Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Mixed Feelings In Odesa Over Saakashvili

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Mixed Feelings In Odesa Over Saakashvili

    What I fail to understand is why President Poroshenko appears so eager to bring in foreigners to govern native Ukrainians?

    I mean, a country with the size and diversity of Ukraine surely has many qualified Ukrainians who can run things.

    Maybe since Saakashvili was Washington’s former ‘Boy Wonder’, they ordered Poroshenko to give him a job? (joke)

    Personally, I think its just two big shot politicians doing what politicians in every country do, and that's back door favors.

    And why aren’t any Ukrainians protesting this move?? I know I would. But perhaps they don’t mind being ruled by foreigners… as long as those foreigners are Russians!



    Mixed Feelings In Odesa Over Saakashvili As Governor

    Mixed Feelings In Odesa Over Saakashvili As Governor

    Tuesday, June 02, 2015 Radio Free Europe By Dmytro Shurkhalo, Maria Tymoshchuk and Claire Bigg

    To say that Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment as governor of Odesa Oblast took Ukrainians by surprise would be an understatement.

    Local residents were stunned to learn on May 30 that Georgia's former president had been selected to run the troubled southern Ukrainian city and its surrounding region.

    Some Odesites found the news so bewildering they actually thought it was a prank. "Surely this is just another joke," a local woman told RFE/RL. "Tomorrow they'll say it's the end of the world. Do you seriously believe this?"


    Political watchers, however, say Saakashvili had been touted for a government job in Ukraine since late 2014.

    "The biggest mystery was that he turned down high-ranking posts," Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko says. "Then he unexpectedly chose an area in which he can show results relatively quickly."

    President Petro Poroshenko made the bombshell announcement in a televised event in Odesa, flanked by Saakashvili. "We are united by our love of Odesa and Ukraine," he said, adding that that the new governor would carry out much-needed reforms.

    Great Expectations

    "In just one year, Odesites should feel that their living standards are higher," he said. He also granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship to facilitate his job.

    Saakashvili, a longtime friend of Poroshenko, is widely credited with conducting sweeping reforms in his native Georgia.

    Poroshenko, who is pursuing a course of European integration away from Russia's orbit, has appointed several non-Ukrainian nationals to government jobs, including U.S.-born Natalia Yaresko as finance minister. Saakashvili, however, is the first ethnically non-Ukrainian to be handed a key post.

    While some Odesa residents believe he will breathe new life to Odesa, others doubt he has what it takes to run the strategic port city -- which lies close to the Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia -- as Ukraine seeks to stamp out a pro-Russian insurgency further east.

    Tensions in the city remain high after clashes between pro- and antigovernment protesters in May 2014 left more than 40 people dead in a blaze.

    Wanted In Georgia

    Saakashvili is also a deeply polarizing figure. Authorities in Georgia, which he left after his presidential term ended in 2013, accuse him of abuse of power and have demanded his extradition.

    "This is a person who faces criminal charges in a country with which we have political relations," says a middle-aged woman in Odesa. "How could a man like that be appointed to this post?"

    "I thought he was a good president in Georgia, I liked his economic reforms," says a more optimistic resident. "I think he will bring positive things."

    Former Odesa Governor Ihor Palytsia says he was stunned to learn both of Saakashvili's appointment and of his own dismissal. Palytsia, however, has put on a brave face.

    "The reforms they want can only be carried out with Kyiv's full support," Palytsia said. "We all understand that the president is forming a team that he trusts. I am persuaded that a person such as Saakashvili will be able to draw the president's attention to the Odesa region."

    Palytsia's tenure had yielded few achievements, mainly due to what was widely perceived as Poroshenko's hostility.

    The president appears to have been particularly wary of Palytsia's close ties to Ihor Kolomoyskiy, a powerful oligarch recently dismissed as governor of Dnipropetrovsk, a region near separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

    Kolomoyskiy stepped down in March amid accusations that he was using private armed forces to promote his own interests, in defiance of Poroshenko's orders that all private battalions be integrated with the official armed forces.

