Saakashvili said the war brought many changes to Georgia’s political landscape, most importantly, a commitment “to even more democratic openness because we believe it will be our best defense from another attack.” He added that this commitment “motivates our people and strengthens ties with our allies.”
The exclusive email-interview with VOA’s Russian Service highlighted the progress that Georgia has made since last August, U.S.-Georgian relations and the political environment in Georgia today.
The Georgian president told VOA that Vice President Biden’s recent visit signaled “support for our territorial integrity and our efforts to rebuild the country, strengthen our democracy and develop close ties with the U.S. and Europe.” Saakashvili said that the Georgian people “are grateful for the support we received from the Vice President Biden, President Obama and his entire administration as well as support we received from Europe and many others.”
Opposition to the Saaskashvili government has lead to recent protests in Georgia, but Saaskashvili told VOA that “opposition and protests are an integral part of democracy.” He said that he told his government “to use maximum restraint to ensure the freedom of expression for every Georgian.” He added that he believes that the opposition now understands the people want to bring about change and reform through parliamentary debates, not through protests.
VOA's Russian Service reaches its audience exclusively through the Internet (www.golosameriki.us or www.voanews.com/russian/ ). The site offers text, audio, and video files of news, correspondent reports, interviews and other features.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.