Mikheil Saakashvili

Georgian-Ukrainian politician, former President of Georgia and former Governor of Odesa

Mikheil Saakashvili (born 21 December 1967) is a former Georgian politician. He was the third President of Georgia for two consecutive terms from 25 January 2004 to 17 November 2013.

If they want my head, for me it’s more funny than troubling.

Quotes edit

  • A united Georgia needs our unity now, to work together towards our many common goals.
  • We must create the Georgia that our ancestors dreamed of, the Georgia that we dream of.

Inaugural address (2004) edit

  • Georgia is the country of unique culture. We are not only old Europeans, we are the very first Europeans, and therefore Georgia holds special place in European civilization. Georgia should serve as a paragon for democracy where all citizens are equal before the law, where every citizen will have an equal opportunity for the pursuit of success and realization of his or her possibilities. Georgia should become and will become a homeland for independent, educated and proud people.
  • It is time we Georgians did not depend only on others, it is time we asked what Georgia will do for the world.
  • Our steady course is towards European integration. It is time Europe finally saw and valued Georgia and took steps towards us.
  • Standing at David's tomb, we must say Georgia will unite, Georgia will become strong and will restore its integrity... I want all of us to do it together and I promise not to become a source of shame for you.

Remarks to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2005) edit

Interview with the New York Times (2008) edit

  • Look, the rift with Russia is not connected to Georgia. It is connected to values. Russia has become very authoritarian. It doesn’t accept free speech or real elections anymore.
  • Well, killing me makes no sense because Georgia already has a Western-educated political class.
  • Putin told several Western leaders, “I want Saakashvili’s head.” If they want my head, for me it’s more funny than troubling.

Speech at the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2013. edit

Transcript here.

  • If the West is outdated, then why do millions of Poles, Czech, Estonians, Romanians, and others cherish so much the day they entered NATO? And why are millions of Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldovans, and others desperately knocking on the doors of the European Union?
    If freedom is no longer fashionable, how do we explain that the suicide of an unknown citizen in a remote Tunisian town has changed the map of the world?
  • Armenia has been cornered and forced to sign Customs Union, which is not in this nation’s interest or in the interest of our region.
    Moldova is being blockaded, Ukraine is under constant attack, Azerbaijan faces extraordinary pressure, and Georgia is occupied.
    Why? Because an old Empire is trying to reclaim its bygone borders. And ‘borders’ is actually not the right word, since this Empire – be it the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation, or the Eurasian Union – never had borders. It only had margins.
    I came today to speak in the name of these margins.
    Unlike most nations, the Russian Federation has no interest in having stable states around it.
    Neighboring countries in constant turmoil is what the Kremlin is seeking. It rejects the very idea of strong governments in Georgia, Ukraine, or Moldova, even ones that try to be friendly to its interests.
    I was never a great fan of what the French call La langue de bois, but as my second term nears its end, I feel more than before the urge to speak my mind. So let us be concrete.
    Do you think that Vladimir Putin wants Armenia to decisively triumph over Azerbaijan, for instance? No. This would make Armenia too strong and potentially too independent.
    Do you think then that the contrary is true, that Moscow wants Baku to prevail over Yerevan? Obviously not. The current rise of a modernized, dynamic Azerbaijan is a nightmare for the Russian leaders.
    No, they do not want anyone to prevail and the conflict itself is their objective, since it keeps both nations dependent and blocks their integration into the European common space.
    Do you think that the electoral defeat of the forces that led the Orange Revolution in Ukraine has led the Kremlin to take a softer approach to this country?
    To the contrary. I spoke yesterday to my colleague Viktor Yanukovych; his government is under constant attack and pressure from Russia and that’s what’s happening on the daily basis ahead of the European [Union Eastern Partnership] Summit of Vilnius and Russian officials now speak openly about dismembering this nation – I just heard speech two days ago.
    Do you think the Kremlin would agree to discuss the de-occupation of our regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, now that the government has changed in Tbilisi? Far from it.
    The annexation of Georgian lands by Russian troops continues.
    Yesterday, the occupants have expelled again Georgian citizens from their houses and are destroying them, are destroying their villages, homes and houses of their parents and grand-parents, [inaudible] their cemeteries in total impunity, water systems.
    Despite the friendly statements made by the new Georgian government in the recent weeks and months, the Russian military keeps advancing its positions, dividing communities with new barbwires, threatening our economy, moving towards the vital Baku-Supsa pipeline, approaching more and more the main highway of Georgia and thus putting into question the very sustainability of our country.
    . My predecessor, President Shevardnadze, came from the highest Soviet nomenklatura. He was returned to power in Georgia with direct Russian help in the 90s, through a military coup. He was well known for his Soviet diplomatic skills unlike me. And yet, Russia has constantly undermined his authority and even tried to assassinate him several times.
    This is not about Gamsakhurdia – the first Georgian President, Shevardnadze, Saakashvili, or present Prime Minister Ivanishvili.
    Those names actually do not matter when the stakes are so high. This is about the possibility or not of true statehood in Georgia, and beyond.
    Why? Because the current Russian authorities know perfectly well that as soon as strong institutions are built in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, or any other place, as soon as functioning states emerge, such institutions, such states will reflect and enforce the will of their people, which is to become fully independent and move towards Europe.

Tbilisi Courtroom Address (2021) edit

  • I do not recognise the Prosecutor’s Office and the Georgian judiciary, I am not here to be part of a pre-written comedy
    (before adress)
  • I am Mikheil Saakashvili and Georgia did not have a criminal president [talks about himself]. I want every Georgian to know this. The founder of the Georgian state could not have been a criminal, because criminals do not establish states, they instead destroy them and you are [now] witnessing a classic example of that, as Georgia has fallen into the hands of bandits.
  • Of course, I was in a hurry to develop Georgia and anyone who is in a rush makes mistakes. I knew that we had little time, I know that many things needed to be done. But I was speaking with my doctor, who was able to arrive from a village and enroll in the medical university, only because there were national exams. Otherwise, there were no chances to enroll, and when they were coming [to Tbilisi in the past] people used to question them if they knew how much [the bribe for] enrolling would cost. [My doctor] arrived, believed in me and enrolled. The program of American teachers – many of the young generation can speak English, because we used to bring over 2,500 teachers a year. Not only my or Bidzina Ivanishvili’s son were able to study, but any Georgian, from Lesichini village to Khulo and Zemo and Kveda Machkhaani. This was my concept.
  • While I have told about my successes, did I make mistakes? [I made] more than enough; many mistakes that I bitterly regret. First of all, my mistake was the court.

External links edit