Saakashvili vs. Poroshenko: a new political stand off has begun in Ukraine


September 13 , 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

Eduard Popov – translated by Inessa Sinchougova

On the evening of September 10, supporters of the ex-president of Georgia and ex-governor of the Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili, from the battalion ‘Donbass’ (commander – Semen Semenchenko) broke through the cordons of the authorities on the Polish-Ukrainian border and helped the politician enter the territory of Ukraine. According to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, and personal foe of Saakashvili, he personally gave the police orders not to open fire. 

It seems it has repeated – in the reduced and caricature version – that which was happening at the EuroMaidan. Police and frontier guards were helplessly watching the triumph of the crowd, which could be dispersed by several shots over thire heads. Post-maidan power (as before it, the regime of V. Yanukovych) openly folds before the “radicals” (as paramilitary Nazi formations are called in Ukraine). 

A dangerous precedent was laid at the beginning of the year, when the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Guard were afraid to touch the militants of the battalion ‘Donbass’ and other Nazi formations that organized the blockade of Donbass. Then Poroshenko found a way out of the situation: unable to abolish the movement, he headed it. The blockade of Donbass became the state policy of Ukraine. But in the situation with Saakashvili, this method, which Poroshenko often resorts to, will not work. Saakashvili is the personal enemy not only of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs A. Avakov, but for some time also personally President Poroshenko. But even without personal enmity, Saakashvili became the center of gravity of the anti-Poroshenko forces. The logic of the struggle makes him a deadly enemy of Poroshenko.

The next day Saakashvili visited Lviv and dined with the Lviv mayor Andrei Sadov, the head of the party “Self-help”. This is a very interesting party project, which advocates Western Ukrainian autonomy and separatism (the idea of ​​recreating the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic or the creation of a Western Ukrainian confederation under the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs has never died in Lviv and Chernivtsi). Despite the violation of Ukrainian legislation by the former governor of Odessa, the Interior Ministry and the Security Service did not take any actions to detain him. Central power in Ukraine demonstrates dangerous indecision – and this is a deadly mistake for any regime, whose support is undermined. But it seems that Saakashvili himself also does not know what to do next. Supporters of Saakashvili, who once organized the “Rose Revolution” in Tbilisi, are trivially trampled in Lviv, and their leader does not hurry to urge all opposition forces to unite. Perhaps, however, that there is backstage preparatory work. If Saakashvili does not miss a favorable situation and dies not behave dangerously, this inaction time will work for him.

Firstly, he has patrons and supporters in the Western policy. They very negatively perceived the deprivation of Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship by order of President Poroshenko. The Ukrainian Ambassador to Poland was even summoned to the Foreign Ministry to give explanations.

Secondly, and this is the main thing, security forces do not hurry to use force. There are several reasons: the unwillingness to be on the dock after the victory of the next Maidan (everyone remembers the fate of the former employees of the Berkut), and the fear of unleashing a real civil war. For the “brothers in arms” of the ‘Donbass’ in the event of conflict, fighters of other “national bats” (Nazi battalions) enter the picture – a reason that prevented Avakov and Poroshenko from using force against the organizers of the Donbass blockade this winter.

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Thirdly, his example showed that Poroshenko does not control (or does not fully control – which is the same thing), not only the structures of power, but also regional authorities. In this case, the city and regional authorities of Lviv and Lviv region. It is no accident that many serious political scientists, like politicians, have outlined the paralysis of the Ukrainian state. Even Minister Avakov denied Ukraine the right to be called a state, calling it a crowd, using the territory ineptly. A very good and fair comparison, if you do not take into account that what has been said above applies primarily to Avakov himself, who did not allow authorities to stop Saakashvili and his supporters on the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Most serious commentators believe that a new Maidan was launched in Ukraine and that Saakashvili created a new Maidan coalition (M. Pogrebinsky). Pogrebinsky, I remind you, warned of the “hot autumn” and the preparation of “surprises” for President Poroshenko in the summer. Ex-speaker of the Georgian parliament, former associate and current enemy of Saakashvili Nino Burjanadze is even more radical in her assessments. According to her, Saakashvili’s breakthrough is the end of Poroshenko. Ukrainian politicians and the Ukrainian government are split. Along with the Chairman of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko, who called Saakashvili an agent of Putin (squote!), there are equal perspectives of the opposite nature. First of all, the position of Saakashvili is actively supported by Yulia Tymoshenko, who has the highest presidential rating. Thus, Saakashvili can boast an alliance with at least two parliamentary factions: “Self-help” (26 seats) and “Fatherland” party (18 seats). If he succeeds in showing some success, and the authorities demonstrate new mistakes and indecisiveness, the number of supporters of the new opposition will grow, the number of supporters of power, respectively, will decrease.

On September 12, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine announced that the ex-president of Georgia and the ex-governor of the Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili, is on the territory of Ukraine illegally, but there are not enough grounds for his detention. This, in my opinion, is the height of the confusion of political power. Or a game of giveaway.

But this is only the visible side of the iceberg. Back in late December last year, we wrote about a conspiracy against Poroshenko, compiled by several oligarchs and regional leaders. The information about the meeting of several influential people leaked out, including the disgraced oligarch Dmitry Firtash, with the aim of overthrowing Poroshenko. The main speaker of the conspiracy was the ex-governor of Transcarpathian region Rusyn Viktor Baloga (now – deputy of the Verkhovna Rada and the shadow king of Transcarpathia). He did not hide himself, promising to arrange impeachment in the Verkhovna Rada for President Poroshenko. This scandalous interview was published on the site of the party “United Center” (leader – V. Baloga). There was no reaction. The authorities were afraid to touch a super-powerful politician (a politician in the Ukrainian sense of the word, where it’s more a head of a criminal group than a politician).

When covering the breakthrough of Saakashvili on to the territory of Ukraine, some observers drew attention to the excellent organization and good financial support for this action, carried out in the best traditions of Euro-Maidan. Saakashvili, I repeat, was one of the organizers of the Rose Revolution in Georgia, and took an active part in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. He and his people are familiar with the technology of organizing revolutionary performances. Activists of the Georgian organization “Kmara!” Taught Ukrainian like-minded people to carry out the first “color revolution” in the autumn of 2004. In Ukraine today, they openly say that these events were made possible with the money of the disgraced oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. Probably so. But I would not simplify the picture so much. I believe that Saakashvili and his numerous political supporters are supported by a complex conglomerate of financial and political forces, among whom Kolomoisky is the first among equals. Against Poroshenko (which I wrote in the cited material in December last year), a situational alliance of several oligarchs and regional leaders has taken shape – what makes his position really dangerous.

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