Despite the enormous workload, they take risks- not by standard methods. I would say - effectively!

- For example, they arrest photographers...

- The irony is misplaced here. What do you think: what information does a foreign intelligence service need? Very simply: who came, who left. When you constantly receive such household data, you feel that you are informed although, you don't know specific secrets. By the way, when our intelligence is working somewhere, we are also looking for routine information and necessarily scandalous secrets. Uncover secrets no longer exist in the world...

- After the crackdown on the last protest demonstrations in Tbilisi, the opposition parties have accused you of repression and brutality. People called Georgia a "Police state". Do you regret ordering them to dissolve the rally?

- Of course, not! It makes me sick to watch the segments about the authorities using force against people on TV. That is not characteristic to my nature! It must be understood that we had no other choice. I believe that we acted correctly. Judge for yourself! A group of provocateurs, financed from abroad (the fact they do not even hide!), with meager support (less than 1% of the electorate), come out onto the streets and says: we will not allow you to celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence. What should we have done? Use only the minimum force. Incidentally, during the crackdown none of the police had weapons. And thank God, they didn't. It is unknown how the police would have used weapons after protesters boarded the cars and ran over several police officers! I remind you that one of the policemen died and others ended up in the hospital. Of course, after every such case where the police had to intervene, I thought: we didn't use too much force, did we? Moreover, we document, study and analyze all of our actions. After which, we once again raise the level of police training - teach them. By the way, this time they acted more professionally, than in 2007. If it happens again next year (and it probably will as it occurs in any democracy - look what is happening in Greece!) they will act even more professionally.

- Who is the opposition leader, your former associate of the "Rose Revolution" - Nino Burjanadze - a woman, an enemy, or disappointment?

- No, not a disappointment. We must understand that Nino now has zero impact on the electorate in Georgia. By the way, Nino also had a limited impact during her time on our team. Why? The main problem with her, like some others who dropped out from the team, is that our values ​​do not match. Promotion of Burjanadze was associated with compromise all the time, because we needed to be legitimate after the "Rose Revolution". And she had enough chances to adjust to these values. But she could not. Apparently, one either has this quality or does not. Our values are very specific - money does not mean anything, personal career does not mean anything, the country means everything - and its future reform is a simple formula, and the person who does not fit, stays out. And thank God. This proves that we are not a clan and we are not here because we have a common debt in some industries or our children or relatives do, or we did something in the past and need to cover each other. We are together because we share common ideas and those who do not share this -can take another road, and this is our main strength. And by the way, if you look at Georgia's electorate, it reflects this so well. It immediately assesses the politics, and the word of people is much wiser than any of us collectively. The Great Illusion of policymakers around the world, including us, is that you can outsmart people, trick them and they will swallow it. This does not stand in Georgia. The public mentality has evolved and it is very difficult to derail it. If you are not appreciated, you must look for reasons in yourself.

- A criminal case was opened against Burjanadze's spouse in May on a charge of organizing attacks on police officers by a group specially created for this purpose. He fled the country. Do you know where he is now?

- I have not thought about this question. We have much more significant challenges in our lives.

"Ukraine must get rid of dependence. One supplier of energy resources - means death"

- How do you assess the latest gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia?

- Ukraine is undergoing a very difficult period now, which Georgia has already passed. And, in my opinion you should get rid of the dependence. One energy supplier - is death. This factor is easy to use for blackmail. Judge for yourself! When Russia interrupted the delivery of natural gas and electricity to Georgia in 2005, we did not know what to do, because we imported 90% of our energy from the Russian Federation. And now we are exporting electricity to Russia - we have found inner resources! Moreover, when Russia closed its market to us (and 70% of export market in Georgia was Russian demand oriented) many around me thought that we were dead. Now Russia wants to join the WTO! - come back to our market! But no one is particularly enthusiastic about this in Georgia. Now we take a part of our gas from Russia (as payment for transit), but we do have an alternative supplier as well as a few suppliers in reserve. And in Russia, they took this lesson into account. Despite the military background, our relationship became more orderly and conventional. There is the same situation with electricity. RW has some power companies in Georgia. And "ITERA" has some gas supply networks, because we cannot exploit these systems by ourselves. We are dependent on the Russian Federation in this sense. And it depends on us in the same way. Even during the war we did not stop the sale of electricity to the Russian Federation. These things have to be separated.

- And how do you see the denouement of the gas conflict between Ukraine and Russia? Will our country be able to get out of this situation with dignity?

