Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili Under Arrest In Ukraine
Last week, Ukrainian security services raided the apartment of Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia. Saakashvili fled to his roof. There, he addressed a gathering crowd that demanded the impeachment of former ally, and current Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko.
Saakashvili was freed after crowds blocked police vans for hours. He was arrested the next day and was released after a judge ruled there was no cause to detain him.
Saakashvili supporters accuse Poroshenko, an oligarch elected on the heels of a pro-democracy revolution in 2014, of not taking anti-corruption seriously. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Poroshenko recruited Saakashvili to lead anti-corruption efforts as Governor of Ukraine’s Odesa Oblast (province). Saakashvili took the unprecedented step, as former head-of-state, of renouncing his Georgian citizenship and taking on Ukrainian citizenship.
Saakashvili resigned his post in Odesa in December 2016, citing sabotage against his anti-corruption efforts. He was traveling abroad in July when Poroshenko unexpectedly stripped him of his citizenship.
Critics accuse Saakashvili of subverting Ukraine’s revolution at the behest of both Russian and U.S. interests. Saakashvili supporters claim that Poroshenko took advantage of war in Eastern Ukraine to excuse cronyism in his administration.
To discuss the case of Mikheil Saakashvili, we’re joined by Anders Åslund, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.