Eduard Shevardnadze

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Eduard Shevardnadze
ედუარდ შევარდნაძე
2nd President of Georgia
In office
26 November 1995 – 23 November 2003
Preceded byPosition restored;
himself as the Head of State of Georgia
Succeeded byNino Burjanadze
Chairman of the Parliament - Head of State of Georgia
In office
6 November 1992 – 26 November 1995
(Chairman of the Parliament from 4 November 1992)
Preceded byPosition established;
himself as the Chairman of the State Council of Georgia
Succeeded byPosition abolished;
Zurab Zhvania as the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
Chairman of the State Council of Georgia
In office
10 March 1992 – 4 November 1992
Preceded byPosition established;Military Council as the interim head of state
Succeeded byPosition abolished; himself as the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
Minister of External Relations of the Soviet Union
In office
19 November 1991 – 26 December 1991
PremierIvan Silayev
Preceded byBoris Pankin
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
2 July 1985 – 20 December 1990
PremierNikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Preceded byAndrei Gromyko
Succeeded byAleksandr Bessmertnykh
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
In office
29 September 1972 – 6 July 1985
Preceded byVasil Mzhavanadze
Succeeded byJumber Patiashvili
Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR
In office
1967–1972
Preceded byVladimir Janjgava
Succeeded byDílar Habuliani
Personal details
Born(1928-01-25) 25 January 1928 (age 85)
Mamati, Guria, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union
NationalitySoviet (former) and Georgian (present)
Political partyUnion of Citizens of Georgia
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Georgian Communist Party
Spouse(s)Nanuli Shevardnadze
Children2
ReligionGeorgian Orthodox
Military service
Service/branchMVD
Years of service1964–1972
RankMajor General
CommandsMinistry of Public Order of the Georgian SSR (1965-1968)
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR (1968-1972)
AwardsSerp i molot.jpg
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order october revolution rib.png Order gpw2 rib.png Orderredbannerlabor rib.png
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg Ukraine-republic007.png
 
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Eduard Shevardnadze
ედუარდ შევარდნაძე
2nd President of Georgia
In office
26 November 1995 – 23 November 2003
Preceded byPosition restored;
himself as the Head of State of Georgia
Succeeded byNino Burjanadze
Chairman of the Parliament - Head of State of Georgia
In office
6 November 1992 – 26 November 1995
(Chairman of the Parliament from 4 November 1992)
Preceded byPosition established;
himself as the Chairman of the State Council of Georgia
Succeeded byPosition abolished;
Zurab Zhvania as the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
Chairman of the State Council of Georgia
In office
10 March 1992 – 4 November 1992
Preceded byPosition established;Military Council as the interim head of state
Succeeded byPosition abolished; himself as the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
Minister of External Relations of the Soviet Union
In office
19 November 1991 – 26 December 1991
PremierIvan Silayev
Preceded byBoris Pankin
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
2 July 1985 – 20 December 1990
PremierNikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Preceded byAndrei Gromyko
Succeeded byAleksandr Bessmertnykh
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
In office
29 September 1972 – 6 July 1985
Preceded byVasil Mzhavanadze
Succeeded byJumber Patiashvili
Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR
In office
1967–1972
Preceded byVladimir Janjgava
Succeeded byDílar Habuliani
Personal details
Born(1928-01-25) 25 January 1928 (age 85)
Mamati, Guria, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union
NationalitySoviet (former) and Georgian (present)
Political partyUnion of Citizens of Georgia
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Georgian Communist Party
Spouse(s)Nanuli Shevardnadze
Children2
ReligionGeorgian Orthodox
Military service
Service/branchMVD
Years of service1964–1972
RankMajor General
CommandsMinistry of Public Order of the Georgian SSR (1965-1968)
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR (1968-1972)
AwardsSerp i molot.jpg
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png
Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order october revolution rib.png Order gpw2 rib.png Orderredbannerlabor rib.png
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg Ukraine-republic007.png

Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze (Georgian: ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე [ɛduard ʃɛvardnad͡zɛ]; born 25 January 1928) is a former Soviet minister of foreign affairs, and later, Georgian statesman from the height to the end of the Cold War. He served as President of Georgia from 1995 to 2003, and as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC, the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia), from 1972 to 1985. Shevardnadze was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy in the Gorbachev Era. He was forced to retire in 2003 as a consequence of the bloodless Rose Revolution.

