In contrast to virginity, dignity can neither be lost nor restored. You either have it – and in this case, no one can make you lose it; or you don't – and if so, you can never gain it.
It seems to be logical that those people who think that they restored their dignity after the October 2012 elections – for example, those who justify the release of an officer of the Russian special services with the status of a political prisoner and yet disapprove of former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili being referred to as a political prisoner by members of the European parliament – are so keen on participating in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. They come up with so many ridiculous arguments in their efforts to veil their lack of self-esteem as pragmatism that this endeavor sometimes appears naively cute... A fierce fight still lies ahead because of the Sochi Olympics. Before then, however, the Georgian nation will have to experience at least one cataclysm. This cataclysm is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's exodus from politics to join the ranks of ordinary people.
I will dare to refer to Mr. Ivanishvili merely as Bidzina, just as the presidential candidate of the current government, Giorgi Margvelashvili, does. Doing so should not be too risky – at least, until cohabitation has ended. Moreover, by so doing, I will echo the desire of Mr. Ivanishvili... oops, sorry, Bidzina ... to not be viewed as a messiah. Thus, all in all, this article will also serve as a form of self-therapy, through which I will try to overcome my own requirement for messianism.
Well, what will happen when Bidzina leaves? How will we continue our existence?
Firstly, this will generate some overwhelming emotions – feelings of loss and emptiness, of existential doubt and fears for our future... Many of us will shed tears too, just like the Soviet people did upon the death of Leonid Brezhnev, leaving them with the feeling that mankind was on the brink of an atomic catastrophe.
When Bidzina leaves, the "structurally" healed economy will continue its irreversible revival whilst those "unbiased" experts and sociologists who are so impartial in evaluating reality will be issued bonuses. Parliament, with its intellectual resources wasted mainly on drafting new restrictions and prohibitions, will continue its democratic debates. Watching these debates, the supporters of the Georgian Dream will feel very much ashamed, but for some time will continue to sooth themselves with the argument that such pluralism has never existed before.
When Bidzina leaves, "cohabitation" will probably be completed, but it will not prove good for anyone: neither for the United National Movement, because they will be left unprotected from angry people obsessed with the idée fixe of destroying them and who are equipped with all levers of power to do so; nor for the Georgian Dream itself, because it will lack the only formal excuse and justification it has for its chronic impotence.
When Bidzina leaves, "justice" in Georgia will once again be questioned: a theoretical chance will again emerge for knowledge to gain the upper hand over ignorance, for competence over dilettantism, for the choice of a book over a glass of wine, for common sense over conformism... One cannot exclude either that the so-called red intelligentsia will again lose the competition against younger generations proficient in the English language and computers.
When Bidzina leaves, the threat of political retaliation and Russian-style criminal revenge, which he earlier contained because of his pride and the threat of losing his assets abroad, will increase tenfold. At the same time, "civil society" may finally come of age if it tries to prevent the status-less oligarch from controlling the country.
When Bidzina leaves, the Georgian Dream coalition will come to face a serious problem of legitimization. Voters gave their support and mandate to Ivanishvili, not to the other coalition members whose ratings, when taken separately, have never exceeded a single-digit indicator. After the exit of Ivanishvili, the issue of the legitimacy of decisions taken by such zero-rated politicians, who were elected thanks to Ivanishvili alone, will soon emerge. Thus, after Ivanishvili leaves, he will, despite lacking a formal position, continue to be politically responsible for the developments in the country, including, the further "revival" of the economy, a "decrease" in the crime level, further "improvement" of our relations with Russia, et cetera.
Malicious gossip has it that to decuple his power, Bidzina applied Nietzsche's principle: he found and added zeroes. Now, with his exit, this number will lose its first digit – "one" – so that only the zeroes remain. Among such figures will probably be the future president – a person who must be entirely grateful to only one man for his political existence and, hence, someone who will never be able to say no to that same man; such a person is not only not an independent figure, but is in fact no "figure" at all. Clearly, such a future president will try to prove that he is independently strong, and this is precisely where we should expect the main danger to lie.
How will Bidzina the politician enter history?
Before providing my hypothesis, let me first say that I am absolutely unprepared to substantiate it with arguments as I am still haunted by the "lies that the UNM spread." Therefore, if I am lucky enough to be taken to task for what I am about to say at Bidzina's home or his business center, I pledge that I will take my words back. At this moment, however, so long as we can still breathe freely thanks to Bidzina, my assumption is the following:
Bidzina's name will enter history as a huge misunderstanding – as an irony of fate with the face of a man – as the most convincing argument against Western democracy... however, diligent future students of Georgian history will, when studying his speeches, say that this was a man who enriched the Georgian language with many new words and made Georgian reasoning incomparably more "democratic."
When Bidzina leaves, the bereaved leaders of the Georgian Dream (perhaps with the exception of those few who are suspected of being able to reason) will gather at a table, open up bottles of wine that were prepared for export to the Russian market but subsequently rejected, and reminiscent about Ivanishvili's press conferences.