- I think if we could do it, Ukraine will be able to do it! You have internal resources of oil and gas. There is a possibility of other supplies, such as liquefied gas, through our region. And there are such gas prices now that it's worth considering all other alternatives. Generally, when you approach the limit, when there is nothing to lose, it's a good thing. At that point you have to go faster from the dark tunnel into the light.

- And they also say that the economy of your country keeps functioning only because of the financial assistance from the West. But by itself, Georgia exports less than it imports. And the inflow of foreign investment does not cover this difference. What would you say regarding this issue?

- Yes, Georgia has a negative trade balance for now. It is not a secret. For example, we import more products from Ukraine than we export to your country. Huge investments are flowing into the economy of our country now and the Georgian national currency is constantly strengthening its position. But we have to restrain it, because this is very bad for exporters. We are working on this issue now. I hope this problem will soon disappear.

- Under what conditions do you think, Georgia will let Russia in the WTO?

- This is purely a technical issue. Many thought we are trying to solve the problem of occupation through this issue. No. Specifically, this technical issue is related to WTO rules - transparency of borders while moving goods and services. In this sense, Russia must meet the minimum of these requirements. The problem with Russia was that at first they stubbornly refused to talk. But even now, during negotiations, Russia is refusing to call us a country as well as a territorial and ethnic unit. If you are being treated like that it is hard to negotiate.

Indeed, the technical problem has been turned into a political one. Yes we have huge political problems, but we would not want to mix them with this issue. We have a pragmatic interest in regulating the trade rules. By the way, all of our partners are well aware of this. And there is no pressure on us regarding this issue.

- The NATO Secretary General - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, will visit Georgia in October along with a large delegation. Does this mean the beginning of a new round of talks on Georgia's membership in the alliance?

- I think we will have progress in terms of NATO, especially in the following year. The Summit planned in Chicago, where I hope the evident progress achieved by Georgia regarding reforms will be assessed. I am quite sure that both Georgia and Ukraine will join NATO sooner or later, and I think - much earlier than many people expect. My attitude is realistic and optimistic at the same time. Life has taught me not to rush with too much optimism, but in reality there is a very good chance of this happening. Of course, much is dependent on the global processes that occur tectonically and can move in any direction. I have a very optimistic and very pessimistic scenario. But I, as always, try to concentrate on the positive.

"Every compromise turned out to be bad for us"

- Next year, Presidential elections will be held both in Russia and in America... how will they affect Georgia? What do you expect and what are you trying to beware of in regarding their results?

- I think out of these two countries, the election will be held only in America. In Russia it's conditional whether we call it an election or not. But concerning the changes - if Russia does not modernize, it will have a very painful collapse. And these are not even my expectations - it's what the Russian elites, politicians, even their leadership is saying. When the Head of State says the words "we will not fall apart, we will not collapse," it is a bad sign.

I never even thought that Georgia would fall apart or disappear from the face of the earth. Meanwhile, I remember very well, that the Soviet Union broke up and I see clear analogies with the processes that are underway in Russia. They need to rebuild, because without a major upgrade, without the introduction of elements of an open society- because in the XXI century you cannot live only by the fact that your neighbors are developing; well and the price of your fuel is high and growing.

Regarding the U.S, in general, it has been proven that there is no Democratic or a Republican foreign policy - it's simply a foreign policy of America and the permanent interests of the country. It is therefore very important that the U.S. simply overcomes the economic crisis: if America is weak, if Europe is weak, then the forces that do not like the international rules of the game, do not like civilized behavior, will be very active and this will not give us a better life. So it depends not on who will be in charge of the new American administration, but rather where America will be. Will it be able to distract from the domestic situation and turn to international issues?

Although, I shouldn't complain and despite all of the Georgian problems, Georgia has been the focus of America in recent years and for that we are very grateful.

- The "Rose Revolution" and the "Orange revolution" - we know everything about them. And what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, what has turned into a nightmare in Libya, and what is happening in Syria...What kind of revolutions are they? And what advice would you give the new revolutionaries?

- Many people admit that the Georgian reforms have become a standard of how quickly change should take place. And our revolution was not the fact that people stood in the streets and waved flags - of course, we had a real popular support. Not like the present opposition, supported by a 1.5 percent of the people - the main revolution began when we all went back home and started working.

It is much harder to do in a small country than in a large one, because if you fire someone today, tomorrow you will run into him on the street or in he could end up being your neighbor, or his child will go to school with your child... And angers are not forgotten. If you live in a country of 40-50 million people, you'll fire a corrupt face - and they never will show up on your eyes again. The majority of people affected negatively by our reforms, live in the center of the capital. And every time a demonstration is gathered, some of them are always out here, under my window.

