Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The former governor of the Odessa region and former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili considers that after he was deprived of Ukrainian citizenship, democracy in Ukraine was weakened. The disgraced politician calls the decision of the President Petro Poroshenko to take away his passport “a gift to Russia”. Saakashvili stated this during an online conference on August 2nd.
Saakashvili is right in his own way
The well-known political scientist Vladimir Kornilov believes that it is possible to even partly agree with the latest statement of Saakashvili. The deprivation of Saakashvili’s citizenship is indeed a blow to democratic system of Ukraine.
“I seldom agree with Saakashvili, but here he is right. Depriving someone who, most likely, doesn’t possess another nationality, of a Ukrainian passport, which he received on absolutely legal grounds, is something that really threatens democracy in Ukraine,” said the head of the Center for Eurasian Studies in a conversation with the correspondent of the Federal News Agency.
Blow to democracy and a “gift to Russia”
On the other hand, Kornilov also reminds that not all of this story began with Saakashvili. Saakashvili is already not the first politician who under a fictitious pretext was deprived of Ukrainian nationality.
“There is, for example, the People’s Deputy Andrey Artemenko. At the time he dared to criticize the Ukrainian authorities and was deprived of nationality. There were also others. Under the pretext of having other passports they are deprived of nationality. However, the fact of their dual citizenship wasn’t proved by a court or accompanied by some legal ceremonies. Of course, this is the path of repression and arbitrariness. Of course, this contradicts the part of the Constitution of Ukraine where it is said that Ukraine is a democratic state,” continues Kornilov.
When others were deprived of nationality, Saakashvili preferred not to pay attention to the fact that the Ukrainian authorities use such methods of “political dismantlement”. When this penalty fell upon him, he began to yell in full voice.
“It is a systemic problem of the new Ukraine. It is so possible to deprive any Ukrainian of nationality, even if they were born on the territory of Ukraine. This needs to be understood, and not to pretend that all of this began with Saakashvili,” summarised Vladimir Kornilov.
As for the part about a gift for Russia, here, of course, the former Georgian President went too far. “As you can see, Russian politicians and commentators called the whole incident a tragicomedy and had fun watching it from afar. If there is gift — then this is it. But Russia won’t receive either a special benefit nor damage from Saakashvili being deprived of citizenship. Perhaps, it will simply give another reason to specify how ‘democratic’ the post-Maidan Ukrainian authorities are. But on various talk-shows this was already done,” concluded the political scientist.
Sacral victim of Ukrainian politics
According to Vladimir Kornilov, over time Saakashvili will once again receive a Ukrainian passport. He will do it either through the efforts of the American Embassy or through the court. Whatever his detractors may say, he is still the most “resonating” Ukrainian politician.
“But even if he will be deprived of citizenship, this entire scandal will be used by those who promote Saakashvili, those who were already included into his political project, all those who want to discredit Poroshenko. Under Saakashvili’s brand and his fight against the authorities many ‘downed pilots’ of Ukrainian politics came under his wing. Including those who are rather influential — including having influence in various battalions and other radical structures,” emphasized Kornilov.
The scandal with the deprivation of nationality will be used by these “downed pilots” to go to the Verkhovna Rada at the next early elections. Saakashvili will be used by them as a kind of political battering ram.
“Remember how in the movie ‘Kidnapping, Caucasian Style’ Vitsin broke open doors with his head, without caring about his health? This will be the case with Saakashvili. Among other things, even such people as the former head of the SBU Valentyn Nalyvaichenko can use him now. He still possesses influence over the most cruel nationalist battalions in Ukraine — those battalions that, by the way, promise to go to war with Kiev to continue the ‘Ukrainian revolution’,” stated Kornilov.
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