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KIEV, December 4. /TASS/. Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, is convinced that the decision to strip him of Georgian citizenship has a political background, he said on Friday.
"As for legislative aspects, this is a political decision," Saakashvili said. "Many Georgian nationals who work in Ukraine obtained the Ukrainian citizenship earlier than myself but no such measures were taken against them."
According to Saakashvili, the Georgian leadership made such decision to prevent him from running for the country’s presidency in the future.
"They are afraid of me and of the freedom of speech, so they try to deprive me of an opportunity to take part in the next election set for October 2016, even though I did not announce I want to run," Saakashvili said.
On December 4, Georgian President Georgy Margelashvili signed a decree ordering to revoke the country’s citizenship from Mikhail Saakashvili as was a citizen of another country (Ukraine).
Saakashvili was appointed Odessa region governor by President Petro Poroshenko in May. He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship.
Saakashvili was Georgia’s president from January 2004 to November 2007 and from January 2008 to November 2013. He left his country in mid-November 2013, days before his presidential term expired and inauguration of the current head of state.
After his departure from Georgia, Saakashvili stayed in the United States and Ukraine. Before being appointed Odessa governor, he worked in Kiev as head of the International Reform Council.
Georgian prosecutors brought several charges against Saakashvili in 2014. He was charged with a crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in November 2007; illegal intrusion into the building of Imedi television channel; illegal acquisition of property belonging to businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili; organisation of an armed attack on deputy Valery Gelashvili in 2005; covering-up a crime and falsification of an investigation into the 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani; and misappropriation of about $5 million from state funds in 2009-2012.