Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia addressed the public gathered in the renovated Kutaisi Theater

Welcome everyone!

We have always been proud of Kutaisi’s past.

Kutaisi had been the crown of Georgia for centuries.

Kutaisi is the symbol of Georgia’s integrity.

Unfortunately, we had very little to be proud of in Kutaisi’s present.

The main thing here to be proud of had always been the people, but the society here was always disadvantaged. Regretfully, there still is great poverty here and the unemployment level is very high as well.

That is why, personally for me and perhaps for most of you, this date is the birth of new Kutaisi, new hope and new future, the development of which we all have to make sure of together.

Thank you for believing in this and all of your support in this job.

I would like to explain to those who discredit facts and do not want to understand what we are doing in Georgia today – do we know what we are doing by moving the parliament to Kutaisi; we know what we are doing by making Kutaisi the second capital of Georgia.

Everyone, including myself, knows very well what we are doing.

There are political forces in Georgia today, which vehemently oppose moving the parliament to Kutaisi. I am not sure whether you have heard about it, but I have heard it repeatedly.

 These people directly serve the enemy of Georgia – Georgia can be easily ruled from the North, if it is ruled only from one street. Moreover, the whole Caucasus was ruled not from Tbilisi, but from this single street. Everyone was gathered on this single street of the capital of Georgia: envoys of the emperor, different emirs, secretaries of regional and central commissions…all the state structures had been on this street.

It seemed that Georgian people had got rid away of them in the 90s, but they have returned, everyone had opened offices on this street and continued to rob Georgia as they have used to.

Georgia, as well as Caucasus, had been ruled by that one same street.

Those who sat there, neither cared about Tbilisi, nor about the rest of Georgia – precisely because of that they could easily divide our country.

Let us recall what is was like in Georgia.

We had an illusionary control over Abkhazia during the soviet period – Georgian language would not be heard in the streets. Songs had always been written about Vera, Vake, Avlabari, etc. Beautiful songs had been written about Kutaisi as well, but there were none on Sokhumi, as if it was not part of Georgia and was outside of the control of western Georgia.

The biggest hysteria now is about us losing territories, whereas we had lost the most significant Georgian territory prior to the Rose revolution, which is called Adjara.

This part had been controlled by the Russian Army and was ruled by Luzhkov and his subordinates from Moscow.

The biggest part of western Georgia – Abkhazia and Adjara were lost.

Turning Kutaisi into the second capital of Georgia, as was the case during David the Builder’s time, is a very significant basis for the beginning of complete control over western Georgia.

We have to return Abkhazia from Kutaisi, just as we have returned Adjara in past years.

This is our geopolitics.

Georgia divides into western and eastern parts and each of them is completely unique.

My family is both from western and eastern Georgia. The bulk of my mentality, of my heart is with Abkhazia and the whole of western Georgia.

The second part of my life is eastern Georgia.

I feel exceptionally well in both parts: there is an exceedingly good feeling for me in Anaklia. It is my land and I would like my ashes to be dispersed there, when I will be gone. Similarly is my land in Kakheti, where I have a house, as well as the entire eastern side of Georgia.

The same is true about each Georgian.

Tbilisi is not only Georgia’s capital, but it is the capital of Caucasus. History and territorial-wise Tbilisi to a certain extent is a very significant center for Armenia, as well as for Azerbaijan. The impendence of these countries had been declared in Tbilisi.

Ask, if you will, the numerous population of Daghestan – the Ingushs, Chechens, Ossetians from North Ossetia – what do they think about Tbilisi. Tbilisi is the most important administrative, cultural, economic and historical centre for all these people.

Not only has the significance of Tbilisi not diminished, conversely, due to the new Caucasian policy which we have declared, lending our hand to our Caucasian brothers; due to Georgia becoming an example for the region, the significance of Tbilisi has ever increased like never before.

