Bidzina Ivanishvili

Bidzina Ivanishvili is a Georgian businessman and politician who has been Prime Minister of Georgia since 2012.

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Bidzina Ivanishvili (Georgian: ბიძინა ივანიშვილი; born 18 February 1956) is a Georgian businessman and politician who has been Prime Minister of Georgia since 2012.

He is the leader of the coalition called Georgian Dream, which won the October 2012 parliamentary election.[1] Ivanishvili was confirmed as Prime Minister on October 25, 2012.[2]

In March 2010, Ivanishvili was granted French citizenship. In October 2011, he was deprived of his Georgian citizenship "according to Article 32 of the Georgian Law on Citizenship", [3] shortly after he had announced his intention to form a political party to challenge Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.[4] In October 2012, he was restored his Georgian citizenship after he terminated his French citizenship, before he could become Prime Minister later that month.[5]

In March 2012, Ivanishvili was ranked at number 153 in Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires with an estimated worth of USD 6.4 billion. This makes him Georgia's richest person.[6]

Early life

Bidzina Ivanishvili was born the youngest of five children to a poor family in the Georgian village of Chorvila. His father worked in a manganese factory. He graduated high school in Sachkhere and went to Tbilisi State University to study engineering and economics. In 1982, he went to Moscow to pursue a Ph.D in economics at the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering.[7]

Business interests



Ivanishvili's compound above Tbilisi, designed by Shin Takamatsu.

Prior to 1990 while living in Moscow, Ivanishvili met Vitaly Malkin, a Russian businessman currently into politics,[8] with whom he formed a partnership selling computers, and later importing what was then a novelty in Russia, push-button telephones.[7] The source of his great wealth is metals and banking. Forbes magazine's description of the secret of his success could apply to dozens of other oligarchs in Russia: "He bought firms not needed by anybody for tens of millions of dollars and sold them for billions of dollars." In 1990 he and Malkin set up "Rossiysky Kredit", which is up to now Ivanishvili's biggest holding. Over the years, he sold other businesses accumulated by him during the privatization era in Russia, investing the proceeds in the Russian stock market. He has also interests in hotels, including Hotel Lux, and in a Russian chain of drugstores called "Doctor Stoletov". He is also redeveloping a former factory in downtown Moscow into a deluxe housing project, the first blocks of which are to be completed by 2012.

In March 2010, he ranked 173 in 2010 Forbes List of Billionaires, with a reported net worth of 4.8 billion USD.[9] The following year he ranked 185 in the 2011 Forbes List with a reported net worth of 5.5 billion USD.[6] In March 2012, he ranked 153 in the 2012 Forbes List with a reported net worth of 6.4 billion USD.[6]

Political career

In April 2012, he established the Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia party with the intention to challenge the ruling United National Movement in the parliamentary election scheduled for October 2012.[10] The Georgian Dream coalition is composed of the Republican Party of Georgia, Our Georgia – Free Democrats, the National Forum, the Conservative Party of Georgia and the Industry Will Save Georgia party. The head of the latter party publicly acknowledged in April 2012 that he doesn't share all of Ivanishvili's views on foreign policy, especially when it comes to joining NATO.[11]

On 11 June 2012, a USD 90.9 million fine was imposed on Ivanishvili for alleged violation of the Georgian legislation on party funding.[12] Ivanishvili is also under investigation on charges of using his companies Burji, Elita Burji, and Global Consulting Group for political and electoral goals.[13]

Personal life

He is married with four children.[7] Bidzina Ivanishvili lives in a house in the hills of Tbilisi which was specially designed for him by the famous Russian architect Mikhail Khazanov and finished by well known Japanese interior architect Shin Takamatsu which is worth an estimated $50 million.[14]

Ivanishvili is also known by the Russian first name Boris, which he previously used while working in Russia. He was widely reported under that name in the West. However, he has returned to his Georgian first name Bidzina in 2011.

Recently Ivanishvili became the subject of some interest in the art world, following his reported purchases of works by Pablo Picasso[15] and the contemporary artist Peter Doig at auctions for prices well above their estimates.[6]

Ivanishvili's son Bera is a well-known rapper in Georgia. "Georgian Dream" is a rap song by Bera and became an inspiration to his father who named the party he founded in 2012 Georgian Dream (full name Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia) after his son's rap song.

References

  1. "Georgia's president admits defeat in elections". RTE. 2 October 2012. http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/1002/georgia-election.html. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  2. "Georgia President Saakashvili admits election defeat". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19798323. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  3. http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/nationality/National%20legislation/Georgia%20Law%20on%20Citizenship_ENG.pdf
  4. Georgia illegally denied Ivanishvili citizenship
  5. Georgian President returns Bidzina Ivanishvili's citizenship
  6. March 2011 profile of Boris Ivanishvili Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  7. Wendell Steavenson, "The good oligarch" Prospect Magazine (21 July 2010). Retrieved 11 November 2011
  8. "Buryatia Senator Richest in Russian Upper House". RIA Novosti. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120412/172784196.html. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  9. Forbes List of Billionaires: #173 Boris Ivanishvili Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  10. Ivanishvili's Political Party Launched. Civil Georgia. April 21, 2012. Accessed May 12, 2012.
  11. "Industrialists Party Joins Ivanishvili-Led Coalition". Civil. http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24652. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  12. "Ivanishvili Fined with USD 90.9 Million". Civil. http://civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=24876. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  13. Posted: 06.07.2012. "Announcement of the Financial Monitoring Service". Control. http://control.ge/eng/news/id/245. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  14. Julia Ioffe (16 February 2012). "Bidzina Ivanishvili's Big House". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehhd45fji/bidzina-ivanishvilis-big-house/#gallerycontent. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  15. Peter Dittmar, "Der steinerne Zeuge des stalinistischen Terrors". Die Welt (30 October 2007). Retrieved 11 November 2011 (German)