2 June 2015
Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president, is a politician who inspires few neutral emotions.
Those in the “for” camp tout his numerous and Western-style reforms in the years following Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution that brought him to power, transforming a country on the verge of complete collapse.
In the “against” camp, many point to his impulsiveness – which may have provided the spark to Georgia’s disastrous war with Russia in 2008 – and his heavy-handed methods in dealing with political dissent.
Odessa is one of Ukraine’s most critical and sensitive regions, one that has been convulsed by extreme political violence in the last year, and which appears to be coming under increasing pressure from pro-Russian separatists.
And the former Georgian leader is also a well-known adversary, to put it lightly, of Russian President Vladimir Putin.