Moisichuk Gloats over the Misfortunes of “Mikheil the Lackland”


Mikheil Lackland was one of the funnier nicknames that people came up with after the news broke that the Ex-President of Georgia had been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. And the method that his one-time friend Petro Poroshenko employed was also nothing short of symbolic – in a classic soviet twist, Saakashvili was made a stateless person while “on board a plane,” as in, abroad, to prevent him coming back to Ukraine. Hours before the Emigration Bureau of Ukraine confirmed that Saakashvili was, indeed, stateless, one person took to the internet to spread the news, or, if we are to call things what they are, gleefully gloat about it. Member of Ukraine’s Verhovna Rada, Igor Moisichuk, compared Saakashvili to Ianukovich, calling him and his team a “wandering political circus” for good measure and bidding him farewell. GEORGIA TODAY contacted him to find out more.

You compared Saakashvili to Yanukovich. Why?

Well, both he and Ianukovich spilled the blood of their own people. Both resorted to pogroms and violence to silence those who would speak up against them and, finally, both fled and abandoned their respective countries. I’d rather like to ask some of my compatriots who seem to be sympathetic with Saakashvili: why is this man fighting for a Ukrainian passport and not for a Georgian one? He was the President of Georgia for ten years and then he did what? Fled his own country…and now he’s fighting for my country’s citizenship? I cannot respect people like that and neither should you.

Yet it was the Ukrainians who invited him. Why was that invitation given?

I think President Poroshenko partly acquiesced to the request of his Western partners, being to an extent pressured by them. He wanted to please them. Further, he was friends with Saakashvili and thought he would be able to control him. He gave him a very prestigious position- that of the head of the President’s Administration, but apparently Saakashvili just doesn’t know how to play sidekick. Then there was his tenure as the Governor of Odessa which he used for naught but undermining the President and the government. I can say with full responsibility that during his stay here, Saakashvili didn’t do a single thing to benefit Ukraine.

If you ask Saakashvili’s supporters, they will tell you that it was he who made Poroshenko President through his contacts and influence in the West…

That’s utter nonsense. Poroshenko enjoyed the support of the bulk of the country’s political elite, abundant resources and, most importantly, the support of the people of Ukraine – it was Ukraine that made him President, not the West.

Was there understanding among Ukrainians that inviting Saakashvili would displease the current Georgian government and a sizeable part of its population?

Well, me and my party were against it from the very start. We said giving him citizenship was a constitutional breach. We stated numerous times that it would deteriorate relations with our brother country, Georgia. We said it should be Ukrainians who will build the Ukrainian state and not some conmen touring here for a political season. We said that bringing Saakashvili and his team here would bring nothing good to Ukraine and in the end, we were proven right.

The reason the Emigration Bureau gave for stripping Saakashvili’s citizenship is quite peculiar – apparently he, while filling in his citizenship request, failed to indicate that he was being prosecuted. Who do you think will believe that?

Of course, nobody will, but this was used as a formal reasoning because he really didn’t fill this information in. Of course, everybody knew everything from the start.

So, Saakashvili might be at least partially right in his claims that Poroshenko visited Georgia to discuss the details of this endeavor with Ivanishvili?

I wont exclude the possibility of an agreement but what I can tell you is that the decision to strip Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship was made by Poroshenko way before his visit to Georgia. But then again, had he made a deal with Georgians, he’d have waited until Saakashvili was back in Ukraine, then make him stateless and present him on a plate to the Georgian authorities, who would be only too glad to put him in prison where he belongs. But, instead, he waited until Saakashvili went to the US and then took his citizenship.

On facebook, you called Saakashvili and his team a “wandering political circus”. Was this his last show? What are his political career perspectives in Ukraine now?

He will try to exploit what meagre support he has among the Ukrainian population. It’s just two percent, so I don’t expect him to have serious chances in Ukrainian politics. After all, Poroshenko didn’t take his citizenship because he was afraid of him as a political rival; he did so because Misha was planning to pull off another revolution in Kyev this autumn.

How would he accomplish that with his “meagre” support of 2% of the population?

He had sizeable resources and was starting to mobilize them – people had already been sent to approach the civil sector, military personnel and so on. Whether he’d accomplish anything is a different story but the fact is that he was planning a mass disturbance that he’d fashion as a civil protest. That’s why he had to wave goodbye to his Ukrainian citizenship.

What do you think will be the West’s reaction? Saakashvili was thought to be a harbinger of western reforms to Ukraine

There are but a few people who can provide Saakashvili support in the West, mostly consisting of former CIA and State Department employees. The current Trump administration is not interested in him at all. And I think Poroshenko made his own arrangements in that matter, to avoid any repercussions and so on.

So Kyev’s international reputation won’t suffer?

I don’t think so, because, unlike Georgia, in Ukraine, Saakashvili was never considered a hero and the West knows it. His tenure in Odessa was an utter failure- even people who were at first hopeful that he was here to do good things are now convinced that Misha and his motley crew cannot bring anything good to Ukraine.

What impact do you think this will have on current relations between Kyev and Tbilisi?

I think relations between Georgia and Ukraine should be built on common interests – that is, the interests of Kyev and Tbilisi and not those of Washington, Moscow or Brussels. We are brother countries, strategic partners and we will remain so.

How about those Georgian volunteers fighting in Ukraine? How do you think they’ll take the news of Saakashvili being relieved of Ukrainian citizenship?

If you want to imply that they are on Saakashvili’s side, I assure you that’s hardly the case. I spoke with many of them and only about half of them view Saakashvili’s Georgian tenure in a positive light. So, we shouldn’t think that they were coming here just to provide support to Saakashvili.

After your facebook comment, many remembered that there is a video in which you allegedly accept a bribe and that it was only diplomatic immunity that saved you from jail. There are people who say that your observations are borne of a grudge and therefore, not objective…

I can simply say that the footage was staged and this was proved by the court. I was relieved of diplomatic immunity and then the court gave it back to me. As for being objective, this video was made on the orders of Poroshenko, so you can judge yourself how objective I am when I publicly laud his decision of stripping Saakashvili of Ukrainian citizenship.

Vazha Tavberidze

31 July 2017 21:16