19 December, 2013
A group of journalists found the traces of Bidzina Ivanishvili, who vanished after leaving government, in Svanetis Ubani, one of the districts of Tbilisi. Several days ago the Prime Minister visited “The Isle of Love” (as the place is called) and met with his old neighbors. In early 70s of the last century, Ivanishvili, who came from his village, along with his brother, stopped over to live at this “Isle” …
Presumably Ivanishvili went to his old neighbors to find
out their ideas on the possible translocation of the railway. We visited the Gagnidze family, who were most closely connected with the brothers. Only Manana, the hostess, happened to be at home. This time she didn’t see the old neighbor but she recalled that it wasn’t Bidzina’s first visit; he was there in 2010, too.
Manana Gagnidze: - One day the brothers Bidzina and Alexander, who arrived from Sachkhere, stayed as lodgers with this family. I don’t remember exactly, but I think they were renting it for 20 rubles. That time it was much money, and the boys had meager income. To pay the rent and make ends meet, during the day both of them worked at a plant and in the evening they studied at a University. The time flew so fast that they couldn’t even boil the beans brought from the village. My father-in-law, Sergo Gagnidze, was in “ambush” – “The boys need caressing,” he would say, and while waiting for the Ivanishvili, he asked us, in warm weather, to lay the table outdoors…
When he became a billionaire we didn’t even think that he would ever remember this place. He first appeared in 2010. We were getting ready for dinner and suddenly I saw several men enter the yard. It was the time of an early election of majority deputies, and I thought they were canvassers.
Suddenly I saw Bidzina, who was telling the accompanying people how he lived in this house and about the happy years spent here. I exclaimed, “Oh, Bidzina, what breeze brought you here?” He replied that he used to see the place in his dreams. He spoke very warmly, saying that I hadn’t changed - only my hair became grey. I was amazed because he knew everything about our family. I told him candidly about us, that my children were unemployed. My elder son Mamuka was soon given a job. After the October 2012 Parliamentary elections I tried to meet with Bidzina at the Chancellery to ask him again to give employment to Mamuka. I dared to do so because when he visited us earlier he saw how meagerly we lived, and he said not to think twice before seeing him.

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