“Georgian Side Made First Step to Russia”
22 November, 2012
“Georgian Side Made First Step to Russia”

“Non-visa regime with Russia is very important; I was in Larsi and I saw how many Russian cars entered Georgia and how many tourists there were. It’s a good chance to see what is going on in Georgia. Instead of listening to the Russian radio and watching Russian TVs, it is a good decision to give them a chance to see how peaceful is the people who live in Georgia. I hope that the percentage of the Russian tourists will

grow up and next year we’ll see more of them arriving in Georgia.”

We had the pleasure to meet with Mrs. Elita Gavele, highest representative of the Latvian diplomatic corps in Georgia a year ago. For her, it was her first interview in Georgia and her first interview in the capacity of an ambassador; she started her first ambassadorial mission in our country. Now Georgian Journal set out to find out how she perceived the latest events that took place in Georgia. Her Excellency Ambassador admits that working in Georgia is “very interesting”. She remains an optimist in everyday life as well as in politics. Ms. Elita Gavele thinks that there is no doubt about the bright future for Georgia and praises the new government’s unchanged foreign policy course.
G. J: What did Georgia gain in the eye of International Community by handing over the power peacefully?
E.G: It has been unanimously acknowledged that Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections of October 1 were definitely fair. We, all members of the diplomatic corps were observing it quite closely. Latvia probably had the most numerous short-term observers – more than 20 persons, who were sent from Latvia to observe elections in recent years.The elections themselves demonstrated a big victory for Georgia. The new government was elected by the people of Georgia and we appreciate it. In Latvia, there is an unwritten rule that we can’t criticize the new government during the first100 days. I think that it would be very good if Georgia adopts the same rule and it refrains from criticism for 100 days. I hope that you have a bright future and there is no doubt about it. The important thing for Latvia is the recent visits of Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, as well as the Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Minister of Defence to Brussels and all the information that they provided to the high officials in Brussels. It is very important to continue Georgia’s road to the European Union and the NATO which is the most important signals for us.
G.J: How close have we approached the NATO and the European Union by handing over the power peacefully and fairly?
E.G: Of course, you are closer now than before. Everyone in the European Union and the NATO praised Georgia for the fair and democratic elections and this is one big step forward to the integration into those international structures. Of course, it is just a process and you still have to do your homework. I can’t say and nobody can say the exact date and year when you’ll enter the NATO and the European Union but it is a normal process and Georgia has gained many pluses in this process.
G.J: What do you recommend, what should the new government do first and foremost not to lose the high trust of Georgian people?
E.G: In spite of being a foreign diplomat which stops me from actively giving recommendations outspokenly, I still have one advice: continue your aspiration to Euro-Atlantic structures.It is also a big plus that the officials working with furthering Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic structures are highly-skilled professionals and do their work very professionally with great faith in the success.
G.J: In your opinion, what will change in the Georgian politics and how feasible is improving our relations with Russia?
E.G: Of course, normalizing the relationship with Russia is an inseparable part of your foreign policy, not only your aspiration to the European Union and the 5NATO. It’s one of the top issues and absolutely necessary to deal with. Good luck to new Georgian government in that direction! It was very reasonable of them to appoint Mr. Zurab Abashidze as a special representative who will take care of Georgian-Russian relations. As I know, he is a very well-known person in Russia and he is respected there, as well as in Georgia, which is very important – to have a high reputation in Russia and Georgia at the same time. That’s why I think it was a good choice. Good luck to him when he starts talks and negotiations with Russia and as your government said, they are still waiting for Russia to nominate a counterpart to Mr. Abashidze or make some move like that as a reciprocal gesture. The Georgian side made the first step, which is something very positive. Also, the visa-free regime with Russia is very important and when I visited this summer Larsi, I saw how many Russian cars entered Georgia and how many tourists arrived in Georgia; It’s a good chance to see what is going on in Georgia. Instead of listening to the Russian radio and watching Russian TVs, it is a good decision to give them a chance to see how peaceful is the people who live here, in Georgia. I hope that the percentage of Russian tourists will grow up and next year we’ll see a lot more of Russians arriving in Georgia. I see that the heart of Georgians is always open to receive guests. I’ve visited many places – Batumi, Sighnaghi, Telavi, Svaneti, Mtskheta, etc. I think I have traveled around most of the country, and I saw many Russian tourists who were visiting Georgia and they were happy to discover that there are some differences to what they viewed on TVs and heard on radio as if Georgia is the enemy number one to Russia. I am convinced that any tourist, not only from Russia, who once visits Georgia, will leave it with best memories and the intention to return.
G.J: What should Georgia learn from your country’s experience?
E.G: I think our patience, the patience of Latvia and Latvian people that we showed during our economic crisis in the year of 2008 and afterwards. There were very few countries and politicians who believed that we would survive and regain our strength, and we’d be back on the world map, but we did it and I know and feel that Latvia is one of the best examples for other countries how to deal with such kind of situations. In addition, we are encouraged by the Latvian – Georgian bilateral projects that allow us to share our experience with the Georgian colleagues. As one of the most important designs, I would like to mention proposed project between the Corruption Prevention and Combatting Bureau of Latvia and the State Audit of Georgia called “Strengthening the monitoring of Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns in Georgia”. Considering that the Corruption Prevention and Combatting Bureau of Latvia has a great deal of experience of tracking financial flows during the pre-elections period, I think it is a very worthwhile project for Georgia to help improve knowledge and skills of working with political parties during the pre-elections period.
G.J: What qualities of Latvian character helped you overcome the crisis?
E.G: Being calm and organized. Our Prime Minister Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis did his best in a very calm and balanced way, despite the fact that it was difficult to overcome the cut-downs in the budget, especially for the people who worked in the ministries and state institutions. In such case, neither strikes, nor rallies can help you, because you can go to some rally and take advantage of the freedom of expression but it will change nothing, when you have limited resources in the budget and are facing huge problems. In that case, it is better to work hard. Many people left Latvia and it’s very pitiful for us, but we still think about improving our economic situation and we still think that a lot of people will come back because all of us have only one home. You will always be a foreigner abroad and I think Latvians can be compared to Georgians because we are both very domestic peoples, attached to our land. We need our soil, our friends and relatives close to us and we are always homesick when we are away. Even a lot of money does not compensate being abroad. There is a big wave of new immigrants from Latvia now most of which went to Great Britain, Ireland and Germany, and they had no problems in finding their jobs as we are the EU member country. And one more feature - we are a very hard-working nation. We realize that only heavy, everyday work can make our country richer. But still, as a conclusion of our conversation, I want to add that during this one year that I am here, I saw a lot of good changes in Georgia and I strongly believe in Georgia’s success story.
Georgian Journal thanks Latvia and its ambassador to Georgia for her kind disposition, her support and good wishes, as well as for cordial and hospitable reception. We congratulate her on Latvia’s Independence Day. We wish all the best to Latvia, our friendly country.




