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Former Georgian President Shevardnadze dies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 8
Georgia’s second president and former foreign minister of the Soviet Union died on July 7 at the age of 86. After the Rose revolution in 2003, Shevardnadze spent most of his time at his Krtsanisi residence.

In the course of his long political career, Shevardnadze went through various developments, transforming his image from a tough Soviet Communist Party leader to a reformist foreign minister who played a significant role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and unification of Germany.

Shevardnadze was born on January 25, 1928 in the Guria region. He joined the Communist Party in 1948 at the age of 20 and was quickly promoted.

Shevardnadze was promoted to the Interior Ministry of Soviet Georgia in 1965, where he continued his anti-corruption activities, arresting thousands of corrupt party representatives or KGB officials.

In 1972, Shevardnadze became the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party. In 1985, he took the post of foreign minister of the Soviet Union. At the United Nations General Assembly in 1987, Shevardnadze made a well-known anti-nuclear weapons speech.

In 1990 Shevadnadze resigned from the foreign ministry position.

In 1991 there was a coup against the Soviet Leader Mikheil Gorbachov and Shevardnanzde was reinstated to the post again until the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991. After the developments, Shevardnadze returned to Georgia. Shevardnadze was elected chairman of Georgia's parliament in 1992. When the presidency was restored, he won the elections in 1995 and was re-elected in 2000. However, he failed to complete his term due to the Rose Revolution in 2003.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili expressed his condolence over the former president’s death, stressing that Shevardnadze’s contribution was great in terms of establishing Georgia’s geopolitical role in the modern world, as well as in ending the Cold War and the establishment of a new world order.

The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili admitted that Shevardnadze played a significant role in moving the country towards the West.

Spanish politician and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana emphasized that Shevardnadze played a key role in the collapse of the USSR and the reunification of Germany. “He was a great figure,” Solana said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that “Eduard Shevardnadze was a big personality of our time. His December 1990 resignation should not be forgotten today,” said in a Tweet.

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin expresses his deep sorrow over Shevardnadze’s death as well. According to Ria Novosti, the press-secretary of the Russian President, Dimitri Peskov made this statement. According to him, “Vladimir Putin has offered his condolences to Shevardnadze’s relatives and the Georgian nation.”

Shevardnandze’s funeral is scheduled for July 13.