Bidzina Ivanishvili

Bidzina Ivanishvili (Georgian: ბიძინა ივანიშვილი, also known as Boris Ivanishvili; born 18 February 1956)[2] is a Georgian politician, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, who was Prime Minister of Georgia from October 2012 to November 2013.

Bidzina Ivanishvili
ბიძინა ივანიშვილი
Bidzina Ivanishvili 2013-07-19.jpg
10th Prime Minister of Georgia
In office
25 October 2012 – 20 November 2013
PresidentMikheil Saakashvili
Giorgi Margvelashvili
Preceded byVano Merabishvili
Succeeded byIrakli Garibashvili
Chairman of Georgian Dream
Assumed office
26 April 2018
Preceded byGiorgi Kvirikashvili
In office
12 April 2012 – 15 November 2013
Preceded byparty established
Succeeded byIrakli Garibashvili
Personal details
Born (1956-02-18) 18 February 1956 (age 64)
Chorvila, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
CitizenshipGeorgian (2004–2011, 2014–present)
French (2010–present)
Russian (1991–2011)
Soviet (until 1991)
Political partyGeorgian Dream (2012–present)
Spouse(s)
Ekaterine Khvedelidze
(
m. 1991)
Children4, including Bera
Alma materTbilisi State University
Moscow State University of
Railway Engineering
Net worthUS$4.9 billion (October 2019)[1]
Signature

Ivanishvili founded the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party on 21 April 2012. He became the leader of the coalition of opposition parties that he himself had created, which attained victory in the 2012 parliamentary elections.[3] On 25 October 2012, he was elected as the prime minister of Georgia. On 20 November 2013, Ivanishvili voluntarily left the post of prime minister on the basis of an earlier statement and returned to the civil sector. In 2018, he returned to politics and was elected as the chairman of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party.[4]

Bidzina Ivanishvili is citizen of Georgia, latter granted by Saakashvili. In March 2010, Ivanishvili was granted another French citizenship.[5] In October 2011, he was deprived of his Georgian citizenship "according to Article 32 of the Georgian Law on Citizenship",[6] shortly after he had announced his intention to form a political party to challenge Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.[7]

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 $6.4 billion, making him Georgia's richest person.[8]

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 from high school in Sachkhere. He graduated from the Faculty of Engineering and Economics of the Tbilisi State University in 1980. In 1982, he went to Moscow to pursue a PhD in economics at the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering.[9] In 1986, he defended his dissertation at the Research Institute of Labor and Social Issues in Moscow.

Business interests

Prior to 1990 while living in Moscow, Ivanishvili met Vitaly Malkin, a Russian businessman currently into politics,[10] with whom he formed a partnership selling computers, and later importing what was then a novelty in Russia, push-button telephones.[9] 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, Ivanishvili ranked 173 in 2010 Forbes List of Billionaires, with a reported net worth of US$4.8 billion.[11] The following year he ranked 185 in the 2011 Forbes List with a reported net worth of US$5.5 billion.[8] In March 2012, he ranked 153 in the 2012 Forbes List with a reported net worth of US$6.4 billion; with his total net worth equaling one third of Georgia's Gross Domestic Product.[8][12]

Political career

 
Ivanishvili in 2013
 
Ivanishvili's residence in Tbilisi, designed by Shin Takamatsu.

In April 2012, Ivanishvili 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.[13] The Georgian Dream coalition was 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.[14]

On 25 October 2012, he was elected as the prime minister of Georgia. During this period, the state Universal Healthcare Program came into force (making emergency surgeries and childbirth free of charge), the reform of the system of self-governance was initiated and the project on rescuing the villages was developed.

In 2018, Ivanishvili returned to politics and was re-elected as the chairman of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party.

Charity

Bidzina Ivanishvili, together with his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze, founded the Cartu International Charity Foundation in 1995.[15] The Ivanishvili family is the only donor of the foundation. The following projects were implemented with the finances of the foundation:

Arts and culture

A Thorough overhaul of Z. Paliashvili Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Tbilisi, Shota Rustaveli, K. Marjanishvili, M. Tumanishvili, and A. Groboyedov drama theatres, the Music and Drama Theatre, the Young Spectators' Theatre, the Puppet Theatre, the Tbilisi Philharmonic, and J. Kakhidze Music and Cultural Centre.[16]

Theatres in Batumi, Zugdidi, and Ozurgeti and the Armenian theatre in Tbilisi are also being rehabilitated. The S. Janashia State Museum, the Baazov Jewish Museum, and the house-museums of A. Tsereteli, I. Chavchavadze, and Vladimir Mayakovsky were restored. The foundation has provided financial support for the personnel of the aforementioned theatres and museums for many years. The foundation purchased paintings by prominent Georgian painter N. Pirosmanishvili at international auctions and donated them to the Georgian National Museum.[17] Since the day of its foundation, Cartu has provided material assistance to prominent figures active in literature, art, and culture.

