Georgia should prepare for “total defense” and “de-occupation” of the country. President Saakashvili said this while speaking at the Georgian Defense Ministry. His speech was dedicated to the second anniversary of the outbreak of war in South Ossetia.
The main part of Saakashvili's speech was traditionally devoted to denouncing “imperial plans” of Russia that allegedly wanted to establish full control over Georgia. “The enemy wanted to change the political structure of Georgia, overthrow the democracy and practically turn the entire country under its control.”
“This is evidenced by the information warfare, which continues each minute against Georgia. The enemy not only failed to relinquish control over the entire territory of Georgia, but is also intensively working on it,” Saakashvili stated. He has not provided any specific examples of Russia dreaming about its troops marching through the streets of Tbilisi.
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"They failed, and now they think that their relations with the entire post-Soviet space have deteriorated due to the fact that they could not conquer all of Georgia, “Saakashvili continued his pompous speech. He added that, despite the pressure of Russia, his country had coped with such challenges as the threat to its statehood and economic crisis.
The Georgian President warned fellow countrymen that “the enemy never sleeps.” He also identified the main goal of the state, de-occupation. He obviously meant the return of control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
“Given the current danger of the new threats, our mission is to stop the advance of the enemy into the country, and ultimately free all of its territory and implement complete de-occupation,” Saakashvili said. The President did not explain where the enemy inside Georgia was headed.
Further speech of the President was frankly surprising. It turns out that before 2008 the Georgian army was preparing not for self defense and territorial battles, but, rather, peacekeeping operations. It was assumed that “theoretically the enemy would not move forward because of political factors.”
“2008 has shown to the entire world that there is no 100% political obstacle to this force and therefore, Georgia needs total defense, military training and serious combat experience,” said the President. According to him, every village has “small groups for training the population and required weapons.” “Every village and town should be able to defend themselves.”
Next, Saakashvili remembered that he was not only a politician but also the supreme commander, and moved from military issues to the army ones. He complained that, because of the crisis, the country's military budget had to be cut, but soon it will be taken to the pre-crisis level. It sounds alarming, because prior to the beginning of the war in South Ossetia, Georgia has ranked first globally in terms of increasing its military spending.
According to Saakashvili, Georgia must change its military education system. “We need more good officers,” he stressed. Then he spoke about his decision to restore the cadet school, improve sergeants’ school, and increase the training period at the military academy to four years (instead of three).
In addition to training within the country, the Georgian army should get combat experience abroad. In this regard, Saakashvili has attached particular importance to the participation of Georgian soldiers in the NATO operation in Afghanistan. This is a great experience for the Georgian military, the President believes. He said that Georgia would need to maximize its presence in Afghanistan.
In 2004, Saakashvili said similar words regarding strengthening the army. Then, the country launched its military reform, and the scale of arms purchases has grown dramatically. What had this resulted in on Augusts 8, 2008? The war and a national disaster for Georgia.
On the other hand, the statement of Saakashvili is pure propaganda. As we know, the best way for the president to keep his approval rating high is to pounce at the external enemy, which will make the nation rally around its leader. This time, the enemy was stated clearly - Russia. Meanwhile, Russia has no plans to occupy Georgia, and Saakashvili is likely to know about it. Yet, he will say anything to maintain the fear.
Surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago in his speech on the Belarusian TV Saakashvili expressed his readiness to conduct a dialogue with Russia. Now it seems that the Georgian President changed his mind. When Russia is openly called “the enemy,” the resumption of relations is unlikely.