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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grechikha ( Buckwheat): Levan Gachecheladze

(AP photo, lifted off

The other day I went to the Marriott for some opposition meeting press conference sleeper. I turned the corner in the hall and a barrage of cameras were rolling, lights baring. "Why are they taping me?" I turned around and saw no one. I stepped forward, looked back. "What the fuck?" Lights, camera, action. What to do? You shouldn't waste the tape. I danced. I curtsied. Said hi to my mom. Thanked her for having me. And walked through the firing line. I chuckled to myself like a village idiot, joined by nobody. I felt a paw on my shoulder. I turned around and there was Grechikha, one of the opposition leaders.

"Thank you," he said sarcastically in English. I didn't know he had been right behind me the whole time.

That was a bummer. Heaven forbid I steal his show. When I was an irresponsible wise guy writing for an irresponsible local rag I irresponsibly wrote that Grechikha made his fortune selling watered down wine to Russia. But I have never drunk his wine, I don't think, unless it was that watered down vinegar I bought from a kiosk one night in 2002. That was wrong, I admit. Buying that wine and writing what I wrote. I must stick to the facts.

In 2007, when the united opposition of that time needed a candidate for the snap elections, they called on Grechikha to be their front man. He was non-political, insofar as being a guy without a personal flag. The idea was: "lets get a guy not connected to politics to represent us and our platform of a non-presidential Georgian parliament." So Grechikha was the non-presidential presidential candidate.

"Vote for me for president and I promise I will not become your president!"

I dug the logic, but he lost the elections and there is evidence to claim the vote was rigged, but not enough evidence to make the OSCE or EU observers say anything more than "well the elections weren't perfect, there was a lot of improvement especially when compared to the previous ones and since we never go on the record for saying anything remotely offensive..."

I had forgotten about Grechikha until he put his hand on my shoulder. For the past year, he had disappeared from the political arena and all of a sudden, there he was on my coat tail looking for an ashtray.

Grechikha is popular with a certain segment of society:

"The lion's share of responsibility for the world economic crisis belongs to Mikheil Saakashvili. It was after the August events that the big economic crisis began; this was because signs of cold war started appearing in the world and these signs of cold war meant that the shares of various companies and corporations fell many times. After Obama and Medvedev's meeting, the importance and value of our protests have grown significantly. This means that, yes, it is in a sense up to Mikheil Saakashvili to resolve the world economic crisis by resigning and doing away with this hotbed of warlike politicians and tense politicians."

I liked the previous logic better, but I saw how this concept could fly with those knuckleheads that ripped my coat. But Grechikha goes on:

"We control the situation in Tbilisi today from top to bottom, from top to bottom, from top to bottom. There are a few criminal groups that have tried to beat people up, but very soon we will calm them down too - humanely; there will not be any proportionally forceful reaction. They will calm down very soon. We will get the whole situation in Tbilisi under control. Then we will go to the regions, get control over each and every village, each and every district, each and every town in various districts and we will show them that the situation is in our hands."

"I want to issue a very strong warning to the patrol [police]: as long as they have a good name, they should work to preserve that good name. I am very much on the verge of thinking of telling them [protesters] not to obey the police. Certain people [police] are going outside the city and not allowing cars to enter the city. They should not force me to leave the city myself, gather up buses and pass by the police without so much as looking them in the eye. They should stop serving specific people. They should serve the Georgian people and our homeland."

Some people should stick to making bad wine rather than making bad politics. But what do I know? His politics could be better than his wine.

(Thanks to Big John for providing the quote of the day)


John Ananda said...

Seriously, I can't believe this guy is a viable candidate

Anonymous said...

From abroad, he looks more a mafia leader with no idea of how to rule a country than a future politician.

anna k said...

just a little correction - it's not Grachichka, it's Grechikha - not that it changes anything major, but still.

paul rimple said...

Thanks Anna K, will fix!

Anonymous said...

From Georgia Today (newspaper):

“I have never aspired to be in the government,” Levan Gachechiladze said on one of Shevardnadze’s endless meetings. time showed he is the oppositionist who can manage “great people of Tbilisi” best. The protest action peculiarity of Georgia is that rallies here are discussed not as means to express opinion but to exercise direct pressure upon the government. For example, when Irakli Alasania mentioned ‘dialogue’ on the April meeting of 2009 and “Jigars” [great people] stirred in revolt, ‘Grechikha’ made them silent by swearing, proving once again that only ‘Grechikha’ knows the language of ‘Jigaris’, that is why he is irreplaceable for the opposition.