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Georgia’s ex-President Saakashvili has officially been deprived of his Georgian citizenship

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 7
Georgia’s Former President Mikheil Saakashvili was officially deprived of his Georgian citizenship on December 4 after the current President of Georgia signed the relevant decree.

Saakashvili, who now serves in Ukraine as the Governor of the Odessa region, had his Georgian citizenship revoked as he was granted Ukrainian citizenship several months ago.

“Politically, the fact that Saakashvili rejected Georgian citizenship deserves a critical evaluation from me, because the former President had insulted both the Presidential institution and the country,” President Margvelashvili said.

Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli said that the former President Saakashvili knew he would be deprived of his Georgian citizenship if he accepted Ukrainian nationality.

“He rejected Georgian citizenship himself as the Constitution is unanimous to all; he was well aware of the consequences of becoming a Ukrainian national,” Khidasheli stated.

The United National Movement opposition party believes that depriving the former President of his Georgian citizenship was “shameful”, and damaging to the country’s international image.

Georgian law prevents Georgian-born citizens from holding dual citizenship, unless in special cases.

Georgia’s Ministry of Justice released a statement on October 30 this year, announced they launched procedures to deprive Saakashvili of his Georgian citizenship.

Despite the fact Saakashvili was appointed as Odessa's Governor on May 30, Georgia's relevant bodies did not receive any official confirmation in terms of Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship until October 28, Georgia’s Justice Ministry said.

Shortly afterwards, President Margvelahsvili stated on November 13 that he would annul Saakahsvili’s Georgian citizenship.

The only person who can grant dual citizenship to Georgian citizens is the President.

If one wants to take dual citizenship, he/she has the right to address the President and provide a reason and the appropriate documentation as to why he/she should have dual citizenship. The President will then decide to grant or deny the application.

“They can take away my passport but nobody can stop me from being Georgian,” Saakashvili said in response.

“President Margvelashvili has deprived me of my Georgian citizenship…this decision has been made on Russian Oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili’s order and the government which he intimidates. This decision serves only one goal – to keep me from taking part in any Georgian elections,” the ex-President added.

Saakashvili left Georgia when his presidential term expired in 2013. After a brief lecturing career in the United States, he moved to Ukraine and decided to continue his political career there.

On May 30, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili as the head of the Odessa region in southwestern Ukraine. One day earlier, Ukrainian media reported that Poroshenko had granted Saakashvili Ukrainian citizenship on May 29.

The ex-President is wanted by Georgia's law-enforcement bodies for several charges, abuse of power among them.