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Ivanishvili: Russia will not stop

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 20
Founder of the coalition Georgian Dream and current head of the NGO Citizen, Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that Europe and America would use more resources in terms of Ukraine than they used in Georgia in 2008. However, according to him, even their resource would not be enough to stop Russia.

He also stresses that Russia still owns levers against Georgia but, presumably, Russia will not use them. During his interview with Imedi TV on March 18, Ivanishvili widely spoke about the current Georgian political situation as well. He expressed disappointment in President Giorgi Margvelashvili and praised Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.

“Russia will not concede regarding Crimea. If there is much pressure on Russia, the federation will respond to the actions. Russia will spend more resources in Crimea than it spent on Georgia. The international community will keep balance, they will use more resources regarding Ukraine than they used concerning Georgia. However, the obstacles will not stop Russia,” Ivanishvili stated.

Ivanishvili believes that Russia will not carry out aggression against Georgia. He emphasizes that in any case, Russia would not be in a comfortable satiation.

Member of the opposition United National Movement, Giga Bokeria, commented on his statements, calling them “obscure” and “incompetent.”

Fellow UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili said that Ivanishvili discussed the aggressor and victim in one context when international standards are violated by Russia.

Discussing the internal situation in Georgia, Ivanishvili stressed that Margvelashvili disappointed him, as he was not as principled as seen prior to the presidential elections. Ivanishvili stated that there were some disagreements between him and Margvelashvili regarding the presidential palace (Margvelashvili uses the residence).

President of Georgia Giorgi Marghvelashvili responded to journalists’ questions regarding Ivanishvili’s statements, stressing that Ivanishvili’s words are especially important for him and the criticism is painful. However, Margvelashvili stated that he was not going to speak open regarding his and Ivanishvili’s private talks with media.

Machavariani, who is the brother of UNM lawmaker Mikheil Machavariani, is Margvelashvili’s foreign policy adviser. Ivanishvili stressed that his negative attitude to Machavariani is caused due to the latter’s improper past actions.

Ivanishvili said that after he entered into politics in late 2011, Margvelashvili brought into the team his friend Vano Machavariani, but the latter quit shortly after that and took a well-paid job at the state-owned Partnership Fund. Ivanishvili said that Machavariani joined his team just to tease the ruling UNM party and to obtain from them a well-paid job in exchange for not being with Georgian Dream.

Machavariani denied Ivanishvili’s allegation, stressing that the accusations are far from the truth. Machavariani stated that someone might deliver wrong information to Ivanishvili. “If I have an opportunity, I would tell the truth to Ivanishvili,” Machavariani said.

Members of the coalition Georgian Dream welcomed Ivanishvili’s statements. According to the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Agriculture Ivanishvili proved himself as an impartial critic to the government he had left in power. Coalition members Manana Kobakhidze and Davit Saganelidze shared the former PM’s position regarding president’s palace and Vano Machavariani.

UNM member Giga Bokeria stated that Ivanishvili “abused” his “puppet president” whom he suggested to the public.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili states that nothing is surprising in Ivanishvili’s criticism as he is an NGO representative at present.

Fellow analyst Vakhtang Dzabiradze believes that there might be more misunderstanding between Ivanishvili and Margvelashvili than was spoken. As for the Avlabari President’s residence, the analyst thinks that building the palace was the wrong decision. “However, the residence exists and it should not be used for other purposes,” Dzabiradze said, noting that Ivanishvili should be more distanced from politics now.