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From Rags to Riches -- And Now, Reins of Power?

Bidzina Ivanishvili is a portrait in contrasts. Born to a poor family in rural Georgia, he is now the country's wealthiest man, worth an estimated $6.5 billion. Shy and retiring, he has nonetheless thrown himself into the maelstrom of politics, forming the Georgian Dream opposition coalition that is proving the first viable threat to Mikheil Saakashvili's regime since the 2003 Rose Revolution. RFE/RL looks back at the life of Georgia's newest political player.

Bidzina Ivanishvili (front row, second from right) around the age of four with his family in the village of Chorvila, Imereti, where he was born on February 18, 1953.
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Bidzina Ivanishvili (front row, second from right) around the age of four with his family in the village of Chorvila, Imereti, where he was born on February 18, 1953.

Ivanishvili, seen here in an undated photo, graduated from high school in Sachkhere.
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Ivanishvili, seen here in an undated photo, graduated from high school in Sachkhere.

Ivanishvili (right) studied engineering and economics at Tbilisi State University.
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Ivanishvili (right) studied engineering and economics at Tbilisi State University.

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Ivanishvili and Eka Khvedelidze at their wedding in Svetitskhoveli, on October 19, 1991.
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Ivanishvili and Eka Khvedelidze at their wedding in Svetitskhoveli, on October 19, 1991.

Ivanishvili and his wife, Eka Khvedelidze, in an undated photo.
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Ivanishvili and his wife, Eka Khvedelidze, in an undated photo.

Ivanishvili with one of his sons
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Ivanishvili with one of his sons

The couple with one of their four children
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The couple with one of their four children

Ivanishvili's mother joins a birthday celebration.
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Ivanishvili's mother joins a birthday celebration.

The Ivanishvili family at their home in Tbilisi: the children, from oldest to youngest, are Uta, Bera, Gvansa, and Tsotne.
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The Ivanishvili family at their home in Tbilisi: the children, from oldest to youngest, are Uta, Bera, Gvansa, and Tsotne.

Ivanishvili before his speech at his party's founding congress in Tbilisi on April 21, 2012.
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Ivanishvili before his speech at his party's founding congress in Tbilisi on April 21, 2012.

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