    Poroshenko's call for "a Ukraine without oligarchs who have armies," made during Saakashvili's televised appointment, was seen as a thinly-veiled jab at Kolomoyskiy.

    "A lot here depends on human factors," says Artem Filipenko, an Odesa-based political analyst. "There is hope that Saakashvili will put the president's backing to good use."

    Reactions beyond Ukraine have been mixed, too. Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia under Saakashvili's tenure in 2008, poured scorn on his new job.

    "Saakashvili -- head of Odesa region. The Chapiteau show goes on. Sad Ukraine..." Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tweeted, referring to a popular Russian comic act.

  • #2
    Kremlin trolls have opinions too, or do they? They just keep reemerging w/the same old kremlin lines...
    =====================================
    The Georgian Invasion of Ukraine
    Russians snarl as Odessa welcomes Putin critic as governor
    By Lincoln Mitchell | 06/01/15 11:32am

    EXCERPT:

    There are, however, reasons why the appointment of Mr. Saakashvili to head the Odessa region, a place of great import in Ukraine’s struggle against Russia, that is considered by many to be the most corrupt part of Ukraine, could make sense. Mr. Saakashvili, who came to power in 2003-4 amidst peaceful protests followed by a huge electoral victory in what came to be known as Georgia’s Rose Revolution, did extraordinary work in reducing low level corruption in Georgia. He may be best known for firing all of the police in the capital, Tbilisi, and replacing them with new police officers who were not corrupt, but President Saakashvili also dramatically reduced corruption in areas such as education, local government, customs and infrastructure. President Poroschenko is betting that Mr. Saakashvili can now bring some of that anti-corruption magic to Odessa.

    It is hoped that the dynamic Mr. Saakashvili will push through reforms and excite citizens around ideas. For example, the Georgian people’s broad support for Europe and NATO is, at least in part, a result of Mr. Saakashvili’s vision and leadership. If Mr. Saakashvili can channel that energy and charisma to build a consensus in Odessa, where opinion about Moscow and Kyiv is currently divided, against Putin and corruption and in favor of democracy and the new Ukraine, both he and President Poroschenko will look smart.

    Georgian Invasion of Ukraine Antagonizes Putin and Russia | Observer



    Last edited by Hannia; 2nd June 2015, 18:47.

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh my mistake, I had thought former President Saakashvili was merely another self-centered politician that my government had used and then tossed away.

      But per Hannia’s post immediately above, she has made it crystal clear that he is in actual fact a high minded humanitarian extraordinaire. What would I do without her keen insight?

      Indeed, upon her explanation I’ll be surprised if he is not nominated for sainthood, or least a Nobel Peace prize like his brother-in-arms President Poroshenko:


      U.S. Pressures Nobel Committee to Declare Ukraine's President a Peace Prize Nominee Washington's Blog

      Comment


      • #4
        The proof is always in the pudding...

        Odessa residents have a wait and see attitude, while forum trolls have been given orders to rail and deride
        Saakashvili.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b02DADy3jI
        Russian Language Video
        Last edited by Hannia; 3rd June 2015, 14:14.

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know what boy wonder you're talking about, Saakashvili is a very smart man. How he'll perform at this job and how people will accept him is another question, but he surely is qualified for the role.

          Saakashvili was very active during the Maidan often speaking on CNN and giving reality of whats happening. I think his passion is sincere.



          See whats been posted in the past day.


          Contact forum moderators here.

          Comment


          • #6
            stepanstas, I agree, he is indeed very talented, that’s why he’s got as far as he has in his career and that’s why I referred to him as a boy wonder, it was meant as a compliment.

            But it just seems so very very very odd that the former president of a country would run away to Ukraine and give up his own citizenship to become a governor in a far away country….

