Bidzina Ivanishvili Actually Speaks Really Good Russian

I’ve written about Bidzina Ivanishvili, the prime minister of Georgia, before (specifically, here and here). Back when I first found out about him and was following the Georgian elections (that his party won), I looked on YouTube for some interviews with the man. The only ones I could find were originally in Georgian, then dubbed into Russian or English.

Ivanishvili once said that he did not know Russian until he went to do a degree in Moscow. I was surprised to learn this, as I was always taught that everyone in the Soviet Union was forced to learn Russian, whether they liked it or not.

Imagine my surprise when I found this video, posted on January 17 of this year.

That is some beautiful Russian Bidzina speaks. My theory is that he played down his Russian ability before the election, since Georgia has sought to distance itself from Russia. But now that he’s been elected, he has nothing to lose by giving these interviews.

Or maybe Russian was simply the only common language he had with that interviewer (who I think is Armenian).

And now I have a random fantasy of going to Georgia, running into Ivanishvili, and speaking Russian with him.