Other Stories
"Georgia has a long way to go in Tourism"
Because of the booming tourism industries, the Georgian government starts to implement regulations. “But this happens not fast enough, not efficient enough and not rigorous enough”, says Stefan Meister from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza discusses Georgia, NATO membership and Trump’s presidency with GJ
How can we explain the statement made by the former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen about the possibility for Georgia to join NATO?
NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon visits Khurvaleti village
President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon has arrived in the village of Didi Khurvaleti, in the Gori municipality, located near the Administrative Boundary Line.
“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”
“With big money you can either build or destroy something”, says Vano Vashakmadze. The consultant for development in tourism helped to work out the new zone planning implemented by the government.
Mamuka Khazaradze establishes Lelo movement
The public movement of TBC Bank's founder Mamuka Khazaradze will be called Lelo.
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to establish social movement in Anaklia
The presentation of the social movement of the founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze will be held tomorrow, September 12, in Anaklia. The event begins at 12:00.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen offers Georgia a way to join NATO
Georgia should start an internal discussion of whether it would be acceptable to join NATO without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secreatry General of North-Atlantic Teaty Organisation, said.
“These protests are different”
«In Georgia protesting is almost a tradition», says the historian Simon Janashia who works at the American School in Tbilisi. But the current demonstrations are profoundly different.
Kelly Degnan nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia
President Donald Trump has submitted the nomination of Kelly Degnan to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia.
Development of the Anaklia deep sea port should be in the interest of every Georgian, says Kurt Volker
Importance of the Anaklia deep sea port is huge for Georgia and the Georgians have heard about it from many politicians inside or outside of the country.
Clashes and whistling in the Georgian Parliament after nomination of new PM
Clashes took place at the entrances to the Parliament building today, as protesters held the "Shame on You" event.
“Georgian Dream” Party introduced Georgy Gakharia as Prime Minister
“Georgian Dream” party has introduced Interior Minister Georgy Gakharia to the post of Prime Minister.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned. Bakhtadze released the relevant statement on the social network.
There will be no war with Georgia, says De-facto official
Georgia's provocative actions at the "borders of South Ossetia" are just an attempt by the Georgian authorities to divert their population's attention from acute domestic problems
After the summer Tbilisi is expecting another hot season
Every evening in June and July hundreds of protesters came to the parliament to demonstrate.
Why so called South Ossetian delegation gave ultimatum to the Georgian side?
Representatives of de-facto regime of the Tskhinvali region gave ultimatum to the Georgian side to abolish the Georgian police block post near Tsnelisi until 6:00am, August 30th.
Former Russian Duma member sees theoretical chance of solution the Abkhazia problem
Former member of the Russian Duma, Ilya Ponomarev, believes that there is a theoretical chance of resolving the problem of occupied Abkhazia
Georgian president calls Brexit new opportunity (Watch video)
Georgians feel that they are Europeans. It is not something they are striving for. They are European, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said in her interview with Euronews.
So called elections in Abkhazia go into second round
The “Presidential elections” in Abkhazia do not bring a clear leader. Nor are they recognized by a variety of states, among them the US, the UK, Ukraine and Latvia.
Representatives of diplomatic corps arrive in Gugutiantkari
Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Government of Georgia are in the outskirts of the Gugutiantkari village of Gori municipality,
US State Department condemns Russian occupation of Georgia’s territories
The US state department has issued a statement condemning Russian occupation of Georgian territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
What went wrong in the 2008 August War? – Mikheil Saakashvili recalls
Today Georgia marks 11 years since the 2008 August War. After 11 years, there still are many unanswered questions.
After 11 years, Georgia commemorates the August War
It has been 11 years since the 2008 August War in Georgia. Officials and different politicians once again commemorated the date and made statements about the ongoing occupation of Georgia’s territories by Russia.
International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center publishes fresh survey
A new nationwide public opinion survey of Georgian citizens by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research
First comments made after Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2
Rustavi 2 TV shareholder Kibar Khalvashi made first comment about the Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
September 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29