Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has pardoned Mtavari TV founder Nika Gvaramia.
“I came to this decision after all the legal steps had been exhausted and the Court rejected the cassation appeal on June 19.
I’m not going to explain why I made this decision as it is my discretionary right.
I just want to remind you what I also said in the European Parliament, that such a decision, the president’s discretionary right, is not subject to anyone’s pressure, advice, recommendation, or any other type of threat. This is the president’s decision”, she underscored.
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Gvaramia to 3 years and 6 months in prison for abuse of power over his managerial decisions when he ran Rustavi 2 TV.
“With the incomprehensible steps taken in recent years, the government is confronting the country’s foreign objective, the people’s mandate, by inviting Gavrilov, you raised doubts and questions for the first time,” said Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili when delivering her annual report in the parliament.
According to Zourabichvili, the Georgian government gradually transformed.
“Instead of strengthening state institutions, being the cornerstone of democracy, the one-party system and its influence get stronger. Laws adopted in an expedited manner (on covert recordings, abolishment of state inspector, changes in the rule for appointment of judges and foreign agents bill) serve your power’s prolongation instead of serving democracy strengthening and citizens’ welfare. The court reform, vital for the country’s future, is at a deadlock,” President said.
Salome Zourabichvili went on to say that the ruling party members speak in unison, and those having different viewpoints, tend to quit the party.
“The party influence is evident in the government and parliament. The party turned into a decision-making space. The party chairman announces his standpoint on all political issues in advance, and the decision-making process is vague, not to mention open discussions.
You are the government confronting the country’s foreign goal, the people’s mandate. By inviting Gavrilov (Russian MP) in 2019, you raised doubts and questions for the first time, though the actual transformation began in 2021 when the Georgian Dream former Chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili quit politics,” she said.
President also recalled the annulling of the document drafted with the engagement of the European Council President and rejection of the EU loan.
“You have never stopped the anti-European rhetoric, blaming and insulting our partners. All this finally came to the extent that we expelled the former EU ambassador from the country with reprimands and accusations,” Zourabichvili stated.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has left for the U.S. to address the 67th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), slated for 6-17 March 2023.
The President will also meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, UN Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous, and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
Zourabichvili will hold bilateral meetings with New York Mayor, Eric Adams, and the Presidents of the countries participating in the forum.
She will also visit Yale and Harvard Universities to deliver a public lecture at the Harvard Kennedy School.
This briefing was not scheduled. Today, anyway, I wasn't going to do anything, and when I heard that the rally was going to be held here, it was my decision and my desire to join the people with whom I shared many battles (I'm not talking here about electoral battles) in those dark days when we fought together against the criminal and unfair regime of Misha Saakashvili. I came out there for these people, not for some protesters, I don't know who, to show up in the palace, that's not the right format, and I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the people who spearheaded it.
Those people whom I respect very much because of all this and our common past, have come to the palace many times and know that my door is open, everyone has the opportunity to ask for a meeting, and I’ve shown it recently that I meet everyone, and not only those with whom these battles I have shared, and I will continue to do so.
Now I want to go back to what I wanted to say earlier and couldn't finish what I had to say, and I want to continue to say it through you, and for that, I want to thank you once again.
First, let me say: I know that this demonstration was not only organized by those people, but it was accompanied by various message boxes that have been circulating these days. This was deliberately done in order to put pressure on the President from those people, from the party whose leaders were nowhere in 2007 (I say 2007, because this is the period when everything happened and everything was clear.)
These people, who today threaten me with my career or in different ways and believe that they could threaten me, were not there then, and now they ask me about my morale and teach me how to fight against Saakashvili, who is already fallen.
I wonder where these people have been since 2007. I will tell you, one was in Misha's staff and stayed there for a long time. Another one was in "Cartu Bank", well-paid. Others were in other positions and I don't want to make it personal now, but they were nowhere so how can they ask about my morals? What can they teach me, I wonder?! The same goes for that quartet that walks around saying stuff.
It is very clear that here, there is some kind of joint game between different forces, which are supposedly very opposed. But in reality, who ‘pardoned’ Murusidze and Chinchaladze? Was it me? If so, when? I don't know, tell me! I think that the very power that is teaching me wisdom today, not only pardoned them, but placed them in such places, from which no one can remove them, and from which they also very effectively block our way to Europe.
Who is this for? Why don't we ask this?! Before the rally comes to me (when I say coming - I'm talking about the rally, not about the people who are coming to meet, have been coming and I hope they will come here again.)
What is the agreement between these two powers? On the one hand, bringing Misha. Why did some of them advised, urged him to come down here, launch a revolution, claiming people would come out for him.
