Bidzina Ivanishvili leaves politics

Bidzina Ivanishvili leaves politics

access_time2021-01-11 10:52:13

Bidzina Ivanishvili, the chairman of the Georgian Dream, is leaving politics. Ivanishvili addresses the public with an open letter where he discussed his decision.

InterPressNews offers Ivanishvili's writing unchanged:

"Eight years have passed since the Georgian Dream came to power. Something unprecedented in the history of the country has taken place – the ruling party was able to obtain the mandate to rule from the people for a third term in fair and equitable elections.

This victory is the clearest, most distinct and indisputable recognition of our joint efforts and precisely this victory will lay the foundation for a new stage in the history of Georgia.

In my estimation, the latest Parliamentary elections are of historic significance. These elections have shown, in the most clear-cut manner, that the years-long practice of manipulating people's feelings and changing the will of the people in various ways has come to an end. This destructive practice, which, I sincerely believe, has been consigned to the past once and for all, has very nearly plunged our homeland into an abyss. These elections have clearly demonstrated the public responsibility of the Georgian people, as well as their ability to consolidate and engage in rational and critical thinking. Our society has withstood unprecedented informational falseness and chaos, and made a choice in favor of the political force that will never betray the values that united and interconnected the largest part of our nation in 2012. The people finally began to believe that they themselves are the architect of their own future, that the power to govern is in their hands, and that it is they that must make the decisions that concern the development and advancement of the country. Therefore, the main winner of the most difficult political processes of the past years is the Georgian public, whose maturity and stability is the most solid foundation for the future of the country, rather than any political party.

I would like to remind you that the 2012 parliamentary elections were a classic example of one of the most flagrant instances of falsification, intimidation, bribery, and harassment of political opponents organized by the authorities at the time. Today, some people shamelessly boast that a peaceful transfer of power allegedly took place at the time, which, as always, is a lie and amounts to cynicism, as per tradition. In reality, in 2012, the Georgian Dream won a war and, through pressure and the sheer number of its supporters, forced the violent ruling team to cede the power, which they had captured over the years, in a democratic manner. Now, the situation has changed substantially – the Georgian Dream has achieved victory with a convincing advantage in free and democratic elections twice in a row, which clearly and unequivocally confirms our signature. Sullying the dignity and the choice of the people due to the temptation to retain power is alien to the current ruling team. We will never deviate from the path of democracy and freedom, which was properly appreciated by the wise Georgian public when it entrusted us with the privilege of being in power once again.

Thus, if we were to analyze the electoral success of the Georgian Dream in an objective manner, we could say, without exaggeration, that it was logical and to be expected. The ruling team truly is the best option that has no alternative in terms of features and characteristics among all political actors that exist today.

I am fully confident that a team staffed with these individuals can replace my hard work, authority, and skills in a worthy manner.

And that is why I believe that my mission has been accomplished. I have made the decision to finally retire from politics and fully distance myself from the reins of power. I am leaving the post of party chairman, as well as the party itself and am returning to my pre-2011, private lifestyle.

I will turn 65 years old in just a few weeks, and this is one of the important factors in making the decision to retire from politics. I believe that this step of mine, which is dictated by the desire to advance young people to the forefront, will not only not weaken, but will, in fact, further strengthen the ruling party, making it more viable and motivated, while encouraging our supporters and further invigorating the government.

I leave politics proud, victorious, and grateful to the people. The people were able to see the efforts I have expended solely in the interests of the country and the state. I am certain that the Georgian people will also appreciate the step I take today, which is dictated by the same interests that caused me to enter politics.

When the question arises as to why the people chose the Georgian Dream in 2020 as well, the answer is simple. Let us look at the result of the nine-year rule of the previous government and what the Georgian Dream has achieved during its eight years in power. Precisely at this moment, we have the opportunity to withdraw from the daily, fragmented news cycle and observe the big picture with regard to the long period of time that has passed.

