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Georgia Celebrates Independence Day

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, May 27, 2022
May 26 is the Independence Day of Georgia. The country marks the day when the National Council passed the Act of Independence in 1918.

The celebration started in the morning on capital’s main avenue. At the event the conscripts took the oath, officials addressed people and the event was concluded with a gala concert in the evening. The swearing-in ceremony was held in 5 regions besides Tbilisi.

This year the event was attended by the Ambassadors of EU member states and the US. For the first time in the history of the celebration of May 26, the anthem of the European Union was performed.

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili delivered a speech at the event dedicated to the Independence Day. She said there was a historic opportunity on the road to Europe that did not open without sacrifice. Georgia has common values with Europe and these common values are the key to a European future. According to the President, these are the 4 main principles - Fair trial; Tolerance and diversity; Christianity, which thinks of man as the center of the universe, which also refers to the woman, who stands on the agenda on the road to Europe; and the balance of power to avoid authoritarianism.

“A fair court, which dates back to many centuries in Georgia and is based on the monuments of Georgian law: it will be the customary law of antiquity, the 13th century ‘book of all the mistakes of men’, the 14th century King George’s the Magnificent criminal law or the law of Vakhtang VI. The history of Georgian law would have adorned many European countries, and it is a bit of a shame that we cannot continue this legacy properly today,” President emphasized.

Zurabishvili also spoke of the cornerstone of Georgian culture which was considered to be the defining value for Europe - tolerance and diversity. ‘Even today, we and Europe owe it to ourselves to continue this tradition.’

“The first outline of Queen Tamar is related to the division and balancing of the executive and legislative branches, in the form of a 'tent' and a 'hall', which is considered to be one of the foundations of Georgian parliamentarism,” she said.

According to the President, the protection of these values is to take decisive steps on the path to Europe and return to oneself. According to the President, cognitively or intuitively, this path is supported by the whole society and this support has not slowed down but rather strengthened over the years.

The president called on political groups to unite on the path to European integration.

“For the first time, a real chance has arisen. Neither the civil society, nor the spirits of our ancestors, nor future generations will forgive us for missing this chance.

Today, May 26, my request and wish to you, to the society and to the political elite is said in two words: Power is in unity! When if not today, we must realize that we have no other way! A united nation has a great future, a return to Europe and us! Once again, I would like to appeal to all of you that national consent in this direction should not remain an empty word and should reflect our statehood and historical consciousness. This chance exists today!”

Zurabishvili also emphasized that the challenges in the occupied territories are not slowing down and, on the contrary, in this tense environment, there is an attempt to convince the population that Georgia can ‘use the time’ and try to return the territories by force, which is another Russian disinformation.

"Once again, I appeal to you, our citizens in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, to confirm that Georgia will never do anything against you through war and force. We offer to join the united European future. Offer you freedom and respect for and protection of your language, identity, history, and culture. Offer new consent.

At this time another provocation by Russia, threatening a referendum and annexation, will not achieve the result of stirring up a confrontation between us and deviating from peaceful politics. Russia must not make another fatal mistake and crime, and must not once again try to disregard all the norms and principles of international law. It will not go unanswered and will provoke appropriate reactions from the international community.”

President also spoke about the Russian war in Ukraine. According to her, Georgia knows the price of such devotion to the country and Georgia owes its solidarity - Georgia is well aware that the accelerated move to Europe is the merit of Ukraine.

“I want to pay tribute to the fallen Ukrainian and Georgian heroes because they all fought for independence and freedom. We know and will not forget that Ukraine today defends not only its own freedom, sovereignty, and independence but also the freedom of us and other European countries. It protects a united, strong, free, European future.”

The First Republic of Georgia, independent of Russia, ceased to exist in February 1921 as a result of Soviet Russian military aggression and occupation. Georgia regained its independence on April 9, 1991.

According to the press services of public agencies, the President of the United States of America Joseph Biden, the President of France, Emanuel Macron, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk, the Foreign Ministers of Poland, Greece, Latvia, Bulgaria and Iran, and officials from many countries have congratulated Georgian leaders and people on Independence Day.