Cobb GOP chair runner-up: I’m a ‘constitutional Republican’
by Jon Gillooly
March 17, 2013 12:33 AM | 6094 views | 16 16 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cross Country Supply owner Oleg Ivutin stands in the company's Mableton distribution warehouse.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
Cross Country Supply owner Oleg Ivutin stands in the company's Mableton distribution warehouse.
Staff/Laura Moon
SMYRNA — Oleg Ivutin, the native Russian who came close to unseating Cobb GOP Chairman Joe Dendy in last weekend’s election, said his purpose for running was to re-energize the Republican Party with young people.

“They don’t feel welcome there right now,” said Ivutin, a 35-year-old father of three who lives in Smyrna. “Joe Dendy does not relate to those kind of folks.”

Ivutin, a small businessman who attends Andy Stanley’s Buckhead Church, said the mission of his church is to create an environment that nonbelievers want to attend.

“Our goal was to create that kind of environment in the Cobb GOP where people who are interested in politics might be interested in attending our events,” he said.

Childhood in the Soviet Union

Ivutin refers to himself as just a guy with a different perspective than most Georgians.

“I experienced socialism; I know what it looks like. I know what a socialist looks like when I see one by their voting record, and I’m not afraid to say it,” he said.

Ivutin grew up in Russia on the Chinese border in the city of Khabarovsk. He was 14 years old when the Soviet Union collapsed. His mother was a high school teacher while his father served in the Soviet military before he was kicked out.

“Right now he’s an alcoholic. That’s his full-time job,” Ivutin said.

Ivutin and his brother, who lives in Moscow, had a difficult childhood.

“Me and my brother were malnourished in a way,” he said. “When the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, such remote areas were not getting sufficient supplies. We had to stay in line for two hours in minus-40 degrees to get some milk. Then there were times there was absolutely no food.”

The farther away from Moscow one lived, the worse it was, he said.

“That’s how every centralized planned government works,” he said. “We had shortages of everything. Childhood was really tough.”

When the Soviet empire imploded, Ivutin said all hell broke loose with a breakdown of law and order.

“It was the Wild West, and my hometown was the capital of organized crime in Russia,” he said.

Much of the 1990s was chaos until Vladimir Putin assumed control.

“When Putin came in, he kind of got it under control,” Ivutin said.

Many Americans have a skewed understanding of what capitalism and communism are, Ivutin believes.

“A lot of Americans think China is communist and America is capitalist,” he said. “But when you go to China, you realize that it’s vice versa. In China, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Here if you don’t work, you weigh 400 pounds. And people call them socialist and us capitalist? How is this possible? There is so much more socialism here than I’ve seen in the Soviet Union.”

Moving to the U.S.

Ivutin met his wife, Kelly, a Cornell University graduate who was teaching in his hometown, and the couple married in 2001, then moved to Massachusetts.

Missionaries he met in Russia offered him his first job in Atlanta, and he built homes before the market died. He then started his own manufacturing businesses, manufacturing synthetic stucco out of a Mableton office with a staff of seven. He also has a shipping business, shipping cars and boats overseas and works in real estate.

He and his wife have three children, ages 8, 7 and 4, with two of them enrolled at Nickajack Elementary School.

It was a neighborhood dispute with Glock that sparked his interest in local politics.

“Glock basically bought up a bunch of land around our subdivision and built a factory 80 feet underground,” he said. “So they built heavy industrial right next to the neighborhood.”

Ivutin blames Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon.

“If Max Bacon is the mayor, everything is allowed,” he said.

But Ivutin branched out to national politics as well, contributing to the campaigns of Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Voting for Ron Paul

He was elected as a Georgia delegate for District 13 at last year’s Republican Convention in Tampa, where he brought along state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) as a guest.

“In Tampa, according to our establishment, everybody was supposed to vote for Mitt Romney as our nominee, and me (and two others) we voted for Ron Paul,” Ivutin said.

Ivutin insists he had the right to vote for the candidate of his choice.

“We were Newt Gingrich-bound delegates, and when he released us, that means we’re free, and that’s what some people don’t understand,” he said. “They think that once we went there, we were supposed to vote for Romney, but we were free.”

Ivutin said the Georgia Republican establishment put tremendous pressure on him not to vote for Paul.

“It was real bad,” he said. “They all told us that you have no political future. I was told that if you decide to run for anything in Cobb, there is just no chance because you didn’t vote for Romney.”

But Ivutin saw Romney as someone he couldn’t trust, since he had flip-flopped on so many issues.

“I didn’t trust the guy, and I wanted us to win the election,” he said. “Romney was the weakest candidate we could produce. Whether it was Herman Cain, whether it was Ron Paul, we would have won the election with this economy.”

A ‘constitutional Republican’

It’s a mistake to refer to Ivutin as a Libertarian since he is not a member of that party, he said. Ivutin refers to himself a “constitutional Republican.”

Dendy recently said it does little good to denounce Republican officials such as U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss just because they don’t always vote the way you want them to vote.

“You’ve got to work with him,” Dendy said.

Not so, Ivutin said. Not when they use the power to increase the size and role of government.

“This is the problem. They always think that they need to get something done,” Ivutin said. “They think that their productivity and their success is in passing more laws. I believe that the more laws we pass, the less freedoms we have, because every single law that they pass, they take away more freedom. If they would concentrate on getting rid of a lot of laws, they would do a lot more good for us.”

The trouble with Dendy is that he fails to hold the officials in the Republican Party accountable, Ivutin said.

“They need to know what’s going to come when they come back home, and this environment that Joe Dendy is trying to protect where these incumbents have absolutely no accountability, and I think it might come from his whole attitude as he sees his place in the chain of command, and he sees these elected officials as people who are superior to him, and people underneath him are people who are under him, so what is obvious to me is he values the elected officials on top of him a lot more than the grassroots activists under him,” Ivutin said.

