tv Worlds Apart RT September 30, 2018 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT
region and we have lots of problems with the russian federation so but these were important from my point of view we have to discuss these issues and problems with the russia when you have problems you have to discuss and only the people are calling me a suppression politician but was out a dialogue so you are here on your show russia as much as you're willing to talk to russia i want to speak with russia i want to find solution was the russian and georgian no problems i want to go establish friendly relations with russia because i'm sure that this is important for my country let me ask you specifically about friendly relations because the political relationship between the two countries is still very tenuous but this year we have witnessed a significant increase in bilateral trade and in tourism the number of russians visiting your country so far this year has exceeded a million and from what i understand. a quarter more than last year so it seems that when it comes to the people there actually ahead of the politicians in terms
of normalizing the ties between our country fortunately yes and of course. everybody all tourists from russia and other countries are very well come in georgia and i think it's very positive that we have a good trade relations and lots of people are arriving in georgia but it's not enough if this is good but this is. from my point of view it's very important to me because this relation is sustainable and for that we need to speak . i mean politicians we need to discuss the problems which are creating might create some problems is the future to avoid these problems now from a strategic point of view russia is very interested in having friendly relations with its neighbors in particular ukraine because of its size in georgia because of its north caucasus location but obviously it hasn't been able to achieve that how much of it is russia. and how much of it is not russia's fall the fact that this
very troubled relationship that it has been both countries you know first of all we have to take into account that we are living in a very difficult time when soviet empire have been collapsed and everything have been changed relations between the people. let's say very loose which were just familiar for us so the new life which brought a lot of problems you can see in relations to we. relationship. between russia and georgia between the ukraine and russia how much of a percentage is fall of fresh air or georgia you know i think we all make mistakes is a pass i do with my question do you see that just happenstance that happened that's history or do you think that it was encouraged that it was a goal of somebodies policy and yes i don't i mean obviously western you know first
of all we were all under illusions we georgians and they think ukrainians of that which is coming from there was this is good this is not like this there are lots of good things in the worst good values but there are some things which are not acceptable for us and i think it was an illusion face as the second of cause. and just fighting for independence you know i think it was not right when we begin to fight for our independence and we are trying sometimes to find. him as this fall in the problems which we had we were not thinking about the problems which we have inside of the country of course. after soviet emperor. just from the side of russia is there was some kind of theme fluency in georgia for example i mean you know. this was quite clear and russia policy was not. clear for georgia and sometimes friendly for georgia but we georgians we made
the mistake part of mistakes too i think it was a big mistake to just cut the relations with russia and to focus our relations only with the west but what is really right of course this is a struggle this is a battle and of course it was a battle for influence in georgia in ukraine as a places from western countries especially from united states of course u.s. wanted to strengthen. its influence in georgia in ukraine right now it's. really to even right now it's the same time when russia was. not so strong so i think these this this is a problem which will create some problems in our country now. there is a clear asymmetry in political and geopolitical interest between russia and georgia
and i know that you said once. when you were in government you were still able to balance those hours and prevent. and the actual conflict from breaking out how did you do that what was your thinking at that time you know i was always absolutely sure. georgia sure there was any kind of military confrontation with russia on not only georgia but any country should try to avoid any military confrontation with me specially when this neighbor is super power and i have enough influence in the governments that time to stop somehow. of their present tiffs of my previous government headed by mikhail saakashvili who was the surest rusher i will afraid he just threw in a wall in conflict in georgia russia will just take into account international reaction and what was agreed to stay i think
a mistake of south australia and he's. they had the feelings that the west will hold i was absolutely sure that it will not happen that was why i was trying to do my best to prevent any kind of military conflict but i am not happy even when i was in government relations between russia and georgia where not really perfect and i feel part of my fall in this direction to now you served in several interviews that had you been in government in august of two thousand and eight the conflict in southeast asia may have been avoided and i wonder why do you believe that because. president saakashvili if we stay in russia is usually portrayed as somebody who was north fool irrational in making those decisions is that your perception or do you think you in fact could have been persuaded otherwise to take a different you know i am not sure that it was possible to stop the war being in the government but i think i had the chance to do it because. before in two
thousand and eight in april there was a similar situation as in august. sending up. a lot of people. really just the wise the heem to take applies in to begin a war in applies the time i was quite powerful and i was successful let's say to stop here kind of arguments are under used. you know first of all i pressed him to call to president putin and i said that we have to avoid military confrontation because it might cost a price for george and you can destroy the country and. as the people have no arguments because i was sure that for will involve the country and that of confrontation with russia world. over loose. doubt and nobody will
help us and fortunately saakashvili was. a clever enough in this particular moment and he decided to speak with the president would you seem changed that incident in a later bounce in southeast asia because obviously he took a different decision to use things very important was the international situation at the time because there were elections in united states and mccain and he's a team where very close to us really more than sure. this team was trying to assure us is that in case of war a russia will be not involved in this war even if russia will ect united states will help them i'm sure mccain and he's team gave such kind of guarantees actually and he just trusted him and just said.