On the other side, those who were playing with Georgian emotions and antagonizing him: ‘if you’re brave, come here. Don’t be lazy, come here.’
Both were excited about Misha's arrival and we can see why. Because we have been living in this for a year already and more. A year later, we are completely stuck around Misha, in arguments, disputes, fights, there is no other topic, it is impossible to raise another topic, the country is sinking around this issue, and this suits both sides.
For one side, it is probably because it cannot see other plans, because it no longer has an answer to any of the questions that society should ask its government, and I don't know what I have to do with it, but it is unacceptable. Or they don't know me, maybe they don't know me, I don't know, they still haven’t learned who I was for so many years, but pressure on the institution (and not to mention a woman and the president) that is happening today is unacceptable. This bullying, (by the way, I don't know where are those NGO people who should express something about bullying), direct blackmail, threats, humiliation are unacceptable
And here look, there’s a "Russian village" at my doorstep, and what does that mean? In no other country, in front of the president's palace, such a village, especially in this tense period, would be built, but there are different opinions and different tastes about it.
Then they threaten me with “career”, as if I could kiss my career goodbye, as if I wanted some other career, they forget how old I am, but if anyone knows me in this country, they will also know that I left my career over there a long time ago, that I am only interested in this country, I am interested only in the European future of this country, which for some reason everyone is fighting against, no one can see that our society wants this and our society will continue to want it regardless of everything - here I am, here you are and we will go on this path, despite everyone's pressure and attempts to blackmail in different ways.
H.E. Sheraz Gasri, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Georgia, presented her letter of credence to President Salome Zourabichvili at the Orbeliani Palace.
Administration of the President
Madam President, Maia, thank you very much for your hospitality. It is a great honor for me to be here with you today in this very difficult time. This is the first visit by a President of Georgia to Moldova in 12 years. Obviously, such a visit is of special importance for the relations between our countries. But today, against the background of what is happening in Europe and Ukraine, it is very difficult to start our conversation with bilateral relations.
For our countries, the most important thing is what’s happening in Ukraine, and what happened this morning. These harsh acts that Russia is taking against the independence and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, the bombing of Kyiv, the violence against civilians, are unacceptable in the modern world, unacceptable in Europe, unacceptable for our two countries and our values. Russia’s aggression is an anachronism. It is stuck in a century of wars and totalitarianism.
The war in Ukraine is also an incredible threat to our countries, to Europe, and to the entire world. Aggression cannot win, injustice cannot win, inhumanity must not win.
For our countries with occupied territories, this challenge is even greater since Russia announced mobilization on its territory, Russia has distributed passports in our occupied territories and is conducting mobilization on our citizens. To forcefully involve them in an unjust war, which is not theirs, is a violation of all their rights.
Once again, I condemn Russia’s aggression against the sovereignty of Ukraine and its people. I once again condemn the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia. I once again, on behalf of Georgia and the Georgian people, express my solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
The main weapon we can use against Russia’s brutality is the unprecedented solidarity shown by the international community towards Ukraine. The effective solidarity of the United States and the European Union, which Georgia and Moldova fully join, is unique.
Today, the war in Ukraine is a great challenge for Europe. Europe has now seen the true face of Russia. We went through different times, other wars, other occupations, when our European partners looked at Russia differently and still believed that Russia could be a reliable partner, despite its actions. The war in Ukraine changed this view. Now, everyone has seen the true face of Russian aggression, Russian imperialism, its conduct.
Because of this challenge and through the dedication and perseverence of Ukraine and its people, a new path of opportunities has opened. Not only is Europe seeing Russia differently, it is also looking at our countries differently. Those countries that were already moving towards Europe through Association now have an open path with the war in Ukraine. This path is the European perspective for all three countries and the candidate status that has already been given to Ukraine and Moldova. For that, I once again want to congratulate them and in this case, Moldova. We remain in the same perspective, the same path. We have the same reforms to implement. We have a slightly different calendar and have to reach our candidacy status by implementing twelve recommendations, while Ukraine and Moldova also have to carry out reforms.
I am deeply convinced that the three nations that accepted this association together at the Petra Summit as a trio, the three countries that launched a more active phase of European integration together will see the result of this path together. This war will end with the victory of Ukraine, the reconstruction of Ukraine, and our accession to the European Union.
This is the symbolic message of the Prague Summit, where for the first time EU members, candidates, and countries with perspective all sat together around one table, a symbol of the fact that we are all members of the European family. This is our future and not one of us has a different perspective.
This is why our two countries need more solidarity and towards this, we need to strengthen our relations, have more solidarity with and from the EU, for our future is indivisible, our independence is indivisible, and our freedom is indivisible.
