Verbatim

  • Everyone agrees that drugs are bad. The question that arises is whether people should be in jail for this bad thing. I know that heroin is bad, cocaine is bad, LSD is bad, and marijuana is bad. I also know that cigarettes are bad and I know that alcohol is very harmful - but I do not believe people should be separated from society for this. We could not help people with this kind of policy… what did we achieve? We separated these people from society. As soon as people became addicted [to drugs], we rejected them from society and pushed them to the criminal world.

    Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili speaking today about how to approach drug policies in Georgia.
    President Margvelashvili: Drugs are Bad, but should People Go to Jail for it?
  • There is an unfortunate trend that in most cases, the President of Georgia appoints his own employees to different independent bodies. This has happened repeatedly, in the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and now in the High Council of Justice.

    Chairman of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze speaking about President Margvelashvili’s appointment of Ana Dolidze this week as a member of the High Council of Justice, in an interview with Rustavi 2. Dolidze is the president’s parliamentary speaker.
    Kobakhidze: the President Appoints his staff to Independent Bodies
  • It is necessary to develop drug policies that will protect young people and create a negative attitude towards this challenging illness. Rehabilitation centers should be built and we should raise awareness among students from school age. The country faces a demographic catastrophe, everyone must show special caution and prudence in order to make the right approach to the problem and take useful steps.

    Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II at the Christmas Epistle yesterday in Tbilisi.
    Ilia II: It is Necessary to Develop Drug Policies to Protect Young People
  • My fellow compatriots,

    I wish all of you a Happy New Year! I wish each and every one of you, and your families, happiness and success.
    I wish a Happy New Year, and offer my best wishes, to those selflessly serving our country, especially those who are fulfilling their professional duties at this very moment.
    It is from the bottom of my heart that I wish a Happy New Year to our soldiers and officers participating in international missions and protecting peace far away from home.

    I wish a Happy New Year to our Abkhazian and Ossetian compatriots! I truly believe that we will succeed in restoring trust and building a common future for ourselves and our children.

    I wish a Happy New Year to our compatriots living abroad! I wish them peace and success. We must spare no effort to put in place all necessary conditions for those missing their homeland and wishing to return home.

    My beloved, the new year 2018 is truly special for Georgia as it marks the 100th anniversary of the declaration of our country's independence. I congratulate all of you on this most important date in our nation's history, and wish all of us yet another year of opportunities. My wish for you is to live in a country where all your ideas can be put into action, where we cherish our today and shape our tomorrow on our own, where we pursue our favorite vocations, being able to put to use our knowledge and experience to serve our beloved country, our homeland. And this very Georgia we are building today.

    I am sending my New Year wishes from Bakuriani, a place associated with snow, New Year's Eve, and the most memorable days from our childhood and now from the early years of our own children. It is also part of our future, our development. I am convinced that this place, similar to every beautiful location in our gorgeous homeland, will be further imbued with growing positive emotions and hope.

    Once again, Happy New Year! I wish happiness and joy to your families, peace, goodness, and new achievements to all of you!

    Happy New Year!

    Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashili, in his official New Year message
    PM to Abkhazians and Ossetians: I Believe we will Succeed in Restoring Trust
  • I want to congratulate everyone on the new year. We are used to comparing the past and future. Last year was hard, but we’ve overcome it. I’m sending my greetings with love to all Georgians, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Greeks, Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis and everyone else who is in Georgia. . .

    Happy is the person who has the ability to forgive others. We have to pay a lot of attention to our children. It often happens that children are raised on the streets and the results are visible.

    I want to once again wish you peace, which should be in your hearts and mind. God bless you and all of Georgia

    Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia ll in his new year congratulatory note
    Patriarch Ilia ll: Last Year Was Hard, But We’ve Overcome It
  • Our main goal is to involve society in the police reform process. Without society’s trust it will be impossible to make such reforms. I understand that there are some problems in trust. There are some question marks too, which is why I came here. From my side, the door is always open. We’ve said it before that our main goals are oriented towards the future. We all understand that reforms in the system are very important, keeping in mind the challenges that we have...The police system should be politically neutral and oriented towards [the well-being of] citizens. This is our main task.

