Mikhail Saakashvili: biography
Mikhail Saakashvili is one of the much-spoken-about high-ranking bureaucrats, the former president of Georgia, and the leader of the “Rose Revolution.” The new wave of interest to Mikhail Nikolozovich’s figure took place when he appeared in 2015 in Ukraine where he became one of the most active politicians: he was the Adviser to the Ukrainian President, the head of the International Advisory Council on Reforms, and the Governor of Odessa Oblast administration.
Mikhail Nikolozovich Saakashvili was born on December 21, 1967, in the capital of Georgia Tbilisi into an intelligentsia family. The biological father of the former leader of Georgia Nokoloz Saakashvili was a medical professional by training and left the family before his son was born. The mother Giuli Alasania is the professor of history. She married Zurab Kometiani, the head of the Institute of Physiology named after Beritashvili. Guili’s brother Temur Alasania, the Soviet KGB colonel and former UN diplomat, also heled bring up the boy. Mikhail is the only child of his mother, but he has a half-brother David.
The would-be political leader demonstrated his leadership skills early. He was the member of the Komsomol committee where he served as the assistant to the secretary at high school number 51. Mikhail Saakashvili was a talented and industrious student, so he received a gold medal when he finished school. Except for school subjects, the boy was fond of basketball, swimming, music, and foreign languages.
In 1984, Mikhail became the student of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the Faculty of International Law. According to some data, the excellent student was excluded from VLKSM in the last years of his studies and expelled from the university because he was spreading dissident literature. He was readmitted at the university after he did his army service in the KGB border forces of USSR.
The young Georgian received the honors degree in 1992. In the same year, he came back to Georgia and got hired as an officer in the Human Rights State Council.
Mikhail Saakashvili’s career was impressive: from 1993 to 1995, he worked in Oslo in the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and in the large New York law company engaged in legal services provision for US oil-and-gas and energy projects in CIS. He met the Chairman of “Union of Citizens of Georgia” Zurab Zhvania there. After that, Mikhail Saakashvili’s career changed dramatically and turned to the political realm.
Mikhail Saakashvili’s political career began in 1995 when he returned to Georgia as per his friend Zurab Zhvania’s invitation and entered the country’s Parliament as a member of the political party “Union of Citizens of Georgia.” At the same time, he headed the parliamentary committee on legal and constitutional issues. In 1998, Zhvania became the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, and Mikhail Saakashvili started ruling UCC.
In 2000, the politician was appointed the representative of Georgia in The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe but rejected the deputy’s mandate because of his new position as a Minister of Justice of Georgia.
In 2001, Mikhail Nikolozovich accused Eduard Shevardnadze’s government of corruption and resigned. He founded the opposition political organization “United National Movement” that included approximately 20 thousand people.
In 2003, “United National Movement” and several opposition blocks did not recognize the results of the parliamentary elections. As a result, “Rose revolution” began: hundreds of opposition members with roses in their hands occupied the Parliament of Georgia and announced the elections falsified. Because of this protest action, the former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze had to resign.
The new presidential elections in Georgia took place in January 2004. Mikhail Saakashvili won the victory with 96% of votes.
The first stage of Saakashvili’s presidency began with the Adjara crisis handling: at that time, Adjara was an independent autonomy almost outside the state control. In several months of his presidency, the Georgian leader bent the autonomy to submission to the Tbilisi authorities. The same scenario happened in the Kodori Valley where the Georgian troops set the control over the region.
When he became the Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili named his main goals: to return Abkhazia and South Ossetia to the Tbilisi jurisdiction was the priority. However, the Georgian leader’s diplomatic activities in this region failed, and Saakashvili accused Russia which, as he claimed, supported separatists. In this situation, Saakashvili drew his attention to the west and established the course of Georgia’s accession to UN and NATO.
In 2007, some groups of the Georgian society started protesting Saakashvili’s regime which was manifested in meetings that gathered together many thousands of people. With the clear public opposition, Mikhail Saakashvili decided to resign voluntarily. The unscheduled presidential elections were scheduled to January 2008.
