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Malkhaz Gulashvili: I will always stand for truth18.10.2010 | 19:52
Forced to leave Georgia this May, president of the Georgian Times media holding and The People's Orthodox Movement Georgian organization Malkhaz Gulashvili leaves open the possibility of his return home. He told our correspondent about his struggle with the current regime in Sakartvelo, the importance of peace in the Caucasus and his plans in Russia.
- You have stated not so long ago that you will probably come back to Georgia. Do you think it may happen with the current regime still being in power?
- It all depends on the authorities. I've done nothing illegal. There have been periodical provocative acts against my son, and I could not leave him in Georgia and put his life at risk. We left the country through Tskhinval, for the son's Georgian passport expired. Now I am charged by the authorities with an administrative offense as if it were a criminal one. This case has got no grounds.
I will surely return as soon as the charge is dismissed. If it is not, I am going to reconsider the political situation in the country and will go there as soon as it gets hotter. By the way, we have already prepared materials for Strasbourg Court. We will win because we know: all the legal procedures of this criminal case have been violated. I have already engaged the international community. For instance, the former president of Slovakia and a number of international organizations have turned to Saakashvili. In case of a negative scenario, I will have to open a second front against the authorities that refuse to let me come to Georgia. I have said repeatedly that I will immediately come back as soon as I settle my son's education.
Georgian authorities are simply using the current situation just to say: well, he stays in Russia; he is so-and-so. Now Tbilisi declares its readiness to talk to Moscow, though I wrote about it in 2008. At that time, I also spoke about the flight connection, the opening of the Verkhny Lars checkpoint, bringing Georgian products back to Russian market and the cancellation of the visa regime. I'm persecuted for acting on my own on patriotic grounds. Yes, I've got good relationship with the Russian establishment, the authorities, the leading politologists and journalists. Still, I don't think it does harm to my country. On the contrary, it might be useful. In due time, I presented Russian President Dmitry Medvedev a book called "The way to truth, peaceful Caucasus and united Georgia". I believe this is my way and I am not going to turn off. I will always fight for truth, for peaceful Caucasus and the united Georgia despite any persecution.
- Your wife and child are staying in Georgia so far. How do they feel there?
- My son is practically a prisoner. The wife and child actually cannot go anywhere because they are afraid to. Besides, I cannot bring my second child to Russia since certain documents are required. It is easier to get them from Australia than from Georgia. Our business is suffering losses, for, I guess, you know what it's like to own a newspaper in today's Georgia.
- Once you said that Georgia's leading media are under control of NGO Freedom Institute. In your opinion, what will happen to this institute when Saakashvili resigns?
- The point is that the Freedom Institute is governed not by Saakashvili but by American foundations. They've got the clear task of changing the Georgian mentality and creating a new type of Georgians that do not want to have any relationship with the post-Soviet space. If Saakashvili does not fulfill their orders, they will appoint another one, Ugulava, for instance (Mayor or Tbilisi - ed.). The ideological war goes on.
To my mind, Georgian statehood is based upon Orthodoxy. We could not keep aloof after Freedom Institute's blasphemy in respect of the church, so long as they held a presentation of a profane book. In a day, we gathered 12 thousand signatures to abolish Freedom Institute and brought a lot of people together. But the authorities got scared at seeing such power. After that, our organization was destroyed and many of my associates and friends were arrested. It was a spit at the entire Georgian society but I am sure we will win sooner or later. The truth and the ancestors will help us. Georgians are a wise nation; we do not need being taught tolerance.
- How are your Russian projects going on, FM-Kavkaz and the Caucasian Policy magazine?
The first issue of Caucasian Policy has already been printed. Maxim Shevchenko is the chief editor. Perhaps, other resources will be created on the basis of Caucasian Policy, such as Internet-television and various portals. As for the radio, we were misunderstood. We wanted to set up a radio station in Russian, not in Georgian. I believe we will finish this project, which is being worked on. Today, the information about the Caucasus should be concentrated in one place, for the processes going on in this unquiet region are very important. False strain is created with the help of our enemies in order to destroy the Caucasus. Let me underline: all the patriotic powers in Georgia are strongly interested in a peaceful Caucasus.