Georgian experts on gov’t react to appointment of ex-pres. Saakashvili as Ukrainian deputy PM: ‘silly and shameful’
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky recently proposed to the ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili the post of Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for reforms.
Official Tbilisi reacted nervously to this, saying that such a decision would negatively affect Georgian-Ukrainian relations.
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia did not rule out even recalling the Georgian ambassador from Ukraine, at least for consultations. Parliament speaker Archil Talakvadze turned to his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Razumkov, noting that Saakashvili’s appointment would spoil relations between Kyiv and Tbilisi.
Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Teymuraz Sharashenidze said that such a decision by Kyiv in Tbilisi would be regarded as unfriendly and unacceptable by the strategic partner. A member of the parliamentary majority, Irakli Kobakhidze, spoke similarly.
The opinion of leading Georgian experts differs from the opinion of the authorities.
Former State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili:
“The reaction of the authorities is illogical, shameful. Obviously, our authorities lack the ability to appropriately respond to events. Notes, warnings to recall the ambassador indicate that they are divorced from reality.
“Saakashvili is a populist, adventurer, voluntarist, incapable bureaucrat who will last maximum a year. The reaction of the Georgian authorities, however, suggests that he, it turns out, is talent, a reformer and his successes will create problems for us. This is immature. Instead of talking about what problems Zelensky might have and why he needed this ‘downed pilot,’ we are trying to analyze the inadequate reaction of our government.
“Zelensky is in crisis. He can not withstand the challenges in any way, so Saakashvili is needed to draw public attention by populist actions for a year or two. And we will all see what happens to Saakashvili in a year …
“Ukraine is our ally, conceptual ally. Together we are moving towards NATO, and possibly to the European Union. We are in one bunch, and at such a time to speak out with groundless problems is out of place.
Ghia Nodia, political scientist:
“The reaction of the Georgian authorities is stupid, explained only by internal factors.
“Why and how useful Zelensky will find Saakashvili – I do not know and admit that I was surprised by his decision. I think that for Saakashvili the invitation to the post of deputy prime minister is not particularly honorable. But this is their business.
“Zelensky’s decision, as Poroshenko used to be, incidentally, indicates that he is not serious about the decision of the Georgian court. This is painful for our government, but who takes our court seriously (including in Georgia, including the ruling Georgian Dream itself), to be taken seriously by Ukraine?
Theoretically, the argument that Ukraine should be careful about partnership with Georgia is correct. If in reality there was a strategic partnership between Kyiv and Tbilisi, then Ukraine really should have refrained from such a gesture. But did Ukraine receive some support from Georgia during the reign of the Georgian Dream? And if so, why should it reckon with Georgia in personnel matters?
Ghia Khukhashvili, political commentator:
Why is Zelensky appointing Saakashvili deputy prime minister for reform?
1. Zelensky could not destroy the corrupt system. He needed an appropriate bulldozer.
2. It is necessary to balance Avakov, with whom he could not do anything.
3. This is a cold shower for Poroshenko who was plotting revenge.
4. He puts the emphasis on Saakashvili, and he becomes an arbiter over the fight.
If Saakashvili is successful, Zelensky will receive dividends. If not, then there will be one less problem. In these battles all rivals of Zelensky will weaken. Our government is giving threatening glances, while Ukraine is engaged in politics.