The President of Georgia addressed the personnel of the Military-Scientific Technical Center “Delta”
It has been awhile since my last visit to this factory and to tell you the truth, it is all greatly improved here.
Of course, I have not forgotten that this factory was the main target of our aggressor in 2008.
We do owe you as the personnel has not left the factory, though you perhaps remember what it was like then – people could not get salaries for a year and thousands of people were given compulsory vacations.
There are more than 2500 people working in this factory today and there is a prospect that the number of people employed in this facility will triple at minimum.
This means that today 2500 people sustain families, 2500 people can provide a better education for their children, and 2500 people have hope for the future.
Finding employment for people is very important, but this factory is much more than just a source of employment.
This and several other factories in Georgia are the basis for long-term and rapid development of the country’s economy.
Even the agricultural products in our supermarkets were imported a few years ago – Iranian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian, etc. We could not even produce basic agricultural products.
The best specialists were leaving the country.
I was in Israel in 2005, and I visited one of the two large military factories there. I saw dozens of Georgian engineers there and thought to myself – if our specialists are taken to Israel, why are they not working in their own country? Wouldn’t they prefer to work in their own country?
A small number of our engineers have already returned, but we have tobring back all of our specialists from all over the world in the coming years.
We are in a very significant stage at the moment.
Our resources are the people and what they produce. That is why we have to provide them with opportunities to do their job.
When we talk about places like South Korea, Singapore, we should not forget that they had nothing and started from the scratch.
Singapore was faced with huge challenges, but they created a vast military industry, based on which they created different technologies, including computer technologies.
That is why this factory and these technologies are a basis for hope in terms of Georgia’s future industrial potential.
We were practically left without a weapons supply source for several months in 2008, after the outbreak of the war. Not because somebody envied us, or they feared Russian, they simply thought that Georgia would no longer exist.
The Russian leadership announced that Saakashvili is a political corpse and that Georgia as an independent country would no longer exist soon.
90 percent of the international community had believed in it.
How could they not have believed? In a country in which the Soviet Union went in and the country was not toppled down instantly? A country whose government did not flee within a few hours and was not in chaos?
You know what happened in Afghanistan, you know what happened in Czechoslovakia in 1968, in Hungary in 1956…
They had an experience like that and thought that the same would happen in Georgia as well.
You know what happened in Georgian in the 90s. Moscow has managed to topple one government then, basically toppled another government too, but they have left that government intact, as the latter had complied with everything.
It did not work for them this time – Georgia survived and is developing. Likewise, the economy is developing in this country.
The economic growth was 7 percent last year; it should be 8 or 9 percent this year, while next year we expect 10 percent growth.
Our main objective is not talking about these percentages; the principal thing is for these percentages to be reflected in the wellbeing of every single Georgian family. I would wish this process to proceed very promptly.
When we faced the problem of import of arms, many would give up in our place, would surrender, flee, but Georgia is no such country and the Georgian nation is no such nation.
We have started to create our own industry and have understood that it only requires good organization.
The factory has moved under the direct supervision of the state and it turned out that we can even produce grenade launchers, automatic rifles, now even the anti-tank weapons and other technnology as well.
No one would provide us with anti-tank weapons, but now we do not need to buy them anymore – we have produced and already have our own, which costs 2 times less than the one bought abroad.
I am convinced we will work hard and will even assemble an anti-missile system.
We tested the unmanned aerial vehicle yesterday, which some thought was a toy. See if you can buy a toy like that – which can fly 8 hours in automatic mode, has electronic cameras and can shoot imagines at any time of the day and night.
We will have an similar model of that next year, which will be much more effective and will be capable of transporting arms and will fly at much greater distance.
We are developing new electronic technologies and this is our future.
The codification of the existing knowledgebase was the initial step, much more people should acquire new technologies afterwards.
The people’s confidence towards us has also been demonstrated by the fact that when I started to talk to the youth few years ago about the revival of the engineering fields, development of technologies and about the great future prospects in this respect, the youth had confided that then that no one would listen to us.
The fact is irrefutable – there are 40 seats in total in the military-engineering specialty at the military academy and 70 people are applying per one seat. This is an all time record.
