“I Dared And I Will Dare Again!” - An Exclusive Interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili
19 February, 2015
“I Dared And I Will Dare Again!” - An Exclusive Interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili
Bidzina Ivanishvili’s statements are almost invariably followed by a massive public and political response varying from humor and applause to outrage. The former Prime Minister holds a very interesting viewpoint on many current issues. We present you some of the more interesting excerpts from Kviris Palitra’s exclusive interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili.

"Some politicians make irresponsible claims in relation to the event. One well-known politician (Davit Usupashvili – Ed) even declared that a policeman’s arrest was a national tragedy."

On the
Vazagashvili Murder Case:

It was indeed a terrible tragedy. At the same time it was a challenge for the Prosecutor’s Office as well as the government. It is good that Yuri Vazagashvili’s case is solved and the alleged killer is detained. I did meet with Yuri several days prior to this tragedy and we planned to meet again soon. I’m very moved by what had happened. Yuri was as much of a fighter as he was a father; he contributed a lot to the changes that took place in 2012. I would say that prompt response by the Prosecutor’s Office is to be noted. The contractor’s identity remains the source of utmost interest, so let us wait for the investigation’s results. Some politicians make irresponsible claims in relation to the event. One well-known politician (Davit Usupashvili – Ed) even declared that a policeman’s arrest was a national tragedy. There is not a single developed country in the world where policemen do not commit grave crimes; Georgia can’t be an exception. But, instead of seeing positive moments in the work of the Prosecutor’s Office, some politicians direct their focus to completely different areas.
I think that when it comes to qualifications and professionalism, the new office radically differs from the previous one; they are oriented towards perfection. I believe the Prosecutor’s Office is on the right path and the people should instead pay attention to this instead of painting tragic pictures.

On Saakashvili and Adeishvili in Ukraine:

geotv.geIt’s a pity that Saakashvili was appointed Poroshenko’s advisor. I voice my concern because the Prosecutor’s Office has filed several charges against Saakashvili. Then there’s also Adeishvili’s case; unlike Saakashvili, he is actually on the most wanted list.
Moreover, we are facing a problem of a different nature here: a friend of mine recently told me that while these people managed to flee from Georgia, they may find no such luck in Ukraine. Saakashvili’s mistakes had a big share in the tragedy of 2008 and yet this man gets appointed as an advisor in Ukraine. It’s simply dangerous. Now Saakashvili sits in front of the cameras, spewing nonsense. I stopped listening to him and reading his statements a long time ago, but his advice may bring disaster to Ukraine. The same can be said about Adeishvili. However, let’s not paint this process as tragic. We shouldn’t forget that Ukraine is an independent state with an elected leadership, but we’d like it if they took the opinion of Georgia’s current government and the Prosecutor’s Office into account – the opinion of a friendly country.

geotv.ge"I think that in Gharibashvili, I’ve left a worthy “successor.”'

On Prime Minister Gharibashvili:

Today Georgia has a worthy prime minister, but naturally, there were numerous questions about him. Generally, kinship-related issues are rather painful in Georgia and Gharibashvili was no exception. Before appointing him Prime Minister, I warned him that he might face such problems. You can imagine what temptations having a minister or, even better, a prime minister as a relative represent. I also warned him about a possible problem with his bodyguards. You see, having guards constantly shadowing you may make your head spin by creating an impression that you are an unapproachable and thus, a terribly important person. But I think that Gharibashvili has dealt with these problems very promptly and brilliantly. I think that in Gharibashvili, I’ve left a worthy “successor.” The governmental team is optimally selected and guided by a worthy PM.

“It’s a pity that Saakashvili was appointed Poroshenko’s advisor ... It’s simply dangerous. The same can be said about Adeishvili.”

On his Criticism Towards the United National Movement:

Even in case of civil unrest, the UNM has no chance of coming back into power. Georgian people aren’t as naive as the “Nationals” think. There is not even a theoretical chance of anyone allowing Saakashvili to issue commands again. No matter how hard the Nationals might try to instigate dissent and disturbances, they will never manage to do so, and not only due to lacking the necessary resources, but also because we have absolutely responsible government and authorities. They want to set Georgia aflame but they will never achieve their goal, so there shouldn’t be any panic. Now they’ve found shelter in Ukraine, but let’s hope that the events there develop in a positive direction.

“I even wondered for a moment whether Bokeria had written Alasania’s speeches.”

