TBILISI, DFWatch–Following the high-profile breakup of Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday sat down with Tbilisi based television channel Rustavi 2 and gave his first interview about the processes taking place inside his party.
Saakashvili left Georgia immediately after stepping down as president in 2013 and lives in exile in Ukraine. He has been increasingly a source of fraction, causing fierce infighting among his former allies and fellow mates over what the former leader’s role shall be within the party.
In the interview, he claimed that Georgian tycoon and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, in partnership with Russia, is the mastermind of the UNM’s disintegration.
“Kremlin ordained oligarch Ivanishvili as the most vital interests to fragment the party and distance me from it. He is controlling even where trees should be planted, and do you think he lets politicians act the way they want?!” Saakashvili told Rustavi 2. “Ivanishvili is just playing by this. Irakli Alasania is a good example. He brought him to power, made him defense minister, and later, once he went against the oligarch, Ivanishvili made him disappear from politics,” Saakashvili added.
Saakashvili, who was governor of Odessa for a year and a half and now leads a major opposition party in Ukraine, said that while living in that country, he has seen many oligarchs who are more powerful than Ivanishvili and can recognize their behavior.
“When such kind processes are happening in a powerful party they always have an intention to interfere in it. They can’t prevent themselves from getting involved in the process. Moreover, the oligarch who can detain you, manipulate your party and pay a bribe, he can’t communicate with anyone if money is not involved,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili emphasized that if Ivanishvili’s dreams would have come true, the party congress should have been held in December and would have appointed a new chairman of the party. “They want me to be a part of history and UNM to cease existing. He planned everything in advance and most part of the party’s leadership [who departed from the party] followed this setup,” Saakashvili said.
The former president underlined that the country needs a new idea as well as ardent idealists.
“We will not be able to defeat the oligarch with money, power or lies, as he is the world champion in terms of telling lies. We will defeat him only by means of idea and idealists. The people who stayed in the party are idealists… The 20 January gathering will clarify everything,” Saakashvili argued.
The ex-president said that he must have created something very special for the country and society, as for the last three years he has been banned from entering Georgia but is still a much talked subject in the country.