Now Hiring: Georgians for Ukraine
With one Georgian already in as Ukraine’s health minister, more Georgians reportedly now also are expected to take up jobs with the new Ukrainian government as Kyiv continues its international search for officials.
Lado Gurgenidze, a prominent banker who served as prime minister of Georgia during the 2008 war with Russia, will serve as a Ukrainian government economic advisor, according to newly appointed Ukrainian Health Minister Aleksandre Kvitashvili, a friend of Gurgenidze. (Kvitashvili was a member of Gurgenidze's cabinet.)
“They have already spoken to Lado,” Kvitashvili said in remarks reported by Georgian media. “Probably it is going to be a coordinating council or some committee.”
He also claimed that former Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Ekaterine Zghuladze was to be confirmed as Ukraine’s first deputy interior minister. Ukrainian officials, so far, have confirmed holding a job interview with Zghuladze.
Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said earlier this week that he had turned down a job offer as Ukraine’s deputy prime minister.
Ukraine already has confirmed a former American diplomat, Natalie Jaresko, as its finance minister and a Lithuanian investment banker, Aivaras Abramovicius, as its economy minister. Like Kvitashvili, the two reportedly have given up their respective citizenships to become Ukrainians.
Talking about his plans for reform, the US-educated health minister has said he will bring more transparency and accountability to Ukraine's health-sector, but did not go deeply into the details. “The ministry of health should not be a procurer of anything. Currently, the government procures the service, provides the service and controls the quality of the service… this has to be remodeled,” The Kyiv Post quoted Kvitashvili as saying.
Yet while the Ukrainian president and his team appear eager to tap into Georgia’s anti-corruption experience, not all Ukrainian politicians are excited about the idea of bringing in non-Ukrainian-citizens for senior government posts.
One former energy minister, Yuri Boiko, an opposition MP, asked why the government had not been able to find adequate candidates for cabinet-posts in Ukraine itself, a country of 40 million, the Kremlin-controlled RT underlined.
If Kyiv’s interest in Saakashvili-era, former Georgian officials continues, more of that scoffing could well be in store from Moscow.