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Eduard Shevardnadze

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Eduard Shevardnadze

Eduard Shevardnadze
ედუარდ შევარდნაძე
President of Georgia
In office
26 November 1995 – 23 November 2003
Preceded by Position restored;
himself as the Head of State of Georgia
Succeeded by Nino Burjanadze (acting)
Chairman of Parliament
In office
6 November 1992 – 26 November 1995
(Chairman of the Parliament from 4 November 1992)
Preceded by Position established;
himself as the Chairman of the State Council of Georgia
Succeeded by Position 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 by Position established; Military Council as the interim head of state
Succeeded by Position abolished; himself as the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
19 November 1991 – 26 December 1991
Premier Ivan Silayev
Preceded by Boris Pankin
Succeeded by Position abolished
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
2 July 1985 – 20 December 1990
Premier Nikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Preceded by Andrei Gromyko
Succeeded by Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
Georgian Communist Party
In office
29 September 1972 – 6 July 1985
Preceded by Vasil Mzhavanadze
Succeeded by Jumber Patiashvili
Full member of the 26th, 27th Politburo
In office
1 July 1985 – 14 July 1990
Personal details
Born (1928-01-25)25 January 1928
Soviet Union
Died 7 July 2014(2014-07-07) (aged 86)
Tblisi, Georgia
Nationality Georgian (1991–2014)
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Union of Citizens of Georgia
Spouse(s) Nanuli Shevardnadze
Children 2
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church

Military service
Service/branch MVD
Years of service 1964–72
Major General
Commands Ministry of Public Order of the Georgian SSR (1965-68)
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR (1968-72)

Eduard Shevardnadze (Rose Revolution.

Shevardnadze started his political career in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Vasil Mzhavanadze with corruption.

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's 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 2003 legislative election that led to a series of public protests and demonstrations colloquially known as the Rose Revolution, Shevardnadze was forced to resign. He later lived in relative obscurity and published his memoirs.


  • Early life and career 1
  • First Secretary of the GCP (1972–85) 2
    • Anti-corruption campaigns 2.1
    • Economic policy 2.2
    • Political experimentation and nationalism 2.3
    • National politics and resignation 2.4
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (1985–91) 3
  • President of Georgia (1995–2003) 4
    • Rise to power 4.1
    • Rule 4.2
    • Downfall 4.3
  • Death and funeral 5
  • Awards 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links and sources 9

Early life and career

Eduard Shevardnadze was born in Dimitri Shevardnadze, who was purged during Stalinist repressions.[2] In 1937 during the Great Purge, his father, who had abandoned Menshevism for Bolshevism in the mid-1920s, was arrested but was released because of the intervention of an NKVD officer who had been Ambrose's pupil.[3]

In 1948 at the age of twenty, Shevardnadze joined the

Party political offices
Preceded by
Vasil Mzhavanadze
First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party
Succeeded by
Jumber Patiashvili
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrey Gromyko
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Bessmertnykh
Preceded by
Boris Pankin
Minister of External Relations of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
None—position abolished
Preceded by
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
President of Georgia
Succeeded by
Nino Burjanadze (acting)
  • BBC obituary
  • Foes of Georgian Leader Storm Into Parliament Building by Seth Mydans, from the New York Times Web Site.
  • Georgian Interior Minister Vows to Enforce State of Emergency on the Voice of America News Web Site.
  • People power forces Georgia leader out from BBC News online.
  • MacKinnon, Mark. Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros. Globe and Mail, 26 November 2003.
  • Russians in Baden-Baden

External links and sources

  • Kui raudne eesriie rebenes. Translation from German to Estonian. Estonian license ("Als der Eiserne Vorhang zerriss", Peter W. Metzler Verlag, Duisburg 2007). Olion, Tallinn, 2009. ISBN 978-9985-66-606-7
  • The Future Belongs To Freedom, by Edvard Shevardnadze, translated by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

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

  • Als der Eiserne Vorhang zerriss - Begegnungen und Erinnerungen. Peter W. Metzler Verlag, Duisburg 2007 (German: revised, re-designed and expanded edition. Georgian "Pikri Tsarsulsa da Momawalze - Memuarebi", Tbilisi 2006). The German edition is the basis for all translations and editions. ISBN 978-3-936283-10-5
  • Когда рухнул железный занавес. Встречи и воспоминания.Эдуард Шеварднадзе, экс-президент Грузии, бывший министр Иностранных дел СССР. Предисловие Александра Бессмертных. Translation from German to Russian. Russian license ("Als der Eiserne Vorhang zerriss", Peter W. Metzler Verlag, Duisburg 2007).

