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Mikheil Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgian: ,

IPA: [ml skvl]; Ukrainian: ; born 21 December 1967) is a Ukrainian and former[1]
Georgian politician.[2] He is the current Governor of
Ukraines Odessa Oblast (region),[3] and was the third
President of Georgia for two consecutive terms from
25 January 2004 to 17 November 2013. Saakashvili is
the founder and former chairman of the United National
Movement Party.

tices medicine in Tbilisi and directs a local Balneological

Center. His mother, Giuli Alasania, is a historian who
lectures at Tbilisi State University.
During university, he served his shortened military service in 19891990 with the Soviet Border Troops' checkpoint unit in the Boryspil Airport in Ukraine (then as
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic also a part of the
Soviet Union). Saakashvili graduated from the Institute of International Relations (Department of International Law) of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (in then independent Ukraine) in 1992. At
this university he was friends with later President of
Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.[16] Saakashvili briey worked
as a human rights ocer for the interim State Council
of Georgia following the overthrow of President Zviad
Gamsakhurdia before receiving a fellowship from the
United States State Department (via the Edmund S.
Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program). He received an
LL.M. from Columbia Law School in 1994 and took
classes at The George Washington University Law School
the following year. In 1995, he also received a diploma
from the International Institute of Human Rights in
Strasbourg, France.

Involved in Georgian politics since 1995, he became president in January 2004 after President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in the November 2003 bloodless "Rose
Revolution" led by Saakashvili and his political allies,
Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania. He was re-elected
in the Georgian presidential election on 5 January 2008.
He was widely regarded as a pro-NATO and pro-West
leader who spearheaded a series of political and economic
reforms. In 2010, he had a 67% approval rating[4] despite
being criticized by the opposition for his alleged authoritarian tendencies and electoral fraud.[5]

On 2 October 2012, Saakashvili admitted his partys

defeat in Georgias parliamentary election against the
Georgian Dream coalition led by the tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.[6] He was barred by the constitution of Georgia from seeking a third term in the 2013 presidential
election, which was won by the Georgian Dreams can2 Election to Parliament
didate Giorgi Margvelashvili. Shortly after the elec[7]
tion, Saakashvili left Georgia. Saakashvili is wanted by
After graduation,
Georgias new government on multiple criminal charges, He interned at the United Nations.
while on internship in the New York law rm of Patterson
which he denies as politically motivated.
Belknap Webb & Tyler in early 1995, Saakashvili was apSaakashvili
proached by Zurab Zhvania, an old friend from Georgia
Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian
who was working on behalf of President Eduard Shevard[9]
revolution. On 30 May 2015 Ukrainian President
nadze to enter politics. He stood in the December 1995
Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili Governor of
elections along with Zhvania, and both men won seats in
Odessa Oblast (region).
He was also granted
parliament, standing for the Union of Citizens of Geor[10]
Ukrainian citizenship.
gia, Shevardnadzes party.
Some non-Georgian sources spell Saakashvilis rst name
Saakashvili was chairman of the parliamentary commitvia the Russian version of the name Mikhail. In Geortee which was in charge of creating a new electoral sysgia, he is commonly known as Misha, a hypocorism for
tem, an independent judiciary and a non-political police
force. Opinion surveys recognised him to be the second
most popular person in Georgia, behind Shevardnadze.
He was named man of the year by a panel of journalists
and human rights advocates in 1997. In January 2000,
1 Early life
Saakashvili was appointed Vice-President of the ParliaMikheil Saakashvili was born in Tbilisi on 21 December mentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
1967, capital of the then Georgian Soviet Socialist Re- On 12 October 2000, Saakashvili became Minister of
public in the Soviet Union, to a Georgian family.[14][15] Justice for the government of President Shevardnadze.
His father, Nikoloz Saakashvili, is a physician who prac- He initiated major reforms in the Georgian criminal jus1


tice and prisons system. This earned praise from international observers and human rights activists. But in mid2001 he became involved in a major controversy with the
State Security Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze and Tbilisi
police chief Ioseb Alavidze, accusing them of proting
from corrupt business deals.


Saakashvilis storming of Georgias parliament in

2003 put U.S. diplomats o guard... [Saakashvili]
ousted a leader the U.S. had long backed, Eduard
Shevardnadze.[18] Seeking support, Saakashvili went
outside the U.S. State Department. He hired Randy ScheSaakashvili resigned on 5 September 2001, saying that unemann, now Sen. John McCains top foreign-policy adI consider it immoral for me to remain as a member of viser, as a lobbyist and used Daniel Kunin of USAID and
Shevardnadzes government. He declared that corrup- the NDI as a full-time adviser.[18]
tion had penetrated to the very center of the Georgian On 24 February 2004 the United National Movement and
government and that Shevardnadze lacked the will to deal the United Democrats had amalgamated. The new powith it, warning that current developments in Georgia litical movement was named the National Movement will turn the country into a criminal enclave in one or two Democrats (NMD). The movements main political priyears.
orities include raising pensions and providing social services to the poor, its main base of support; ghting corruption; and increasing state revenue.