I will tell you sincerely and candidly that I really did not want to burden this letter with harsh assessments as, according to Georgian tradition, a man that intends to depart does so while expressing thanks and wishing well to those who remain. This rule has been established in the homeland of wine by the unique tradition of the Georgian supra which, as I have repeatedly said, most clearly conveys the essence and philosophy of the way of life of Georgian man. I did not wish to violate this rule of etiquette; however, unlike the Georgian supra, it is the present and the future of each of our citizens that is being decided in Georgian politics. Therefore, I believe I do not have the right to sidestep and turn a blind eye to the objective assessment of our shared past.

Some may consider my letter of today to be excessively critical; however, avoiding the assessment of our immediate past would have been false and inappropriate on my part.

Indeed, we have had to clash with evil that was methodically built and strengthened by several people over a period of nine years. Today, this evil has been significantly weakened; unfortunately, however, its harmful effects can still be felt and to this day, the Georgian Dream remains its main deterrent. This is the reality without the consideration of which it is impossible to create a comprehensive political assessment.

What was the result of the nine-year activity of the National Movement? – Authoritarianism, self-fetishization, a dictatorship based on fear and torture, a seizure of public space, false propaganda, and an attempt to reinforce and perpetuate personal power. This was the sole reason behind the amendment of the Constitution and the transition of the country to a pseudo-parliamentary form of government. Not to mention the tragedy of war, refugees, lost territories, and Russian occupation, which left us with an even graver legacy.

What is the result of the eight years of the Georgian Dream's rule? – Peace, open and pluralist democracy with open public and informational space, parliamentary governance strengthened by constitutional reform, the rejection of the fetishization of the authorities, an institutionally balanced government, a judiciary and public institutions that are detached from politics, the rule of law and equality before it, the establishment of the practice of fair elections, and finally, a timely departure from politics for the reasons discussed in this letter. I am well aware of the liberties the opposition will take in terms of interpreting my every word and, despite all this, I will, nonetheless, say what I need to say for the benefit of all normal and thoughtful readers. As for the rest – time will tell…

The Purpose and Goals of Coming into Politics

The purpose of my coming into politics in 2011 was to fulfill two goals:

  • Putting an end to Mikheil Saakashvili's violent, inhumane, and undemocratic regime through elections, as the opposition at the time did not possess the resources to change the government without my direct participation;
  • The unhindered movement of the country on the Euro-Atlantic course chosen by the Georgian people, as the public perceived Saakashvili being in power and especially his retention of power as an expression of the West's support for him. This automatically elicited strong aggression directed against the country’s Western orientation. Precisely this led to the danger of Georgia moving to the opposite orbit. At the same time, it became increasingly difficult – practically impossible – for the West to support a dictatorship hiding behind a democratic façade. It can be said, without exaggeration, that our partners were relieved of this burden by the birth and victory of the Georgian Dream as a political entity.

As a result, both tasks were accomplished successfully: We removed the violent regime from power without bloodshed, through elections, and we laid the foundation for an eight-year period of our country's peaceful and democratic development.

A Retrospective

Since I intend to assess the eight-year period , I would like to cite some excerpts from my first letter (published on 7 October 2011) that may be relevant. With this step, I came into politics and began building everything virtually from scratch in an extremely difficult and dangerous environment. The letter also contains an assessment of the catastrophic situation in which Georgia lived at the time. Let us see what I wrote nine years ago with regard to goals:

"I have decided to personally coordinate the following political processes for a certain period of time, about two-three years:

  • Winning the 2012 parliamentary elections with an absolute majority by uniting the political party that I created with existing healthy political forces.
  • Determining and developing – together with the people – the optimal model of governing the country, as well as adopting such constitutional amendments that would prevent anyone from having the opportunity or even the desire to tailor the constitution to him or herself.
  • My participation – as prime minister or chairman of Parliament – in the formation of the new government, while also taking responsibility for its normal operation in order to completely eliminate the elite corruption in which the high echelons of Saakashvili's current government are mired.
  • Beginning the creation of an independent judiciary and bringing it to the point of becoming an irreversible process.
  • Rendering the restoration of Georgian state jurisdiction over the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia feasible.
  • Creating a truly interesting investment environment and laying the foundation for the revival of business in the country, in place of business being monopolized by one group.
  • The conclusion of the first initiated project concerning the revival of agriculture and bringing the second project – the establishment of a technological university and the creation of high-tech jobs – closer to reality.
  • Beginning the process of putting our relations with Russia in order.
  • Deepening friendship and integration with the European Union and the United States…"

"…the problem is not in the presidents but in the society. We have to admit that the society, which possesses an ancient culture, is experiencing a lack of political culture today."

