Eduard Shevardnadze

Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze (Georgian: ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე, Eduard Ambrosis dze Ševardnadze; 25 January 1928 – 7 July 2014) was a Georgian politician and diplomat. He served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC), the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia from 1972 to 1985 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Shevardnadze was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era including reunification of Germany. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he was President of Georgia (or in equivalent posts) from 1992 to 2003. He was forced to retire in 2003 as a consequence of the bloodless Rose Revolution.

Shevardnadze started his political career in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Komsomol organisation. He was later appointed its Second Secretary, then its First Secretary. His rise in the Georgian Soviet hierarchy continued until 1961 when he was demoted after he insulted a senior official. After spending two years in obscurity, Shevardnadze returned as a First Secretary of a Tbilisi city district, and was able to charge the Tbilisi First Secretary at the time with corruption. His anti-corruption work quickly garnered the interest of the Soviet government and Shevardnadze was appointed as 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 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 Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Shevardnadze returned to the newly independent Georgia. He became the country's head of state following the removal of the country's first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Shevardnadze was formally elected president in 1995. His presidency was marked by rampant corruption and accusations of nepotism. After allegations of electoral fraud during 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.

Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze
ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე
Eduard shevardnadze
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 (acting)
Chairman of Parliament
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 Foreign Affairs 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
Full member of the 26th, 27th Politburo
In office
1 July 1985 – 14 July 1990
Personal details
Born25 January 1928
Mamati, Guria, Georgian SSR, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died7 July 2014 (aged 86)
Tbilisi, Georgia
NationalitySoviet (1928–1991) and Georgian (1991–2014)
Political partySoviet Communist (1948–1991)
Independent (1991–1995)
Union of Citizens of Georgia (1995–2003)
Spouse(s)Nanuli Shevardnadze (1951–2004; her death)
AwardsHero of Socialist Labor medal.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 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 Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise 1st 2nd and 3rd Class of Ukraine.png Order of the State of Republic of Turkey.png
Eduard Shevardnadze's signature
Military service
Years of service1964–1972
RankRAF A F6MajGen since 2010par.svg
Major General
CommandsMinistry of Public Order of the Georgian SSR (1965–68)
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR (1968–72)

Early life and career

Eduard Shevardnadze was born in Mamati in the Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union, on 25 January 1928. His father Ambrose was a teacher and a devoted communist and party official. His mother had little respect for the communist government and opposed both Shevardnadze's and his father's party careers.[1] Eduard was a cousin of the Georgian painter and intellectual 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 Georgian Communist Party (GCP) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He rose steadily through the ranks of the Georgian Komsomol and after serving a term as Second Secretary, he became its First Secretary.[4] During his Komsomol First Secretaryship, Shevardnadze met Mikhail Gorbachev for his first time.[5] Shevardnadze said he grew disillusioned with the Soviet political system following Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th CPSU Congress. Like many Soviet people, the crimes perpetrated by Joseph Stalin horrified Shevardnadze, and the Soviet government's response to the 1956 Georgian demonstrations shocked him even more.[6] He was demoted in 1961 by the Politburo of the Georgian Communist Party after offending a senior official.[4]

After his demotion Shevardnadze endured several years of obscurity before returning to attention as a First Secretary of a city district in Tbilisi.[7] Shevardnadze challenged Tbilisi First Secretary Otari Lolashvili, and later charged him with corruption. Shevardnadze left party work after his appointment as First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR in 1964. It was his successful attempt at gaolling Lolashvili, which got him promoted to the post of First Deputyship. In 1965, Shevardnadze was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. After initiating a successful anti-corruption campaign supported by the Soviet government, Shevardnadze was voted as Second Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party.[8] Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign increased public enmity against him.[9] However, these campaigns garnered the interest of the Soviet government,[10] and in turn, his promotion to the First Secretaryship after Vasil Mzhavanadze's resignation.[8]

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]Between July 25, 1972, and September 29, 1972, Shevardnadze served the First secretary of the Tbilisi City Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia.[12]

First Secretary of the GCP (1972–85)

Espionage den04 50
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; he was tasked with suppressing the grey and black-market capitalism that had grown under his predecessor Vasil Mzhavanadze's rule.[13]

