UNM Statement on the 13th Anniversary of the Rose Revolution

TBILISI | 23 October 2016


Today is the 13th anniversary of the Rose Revolution – one of the most important events in the contemporary history of Georgia. The Rose Revolution put Georgia – riddled with corruption and organized crime – back to the path of European development. On 23 November 2003 the Georgian society, under the leadership of Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, rejected all what Georgia was known for in 1990s – bribery for public services or entering a university, merger of organized crime and state and numerous other features of “failing state” – a phenomenon our country was rightly considered as such by the world.

The road from the Rose Revolution to the present day has not been easy. Despite foreign aggression and internal difficulties, Georgia succeeded undergoing colossal changes. While previously a Police officer not taking bribes or entering a university without one had been considered fantasy - today it is reality. From one of the world’s most corrupt countries Georgia turned into the frontrunner of reform. The electricity shortages of the 1990s were left to the past. Numerous qualifiedyouths joined civil service, with adequate rather than symbolic salaries. Georgia’s failing infrastructure underwent a qualitative jump. Organised crime, with its virtually unlimited influence, which included fusion with the state and romantisation of “mafia culture” was resolutely defeated; time when it was unsafe to walk in the street at night was forgotten for good. Last, but not least achievement of the Rose Revolution is liberation of the province of Adjara from the pro-Russian criminal regime and bringing this province under full jurisdiction.

The radical reforms both considerably improved lives ordinary citizens and made the country known in the world. Georgia became a synonym for the fight against corruption and reform. Georgia also became a candidate for the membership of NATO and reappeared on the political map of Europe. 

Today, 13 years on, the ideals of Rose Revolution are very much alive. It was precisely thanks to these reforms that the first ever peaceful transfer of power through elections in the history of our region became possible. Despite serious setbacks that Georgia has faced since 2012 in practically all spheres, the legacy of the Rose Revolution is so strong that Georgia will never return in the past. Georgia remains the regional leader in terms of strength of its institutions and low level of corruption.

The Rose Revolution laid firm foundation for the European development of the Georgian statehood. We firmly believe that Georgia will reach the goals that united us all – full membership of the European and Euro-Atlantic family, a functioning liberal democracy, and the restoration of territorial integrity. We also believe that our country will reach objectives that could not be reached following the Rose Revolution, including fully independent judiciary and a strong system of checks and balances.

Happy 13th anniversary of the Rose Revolution!