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After Rome and Liege Ex-President Saakashvili Meets Emigrants in Munich

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, May 15
Georgian ex-president in exile, Mikheil Saakashvili, met Georgian emigrants in Munich after he had already met Georgian diaspora in the city of Belgium, Liege, and Rome in February.

The meeting with the Georgian emigrants started with a discussion around the problems in Georgia. The third president of Georgia named corruption as the main problem in his address. According to him, the main ideology of the country's government is corrupt, and in this situation, the state cannot develop well.

The main statements made by Saakashvili during his speech were about the founder and Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Saakashvili accused Ivanishvili of misappropriation of the state property with the symbolic or very low price, criticizing his giant-tree-collecting hobby.

“The rescue operation of Georgia has officially been launched today, and we will accomplish this task once and for all,” the ex-president said.

He also called vowed to take revenge of Ivanishvili for 'suspending some strategic projects' launched during his presidency.

"Our main aim is to get rid of this man [Ivanishvili] who as if like a vulture hinders Georgia’s development," said Saakashvili.

The ruling GD team responded ex-presidents comments. According to the chairman of the Georgian Dream faction Mamuka Mdinaradze, Saakashvili is involved in a scandal and is trying to cover it up with allegations against the government.

“It is international fraud and rare insolence that Mikheil Saakashvili meets Georgian emigrants in European cities and asks them for money, in order buy expensive villas in Florida for himself, presumably through corrupt deals,” he stated.

GD parliamentary majority leader, Archil Talakvadze, confirmed Mdinaradze's comment.

“Mikheil Saakashvili and his wife are trying to convince the public that they are poor and did not make any contribution in the processes that took place in Georgia in the past. There is credible information that Saakashvili is choosing a villa for himself in Florida, with the best views,” he added.

Saakashvili served as the third president of Georgia in 2004-2013 and as the Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa in 2015-2016.

He supported Ukraine's Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. On 30 May 2015, then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him as Governor of Odessa Oblast. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship but due to restrictions on dual nationality under Georgian law, was stripped of his Georgian citizenship.

On 7 November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as Governor, blaming Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odessa and Ukraine overall. Four days later he announced the creation of a new political movement.

On 26 July 2017, Saakashvili, at the time staying in the US, was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Poroshenko and became a stateless person. He cannot return to Georgia because of the various charges against him.

At present, he lives in the Netherlands, the homeland of his wife, Sandra Roelofs.