Edible Tribute to Georgia's Tie-Chewing President
Edible ties were launched in Georgia on Tuesday in an ironic response to mockery of the ex-Soviet state's president, who famously gnawed on his necktie during the Georgia-Russia war in 2008.
Waiting for a television interview at the height of the war but unaware that the camera was already rolling, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili started chewing his tie nervously -- a clip regularly repeated by Russian media seeking to portray him as emotionally unstable.
The tribute neckties -- sweet snacks made of traditional Georgian dried plum puree -- are branded as "Edible Reformist Ties", a reference to Saakashvili's pro-Western orientation.
The ties' packaging promises that they will "whet the appetite for democracy and freedom".
The project was instigated by Oleg Panfilov, a Russian opposition journalist now living in Georgia and a supporter of Saakashvili.
"It's just a joke about dull-witted anti-Georgian propaganda in the Russian media," Panfilov told Agence France Presse.
He said that samples of the wearable snack were being reserved for Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Putin made a tie-related jab at Saakashvili in November 2009 when he alleged the Georgian president was a threat to the tie of former president of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko as the two pro-Western leaders were meeting in Kiev.
"Yushchenko's guest will scarf up his tie," Putin said at a press-conference, suggesting that their meeting should go on "without ties".