Where Will Mikheil Saakashvili’s Bizarre Political Career Take Him Next?

This morning, the sun rose over Kyiv and some residents had the sense that the full weight of the Ukrainian winter itself had been absorbed into their shivering bones as they slept. They tried to shake the bone-deep chill that had followed the previous evening’s bout of weather which had been bad enough to cause blackouts in 88 towns and villages in eastern Ukraine. In the meantime, Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President of the Republic of Georgia, occasional legal resident of Brooklyn, and an officially stateless person as of July, had already been awake at his apartment in Kyiv since before dawn broke. What woke Misha? What brought him out of what must have been a highly sonorous, bear-like state of hibernation? On this particular morning, it was the unmistakable cacophony of a team of Ukraine’s most elite security forces breaking into his apartment to arrest him. This was how Misha ended up on his rooftop early this cold morning in Kyiv, threatening to jump.

Misha has had his citizenship revoked in his native Georgia and in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Poroshenko wants to see Misha — his former friend and currently his most effective critic — deported back to Georgia and thrown in jail. The falling out between the two is its own little melodrama wrapped within a much bigger story: In 2015, it was Poroshenko and the US State Department who invited Misha to come to Ukraine and serve as governor of Odessa. The ongoing saga surrounding Saakashvili’s citizenship status and his increasingly bizarre political career, which has always been helped along, redirected, or rescued by powerful Americans such as Hillary Clinton and John McCain (the two of whom together co-nominated Misha for a Nobel Peace Prize years ago) has inspired all kinds of speculation and fantasy about where Misha will pop up next. Chime in if you have any ideas:





Balkanist is an experimental, occasionally bilingual platform featuring politics, analysis, culture, and criticism for a smart international audience underwhelmed by what is currently on offer.Our aim is to provide bold, uncompromising coverage of the Balkan region and everything to its East.

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