"We, the public, must learn how to elect and, more importantly, we must learn how to control the head of state and his or her government."

"In the near future, we must be able to formulate the critical mass of civil society … that must be taken into account by any government."

Almost all the goals declared by me have been achieved at the strategic level. Of course, life has made adjustments in the meantime: Two-three years have not been enough to achieve everything; certain issues have not moved from a standstill. For example, such is the problem of the occupied territories – the most difficult legacy that we inherited from the previous government. Tactical goals also changed in order to achieve strategic ones. However, now that two terms of government have passed, our government definitely has the right to look the people in the eye while summarizing the results.

Where We are Coming From

By the fall of 2011, the country was in a dire political and economic situation. The opposition was drained and close to destruction. The last political union in the form of Rviani [Eight] at first and then of Ekvsiani [Six] had already broken up.

You all remember the media and the shape it was in. The ruling party had captured – and was in full control of – all three national broadcasters (Imedi, Rustavi 2, and the Public Broadcaster). Party leaders ran the news domain in line with their own agenda – they determined the sequence of news broadcasting and often even personally wrote texts for the news! A consolidated propaganda machine was set in motion to make use of every means to influence people’s views. It took years to restore justice at these captured TV stations; unfortunately, however, the machine of lies described above continues to work to this day because both the political client in Mikheil Saakashvili and the providers in party functionaries and journalists turned media managers are still very much around. We have changed many things in the country, having dealt with many challenges and tackled numerous problems, but we have yet to defeat lies and uproot them from the news domain – one task that may even be impossible in our modern world. Instead, through proper state governance and rejection of propaganda, we have succeeded in providing people with a free and pluralistic environment. This is precisely why in the end, the majority of citizens can correctly differentiate between good and evil.

The 2020 elections best illustrate the point above.


Let us also call to mind the dire economic situation, the manner in which all business activities were controlled in the country, how the Prosecutor’s Office and Financial Police leeched off businesses, the scale of the sense of fear, and the nature of the actual investment environment. All larger businesses without exception were held hostage by the authorities and pushed around to provide support. Business had lost its key characteristic of being able to make decisions freely. Any more or less large transaction, let alone business deal, was subject to daily personal scrutiny from the chief prosecutor. In the same vein, the economy was just as artificial, with the GEL exchange rate being kept alive with Western financial injections designed to compensate for the lost war in 2008. This mostly took place through a multibillion loan that is still weighing the country and its people down. Business today, however, besides being free, also features representatives who no longer shy away from making political statements or even entering politics. It was precisely the opening of public space and the media, and the essential separation of institutions and politics, that produced this tremendous democratic result.

People Have Matured, They Will not Put Up With a Dictatorship

As an average Georgian, I take delight and pride in our people who, in an extremely short historical period, have come a long way to accumulate unique experience and skills. It is strange, unusual indeed that the National Movement, involuntarily and, of course, totally unwittingly, has played a major role in the ultimate awakening of our society. It is under their barbaric rule that people clearly, plainly saw that the moment you drop your guard, take specious populist promises at face value, and make rash, emotional decisions just to spite someone, that very moment you may, with your own hands, choose a government that will treat you worse than your worst, most cruel, and abusive enemy sparing no effort to rewrite your history and undermine your national values. I am deeply convinced that this is our treasure, claimed through battle, which, I hope, cannot be erased and obliterated despite anyone’s attempts. I will never forget how, after Georgian Dream’s victory in the parliamentary elections, some of my acquaintances and friends told me, “We’ve put our trust in you and supported you. Now it’s your turn to look after the country.” Honestly, these words rocked me to my core. Delegating responsibility is a typical example of Soviet mentality. People must always remain vigilant in scrutinizing authorities. Our society has been through a major transformation. Today, our society, with its political maturity and awareness, can vie with any European counterpart with deep-rooted democratic traditions. Our people have developed immunity against autocracy, growing more courageous, dynamic, active, and resolute, which is why they will not tolerate abusive authorities, intimidation, persecutions, lawlessness, and brazenness for as little as nine weeks, let alone nine years. No government from now on will encounter a capitulating, surrendering society. And I believe that the practice of naively, blindly trusting political leaders is also dead and buried. From now on, every government will be under democratic supervision and strict control from society. Organizationally and structurally, the Georgian Dream, in the course of the past few years, has transformed into a classical European party grounded in genuine Western ideology, in line with my dream and one of my key goals and tasks. Needless to say, the Georgian Dream cannot be favored by most of our society indefinitely. A periodical change of government is inevitable and necessary for advancing to a higher level of development. Once the Georgian Dream cedes power, on the decision of the people and through democratic elections, it will, together with Georgian society, form the main inhibitor and insurance against dictatorship reemerging. The team of Georgian Dream will not allow anyone to trample underfoot and ruin what has been achieved over these most difficult years. Today, the power in its entirety is concentrated in the hands of society. Each voice is appreciated and honored. Real, actual popular sovereignty guaranteed by the Constitution has been restored in Georgia. I hope that people will never again elect authorities that will oppress them, and that our country’s painful experience will be used to build a happy and dignified future. In the course of the past 17 years, the Georgian people have had firsthand experience of seeing the fundamental difference between two drastically different forms of government: When the ruler is master and people are servants, on the one hand, and what we have today, when the government serves the people, on the other. I strongly believe that our society will never make the wrong choice to give up their freedom. Democracy and human rights must be the strong foundation of our nation’s consolidation, which will ultimately help us avert a danger of returning to the dark past.

Our Current Team Will Be Steadfast in Continuing the Ongoing Cause

The Georgian Dream’s current team, substantially updated, differs fundamentally from the previous one. I personally take great pride in today’s Georgian Dream being not a rookie and indecisive force, but on the contrary, a strong unity of loyal, talented, decent individuals serving the people – a unity tried in the fire of political battles and committed to Euro-Atlantic values and philosophy, a unity that, with its patriotism, dedication, intellect, solidarity with its fellow citizens, and professionalism, is in every way on a par with the governments of European states. Let me remind you that the formation of the Georgian Dream team in recent years has been constantly accompanied by unfair attacks and assaults from a disgruntled and obsolete party and its branches. Yet, we have persevered through political battles that follow no moral norms or rules. It is paradoxical and equally unprecedented that the greater the success achieved by the authorities and the country, the fiercer, more destructive, and antagonistic the opposition’s behavior would grow. Our entire society saw how stubborn the opposition was in its attempts to tarnish Georgia’s international reputation and reliability, using fake news and false information to stoke up people’s emotions, sow seeds of discord, animosity, and confrontation in the society. And yet, all their actions hurled against the state eventually encouraged and gave momentum to the further empowerment and redoubled activity of the Georgian Dream’s political team. To counter the opposition’s dogged determination, we continue to enjoy unwavering, growing, and strong support from our key strategic partner, the United States of America, and from our European partners. Georgia is a small and yet influential, successful democracy to be looked up to not only in the post-Soviet space but in Eastern Europe as a whole. Despite many objective or artificial barriers, Georgia has been taking precise, careful steps – while the rest of the world, including our region, has grown far more dangerous, unpredictable, and less consolidated – and has kept peace and stability. Our country has succeeded in visibly advancing its Euro-Atlantic interests and objectives, and all that without causing geopolitical shifts or additional problems for its allies. Through years-long tireless efforts, we have laid the foundation for eliminating poverty and securing rapid economic progress, also taking the liberty of launching a momentous educational reform, because we strongly believe that education is the shortest path to freedom building on prosperity. Georgia’s economy is on the right track, notwithstanding the fact that the coronavirus has cut down domestic and foreign investment activities. A maximally free and tolerant environment exists for entrepreneurial activities and competition. We have once and for all put an end to government favoritism in business and monopolies created to enrich those in power. Georgian Dream has ushered in a reliable constitutional and legislative system for democratic control and checks and balances. We have uprooted the practice of disproportionate involvement of law enforcement and security services in policy-making, the cornerstone of the previous government’s criminal dealings. Today, Georgia’s government is impartial and balanced, and no one enjoys disproportionate, unwarranted, excessive power. Each branch of government has strictly defined and delineated authority. Today, we have a caring, friendly, and people-oriented government.

