The President of Georgia gave a public lecture to students of the University of Latvia
The President of Georgia gave a public lecture to the students of the social faculty at the University of Latvia. Mikheil Saakashvili spoke about the ongoing projects and implemented reforms in the country and focused attention on the achieved successes. The Head of State also touched on Georgian-Russian relations and noted that Georgia is doing everything in order to make all the information about the events in Georgia available for the Russian people. The President of Georgia also drew attention to the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the country and the existing progress in the process of negotiations.
Mikheil Saakashvili answered the questions of students after the lecture. The youth were most interested in the causes of the war in August 2008, and the process of integration into NATO.
“There is no such thing as South Ossetia. There is a small region inside of Georgia, where the population was very ethnically mixed. Russia entered it in 2008 after intense shelling for several nights, after long preparation and at the moment when I was gone for the holidays and had just come back. 80% percent of my main principle advisors and many of our officers were gone for holidays because we are a country where people normally go on holidays in August. They entered, it was all prepared, and when they entered to occupy the capital they told the local population, which was predominantly ethnic Ossetians; we came to liberate you, and by the way, how strange but most of this population just left with the Georgian police. Do you know that about 70 % of, we don’t count them, the majority of ethnicities that live in our refugee camps are there as a result of Russian occupation or the so-called Russian liberation? Do you know that there is no population left in Russian occupied areas? 6 thousand people left, nobody left, nobody wanted to liberate it. And do you know that it’s exactly parallel with Latvia’s history, when Latvians were deported because we had one big wave of deportation in the 90’s, when 500 hundred thousand people were deported from Abkhazia, because this was the most European and most promising region of Georgia. Our friends in the north knew that and they thought it was the easiest way to get to the capital, using this South Ossetian issue.
So every time when a small country in history was attacked by a big one, do you think that any big one claimed that they attacked it?
No, did you know that the great nation of Finland attacked the Soviet Union, because they were so provocative, they wanted to attack and damage Soviet interests, so the Soviet Union had to defend itself. Do you know who started the Second World War? By the way, this is true story –The Poles, because “these stupid Poles” as they were saying, attacked the territory of a Germen radio station by accident, while a million German soldiers were exercising at the borders, just a few kilometers from there to return the fire. And by the way, they also had to occupy Poland.
You know in 2008, when we were all taking our holidays, by accident, the great Russian Army was exercising at Georgia’s borders. By another accident 3 days earlier, the Black Sea Fleet, when I was having holiday in Italy, left Crimea in the direction of Georgia. By another small coincidence, they blocked all of our computer sites for four days. All of the government sites were down. And then after all those coincidences, these crazy Georgians entered the sleeping town of Tskhinvali, which was, by accident, evacuated three days earlier. Because they didn’t want people to see when the tanks were entering and by accident, the exercising Russian Army had to respond with fire. They were shocked by, surprised by our arrogance and they returned fire. This is exactly the same story as the Poles experienced in World War II. There is always somebody, like here, like in this audience, who believes this crap and justifies anything. So what I advise you, never take anything at face value; what I’m telling you and especially what the Russians are telling you.“ –stated the President of Georgia.
Mikheil Saakashvili also answered questions regarding the NATO Summit in Chicago.
“I always see NATO summits as a chance, but I also see them as a risk. An example of this is that in 2008, the divided summit in Bucharest generated factors that facilitated things for Russia and also for our country. So from that point of view, I thought that the Chicago Summit was going to be a risk, but they had something unique, it’s kind of déjà vu for me. In 2008, we had elections in America, in Russia, in Georgia, and the NATO Summit and we had a war. We have exactly the same factors and we don’t want war. But what happened is that Georgia was absolutely valued in Chicago, we were put in a new category of countries, together with three other Balkan countries, and they announced that the next summit will be an enlargement summit, and that Georgia qualifies for it. Georgia was mentioned among the first strong aspirants for this enlargement. It’s a good thing. It is also a big challenge. Medvedev said, “You know why the 2008 war started? It started because it stopped NATO’s enlargement to the east. But 4 years later it was announced at the Chicago Summit that nothing has stopped and everything is still going in the right direction. That’s a wakeup call for someone. But we don’t want to provoke someone. We don’t want to do it against someone.” – noted Mikheil Saakashvili.