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What is Ivanishvili’s role?

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 11
When the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili resigned from politics, the public immediately wondered if he would instead be running the country from behind the scenes. Opposition members were most skeptical of Ivanishvili’s claims of resignation. After the dismissal of Defence Minister Irakli Alasania, the same suspicions were intimated by President Giorgi Margvelashvili, though he did not specifically name Ivanishvili. Margvelahsvili stressed that the country should be run by state institutions and not from the behind scenes. The statement was understood by many to mean Ivanishvili.

Ivanishvili personally attended the Political Council meeting of the Georgian Dream coalition for what he was criticized by former Defence Minister as well. He stressed that he had never seen Ivanishvili at such meetings since he stepped down as PM.

Alasania refused to speak with Ivanishvili at the meeting and left the meeting as a sign of protest. However, later he visited Ivanishvili at his palace and spoke with him. During his interview for the Georgian Public Broadcaster Ivanishvili criticized Alasania but referred to Alasania’s Free Democrats as a constructive opposition party.

Ivanishvili also touched upon Margvelashvili’s statement with regard to running the country from backstage. He emphasized that the president’s comments were offensive to him and Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.

“I have done what I promised, if I wanted to run the country I could have…Why would I have left politics if I wanted to run the country?” Ivanishvili said, adding that those who can think normally would not speak such nonsense.

At the same time, Ivanishvili does not hide the fact that he gives advice to politicians from his former team, Gharibashsvili among them. “However, I should admit that Gharibashvili asks me for advice very rarely,” Ivanishvili says.

The president also made additional comments over the issue. He stressed that during the developments between the Defense Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office he was in Austria and observed the situation on TV. The president stated that he did not mean Ivanishvili in his statements, he meant the whole process that was somehow chaotic and revealed such an impression that some bodies or people were main actors in the process and not state institutions.

The same could be said about former President Saakashvili, who is abroad but obviously interferes in Georgian politics.

Member of the United National Movement Goga Khachidze ensures that Ivanishvili is running the country from behind scenes as such a position requires less responsibility and is more comfortable for the former PM.

Human Rights defender Lia Mukhashavria shares this opinion and states that there are obvious signs even in the statements of Ivanishvili that he supervises the governance of the country. She admits that this is a dangerous precedent.

The fact is, running of the country from behind the scenes affects both the government and Ivanishvili’s image. The government looks like a puppet theatre. It would be much better If Ivanishvili would formally return to politics and participate openly.