Although the voter turnout for the elections was quite low (56% of the population), Mikhail Saakashvili won again with more than 53% of votes.
Mikhail Saakashvili’s second presidential term began with the 5-days war in South Ossetia when the Georgian army tried to establish control over Tskhinvali by shedding blood. To help the Ossets, Russian peacekeeping forces entered the region. As the result of the 5-days war with Russia, hundreds of military people, civilians, and Russian peacekeepers died on the territory of South Ossetia. Two days later, Mikhail Saakashvili requested a truce. He announced that Georgia was leaving CIS and severed diplomatic ties with Moscow unilaterally.
At that period, the most notorious incident with the ex-president of Georgia took place – it is discussed even today. The TV company BBC managed to record the politician talking on the mobile phone and chewing his own tie. Political experts, analytics, and psychologists all over the world called the tie incident the former President’s nervous breakdown caused by the harsh military situation in the country. The bright image of the politician eating a tie is memorable among people who created numerous jokes, parodies, and photoshopped pictures.
In 2012, Saakashvili’s party “United National Movement” did not receive the necessary number of votes in the parliamentary elections; the political block “Georgian Dream” became the leader. As the oppositionists received power, they reopened the mysterious Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s death investigation – according to unofficial data, Mikhail Saakashvili was connected to it. To escape criminal prosecution, Georgian bureaucrats who allegedly related to scandalous murders of the past years started leaving the country. Saakashvili himself followed them and left Tbilisi for Brussel without waiting for the end of his presidential term.
In August 2014, the domestic and international warrant was issued for the former leader of Georgia. The Public Prosecution of Georgia proved Saakashvili’s guilt in abuse of authority, budget embezzlement, and corruption schemes and arrested the politician’s and his family’s property and bank accounts.
In February 2015, Mikhail Saakashvili was invited to the Ukrainian Parliament where he was appointed the Adviser to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the Chairman of the renewed the International Advisory Council on Reform in Ukraine. He was also engaged in the extension of Ukraine support internationally, prepared programs of economic, anti-corruptive, and military reforms, and curated the supply of weapons for the Ukrainian army from the West.
In May 2015, the President designated the Governor of Odessa Oblast, one of the most promising regions of the country. In the context of the new position, Saakashvili received the Ukrainian citizenship and claimed that his Georgian passport was the “ticket to prison.”
As the Governor, the new bureaucrat’s activity created many press events: media remembered him and regularly reported on his work. In several days, the new Governor initiated dramatic changes in the state administration staff: 24 out of 27 heads of the regional areas were dismissed.
As a Governor, Mikhail Saakashvili announced that his primary task was to fight corruption and crimes; he promised to monitor the budget money spending and Odessa customs closely and repair the regional roads.
The first notorious scandals took place in late summer 2015. At the beginning of September, Mikhail Nikolozovich criticized the then head of the government Arseniy Yatsenyuk and accused him of the absence of the reforms the country needed. In December of the same year, during the Council on Reform session, there was a new large scandal between Saakashvili and the Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov. In the course of the argument, the minister threw a glass of water at the Governor of Odessa Oblast. Yatsenyuk supported Avakov, called Saakashvili “the guest actor,” and demanded to leave Ukraine.
The video of the argument leaked to the Internet and made a stir: it was the most scandalous press event for several days. Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page that he was sorry he had called Arseniy Yatsenyuk a thief and even more sorry that it was true.
February 2016 was marked with another scandal: the speaker of the Ukrainian Administration on ATO (anti-terrorist operation) Andrei Lysenko announced that the investigation on Mikhail Saakashvili’s violation of military censorship began. The Governor of Odessa Oblast was accused of posting the secret information about military units on the Internet.
In May 2016, the members of the Public Prosecution Service of Ukraine and Security Service of Ukraine soldiers made a search in the Odessa administration in the context of the fund “For the Benefit of Odessa” money misappropriation investigation. Mikhail Saakashvili broke the door of the building where the search was conducted and explained his action by the fact that his employees were illegally kept there without their lawyers.