Anti-corruption campaigns

Shevardnadze's rapid rise in Soviet Georgia's political hierarchy was the result of his campaign against corruption.[8] 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 afflicted by corruption. The rule of Vasil Mzhavanadze had been characterised by weak leadership, nepotism, despotism, and bribery pervading the upper echelons of power.[8] In Georgia, corruption had been allowed to thrive, leading to serious deformations in the system; for example only 68 per cent of Georgian goods were exported legally, while the percentage of goods exported legally from other Soviet Republics approached 100 per cent. Shevardnadze rallied support for his anti-corruption campaigns by establishing the Study of Public Opinion.[14] To combat corruption, he engaged in subterfuge; after halting all exports he dressed himself as a peasant and drove a car filled with tomatoes through the border.[15] After his personal subterfuge, the entire Georgian border police was purged. While never proven, it is said that after taking office, Shevardnadze asked all leading officials to show their left hands and ordered those who used Western-produced watches to replace them with Soviet ones. This story portrayed Shevardnadze as an active battler against corruption.[16] His campaign against corruption was largely unsuccessful and when he returned to Georgia in 1992, corruption was still a huge problem.[17]

Economic policy

Under Shevardnadze's rule, Georgia was one of several Soviet Republics that did not experience economic stagnation, instead experiencing rapid economic growth. By 1974, industrial output had increased by 9.6 per cent and agricultural output had increased by 18 per cent. The shortage economy, which had evolved into a prevalent problem in other parts of the Soviet Union, had nearly disappeared in Georgia. Long food queues in Tbilisi had shortened while those in Moscow had lengthened. Some of Shevardnadze's economic policies were adopted nationally by the Soviet government.[18]

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 Hungarian People's Republic, which returned agricultural decision-making to the local level of governance. Shevardnadze merged all Abasha agricultural institutions into a 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.[19]

Shevardnadze took much of the credit for Georgia's economic performance under his rule. Seven months before his promotion to the Soviet Foreign Affairs Ministership, Shevardnadze said there were thirty or more economic experiments operating in Georgia, which he said would further democratise the economic management.[20]

Political experimentation and nationalism

Shevardnadze was a strong supporter of political reform in the Georgian SSR. He created agencies attached to the Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party whose main task was studying, analysing and moulding public opinion. These agencies worked closely with Georgia's communications networks and media; government ministers and Shevardnadze were regularly interviewed live on television.[16] Shevardnadze criticised flattery in Georgia and said he and his government's activities needed to be criticised more often, especially during party congresses.[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.[22]

Previous Soviet Georgian rulers had given in to nationalist favouritism to the Georgians; Shevardnadze was against this policy of favouritism. Therefore, his nationalistic policy is considered controversial in Georgia.[23] 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".[24] 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 considered "national narrow-mindedness and isolation" and writers who published works with nationalistic overtones. The 1970s saw an increase in nationalistic tendencies in Georgian society. The 1978 Georgian demonstrations were sparked by the Soviet government's decision to amend the Georgian constitution and remove the Georgian language as the sole state language in the republic. While at first standing firm with the Soviet government, Shevardnadze quickly reiterated his position and was able to compromise with the Soviet government and the demonstrators. The Georgian language was kept as the sole official language of the republic and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed legislation calling for an increasing level of Russian language training in the non-Russian republics.[25]

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 way to concessions made by the secessionists that included establishing an Abhkaz university, the expansion of Abkhaz publications and creating an Abkhaz television station. Shevardnadze proved to be an active supporter of defending minority interests.[26]

National politics and resignation

At the 25th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1976, Shevardnadze gave 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 that of Andrei Kirilenko and Heydar Aliyev. As Yegor Ligachev later said, Shevardnadze never contradicted a General Secretary.[27] During Brezhnev's last days, Shevardnadze 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 to Yuri Andropov, Shevardnadze swiftly revised his position and gave his support for Andropov. Shevardnadze became the first Soviet republican head to offer his gratitude to the newly elected leader; in turn, Andropov quickly signalled his appreciation and his support for some of the reforms pioneered by Shevardnadze. According to Andropov's biographers the anti-corruption drive he launched was inspired by Shervardnadze's Georgian anti-corruption campaign. When Andropov died, Shevardnadze again became an avid supporter of Chernenko's candidacy for the General Secretaryship.[28]