PACE calls for a review of cases of political prisoners opposed to President Putin, and for their release, including M. SaakashviliMonday, 17 October 2022 16:21
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for a review of cases of political prisoners opposed to President Putin, in the Russian Federation and in other countries, and for their release, including Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukrainian citizen and former President of Georgia. The above is said in the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - "Further escalation in the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine", which was approved by the Assembly yesterday.
The resolution, among other things, talks about the repressive environment in the Russian Federation.
"The authorities have implemented a far-reaching crackdown on civil liberties based on intimidation and open persecution, with the goal to provoke a state of terror in the general public for political purposes. Democratic figures are being repressed or killed, the system of opposition parties has been destroyed, the judiciary is not independent and many media and civil society organisations, such as Memorial International, have been closed down. Despite the many draconian measures passed in recent years, anti-war demonstrations and protests have been breaking out across the country. Amongst the most prominent public figures being persecuted for voicing criticism against the war is Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been detained since April 2022. On 10 October 2022, the Assembly was honoured to award Mr Kara-Murza with the 2022 Václav Havel Prize, affirming support for his courage and determination to create a peaceful, democratic Russia. The Assembly calls on the Russian authorities for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza. The Assembly also calls for a review of cases of other political prisoners opposed to President Putin, in the Russian Federation and in other countries, and for their release (including Mikheil Saakashvili, Ukrainian citizen and former President of Georgia)," reads the resolution.
99 out of 100 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe supported the resolution calling on European countries to declare the current Russian regime a terrorist regime, while one member, a Turkish MP from the Republican People's Party, abstained.
The Orbeliani Palace opened today an exhibit of paintings by Abkhaz artist Nikoloz Emkhvari as a show of President Salome Zourabichvili’s support for the ongoing Tbilisi Art Fair and for the freedom of self-expression of young artists.
During the opening ceremony, the President spoke about the background behind the exhibit, emphasizing its important: “I am glad that today we have the opportunity to host young artist Nika Emkhvari in this palace, an artist whose very interesting works I saw for the time a few months ago at the Sighnaghi Museum. It was there that the idea to organize this exhibit in this palace was born. As Tbilisi Art Fair is taking place, this exhibit is timely and my wish was for us to be a participant in this event. The artist, in addition to representing himself through his work, is from Abkhazia and it’s crucial that Abkhazia is represented here today at the Art Fair. This is Georgian art, this is a very interesting form of modern art. Georgia is a country where the rise of modern talent is taking place and it’s good to see such a creative ability in our youth, and across our country.”
Nikoloz Emkhvari thanked the President and said, “Art is everything to me and I want to put my soul into my works. Thank you for being here to view my works that depict human nature. This is what I want to show with my creativity.”
Mr. Konstantine Natsvlishvili, Adviser to the President on Cultural Affairs, stated that Georgia’s reality and environment have been a great influence to the creativity of artists. He said: “We live in an interesting era and of course Nika Emkhvari is no exception. In his work, we can see the role of pop culture, the images that remain in our consciousness and manifested in new form. These images speak for themselves. They show the medium through which the artist speaks to us and in this universal language, understood by the whole world, he says what he needs to say. This artist’s works really deserve attention.”
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country - S. ZourabichviliFriday, 27 May 2022 10:54
First of all, happy Independence Day to those of you who are swearing allegiance to the homeland today. The Georgian military has been characterized by its ability to fight, by its responsibility, its self-sacrifice and loyalty to oath. Today, you are becoming part of this worthy military history. You know and are well aware that defending the independence and freedom of a country is not an easy task and requires dignity and dedication.
On the 26 of May, the Georgian nation decided once and for all to live in a free, independent country. Thus, the Georgian nation once and for all refused to be part of another country, refused slavery.
Today, the 26 of May, is not only a day to revive the past, nor is it an ordinary holiday, it is a day of reflection and understanding. A day when we should think about our country and ask ourselves whether we are doing everything that this country needs, for its future, for the well-being of its people, for its independence and for its freedom.
This question should be asked by everyone, every citizen, every child of this country, living here or abroad. After all, independence means that the future of our children is in our hands and that no one can avoid this responsibility. However, and this thinking is obvious, those of us who stand on this side of the tribune owe more, for we have more responsibility. This responsibility is stronger now, because Georgia is once again standing at a crossroads, not unlike many crucial moments in its history. In front of us has come the time for new opportunities and new challenges and they require certain answers, readiness, foresight, a vision and courage with caution. It requires unity in the first place - and I will say this as many times as it takes.
