The President of Georgia hosted the students at the President's Palace

First of all I would like to greet you all.

Twenty years ago, the Supreme Council declared that the independence that was stopped as a result of 1921 bolshevism occupation was restored.

On April 9, 1989 Soviet Empire once again reminded us its devastating face in new conditions.

Unfortunately this was neither the first reminder and of course nor it was the last.

Last time it reminded us about itself was in August 08, 2008, however these forces always try to remind us about their existence, in order for us never to forget about them.

But today I want to speak about what does the independence mean for us. I want to speak about to you, the representatives of Georgian students, I want to share my experience with you, how do I see this all and how I see our future perspectives; where do we stand in this huge battle. 

In my younger years (it is true I am not old even today, but I was at your age) I participated sometimes in business games of UN, in international conceptions, we know that there are international games of UN, models of Security Council and UN General Assembly, we were also playing International Court games. . .

Probably many of you have visited this simulated sessions. Before it was just me and most probably I have laid this road to you.

In 1989 soviet newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" announced a contest on the best knowledge of UN systems among all soviet students. Several thousands of students took part in those contests from all soviet space. Academic contest was held and I have participated in it. After several tours I have won and went as a leader of soviet delegation in Hague to participate in those games. However, you know that I was there not as a representative of Soviet Union. I was representing the French Ambassador in Security Council. Why am I telling you this. There was such soviet figure - George Arbatov , the director of Soviet American Institute, the member of Soviet Union Communist Political Bureau. I happened to visit Moscow sometimes after April 1989. George Arbatov was the head of Soviet Union Association at UN, I was the winner of that contest and I haven't stayed there of course, because many things were happening by that time. I was 21 years old student then. I have raised an issue not only of a brutal pogrom that happened on April 9, but I have told him: everyone must adapt at Political Bureau to the fact that Soviet Union is being destroying and our country would become independent.

I was raised in a family, where there existed an idea of resistance, maybe in a passive way, but it had existed always. My grandfather - Nikoloz Tsereteli was in exile in Siberia for 10 years, his brother was Aleksander Tsereteli - one of the leaders of Social-Federalists, meaning he was the leader of a party that fought for the independence and continued fighting for its restoration. I remember it very well how he was crossing himself Nikusha hiding from others, because he was a son of a archpriest. I remember this moment very well, when Zviad Gamsakhurdia declared the independence from the tribune of Supreme Council, my grandmother, who was the daughter of former owner of Chiatura Manganum, she was sitting in front of a TV and crying. 

Sure, from the very childhood I was raised with an idea that Soviet Union was not that good place and because we didn't like this country and this state in our family.

I remember it pretty well how the militia arrested me and my classmates in 1983, when we were coming out of Sioni Cathedral, they have brought us in sub-division near Sionli, questioned us, made us write explanatory cards. I remember it very well that they were broadcasting some good movies the night before an Easter.

I also remember the very first demonstration I have participated in. It was the first time when I saw the flag of independent Georgia of 1918-1921. This demonstration was held in front of Journalist's House, in 1988 May 26; we were in minority then. About the same period I have enlisted in Ilia Chavchavadze's Society. It was one of the first political parties that had formed then.

Of course I was all-full with these emotions. I was studying at Kiev University that time, but I used to come there.

Then it was followed with 1988 November demonstrations at the Hippodrome, I participated in these demonstrations as well.  

I was in Kiev, when April 9 happened, but what happened there was a huge tragedy for me...

This is when I started to attack George Arbatov. He looked at me with some goodwill - with some arrogant, typical imperial Russian goodwill and said: "Young man, you have to look at things in more sober way". So he said we were supposed to look at things in more sober way. He said: "The independence of Georgia and other states is absolutely impossible and I will tell you why. It is impossible because everything what you posses is what we gave to you. We have built everything for you, we Soviet Union. All pipelines, also all major communications that exists in whole Soviet Union lies on Russia. For example do you know where is the button of Enguri hydroelectric station located? It is on the territory of autonomous republic of Abkhazia.  