            I wish him well, and I know you say his passion is sincere, so I hope you are right. And that he is not simply another opportunistic politician…God bless Poland's neighbor Ukraine..

            Comment


            • #7
              Saakashvili Ukraine's new governor in Odessa splits opinion
              David Stern BBC News, Kiev 2 June 2015

              Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president, is a politician who inspires few neutral emotions.

              Discussions over his legacy often descend into two separate camps of those who love "Misha" (as he is commonly referred to) and those who harbour a less-than-generous opinion of him.

              The shock announcement on Saturday, that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had appointed him as governor of the southern region of Odessa, elicited a similarly varied response.

              Mr Poroshenko's choice of such a divisive, head-strong character was interpreted as a sign of weakness, or a demonstration of strength. A stroke of genius - or a blunder of gargantuan proportions.

              Those in the "for" camp tout his numerous and Western-style reforms in the years following Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution that brought him to power, transforming a country on the verge of complete collapse.

              In the "against" camp, many point to his impulsiveness - which may have provided the spark to Georgia's disastrous war with Russia in 2008 - and his heavy-handed methods in dealing with political dissent.

              Fragile relationship

              Odessa is one of Ukraine's most critical and sensitive regions, one that has been convulsed by extreme political violence in the last year, and which appears to be coming under increasing pressure from pro-Russian separatists.

              And the former Georgian leader is also a well-known adversary, to put it lightly, of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

              Lethal divisions persist in Odessa

              Saakashvili gives up citizenship for Ukraine

              President Poroshenko's relationship with the Russian leader is fragile and often appears about to disintegrate completely, but it nevertheless still exists, and the two men need to keep their their lines of communication open.

              The question is whether Mikheil Saakashvili's strident anti-Putinism, now given a very public forum, could disrupt the delicate balance in Ukrainian-Russian affairs.

              Both sides' reactions were immediate. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tweeted a message amounting to "the circus continues," in reaction to the Georgian's appointment.

              Mr Saakashvili shot back, describing the message as "hysterical."

              Mr Poroshenko (left) made the announcement at an event in Odessa, with Mr Saakashvili standing beside him

              Most importantly, he has been tasked to reform what some say is Ukraine's most corrupt region, and rein in the extensive influence there of the country's richest men - the so-called "oligarchs".

              "He (and whatever team he appoints around him) will have several difficult battles ahead - the most obvious being with the notoriously corrupt customs at Yuzhny, Illichivsk and Odessa ports," said Nikolai Holmov, who writes a blog on Odessa.

              "By extension, that will also bring him head to head with organised crime and the Odessa mafia, as well as some other nefarious vested interests within the ports," he added.

              'Running out of options'

              No-one questions Mr Saakashvili's reputation as a reformer. The question is whether he can clean out the high level of graft, given that he is a complete political outsider with no grassroots structure of support to turn to.

              "It shows how empty Petro Poroshenko's bench is, how little he trusts Ukrainians, and how he's running out of options," said one Western analyst, who asked not to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the subject.

              The militarily important port of Odessa has become notorious for corruption

              On the other hand, his lack of political connections - and therefore obligations - could be a strong point.

              Brian Mefford, a political analyst who keeps a blog on Ukrainian politics, wrote recently that President Poroshenko had killed two birds with one stone with the appointment: he had replaced the previous governor, widely seen as close to Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, without shifting "the balance of power amongst competing business interests in the region", as a locally-chosen candidate would have done.

              "In appointing Saakashvili as Odessa governor, it would appear that Poroshenko has assigned a strong leader to govern a key region under pressure by the Russians," he wrote.

              Audacious move

              The other looming question, of course, is why Mr Saakashvili, a former world leader, would accept a position as a provincial governor, especially as he had already turned down a more senior post as a Ukrainian deputy prime minister.

              Making this even more confusing is the fact that in accepting the Odessa position, he gave up his Georgian citizenship, which was the main reason he originally gave for turning down the other post.

