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Former Georgian Defense Minister Returns From Self-Imposed Exile

Georgia's former defense minister, Dmitry Shashkin (file photo)
Georgia's former Defense Minister Dmitry Shashkin and his family have returned to that country from four months of self-imposed exile.

Speaking to journalists in Tbilisi’s airport on March 6, Shashkin said, "I am a Georgian citizen and returned home."

Asked about allegations of financial mismanagement while he was serving as defense minister, Shashkin said he is ready to answer any questions from the prosecutor-general.

Shashkin left to the United States in October after Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream bloc defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement party in the general elections.

At the time, Shashkin explained via Facebook that he left Georgia because his viewpoints did not coincide with those of the winners of the elections.

Shashkin also called on his colleagues and friends "not to believe unbelievable stories" about him.

Ivanishvili's opponents have accused him of waging a campaign since the elections of persecution of political rivals and Saakashvili allies.

Based on reporting by and Novosti-Gruzia