The country’s fundamental democratic transformation – along with the well-thought-out reforms stemming from the historic victory on 1 October– has boosted the irreversible process of Georgia’s social, political, and economic progress. The appendix to this letter lists concrete cases and statistics, confirmed and recognized in findings and annual reports by numerous reputable international ranking organizations and institutions. Precisely these data clearly show that the Georgian Dream’s rule has brought about qualitative improvements and successes in every area of social and economic development. This concerns building democratic institutions, protecting human rights, combating crime and corruption, and empowering an independent judiciary. I am certain that precisely this will serve as a reliable basis setting the stage for Georgia’s progress in the future (see Appendix).

I understand very well that despite such tangible successes, poverty – which remains to be overcome – is the main challenge and problem facing our country. Many families remain in need, whose everyday life has been made even more difficult by the global pandemic. Many of our fellow citizens are expending a great deal of effort to adequately feed their families, ensure that their children receive a quality education, and in order to have decent living conditions.

Indeed, poverty is an objective reality that I view with heartache but I cannot accept the accusation that the poverty that we inherited is the result of the Georgian Dream's rule.

I have said on numerous occasions and I will reiterate again today that today's poverty is a problem that has accumulated over decades and dates back to the time when we destroyed our newly established state with our own hands. Today's poverty is the result of the continuous decline and cataclysms that our country has endured for twenty years since gaining independence.

We have managed to stop the decline, we gave rise to progress, and we reduced poverty, the final overcoming of which will require the selfless work of the government, peace, stability, democracy, and some more time.

Naturally, not everything turned out as we had hoped, or as well as we all had expected. Unfortunately, along with objective reasons, there were also shortcomings and missteps. We Georgians are mostly emotional people – dreamers – and although the Georgian Dream government has very nearly achieved the maximum of what was possible, I would like to sincerely apologize to those who expected more from us, those who expected a faster improvement in economic conditions and were disappointed.

I am Disappointed That a Constructive Opposition Could Not Be Created

I will honestly and candidly say that at the end of my political activities, one of the things that worries me and gives me pause for thought is the fact that no state-oriented and responsible opposition has yet been formed in the country that would meet the minimal standards of European parliamentary democracies. I have never been of the opinion that the existence of a torpid and lifeless opposition would have been desirable to the authorities. It is the content of their criticism and the endless unconstructiveness that I find astonishing, rather than the fact that the opposition is trying to portray the activities of the authorities in a negative light, which is necessary and useful for a democracy. Let us once again take a look at the main tactics of the political struggle, over the years, of the main opposition parties, certain nongovernmental organizations that wordlessly execute their political agenda, and pseudo-free media outlets that are in a state of complete subservience. If we analyze this objectively, we will easily conclude that their strategic goal has always been to artificially agitate people and manipulate emotions while creating informational chaos and instilling fear, mistrust, and uncertainty through fake news. I would like to remind you that my family and I have constantly been the main targets and recipients of their abusive propaganda and lies during these past eight years. Naturally, listening to this was sad and unpleasant for me; however, personal emotions and, moreover, anger have never served as the basis for any decisions on my part.

In general, it is very disappointing to see certain media outlets that are in the service of a politically bankrupt party, which have become completely divorced from the essence and function of the media, as well as a sense of basic standards. Lies and propaganda based on falsehood, which remained the main political tool of the former ruling team that moved into opposition, have remained a problem during the rule of the Georgian Dream. Although the problem of fake news is a concern for the entire civilized world, in the case of Georgia, its scale has reached unimaginable depths. Unbridled propaganda has completely alienated ordinary viewers from television in the process. Lies, slander, and the manipulation of facts have become the point of origin of the editorial policies of some media outlets, which has nothing in common with the function of informing the public. It is unfortunate that along with partisan journalists, individuals labeled as experts are also involved in this merry-go-round with particular enthusiasm; against the backdrop of a lack of professional knowledge and with the motive of self-interest, these persons have developed into spokespersons supporting the political opposition.