surely stay alone with the people who are let's see. for war not for peace. now. mr mckeon was very sad on tearing georgia away from the so-called russian sphere of influence and this is something that president saakashvili also supported but i wonder what exactly he meant by that because i understand that he wanted to be associated with the americans politically but what about the economy did he want to cut all trade ties with russia in the same way that the ukrainians are doing right now you know first of all concerning ukrainians the ukrainians are doing right now as a salute to the same mistakes we we did before we took president saakashvili and he's team did and unfortunately government destroyed their country i don't know maybe they don't understand this but they destroyed the country they lost not only crimea but they lost their own people in two regions calling these people terrorists. not to speak with these people and those things that ukrainians and
russians they really have historical very deep roots and to cut these roots and to try and just to show yourselves that you are absolutely separate and different. from russians this is absolutely stupid always this is a way to nowhere i am sure that this will create more problems for ukraine will be very difficult for ukraine what about the. things that mccain and people like him and not only a lot of people in united states and maybe not only in united states they of course wanted just to cut all possible links with georgia with russia and the ukraine with russia how do they envisage that to be compensated because you obviously georgia need some income could not already been you know enjoyed year this is possible because georgia is really small and i want to be objective we were receiving from united states lots of money after war for example to cells and eight we received.
billions but consenting to ukraine you see is that ukrainian economy have been through. absolutely because ukraine is not receiving the money which is which can compensate for. problems with always a russia which can compensate somehow this economy to which exist they existed between new ukrainian and the russia and i don't think that somebody really cares about ukraine's economy and ukrainian people those people who wants to use ukraine as a buffer zone between russia and the words these people in this case they're thinking about big policy and they're not thinking about some people well but i'm watching as i have to take a very short break now but we will be back in just a few moments stay tuned.
back to worlds apart as georgian politicians you know burjanadze. just before the break we were talking about the ukrainian government's current government's efforts to cut all ties with russia and i don't know if you heard that but just the other day in leave they banned all russian literature not only contempt for literature birth from what i understand they've been classic literature like tolstoy and dostoyevsky which they call russian cultural products and i can see you smirking but this is actually a very unusual i would say i'm precedented social experiment do you think it is actually possible to purge all things russian from the ukrainian society.
and this is a stupid absolutist tippets promise aside if your cranium government and its you know it's a sad and the funny it's the same time what the. going to do to burns the books russian books not just to ban them they don't have to you know i am not sure because if you ring the literature musical. or tolstoy or something like lame girls who was all go well. next day you can burnings the books and this is this is a very dangerous really really say about ukrainian people because the government shows their face. a bad way ten years ago when the events in south ossetia happened when the russia. when had to penalize not just mr saakashvili but actually all georgian people by recognizing the dependence of those two breakaway republics i'm sure the russian sentiment at that time was very very strong and they have even the
saakashvili government. didn't go all that down that route why do you see ukrainians reacting in such such an extreme fashion to all things russian because i understand the trauma of crimea understand the trauma of the war but i think georgians have been through all of that and yet the reacted somewhat differently you know first of all sending crimea crimea was the first awful mistake of the ukraine and ukrainian government and people who came after my dad because when you're coming into the poland you're saying is that all people should leave the crimea all russian language should be just. crimea of course the people who were living there they decided to change their just to belong it's a consenting rusher of georgian relations into cells and a it was very painful of course first of all it's difficult for me to say that but. let's say i'm brave
enough to say that yes there was a main just person who begin a war really gave the order in russia. there's absolutely no love lost for mr secretary in russia but i think people now can appreciate that he never went as far as cutting the ties i don't think so maybe it was not so we the bull it was no so just both for many russian people but russia really enjoyed was successful to create the absolutely untrue russian feeling especially in generations so he was trying to do this. yes fortunately not fortunately so what is very important to say yes of course you mention a clinician of a president's house to say to you this was very painful for me and for georgia for
a cunt. for the people i think it was a mistake from russian side. think it was an over reaction from the side of pressure and mistake because it brought in a very difficult situation and we have to find right now solution how to find solution between russia and georgia between. georgia and. georgia but i hope that members the less i see that there is a political will in rush or to find. some possible ways of improving aggression george generations including conflict solutions you know a few years ago when i was interviewing former president dmitry medvedev who made that fateful decision it seemed to me that he was actually kind of open to the idea of georgia regaining its territorial integrity i mean he obviously it was up to the people of those breakaway republics but it wasn't the closed file the way
crimea for example is a closed file for russia do you believe that or is that oh yes i relieved because pleased to hear it again from you because when i met. with him and put in when i spoke with him he openly in front of the journalist to mention that if georgians and. georgians and applies decided to find. any kind of. political field any kind of decision how to leave the country in which countries they want to leave russia will not create a problem and i see that president putin and some people in russian government they are really ready to try to improve this relationship and i think that what georgians should do first of all we have to speak with us we have to speak with the