There are 36 people per one seat applying to the electrical-engineering faculty of the Agrarian University, 15 undergraduates to the physics faculty, while there has never been a competition in physics in Georgia.
In terms of Informatics directions there are 7 people per seat applying to the Tbilisi State University.
We distributed the 1000 GEL professional study vouchers the other day and the process was completed in two days, as people are willing to acquire new specialties.
This means that not only will we no longer buy almost everything from others, but we will also become large exporters of this production. In this respect, we are already conducting negotiations abroad on our armored transporters, infantry battle vehicles, on better quality arms and we will equip our armed forces ourselves.
Many civilian technologies will emerge from these technologies.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which we tested yesterday, does not only have a military purpose.
There is a great demand in such techniques around the world for civilian purposes.
We have an “Intel” factory in Georgia and in fact, we have patented their different products purely under the Georgian brand.
The technologies we are working on right now will spread around the world exactly in the same manner.
The defense of the country is very important and indeed incredible things are happening in this regard today.
We remember it well, when Russia was depriving us of Abkhazia and the Tbilisi restaurants were full of partying people. Lots of bullets and ammunition was wasted in the 1992-1993 during the holidays, while where Russia had fought us, we always had a deficit.
We have created a reservist system in Georgia. Georgia has 30,000 people in the armed forces. This is a small, but a mobile contingent. Yet, besides this, we have started to reassemble the reservist system.
Our enemy and their Georgian “agents” are very irritated by this, but we have gotten phenomenal results – in every village, where the Ministry of Defense has gone in, every single adult male has signed up for reserves.
We indeed had astonishing results, as all the citizens of Georgia, despite their ethnic origin and religious beliefs would sign up for it. For example, in the regions populated by the Azeris, 100 percent of the males signed up.
There is exactly the same situation in several villages populated by ethnic Armenians.
The same is the case, of course, in the places populated by ethnic Georgians.
We will have 70,000 of such volunteer reservists trained by summer across the whole of Georgia, while next year – 150,000 which means that every village will have its defense squad.
This is the most solid guarantee of peace.
Fascist Germany had refused to go into Switzerland, as Switzerland was the only European country, which had a functional reservist system.
We saw it well in 2008, that we are in need of internal territorial defense. We have seen as well that no one will do our job for us.
They have taken every European country easily, except for the one that had a good reservist system.
First of all, defense of one’s homeland is the duty of the citizens of this country and of course, we will all do this together, but when you train people, it is necessary to equip them.
I will definitely be glad if we are not dependent on the supply of arms from any European or other country but on own production.
We should have our own arms and the industry should be launched – would it not be better to build for five or ten times less cost and create jobs for people at the same time? Meanwhile, the moment we satisfy our needs entirely, we will start selling it abroad.
It is most important for peace for the country to have its own manufacturing especially when it has qualified specialists, its own reserve system and its own armed forces. For every potential aggressor (in case of Georgia, we all know well that there is only one aggressor), this is a very clear deterrent factor.
This in turn is important in order for our economy not to develop and have double digit economic growth, which should take Georgia to the “Singaporization”.
Some say it often: Are we not a European country?
Of course, we are a European country in terms of the political system, but when it comes to new technologies, high level of education, development, we need a leap forward.
We cannot afford being an average statistical middle European country, which barely has a 2-3 percent yearly growth.
We must be the best in order for the country to move forward.
We have such an environment and geographical factors now, we face such threat and have such a terrible experience that Georgia cannot afford to be anything less than five, six times better than any average European country.
This is our objective and this is my ambition.
This is not my fantasy – this is what is happening in Georgia anyway despite every trick of outer and inner enemies.
No one can stop Georgia’s development, as we have already grasped the essence of independence.
As for the technologies, we need them on all levels.
When a child first goes to school and is given a computer, when he is met by an American teacher who teaches him a foreign language, he is raised with a different psychology. No matter what kind of poor family he comes from, he will never want to go back to the poverty and misery.
The poverty level in Georgia was at 52 percent when I became a President. This means that the 52 percent of our society could not even live on 2 USD per day.
