Ex-Georgian President Saakashvili Says Zelenskyy Offered Him Deputy Prime Minister Seat
22 April, 2020
Mikheil Saakashvili / Facebook

Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and Odesa region governor, says that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has offered him the post of the deputy prime minister of Ukraine.

"It was a big honor for me to receive an offer from President Zelenskyy to become the vice prime minister of Ukraine for reforms," Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page.

He added that he also spoke with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal regarding his "possible work in the government."

Saakashvili served two terms as President of Georgia (2004 - 2013), becoming well known for his liberal reforms, anti-corruption measures, and strong stance against Russia after it invaded Georgia in 2008.

In 2014, Saakashvili became an energetic supporter of Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution. At home, however, the political leadership turned on him. That year, the Georgian authorities opened a criminal case against the former president for “exceeding official powers,” vague charges that many consider political.

The following year, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko chose Saakashvili to head a commission on reform in Ukraine. Saakashvili, in turn, renounced his Georgian citizenship to avoid extradition to Georgia. Poroshenko then granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship and appointed him governor of the Odesa region to help fight entrenched corruption.

Saakashvili’s popularity in Ukraine quickly skyrocketed, but his anti-corruption efforts in Odessa met limited success. In November 2016, Saakashvili resigned as governor, alleging that President Poroshenko was supporting corrupt officials in the region.

READ MORE: Saakashvili Reportedly Writes To Poroshenko, Asks For De-Escalation

In 2017, Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrainian passport and months later the disgraced politician triumphantly reentered Ukraine using force at the border. Following the incident, Saakashvili was deported to Poland in 2018.

READ MORE: Borderline Chaos: What’s Behind Ukraine’s Saakashvili Circus

In May 2019, Zelenskyy readmitted Saakashvili to Ukrainian citizenship leading to rumors that the Georgian-born politician will be back in Ukrainian politics.

In his April 22 Facebook post, Saakashvili stated that he has supported Zelenskyy throughout his political career and would be happy to work in his government.