President Saakashvili attacked business tycoon, Badri Patarkatsishvili, twice on November 17 during his public speeches both made in the eastern Georgian region of Kakheti and also criticized a wine company owned by his rival in forthcoming presidential polls, Levan Gachechiladze.“There is an evil, which has a name, and I want to tell this evil: will you spend billion dollars? You will fail. Will you try to buy the Georgian people? You will fail. Will you try to fool Georgian people with you machine of lies? You will fail. Will you try to serve Georgia on a dish to the country [referring to Russia] which wants to enslave Georgia? You will fail. Because you do not understand one thing: this is the Georgian people,” Saakashvili said in his flamboyant speech.
He was speaking to a crowd gathered in the town of Kvareli at a concert marking an opening of a renovated museum of Ilia Chavchavadze, a 19th century Georgian writer and public figure.
Earlier on Saturday, Saakashvili, accompanied by his nominee for Prime Minister, Lado Gurgenidze, was in Sagarejo, another town in Kakheti, to meet with a group of winegrowers and winemakers.
There he spoke much about Georgia’s ability to overcome difficulties despite Russia’s embargo and despite attempts by “traitors” within the country “to destroy Georgia” and to stir destabilization. He recalled, what he called it, “a faked and staged scene” when a winegrower, angry about his failure to sell harvest, was cutting down his vines in Kakheti and which was extensively covered by Imedi TV, co-owned by Patarkatsishvili. Authorities said at that time that the “staged show” was part of Patarkatsishvili’s “propaganda” to plant hopelessness among the people.
“This year entire propaganda campaign has been staged, claiming that vineyards were cut in Kakheti,” Saakashvili said. “All those TV scenes were faked… It was staged to make mustached patron happy,” he added in reference to Patarkatsishvili, who has bushy gray mustache.
At the meeting with wine producers and winegrowers, Saakashvili also spoke about need to further diversify export markets for Georgian wine.
While hailing one of the Georgian wine companies – Teliani Valley – for its efforts to diversify export markets and increase sales even after the Russia’s embargo was imposed, Saakashvili slammed Georgian Wines and Spirits company, owned by MP Levan Gachechiladze, a presidential nominee of the nine-party opposition coalition. Teliani Valley shareholder is Galt & Taggart Capital, the merchant banking arm of Bank of Georgia (BOG), which was chaired by Lado Gurgenidze.
“There is one company, which is now a bankrupt so I will not say its name, the company’s representative are now in politics,” Saakashvili said. “Recently I have been in Japan where a governor of Kyoto told us that he had bought a Georgian wine in Kyoto and I have seen white wine produced by that company. I was scared, because I had tasted that very wine two years earlier in Moscow and it was terrible. None of you would drink a wine of that kind, not only you but those who do not understand anything in wine would not drink it as well… So we then tasted that wine and surprisingly it turned out to be really good. So it means that that company exported to Japan [unlike Russia] really good wine… That is a problem when one sends one type of wine to one market and a wine of a different quality to another market. We should keep high standards for every market.”
At the meeting Saakashvili has once again raised the issue of recent developments in the country and reiterated that the government’s response to the November 7 unrests in Tbilisi prevented the country from sliding into chaos.
“Georgia was facing a choice: either to continue moving towards future, or going back to early 90s, back to disaster,” Saakashvili said. “We have no way back. For this reason the government has undertaken all the necessary measures, which would have been undertaken by any government in any other country for restoring order.”