09:38 GMT08 May 2021
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    Saakashvili: Rose Revolution in Kiev

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    Former Georgian President and Odessan Governor Mikhail Saakashvili was briefly arrested in Kiev on charges of plotting a coup, which prompted thousands of his supporters to take to the streets against the government in a tactical repeat of his 2003 Rose Revolution.

    The disgraced politician has proven himself to be a wily survivor, and his career has taken many remarkable twists and turns since he first came to power on the back of one of the world's first-ever Color Revolutions. It's perhaps for his proven skill in organizing "people's protests" against the authorities that the Ukrainian government began to fear that he was on the brink of orchestrating a coup against them too, which is why they alleged that he had received half a million dollars from a Ukrainian businessman based in Russia to overthrow President Poroshenko.

    The accusation of Russian complicity in Saakashvili's purported power grab is absurd because of his long-standing loyalty to the US, which raises the interesting question of whether Washington is behind his Rose Revolution in Kiev. Moreover, there have been claims over the past month since he illegally reentered the country that he has the backing of certain opposition politicians who want to use him as their Hybrid War weapon for weakening Poroshenko's rule and creating an opportunity for themselves to come to power afterwards. It might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy for Kiev that it charged Saakashvili with planning a coup and then inadvertently prompted the pretext for thousands of his supporters to protest the government, which might in hindsight explain why they decided to release him from prison until the end of his trial.

    Nevertheless, a critical mass of anti-government discontent is forming in Ukraine, and the authorities are delegitimizing themselves by ridiculously trying to blame it all on Russia. The fact of the matter is that Saakashvili, who's playing the role of the political disruptor in this regime change equation, is an American ally, not a Russian one, and he does indeed have differing degrees of backing from parts of the population and the opposition. It's an uncomfortable reality for Poroshenko to recognize, but the oligarch's greatest threat to power comes from his own countrymen, even though they'd being led at the moment by a foreign pro-American figurehead whose dramatic stunts have captivated the nation's imagination.

    Andrew Korybko is joined by Tomasz Szymkowiak, Editor of Xportal.pl, and Petri Krohn, Finnish political commentator.

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    coup attempt, Revolution, Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukraine
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