"Ivanishvili getting a free ride and pulling strings from behind"- Bloomberg
05 February, 2020
"Ivanishvili getting a free ride and pulling strings from behind"- Bloomberg
Bloomberg Media Company publishes a report expressing his grave concerns about the accelerating slide into authoritarianism of the Republic of Georgia The report talks about the prime minister of Georgia receiving three letters from the U.S. lawmakers expressing alarm about the persecution of his political oponents and his reversal on a promise to enact electoral reforms. Also, it says that Gakharia intending to pack Georgia's high court with new justices that will rule in his party's favor has also earned the
notice of these lawmakers.

The report mentions the latest letters which came from Senators James Risch and Jeanne Shaheen, the Republican chairman and a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They wrote last week that the "political targeting of opposition leaders" is "further evidence of Georgia's democratic backsliding."

As claimed by the author there are real threats to what remains of Georgia's democracy.

"But the biggest problem right now for Georgia is that its wealthiest citizen, Bidzina Ivanishvili, is the country's de facto ruler. He founded and chairs the ruling party, Georgian Dream. And Gakharia serves at his pleasure."

Before becoming prime minister, Gakharia was the interior minister who ordered security forces to violently disperse Georgians protesting a symbolic affront to Georgian sovereignty: The ruling party had invited members of the Russian Duma for a parliamentary dialogue in Tbilisi. Since 2008, Russia has occupied Georgian territory in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, an understandably sore spot for Georgians. After the protests, the ruling party agreed to a series of reforms, but with the appointment of Gakharia in September, those promises have been unfulfilled.

"Gakharia's appointment is an important symbol for the current crisis. Unlike most of Georgia's political class, he was barely in the country until recently. He only relinquished his Russian citizenship in 2013, nearly two decades after Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union."

Considering all of the mentioned above, the author also writes that Congress and the Trump administration would be more effective if they had direct contact with Ivanishvili.
Ivanishvili getting a free ride and pulling strings from behind the scenes facing accountability from Georgian voters or the country's important western allies is also mentioned in the article.

"The U.S. ought to consider raising the prospect that Ivanishvili himself could find his estimated $5 billion fortune, some of which is invested in the U.S., scrutinized if his party continues the slide into authoritarianism. But even if that is a step too far at the moment, it's past time to hold Georgia's real power broker responsible for his minions' actions. "- Bloomberg writes

Photographer: Vano Shlamov/AFP via Getty Images

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