When Chernenko died, Shevardnadze became a strong supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership candidacy.[29] 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).[30] 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]

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

RIAN archive 770216 U.S.Secretary of State Eduard Shevardnadze and George P Shultz on visit to USSR
Shevardnadze with US Secretary of State George Shultz, 1987

Shevardnadze subsequently played a key role in the détente that marked the end of the Cold War.[31][32] He negotiated nuclear arms treaties with the United States.[32] He helped end the war in Afghanistan,[31][32] allowed the reunification of Germany,[31] and withdrew Soviet forces from Eastern Europe and from the Chinese border.[32] He earned the nickname "The Silver Fox".[31]

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.[33] He criticised a campaign by Soviet troops to put down an uprising in his native Georgia in 1989. In protest over the growing influence of hardliners under Gorbachev, Shevardnadze suddenly resigned in December 1990, saying, "Dictatorship is coming".[33] 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.[33]

In 1991, Shevardnadze was baptized into the Georgian Orthodox Church.[34]

President of Georgia (1995–2003)

Rise to power

The newly independent Republic of Georgia elected as its first president a leader of the national liberation movement, Zviad Gamsakhurdia—a scientist and writer who had been imprisoned by Shevardnadze's government in the late 1970s. However, Gamsakhurdia's rule ended abruptly in January 1992, when he was deposed in a bloody coup d'état.[31] Shevardnadze was appointed Speaker of the Georgian parliament in March 1992[35] 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.[33]


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[33] and the death of ex-President Gamsakhurdia on 31 December 1993. Shevardnadze survived three assassination attempts in 1992, 1995, and 1998.[33] He escaped a car bomb in Abkhazia in 1992.[32] In August 1995, he survived another car bomb attack outside the parliament building in Tbilisi.[36] In 1998, his motorcade was ambushed by 10 to 15 armed men; two bodyguards were killed.[32]

Shevardnadze also faced separatist conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 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 in apparent retaliation supported Georgian separatists.[33] 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[33] and declared an ambition to join both NATO and the European Union.

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.[33] Transparency International's corruption index listed Georgia as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.[37]


3OP 12
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.[33] The outcome sparked fury among many Georgians, leading to mass demonstrations in Tbilisi and elsewhere, called the Rose Revolution. 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.[33] 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.[33] After this meeting, Shevardnadze 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".[38] Shevardnadze's resignation as President of Georgia was the end of his political career.[39]

Death and funeral

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.[40][41]

Georgia's incumbent president Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili extended condolences to his family members. Margvelashvili described him as "one of the distinguished politicians of the 20th century, who participated in dismantling of the Soviet system". He added, "He was also playing a serious role in creation of new Georgia and in development of our western course". Garibashvili said Shevardnadze's "contribution was especially important in establishing Georgia’s geopolitical role in the modern world. Eduard Shevardnadze was a politician of international significance, who made a great contribution to end the Cold War and to establish new world order."[42] Former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who overthrew Shevardnadze in the 2003 Rose Revolution, offered condolences and said Shevardnadze was "a significant figure for the Soviet empire and for post-Soviet Georgia". Saakashvili said his government did not start a criminal prosecution against Shevardnadze, despite calls by some politicians and parts of society, out of "respect to the President’s institution".[43]

Among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin[44] and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered condolences. Kerry credited Shevardnadze with playing "an instrumental role" in bringing about the end of the Cold War, a reduction of "the risk of nuclear confrontation" as the Soviet Union's Foreign Minister, ensuring "the sovereignty and territorial integrity of [Georgia] during the 1990s" as President of Georgia and putting the country "on its irreversible trajectory toward Euro-Atlantic integration".[45]

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.[46]



