21:16 Nov. 7, 2016
Mikheil Saakashvili is known not only for scandals but for great plans, which are to be summarised after his resignation
Ukrainians were generally highly optimistic about taking the Odesa regional administration office by Mikheil Saakashvili, who immediately declared zero tolerance for corruption, has promised to open the beaches to the public and to deal with juridical system abuses, BBC Ukraine reminds.
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More than a year of his actual work will be remembered for his reformist undertakings, risky promises, and loud scandals. After more than a year Saakashvili is called ‘the media-governor of last ten years'. Although many plans of Mikheil Saakashvili have not yet been completed, he still has significant support in the region.
Ukrainian media portal "Slovo i Dilo" collected data on all of his promises and the level of their implementation. The result appeared to be relatively high: governor actually fulfilled 14 of 34 promises, so his ‘level of responsibility' valued 40%. 14 more obligations were given the status "in process". Fulfilling 6 promises declared most definitively failed.
We have collected 10 most important of Saakashvili's promises and examined their implementation.
Transparent competition for regional offices
The new governor immediately replaced all heads of regional state administrations. For the first time in history, new local authorities were chosen after the transparent competition. Yet, today Saakashvili declared that the results of the competition were ignored and the state authorities ‘are selling the offices again'.
Creation of an administrative services center in Odessa
The center was actually launched and worked as promised, Poroshenko personally took part in its opening. One could get almost any document in 15 minutes. However, on November 2 the first and only Citizen Service Centre was closed. Saakashvili explained it with the termination of financing due to the new law, signed by Poroshenko.
Beaches for the people
Starting from his first days in the office, Saakashvili began to fight for access to the beach. He promised to provide access to the sea for every citizen. In July 2015, he personally came to one of the private objects and actually got a bulldozer and knocked down a concrete fence on the beach. Such activities caused the conflict with powerful Yanukovych-era politician and businessman Serhiy Kivalov.
Opening of a new airport terminal
Saakashvili supported the rebuilding of the local airport and aimed to bring the low-cost airlines to the city. By now, the airport earned "open sky" mode and became attractive for foreign companies, but governor failed to open the new terminal in spring of 2016 as promised.
Open competition for the post of Regional Customs
Maybe the most controversial of Saakashvili's obligations. He actually failed with it, because the new head of regional customs office was appointed even before the end of the competition and it was clearly the protégé of the governor – Maria Marushevska. Nevertheless, she has proven herself as the brightest person of Saakashvili's team and creator of highly evaluated "Open Customs Space".
On November 24, 2015, Mikheil Saakashvili said that electronic customs in the Odessa region will start working on March 1, 2016. When the time came, the work was still on going and Saakashvili was blaming the government of Ukraine for sabotage.
Getting funds for rebuilding of the strategic road Odessa-Reni
He initiated a project of co-financing the reconstruction with state and regional funds, with additional money from the customs, which even caused the conflict with then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Real restoration of the road connecting Ukrainian Bessarabia districts with the main part of the country began only in early May 2016.
Restoration of other key regional roads
Saakashvili initiated the reconstruction of the roads to "Ukrainian Venice" – village of Vylkove, and the town of Kilia. The work on the first one is promised to be finished in spring of 2017, but the date is still unclear.
Arrangement of the checkpoint for Odesa police unit
After Saakashvili examined the poor conditions of accommodation of the "Storm" police unit from Odesa on the positions near Mariupol, he sent habitable containers for the soldiers. New containers built by volunteers are equipped with everything needed for a comfortable performance of duty in the field.
Canceling the licenses for private production of wine and grappa
Saakashvili criticized the system of 33 permits needed for wineries, which is one of the key issues for the Odesa region. He praised canceling the registration fee for private winemakers and promised to pursue the cancellation of the licenses at all, but they still remain in effect.
Ukrainian political analyst Bohdan Yaremenko summarized the Georgian reformer's career in Odesa region with following words: "With irony, but without any joy or schadenfreude I note that in Ukraine Saakashvili joins a number of politicians, the resignation of which is followed only by the memories of inappropriate scandals they provoked and their unfulfilled promises."