In the United National Movement

4 First Presidency

Further information: Rose Revolution

Having resigned from the government and quit the
Shevardnadze-run Union of Citizens of Georgia party,
Saakashvili founded the United National Movement
(UNM) in October 2001, a center-right political party
with a touch of nationalism, to provide a focus for part
of the Georgian reformists leaders. In June 2002, he was
elected as the Chairman of the Tbilisi Assembly (Sakrebulo) following an agreement between the United National Movement and the Georgian Labour Party. This
gave him a powerful new platform from which to criticize the government.
Georgia held parliamentary elections on 2 November
2003 which were denounced by local and international
observers as being grossly rigged. Saakashvilli claimed
that he had won the elections (a claim supported by independent exit polls), and urged Georgians to demonstrate against Shevardnadzes government and engage
in nonviolent civil disobedience against the authorities.
Saakashvilis UNM and Burdjanadze-Democrats united
to demand the ouster of Shevardnadze and the rerun of
the elections.

Saakashvilis inauguration as President of Georgia

The 2004 presidential election were carried out on 4 January 2004. The election was an outcome of the bloodless Rose Revolution and a consequent resignation of
President Eduard Shevardnadze. It is well known for a
very high level of electoral turnout and also for the number of votes cast for one particular presidential candidate
Mikheil Saakashvili (96%). All other candidates reMassive political demonstrations were held in Tbilisi in ceived less than 2% of the votes. In total, 1,763,000 eliNovember, with over 100,000 people participating and gible voters participated in the election.
listening to speeches by Saakashvili and other opposi- On 4 January 2004 Mikheil Saakashvili won the presition gures. The Kmara (Enough!") youth organiza- dential elections in Georgia with more than 96% of the
tion (a Georgian counterpart of the Serbian "Otpor!") and votes cast, making him the youngest national president in
several NGOs, like Liberty Institute, were active in all Europe. On a platform of opposing corruption and improtest activities. After an increasingly tense two weeks proving pay and pensions he has promised to improve reof demonstrations, Shevardnadze resigned as President lations with the outside world. Although he is strongly
on 23 November, to be replaced on an interim basis by pro-Western and intends to seek Georgian membership
parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze. While the rev- of NATO and the European Union, he has also spoken of
olutionary leaders did their best to stay within the con- the importance of better relations with Russia. He faced
stitutional norms, many called the change of government major problems, however, particularly Georgias dicult
a popular coup dubbed by Georgian media as the Rose economic situation and the still unresolved question of


Economic and government reforms

separatism in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazia regards itself as independent of Georgia
and did not take part in the elections, while South Ossetia favours union with its northern counterpart in Russia.
Saakashvili was sworn in as President in Tbilisi on 25 January 2004. Immediately after the ceremony he signed a
decree establishing a new state ag. On 26 January, in
a ceremony held at the Tbilisi Kashueti Church of Saint
George, he promulgated a decree granting permission for
the return of the body of the rst President of Georgia,
Zviad Gamsakhurdia, from Grozny (Chechen Republic)
to Tbilisi and renaming a major road in the capital after
Gamsakhurdia. He also released 32 Gamsakhurdia sup- Presidents Saakashvili and George W. Bush in Tbilisi on 10 May
porters (political prisoners) imprisoned by the Shevard- 2005
nadze government in 1993-94.

4.1 Economic and government reforms

Anti Saakashvili poster in Tbilisi, 2006

In the rst months of his presidency, Saakashvili faced

a major political crisis in the southwestern Autonomous
Republic of Adjara run by an authoritarian regional
leader, Aslan Abashidze, who largely ignored the central Georgian government and was viewed by many as a
pro-Russian politician. The crisis threatened to develop
into an armed confrontation, but Saakashvilis government managed to resolve the conict peacefully, forcing
Abashidze to resign on 6 May 2004. Success in Adjara
encouraged the new president to intensify his eorts towards bringing the breakaway South Ossetia back under
the Georgian jurisdiction. The separatist authorities responded with intense militarization in the region, that led
to armed clashes in August 2004. A stalemate ensued,
and despite a new peace plan proposed by the Georgian
government in 2005, the conict remains unresolved. In
late July 2006, Saakashvilis government managed to deal
successfully with another major crisis, this time in Abkhazias Kodori Gorge where Georgias police forces disarmed a deant militia led by a local warlord Emzar Kvitsiani.
In his foreign policy, Saakashvili maintains close ties with
the U.S., as well as other NATO countries, and remains
one of the key partners of the GUAM organisation. The
Saakashvili-led Rose Revolution has been described by
the White House as one of the most powerful movements
in the modern history[19] that has inspired others to seek

