Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 06.12.2017
A well-orchestrated mob prevented the arrest of Mikheil Saakashvili on December 5. Ukrainian law enforcement officers attempted to take Saakashvili into custody at a luxury apartment in Kyiv near Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). A crowd of people that was numerous, co-ordinated, and violent blocked a police van, smashed it open, overwhelmed the law enforcement officers, and dragged Saakashvili out of custody. The mob was so confident in their street-power superiority over Ukrainian officers that they then paraded to the Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament of Ukraine, for a rally with a speech by Saakashvili. Saakashvili is now a fugitive, and is not – as Ukrainian authorities had intended at the start of the day – under arrest.
A directed mob being used for a specific purpose is the technique Saakashvili used to crash over the border and illegally enter Ukraine on September 10. The way that the co-ordinated mob acted was the same in both incidents. The mob’s size and violence escalated quickly, and it used concentration of force attacks against isolated and out-numbered Ukrainian officers. On September 10, the mob violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. On December 5, the mob violated Ukraine’s rule of law and sovereignty.
The discovery of a possible lead as to who is paying for Saakashvili’s rent-a-mob led to his attempted arrest on December 5. Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, says that Mikheil Saakashvili took half a million dollars from runaway oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko to hold protests against the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government. Kurchenko is an oligarch and a fugitive from Ukraine since February 2014 – the time of the Maidan Massacre and the collapse of the Yanukovych Clan kleptocracy in Ukraine. Prosecutor General Lutsenko played a tape in the Verkhovna Rada which he said was of Saakashvili cutting a deal with Kurchenko to oust President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. Of course by “oust” they did not mean defeat Poroshenko in the democratic elections scheduled for 2019, but depose the President by unconstitutional means. To many native Russian speakers the tape sounded authentic. It appeared to be sufficient evidence to be grounds for an arrest, which Ukrainian authorities tried to carry out on December 5.
Saakashvili’s popular support among Ukrainians is very low compared to other politicians. Public opinion polls generally do not give Saakashvili anything higher than a level of support which is 1.6% of all citizens who intend to vote in the election. No political movement backs him. He plays the populist, but he’s not popular. Nevertheless, crowds of a few thousand can be summoned to appear quickly. The rent-a-mobs have been used to crash Saakashvili over the border, for “Impeach Poroshenko” rallies to play out in front of TV cameras, and to prevent Saakashvili from being arrested. These are mobs are directed, meaning they are steered with money and instructions to achieve specific goals. Kurchenko – and therefore Yanukovych, and therefore Putin – may be the director of Saakashvili’s mobs.
Journalists should have been reporting and investigating this news. Instead, Western media told a casual and shallow story of Ukrainian authorities “having a bad day” and letting their image be tarnished by the TV theatre of the failed arrest of Saakashvili. Instead of telling the story of what was really going on, they related their own impressions of how they thought other people would react. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov chimed in immediately with the propaganda line Russia consistently pushes, about Ukraine being a source of chaos and instability. Interestingly, Russia’s rhetoric has abruptly changed on Saakashvili. From calling him an “enemy of Russia” Kremlin agitation propaganda has moved to calling Saakashvili, more neutrally, “the ex-president of Georgia.” Western journalists who cover Ukraine from Moscow or who have shallow coverage in Kyiv adopted a mocking tone towards the Ukrainian government. None of them put any emphasis on the mob which was the driver of events of the day.
For the second time in three months a mob has been directed to violently attack Ukrainian officials. Both times, a hysterical demagogue, Mikheil Saakashvili, has been the focus of the efforts to subvert Ukraine’s territorial integrity and laws. Whatever he may be, Saakashvili is not a democratic leader. He is not a loyal opposition politician. He is not a Ukrainian patriot. Whatever the mob may be, it is not a popular uprising of the Ukrainian people. A mob was used with a directed purpose on September 10 and December 5, centred around Saakashvili. The people backing the Saakashvili mob certainly are against Ukraine’s democratic and constitutional order. Those people may be in favour of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. This is the real story behind the organized violence that was used to prevent Saakashvili’s arrest on December 5. While Russian propagandists and the Western press snipe at Ukraine, it’s up to Ukrainians and their abiding friends to get the real story out to the world.