The Georgian leadership has committed crime not only against the Russian citizens in South Ossetia, but also against the Georgian people, Russia’s PM, Vladimir Putin, said in a televised annual Q&A session with the Russian citizens on December 4.
“The current leadership of Georgia staged a bloodbath and reprisal against civilians,” he said. “It is a crime not only against Russia and its citizens, not only against the Ossetian people, but it is a crime against the Georgian people, against Georgian statehood. Georgia has suffered a terrible blow in respect of its territorial integrity.”
“If it were not this aggression, Russia would have continued its efforts on creating conditions for territorial reintegration of Georgia. It has become obvious after this aggression that it [restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity] is already impossible and it is necessary to take such steps which would prevent further bloodshed in this region.”
“In this connection, I think that the Georgian people will themselves make a decision about what kind of responsibility should be assumed by those politicians who have led the country to these gravest and dramatic consequences,” Putin added.
“As far as Russia’s support [to Abkhazia and South Ossetia] is concerned, you know that cooperation agreements have been signed with South Ossetia and Abkhazia and this is the best guarantee that Russia is not going to leave these regions.”
During the press conference, he was asked whether he really said that he would hang President Saakashvili, as an author of the question put it, “with one part?” Putin responded with a smile on his face: “Why only with one part?”
PM Putin, according to the French President’s chief foreign policy adviser, told President Sarkozy at the meeting in Kremlin on August 12 that he wanted to depose President Saakashvili and hang him “by the balls,” the French weekly news magazine le Nouvel Observateur reported in November.
Dmitry Peskov, the Russian government’s spokesman, denied that Putin used the term during his conversation with Sarkozy, but acknowledged that the Russian PM used “quite a harsh rhetoric.”