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Saakashvili Calls Ukraine's Protests Sign Of Change --> Mikheil Saakashvili (file photo) 22 January 2005 -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today called the massive demonstrations in Ukraine in support of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko proof that citizens in former Soviet republics will no longer let their governments deny them a voice.

In an interview with Associated Press Television, Saakashvili said these societies are developed enough to understand that "they are the ones who are running the country and not the governments."

Saakashvili -- speaking in English -- called Yushchenko a positive force for Ukraine and for the region. Yushchenko is being inaugurated as Ukraine's new president tomorrow.

Saakashvili said Georgia had "set standards" and that Ukraine can be a real engine behind "spreading those standards everywhere else and bringing prosperity to the whole region."

Saakashvili said the "empire is gone," an apparent reference to Russia, which had backed Yushchenko's rival in the presidential race, Viktor Yanukovych.


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"Nipping Orange Roses In The Bud -- Post-Soviet Elites Against Revolution"

[For more RFE/RL coverage and analysis of the political crisis in Ukraine, click here.]