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Daily News Analysis

Strong Signals of Upcoming Turbulence in the Post-Soviet Space

Crescent International

Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili has been offered the post of deputy prime minister in Ukraine, according to the German public international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

The report has naturally created much unease in Georgia.

Georgia’s current government will certainly not be the only one upset about the appointment of its former president to an important post in Ukraine.

Due to Saakashvili’s well-known anti-Russia views and personal animosity with President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin will also not be happy.

During the Georgia-Russia war over South Ossetia in 2008, it is said that during a phone conversation Putin threatened to hang Saakashvili by his balls, something Putin indirectly confirmed when asked during a televised interview.

Saakashvili had previously served as Ukraine’s Odesa region governor after the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in 2014.

He was dismissed from this post after he started going after corrupt officials in the new Ukrainian government.

The 2014 revolt in Ukraine was heavily supported by Western powers and triggered a forceful Russian response which occupied parts of Ukraine.

Moscow saw the pro-Western revolt as the first direct step of incorporating Ukraine into NATO.

For Russia, NATO membership of any of the former Soviet states is a geopolitical redline.

Saakashvili is a highly pro-Western politician who came to power after overthrowing Georgia’s president Eduard Shevardnadze in 2003.

Shevardnadze was closely allied with Russia and had previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.

He gained international fame after his unique meeting with Imam Khomeini in 1986.

He also delivered Mikhail Gorbachev’s response to the Imam’s letter that was delivered to the Soviet leader in Moscow by Ayatullah Javad-e Amoli on January 7, 1989.

In his letter, the Imam predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and invited Gorbachev to study Islam to find a way out of the problems facing the world. The Imam also warned Gorbachev about falling into the trap of capitalism.

As president of Georgia, Saakashvili initiated several economic and political reforms significantly decreasing the level of corruption. He also created space for political multipolarity in the country.

Saakashvili’s writings and speeches often point to his aspiration to rid the former Soviet states of Russian influence.

He was the first president among the post-Soviet countries who actually stepped down after his term ended, without being forced out of office.

Saakashvili also succeeded in many economic and political reforms in Georgia, thus gaining support of many people in the post-Soviet region who do not view Moscow’s influence positively.

In addition to being pro-Western, Saakashvili is also closely associated with the neo-con circles in Washington.

Thus, it should be expected that once in power in Ukraine, Saakashvili will certainly be utilized to exert pressure on Russia.

His appointment as deputy prime minister of a country of which he is not a native, is not a coincidence.

It cannot be analyzed merely as an alliance between a new breed of politicians in the post-Soviet region.

The decline of oil prices, establishment of the TANAP oil pipelines and recent instability in Central Asia, combined with resurgence of a politician with a strong anti-Kremlin agenda points to the change of status-quo in the post-Soviet regions.

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