Saakashvili is back in the game

Saakashvili is back in the game

The ex-president of Georgia and the former governor of the Odessa region of Ukraine, Mikhail Saakashvili, is again in demand. If the Verkhovna Rada does not fail his candidacy, which is unlikely, he will become vice-premier of the Ukrainian state regarding reforms. Tbilisi recalled the ambassador to Ukraine. It seems to be in protest. After all, Saakashvili is accused in his homeland immediately of several serious articles of the criminal code and put on the wanted list.

By the way, Georgia also recalled the ambassador at the first advent of Saakashvili to the Ukrainian government, when President Petro Poroshenko appointed him governor of the Odessa region. But then Tbilisi and Kiev hushed up this story, not plunging into a whirlpool of contradictions. Now the combination is repeated. And she looks weird.

Having won the presidential election, Vladimir Zelensky, one of his first acts, restored Saakashvili to Ukrainian citizenship. The ex-president of Georgia scattered thanks and made it clear that he was waiting for the next step Zelensky. That is, an invitation to some prominent position. But did not wait. Moreover, the new Ukrainian leader defiantly distanced himself from Saakashvili and even released a caustic remark about him.

Saakashvili decided that he was allowed to equip his political future himself, and for some time he became more active in the party field, deciding to participate in the parliamentary elections. But it seems that something did not grow together along this line. He rushed about, made several statements about the transfer of his party’s votes to Zelensky’s “Servant of the People”, then he began to “cooperate” with the Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko in the same way, but did not receive any public thanks. Then he withered and switched to his native Georgia, where the opposition diligently shook the power of the "Georgian Dream".

He would have plunged into his element completely if he could have returned to Tbilisi, but received an unambiguous signal that he would be taken from the airport along the shortest route to a cell long prepared for him. Saakashvili waved an airplane from afar, promised his supporters to come to Georgia at any cost and by any means to send Bidzina Ivanishvili to the country's informal ruler. Naturally, I didn’t come. And his further actions are a mixture of the actions of a sharpie and a blackmailer. He demanded that the opposition take active revolutionary action, then frighten the authorities with U.S. discontent, or organize angry letters from American congressmen to the authorities, or in various cities of the United States and Europe organize congresses of emigrants, with whom he allegedly intended to return to Georgia on foot, or quarreled with his Georgian party members then put up. But the fading itself even earlier than the opposition surge began to fade.

The next wave of activity occurred already during the pandemic. Saakashvili invited the Georgian authorities at his own expense to return several thousand Georgian citizens who are abroad to the country, but in return received an offer to calm down, and if there is a great desire, then transfer the money to a special fund, and the government itself uses them to organize special flights. In response, Saakashvili announced that the Georgian authorities did not want to open a quarantined airport, which, of course, turned out to be another fantasy that was far from reality. After some time, he invited the authorities to temporarily close criminal cases until the fall, to allow him to return to Tbilisi, and in return he promised to secure investments of several billion dollars. And here is the ellipsis. Because I got an offer to do business. Recall that before becoming governor of the Odessa region, Saakashvili hatched some plans for Georgian politics, but having gained a place in Ukraine, he immediately lost interest (at least externally) in Tbilisi.

And here is the first version of why Zelensky needed Saakashvili. I emphasize - no evidence, no "reliable rumors", etc. Just a version.

Georgia should hold parliamentary elections in the fall. It is unknown, however, how the epidemiological situation will develop. Depending on it, they can also be transferred. The positions of the ruling "Georgian Dream" have noticeably shaken. Despite the authorities’s clear actions during the pandemic, the opposition will find what to attack for. At least for the objectively inevitable economic downturn and the deterioration of living standards. Rumor ascribes the leader of the "Georgian Dream" Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, who raised Zelensky to the presidency, a tested friendship. To distract Saakashvili during the difficult period for Ivanishvili from Georgia, to occupy him with something in Ukraine - why not ?! Especially if you can benefit from balancing with Mikhail Saakashvili who has gained too much political weight Arsen Avakov. About their "warm relations", formed even under Petro Poroshenko, is well known. And then, when or if the knife reaches the bone, arrange a “bargain” - remove both. True, Saakashvili managed to declare that he did not intend to continue to sort things out with Avakov - they say that the time was not right. But, firstly, knowing Saakashvili, this is hard to believe. Secondly, who said that Avakov will calmly demolish the newly-made deputy prime minister, who will surely attract the attention of the press for sure.

The second version. The Ukrainian authorities managed to discredit themselves in the eyes of the West. In a crisis, we need money that no one in a hurry to provide to Kiev. Saakashvili, who has still not lost support in some American circles, could become a lifesaver for which money will come to Ukraine. He himself - read above - once promised Georgia billions of dollars in investments. Of course, he could hyperbolize, but you never know ...

The third version. Zelensky and the team are losing in the ranking. The situation should be saved by a bright charismatic politician, immersed in the Ukrainian alignment, able to build relations with the media and experts. Saakashvili’s candidacy is suitable. But at the same time, the weakness of Zelensky’s team is revealed, a short bench of “substitutes”, if it was necessary to attract Saakashvili, who tarnished his reputation with failed reforms in the Odessa region, and then with completely anecdotal adventures in Kiev quarters, including roofs of houses, until his arrest and expulsion from Ukraine to Europe. But in any case, if not bread, then with the return of Saakashvili to power, the sight of the Ukrainian people is provided.

The fourth version. Saakashvili as Deputy Prime Minister - a lightning rod from Zelensky himself. No reforms are now possible in Ukraine - there are no resources, the wrong time. All responsibility is shifted to the "legionnaire", who, in terms of reformism, will turn out to be "hooked" 17 years after the "Rose Revolution". And with this, the current government wins time. At the same time, society is gently reminded of the absolute failure of the party friends and girlfriends of the ex-president of Georgia invited to work in Kiev, who "reformed" the healthcare system and law enforcement agencies so that Ukraine is still shaking. And the conclusion, disappointing for the public, was that the slip came out, that they could not in Georgia, could not in Ukraine - the climate must be not the same, and the water in the Dnieper is different than in the Kura.

The fifth version. American curators are tired of overly energetic Saakashvili. It was not possible to return to Georgia, so let it work in Ukraine. Moreover, Zelensky is slipping, but with the energy and ambitions of Saakashvili ... It is not enough, but what the hell is not joking? Turn it up, stir it up, and there it will be visible - maybe the curve will bring it somewhere really.

You can strain up and come up with as many less or more plausible versions. But there is no special meaning. Despite the fact that it will soon become clear why Zelensky needed Saakashvili, whom he himself, when he was a comedian, made fun of him unkindly. But for Ukraine, the decision is rather unsuitable than capable of producing a result.

Firstly, Saakashvili can be successful in implementing projects with absolute support, or with his absolute power. As it was in Georgia in the early years of the "rose revolution". He has neither one nor the other. As was not when he was the head of the Odessa region. Since then, the situation on the banks of the Dnieper has not changed.

Secondly, in a state with a high level of ethnic self-identification, such as Ukraine, it will always be treated with some prejudice, or suspicion, as a stranger. Even from a friendly state, but to a stranger.

Thirdly, about 13 years have passed since the successful political period for Saakashvili. In 2003, he launched the “Rose Revolution,” and after just four years, the opposition nearly “arranged” him. Then he resisted, in a highly controversial situation, won the early presidential elections, while unconditionally losing them in Tbilisi. Since then, luck has turned its back on him, and he himself has become increasingly bogged down in political squabbles than he has been noticed in the commission of deeds. And when they say that this is not the same Saakashvili that was in 2003, it is probably worth listening to.

Fourth, to what extent is Saakashvili himself ready to work as deputy prime minister for reforms without official ambitions? This is really hard to believe. If he himself will not consciously extinguish the impulses of his ambitions, then very soon the Ukrainian elite will begin such that Zelensky damn the day and hour when he decided to invite the ex-president of Georgia to work.

Fifth, relations with Russia and the Donbass conflict. Everything on the surface and additions are not needed here. In Kiev, another irritant was added to Moscow. Serious irritant. And if, by an ingrained habit, he undertakes to “analyze” the policies of Russia and its leader, then wait for new troubles.

Summarizing everything, the bottom line is that, in addition to all the challenges, Kiev came up with another one, hoping to acquire an effective manager or even a strong ally. But what he actually received will become clear quite quickly - in proportion to the emotionality of the new deputy prime minister.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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