              Mr Saakashvili said the situations in Georgia and Odessa were closely connected.

              "If Odessa ever falls, God forbid, then Georgia might be wiped out from the map," he told the BBC. "That's so obvious, if you look carefully at the geo-politics of the region."

              One thing most seem to agree on is that this was an unquestionably audacious move by President Poroshenko.

              Mr Saakashvili himself commended the Ukrainian president's boldness.

              "I think the president gets it," he said. "My appointment shows that he is prone to very unusual, very radical decisions that took many people by surprise."
              Saakashvili Ukraine's new governor in Odessa splits opinion - BBC News

              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

              Comment


              • #8
                Saakashvili Ukraine's new governor in Odessa splits opinion - BBC News

                "It shows how empty Petro Poroshenko's bench is, how little he trusts Ukrainians, and how he's running out of options," said one Western analyst, who asked not to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the subject.

                Georgian Invasion of Ukraine Antagonizes Putin and Russia | Observer

                Mr. Saakasvhili, who had served as his country’s President between 2004-2013, had been spending his days since leaving office alternating between being one the world’s most outspoken supporters of Ukraine’s struggle against Russia, and enjoying a hipster lifestyle of semi-retirement in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the Georgian government has indicted Saakashvili on charges related to the violent dispersal of protests and other malfeasance.

                Yes, sounds like a good choice....not.

                Brian Mefford an American business and political consultant based in Kyiv characterized Mr. Poroschenko’s gamble on Saakashvili as,

                ”Ukraine needs results from reforms, not comfy government posts for Georgian politicians in exile. Either the reforms Saakashvili did in Georgia are transferable to Ukraine, with Odesa being the test case, or not. Saakashvili is like that player who talks a lot of smack off the field and now the coach is telling him to ‘put up or shut up’ and ‘let’s see if your fastball still has it.’”

                Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests Mr. Saakashvili may have lost bit off his fastball. There is another side of Mr. Saakashvili’s Presidency in Georgia, one that was characterized by limited freedoms of media and assembly and tarring all opponents as pro-Russian in what one Georgian friend used to call “McCarthyashvilism.” Although, Mr. Saakashvili’s anti-Russian bluster has always been impressive, his judgment has not always been. An EU report, for example, placed much of the blame for Georgia’s disastrous 2008 war with Russia at the feet of Mr. Saakashvili. His tenure was also characterized by violently dispersing several demonstrations, stubbornly high unemployment and widespread abuse of prisoners. This last issue was particularly significant because under Saakashvili Georgia had one of the world’s highest rates of incarceration.

                https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/re...ia-open-access
                Opposition parties inside Georgia are planning mass protests for April 9, mainly in the capital city of Tbilisi but also across the country. The protests are against President Mikhail Saakashvili and are expected to demand his resignation. This is not the first set of rallies against Saakashvili, who has had a rocky presidency since taking power in the pro-Western “Rose Revolution” of 2003. Anti-government protests have been held constantly over the past six years. But the upcoming rally is different: This is the first time all 17 opposition parties have consolidated enough to organize a mass movement in the country. Furthermore, many members of the government are joining the cause, and foreign powers — namely Russia — are known to be encouraging plans to oust Saakashvili.

                Regardless of anti-Russian/anti-Putin sentiments, he sounds like another Western puppet.

                One can be concerned and even criticize the lack of Ukrainian appointments in the Government. It doesn't make one a 'troll.' Eventually, the populace will realize that this agenda/policy is not working either. There are few real reforms or improvements in society, economically or otherwise. But, the oligarchs and elites will still have their $$ and the foreign element will continue to profit and benefit. That's not just.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Szary View Post
                  stepanstas, I agree, he is indeed very talented, that’s why he’s got as far as he has in his career and that’s why I referred to him as a boy wonder, it was meant as a compliment.