Shevardnadze's political career started in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Komsomol organisation. He was later appointed its Second Secretary, and even First Secretary. His rise up the Georgian Soviet hierarchy continued until 1961 when he was demoted after he insulted a senior official. After spending two years in obscurity, Shevardnadze's returned as a First Secretary of a Tbilisi city district, and was able to charge the Tbilisi First Secretary at the time for corruption. His anti-corruption work quickly garnered the interest of the Soviet government, and Shevardnadze was appointed to First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. He would later become the head of the internal affairs ministry and was able to charge First Secretary (leader of Soviet Georgia) Vasil Mzhavanadze for corruption charges.

As First Secretary, Shevardnadze started several economic reforms which would spur economic growth in the republic, an uncommon occurrence in the Soviet Union because the country was experiencing a nationwide economic stagnation. Shevardnadze anti-corruption campaign continued until he resigned from his office as First Secretary. Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Shevardnadze to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. From then on, with the exception of a brief period between 1990 and 1991, only Gorbachev would outrank Shevardnadze in importance in Soviet foreign policy.

In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 Shevardnadze returned to a newly independent Georgia. He became the country's head of state following the removal of Zviad Gamsakhurdia as President. Three years later, in 1995, Shevardnadze was elected President. His presidency was marked by rampant corruption and accusations of nepotism. After allegations of an apparent electoral fraud during the 2003 legislative election Shevardnadze was forced to resign following a series of public protests and demonstrations colloquially known as the Rose Revolution. He has lived in relative obscurity ever since, but has published his memoirs.

Contents

Early life and career

Shevardnadze was born in Mamati, Lanchkhuti, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union on 25 January 1928. Ambrose, his father, worked as a teacher and was a devoted communist and party official. He was a cousin of Georgian painter and intellectual Dimitri Shevardnadze purged during Stalinist repressions.[1] His mother however had little respect for the communist government and opposed both Shevardnadze's and his father's party career.[2] In 1937, during the Great Purge, his father, who had abandoned Menshevism for Bolshevism in the mid-1920s, was arrested but was released due to the intervention of an NKVD officer who had been his pupil.[3] The father of his wife, Nanuli Shevardnadze, was killed by the authorities at the height of the purge. At first Nanuli rejected Shevardnadze's marriage proposal, fearing that her family background would ruin Shevardnadze's party career. These fears were well justified as many other couples had lost their life for the very same reason.[4] The two married in 1951.

He joined the Georgian Communist Party (GCP) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1948 at the age of twenty. He rose steadily through the ranks of the Georgian Komsomol, and eventually become its First Secretary after serving a term as Second Secretary.[5] It was during his Komsomol First Secretaryship that Shevardnadze would meet Mikhail Gorbachev for his first time.[6] Shevardnadze claims that he grew disillusioned with the Soviet political system following Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th CPSU Congress. Like many Soviets, the crimes perpetrated by Joseph Stalin horrified Shevardnadze, and the Soviet government's response to the 1956 Georgian demonstrations shocked him even more.[7] He was demoted in 1961 by the Politburo of the Georgian Communist Party after offending a senior official.[5] His demotion led him to endure several years of obscurity before returning to attention as a First Secretary of a city district in Tbilisi.[8] Shevardnadze challenged Tbilisi First Secretary Otari Lolashvili, and later charged him for corruption. Shevardnadze left party work after getting appointed to First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR in 1964. It was his successful attempt at putting Lolashvili behind bar's which got him promoted to the First Deputyship. In 1965 he was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. After initiatsing a successful anti-corruption campaign supported by the Soviet government Shevardnadze was voted-in as Second Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party.[9] As Minister of Internal Affairs Shevardnadze ordered the arrest of more than 25,000 people; 17,000 of these being party members, many government ministers and 70 KGB officials[citation needed]. Several other Georgians would lose their life and/or would face torturing by the authorities[citation needed]. Shevardnadze's corruption campaign increased public enmity against him.[10] However, it was these anti-corruption campaigns which garnered the interest of the Soviet government,[11] and in turn, his promotion to the First Secretaryship after Vasil Mzhavanadze's resignation.[9]

