How to Keep Ukraine's Revolution Alive: Op-ed by Senior Statesman and former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili

Politico Magazine

Former President of Republic of Georgia and Senior Statesman at The Fletcher School, Mikheil Saakashvili

Dramatic events in Kyiv over the last few days have kept the world glued to their TV, computer and smartphone screens. The bravery of the Ukrainian people has re-energized freedom lovers and democracy seekers. But the success of this endeavor has yet to be decided, and the next few weeks will be critical for Ukraine. We all are drawn to a good revolution – but it is the day after, and the day after that, that is the hard part. And it is far easier to predict the perils that can derail a revolution than it is to come up with the solutions to keep it on track.

As I arrive again in Ukraine, I am reminded of my first trip there after the Orange Revolution, in 2005, when I was Georgia’s newly elected president, also fighting to forge a democracy that would move our nation from beneath the shadow of the former Soviet Union. On that trip, five months after Ukrainians had swept aside their old government, I was startled to learn that virtually none of the critical reforms needed to transform the country had even been initiated or planned. It was heartbreaking because I know the energy it takes to win a revolution – and because it was probably already too late to get that one right.

This time, we should avoid those mistakes. This time, we should get it right.

Read the full op-ed