Former president Saakashvili arrested in Georgia

The ruling KO (Georgian Dream) party has won the municipal elections in Georgia after securing 46.7 percent of the vote, but suffered heavy losses. Mikhail Saakashvili, now a Ukrainian citizen, had returned to his native country unexpectedly to support the opposition shortly before the elections. His arrest a few hours after his arrival is causing considerable unrest.

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Obosrewatel (UA) /

A hopeless addict

The ex-president just can't let go of politics, says journalist Alexei Davidenko in Obosrevatel:

“Saakashvili reminds me more and more of a heavily addicted casino gambler. All his victories have long been a thing of the past. Good fortune has turned its back on him and all attempts to bring it back are ending miserably. In smaller matters, he occasionally wins. Then he brags to the others, as if he had hit the jackpot. And when he loses on a big issue it's always the others' fault. As it is now. He is hurrying back and forth between two roulette tables, trying to push his chips across all the squares at the same time.”

Life (RU) /

A provocation that may work

Life sees the Georgian leadership in a quandary:

“Arresting someone whom many oppositionists consider their leader could divert attention from the election results. ... The masses on the street don't care about the election results; they will demand Saakashvili's release and refuse to disperse until that happens. But since the Georgian leadership can't agree to this (that would be an admission of weakness), the consequences are unpredictable. ... In Georgia, all it takes is a trivial event like a Russian deputy sitting in the parliamentary speaker's chair to provoke riots of the dimensions of a new 'Maidan'.”

Radio Svoboda (UA) /

Kyiv in trouble

Radio Svoboda quotes political scientist Oleh Saakian in a review article:

“By travelling to Georgia, Saakashvili has put Ukraine and the Ukrainian authorities in an embarrassing position. ... As a state, Ukraine must protect its citizen, but it does so at the expense of bilateral relations. It's clear that Saakashvili has become a 'bone of contention' here.”