Fletcher in the News

Senior Statesman and Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili Comments on Significance of Ukraine Protests

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

Saakashvili: Ukraine is 'First Geopolitical Revolution of the 21st Century'

To say there’s no love lost between Mikheil Saakashvili and Vladimir Putin would be an understatement.

The way Mr. Saakashvili remembers it, the last meeting the two presidents were both in attendance – a February 2008 summit of post-Soviet leaders – Mr. Putin talked openly about wanting to hang Saakashvili by various body parts. Saakashvili, who stands over 6 feet tall, once mocked Putin’s own diminutive height, drawing from Jonathan Swift’s satirical writings to dub him “Lily-Putin.”

These days, Saakashvili, the US-trained lawyer who stepped down as president of the tiny Caucasus nation of Georgia last year, is a “senior statesman” at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. But he is still inclined to call Putin a “thug” and a “godfather” for, among other things, what’s happening in former Soviet republics like Ukraine.

The streets of Kiev don’t resemble an urban battlefield merely because Ukrainians are disaffected, venting about their government, Saakashvili insists: they’re a battleground between East and West. Under Putin, the Kremlin is trying to rebuild an empire.

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