At the time Saakashvili took oce, Georgia suered

from a stagnant economy, widespread corruption by police and state ocials to the point where bribery was
needed for any kind of commercial transaction, high
crime rates, and widespread infrastructure problems, including widespread power outages, and schools and medical facilities falling into disrepair.[21] Saakashvili set out
on a massive reform program. He systematically red
politicians, public ocials, and police ocers suspected
of corruption and signicantly raised the salaries of state
employees to the point where they could depend on their
salaries rather than bribes for a living. Many oligarchs
who had dominated the economy were arrested, with
most agreeing to pay massive nes into the state budget in exchange for their freedom. Saakashvili reformed
the economy by cutting red tape which had made business dicult, courting foreign investment, simplifying
the tax code, launching a privatization campaign, and
tackling widespread tax evasion. Due to the establishment of a functioning taxation and customs infrastructure, the state budget increased by 300% within three
years. The government massively upgraded infrastructure and public services. In particular, water and power
infrastructure was improved to the point where it functioned eectively, schools and hospitals were renovated,
more roads were laid, and new housing developments
were built.[22][23][24][25][26][27]
As a result, the rate of corruption in the country was
drastically reduced and the business environment was improved signicantly. The economy began growing and
the standard of living rose. Georgias ranking in the
Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International improved dramatically from rank 133[28] in 2004 to
67 in 2008[29] and further to 51 in 2012, surpassing several EU countries.[30][31] The World Bank named Georgia as the leading economic reformer in the world, and
the country ranks 9th in terms of ease of doing busi-


ness- while most of the countrys neighbors are ranked

somewhere in the hundreds.[32] The World Bank noted a
signicant improvement in living conditions in Georgia,
reporting that Georgias transformation since 2003 has
been remarkable. The lights are on, the streets are safe,
and public services are corruption free.[24] Doing Business report founder Simeon Djankov has given Georgia
as an example to other reformers during the annual Reformer Awards.

4.3 Military reforms

Saakashvilis government massively increased military
spending to modernize the Georgian Armed Forces,
which at the time were small and poorly equipped and
trained. By 2007, the military budget had increased
twenty-fold since 1999. New weapons and vehicles were
purchased, military salaries were raised, new bases were
built, and Georgian soldiers engaged in joint training exercises with the US military.[25][36]

Under Saakashvilis term, Georgia became involved in

international market transactions to a small extent, and
in 2007 Bank of Georgia sold bonds at premium, when
4.4 Education reform
$200m ve-year bond was priced with a coupon of 9 per
cent at par, or 100 per cent of face value, after initially
When Saakashvili took oce, the university entrance sysbeing priced at 9.5 per cent and investors pushed orders
tem was bribe-based, with a university spot costing up to
up to $600m.[33]
$50,000 in 2003. Saakashvilis government introduced a
Despite these reforms, poverty only marginally declined. common entrance exam, replacing the bribe-based sysAt the end of his second term, about a quarter of the pop- tem with a merit-based one. The quality of university
ulation was still poor, and unemployment was at 15%.[22] education also improved. Despite this, Saakashvili was
accused of failing to reform the quality of primary and
secondary-level school education, which reportedly remained low at the end of his term in oce.[22][24]


Law and order

4.5 Health reforms

After Georgian independence, the government found that

its Soviet-style centralized healthcare system was underfunded and failing. State-run centralized medical facilities were typically inecient and in need of renovation
and technological upgrades. As a result, the government
privatized almost all public hospitals and clinics, and the
insurance system was deregulated, with private insurance
companies able to oer coverage. Only a few specialized facilities for mental health and infectious diseases
remained in government hands, and the state continued
to provide health insurance for those below the poverty
line, whose insurance was paid for by public funds and
provided by private insurers, and some civil servants,
amounting to about 40% of the population. As a result, the level of healthcare greatly improved, with new
hospitals and clinics beginning to replace older facilities.
However, a portion of the population was uninsured, as it
On 27 March 2006 the government announced that it had
could not aord private insurance and did not qualify for
prevented a nationwide prison riot plotted by criminal
public insurance.[37][38]
kingpins. The police operation ended with the deaths of
7 inmates and at least 17 injuries. While the opposition
cast doubts over the ocial version and demanded an in4.6 Foreign relations
dependent investigation, the ruling party was able to vote
down such initiatives.[34]
Saakashvili sees membership of the NATO as a premise
The majority of criticism leveled at Saakashvilis administration was over his handling of the justice system. He
was accused of giving police a free hand to ght corruption as part of his anti-corruption drive to the point where
they could mistreat suspects. Under his administration,
the prison population soared, and the judiciary allegedly
became more harsh. It was described an extremely punitive and abusive criminal justice, law-and-order system,
which ended up with the highest per capita prison population in Europe -- even higher than in Russia -- in which
torture became absolutely routine... Almost zero acquittal cases in criminal trials, mass surveillance, telephone
tapping, and a lot of pressure put on businessmen, including intimidation, so they contribute to government

