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Vasily Stoyakin: What was the reason for appointing Saakashvili as Odessa governor?

As Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili becomes a new governor of the Odessa region, even “the Maidan politicians” make contradictory statements. What was the reason for that appointment?

Here are five non-contradictory reasons.

Reason 1, a public and political one

Saakashvili’s appointment looks to settle a range of political problems in the region –to humiliate the Odessa citizens once again and to inspire the local “professional Ukrainians” with optimism.  As far as one can understand that plan was justified only partially. “Professional Ukrainians” were really encouraged, while the ordinary citizens responded to the appointment with humor (sufficed it to say that red ties were hung everywhere in Odessa).  On the other hand, after May 2 and the later “weeding out” of the Odessa citizens, one could hardly expect a more active response from them.

Reason 2, concerning elites and politics

Saakashvili is set to weaken the local elites and, which is more important, to weed out the henchmen of “Privat Group.” This means that Georgian corrupt officials will soon come to replace the ones in Odessa. Frankly speaking, I do not think it is an efficient policy. Georgian corrupt officials will not even know what and wherefrom to steal. Instead, they will be receiving gifts with great pleasure. The local corrupt officials and “Privat” henchmen will hurry to help them in that process.

Reason 3, a geopolitical one

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As NATO plans to deploy its base in Odessa, the region having a strategic location, it is quite logical to bring it out of Kiev’s control. Saakashvili will be reporting to Washington, and Ukraine will lose its real sovereignty over the region. It is quote logical. As to the Kiev unitarists, U.S. does not care for them. Nevertheless, Saakashvili cannot replace a full U.S. governor.  Therefore, let’s see who will be his deputies.

Reason 4 - guaranteeing a conflict with Transnistria

Actually, one can see preparations for military actions, or, which is more probable, for a full blockade of Transnistria. The goal is to make Russia go on political or economic concessions.  What is Saakashvili’s role in all that? Ukrainian governors do not command troops, and the fight against smuggling is sensible only in case of a regular frontier regime.

Reason 5, concerning domestic policy

Georgia’s ex-president is likely to be nominated for the post of the prime minister, as Yatsenyuk and Yaresko have fallen short of expectations. This runs contrary to the Ukrainian tradition. Only three (Lazarenko, Kinakh, and Yanukovych) out of 14 prime ministers of Ukraine previously occupied the posts of governors. A candidate to that post must be brought “via” Kiev (something Americans may simply not know about). 

Vasily Stoyakin, Ukrainian political analyst, specially for EADaily

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