At the Munich Security Conference, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, had a full-scale meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili. According to the press service of the Georgian Premier, the conversation was “warm, business-like, and it touched on many aspects of intergovernmental relations.” The sides agreed that Ukraine and Georgia “have to use their potential of economic cooperation in favor of friendly nations.”
Of course, the official reports do not contain information about the serious disputes between Kiev and Tbilisi on the fate of the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now the governor of the Odessa Oblast. The Georgian authorities have many times demanded that Kiev extradite Saakashvili to Georgia, where four criminal cases have been initiated against him – accusations of wasting state money, abuse of power, and organizing the beating of MP Valeri Gelashvili, who insulted Saakashvili’s wife, Sandra Rulovs.
However, the Kiev authorities rejected discussing the issue, even when Saakashvili wasn’t a Ukrainian citizen. Such tenacity led to a serious diplomatic conflict – the former head of the Georgian government, Irakli Garibashvili, heavily criticized “the Ukrainian authorities for their unwillingness and short sightedness, as they didn’t want to cooperate with Georgia on bringing the former president to trial for his crimes.” At the same time, leaders of the ruling coalition Georgian Dream have many times warned Ukrainian colleagues, including Petro Poroshenko personally, that the adventurist nature of the leader of the Rose Revolution and his political style will lead to infinite conflicts and controversies, creating numerous problems to the country’s authorities which are in a difficult situation already.
Poroshenko ignored the warning and avoided meetings with the head of the Georgian government. However, in Munich he suddenly met Giorgi Kvirikashvili in sight of Mikheil Saakashvili, who was invited to Munich by the organizing committee of the conference.
The significant gesture of President Poroshenko was noted by the former president of Georgia. He gave a sensational interview to the Rustavi-2 TV-company, comparing the current situation in Ukraine with the situation in Georgia ahead of the Rose Revolution in 2003. “Yatsenyuk, Avakov and other corrupt officials are fighting against me today; just like the Minister for Internal Affairs and other officials of the rotten regime of Shevardnadze were fighting against me in 2003,” the Governor of Odessa said. However, it was well-known that the main target of the Rose Revolution was not the officials but the president, who was overthrown due to Mikheil Saakashvili’s activities, who headed “the all-national movement against corruption.”
Today the former Georgian president promises that he and his supporters, including “former ministers and deputy ministers of the Ukrainian government, who resigned because they didn’t want to be involved in corruption” will initiate “a new political force which will lead the struggle of the Ukrainian people against corruption.”
History repeating itself?