‘KING IS NAKED!’
24 May, 2012
‘KING IS NAKED!’

Exclusive interview with Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of ‘Georgian Dream’, a well-known billionaire


This time, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of ‘Georgian Dream’ seemed more self-confident than during the previous meeting. He believes that by going to politics he made a right decision; he is sure of Georgian people’s talent as well as of the fact that we’ll soon build a normal state.



B.I. – I hope we’ve realized well what is to be in administration and when we come to power,

we’ll teach the people how to control us. Establishing of democracy isn’t an easy task - it took Europeans hundreds of years to achieve this.
If we lived in the middle of Europe, not in the Soviet Union, it could be easier to build democracy but 20 years is nothing for the desire that we are nourishing today; but I believe in Georgian people’s talent.
Q. – You declare that after May the period of change will come. Are people ready for such maneuvers? 
B.I. – People must be given a chance to speak. The remaining time – July, August and September will be used to work on convincing majority of people to take part in elections. This is a turning point and there is nothing to be afraid of. I don’t mean street, clashes or violence; on the contrary, the process must be balanced and calm.
Q. – Do you exclude provocations?
B.I. – We’ll do our best not to allow this happen but I exclude nothing on part of authorities. They are ready to resort to any tricks but our people are wise and they’ll duly assess everything.
Q. – When the head of Isani-Samgori district used his fists against the discontent citizens, wasn’t it a kind of rehearsal?
B.I. – I’ll take this opportunity and call on them not to subdue to violence and illegal orders. There is very little time left for them. Otherwise they’ll be held responsible for their actions.
Q. – Has anybody from the team of authorities displayed desire for cooperation with you, or expressed loyalty?
B.I. – I’m trying to help them all to understand that only one person makes problem. Suffice this man leave politics and everything will calm down and everybody will have a better prospect for future. We’ll fight with monopolies, distribution of business among authorities but not against private business. The deeds of our team will be absolutely different from that of the authorities.
Q. – You start election campaign with action on May, 27. Is it actually demonstration of power or beginning of unification of motherland?
B.I. – We want to demonstrate that people know who they are dealing with and they are not afraid. It’s people who represent real power and they should demonstrate their force on that day.
Everybody willing to change the reality must attend the action. My request to everybody is to take the trouble and come on May, 27 to demonstrate who we are. Let’s tell the authorities that we need different life and future, that we want free elections, independent court and democratic country. In several months after our coming to power Georgia won’t have corrupted powers and we’ll notice that the feeling of justice is back to the country. There will be real court, free-from-pressure media; business will be free and there will be all the conditions for right development of Georgia.
Q. What do you think about Constitutional amendments that, according to the authorities, are introduced for you?
B.I. – It’s an absurd law. I think they are playing some games. I don’t know who are they playing with – Georgian people, Europe or America. Adoption of the law will be followed by a lot of problems but I won’t dwell on this now. I realize quite well what is Saakashvili’s and based-on-violence Parliament’s attitude to the law. Today it’s Constitution and Parliament that are mostly under pressure on part of Saakashvili. This amendment isn’t made for me. Saakashvili thinks to keep his face by it. Just look what’s happening with the principal law – the Constitution?!
It’s no more a principle matter for me whether they restore my citizenship or not. I’m a son of my country and respect it. I tried to legitimately return the unlawfully taken citizenship and filled in an application. I gave them a chance to correct lawlessness, eliminate all the question marks but they didn’t do it. We’ll come to Parliament and within the two weeks – the period from coming to Parliament and election of Prime Minister- I’ll legitimately return whatever belongs to me and after this the Parliament will confirm my appointment as Prime Minister. I’d like to tell the people of Georgia not to be nervous. Saakashvili wants to demonstrate his invincibility- that he doesn’t retreat but the pressure of international community on him is so big, he was so clearly told that Ivanishvili should have legitimate right to participate in the elections that they changed the Constitution. Everybody sees everything. The king is naked!
Q. – In case of adoption, will you use this Constitutional amendment?
B.I. – Let’s stop at this point. I’m not thinking about my reaction in future. I hope that reason will take upper hand and they will stop all this at some point.
Saakashvili is doing everything according to his wish. What was the use of building the Parliament in Kutaisi; wasn’t the old one enough for them? He is devising what-not! He is moving the Parliament because he doesn’t like the inhabitants of Tbilisi any more, he wants to flee Tbilisi and for this whim Georgia and its whole budget is suffering; people are dying in barracks due to having no houses and because of lack of attention; but this man is happy as he’s building a new transparent Parliament; transparent Parliament and transparent police are useless buildings because even today people are dying there.