First Secretary of the GCP (1972–1985)

Original CIA file on Shevardnadze, seized from the former United States Embassy in Tehran

Shevardnadze was appointed to the First Secretaryship of the Georgian Communist Party by the Soviet government with the task of suppressing the grey and black-market capitalism that had grown under Vasil Mzhavanadze's rule.[12]

Corruption campaigns

Shevardnadze's rapid rise in Soviet Georgia's political hierarchy was the result of his campaign against corruption.[9] By the time Shevardnadze had become leader Georgia had become the most corrupt-infested republic in the Soviet Union. The reign of Vasil Mzhavanadze, Shevardnadze's predecessor in office, had been characterised by weak leadership, nepotism, despotism, bribery and corruption at the upper echelons of power.[9] Throughout most of his leadership, anti-corruption campaigns were central to his authority and policy. In Georgia corruption had been allowed to grow nearly freely. This had led to serious deformations in the system, an example being that only 68 of Georgian goods were exported legally, while goods exported legally from other Soviet Republics amounted close to 100 percent. Shevardnadze rallied up support for his corruption campaigns by establishing the Study of Public Opinion.[13] To combat corruption he indulged himself in subterfuge after halting all external export by dressing up as a peasant, and driving a car filled with tomatoes through the border.[14] After his personal subterfuge the entire Georgian border police was purged. While never proven, it is said that Shevardnadze after taking office, asked all leading officials to show their left hands; he then ordered those who used Western produced watches to replace them with Soviet ones. This story portrayed Shevardnadzes as an active battler against corruption.[15] His campaign against corruption was largely unsuccessful and when he returned to Georgia in 1992, corruption was still an epidemic problem.[16]

Economic policy

Under Shevardnadze's rule Georgia was one of only a handful of Soviet Republics who did not experience economic stagnation, quite to the contrary Georgia experienced rapid economic growth. By 1974 industrial output had increased by 9.6 percent while agricultural output had increased by 18 percent. The shortage economy which had evolved into a prevalent problem in other parts of the Soviet Union had in Georgia nearly disappeared. This positive trend can be proven by the fact that the long Food queues in Tbilisi had been shortened while in Moscow been lengthened. Some of Shevardnadze's economic policies were adopted by the Soviet government on a national level.[17]

In 1973 Shevardnadze launched an agricultural reform in Abasha, popularly referred to as the "Abasha experiment". This reform was inspired by János Kádár's agricultural policy in the People's Republic of Hungary which returned the agricultural decision-making to the local level of governance. Shevardnadze merged all Abasha agricultural institutions in one single entity and established a new remuneration system. If a farmer fulfilled the five-year plan early he would be awarded a share of the crops. The policy had a positive effect on the Georgian economy, and because of the large increase of agricultural output in Abasha, the reform was introduced elsewhere in the republic. The agricultural reform in Georgia became the model of the nationwide Agricultural-Industrial Organisations established by a decree in 1982.[18]

Shevardnadze has taken much of the credit for Georgia's economic performance under his rule. Seven months before his promotion to the Soviet Foreign Affairs Ministership Shevardnadze claimed that there were thirty, or more, economic experiments operating in Georgia which he claimed would further democratise the economic management.[19]

Political experimentation and nationalism

Shevardnadze was a strong supporter of political reform in the Georgian SSR. Under his rule he created agencies attached to the Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party whose main task was studying, analysing and molding public opinion. These agencies worked closely with Georgia's communications networks, such as television, and government ministers and Shevardnadze himself were regularly interviewed live on television.[15] Shevardnadze criticised flattery in Georgia, and felt that he along with his government's activities, needed to get criticised more often, especially during party congresses.[20] He also proved himself, even before Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power, to be a firm supporter of people's democracy (e.g. power from below).[21]