The Republican Party in Cobb is in trouble, and it’s only a matter of time before the county returns to a Democratic majority, he said. There is a way to stop this, but it’s not the way Dendy is leading.

“You start attracting people into Cobb GOP and not kicking them out just because their views are different than yours,” he said.

While losing the election for Cobb GOP chair, Ivutin pledged to remain active in the party to hold it accountable.

Gregory shared some things he admires about Ivutin.

“I like him because he supports the principles of limited constitutional government,” Gregory said. “And because he is a motivated, capable and articulate person, an all-around good guy. I look forward to supporting him in whatever direction he decides to take in his life or his career.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
From Kennesaw
March 18, 2013
Johnny Isakson's grandfather came from Sweden.

I learned that 37 years ago when I first met Johnny.
Ignorant as usual
March 18, 2013
anonymous |9 Hours Ago Your grandparents were IMMIGRANTS???????????? Get out of town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why don't you tell Johnny Isakson the same thing?

Senator Isakson! There are many people in the USA who have grandparents from another country.

Pat H
March 18, 2013
Yep, LEGAL immigrants - came through Ellis Island, had to have a physical, money, and a sponsor who would be responsible for them and not the government. I am mighty proud that they escaped Communism and were proud Americans, unlike illegal aliens today. And they proudly learned and spoke English.

Isakson is nothing but a crony capitalist who sponsored free money for people to buy houses who could not afford them - oh his children run his real estate office, no surprise there.

After gleaning off agriculture with subsidies by taxpayers, Saxby's son is now a lobbyist for big farm.
March 19, 2013
Whoo, hoooo. LOL. Tee-hee. Chuckle, chuckle. HUGE HUGE belly laugh. My point exactly. Immigrants from Mexico are no different except for you people that are prejudiced against them. They are no different from many of your own grandparents. Oh. They value family. They value marriage. They value religion.
Andrew Idell
March 17, 2013
While the U.S. Constitution prevents you from running for President, I sure hope you run for Governor! :)
Connie Mack Jr
March 17, 2013
Talking about a confuse Russian in America? Wait until the former Red fiqures out that both major political parties is the same and he should have stay in Russia where there is 100% more freedom and hope than the America Police State. The first thing the dude should do is stop watching Fox Republican News and switch to watching Russia Today..And finally leave the Republican Party thinking the Paul family will lead him to a Republican Paradise of the 17 century..
March 17, 2013
Had I tried, I could not have said it better. The Cobb GOP has repeatedly said, "We are all inclusive and we are the grassroots party." But then they are rude to the people who have the guts to question the motives and actions of our elected employees in Washington, Atlanta and Marietta. The elected ones need to listen to the ones who voted for them and elected them. If they cannot accept donations without ignoring their constituents, then they need to not run for office. Their allegiance must me with the voters. When we come to GOP meetings we should not have our First Amendment rights taken away. I agree, we should not be rude, but neither should "leadership" be rude or dictatorial. Remember "leaders", you got elected too and need to remember you need to be beholden to those who elected you!
mk-krispy creme
March 17, 2013

You are a great patriot, Oleg.

You probably shake your head w/ disbelief at the huge number of uninformed Americans.

The way it works in America is, gain power, collect tax & waste tax dollars while screwing over as many people as you can.

It is truely shameful what Glock was allowed to do to 13 beautiful pristine acres of natural environment and animal habitat. No environmental protection in Smyrna. Zero concern for neighborhoods or property owners.

Max is concerned w/ one thing & one thing only,.. POWER!!

You are exactly correct in saying you blame Max Bacon. Absolute power corrupts absolutely & Smyrna is living (or dying) proof !!

Too bad the people in Smyrna are allowing the conditions out here to continue!

It is a wasteland.

Thanks for your efforts and good luck in the future!
March 18, 2013
Guess what, MK? Smyrna will continue to grow and thrive as it always has. Just because a handful of miserable people (and you are miserable) hate it as you do will not stop Smyrna from being one of the best cities to live in out of this entire country. Pack your bags and leave. We don't want you here any more. Why someone would live the precious life God has given them in such misery is a mystery to me and only you have the answer to that one. I guess you have found a place to be miserable and I am not a therapist though you need one more than anyone I ever saw.
Pat H
March 17, 2013
Excellent - had I not been so jaded I would have attended the Cobb convention as I was a delegate. I did not go because I did not want to pay my dues to an organization that supports corrupt candidates such as Chambliss and Tim Lee.

My grandparents escaped the Ukraine and as immigrants worked hard and never received any public funded benefits.

I regret that I did not attend because I would have voted for Mr. Ivutin.

Remember, after working with Isakson, McCain and Kennedy for amnesty, Chambliss was booed by his own party members. He barely won over the Democrat.

Mr. Dendy needs to go or he will take the party into oblivion in Cobb. Resign. I am not a young Libertarian - I have worked for Republican candidates since Gingrich was my representative and I am retired. Many of us are fed up with the candidates.
Lynda Peterson
March 17, 2013
Thanks to Oleg for his courage and wisdom. The Republican Party will not survive without appealing across the spectrum. The message Oleg shared here is for everyone. The love of liberty and responsibility crosses all generations and party lines.
From Kennesaw
March 17, 2013
GREAT COMMENTS PAT H. It's amazing to see and listen to these so called republicans. What are they thinking? Not really thinking, just blaming Obama. And at election time? Just keep re-electing someone who has been in office for 20 years and done nothing for us residents in Cobb.
March 18, 2013
If you are jaded we are most certainly thankful you did not attend as a delegate. Thank you for your thoughtfulness!
March 18, 2013
Your grandparents were IMMIGRANTS???????????? Get out of town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides