On October 17th, the Facebook user “Bneli Ubnelesi” posted a photo and an alleged quote from Mikheil Saakashvili, claiming that the third president of Georgia has confirmed his “certain self-identification” with Vladimir Putin.
The disseminated quote is false. In fact, Mikheil Saakashvili said that he has some self-identification with the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and not Vladimir Putin.
On October 13th, Mtavari Arkhi aired an exclusive interview with incarcerated Mikheil Saakashvili. In the interview, Saakashvili talks about the decision and importance of his return to Georgia. Journalist Tea Adeishvili mentions in one of her questions that Saakashvili’s return is often compared to the arrival of Georgia’s first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia. The journalist wondered if the third president saw a parallel between the two events.
As a response to this question, Saakashvili noted that he had some self-identification with Zviad Gamsakhurdia, as he always tried to present himself in his place; however, he could not draw a direct parallel with his own return.
Journalist: … Zviad Gamsakhurdia was killed precisely because he did not leave politics and returned to his homeland from exile … Your arrival is compared to the return of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, do you see this parallel?
Mikheil Saakashvili: I did not risk it because, in this scenario, it would be very easy to shoot, blow things up, massacre and then blame everything on us. Since the 90s, I have thought a lot about Zviad in Khibula. Yes, I have some self-identification in the sense that I have always tried to present myself in his place, and I have cared so much for this abandoned, independence-bringing president. I would not draw a direct parallel with my arrival. I came because I wanted to leave, and I could not do otherwise, and I think this is really a critical point in our history.
Noteworthy, in the same interview, Vladimir Putin was mentioned only once by Tea Adeishvili when she noted that Mikheil Saakashvili’s early release from prison would have hindered Putin’s regime. In response, Saakashvili said the cases against him were linked to Russia’s interests.
Journalist: What does Saakashvili in prison mean? Do you think that if you, as an opponent of Russian policy and a successful politician, leave prison soon, it will be a precedent and a threat to Russia, both in our region and in strengthening democratic forces against the regime of Putin … and if Ivanishvili is a pursuer of the Russian dream, is it possible that he will keep you in prison for a long time?
Mikheil Saakashvili: Yes, I think that cases were initiated against me after my appointment as governor of Odessa. That was ordered by the Kremlin. Moscow was very irritated by the fact that Odessa has strategic importance for them, and I became a big obstacle on their way. Now, if the Georgian people are active, Moscow will not be able to veto my release.
No information that Saakashvili identified himself with Vladimir Putin can be found neither in this interview nor any of the public letters sent from prison or other open sources in general.
The Facebook account “Bneli Ubnelesi” uses a profile picture supportive of Levan Vasadze’s party. The page often shares “Alt-Info” programs related to Levan Vasadze. “Myth Detector” has previously verified the false information spread by the account. For more information, see our article:
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