Further reading

  1. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 8.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 10.
  5. ^ a b Hough 1997, p. 178.
  6. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 15–16.
  7. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 10–11.
  8. ^ a b c d Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 11.
  9. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 12.
  10. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 11–12.
  11. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 9.
  12. ^
  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. ^ a b c d e
  31. ^ a b c d e f
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l
  33. ^ Kolstø, Pål. Political Construction Sites: Nation-Building in Russia and the Post-Soviet States, p. 70. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 2000.
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ BBC News, "Georgian ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze dies at 86", 7 July 2014
  40. ^ The Guardian, "Georgia's Former President Eduard Shevardnadze dies aged 86", 7 July 2014
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^



Shevardnadze was accorded a state funeral on 13 July 2014, which was attended by the Georgian political leaders and foreign dignitaries, including the former US Secretary of State James Baker and former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. After a service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, Shevardnadze was buried next to his late wife Nanuli Shevardnadze at the Krtsanisi residence in Tbilisi.[45]

Among others, Russian President [44]

Georgia's incumbent president [42]

Shevardnadze spent his last years living quietly at his mansion house in the outskirts of Tbilisi. As his health deteriorated, his involvement in public life became much reduced. After a long illness, he died at the age of 86 on 7 July 2014.[39][40]

Death and funeral

[38] The outcome sparked fury among many Georgians, leading to mass demonstrations in Tbilisi and elsewhere, called the [32] On 2 November 2003, Georgia held a parliamentary election that was widely denounced as unfair by international election observers.

Banners on Poti is with you"


[36] [32] At the same time, Georgia suffered badly from the effects of crime and rampant corruption, which were often perpetrated by well-connected officials and politicians. Shevardnadze's closest advisers, including several members of his family, exerted disproportionate economic power and became visibly wealthy.

and declared an ambition to join both NATO and the European Union. [32] Shevardnadze also faced separatist conflicts in the regions of

Shevardnadze's career as Georgian President was in some respects more challenging than his earlier career as Soviet Foreign Minister. He faced many enemies, some dating back to his campaigns against corruption and nationalism during Soviet times. A civil war between supporters of Gamsakhurdia and Shevardnadze broke out in western Georgia in 1993 but was ended by Russian intervention on Shevardnadze's side[32] and the death of ex-President Gamsakhurdia on 31 December 1993. Shevardnadze survived three assassination attempts in 1992, 1995, and 1998.[32] He escaped a car bomb in Abkhazia in 1992.[31] In August 1995, he survived another car bomb attack outside the parliament building in Tbilisi.[35] In 1998, his motorcade was ambushed by 10 to 15 armed men; two bodyguards were killed.[31]


[32] and as speaker of parliament in November; both of these posts were equivalent to that of president. 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.[34] The newly independent Republic of Georgia elected as its first president a leader of the national liberation movement,

Rise to power

Shevardnadze meeting Russian President Putin, President Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Kocharyan of Armenia
Shevardnadze on official visit to the United States with President Bill Clinton

President of Georgia (1995–2003)

[33] In 1991, Shevardnadze was baptized into the

During the late 1980s as the Soviet Union descended into crisis, Shevardnadze became increasingly unpopular and was in conflict with Soviet hard-liners who disliked his reforms and his soft line with the West.[32] He criticised a campaign by Soviet troops to put down an [32] 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.[32]

Shevardnadze subsequently played a key role in the détente that marked the end of the Cold War.[30][31] He negotiated nuclear arms treaties with the United States.[31] He helped end the war in Afghanistan,[30][31] allowed the reunification of Germany,[30] and withdrew Soviet forces from Eastern Europe and from the Chinese border.[31] He earned the nickname "The Silver Fox".[30]

Shevardnadze with US Secretary of State George Shultz, 1987

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (1985–91)

When Chernenko died, Shevardnadze became a strong supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership candidacy.[28] Shevardnadze 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.[5]

[27] At the

National politics and resignation

There was another problem facing Shevardnadze during the 1978 demonstrations; some leading Abkhaz intellectuals were writing to concessions made by the secessionists that included establishing an Abhkaz university, the expansion of Abkhaz publications and creating an Abkhaz television station. Shevardnadze would proved to be an active supporter of defending minority interests.[25]

Previous Soviet Georgian rulers had given away to nationalist favouritism to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed legislation calling for an increasing level of Russian language training in the non-Russian republics.[24]

[21] He showed himself, even before Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power, to be a firm supporter of people's democracy—i.e. power from below.[20] Shevardnadze was a strong supporter of political reform in the Georgian SSR. He created agencies attached to the

Political experimentation and nationalism

[19] Shevardnadze took much of the credit for Georgia's economic performance under his rule. Seven months before his promotion to the

[18] In 1973, Shevardnadze launched an agricultural reform in

[17] Under Shevardnadze's rule, Georgia was one of several Soviet Republics that did not experience

Economic policy

[16] Throughout most of Shevardnadze's leadership, anti-corruption campaigns were central to his authority and policy. By the time Shevardnadze had become leader, Georgia was the Soviet republic most afficted by corruption. The rule of Vasil Mzhavanadze had been characterised by weak leadership, nepotism, [8] Shevardnadze's rapid rise in Soviet Georgia's political hierarchy was the result of his campaign against corruption.

Anti-corruption campaigns

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

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

First Secretary of the GCP (1972–85)

In 1951, Shevardnadze married Nanuli Shevardnadze, whose father 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; many other couples lost their lives for the same reason.[11]

[8]'s resignation.Vasil Mzhavanadze and in turn, his promotion to the First Secretaryship after [10] However, these campaigns garnered the interest of the Soviet government,[9] Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign increased public enmity against him.[8] After his demotion Shevardnadze endured several years of obscurity before returning to attention as a First Secretary of a city district in


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