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Kitsmarishvili Found Dead
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Jul.'14 / 19:30

Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia and ex-owner and founder of Rustavi 2 TV, was found dead in a garage of the apartment block where he had lived in Tbilisi’s Vake district.

News about Kitsmarishvili’s death broke late on Tuesday afternoon. Details are sketchy, but a spokesperson for prosecutor’s office told Civil.ge that investigation has been launched under article 115 of criminal code which deals with alleged cases of bringing a victim to a suicide.

“Investigative activities are underway and I would recommend everyone to refrain from speculation; it is in everyone’s interest to establish the truth concerning the causes [of death],” Justice Minister Tea Tskulukiani told journalists.
 
Kitsmarishvili, who would have turned 50 next month, was actively involved in politics in 2010-2011 as one of the leaders of now defunct opposition party; he kept low profile before re-emerging on the political scene ahead of the June 15 local elections in which he ran as a mayoral candidate in his native town of Rustavi. He was third in the race with 12% of votes and in run-up to the July 12 second round of election, together with three other former candidates, threw support behind UNM’s candidate, who lost the race to GD’s candidate.

Badri Nanetashvili, co-owner of Gori-based Trialeti TV, told journalists outside apartment building where Kitsmarishvili was found dead, that he spoke on phone with Kitsmarishvili at about 2pm on July 15; Nanetashvili said that he noticed nothing unusual.

Reacting to Kitsmarishvili’s death, his friends, former or current colleagues were saying that he was often speaking about his future plans, most recently considering launching a cable TV network; they also said that they cannot believe Kitsmarishvili could have killed himself.

Kitsmarishvili, with track record of political insider, was Mikheil Saakashvili close ally up until the August, 2008 war with Russia. In 1994 he co-founded Rustavi 2 TV, which grew into country’s major private television station; the TV channel played an important role in the 2003 Rose Revolution, which brought Mikheil Saakashvili into power. Kitsmarishvili owned shares in Rustavi 2 till 2004; how shares were re-distributed remains source of dispute up until now by his former partners.

Kitsmarishvili was Saakashvili’s one of the strategists ahead of the January, 2008 early presidential election, but broke ranks with him after accusing then President of a failure to avert the August war.

In autumn, 2010 he co-established the Georgian Party with some at the time opposition figures; among them was Sozar Subari, who is now minister in charge of prison system; Subari quit the party and joined Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream in late 2011. When Ivanishvili announced about intention to go into politics in October, 2011, he listed Kitsmarishvili among, what he called, “pseudo-opposition” figures and ruled out cooperation with him.

Since 2009 he was managing Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, but in late 2011 he became embroiled in a bitter dispute with TV channels’ co-owners and staff.

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