Despite this, Saakashvilis government also eased the legal system in some respects. His government decriminalized libel and pushed through legislation upholding
freedom of speech, although he was accused of stiing the media and using the judicial system to go after his political opponents in spite of this. In December 2006, Saakashvili signed a constitutional amendment
completely abolishing the death penalty in law.[22][35]

of stability for Georgia and oered an intensied dialogue with the de facto Abkhaz and Ossetian authorities.
Until the 2008 South Ossetia war, a diplomatic solution
was thought to be possible. Saakashvilis administration
doubled the number of its troops in Iraq, making Georgia one of the biggest supporters of Coalition Forces, and
keeping its troops in Kosovo and Afghanistan to contribute to what it describes as global security.[39]


Assassination attempt

Saakashvilis ties with the U.S. go back to 1991 (see Early
life and career). Biographies of Thomas Jeerson and
John F. Kennedy can be found in his oce, next to biographies of Joseph Stalin and Mustafa Kemal Atatrk
and books on war. Seeking U.S. support, Saakashvili
went outside the United States Department of State and
established contacts with Sen. John McCain and forces
seeking NATO expansion.[18]

Mikheil Saakashvili with George W. Bush

Saakashvili believes that the long-term priority for the

country is to advance its membership in the European
Community and during a meeting with Javier Solana, he
said that in contrast with new and old European states,
Georgia is an Ancient European state.

4.7 Assassination attempt

On 10 May 2005, while U.S. President George W.
Bush was giving a speech in Tbilisis Freedom Square,
Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live hand grenade at where
Saakashvili and Bush were sitting. It landed in the crowd
about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl
and did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July
of that year, but before his capture he managed to kill
one law enforcement agent. He was convicted of the attempted assassinations of Saakashvili and Bush and the
murder of the agent, and given a life sentence.[41]

4.8 2007 crisis

Main article: 2007 Georgian demonstrations

Mikheil Saakashvili with President of Poland Lech Kaczyski in


The late Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili

claimed that pressure had been exerted on his nancial
interests after Imedi Television broadcast several accusations against ocials. On 25 October 2007, former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili accused the president of
planning Patarkatsishvilis murder.[42][43][44] Okruashvili
was detained two days later on charges of extortion,
money laundering, and abuse of oce.[45] However, in
a videotaped confession released by the General Prosecutors Oce on 8 October 2007, in which Okruashvili
pleaded guilty to large-scale bribery through extortion
and negligence while serving as minister, he retracted his
accusations against the president and said that he did so to
gain some political benet and that Badri Patarkatsishvili
told him to do so.[46] Okruashvilis lawyer and other opposition leaders said his retraction had been made under

Saakashvilis government maintains diplomatic relations

with other Caucasian states and Eastern European countries, such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. In
2004, Saakashvili visited Israel to attend the ocial opening of the Modern Energy Problems Research Center,
and Dr. Brenda Schaer, the director of the center, described Saakashvili as the Nelson Mandela of the 21st
century.[40] In August of the same year, Saakashvili, who
holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa,
travelled to Israel to attend the opening of the ocial
Week of Georgian-Jewish Friendship, held under the auspices of the Georgian President, for which the Jewish
leaders were invited as honoured guests.[40]
Georgia faced the worst crisis since the Rose RevoluRelations with the United States are good, but are compli- tion. A series of anti-government demonstration were
cated by Saakashvilis volatile behaviour. Former and sparked, in October, by accusations of murders and corcurrent U.S. ocials characterize the Georgian president ruption levelled by Irakli Okruashvili, Saakashvilis erstas dicult to manage. They criticize his risky moves, while associate and former member of his government,
moves that have often caught the U.S. unprepared while against the president and his allies. The protests climaxed
early in November 2007, and involved several opposition
leaving it exposed diplomatically.[18]


groups and the inuential media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Although the demonstrations rapidly went downhill, the governments decision to use police force against
the remaining protesters evolved into clashes in the streets
of Tbilisi on 7 November. The declaration of state of
emergency by the president (716 November) and the
restriction imposed on some mass media sources led to
harsh criticism of the Saakashvili government both in the
country and abroad. Human Rights Watch criticised the
Georgian government for using excessive force against
protesters in November and International Crisis Group
warned of growing authoritarianism.[48]
Patarkatsishvilis opposition television station Imedi was
shut down in November 2007 after the authorities accused it of complicity with the plot to overthrow the
elected government. The channel resumed broadcasts
a few weeks after the incident, but did not cover news
or talk shows until after the election.[49] Subsequently
the station was sold to supporters of the Saakashvili
government[50] and some Georgian journalists have called
for the station to be handed back.[51]
On 8 November 2007, President Saakashvili announced
a compromise solution to hold early presidential elections
for 5 January 2008. He also proposed to hold a plebiscite
Grati in Tbilisi
in parallel to snap presidential elections about when to
hold parliamentary polls in spring as pushed for by the
opposition parties, or in late 2008. Several concessions to resolve the political tension surrounding opposition-led
in the election code were also made to the opposition.[52] demonstrations, their suppression by the government on
On 23 November 2007, the ruling United National Move- 7 November 2007, and the closure of the most popular
ment party ocially nominated Saakashvili as its can- opposition television network, Imedi. Saakashvili said in
didate for the upcoming elections. Pursuant to the his presidential address that these elections will be held
Constitution of Georgia, Saakashvili resigned on 25 according to our timing, and not that of our ill-wishers.
November to launch his pre-election campaign for early
presidential polls.[53]
Saakashvili came under criticism for dispersing with rubber bullets and tear gas hundreds of protesters who were
blocking Tbilisi's main transport artery, Rustaveli Avenue.[54] The demonstrations started as protest against the
arrest of two well-known sportsmen accused of blackmail
but soon grew into a demonstration against the central authorities. 25 people were arrested including ve members
of opposition parties.[55] Another series of demonstrations forced Saakashvili to reset the pre-scheduled presidential elections to 5 January 2008.[52]

