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    Prison is the punishment for resisting Russia. Interview with Saakashvili’s mother

    “This is supposed to be the punishment the Russian side inflicts on him. This is because in 2008 Russia failed to destroy Georgian statehood. The Georgian authorities put up resistance and our army was in good condition. At that time, we would not have succeeded without the support of the West, the United States, and the visit of five European presidents who came to Georgia and gave us support at the main square of Tbilisi. The initiator and organiser of this expedition was, of course, President Lech Kaczynski,” says Giuli Alasania.

    Your son, President Mikheil Saakashvili, has been in prison for a year and a half. What is his condition at the moment?

    He is in a terrible state, he is very weak. His health deteriorated very badly about a year ago. He suffers from muscular atrophy, so he spends most of his time in bed. He has a fever and blood pressure problems. He is unable to take even two steps on his own and often falls over. He has trouble eating, but occasionally he is able to eat something small. At 194 cm tall, my son currently weighs just 61 kg.

    Do you have any contact with him?

    Yes, I visit him twice a day. This is in connection with the fact that Mikheil was poisoned. Today, it is clear to everyone that this happened during his stay in prison. I managed to obtain a special permit to bring him food in prison. I am the exception; only I and his lawyers can visit him.

    Why do you think the current Georgian authorities have decided on such a far-reaching repression against your son?

    This is supposed to be the punishment the Russian side inflicts on him. This is because in 2008 Russia failed to destroy Georgian statehood. The Georgian authorities put up resistance and our army was in good condition. At that time, we would not have succeeded without the support of the West, the United States, and the visit of five European presidents who came to Georgia and gave us support at the main square of Tbilisi. The initiator and organiser of this expedition was, of course, President Lech Kaczynski

    The current government does not like the then anti-Russian stance of President Saakashvili?

    Yes, we have a pro-Russian government in Georgia now. Unfortunately. The rulers are making some apparent moves, declaring, for example, that they want to be part of Europe, but in practice, they are doing everything to prevent this from happening. They support Russia, even during the current war. The majority, the vast majority of the population, about 80 per cent, is on the side of Ukraine, but unfortunately this does not apply to our authorities.

    When the funeral of the presidential couple was held in Poland in 2010, President Saakashvili did everything to be there despite the difficulties. Why was this so important to him?

    My son had to be there because President Lech Kaczynski was a great friend of his. Mikheil was of course grateful for his support in 2008, but their friendship started much earlier, and my daughter-in-law had a very close relationship with First Lady Maria Kaczynska. Mikheil and Lech saw the world in a similar way and wanted to carry out many projects together.

    I remember the day of the funeral very well. I was sitting at home, watching TV. I was all nervous because, as you remember, there were problems with air travel at the time due to the volcanic eruption. Most flights were cancelled. My son was on a trip to the United States at the time, I do not know now where he had to stay. I knew that many said it was dangerous, but Mikheil was determined to get to the funeral. I, however, had no news. So I sat in front of the TV watching the broadcast and couldn’t spot my son. Finally, Mikheil’s head emerged from behind a row of mourners. I breathed a sigh of relief to see that he had managed to arrive safely.

    Ukraine also played a very important role in your son’s political life.

    Mikheil studied in Ukraine, in Kyiv, as a young man. He made a lot of acquaintances and close friends there. He spent his best years there. I sometimes laugh that maybe he has more real friends in Ukraine than in Georgia. He left Georgia at the end of his term, not least because many high-profile people warned him against staying on. They said he might even face death. My son went to Ukraine and became governor of Odessa. To this day, he still retains the office of advisor to President Zelensky.

    How does the current situation affect him?

    He is fully involved in what is happening in Ukraine. When I visit him in his cell, the TV, the only source of information, is constantly on. Mikheil always knows what is going on, asks me for details, analyses events and tries to formulate his forecasts on how the situation will develop.

    Are these forecasts optimistic?

    Yes, Mikheil has a very optimistic approach. He was already confident, many months ago, that Ukraine would emerge victorious from this war.

    What are the chances that your son will leave prison in the near future?

    We have appealed to the Strasbourg Court and are waiting for a decision. Mikheil should be released due to his health condition. He has been diagnosed with three separate illnesses, any one of which could be grounds for release. Our authorities are adamant, but we can only hope that maybe under the influence of the Strasbourg decision, this will change.

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