The return of Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to power in a result “velvet revolution” in 2003, created a big “hole” in the “fortress walls” of the Ivanishvili administration that wants to be seen very powerful. Today, Georgia’s biggest problem is the sharp polarization of the country’s policy on the basis of Ivanishvili-Saakashvili hostility. Saakashvili’s supporters are trying to defend hım in more “popular” ways and are threatening the authorities with widespread protests.
The “Saakashvili factor”
The “Saakashvili factor” in Georgia meant nothing for a long time. In recent years, Saakashvili has been actively involved in political life in Ukraine (for example, in 2015 he became the governor of the Odessa region). Given Saakashvili’s relationship with the current Ukrainian government, there were suggestions that Kiev would demand his extradition. However, both Georgia and Ukraine have made it clear that this option has not been considered.
The famous “Saakashvili factor” no longer plays a special role in the relations between Tbilisi and Kiev. In fact, the situation is the same in Georgia’s contacts with Russia. In the latter case, it all depends not even on a particular person, but on the political situation in the country as a whole. Moscow refrains from commenting on the situation of the former Georgian president. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said on October 5 that what has been associated with “Mr. Saakashvili” is theater of the absurd.
If we take into account the return of the person who has achieved many successes in Georgia and the participation of his party in the elections, we can say that a new political process has begun in Georgia. The development of the process in this direction, especially the reaction of the West to the arrest, may revive the “Michel plan” and the “Georgian Dream” will have to hold early parliamentary elections.
His entry into the country without the knowledge of government agencies shows that the former president still has serious support within the government. This is evidenced by the release of audio files of the Georgian State Security Service listening to influential politicians, diplomats and even religious figures before the election. If Saakashvili really had the political support to influence the political situation in the country, why has he not returned to his homeland using these opportunities? The logical answer is that Saakashvili’s return has become a necessity at this historical stage, and that is why the old ties have been re-established.
External supports to Mikheil Saakashvili
Even in the European Union, there are certain circles that support Mikheil Saakashvili. They are interested in Saakashvili’s return to Georgia and then to power. Saakashvili is well aware that the current government cannot keep him in prison for a long. Therefore, he confidently took this step. The Georgian government, which aims to join NATO and the European Union, is unlikely to withstand Western pressure.
In the context of the 3+3 Regional Cooperation Format in the South Caucasus, the Prime Minister of Georgia and the President of Turkey held regular meetings and Garibashvili visited Baku. In other words, it is in the interests of the neighbors for Tbilisi to adopt this format. But the United States does not want a pro-Russian leadership in this Six-Country Platform and is trying to build a foothold through Saakashvili. With the support of the West, Saakashvili is expected to carry out a new revolution and disrupt the Russian plan.
For this reason, if Kakha Kaladze resigns as mayor and is replaced by a candidate from the United National Movement Party, Saakashvili’s support in Tbilisi will strengthen. It could even be expected to win the next parliamentary election, or one of Saakashvili’s allies could win the next presidential election.