Based on different studies, this indicator has decreased by two and a half, besides we are giving medical insurance to the people below the poverty line, we give them minimum financial assistance as well.
I have often seen families who receive 50-70-80 GEL and medical insurance as social assistance and get used to it – they neither look for jobs, nor cultivate land, while having one and a half hectares of land.
This will not satisfy our economy.
First of all, we are not an oil producing country, we can provide the least of the least even in such conditions, when there is no corruption and we do not allow people to steal money as well.
This is not what our society deserves.
We need an actual development, so that every single Georgian family becomes wealthy.
Precisely because of this, we need computers and American teachers at schools.
When I became the president, 80 percent of the students would pass Russian language exams, while 20 percent – foreign language. This proportion had leveled two years ago. Now, 77 percent of them are passing the English language and only 14 percent – Russian.
We should speak Russian but the language of progress and main source of information today is no longer Russian. They are studying English as well.
That is why we should first of all teach our kids the language which will bring progress and information.
This concerns the entire society.
The Deputy Justice Minister Giorgi Vashadze has a very good idea – to establish a society that will disseminate computers. Just like Ilia Chavchavadze had established a literacy propagating society.
The knowledge of computer skills is equal to literacy today.
For example, I am having a harder time in using my computer than my 6 years old child does, as little kids learn everything much easier. He knows many things which I do not know how to do.
I am not talking about my 16 year old son, who has a world record in this respect.
Georgians do have this skill.
The computers disseminating society will be associated with the Justice Houses, where people of all ages will be able to go and free of charge acquire the computer related skills.
In fact, we have already opened one in Rustavi and there are several thousand people of various ages going there on daily basis.
We are opening a Justice House in Ozurgeti these days –with a similar centre there as well; there will be a huge house opened in Tbilisi, it will be the same here.
We should all acquire these technologies on different levels.
We have already learned to transpose other technologies and this factory is nothing but the codification of already existing technologies, but we should acquire new technologies so that we become competitive.
Our competitive niche on the world market is for Georgia to be able to create innovations, create new products, enrich it and in few years foster such a industry, which no other country is able to do.
I am absolutely convinced that we will then be able to create a strong state, where each Georgian family will be wealthy.
I would like to thank you for preserving this factory.
We are expanding the metallurgical base – you know that the Georgian metallurgical base is working on our order as well.
I would like to thank you for building “Lazika” and Didgori”.
When the Russians saw “Didgori” they started to assemble the “BTR”on the “Iveco” basis and are trying to catch up with “Didgori”.
The fact that Russians are emulating us in terms of police buildings, uniforms and cars, or economic reforms, or to be more precise, want to imitate them, does not surprise me – they never had them; but if they had started to emulate us in arms production, then I guess we are actually able to do something. For me it truly is news and a great story. Their new armored vehicle, which they are creating on the basis of “Iveco”, is nothing more than the emulation of “Didgori”.
They are a different country, different industry with different scales and we cannot be their competitors, but the small country will also be able to do something in the sphere which has always been under their monopoly and it truly is a miracle.
In fact, the Russian unmanned aerial vehicles are always flying in our territory, but the vehicles that we manufacture are better than those. I cannot say everything, but we have studied well what is flying and we have far more detailed intelligence information.
It will be interesting if they start emulating this as well now, but in any case, our objective is not to compete with the.
Our objective is to find our niche, develop our economy, create our technologies, create jobs for our people, and defend our country and to constantly have a guarantee for long-term progress.
This is what we are all doing together.
Let us be straight, the preservation of this factory is a symbol of how Georgia made the impossible, despite all the gloomy forecasts.
It is a foundation in order for the Georgian economy to have a great prospect and future.
I would like to say it once again that each one of you who works here, indeed is a hero – you are the labor heroes and battle heroes as well, as you were on the front line of battle, including in the direct sense.
The factory that was being bombed, the country which they declared as gone, the President which according to them is a few years old corpse now and should have been hanged by a certain part of the body, all are standing together and watching our “Lazikas”, “Didgoris” our grenade launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles, antitank machines.
This is neither the result of a miracle nor any surprise – it all has been created with your own hands.
For this, I would like to thank you very much.
Given one, let there be many more, let us carry on this way.