Ruling party lawmakers, who until now have been relatively reserved in their comments about billionaire philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili’s decision to go into politics, accused him on October 11 of being Russian PM Vladimir Putin’s stooge who tries “to buy Georgia’s future”.
The ruling party also said on October 11 that it was possible to increase state funding for the political parties in order to prevent infiltration of “Russian money” into the Georgian politics.
Ruling party MPs made the remarks after the Civil Registry Agency at the Georgian Justice Ministry announced on October 11 that Ivanishvili, who intends to establish a political party to run in the next year’s parliamentary elections, was not a Georgian citizen. The law bans political parties in Georgia to receive funding from foreign citizens.
“There will never be Russian money in the Georgian politics; no politics will ever be made in Georgia with money lent or granted by Putin. We should spare no efforts in order to protect the Georgian politics from the Russian money. Hence, I think that in the near future a fund should be set up for financial support of political parties. As you know funds are already available from the state budget for ‘qualified electoral entities’ and this funding should further increase,” said Pavle Kublashvili, a ruling party lawmaker who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs.
“The Georgian political parties should be able to get finances from the budget and they should not be tied to the Russian money,” he added.
Currently state funding is available for so called “qualified political parties” – those which have cleared, separately or together with others in an electoral bloc, a 4% threshold in parliamentary elections and a 3% threshold in local self-government elections. Total of GEL 5.9 million is envisaged for the funding of seventeenth parties from the state budget this year. The ruling party receives more than any other from those seventeen parties – GEL 1.95 million, because it received more votes than others in the elections. Christian-Democratic Movement comes second with GEL 767,300.
“What we have seen in recent days [referring to Ivanishvili’s written statements] is Putin’s attempt to buy with the hands of Ivanishvili the Georgian state, the Georgian society, the Georgian media outlets and the Georgian society,” MP Lasha Tordia, chairman of the parliamentary committee on human rights, said.
Nugzar Tsiklauri, ruling party lawmakers, said that Russia and its PM Vladimir Putin “wants to buy Georgia’s future with the money of Russian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili.”
“Our response is that Georgia’s freedom and Georgia’s democracy and the choice of the Georgian people is not for sale,” he said.