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Bidzina Ivanishvili, a 56-year-old computer salesman who became a billionaire and later gained popularity by constantly donating, was recently elected the Prime Minster of Georgia on October 2.
The former Soviet Republic of Georgia is suffering from unemployment, poverty, and political unrest. Ivanishvili led the opposition Georgia’s Dream Party, and became the nation’s new Prime Mister last week.
According to the Agency French Press (AFP), Ivanishvili, whose father worked in a manganese factory, started his career as a steel mill worker. He got a chance to make a lot of money in the 1990’s by selling U.S. computers. Once he got money, he did not let go of it. He made even more money by running various businesses in areas such as real estate, farming, and the mining business. Forbes Magazine listed him as the 153rd richest person in the world in 2012. His 6.5-billion-dollars fortune is almost half of Georgia’s GDP (14 billion dollars).
Ivanishvili became popular in Georgia thanks to his hobby of collecting unique animals and art pieces. Many people, however, started to idolize the successful businessman after he donated large amounts of money to the nation of Georgia. His money was used for rebuilding Georgia’s historical sites, building museums, schools, cinemas and churches in the nation. Many art and science studies also benefited from his money. His money was even used to change the uniforms of the army and police, to help their motivation. Lawmakers’ incomes were raised in the period to prevent political corruption.
Even though he became popular through his donations, he did not want to be seen in public.
It was reported that Ivanishvili was doing the charitable work in order to help his friend Mikheil Saakashili, who is leading Georgia’s former ruling party. Saakashili has tried to solve Georgia’s rampant problems, such as the economic recession, and the high unemployment rate. However, his efforts have not yielded visible results for a long time. In 2008, when Georgia had to deal with the damages of the territorial dispute with Russia, Saakashili and his party seemed to lose most of their public support.
As the ruling party of Georgia became less popular, the Georgian people saw Ivanishvili as an alternative who could save Georgia from the crisis.
Ivanishvili has participated in politics since October of last year, and thanks to public support, it only took one year for him to become the Prime Minster.
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