The previous Soviet Georgian rulers had given away to nationalist favoratism to the Georgians, Shevardnadze was however, against this policy of favoratism. Therefore his nationalistic policy is seen as highly controversial in today's Georgia.[22] At the 25th Congress of the Georgian Communist Party Shevardnadze told the congress; "for Georgians, the sun rises not in the east, but in the north—in Russia".[23] Shevardnadze saw "extreme nationalism", coupled with corruption and inefficiencies within the system, as one of the main obstacles to economic growth. During his rule he condemned what he saw as "national narrow-mindedness and isolation" and writers who published works with nationalistic overtones. The 1970s saw an increase in nationalistic tendencies in Georgian society. When the 1978 Georgian demonstrations were sparked when the Soviet government decided to amend the Georgian constitution and removing the Georgian language as the sole state language in the republic. While at first standing at the same side as the Soviet government Shevardnadze quickly reiterated his position and was able to make a compromise with the Soviet government and the demonstrators. The Georgian language was kept as the sole official language of the republic, however, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed a legislation which called for an increasing the level of Russian language training in the non-Russian republics.[24]

There was another problem facing Shevardnadze during the 1978 demonstrations, some leading Abkhaz intellectuals were writing to Leonid Brezhnev in the hope that he would let the Abkhaz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic secede from Georgia and merge into the Russian SFSR. To halt this development the Georgian government gave away to concessions made by the secessionists. These concessions includes establishing an Abhkaz university, the expansion of Abkhaz publications and creating an Abkhaz television station. Shevardnadze would prove however to be an active supporter of defending minority interest.[25]

National politics and resignation

At the 25th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1976 Shevardnadze held a speech in which he called General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev "vozhd" (leader), a term previously reserved for Joseph Stalin. His adulation was only surpassed by those of Andrei Kirilenko and Heydar Aliyev. As Yegor Ligachev later noted, Shevardnadze never contradicted a General Secretary.[26] During Brezhnev's last days Shevardnadze had publicly endorsed Konstantin Chernenko's candidacy for the General Secretaryship and called him a "great theoretician". However, when it became clear that the secretaryship would not go to Chernenko, but instead Yuri Andropov, Shevardnadze swiftly reiterated his position and gave his support for Andropov. Shevardnadze's became the first Soviet republican head to offer his gratitude to the newly elected leader, in turn, Andropov quickly signaled his appreciation and his support for some of the reforms launched by Shevardnadze. According to Andropov's biographers the anti-corruption campaigned launched by him was inspired by Shervardnadze's Georgian anti-corruption campaign. When Andropov died Shevardnadze became yet again an avid supporter for Chernenko's candidacy for the General Secretaryship.[27] When Chernenko died Shevardnadze's had become a strong supporter Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership candidacy.[28] He became a member of the Central Committee (CC) of the CPSU in 1976 and in 1978 was promoted to the rank of non-voting candidate member of the Soviet Political Bureau (Politburo).[29] His chance came in 1985 when the veteran Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko, left that post for the largely ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The de facto leader, Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, appointed Shevardnadze to replace Gromyko as Minister of Foreign Affairs, thus consolidating Gorbachev's circle of relatively young reformers.[6]

Minister of Foreign Affairs Soviet Union (1985–1991)

Shevardnadze with US Secretary of State George Shultz, 1987

He subsequently played a key role in the détente which marked the end of the Cold War. He was credited with helping to devise the so-called "Sinatra Doctrine" of allowing the Soviet Union's eastern European satellites to "do it their way" rather than forcibly restraining any attempts to pursue a different course. When democratization and revolution began to sweep across eastern Europe, he rejected the pleas of eastern European Communist leaders for Soviet intervention and smoothed the path for a (mostly) peaceful democratic transformation in the region. He reportedly told hardliners that "it is time to realize that neither socialism, nor friendship, nor good-neighborliness, nor respect can be produced by bayonets, tanks or blood." However, his moderation was seen by some communists and Russian nationalists as a betrayal and earned him the long-term antagonism of powerful figures in Moscow.

