For the record, Okruashvili was removed from his defense minister’s post to head the Ministry of Economic Development on November 20; a week later, he handed in his resignation.
As he was presenting his new economics minister, Georgiy Arveladze, to the press today, the Georgian president said Okruashvili left the office to continue his education abroad.
“Okruashvili wanted to resign from the defense minister’s post to go abroad and improve his qualification as a military politician, but I offered him the economic development job instead. Still, he preferred to stick to his own decision which I had to respect,” Saakashvili was quoted as saying (RBC).
Okruashvili, too, attended Arveladze’s presentation ceremony.
“I am leaving, but I will be back soon. I will be back to where my heart is left. I will be back to complete the mission which I am leaving uncompleted,” he said, emphasizing he didn’t care whether he is back as the defense minister or a soldier.
As for his heart, Okruashvili had earlier mentioned where he had left it. Commenting on his appointment as the minister of economic development, he said “his heart and soul belonged to the Georgian armed forces, and would belong there for a long time still.”
There is no need to clarify the “incomplete mission” either. By saying that, Okruashvili openly threatened South Ossetia once again. He had earlier promised to celebrate the New Year’s Eve in Tskhinvali and was ready to resign if that “mission” failed.
It is only unclear whether Okruashvili still intends to complete his “mission” within the earlier announced timeframe, or he will make relevant adjustments.
Irakly Okruashvili graduated in 1995 from Tbilisy State University where he majored in international law and international relations.
He never served in the army. Still, when Mikhail Saakashvili came to power, he joined the cohort of the president’s closest associates, who headed power agencies in various combinations.
Okruashvili served as Georgia’s prosecutor general between 2003 and 2004 and as minister of the interior between June and December 2004. Then he was appointed Georgia’s defense minister.
He is considered the one who actually triggered off the 2004 conflict in the Georgian-Ossetian tension zone. He is notorious for his rash statements on military-political issues, which made the opposition dub him a “maniac” and become wary of his reactions.
Irakly Okruashvili turned 33 on November 6, 2006.