Putin friend, an anti-U.S. billionaire, is elected president in Georgia

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Compiled by Miles Yu,

Dubbed a “Russian victory” by the media, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s election as president of Georgia on Oct. 1 promises to put the former Soviet satellite back into Moscow’s economic and even military orbit.

Billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili speaks to his supporters during a rally in the center of Georgia's capital Tbilisi on Sept. 29. / AP

That’s because Ivanishvili, a billionaire businessman who represents the opposition “Georgian Dream” coalition, has been a Kremlin patron and fanatic anti-U.S. nationalist for years.

Ivanishvili amassed his fortune in Russia in the 1990s during Russia’s flawed privatization effort. He is a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin, who approved Ivanishvili’s plan to sell his vast assets in Russia before he could be eligible to run for the Georgian presidency.

In 2008, Putin personally planned and oversaw Russia’s brief military invasion of Georgia which led to the establishment of the puppet state called South Ossetia, which constitutes about 20 percent of Georgia’s territory.

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