Former Georgian Leader Saakashvili Loses Ukrainian Citizenship

Violet Powell
July 28, 2017

Georgia's ex-president and former Ukrainian governor Mikheil Saakashvili vowed Thursday he would fight for the right to return to Ukraine after it stripped him of citizenship, APA reports quoting sputniknews.

In a video statement posted on Facebook on July 27, Saakashvili lashed out at President Petro Poroshenko and charged that he was facing the same ill-treatment from the government that countless citizens of Ukraine face every day.

However, he quit the governorship in November 2016 amidst a very public falling out with Poroshenko, whom he accused of stalling reforms by being too accommodating of the interests of the country's powerful oligarchs. He resigned the post previous year, complaining of official obstruction of anti-corruption efforts.

It said Georgia had provided "materials on Mikhail Saakashvili" to Ukrainian prosecutors which the migration service then studied and passed to the presidential commission on citizenship.

It did not provide the exact reason, but stated that this could be done if a Ukrainian national acquired citizenship of another country or submitted false documents.

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"I am a simple Ukrainian", Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili, who is now in NY, according to his representative Zoe Reyners, slammed the decision, saying in a Facebook post that "there is an attempt under way to force me to become a refugee". This will not happen! Saakashvili said that despite his resignation, he would continue his fight against corruption in Ukraine along with “young and honest forces”.

This prompted a discussion about his citizenship, because Ukrainian law requires anyone who serves in higher office to be a citizen, while Georgia as a general rule does not allow dual citizenship.

"Odessa will develop only after Kiev is liberated from corrupt officials who directly patronize banditry and lawlessness, including in the Odessa region, so in this situation I made a decision to resign and start a new stage of the struggle", Saakashvili said.

Poroshenko saw him at that time as an ally, but Saakashvili resigned the post a year ago, complaining of official obstruction of his anticorruption efforts.

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