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Vlaschenko: Today we are discussing the week with Mikhail Saakashvili.
This week you announced the resignation. What tasks did Poroshenko set upon you, when you were appointed as chairman of Odesa Regional State Administration?
Saakashvili: When I went to Odesa, there was a very difficult situation after the tragic events of 2014. There were always talks about hostile plans of the enemy on destroying Odessa, the creation of so-called "Bessarabian republic", creation of "Odesa People's Republic." When I came to Odessa, where all outputs from 19 cities of Odesa region were APCs. In the center of Odessa went patrols with dogs, were forbidden to hold public events. It was a question of Ukrainian statehood - no one wanted to go to Odessa. It was a situation that several people suggested and no one wanted to go. Then I suggested that I went, and the president immediately jumped at it and I immediately issued a passport. I think I went there to restore order, to return security to show that you can spend real reform and a stimulus for the rest of Ukraine. The goals were quite clear, and I started to follow them.
Why did you refuse to become prime minister?
In such terms, which appeared in the parliament, while the schedule, which would be in the government, this government is based on preliminary negotiations: between National Front and Bloc of Petro Poroshenko between two or three different factions within the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko between two or three ministers, which led Groisman on secondary positions, with others, and of course, the dohovornyakah within Parliament.
You sound like other representatives of the opposition. Why don’t you want to join the other forces?
I say what I think. We must bring new people, because people do not believe in words. I worked with Tymoshenko as the Georgian opposition with Ukrainian opposition, as the Georgian President and Prime Minister of Ukraine, Georgia as president of Ukraine opposition leader. But people want change. I have the impression that today 90% of Ukrainian political world are just ordinary hucksters.
Many experts say that the president has used you as a battering ram to settle scores with the government of Yatsenyuk, with Kolomoisky?
I fought against Yatsenyuk, because I was sure that his government lost a unique opportunity to reform the country, to really change things for the better, to dismantle the old system in the wake of the second Maidan and create something new. Each additional day of stay Yatsenyuk with his entire gang in power and threatened major new troubles. I cannot use, but of course, the president said that when Yatsenyuk eliminates, real change and reforms will begin. Of course, I knew that it might not be entirely true - I am not naive. If we really understood that when Yatsenyuk clean, good government does not work, I suggested to the President to go to the polls. We had to go to the polls and not to each other dohovornyaky. Yatsenyuk has put forward a number of demands. If it was removed on March 17, when not voted, then we would have a better chance to form a government without elections and even get some configuration. The President spoke and said that the government should be replaced, and two hours later began to call all MPs and said that the decision changed. So the people did not commit. The president, who serves the government should go, and two hours later secretly begins to call the members of his faction that government should stay – it is disregard for its own people, its factions, disrespect for himself first. He showed weakness at a crucial moment.
They say that your new political project is an alternative to Tymoshenko and what you have agreed with the President on this subject.
The last few days the AP thinks what to do with me. When I was president, we were able to keep the unity and mystery. There were options for me to deprive of citizenship, Ivanishvili pass me, expel me from the country. If someone put out, then we have a number of senior people who have several passports. Let start with them. Avakov, for example, let will send in Panama, Hungary somebody, someone in Israel. And I'm just a citizen of Ukraine. Let Trukhanov be send to Russia or Greece.
You say that you are not connected with the president, but yesterday you were sitting on his "5th channel," at the same time, Lyashko or Tymoshenko are not let?
As a brave journalist from "Channel 5" made this interview a few days before my resignation, and she said that if it is not allowed, it will go from the channel. I really like, for example, your journalists, but I do not like your owner because I do not know who is your owner, there are various rumors.
You said in a speech that you have only Ukrainian citizenship. What did you mean?
Many VIPs have different citizenship. I understand that Avakov has foreign citizenship Truhanov has Greek and Russian citizenship. I will not buzz, but the people know it.
Who will invest in your new political project?
