TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s leader Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday went on the offensive against newly elected Russian president Vladimir Putin’s brainchild; a Eurasian union, to encompass most of what was formerly part of the Soviet Union.
„Any attempt to resurrect the Soviet corpse in 2012 is destined to be unsuccessful,” Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said during a visit to Azerbaijan.
The first step was taken in November 2011 with the establishment of the Eurasian Commission, which started work January 1, 2012. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have set a target to establish the Eurasian Union by 2015.
Saakashvili was speaking during a working visit to his counterpart Ilham Aliyev in neighboring Azerbaijan.
Some have seen the Eurasian Union as an attempt to restore the Soviet Union.
Saakashvili said the Soviet Union was destroyed by the people living there “because people couldn’t bear it anymore” and that people in Azerbaijan and Georgia would never give up their freedom.
He continued outlining his views on Georgia’s relationship with its neighbor Russia.
“It’s better having strong neighbors than unstable vassals; better to have partners than enemies. Despite the propaganda, I don’t want to see a weak Russia. In fact, I dream to see a stable, proud, confident Russia, which won’t threaten other states to prove its power and which will be able to provide a worthy life for its citizens and not feed them with nostalgia instead of bread.”
The Georgian president said that Russian patriots are not Georgia’s enemies. They want strong Russia, as Georgians want a strong Georgia, or Azerbaijanis a strong Azerbaijan.
“They are our partners. One day we will create a common space for peace and cooperation. We will do this with enthusiasm, because we cannot change the geography and cannot delete the history. We cannot do this and do not want to. This is our geography, common history. We have common past and future to build together with Russia. I am sure and no one can change my mind that the name of this future will be EU and NATO. It doesn’t mean necessary severing relations with Russia. It shouldn’t mean this,” the Georgian president said.
Recalling his own decision to cancel visa requirements for Russian citizens, he said this was equal to ‘sending invitations to 140 million Russians.’
Saakashvili said Azerbaijan and Georgia are confronting common challenges.
“Azerbaijan developed very fast and now is considered a large player on the international arena. Your membership in the UN Security Council is proof for this development. As real friend and strategic partner, Georgia can only be proud of your success. I am here to underline how vitally important the strategic partnership between our countries is. Our friendship has been forming for centuries,” Saakashvili said on the last day of his two day visit to Azerbaijan.