Our story is about Nodar Sakuashvili, in many ways an unremarkable Georgian man; except for this: after his military service, Nodar began working as a truck driver in the early 90's in Kazakhstan, and later became a member of a local organized crime group. Having made some money, he returned to his native village of Saniore Telavi, in the Kakheti region. He built a good brick house – something of a local landmark –and Nodar made his mark as a respected villager. But in so doing he drew attention to himself, and the unwanted attention of members of the “Riders,” a nationwide criminal gang. One night three ‘riders’ stole into Nodar’s house, looking for easy money; they beat him up (in front of his wife), but Sakuashvili very luckily managed to snatch a weapon from its hiding place, quickly shot and killed two of the intruders, and caught the third one in the garden, where he finished him off, having first found out who had passed on the information about him, and ordered the brutal attack. Law enforcement officers, having duly received their hush money, of course did not pursue the case against Sakuashvili, and the files state that he acted in self-defence. Following these events, the reputation of Nodar Sakuashvili among his fellow villagers rose ever higher.
One might even say that with time he achieved the status of a demi-god. Mikhail Saakashvili's victory in the presidential election further improved Nodar’s social prestige. In helping the supporters of Saakashvili, Nodar certainly earned his political brownie points; having said that, it also helped that his wife was a cousin of Vano Merabishvili. Nodar Sakuashvili steadily climbed the social tree; he bought property around Telavi, including the winery famed for the production of "Two Georgians;” and delivered to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and even Muslim Kazakhstan. His modest brick house by degrees became too small for his expanding family and guests, and Nodar then built a mansion furnished with the best that money can buy – banqueting room, palm trees, peacocks on the lawn… everything that his VIP guests would enjoy and appreciate. No wonder, that Saakashvili himself one day appeared there with his entourage.
The two men got on extremely well with each other; and so it was that Sakuashvili and Saakashvili found themselves sitting at the same table; this was in early February 2005. Among Saakashvili’s entourage on that terrible day was Zurab Zhvania, the Prime Minister of Georgia; for him it was a fatal day. Taking offence at being contradicted about something or other, the emotional Saakashvili flew into a rage; Zhvania dared not only to return the heated emotion in kind, he also began to forcefully argue back. Enraged, the President of Georgia took up the first object that came to hand – a heavy metal ashtray – and struck his Prime Minister; the blow fell on his head, and death was instant. Witnesses to this tragedy not only included our unfortunate Nodar, but also Georgia’s Chief of Police, and the Chief Prosecutor.
Literally overnight, the ‘official’ death of Zurab Zhvania was set up, carefully arranged to look like a death by carbon monoxide poisoning; the result of a faulty Nikala gas heater. With the Prime Minister of Georgia, was found the body of Raul Yusupov, his Azerbaijani ‘friend’; they were ‘discovered’ lying in bed together. Strange, because one of them had forgotten to take off his shoes…