After visiting Baku, President Saakashvili said that Russia was preparing the same "scenario" for Azerbaijan, which was applied against Georgia in last year's parliamentary elections when, as he put it, "oligarchs, Russian funds, blackmailing and provocations" were used.
"I have seen what a huge threat we, us and Azerbaijan, are facing, because a diaspora has been established in Russia with [Soyun] Sadikov in it, who is a native of Gardabani [town in Georgia's predominately ethnic Azerbaijani populated Kvemo Kartli region] and a wealthy Russian so called businessman; [Lukoil president Vagit] Alekperov and some other Russian billionaires were also included in that [group], which aims at applying exactly the same scenario in struggle against the guarantor of Azerbaijan's independence, the President [Ilham Aliyev], that was applied in Georgia's October elections - with use of money, oligarchs, Russian funds, blackmailing and provocations," Saakashvili told journalists in the Tbilisi airport upon arrival from Baku on Thursday evening.
"Sadikov is native of Gardabani and he has also stated that he would struggle for autonomy for Azerbaijanis in Georgia," Saakashvili said.
Sadikov was the chairman of ethnic Azerbaijanis union of Russia, AzerRos, since 2000 and is its honorary chairman since January, 2013. He is the member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "trustees"
In his remarks Saakashvili also mentioned release from prison of Vahagn Chakhalyan, an activist from Georgia’s predominantly ethnic Armenian populated region, who was serving a prison term for charges related to weapons, armed hooliganism and acts against public order. Saakashvili said that Chakhalyan, whose release from prison under the amnesty he condemned, "throughout these years has been demanding Javakheti's autonomy."
"So I want to tell our society to think over these issues. It reminds me of 1990s. When last time there was talk of Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli autonomy? There were no such talks for past eight-nine years. I am not at all glad that I am talking about it right now... If we had not released Chakhalyan, we probably would not have spoken about it now," Saakashvili said.
"We all should be careful now. We need coordination in the region. I am going for an official visit to several destinations in our neighborhood, including to Turkey. Under the constitution the President leads the foreign policy; in this case our foreign and domestic polices are interlinked and I am going to perform this function very actively regardless of who creates what obstacle to me," he said.
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