Vladimir Putin: Former Georgian government made too many mistakes

Russia naturally has an interest in what is happening now in Georgia. 'The latest events in Georgia come as no surprise to us,' Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a Cabinet meeting in the Kremlin. 'The change of power in the republic is the logical result of the previous government's many errors in foreign and national policy as well as economic policy. The foreign policy of the previous government was inappropriate considering the deep cultural and historical roots of the Georgian people. In terms of domestic politics there were no signs that democracy was taking hold and we only witnessed petty in-fighting between the different political parties. Their economic policy led to a struggle for humiliating gifts of charity from abroad.' The president mentioned that Georgia's foreign debt is at about USD 2 billion (about 60% of the country's GDP).

'Relations between Russia and Georgia have been difficult over recent years,' Mr Putin said. 'Both countries were dissatisfied about many things. Russia was not very happy with the former leadership. However, I would like to stress that Eduard Shevardnadze was never a dictator. We are therefore concerned at the aggression that led up to this event. Those who are behind these events and those who provide their support, now have a huge responsibility to the Georgian people, who have enjoyed such close ties with their Russian neighbours for so long. We expect the legally elected future government to do everything it can to restore these close ties between our two countries.'

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