02 February, 2012

Report from the homeland of billionaire-turned -politician

When the governor of Imereti (Western Georgia) and representatives of local authorities congratulated the population of Sachkhere with the New 2012 Year, the supporters of Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire-turned-politician who is famous for

his charity, shouted ‘Long Live Bidzina Ivanishvili!’ As a response, unknown persons quickly took the selfless supporters of the philanthropist from Chorvila away to a desolate place and dealt shortly with them. Who and how was punished for different political views and what was the price for loving Ivanishvili?

Having heard this story the journalists of our Holding went to Sachkhere. Due to caring hand of the billionaire that is felt in this region, the dwellers of Sachkhere love Ivanishvili like their family member. improper mentioning of his name is blameworthy even for ‘National Movement’ supporters.
Vazha Gavasheli, representative of ‘Cartu’ joint-stock company control department in Western Georgia: At the concert the young people were wearing ‘Georgian Dream’ scarves and the representatives of authorities required that they take them away. As it became known later, punitive forces were brought from Kutaisi. They pushed several supporters of Ivanishvili into a car and demanded of them to scold Ivanishvili. They responded that it was thanks to him that they managed to make ends meet and support their families so how could they scold him? Recalcitrant men were dealt with mercilessly not far from the town. They beat one of them with a broken bottle for so long that his leg-bone broke.
According to the supporters of ‘Georgian Dream’, during the old New Year employees of Kutaisi security forces beat about 15 inhabitants of Sachkhere, especially those who refused to scold Bidzina Ivanishvili. The operation with code name –‘Scold Ivanishvili’ went on approximately till 2 a.m. Among the injured persons there is a17-year-old boy, Dato (on his request we are not giving his surname). We paid visit to his family.
Dato: Exactly when the Governor of Imereti congratulated the people,  I shouted ‘Long Live Bidzina’ and waved my ‘Georgian Dream’ scarf. Immediately several unknown people came up to me and shoved me into a white ‘Opel Astra’ with number plate IUR-535. First they asked who paid me. I said: ‘Nobody, I did it on my initiative’. They hit me and told me to scold Ivanishvili. They took photos by mobile phone. They took my phone and beat me. After this I had to scold him but later I repented of my sin.’
Q. – Did the violators know they were beating an underage boy?
A. – Yes, before putting me into the car they asked my age.
Dato’s grandfather: I’d self-sacrifice myself for Bidzina. I could afford to be operated on my leg thanks to him. I worked with his father for a long time, we were friends. I’ve never met Bidzina himself.’
Zviad Bregvadze suffered most of all that night. The delinquents took him to the desolate railway station and beat him ruthlessly, kept hitting his legs with a broken bottle. We visited the Bregvadze family and spoke with Lamara  Bregvadze, Zviad’s mother: ‘When they brought my son at 3 a.m. his trousers were torn and the shin was bleeding; it was badly bruised. I almost fainted.
Q. – Had all that happened because of his support for Bidina Ivanishvili?
A. – Yes, we support Bidzina Ivanishvili. If I see here anybody from ‘National Movement’, intending to hurt him, I will die for him! If the President goes by here, I will tell him the same. Such a shameful thing shouldn’t happen in Sachkhere! It’s a local war. Nothing like this happened during Stalin times.
Vazha Gavasheli: ‘They go round to Sachkhere villages telling the unemployed people that they want to organize local formations, train the volunteers and in case of need, supply them with arms. It seems, they will collect all these people before the elections and drop the ballot papers instead of them’.
While we still were there, representatives of armed forces did really meet with the population in the school of Skhvitori village. Out of high-ranking officials of the Ministry of  Defense (there were three of them) we recognized two – Rati Tsakadze and Tariel Londaridze (from the Department of National Guards. They spoke about the importance of voluntary reserve.
‘The people will be trained from the military point of view. We’ll let them take home full set of equipment. The weapons will be sealed, say in the police building or some other place. Good Lord preserve us, but in case it is needed, the people who are enlisted in the reserve will get it on a special permission. The people must be ready to protect not only their own village or families but mobilization of voluntary reserve will start during natural calamity, a plane crash or other critical situations. This practice is very effective in civilized countries’- said Tariel Londaridze. He also specified that setting up of voluntary reserve was not connected with internal political processes. As we found out, the voluntary reserve will be set up not only in the frontier regions or territorial units of conflict zone but in every city and village without exception.

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