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Deoligarchization Campaign Aimed at ‘Discrediting’ Governance System, Says PM

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili claimed on July 12 that the “totally unsubstantiated” “campaign mounted by internal and external political opponents” against ruling Georgian Dream founder Bidzina Ivanishvili and deoligarchization is “aimed at discrediting” the Georgian governance system.

In an extensive letter published on his personal Facebook page, PM Garibashvili noted that talk of Ivanishvili continuing to manage the current government is a “complete farce and absurdity.” Per the Premier, the assertion that the PM is “part of the farce” and actually managed by a person who left politics a year ago, insults both him and the Georgian state.

According to PM Garibashvili, it is because opponents “do not have any facts” regarding Ivanishvili’s role in politics, that they point to the fact of several members of the ruling team having entered Georgian politics under Ivanishvili’s leadership as the “main evidence of the so-called oligarchic rule.”

The PM explained that when you choose personnel for the government “it’s natural that you do not hire strangers” but people who “went through the toughest battle with you and handled their work with a high level of professionalism.”

The PM emphasized that “false accusations” about the oligarchic rule are incompatible with the rules of the game left by Ivanishvili after leaving politics, especially since according to the Premier, the positions of Minister of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance, and Health are occupied by people with no connection to Ivanishvili.

The PM also explained that taking into account their friendly relationship, there is nothing “shameful” if he and his family members continue to periodically communicate with Ivanishvili’s family on various issues.

PM Garibashvili also touched on Georgia’s refusal to join sanctions on Russia, noting that everyone is “very wrong” if someone thinks that “we did not impose sanctions and join the war at Bidzina Ivanishvili’s behest.” “We do not need anyone’s advice on this issue in the team. We also love the country and will not sacrifice it to a fatal war,” he added.

“… In this situation, the authors of the [deoligarchization] campaign should kindly explain, what they mean when they talk about oligarchs and deoligarchization,” the PM stressed, adding that if the problem is the very existence of Ivanishvili in general, then the opponents “must admit this.”

“I would advise the United National Movement and its internal and external partners, to adapt to the current situation – peace, stability, and double-digit economic growth. They should understand that no matter how much they may want to, they cannot involve Georgia in the war,” the PM concluded.

Political Spectrum’s Response

The PM’s letter met varying responses ranging from supportive GD colleagues reiterating that Ivanishvili has no current role in Georgian politics to staunchly critical opposition politicians who dubbed the post confirmation of Ivanishvili being an oligarch.

According to Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, the idea that Georgia is being governed not by its elected officials but by one person outside of the government is a “direct insult to Georgian democracy.”

“A person is not an island. What do you think, that a person must be encircled and he should not have contact with anyone?… What is white will never become black, whoever is not an oligarch, should not be called an oligarch, [and] cannot become an oligarch,” he added.

MP and GD Executive Secretary, Mamuka Mdinaradze, confirmed the ruling party has a “particularly special attitude” towards Ivanishvili, adding, “what would be strange is if it were otherwise.”

MP Mdinaradze emphasized that in the “unprecedented information war which is being waged separately against Ivanishvili and Georgia, the victory of truth is of great principle importance since it is impossible to allow a philanthropist to be a misanthrope and oligarch.” “If we allow this theoretically – if they take this, how can we protect truth in other, everyday issues?”

“This is a letter written in fear,” United National Movement MP Roman Gotsiridze told journalists. “It seems that [Bidzina Ivanishvili] got a visit from the postman and very soon they will hand him a notice about sanctions,” he added. “Sanctions are getting closer…”

Per Giorgi Vashadze, one of Strategy Aghmashenebeli’s leaders, PM Garibashvili’s letter is a “direct confirmation and evidence” that there is an oligarchical rule in Georgia. He believes that the PM is either trying to distance himself from Ivanishvili so as to avoid sanctions or “is begging Bidzina Ivanishvili to allow him to stay in the position of Prime Minister a little while longer.”

“No matter how many letters the Prime Minister will write, where Bidzina Ivanishvili will be mentioned 30-times, this will on the contrary strengthen the view that oligarchical rule is really rooted in the country and unfortunately, to some extent, takes the face of an idol worshipper,” Badri Japaridze, Lelo’s leader, said.

Note: The article was updated on July 13, 2022 at 13:00 with political responses to the PM’s letter

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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