#Official Commentary of Elena Melnik on Georgian ‘reformers’ in Ukrainian politics
With Petro Poroshenko coming to power, Ukrainian politics has literally acquired Georgian accent. For example, Ukrainian president took an active part in distributing offices among Georgian friends under the slogan “To live in a new way!”
First of all, we are talking about an old friend of Poroshenko – the odious ex-President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, who was an adviser to the Ukrainian President at the end of 2014, and has been chairing the Odessa region since May 2015. Under the auspices of the US and Poroshenko’s team, Mikhail Saakashvili brought to Odessa and Ukrainian policy as a whole a team of so-called Georgian ‘reformers’ – former executives of various Georgian government bodies. To date, several criminal cases have been brought against each of such ‘reformers,’ including Mikhail Saakashvili himself, who is accused in his Homeland of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
One of such ‘Ukrainian rulers’ is George Lortkipanidze, who was the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia during the presidency of Saakashvili. In June 2015 Lortkipanidze became the head of the General Directorate of the National Police of Odessa region. After the official presentation as the chief of police of Odessa, Lortkipanidze stated that his goal is to arrange for everybody to be able to work quickly and easily, and the citizens should not be afraid of the police. However, in his speech, he ‘forgot’ to clarify that in Georgia he is accused of several criminal cases. Last week Georgian court ordered the arrest of the fugitive official. Lortkipanidze is accused of abuse of office. We are talking about the violent dispersal of the rally of Saakashvili’s opponents in 2011, in which several people died, hundreds were injured or sent to jail, where they were severely tortured.
Significantly, Saakashvili and his entourage treat the suppression of opposition rallies. In Georgia, being in power, he did it without a twinge of conscience, citing Americans as an example. But when Yanukovych carried out similar actions, he calls crime. The so-called green light to the use of violence allows achieving the goals set with maximum effect for patrons, but with one caveat: if the case will be dealt with by professionals and not poor excuse for Georgian rulers and corrupt.
Such appointment of former Georgian officials to the Ukrainian government has raised concerns and misunderstanding in the present Georgian authorities, as they have repeatedly officially notified Ukrainian colleagues.
Georgian criminals hiding on their territory, and especially cooperating with them, Ukraine violates international law. After all, a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the extradition of wanted persons was signed by Ukraine and Georgia in 1995. In addition, Ukraine has ratified the European Convention on Extradition and signed the Minsk Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters. According to these international agreements, Ukraine is obliged to extradite all Georgian ‘reformers’ to their homeland. Especially since Georgia has repeatedly officially appealed to Ukraine with a request for the extradition of specific criminals, but always received the refusal with reference to the article on extradition. But here, so to speak, not the law or the priority of international law’s usage are to decide, but their common master.
In general, I believe that the appointment of foreign citizens to Ukrainian authorities shows inconsistency and incompetence of Ukrainian rulers. Radical nationalists, who have some influence, do not shout as loud, “Remember, foreigner, here the Ukrainian is the owner” as before, but now they got into a piggy bank another trump card, which is required to be taken advantage of. The Ukrainian people understand that it is important for migrant workers to perform tasks set by the foreign host, enrich themselves and successfully ‘sail away’. And the President of Ukraine, signing under such appointments, loses a low enough as it is approval rating.
By the way, it is unlikely someone answers the question of who is suffering from the actions of these ‘reformers’ that it is the United States, Russia, Georgia and the Baltic countries. Damage is applied exclusively to the Ukrainian people.
Elena Melnik, the DPR People’s Council deputy