04/26/2023, 10.16
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The Parable of the Georgian Dream

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The ruling party in Tbilisi is celebrating the anniversary of its founding. Since 2021 its initiator, the pro-Russian oligarch Bidzina Ivanišvili, has completely withdrawn from public life and all office, although he continues to control this political force. The criticism of the opponents: a country that cannot free itself from the ruling clans and the weakness of the alternatives, linked only to Saakašvili.

Tbilisi (AsiaNews) - These days Tbilisi's ruling party of the 'Georgian Dream' celebrates eleven years since its foundation, when pro-Russian oligarch Bidzina Ivanišvili presented his brand new team to triumph in the 2012 elections.

The leaders then and now reiterate their promise to act in such a way that 'power consistently defends the homeland, the church and national values', even though the opposition believes they have long since renounced these same principles, out of self-interest and submission to the will of the Kremlin.

The party's full name is 'The Georgian Dream: a democratic Georgia', which originated from the initiative of the now 67-year-old billionaire, who started making his fortune selling computers in post-Soviet Russia in the early 1990s, of which he retained the citizenship, only to return home during the 'rose revolution' of 2004. Ivanišvili decided to enter politics when President Mikhail Saakašvili, now in prison and in serious health, tried to change the constitution to stay in power longer. In retaliation, the latter deprived him of his Georgian citizenship (he also held French citizenship), and the new party was formally led by his wife, Ekaterina Khvedelidze.

After winning the elections, gaining 55% of the vote with a coalition of various groups, Ivanišvili remained prime minister for only a year and a half, until the end of 2013, and then devoted himself to the 'social sector' of politics, and also to avoiding conflicts of interest, as the opposition claims, and since 2021 he has completely withdrawn from public life and all office, although he de facto continues to control the party and to a large extent the government itself.

Today, all the leaders of the Georgian Dream enthusiastically thank him on various official or unofficial occasions, and through all social channels, for having freed the country from the 'bloody regime' of Saakašvili's National Movement, accused of wanting to continue armed clashes with Russia, to take back Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The most authoritative congratulations came from Prime Minister Iraklij Garibašvili, according to whom, 'the winning coalition of 2012 was the beginning of the most important processes in the political and social life of our country, because we were able to conduct a true national policy, strengthen our sovereignty, guarantee peace and the freedom of our citizens, and save Georgia from total destruction'. The current president of the party, Iraklij Kobakhidze, obviously joined in, recalling that the Georgian Dream government "is the only one that has led the country without waging wars, from the moment of independence, preserving peace in the extremely difficult geopolitical conditions of the entire region", referring also to the war in Ukraine, for which the current government in Tbilisi is trying to keep a balance between the parties.

However, Georgian political scientist Gija Khukhašvili, one of the inspirers of the formation of the new party 11 years ago, is now very critical of the ruling leadership, which has allegedly betrayed the expectations of renewal over the years: 'the protagonists of the great victory of 2012 have been progressively eliminated from the party, today there is no one left, and others have come forward since 2016, sterilising even the influence of Ivanišvili himself'. In fact, instead of reforming institutions, the leaders of the Georgian Dream "were only interested in their own stay in power, and all reasonable politicians distanced themselves... today we have an oclocracy, directed by puppeteers behind the scenes".

Georgij Vašadze, president of the 'Agmašenebeli Strategy' party, which refers to the most glorious Georgian monarch of the 12th century, the holy builder of the capital Tbilisi itself, likens the government of the past 11 years to a 'continuous shipwreck and resurfacing of the country, like a Titanic reappearing from the ice without being able to resume its course'. Georgia is unable to restore justice and free itself from the ruling clans, all dependent on Russian influence. Like Khukhašvili himself, Vašadze laments above all the weakness of the oppositions, linked only to the controversial personality of Saakašvili, who are unable in any way to stop the celebratory banquets of the 'Georgian Dream'.

Photo: Flikr/Marco Fieber

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