We will invest our time, energy and ideas. If you believe that a businessman should we buy, it will never be. If you want to live like Lyashko, in the palaces, with many cars - when you need money. But it is not money for the party - it's money in order to live well. Budget of Georgia during my presidency has grown 11 times. Many billions of dollars went through my hands. I support the declaration, and it is not proud of, was one of the most wealthy Ukrainian politicians. If I wanted to get rich, I would do it - find my yacht in Georgia, factories, hotels, etc.
Will you take Yushchenko into your political party?
I like Yushchenko, but I do not think he wants to join some political force.
You are familiar with Trump. Do you have opinions of his victory? How do you feel about the fact that you compare?
If someone has compared himself to me, it was Trump. He joked: "God forbid that Saakashvili and me will be in the same business. He would have brought me into bankruptcy and put out of business." He also said: "Saakashvili, never stops. It is even worse for me." But with all this, we will be very difficult. The best scenario for us - it will not be engaged in this region. Ended freebie. I rule that it recognizes the Crimea, but the US is much worse trains running between New York and Washington than "Intercity" from Kyiv to Kharkiv Dnieper River or the city. It will upgrade internal infrastructure and be able to explain to Americans that still need to give Ukrainian. If we do not care about their country if the government cared for their country - heck, Americans will care about us?
Your opponents say that you actually did nothing in Odesa.
We renewed Odesa military hospital, which was in a terrible state, arranged checkpoints in Mariupol. I went to the 28th brigade to support them on the New Year, I was given with a thermal. It is the volunteers, no oligarchs, I have not seen. This business volunteers. We gave several ATO soldiers apartments. In the Odesa region no one made the roads during the last 40 years. The first worst 88 km of the road Odesa – Reni were finish in two weeks, includes money to finish it completely the following year. For the first time since 1979 we have made the road to Kilia; for the first time in the history of Odesa there was uncorrupted customs, was first the police that did not take bribes.
There was no serious case against smuggling.
Each tax collector who worked for customs Ukraine, was a bandit and a thiefWe must all change. And we started to do in Odessa customs. Marushevska understood the main thing - it is necessary to pursue a bad broom and took this very active and Odessa customs immediately took 70% of cargo because they refused clearance "gray" goods. Remaining 30% and Yatseniuk we took power customs. And all this for the last three months they again exceeded the plan. 30% of cargo remaining were honest business that pays taxes.
Sakvarelidze spent as prosecutor of Odesa region more than a month, no one corrupted official was put behind the bars.
- He put the mayor Zatoka, he put the mayor of Kryzhanivka, the head of the police of Odesa, in his case, which demanded NABU, put appointees from the "People’s Front" at the Odesa Port Plant. This was the main cause for which Yatsenyuk had to go away.
Who do you think is the main corrupted official of Odesa?
Trukhanov and his gangs.
Do you feel offended by Tymoshenko, in 2008, she did not support Georgia?
Moreover, she blocked the sale of weapons, but it was against the interests of Ukraine. So why should I be offended? After she came out of prison, I met with her because had to express my solidarity.
What are your current relationships?
We do not see each other often.
What is the minimum wage in Ukraine?
1600 UAH, and 3200 will be a disaster. Danyluk said that it would not lie on the budget. Lie. Businessmen fired employees, and Danyluk lied because the budget already includes money for this. They will be on this fraud to spend the people's money.
What was the reason for the defeat of your political power in elections in Georgia?
I have served his two terms, I could not run anymore, and this party lose without me. And adequate replacement was not found.
Do you often see with Sandra and children?
She does not want to move to Ukraine?
She is a great political leader in Georgia. And our son is in school in Georgia.
Will you advocate for impeachment of the president?
No. I believe that at this stage we need to get the president to sign the decision on early elections to the Verkhovna Rada and pick up the government. Ukraine is a parliamentary republic, and we have all the levers to pick up and create a strong government that would restore order.
Are you ready to put present top managers, not just Kolomoisky, behind the bars?