REUTERS

Week’s milestones. Losing Saakashvili, Groysman’s stance, and aftertaste of religious processions

The loss by Mikheil Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship became the main political news of the past week. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman plans to combine pleasant news for the budget with some useful things for the country. The selection of the new judges of the Supreme Court has completed. The processions of the different Orthodox patriarchies reminded of the expediency of creating an independent local Orthodox church in Ukraine.

REUTERS

Being full of drama, Mikheil Saakashvili's loss of Ukrainian citizenship was a real thriller. The announcement of this resonant fact by a Radical Party MP Ihor Mosiychuk, the half-hearted position of the State Migration Service, and finally the angry and emotional comments of Mr Saakashvili himself make it possible to draw several conclusions. The first and main one is that a short-term period is over when the Ukrainian authorities put their bets on the foreign legion of reformers, capable of bringing a new quality of governance to the country. The second and obvious one is that the extrusion of Mr Saakashvili from Ukrainian politics became a reality due to the consensus of different political forces. The third one is that the loss of citizenship by a well-known (but not very highly rated today) politician stirred up a chorus of statements by opposition figures, united in a single impulse over this occasion.

Stateless Saakashvili engaged in a stormy row while overseas. He promised to return to Ukraine by legal means, by contesting the presidential decree in the Court of Appeal. Apparently, to appear more persuasive, the leader of the "Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces" gave several interviews, claiming that he was one of Ukraine’s most popular politicians, that practically nothing good had happened in the country’s political life without his participation over the past three years, and finally, that Petro Poroshenko is a dictator and the embodiment of all mortal sins. At the same time, Mr Saakashvili chooses not to consider the fact that there is plenty of various data available on his work in the Odesa region and his "anti-corruption" efforts.

Petro Poroshenko does not comment on the verbal escapades of his old acquaintance. Volodymyr Groysman, who has for six months been Saakashvili’s chief in the executive vertical, also remains composed. Judging by his latest interviews, Mr Groysman is seriously concerned about the prospect of adopting new rules for privatizing the remnants of state property. He is well aware that this endeavor will fail without Parliament support. He has also become engaged in improving the quality of management in state companies. The tasks seem to be mutually exclusive, but in reality, they are designed to ensure an increase in cash receipts to the state budget.

Meanwhile, the judicial reform passed by the Verkhovna Rada last summer bore its first fruits: the Higher Qualification Commission of Judges announced the results of the contest for 120 vacancies. And although some representatives of public organizations believe that many worthy candidates have been left out, it should be noted that the very holding of the competition was an unprecedented event for Ukraine. However, it is more interesting to most citizens to see when the changes reach the lower level courts which the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs and defendants have to deal with.

Orthodox churches of the Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates held religious processions dedicated to the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus. Following its procession, much less attended than last year, the Moscow Patriarchate urged the authorities to stop issuing biometric passports to their parishioners, thus further confirming their reputation of the "Russian world" promoters in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the discussion about the need to create a local Orthodox church in Ukraine has somewhat been watered down, although it not only could become the largest in terms of the number of parishes in the Orthodox world, it could also become a powerful weapon in the fight against hybrid aggression.

Yevgeny Magda

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