Georgian Candidate Recruits Americans

    Georgian tycoon-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili speaks during an interview at his residence in Ureki outside the Black Sea resort city of Batumi on July 31 2012. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili boasts that Georgia has become a “beacon of democracy” since he took office in 2004. But critics charge that democracy is dimming. Ivanishvili, who leads the biggest opposition party Georgian Dream, watchdogs and journalists complain of official intimidation and accuse the government of resorting to Soviet methods of clamping down on dissent. (AP Photo/Dennis Lyubyvy).

    Dennis Lyubyvy / AP Photo

    Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili—a pro-Russian candidate in Georgia—has recruited three powerful Americans to join the advisory board for Georgian live news channel TV9, owned by his wife, reports Buzzfeed. The three recruits, former CNN host Larry King, Council of Foreign Relations president Leslie Gelb, and former congressman Lee Hamilton, will be paid “nominally” for a year of service on the board. Former U.S. ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsberg says the goal of the advisory board is to foster “media freedom in Georgia” using TV9. In spite of its close ties to Ivanishvili, the station claims it will not side with either candidate in the upcoming October election.

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