Ruling party head’s former security chief in tell-all TV interview
Six days before the parliamentary elections in Georgia, opposition TV channel Mtavari Arkhi published an interview with the former head of the security service of the Georgian billionaire and leader of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and the former vice-president of Cartu Group, Eldar Gogoladze.
In conversation with the general director of Mtavari Arkhi Nika Gvaramia, Gogoladze shared information about the wealth and personal qualities of the leader of the ruling Georgian Dream, whom many call the country’s shadow ruler.
Gogoladze worked at Cartu for eight years, for which five years he worked as the head of Ivanishvili’s security service.
The main takeaways from this interview:
● Ivanishvili sold only part of his property in Russia, including the main asset of Rosmetallinvest, acquired by Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov. According to Gogoladze, Ivanishvili was allegedly given money to advance their interests in Georgia, but he has no evidence of this.
● “I don’t believe in his renunciation of Russian citizenship either, since three of his Russian passports were constantly kept in my safe.”
When asked by the host about whether these passports were fake, Gogoladze replied:
– Why fake? They were authentic Russian passports. I would be very surprised if he ceded Russian citizenship.
● “Surkov was his (Bidzina Ivanishvili’s) assistant, this is how he got to the Kremlin”
● “Ivanishvili is a talented person in his own way, quite perspicacious and claims that his strong point is to recognize and distinguish people.”
● “I make deputy bank managers and vice-presidents of the company out of repairmen and security guards,” Ivanishvili supposed told Gogoladze.
● For some time he was in a psychiatric hospital in Moscow, possibly months or weeks. Once, he needed a psychiatric certificate to postpone exams.
● In one of the conversations Ivanishvili said, “I do not manage my money, my money controls me.”
● “He cannot write in Russian, he writes in Georgian quite normally. He tried to learn French and English, he had teachers, but as he himself says, he learned none of them. There are people who objectively cannot learn foreign languages. In his own way, he is a talented person.”
● The interview touched upon the events of June 20, 2019, when a protest in front of the parliament building was dispersed by force. According to Gogoladze, no one would have ordered to disperse the rally without Ivanishvili’s permission, but he does not know by whose hands it happened.
● Bidzina Ivanishvili, in general, does not like authorities in the environment where he is.
● About Bidzina Ivanishvili’s relationship with the Georgian patriarch, he says: “I don’t know, I didn’t notice any special sympathy, especially since he (Ivanishvili) is not a believer …”
“There was an attempt to get dirt (on the patriarch), I said that I would not do it. He said it would be nice to collect it, I replied that I do not advise doing this.”
Gogoladze is sure that today Ivanishvili does not have a person nearby who would tell him not to do this.
● The former head of the security service, at the end of the interview, wished Ivanishvili to hold these elections as calmly as possible, so that both society and, above all, the authorities, feel his responsibility.
● “Probably he will go to France, but he must leave in such a way so that the French will accept him there”.
How the ruling team reacted to this interview:
Former chairman of parliament Irakli Kobakhidze called the interview “gossip of two people”.
“I don’t think that one can make a serious comment about this interview, it was a kind of exchange of gossip between two people, one of whom was a well-known ‘KGB agent’ and a high-ranking KGB official, which means that this party (the party of former President Mikhail Saakashvili – National Movement) and its TV company use the Russian resource and are caught in the fact that they are doing Russian business in Georgia”, says Irakli Kobakhidze.
“In order not to overwork you, I will briefly summarize: Gogoladze will not escape Guantanamo, and Gakharia (director of Mtavari Arhi) will not escape the Gldani prison!”, PR consultant of the ruling party and one of its main ideologists writes on his Facebook page, Lasha Natsvlishvili.