                  But it just seems so very very very odd that the former president of a country would run away to Ukraine and give up his own citizenship to become a governor in a far away country….

                  I wish him well, and I know you say his passion is sincere, so I hope you are right. And that he is not simply another opportunistic politician…God bless Poland's neighbor Ukraine..
                  Well, to be fair, it doesn't seem like there is much left for Saakasvhili to do with his Georgian citizenship. I think he loves Georgia a lot more than he does Ukraine, after following him for some time, you willl see that. But Georgia no longer cares for him (in grand scale) so if he can use his skills to help another country he loves, why not do it.



                  See whats been posted in the past day.


                  Contact forum moderators here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tkach View Post
                    Saakashvili Ukraine's new governor in Odessa splits opinion - BBC News

                    "It shows how empty Petro Poroshenko's bench is, how little he trusts Ukrainians, and how he's running out of options," said one Western analyst, who asked not to be identified, because of the sensitivity of the subject.

                    Regarding how little he trusts Ukrainians or how he doesn't have a bench. Poroshenko has been in politics for a very long time under various presidents and administrations. I think he has a bench longer than most other politicians in Ukraine. Thats clearly not the issue. The issue is, he was elected to reform and thats just what he'll do.



                    See whats been posted in the past day.


                    Contact forum moderators here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stepanstas View Post
                      Regarding how little he trusts Ukrainians or how he doesn't have a bench. Poroshenko has been in politics for a very long time under various presidents and administrations. I think he has a bench longer than most other politicians in Ukraine. Thats clearly not the issue. The issue is, he was elected to reform and thats just what he'll do.
                      Unfortunately, you're incorrect and inaccurate in your evaluation. Yes, he's been with the 'old guard' for a while but that should be and is *relevant.* As for this reform bit, it's clear these reforms are not happening. Many Ukrainians are realizing this and this discontent will get worse. Sure, you can make a few moves but at the end of the day, it's little more than show. Not to mention, excluding native Ukrainians. It's not a reform if it's just a corrupt foreign bureaucrat and not a Ukrainian one.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        BTW, here's some articles/coverage/footage:

                        Large, conservative protest in Kyiv slams Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk government - New Cold War: Ukraine and Beyond

                        Poroshenko camp postpones key prosecutorial reforms

                        Odessa Protesters Give a Clear Warning to Poroshenko during his Visit - Fort Russ
                        (check video mostly - not comments etc.)

                        The point is, what I have come across is mostly discontent. Sure, the American mainstream articles regarding the Ukraine government will praise the reforms. It's not credible. There's no balance whatsoever and it only serves propaganda artists who will cry 'Junta government' instead of looking precisely at purely government politics and general reforms - that aren't coming.

                        When you separate undeserved praise and Kremlin propaganda from the equation, you still get a government that is not serving the people but pretending to do the most min. to serve elites and corrupt bureaucrats while distracting the people with empty promises.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Reforms are not easy but they are happening. I'm not concerned with the Ukrainian public as that was expected, by me anyway. Ukrainians aren't going to be happy with either president.

                          With regards to progress, lustration laws are kicking in and reforms are happening. And your analogy of not giving Ukrainians a chance is false as Poroshenko only appoints so many people. Also keep in mind you have huge turnover in the parliament.

                          All in all Ukrainians today have more freedom then they ever did in the past. More work needed but that freedom began with Yuschenko. The discontent among certain groups is irrelevant to me as these people have no solution of their own. Also Poroshenko adopted the worst mess in Ukraine's independent history and there is a lot of cleanup to do.



                          See whats been posted in the past day.


                          Contact forum moderators here.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by stepanstas View Post
                            Reforms are not easy but they are happening. I'm not concerned with the Ukrainian public as that was expected, by me anyway. Ukrainians aren't going to be happy with either president.

                            With regards to progress, lustration laws are kicking in and reforms are happening. And your analogy of not giving Ukrainians a chance is false as Poroshenko only appoints so many people. Also keep in mind you have huge turnover in the parliament.

