“How To Turn One Dollar into Three Dollars”
02 August, 2012
“How To Turn One Dollar into Three Dollars”

Interview with philosopher Giorgi Margvelashvili

Interesting trends are emerging in the Georgian reality during the last days. The Authorities do not try anymore to conceal or beautify their pre-election operations. Every step they make belies their intentions: the arrests of antennas are ridiculous, intentional ruining of banks is outrageous, physical punishment of an elderly lady who wanted to personally deliver her complain to the President and later her caressing by the same President is both ridiculous and outrageous. We talked on

these and other topics with philosopher Giorgi Margvelashvili:

Q: After Ivanishvili paid 80 million Lari, Cartu Bank was returned to its righteous owners. But now National Bank of Georgia is likely to impose a temporary administration on the Cartu Bank. Banking experts are surely more versed in the financial details of the bank operations than I am. So, I am interested in the moral side of the affair. Are not such rude forms of treatment employed by the Authorities counter-productive for their own rating?

A: Mankind came to know and witness such crimes in the past. Yet, it has never seen these crimes being perpetuated by such high ranking people – presidents, ministers, prime-ministers, administration of governmental structures. In other words, it’s when you swindle like a cash exchange vendor but enjoy a high ranking status.

Q:  Will not the Authorities meanwhile get exactly what they want, i.e. create greenhouse conditions for themselves during the elections? And when they get what would be the consequences? Will foreign observers really recall whatever they saw in the pre-election period and refuse to recognize the election results allowing the civilized world decry such despicable behavior and giving the Georgian people a room to make a civilized choice? How imminent is the danger that things will happen in the same way as they did in the past?

A: It seems the main thing for some people here is to stay in power. They look to have no problems about the status of their stay and what type of country rulers they would become. We shall not expect that the EU or America will not tolerate and bear with a totalitarian country in the Caucasus. Never mind Saakashvili. Why, they used to feel comfortable with a cannibal ruler of an African country till he got down to devouring diplomats!

In parallel we would talk about growing welfare and flourishing of the country. Everybody would be happy. Well, this trend is dangerous and risky. A shining example is the handover of the Georgian passport to Hillary Clinton. It was at this moment when both she and Saakashvili were laughing. It sounded like a huge offense because the demonstrated insignificance of newly awarded citizenship showed by one person cannot be reconciled with cynical denial of deserved citizenship for another person. It was a statehood insult also, irrespective of difference in the status of “citizenship-awarded” and “citizenship-deprived” persons.

In the wake of constitutional changes, their message is: we are as we are, robbing some people and giving gifts to others. We are in charge of the situation. So, please be kind to leave us alone and live on. We would not give a passport to Bidzina Ivanishvili.

For the United States and Europe, i.e. the area of concept and culture which we are allegedly seeking to join, democracy is as acceptable as the people of this country want it. Sadly, it so happened that democracy is a concept of western countries. And they need it. We too agree to the import of democracy. It’s just I should repeat that Europe and America have experience of relating with much worse countries in this regard. Our choice today is important not for selecting people for MP seats but generally for identification of Georgia’s status in the world: it is to know if we are going to be an uncivilized or civilized partner of the west. Both options are feasible as witnessed by a number of examples in the modern history of the world. By the way, Arab Spring last year showed it clearly that countries tending to the civilized, democratic rule are harder partners than tyrannical or authoritarian regimes. The West is not so strict to demand that we should be a civilized country before playing a partner with it. It is not warning to cease any relation with us if we choose to become nasty hooligans robbing each other’s banks and stripping each other of citizenship.

Q: An interesting tendency surfaced recently during voyages and public meetings of the President. In one moment he is told from a balcony about a feeling of frustration due to rampant illegitimacy. In another moment he is challenged to ask a five-year-old child to choose between a public park and house roofing. Still in other instances, anyone wishing to approach the President with complaints is savagely beaten. Will the Authorities be able to conceal disposition of their own people?

A: There are occasions when you can deceive a Georgian and there are occasions when a Georgian will not buy it. In many ways, Georgian politics has become healthier and more realistic after the election campaigns reached regions. It acquired a higher pitch of specificity and directness. So, on one side we have here a fresh promise by Nationalist Movement that they will help the countryside because Georgia, guess what, is an agrarian country. Sordidly saying, it took eight years for the party to decipher the name of its own country – Georgia. On the other side is Bidzina Ivanishvili who by the way held a public master class on business and showed how to turn one dollar into three dollars. By transferring 80 million to the Authorities he covered the penalty, helped victims of the natural disaster, regained the bank and sent the Authorities into disarray. If the Authorities would not help the victims then they would be seen as grabbers of the money that belongs to people. If they however would spend this money on the cause then they risk being tagged as inadvertent participants of the Ivanishvili’s pre-election campaign. After such a subtle move by Ivanishvili, perhaps no question would remain in the minds about how this man made his multi-billion fortune. Thus, the situation is becoming more and more interesting and incidentally improves politics. The main thing is for the Authorities to cease resorting to violent methods, such as those used during the latest incident in Karaleti IDP settlement against journalists. This policy is extremely upsetting and dangerous.

 

the way, Arab Spring last year showed it clearly that countries tending to the civilized, democratic rule are harder partners than tyrannical or authoritarian regimes. The West is not so strict to demand that we should be a civilized country before playing a partner with it. It is not warning to cease any relation with us if we choose to become nasty hooligans robbing each other’s banks and stripping each other of citizenship.

Q: An interesting tendency surfaced recently during voyages and public meetings of the President. In one moment he is told from a balcony about a feeling of frustration due to rampant illegitimacy. In another moment he is challenged to ask a five-year-old child to choose between a public park and house roofing. Still in other instances, anyone wishing to approach the President with complaints is savagely beaten. Will the Authorities be able to conceal disposition of their own people?

A: There are occasions when you can deceive a Georgian and there are occasions when a Georgian will not buy it. In many ways, Georgian politics has become healthier and more realistic after the election campaigns reached regions. It acquired a higher pitch of specificity and directness. So, on one side we have here a fresh promise by Nationalist Movement that they will help the countryside because Georgia, guess what, is an agrarian country. Sordidly saying, it took eight years for the party to decipher the name of its own country – Georgia. On the other side is Bidzina Ivanishvili who by the way held a public master class on business and showed how to turn one dollar into three dollars. By transferring 80 million to the Authorities he covered the penalty, helped victims of the natural disaster, regained the bank and sent the Authorities into disarray. If the Authorities would not help the victims then they would be seen as grabbers of the money that belongs to people. If they however would spend this money on the cause then they risk being tagged as inadvertent participants of the Ivanishvili’s pre-election campaign. After such a subtle move by Ivanishvili, perhaps no question would remain in the minds about how this man made his multi-billion fortune. Thus, the situation is becoming more and more interesting and incidentally improves politics. The main thing is for the Authorities to cease resorting to violent methods, such as those used during the latest incident in Karaleti IDP settlement against journalists. This policy is extremely upsetting and dangerous.

 

 

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