Mr. Prime Minister,
Watching the appalling state of affairs in Georgia and contemplating the country’s very grim perspectives, I felt compelled to write to you in all honesty; I owe it to you, I owe it to the Georgian people, but most importantly I owe it to my own conscience.
Georgia that was some years ago described as a role model and a beacon of change, of reforms and of progress, is turning into yet another one of those obscure and failed republics of the post-Soviet time.
Criminality has reached a level similar to that of the Shevardnadze’s era; there is not a single day that someone doesn’t get killed or wounded in the country; in the past 3 months alone, five foreigners were murdered; people don’t feel safe anymore, and in certain neighborhoods it has become very dangerous to walk out at night.
The economy is in tatters; Georgia’s GDP in Dollar value is at the level of that of 2012; this means that after 9 years that you are in power, the country has not produced any additional wealth compared to when you took over from the previous government.
Meanwhile during the same period of time, the national currency has lost about half of its value, and inflation has reached unprecedented levels, driving an even larger part of the population into poverty; in the past 2 years alone, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. Green field foreign investments are inexistent, and no serious foreign investor would want to get any close to Georgia anymore.
Your time in power has been indisputably the worst period for foreign investors in the whole history of Georgia; I can’t even recount the numbers of foreign investors who were harassed, defrauded or racketeered by your government, or simply thrown out of the country on the basis of unsubstantiated cancellations of their residency permits by your Security Services; not mentioning the many foreign investors who are systematically ripped off by the courts on instruction from your government, or even worse, left totally unprotected by the law, to become victims of some local individuals that your government doesn’t want to upset not to lose their votes.
Because of your xenophobic policies against foreigners and the dreadful way you have been treating them, you have destroyed in your nine years in power the thousand years old reputation of Georgia as a hospitable and welcoming country for foreigners, and turned this reputation into nothing more than a myth.
Since the moment your government came to power, you destroyed all businesses associated with the previous government, which resulted in thousands of people losing their jobs and in a serious blow to the economy. You persecuted former officials mostly on the ground of staged charges, and compelled them to flee the country.
You have borrowed billions of Dollars and drown the country in debt to finance sterile and useless social programs, most of which have failed, with the one goal of pleasing the population to gain their support, so you could maintain your party in power, though at the expense of the prosperity of the Georgians; all of that with no accountability at all, because the price of your useless programs will not be paid by your own government, but by subsequent governments in the future.
Poverty has reached an alarming level, and Georgians are fleeing the country by the scores; between 2014 and 2021, eight hundred thousand Georgians have applied for an American Green Card, not mentioning the thousands who fled to the European Union trying to find a job. It is very unfortunate that the Georgian people don’t believe in the future of their own country anymore, and that Georgia will soon become a place where only children and pensioners will be living.
Your government has totally corrupted the courts and the prosecutor office, and turned judges and prosecutors into obedient servants to foster the interests of your own party and that of your supporters. In short you have hijacked all state institutions, turning the country into a total dictatorship run by Bidzina Ivanishvili.
With your government, nepotism has reached new heights; you have staffed the administration with thousands of useless people supporting your party, to create artificial jobs at the expense of the taxpayers, hence burdening the state budget with huge expenditures, simply to ensure that those people and their families will always be voting for your party.
Your government lies every day to the Georgian population, but what is much more dangerous, you lied as well and on several occasions to the US and EU administrations, defaulting more than once on promises and commitments, and thus bringing the credibility of Georgia to new lows.
In short, your policies and actions represent everything that the west and that the International Chamber of Commerce stand against.
I say it with full responsibility, your government is the worst government that Georgia has seen in decades, even worse than Shevardnadze’s government, because if Edward Shevardnadze failed to move his country forward despite his efforts, your government has dramatically moved the country backwards.
Your colleagues feed and fuel polarization in the country every day, I will specially mention here the chairman of your party, Irakli Kobakhidze, who sows division, discord and hatred with each one of his speeches.
Like all dictators believe, your party leaders also believe that they will remain in power forever.
Being many years older than you are, I have learned that there is nothing shorter than being at the top, and longer than being at the bottom; and therefore when you are at the top, you should be fair and just to people, because those are the same people that you will have to meet again when you will be on your way back from the top to the bottom.
I will include a word about the third president of Georgia that you are keeping in jail; I will not discuss here the merit of the cases filed against him, I will simply give you an example from history to learn from:
When the Duke of Orleans was crowned King Louis XII in 1498, his close associates asked him to punish all the enemies he had when he was Duke of Orleans, to which the king answered:
“It is not the duty of the King of France to retaliate for the insults done to the Duke of Orleans!”
King Louis XII entered history from the very big door and will be remembered for his political maturity, unlike Mr. Ivanishvili who missed a golden opportunity to do the same, would have he put aside his personal grievances and pardoned those who had harmed him, simply to maintain peace in the country.
Would Mr. Ivanishvili had done the same, he would have turned himself into a historical Georgian figure, and the country would have reached today the same level of development and prosperity as the Baltic States.
People like King Louis XII move their countries forward and bring their people together. People like Mr. Ivanishvili move their countries backward and divide their people.
Having said all that, I would like to thank and in all fairness, those public servants within your government who are working very hard to move the country forward; I know a few of them, and they deserve full credit and recognition; however with your government’s distorted policies, you are throwing away every day with your huge shovel the little gains that those good people are painstakingly building with their small spoons.
Your party leaders have still a last chance to make things right in order to save themselves and save the country, before things get totally out of hand. Only an immediate national reconciliation can stop disintegration of the society, violence and economic collapse.
Declare an immediate general political amnesty, release all political prisoners even if you believe that they are guilty, drop all criminal charges against former officials, and allow exiled former officials to come back to the country unhindered; this amnesty should also cover your own government for the crimes that many of you may have committed during your nine years in power, so this endless cycle of violent retaliation and counter-retaliation in Georgia stops for good, and so all parties can finally start building this country together constructively.
And now that I may have probably offended you with this letter, offended Mr. Ivanishvili, the Security Services, your party members and your supporters, feel free to retaliate against me the way you find it the most appropriate, be it by harassing me, arresting me on fake charges, beating me up in the street, or murdering me; very honestly at this stage of my life I couldn’t care any less.
Chairman of the Board