Q. – Don’t you like the idea about building the tunnel from Kutaisi to Mestia in order to make the way shorter?
B.I. – With this idea Saakashvili outstripped even Ostap Bender. He gives out such promises, such ‘Vasyukis’ are being planned in the regions where he goes that one can be amazed. Ostap Bender would have studied a lot from him.
Q. – The problems connected with David Gareja are painfully taken by people.
B.I. – Having listened to both declarations of Kalandadze, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs I sent a group to David Gareja. Can you call a state a state where a Deputy Minister changes declarations in this way?
I don’t want to touch upon our neighboring country; I see no guilt of Azerbaijan. I want to hold our authorities responsible for whatever is going on with regard to David Gareja and Aziziye Mosque in Ajara. Our authorities seem to have hidden negotiations with the neighboring countries. Hiding of such topics from the people and acting without their consent is inadmissible. Thanks to God that we, Georgians are on the alert; we aren’t as enslaved and frightened as the authorities think. It seems that they have plans but due to our people’s reaction they started to retreat. I call on the authorities to collect their mind, negotiations behind the people’s back is inadmissible. The powers must discuss everything together with the people and develop the process in this way.
Q. – It was said also that such a gratifying position might be chosen in order to win the Azeri population’s support in the elections.
B.I. – One can expect everything from our authorities. I don’t want to blame our neighboring country in dishonest negotiations but I know that our authorities can put their signature under anything and I’m publicly declaring this.
Q. – You said you wouldn’t keep the assets in Russia. At what stage is this process?
B.I. – The day before yesterday we signed papers and as a result of realization of construction complex that is in the center of Moscow we’ll get $50 million advance. In due time there was a rubber plant which I bought during privatization for the reason that it was in the center; the plant itself was of no interest for me.
I moved the plant to the outskirts but retained 11hectares of land in the center of Moscow. I had an interesting project. I was building a city inside the city. 3-4 years ago ‘Deutsche Bank’ was buying 10% of the construction paying 110 million because it was evaluated for 1 billion 100 million. But today we sold this complex for 330 million, for three times less; it was bought by ‘Bin Group’. I don’t know them but they are Russians. In Russia it’s Russians who buy everything. In the center of Moscow total price of land and construction complex is 680 million. It comprises two hotels, a plant and what I sold for 330 million was one of its main assets. It’s sold for low price because there is crisis; what’s more, my declaration about coming to politics and that I have to sell everything brings the price down. Agro sector still remains and I will realize it till the end of May. I’ve already signed papers about selling my main assets. I keep my word because politics is my chief priority now. My opponents will keep talking any way but I’ve done it in order to make it sure that Georgian people has no questions.
Q. – The media means had it that you own ‘Gazprom’ shares as well.
B.I. – I don’t own them for a long time. ‘Gazprom’ shares are sold on stock exchange and you too can buy them (!).
Some time ago I told the ‘Vedomosti’ that I sold my shares for a good price but some people still keep talking about it because they have nothing else to say. By the way, when we sold the bank, in the internet, in email I found my Moscow secretary’s letter. She was informing me that Boris Pastukhov who was being shown on our TVs was another man, his patronymic was different. I don’t know under what context this name was mentioned and what questions they have.
Q. – Probably, they were mentioning this name because Pastukhov in Georgians’ mind is associated with civil war and Abkhazia.
B.I. – I see now. In short, he isn’t the man. He’s another Pastukhov.
Q. – Control Chamber has already got interested in ‘Qomagi’ Fund that is declared as associated with ‘Georgian Dream’.
B.I. – I appreciate setting up of this Fund but they aren’t connected with us; but there are attempts to associate it with ‘Georgian Dream’. Our team-member Sozar Subari didn’t say that ‘Qomagi’ is connected with us – all the interpretations are theirs.
We are legitimately financing the offices. The Embassies are informed in this regard. Everything is correctly scheduled. This company made an investment; contract was signed with each of our office. Not being able to find any infringements, Saakashvili is thinking of other deeds but he’ll achieve nothing, he’ll dispose himself once more and that will be it.
As for our coalition, there are attempts on part of outer forces to impose discord, it mostly pertains to guided media but it won’t work. We are a solid team united by a common aim that will be achieved.
Q. – Will there appear new subjects in the coalition?
B.I. – There may be some changes but actually nobody serious is left out there. Pseudo subjects aren’t worth mentioning; Shalva Natelashvili, leader of ‘Labourists’ has come up with new accusations that allegedly we are buying them but I’m not that fool to buy bankrupt Natelashvili. I’m planning to meet Gia Zhorzholiani and leader of ‘Greens’ Gia Gachechiladze; agreement on majoritarian level seems feasible. Dimitri Lortkipanidze may also turn up in my party. Nobody will be left without our attention because we want to maximally consolidate vigorous forces.

 

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