It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and all around the world, children write letters to Father Christmas, Ded Moroz, Tovlis Babua: Santa Claus. Given that top level politics in Georgia can often appear a bit, well, childish, it’s not beyond the imagination to see some of the country’s leaders writing their own notes requesting gifts from the jolly fat man (and no, I don’t mean Kakha Bendukidze). What do they want to find under the chichilaki on New Year’s morning? Let’s take a look…
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili
Dear Batono Bidzina Santa,
This year I have been a very good boy and have worked really hard running the Interior Ministry and now the whole government. I’ve done everything uncle Bidzina has said and not been naughty once.
For New Year I would like you to bring me a visa-free regime with the European Union, lots and lots of foreign direct investment, political stability and an Xbox. And some evidence so I can get a guilty verdict against Vano Merabishvili. And please get something nice for uncle Bidzina, like a Picasso maybe.
P.S. Irakli Alasania has been going round telling everyone you aren’t real, but I know it’s not true, he’s just jealous because I got to be prime minister. Don’t bring him anything nice, and definitely not an Xbox.
Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
Thank you once again for last year’s gift of untrammelled political power. Unfortunately, it turned out it didn’t really fit so I had to return it.
We have been very close for a long time now, and that’s why I’m not afraid to tell you that I’ve given the matter a lot of thought (as you know I have a very analytical mind) and I don’t actually want anything for New Year. I know, after decades of zebras, penguins and expensive art, it will come as a shock, but having achieved everything I set out to achieve in terms of receiving gifts from you, I am now quitting gift-receiving and will dedicate all my efforts to helping strengthen the society of elves who make your toys.
Don’t worry, I am not leaving. In fact I have a twenty-year plan to make your magical toy workshop among the most modern, developed and European-type magical toy workshops in the world. I will continue to have a lot of influence over the reindeer.
Your old friend,
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili
I now realise that over the past nine years there have been times when I was more naughty than nice. We were a young and inexperienced team, and everybody makes mistakes. I would like to say that if any of the elves were insulted or victimized as part of the reform process I apologise. Still, we transformed the country, and Georgia now ranks as one of the best countries in the world in terms of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Christmas Index.
As you know, since leaving office I’ve been searching for an appropriately senior-level position in international affairs, I am still young and full of energy, and while I wait for Georgia to start missing me I am going to have to do something. That’s why I humbly suggest that you retire, and allow someone younger, with foreign language and computer skills, to literally take the reins. You must be getting tired, and there is something a bit Soviet about your whole operation: on the one hand giving people something for nothing, on the other turning up at their houses uninvited in the middle of the night.
I am fully ready for the new role, and my friend John McCain assures me that the sleigh could be successfully shielded from Russian radar. In fact, in some ways I’ve been preparing to be Santa for years and years: I spent most of the last decade flying round the world delivering things (in my case, speeches rather than presents) and nobody could accuse me of not being jolly.
Please consider my proposal, I’m waiting for a call from the International Monetary Fund, but I can put them off until Tuesday.
Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili
Although we have never met in person I feel like I know you (and not just because we monitored your phone for many years). In fact, I think in some ways we are kindred spirits. When I was interior minister I would also spend hours making a list, checking it twice, and finding out who’d been naughty or nice. Turns out that on my list almost everyone had been naughty.
From the confines of my prison cell it would be easy to reel off a list of things I want for New Year. A better TV, a chance to walk out under the stars. But what I really miss is the company of my friends.
Since I know it is probably beyond your power to free me, do you think you could arrange it so that my old friend Misha came to stay for a while? All you’d have to do would be to take him to the airport, then I think my successors at the ministry would handle it from there.
I demand that I am immediately awarded the presidency for New Year. My victory in the November elections was criminally stolen from me by the Georgian Dream and the National Movement. They conspired together to be much much more popular than I am, a gross abuse and a terrible injustice, and one only you can rectify.
I expect to be sworn in on the 1st.