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Georgian Opposition Tycoon Pledges To Sell Russian Holdings

Bidzina Ivanishvili speaks to the media in Tbilisi last month.
Georgian businessman and opposition political leader Bidzina Ivanishvili has pledged to sell all his businesses and properties in Russia by the end of May, in a bid to clear himself of accusations that he is more loyal to Russia than to Georgia.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008.

Ivanishvili's May 11 announcement comes with the tycoon seeking to push forward with plans to form an opposition party to challenge President Mikheil Saakashvili's allies in this year's scheduled Georgian parliamentary elections.

After announcing those plans in October 2011, Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship was revoked on grounds that he had French citizenship.

Ivanishvili said the decision was made to block him from political activities in Georgia.

In April, Ivanishvili’s request to have his Georgian citizenship reinstated through naturalization was rejected.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RFE/RL's Georgian Service