We have exactly the same thing in Central Asia - turbines are in one republic, buttons are in other, and weirs are in third. The same is in regards of highways and railways. If you decide to leave us, everything what you have will collapse and you will not have a chance to build yours from the very beginning and Georgia will split into pieces. Not only on the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia", he said "but envisage that your regions are very different, you have several regional languages and finally, if you look carefully, Russia had united Georgia into one whole. It is not one nation and you will not be able to maintain this country as one whole unit".

This was for me a bright example - I was astonished, when he said all of that. It came out that political bureau was preparing for the dismemberment of Soviet Union, than those people, who didn't like Soviet Union at all.   

Of course it was a small group of people, who were sure that Soviet Union would collapse, but in general this idea never existed in people before. This idea existed among the members of political bureau. This is why many things that happened afterwards happened due to their program and against our will.

I remembered always - we found ourselves in debt before Arbatov. If you really look carefully, we haven't created anything new during the years of our independence. We were using old roads, old railway, old educational system, old healthcare system, old electricity, so everything what he told me they created for us and we wouldn't have anything else. The post-soviet regime and almost exhausted soviet resources remained. But I want to tell you one thing - 20 years have passed since we are independent and during these 20 years, as a nation, we have made every possible mistake - we have exploded on every bomb, but at the same time during these 20 years we have corrected our mistakes in such way that every separate nation can. We are a small nation and we sometimes have force major situations, for example such as occupation, but we have managed to correct all mistakes that depended on us. It means that we have managed to make mistakes - and it was inevitable; we have also managed to correct those mistakes. If we think how short period of time is 20 years and especially in the history of a nation like us, if we envisage that only few nations manage to do this all around the world - we have practically did a miracle. I want to tell you that I am proud that together with you a am a son of this nation, of this multiethnic union, I am the citizen of Georgia and representative of it. And how have we managed to do this? We have chosen the right way. We have started to overcome Soviet heritage. Independence is not only a paper, which we have received as a document and which was signed by everyone. The fight for the independence has started than and it still continues today and we are far forward in this fight than any other post soviet state. We have managed to overcome incredible constraints.

We have managed to fundamentally change the mentality. Of course it is a struggle of ides. In the modern world the strength of a state and a nation is measured not by the number of tanks or money, but by the unity, health, by the quality of freedom and unanimity and ideas.

In last years we had certain mistakes - internal chaos, provocations, disguise, self-fighting - but everything came back. At the same time we have managed to show an incredible example of unity, organization and what's the most important overcoming this heritage.

Once Stalin asked a very ironic question regarding to the Pope: who is the Pope? How many divisions has he got? A single person only -Polish Pope, defeated Soviet Union created by Stalin. He abolished hundreds of soviet divisions from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Germany and other central and eastern European countries. We, Georgia have an incredible symbol - St George. In reality St George was not a goliath armed up to his teeth and neither was a Roman Emperor a dragon. St George was physically weak, but spiritually strong person, he loved freedom. Georgia's struggle for me is like St George's struggle; struggle for freedom is David's struggle with Goliath. This is a struggle of kindness with evil.

You know that the slogan written on the facade of this building is not only replica of my Presidency, but also of what Georgia represents: - "Kindness defeated evil, the existence of kindness is much longer". This is absolute truth. This is a fight of kindness and evil.

This is why every single day, when we go forward in fighting with corruption; every single day when we go forward in fighting with injustice, the day, when torturing people stopped one day in the police, means the liberation from Soviet Union and strengthening our independence.

Every single day like this is our step forward and a farewell to marshland, which we are trying to get out from every day.

You know what does it mean to change socialism structure. Before the Soviet mentality exists we will not be able to achieve full independence.

Soviet mentality is as follows: for example everything is measured by not knowing who you are, but by knowing what your grandmother or grandfather were, how much money does your father have, where you live, in which region and so on. If I lived across the street from the University it meant that I had to study there. For example my grandfather Misha Saakashvili was the founder and a rector of Medical University - this is why probably I had to study there. Everything was like this according to old system, but today each of you are not the students because your father sold his Volga and brought a place for you but because you have learned and did it.

