Journalist Tea Adeishvili had an exclusive interview with the third president. Mikheil Saakashvili answered the questions in writing.
Reasons for arriving in the country, political persecution and imprisonment, plans, second round - these are the main issues of the conversation that the third president focuses on:
From today’s point of view, were your face-to-face meetings in Europe and America fruitful? They advised you not to come to your homeland, how clear is the international resonance, and what should the West do to ensure that European and American statements are enough to free you?
"I traveled not to talk about myself, but to bring in observers. We had warm meetings. The level of support from the West depends mainly on the level of activism of our community, they will see many people and will see the election results on the 30th - there will be strong pressure and support."
You ruled this country for 9 years and stepped aside after the elections. You have had 8 years since then to evaluate your activity. From today’s experience, what do you regret, what would you do differently? Where do you see your mistakes, and what do you consider to be the most important successes? Is there any resource left for Georgia? And how to become a successful country again.
"We would pass a law on deoligarchization, to the development of which I have now contributed in Ukraine, to separate big money from politics, and not to put our country in the pocket of the very first rich passerby like Bidzina. Georgia urgently needs several big projects to tackle poverty. The first is the new and large city as part of the agricultural amelioration of Zugdidi and Poti on the Black Sea with a new port in Anaklia. It will be a city of about half a million, where we will attract successful Georgians from abroad. Poti Airport, which is practically finished, but suspended, will be put into operation. The city will be an IT HUB, a technology hub where high-tech enterprises are to be built, and the American University of Technology will also supply the staff.
The second major project is the compilation of a free industrial zone in Khelvachauri and a regional financial center in Gonio, which will be joined by the current Batumi airport, and the airport will be moved to the village of Meria. This zone will attract money to the Georgian economy from the rich countries of the region and the world.
The third big project is to declare Georgia as the agricultural treasure of the world, as the homeland of wine, as well as unique brands of plum sauce, tarragon, mushrooms, sulguni, etc. And I have already found a billion for this project.
Georgia's foreign policy vectors are sharply alienated from the West - the perspective of NATO and the EU, Minister Zalkaliani and President Zurabishvili have already spoken openly about Georgia's participation in the "Caucasus 3 + 3 format". We do not have a court, the opposition media is under unprecedented pressure, "crime is in excellent condition", what chance does our country have to survive? How do you see the prospect of a coalition government?
"This imposition of the Caucasian Six is a primitive blackmail of the West to turn a blind eye to my arrest and the planned theft of the second round of elections. There is nothing else at this stage. But so many do not realize that the West will have an entirely different reaction to blackmail, the opposite of what they want. We will win in all major cities, which means that the myth of the oligarch's omnipotence will finally be dispelled, and our people will finally believe in their strength. The coalition government will be approved."
October 30 is the runoff elections. It may turn out to be a historic event. However, the Georgian Dream uses all means to steal the people's choice again, sows nihilism and says that it has already won. What would you say to people who think that nothing will change, that they will still falsify, that they will rig the elections, that they will still count the votes as they wish; therefore, they do not go to the polls? What would you say to these people?
"The judicial system should be radically changed, and we should invite American and European judges with an impeccable reputation (the EU has money for that). Let's make all the main decisions in the electronic referendum and all Georgians living abroad will be able to vote electronically, both in elections at all rounds and in referendums. At least 1 million Georgians who have just left and lost their citizenship, or who know the language and love Georgia, should be given citizenship. I will take this opportunity and thank Demna Gvasalia. I was so proud of his design of a T-shirt with Georgian inscriptions when I saw it in Los Angeles. Not only that, but I am proud that he supports me now."
Finally, I would like to ask you about the decision to declare a hunger strike. Many people these days are talking about the fact that Georgian politics needs Saakashvili in a good shape, energetic and healthy. Why did you start the hunger strike on the first day, would it not be more appropriate to save forces for a long battle? Have you ever thought that this could end terribly?
"Today I do not see the Georgian society visually and my voice is not heard live, therefore If I can't save my country with my life, maybe my death will serve as a beacon of the path