Unfortunately, the sister of my grandmother, who had lived in Kutaisi in her childhood, has passed away not very long ago. I saw her a few days prior to her passing and she told me: “I do not remember Tbilisi as being so beautiful and I am happy that I have witnessed it”.

In his performance, Mr. Anzor Kherkhadze (an artist at the Kutaisi Theater) has said this as well about Kutaisi.

Precisely this points to the fact that in no previous epoch since David and Tamar, neither in Tbilisi, nor in Georgia in general, simultaneously, has there been so much construction as in the past 4 years. Much more is to be done in the coming years.

Georgia is not only about Tbilisi and neither can it be, that is exactly why Tbilisi needs to unwind a little and decentralize. It is necessary to delegate some of the functions outside of Tbilisi.

This is where Kutaisi plays a very significant role.

We have already conducted an experiment which has been successful: we have moved the constitutional court to Batumi, which has become a genuine, functioning court.

That is why, no matter what they say, including those from our enemy’s sponsorship, the first session will be held on May 26th in the Kutaisi Parliament and starting from October the highest legislative branch of Georgia will have a permanent seat here.

Few days ago, I once again observed how the construction of Parliament is going and I have no idea how will they finish it by May 26th, but I know for sure that they have to finish it.

This concerns all the ongoing construction in Georgia.

Do you know that Donald Trump was visiting Georgia few days ago, who is the most renowned builder in the world, but foremost in the U.S. He told me: “You perhaps cannot even grasp how great of a reconstruction is going on in your country. In years from now, when you will no longer be in the government, or even alive, it might be much harder to preserve it but it will not be easy to demolish it. Even if they demolish a certain part of it, it will still be in people’s memories and history that you have the ability to build, i.e. you have the ability to be a proud, free and a prosperous nation”.

This is what our epoch is creating. We have neither gas, nor billions left from our predecessors. My predecessor left us with so much debt that we are still paying it off and are still being sued in different international courts.

Even stopping the ruins started by his government would have been a great achievement, but we have started reconstruction instead. This is the main thing that has changed in this country.

Yet, neither could our enemy imagine it, nor many of our friends would fully believe that we would start reconstruction here.

This is the reality today in Georgia.

They think in Russia that Americans are building everything for us, though they are making certain investments; many are saying that we take on many debts…but Georgian has much less debt today than it had during Shevardnadze’s time in terms of GDP per capita.

They made debts and took it home. We have created so much wealth and despite this, we have much less debt than back then, we will have even less in future.

If we take on debt, we invest it in the development of the country, turn it into a new source of income and use it for further progress, i.e. we employ money for making Georgia wealthier.

Since I became a president, I am proud that capitalization of Georgia, i.e. GDP has increased about four times. Of course, this has not yet been reflected in every family’s income, but we are moving towards that.

We had been working not on making selective people richer, but on making Georgia rich.

Our main resource is that we no longer have corruption in Georgia; our main resource is that Georgia has a very efficient, very simple state system.

We are often criticized: it is no time for facades and building…but we have opened here, the result of American investment two days ago. As this American businessman has mentioned, despite his wife being from here, he did not even want to hear about this place. When they arrived here, they were so amazed that even decided to invest money.

We are doing everything so that many people have a willingness to a start business and open their own enterprise. Especially, when the streets are renovated and illuminated, roads repaired and calmness and order established, every Georgian should become a potential entrepreneur, potential businessman. No one will do the job for us.

We are celebrating Kutaisoba today, but I know it well too that not every single day is to be celebrated in Kutaisi. Many people might even be irritated by this, as there is still great poverty.

A lady has come to me and told me: everything that you do is beautiful, but you should better take care of us, those in poverty in Kutaisi.

I understand that woman very well, but I want to say that government can built roads, give you an opportunity to receive a good education, invite qualified pedagogues, build the best hospitals, insure all people, restore the facades of the buildings, even build the buildings, but filling these buildings with people is the second stage and society has to take this up in its hand.  

