The Gas Game: Aliyev, Vova & Silvio


The broadcasting company Rustavi 2 and the court dispute around it remain the country’s top news, however, apart from this existential issue, there are other important political events going on for the government. Following on from the visit of Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Armenia, Tbilisi hosted the President of Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev.

The President of Azerbaijan, like the Armenian president, also got an airport welcome by the Minister of Energy – Kakhi Kaladze, which implied that in this case, too, the main theme of the visit was energy. Indeed, natural gas was the subject that President Aliyev had to address during his meetings with all hosts, including the Patriarch Ilia II himself.

President Aliyev’s visited was preceded by the scandal of Russian Gazprom that started in Brussels with Energy Minister Kaladze and ended in Milan. The government offered its version behind the country’s energy diversification, naming the insufficient amount of Azerbaijani gas as a reason for the secret meetings that were held between Kaladze and the senior officials of Gazprom.

President Aliyev’s visit was expected to shed light on the secret meetings of the Georgian minister. “Azerbaijani gas will be exported to Turkey in 2018 and to the European market by 2020. This is an enormous energy project involving an investment of 45 billion US Dollars. Azerbaijan has big reservoirs of gas, which means that even in 100 years Azerbaijan can satisfy not only the demands of its own market, but that of its neighbors and Europe as well”, said President Aliyev during his meeting with President Margvelashvili, which was also attended by the Minister of Energy. Despite this response by Aliyev, the main intrigue of his visit has still been linked with the former Prime Minister – Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Yet, unlike the case with the President of Armania, Ivanishvili did not wish to meet President Aliyev. Nevertheless, according to the information spread afterwards by an Azerbaijani agency - - their meeting did happen in the Embassy of Azerbaijan. According to the agency, apart from natural gas, President Aliyev discussed the anticipated results of the railway road reestablishment, going through Apkhazia to Russia, with the “khazain (rus. owner)” of Georgia . “I will not allow Azerbaijan to be moved to one side, not to have a lever of some sort and not to have influence on the policies of opening a railway in the Trans Caucasus,” – Aliyev is reported to have told Ivanishvili.

Another version of the secret meeting with Aliyev was later disclosed by Ivanishvili: “We had a far more interesting conversation with Mr. Aliyev than with Gazprom,” Ivanishvili is reported to have said. “We had a very interesting meeting, a very friendly discussion and we parted in a friendly manner. These themes are much more interesting than Gazprom,” Ivanishvili said. That same agency has revealed the real interests of the Minister of Energy in the gas scandal.


The case is linked with the new supply of gas to the newly built power plant in Gardabani. “There is no gas for the new power plant and there can’t be any, because nobody has contracted the supply of gas to this entity. The Minister of Energy had to deal with this issue even before the construction of the plant began. For the timely supply of gas, a contract, considering all rules, should be signed, the violation of which should normally be followed by sanctions. Currently, Kaladze wants to blame everything on Azerbaijan in order to somehow get out of this situation.” – writes the agency.

The gas theme was followed by the Georgian media revealing the real reason behind the Minister Kaladze’s meeting in Milan: to invite one of the most scandalous Italian politicians, billionaire, ex-prime minister, media magnate and the owner of FC Milan – Silvio Berlusconi to visit Georgia.

The numerous titles and awards of Berlusconi do not seem sufficient without pointing out this phrase – a friend of the President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. It becomes clear from the couloirs that the date of visit of the ex-PM of Italy to Georgia depends on the consent of the ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.

When the latter intends to agree to such a meeting with the ex-PM of Italy and to hearing the message of Putin, is unknown at this time. However, it is a fact that both in Moscow and Tbilisi separate personas are very eager for this meeting to happen. At the very least their future political and business interests largely depend on what ‘Vova’ (Putin) will say to Silvio and what promise Bidzina will make them.

Zaza Jgarkava

12 November 2015 22:10