"Claims that I am a puppet are offensive to me" - Georgian PM Gharibashvili's letter on de-oligarchization
Gharibashvili’s letter on de-oligarchization
On the morning of June 12, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili published a letter on his Facebook page, where he states that the ruling party makes all current and key decisions without consulting with Bidzina Ivanishvili.
With this letter, PM Gharibashvili responded to the 12-point plan given to Georgia by the European Union, where one of the issues that Georgia must fulfill in order to obtain the status of a candidate for the European Union is de-oligarchization.
The richest person in Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the former prime minister of the country, has officially left politics, although almost no one in Georgia doubts that Ivanishvili is actually running the country from the shadows.
Opponents of the government and experts point out that “de-oligarchization” means the weakening of Ivanishvili’s influence on the Georgian government.
In his letter, Gharibashvili responded to his opponents and called on them to explain what they mean when they talk about oligarchs and de-oligarchization.
According to Gharibashvili, talks about de-oligarchization is “a campaign promoted by internal and external political opponents” of Georgia, the purpose of which is to “discredit the system of governance in Georgia”.
“When our internal or external political opponents talk about de-oligarchization, naturally, it is particularly offensive to me. According to constitutional theory and practice, the political leader of the country in a parliamentary republic is the Prime Minister and he is accountable to the people… When someone claims that the Prime Minister is part of a farce and is actually run by a person who decided to retire from politics last January, it’s not just me, but also insults the state,” writes Gharibashvili.
According to him, the Ivanishvili factor is big in Georgian politics, although even such key decisions as not imposing sanctions on Russia were made by the Georgian Dream government without consulting Ivanishvili.
“My wife received advice from Bidzina Ivanishvili’s wife”
In the letter, Gharibashvili explains his relationship with Ivanishvili and says that he has periodic communication with Ivanishvili’s family.
I got into “Cartu Group” [Ivanishvili’s company – JAMnews] through an open competition, and that’s how I met Bidzina Ivanishvili. Naturally, as the director of the “Cartu” charity foundation, I had a close relationship with him. Then a friendly relationship was established between Bidzina Ivanishvili’s family and my family, which makes my whole family particularly proud”.
According to him, he is especially proud of his personal friendship with Ivanishvili’s son, Bera.
“I would like to explain to the public that, considering these relations, our families have periodic communication with each other. For example, recently, my wife received advice from Bidzina Ivanishvili’s husband regarding a certain medical issue. If I have a similar communication with Bidzina Ivanishvili from time to time, naturally, there will be no objection to this either”.
Cartu team in power
A large part of the letter is devoted to talking about the kind of pressure the employees of Ivanishvili’s company – “Cartu Group” were under during the old government and how they fought sustainably against Saakashvili’s regime.
Gharibashvili confirms in his letter that a large part of the government is still composed of former employees of this company owned by Ivanishvili.
The “Cartu” team fought to the end, withstood the pressure and defeated the violent regime… Part of the “Cartu group” is still an active member of our political team.
In his letter, Garibashvili talks about special achievements of acting Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri, Head of the State Security Service Grigol Liluashvili, and Head of the Special State Protection Service Anzor Chubinidze in the fight against the previous government.
In the letter, Gharibashvili also mentions former employees of “Cartu”, former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and former Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili, who could not withstand the pressure of the previous government and left “Cartu” in 2011. However, Gharibashvili says that Ivanishvili “due to the shortage of personnel, still appreciated their professionalism and even invited them to joint the new government in 2012”.
In the same letter, Gharibashvili says that there are ministers whom Ivanishvili does not know personally. Gharibashvili named the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, justice, finance and health as such: “They have not even met Bidzina Ivanishvili and do not know him”.
According to Gharibashvili, Ivanishvili does not know a large part of the leaders of the parliamentary team.
“Among them, Bidzina Ivanishvili has a meeting with the chairman of the parliament and the head of a number of key committees only on the day of their presentation before the parliamentary elections.”
“At such a time, talking about Bidzina Ivanishvili managing and controlling the government and parliament is a complete farce and absurdity”, Gharibashvili writes.
Ivanishvili as team leader
In his letter, Gharibashvili talks about Bidzina Ivanishvili in a superior tone and admits that the “political team” of “Georgian Dream” has a special attitude towards Bidzina Ivanishvili;
“He sacrificed himself for the country in 2011 and brought a democratic transition to Georgia.”
Gharibashvili says that Ivanishvili left politics, but the country is governed by the values he left behind:
“When he left politics, he left us the right values and rules to manage the state. These values and rules of the game are the love of the motherland and respect for the law.”
The “Ivanishvili factor” plays a serious role in the country, Gharibashvili writes:
“With his selflessness and establishing new rules of the game, he won the love and respect of the team and the community”
“Our opponents cannot do anything about Bidzina Ivanishvili’s past and the love and respect based on this past, which makes them despair.”
What decisions does Ivanishvili take part in?
“The team does not make operational or key decisions by the dictates of the former leader, who has left politics”, writes Gharibashvili.
According to him, he is not involved in making such key decisions, such as not imposing sanctions on Russia and not involving the country in the war.
“If someone thinks that we did not impose sanctions on orders of Bidzina Ivanishvili and did not join the war on his orders, they are very wrong. We do not need anyone’s advice or dictation on this issue in the team. The reason is simple – we also love the country, and it is not enough for us for a disastrous war. Accordingly, the team made decisions on these issues independently and with complete unanimity”, said Gharibashvili.