When we talk about Arab countries, we must understand that it's easier to carry out unpopular reforms there due to the population density. But our main experience is that the window of opportunity is ajar - and may close soon! First, it is imperative that you break through promptly, and secondly - you cannot even try to consider someone's private interests: let's not hurt someone, let's not step on their toes, doing anything half-way never works.

During the crisis, it was proposed that I cut wages of all the bureaucracy by 25%. But this is not an option, because ALL employees will be offended by 25%. It is better to simply dismiss a quarter of employees. Better to offend 25% of employees all the way than to offend everyone by 25%. Someone always has to win or lose during reforms. And if the Arab countries, where the revolutions have won, now implement fast reforms they have a chance and if not, then the radicals will take over. The radicals always say the same thing: the problem is not that we are not able to act, but that we have a neighbor such as America or some other country.

Even while being in a country, 20% of which is occupied, with half a million refugees, we talk very little about it. Because you can go crazy if you concentrate on that but we should concentrate on positive things.

In the Arab revolution it is very important that people who do not blame their problems on anyone else, have open minds, understand that everything needs to be changed very quickly - going forward, and not looking back even at religious authorities must come to power. Because there will be no second chance.

I personally regret all the compromises, because every compromise made turned out to be bad for us. Several times we had a chance to return to the starting point and adjust the reforms, but Georgia got very lucky - usually this chance only happens once.

- We are speaking with you on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Where did this event catch you? How has the world changed since then?

- I was the Minister of Justice and I saw all this on TV in my office. But I associate New York with personal memories, because I got married in the City Hall there, which no longer exists. That is where my wife and I got married; it was burned along with the World Trade Center. I've often been there - at the WTC - and of course all of this was shocking to me.

Everything is interconnected in the world. Occurrences at the New York Stock Exchange immediately affect Ukraine, Singapore, and the Russian economy. But sometimes someone falls out of the global context. After the Helsinki Agreement, all agreed on the inviolability of borders in the XX century, after all the international acts - I am very familiar with them, I studied international law in Kiev - we were all convinced that a small country is as secure as large one. Nobody could imagine that in the XXI century a large country would attack a little one and try to change its borders through the use of force. I thought it was left in the past a long time ago. Unfortunately, it turned out that this is not true and that such attempts will continue in the future. However, I am optimistic, just because this means falling out of the context. Either such things stop or the world will fall into the abyss.

"I wash off anger instantly. It is difficult to sleep with it at night"

- Once, during an interview, you said that you value courage the most in people. What do you value the most and hate the most in yourself and how does it help or interfere with the work?

- I learned to control myself, not to make conclusions too fast, especially when it comes to people. I can quickly get angry, but I calm down instantly. I realized that when angry - it is better to restrain myself. Because, when I calm down, I will be ashamed that I hurt someone. By the way, I don't keep anger inside, - I wash it off immediately because it is hard to live with it - you get wrinkles and bad night sleep. It's a defense instinct - do not keep evil thoughts about anyone.

- Do you have close friends?

- Yes. My close friends are my companions. It is not those who I went to school with or who I looked after girls with. Close friends are those who are tested. You can know a person for 30-40 years and he/she could be no one to you in a particular situation or you could know a person for two or three months, and that person will turn out to be very good. It all depends on the situation. The situation cements friendship! We have formed a good team. We have the same values. If you look at us, we are completely different people: we haven't studied in the same schools; we are from different villages, different backgrounds - some Catholics, some Orthodox, some Jews, some ethnically mixed. Social background: from the middle or lower middle class families. But there are also people from very wealthy families. However, this is not important, because our team was cemented by a unified vision and the understanding that personal comfort does not mean anything. The future of the country is much more important. You know many of my college classmates have taken serious posts around the world. Once, in London my classmate, who became a high official of one of the third world countries, requested a meeting with me. We met in a hotel lobby and he tells me, "Misha, remember, I was such and such and such for three years and my first lesson to you, steal whatever you can, while you can,! " He met with me to share his experience. Of course, there is such an approach, but it's terrible to live like that. We have assembled a team based on one trait - they are idealists who believe in the future of their country, they are willing to sacrifice everything for it and it's what unites them. Why do we not have corruption? Not because we have very high salaries. The main thing is that we have leaders who believe that it should not exist! It's important to believe in it yourself. I'm allergic to relatives in public positions! There are, of course, government officials whose relatives also work in public positions, but we extremely discourage it.

I'm allergic to my classmates in this sense. Once you start using such a principle of selecting personnel, everything falls apart. People often tell me, including my mother at the beginning of my presidency: "This classmate of yours came. She is a good girl, but now unemployed...make a call and help her. "I cannot! As soon as I make the call, the whole system will fall apart. But what? Our Ministers do not have classmates?

