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Mikheil Saakashvili
მიხეილ სააკაშვილი


Incumbent
Assumed office 
20 January 2008
Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze
Grigol Mgaloblishvili
Nikoloz Gilauri
Preceded by Nino Burjanadze (Acting)
In office
25 January 2004 – 25 November 2007
Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania
Zurab Noghaideli
Lado Gurgenidze
Preceded by Nino Burjanadze (Acting)
Succeeded by Nino Burjanadze (Acting)

Born 21 December 1967 (1967-12-21) (age 42)[1]
Tbilisi, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union (now Georgia)[1]
Political party United National Movement
Spouse(s) Sandra Roelofs
Children Eduard Saakashvili
Nikoloz Saakashvili
Residence Tbilisi, Georgia
Alma mater Kiev State University
Columbia University
George Washington University
Religion Georgian Orthodox

Mikheil Nikolozis dze Saak'ashvili (Georgian: მიხეილ ნიკოლოზის ძე სააკაშვილი, IPA: [mixɛil sɑɑkʼɑʃvili]; born 21 December 1967) is a Georgian politician, the third and current President of Georgia and leader of the United National Movement Party. Saakashvili became president on 25 January 2004 after President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in a November 2003 bloodless "Rose Revolution" led by Saakashvili and his political allies, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania. Saakashvili was re-elected in the early Georgian presidential election of 5 January 2008. He is widely regarded as a pro-Western leader who has spearheaded a series of political and economic reforms, but has been criticized for authoritarian tendencies and worsening human rights record in the country. Opposition parties have also accused him of rigging elections and using riot police to crush opposition rallies.[2]

Some non-Georgian sources spell Saakashvili's first name via the Russian (Михаил Саакашвили) as Mikhail. In Georgia, he is commonly known as "Misha," a hypocorism for Mikheil.[citation needed]

He is married to Sandra E. Roelofs, of Dutch origin, and has two sons, Eduard and Nikoloz. Apart from his native Georgian, he speaks fluent English, French, Russian, and Ukrainian,[3][4] and has some command of Ossetian and Spanish.[5][6]

Contents

Early life and career

Mikheil Saakashvili was born in Tbilisi,[1] capital of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union, to a Georgian intelligentsia family. His father, Nikoloz Saakashvili, is a physician who practices medicine in Tbilisi and directs a local Balneological Center. His mother, Giuli Alasania, is a historian who lectures at Tbilisi State University.

During University, he served his shortened military service with the Soviet Border Troops in 1989/90. Saakashvili graduated from the School of International Law of the Kiev State University (Ukraine) in 1992. He briefly worked as a human rights officer for the interim State Council of Georgia following the overthrow of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia before receiving a fellowship from the United States State Department (via the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program). He received an LL.M. from Columbia Law School in 1994 and took classes at The George Washington University Law School the following year. In 1995, he also received a diploma from the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

After graduation, while on internship in the New York law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in early 1995, Saakashvili was approached by Zurab Zhvania, an old friend from Georgia who was working on behalf of President Eduard Shevardnadze to enter politics. He stood in the December 1995 elections along with Zhvania, and both men won seats in parliament, standing for the Union of Citizens of Georgia, Shevardnadze's party.

Saakashvili was chairman of the parliamentary committee which was in charge of creating a new electoral system, an independent judiciary and a non-political police force. Opinion surveys recognised him to be the second most popular person in Georgia, behind Shevardnadze. He was named "man of the year" by a panel of journalists and human rights advocates in 1997. In January 2000, Saakashvili was appointed Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

On 12 October, 2000, Saakashvili became Minister of Justice for the government of President Shevardnadze. He initiated major reforms in the Georgian criminal justice and prisons system. This earned praise from international observers and human rights activists[citation needed]. But in mid-2001 he became involved in a major controversy with the Economics Minister Ivane Chkhartishvili, State Security Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze and Tbilisi police chief Ioseb Alavidze, accusing them of profiting from corrupt business deals.

Saakashvili resigned on 5 September, 2001, saying that "I consider it immoral for me to remain as a member of Shevardnadze's government." He declared that corruption had penetrated to the very center of the Georgian government and that Shevardnadze lacked the will to deal with it, warning that "current developments in Georgia will turn the country into a criminal enclave in one or two years."

