Just two months after announcing sweeping reforms of Georgia’s banks, 36-year-old Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze looks set to become the new Prime Minister. While the country’s banks have become among the most profitable in the world, they have done so at the expense of ordinary Georgians. If Bakhtadze and his replacement at the finance ministry follow through on these reforms, they could be the first step in addressing some of Georgia’s most pressing economic woes.
In February 2017, Georgian trade unions and left-leaning activists and civil society groups organised large rallies in Rustavi and Tbilisi to support employees of the Azoti plant that were laid off without notice. Reportedly, the Bank of Georgia took over Azoti, which is the largest nitrogen manufacturing plant in Georgia, and dismissed three-hundred-and-fifty workers with no prior warning.