Reactions to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Formal Return to Politics

Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder and patron of the ruling Georgian Dream party, was elected its honorary chairman during the party congress on December 30. This marks the return of Ivanishvili to at least a semi-formal political role after he announced the decision to quit politics “for good” in 2021. has collected domestic reactions to the return.

Ruling Party

According to Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia: “When it comes to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s return to politics, I would like to tell you…we all listened to his speech well and there are no more questions. He himself explained all the reasons why he is coming back to politics… the geopolitical situation is changing every day and this geopolitical situation, of course, has an impact on our country. The international order, the world order is changing. Nobody knows how long it will last and what these cataclysms will cause for the country… In this very difficult situation, the role of Mr. Bidzina is crucial, and here too he has taken on this unique role he has to carry on his shoulders. Because at least the next ten years will be a very difficult period not only for the region but also for the whole world. There is such a situation in the country and in the world that Mr. Bidzina’s return to politics was necessary”. Prime Minister Garibashvili added that Bidzina Ivanishvili will further strengthen the ruling Georgian Dream party, which has “an ambition and a goal” to secure constitutional majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2024. He also confirmed that over the past three years he has held consultations with Bidzina Ivanishvili on “strategic issues” such as “the fate and survival of the country” in the “turbulent situation”.

Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairperson of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said Ivanishvili’s comeback was “a very important event in our political life.” Kobakhidze noted that the return “will strengthen” both the party and the country. “We must thank Bidzina Ivanishvili for this decision. This gratitude is shared by all members and supporters of the party. When it comes to strengthening the team, Bidzina Ivanishvili has explained very well the reason and the goal of his return to politics. The reason is not the weakness of the team in relation to the elections. In his speech, he noted that if the parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, it would not be difficult for us to get 90-100 mandates even without a campaign. But under the circumstances that Bidzina Ivanishvili was talking about…[namely] the opposition is completely demolished and destroyed, there are other challenges, in response to which he made this decision”.

According to Shalva Papuashvili, Speaker of the Parliament, Ivanishvili’s return is a very important political event and the “successful conclusion” of the year for the ruling party and society. “Bidzina Ivanishvili’s presence in politics means greater consolidation of both the Georgian Dream team and society as a whole. Of course, the year 2024, under the conditions when the opposition is destroyed, contains dangers in itself, because the weak and incompetent opposition… in such times usually resorts to actions that threaten the whole country. That is why it is very important now for the whole team and society to unite as one group in order to avoid all the dangers that are waiting Georgia from the inside and from the outside, and at the end of next year at this time to celebrate the victory of Georgia”.


Giorgi Gakharia, For Georgia: “Good to see Ivanishvili finally managed to come out of his hiding. Excuses were weak. Challenge accepted. Happy New Year!”

Sopo Japaridze, United National Movement: “I would like to say once again what I have said many times before, and today it was finally confirmed that yes, the Russian oligarch never left Georgian politics. Today he finally confirmed the informal rule in the country and once again confirmed his fear that changes are inevitable in 2024 with the broad participation of Mikheil Saakashvili and the United National Movement.”

Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Agmashenebeli: “The victory of the Georgian people over the Georgian Dream in 2023 forced Ivanishvili to reappear in [formal] politics… Because he was afraid of the ongoing decrease in the number of Georgian Dream supporters… Secondly, undoubtedly, he came back only for his personal welfare and security.”

Giga Bokeria, European Georgia: “I think it does not alter anything for our society. The challenge presented by this regime, specifically the Ivanishvili’s regime, whether he becomes more active or relatively less so, [does not change]. I object to the term “comeback” because he has never gone anywhere.”

Shalva Natelashvili, Labor Party: “The Russian oligarch Ivanishvi is back in the politics he never left. This decision was made in Moscow, in the Kremlin, personally by the aggressor Putin, whose aim is to successfully complete the political annexation of Georgia with Ivanishvili’s hand and permanently take possession of the Transcaucasian region”.

Ana Natsvlishvili, Lelo: “Ivanishvili came out of hiding and the fear of defeat forced him to return. That’s good, there will be more clarity in society about who is responsible and who really manages the processes… Although he has always been in politics and has always managed the processes, Ivanishvili’s public return is the main message for Moscow that despite the [EU] candidate status and the Georgian people’s movement towards Europe, Moscow’s interests are not threatened here because Bidzina Ivanishvili is in control of the situation.”

Eka Beselia, For Justice: “He had a feeling that he was losing power… Inside, the situation is much more acute and the governance remote control is lost somewhere, and in between the phrases that I know well and have read a lot from, there was a very open dissatisfaction with the leaders of his own party. It was not by chance that he mentioned the word corruption. He said several times that he should balance it… these dangers, temptations that accompany excessive power.”

More to follow…

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


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