The President of Georgia addressed the Georgian sailors




It is already our second meeting.

We celebrated Sailor’s Day for the first time last year.

This demonstrates exactly those priorities that we have.

Sailors are a very significant part of the Georgian society.

We have 18 thousand Georgian citizens who sail across the world’s oceans.

It is a very difficult profession, one fraught with responsibility and dangers and our sailors saved from Somali will attest to it, yet at the same time, it is a very uplifting, romantic, interesting, rather intellectual and a very labor intensive job.

Georgia has a great tradition; we have always had good captains.

These 18 thousand Georgians are a very important part of our economy, including in terms of the revival of this city.

We are indeed living in a very interesting time and probably sailors are the ones who will notice it the most.

For instance, having electricity does not surprise anyone in the 21st century, yet we lived in the 21st century, before the Rose Revolution, and we neither had electricity, nor natural gas or water in most parts of the country.

Our epoch is not only about electricity, gas and water, which is very important in itself, but it is about new cities and new infrastructure.

Batumi is a new city, entirely different from what it used to be.

It has traditions of huge significance, which date back especially to the end of 19th century and the start of 20th century.  

Batumi has never been built at a pace at which it is being built today, and it is only the beginning.

Batumi will expand twice in the next 2-3 years and it will be a city of 300,000 residents at the least.

It will be the most spectacular place in the world in 2-3 years. I am very proud of the things that are happening here.

We will all be very proud when everything is developed, including Poti and its industrial zone.

There are power-sites expanding in Poti, new large factories are being built, huge constructions are being launched and in the end Poti will be not only the main gate for Georgia, but one of the main fundaments of its economic might.

As we know, many Georgian sailors come from Poti.

Many Georgian sailors come from Abkhazia as well, and until the occupant leaves this territory, which is inevitable and I do not even doubt that it will happen; we have to develop other places as well.

This is where the idea of founding Lazika comes from.

Those who find the construction of this city ridiculous had exactly the same attitude towards the idea of Anaklia two years ago.   

I invite everyone to visit and see how Anaklia is developing! There is truly a world class resort being built.

Lazika is not a resort – it should become an economic center and the Parliament of Georgia has already adopted respective amendments.

The first preparatory works have already begun and I am convinced that this construction will spin on a huge scale next year, within the upcoming months.

Sailors often write letters to me, including on my “Facebook” page.

One of the sailors wrote to me the other day: In my youth, when I traveled to different countries, I have always adored those beautiful cities; I would never think that my own city would also become so beautiful. Now I prefer my city to all the others, which I have seen while sailing on world oceans and seas.

Of course, compared to you I have been to fewer ports, but I have seen many, and I indeed prefer this place to all of the others. Not only because I love Batumi very much, but because this city has changed entirely.  

One of the main functions of Batumi is that it has to become an educational center.

You know that we are opening a new Batumi Technological University in September, actually, a new Technological University of Georgia, the campuses of which will mainly be in Batumi and of course in Tbilisi.

Several thousand students will study there…

We are also conducting negotiations in order for the European Union to open its university in Batumi. Hopefully, several thousand students will study there.

Youth from entire regions and Europe will come here and it will become the second largest international university. In other words, the first one will be the American University in Batumi, while the second largest – A European University.  

There is also the current Batumi University, which needs to be developed and promoted, but the largest study institution in this field here and in this part of the Black Seashore will be the former Maritime Institute – now the Maritime Academy.  

According to the 2015 Modernization Plan, this institute will have 15,000 students, 15,000 listeners and it will be a large international maritime education center.

There will be total of 20-30 thousands students studying in Batumi.

The city which was emptied except during the sea season will now be animated throughout the entire year.

The sea season starts here already in May now, and it will last at least until the end of September, whereas for the rest of the period Batumi will be animated and filled with energy and economic activity by a very large group of students, the main axis of which will precisely be this academy – a large international academy.

This means that each resident of Batumi will have an opportunity to live better.

We started to invest huge sums here last year.

You know that we inherited a very difficult legacy. With the leadership of Levan Varshalomidze and Giorgi Karbelashvili, who was helping him from the central government, we have started implementation of many interesting new projects, new laboratories have been created and it is only a beginning.

I promise that it will be the best educational institution and all of you will be proud to study here.

We have in effect been black listed and we still have certain issues to resolve.

Basically, we have saved and stopped our sailors being fired because of corruption.

Now we have an educational center of international standards, a large group of sailors with international standards.

Apart from this, I would like to decorate several distinguished, successful sailors with the Medal of Honor and primarily, I would like to decorate the Rector of the Batumi Maritime Academy, an experienced sailor Irakli Sharabidze, with the Medal of Honor. 

Thank you.