  1. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 8.
  2. ^ "ШЕВАРДНАДЗЕ: БЕРИЯ УБИЛ СТАЛИНА И РАССТРЕЛЯЛ ДВОЮРОДНОГО БРАТА МОЕГО ОТЦА". 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. ^ Suny, Ronald (1994). The Making of the Georgian Nation. Indiana University Press. pp. 328–329. ISBN 0-253-20915-3.
  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. ^ "from 25 July, 1972, First Secretary of Tbilisi Party City Committee;". Archived from the original on 2017-09-19.
  13. ^ "Soviet Union: Southern Corruption". Time. 3 December 1973. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  14. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 19.
  15. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 19–20.
  16. ^ a b Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 20.
  17. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 26.
  18. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 17.
  19. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 18.
  20. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 18–19.
  21. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 20–21.
  22. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 21.
  23. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 22.
  24. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 22–23.
  25. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 23.
  26. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 24.
  27. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 13.
  28. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 14.
  29. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, pp. 14–15.
  30. ^ Ekedahl and Goodman 2001, p. 31.
  31. ^ a b c d e "Eduard Shevardnadze: Controversial legacy to Georgia". BBC. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  32. ^ a b c d e f "Eduard Shevardnadze, Foreign Minister Under Gorbachev, Dies at 86". New York Times. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Eduard Shevardnadze - obituary". Daily Telegraph. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  34. ^ Kolstø, Pål. Political Construction Sites: Nation-Building in Russia and the Post-Soviet States, p. 70. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 2000.
  35. ^ "Eduard Shevardnadze obituary". Guardian. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Eduard Shevardnadze obituary" (7 July 2014). Guardian. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  37. ^ "POSTSCRIPT: EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE, 1928-2014". New Yorker. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  38. ^ "Georgian Leader Resigns Amid Peaceful Opposition Standoff". PBS. November 24, 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  39. ^ "Eduard Shevardnadze: A Soviet-Georgian life of global importance". DW. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  40. ^ BBC News, "Georgian ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze dies at 86", 7 July 2014
  41. ^ The Guardian, "Georgia's Former President Eduard Shevardnadze dies aged 86", 7 July 2014
  42. ^ "Georgian President, PM Extend Condolences over Shevardnadze's Death". Civil Georgia. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  43. ^ "Saakashvili Offers Condolences Over Shevardnadze's Death". Civil Georgia. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  44. ^ "Putin Sends Condolences to Georgia over Shevardnadze's Death". Civil Georgia. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  45. ^ "On the Passing of Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze" (Press Statement). U.S. State Department. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  46. ^ "Shevardnadze Laid to Rest in State Funeral". Civil Georgia. 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  47. ^ a b c d "Georgian ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze dies at 86". TASS. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  48. ^ "Dostluk İlişkilerine Katkının Altın Sembolü: Devlet ve Cumhuriyet Nişanları (Turkish) - The Gold Symbol Contribution of Friendly Relations : State and Republic Orders". February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  49. ^ "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]. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.

Further reading

  • 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).

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

  • 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

External links and sources

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)
1992 Georgian general election

General elections were held in Georgia on 11 October 1992, in which voters elected both the Parliament and the Chairman of Parliament, who also acted as Head of State as the President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was in exile after being outsted in a coup in January. Independent candidate Eduard Shevardnadze was the only candidate in the election for Head of State, whilst the Peace Bloc won the most seats in Parliament. Voter turnout was 74.2%.

1995 Georgian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Georgia on 5 November 1995. The result was a victory for Eduard Shevardnadze of the Union of Citizens of Georgia, who won 77.0% of the vote, with a 68.3% turnout.

2000 Georgian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Georgia on 9 April 2000. The result was a victory for Eduard Shevardnadze of the Union of Citizens of Georgia, who won 82.0% of the vote, with a 75.9% turnout.

2003 Georgian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Georgia on 2 November 2003 alongside a constitutional referendum. According to statistics released by the Georgian Election Commission, the elections were won by a combination of parties supporting President Eduard Shevardnadze.

However, the results were annulled by the Georgia Supreme Court after the Rose Revolution on 25 November, following allegations of widespread electoral fraud and large public protests which led to the resignation of Shevardnadze. Fresh elections were held on 28 March 2004.

2004 Georgian presidential election

A presidential election was held in the Republic of Georgia on January 4, 2004. The election followed the resignation of former President Eduard Shevardnadze. As expected, the main opposition leader, Mikhail Saakashvili, was soon shown by exit polls to be heading for an overwhelming victory. According to preliminary results issued on January 6 by Georgia's Central Election Commission, Saakashvili won over 97% of the votes cast.

The other candidates received less than 2% each. They were former presidential envoy to the Imereti region Temur Shashiashvili, leader of the Lawyers of Georgia Party Kartlos Garibashvili, one of the leaders of the political organization Mdzleveli, Zurab Kelekhsashvili, the President of the Coalition of Non-Government Organisations of the Disabled Zaza Sikharulidze, and leader of the David Agmashenebeli Party Roin Liparteliani.


Abasha (Georgian: აბაშა) is a town in western Georgia with a population of 4,941. It is situated between the rivers of Abasha and Noghela, at 23m above sea level and is located some 283 km (176 mi) to the west of Tbilisi. The settlement of Abasha acquired the status of a town in 1964 and currently functions as an administrative center of the Abasha District within the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Eparchy of Chkondidi is also located in Abasha.

The modern history of Abasha is primarily associated with a resonant Soviet-era economic experiment introduced by the Georgian Communist party chief Eduard Shevardnadze in the 1970s. In 1971, Shevardnadze grouped all regional agricultural institutions, including the kolkhoz, into a single management association. At the same time, those who worked on the land received material and financial preference. The move facilitated local initiative and coordination and led to a rapid increase in agricultural production in the previously very poor Abasha District. It had been the first private enterprise in the Soviet Union since Lenin. Early in the 1980s, the "Abasha experiment" was expanded, with varying degrees of success, to other regions of Georgia.

Communist Party of Georgia (Soviet Union)

Georgian Communist Party (Georgian: საქართველოს კომუნისტური პარტია; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Грузии) was a political party in Georgia.

Georgia was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic after 25 February 1921 when the Red Army entered its capital Tbilisi and installed a communist government led by Georgian Bolshevik Filipp Makharadze. After the 1924 August Uprising in Georgia the country was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic until 1936. During its period as a Soviet Socialist Republic it was ruled by the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party including; Samson Mamulia, Lavrentiy Beria, Candide Charkviani, Vasil Mzhavanadze and Eduard Shevardnadze.

Its political descendant is the Communist Party of Georgia which was formed in 1992 after Georgia declared independence in April 1991.

First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party

The First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party was the leading position in the Georgian Communist party during the Soviet era. Its leaders were responsible for many of the affairs in Georgia and were considered the leader of the Georgian SSR. Many of its leaders were prominent outside of the country and were noted Soviet leaders, including Lavrenti Beria and Eduard Shevardnadze.

Freddie Woodruff

Freddie R. Woodruff (September 14, 1947 – August 8, 1993) was a regional affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. Earlier in his career he had been posted under diplomatic cover to Berlin, the consulate in Leningrad and in the early 1980s to Ankara followed by a stint in Ethiopia 1987.Woodruff has been widely reported as the Central Intelligence Agency station chief involved in training the bodyguards of the Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze and an élite Omega Special Task Force. He was shot in the head and killed in 1993 on a mountain road in the sensitive border area with Ossetia whilst on a "private trip" in a vehicle driven by the Georgian head of security Elgar Gogoladze. This program had been initiated under the cover of USAID after a state visit to Georgia in 1992 by the American foreign secretary James Baker III immediately after Eduard Shevardnadze had been installed as head of state in the follow-up of a bloody coup d'etat supported by foreign powers against the democratically elected president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who died under suspicious circumstances a year later. Woodruffs coffin was accompanied home personally by CIA director James Woolsey who at the time of the assassination had "coincidentally" been in Moscow. He also held a speech at the funeral service.Anzor Sharmaidze, a 20 year old former Soviet draftee, was convicted of Woodruff's murder. Sharmaidze was alleged to have been a "drunk bandit" and to have randomly shot at Woodruff. Although initially not formally cleared of the charges, he was released from jail in 2008 after witnesses stated they were forced via torture to implicating him.In 2013, Georgian Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani stated that "[t]he case has not been properly investigated". Tsulukiani said she believed that the killing embarrassed President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and cast doubt in the United States government about his ability to lead his nation.Woodruff was married twice. With his first spouse, he had a daughter and son. He was survived by his second wife, Meredith, a former CIA officer, and their three children, and two sisters, one a nurse in Arkansas.In a 2018 book by Michael Pullara, The Spy Who Was Left Behind: Russia, the United States, and the True Story of the Betrayal and Assassination of a CIA Agent, the author brings together a unique mix of police procedural, personal memoir and political thriller, to tell the true-life tale of the author's research into the death of CIA station chief Freddie Woodruff. The story involves complex post-cold war political intrigue, but the narrative is tightly driven by the core story of Pullara's personal investigation into the unsolved murder and the extensive cover-up that followed in Washington and Moscow.

