PM Garibashvili Speaks of “Treason” by Saakashvili When Paying Tribute to the Fallen

On 8 August Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, and members of the government visited the Mukhatgverdi Brothers’ Cemetery in Tbilisi to honor the memory of fallen soldiers and lay a wreath on the memorial during the 14th anniversary of the Russo-Georgian 2008 August War.

After the ceremony, PM Garibashvili spoke with journalists and noted that during the war “our military showed us truly exemplary heroism, dedication, [and] self-sacrifice.”

“They defended our homeland honorably, sacrificed themselves for our homeland, and saved many of our fellow citizens,” the PM said and added that during the August War the country lost many citizens and heroes.

Saakashvili “Treason”, Provocatory Steps

Requested to comment on the controversy concerning the dates of commemoration – the opposition marks the war anniversary on 7 August, while the current administration – on the 8th, the PM replied “the date August 8 has never been the subject of discussion… representatives of the former government always have come here [to the Mukhatgverdi Brothers’ Cemetery] on August 8.”

“In general, it’s embarrassing that the family members of our hero soldiers are standing here and we’re talking about dates,” he told the journalist and added that it was ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s “foolish policy, his uncalculated, provocatory steps,” were the reasons for “them [the former administration] not being able to avert this tragic war.”

“It was a treason by Saakashvili and his team. They sacrificed our country and sacrificed our people, as well as our military,” PM Garibashvili emphasized.

Visas for Russians

In response to a question about parts of the public asking for visas be introduced for Russian citizens, the Prime Minister said that after the plan to open up a second front in the country failed, “those traitors” who “could not and did not avoid the 2008 war” now want to harm Georgian citizens.

“When they want to disrupt tourism, who does this effect? We will do our best so that there is peace in the country, there is stability, and the development of our economy. This is my main task,” he said.

Parliament Speaker’s Remarks

While speaking with journalists at the memorial, Speaker Papuashvili stressed that the 14 years since the war “are the years when our state, the families of the dead, thought every day about the sacrifices made by our soldiers and civilians during this war.”

“During these years, we have seen the growing nature of Russian aggression,” the Speaker noted and added that the world saw the consequences of the inappropriate international response to Russian aggression in Georgia in the developments in Crimea in 2014, and again in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Speaker underscored that these events are part of the same aggression and that “it is important that from this perspective and point of view we know how many risks there are in connection with Georgia in terms of Russian aggression and that our state should act by knowing these risks.”

He also pointed to the importance of Georgia’s NATO membership in the context of security and said “Georgia is doing everything to show readiness for NATO membership.”

“I think that today there is consensus regarding the fact that Georgia is ready to be a member of NATO, only a political decision is needed on the part of NATO members,” Speaker Papuashvili concluded.

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)