Former Putin Associate seeks Georgian Presidency

Reuters reports  that Georgian billionaire, Badri Patarkatsishvili, will seek the nomination for president as leader of the 10-party opposition coalition aligned against current Georgian President and staunch US ally, Mikhail Saakashvili.  AT readers may remember that after a week of violent civil unrest in the capital of Tbilisi, Saakashvili had his forces seize IMEDI media, which was majority owned by Patarkatsishvili, and then announced that early elections would take place in January of next year.

Decisive action by Saakashvili in the crisis has garnered the usual criticism from those who  spout the usual formaliac and shallow analysis of the complexities of Eurasian politics, but the maneuver worked.  The opposition parties were deprived of their moneyman - a financier who helped Putin to power; and the seizure of his media conglomerate revealed the extent of his slanted propaganda machine.  The 10 parties were left with a leadership vacuum and the cover blown off the source of their financial backing.

What's truly priceless is that Patarkatsishvili's announcement apparently doesn't mean much to the very political parties that he had diligently supported for so long.  Opposition leader Tina Khidasheli said, "Badri Patarkatsishvili is not an issue for us right now," and that they would delay selecting their leader/nominee until after Saakashvili lifted the state of emergency.   Patarkatsishvili's reaction to this was that "he would withdraw from the election if the opposition united behind another leader."

The Georgian opposition should take note.  This is typical of a spoiled kid and rabblerouser who may not get his way in the end: he's going to take his ball and go home.  Perhaps the critics should look more closely at the players, too.