- Georgia-Azerbaijan ‘alliance is not directed against anyone’
- ‘I am far from being hostile to Russian national interests’
- ‘I am dreaming about proud and stable Russian Federation’
- ‘Russian patriots, who do not send citizens to unnecessary battlefields, are not our enemies’
Georgia and Azerbaijan are “more than strategic partners,” President Saakashvili said in his twenty-minute long speech before the Azerbaijani Parliament in Baku on March 7 during which he also spoke out against, what he called, “attempts to revitalize the corpse of Soviet Union.”
“I came here to underline how much vital the strategic partnership between our two nations is,” Saakashvili said in his address, televised live in Georgia. “In fact, we are much more than strategic partners. We are united by the tragic and the glorious memories of a shared past and by the same longing for a common peaceful and free future.”
In his speech Saakashvili was often evoking history and quoting Azerbaijani public figures. He was citing from, as he put it “the most beautiful monument to the Georgian-Azerbaijani friendship” Kurban Said's novel Ali and Nino and also recalled and cited the Georgia-Azerbaijan 1919 military treaty in which the two countries agreed on mutual defense against the White Guard of General Anton Denikin, which at the time posed a threat to newly independent Azerbaijan and Georgia – the both fell to the Bolshevik Red Army in 1920 and 1921, respectively.
“Our republics were absolute sisters with both of them undertaking unprecedented efforts for building modern, democratic, western oriented states and societies in the Caucasus. The death of one would logically mean the collapse of the other and when Azerbaijan fell [to the Bolshevik Red Army in 1920], Georgia could not survive more than year,” Saakashvili said.
He said that now Georgia and Azerbaijan managed to build the states “impossible to destroy.”
“We are in 2012, and everybody should understand that, in 2012, attempts to revitalize the corpse of Soviet Union are doomed to failure,” Saakashvili said.
“A new old idea has been proposed recently by some nostalgic leaders in Moscow: the idea of a Eurasian Union,” he said, referring to President-elect Vladimir Putin’s proposal to bring former Soviet states into new union built on an existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
“Let’s not be mistaken,” Saakashvili continued. “The name has changed a little, but the substance remains fully the same. This project has had many names throughout the history: the Union of the Socialist Republics, the doctrine of limited sovereignty, the policy of sphere of influence or the “gathering of the lands” as pro-Kremlin commentators put it nowadays reviving the most imperialistic phraseology of the Tsarist period.”
“It has many names, but only one meaning for all of us, the neighbors of the Russian Federation: the end of our freedom and our independence.”
“This project cannot and will not succeed,” Saakashvili added.
He said that it was already clear for everyone that all the post-Soviet states should “pass the path towards security together, otherwise we will be separately thrown from cliff into the abyss of history and all of our dreams will be shattered.”
Saakashvili said that even Russia would come to understanding, that “it is better to have strong neighbors than unstable vassals.”
He said that “contrary to the lies spread by a powerful propaganda machine, I do not want a weak Russia and I am far from being hostile to Russian national interests.”
“In fact, I am dreaming about a proud and stable Russian Federation, self-confident about its own strength and its own path, a country that would not need to humiliate others in order to prove to itself an illusory greatness, a state that could ensure decent life to all of its citizens and would not try to replace the bread it steals from their mouth with dangerous nostalgia,” Saakashvili said.
“Russian patriots, those brave people who wish the best for their country, those who do not send their billions abroad and their poor citizens to unnecessary battlefields, those who want to give back to the Russian people the power stolen by a weak leadership, Russian patriots are not our enemies… They are our partners, our brothers. They want for their country what we want for ours.”
“We will, one day, build with them a common space of peace and cooperation,” he continued. “We will do that with enthusiasm, because we cannot change geography and erase history. We cannot and we do not want that. It is our common place, it is our common history.”
“We have a past in common with Russia and a future to build together. On our side - we are very clear about it and nothing will make us change our mind - this future will be named European Union and NATO,” Saakashvili said.
He said that by unilaterally lifting visa rules with Russia, Georgia sent “an invitation to the 140 million Russians: we welcome you as tourists, businessmen, artists, writers, we welcome you as guests and partners, only not as occupants.”
“To those who reject this extended hand, to those who prefer to build mental and physical walls, to those who still see the EU and NATO expansion as a threat, I would like to say that Cold War ended a happy day of December 1991,” Saakashvili added.
On Georgian-Azerbaijani relations Saakashvili said that ties between the two countries were now “stronger than ever” largely because of leadership of “my very close friend, the President Ilham Aliyev” and because of “identical views of our two governments for the future of the region.”
He said that the two countries were willing to elevate their partnership “to an even greater level in the years to come” and for that reason very “concrete projects” were discussed on March 6 when he met with President Aliyev.
“Our alliance is not directed against anyone,” Saakashvili said. “It is – if you allow me to be lyrical – like love: you do not love somebody because you hate somebody else, you just love somebody.”