Reagan Smiling over Excited Georgia

World | November 23, 2011, Wednesday // 17:38|  views

View of a statue of former US President Ronald Reagan in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, 23 November 2011. EPA/BGNES

A monument of US President Ronald Reagan has been inaugurated in Georgia's capital Tbilisi only two days after a Reagan statue was opened in Poland's Warsaw.

"Reagan broke the Soviet Union down 20 years ago and, as no one else, deserves a place in downtown Tbilisi, the heart of Georgia. Reagan is as urgent in Georgia today as never before," declared Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at the opening of the monument of the 40th US President in Park Rike, as cited by the Trend News Agency.

Saakashvili did use the chance for some "Russia bashing", in line with the current geopolitical orientation of his country, which lost a brief war to Russia in August 2008, after which South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded, and did not forget Russian leader Putin in his remarks.

"The leader of a country, which enslaved us, thinks the Soviet Union's breakdown is the greatest geopolitical tragedy. Several days ago, there was announced establishment of a Eurasian Union, unequivocally described as a new variant of the USSR. They restored the anthem of the Soviet Union but we placed the Reagan monument as a sign of difference between our values and theirs and we do not do it to spite anyone," Saakashvili noted.

He noted that many generations of the Georgians fought occupation. Saakashvili recalled that Georgians sent a letter to the US President in the beginning of last century but received no reply.

"The First President who replied to Georgia's call was Reagan," he said.

The monument opening ceremony was also attended by visiting US Congressmen.

Before the monument was opened in Tbilisi, there was the official opening of the Reagan Freedom Center. The Center was created on the basis of partnership agreement between a Georgian initiative group and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Fund.

It will be the first center outside the US to officially bear the name of Reagan and operate as an official partner of the Reagan Presidential Fund.

"The Reagan Freedom Center is a non-profit, politically neutral organization that promotes realization of principles of freedom, democracy, effective government, and free entrepreneurship. The Center promotes formation of a policy, which will strengthen democratic institutes, stimulate democratic development and strengthen security, and support further strengthening of Georgian-US relations and the process of Georgia's integration with Euro-Atlantic medium," the Center's founders said.

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Tags: Ronald Reagan, Warsaw, Poland, solidarity, Cold War, USSR, Soviet Union, US President, anti-communism, Lech Walesa, monument, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Eurasian Union, Mikhail Saakashvili


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