Saakashvili speaks to Ekho Mosckvy radio
By Messenger Staff
Monday, July 11
There are no interstate relations between Georgia and Russia as far as Moscow does not recognize the Georgian government, Georgian borders and a ceasefire agreement, President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili told Ekho Moskvy radio station on Friday. “Moscow says that it will not even hold serious negotiations,” Saakashvili noted “moreover, the representatives of the Russian leadership have stopped calling us a country – they call us a ‘territorial-ethnic entity’, it is an old soviet, painful term,” he said, adding however, that inter-people relations still exist. “There are air flights with tourists coming to Georgia,” he noted.
Speaking about the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, Saakashvili said the two leaders have a lot in common. “We belong to one generation, mutual courses, even one profession. However, I think that we have differences in the main thing – Medvedev does not make any decisions. He is very well chosen. Meanwhile here we (not me personally, but all of us) are able to agree on things, we make decisions. While, on the Russian side there is only one person, who is potentially able to negotiate, however he will not agree with anyone, this is Vladimir Putin,” Saakashvili said.
When asked if he would have changed anything if he could go back to August 2008, Saakashvili said that in order to do things differently, both countries involved would have to change something in their actions. “When there is one country, especially a big one, which exceeds your power much more, there is almost no chance for a small country to avoid it. The Georgian president said Moscow had “preplanned” a conflict with Georgia. “Head of the Russian General Staff warned NATO at the NATO-Russia commission about a possible war in spring 2008. Then they bombed us several times, checking our reaction,” Saakashvili told Ekho Mosckvy “everything was very well planned.”
The Georgian president talked about the alleged terrorist acts carried out or planned to be carried out on the Georgian territory, saying that Georgia has a specific suspect - Russian officer Borisov. “I’ve sent a letter to President Medvedev...This issue was raised by leaders of Western states at the meetings with him. Now we are waiting for the reaction, because the letter has already been sent. Of course he did not answer,” Saakashvili noted.
As for Russian law enforcers’ claims that several tens of warriors have entered Russia from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, Saakashvili said that now “everything is transparent” in Georgia. “Any rotation of armed forces in Georgia is controlled by European observers. This is part of our agreement with the EU,” he noted “We have created total transparency in order not to repeat 2008 when there were questions about who did what,” he stated.
Saakashvili touched upon the issue of political processes in Georgia, saying that if his opponent had won presidential elections in 2008 it would have been the “end of the world.” “Why? because it was a person who said that if he’d win, he would abolish the presidential post in two years, his programme was to live with some new mentality. He used to get humiliated at any question about his views on budget deficit or about unemployment,” the President said, referring apparently to Levan Gachechiladze.
The President commented on the detention of photojournalists, including his personal photographer, on espionage charges. Saakashvili said he did not know about the details until half an hour before the arrest took place. He said there were cases when his relatives were also under investigation. “As it concerns my personal photographer, I was very upset and still I am very, very upset. But my personal feelings are secondary in this case,” he said.