Protection of cultural heritage

More than 700 monuments of cultural heritage have been rehabilitated throughout the country. Rehabilitation of cultural and historical monuments is underway on a phased basis in accordance with the plan developed by the Cartu Foundation. The Trinity Cathedral was also built with the money allocated by the foundation.[18]

Sport

Thirteen training bases and rugby stadiums have been built throughout the country. Various popular sports (judo, wrestling, sambo, taekwondo, boxing, rhythmic gymnastics, chess, water polo, handball, tennis, football, fencing, and shooting) have been financed for many years. The foundation provides material assistance to the Georgian rugby Union and the national rugby team, Georgian Olympic champions, world and European gold medal holders, and veteran athletes. For contributions made to developing rugby, International Rugby Board (IRB) has decided to give Bidzina Ivanishvili an award. In 2015, the foundation was involved in financing preparatory work for the Tbilisi Youth Olympic Festival.[19]

Agriculture

In 1992, Bidzina Ivanishvili donated 400 tractors with full ploughing and sowing equipment to Georgia. In the subsequent years, Cartu implemented a large-scale project aimed at saving local Georgian species. Agricultural enterprises set up for these purposes in the villages of Jigauri and Tsilkani became bases for the restoration of 440 species of Georgian vines and dozens of endemic species of fruit crops. The foundation helped to import from abroad advanced foreign species of vines and tested them in the regions of the country. Adapted species were offered to local farmers. Several standard transplant nurseries were set up with the help of the base in Jigauri. The breeding grounds received seedlings free of charge as well as rootstocks and grafts. About 100 species and populations of annual crops that are kept at the genetic bank were restored. The full system of producing seedlings of elite species of potatoes was put in place. Seedlings were given to farmers free of charge from these bases for many years (for the purpose of organizing transplant nurseries) and hundreds of tonnes of grapes and various fruits and vegetables were supplied to orphanages and homes for elderly people. In 2013-2014, the foundation financed a state program of an unprecedented scale aimed at saving agriculture.[20]

Medicine and healthcare

A modern medical center was built in Sachkhere and handed over to the state. Emergency medical care centers were equipped and also handed over to the state in Ureki and the Boriti village of Kharagauli District. The Republican Hospital in Tbilisi was rehabilitated and equipped. The Cartu Foundation has provided free health insurance for more than 50,000 residents of Sachkhere Municipality for many years until universal health insurance was introduced. Hundreds of people received the opportunity to undergo complicated surgeries abroad with the finances allocated by the foundation.[21]

Infrastructure

Hundreds of kilometers of roads were covered with asphalt with the material support from the foundation. Infrastructure projects were implemented throughout the country. The infrastructure of Sachkhere Municipality was created. Roofing and repair work was done in 12,652 residential homes. Thousands of residential homes were built and all villages of the municipality were provided with natural gas. The foundation is providing assistance in making the Internet accessible throughout Georgia. The final aim is to make the Internet available to the whole population of the country. The foundation is making a substantial contribution to reforming the Georgian Army and Police and building the necessary infrastructure.[22]

Tourism

A dolphinarium was built in Batumi and thematic parks were built in coastal areas, including a miniature park of monuments of Georgian architecture. The foundation built the Tsitsinatela entertainment center on the border between Guria and Ajaria and the new Didveli skiing compound in Bakuriani. The ultra-modern Black Sea Arena concert hall was built in the Guria region and handed over to the state. It is able to host 10,000 viewers and large-scale international concerts and events.[23]

Ecology

Several botanical gardens were preserved and restored with the help of the foundation's program. National parks in Lagodekhi, Vashlovani, and Tusheti were rehabilitated and a natural monument – the Kumistavi cave – was equipped with necessary amenities. The Cartu Foundation provided material help to the people that were affected by the earthquake in Racha in 1991, the hail in Kakheti in 2012, and the flood in Tbilisi on 13 June 2015.[24]

Science and education

Hundreds of public schools were built, rehabilitated, and equipped with computers. Three buildings of Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi State Conservatoire, a building of the Academy of Arts, and the third building of the Georgian Parliament's National Library were repaired and equipped. A French school was founded in Tbilisi. The foundation is providing financial aid to the Georgian National Academy of Sciences.[25]