In the United National Movement

Having resigned from the government and quit the Shevardnadze-run Union of Citizens of Georgia party, Saakashvili founded the United National Movement (UNM) in October 2001, a right-of-center political party with a touch of nationalism, to provide a focus for part of the Georgian reformists leaders. In June 2002, he was elected as the Chairman of the Tbilisi Assembly ("Sakrebulo") following an agreement between the United National Movement and the Georgian Labour Party. This gave him a powerful new platform from which to criticize the government.

Georgia held parliamentary elections on 2 November 2003 which were denounced by local and international observers as being grossly rigged. Saakashvilli claimed that he had won the elections (a claim supported by independent exit polls), and urged Georgians to demonstrate against Shevardnadze's government and engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against the authorities. Saakashvili's UNM and Burdjanadze-Democrats united to demand the ouster of Shevardnadze and the rerun of the elections.

Massive political demonstrations were held in Tbilisi in November, with over 100,000 people participating and listening to speeches by Saakashvili and other opposition figures. The Kmara ("Enough!") youth organization (a Georgian counterpart of the Serbian "Otpor") and several NGOs, like Liberty Institute, were active in all protest activities. After an increasingly tense two weeks of demonstrations, Shevardnadze resigned as President on 23 November, to be replaced on an interim basis by parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze. While the revolutionary leaders did their best to stay within the constitutional norms, many called the change of government a popular coup dubbed by Georgian media as the Rose Revolution.

Saakashvili's "storming of Georgia's parliament" in 2003 "put U.S. diplomats off guard. .... [Saakashvili] ousted a leader the U.S. had long backed, Eduard Shevardnadze."[7] Seeking support, Saakashvili went outside the U.S. State Department. He hired Randy Scheunemann, now Sen. John McCain's top foreign-policy adviser, as a lobbyist and used Daniel Kunin of USAID and the NDI as a full-time adviser.[7]

On 24 February 2004 the United National Movement and the United Democrats had amalgamated. The new political movement was named the National Movement - Democrats (NMD). The movement's main political priorities include raising pensions and providing social services to the poor, its main base of support; fighting corruption; and increasing state revenue.

Presidency

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First Term

Saakashvili's inauguration as President of Georgia

On 4 January 2004 Mikheil Saakashvili won the presidential elections in Georgia with more than 96% of the votes cast, making him the youngest national president in Europe. Saakashvili ran on a platform of opposing corruption and improving pay and pensions. He has promised to improve relations with the outside world. Although he is strongly pro-Western and intends to seek Georgian membership of NATO and the European Union, he has also spoken of the importance of better relations with Russia. He faces major problems, however, particularly Georgia's difficult economic situation and the still unresolved question of separatism in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazia regards itself as independent of Georgia and did not take part in the elections, while South Ossetia favours union with its northern counterpart in Russia.

Saakashvili was sworn in as President in Tbilisi on 25 January 2004. Immediately after the ceremony he signed a decree establishing a new state flag. On 26 January, in a ceremony held at the Tbilisi Kashueti Church of Saint George, he promulgated a decree granting permission for the return of the body of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, from Grozny (Chechen Republic) to Tbilisi and renaming a major road in the capital after Gamsakhurdia. He also released 32 Gamsakhurdia supporters (political prisoners) imprisoned by the Shevardnadze government in 1993-94.

In the first months of his presidency, Saakashvili faced a major political crisis in the southwestern Autonomous Republic of Adjara run by an authoritarian regional leader, Aslan Abashidze, who largely ignored the central Georgian government and was viewed by many as a pro-Russian politician. The crisis threatened to develop into an armed confrontation, but Saakashvili's government managed to resolve the conflict peacefully, forcing Abashidze to resign on 6 May 2004. Success in Adjara encouraged the new president to intensify his efforts towards bringing the breakaway South Ossetia back under the Georgian jurisdiction. The separatist authorities responded with intense militarization in the region, that led to armed clashes in August 2004. A stalemate ensued, and despite a new peace plan proposed by the Georgian government in 2005, the conflict remains unresolved. Recently, in late July 2006, Saakashvili's government managed to deal successfully with another major crisis, this time in Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge where Georgia's police forces disarmed a defiant militia led by a local warlord Emzar Kvitsiani.

