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The Public Lecture of the President at the Tbilisi Classical Gymnasium

I would like to Welcome, You!
It is significantly important that we have an opportunity to talk about the future of our country, the choice of our nation, and those steps that we will take together for our country’s development.
The European week is underway that is directed to rethink how the society should operate, as well as the politicians, based on society’s demands.
Georgia is a European country with its European society, with a European culture, to that past, literature, that political choice, which our predecessors had made with the same spirit that we have inside of us, today. Therefore, we declare that Georgia is a European country with its cultural identity.
Each of us through our intelligence, traditions, and relationships are European with our fellow citizens, neighbors, and in the family as well.
Such a situation is possible, where you as an individual are European, your culture is European and you as a citizen live and think in this regime as a European, but at the same time, you need to implement some reforms that the political system becomes European.
It is possible in such a country, which during its history often has not had the opportunity, during its history to transfer its identity to the political system as we do not decide this for ourselves. It was determined by other countries and by the great empires that conquered us.
Hence, we were a different society in the Soviet Union, through other types of relationships and other sorts of values, set by this empire. But, one thing is what we were. Another thing was the political system, where we worked and acted.  
This was the centralized system. There was a multi-party system. Only one direction was clear politically, and you had only one choice, and in this situation, those state institutions functioned differently.
The Cabinet of Ministers worked differently, the Communist party worked individually as well, the law enforcement organs and other institutions run separately too. We were existing and living in a political system, which was foreign for us. 
Therefore, when we were given the opportunity, both, my and older generation did everything so that Georgia became the independent, left this system, no longer was the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
This was a significantly important step. Our predecessors were permanently trying to create their country. They created a unique literature, architecture, songs and a unique alphabet. But it was not enough for us simply being the creator of culture. We had steadily tried to create the state. Our predecessors sacrificed their lives in this respect.
Our generation managed it and created the country. One is to set up and become independent. Another is to build your own. Therefore, independence is different from freedom. After we gained independence, we faced and demanded the issue of freedom. Achieving freedom is very difficult.
Why am I saying that we should strive towards Europe? At first, Europe gives us the opportunity to create our identity in the general framework. Europe gives us the opportunity to define the political system's framework individually.
European process is exciting and attractive for me as it is the continuation of our history. This is that past, which our predecessors have already passed. This is Rustaveli, Sulkhan-Saba, Vaja Pshavela.
And the third, the closest and important for me – this is freedom. The freedom, which I always feel in Georgian society, even though, I was born in the Soviet Union. 
And what does freedom means? First of all, freedom is individualism. The person will not be free if he does not have the independent opinion and ability to evaluate, to have a personal position and then to say that if it is or is not acceptable for him. This is the first part of freedom when you can have your values and have the will to live as you want.
A lot of people are interested in politics, in Georgia. It is precisely because of this that we are free individuals. We do not consider that someone must decide instead of us. This is the main point, but the significantly important part of freedom also is in the fact that you should not only give the arguments to prove your positions, but also should be able to assume other’s freedom.
You are not the free if you do not give freedom to others. If you do not allow the possibility for other dissent opinion, there is no freedom. The others must have access to freedom too.
If you consider that only your opinion is correct, and it is acceptable to oppress and suppress other’s opinion, you become the dictator. When you become a dictator, you transform others to the slave. While the other is a slave, actually you are a slave too, as you remove the possibility for others’ freedom of expression. 
If existence of different types of people in society is admissible, then freedom exists. The individual will not be free, if he does not recognize the freedom of others. The freedom exists in the society, when two free human beings coexist.
This process, of course, is complicated, and we continuously see the politicians’ discussions in this respect. It is significantly important to express your opinion in this discussion and have debates about these values.
The main point in this system is that we all should think about the future of our country. The society must urgently be the part of this debate, and it should give this order to the politicians. It is one of the themes that we have not fully implemented yet.
We see that politicians dictate their own society values and then part of society tries to influence to others. However, society must have a very sharp political position, and politicians must seek to serve this position.
In this debate, it is significantly important to push forward the role of public position and argumentation. I am confident that your generation will take this step, and that they will be able to achieve that the next political process in Georgia will be ordered by the society – this is one; the other is that the youth should rethink that involvement and participation in politics specifically are for serving your country and your nation and not to have a nihilistic attitude towards politics.
If the citizen says that politics is less interesting for him, then he signs up for on a dictatorship. If you are not interested in politics, you give politicians the right to think for you and count you as an individual, who might be controlled.
This is also an important part of the European political process that we all are the citizens and we decide - what should happen and what does not.
I am telling this with great regret, because by the recent surveys almost 60% of the population has not decided whom to support. Even a huge percent said that they will not go to the elections. If you are not coming to the elections, you might think that you do not give your vote to anyone. The elections will be conducted and you, who will not participate in this process, will be told by the politicians that you did not came to the elections, so it is one and the same for you. Therefore, one of the main things that we the society must achieve is to arrange meetings with politicians to ask them what they are thinking to do. Not just at slogan levels, but also how they are going to do it. They must tell you the truth, otherwise, they will not get the most important thing from you - your voice.
While we are independent now, it is significantly important to become free and this means to give very precise directives to the next President, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, and the Member of Parliament. That is the choice we face, and this significantly important process is going to happen now, in autumn.
It is crucial to tell everyone that they should take part in the elections. They should not stay at home. To stay at home means that a person he expresses his will to become a slave.
As you know, the European process is strategically important for our country.
It is not the achievement of this government, as well as of previous governments. It was always clear that our identity is in Europe, in the West and we are moving in this respect. Your job is to put the specific content in this process, and politicians have the specific commitments too!
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