Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing. Bidzina Ivanishvili

Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing. Bidzina Ivanishvili

Article excerpt

In a post-Soviet region often presided over by the thuggish, the charismatic or the extremely nationalistic, people are unused to the cautious and the pragmatic. So the recent election of Bidzina Ivanishvili makes for an interesting change in the South Caucasus republic of Georgia. Ivanishvili's predecessor, the autocratic 'democrat' Mikheil Saakashvili, vyaSÌhe inheritor of the Rose Revolution against the old communist nomenklatura and proved a wildly pro-US president (no small task in the shadow of the Russian bear). He has now been sent packing by a zebra-collecting billionaire who also purports to be a psychoanalyst, a self-described anti-social loner and a practitioner of yoga.

Ivanishvili is an enigmatic figure. The richest man in Georgia, he made his money in Russia and has spent it on various popular philanthropic causes. …

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