Oleg Tsarev: “Saakashvili Is Financed by the Kremlin” is Poroshenko’s Strategy of Survival

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



On the morning on December 5th, after searches in his apartment, Saakashvili ran onto the roof of the eight-storey building that he lived, and threatened to jump off if someone touches him. Employees of the special services dragged the former President of Georgia away from the edge of the roof, and placed him in the car of the SBU.

Activists punctured the wheels of the minibus that law enforcement bodies tried to take Saakashvili out with. The car was surrounded by several hundreds of people who blocked the street from both sides, preventing any movement.

The police used tear gas on the crowd.

In reply the supporters of the politician broke open the side door of the minibus with the detainee inside, and released him.

The released Saakashvili urged his supporters “to head to parliament”.

“You won’t allow these uneducated, impudent con artists to control you. I will put my life into freeing Ukraine and liberating Ukraine from oligarchs. I urge all inhabitants of Kiev to take to the streets, to gather today on Maidan and to begin the process of freeing Ukraine from Poroshenko and his gang,” stated the former leader of Georgia.

Comment of Oleg Tsarev

Poroshenko decided to remove Saakashvili from the political field of Ukraine. Saakashvili was declared person non grata for the first time in Ukraine together with 30 other political strategists – who arrived to organise Maidan – at my deputy’s request. “Tsarev’s list” was published, and you can go on the Internet and see how much outrage my fellow party regionals threw at me, claiming that with such actions I discredit Yanukovych in the opinion of the “world community”. But, nevertheless, at that time Saakashvili was obliged to leave the territory of Ukraine.

On December 5th, 2017, it’s not the police that arrested Saakashvili — and this is very important. It is the Prosecutor-General and the SBU who arrested him, while the Interior Minister Avakov, together with his subordinates, was away from this process. That’s why the car that Mikho was put in, after being removed from the roof, belonged to the SBU. And it was blocked in the same place that the SBU car – that Tatyana Chornovil entered into via the sunroof – was found on Maidan, and back then Maidanists pulled out SBU employees from the car, which was being used to listen in to negotiations. There is such a device that directly intercepts mobile negotiations from the air. And now, once again, a SBU car was blocked approximately in the same place. Full deja vu.

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History repeats itself — the first time as a tragedy, the second time as a farce. That’s why there is nothing surprising about the fact that everything looks like a farce. Just like how in the past Yanukovych decided to arrest Tymoshenko with the excuse that she betrayed Ukraine in the interests of Russians, and now Poroshenko wants to make from Saakashvili a political prisoner, having accused him of cooperating with Putin and people who are now in Russia, and having accused Saakashvili – that his protest actions inside Ukraine are financed from Russia by Yanukovych and Kurchenko, but that in any case all of this is in the interests of the Russian Federation. And Poroshenko can achieve recognition abroad of Saakashvili as a political prisoner much more than in the case of Yulia Tymoshenko back then.

Poroshenko now plays a very dangerous game in order to cleanse the political field before the approaching presidential elections. Now the political field of Ukraine was divided into several camps. The main two camps are Poroshenko’s supporters and Poroshenko’s opponents. The Prosecutor-General Lutsenko and the head of the SBU Gritsak is Poroshenko’s team, his personal guard. And it is they who were tasked with Saakashvili’s arrest. And the army keeps neutrality. Yulia Tymshenko will now see to what extent the detention or, on the contrary, the release of the tie-eater is favorable to her. She is afraid that the media that is now under Poroshenko’s control will start crucifying Saakashvili together with Tymoshenko should she start to actively support the illegal Georgian gastarbeiter. And Yulia is now number one in the ratings in Ukraine, and hopes for a victory in the presidential elections. And it is necessary for her to behave in such a way that Saakashvili performs useful work for her, and to not be her toxic asset.

Euromaidan wouldn’t have taken place without the muddy and treacherous game of oligarchs. What will they undertake, is there a split in their environment?

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Some of the nouveau riches consider that the country won’t survive another Maidan, that’s why they oppose a coup. Their opponents can be divided into two categories: one of them is interested in Poroshenko’s weakening — preservation, but weakening. And a number of players, such as Kolomoisky, aim to completely remove Poroshenko from power.

The situation is rather difficult also because, having tried to arrest Saakashvili, Poroshenko plays a dangerous game with Washington. The fact is that the US clearly and distinctly, via the mouth of Volker, spoke out in defense of Saakashvili. And Poroshenko did whatever he wanted for a period of time. He arrested people from Saakashvili’s environment. The head of the security service of the former President of Georgia perished, his supporters were expelled from Ukraine — but Saakashvili wasn’t touched. And having created the narrative that the chief actor of Mikhomaidan now works in the interests of the Russian Federation, Petro Poroshenko considers that he will discredit Saakashvili in the opinion of Americans, and that they won’t dare to act in defence of Saakashvili. And it is only after this that Poroshenko dared to arrest his rival.

Literally in the course of writing this text I learnt that the protesting “Mikhomaidanists” released Saakashvili. Now he gives interviews and again works near the walls of the Rada as a petrel of the revolution. What does all of this mean and what to now expect?

Poroshenko’s supporters will now put on a loop in the media records of conversation between Saakashvili and Kurchenko. The “petrel” will deny all of this, he will say that everything is falsified. Anyway, now Poroshenko will continue to play on the political discreditation of Saakashvili and those who support him. But Saakashvili’s task in return is to raise interest in himself, in his Maidan. It is possible to say that both sides, both sharpers increased the stakes, the game heads towards a raise.

Should a new capture or new detention of Saakashvili be expected? Or it is now already impossible? If he remains on Maidan, in an environment of brutes who are ready for anything, it will be difficult to do it. I think that from the point of view of Mikho it would be logical. Moreover, with the excuse that there is a need to protect him. He can collect an additional number of supporters who will come to Maidan. But any deja vu has its limits. I think that “Mikhomaidan” won’t repeat the success of the 2014 one. After all, I know how that Maidan was done. Until foreign states and the Western world join in, Maidan won’t be successful.

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And once again, as I write this, news arrived: Nikolay Azarov, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, said that such a magic release of Saakashvili by allegedly “the people at large” couldn’t happen without an order from the very top of the Ukrainian power, and that in such a way the authorities gave a signal to law enforcement bodies to not interfere, and they thus retreated. Well, it is his point of view — but not mine. It’s not very beneficial for Poroshenko to give a command to release Saakashvili. The President now would like to bring the “Russian agent” to an interrogation, then to look at the reaction of the US, and if there isn’t a reaction — to extradite him to Georgia. What is the sense of Azarov’s narrative? To start detaining and to be frightened of the consequences — then why in general was it necessary to undertake it? I believe that Poroshenko went for broke, and he went rather accurately. After all, so far he didn’t violate the order – nor by words or by actions – that was given to him by the US: not to touch Saakashvili. Well, he called Saakashvili in for questioning, and then he will say to his curators: “Yes, I summoned him for an interrogation, there were serious circumstances”. Although the situation obviously started to develop not in full compliance with Poroshenko’s scenario, and I don’t think that he is now confused. After all, he didn’t lose in this game. He managed to rather weightily discredit Saakashvili using the fact that Lutsenko stated that the financing of Maidan was carried out from Russia. This is a very serious accusation. And I think that Poroshenko will further develop this topic.

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