A historic opportunity arose on the road to Europe. This road to Europe did not arise without bloodshed and without sacrifice. This aspiration was based on the knowledge that common values united us and connected us to the European civilization. And while we defended the Georgian faith, identity and values against a number of conquering empires, we also defended Europe at the same time. These shared values encompassed everything that is the key to our European future today, that is - four core values and principles.
1) A fair court, a principle which dates back many centuries in Georgia and is based on the historical cornerstones of Georgian law: be it the customary law of Antiquity, the 13th-century "Book of All the Mistakes of Men", the 14th-century criminal law of King George the Brilliant, or King Vakhtang VI’s unique repertoire of historical legal writings. 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.
2) The cornerstone of Georgian culture, which is also the defining value for Europe - tolerance and diversity. Even today, we and Europe owe it to ourselves to continue this tradition.
3) The Christianity of Europe and Georgia instructed us to recognize humanity as the center of the world and therefore to respect and protect all of its rights. On our way to Europe, this also stands on our agenda.
4) And finally, the balance of power to avoid the temptation of authoritarianism that characterizes our history. The division of the Executive and Legislative branches and their balancing dates back to the 12th-century reign of Tamar the King, under the form of the Karavi and the Darbazi, which stand as the foundations of Georgian parliamentarism. Thus, we must understand that the protection of these values is neither the fulfillment of someone else's dictated will, nor the danger of alienation and loss of identity, but on the contrary - taking decisive steps on the path to Europe is tantamount to returning to oneself. That is why, cognitively or intuitively, this path is supported by all of society and this support has not only slowed down but strengthened over the years. Today, for the first time, a real chance has arisen. Neither the civil society united around this goal, nor the souls of our ancestors, nor the future generations will forgive us for missing this chance. Instead, those who will be able to succeed on this path will inherit a unique place and appreciation in Georgian history. The choice is yours! The choice is ours!
With this great historical chance, Georgia is facing no less powerful challenges. The war in Ukraine, in the heart of Europe, reminds us of the tragedies of the war waged on Georgia more than once in the past centuries. Precisely because we know the cost of such devotion to country, do we owe it to ourselves not only to feel the pain of the Ukrainian people, but also to show full solidarity with them. We understand what is the power of solidarity and we see this in the Georgian society expressing that solidarity in all possible ways. We also understand very well that even our accelerated path toward Europe is the merit of the Ukrainian people, achieved with their blood and suffering. Ukraine has gone through incredible battles, its warriors have shown the world an example of courage, devotion and endurance. I would like to pay here tribute to the fallen Ukrainian and Georgian heroes, because what they all fought for is independence and freedom, and the 26 of May is a day for independence and freedom. We know and will never forget that Ukraine today defends not only its own freedom, sovereignty, and independence, but also our freedom and that of other European countries. It protects the future of a united, strong, free Europe.
At this time, the challenges related to our occupied territories are not slowing down, on the contrary. In this tense environment, there is an attempt to convince people that Georgia can "use this time" and try to return territories by force - this is another obvious Russian misinformation. I once again address our citizens in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, assuring you that Georgia will not act against you through war and force. It is clear to everyone today which country threatens the sovereignty, identity and life of its neighbors. This is not Georgia. I appeal to you and offer that, as in the past we created the Georgian state together, now together we should create an equal future. I offer to you to join us in an European united future. I offer you freedom, and the respect and protection of your language, your identity, your history, your culture. I offer you new accord. At this time, this yet-another provocation by Russia, the threat of referendum and annexation, will not achieve its goal - the escalation of the confrontation between us and our shift from the policy of peace. Russia mustn’t make another grave mistake and wrongdoing, and must not once again try to disregard all the norms and principles of international law. This will not go unanswered and will provoke appropriate reactions from the international community.
Today, on the 26 of May, my request and wish to you, the society and the political elite, is one: Strength is in Unity! When if not today, must we realize that we have no other way! A united nation has a great future ahead: Europe and return to our roots! Once again, I would like to appeal to all of you and remind you that national accord in this should not remain an empty word and should reflect our state and historical consciousness. This chance exists today!
I would like to read one sentence from the declaration created by several groups of young people that will be signed today at the Orbeliani Palace: "Young people living in Georgia stand together to reach out to the international community at this crucial moment in the country and to express our unwavering will and support for the country's European future."
We are tasked with listening to these young people and paving the way for future generations to make their own choices. Success on this path depends on us and only us. And “us” means all of us: the government, the opposition and the society with all its components.
That is why I am ready to be your voice and deliver this message of the nation where the voice of Georgia should be heard today! So they too can understand the unified message of Georgia "We are Europeans"! We must all serve this goal... and this is how I understand the words of the oath uttered today: "I serve Georgia!"
Long live Georgia!