On 10 May 2005, 28-year-old Vladimir Arutyunian, a Georgian citizen of Armenian ethnicity, threw a live hand grenade at U.S. president George W. Bush and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili while they were holding a speech on a podium during a rally. The grenade failed to detonate and there were no casualties.
Arutyunian was a member of a political party called the Democratic Union for Revival, but left it around one year before the assassination attempt. The party was generally considered pro-Russian, while Saakashvili was seen as pro-American. Arutyunian lived a reclusive lifestyle with his poor family on the outskirts of Tbilisi.
The grenade used for the assassination was a Soviet-made RGD-5 and was concealed by being wrapped in a red handkerchief. Luckily for his intended victims, the handkerchief also prevented the striker lever from releasing, which in turn stopped the grenade from detonating. The presidents remained unaware of the danger until they were informed by their security personnel later on.
Arutyunian was identified and arrested with the help of the FBI in July, but managed to kill the head of the Georgian Interior Ministry Zurab Kvlividze. Arutyunian was wounded and confessed to the crime in hospital. He claimed he did it because the Georgian government had become a “puppet” of the USA.
He later refused to cooperate during the trial and pleaded not guilty. He was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment. Even if he is released, the USA could demand his extradition. It remains unknown whether he was acting alone or working for another organization.