Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili announced his stepping down from his post as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region today.
He accused Ukrainian authorities of corruption and said Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko personally supported two corrupt clans in Odessa. The next career steps of Georgia’s 3rd president became the hot topic for discussion among experts, scholars and political analysts.
Agenda.ge asked Lincoln Mitchell, writer and specialist in political development, who works on democracy and governance related issues in the former Soviet Union, to share his thoughts via our blog section.
Dr. Mitchell is an expert scholar whose current research includes US-Georgia relations and political development in the former Soviet Union.
The first rule of politics is that you "dance with that one that brung ya.” This means that in the rough and tumble of real politics, a modicum of loyalty is important. There are, of course, cases when that can be taken too far, but what we have seen in Ukraine is not one of those cases.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko brought former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in as Governor of Odessa, when nobody else was prepared to help Saakashvili restart his political career.
Some of us were puzzled as to how Poroschenko could make a decision like one as it evinced a complete ignorance of the negative side of Saakashvili’s record in Georgia. However, by turning on his patron now, Saakashvili sends a message that his agenda is not about fighting corruption or standing up to Putin, but it is about furthering the career of Saakashvili.
Upon leaving his position, Saakashvili lashed out at his erstwhile patron as well as pretty much the rest of the Ukrainian leadership.
While corruption remains a big problem in Ukraine, Saakashvili’s effort to paint himself as the shining knight of anti-corruption in Ukraine is transparently self-serving.
It is also an attempt to deflect scrutiny from his record in Odessa, one that was characterized much more by media and hype than by accomplishments.