In November 2016, Mikhail Saakashvili announced his voluntary resignation from the position of the Governor. In a couple of days, Petro Poroshenko satisfied the request and signed the resignation document.
After the resignation, the politician’s activity did not stop: Mikhail Saakashvili began to build a new party “Movement of New Forces.” It is the opposition party whose aim is to change the existing political elite and get the early parliament elections.
It is peculiar that Mikhail Saakashvili predicted that Donald Trump would win the elections in the USA unlike the majority of the Ukrainian politicians who believed the opposite. After Trump’s victory, Saakashvili said he was close and even similar to him.
In 2017, the Georgian and Ukrainian politician went to Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Many experts connected his visit to his desire to remain an active political figure in Ukraine and gain Trump’s support for his political party.
Mikhail Saakashvili confirmed he was present in Washington by a photo on Facebook where he was in front of the United States Capitol. However, some users wrote and provided the corresponding photos that the politician was not at the top of the guest list and could watch Trump’s inauguration only from a distance.
In January 2017, Mikhail Saakashvili said in his interview to CNN that the new US President would be “a hard nut to crack for Putin.” As for Ukraine, Mikhail Nikolozovich believed that it would have a difficult time.
Mikhail Saakashvili’s personal life is interesting for the public just like his scandalous political activities. It is known that Saakashvili is married to the Netherlands’ citizen Sandra Roelofs, the former employee of The Red Cross.
The wife has always been the right-hand woman for her famous husband and helped him solidify his image: she is said to have helped him in the presidential campaign significantly. Sandra Roelofs who is called “Holland Rose” asked people to see herself as “a stepdaughter” and even sang Georgian songs.
In the Saakashvili’s family, there are two sons - Eduard (born in 1995) and Nikoloz (born in 2005).
It is peculiar that Mikhail Saakashvili was on friendly terms with many Ukrainian bureaucrats during his presidency in Georgia. He studied at the same university with Petro Poroshenko, and Viktor Yushchenko was his younger son Nikolaz’s godfather.
The hot Georgian man’s personal life is often accompanied by love affairs, imaginary or true. According to media, Mikhail Saakashvili is said to be a real macho, and many women fell for his persistent courtship. If the rumors are true, there are numerous women who had love affairs with the politician.
After Saakashvili supported The Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004, the scandalous porn movie “Yulia” came out; the ex-deputy of the State Duma Aleksey Mitrofanov financed it. It was easy to recognize the Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in the main characters. In 2006, the sequel to this movie “Misha, or Yulia’s New Adventures” was released.
During Mikhail Saakashvili’s presidency in Georgia, tabloids created lists of women who were allegedly the president’s favorites. For example, Vera Kobalia known for her dancing in a Canadian strip club became the Minister of Economy, and the 20-year-old beauty Alana Gagloeva was designated Saakashvili’s press secretary (rumor has it that she was pregnant by the politician).
Two pop divas – Sofia Nizharadze and Nina Tskrialashvili – also received prestigious positions: the former got hired by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the second worked in the Ministry of Culture. The beauty Nino Kalandadze allegedly conquered Mikhail Saakashvili with her fit figure and became the assistant of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Another charming Georgian Khatuna Kalmakhelidze who used to have a minor position in the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs suddenly became the head of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance.
Before the former president of Georgia appeared in Ukraine he is said to have a love affair with a trans woman Aleksia whom he had met in Manhattan. The rumors became particularly spicy by the fact that Aleksia had been Aleksander not long ago and turned into a beautiful blonde due to plastic surgery. The journalists from the NTV Channel interviewed the woman, and she openly told them about “the relationship” with Saakashvili. As she stated, she had sex with the politician until he was invited to Ukraine.
Except for politics, Mikhail Saakashvili is fond of climbing, parachuting, and ski mountaineering. He regularly takes part in amateur football matches among his colleagues. In September 2013, the 45-years-old politician climbed Mount Kazbek of the Caucasus.
Mikhail Nikolozovich’s height is impressive: it is almost 2 meters (195 cm).