Saakashvili scared by Russian competitor14.01.2011 | 20:09
As the date of presidential powers expiry approaches, Mikheil Saakashvili keeps sticking to his cosy seat. Current leader of Sakartvelo has got practically no competitors inside the country but what if we look further? At present, local media are actively discussing the person of Levan Vasadze, a businessman of a Georgian origin who has been working in Russia for quite a long time. According to some data, he has a serious intention to run for presidency in 2013; the only thing is that Vasadze will hardly be granted the citizenship he needs.
Information about Mikheil Nikolayevitch's potential competitor appeared on the pages of Tbilisi newspaper Version. According to the periodical, Saakashvili flatly refuses to comply with Levan Vasadze's request and admit him to citizenship, fearing competition. As the source asserts, the businessman who is presently living outside Georgia may claim both the post of the president and prime minister in 2013, VZGLYAD reports. However, as is known, Saakashvili reckons to occupy the second post himself as soon as his powers expire. He has even tailored the Constitution so as to vest the head of the state with the authority that will actually allow him to rule the country.
As for Levan Vasadze, the 39-year-old businessman is well known in wide business circles. Firstly, he is a favourite of the western and Russian journalists, for he never refuses to give an interview unlike other leading top managers. In 2006, Vasadze was recognized as Insurance Manager of the Year, his capital being valued at half a billion dollars. The businessman is known for working in Russia as First Vice President of Systema AFK, Chairman of the Board for Russian Insurance National Community OJSC, Director General for ROSNO Insurance Company and for holding other posts.
Secondly, Vasadze's biography has got no dark spots, which is very important for gaining the voters' respect. A large monastery complex is being built near Russian border in Daryalskoye gorge with his financial assistance. Despite the famous saying that one cannot become famous for one's good deeds, Vasadze has gained the favour of Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II who was recognized as Man of the Year in Sakartvelo. Neither does the businessman forget about his motherland: at the end of last year he additionally invested in Fokani workshop of the Georgian art producing church plates and icons.
One can be sure that Vasadze's rating in 2013 will be high. It is rumoured that some party is ready to nominate him for the post of president of Georgia: it is the oppositional People's Forum. However, the more you come to know this man, the surer you become that he won't get Georgian citizenship. We can remember a story with another Georgian businessman from RF Alexander Ebralidze who applied with the same request and was labelled by Saakashvili as a "criminal controlled by Russian special services".
Ebralidze asked to be admitted to Georgian citizenship in summer of 2009. Before that, he had publicly declared his disapproval of Saakashvili's policy. The businessman reckoned that the president would fulfill his recent promise to grant Georgian citizenship to all ethnic Georgians but it turned out that Mishiko did not find enough historic, legal and moral grounds to comply with the request of his former fellow countryman. "Presently, Ebralidze is used as the main engine in the context of the possible destabilization, when some Georgian politicians become active in their wish to take part in these processes. It is clear that Moscow can lead an adequate conversation only with such Georgians as Ebralidze, not with the Georgian authorities elected in a democratic way", - Saakashvili responded.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked one of the leaders of Movement For Fair Georgia Petre Mamradze whether Saakashvili will smell out a "Russian spy" in Vasadze's person. He says the story with Ebralidze may reoccur, especially in view of the talks about Saakashvili meeting with another businessman and philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili and demanding millions from the latter because he managed to safely take his family out of Georgia; otherwise, he threatened to persecute them.
According to our interlocutor, Saakashvili really cannot claim the presidential seat, for his second term is expiring and he cannot run for a third one. "However, according to the new Constitution, almost all the rights will be transferred to prime minister and Saakashvili is openly aiming at this office, - Mamradze remarked. - The presidential post becomes symbolic and is not that attractive in terms of power, so it can be taken over by a socially acceptable person, while real power will be given to the prime minister".
Talking about Levan Vasadze's prospects of becoming head of government, the oppositionist has got strong doubts about them. "It is possible only in case he is able to create a strong party, - Petre Mamradze acknowledges. - However, the ruling National Movement is not going to surrender what they have got under control. I can hardly imagine Vasadze having the same influence on MIA, courts and Ministry of Justice by 2013. One cannot change anything here with the best will in the world".