Mounting anti-Poroshenko rallies taking hold of Kiev

Published in Izvestia

Ukraine is on the edge of a new upheaval as supporters of ex-Georgian President and former Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region Mikhail Saakashvili rallied in downtown Kiev on Sunday, December 17, calling for political change. The so-called ‘Impeachment rally’ drew around 5,000 demonstrators, according to official data, while the participants themselves said at least 10,000 people took part in the rally. Earlier, the Ukrainian mass media reported that Saakashvili allegedly sent a letter to Poroshenko offering a compromise, Izvestia writes on Monday.

However, on December 17, Saakashvili denied the report, and pledged to go on “the attack even more fiercely than ever before.” Sources among organizers of the ‘Impeachment rally’ confirmed this information to the newspaper, adding that they do not plan to scale down their actions until the impeachment law is adopted and Poroshenko resigns.

Opposition Bloc MP Yevgeny Balitsky told Izvestia that Mikhail Saakashvili is clearly picking up on public sentiment and their distrust of the current authorities is playing into his hands. “The country has reached a point where the domestic government is not respected, but even despised, and Mikhail Saakashvili is perfectly aware of this. Now he’s got his own choir, his own sect. Obviously, some people go because they are paid, some protesters are in despair. Our country is doomed to regular revolutions and maidans,” the politician said.

According to Oleg Nemensky, a leading CIS and Baltic expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Saakashvili is currently acting as a political tool for Western powers to pressure Kiev. “Contradictions between Ukraine and the West have deepened lately. The main request of the US and its allies is to get the domestic fight against corruption going. Given the current atmosphere of mass corruption, the West cannot manage financial ‘investments’ in Ukraine and pour money into the country. As for now the protests do not have any catastrophic implications for Poroshenko as the West has not yet made a final decision to change the acting president or put in another leader,” the analyst told Izvestia.

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