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A Flood Of Unwanted Attention For Georgian President


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (right) shops in Milan. (Photo courtesy of Georgian newspaper "Alia")

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (right) shops in Milan. (Photo courtesy of Georgian newspaper "Alia")

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has a knack for garnering attention -- not all of it good.

En route to the NATO summit in Chicago, Saakashvili stopped over in Slovakia to take in a football match between the under-17 clubs from Georgia and The Netherlands.

From there, it was on to Milan for what was perhaps an ill-timed shopping spree.

A few days after floods killed five and caused significant damage in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, photos of Saakashvili browsing the selection at the luxury watch shop Officine Panerai and other high-end shops in Milan were splashed across the pages of the Georgian tabloid “Alia," causing quite a stir.

According to the news portal Civil.ge, the president's office confirmed the Milan stop but did not comment on any specific purchases.

Contacted by telephone, an employee at Officine Panerai declined to discuss any purchases made by the Georgian president.

Saakashvili browses the offerings at Officine Panerai, where the cheapest watches are usually a few thousand dollars. (Photo courtesy of "Alia")

Saakashvili browses the offerings at Officine Panerai, where the cheapest watches are usually a few thousand dollars. (Photo courtesy of "Alia")

Saakashvili outside the Louis Vuitton shop in Milan. (Photo courtesy of "Alia")

Saakashvili outside the Louis Vuitton shop in Milan. (Photo courtesy of "Alia")

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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