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Scandal over Saakashvili’s statement

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 12
While opening the Kopala hotel and entertainment centre in Tskneti on March 7 President Saakashvili stated that Armenia’s economy had collapsed, because it is completely dependent on the Russian market and when the Russian market collapsed the same fate befell the Armenian economy. These words immediately produced a negative reaction in Armenia and Russia.

The Russian media said that the owner of Kopala is a Georgian origin businessman working in Russia, Tamaz Kopaleishvili, and that he also owns a network of restaurants in Moscow. Saakashvili called him a real patriot, who despite the global economic crisis and August war had invested in Georgia. However one does not need to be a fortune teller to see that the Georgian President has undermined Kopaleishvili himself. As for an Armenian economic collapse, most probably this notion is based on the March 3 decision of the Armenian central Bank to stop making currency interventions and let the Armenian dram float, something which eventually caused an increase in the dollar rate, which affected prices of foodstuffs and fuel.

Saakashvili’s statement caused irritation in the Armenian leadership. The Press Secretary of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Samvel Farmanian, called the Georgian President’s allegations “absolutely groundless.” According to spokesperson this is not the best way to draw peoples’ attention away from Georgia’s internal problems. He also highlighted that many times the Armenian President has been asked about the political and social situation in other countries but has never commented on them.

Armenian Republican Party MP Armen Ashotian stated on March 10 that Saakashvili is trying to create the illusion that he will cope with the world crisis better than the Armenian leadership has. Ashotian thinks that according to various indicators Armenia is resisting the crisis better than any other state in the region. He thinks that it is impossible to avoid losses during the crisis but Armenia is doing everything to make these losses as small as possible.