The New York Times found former Georgia president Mikheil Saakashvili, who mixed it up a few years back in a border war with Russia, lounging on the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He’s gotten fat, and is living it up in his uncle’s luxury apartment:
Mr. Saakashvili is in self-imposed exile on North Seventh Street — plotting a triumphant return, even as his steep fall from grace serves as a cautionary tale to the many American government officials who had hoped he would be a model exporter of democracy to former Soviet republics.
Since leaving office last November, this George W. Bush favorite — whose confrontation with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia led to a disastrous war in 2008 — has commandeered his uncle’s apartment in a tower on the Williamsburg waterfront, where he luxuriates in the neighborhood’s time-honored tradition of mysteriously sourced wealth. When not lingering in cafes, riding his bike across the bridge or spending stag evenings with friends on the Wythe Hotel rooftop, Mr. Saakashvili seizes on the Ukrainian conflict and his experience with Mr. Putin’s wrath as a lifeline back to political relevance.
“It’s the end of Putin,” Mr. Saakashvili, 46, said of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the topic of discussion on Thursday as its president, Petro Poroshenko, met in Washington with President Obama and Congressional leaders. Mr. Saakashvili called Mr. Putin’s actions “very, very similar” to those in Georgia. “I think he walked into trap.”
Yeah, some trap. Where is Putin today? And where is Saakashvili? This has to be the most pitiful statement in the entire story:
Mr. Saakashvili said that while he had a “normal life” in Brooklyn, he considered himself a big deal in Eastern Europe, pointing out that on a recent trip to Albania “they shut down traffic for us and our 20-car escort.” …
Hey, he’s the toast of Tirana! Read the whole thing. It’s full of opportunities for Schadenfreude. Such as:
Mr. Saakashvili is also accused of using public money to fly his massage therapist, Dorothy Stein, into Georgia in 2009. Mr. Saakashvili said he received a massage from Ms. Stein on “one occasion only,” but Ms. Stein said she received 2,000 euros to massage him multiple times, including delivering her trademark “bite massage.”
“He gave me a bunch of presents,” said Ms. Stein, who splits her time between Berlin and Hoboken. “He said, ‘Oh, my wife won’t mind.’ He gave me a gold necklace with some kind of religious pendant, which obviously I’m not going to wear because my God is Frank Zappa.”
Below, some footage of President Saakashvili and an unnamed countryman visiting a Williamsburg art gallery: