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Russia attacked because we’re too good for it, says Saakashvili

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Monday, October 20
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has stated that Russia’s military invasion of Georgia was expected and inevitable. “What happened this summer was quite expected. No matter who had been Georgia’s President it would have happened anyway,” Saakashvili said at a meeting with Tbilisi State University students on October 16.

The President explained that recent events were inevitable due to the “state model” that Georgia had created, which is completely unacceptable to Moscow. “In the last four years Georgia has managed to register important successes, to create a new infrastructure and develop its economy. It has created a new state model,” he said, adding that Russia’s goal was not to take control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia because it controlled those territories before. “Its main goal was to attack and destroy Georgia, but our people managed to confront it,” he said. Saakashvili said that Georgia now needs unity and development in order to survive as a state.

The students’ main points of interest at the meeting were elections, corruption, democratic reforms and economic development. Saakashvili highlighted however that the main aim of Georgia in recent times, creating an incorruptible court system, had been achieved. "This doesn't mean we will not indict judges; more than forty judges have been arrested for corruption. I was delighted when I turned on the TV during the war and saw that a deputy head of the administration had been arrested for corruption. This means that our state has survived the crisis. Some foreign journalist told me that when Russian tanks were surrounding Tbilisi, he was given a penalty for drink-driving. I know that in our neighbouring countries even Presidents and Prime Ministers bribe judges, and those courts are considered to be independent,” the President said.

Saakashvili also said that the first time he had attempted court reform it had failed due to the unwillingness of the former Government to undertake it. According to him the situation has totally changed now, and today political will is very important.

“We must create a society in which everyone believes that the profession of judge is very important and prestigious. Dignity is a very important factor. Policemen do not take bribes now because they have a sense of dignity, because now everyone knows that they cannot be bribed and they are proud of this. The same has to become the case with judges as well. We still have the mentality that if we lose a case it means that the Court is under influence. When you graduate, you will become members of this corps and you will do your job to the end. When I retire and go back to being an officer of the court, and win a case against some Government I might not like, you will tell me – see, this reform has worked and this is why you won this case," Saakashvili told the students.

Saakashvili confirmed that a cabinet reshuffle is planned in the near future but added that there will not be major changes to the Government. “Overall I am satisfied with how the Government worked during the crisis, but of course there is always some kind of renewal.” He also said that he had planned a cabinet reshuffle following the May 21 Parliamentary elections, but the August war delayed his plans.