Georgia President-elect interviewed by the Russian State TV
By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, November 12
Russian TV Channel 1 interviewed Georgia President-Elect Giorgi Margvelashvili on November 10th. Margvelashvili answered questions about Georgian-Russian relations, Georgia’s foreign policy and the Sochi Olympic Games.
Commenting on the Olympic Games, Margvelashvili said that he has yet to decide whether he will personally attend the games or not. The President-elect is sure that Georgia’s participation in the Olympics would be a good step forward towards smoothing relations between the two countries and the country is looking forward to the games.
Margvelashvili said in his interview that the “wounds inflicted by the politicians” might be healed by the “people focused on kind neighbor relations, by help of the cultural ties” that exist between the Georgian and Russian people.
Margvelashvili said that creating a strong background for restoring business, cultural, family, and emotional ties will lead both sides to normal relations. According to Margvelashvili, Georgia has already taken the first step on the way to settling relations with their neighbor and changed the dialogue from an aggressive manner to rational frameworks.
On the question of whether the new president will be able to take the first step towards warming relations with Russia, Margevalshvili answered that the Georgian side had already made the first step.
“We have made the appropriate steps. We sent Zurab Abashidze with a mission in Prague, where work is under way on economic and cultural ties. We have also declared that we will participate in one of the most important events in the history of Russia – the Olympic Games and we eased the tension,” Margvelashvili stated.
Georgia’s future president also spoke about economic ties with Russia and assured the interviewer that Russian business will not have to face problems in Georgia and the countries have great opportunities in developing mutually beneficial business relations.
“Russian business has no problems in Georgia. Georgian products are back on the Russian market and this is a big positive step,” Margvelashvili stated. He also added that Russian businesspersons will be given all possibility to invest in Georgia.
Georgian President-elect once again confirmed with the Russian media outlet that Georgia is not going to give up on its European ambitions and it will pursue its course of European Union integration.
In the interview, Margvelashvili thanked the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, for congratulating him on the election victory. Margvelashvili stated he is pleased with the fact.
The interview was strongly criticized by the Georgian opposition. MP from the United National Movement (UNM) Davit Darchiashvili said the interview was “anti-state” and “pleasing” for Moscow.
According to the MP, Margvelashvili’s statements do not correspond to Georgia’s foreign course.
Another MP from the UNM, Chiora Taktakishvili was even more critical and said Margvelashvili’s interview with the Russia media was simply “shameful”. She said that it is a shameful fact when a Georgian president is interviewed by the occupant’s media outlet and he does not speak about the occupation, problems of IDPS and about the major challenges Georgia has to face in relations with Russia.
The issue whether Georgia is going to participate in the Sochi Olympics still remains to be ambiguous. According to Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, Georgia is willing and going to participate in the games. However, there still is time left to change the decision.