In 2016, the foundation started implementing a new large-scale scientific and educational project – the construction of a university complex in Kutaisi. According to the plan, a multi-faculty university is being built in Kutaisi, which will host 50,000 students, satisfy high international standards, and be equipped with modern technology. It envisages the construction of a scientific and research center and a hadron collider. The multifunctional center will pursue teaching and educational activities and carry out fundamental and applied scientific research in the following fields: Physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, computer sciences, medicine, and so forth. The scientific and technical center will have ultra-modern laboratories, including a center of crystals, laboratories of biophysics, isotopes, low temperatures, and so forth. The institute will help train a new generation of young scientists and enable Georgian scientists to participate in modern international experiments. The center is also going to have a significant medical potential. It will use hadron therapy to treat patients with serious cancer diseases. The Cartu Foundation has helped to launch the activities of the Mokalake [Citizen] organization aimed at training new generations and strengthening democratic institutions. Thousands of talented school and university students are involved in the projects of the organization.

Personal life

Ivanishvili owns several estates, including a mansion above Tbilisi which is worth an estimated US$50 million and specially designed for him by Russian architect Mikhail Khazanov and finished by famous Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu.[26]

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 went back to his Georgian first name Bidzina in 2011.[citation needed]

Recently Ivanishvili became the subject of some interest in the art world, following his reported purchases of works by Pablo Picasso[27] and the contemporary artist Peter Doig at international auctions. Ivanishvili bought Niko Pirosmani's Arsenal Hill at Night, paying a record US$1.5 million for a painting by a Georgian artist. He then donated the painting to the State Museum of Arts of Georgia.[8]

Ivanishvili married Ekaterine "Eka" Khvedelidze in October 1991.[28] They have four children together: sons Uta, Bera (who is a well-known singer and rapper in Georgia), and Tsotne, and a daughter, Gvantsa; Bera and Tsotne both have albinism.[29]

References

  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Bidzina Ivanishvili". Forbes. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. ^ Official Biography of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Government of Georgia (retrieved on 8 April 2013)
  3. ^ "Georgia's president admits defeat in elections". RTÉ. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Ex-PM Ivanishvili to Chair Georgian Dream Party". Civil Georgia. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  5. ^ Ivanishvili Revokes His Russian Citizenship
  6. ^ "Law of the Republic of Georgia on Citizenship of Georgia" (PDF). Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Council of Europe unofficial translation
  7. ^ "Georgia illegally denied Ivanishvili citizenship". Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d March 2011 profile of Bidzina Ivanishvili Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  9. ^ a b Wendell Steavenson, "The good oligarch" Prospect Magazine (21 July 2010). Retrieved 11 November 2011
  10. ^ "Buryatia Senator Richest in Russian Upper House". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  11. ^ Forbes List of Billionaires: #173 BIdzina Ivanishvili Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  12. ^ David M. Herszenhorn; New York Times (27 October 2013). "Georgia Elects New President, but Real Power Will Rest With Next Premier". nytimes.com.
  13. ^ Ivanishvili's Political Party Launched. Civil Georgia. 21 April 2012. Accessed 12 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Industrialists Party Joins Ivanishvili-Led Coalition". Civil. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  15. ^ ABOUT THE CARTUBANK
  16. ^ Tbilisi to reopen opera house that has survived tsars, Soviets and civil war
  17. ^ Bidzina Ivanishvili donates rare Pirosmani painting to Georgian National Museum
  18. ^ Mutso Renovation project ends this year
  19. ^ IRB Development Award 2014 - Bidzina Ivanishvili
  20. ^ Ancient Georgian grape and wheat varieties saved from extinction
  21. ^ Cartu Insurance
  22. ^ Bidzina Ivanishvili to finance rehabilitation of infrastructure, water and gas supply of the village where first President died
  23. ^ New concert arena on Black Sea coast opens in June
  24. ^ TUSHETI DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
  25. ^ Cartu Foundation invests in Kutaisi 140Ha University research campus for 60,000 students
  26. ^ Julia Ioffe (16 February 2012). "Bidzina Ivanishvili's Big House". Forbes. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  27. ^ Peter Dittmar, "Der steinerne Zeuge des stalinistischen Terrors". Die Welt (30 October 2007). Retrieved 11 November 2011 (in German)
  28. ^ "From Rags to Riches -- And Now, Reins of Power?". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. 26 September 2012.
  29. ^ Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his wife Eka Khvedelidze Archived 15 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine Yahoo News

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Vano Merabishvili
Prime Minister of Georgia
2012–2013
Succeeded by
Irakli Garibashvili