Under the current leadership Russia has “no future”, because their policy is focused on “building the past”, President Saakashvili said on March 5.
“With their current course, with their current policy, whatever elections they hold or stage, in case of the present authorities, they have no future because they are building the past. They are building the past not only by having restored the Soviet anthem or by trying to create or restore a Soviet empire, or by having the slogans of the Eurasian Union [Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin’s proposal to bring former Soviet states into new union built on an existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan]. They are mentally taking their country back to the past. We are building the future and it means that we will definitely achieve everything,” Saakashvili said.
He was speaking during an outdoor speech after visiting a newly built medical center in Akhmeta, eastern Georgian region of Kakheti.
Saakashvili also said that Georgia’s recent decision to unilaterally lift visa rules for Russian citizens and Moscow’s response on that move demonstrated once again that Russia’s policy was based on “lies”.
“They [the Russian authorities] were saying that ‘we have no problems with the Georgian people, we have problems only with the Georgian authorities’… ‘OK,’ we responded, ‘if you have no problems with the Georgian people, we will lift visa rules for Russian citizens and we will give you a chance not to do anything for the Georgian authorities, just do it for the Georgian people and lift visa rules for the Georgian people in response.’ As soon as we gave them a chance to do something for the Georgian people they made U-turn,” Saakashvili said.
Russia said that it was ready to also lift visa rules for the Georgian citizens, but as a precondition demanded from Georgia to revise its law on occupied territories, citing that many Russian citizens, who have visited breakaway Abkhazia or South Ossetia since late 2008, face criminal persecution upon arrival in Georgia. Russia also said that having no diplomatic presence in Georgia made it difficult for Moscow to protect the rights of such citizens in Georgia.
“As the successors of the Soviet Union, they decided that arrival of [Russian citizens] does not fit their [Russian leadership’s] interests. They announced two days ago in response to my initiative to lift visa rules, that arrival of Russians in Georgia was dangerous… citing absence of Russian embassy in Georgia,” Saakashvili said, adding that Russia’s logic was that “if several hundreds of Russian security agents can not settle in the Russian embassy in Tbilisi to spy on Russian citizens, they can’t be allowed to arrive in Georgia.”
He said it was a difference between today’s Russia and Georgia.
“Not only we are not afraid to send our citizens somewhere, but we are not also afraid to accept the citizens of the country which has occupied a very important part of our country, because our small country feels confident about its own strength, its future, and its development. Therefore, of course they will of course face instability. We should develop especially rapidly; we should build more, work more and spread our wings broadly. Of course time is not far when Georgia will be eventually liberated, because those, who are building the past, cannot have the future; those who are building military bases and putting barb wires on our territory cannot have any hope that they will maintain this territory. The sooner we build our future, the sooner our occupied territories will have a place in this future,” Saakashvili said.