Although the reforms initiated by President Saakashvili are considered to have mixed success, still the rate of corruption in the country has drastically reduced. According to the World Bank accounts, Georgia is named as the number one economic reformer in the world and the country ranks as 11 in term of ease of doing business, when most of the country's neighbours' are in the 100s of the World Bank's rank.[8]

In his foreign policy, Saakashvili maintains close ties with the U.S. leadership, as well as other NATO countries, and remains one of the leaders of the GUAM organization. The Saakashvili-led Rose Revolution has been described by the White House as one of the most powerful movements in the modern history[9] that has inspired others to seek freedom.[10].

Economic policy

Saakashvili is a popular supporter of free market and believes that less government regulation of business is a good idea.[citation needed] Georgia has become involved in international market transactions to a small extent, and in 2007 Bank of Georgia sold bonds at premium, when $200m five-year bond was priced with a coupon of 9 per cent at par, or 100 per cent of face value, after initially being priced at 9.5 per cent and investors pushed orders up to $600m.[11]

Foreign relations

Mikheil Saakashvili with George W. Bush.
Mikheil Saakashvili with Vladimir Putin.

President Saakashvili sees membership of the NATO as a premise of stability for Georgia and offered an intensified dialogue with the de facto Abkhaz and Ossetian authorities. Until the 2008 South Ossetia war, a diplomatic solution was thought to be possible. Saakashvili's administration doubled the number of its troops in Iraq, making Georgia one of the biggest supporters of Coalition Forces, and keeping its troops in Kosovo and Afghanistan to "contribute to what it describes as global security".[12]

Saakashvili's government maintains diplomatic relations with other Caucasian states and Eastern European countries, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. In 2004, Saakashvili visited Israel to attend the official opening of the Modern Energy Problems Research Center, and Dr. Brenda Schaffer, the director of the center, described Saakashvili as the Nelson Mandela of the 21st century.[13] In August of the same year, Saakashvili, who holds an honorary doctorate from Haifa University travelled to Israel to attend the opening of the official Week of Georgian-Jewish Friendship, held under the auspices of the Georgian President, for which the Jewish leaders were invited as honoured guests.[13]

On 12 October 2007 Saakashvili officially visited Åland Islands, an autonomous region of Finland, and was informed about how the autonomy is organised[14].

Relations with the United States are good, but are complicated by Saakashvili's "volatile" behaviour. Former and current U.S. officials characterize the Georgian president as "difficult to manage". They criticize his "risky moves", moves that have often "caught the U.S. unprepared" while leaving it "exposed diplomatically".[7]

Saakashvili's ties with the U.S. go back to 1991 (see Early life and career). Biographies of Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy can be found in his office, next to biographies of Stalin and Ataturk and books on war. Seeking U.S. support, Saakashvili went outside the State Department and established contacts with Sen. John McCain and forces seeking NATO expansion.[7]

Saakashvili believes that the long-term priority for the country is to advance its membership in the European Community and during a meeting with Javier Solana, he said that in contrast with new and old European states, Georgia is an Ancient European state.

Assassination attempt

On 10 May 2005, while U.S. President George W. Bush was giving a speech in Tbilisi's Freedom Square, Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live hand grenade at where Saakashvili and Bush were sitting. It landed in the crowd about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl and did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July of that year, but before his capture he managed to kill one law enforcement agent. He was convicted of the attempted assassinations of Saakashvili and Bush and the murder of the agent, and given a life sentence.[15]

Mikheil Saakashvili, Lech Kaczyński and Valdas Adamkus in Tbilisi November 2007

2007 crisis

Later in 2007, Georgia faced the worst crisis since the Rose Revolution. A series of anti-government demonstration were sparked, in October, by accusations of murders and corruption levelled by Irakli Okruashvili, Saakashvili's erstwhile associate and former member of his government, against the president and his allies. The protests climaxed early in November 2007, and involved several opposition groups and the influential media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Although the demonstrations rapidly went downhill, the government's decision to use police force against the remaining protesters evolved into clashes in the streets of Tbilisi on 7 November. The declaration of state of emergency by the president (7 November-16) and the restriction imposed on some mass media sources led to harsh criticism of the Saakashvili government both in the country and abroad. Human Rights Watch criticised the Georgian government for using "excessive" force against protesters in November and International Crisis Group warned of growing authoritarianism.[16]

