The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Georgia’s Former President Reportedly Stripped of Ukrainian Citizenship

What now for Mikheil Saakashvili?

misha ii
misha ii

Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s Rose Revolution leader and former reformer president, has been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, according to reports.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian news agency reported that Saakashvili had lost his Ukrainian citizenship, which was awarded to him on May 30, 2015, the same day Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him governor of Odessa. Georgian authorities revoked his citizenship from their country that same year.

Roughly a year and a half after the happy date of his Odessan appointment, on Nov. 7, 2016, Saakashvili resigned from that post, saying he was stepping down because Ukraine’s leaders failed to rein corruption and out of disgust for the wealth Ukrainian politicians were accumulating. Some suspected he had plans to launch a new political party.

Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s Rose Revolution leader and former reformer president, has been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, according to reports.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian news agency reported that Saakashvili had lost his Ukrainian citizenship, which was awarded to him on May 30, 2015, the same day Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him governor of Odessa. Georgian authorities revoked his citizenship from their country that same year.

Roughly a year and a half after the happy date of his Odessan appointment, on Nov. 7, 2016, Saakashvili resigned from that post, saying he was stepping down because Ukraine’s leaders failed to rein corruption and out of disgust for the wealth Ukrainian politicians were accumulating. Some suspected he had plans to launch a new political party.

But if he had grand political designs for Ukraine, they would not be realized. Shortly after Saakashvili’s resignation, Poroshenko announced his intention to cancel his one-time ally’s citizenship. And, as of Wednesday, Saakashvili is apparently no longer a citizen of Ukraine.

The reason given for the loss of citizenship is that the man known to many as “Misha” evidently provided false information when applying for it in the first place — in the questionnaire provided to get his passport in 2015, Saakashvili wrote that he was not under investigation in Ukraine or elsewhere. Georgian authorities, however, had issued a warrant for his arrest (in absentia). (He is wanted on charges related to acts he committed as president. Saakashvili maintains the charges are politically motivated. The ruling party, Georgian Dream, has indeed positioned itself squarely against Saakashvili.)

The news comes but hours after Saakashvili tweeted that Ukrainian authorities had themselves to blame for President Donald Trump’s tweets accusing them of interfering in the U.S. presidential election on behalf of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

It was not immediately clear whether Saakashvili has citizenship from some other country (his wife, Sandra Roelofs, is a citizen of the Netherlands), or if the man who once ruled a state is now without one entirely.

Photo credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is the U.S. editor of the New Statesman and the author of The Influence of Soros, published July 2020. Twitter: @emilyctamkin

More from Foreign Policy

Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.
Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Stop Falling for Russia’s Delusions of Perpetual Victory

The best sources on the war are the Ukrainians on the ground.

A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia
A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia

Could Sabotage Stop Putin From Using the Nuclear Option?

If the West is behind mysterious fires in Russia, the ongoing—but deniable—threat could deter Putin from escalating.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.

While America Slept, China Became Indispensable

Washington has long ignored much of the world. Beijing hasn’t.

A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation
A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation

The World Ignored Russia’s Delusions. It Shouldn’t Make the Same Mistake With India.

Hindu nationalist ideologues in New Delhi are flirting with a dangerous revisionist history of South Asia.