TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili says the time has come for ‘real Euro-Atlantic integration and not an imitation of the way to Europe.’
The statement came at Sunday’s launch party in the Tbilisi Concert Hall for the new movement called Georgian Dream.
At his first press conference November 1 Ivanishvili touched on the subject of how to integrate Georgia closer with NATO, and his comments then have later been picked up by the government, which said that the public hasn’t been told what his position is regarding this issue, which in Georgia often is referred to as “Euro-Atlantic integration”.
At Sunday’s launch party Ivanishvili talked about what be the country’s goals should be; one of them being exactly Euro-Atlantic integration and what to do in order to achieve results in that process.
The Georgian president revoked Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship shortly after he had said he wanted to go to politics. According to Georgian legislation, someone who isn’t a Georgian citizen can’t take part in political activities nor finance any political process.
However, a non-citizen is allowed to get involved in what is called a public movement. Accordingly, he has a legal right to set up a movement and participate in its activities.
It was on the basis of this Bidzina Ivanishvili yesterday launched the public movement Georgian Dream with himself as board chairman. Everyone who is a Georgian citizen may register as member. The movement is opening offices in other regions of Georgia from today.
Ivanishvili said the movement will connect with experienced professionals to discuss political, economic and many other important issues.
He said that appropriate community groups will learn what the situation is in various sectors of society and will work out what is the most effective measures. Consultations will be held in groups of experts within specific sectors, international organizations and foreign diplomats.
The movement’s launch party has been postponed several times, the reason being, according to the organization, that the government has directly or indirectly prevented Ivanishvili from renting an appropriate locale at which to hold it.
Ivanishvili mentioned this issue yesterday too.
“Due to causes beyond our control, it was not possible to hold a larger meeting. But there are still a lot of big or small gatherings ahead, and finally we will unite the whole country into one hand to win the free elections,” Ivanishvili said.
The old Philharmonic, which has recently been renamed Tbilisi Concert Hall, can accommodate more than two thousand people, and was packed Sunday. The foyer was also full, where big monitors were installed and people who weren’t able to get in to the hall itself could follow the speeches on the screen.
Hundreds of people who couldn’t get into the building at all waited outside until the very end.
Before Ivanishvili’s held his address, there were speeches by several public figures who appealed to people and spoke about the problems in the country. According to Ivanishvili, there is ‘breadless show’ (`დღეს ქვეყანაში უპურო სანახაობაა) in the country and this is his reason for wanting to change current policy.
He said the goal of setting up Georgian Dream is public unity.
Ivanishvili also said the goal of Georgian Dream is to gain the trust of the people in Georgia’s two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to establish territorial integrity, employment, to ensure a decent income, to introduce Western democratic values and Euro-Atlantic integration, justice and strengthening hope and belief in compatriots.
“Our goal is Georgia’s victory and not to defeat anybody,” Ivanishvili remarked.
After his speech the Georgian folk ensemble Georgia Voices sang the Georgian national anthem, Freedom. The launch party ended with a new video clip made by Ivanishvili’s rapper son Bera, the lyrics of which is part biographical and part political, saying that today his country is being destroyed over his head, but he promises to make the Georgian Dream come true.
TRANSCRIPT: BIDZINA IVANISHVILI’S SPEECH
Tbilisi Concert Hall, December 11, 2011
First, I would like to welcome you all who managed to be with us in this hall or are gathered outside of it. Together with you I welcome those people who follow our meeting on TV or radio.
I welcome those who cannot watch or listen to our meeting but think like us. I also welcome those who don’t think like us but love Georgia and dream about its better future as we do.
For the reasons beyond our control it was impossible to organize larger meeting though in future we plan much more meetings large or small, and finally, we will gather our country as a whole for the right of free elections.
Today, here, in this hall public movement “Georgian Dream” is being created to make essential changes. It is time for justice to reign in our country; it is time to give people hope and faith. We all should be responsible for the fate of our country.
1. Public movement “Georgian Dream” is created as a force for uniting public in order to establish public control and bring influence over the processes of political, social and economic development of the country.
2. Fate and future of the country should be determined by the strong society with the sense of high responsibility. People should participate in the governing of the state and supervise the elected government.
3. Public movement will create regional structures whose main goal will be consolidation of the society and political forces to establish environment for fair elections so that the political force that is supported by people should come to power by means of democratic elections.
4. Public movement will attract experienced specialists to discuss the following issues: justice and human rights, economic policy, agriculture, ecology, healthcare, social security, education, science, culture, foreign policy, conflict resolution, regional policy, local self-government, national minorities, security, youth and sport.
5. Special thematic groups will study the situation in separate fields and elaborate efficient models of development. The groups will have consultations with the experts of concrete fields, with the international organizations and representatives of diplomatic missions.
6. Our aim is to build the country based on such democratic standards and principles that cannot be provided by the existing government.
7. The “Rose Revolution” of 2003 in spite of its initial success could not justify the expectation of the public majority.
8. Civil society is grossly separated from governing the state. Local self-government is ineffective. Elective structures serve governing elite.
9. State Constitution is neglected. The existing practice of its frequent alteration and attempts of tailoring it to one person violates all legislative and moral norms.
10. Non-transparent spending of the budget resources and their misapplication became common. Elite corruption reigns in the country.
11. Human rights are violated practically in every field. There are thousands of political, illegal or misdemeanor prisoners treated brutally and locked in the offensive conditions. Their families are under pressure, especially when the government is getting ready for the elections or human rights activists become interested in the existing situation.
12. Major part of the mass media is oriented on government obedience and on the disinformation of public. Civil society has very scarce and limited opportunity to get objective information.
13. So-called privileged capitalism is settled in the country. This means loyalty to business and in many cases, total integration with the government.
14. As a result we got economy managed by monopolies and cartel agreements. There are no pre-conditions in the country for establishing middle-class as a main guarantor for sustainable economic and political systems.
15. I am far from assuming that the businessmen and journalists obeying the rules of this corrupt game like the existing situation. I am sure that soon they will be with us in the cause of building better future for Georgia.
16. Unemployment is increasing intensively. Even with the distorted official data the trend is distinctly negative. The situation in villages deteriorated dramatically. The villages are impoverished and depopulated.
17. Decrease of the demographic data threatens the generation of our children with national disaster. Hundred thousands of our citizens, Georgians or other ethnicities are exiled from Georgia and most of them often survive only at the expense of slaving labour.
18. In spite of the some social programmes there are none of the successful reforms implemented in the field of healthcare.
19. Education sector is falling to pieces; tuition fee in more or less successful colleges and schools are inaccessible for many families. Georgian culture that we were always proud of is ignored.
20. War of August 2008 stroked a severe blow to Georgia. Misfortune fell on many Georgian, Abkhazian and Ossetian families. Borders drawn after the conflicts divided many family members and relatives. Majority of Georgian territories are occupied. Thousands of IDPs live in outrageous conditions.
21. Analysis of the materials from international organizations makes clear that it was possible to stop the conflict escalation. More than that, if not the mistakes made by the government, it was possible to succeed in peaceful processes.
22. The government does not have political resources for the conflict regulations. There is no regular strategy that international community is ready to support.
23. The principle of “Russian threat prevention” is the only direction of the government “strategy’. The government uses this reason to justify the arrest of politically active persons under different accusations, to justify hysteria of espionage and terrorism and restriction of the citizens’ rights.
24. By reason of “permanent struggle” with Russian aggression the government justifies the massacre of the protesting rally in May 26, 2011 as well.
25. Campaign to discredit Georgian Orthodox Church and the attempts of stirring internal confrontations became one of the main directions of the government policy. If not the wisdom of the Catholicos-Patriarch it would have been inevitable to face the confrontation between the different confessions and ethnicities whose peaceful coexistence is the matter of national pride in our country.
26. As a rule the government remembers our compatriot national minorities only during the pre-election campaign. Minimal level of their integration in the society is a glaring discrepancy. The level of their representation in governing structures is extremely law.
27. Election legislation is formed arbitrarily. Special government groups work on the sophistication of already used practice and methods of fixing elections.
28. To keep the power the government aimed at our total estrangement from the motherland. Its ideology is the apathy, its plan – divide and rule, its motto – anybody who is not with us is our enemy.
29. I would like to mention specifically compatibility of the reforms and changes that are obligatory for the young country with the public demands. I strongly believe that the concept of reform is totally distorted because of the inadequate management strategy.
