Thursday, August 28, 2014


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, 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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Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
May 18, 2012 12:08
US-propped "republic of Georgian" dictator is plainly pitiful. While other freedom-loving dictators from Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia just bring Western luxury brands to their own capitals, Saakashvilli is forced to run on foot in Milan and enviously peer at windows of various shops. His pathetic serfdom supported entirely on US taxpayers money is loosing out to Israel, Lybia, and of course Karzai in a line to get US taxpayers money.
In Response

by: Marko from: USA
May 18, 2012 18:39
Lay off! Maybe the poor guy got hungry and ate some of this neckties-- wouldn't be the first time:)!
In Response

by: potgeo
May 18, 2012 20:20
It is you again, Jack! For God's sake can't you find some other site
and park there? Like Armenia, why not Russia, or Azeris? What is
it so special about us,that ticks you of, ha?
In Response

by: Jennifer Koridze from: San Francisco
May 18, 2012 21:21
Would you leave the fellow alone, for God's sake! He is the most concerned and knowledgeable president with regard to what's happening in his country of any other I know in history - he has built his country up and brought it into the current century when 20 years ago it might as well have been 200 years ago. Who the Hell cares if he goes shopping in another country or views a sports match whilst on diplomatic tour. None of you will accomplish a 16th of what that man has in your whole lives nor even personally know someone similar, most likely. Have you nothing more important to concern yourselves with?!
In Response

by: Nin from: Tbilisi
May 19, 2012 09:20
I don't get how one can be so blind. It's easy to teach morale from abroad. First come try to leave in Georgia and then talk about what he has built (so far, demolished).
In Response

by: poor man
May 20, 2012 07:01
you all who live abroad and think everything is fine here ,just come and live as we do here,earn as we earn,spend terrible cold winters here.and then preach as what is what
In Response

by: George from: Netherlands
May 19, 2012 05:27
Jack, you talk about US taxpayers money but forget, that Georgian soldiers die in Afghanistan and Iraq! If you want someone else to fix the mess you've done, you have to pay, and much more then you do for this moment. I bet you are not from US at all
In Response

by: Sensei from: Tbilisi
May 19, 2012 12:16
My respect to you, Jenifer. Maybe foreigners just not know what alternative we have here – most people on other side are revanchists with nostalgia of criminal freedom, when few persons (mafia) have been ruling whole country. Foreigners just not know what the hell was here, in Georgia before “Rose revolution”
In Response

by: Jack from: US
May 21, 2012 17:35
says NATO minion.. "we give that wacko Saakashvilli some pocket change, and he sends his serfs to die for Uncle Sam in Afghanistan".
In Response

by: Nick
May 19, 2012 05:43
Get your facts straight, dear Jack, as you seem to have too little clue about the matter.

Total amount of Western help, including that of US was about 300 million USD per year, before august 2008 war.

After the war, following IMFs advise, west gave georgians about 4.5 billion USD for 3 years (1.5 annually). But out of 4.5 only 1 billion came from US.

Georgia pays for this help with blood of its soldiers in Afganistan.

Comparing Georgian regime, although somewhat autocratic but in no way "dicttorship" to absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia makes me wonder, if you're american or actually Russian clown.

by: Irakli from: USA
May 18, 2012 21:37
It's really biggest shameful that we have like this president as it's not a president as this is Dictator! Europe must open eyes and look what's going in Georgia! Today is not matter who will be next -- it's matter that this guy will not be president.

by: Marcel Maria Brandsma from: Langedijk, Holland
May 19, 2012 00:50
Nice to see these pictures ! I wonder if Misha was shopping there for his Holland First Lady Sandra Roelofs or for some other women ?
Sorry, I am Dutch and Misha also a man of flesh and blood...
But regarding the floods... I agree that it would be better not to be caught like this...

by: George from: Tobanieri, Georgia
May 19, 2012 04:59
Georgian parliament is discussing change in law - to cancel obligatory official reporting of income and owned property by all public governing persons - President, ministers, MPs, governors. Until now their property has to be declared annually and remains transparent for public interest. But it will be changed in future. Owning 80% of seats in the Parliament after 2008 rigged elections, Saakashvili's United National Movement has nobody to stop their absurd changes of constitution and laws! in 2004, Saakashvili, while presenting his first ministerial cabinet, asked journalists, - "Remember these people, and register immediately - what they own today. In case something will stick to their hands and their property will grow suspiciously quick I will strip everything what they would acquire illegally." Quite a promise from a person, who buys Officine Panerai luxury watches (none of them cost less than 2,500 USD, majority >$10,000), following his opponnent Vladimir Putin's taste.

by: John Bradford from: Tbilisi Georgia
May 23, 2012 14:48

This pretty much sums up much of what has gone on in Georgia and why people only shake their heads these days - and it is clearly a feeding frenzy - nobody is talking more about the beacon of democracy, only about Georgia trying to bleed its way into NATO.

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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

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