[Marxism] Mikheil Saakashvili Resigns Post in Ukraine, Citing Corruption

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Nov 8 12:37:11 MST 2016


NY Times, Nov. 8 2016
Mikheil Saakashvili Resigns Post in Ukraine, Citing Corruption
By IVAN NECHEPURENKO

MOSCOW — Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia who was 
brought into the Ukraine government to set an example of transparency 
and clean government, resigned on Monday and accused Ukraine’s president 
of supporting corruption.

Mr. Saakashvili, who was appointed governor of the Black Sea region of 
Odessa by President Petro O. Poroshenko in May 2015, said he was leaving 
because of the central government’s unrelenting obstruction of his 
efforts to root out graft.

“The president personally supports two clans,” Mr. Saakashvili told a 
group of journalists. “Odessa can only develop once Kiev will be freed 
from these bribe takers, who directly patronize organized crime and 
lawlessness.”

In a terse statement, Mr. Poroshenko’s office said it would accept Mr. 
Saakashvili’s resignation once it had been submitted by the cabinet.

In Odessa, Mr. Saakashvili and a team of young reformists tried to 
tackle the acceptance of bribes in the corruption-plagued customs 
service and to make government services more responsive and transparent.

Yet, government officials in Kiev thwarted those efforts, Mr. 
Saakashvili said, because they interfered with the various enrichment 
schemes that allowed many of them to amass fortunes.

Mr. Saakashvili said his plan to open a new customs service center in 
Odessa was undone when the money allocated for its refurbishment was stolen.

He noted that some top-level government figures listed millions of 
dollars in savings in cash and other assets in financial disclosures 
that were mandated by the International Monetary Fund. One minister 
declared bottles of wine worth thousands of dollars each.

Mr. Saakashvili, a bitter opponent of Russia and its president, Vladimir 
V. Putin, was one of several foreign politicians and specialists who 
were brought to Ukraine after the 2014 pro-Western revolution to start a 
broad modernization of the country.

But there was always deep skepticism about whether Ukraine was capable 
of such a transformation, and many of those figures have since become 
disillusioned and resigned. In February, the economy minister, Aivaras 
Abromavicius stepped down, saying that he did not want to act as a 
“smoke screen” for corruption. The American-born finance minister, 
Natalie A. Jaresko, left the Ukrainian government in April.

Taming corruption was widely seen as crucial for proving the legitimacy 
of Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership, especially in contrast with Mr. 
Putin’s Russia.

In October, Mr. Saakashvili’s political party in Georgia suffered a 
painful defeat in parliamentary elections, ending the prospect of his 
return to that country, where he faces multiple charges that he says are 
politically motivated.

Standing in front of Odessa’s seaport, Mr. Saakashvili signaled that he 
would continue to be involved in Ukrainian politics. One of his allies, 
Ukraine’s former deputy prosecutor David Sakvarelidze, recently started 
a new political party that cites Mr. Saakashvili as its “ideologist.



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