    The Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia speaking with interpressnews after the meeting at the Ministry of Culture. The main topic of discussion at the meeting was the case of Zviad Ratiani, a Georgian poet who allegedly was physically assaulted by the police on December 23.
    Interior Minister: Police System Needs Reforms
  • With the background of the current ecological situation, parking, animal protection problems, dilapidated buildings and other problems in the city, I am aware of how much of a responsibility it is being the mayor of Tbilisi. We will make revolutionary transformations in the development of the city. The budget that I presented today is adapted to the demand of Tbilisi residents, and not to me and members of my team. Those who desire good for Tbilisi will support the budget. This is the budget that will bring our city to a new stage of development.

    Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze spoke today during a discussion about the new budget for Georgia’s capital city at a meeting in Tbilisi City Assembly (Sakrebulo)
    Tbilisi Mayor Kaladze: We Will Make Revolutionary Transformations in the City
  • What Saakashvili is doing is a spit in the face for the Georgian and Ukrainian people. How do you tolerate that? He was the President of Georgia, now he’s walking on the maidan screaming that he is Ukrainian. Don’t you have Ukrainians? It’s just a misery to watch

    President of Russia, Vladimir Putin at an annual press conference speaking about Mikheil Saakashvili and politics in Ukraine.
    Putin: What Saakashvili Does is a Spit in the Face for Georgians and Ukrainians
  • Of course church and state are separate institutions. However in terms of worldview, it is impossible -- and no one would want to -- break off the connection which has brought our country to today. All of us should be willing to strengthen this connection. This connection is between the education system and the Georgian Orthodox Church, and our task is to strengthen this connection -- of course under the right form and right cooperation.

    Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili commented on December 11 on an earlier statement by Patriarch Ilia II that religious history and issues of spirituality should be taught in schools.
    PM: It is our task to Strengthen Links Between Church and Education System
  • The ongoing processes in Kiev are the internal affairs of Ukraine. At the same time, in the center of the events is the former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, whose security we hope will be ensured.

    Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili wrote on Twitter about the attempted arrest in Kyiv of Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili.
    Georgian President: We Hope Saakashvili’s Security Will Be Ensured
  • We experienced the same fate during the atheist regime. And we both have overcome this jeopardy through great devotion and sacrifice.

    Today there is another reality. However, the challenges we face are still serious and, in addition, diverse, in the spiritual, political, social, ecological and other aspects.

    For example… despite the tense political situation between Russia and Georgia, our churches maintain a friendly attitude and non-sectarian unity -- but it is not enough for defusing the situation. It is necessary for the situation in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region to change and that the relationship between our states be based on justice and mutual respect, which we have indicated several times before. In the Holy Scripture, we read: "To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice".

    We hope that through God's grace, truth and peace will be celebrated.

    Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II congratulated the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia on 100 years of the restoration of the patriarchate's rule in Russia.
    Ilia II: Friendship of Georgian and Russian Churches Not Enough for Defusing Situation
  • As for expectations [about drug decriminalization], this may lead to an increase in the number of marijuana users. This happens according to existing practices, however, we should think about the preventive measures that will make the number of users as few as possible. For that, it is necessary to involve complex activities such as educational and preventive services and so on. This has to be done in order not to have a lot of people dependent on drugs in this country.

    Chairman of parliament’s Legal Issues Committee Eka Beselia discussed with InterPressNews the decision of the Constitutional Court this week to decriminalize the use of marijuana. Beselia noted that "the decision of the Constitutional Court is final and we will have to work on these changes."
    Beselia: Decriminalization May Lead to Increase in Marijuana Users
  • Issues related to femicide do not reflect a specific criminal case; we should realize that femicide is a problem of our entire society.

    Many problems can be prevented by adopting legislative amendments or carrying out new policies; however, today I would like to address the Georgian society – you play a crucial role in preventing violence against women. The way we, citizens of this country, react to every single case of violence against women is decisive.

    Your response to violence that takes place in your neighborhood; your attitude towards women that defend their own rights; your reaction to incidents of gruesome violence; all these determine the fate of future crimes and cases of oppression.

    We need to eradicate any form of understanding and compassion [for the perpetrators of violence] that are frequently heard while judging violence against women.