5.2 Changes in the Cabinet

Saakashvili publicly announced about his plans of modernising the Cabinet of Georgia well before Georgian
presidential elections. Shortly after being re-elected, the
president formally re-appointed the Prime Minister of
Georgia Lado Gurgenidze and asked him to present a renewed cabinet to the Parliament of Georgia for nal approval.

Gurgenidze changed most ministers, leaving Ivane Merabishvili, controversial Minister for Home Aairs, Defence Minister David Kezerashvili and Minister of Finance Nika Gilauri on their former positions. Gia Nodia
5 Second Presidency
was appointed as the Minister of Education and Science.
Zaza Gamcemlidze, former director of Tbilisi Botanic
Garden, took over the position of the Minister of Nat5.1 2008 presidential election
ural Resources and Nature Protection. Famous archaeolOn 5 January 2008, an early presidential election, was ogist, and already the eldest minister in the cabinet, Iulon
held nationwide with the exception of a highland village Gagoshidze was appointed on a newly designated position
Shatili, where the polling station was not opened due to of the Minister of State for Diasporas.
the high levels of snowfall. In a televised address, Pres- Parliamentary elections held during Saakashvilis second
ident Saakashvili had proposed to hold the election ear- term were condemned by the Organization for Security
lier than called for by the Georgian constitution in order and Co-operation in Europe election monitoring mission


2009 opposition demonstrations and armed mutiny

for being marred by ballot stung, violence against opposition campaigners, uncritical coverage of the president and his party from the state-controlled media, and
public ocials openly campaigning for the presidents

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held

Saakashvili responsible for the Russo-Georgian War, and
states that Saakashvili is responsible for the collapse of
the Georgian state.[57] Medvedev has stated "(a)s soon as
Georgia gets a new leader we will have every opportunity
On 28 October 2008, Mikheil Saakashvili proposed to restore ties.
Grigol Mgaloblishvili, Georgian Ambassador to Turkey The Georgian militarys capabilities were severely damfor the premiership. According to the President, Gur- aged by the war, and Saakashvilis government moved
genidze had initially agreed to serve only for a year and to rebuild them, massively increasing military spending.
that Georgia was facing new challenges which needed By late 2010, the Georgian military reached a strength
new approach. The Parliament of Georgia approved greater than that of pre-war levels, after which military
Mgaloblishvili as the premier on 1 November 2008.
spending declined again. Although the Georgian governIn 2009 (2009 Georgian demonstrations), 2011 (2011 ment bought large amounts of arms and military equipGeorgian protests) and 2012 (2012 Georgian protests) ment from abroad, it also began to seriously invest in
an indigenous military industry. Starting in 2010, Georprotests against Saakashvili spread across Georgia.
gia began to manufacture its own line of armored vehicles, artillery systems, small arms, and unmanned aerial


GeorgiaRussia War

Main article: Russo-Georgian War

Main article: GeorgiaRussia relations
On 22 February 2008 Saakashvili held an ocial meet-

2009 opposition demonstrations and

armed mutiny

The pressure against Saakashvili intensied in 2009,

when the opposition launched mass demonstrations
against Saakashvilis rule. On 5 May 2009, Georgian
police said large-scale disorders were planned in Georgia of which the failed army mutiny was part. According to the police, Saakashvilis assassination had also
been plotted.[60] Opposition gures dispute the claim
of an attempted mutiny and instead say that troops refused an illegal order to use force against opposition

5.5 Prison conditions

Meeting with Vladimir Putin, 22 February 2008

Main article: Gldani prison scandal

ing with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, in his
residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. The presidents discussed
the issues of aviation regulations between the two countries. This was Putins last meeting in his second term
as the President of Russia, being succeeded by Dimitry
Medvedev shortly thereafter.
However, after a series of clashes between Georgians and
South Ossetians, Russian military forces intervened on
the side of the South Ossetian separatists in response to
the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali and invaded Gori in
Shida Kartli. The two counterparts were led to a ceasere agreement and a six-point peace plan, due to the
French President's mediation. On 26 August the Russian
president, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a decree recognizing
Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. On 26
August 2008, in response to Russias recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol
Vashadze announced that Georgia had broken diplomatic
relations with Russia.