                            All in all Ukrainians today have more freedom then they ever did in the past. More work needed but that freedom began with Yuschenko. The discontent among certain groups is irrelevant to me as these people have no solution of their own. Also Poroshenko adopted the worst mess in Ukraine's independent history and there is a lot of cleanup to do.
                            This is nonsense. Imho. Look, it doesn't matter about the turnover but citizens have a reason to be upset and concerned when there is a constant hiring of foreigners (with no connection to Ukraine) especially many with shady connections or histories.

                            The 'clean-up' as you call it has been sketchy and there's been an endless number of complaints about corruption and status-quo proceedings. Of course, the Kremlin bots and anti-Western individuals/media/groups have jumped all over it. No surprise there as the government is an easy target.

                            'The discontent among certain groups is irrelevant to me as these people have no solution of their own.'
                            Oh, nice attitude. How do you know they have 'no solution?' What voice do they have? What groups are they? This sounds like the typical rhetoric of a voter who doesn't vote - thus, they have no right to a voice or along those lines. This thought process is further nonsense. Ukrainians should be running things and if they have to go through ABC numbers of people to find someone half decent, then so be it. Or at the very least, someone with some connection to Ukraine. The Government has been hiring Americans and Georgians - who have more connection with the previous country and it's sketchy at best. Imho, they should be new people, not 'career politicians' who have their hands in the previous regimes. Just my opinion, though.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I find myself cheering for Saakashvili in this little Internecine battle. Apparently Avakov feels he’s mature because at least he didn’t punch him like they do in parliament. Grow up, boys!


                              Ukraine minister throws water in governor's face in new row
                              Yahoo News December 15, 2015

                              Kiev (AFP) - Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov threw water at the reformist governor and former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, in the latest high-profile spat illustrating growing tensions within Kiev's pro-Western coalition.

                              The incident between the Odessa region governor close to President Petro Poroshenko and Avakov -- an ally of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk -- happened late Monday during a government meeting behind closed doors.

                              Avakov wrote in his Facebook Tuesday that he had thrown a glass of water at Saakashvili -- one of the most popular politicians in Ukraine -- in the course of a heated debate over the privatisation of the Odessa chemical plant, one of the largest in the country.

                              Saakashvili, who was appointed this year, over recent weeks has accused the Yatsenyuk government of corruption, particularly for rejecting the privatisation of the plant.

                              His rivals meanwhile accused him of trying to sell it to a Russian tycoon despite the unprecedented crisis in the relations between Kiev and Moscow amid the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

                              "The governor of Odessa lost control over himself, started shouting at me 'You are corrupt!' and began to insult me," Avakov wrote, adding that he refrained from hitting him, instead throwing water in his face.
                              Saakashvili confirmed that Avakov had tried to throw a glass of water at him.

                              The governor, who received Ukrainian citizenship before his appointment and recently had his Georgian passport revoked, also accused Avakov and Yatsenyuk of ordering him to "get the hell out" of Ukraine, remarks that were confirmed by other meeting participants.

                              He called for the video of the incident to be made public as proof of "indecent and provocative behaviour" of the two men.

                              President Poroshenko was forced to close the meeting and the press conference on its results was cancelled.

                              The president's spokesman said "such altercations are a disgrace to the country," indicating that the altercation would not be broadcast.

                              This was the second incident within a week between the president's and prime minister's teams which make up the pro-Western coalition.

                              On Friday, a fight erupted in Ukraine's parliament after an MP from Poroshenko's faction picked up Yatsenyuk and hoisted him away from the podium while the prime minister was defending his embattled government's record.

                              Such rows highlight the fragile nature of Ukraine's pro-Western coalition as it struggles with the economic crisis and the deadly conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country.

                              Ukraine minister throws water in governor's face in new row - Yahoo News

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X