During the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union descended into crisis, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze became increasingly estranged from each other over policy differences. Gorbachev fought to preserve a socialist government and the unity of the Soviet Union, while Shevardnadze advocated further political and economic liberalisation. He resigned in protest against Gorbachev's policies in December 1990, delivering a dramatic warning to the Soviet parliament that "Reformers have gone and hidden in the bushes. Dictatorship is coming." A few months later, his fears were partially realised when an unsuccessful coup by Communist hardliners precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Shevardnadze returned briefly as Soviet Foreign Minister in November 1991 but resigned with Gorbachev the following month when the Soviet Union was formally dissolved.

In 1991, Shevardnadze was baptized into the Georgian Orthodox Church.[30]

President of Georgia (1995–2003)

Rise to power

The newly independent Republic of Georgia elected as its first president a leader of the national-liberational movement, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a famous scientist and writer, who had been imprisoned by Shevardnadze's government in the late 1970s. Gamsakhurdia's rule ended abruptly in January 1992 when he was deposed in a bloody coup d'état and forced to flee to the Chechen Republic in neighboring Russia. Shevardnadze was appointed acting chairman of the Georgian state council in March 1992. When the Presidency was restored in November 1995, he was elected with 70% of the vote. He secured a second term in April 2000 in an election that was marred by widespread claims of vote-rigging.

Rule

Shevardnadze's career as Georgian President was in some respects even more challenging than his earlier career as Soviet Foreign Minister. He faced many enemies, some dating back to his campaigns against corruption and nationalism in Soviet times. A civil war in western Georgia broke out in 1993 between supporters of Gamsakhurdia and Shevardnadze but was ended by Russian intervention on Shevardnadze's side and the death of ex-President Gamsakhurdia on 31 December 1993. Several assassination attempts were mounted against Shevardnadze. He escaped an assassination attempt in Abkhazia in 1992: Russian military carried out an attack on Shevardnadze's life. Then in August 1995 and February 1998 which his government blamed on the ex-security minister Igor Giorgadze and the remnants of Gamsakhurdia's party, respectively. The 1995 attack had seen his motorcade attacked with anti-tank rockets and small arms fire in Tbilisi under cover of night.[31] In 1999, he accused General Gujar Kurashvili and ex-associates of Igor Giorgadze of plotting another attempt on his life.[32]

He also faced separatist conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which caused the deaths of an estimated 10,000 people, as well as an assertively autonomous government in Ajaria.[citation needed]

The war in the Russian republic of Chechnya on Georgia's northern border caused considerable friction with Russia, which accused Shevardnadze of harbouring Chechen guerrillas and supported Georgian separatists in apparent retaliation. Further friction was caused by Shevardnadze's close relationship with the United States, which saw him as a counterbalance to Russian influence in the strategic Transcaucasus region. Under Shevardnadze's strongly pro-Western administration, Georgia became a major recipient of U.S. foreign and military aid, signed a strategic partnership with NATO and declared an ambition to join both NATO and the European Union. Perhaps his greatest diplomatic coup was the securing of a $3 billion project to build a pipeline carrying oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia.

At the same time, however, Georgia suffered badly from the effects of crime and rampant corruption, often perpetrated by well-connected officials and politicians. Shevardnadze's closest advisers, including several members of his family, exerted disproportionate economic power. It was estimated by outside observers that Shevardnadze's inner circle controlled as much as 70 per cent of the economy: his wife edited and wrote for one of the country's major newspapers, his daughter was the director of a television film studio and her husband founded one of the country's leading mobile phone networks (with American funding).[citation needed] While Shevardnadze himself was not a conspicuous profiteer, he was accused by many Georgians of shielding corrupt supporters and using his powers of patronage to shore up his own position. Georgia acquired an unenviable reputation as one of the world's most corrupt countries. Eventually, even his American supporters grew tired of pouring money into an apparent black hole.

