Eastern European Billionaire is Rebuilding the Garden of Eden

Bidzina Ivanishvili Senate of Poland by Michał Koziczyński is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

You know that problem where you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it?

Me either.

But at least one person has that problem: eastern European billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The ultra-rich tycoon comes from the nation of Georgia which is next to Armenia and Turkey and is most well-known in the West for its 2008 five-day war with Russia.

Ivanishvili has done many projects around the country and built many mansions for himself, but his latest ones is raising eyebrows even for Georgians who are used to his extravagance.

He’s rebuilding a Garden of Eden. And now there’s a movie about it.

President Van Rompuy meeting the Georgian PM, Bidzina Ivanishvili by Herman Van Rompuy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Taming the Garden

As the former Prime Minister of Georgia and an eccentric billionaire to rival the best of them, Ivanishvili has enormous power in his home country. He started having massive cypress and tulip trees from the Black Sea Coast in the Adjara region dug up and taken on a boat to his massive estate where he’s been constructing a giant Garden of Eden park.

Protesters and environmentalists were upset, and ordinary people were astounded that this guy was literally tearing up their sea coast for his own amusement, but it happened anyway. Money talks – and it moves huge trees.

“It’s my hobby and I really love big trees. Giant trees are my entertainment,” Ivanishvili said.

Filmmaker Salomé Jashi’s documentary Taming the Garden premiered at Sundance Film Festival January 31 and takes a look at Ivanishvili’s obsession and desire to capture the most beautiful nature for himself.

The film has barely any speaking, but is heavy on poetic visuals and powerful imagery. It’s been getting a positive audience reception.

The Rivalry Between Men and Nature

The main subject of Jashi’s doc is the rivalry between men and nature. It’s basically about how people with a lot of money believe they can do anything and how nature suffers under a materialistic, selfish viewpoint.

There isn’t a lot of talking in the movie, but it does have some funny parts where workers talk about stories they’ve heard of a rich man offering random people huge amounts of money to dig up their trees and take them away.

Ivanishvili became well-known after leading a successful run for leader of the country in 2011 under the Georgian Dream party, a phrase borrowed from his son who is an albino rapper called Bera.

He’s ultra-corrupt according to revelations in the Panama Papers and uses numerous offshore accounts, including funding fake news to boost Vladimir Putin. He lives in a massive house of windows overlooking the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and sometimes seems more like a cartoon than a serious person.

As progressives look to make environmental protection and standing up for the little guy their brand, it’s important for conservatives to look at a story like this and see how protecting nature can be a conservative position.

This doesn’t mean supporting insane carbon taxes or killing the energy industry like President Biden, it’s more about common sense protectionism and looking at people like this bizarre Eastern European leader and seeing their arrogance for what it is. People like Ivanishvili aren’t conservative in any way: they want to rip up people’s surroundings and trap it in their own private universe for their own amusement and entertainment.

The story is always the same: a person gets so much power and money they think they can play God. But we all know what happened at the Tower of Babel, and all the earthly power in the world won’t save your soul.