    President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili speaking about femicide at the international conference in Tbilisi, Femicide Cases Monitoring Tools and Mechanisms, organized with the support of the Public Defender of Georgia and UN Women Georgia.
    President Margvelashvili: Femicide is a Problem of our Entire Society
  • I promise to put all my energy, knowledge, and experience in developing education and science in Georgia. There are so many challenges. More specifically, I would like to say that every youngster in Georgia should feel that the state is taking care of them. We have many talented young people, a very good generation is coming and we should be the guarantee to create all the conditions for them to fully realize their potential.

    Education and Science Minister Mikheil Chkhenkeli speaking on his first day as Minister
    New Education Minister: Each Youngster Should Feel that State Cares for them
  • I would like to express my gratitude to Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was him who presented me as the Mayor of the capital. By putting great trust in me he gave me a lot of energy. I would also like to thank [former Prime Minister] Irakli Garibashvili. During the period when he was prime minister, I worked very actively. And I want to underline the very close and active cooperation with Giorgi Kvirikashvili, I remember him supporting me a lot.

    Outgoing Mayor of Tbilisi Davit Narmania said today while evaluating his work as Mayor of the capital city for four years, according to Interpressnews reporting.
    Narmania: I Want to Express my Gratitude to Bidzina Ivanishvili, his Trust Gave me Energy
  • Under huge pressure from the opposition, [Tbilisi mayor] David Narmania was performing very important work. Today he made an impressive presentation about what he has been done in our capital, and he has a lot to be proud of. This includes many projects like the "New Tiflis" project, completely renovated roads, new gardens were opened, comfortable means of public transport was introduced. I want to thank David Narmania and wish him success in his future work. We all expect that Kakha Kaladze’s contribution as Mayor will be a significant step for Tbilisi.

    Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili evaluated Tbilisi’s Mayor David Narmania’s work for Georgia’s capital city over the past four years.
    Kvirikashvili: Under Pressure from the Opposition, Tbilisi Mayor Narmania Did Important Work
  • We saw, probably, the strongest support from Poland when Georgia was attacked by the neighboring nuclear state, and our friends stood by our side. We will never forget those moments when we suffered the most; we will never forget those people who could have spent a safe time in their own homelands, instead of being in bombed Tbilisi; those people who were driven only by humanity and human values to take these bold steps. Thus we are connected not only by our strategic goals, but the pain which generations went through just a couple of years ago, and the friendship that we saw in these difficult moments.

    Mr. President, we are similar as we both value liberty; we are similar because we know that protection of this liberty requires blood, and we have both experienced it. I am happy that all these emotions are translated into politics in the context of our friendship.

    President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili during his speech at an official lunch held in Warsaw on November 8, held in honour of President Margvelashvili. Margvelashvili started his official visit to Poland on November 7 to attend the Warsaw Security Forum on November 9
    Margvelashvili in Poland: We are Connected by Our Strategic Goals and the Pain of the Past
  • Exports rose by 28.5% in Georgia. We already have a record for tourist influx in the country - up to 6.5 million tourists visited Georgia. The volume of money transfers has also increased. All these factors are very important for the economic growth of the country, which now amounts to 4.7%. This is a very healthy trend that will surely be reflected in new investments and new jobs. I understand that this is not directly reflected in today's economic conditions of our population, but it is very important for our citizens to know that the trend in the country is very healthy.

    Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at a government meeting on November 2, 2017.
    PM: Economic Growth not Directly Reflected for Population, but Trend is Healthy
  • I am deeply shocked by the terrorist attack in NYC that claimed lives of innocent people. Georgia condemns any form of terrorism and stands with the international community in the fight against this huge global threat. In this difficult time, on behalf of the Georgian people and myself, I show support to the U.S. Government and American people.

    President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili issued an official statement after last night’s terrorist attack in Manhattan, leaving 8 dead and 11 injured.
    Georgia’s President ‘Deeply Shocked’ by NYC Terrorist Attack
  • October 27 is the day of Abkhaz language and I want to congratulate everyone, especially our Abkhaz sisters and brothers. I want to present our initiative to you. We are creating a national program for the development and protection of the Abkhaz language and we think this program will be a very important basis in the process of restoring trust. This program covers multidimensional events. Obviously there will be a separate budget for that and I’m sure that society will get actively involved in implementing it. I believe that our sincere and deep attitude towards the Abkhaz language and culture will be very important in the process of restoring those burnt bridges which is a requisite for our unity.

    Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili speaking after a government meeting today.
    PM: We are Creating a National Program for the Defence of Abkhaz Language
  • I don’t know who made what statements. However, that fact that an anti-discrimination bill was adopted in Georgia under our leadership is welcoming. Freedom of expression is very important. We are a democratic country and every citizen has the right despite their nationality, religion or sexual orientation to express their opinions.

    Newly elected mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze responding to a question from Netgazeti regarding whether people should be discriminated in football based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The question comes after backlash against Georgian footballer Guram Kashia for wearing a rainbow...
    Kaladze: Everyone has the Right of Freedom of Expression Despite their Sexual Orientation
  • We will provide information about who will be my deputies and which positions my team members will take. It is very important for us for the people [in the team] to be competent, professional, and experienced... We will be very open and transparent about these processes throughout the following four years. We will have structural reforms and reforms in personnel changes. Many competent people are working in City Hall and we will try our best to make use of their professionalism for the benefit of the city.

    Newly-elected mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze, at a briefing today. Kaladze will start working in his new post from the second half of November.
    Kaladze: We Will Have Structural Reforms and Reforms in Personnel Changes
  • Today they’re talking about some land which was purchased for 1 GEL in which an investment worth 1 million GEL is being made. When I built McDonald's in Kutaisi, I paid 850,000 and invested 3 million. I think 1 GEL is a bit cheap.

    However, I don’t believe that the projects of Bidzina Ivanishvili are mistakes… I mean the “Panorama Tbilisi” project. But on the other hand, how timely is the development of such a project? The renovation of Old Tbilisi might be a bigger subject. What I’m talking about [the renovation of Old Tbilisi] is not a business, it is a charity. What Ivanishvili is doing now is business, mixed with charity… but it’s still a business.

    Georgian Businessman Temur Chkonia in an interview with TV Pirveli on October 18. Tbilisi City Assembly agreed during a session on September 29 to transfer land around Pushkin Square in central Tbilisi to a company owned by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for the symbolic price of 1 GEL.
    Georgian Businessman on Ivanishvili land: 1 GEL is Cheap, I Paid 850,000 for McDonald’s
  • It is very unfortunate that in the middle of the pre-election campaign, Saakashvili and his surrounding people are continuing to seed dissidence within the opposition with such silly and dishonest accusations.

    Unfortunately, the main enemy for Mikheil Saakashvili is European Georgia, and not the Georgian Dream, whereas for us, Ivanishvili’s rule is the main problem.

    Saakashvili wants to be the leader of the opposition in Georgia and in Ukraine too. But in Ukraine, where he physically is, he is in favor of uniting the opposition, whereas in Georgia he is in favor of division, because he can’t physically be here. It turns out that there’s no success without him - this is his concept.

    In regards to the silly and absurd accusation that we didn’t let him come to Georgia… it has been a year since this party is split [from the UNM]. What is it that has hindered him from coming to Georgia now?...

    The truth is that he is not coming to Georgia for the same reason that he left Georgia. We should ask ourselves, when was he lying? When he said that the day after tomorrow he would be in Georgia, when two days before elections he says that he’s not coming, or when he publicly explained that apparently, this was all to frighten Ivanishvili and that he never actually considered coming? The truth is that he was always lying and Saakashvili made Ivanishvili use him to seed fear of disorder, then caused disappointment in his [Saakashvili’s] voters when he said that he’s coming, and now he is trying to cause dissidence within the opposition so that Ivanishvili’s regime isn’t stopped without him [Saakashvili’s involvement]. This is not in the interests of the Georgian people. Our interest is to stop this regime in a peaceful manner, that’s why all critical citizens should come to the elections and vote in favor of changing Ivanishvili’s regime.