In September, 2012, during Saakashvilis presidency, a

video taken inside Tbilisi prison Gldani #8 showing prisoners being beaten and sodomized was released to the
public.[62] Georgian Minister of Correction, Probation
and Legal Assistance Khatuna Kalmakhelidze was forced
to resign over the scandal.[63] Human rights organizations
including the U.N. Oce for the High Commissioner for
Human Rights issued a statement expressing outrage over
the video.[64][65]

5.6 End of presidency

On 2 October 2012, Saakashvili admitted defeat in
Georgias parliamentary election against Bidzina Ivanishvili in the election the day before.[6] He was barred
from seeking a third term in the 2013 presidential election. Saakashvili left Georgia shortly after the election.[7]


In December 2013 Saakashvili accepted the position of and other assets owned by the late tycoon Badri Patarkatlecturer and senior statesman at Tufts University in the sishvili. Saakashvili, then in Hungary, responded by acUnited States.[66]
cusing the Georgian authorities of political score-settling
and attempts at appeasing Russia.[72] The United States
expressed concerns over the case and warned that the
legal system should not be used as a tool of political
6 Governor in Ukraine
retribution.[73] The European Union stated that it took
note with concern and it will closely monitor these and
other legal proceedings against members of the former
Euromaidan movement and its 2014 Ukrainian revgovernment and current opposition in Georgia.[74]
olution. On 7 March 2014, Saakashvili authored an
op-ed piece entitled When Putin invaded my country, On 2 August 2014, Tbilisi City Court ordered pre-trial
in the context of the turmoil in Ukraine after the ouster detention in absentia for Saakashvili and the co-accused
on 22 February of President Viktor Yanukovich and Zurab Adeishvili (chief prosecutor in 2007) and Davit
before the 16 March referendum in the 2014 Crimean Kezerashvili (defense minister in 2007), with a preliminary hearing appointed for September 2014.[75]
In September 2014 Saakashvili moved to Williamsburg, Saakashvili stated on 1 June 2015 that he had given up
(three days before) Georgian citizenship to avoid guarBrooklyn.[68]
anteed imprisonment in Georgia.[7] The Constitution of
On 13 February 2015 Saakashvili was appointed by the
Ukraine forbids the extradition of Ukrainians to other
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko as head of the
International Advisory Council on Reformsan advisory body whose main task is working out proposals
and recommendations for implementation and introduction of reforms in Ukraine based on best international 8 Personal life
practices.[8] On 30 May 2015 Poroshenko appointed
Saakashvili Governor of Odessa Oblast (region).[10] On Saakashvili is married to Dutch linguist Sandra Roelofs,
the previous day, 29 May 2015, he was granted Ukrainian whom he met in Strasbourg in 1993. The couple have two
citizenship.[10][69] A month before this appointment sons, Eduard and Nikoloz.[77]
Saakashvili had stated that he had turned down the post
speaks uent
of First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine because in or- Apart from his native Georgian, Saakashvili
and has
der to fulll that post he would have had to become
a Ukrainian citizen and renounce his Georgian citizenship.[9] Saakashvili stated on 1 June 2015 that he had now
changed his mind to avoid guaranteed imprisonment in
Georgia and to defend Georgian interest through his gov- 9 Criticism and approbation
ernorship in Odessa.[7] Also on 1 June 2015 the Ministry
of Foreign Aairs of Georgia stated that the appointment
of Saakashvili would not have a negative impact on the
relations between Georgia and Ukraine.[70]
On 4 December 2015 Saakashvili was stripped of his
Georgian citizenship.[1] According to him this was done
to prevent him to lead the United National Movement in
the 2016 Georgian parliamentary election.[1]
In December 2015 Saakashvili started an anti-corruption
NGO Movement for Purication.[71] Among rumours that
this NGO would be transformed into a political force
Saakashvili has stated he does not have the intention to
create a new political party.[71]

Legal prosecution

On 28 July 2014, criminal charges were led by the

Georgian prosecutors oce against the former President Mikheil Saakashvili over alleged exceeding ocial powers during the 2007 Georgian demonstrations
as well as a police raid on and seizure of Imedi TV

Sandra Roelofs, Michelle Obama, Mikheil Saakashvili and

Barack Obama in 2009

In the 2010 study Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid

Regimes After the Cold War, political scientists Steven
Levitsky and Lucan A. Way cite various media and human rights reports to describe Saakashvilis Georgia as a
competitive authoritarian (i.e., a formally democratic
but essentially non-democratic) state.[82]

