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Anticipating Ivanishvili’s response

By Messenger Staff
Friday, October 28
Since Georgian tycoon Ivanishvili’s statement indicating he would participate in his country's political life only the Government has been taking steps--and quite aggressive ones. Ivanishvili and his wife were deprived of their Georgian citizenship, his business Cartu Bank now has problems and his supporters have been intimidated in different ways throughout the country. State-controlled media have been discrediting the billionaire, accusing him of a pro-Russian orientation.

However, Ivanishvili has given interviews to international and local media and is continuing to pave his pay into Georgian politics. Losing Georgian citizenship appears to be the biggest threat to his ambitions. Without it--according to Georgian legislation--he cannot participate in any political battle nor finance any political party. Although he has appealed against this ruling, he has so far received a negative response from the Court. He has not applied to the President for Georgian citizenship again.

Former President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze, supports the idea of returning Georgian citizenship to Ivanishvili. Otherwise, he predicted, civil unrest might result. Shevardnadze stated that Georgians as well as the international community want Ivanishvili to participate in the parliamentary elections of 2012. In the same statement Shevardnadze called Ivanishili “the savior of Georgia.” Of course nobody in Georgia wants civil unrest, and the public believes such developments would be the responsibility of the ruling power. However, most believe there are little grounds for civil confrontation so far in Georgia and Ivanishvili himself has very clearly stated that he is against any revolutions or street action.

There are attempts to find similarities between the late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili who also tried to enter Georgian politics but suddenly died in Britain in February 2008. However, many believe Patarkatishvili was a more aggressive contender, whereas Bidzina Ivanishvili is more cautious. Patarkatsivhli was acting under pressure of a deadline, whereas Ivanishvili has more time to select his team, and, overall, Georgians feel more sympathy towards Ivanishvili.

There is a battle of nerves playing out between Ivanishvili and the ruling power, although both sides have exercised restraint so far. Opposition members believe that Ivanishvili present strategy should be hiring influential western companies for his PR campaign and receive proper advice, hire speech writers and prepare more professionally for public appearances.