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Saakashvili salutes 9th April as day of hope

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, April 11
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke of the importance of April 9 on the 22nd anniversary of the tragedy with the student visiting his residence. Talking of the destructive effect of the Soviet resistance to Georgia’s demand for independence, Saakashvili welcomed the fact that a small nation like Georgia had managed to overcome all the obstacles. It was on April 9, 1991 when Georgia finally restored its independence from the Soviet Union, exactly two years after the tragedy when the Russian army massacred Georgian youths demanding independence in 1989.

“In the last twenty years we have run over all the mines and fallen into the traps, but managed to correct all the mistakes… I’m proud to be among the citizens of this multi-ethnical unity with you,” he told the students. Describing Georgia’s success as a miracle, the President spoke of the importance of overcoming the Soviet mentality as the main key to further promotion. “Independence is not only a signed document but the constant struggle, while in this struggle we are far ahead of any other former Soviet nation. It is about a struggle of ideas, because the strength of a state in the modern world is not measured by the number of tanks but the level of its liberty,” he added.

The President also referred to the opposition and explained the reason for their weakness. Those, “hoping” for the Russian army to invade Georgia, are modern Sergo Orjonikidzes (who led a Bolshevik invasion in 1921). They seek a President who is only counting on Russia’s support and waiting for the Russian troops to take over Tbilisi. Others, who make “hysterical” statements on not having a democracy, explain that the lack of support for their parties is caused by a lack of media coverage. “But they are telling these stories hysterically on TV every day,” Saakashvili told the students.

The other element of the opposition which engages in constructive debate with the Government is generally seen as “the most dangerous” for the ruling party in terms of maintaining its power. However, according to the President “it is good for the country.” Stressing that these politicians speak about all the important issues for people and they are often harshly criticizing the Government, Saakashvili welcomed the fact that such political class is gradually emerging in Georgia both inside and outside the Government.

Talking of Georgia’s local and international success, the President spoke of the cleansing of corruption, crime and ecology as the main goals for further promotion. Stressing that Georgia’s struggle is a struggle between kindness and evil, Saakashvili highlighted that steps made for defeating corruption and illegality means freedom from the Soviet regime. He further claimed that this path would make Georgia “an absolutely new model of a country, which will be the example for others in the region.”

Encouraging the students to respect the heroes but keep hoping for a better future, Saakashvili expressed his confidence that Russia would step back from the Georgian occupied territories as it had done years ago and stressed that Georgian dreams would come true one day. “April 9 is not only the day of sorrow but it’s also a day of hope that we will never return to the past and will finally free our country,” stated the President.