News You Really Need To See: “Ex-President of Georgia to Lead Ukraine Region”

“Ex-President of Georgia to Lead Ukraine Region”

The New York Times, May 31, 2015, p.A8

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/world/europe/ex-president-of-georgia-to-lead-ukraine-region.html

“President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine on Saturday appointed the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, as governor of the Odessa region, turning to a longtime nemesis of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for help governing an area coveted by pro-Russian separatists. … Mr. Saakashvili replaces Ihor Palytsia, who was appointed governor in May 2014 after more than 40 people, most of them pro-Russian separatists, died in a fire in Odessa during clashes with pro-Western street demonstrators.  Mr. Palytsia is an ally of Igor V. Kolomoisky, a billionaire and former governor of Dnipropetrovsk.  Mr. Kolomoisky was dismissed from his own governor’s position after clashing with Mr. Poroshenko this year as the president began a ‘deoligarchization’ campaign aimed at reducing the power and influence of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessmen.  The appointment of Mr. Saakashvili was immediately interpreted in Ukraine as a message to Mr. Kolomoisky as well as a jab at Mr. Putin.  Mr. Saakashvili and Mr. Putin have an animosity that dates to before the brief war fought between Georgia and Russia in 2008. … It is increasingly clear that there is insufficient domestic capacity for implementing wide-scale changes, and the Ukrainian public’s general willingness to accept the appointment of foreigners to high-level positions underscores the deep lack of trust in any government after nearly a quarter-century of mismanagement and corruption. … A number of former senior officials in Mr. Saakshvili’s government now occupy senior posts in Ukraine, and have been granted Ukrainian citizenship, including the health minister, a deputy prosecutor general and a deputy interior minister.  As president of Georgia from January 2004 to November 2013, Mr. Saakashvili led an aggressive effort to eliminate corruption and bureaucracy from Georgia’s post-Soviet government.  He won wide acclaim in the West for achieving dramatic successes, but he was also heavily criticized at home for heavy-handedness, including allegations of rights abuses.”

Quickie analysis:  It’s certainly outside-the-box thinking.

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