"My wife receives births professionally"

Saakashvili family. Wife, Sandra and two sons - Edward and Nikoloz

The personal life of Mikhail Saakashvili - a closely guarded secret. There are various and numerous rumors. And there is almost no accurate information. We have tried to fill this gap.

- You have two sons and it is a well-known fact that there is a particular relationship with one's family and bringing up future men in your country. What do you contribute in this process?

- Unfortunately, I cannot be called an exemplary father - a man who deals only with the family. I think I have 5 million children or family members, and some, of course, older than I am. But it is much more important to me and my family shares my thoughts. In this sense, the only thing I've achieved is the success of my eldest son, who has now set a Guinness record in typing on the IPad. I heard this on television, he did not grow up using any privileges (when he was growing up, I was always someone - a Member of Parliament, a Minister). He always fights for these things. For example, he was in China this summer, learning the Chinese language - his sixths, but he's just turned 16. When he was leaving, I called and suggested that a car from our embassy could pick him up at the airport. He yelled at me: "What car? Are you crazy? Why?" It is very important that there are such expectations about life. I have seen children of officials, especially from the old days - they grow up with disabilities, many of them become very cruel. This is a separate science. And since we are building meritocracy in our community, it also applies to members of the President's family - they should achieve everything just by their work.

My wife helps me a lot in this sense. She graduated from the University of Brussels; she has two diplomas of higher education. Then she graduated from a medical school in Georgia and became a nurse. First, she was working with seriously ill cancer patients at the center of Burns and now - she is a profession midwife. She is on duty once a week - 24 hours a day. And it is very important to her, because she interacts with these people and understands all the social problems. Even when we had a minimum income of 500-700 dollars during my years as a Member of Parliament - we spent half of it on charities. My wife has a charitable foundation, but she doesn't do it out of obligation. She has always done that kind of work. She literally receives births, gives shots and takes care of the dishes for the sick. And if there was no personal contact, it's hard to go far for any country.

- You have a very busy work schedule - often 18-20 hours a day. But you have time to engage in multiple sports - alpine skiing, rally, biking and football. What new hobbies do you find time for?

- I really do all this. And now I bought a small vineyard in Kakheti region; built a small house - 60 square meters, in order to have a shelter from the rain when the weather is bad (smiling). I will try to take care of grapes. We'll see what kind of a winemaker I turn into, but I want to do it for the soul! To be honest, there is no time and it's unlikely that there will be time for serious vineyard business. But we'll see. Maybe...

- And one more, perhaps trivial issue. Are you a happy man in politics and life?

- I hate when I have nothing specific to do. When I have something to do, I'm very happy. The New Year's holiday is the worst period of the year for me- when everyone sits at home and drinks. Sorry for the trivia. Now, by the way, we have created a new "class" of officials, who can be reached even in such situations and they will be sober and capable (smiles). I mean it's a tragedy when you have nothing to do. Everything else ... general happiness does not exist. There is a particular satisfaction in the given moment and it goes away very quickly. Happiness means to have challenges and more of them mean more happiness.

What he will do after the Presidency

Not only with Presidency. The Head of State is involved in sports, and has now bought a small vineyard

- In a recent interview you said that if you had not become a President, you would be an architect instead. Your Presidency ends at the age of just 45. So, maybe you will turn to architecture? Or do you already know what you will do in 2013?

- I'm already practicing architecture, but I am not a specialist, it's just that I'm interested in everything that has to do with public life. Where I see myself in 2013 - huh? This will depend on several things. First of all, it will depend on my personal mood. Second, the mood of my companions - we have a full inner-party democracy and absolutely collective leadership (by the way, people often yell at me in this room - sweet talking is a very bad gesture here, I have a big allergy to all flatterers). But the most important thing is what the Georgian people will decide. I want to say that there will no longer be sole rule in Georgia. It has already ceased to exist de facto, but then it will be absent de jure. The President of Georgia leaves serious functions for himself - I insisted on this, although the Venice Commission pushed for us to abolish the Presidency. The Prime Minister has serious operational functions, but depends on Parliament and on other members of the government - which is absolutely not a comfortable position. Speaker of the Parliament is also a significant position. But next year, the Parliament will move to Kutaisi and these changes are much more important to us than what happens in 2013. When the new parliament is elected and I give my first speech before it - I'm just looking forward to a revolution in our thinking - then we will deal with minor issues: where would a particular person be in a given year.

Alena Gromnitskaya, Inna Zolotukhina, Dmitri Belianski


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