We can only build an effectively wealthy and happy Georgia through our work and joint stance of society and government – government, in the service of people and public and society, in itself, an integral organism convinced in the stability and development of a country.

We are opening a big airport here in September and in fact, we will convince travelers from Batumi, Mestia, and Tbilisi to come here as we will have the Kutaisi-Munich, Kutaisi-Dublin, Kutaisi-Dubai and other flights will operate.

The best place in the former Soviet Union was Tskaltubo – give me another 2-3-4 years and I guarantee you that we will turn it into the best place in Europe.

Look, what kind of touristic network we have around Kutaisi.

We are staring the restoration work of Tskaltubo in two months, but it will be followed by the significant Vani excavations.

You know that we have done an outstanding job in the Prometheus cave, the rehabilitation of which is coming to an end, we have finished refurbishing Sataplia – the last threads are being finalized these days, the rehabilitation of Sairme will finish next year, we will finish the roads soon and go from Sairme to Abastumani, as Abastumani is part of this system as well, just as Akhaltsikhe is there.

Kutaisi is indeed the center of Georgia in every respect and precisely this is the ideology behind moving the parliament to Kutaisi.

For the parliament to be more representative, it has to be the highest legislative body of the country and not the structure of one street and a few lanes around it, committees of which have been formed based on the groupings, districts, and mentalities.  

Parliament is moving to the heart of Georgia now, the deputies will gather from all over Georgia and everyone, including in terms of geography, will gather not disproportionally, but through correct representation.

The whole world is developing through the sea and 80 percent of the population will live by the sea in 2050.

Do you know that ever since Ayet’s time, old travelers would come into Kutaisi through rivers, but with the new autobahn, it will basically take us less than an hour to get to the sea resorts and ports.  

In a nutshell, everything will be simplified.

When we are talking about touristic infrastructure, we should also mention that we need to start building a tunnel from Kutaisi to Mestia in the coming years, which means that we should be able to get to Mestia in about one hour as well.

 Consequently, Kutaisi will be an economic, industrial and touristic center. Kutaisi should be the best city of the western Georgia not only for living, but it should be one of the most critical and significant centers across Europe.

My friends, all of this is being done for every one of you.

We are opening the Bagrati Cathedral in September, the reconstruction of which has been carried out by the very project that UNESCO has recommended to us. 

For us it is much more than a project – Mr. Anzor said it right: “the Bagrati Cathedral is the symbol of a united Georgia, symbol of its unification, strengthening and irreversible establishment on the world map, i.e. the symbol of the job we have begun.

I remember, I headed off from Tsalenjikha during the Rose revolution in 2003, and we had to spend a night here on this square. There was only one bulb barely lit, while the asphalt was so bad that it was difficult to step out from the bus. Shanshiashvili spoke on the TV for the whole night; it was called and we were in a horrible mood…yet we knew one thing for sure: nothing could have been worse than that, and that we would surely start coming out from this situation and this place would change completely.

We will all take a walk in the illuminated streets of Kutaisi from here and see how this place has changed.

This is the response to the question: What did the Rose revolution happen for?

We should forget about the dark past once and for all, but should not erase it from our mind altogether, so that people do not interfere in your fate even by little.

Of course, the history did not begin with the Rose revolution, but we have all begun the modern epoch of Georgia’s reconstruction together. None of us represent anything separately.

This epoch began by the night of November 2003, when we had camps in Kutaisi and said: It is enough, we are not inferior to anyone and we want a normal life!

I am particularly proud of our history, of our Christian past, but I am proud of the most recent history as well!

Of course we are proud of our Christian symbols.

Of course we are proud of our heroes of past, who for us undoubtedly are examples to follow, but just as the young mayor of Kutaisi and the most esteemed, a relatively elderly representative of this city has said today: Kutaisi has transformed from the city of the past into the city of the future!

To our future!

To Kutaisi!

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