We shall not allow our economy to shrink, we shall not allow large projects to stop because this is what makes a very solid ground for our security guarantee in the long term, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said in his interview to Rustavi 2 TV company, aired on 7 August, the fifth anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008. According to Saakashvili, the only correct way for Georgia to break free from Russia once and for all is to develop rapidly.
"[Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri] Medvedev said himself that he hates Saakashvili but should anyway replicate his reforms [in Russia]. We took people sent by Medvedev to houses of justice, acquainted them with the police reform – they were amazed about the progress, but said this was something that would not fit them. Imagine, had [a sea port] Lazika been built near [the occupation line with] Abkhazia, Georgians living in Abkhazia would, first, have become tied to it, then others and thereafter, Abkhazians inevitably too," noted the President of Georgia.
According to Saakashvili's forecast, many factors indicate that Russia will inevitable leave the North Caucasus in the following years: Russia has lost a national idea; the Russian economy is sliding into the recession regardless of the price on oil; shale gas has questioned a long-term perspective of Russia's military strength; and Putin is extremely unpopular. "Therefore, Russia is so angry now that it is not the time to fall on knees before it because, enraged, it may kick you so hard that leave you without the face," noted Saakashvili
In the Georgian president's assessment, Russia can offer nothing today, because Russia is a dying state economically. "The share of Gazprom in Europe is decreasing; it will fall from a current 47% to 17% in the coming years, which is tantamount to a total catastrophe. Gazprom has lost US markets and is now losing Asian markets. That was their last economic and military-political lever. Their army is not being modernized and they have a serious political crisis inside. Given these circumstances, we must keep as far away from all that as possible so that when it caves in it does not cave in on us. Keeping far away from that means being oriented on Euro-Atlantic structures," the President of Georgia said.
According to Saakashvili, it is a fact that Georgia has grown speedily without the Russian market. "It is good if they allow our wine [to enter the Russian market] but that will account for a mere 0.1% of our economy. Our economic markets are in every direction one can look to, with Russia amongst, but our objective is to be as competitive as to become attractive for everyone," declared Saakashvili.
President Saakashvili cited an example of Moldova which, in contrast to Georgia, yielded much to Russia but got nothing in return.
"We must learn our lesson from that. We must look at the entire region; not only at America and Europe but Russia too. But, god forbid, it occurs again that the jaws of the wolf [Russia] is our only harbor," said Mikheil Saakashvili.