Downfall

Banners on Parliament of Georgia saying: "Georgia without Shevardnadze", "Poti is with you"

On 2 November 2003, Georgia held a parliamentary election that was widely denounced as unfair by international election observers, as well as by the U.N. and the U.S. government. The outcome sparked fury among many Georgians, leading to mass demonstrations in the capital Tbilisi and elsewhere. Protesters broke into Parliament on 22 November as the first session of the new Parliament was beginning, forcing President Shevardnadze to escape with his bodyguards. He later declared a state of emergency and insisted that he would not resign.

Despite growing tension, both sides publicly stated their wish to avoid any violence, a particular concern given Georgia's turbulent post-Soviet history. Nino Burjanadze, speaker of the Georgian parliament, said she would act as president until the situation was resolved. The leader of the opposition Mikhail Saakashvili stated he would guarantee Shevardnadze's safety and support his return as President provided he promised to call early presidential elections.

On 23 November Shevardnadze met with the opposition leaders Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania to discuss the situation, in a meeting arranged by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. After this meeting, the president announced his resignation, declaring that he wished to avert a bloody power struggle "so all this can end peacefully and there is no bloodshed and no casualties". However, it was widely speculated that the refusal of the armed forces to enforce his emergency decree was the main cause of his resignation. He claimed the following day that he had been prepared to step down the previous morning, hours before he actually did, but was prevented from doing so by his entourage.

Although it was unclear precisely what role foreign powers played in the toppling of Shevardnadze, it emerged shortly afterwards that both Russia and the United States had played a direct role. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell communicated regularly with Shevardnadze during the post-election crisis, reportedly pushing him to step down peacefully. Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov flew to Tbilisi to visit three main opposition leaders and Shevardnadze, and arranged on late 23 November for Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania to meet Shevardnadze. Ivanov then travelled to the autonomous region of Ajaria for consultations with the Ajaran leader Aslan Abashidze, who had been pro-Shevardnadze.

Shevardnadze's ouster prompted mass celebrations with drinking and dancing in the streets by tens of thousands of Georgians crowding Tbilisi's Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square. The protesters dubbed their actions a "Rose Revolution", deliberately recalling the peaceful toppling of the Communist government in Czechoslovakia in the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989. Observers noted similarities with the overthrow of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević in 2000, who was also forced to resign by mass protests. The parallel with Yugoslavia was reinforced when it emerged that the Open Society Institute of George Soros had arranged contacts between the Georgian opposition and the Yugoslav Otpor (Resistance) movement, which had been instrumental in the toppling of Milošević. Otpor activists reportedly advised the Georgian opposition on the methods that they had used to mobilize popular anger against Milošević. According to the then editor-in-chief of The Georgian Messenger newspaper, Zaza Gachechiladze, "It's generally accepted public opinion here that Mr. Soros is the person who planned Shevardnadze's overthrow". IWPR reported that on 28 November, in an interview held with the press at his home, Shevardnadze "spoke with anger" about a plot by "unspecified Western figures" to bring him down. He said that he did not believe that the US administration was involved.

The German government offered Shevardnadze political asylum in Germany, where he is still widely respected for his role as one of the chief Soviet architects of reunification in 1990. It was reported (although never confirmed) that his family had purchased a villa in the resort town of Baden-Baden[citation needed]. However, he told German TV on 24 November, "Although I am very grateful for the invitation from the German side, I love my country very much and I won't leave it." He has begun to write his memoirs following his forced retirement.

Legacy

Shevardnadze's political career was filled with contradictions. He was a product of the Soviet system, but played a central role in dismantling that system. He built his reputation on fighting political corruption, but came to be seen as using corrupt methods to shore up his own position. He achieved worldwide renown as the most liberal foreign minister in the history of the USSR, but was never nearly as popular in his own country. He succeeded in maintaining Georgia's territorial integrity in the face of strong separatist pressures, but was unable to restore his government's authority in large areas of the country. He helped to establish a viable civil society in Georgia, but resorted to rigging elections to maintain his powerbase.

