Saakashvili leaves but the question is for how long?
31 October, 2013
Saakashvili leaves but the question is for how long?
Georgia has a new president and ten years of Mikheil Saakashvili’s rule is over. Former president does not openly speak on his future intentions. However, he has stated several times that “being passive is equal to death to him.”
There are speculations on the Saakashvili’s departure to abroad to some serious international organizations. However, there are talks as well that Saakashvili will stay in the country and try to fight to return to Georgian politics, initially as a mayor of
During his post-election speech Saakashvili addressed public and during the speech he put an emphasis on the word “we.”
“Georgia has a very good future. We will overcome all the difficulties. We will compensate the lost time and continue moving towards better future,” Saakashvili stressed.
In his farewell speech, Saakashvili once again stated that he need not rest.
“Personally I do not need a rest but time has come when you need to take a break from me,” Saakashvili stated.
Of course, it is difficult to get clear conclusion from Saakashvili’s words and definitely state what he intends to do. However, there is a second moment: what chances he has to get re-born in Georgian politics and what are his chances abroad.
Representative of Human Rights, Education and Monitoring Centre ( EMC) Vakhushti Menabde believes that the ruling period of Mikheil Saakashvili moved the country to the new stage in regards to the state system consolidation.
“However, unfortunately, the system merged with the vertical and started to work in the interest of the government, not for human rights,” Menabde said, adding that it was a significant lesson for Georgians to realize that the concentration of government always carries threats and people should create balanced democracy.
Menabde said that Saakashvili made a serious mistake in his vision.
“He thought that first of all modernization is essential for the country and democracy only after. It’s impossible to achieve modernization without democracy,” Menabde suggested.
Menabde spoke on the main positive goals, which were initiated and partially fulfilled through Saakashvili’s leadership. These are: decrease in corruption. However, according to Menabde elite corruption is a significant shortcoming the new government should improve.
“Saakashvili, through his political team, managed to empower the state structures that was positive. However, the problem was that the structures were too much politicized. Education reform was a positive initiative, which was suspended. Secularization was one of the advantages of Saakashvili’s time. However, since 2008 the government renewed collaboration with the church based on political motivation,” he said.
On our question if he took Saakashvili as a powerful leader, Menabde responded that “the Georgian opposition was weaker rather than Saakashvili was a strong leader.”
“In future, it will be difficult for Saakashvili to rehabilitate in Georgian politics. However, nothing is excluded,” Menabde told The Georgian Journal.
Russian expert Alexander Skakov believes that a Saakashvili‘s final destination is in one of the good American universities, where he will deliver lectures.
Successful career abroad was, practically, excluded by analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze.
“If he retired until 2008 he would have a chance to be invited abroad, as before the war he enjoyed high reputation. The fact that he failed to avoid the war seriously affected his profile,” Sakvarelidze told The Georgian Journal. The analyst thinks that Saakashvili might have more chances inside the country than outside.
“However, it will be too hard for him and quite a long process. He is too energetic and might be depressed until he reaches some success again,” Sakvarelidze suggested.
“Georgians are very tolerant. It is more possible from us to forgive him mistakes than from the developed world,” Sakvarelidze said.
Sakvarelidze admits that Saakashvili loved order that was positively reflected on the country. However, the former president made influence on public thinking that was more negative than positive.
“He wanted Georgians to be similar to Europeans and was trying his best to reach the goal. However, when one tries to change identity in his people the process always causes unhealthy outcomes,” Sakvarelidze stressed.
Zviad Devdariani, Head of the Civil Development Agency( CiDA), thinks that the Saakashvili’s period cannot be assessed from one side.
“I consider that Saakashvili’s period was important in any case. We had the status of the failed state under Eduard Shevardnadze, while now we enjoy the status of the exemplary post-soviet country where governments are democratically changed,” Devdariani said.
Devdariani states that it is difficult “to forecast Saakashvili’s fate”.
“Much will be depended on the current leaders of Georgia. It is less possible Saakashvili to be sent to prison, taking international experience and attitudes in this regard. He was so young when he came to politics that his political re-birth would not be surprising… However, this perspective is not clear now,” Devdariani told The Georgian Journal.
Speculations wildly differ; they might be close or far from the real development. If we consider the former president’s character, it is less possible from him to lead a calm lifestyle. Whereas he is in future, inside or outside the country, it will be interesting if he manages to play a leading and not just a supporting role in Georgian history again.

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