How a Former Governor Invaded Ukraine

Taunting the authorities.

Photographer: Brendan Hoffman

On Sunday night, supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president, broke through a police and border guard cordon on the Ukrainian border to let their expelled hero back into the country. The dramatic stunt was a sad testimony to the failure of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's attempt to use foreigners to reform the corrupt post-Soviet nation. It also exposes as hollow the president's narrative of a country that has made a civilizational choice in favor of the West.

Saakashvili was one of many foreign experts Poroshenko called on after he was elected in 2014, following Ukraine's "Revolution of Dignity." The Georgian headed Poroshenko's reform advisory council and then, as his political prospects in his native country faded, accepted the Odessa governor's job to attempt the economic revival of a key, largely Russian-speaking region. Ukrainian citizenship came with the appointment.

QuickTake Standoff in Ukraine