Speeches & Statements

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili attended ''Radisson Hotel'' Opening Ceremony


Today is the day of fulfillment of our promise.

We promised, that on the place which was representing the symbol of destruction, annihilation, ravage, abasement, no prospect and no future, it would be built such a thing, that will represent in the best manner the face of new Georgia oriented towards a new future.

At this place was located hotel "Iveria" (old "Inturist" hotels network), which was one of the most famous hotel in the Soviet Union, however it was as low-grade, as it was characteristic to that country, especially in Georgia.

At those times, the construction of such buildings was of low quality, because most of the materials were been stolen. During the construction of the facility, cement, concrete and other materials of the corresponding facility were used to build houses.

It was hotel, where were dislocated IDP's from Abkhazia.

At this terribly looking building, which had not even one whole window, the rats had more comfort than people did.

Instead of creating better conditions for this people, Shevardnadze's government allocated David Agmashenebeli's statue (at the cost of 16 million Georgian lari) in the poverty-ridden country with a budget of 160 million lari, if I am not mistaken.

It was final irony and mockery of this people, besides this statue was standing with back towards this people.

This was symbol of that government and my predecessor; however, certain people try to return us in those times.

This is one of the revelations of new Georgia and our fulfilled promise. This was not only promise, which Nursultan Nazarbaev and me gave to you and those people, who lived here and will leave here, but it is important part of that promise, that we gave to our people last year.

In contrast to 1993, when covert war was conducted against us, Russia was obliged to send 120 000 army into Georgia. Two hundred airplanes were bombing us, more than 2 000 armored vehicles entered into Georgia and the main target of all these was annihilation of our statehood.

As enemy could not make final attack on Tbilisi in those days because of consolidation, unity, inconceivable heroism, unanimity and lofty patriotic sentiments of Georgia society, they decided to destroy Georgian economy by hands of Georgians.

When no investments would be invested into Georgia, the economy would have been demolished, the people would have become hungry, and the Georgians would have destroyed their state themselves.

The world crises added to all that. The investing process suspended in the whole world.

I often travel to different countries searching for investments, for to create new work places in Georgia. Even in rich countries, the constructions are suspended and that is why everybody says they are unable to invest in Georgia.

During last October-November, the construction process was suspended almost in all countries except some rare cases. Georgia was post-war, partly occupied country in very unclear situation, because we were permanently in danger.

As we carried out proper reforms during recent years, as we did not compromised and allow corruption, construction and building is continuing in our country.

We will do our work until the end.

Continuation of the investing process means that 200 people standing behind me, are creating 3 more working places in the spheres of service, trade and corresponding spheres and minimum 600 people are employed. Thus, 800 people are already employed.

Of course, maybe it is not very highly paid job, but is enough to support family. It is enough for young people standing here to go with their friends in the evening to the cinema, caf, to rest in summer, to travel inside the country and sometimes outside the country, in one word - to have normal living conditions and to help other members of their families.

Finally, I suppose, our promise was made towards each of you employed at this facility.

We did not fulfill yet all our promises made towards hundreds of thousands Georgians, who are still unemployed, but, however, I am happy today, that we were able to fulfill our promise even towards this 800 people.

It is important step made forward.

During the period of my predecessor's government, Georgia was a miserable country and I was always irritated that our country was addressed in such a manner. At those times our country was forgot by God and the whole world. We were mostly forgotten by the world, because finally we have survived miraculously.

We really were impoverished, hungry and full of corruption post-Soviet republic.

I have seen many cynical foreigners, cynical journalists, that did not want to believe that something was changing to better side. Naturally, it is the first instinct to write that everything is going bad. Today nobody can write the same about Georgia.

We have very big plans, in the sphere of tourism among them.

Maybe you know that 400 thousand tourists visited Batumi this year. This means, that we will have 550-600 thousand vacationers by the end of the year. It is almost the same figure, as it was during the soviet time in Adjara.

Next year we will exceed soviet figure by 30%. In 2012, there will be more vacationers in Adjara, than it were in Adjara and Abkhazia during soviet times. Nothing is confined to Adjara.

I am very proud of Adjara; five years ago, it was most poor region.

When I said last year, that we will make Barcelona and Dubai from Batumi, many of my friends smiled. One of them was in Batumi some time ago and he said:"I thought that is was bombastic expression of my idealist friend; I believed that he wanted the things to be like this, but it would not happen. Now, when I am here, I really believe that Batumi will be even better in the nearest future".

Everybody, who was there, can say the same. Please, visit Batumi 4 months later and you will see, that everything will be much closer to what we wanted.

Not all this is limited to Adjara.

When Signagi was renewed, everyone said that is was a little theatrical, out of context. Today people from all Georgia and foreigners are visiting this city and today it is one of their favorite places. However, when we started construction there, Signagi was destroyed little soviet village.

Look at Mtskheta. Not long ago somebody said that UNESCO is reconstructing Mtskheta.

I wish UNESCO or someone foreigner do something for us. I wish someone does something instead of us. Georgian state is reconstructing Mtskheta by its scanty budgetary resources that we have. In several months, Mtskheta will become most favorite visiting place for citizens of Tbilisi and foreigners. There are constructing new promenades and houses, and Mtskheta will become an extremely important tourist place like which the ancient center of our country and of the Christian world deserves.

Walk around an old Tbilisi and look what is going on there.

I grew up and I was always proud of Tbilisi's beautifulness. During recent years, Tbilisi became like a destroyed barrack. An Old Tbilisi looked like this hotel was before. Today each inhabitant's house, which lives in the Old Tbilisi, is becoming minimum 5 times more expensive, because of our conducted work. The most important, is that everything must be calculated correctly in a sense of marketing. We will carry out this project until the end.

We also have many projects, concerning other health resorts in Georgia.

Mestia is one of the beautiful places in the world, even most beautiful place of the mountainous Europe. Frankly speaking, the majority of Georgians have never been in Mestia.

I personally visited Mestia when I was deputy 8-9 years ago. There was not normal road there and not everybody had a possibility to pass safely this road during 10 hours without having guarantees.

We introduced proper order there. Until now some people say, that Saakashvili's government committed horror.

I want to confirm that I gave the order to exterminate the Mestian bandits and I do not regret that.

This was Afrasidzeebi's gang, which was controlling the whole Svaneti region and fortified in a high tower from the Soviet times.

By my order, the helicopters opened fire, and in a result were destroyed these bandits and tower.

This was right decision - the whole Svaneti breathe out after that. Who wants can say that it was brutality, however I feel sorry for every human being and I do not wish bad to anybody. There not exists development in Georgia without order.

No compromise will be from our side in this issue.

Today we are constructing the road in Mestia with one of the best concrete technology in Europe. The tourists can reach Mestia from Poti by bus in two and a half hours in all seasons. This means, that Mestia will become the best touristic and skiing center in Europe.

The most interesting summer skiing route in Europe is in Mestia. We are making funicular-railways; we will rehabilitate Mestia like Signagi. That means that everything will be renewed, will be constructed new very beautiful hotels, everything will be illuminated, and it will be one of the best places in Europe.

Also I have promised the inhabitants of Racha and we are fulfilling our promise - despite of any kind of world crisis, we have already made patriots' camp, we will start development of Shaori Lake; Shaori will also become very important summer health resort of Georgia. The whole infrastructure is developing in Racha.

We began restoration of Sataplia, we are exploring and rehabilitating very big cave in Kumistavi, as well as the whole complex of Imereti - beginning from Vani sepulchers, which is unique in Europe, and ending with unique stalactites, stalagmites, dinosaurs' tracks and Tskaltubo. The rehabilitation will start next year and we will get very important touristic complex in Imereti that will employ tens of thousands of local inhabitants.

Of course, Kakheti is not only Signagi. The road of Gombori, which we are constructing towards Telavi, practically will reduce twice the time needed from Telavi to Tbilisi and will take only 50 minutes. It means that touristic potential, that has Kakheti, was placed under taboo for some reason. Kakheti was "milk cow" during Soviet times - inhabitants of Kakheti had to submit million tones of grape in order to Shevardnadze receive honorary title of Hero of Socialistic Labor.

There where police posts at Kakheti outposts in order to avoid transportation of even 1 kilo of grape from the region. I remember I was little child and we were travelling from Kakheti with my relatives. The police stopped our car, ordered us to open the trunk and started searching for grape.

The tourists in Kakheti were unwelcomed - only one single hotel was in Telavi.

With construction of Gombori road, Kakheti will become important touristic center in parallel with Signagi.

I will tell you about Gudauri, where we are making funicular-railways and developing this place.

Avidity of ex-officials seriously damaged the landscape of Gudauri and we began introducing order. It is not right to build a house in a hurry for yourself and destroy the landscape of the skiing resort of Georgia.

We are developing that place, but I want to say, that Gudauri will not be the only skiing resort in Georgia.

The best sport resort center in Georgia will be built on Paravani Lake. This road will be finished next spring and immediately we are starting development of a new resort in Javakheti.

We are building road in Adjara; the construction of the road from Javakheti will start next spring. We will build bigger resort in Javakheti than in Gudauri and it will take 1 hour and 15 minutes from Batumi to reach this resort.

We are already working on this project with the specialists. The new resort will be built in Georgia, and it means, that Adjara will have touristic function in the winter as well as a ski resort.

Some days ago, I promised the inhabitants of Anaklia and Zugdidi that we would reconstruct those cities as well. They have demonstrated real heroism during last weeks. The occupants destroyed the touristic facilities in one day, but population rehabilitated these facilities in two weeks and made it much better after we allowed them to do so.

Next year the best seaside resort of Georgia will be built in Anaklia. There is the best climate in Georgia in point of seaside tourism. I am sure that in 3 years about 3 million Georgians will vacate at sea.

The tourists must be able to go to Abkhazia too, but they must have opportunity to go to the rest of the seashore as well. Thus, it is important, that we have to rehabilitate this resort too.

Completion of Anaklia resort means that autobahn from Tbilisi to Western Georgia will pass through Samegrelo.

We will be able to cover Tbilisi-Batumi road section in 2 hours and 40 minutes. It will take maximum 3 hours to cover the same route by railway by 2012. All these projects are already under way and will be finished in the planned terms.

Maybe many citizens of Tbilisi, inhabitants of the western Georgia and foreigners noticed that from Gori they got in Tbilisi by almost new road. Not so long time ago it was the most complicated road section. There were many dangerous places; one of them was called "tongue of the mother-in-law" where hundreds and thousands of people were died in car accidents. There were many other places, where terrible car accidents happened.

All this is left in the past.

Now we are starting rehabilitation of Rikoti tunnel and it will be finished by spring. This will be the most modern tunnel that has ever been constructed in Georgia. We are still learning and improving.

Georgia is second country in Europe after Belgium in point of roads' illumination length. It will be illuminated about 500 km of road in our country. In Belgium, this figure is about 1000 km, but no other European country can compare with Georgia in terms of roads' illumination.

Illuminated road is very important for security. This is guarantee for saving lives of thousands of Georgians, citizens of Georgia and foreign guests. What I am telling is neither idealistic project, nor empty promise. Everything starts with something little, and after we are moving to bigger one.

All these serve Georgia to become interest-bearing employer country. This is infrastructure.

We trailing the road from China to Europe, our railway connect to European railway network, because Russia has closed it from north.

We are trailing the roads in places, where they have never been before. For example, I ordered to explore the possibility of tunnel construction from Chiatura to Racha, for to make it possible to get into Racha from Chiatura in maximum two hours. We are trailing many other roads that were even not imaginable before.

Tbilisi roads, which are very important part of this project, will unload traffic in eastern Georgia. We will save 50 minutes while moving through the capital.

The new airports are very important also, Tbilisi airport as well.

There are always several critics per one executor. When the roof of the Tbilisi airport teared off, many people were laughing.

In Paris was fully destroyed Charles de Gaulle Airport's new terminal, inaugurated by the President of France, and 30 people were dead. Nearly the same took place in England. . .

I am not saying that we should be proud that our buildings do not kill people, but such accidents are taking place.

It is impossible to stop the building process even for a minute.

Tbilisi airport is most modern terminal that I have seen in Eastern Europe. We should speak about this, and not about the fact, that once, somewhere, cropped up some hole.

Lets speak that an airport was constructed in Batumi in 5 months and I have never seen a place in the world, where airport was built in 5 months.

The Spanish architects had 1 year for planning works of Batumi Boulevard. I lifted a first stone on 26th of May, and I inaugurated Boulevard on 1st of August.

At first glance, it is nothing, but even Europeans do not construct at this pace. We lost a lot of time and we have many things to do.

We planned construction of Poti airport and it is already under construction with help of foreign investment. It will be the biggest airport in South Caucasus and one of the biggest - in Europe not only in terms of the passengers, but also in terms of passengers and baggage transportation capacity.

Charters from Poti to Europe will take 1,5 - 4 hours, depending on destination. The new autobahn will connect Poti to Batumi and it will take only 40 minutes, from Poti to Anaklia - only 20 minutes, to Zugdidi - 20 minutes, to Kutaisi - 45 minutes.

That means that Poti airport will serve all Eastern Georgia. It will take 2 hours from Poti to Mestia. People will arrive in Georgia in summer only to visit Mestia and see our heritage, to leave a lot of money and ski on the skies.

All the above mentioned is our people's income.

I want you to understand, about what two visions we are speaking.

One vision: we say that everything is bad; how many kilometers were constructed up to Gori, only 60 km? And that is government's activity?

But before you were leaving 50 years in Georgia and nothing was done, why are you so irritated about this 60 kilometers?

You were not irritated that nothing was constructing at those times.

Many put the question: what relationship is between economic growth and political stability? Georgia does not fully get out from crisis. We have serious economic difficulties and we do not conceal that. We have a lot of work to do in order to overcome the crisis.

Many our friends, relatives, neighbors are abroad and ask them what situation is in the post-soviet republics.

Up to now, Georgia most easily endured the crisis. When part of the country is under occupation; when one part of the political spectrum is engaged in blowing up the country and its economy; when you saying in TV that you have to "kill" the country's capital, to close the streets and you do so; you close the railway, the airport road; when you say that you have to suspend everything. . . .

Imagine that I am businessman and I want to invest in Georgia; I have million dollars, I see on TV Mr. Kukava, who says, that "really, as we promised, we will blow up Georgia". Maybe this person has no serious attitude, but I think: let wait for one month - maybe he is seriously going to blow up the country? Is not it better to have this money in suitcase and to leave Georgia with my family by Tbilisi airport, Batumi airport or "Red Bridge"?

In this waiting process, we lose lot of time. That is why these people where employed 6 months later.

For this reason are suspended some construction activities in Tbilisi and many projects are in the air.

Despite this fact and in defiance of our foreign enemies, Georgia is still moving forward.

Today I narrated much bigger program, than richer countries have for 30 years period.

I have an ambition to fulfill my promise in the second term of my presidency. As I promised you that you would be employed and there would be many new roads and it is fulfilled, in the same manner, we will fulfill the rest of our promises.

Albania is situated in the center of Europe and is much better supplied then Georgia, but half of Albania is not supplied with electricity yet.

In Europe the lowest tariff on electricity is in Georgia, you can check it.

This is result of the fact that the government of Georgia acts on the assumption of Georgian people's interests.

We will fulfill our promises inevitably.

I did not forget my main promise that I had gave to people living here - they will not be settled in one room apartment allocated by the investor, but they will return to their own houses, from where they were driven out. That needs stronger, straightened Georgia and preservation of international community's support.

Today is one of the important days for me. One of the axes of the country's economy is service export. Each of us is service exporter. Foreigner is arriving, consumes our export, i.e. we are exporting something. We can export hotel, our art, we are exporting our roads, because transit car is moving on this road and is paying for this.

In Georgia are created tens of enterprises and practically all of them are functional.

We have to preserve all this and increase hundred times.

If before we had anti crisis plan for overcoming the crisis, which will be finished soon, now we are announcing a new plan for stimulation of economy.

During last month, along with political stability, the aggressor's attempt to rouse new war was frustrated.

Now we have chance for breakthrough in economic relations. That needs conscious program, and closely united government of Georgia is intensively working on this program.

In the upcoming days, we will report to our people about this.

We travel a lot in the regions during last weeks, we received many orders from our people; we familiarize them with fulfillment of our promises and what we have to do in the future.

We have to overcome the crisis that troubles many Georgian families.

Act instead of speaking; many actions will follow my speech.

Citizens of Tbilisi will be proud of this hotel, which is symbol of renewed Georgia.

Wish you success!

Thank you very much.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia

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