The President of Georgia addressed the servants and students of the National Defense Academy of David the Builder


I would like to welcome everyone,

The five cross flag of Georgia is flown at half staff today to honor the memory of those heroes, who for centuries and especially during the last centuries sacrificed their lives for freedom, survival, and a better future of Georgia. Georgians sacrificing their lives for their homeland is not only a general history written on paper. I had the honor to be present in Helmand, Afghanistan a few days ago, where the Georgian soldiers have been fighting exceptionally well amongst the largest international contingent, making an exceptionally big contribution to the restoration of peace and justice there. I had an opportunity to become acquainted with the operations they have conducted on the ground. I had the opportunity to at least drive a bit there in an armored transporter together with our forces and see how they carry out patrolling. I had been there for only a few hours. Are you aware that our men are in this fight are on active duty for six months at a time? It was exactly in the same kind of patrol car that the boys spoke to me regarding security when I was there. Two days had passed when one of our men was under the fire. He called for a patrol car and our soldiers went to help him out. Three of the Georgian soldiers: Valiko Beraia, Paata Kacharava and Ruslan Meladze sacrificed their lives for Georgia during this military operation.  

Our security is not a theoretical issue. There are many well-off countries, with better geography than us taking part in these operations. They are much more secure, better armed, and perhaps, nothing might threaten their existence today. Our soldiers know very well what kind of threats and challenges Georgia faces and why it is necessary for us to be a part of international coalitions, why this is vital for the survival and future of Georgia. 

It is very important that we also care about defense ourselves. A few years ago, some countries became afraid of a Russian threat after it launched an open aggression. They did not think that Georgia would have a future and that is why importing the equipment of certain elements of our armed forces and the importing of the parts was very difficult during that time, referring to 2008-2009. But we did not give up. We have the examples of Israel and Singapore – these small countries with 5.5 million in population, developed their own military manufacturing.  

The first Georgian chain vehicle “Lazika”, and the well known “Didgori” is an example of this. Georgia has assembled the chain vehicle with an automatic firing control system for the first time, by the innovation of Georgians, in our tank factory. We are assembling many other technical machines as well. New variants of Georgian engineering are very remarkable. Thousands of people are employed in these enterprises. While against this background, we are fully cooperating with all of the others. Despite the fact that every plan of blockade, threat and isolation with regard to Georgia has failed, we still need to have military manufacturing. 


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I came to you to speak about something that I believe to be absolutely determinative for our future, on the 25th of February, on the day of utmost importance in the history of Georgia.

Not our immediate future. Not just the years to come.

No, something that will determine our collective fate for one, two, three or more generations in the future.

My Friends,

For centuries and centuries, Georgia has never been so close to security – its sovereignty, its existence as an independent and democratic state. It might seem strange to say closer to real security than ever, when 20% of our country is illegally occupied by a huge hostile army, when a powerful neighbor, a nuclear power has pledged many times to destroy us.

But this is my strongest belief; this is what has been on my mind for some time now: the Georgian nation has never been so close to guarantee a safe future for our children and the children of our children and so on.


Because now we almost have what has always been lacking throughout History.

Not courage: our ancestors were the bravest among men.

Not commitment: who was more committed, for instance, than our grandfathers struggling alone in the world against the Soviet invasion.

No, something different, something they were lacking and desperately looking for: a powerful family of free nations ready to welcome Georgia, to support and protect its statehood, its freedom, its existence.

This family is called NATO and this family is called the EU. This family is called Europe and the Trans-Atlantic Alliance of Democratic Nations. To put it in another way: the West, this horizon we were always looking at without ever fully reaching it.

There is no other family for us – and I will come back to this later.

We are not yet a full member of this family.

But we were never so close to become one.

Which means that we were never so close to be free and safe at the same time.

These are not just my words telling you that. Look with me at the past few months.

In October, President Sarkozy came here to support our aspirations to enter NATO and the EU. No leader of our traditionally friendly state has come here to tell us this, but the President of one of the largest and one of the most influential countries.

In November, the NATO Secretary General came here to deliver the same message, with the totality of the NAC endorsing this amazing statement of support of our aspirations.

In December, I was in Marseille to meet my friends – the leaders of the European People Party, heads of state or government from most of the European countries.

And the discussions there confirmed it to me: Georgian western aspirations will be satisfied. Georgia will become member of the EU.

I was surprised – I was really surprised to hear what I heard there, behind closed doors.

In January, then, publicly, Barak Obama – in addition, proclaimed Georgia as a role model for our region in terms of reforms, democracy and rule of law - clearly repeated it: we will become members of the Trans-Atlantic family.

My Dear Fellow Georgians,

Look how much we have endured; very few nations could withstand the many challenges that we have. We went through embargos, provocations, invasion and occupation because of this will to be – one day - free and safe at the same time.

We suffered many losses, many tragedies and many injuries in the past years.

We suffered them because we wanted to be true to the dream of our fathers, grand-fathers and so many ancestors who wanted Georgia to be free, Georgia to be safe.

Not safe behind bars. Not safe in a cage in a zoo. Not safe as puppets dancing, singing and drinking to amuse their suzerains.

Not safe in slavery or as vassals, no, safe in what we cherish so much, safe in freedom.

Not safe with masters above us, but safe with friends around us.

And this is the only way to be safe in any case.

Because how could the serf or the slave – who have no rights, no protection, who are totally dependent on the goodwill of their masters – how could they be safe?

How could you call safe the man whose fate depends on the will of another man?

There is no way you can exchange your freedom for security because there is no true security without freedom and independence.

Only the free, the brave, the ones with powerful allies and not masters are truly safe.

Come on, what has the US, the EU or France ever imposed on us?

Nothing, simply nothing.

They might be 100 times more powerful than us; they look at us as partners and not vassals.

The only thing we could have feared was their indifference, as it unfortunately happened in the past. That is why we should always put forth our problems. What does our conqueror want? That we do not remind Europe and the U.S. about the occupation, about the presence of foreign troops here, provocations and then we would be easier to defeat. 

On the contrary, we received support and friendship from them.

And thanks to our friends, but most of all thanks to you, we are here standing proudly as free men and women.

I want to thank you for that, all of you, proud sons and daughters of the Georgian nation.

All of you, without the distinction of sex, age, religion, ethnicity, social background or political orientation.

These distinctions have no meaning to me for the simple reason that I love Georgia, Georgia as a whole.

And those who want to divide our nation into opposing religions, ethnicities, age or social groups, will find in me both the institutional guarantor of our unity, as a President, and their fiercest political, moral, personal enemy, as a man.

I want to thank all of you because you are, dear citizens of Georgia, the ones who made it possible to survive and who will make Georgia, not only free, but free and safe.

All of you, my dear Georgians, but especially you, my dear cadets.

Because you are the very foundation of our statehood.

Those who wanted us to remain slaves forever. Those who did everything for us not to have a State knew – and they still know – where to strike first.

This is why they killed so many of our officers. This is why they prevented us from becoming officers. The occupants fought us with persecutions and deportations for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of Georgians had been exiled from Javakheti in the 19th century, 500,000 from Abkhazia and Kartli in the 20th century. They destroyed our churches and monasteries. What was left has been whitewashed and demolished as the St. Georgia cathedral of Ilori. We restored hundreds of monasteries, the restoration of Bagrati Cathedral will also finish this year. I have created a group, a few days ago, which will work on returning the Cross Monastery of Jerusalem back to the Georgian state. I call on everyone to support us on this issue. We are grateful to the state of Israel for expressing their readiness to cooperate. Within the frames of negotiations with the Turkish government, the restoration works of Oshk and other Georgian monuments in the territory of Turkey will start this year.  

You are the core of our statehood, young friends.

I owe you the truth.

And the truth is that we were never so close to being free and safe, to joining the family of free nations, but to achieve that we still need to overcome challenges.

For that, we still need to resist threats.

For that, we need to show determination, commitment, clear commitment.

We have elections coming. I guarantee that they will be free and fair.

They are very important. And political parties that will take part in the campaign owe the people the truth.

They owe the people clarity and openness.

I hear that some parties are hesitating, jumping from one position to another, changing their priorities according to the polls, the wind, the various calls they receive: good relations with Russian leadership instead of NATO or the EU should be the priority I heard some saying.

And then I heard the same say: no, finally, NATO and the EU are popular so we want to keep them as priorities, as well as good relations with Putin and his government.

And then, I heard something else: we do not want any of the three because we want to invent a Georgian way, alone in the world, open to all the winds…

My Fellow Compatriots,

Everybody – obviously - wants better relations with Russia, but not at the expense of our sovereignty, not at the expense of our statehood, not at the expense of NATO, not at the expense of the EU.

NATO and the EU are the only way to make our statehood sustainable and safe for generations to come.

For us to join them, we need to stay firm in our convictions, firm in our commitment, and firm in our belief.

Whatever happens, whatever they inflict on us, whatever they threaten us with, we need to stay firm.

Like the Baltic nations did.

Did they hesitate, these 3 tiny Baltic nations who are now part of NATO and the EU?

These three nations, once occupied and now free and safe, never doubted their priorities.

As a result, even the most revanchist leaders in Moscow do not think about invading them.

As a result of the absolute determination shown in the 90’s, their children and grandchildren, and great grand children have the possibility to live in free, prosperous nations.

And look at some other nations among the former captive nations.

Look at the nations who were close to entering the family and then hesitated, expressed doubts, turned their eyes to Moscow for a while.

They lost not only years, they lost much more.

And did they gain better relations with Russia in exchange?

Of course not.

Because those Russian leaders do not want neighbors, they want absolute vassals.

You cannot be friends with a conqueror. A conqueror will spare you and even make you rich, but for that you will have to submit yourself and subjugate your fellow compatriots. You will have to become both a master of your brothers and a slave of the foreign power.

We do not want masters and slaves in our country.

We want firm a defense of freedom, a firm dedication to Western integration.

Any hesitation will isolate us from our friends, close the doors and finally offer us to revanchist leaders in Moscow not as partners, but as prey.

I am calling today for a greater clarity in the debate.

All opinions are tolerated in Georgia.

You can be openly pro-Putin in Georgia, even though we are occupied by Putin’s troops; even though we have 500,000 IDP victims of ethnic cleansing campaigns lead by Mr. Putin.

I do not think being pro-Putin is good, moral or popular, not at all, but it is legal, it is allowed, it is tolerated.

So, those who like Putin, believe in him or think that his vision of the Georgian-Russian relationship is bearable, please say it. You can go ahead and sing to Putin, as an ethnic Georgian singer has.


You can have good relations with this Russian government or leadership; you can think that having good relations with them is more important than joining NATO or the EU.

But you cannot hide it at the end of the day from the people.

You cannot – as the proverb says – be sitting on two chairs at the same time.

It is such an important debate and we all owe clarity and transparency to the people.

That is why, it is my call.

Valiko Beraia, Paata Kacharava and Ruslan Meladze knew well what they were fighting for in Afghanistan. Those who say that we should not take part in this international operation, no matter how much they say they are pro NATO and the EU, they are still the puppets of Putin and Russia and it is as clear as daylight for our people. If we want to enjoy international support, we have to be part of something bigger and take risks. If we want to have a state, we need to have an army. If we want to have an army, we need to take part in fighting missions. Those people who say that we should not make our country a battle field forget about one thing and hide this from their people – our conqueror has already turned our country into a battlefield and this battle field is several kilometers away from here. We can be alone in this battle and in such case Putin would fulfill his desire – which it could not do in 2008. Else we can be a member of the international community and many factors will come into play to stop this. You can say that the only problem for improving the relations with our conqueror is the actual government of Georgia. That if it were not for this authority they would embrace us and return the territories, but when someone says this, they articulate what Putin dreams about day and night. No matter how much these people talk about being pro-western after this, in effect, this is what they want, which will deprive Georgia of its future. This is what the truth is. Finland, when attacked by Stalin, fought very firmly against the Soviet Union, but because of the loss of international support after the war, they ended up in the wrong coalition. The fact of the appropriation of their territories by the Soviet Union was legalized and their foreign policy had been castrated for decades, they had lost their territories because they were forced to legalize this fact and sign it.

You do not make a deal with your conqueror!

We-obviously- want to have good relations with our neighbor, but want an open country. No compromise can be made at the expense of our freedom and future.

This is what I wanted to tell you.

This is what I wanted to say to the rest of Georgia today, on the day of this, another anniversary of the Bolshevik occupation.

Those cadets’ self sacrifice for the freedom of Georgia is relevant as never before.

We should comprehend one thing – if we start hesitating today, we will lose not years, but generations.

Many generations were lost in 1921 because of hesitation of the Georgian Government; because of the isolation of Georgia; because the enemy conquered Georgia – the inside traitors, the Shulaver committee handed Georgia to the enemy.   

We have no time to lose and no generations to lose. Every hesitation means that we will lose the chance of development as well. We did get the taste of reconstruction in the last years. The building of new cities, that we have started today and which so irritates and worries our enemy – construction of new Batumi and even those underway in Tbilisi; construction of these roads and autobahns; construction of new airports; restoration of old monuments and the return of our historical heritage is only possible, my friends, in the conditions of freedom.

The conqueror knows this very well.

The emperor of Russia Catherine II wrote in the 18th Century to the then Emperor of Germany: We should make an alliance and unite; we should not allow Poland to implement reforms, otherwise it will forge into a strong state and we will never be able to conquer and subordinate it again.

While today, the Georgian reforms and the current course of the Georgian government have become not only a foreign, but also an internal political problem.

The only way for us is reconstruction, continuation of reforms, to convince the counter reformist forces, for you to be well, for you to be stronger and better trained, for you to join the international coalitions.

This is what Georgia and its future is all about.

Thank you very much. Wish you well!

I would like to once again pay tribute to the memory of our heroes and greatly thank each one of you. 


Send link to the email
Captcha* Verification Code
2013 (11)
2012 (12)
2011 (12)
2010 (11)
2009 (11)
2008 (12)
2007 (12)
2006 (9)
2005 (11)