Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, wanted on multiple charges, posted on September 27 his Kyiv-Tbilisi flight ticket on October 2, the day of local elections.
Saakashvili said in a video address that the fate of Georgia is being decided in the nearing polls, and pledged he will arrive in the capital city to protect the will of the voters and “participate in saving” the country with the people.
Saakashvili is facing detention upon arrival, while large crowds of his supporters are expected to mobilize in the Airport to prevent his detention.
MP Tamar Charkviani, who announced the launch of the “United Popular Movement for the Return of Mikheil Saakashvili” earlier in September, said over 80,000 people have subscribed to the movement online.
Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia in 2018 on two separate abuse of power charges – three years for pardoning the former Interior Ministry officials, convicted in the high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani and six years for organizing an attack on opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili accused his government’s arch-rival of destabilization attempts and warned today that those resisting Saakashvili’s detention in case of arrival will also face detention. “No one on this land can oppose or impede the enforcement of the law,” he stressed.
The PM also dismissed claims that people will gather to prevent Saakashvili’s detention, claiming the opposition can “barely mobilize 5,000 people.”
Saakashvili is currently a citizen of Ukraine and serves as the chair of the country’s Executive Reform Committee. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy restored Saakashvili’s citizenship in 2019, after ex-President Petro Poroshenko revoked it in 2017.
The Georgian ex-President had served as the Governor of Odessa in 2015-2016 before resigning following a disagreement with Poroshenko.
Saakashvili left Georgia in November 2013, at the end of his second presidential term, a year after the power handover to the Georgian Dream following the 2012 parliamentary elections.