November 8, 2016 -
Ruslan Ostashko, PolitRussia - translated by J. Arnoldski -
One of the symbols of the “new Ukraine”, the ex-Georgian president, fugitive, and part-time governor of Odessa, Mikhail Saakashvili, has announced his resignation, which came as a shock and to the dismay of Ukrainian citizens, who for some reason had great political hopes for him. I’ll leave aside the discussion of how Saakashvili’s biography, character, and addiction to hard narcotics couldn't possibly leave anything good to be expected from him. What is more interesting to discuss are the motives behind his resignation and explaining whether this is connected to the American elections.
Before delving into this, let’s immediately eliminate two entirely untenable theories which nevertheless have a number of supporters on social networks.
Untenable theory number one is that Saakashvili has some kind of insider information that the US elections will be won by Hillary Clinton, and that he was warned in advance to secure a good starting position in the new American leadership’s Ukraine strategy. I understand the appeal of this theory, but I can’t agree with it. Saakashvili can hope that Clinton will win, and he can pray for her victory, but he cannot know the results of the US elections or possess any top insider secrets. For those who doubt this, let me remind you of two episodes.
The first episode was in 2008, when Saakashvili was 100% sure that America would completely sign up to back him against Russia. Well, how did that 'insider knowledge' work out?
The second episode was just recently, in this year, when he spoke of his future triumphant return to Georgia, apparently hoping that the Americans would falsify the results of the Georgian parliamentary elections in favor of his party. The Americans could have done this, but they didn’t. His party lost the elections by a landslide.
Thus, the image of Saakashvili as a super insider can be very appealing, but it does not correspond to reality.
The second untenable theory is that Saakashvili left for internal Ukrainian reasons or was forced to leave by ‘disgruntled Odessans.” Contemporary Ukraine is a territory full of national injustice. Local, regional, and national authorities couldn’t care less about dissatisfied citizens, whether in Odessa, Kiev, Zaporozhya, and so on. They also don’t care about their approval ratings. Saakashvili was given Odessa to “eat up,” and the people who took this decision to quarter a US mercenary in Ukraine are clearly not the ones sitting in Kiev.
Given this, it can be supposed that the version that the former Georgian president, famous for his greed, left his post because of tensions within Ukraine is in the least a strange theory.
And now about Saakashvili’s gesture. Apparently, he really needed to officially distance himself from Poroshenko who, from the point of view of many Western experts, has fulfilled almost all of the tasks in Ukraine that he was given. Even better was Saakashvili putting the emphasis on conflict with Poroshenko.
The new US president, whoever it will be, will be forced to do something with this situation, and the fact is not too far off that the decision will be made to do some behind-the-scenes spanking.
The scenario of backstage spanking, reducing salaries, and rinsing dirty laundry in the media is the best thing that could happen to Poroshenko under any new American administration.
Saakashvili is pretending that he has nothing at all to do with what has and is happening in Ukraine. For him, it would be ideal if Washington believed that he has no relation to Poroshenko, doesn’t know Kolomoysky, and has never seen Yatsenyuk, but had instead been somehow dragged into the mess created by the US’ political puppets in Ukraine.
Under these circumstances, distancing himself is a good strategy, but Saakashvili has run into an obstacle. He should have distanced himself earlier. Now this trick might not work.
The former Georgian president is now demonstrating a kind of behavior which is really familiar in Russia and which is difficult to be misconstrued. What does a regional official who has thieved or failed at an important project do when he learns that a check up is soon coming from Moscow? The pattern of behavior has not changed since the times of the USSR, believe me. This official immediately flies to the capital and tries to, so to say, resolve issues in a small circle of interested associates. Saakashvili and his team have failed in two spheres of work, the Georgian and Ukrainian ones. In Georgia, he lost elections, and in Ukraine he failed to create a success story out of Odessa. The Americans needed such success stories and Saakashvili 100% promised them something of the sort.
Now Saakashvili is covering his weak spots and unleashing into the information field the theory that he failed as governor only because of corrupt Kiev and interference by Poroshenko himself and his entourage.
Surely, Saakashvili has already written something in this spirit to Washington and is now simply publicly confirming his position and line of defense. If he gains the nerve, then he could try to ask the new US administration (and he has friends among both the Republicans and the Democrats) for a promotion, to let him steer something in Kiev, or participate in a new political project in Ukraine.
Considering that the Americans love to arrange political shows in which some political puppets are replaced by other political puppets under cries of fighting against corruption, then this might just work out for him.
Saakashvili’s actions are a very bad sign for Poroshenko. Poroshenko has no good way out of the unfolding situation. It may very well be that he has been left with only two paths: one to Rostov and the other to the gallows.
Saakashvili’s actions are also a possible sign that the Americans will radically shake up the Ukrainian political elite and bring real freaks and misfits to the forefront. For us, this is more good than bad. Any sudden movements could finish off the government system in Ukraine and lead to the delegitimization of the regime in Kiev, especially if outright Nazis come to power there.
For us, this collapse of the administrative system and the delegitimization of the government in Ukraine is good, even if Saakashvili earns something out of this.
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