Saakashvilis government has been lauded for mak- [11] Georgian ex-President Saakashvili named Ukraine regional governor - BBC News. Retrieved 2015ing striking improvements in the ght against
corruption.[83][84] In addition, the U.S. State Department
that during 2005 the government amended
[12] euronews Ex-Georgian President Sakaashvili appointed
several laws and increased the amount of investigations
governor of Ukraines Odessa region.
and prosecutions reducing the amount of abuse and
Retrieved 2015-06-02.
ill-treatment in pre-trial detention facilities. The status
of religious freedom also improved due to increased in- [13] Orlov, Alexander Arseniyevich (December 2008).
The Echo of Tskhinval.
International Aairs.
vestigation and prosecution of those harassing followers
of non-traditional faiths.
The scrupulousness of Patarkatsishvilis political opposition toward the Georgian president has been questioned by the Jamestown Foundation's political analyst
Vladimir Socor who attributed the businessmans discontentment to Saakashvilis anti-corruption reforms, which
had severely curtailed Patarkatsishvilis scope for doing business in his accustomed, post-Soviet 1990s-style
ways.[88] Patarkatsishviliwho had ed the Russian authorities after allegations of fraudwas called a state
criminal by Saakashvili, who accused him of treason
while refusing to admit to any of his accusations.[89]

[14] President of Georgia. President. Retrieved 31 December 2008.

[15] Index Sa. Rulers. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
[16] Ukraine appoints ex-Georgian President Saakashvili
governor of restive region. Deutsche Welle. 30 May
2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
[17] General Debate of the 69th Session of the UN General
Assembly. 2014-09-30. Retrieved

Saakashvili was portrayed by Cuban-American Holly- [18] Champion, Marc, U.S. Ally Proves Volatile Amid Dispute With Russia, The Wall Street Journal, 30 August
wood actor Andy Garca in the 2010 Hollywood lm 5
Days of War by Finnish-American lm director Renny
Harlin. The lm tells the story of Saakashvili and the [19] President Bush to Welcome President Mikheil
events during the Russo-Georgian War.[91]
Saakashvili of Georgia to the White House.



[1] Ex-Georgian President Stripped of Citizenship, New York

Times (4 December 2015)
[2] Ukraine President presents Saakashvili as new Odesa
governor. Ukraine Today. 30 May 2015.
[3] Odesa to become a world center of entertainmentSaakashvili. 112.International. Retrieved 29 September
[4] Opinion poll shows majority supports Saakashvili and his
policies. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
[5] Tom Partt (7 January 2008). Opposition claims Georgia
president rigged election victory. Guardian. Retrieved 7
January 2013.
[6] Georgia President Saakashvili admits election defeat.
BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
[7] Georgia ex-leader Saakashvili gives up citizenship for
Ukraine, BBC News (1 June 2015)
[8] Saakashvili Appointed as Head of Ukraines Int'l Advisory Council on Reforms. Civil Georgia. 13 February
2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
[9] Ex-Georgia President to Lead Ukraines Odessa Region,
Newsweek (29 May 2015)
[10] Saakashvili Conrmed As Governor Of Ukraines Odesa
Region. RFE/RL. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.


[20] - Bush: Georgia 'beacon of liberty' - May 10,

2005. Retrieved 2015-06-02.

[25] Jones, Stephen F.: War and Revolution in the Caucasus:
Georgia Ablaze
[28] Corruption Perceptions Index 2004. Transparency International. 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
[29] 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index. Transparency International. 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
[30] Transparency International: Georgia 51st in 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (Press release). Transparency
International. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 5 September




[31] Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. Transparency International. 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

[53] Saakashvili Steps Down, as Parliament Calls for Early

Polls. Retrieved 2015-06-02.

[32] Ranking of economies - Doing Business - World Bank

Group. June 2014. Retrieved 2 June

[54] Chivers. C.J. Georgia Leader Declares Emergency Over

Protest The New York Times

[33] David Oakley (2 February 2007). Sweet Georgia. Financial Times. Retrieved 5 September 2015. (subscription required (help)).
[34] Socor, Vladimir. Eurasia Daily Monitor | The Jamestown
Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
[35] Hood, Roger and Hoyle, Carolyn: The Death Penalty: A
Worldwide Perspective, pgs 65-66
[39] Collin, Matthew (2007-03-09). Europe | Georgia to double troops in Iraq. Retrieved 2015-0602.
[40] Georgian President Meets Jewish Leaders For GeorgianJewish Friendship Week. Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS. 12 October 2004. Archived from the
original on 1 November 2004.
[41] Ryan Chilcote (11 January 2006). Bush grenade attacker
gets life. CNN. Retrieved 22 March 2007.
[42] Praise, Scorn For Accusations Against Georgia President. Rferl. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 7 January
[44] "". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
[45] Former Defense Minister Detained In Georgia. Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 27 September 2007.
[46] Okruashvili May Be Freed on Bail after Pleading Guilty.
Civil Georgia, 8 October 2007.
[47] Court sets Georgias former defense minister free on bail.
International Herald Tribune. 8 October 2007.
[48] Timeline: Georgia, News, BBC, 5 November 2008
[49] Stott, Michael (2008-09-09). Stued ballots, biased
campaign tainted Georgia vote: OSCE.
Retrieved 2015-06-02.
[50] Saakashvilis switch o - for media freedom. Georgia
media centre. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
[51] Georgian journalists appeal for restoration of media freedom. Georgia media centre. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
[52] Saakashvili Calls Snap Presidential Polls, Referendum,
GE: Civil, 8 November 2007

