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Saakashvili plans to switch back to Georgian citizenship later

by | Jun 1, 2015
mikheil_saakashvili_2015-05-31

(Imedi TV.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t need Georgian citizenship in order to make a comeback in his home country.

Former President Eduard Shevardnadze didn’t have citizenship when he came to power in 1993; neither did Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012, he pointed out.

Sunday, Saakashvili was criticized by his predecessor for his decision to give up his Georgian citizenship in order to become a regional governor in Ukraine.

Current President Giorgi Margvelashvili said the decision was ‘incomprehensible behavior’.

Margvelashvili said this during a celebration of Police Day in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city.

“I want to express a negative attitude to this. A former president shouldn’t give up [his] Georgian citizenship. This way he insulted the country and the office of president. I think values are more important than career and those values include Georgian citizenship. I cannot understand his behavior,” he said.

Saakashvili responded in an interview with Imedi TV, by saying that ‘citizenship never has been a barrier for anyone.’

He continued saying that if the president of Georgia decides to deprive his citizenship it won’t be a ‘drastic factor’ because people make such decisions. Besides, he is confident that people will abolish the criminal cases against him, ‘as soon as he returns to Georgia.’

“Eduard Shevardnadze wasn’t a citizen of Georgia when he arrived and became leader of Georgia, Ivanishvili wasn’t a citizen of Georgia when he was running round, holding election campaign and became leader of Georgia,’ he said.

Saakashvili continued saying that right now being a citizen of Georgia means for him means ‘sitting in Matrosov Prison’ with his friends and it was necessary to ‘avoid it’.

“I cannot come back to Georgia whether I am citizen or not. It doesn’t change anything.”

President Poroshenko granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship so he could be appointed as governor of Odessa, a position which requires being citizen of the country. The decree was published on Saturday.

Georgian legislation says one’s citizenship is automatically revoked if one receives citizenship of another country.



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