President Mikheil Saakashvili grants Georgian citizenship to Russian actor Stanislav Sadalskiy


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today granted Georgian citizenship to Russian actor Stansislav Sadalskiy. At a ceremony in the State Chancellery, Saakashvili presented Sadalskiy with his new Georgian passport and thanked him for the "civic position" he took in defiance of the anti-Georgian campaign that has been executed in Russia over the past few months. He also awarded the actor with the Order of Merit for his contribution to strengthening relations between Georgia and Russia.
"I want to greet you and those brave Russians who in these most difficult months have shown courage by standing by those who have been belittled and humiliated and coming to the defence of justice. You boldly stated your desire to become a Georgian citizen at a time when Georgians were being chased in the streets, when their restaurants and other businesses were being closed, when all things Georgian were forbidden, when Georgians did not have the right to speak in their native language. I want to greet you and the young people from St Petersburg who had their names legally changed by adding Georgian endings. 

I want to greet the true representatives of great Russia - which I love - who loudly proclaimed that humiliating people and belittling them is unacceptable for any reason, let alone on ethnic grounds. I have heard many statements from Russians that they would not put up with this. I want to tell you that Georgia is a multiethnic country that belongs to everyone - Russians, Armenians, Azeris, Abkhaz, Ossetians, Jews and everyone else who lives in Georgia. This is our country; our strength is in our ethnic diversity. Our strength is that we are different but at the same time we share common values. We like everyone around us - ethnic Georgians like Jews, Jews like Ossetians, Ossetians - Abkhaz, Abkhaz - Azeris - and all of us together love our homeland. This is our strength: our country's diversity and uniqueness. 

I want to express my sincere thanks for your civic position, which means so much to us. It has become clear to me that not only should we not sever our relations with Russia, but rather we must have deeper contacts. The Russian people are a kindred people who are very close to us. This closeness can only make us stronger and better. 

To the people in Russia who raised their voices against injustice: I want to thank you and those like you. More Georgians returned home last year than had left the country in past years and the number of Georgians is rising with each passing day. And today there is one more Georgian. It is great that we are growing not only in quantity, but also in quality. I am very happy about this. 

I have the great honour to present this new passport, issued by the Georgian Ministry of Justice to Stanislav Sadalskiy, born 8 August 1951. I would also like to bestow upon you in the name of the state of Georgia the Order of Merit. It is one of the highest Georgian orders, one which is given for special civic acts and services to the country. 

I believe that you have done a great service not only to Georgia, but also to Georgian-Russian relations, a service which will resonate for many decades to come. I extend my deepest thanks for that which you and your friends did in October, Novemeber and December, those bleakest of months in Georgian-Russian relations," Saakashvili told Sadalskiy at the ceremony.

Press Office
of the President of Georgia