05 December, 2013
An interview with Irakli Alasania, Minister of Defense

“Will Russia try to impede Georgia’s integration with the European Union, and what threats should we expect from our Northern neighbor?” Defense Minister Irakli Alasania spoke with us on these issues. Here we offer the most interesting excerpts from the interview.
I.A. – We’ve never been so close with Europe. It can be said that we’ve actually broken the ‘Caucasian chalk circle’ and have become part of the road leading to the
European family.
Q. – Are there any possible military threats?
A. – I see no direct chance of military aggression, but I see threats such as the creation of a critical mood with regard to the country’s integration with NATO and the European Union. First attempts of this kind were made when we tragically lost our heroic military personnel in Afghanistan; at that time there some forces momentarily appeared trying to use it against our European intentions.
Q. – Is it planned to decrease the Georgian contingency in Afghanistan?
A. – We’ve already taken our responsibility and are fulfilling it bravely and with distinction.
Q. – At what stage is the defense reform?
A. – The undergoing reform in the defense system was assessed by NATO as the most successful one. This means that all the tasks that were implemented within the last year were correctly planned.
Salaries were increased for 91% of employees of the Defense Ministry; and by $300 for the salaries in Afghanistan and for those who participate in military operations. We’ve worked out a system of care for our veterans.
Q. – What is your personal feeling, as the Minister of Defense, when the country is experiencing creeping occupation?
A. – We will allow nobody to drag us into local escalation. For us the coming years are a political mine-field that we have to cross safely.
Q. – There were several cases of soldiers being poisoned by food. What was the reason for it, and was this used against you?
A. – It happened because there was no corresponding infrastructure in the army. Actually, not a single kitchen or mess corresponded to the standards. We started improving this from the very first days, and by the end of the year 28 infrastructure projects will be finished.