Gennadi Gerasimov

Gennadi (or Gennady) Ivanovich Gerasimov (Russian, Геннадий Иванович Герасимов, 3 March 1930, Yelabuga – 14 September 2010, Moscow) was the last Soviet, and then Russian ambassador to Portugal from 1990 to 1995. Previously he was foreign affairs spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev and press secretary to Eduard Shevardnadze. He is noted for coining the expression "Sinatra Doctrine" in reference to Gorbachev's non-intervention policy with respect to other members of the Warsaw Pact. He was recognised as Communicator of the Year by the American Association of Governmental Communicators.He is mentioned in the Billy Bragg song "Moving the Goalposts".

International Black Sea University

The International Black Sea University (IBSU) (Georgian: შავი ზღვის საერთაშორისო უნივერსიტეტი) was established in 1995 in Tbilisi, Georgia and was opened by the second president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and the former prime minister of Turkey Tansu Çiller in accordance with the decree of the Council of Ministers and the License of Opening given by the Ministry of Education of Georgia.

International Black Sea University has the objective of training Georgian and foreign students in scientific, technical and professional fields of study, and of using these studies in the fields of pure and applied research for contributing to the economic and social necessities of Georgia and other countries.

The languages of instruction are English and Georgian.

Irakli Menagarishvili

Irakli Menagarishvili (Georgian: ირაკლი მენაღარიშვილი) (born May 18, 1951) is a Georgian politician and diplomat.

Menagarishvili was born in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia (then the Georgian SSR, Soviet Union).

Menagarishvili graduated from Tbilisi State Medical Institute in 1974. During the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, from 1995 to 2003. Past positions have included Deputy Prime Minister (1993-1995), Minister of Public Health (1986-1991, 1992-1993) and Coordinator of the International Humanitarian Assistance at the State Council of the Republic of Georgia (1992).


Kmara (Georgian: კმარა; "Enough!") was a civic youth resistance movement in Georgia, active in the protests prior to and during the November 2003 Rose Revolution, which toppled down the government of Eduard Shevardnadze. Consciously modeled on the Serbian nongovernmental organization (NGO) Otpor!, which had been instrumental in defeating Slobodan Milošević's regime in 2000, the Kmara members were trained and advised by the influential Georgian NGO Liberty Institute and funded by the United States-based Open Society Institute (OSI). The movement was a hybrid of social movement and virtual NGO, which was highly successful in mobilizing the young Georgians, mostly students, against Shevardnadze's rule. Although Kmara was allied with the opposition parties, especially Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement, its behavior and tactics were nonpartisan, focusing on criticizing corruption and failures of the Shevardnadze regime, rather than promoting any particular politician or political party.


Mamati is a small village in Lanchkhuti, Guria, western Georgia. Since the 2nd President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze was born there on 25 January 1928, it has gained prominence.

Nanuli Shevardnadze

Nanuli Shevardnadze (Georgian: ნანული შევარდნაძე) née Tsagareishvili (ცაგარეიშვილი) (9 March 1929 – 20 October 2004) was a Soviet and Georgian journalist and activist.

Otar Patsatsia

Otar Patsatsia (Georgian: ოთარ ფაცაცია) (born May 15, 1929) is a Georgian politician who served as the country's Prime Minister from August 20, 1993 to October 5, 1995.

