Russia Update: Saakashvili Appoints Gaidar for Trial Period of 3 Months; Warns of Test of NATO

July 21, 2015
Odessa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili with Mariya Gaidar, deputy. Photo by Channel 7 in Odessa

Despite controversy in both Russia and Ukraine, Maria Gaidar, the daughter of former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar and a former deputy to the Kirov Region governor in Russia has been appointed for a trial period of three months to serve as the deputy of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in his new position as governor of the Odessa Region.

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Gaidar Appointed as Saakashvili’s Deputy for Trial Period of 3 Months as He Warns of Putin’s Test of Nato

Despite objections, Mariya Gaidar, the daughter of former Russian prime minister Yegor Gaidar, has been appointed a deputy of Mikheil Saakashvili for a trial period of 3 months, the former Georgian president who was made governor of Odessa Region by President Petro Poroshenko, Odessa’s Channel 7 reported.

Some Ukrainians have objected that Gaidar was unsuited for the job due to views expressed in the past that Crimea was rightfully returned to Russia, and Russian officials characterized the move as treason, as we reported yesterday.

The news came from a meeting of Governor Saakashvili and volunteers, said Channel 7.

Meanwhile, Gaidar’s foundation in Russia did not change its decision to refuse a grant from the presidential Council for Human rights,  reported, citing RIA Novosti.

Human rights ombudsperson Yelena Pamfilova had warned that the grant should be rescinded and given to other groups more deserving who had “not abandoned their colleagues in the fund for a dubious political adventure outside the country.”

Gaidar was to have personally given matching funds to the government grant to her foundation, but a spokesperson said that without the government grant, they would have no source to cover the project so they were refusing it.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to Saakashvili’s interview in The Independent by Oliver Carroll, noting with regard to his claim to have had long talks with Putin that “everyone knows how much Saakashvili’s statements can be trusted.”

Saakashvili had also said that “Putin does not respect national borders” and he had warned back in 2008 that Ukraine would be next after the Baltics.

There is no way that they will not go to the Baltics next. There is no way that they will not revisit Georgia or Azerbaijan. Putin is obsessed with the idea of testing Nato – this was clear in my long conversations with him.

Putin said three major things. One, we will make Georgia like Northern Cyprus. The second was that Ukraine was not a country but a territory. And the third thing was that the Baltic countries were not defendable. He said all these things, until we were no longer on talking terms.”

Putin also expressed his cynicism about Western determination.

Putin asked whether Lithuanian president Adamkus really [thought] two or three scrap metal planes from Nato [could] defend him,” recalled Mr Saakashvili, then recounted the Russian president’s chilling next remarks: “We are laughing at this equipment. Does he really think Nato will fight for the Balts?”

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick