President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree to suspend ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship, Yarema Dukh, a spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told the Kyiv Post.

The State Migration Service has submitted evidence that Saakashvili had given incorrect information when he applied for citizenship in 2015, and the Commission on Citizenship approved suspending his citizenship, Dukh said.

Under the law on the protection of personal data, the decree cannot be published because it contains confidential information, he added.

The TSN news website quoted a source at the State Migration Service as saying that Saakashvili allegedly said in 2015 he was not under investigation in Ukraine or abroad when he applied for citizenship, while in fact he was being investigated in Georgia, the source added.


“Poroshenko is running ahead of other dictators of the world: he has stripped Saakashvili of his citizenship and banned him from entering Ukraine. He’s so scared! Ukraine got a new Yanukovych – an English-speaking one!” ex-Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze, a Saakashvili ally, wrote on Facebook in a reference to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. “But this will not stop us, Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces. On the contrary, this will hasten the end of Petro Poroshenko’s regime!”

Reformist lawmaker Sergii Leshchenko said on Facebook that Saakashvili was currently in the United States.

“Saakashvili cannot physically come back to Ukraine because he will be arrested in Boryspil when he arrives and will be immediately extradited to Georgia,” he said.

But Chyzh told the Kyiv Post that Saakashvili was planning to come back to Ukraine.

“The next person to be stripped of citizenship will be Gizo Uglava, first deputy chief of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau,” Leshchenko said. “This way the Presidential Administration will continue the scenario of destroying the NABU. What’s happening is just one more step in Poroshenko’s preparation for a second term through repression and an assault on civil society and the opposition.”


On July 24, Poroshenko reshuffled the Commission on Citizenship in what critics saw as preparation for the suspension of Saakashvili’s citizenship. He appointed Viktor Kononenko, a deputy chief of the Security Service of Ukraine; Maxim Moiseev, a Presidential Administration official, and Oleksiy Takhtai, the Interior Ministry’s state secretary, as members of the commission.

Persons resembling Takhtai, who is an ex-official of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, and ex-Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Chebotar, an ex-deputy of Avakov, were seen negotiating a corrupt deal to sell sand in video footage shot by the Security Service of Ukraine and leaked on the Internet in 2015. They deny the corruption accusations.

Takhtai has $23,000 and 5,000 euros in cash, according to his e-declaration for 2015. His father Volodymyr has two recently made cars – a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and a Mitsubishi Pajero, according to the register of vehicles. Such cars are worth about $38,000 and $16,000 on the market, respectively.

Poroshenko gave Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship in May 2015, when appointing him as the governor of Odesa Oblast.


In December 2015, Georgian authorities stripped Saakashvili of Georgian citizenship. Under international law, Ukraine cannot suspend the citizenship of a person who is not a citizen of another country.

Saakashvili left the office of Odesa Oblast’s governor in November 2016. He has since started his own opposition party, Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces, and has been heavily criticizing Ukrainian authorities.

In April, Poroshenko also suspended the Ukrainian citizenship of Sasha Borovik, an ally of Saakashvili and a critic of the president, and Radical Party lawmaker Andriy Artemenko, because they allegedly have German and Canadian citizenship, respectively. Borovik called it “an unprecedented move that is more characteristic of the Soviet Union and other dictatorships.”

The Constitution bans the authorities from stripping anyone of citizenship, though lawyers differ on whether this also applies to suspension. No president had previously applied this measure to his opponents before.

Evgen Zakharov, head of Kharkiv Human Rights group, called this suspension of citizenship a “rude violation” of the Constitution, while Viktor Musiyaka, a legal scholar and co-author of the Ukrainian Constitution, said it can be disputed in court.

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