When you have passed united national exams you had said "goodbuy" to the Soviet Union, because it was your achievement and not pledged by someone else. It concerns absolutely every sphere of life. I want to tell you that our independence is still under the threat. Of course we are still under the threat, but I once again repeat that our main defense tools are not tanks and fighters, however we should have all of those as well. If we had not have it all in 2008 in exactly 6 hours our occupant would appear here. In 1921 our independence was taken away from us because we were isolated. Now we are part of the world. Not because the government meet or me someone or someone comes to visit Georgia, but because the activity carried out by you - each email sent to foreign country, each post of the Facebook, each visit to the international conferences, each course taken in foreign schools - is another chance of strengthening our independence.  

When we all would get involved in this round dance - that has both the negative and the positive sides - we will achieve our goals (watch carefully how the events developed in Libya - the price on oil increased, petroleum prices are increased for everyone, price on diesel went high in the villages). Of course world processes affect us significantly, but we could benefit from it all also. This is you force.

Step by step a new political class is formed in Georgia - this class would never agree with the losing our independence, but you are the major guarantee. When I look into your eyes, I guess that nothing can turn us back, however the politicians still have some problems.

We have several types of politicians - today, we still have some people like Sergo Ordjonikidze - some of them wear trousers - some skirts, some have mustache some don't. They think that the only way for them is to call those, who stand in 40 kilometers from the capital. They have declared people as psychically ill, livestock ... If you call a person livestock and later tell him to vote for you - you shouldn't count on them any more. So they have no hopes in people any more and they are waiting for those, who stand in 40 kilometers from here.

It is 21 century already and it not that dark anymore - like it was before. The second category talk day and night on TV hysterically how they weren't allowed on TV. They say that there is no democracy in Georgia. They explain their unpopularity by not being allowed on TV and do not say anything that they are against majority deputies within the regions and who has to be in the Parliament should be decided in several political offices. Our people live in the regions - in Tbilisi and Rustavi regions and probably after this sentence they can loose their supporters and not to vote for them at all.  

Before I came here I have listened on TV that in some foreign country at some conference somebody was speaking: it is time for us to understand that Georgia is not a strategically important country, we must stop dictate Europe our wills and I am surprised why you pay attention to our country.

After such a statement somebody like this would be surprised when they receive 3 percent ratings. However I have heard yesterday that they think they have 35 percent ratings and they are at third place with such an indicator.

What is that I request? I request to strengthen teaching technical subjects - we must teach math to these people by all means. It they wont be able to learn Algebra or highest math they will at lest know that with 35 percent ratings you cannot be on third place, especially if you have 3 percent ratings instead of 35.  

Why you do not ask a question - why do I have three percent rating? If you go ahead and declare to the whole world that we are one unfortunate country - why is Russia struggling so hard to posses our country?

If Georgia is such an insignificant country, why is that everyone speaks about the importance of Georgia everywhere in Moldova, Kirgizstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and even in Russia?

During the revolutions many parallels were made with us in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

This is why I say that these politicians will have no future. I am very sorry for that because I want to have diverse and developed political class in future.

There are some politicians that speak about every interesting sphere for people and they criticize the government pretty much. For the government this is the most dangerous category in regards of maintaining the authority, but it is very good for the country.

It is very good that there appeared a political class that has a general frame of their principles, they do not hate their country, they are not laughing over their nation, they are not in conspiracy with someone among them with open enemy and want their country to have future, however they are not in compliance with the government and want to change it. They are the right opponents. Personally I am proud of, because there is a political class that appears in Georgian political spectrum - in the government and beyond it as well.

Our struggle is a struggle of ideas. Every new computer that appears at school is a new tool for us and every first-grader would get a new computer while entering the school.

Every educated person is a new soldier of Georgia. Every new hotel, for example in Anaklia is our new defense wall, because it is our new face and it is another Georgia that becomes a model for the rest of other countries.

I will never forget one Georgian General - he was begging with radio station to one Russian Colonel or Major to let him enter Gagra, because Georgians were killed there and they were carrying out ethnical cleansing of Georgians. He wasn't letting him in, because he felt himself as a Gulliver and he acted however he wanted to.