What is disturbing is that rather than taking active part in the progress and development of the country, the goal of the opposition, which had organized and conducted this vicious propaganda, was and is to obstruct the authorities as much as possible and to thwart and hinder efforts aimed at the welfare of the people. As Ilia the Great said, "You should not scold others for acting righteously, even if you yourself choose not to."

In one of my first interviews back in 2011, when I was certain of the attitude of the Georgian people and of victory, but did not know how the defeated force would act, I expressed an opinion, during a general conversation about talent, that no skills, sharpness of mind, education, unparalleled professionalism, or purposefulness can be considered talent. When a person's action is not accompanied by an instinct of moral self-restraint and the starting point thereof is not in the realm of public good, service to the people and the country, but rather in the satisfaction of personal desires and passions at any cost, he or she cannot be called talented.

At the time, I tried to explain this with the example of the smallholder farmer who toils in his own yard in a manner that will not disturb his neighbor; with innate tact, he feels the invisible boundary between public and private interest. This is his dignified attitude toward the world. This is his talent. This is precisely why I do not believe in evil genius. I believe that talent is revealed only by doing good and being in harmony with one's family, homeland, and the world. Those who are devoid of this ability, who are indifferent not only toward their neighbors but toward their country as well and are ready to leave no stone unturned so long as it leads to the satisfaction of their own, private interest can only be called talentless.

From today's point of view, I am even more convinced of the correctness of this assessment. Unfortunately, the past years have convinced me that the lack of talent in the above sense is directly related to impudence and a lack of honor – that is, dishonorableness. The void left by the lack of talent is filled with such impudent behavior that ultimately leads to the loss of honor, which is tantamount to the loss of one's humanity. All this, however, is an ethical issue and applying it to Georgian politics, where morality is seen as an anachronism and a manifestation of naivety to be ridiculed, sometimes seems to me a thankless job.

In reality, all the deeds we have seen from the opposition over all these years, and which we have seen with complete clarity since 31 October, amount to a clear manifestation precisely of a lack of talent, as well as impudence and the rejection of dignity:

"So what if we have lost?!

So what if the elections were not rigged?!

So what if we have no evidence to the contrary whatsoever?!

So what if we stubbornly refuse to recount the polling stations, or check the video material depicting voting, while at the same time shamelessly avoiding debates with the Georgian Dream, which has offered us all this on several occasions?!

So what if the whole world recognized the fair choice of the people!

So what if all our friends without exception are calling on us to recognize it as well?!

No!

We will take hostage the state and the people, its peace and stability, and we will rock the country until we achieve our goal and declare the losers to have won!

Or, alternatively, we will lead the economy, which has been weakened against the backdrop of the pandemic, into such a crisis, we will starve and embitter the people to such an extent that they will support us in the rebellion!

We want power, we want this power today, and we must get this power at any cost, even if no stone is left unturned!"

(Look at how precisely all this corresponds to the opposition's signature: Shamelessly telling people tales – without any evidence or arguments – about the alleged eight-year regression under the Georgian Dream and the dilapidation and destruction of the country. And, they are asserting this at a time when internal national statistics (like the CEC results) and international ratings (like the reports by OSCE/ODIHR and allies) demonstrate the opposite and show qualitative improvement and progress in almost all areas of the country's sociopolitical and economic life.)

We encounter this impudence from people who have been finally unmasked with such intensity that I am left with the impression that, along with their desire to seize power, they seem to be aiming to declare impudence and dishonor to be normal and virtuous as well.

The use of impudence as a tool of political struggle is a well-thought-out method of psychological assault on public opinion. Long before the Bolshevik revolution, when the socialist movement emerged in Russia, Dostoevsky accurately described such impudent characters: "The right to dishonor – why, they’d all flock to us for that, not one would stay behind! The essence of our creed is the negation of honor, and the open advocacy of a right to be dishonorable." They act in line with this guideline to this day because they cannot build with love, they simply have no talent for it – they have never had it and they do not know what it is. In truth, it is precisely this lack of talent that defeated them, and this lack of talent gave birth to impudence which, in turn, brought forth dishonorableness. To this day, disreputable, disgraced people still stand, perpetrate violence, and portray lies as the truth.

