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Experts comment on Odessa Region governor’s resignation

November 08, 2016, 5:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Mikheil Saakashvili said earlier on Monday he was resigning from the post of Odessa Region governor
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Mikheil Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili

© Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. Officials made rather skeptical comments on Monday regarding the resignation of the governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Supremacy of Law, recalled that not sailors or soldiers were the first to run from a sinking ship.

"When Saakashvili turned in his resignation request, he compared himself with a soldier," Dolgov wrote on his Twitter microblog. "I think he forgot that it’s far from soldiers who are the first ones to run away a sinking ship."

"Saakashvili’s resounding statement on resignation means an attempt at a maximally aggressive blackmail of the presidential team, and it’s linked to the situation around the Odessa Seaport Plant (which the Ukrainian government is seeking to sell to private investors)," said Ruslan Bortnik, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Political Analysis and Management.

He said in this connection one could not say definitively yet whether or not Saakashvili resignation would be accepted. "I think the issue is far from decided yet," Bortnik said. "Saakashvili made similar threats before as well."

"But if he steps down from his current position, he will continue his political pathway in Ukraine all the same," he said. "He slammed the door in a manner that reserves the remainders of his electoral attractiveness and political prospects."

"Saakashvili has nowhere to go from Ukraine, in fact," Bortnik said. "His party has lost an election in Georgia and there’s a situation of uncertainty in the US, and that’s why he will engage in a social or political project of some kind in the next few months or, maybe, will take charge of a group of reformers or will take up a post without broad powers."

In addition, Bortnik believes Saakashvili should not worry for expulsion in spite of the sharp criticism he has been addressing to the central government.

"The man has Western-guaranteed immunity in some sense, if you take the level of support given to him in the West," he said. "He will deal with the attempts to discredit him and attacks but no one can do something tangible about him because this will mean severe complications in (Kiev’s) relationships with the West."

Saakashvili said earlier on Monday he was resigning from the post of Odessa Region governor. He explained his move by the impossibility of fighting with corruption while the top-rank state officials including President Pyotr Poroshenko were involved in it.

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