30. Their hasty activities named reforms rejected from the social life vast majority of intellectual and labour resources.
31. The reforms that the government permanently talks about are in fact cynical experiments conducted on people. These reforms justify unemployment, poverty, backwardness in education and healthcare sectors, in economics and agriculture, deplorable situation in judicial system.
32. Government representatives assume that mentality of Georgian public is the reason of condemning their pseudo reforms. They claim that Georgian culture is hardly compatible with the principles of liberal democracy and the rule of law. They consider that the public is ignorant and thus opposes the changes that are positive for it.
33. Actually, everything is just the contrary. Uniqueness of the centuries old Georgian culture is also expressed in the fact that Georgian people always unmistakably feel and support innovations and changes that are for the benefit of the country and the public itself.
34. There always was and still exists the demand for order, lawfulness and justice in our society. I repeat, people are ready to approve and support such reforms that benefit them in reality.
35. We have two good cases that were revealed in the process of these unreasonable reforms. Introduction of the unified national exams stopped disreputable corruption in Georgian education system. Public unanimously approved this innovation of the government, but except this concrete reform there are serious mistakes made in the system of education.
36. The reform of the law enforcement system was successful as well. As a result we got police that is not corrupt and efficiently fights against criminals. This reform have caused no problems in Georgia, on the contrary, it was implemented amid the obvious support of the Georgian society.
37. Today thousands of our citizens work in Georgian police with the sense of professional dignity. But it is most unfortunate that this distinguished success was followed by reckless punitive operations, unjustified human sacrifice and which is more important, undisguised politicization of the law enforcement structures. When the government uses them as an instrument to intimidate and repress the public, it destroys the achieved success.
38. We need such country where the state bureaucracy serves people and not the governing political elite.
39. Public demands justice but not repressions. We encounter it every time beginning with schools and ending with judiciary system.
40. The government considers all of us who think otherwise as enemies of the country and traitors, even when we do not directly confront National Movement or its leader but only demand fair courts, transparent voting lists, free media or when we simply defend our constitutional rights – the rights that will make us and our country part of the civilized world.
41. At present we are the citizens of the country whose leader because of the mistakes made by him is unacceptable internationally as well as nationally. The government fully exhausted all internal and external capital and became obstructive force for the development of our society and country.
42. The time has come to face the truth and ask ourselves a question: has Georgian society adapted itself to the existing reality? – reality where we are listened in and closely spied on, told impudent lies and humiliated; have we adapted to the fact that we live in a country where we have only shows but not bread?
43. The time has come to return Georgia its past and build deserved future, be worthy of our ancestors and of the future generation.
44. We suppose that:
– we should establish government system that is based on constant protection of the Human Rights;
– we should restore the balance between the executive, legislative and judicial authorities that will exclude the accumulation of power in the hands of one political force and authoritarian government;
– any amendments to the Constitution or any law of the state significance should be approved only after consulting the public;
– government activities should be maximum transparent, should consider public interests in planning budget expenditures as well as the policy of the national security;
– media should be freed from the government control; it should become the mechanism for controlling the government activities; this will enable public to make their choice based on versatile and unbiased information;
– courts should be protected from any external influence and justice should be administered based on one principle only – the rule of law;
45. We believe that devotion of each member of society to these principles will bring us to the realization of “Georgian Dream”.
46. Beginning from today our aim is:
– to build such state where honesty, dignity and professionalism would be a guarantee of welfare and success for every citizen and the whole country;
– to gain the trust of our Abkhaz and Ossetian fellow citizens and accomplish the integration of our country;
– to achieve employment of our citizens and provide them with the dignified income;
– to implement the values of western democracy and integrate our country into Euro-Atlantic space;
– to establish justice and create hope and faith in our compatriots;
– Our aim is the victory of Georgia.
47. We do not intend to write a new history starting from 2012. Our duty is to restore connections between the past and the future and in this chain preserve accomplishments as well as the people that even in existing circumstances always managed to serve not the government authorities but Georgian State. We have to build Georgia together.
48. Achievement of our aims is not simply our choice but this is our supreme duty.
Let us build together our Georgia with free and dignified people, let us make our Georgian dream come true!