Bidzina Ivanishvili: The Kremlin Connection

Bidzina Ivanishvili also known as Boris Grigoryevich Ivanishvili is a Georgian politician and oligarch. He served as Prime Minister of Georgia from 2012 to November 2013. Based on his political career and activities he is a pro-Kremlin individual. 

Ivanishvili allegedly carried close business connections with Russian oligarchs. On 25 April 2022, two recordings were uploaded on YouTube by a channel named Cyber Kmara, purportedly of a call between Ivanishvili and Vladimir Yevtushenkov about potential business dealings amidst the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Also involved in the calls was Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, with Ivanishvili saying in the recording.

The European Parliament has also represented Ivanishvili as an oligarch, accusing him of having a “destructive” role in Georgia’s politics and economy. On 14 December 2022, the European Parliament again called the EU Council to sanction Ivanishvili, blaming him for deteriorating the democratic political process in Georgia and enabling Russia to avoid international sanctions.

In 1988, Ivanishvili diverted to business. He established a cooperative — the only private company authorised in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Before 1990, while living in Moscow, Ivanishvili assembled Vitaly Malkin, a Russian businessman currently into politics with whom he developed a partnership marketing computers, and later importing what was then a newness in Russia, push-button telephones.

In 1996, Ivanishvili evolved as part of Semibankirschina, a group of influential Russian bankers who sustained the re-election of Boris Yeltsin as Russian president during the 1996 Russian presidential election.

On 21 April 2012, Ivanishvili formally launched the Georgian Dream political party. Ivanishvili considered his foreign policy with Russia “pragmatic”. Despite his pledge to uphold a “principled” position towards Russia despite a stated objective of “de-escalating” tensions, Ivanishvili acquired criticism from the former governing United National Movement for being “too tolerant” towards Russia and even allegedly being “pro-Russian“. The UNM depicted Ivanishvili as a “Kremlin agent” who desired to turn Georgia subservient toward Russia. 

His party party continued to confront allegations of being “pro-Russian” from the United National Movement and its partners in opposition. According to the Georgian Institute of Politics, as of 2017, Georgian Dream “has successfully fought accusations by the opposition of being a pro-Russian political force”

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