"Ivanishvili was in the right place at the right time"

"Ivanishvili was in the right place at the right time"
Author: Interview by Georgi Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi, exclusive to VK

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s personality has always provoked great interest in Georgia. He was known as a kind of "Monte Cristo", who made a fortune in Russia and returned to the land of his ancestors; it seemed that he settled in the village of Chorvila with some secret purpose. No clarity about Ivanishvili’s past appeared after he revealed his goal, breaking into Georgian politics and getting the triumphal victory in the first parliamentary elections. Independent political analyst, former rector of the Diplomatic Academy, Joseph Tsintsadze talked to VK on the phenomenon of Ivanishvili.

- How adequate, in your opinion, is the image of Bidzina Ivanishvili in Georgia? Are there too many "blank spots" in the biography of the new leader of the country, especially in the period of living and working in Russia?

- I sometimes get the impression that too superficial, unspecified, unsystematic view of the past of Mr. Ivanishvili prevails in Georgia. We only know that this is a guy who is a "self-made man." He came out of the workers’ community and then got a huge capital in Russia. You should consider what it meant to make a fortune in Russia. Yeltsin's Russia was a “Klondike", like in America, where the gold mines were discovered and the "Gold Rush" began. Everyone could get rich at once. Similar situation existed in Russia in the 1990's.

Ivanishvili was in the right place at the right time. But as for specifics and details, everything remains a mystery, including communication between Ivanishvili and General Alexander Lebed (there are claims that he suggested to Yeltsin the idea of ​​an alliance with General in the presidential election of 1996), and in general, his relationship with the ruling elite in Russia of that period. Nothing else in Georgia is known about him. Russian colleagues may know more, but honestly, I do doubt it.

But Ivanishvili as a philanthropist is another story. Here everything is clear. We can say he made an enormous contribution to the preservation of Georgian culture, has helped out intelligentsia and science and built many temples.

In this regard, he made an unprecedented deal. Russian period of his life is still unknown, although it was then that he acquired his great wealth. Perhaps we will find out something, if Bidzina ever writes a memoir. But this is a big question.

- Somebody accuses Ivanishvili of "accountability" and colluding with the Kremlin. Can we consider the fact that Ivanishvili got rich in Russia to be the basis for such a suspicion?

- The strategic mistake of the United National Movement was the fact that its campaign was built on the premise: "Ivanishvili is a protege of Moscow", "Ivanishvili is an agent of the Kremlin and Putin's hand." It did not work, and the thesis of "conspiring with the Kremlin" was "dead." Hence the logical conclusion that the people did not believe them! The vast majority of people in Georgia do not believe that Ivanishvili is now connected to the Kremlin and "controlled by Putin," that is, acts under the dictation of Moscow. Actually, at the time of the election the determining factor is not the reality but the view of people regarding one or another version. What can they do if the people do not believe in these horror stories?

However, Ivanishvili should note that he is already in authority, he will soon become the prime minister and his every move will be seen under a magnifying glass. Then the opposition may require greater clarity in some of the questions, and while Ivanishvili as an individual does not respond to them with the right to do that, Ivanishvili as a prime minister will be required to have to answer these questions.

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