Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

A new turn

Marches in Kyiv, the trial of Mikheil Saakashvili, and a wave of political scandals: for whom and who is clearing a path in the Ukrainian politics?
12 December, 2017 - 12:14

 Leader of the Movement of New Forces party and former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made an assurance in the courtroom of the Pecherskyi District Court on December 11 that he was not interested in any confrontation and stressed that he did not call for “any drastic actions.” Still, his recent calls for overthrowing “the fat cat regime” certainly did not sound half-hearted. It is Saakashvili who has taken the most radical position regarding the president, which makes one wonder if some other forces are using him as a “protest bulldozer.”

 Let us recall that on December 11, the court held a hearing to determine a preventive measure for Saakashvili after his detention on December 8. The detained politician’s lawyer Ruslan Chornolutskyi stated that 10 MPs were ready to stand surety for Saakashvili. The Saakashvili team refused these offers, demanding that he be released without any reservations. The day before, a mass event occurred in Kyiv which saw people demanding the president to be impeached and Saakashvili to be released. Among other demands, the protesters traditionally called for a stop to obstruction of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU)’s activities and attempts to dismiss Artem Sytnyk from his office as head of the NABU. The themes of political reform and anti-corruption court had somehow melted away among banners and flags.

 Let us recall that the first march on the government quarter, which launched a series of protests against the current government, took place on October 17. Then, party flags completely covered national ones, and the participants of the march could not always accurately explain the motives behind it. Some of those who position themselves as protest leaders did not appear on a specially equipped stage in Independence Square this time. It should be noted that the number of protesters increases each time (it reached 10,000 on this latest occasion), and the protest itself has found its expression in logos and other symbols, which can be reduced to one word – “impeachment.”


 The fact that the opposition forces are unable to wait for a year and a half before the next election comes and are already talking about “impeachment” (not just about the law on impeachment, but the actual impeachment) proves that this is not about the legal procedure at all. It is all about the fact that the presidential campaign has already begun. Meanwhile, appealing to the “ideals of the Maidan,” the Heavenly Hundred, and calls “Kyiv, arise!” are just irresponsible while the aggressor wants to show the world that there is a “civil conflict” in Ukraine. The recent conflict between the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) and the NABU has further added fuel to the fire, giving new reasons to speak about the “corrupt government” which is combating “our only hope for a European future.” The latter is how the NABU was described by the crowd on December 10. In general, it should be noted that the protest has already engendered automatic accusations in people’s minds, which means that stage politicians are finding appealing to the crowd easier by the day. “No to political repression!”, “Anti-corruption fight!”, “The government kills patriots!”, “Fat cats to prisons!”, and already classic “Off with the gang!” – these polite slogans (for there were obscene ones as well) have found a fertile ground. However, the aforementioned words “Kyiv, arise!” do sound strange, to put it mildly, when uttered by Saakashvili’s wife. Is she really entitled to call for an uprising in a foreign country?

 In turn, the government, whose policies regarding the accumulation of professional personnel cannot be called successful, has resorted to quite crude and primitive use of law-enforcement agencies against its opponents. And worst of all for it, the one against whom these actions are aimed is easily using a wave of the government’s mistakes as an experienced political surfer who wants to speed up. The damaged van of the Security Service of Ukraine, unsuccessful attempts to detain the politician, and Saakashvili’s exploits on the roof have created the main thing he needs – a nice picture. Meanwhile, his latest detention on December 8 made the role of the law-enforcement system in the person of Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko even more questionable. Saakashvili himself even said in the courtroom that the prosecutor whom Lutsenko sent for him deceived him. According to the detainee, the prosecutor assured him that nobody would detain him, as he was only being invited for a talk.

By Valentyn TORBA, The Day. Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day