On 8 November 2007, President Saakashvili announced a compromise solution to hold early presidential elections for 5 January 2008. He also proposed to hold a plebiscite in parallel to snap presidential elections about when to hold parliamentary polls – in spring as pushed for by the opposition parties, or in late 2008. Several concessions in the election code were also made to the opposition.[17]

On 23 November 2007, the ruling United National Movement party officially nominated Saakashvili as its candidate for the upcoming elections. Pursuant to the Constitution of Georgia, Saakashvili resigned on 25 November to launch his pre-election campaign for early presidential polls.[18][19]

Second Term

Changes in the Cabinet

Saakashvili publicly announced about his plans of modernising the Cabinet of Georgia well before Georgian presidential elections. Shortly after being re-elected, the president formally re-appointed the Prime Minister of Georgia Lado Gurgenidze and asked him to present a renewed cabinet to the Parliament of Georgia for final approval.

Gurgenidze changed most ministers, leaving Ivane Merabishvili, controversial Minister for Home Affairs, Defence Minister David Kezerashvili and Minister of Finance Nika Gilauri on their former positions. Gia Nodia was appointed as the Minister of Education and Science. Zaza Gamcemlidze, former director of Tbilisi Botanic Garden, took over the position of the Minister of Human Resources and Nature Protection. Famous archaeologist, and already the eldest minister in the cabinet, Iulon Gagoshidze was appointed on a newly designated position of the Minister of State for Diasporas.

Parliamentary elections held during Saakashvili's second term were condemned by the OSCE election monitoring mission for being marred by ballot-stuffing, violence against opposition campaigners, uncritical coverage of the president and his party from the state-controlled media, and public officials openly campaigning for the president's party.[2]

On 28 October 2008, Mikheil Saakashvili proposed Grigol Mgaloblishvili, Georgian Ambassador to Turkey for the premiership. According to the President, Gurgenidze had initially agreed to serve only for a year and that Georgia was facing new challenges which needed new approach. The Parliament of Georgia approved Mgaloblishvili as the premier on 1 November 2008.

Georgian-Russian relationships

Saakashvili held an official meeting with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, in his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. The presidents discussed the issues of aviation regulations between the two countries.[citation needed] This was Putin's last meeting as the President of Russia, having been succeeded by Dimitry Medvedev.

However, a series of clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces resulted to Saakashvili ordering an attack on Tskhinvali. In response, the Russian army invaded South Ossetia, later followed by the invasion of the mainstream Georgia. The two counterparts were led to a ceasefire agreement and a six points peace plan, due to the French President's mediation. On 26 August the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. On August 29, 2008, in response to Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze announced that Georgia had broken diplomatic relations with Russia.

Elections

Graffiti in Tbilisi

2004 presidential election

The 2004 presidential election were carried out on 4 January 2004. The election was an outcome of the bloodless Rose Revolution and a consequent resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze. It is well-known for a very high level of electoral turnout and also for the number of votes cast for one particular presidential candidate — Mikheil Saakashvili (96%). All other candidates received less than 2% of the votes. In total, 1,763,000 eligible voters participated in the election.

2008 presidential election

On 5 January 2008, the presidential election was held nationwide with the exception of highland village Shatili, where the polling station was not opened due to the high levels of snowfall. In line with the predictions of various exit polls, the central election commission's result stated that Saakaashvili had won 53.4% of votes cast, compared to his opponent, 43-year-old wine producer Levan Gachechiladze, with 27%.[20] According to Georgian Central Electoral Commission, as of 8 January 2008, which already included the votes from more polling stations than the earlier reports, Saakashvili was leading with 52.21%,[21] Gachechiladze following him with only 25.26%[22] of the votes. All of the countries except Russia gave the elections a positive feedback and recalled that they were held fairly within democratic standards.[citation needed]

