Mikheil Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgian: მიხეილ სააკაშვილი, romanized: Mikheil Saak’ashvili, IPA: [miˈχɛil ˈsɑːkʼɑʃvili]; Ukrainian: Міхеіл Саакашвілі, romanized: Mikheil Saakashvili, IPA: [m⁽ʲ⁾ixeˈil sɐɐkɐʃˈwil⁽ʲ⁾i]; born 21 December 1967) is a Georgian and Ukrainian politician and jurist.[7][8] He was the third President of Georgia for two consecutive terms from 25 January 2004 to 17 November 2013. From May 2015 until November 2016, Saakashvili was the Governor of Ukraine's Odessa Oblast.[1][9] He is the founder and former chairman of the United National Movement party. Saakashvili heads the Executive Committee of Ukraine's National Reform Council since 7 May 2020.[10]

Mikheil Saakashvili
მიხეილ სააკაშვილი (Georgian)
Міхеіл Саакашвілі (Ukrainian)
Saakashvili in May 2012
3rd President of Georgia
In office
20 January 2008  17 November 2013
Prime MinisterLado Gurgenidze
Grigol Mgaloblishvili
Nika Gilauri
Vano Merabishvili
Bidzina Ivanishvili
Preceded byNino Burjanadze (Acting)
Succeeded byGiorgi Margvelashvili
In office
25 January 2004  25 November 2007
Prime MinisterZurab Zhvania
Himself (Acting)
Zurab Noghaideli
Giorgi Baramidze (Acting)
Lado Gurgenidze
Preceded byNino Burjanadze (Acting)
Succeeded byNino Burjanadze (Acting)
Governor of Odessa Oblast
In office
30 May 2015  9 November 2016[1]
Preceded byIhor Palytsia
Succeeded byMaksym Stepanov[2]
Minister of Justice
In office
12 October 2000  19 September 2001
PresidentEduard Shevardnadze
Prime MinisterGiorgi Arsenishvili
Preceded byJohn Khetsuriani
Succeeded byRoland Giligashvili
Prime Minister of Georgia
In office
3 February 2005  17 February 2005
Preceded byZurab Zhvania
Succeeded byZurab Noghaideli
Member of the Parliament of Georgia
In office
6 November 2001  22 November 2002
In office
25 November 1995  2 March 2001
Chairman of the United National Movement
In office
13 January 2017  24 March 2019
Preceded byDavit Bakradze
Succeeded byGrigol Vashadze
In office
2012  September 2014
Preceded byVano Merabishvili
Succeeded byDavit Bakradze
In office
October 2001  2004
Preceded byparty established
Succeeded byNino Burjanadze
Honorary Chairman of the United National Movement
Assumed office
24 March 2019
Preceded byposition established
Personal details
Born (1967-12-21) 21 December 1967 (age 53)
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
(now Georgia)
CitizenshipSoviet (1967–1991)
Georgian (1991–2015)
Ukrainian (2015–2017; 2019–present)
Stateless (2017–2019)[3][4]
Political partyMovement of New Forces[5] (2017–present)
United National Movement (2001–present)
Union of Citizens of Georgia (1995–2001)
Height1.95 m (6 ft 4¾ in)
(m. 1994)
Alma materNational University of Kyiv
Columbia University
George Washington University
International Institute of Human Rights

Involved in Georgian politics since 1995, Saakashvili became president in January 2004 after President Eduard Shevardnadze resigned in the November 2003 bloodless "Rose Revolution" led by Saakashvili and his political allies, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania. He was re-elected in the Georgian presidential election on 5 January 2008. While his first term was marred by political quagmire, his second term saw unprecedented economic growth (averaging GDP increases of 10% a year), as well as drastic drops in endemic corruption. His foreign policy was characterized by pro-NATO and pro-West politics. In 2010, he had a 67% approval rating[11] despite being criticized by the opposition for his alleged authoritarian tendencies and electoral fraud.[12]

On 2 October 2012, Saakashvili admitted his party's defeat in Georgia's parliamentary election against the Georgian Dream coalition led by the tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.[13] He was barred by the constitution of Georgia from seeking a third term in the 2013 presidential election, which was won by the Georgian Dream's candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili. Shortly after the election, Saakashvili left Georgia.[14] Saakashvili is wanted by Georgia's new government on multiple criminal charges, which he decries as politically motivated.[15]

Saakashvili energetically supported Ukraine's Euromaidan movement and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[16] On 30 May 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as Governor of Odessa Oblast.[17][18][19] He was also granted Ukrainian citizenship,[17] and due to restrictions on dual nationality under Georgian law, was stripped of his Georgian citizenship.[20] On 7 November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as Governor while blaming President Poroshenko personally for enabling corruption in Odessa and in Ukraine overall.[9] Four days later, he announced his goal to create a new political party called Movement of New Forces.[21][22]

On 26 July 2017, Saakashvili (at the time staying in the US) was stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Petro Poroshenko, and became a stateless person.[23][24] On 29 May 2019, he returned to Ukraine after newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky restored his citizenship.[25][26] He later returned to Georgia on 1 October 2021 where he was arrested few days after the entry.