Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
Saakashvili has every right to defend his political reputation and rights, but he needs to learn to place the interests of the state above his personal ambitions and to respect the country that gave him shelter at a difficult time for him.
The former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has every reason to be indignant at the revocation of his Ukrainian citizenship. Citizenship in a civilized country can never be an instrument in political games. And this applies both to the process of its granting as to the process of its revocation.
The decision by Georgian authorities to strip the former Georgian president of his Georgian citizenship, as well the decision by the Ukrainian leadership to strip the former head of the Odesa Oblast administration of his Ukrainian citizenship, should be considered not only from the legal but also from the political point of view. As should the well-known attempt by Saakashvili himself to deprive Bidzina Ivanishvili of his Georgian citizenship, a decision that was later annulled by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Passport manipulations are unattractive always and everywhere.
However, Saakashvili’s indignation must not be transformed into attempts to harm the country whose citizen he wishes to remain and which he claims to love. There is no other way to portray the statement of the former Georgian president that Donald Trump is right on the question of Ukraine’s alleged interference in the US presidential elections.
Saakashvili even speaks of “dirty games begun by certain Ukrainian oligarchic circles.” At the same time, he cannot fail to know that the only politician who, during the US election campaign, revealed really significant information about bonuses paid by the Party of Regions to Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was Saakashvili’s closest ally Serhiy Leshchenko.
And the only agency that has confirmed this information was NABU (Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine)– an agency headed by Artem Sytnuk, who has been repeatedly supported by Saakashvili and where Saakashvili’s associate Gizo Uglava also works. Are these people really pawns in “dirty oligarchic games”? And if such a statement is not treasonous then what is treason?
Saakashvili probably thinks that this way he gets even with Poroshenko — but he takes his revenge on Ukraine. Saakashvili probably thinks that this way he will draw Trump’s attention — but in his egocentrism he threatens American support for Ukraine.
When he speaks about the price that Ukraine supposedly must pay for the “incompetence of its leaders and dirty games” does he know that this price will be paid not by Poroshenko and not even by Leshchenko. It will be paid by ordinary Ukrainians who are defending their country and who need support — first of all, military support.
Saakashvili has every right to defend his political reputation and rights — both in the courts and the media. But he needs to learn to place the interests of the state above his own ambitions and to respect the country that gave him shelter at a difficult time for him — even if he has quarreled with the president of that country.