Sandra Roelofs, Michelle Obama, Mikheil Saakashvili and Barack Obama in 2009

2009 opposition demonstrations and armed mutiny

The pressure against Saakashvili intensified in 2009, when the opposition launched mass demonstrations against Saakashvili's rule. On May 5, 2009, Georgian police said large-scale disorders were planned in Georgia of which the failed army mutiny was part. According to the police, Saakashvili's assassination had also been plotted.[23] Opposition figures dispute the claim of an attempted mutiny and instead say that troops refused an illegal order to use force against opposition demonstrators [24]

Criticism

There have been some concerns about Saakashvili monopolizing power since his coming to office in 2004. Saakashvili has also occasionally used aggressive language, an example of which was reported by Amnesty International around the time of the President's inauguration. At a news briefing on 12 January, Saakashvili advised the then Justice Minister "to use force when dealing with any attempt to stage prison riots, and to open fire, shoot to kill and destroy any criminal who attempts to cause turmoil. We will not spare bullets against these people." Saakashvili in his inaugural speech stated that "now it is time for the government to be afraid of the people."[25]

In 2004 a new media law sparked controversy, with fourteen Georgian civil society leaders and Georgian experts writing an open letter to the President, published in several national newspapers, claiming "Intolerance towards people with different opinions is being planted in Georgian politics and in other spheres of social life".

On 27 March 2006 the government announced that it had prevented a nation-wide prison riot plotted by criminal kingpins. The police operation ended with the deaths of 7 inmates and at least 17 injuries. While the Parliamentary opposition has cast doubts over the official version and demanded an independent investigation, the ruling party has been able to vote down such initiatives.[26].

The conduct of the Sandro Girgvliani Murder Case has also raised eyebrows at home and abroad. Several senior Interior Ministry officials were alleged to have played active roles in the murder, yet despite a series of resignations and sackings, only four low-ranking individuals directly engaged in the case have been prosecuted. In addition to this, Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili has claimed that pressure has been exerted on his financial interests after Imedi Television broadcast several accusations against officials. On 25 October 2007, former defence minister Irakli Okruashvili accused the president of planning Patarkatsishvili's murder.[27].[28][29] Okruashvili was detained two days later on charges of extortion, money laundering, and abuse of office.[30] However, in a video taped confession released by the General Prosecutor's Office on 8 October 2007, in which Okruashvili pleaded guilty to large-scale bribery through extortion and negligence while serving as minister, he retracted his accusations against the president and said that he did so to gain some political benefit and that Badri Patarkatsishvili told him to do so.[31] Okruashvili's lawyer and other opposition leaders said his retraction had been made under duress.[32]

The BHHRG has frequently claimed that the new government immediately set out to settle scores with Shevardnadze era officials. Many former ministers, local administrators and businessmen associated with the former regime were arrested for abuse of office. Some Western organisations were concerned by the live broadcasting of these arrests and by President Saakashvili's occasional appearances on television to denounce the suspects, before any charges were laid.

On 30 June 2005 riot police and special military forces carrying machine guns violently dispersed hundreds of protesters blocking a major road in Tbilisi. It started as protest against the arrest of two well-known sportsmen accused in blackmail but soon grew into a demonstration against the central authorities. 25 people were arrested including 5 members of opposition parties.[33] In November 2007 another series of demonstrations forced Saakashvili to set the pre-scheduled presidential elections for 5 January, 2008.[17]

The late Georgian media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili's opposition television station Imedi, shut down after its premises were stormed during news coverage by riot police in November 2007, resumed broadcasts a few weeks following the incident, but "did not cover news or talk shows until after the election."[34] Subsequently the station was sold on to supporters of the Saakashvili government [35] and some Georgian journalists have called for the station to be handed back [36].

In spite of these criticisms some European and U.S. commentators have lauded the new government for taking bold measures in the fight against corruption. In addition, the U.S. State Department noted[3] that during 2005 "the government amended several laws and increased the amount of investigations and prosecutions reducing the amount of abuse and ill-treatment in pre-trial detention facilities". The status of religious freedom also improved due to increased investigation and prosecution of those harassing followers of non-traditional faiths.[37][38]

Personal life

Saakashvili married Dutch-born Sandra Roelofs, whom he met in 1993. The couple has two sons, Eduard and Nikoloz.

Depictions

Saakashvili is played by Cuban-American Hollywood actor Andy Garcia in the 2010 Hollywood film Georgia by Finnish-American film director Renny Harlin.[39] The film will tell the story of Saakashvili and the events during the 2008 South Ossetia war.[40]

References

  1. ^ a b c "President of Georgia". president.gov.ge. http://www.president.gov.ge/?l=E&m=1&sm=3. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  2. ^ Opposition claims Georgia president rigged election victory
  3. ^ "Profile: Mikhail Saakashvili". BBC News. 2004-01-25. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3231852.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Mikheil Saakashvili". The New York Times. 2008. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/mikhail_saakashvili/index.html. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  5. ^ Murray, Don (2008-02-29). "Can bountiful Georgia escape the Russian bear?". CBC. http://www.cbc.ca/news/reportsfromabroad/murray/20080229.html. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  6. ^ Smock, John (2004-08-13). "As prospect of South Ossetian conflict grows, Georgia prepares to send troops to Iraq". EurasiaNet. http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav081304.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d Champion, Marc, "U.S. Ally Proves Volatile Amid Dispute With Russia", The Wall Street Journal, 2008-08-30
  8. ^ Rankings - Doing Business World Bank Group
  9. ^ President Bush to Welcome President Saakashvili White House
  10. ^ Bush: Georgia 'beacon of liberty' CNN
  11. ^ Sweet Georgia Financial Times
  12. ^ Georgia to double troops in Iraq BBC
  13. ^ a b Georgian President Meets Jewish Leaders For Georgian-Jewish Friendship Week FJC
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Ryan Chilcote (2006-01-11). "Bush grenade attacker gets life". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/01/11/georgia.grenade/. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  16. ^ Timeline: Georgia BBC News 2008-11-05
  17. ^ a b Saakashvili Calls Snap Presidential Polls, Referendum. Civil Georgia. 2007-11-08.
  18. ^ Saakashvili Steps Down to Run for Re-Election. Civil Georgia. 2007-11-25.
  19. ^ Tass article 25 Nov 2007
  20. ^ Reuters, Saakashvili wins Georgian presidential election
  21. ^ Results 2008 Central Election Commission
  22. ^ 2008 Central Election Commission
  23. ^ Georgian troop rebellion 'over'. BBC News. May 5, 2009
  24. ^ Opposition Calls on Diplomats to Monitor Situation in Army
  25. ^ The official site of the President of Georgia
  26. ^ PROTESTS, ACCUSATIONS, AND RIOTS SHAKE GEORGIA
  27. ^ Praise, Scorn For Accusations Against Georgia President
  28. ^ Georgia's Ex-Minister Assails President - Forbes, Associated Press
  29. ^ Okruashvili Ups Ante on Former Allies - The Georgian Times
  30. ^ Former Defense Minister Detained In Georgia. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 27 September 2007.
  31. ^ Okruashvili May Be Freed on Bail after Pleading Guilty. Civil Georgia, 2007-10-08.
  32. ^ Court sets Georgia's former defense minister free on bail. International Herald Tribune. 8 October 2007.
  33. ^ Georgia: Opposition Lawmakers Protest Violence Against Demonstrators
  34. ^ Stuffed ballots, biased campaign tainted Georgia vote: OSCE Reuters
  35. ^ Saakashvili's switch off - for media freedom
  36. ^ Georgian journalists appeal for restoration of media freedom
  37. ^ The Human Rights Watchoverview of Georgia, 2005
  38. ^ The U.S. Department of StateInternational Religious Freedom Report 2005: Georgia
  39. ^ "Georgia (2010)". IMDB.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1486193/. Retrieved 2009-10-21. 
  40. ^ Movie star plays Georgian leader. BBC News. October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8316018.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Nino Burjanadze
Acting
President of Georgia
2008–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Nino Burjanadze
Acting
President of Georgia
2004 – 2007
Succeeded by
Nino Burjanadze
Acting

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