I will never forget that Shevadrnadze authorized every single request that came from them - he appointed their ministers, (first time I have refused something to Putin, was to appoint their ministers). Than they had brought our refugees to Enguri, pretending that they were letting them in - but they have apologized and every day they were promising them to let them in. They were staying there for two weeks. They were standing there for two weeks. They were making us eat, whatever the empire wanted us to.

This was finished and they cannot adopt themselves to it exactly. Russia cannot adapt to the situation that Georgia is no longer an example of failure. Despite everything Georgia still is an example of overcoming challenges and success. Sure we are still in greatest hardship and I didn't come here to boast. On the 20th anniversary of our independence we still have poverty, many do not even have money for medical treatment, many are unemployed or is employed on a position, where he cannot express all his abilities.

We are working to make Georgia clean in three spheres and it will become exemplary for many others.

  • 1. Georgia must be cleaned from corruption thoroughly and I can say that it is practically fulfilled today. Georgia is clean of corruption and it is something that many countries cannot even dream about it.
  • 2. Georgia must be cleaned from crime. Every day they show on TV that someone killed someone, but if we look at figures we can see that there is much lower rate of crime in Georgia than in Germany or France... and we are one of the most secured country within the Europe. Our police stands on third place with incorruptness and efficiency, if I am not mistaken right after Sweden and Finland and in realty even your parents aren't afraid when you get back late. No one is afraid to park their cars. So to say, what we see on TV is one thing and what happens in reality is another. In reality Georgia is clean of crime and we must maintain this as well.
  • 3. Georgia must be ecologically clean country. We will produce 100 percent of our energy by hydroelectric stations. Lights that you see are a pure energy. Next year we are installing 100 mw windmills in Javakheti, this year the construction of Khudoni weir would start, we are preparing for this quite for a long time. This is a dream of generations. By the end of this year the construction of second huge hydroelectric station would start as well. Also the construction of Khramhessi. So we will start the construction of hydroelectric stations with all our forces.

We also have an issue of electric automobiles on the agenda. I want not only to purchase electric automobiles, in order to save on gas, but we have to learn to produce electric cars in Georgia as well. Nothing complicated and fantastic is in it.

So to say, with these three clean spheres - crime, corruption and ecology, we must create an absolutely different model that will be exemplary for the rest of the region.  

This is exactly our big fight. This is the biggest challenge that your generation already has. Our country stands not only on the strength, nervousness or calmness of separate leaders, not on their talent or lack of talent, but on the new generation that was formed recently here and it is fully liberated from the soviet influence.

You are those people, first among all former soviet republics and also among the countries of Eastern Europe, who are totally free from the old soviet disease and influence. We have formed a country with distinguished features and this is why it would be the most successful among the countries of this region, despite of all misfortunes.

By the way, every generation understand this in Georgia, because our generation wouldn't be formed, if our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers had no aspirations towards this.

The majority of them weren't given a chance of it. They had spend their live without seeing freedom, but this generation stood beside us instinctively, when we were carrying out reforms and stands on your side even today and you have to create today's Georgia.

April 9 for me and for the whole nation is a day of paying honors to our heroes. These victims weren't the first and neither the last, but this day also represents a day of hope and future and not only a day of sorrow and bad memories.

This is a day of those hopes that we lived with - Georgian would never go back to the past. This is a day of hope that we will liberate our country once and for all.

This is a day of rescuing our independence, today where the sovereignty of Georgia is spread today tomorrow - for the rest of Georgia.

Of course the force that is our enemy would by all means step back, exactly the way they did in eastern Europe, exactly the same way they stepped back from Tbilisi once and it will step back for the rest of post soviet space as well.

Our idea, our model, our future would gain the victory by all means together with you.

Thank you very much.

Send link to the email
Captcha* Verification Code
2013 (30)
2012 (42)
2011 (49)
2010 (32)
2009 (26)
2008 (27)
2007 (31)
2006 (25)
2005 (32)
2004 (4)