It is doubly unfortunate that they see impudence and the renunciation of honor precisely as a sign of strength. In reality, the declaration of the use of force as the most effective means is the most salient manifestation of their weakness, along with the lack of talent.

They perpetrated violence while they were in power and they perpetrate violence today as well. The reason for this is that they are weak. Establishing a dictatorship does not require talent. Dictatorship is the choice of the weak and the talentless. The manifestation of talent and strength lies in the ability and desire to govern democratically.

That is why they failed while in power and are still failing to this day.

They fail because the people – of whose wisdom the stubborn opposition could not be convinced – can precisely see and appreciate the difference: In the form of the Georgian Dream, the country has a team that is focused on doing good for the public, a team that is focused on public service and on people, that is, a team that is talented, committed to democratic ideals and governance, and truly strong.

The people see this and, despite objectively existing problems, make the only right decision at a critical juncture.

I am certain that our public has finally developed this immunity and will never make the opposite choice ever again.

It is precisely the wisdom of our people and the formation of the Georgian Dream as a strong team that gives me the belief that the threat has been finally neutralized, allowing me to calmly withdraw from politics.

I leave politics with the hope that even that part of today's opposition which, through a lack of political will, inexperience, or spinelessness, ended up within the zone of influence of the evil and its main architect, will become convinced of the futility of an inappropriate attitude toward the interests of the homeland due to political selfishness and one man's unbridled desire to seize power. I am certain that these parties are aware of the hopelessness of their current position and that they will overcome this influence, that is, they will fight for their future, which, in turn, will be a prospect for Georgian democracy.

Against this backdrop, I am reminded of 2011-2012, when our people demanded the punishment of the full complement of police and security services that were in service of the criminal regime because they could not imagine that an accomplice in the perpetration of violence against the people would ever protect their safety.

Events, however, developed in the opposite direction. They developed in the manner that I stated at the time, in a principled and public manner: If just a few leaders and instigators of violent politics and ideology were to be removed from the system and brought to justice, the system would begin serving the people without any mass cleansing and repressions..

At the time, I believed – and I still firmly believe – that that which unites us is significantly greater than that which divides us causes us to oppose one another.

I believe that the same applies to politics as well, and if the parties find in themselves the strength to break the artificially created barriers between themselves and the people, and free themselves from the harmful influence of the certain politicians, I am certain that the people's trust in them will soon follow.

Unfortunately, in recent decades we have not had to live in an era rich in great politicians. Today, Georgia is poor both in economic and political terms. However, we are witnessing the growth of young, bold, highly qualified, and energetic politicians whose selfless and fruitful work fills me with a great deal of hope for the future. The order of democracy is such that a conscientious political force will inevitably emerge that will surpass the Georgian Dream in terms of education, intellectual potential, and a superior ability to lead the country, at which point the latter will have to move into opposition. You might be surprised to hear that this is my most important dream for the future. I believe that the Georgian Dream will occupy a worthy place in the vanguard of the political opposition and this period will be one of the most interesting ones in terms of the further development of democracy in the country.

Today, when I finally retire from politics and leave public space, I would like to express my profound respect for the Georgian people. I have never divided them into my supporters and opponents because I believe that our homeland is a far greater value than even diametrically opposed political views.

I would like to thank the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church, which has always played a special role in the history of Georgia.

I would like to thank our political team, like-minded persons and companions-in-arms who trusted me, followed me into battle, and serve Georgia faithfully to this day. I would like to wish each and every one of them success.

I would like to thank Georgia's main strategic partner, the United States of America, member states of the European Union, and all of our friends and partners without exception who steadfastly support the Georgian state and the Georgian people.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank my family. They have endured unimaginable insults and slander throughout this time, they stood by me, unwavering in their support, without questioning the correctness of my choice for a moment.

Thank you all once again.

May God strengthen our homeland, Georgia!", - reads the statement.

 

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