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Georgia Denies Citizenship To Presidential Hopeful

The Georgian authorities have rejected a formal application for Georgian citizenship by St. Petersburg-based Georgian businessman Aleksandr Ebraelidze.

Ebraelidze had formally requested citizenship in a letter addressed to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in July 2009. In that letter, he criticized Saakashvili's foreign policy and said he considers himself morally obliged to participate in the restoration of Georgia's territorial integrity.

Ebralidze, who is head of the World Congress of Peoples of Georgia, announced in May 2009 that he plans to participate in the Georgian presidential ballot due in January 2013. But only Georgian citizens are eligible to register as presidential candidates.

Ebralidze is a colorful and controversial figure whom the Georgian authorities regard as a Moscow-backed Trojan horse. He was born in Batumi on Georgia's Black Sea coast on June 20, 1955, but settled in Moscow in Moscow in the early 1970s. He reportedly has two criminal convictions, for armed robbery and resisting police.

He is currently co-owner of the Talion group of companies; the "Georgian Times" in 2007 estimated his net worth at $300 million.

Even before Ebralidze publicly declared his presidential ambitions, the Georgian authorities in the person of parliament Committee for Defense and National Security Chairman Givi Targamadze had accused him of financing the purported mutiny in early May at the Mukhrovani military base near Tbilisi.

He was refused entry to Georgia in November 2009.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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