What’s going on with rapper Bera Ivanishvili, the frost-haired ‘prince’ of Georgia?

The 26-year-old son of an oligarch has been called a ‘TikToking thug’ after a government corruption scandal, writes Serena Coady

Monday 05 July 2021 21:30
<p>Bera Ivanishvili’s appearance has become his signature</p>

Bera Ivanishvili’s appearance has become his signature

Once upon a time, at the eastern end of the Black Sea, a prince lived in a shining castle. Or rather, a $50m ‘glassle’ that dominated the Tbilisi skyline. The prince had a record label, a model wife, 4 million TikTok followers, and famous friends such as Zendaya. His abdominals came in a pack of six, as did the languages he spoke. A halo of diaphanous hair covered his head, making him look like a snow angel with gym membership. But he was not pure of heart. The oligarch’s son ruled vengefully.

Bera is the son of Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest person. His father is worth one Picasso, and $4.8bn. Georgia’s GDP is $15.9bn. Bera’s ‘prince of Georgia’ nickname is no term of endearment, but a reference to the country’s uneven distribution of wealth.

Bidzina Ivanishvili served as Georgia’s prime minister between 2012 and 2013, but through his vast wealth and connections, continues to reign as the country’s unofficial shadow leader. Georgia has been in a political crisis since Georgian Dream – the political party founded by Ivanishvili – won the parliamentary election on October 31, 2020. It was its third victory in a row. The opposition, the United National Movement, claimed there were irregularities in the vote, and rejected the official outcome. To pressure the incumbent party into a new, transparent election, the opposition refused to take up its 40 parliamentary seats.

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