A former Communist bureaucrat and enterprise manager, Patsatsia led the Georgian cabinet, with Eduard Shevardnadze as Georgia's Head of State, during the years of civil strife and economic crisis. His appointment as Prime Minister was an attempt to placate the supporters of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, militarily ousted in 1992, as Patsatsia was from Zugdidi, the powerbase of Gamsakhurdia loyalists. After holding a seat in the Parliament of Georgia from 1995 to 1999, he has played no role in politics since then.

Tengiz Sigua

Tengiz Sigua (born 9 November 1934) is a Georgian politician and former Prime Minister of the country.Sigua was an engineer by profession and entered politics on the eve of the Soviet Union’s collapse. In 1990 he led an expert group of the bloc "Round Table-Free Georgia". Following the first multiparty elections in Georgia, he was elected Chair of the Ministers’ Council of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic on 14 November 1990.He was the prime minister in Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s government from 15 November 1990 to 18 August 1991. However, he resigned in August 1991 after disagreements with the president. Along with the National Guard leader Tengiz Kitovani and the paramilitary leader Jaba Ioseliani, he became a leader of the uneasy opposition which launched a violent coup against the President in December 1991-January 1992. After Gamsakhurdia’s fall, he became Prime Minister in the Georgian interim government (Military Council, later transformed into the State Council) which was joined by Eduard Shevardnadze) on 6 January 1992. He was reappointed Prime Minister on 8 November 1992 by the newly elected Parliament.

He resigned on 6 August 1993 after the Parliament rejected the budget submitted by the government. He remained as an MP, led the National Liberation Front opposition party and backed a military solution of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

Unified Communist Party of Georgia

The Unified Communist Party of Georgia (Georgian: საქართველოს ერთიანი კომუნისტური პარტია, Sakartvelos Ertiani Komunisturi Partia, abbreviated SEKP) is a political party in Georgia. It was founded in June 1994 through the merger of the Stalin Society, the Georgian Workers Communist Party and the Union of Communists of Georgia. The party is member of Union of Communist Parties — Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The party was led by Panteleimon Giorgadze. His son Igor Giorgadze was forced into exile after being accused of plotting to assassinate Eduard Shevardnadze.

The party publishes Komunisti.

Vasil Mzhavanadze

Vasil Pavlovich Mzhavanadze (also Vasily; Georgian: ვასილ მჟავანაძე; 20 September [O.S. 7 September] 1902 – 31 August 1988) was the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Georgian SSR from September 1953 to September 28, 1972 and a member of the CPSU's Politburo from June 29, 1957 to December 18, 1972. Dismissed after a corruption scandal, he was replaced by Eduard Shevardnadze.

Mzhavanadze served in the Red Army as a political commissar during World War II. After the war, he became deputy commander for political affairs in the Kiev military district in the Ukrainian SSR, under the administration of Ukrainian Communist Party leader (and later Soviet leader) Nikita Khrushchev.

Georgia was at this time ruled by supporters of Lavrentiy Beria, who had been the First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party from 1931 to 1938. In July 1953, following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and the arrest of Beria, the leadership of the Georgian Communist Party was purged by Khrushchev's supporters. Mzhavanadze was promoted to lead the Party in Georgia, replacing Beria's protégé Aleksandre Mirtskhulava as First Secretary in September 1953. In an unprecedented display of military presence on the political arena, Mzhavanadze was joined in the Georgian Central Committee by the generals Alexi Inauri and Aleksei Antonov. When Khrushchev became the leader of the USSR in 1957, Mzhavanadze was appointed to become a candidate (non-voting) member of the Soviet Politburo. He became a full member in 1966.

Georgia prospered during Mzhavanadze's term of office against a background of corruption. Mzhavanadze himself became a symbol of corrupt, inefficient governance. He was accused of auctioning jobs, pocketing state funds and running illegal factories for his own enrichment;

In mid-1972, Mzhavanadze was publicly accused of corruption and was denounced by the state-controlled media. He resigned from his post as First Secretary on September 28, 1972, and was replaced by his ambitious Interior Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze. It has widely been speculated that Shevardnadze had a hand in his boss's downfall; he was certainly the obvious candidate to replace Mzhavanadze. On December 18, Mzhavanadze was sacked from his Politburo position and retired to Georgia in disgrace. He died in Moscow in 1988. He was honoured with a state funeral in Tbilisi.

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