On Alasania:

It’s a pity that Irakli Alasania and his party continue refusing to back up their statements and that their rhetoric resembles that of the National Movement. They speak about imprisonment due to personal grudges, but what does Irakli Alasania’s person have to do with this? If I considered him my rival, my only response to this statement would involve humor: Do they actually think that I was so afraid of my rival that I promptly abandoned my post?! geotv.ge
My teammates and members of the government know full well why I criticized Alasania. At one press conference I was asked why the soldiers of our army were so frequently getting food poisoning. Then I publicly promised him that I would task the Prosecutor’s Office with investigating this case. I repeated this promise several times at subsequent government sessions hinting that I gave no assignments to the Prosecutor’s Office yet. I was telling Alasania, man to man, to somehow manage and settle the situation together with his team, without getting anyone involved. However, he declined all three tenders he was offered and retained the old food supplier. I had other problems with him as well, but I don’t want to outstrip the events. I have a lot to say, but the most regrettable is that his statements are unfounded, without any proof. As for his explanation as to what is the basis of my alleged personal hatred of him, apparently, I shy away from rivalry. This is hilarious!
It will be regrettable if this party [Free Democrats] loses their rating. It includes many worthy people. Alasania himself showed promise, but I think they chose the wrong path for themselves. I have recently read Irakli Alasania’s two interviews, only to discover that there is little difference between them and Bokeria’s declarations. I even wondered for a moment whether Bokeria had written Alasania’s speeches. This was a very sad experience for me. I wish no evil to anybody, including Bokeria; God bless him! My only wish is for the National Movement to work towards this country’s development rather than against it. One thing that worries me is that the party [Free Democrats] that initially had good prospects might end up losing the people’s trust due to making groundless accusations.

On Alasania’s and President Margvelashvili’s Alleged Impending Alliance:

geotv.ge– In good health! Let them make an alliance. The political spectrum should become richer and stronger but the yardstick will be the same for everybody – the private interests of a politician must coincide with those of the country. If a deviation from these two principles is detected, there will be an adequate response, both by others and me. Georgia won’t become the servant of any party, team or group. We have been down this road already. Friendship is good, but Georgia will not ever belong to one particular group of friends or sacrifice its interests for those of that group.

On the Lari’s Devaluation:

Today, I reiterate that the processes concerning our currency were caused by foreign and objective reasons, not by the government’s weakness. Our economy is very feeble, being 10 or 15 times less developed than those of European countries. In such cases, any foreign event influences national currencies, and by that I mean the current tension in the region. The dollar has significantly strengthened globally and the situation in Ukraine and Russia has become very complicated. Not to mention that our exports have decreased, and the same goes for money transferred by our citizens back from abroad. They face very hard times in the countries where they live.

“My mention of Eka Gigauri and Kakha Kozhoridze was all over the whole NGO sector in seconds, causing massive indignation – How dare I.”

On the NGO sector:

I said that we had some questions for the heads of several NGOs and you can see for yourself the hullabaloo that followed it. Fifty-two NGOs published a declaration according to which my intention is to destroy the civil sector and so on. I say it again – regardless of whether they call themselves experts, NGO’s or politicians, their positions will be assessed. We’ll check if they are lying, how impartial they are and so on. If suspicions arise that some NGO leaders lie or are participating in the National Movement’s propaganda, we’ll ask questions.
I named heads of three NGOs, but we are thankful to the organizations that finance them, be they SIDA or the American government. But when there is suspicion that the position of a head of a certain NGO doesn’t coincide with that of its sponsoring body and they are part of the National Movement’s propaganda whirligig, they should provide us with answers or at least listen to our criticism.
My mention of Eka Gigauri and Kakha Kozhoridze was all over the whole NGO sector in seconds, causing massive indignation – how dare I! Well, I dared and will dare again in the future. We’ll ask politicians and political parties the same questions. Let them be so kind and put the country’s interests on top of their priority lists. If they fail to, they will face harsh criticism.

On Alleged Nepotism and Corruption in the Public Sector:

We are planning to investigate nepotism and corruption and shoot movies about them as well. We’ll be in the permanent investigation mode. A special website will be created that would allow any person that possesses any information or has claims concerning nepotism to be able to contact us via phone numbers the website offers. The results will be made public, of course.

On the Visa Regime Controversy:

Tourism has decreased. This has two reasons – first of all, economic decline usually has a negative impact on tourism and secondly, I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a mistake by recklessly toughening the visa regime with many countries.

“We will balance lies with truth and change the status quo. It only takes one TV project to prevent them from making people live in lies and virtual reality.”

On Georgian Media and His TV Project 20/30:

My team and I aspire to introduce some changes into the media sector. We want to change the status quo set today by Rustavi 2 TV. This company is the National Movement’s propaganda mouthpiece, but let me emphasize this: I have no problem with that. Back in the day, Real TV was my “sparring partner” and I yet I managed to show the people reality quite well.
We will balance lies with truth and change the status quo. It only takes one TV project to prevent them from making people live in lies and virtual reality. Not so long ago they created a virtual reality that claimed everything was well, but today they are trying to prove that the country is falling to pieces.
Today, when media is unprecedentedly free, some experts allege that somebody intends to oppress it. They may say whatever they want. When I claim that their evaluations may be false and that we’ll react to this, they become angry. To them, saying something, anything, about the media is an assault on freedom of speech. While in reality, today we have a government that is in no way connected with media and everybody acts as he pleases. But when it comes to experts, I have a problem with some of them because they pretend to be experts while making false analysis. When I point this out, it’s taken as oppression. We can and will counterbalance false analysis with objective analysis, but what I do not understand is the reason why they deem it unacceptable and why they try to spur a willing horse.

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