[55] Saidazimova, Gulnoza (1 July 2005). Georgia: Opposition Lawmakers Protest Violence Against Demonstrators. Rferl. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
2008 (PDF) (Report). Warsaw: OSCE/ODIHR Election
Observation Mission, Final Report. 9 September 2008.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2008.
[57] Medvedev: Saakashvili should be held Responsible for
War. Tbilisi: Civil Georgia. 11 February 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
[58] Russia, Georgia to repair ties after Saakashvili quits
Medvedev. RIA Novosti. Palo Alto. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
[60] Georgian troop rebellion 'over'. BBC News. 5 May 2009
[61] Opposition Calls on Diplomats to Monitor Situation in
Army. Democrats. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
[62] Video shows prison abuse. UPI. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
[63] Unicef condemns prison abuse of minors in Georgia.
YAHOO! News India. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
[64] OHCHR upset over Georgia prison video. UPI. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
[65] OHCHR upset over Georgia prison video. UPI. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
[66] President Mikheil Saakashvili of the Republic of Georgia
to Join Tufts Fletcher School as Senior Statesman. Tufts
University. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
[67] Saakashvili, Mikheil (2014-03-06). Mikheil Saakashvili:
The West must not appease Putin.
Retrieved 2015-06-02.
[68] Exile in Brooklyn, With an Eye on Georgia. The New
York Times. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September
[69] " 301/2015 ii ". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
[70] Saakashvili appointed not hinder relations with Georgia,
Interfax-Ukraine (2 June 2015)
[71] Ukrainian politics at the end of 2015: an unstable equilibrium, Centre for Eastern Studies (30 December 2015)
Odesa governors deputy denies Saakashvili teams plans
to create political party, Interfax-Ukraine (14 March
(Ukrainian) Saakashvili denied the creation of a political
party, (14 March 2016)


[72] In Hungary Saakashvili Comments on Charges Against

Him. 30 July 2014. Civil Georgia. Retrieved 31 July

[89] Interfax. Retrieved 2015-06-02.

[73] Statement by Jen Psaki: Criminal Charges against Former Georgian President Saakashvili (July 29)". Embassy
of the United States, Georgia. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 31
July 2014.

[91] Movie star plays Georgian leader. BBC News. October

2009. Retrieved 22 October 2009.

[74] EU 'Takes Note with Concern' of Filing Criminal

Charges Against Saakashvili. Civil Georgia. 31 July
2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
[75] Court Orders Pre-Trial Detention for Saakashvili in Absentia. 2 August 2014.
[76] Cyberthreats and the Decline of the Nation-State by Susan
W. Brenner, Routledge, ISBN 0415823765 (page 69)
[77] :
[Mikheil Saakashvili: Asset Declaration] (PDF) (in Georgian). Institute for Development of Freedom of Information. 14 May 2011.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
[78] Prole: Mikhail Saakashvili. BBC News. 25 January
2004. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
[79] Barry, Ellen (2008). Mikheil Saakashvili. The New
York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
[80] Murray, Don (29 February 2008). Can bountiful Georgia escape the Russian bear?". CBC. Archived from the
original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
[81] Smock, John (13 August 2004). As prospect of South
Ossetian conict grows, Georgia prepares to send troops
to Iraq. EurasiaNet. Archived from the original on 11
May 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
[82] Levitsky, Steven & Lucan A. Way (2010). Competitive
Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War.
New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 227. ISBN
[83] Anderson, James. Gray, Cheryl. Anticorruption in Transition: Who is Succeeding and Why?" The World Bank,
[84] WB Reports on 'Largest Reduction' of Corruption in
Georgia. Civil. 1 July 2001. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
[85] Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Georgia.
US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 8
March 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
[86] Human Rights Overview:Georgia". Human Rights
Watch. 18 January 2006. Archived from the original on
21 January 2006.
[87] Georgia: International Religious Freedom Report 2005.
U.S. Department of State. 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
[88] Socor, Vladimir. Badri Patarkatsishvili: From Russian
Businessman to Georgian Presidential Claimant. The
Jamestown Foundation: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume:
4 Issue: 237. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 25 February

[90] Georgia (2010)". IMDB. Retrieved 21 January 2009.

11 Further reading
Asmus, Ronald. A Little War that Shook the World
: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West. NYU
(2010). ISBN 978-0-230-61773-5
Savodnik, Peter (January 2009). Essay: Georgian Roulette: Mikheil Saakashvili beckons from
the brink. Harpers Magazine. 318 (1904): 3642.

12 External links
Mikheil Saakashvili on Facebook
Mikheil Saakashvilis channel on YouTube
Mikheil Saakashvili Full Biography





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