TBILISI, DFWatch–Speculation that the new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, might hire former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili as an advisor, is cheered by the latter’s supporters in Tbilisi.
It has not been possible for DF Watch to confirm a claim by Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitchko in a TV interview that Saakashvili and his economic guru Kakha Bendukidze will be hired as advisors by the new Kiev government.
But members of Mikheil Saakashvili’s party think it would be a good decision, if true. They say this will be important for Ukraine and good for Georgia’s future.
Members of the Georgian government, on the other hand, advise Ukraine not to do this.
Davit Darchiashvili, MP, National Movement member and former head of the Euro-integration committee in the previous parliament, and Andro Barnovi, former head of Saakashvili’s administration, spoke about this issue with DF Watch.
They said they haven’t spoken with Saakashvili after the statement in Ukraine, but they hope he will agree, because Darchiashvili and Barnovi think it will be important for Ukraine that Georgia shares its experience through reformers. They recalled Saakashvili’s image in the West and, Darchiashvili remarked, this is a very good decision for both countries.
Ukrainian media have given broad coverage to a TV interview with Vitali Klitschko, leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, and likely new mayor of Kiev, in which he said that Saakashvili offered his help to the new Ukrainian authorities, who are battling political and economic chaos.
“Georgia is an example for us. I have talked to many people about this,” he said. “I spoke to Mikheil Saakashvili too and he offered [his] help. I spoke with Kakha Bendukidze and I am sure if there is a need both of them will help.”
Saakashvili hasn’t been in Georgia after a new president was elected in October, 2013. Saakashvili and his party staunchly supported the then Ukrainian opposition when demonstrations broke out in Kiev in November, 2013. The former Georgian president also said that he will actively cooperate with the new government in Ukraine, but no statements have been made by Kiev so far about whether such a proposal was official or not.
Government officials, including the prime minister, advise Ukraine to ‘not to let Saakashvili closer.’
“Preliminary evaluations are, we saw that the election was conducted in a peaceful environment. Now, I wish the Ukrainian people peace and stability in the country. My first friendly advice to Ukraine’s new president will be not to let Saakashvili closer,” Prime Minister Gharibashvili said on Monday.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Georgia, Vasil Tsibenko, said during a meeting with journalists the same day that it won’t be surprising if recently elected Petro Poroshenko will invite experts from Georgia, like Kakha Bendukidze.
He said he cannot say whether Saakashvili will be adviser to Poroshenko yet. The ambassador added that this might become known after the inauguration and signing of the first documents.
“In our time, nothing can be excluded. Everything might happen.”
Petro Poroshenko, who is leading Urkaine’s presidential race with 54 percent, said earlier that he would include in his presidential staff a person from Georgia, not providing further details.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also commented on the issue.
“I noticed the statement by Mr Klitchko about the possibility of inviting Mikheil Saakashvili into the Poroshenko team. I believe it is not wise to make him a mediator between our countries,” Sergey Lavrov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.