Saakashvili’s brake out in a Ukraine falling to pieces

Another blow to the reputation of Ukrainian institutions was inflicted. After the EU decision not to transfer the last 600 million euro tranche of aid to Kiev because the Ukrainian government failed to implement reforms, and after the words of US secretary of state, Tillerson, casting doubts on fight against corruption, now Mihail Saakashvili slams Kyiv’s law enforcement.

The day promised bad from the very beginning. Early in the morning, the police raided the premises of the former Georgian president and former governor of the Odessa region in order to arrest him. Called to collect via Facebook from his friend and former prosecutor of the Odessa region, David Sakvaredlize, thousands of Saakashvili’s supporters gathered under his residence, blocking the way out to the police. Meanwhile, in a daring attempt to escape, Saakashvili climbed on the roof of the building, pursued by Sbusecurity agents, in the apparent attempt to prevent him from jumping down.

Things got worse, though, just when the police managed to take Saakashvili down and get on a blue minivan. His supporters attacked the vehicle, divested the doors and freed him.

The triumphant crowd accompanied the former governor to the Maidan, asking loud the impeachment of President Petro Poroshenko

Powerless institutions

The synthesis of the grotesque day is the image of Saakashvili who, triumphant on the stairs of a church, addresses the crowd with the handcuffs still hang on his right wrist.

In the afternoon, Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko in a press conference explained the reasons of Saakashvili (failed) arrest: he would have received half a million dollars from the oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko, a close ally of former President Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the Maidan.

With that money, the former Georgian president was supposed to finance mass protests against Poroshenko and the government to favor Yanukovych's allies return to power.

The prosecutor’s office also released a tape with Kurchenko and Saakashvili discussing the plan. The latter has rejected the accusation via Facebook.

What happened during this long day is not a bolt from the blue. Three days earlier, thousands of demonstrators in support of Saakashvili marched in Kiev demanding Poroshenko's impeachment.

Prosecutor Lutsenko addressed himself publicly to Saakashvili asking him to turn himself. Nevertheless, later a manhunt was issued.

The soul of Ukraine

Ukrainian politics has accustomed us to his tragicomedy. Last summer, Poroshenko had deprived Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship while the latter was abroad. The former governor of Odessa, however, managed to return to the country in September, brought to arms by hundreds of his supporters who broke through the border, immobilizing the guards.

But it is difficult not to realize how the events of December 5 have inflicted a very hard blow on the credibility of the current government and all institutions.

A blow that comes on the same days when Kiev failed to receive the last tranche of € 600 million of European aid. The EU commission has announced that it has blocked the transfer because the Ukrainian government has not carried out the required reforms on credit transparency and income automatic declarations.

And on the same days when the US State Department issued an alarm for the arrest of some officials of the National anti-corruption bureau, NABU, for the stalling of high-level investigations and for the leak of sensitive files from its offices .

"It serves no purpose for Ukraine to fight for its body in Donbas if it loses its soul to corruption", said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.


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