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Saakashvili to advise Poroshenko?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 28
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili might become an adviser of the new President of Ukraine. Initial statements regarding the matter were made by Saakashvili himself, as well as by the members of the winning team in Ukraine. Commenting on the issue, the Russian side stressed that Saakashvili “would not be helpful” in regulating Russian-Ukrainian relations. Georgian officials, have already given “friendly advice” to the new president to “keep Saakashvili at bay”. The former president is not the only person being discussed as an adviser. UNM members claim that the Former Minister of Economy Kakha Bendukidze and the party face Giorgi Vashaldze might also provide advice for the new leadership of Ukraine.

Saakashvili was active in terms of Ukrainian issues and spent much time in the county since Russia launched aggressive steps against Ukraine.

After the presidential elections Saakashvili told CNBC that new President Petro Poroshenko is his friend with whom he studied together.

“I know him very well. I campaigned for him in these elections. Now, I am going to Kiev and I hope to help them with my advice,” said Saakashvili who was speaking from New York.

Vitali Klitschko, leader of UDAR party, and winner of the mayoral race in Kiev, informed that “Saakashvili himself offered this service to the new leadership. “I am sure each of them will be ready to help if needed,” Klitschko said, regarding Saakashvili and Bendukidze.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he paid attention to the information, stressing that “Saakashvili is really the one who should not be appointed as a mediator in relations between Russia and Ukraine.”

Georgian PM Irakli Gharibashvili friendly advised the newly elected president to refrain from any contact with Saakashvili. Fellow member of the coalition Giorgi Volski admitted that Saakashvili could only deliver some advice on what “should not be done.” He emphasized that the former president is not a figure that will be useful for Ukraine’s future.

Analyst Vazha Beridze told The Messenger that it the sovereign right of Ukraine’s rulers to decide who will give them advice. “The fact proves that the new government of Ukraine listens to the U.S. and other international players. For many people abroad, Saakashvili still remains a reformer. From a distance, our reforms seems to be successful. In reality however, we faced poverty and human rights were severally violated. Ukraine needs real reforms. Thus, Saakashvili, in my opinion will not be helpful for them,” Beridze said, noting that discussing Saakashvili on the position means that Ukraine no longer is considering the regulation relations with Russia through peaceful means.

Professor Korneli Kakachia believes that Saakashvili’s advice might be helpful to Ukraine concerning institutional reforms.

“Despite the fact of whether we like or dislike Saakashvili, the international community recognizes the institutional reforms carried out under his leadership. Thus, in this regard, he might be interesting for Ukraine,” Kakachia told The Messenger, adding that he would not be surprised if Saakashvili and other Georgians are selected as advisers, as the previous government had a very close relationship with the Ukrainian political elite. He stresses that in Georgian-Ukrainian and Russian-Ukrainian relations, much will depend on the field Saakashvili is selected for.

“If it is the foreign relations field, Russia would not be happy of course, as Saakashvili is much disliked by Russian officials, as well as by the current Georgian leadership,” Kakachia said.