The situation around the former governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Region, leader of the New Forces’ Movement Mikhail Saakashvili, who was detained by Ukrainian law enforcers only to be promptly set free by his supporters may trigger large-scale protests in Kiev, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Analysis and Management of Policy, Ruslan Bortnik, told TASS in an interview.
"Saakashvili’s detention was the crudest political mistake by the authorities, equal in scale to an attempt to quash the 'maidan' demonstrations in 2013. Saakashvlili-led protests, so far weak, marginal and posing no threat to the authorities, may turn into strong revolt," he said.
Bortnik believes that Saakashvili has intercepted political initiative and the situation may now take a very unpredictable turn. "Everything now depends on whether he manages to achieve the president’s impeachment in parliament," he said. "Everything will be decided in the near future."
The Ukrainian authorities’ actions towards Saakashvili, Bortnik believes, occurred as Western partners have eased their grip on Ukraine.
"Amid uncertainty in its relations with the West the Ukrainian authorities have overestimated their strength and tried to step up tensions by the use of force, thus losing points in the eyes of Western partners and letting Saakashvili win greater publicity and room for maneuver," Bortnik said.
Earlier, Saakashvili’s supporters used force to help their leader out of a vehicle of the Ukrainian security service SBU after operatives had detained the opposition’s figurehead on charges of assistance to a criminal organization. After that Saakashvili urged his followers to protest and press for the resignation of President Pyotr Poroshenko. The crowd he was addressing moved towards the building of the Ukrainian parliament in the center of Kiev. The authorities tightened security around the Ukrainian parliament’s building.