Zurab Noghaideli

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Zurab Noghaideli
ზურაბ ნოღაიდელი
Zurab Nogaideli.jpg
Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
5th Prime Minister of Georgia
In office
17 February 2005 – 16 November 2007
President Mikheil Saakashvili
Preceded by Zurab Zhvania
Succeeded by Lado Gurgenidze
Minister of Finance
In office
2000–2002
President Eduard Shevardnadze
Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania
Member of Parliament
In office
1992–2000
President Eduard Shevardnadze
Personal details
Born Kobuleti, Adjaria, Georgia
Nationality Georgian
Political party None
Alma mater Moscow State University
Occupation Politician
Profession Physicist
Religion Church of Georgia

Zurab Noghaideli (Georgian: ზურაბ ნოღაიდელი) (born 22 October 1964) is a Georgian businessman and a politician who served as the Prime Minister of Georgia from February 2005 until he resigned, citing health problems, on 16 November 2007. In December 2008, Noghaideli withdrew into opposition, setting up the Movement for Fair Georgia party.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Kobuleti, Ajaria, Georgia, Noghaideli graduated from the Moscow State University with a diploma in Physics in 1988. Before entering into national politics, he worked for the Institute of Geography of the Georgian Academy of Sciences between 1988-1992. In 1989-1990, he was also trained at the Institute of Geology of the Academy of Sciences of Estonia.

Parliament[edit]

He started his political career together with his friend, Zurab Zhvania, in the Green Party of Georgia in early 1990s. Noghaideli became a deputy in the Parliament of Georgia in 1992, elected following the overthrow of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection and Natural Resources during 1992-1995. He was again member of the successor Parliaments in 1995-1999 and 1999–2000, when he chaired the Parliamentary Tax and Income Committee.

Minister of Finance[edit]

He joined the government of Eduard Shevardnadze in the capacity of Minister of Finance in May 2000. During these years, he was considered a member of a political team of young reformists headed by Zurab Zhvania and Mikheil Saakashvili and proved to be quite an effective minister.

In 2001, he left the President-run Union of Citizens of Georgia party which he had joined in 1995. He was sacked, in 2002, without explanation, though it appears that he had intended to resign in protest against the policies of Shevardnadze’s increasingly corrupted government (as the Minister of Justice Mikheil Saakashvili did a year before).

In a brief period of 2002-2003, he was involved in banking and investment ventures.

After Shevardnadze was ousted in the Rose Revolution of 21–23 November 2003, Noghaideli returned to government as the economic adviser to the acting president, Nino Burjanadze. He was re-appointed to his old post as Minister of Finance in February 2004 in the government of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

Prime minister[edit]

President Mikhail Saakashvili nominated Noghaideli for the post of Prime Minister on 11 February 2005 following the untimely death of Zhvania. He was confirmed by the Georgian Parliament on 17 February 2005 by a vote of 175 to 24, and was sworn in immediately. Noghaideli is not a member of any party and is regarded as a technocrat with a tough approach to the corruption that plagues Georgia's economy.

According to Financial weekly Georgian newspaper The World Bank Group and the U.S. Agency for International Development has honored Zurab Nogaideli, Prime Minister of Georgia, as top business environment reformer of the year 2007. The Prime Minister has led reforms which have catapulted Georgia from a ranking of 112 to 37th place in the World Bank Group’s 2007 global rankings on the regulatory ease of doing business.

Noghaideli is married and has one child.

Resignation[edit]

Noghaideli announced his resignation on 16 November 2007 due to his poor health condition. In April 2007, Noghaideli underwent elective open-heart surgery at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, U.S.[2] The operation, led by leading US surgeon Dr. Charles Frazier, lasted for 8 hours and involved transplanting one mitral valve of the PM's heart.[citation needed]

After his resignation, Noghaideli said he would retire from politics and later joined the Kala Capital company - owned by the soccer star Kakha Kaladze - as its chairman.

Since June 2008, he has also been a chairman of the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University Business Council.[3]

Opposition[edit]

After the Russian-Georgian war, in September 2008, Noghaideli appeared in the Georgian press, unleashing heavy criticism of foreign and domestic policies of Mikheil Saakashvili. On 3 December 2008, he set up a new opposition party, the Movement for Fair Georgia.[1]

In 2009, Noghaideli traveled several times in Russia, meeting top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (23 December 2009).[4] In December 2009, he also met Eduard Kokoity, the breakaway South Ossetian leader, ostensibly to help release of the Georgian teenagers detained by the South Ossetian milita.[5] Noghaideli's rapprochement with Moscow met a negative outcry in the Georgian government. President Saakashvili described Noghaideli's Russian stance as a "sin".[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ex-PM Nogaideli Sets Up Party. Civil Georgia. 3 December 2008.
  2. ^ RFE/RL Newsline, 07-04-20. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Accessed on 16 November 2007.
  3. ^ Zuran Nogaideli. The Kala Capital. Retrieved on 23 July 2008.
  4. ^ Ex-PM Nogaideli Meets Putin in Moscow. Civil Georgia. 23 December 2009
  5. ^ Ex-PM Nogaideli Meets Kokoity in Tskhinvali. Civil Georgia. 19 December 2009
  6. ^ Saakashvili: ‘Local Elections Huge Test’. Civil Georgia. 26 December 2009
Preceded by
Zurab Zhvania
Prime Minister of Georgia
2005-2007
Succeeded by
Lado Gurgenidze