sessions and of course we have to speak with. russians because i'm sure that the key for these conflicts solutions. are exist but there are different keys. the one key in the whole me. in one key in russia and georgia in the current prime minister momo tugs a said the other day that georgia intends to be a member of nato once the circumstances allow or do you think statements like that are conducive to that reconsider process that you're dreaming of course of course not and you know there was a time before to cells and eight when i was once that advocates of georgian membership in nato and i had my own arguments as that time but. eight changed absolutely situation i was a grown political should take into account the reality which is on the ground which have been change and you can say the same what you are saying ten years ago right now we have russian military bases on georgian territory. what will happen
if you will even imagine that one day georgia will be a member of nato it means a georgia will be do i do it in two parts this is absolutely unacceptable now since we mentioned there already i think it's clear that nato. figures front and center in russia's relations with both georgia and the ukraine and that is partly the reason what happened to those countries of russia's policies towards those countries because russia clearly sees neither as an existential threat and in the grand scheme scheme of things i think russia believes that it can sacrifice its relations with both georgia and ukraine in order to protect itself i wonder if the same is true in the reverse perhaps for both of these countries that you see of russia as an existential threat which all we need to account protect you from you know that russia is the existential the threat for georgia it will be clever and brief enough to speak openly about the problems which exist i'm sure that will find
solution with russia sure that will have normal relations with russia russia have a right to be sure. he's its. borders will be in the will not to bring the straits of and in today's situation we should take into account because the world have been changed a lot and very seriously and i'm absolutely sure that if georgia wants to restore territorial integrity of georgia wants to be a. normal country and to develop the normal way georgia should be clear. on. georgia should not be member of nato first of all nobody will just. georgia to be a member of nato when we have a complex when we have two russian military bases this is paul policy and they're very said today's georgian government they continue with this illusory declaration
of sending georgian membership in nato and they are not brave enough to begin direct dialogue and communication with the russian president and with russia to georgia nato membership is not acceptable either let me also ask you about crimea heard you say that you believe. crimea is a closed file for russia that it will never go back to your great obviously and most of the people in this country feel the same way having said that i think there is also. a challenge for russia that sooner or later this country will have to reach out to ukraine and short of returning crimea it will have to make certain amounts to restore some certain ties with the ukrainians. can i ask you as somebody who is standing at the sidelines i'm sure you don't have a particular stake in russia's fate or ukrainian you can be objective what should russia do what lessons perhaps it could learn from its previous policies in order
to. accommodated to the ukrainians to the degree that would allow it to protect its own interest but also be more respectful of its neighbor you know first of all i think that even the government of ukraine they know quite well that this file a concern in crimea has been closed all day i remember quite well when we had some discussion and one american asked me about crimea i said everybody should take into account that in crimea they're not pro russians these people who are living in crimea ninety percent of these people or maybe leave it to less but they're not pro russians they are russians and if you are not to protect their own interests and their language and their nationality of course these people will decide to leave or not in ukraine but in russia what consenting russia and ukraine i'm absolutely sure that as georgia and russia one day will leave in peace even good relations and good neighborhood relations the same will be always the ukraine and russia but before it
will be quite painful time for ukraine and ukraine russian relations in case of georgia is things that in georgia necessary to change the government and to brings the people into this is obviously not something that russia should or should no no of course not i mean in no case i mean georgian people should change the government of the russian rules how should the poster of the russian state change in order to allow both you know geography and destiny to be pursued so to say because obviously many in ukraine and many in georgia do feel that russia's presence is too overbearing and perhaps that they that they perhaps lack some space to develop their own country you know if you know if you are comes change a good joke a few change the name but you should not try to change anybody even if your children you should try just to explain what is important what is right what is not
in reality and in the political. live if georgia will decide to change russia and russian policy i'm not sure that it will be successful in that but if we will have a good dialogue with russia and if you will find some spaces where we can cooperate in this case that russia will be interested to have normal relations always georgia clever political and open minded politicians they should find the spaces where you can begin to move for the solutions of the problem step by step this is a very difficult issue in this endeavor to government only people should change all leave the government but in my country i want to see the government bring by my people into the power core will be not pro russian and who will be not prole american or australian or i don't know what but which will be pro or joy
journal which will think about georgia's national interest which will be brains enough to say that yes we want to have friendly relations with everybody we have to have good relations with the west and part of the world and the western community but we need to change our relations with russia impose a two way we have to cooperate we have to make a dialogue and we have to be close with this country because it's in the interests of well another project has a really cold but the majority of georgians share your message it's certainly pleasing to hear that as a russia thank you very much for your time and i encourage our viewers to keep this conversation going on our social media pages and hope to see you again same place same time here on worlds apart.
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