PM Says Went to Athos ‘to Detox’ After Quitting as PM

Pro-government Imedi TV aired on September 26 a casual interview with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, focusing on his first premiership and the 2015 resignation, biggest temptations while in the office and the beginning of his career with billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Cartu Foundation.

PM Garibashvili said following his resignation in December 2015, he went alone to Mount Athos in Greece to “experience some kind of detox” after serving two years as Prime Minister. “There you have an opportunity to stay alone… I declared fight against myself.”

He said “the next day after my resignation I had an unusual anxiety, then I realized I did not have to take care of everyday issues.”

Stressing that “the power is the biggest temptation” and that “the power changes a person,” PM recalled his tenure as Interior Minister in 2012-2013, “when while being a young, 30-year-old boy, things are done as you say.” “This is a big test for a person.”

The Prime Minister admitted that even after resigning as PM back in 2015, he could not fully get over the quest for politics. Recalling a conversation with a Greek monk during one of his Mount Athos visits, the PM said he was asked whether he sought to return to politics. I said “if God be willing,” but the monk replied “[don’t meddle the God with it], you make up your mind.”

PM Garibashvili also noted that hoping for change after the Rose Revolution of 2003, he voted for Mikheil Saakashvili in January 2004 Presidential Elections. He said “then a priest told me to say it in confession for you have made a great mistake, without recognizing the scale of danger that man [Saakashvili] could inflict on the country.”

The Prime Minister further recalled his return to Georgia in 2004 after studies in Paris, noting he wished to start an internship in the government chancellery, where he applied with his CV and had several interviews. But he said instead of starting his internship in Saakashvili’s administration, he suddenly received a paid job offer with the Cartu Foundation, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

In this context, he recalled with joy the day of October 17, 2005, when Ivanishvili first hosted him for a meeting in his native village of Chorvila, in Western Sachkhere district. “I have been observing you, you are a good boy, I want you to develop further [professionally], and I’d like to assist you in this, what if I offer you being my assistant in Cartu Foundation and involve you in my personal business,” the Prime Minister recollected Ivanishvili’s words.


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