The path from business ombudsman to the premiership – who is Giorgi Gakharia?

Candidate for the Georgian premiership Giorgi Gakharia, 44, appeared in Georgian politics in 2013. Photo: Interior Ministry press office., 03 Sep 2019 - 18:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Dream ruling party has nominated Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia for the premiership earlier today which has been followed by harsh criticism of the opposition and demonstrators who have been protesting the rally dispersal on Rustaveli Avenue on June 20-21 for 76 days.

The opposition and demonstrators, who have scheduled a rally against Gakharia at 7 pm today, say that the ruling party “gave a slap to the public and offended them,” with the decision, while for the ruling party Gakharia is a “savior who managed to fend off a storm on parliament” and a major crisis in the country ‘planned by the opposition.’

Gakharia took the post of interior minister and vice prime minister in November 2017, previously serving as minister of economy [2016-2017], secretary of the Economic Council [2014-16] and business ombudsman [2013- 2016]. 

He appeared in Georgian politics under the Georgian Dream leadership in 2013, a year after the Georgian Dream coalition created by  Bidzina Ivanishvili defeated the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement.

Resignation of  Gakharia was the only demand unfulfilled by the ruling party regarding the June rally. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

  • Between 2008 and 2013 he was a director for Business Development and Government Relations for Europe, Russia and CIS in Lufthansa Service Holding AG. LSG in Frankfurt, Germany. Before this he was delivering lectures at Moscow State University [2006-2009] and served as the General Manager of SFK Group in Moscow, Russia between 2004 and 2008.
  • He has Georgian and Russian diplomas in economics and political science, received at Tbilisi and Moscow State Universities.

While working as the business ombudsman Gakharia was frequently praised by the leaders of the ruling party for assisting businesspeople who suffered pressure and damage under the United National Movement leadership.

He continued meetings with business people and introduced them to government economic plans and strategies after promotion to the post of the minister of economy.

As Secretary of the National Security Council, Gakharia headed Georgia's security planning and coordination, working to forge closer security cooperation with Georgia's allies in the United States and Europe and advance Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration efforts.

Gakharia replaced Giorgi Mgebrishvili as interior minister amid opposition allegations regarding increased crime.  

The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office published the letter claimed by TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to contain threats from Interior Minister  Gakharia.

In the new role Gakharia declined the decision of his predecessor not to publish monthly crime statistics and said that the people should have been aware of the criminal situation in the country on a monthly basis.

He acknowledged that several crimes were increased and presented a new strategy on how to ensure improvements and prevent crimes.

He also initiated the creation of an innovative Human Rights Department of the Interior Ministry.

2018 and 2019 were the most scandalous in his career because of the case of TBC founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, the dispersal of the June rally in central Tbilisi, the marijuana cultivation bill and the police raid in night clubs.  

In all cases Gakharia stated that he acted “in full line with the law and the state interests.”