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Clearing Ivanishvili’s good name

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 17
The New York Times has published Georgian Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili’s letter with the title ‘’Saakashvili Prosecuted by His Own Past and Not Putin’s ‘Accomplice’ Ivanishvili’’. In the letter, Usupashvili speaks about Georgia’s previous leadership, former officials’ cases, on the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili and other state-related topics.

According to Usupashvili, the concerns raised by Georgia’s friends and partners with regard to former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s indictment reflect that Georgia’s allies are not neglectful of the ongoing developments in the country.

“I take their position as support for Georgia and a desire to see my homeland emerge as a developed and effective democracy. I understand the reaction of former President Saakashvili’s political friends. It is hard to see your one-time political ally ruined and charged with a crime,” Usupashvili says.

Usupashvili thinks that Georgia’s allies might fear that signs of political persecution and retaliation may emerge in a country with weak democratic institutions that has little experience as a democracy.

“I can relate to these fears, given that for years they have been recipients of misinformation from Georgia about how democracy was thriving in our country. And now they find it hard to believe that the new government has no intention of straying from its path to democracy,'' Usupashvili says.

When it comes to Ivanishvili, Usupashvili states that it is an offense to him when there are people in Georgia who call Ivanishvili a spy of some other country.

According to him, debating whether or not Bidzina Ivanishvili has been consciously, methodically, and consistently pursuing Russia’s interests or striving to ensure Georgia’s return into Russia’s orbit is immature and embarrassing.

“Therefore, I feel it is my duty to respond to this issue and remind those misled about a few facts. Ivanishvili is a Georgian nationalist, and, besides his unprecedented mammoth philanthropic activities, little was known about Ivanishvili’s views, values, and plans before the autumn of 2011. Over the past three years however, every detail about his past and present have been part of the public domain, so any questions about Ivanishvili’s motivation when it comes to his homeland and people are easily answered,” stated Usupashvili, speaking about Ivanishvili’s charity and public activities widely.

Usupashvili stated that it was Ivanishvili who spent millions on the reforms former President Saakashvili is very proud of.

“Ivanishvili spent hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Saakashvili and his team over four years, with the aim of expediting the country’s democratic modernization and Euro-Atlantic integration. I would like to know how Saakashvili now explains this support in view of his current claims,” Usupashvili said.

Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and the United National Movement claim that Ivanishvili is a Russian “project” aiming to drag the country back to the Russian orbit. They also state that the real leader of the country is still Bidzina Ivanishvili.