„[T]hat afternoon, Sergei Lavrov called me for the second time during the crisis. [... ] “We have three demands,” he said.
“What are they?” I asked.
“The first two are that the Georgians sign the no-use-of-force pledge and that their troops return to barracks,” he told me.
“Done,” I answered.
[... ] But then Sergei said, “The other demand is just between us. Misha Saakashvili has to go.” I couldn’t believe my ears and I reacted out of instinct, not analysis.
“Sergei, the secretary of state of the United States does not have a conversation with the Russian foreign minister about overthrowing a democratically elected president,” I said. “The third condition has just become public because I’m going to call everyone I can and tell them that Russia is demanding the overthrow of the Georgian president.”
“I said it was between us,” he repeated.
“No, it’s not between us. Everyone is going to know.” The conversation ended. I called Steve Hadley to tell him about the Russian demand. Then I called the British, the French, and several others. That afternoon the UN Security Council was meeting. I asked our representative to inform the Council as well.
Lavrov was furious, saying that he’d never had a colleague divulge the contents of a diplomatic conversation. I felt I had no choice. If the Georgians wanted to punish Saakashvili for the war, they would have a chance to do it through their own constitutional processes. But the Russians had no right to insist on his removal. The whole thing had an air of the Soviet period, when Moscow had controlled the fate of leaders throughout Eastern Europe. I was certainly not going to be party to a return to those days .“
No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington