Georgian rivals spark viral online spoofs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 9:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 9:36pm

From macho disaster-movie stars to a couple on a catastrophic date gone wrong, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and victorious rival Bidzina Ivanishvili’s grim-faced first meeting sparked a wave of satirical online spoofs.

Georgian bloggers were quick to produce a series of digitally-manipulated montages of photographs from the visibly tense and unsmiling meeting between the bitter opponents after last week’s elections won by Ivanishvili.

Several of the montages that spread via Facebook showed the two men striding side by side away from a huge explosion, as if in a Hollywood action film – a reference to the fiery showdown at last week’s parliamentary polls that saw a shock defeat for Saakashvili’s party.

Another montage showed them as a couple on a disastrous evening out in a spoof movie poster for the film Date Night, with Ivanishvili, the shorter of the two, wearing a dress.

Although the two leaders have promised a smooth transfer of power after Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition scored its unexpected election victory, their first post-poll meeting on Tuesday was visibly uneasy and both men spoke of fundamental political differences.

Some Georgian Facebook users simply posted photographs of the rivals and their teams shaking hands before the meeting, with the caption “El Clasico” – a reference to the hard-fought footballing clashes between Spain’s Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“It’s a release of tension,” Mirian Jugheli, whose blog The Young Georgians compiled some of the spoof images, told reporters.

“Before the elections, there were online groups who were either pro Saakashvili or pro Ivanishvili and it was very political and divided, but now they are not so abusive towards each other and some of them see things like this as funny without being political,” he said.

The two opponents may have to work together for the next year because although Ivanishvili is expected to become prime minister and his bloc will have a majority in parliament, Saakashvili is due to remain president until October next year when his term expires.

One of the spoof movie posters posted online addressed this fraught cohabitation, showing the men walking together through a burning Tbilisi landscape under the title: “The Compromises War”.