    Member of Parliament of Movement for Liberty - European Georgia party Giga Bokeria, in response to a statement made by former President Mikheil Saakashvili on October 8 arguing that by splitting from the UNM, the European Georgia party strengthened Bidzina Ivanishvili.
    Bokeria: Saakashvili doesn’t Want the Opposition to Have Success without Him
  • European Georgia consists of people who made a conscious decision to separate from the United National Movement - and thus they strengthened Ivanishvili. This was for the profit of Ivanishvili. Whether they wanted this or not… this is an objective reality. Ivanishvili got stronger by this...

    They [European Georgia party] announced my return [to Georgia] to be a major problem - and not Bidzina Ivanishvili.

    Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili speaking in an interview with Rustavi 2 on October 8
    Saakashvili: European Georgia Party Strengthened Ivanishvili
  • There were many serious and severe mistakes made in Tbilisi under the United National Movement leadership. Of course, one of the mistakes also was the chaotic process of building up the capital, which is still ongoing, and that’s why we have the result that we have. I can’t take the responsibility for what I haven’t participated in, however this doesn’t mean that I can’t talk about the mistakes which the party [UNM] had during its governance.

    UNM’s Mayoral Candidate for Tbilisi Zaal Udumashvili, speaking on the TV show ‘Accents’ on October 8.
    Udumashvili: Severe Mistakes were made in Tbilisi under UNM Leadership
  • We should stop talking about the cyanide case. We’ve been talking about this for the whole year and have wasted a lot of energy and time. We have a lot to do in order to restore the image that the Church had, and unfortunately today we face conditions which tremor this image. We have to somehow restore the image and society’s trust

    Patriarch Ilia II’s secretary Father Botkoveli spoke on October 6 after Giorgi Mamaladze’s lawyers were questioned by the Prosecutor's Office. Mamaladze was a high-ranking clergymen in the Georgian Orthodox Church who was arrested in February 2017 and found with cyanide in his suitcase, with...
    Patriarch’s Secretary: A Lot Needs to be Done to Restore the Image of the Church
  • Nobody has the illusion that after four years there won’t be any problems left and that everything will be solved. This is impossible, these are problems that have been piling up for 20 to 25 years. The capital has been disfigured in every way possible, and the result is pretty obvious. However, if we don’t take specific steps today, trust me, progress of this city will be impossible.

    Georgian Dream’s Mayoral Candidate Kakha Kaladze Speaking with Rustavi 2 on October 6. Local self-government elections, including elections for mayor of Tbilisi, will take place on October 21.
    Kaladze: Nobody Has the Illusion that We Will Solve Everything in Four Years
  • My pre-election promises were always on my desk when I used to plan different projects at the beginning of each year. At the end, I analysed my pre-election program and promises and realised that I do not have any unfulfilled promises, except one - building a Youth Center, which I promised to our young people. However, the project of the building is already prepared. The area for the building is selected, but because of limited financial resources, we could not implement this project this year. However, I am sure that this project will be implemented. Our team's mayoral candidate program pays a lot of attention to the youth. I do not have any other substantially unfulfilled promises.

    Mayor of Tbilisi Davit Narmania spoke to Interpressnews about fulfilling his promises during his time in office.
    Mayor Narmania: I Do Not Have Any Unfulfilled Promises, Except One
  • We will not let anyone seize our lands for Laris and pennies in such an impudent and brazen manner. They are walking well dressed, while citizens are living in poverty and in hunger, whereas billionaires are taking away our lands for one Lari. This will not continue... We all are telling them that this will not happen in Tbilisi anymore!

    I understand people are disappointed, some may think that there is no point in protesting, that if they force us to leave the hearing room, they can get away with this [protesting opposition politicians were kicked out of a Tbilisi City Assembly hearing on September 29].

    But no, they will not get away with this! No special ops officer, no misguided policeman, no billionaire and no oppressors will be able to stop our protest, because we are right. We fight for ideas, we don’t fight for money.

    Elene Khoshtaria, the Movement for Liberty - European Georgia candidate for Tbilisi mayor, speaking at a protest on October 1. The protest was against Tbilisi City Assembly’s vote to pass 1,900 square meters of land around Pushkin Square in central Tbilisi to the company Old City Development,...
    Tbilisi Mayor Candidate Khoshtaria: People are Starving and Billionaires Get Lands for One Lari
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