When Shevardnadze joined the Georgian state council in 1992 in the chaotic aftermath of the coup against Zviad Gamsakhurdia, he presented himself as being the best candidate to guide Georgia through its difficult rebirth as an independent nation. Over time, he seemed to have become convinced that his interests and those of Georgia were the same, justifying the use of unscrupulous tactics in the apparent belief that Georgia could not survive without him. His downfall ushered in a renewed period of uncertainty in Georgian politics. One positive aspect in the eyes of many observers was the fact that, under his rule, a vigorous civil society had become well established and would possibly be better able to meet the challenge than had been the case in the early 1990s.

Shevardnadze published his memoirs in May 2006 under the title pikri tsarsulsa da momavalze, or 'Thoughts about the Past and the Future'. During the 2008 South Ossetia war, he made public his attempts to restore Georgian diplomatic relations with Russia, and continues to argue for it.

Awards

Shevarnadze was awarded with Azerbaijani Istiglal Order for his contributions to development of Azerbaijan–Georgia relations and strategic cooperation between the states by President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on 1 March 2000.[33]

References

Notes
  1. ^ "ШЕВАРДНАДЗЕ: БЕРИЯ УБИЛ СТАЛИНА И РАССТРЕЛЯЛ ДВОЮРОДНОГО БРАТА МОЕГО ОТЦА". 22 March 2010. http://www.georgians.ru/news.asp?idnews=38509. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 8.
  3. ^ Suny, Ronald (1994). The Making of the Georgian Nation. Indiana University Press. pp. 328–329. ISBN 0-253-20915-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=riW0kKzat2sC&dq.
  4. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 9.
  5. ^ a b Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 10.
  6. ^ a b Hough 1997, p. 178.
  7. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 15–16.
  8. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 10–11.
  9. ^ a b c d Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 11.
  10. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 12.
  11. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 11–12.
  12. ^ "Soviet Union: Southern Corruption". Time. 3 December 1973. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,908227,00.html. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  13. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 19.
  14. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 19–20.
  15. ^ a b Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 20.
  16. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 26.
  17. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 17.
  18. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 18.
  19. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 18–19.
  20. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 20–21.
  21. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 21.
  22. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 22.
  23. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 22–23.
  24. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 23.
  25. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 24.
  26. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 13.
  27. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 14.
  28. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 14–15.
  29. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 31.
  30. ^ Kolstø, Pål. Political Construction Sites: Nation-Building in Russia and the Post-Soviet States, p. 70. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 2000.
  31. ^ Katz, Samuel M. "Relentless Pursuit: The DSS and the manhunt for the al-Qaeda terrorists", 2002
  32. ^ "'Russia behind Georgia plot'". BBC News. 24 May 24, 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/351760.stm. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  33. ^ "Gürcüstanın Prezidenti Eduard Amrosiyeviç Şevardnadzenin "İstiqlal" ordeni ilə təltif edilməsi haqqında AZƏRBAYCAN RESPUBLİKASI PREZİDENTİNİN FƏRMANI [Order of the President of Azerbaijan Republic on awarding President of Georgia Eduard Shevarnadze with Istiglal Order]". http://e-qanun.az/print.php?internal=view&target=1&docid=591&doctype=0. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
Bibliography

Further reading

М.: Издательство "Европа", 2009, 428 с. ISBN 978-5-9739-0188-2

External links and sources

Party political offices
Preceded by
Vasil Mzhavanadze
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
1972–1985
Succeeded by
Jumber Patiashvili
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrey Gromyko
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
1985–1991
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
Preceded by
Boris Pankin
Minister of External Relations of the Soviet Union
1991
Succeeded by
None—position abolished
Preceded by
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
President of Georgia
1995–2003
Succeeded by
Nino Burjanadze