Nine years earlier, Saakashvili had led the Rose Revolution, which overturned the country’s autocratic post-Soviet leadership.
The developer that had paid Trump and invited him to Georgia—a holding company known as the Silk Road Group—had been funded by a bank that was enmeshed in a giant money-laundering scandal.One broadcaster proclaimed that Trump was the world’s top developer. that changes everything around here.” At another event, beneath a banner that proclaimed “ in turn, praised Saakashvili.At the groundbreaking ceremony in Batumi, Saakashvili said that the tower was “a big deal . “Everybody in the world, they speak of Georgia and the great miracle that’s taking place,” he said.He professed to be a billionaire, but a few months earlier an appeals court in New Jersey had shut down Trump’s legal campaign against Timothy O’Brien, the author of “Trump Nation,” which argued that Trump had wildly inflated his fortune, and was actually worth less than a quarter of a billion dollars.Julie George, a political scientist at Queens College who studies Georgia, told me that, by 2012, Saakashvili’s tenure could in no way be considered a “great miracle.” The country’s economy was floundering, and shortly after Trump’s visit it was revealed that the government had been torturing political opponents.
Under these conditions, few Western investors or brands were willing to put money into the country.