Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Georgia ex-President Shevardnadze dies  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 08/07/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Arab News) TBILISI Georgia: Eduard Shevardnadze a groundbreaking Soviet foreign minister and later the president of an independent Georgia died Monday at the age of 86 his spokeswoman said.

Marina Davitashvili said Shevardnadze died after a long illness. She did not say where he died.

Shevardnadze swept heroically across the international stage in the final years of the Soviet empire helping topple the Berlin Wall and end the Cold War but as the leader of post-Soviet Georgia his career in the public eye ended in humiliation and he was chased out of his Parliament and forced into retirement.

As Soviet foreign minister the white-haired man with a gravelly voice was the diplomatic face of Mikhail Gorbachev's liberalizing policies of glasnost and perestroika. Following the wooden Andrei Gromyko Shevardnadze impressed Western leaders with his charisma his quick wit and his commitment to Gorbachev's reform course.

'He made a large contribution to the foreign affairs policy of perestroika and he was a true supporter of new thinking in global affairs" Gorbachev told Interfax Monday.

'His appointment as the foreign minister was unexpected for many people but he capably conducted affairs in that post and it wasn't for nothing that he was valued by diplomats his comrades at work and foreign partners." Shevardnadze helped push through the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989 signed landmark arms control agreements and helped negotiate German reunification in 1990 a development that Soviet leaders had long feared and staunchly opposed.

Western leaders especially Germans would remain grateful for Shevardnadze's work as foreign minister. But in the former Soviet Union those nostalgic for a return to superpower status lumped Shevardnadze with Gorbachev in the ranks of the unpardonable.

Shevardnadze resigned in December 1990 warning that reform was collapsing and dictatorship was imminent. A year later the Soviet Union collapsed in the wake of an attempted hard-line coup against Gorbachev.

Shevardnadze returned to Georgia after its first elected president Zviad Gamsakhurdia was ousted in a coup in 1992; Shevardnadze was elected speaker of Parliament and became the country's leader. Gamsakhurdia died under mysterious circumstances in 1993 and Shevardnadze was elected president for a five-year term in 1995 after the country adopted a new constitution.

He survived two assassination attempts including an assault on his motorcade with anti-tank weapons. Many observers suggested the attacks blunted Shevardnadze's reformist impulses and left him interested only in holding onto power. Although he had pursued a pro-Western policy Georgia under Shevardadze became plagued by corruption and a deterioration of democracy.

In November 2003 massive demonstrations that became known as the Rose Revolution erupted after allegations of widespread fraud in a parliamentary election. Police maintained a low profile Shevardnadze later said he feared any police action against the demonstrators would lead to terrible bloodshed. After three weeks protesters led by future president Mikhail Saakashvili broke into a Parliament session where Shevardnadze was speaking and drove him out of the building.

Shevardnadze was born on Jan. 25 1928 in the village of Mamati near Georgia's Black Sea coast the fifth and final child in a rural family that hoped he would become a doctor. Instead he launched a political career at age 20 by joining the Communist Party and received a university degree only 31 years later from a teachers' institute.

He steadily rose through the ranks of the party its Komsomol youth organization and Georgia's police force until being named the republic's interior minister the top law enforcement official. He gained a reputation for purging corrupt Georgian officials and forcing them to give up ill-gotten cars mansions and other property.

Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign caught the attention of Soviet officials in Moscow and he was named Communist Party chief of Georgia in 1972. He eased censorship and permitted his republic to become one of the most progressive in the cultural sphere producing a stream of taboo-breaking films and theatrical productions.

Shevardnadze was appointed Soviet foreign minister in 1985. He resigned five years later to protest plans to use force to quell unrest in the Soviet Union. He joined Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in resisting an attempted coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and returned to the foreign minister's job for a brief stint later that year as the Soviet Union sped toward extinction.

When he returned to Georgia he inherited a country wracked by chaos. Fighting broke out in 1990 in the northern province of South Ossetia bordering on Russia after the nationalist Georgian government voted to deprive the province of its autonomy.

A more serious secessionist uprising followed in the province of Abkhazia. The small region bordered by the Black Sea and Russia has been effectively independent since separatists drove out government forces during a 1992-93 war. The two sides reached a cease-fire in 1994 but peace talks on a political solution have stalled.

Even the capital Tbilisi was run by politically connected gangs and gang-related politicians and legislators had to be reminded to check their guns before entering Parliament. Shevardnadze managed to disarm the most notorious gang the Mkhedrioni or Horsemen in 1995 after the first attempt to kill him.

The political chaos was accompanied by economic hardship. Georgia lost Soviet-era orders for its factories. Every winter Georgians suffered gas and electricity outages. In spite of Shevardnadze's Communist-era record as a 'clean-hands" politician corruption gripped the country at every level.

Shevardnadze shepherded Georgia into the Council of Europe and said on occasions to Moscow's considerable irritation that Tbilisi would one day 'knock on NATO's door." US officials forged close ties with Shevardnadze and the US government gave his nation millions of dollars in aid in hopes of keeping Georgia in the western orbit.

Shevardnadze's wife Nanuli died in 2004. The couple had a daughter and a son.


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 21 2014 - Modi win in 2 states pave way for national overhaulArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) NEW DELHI: It's been a good weekend for India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Two days ago he took his biggest step yet toward boosting the economy with a shift to more ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Sri Lanka heads for snap presidential poll in JanuaryArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election in January almost two years ahead of schedule with Mahinda Rajapakse seeking a third term the information minister said ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Industries Qatar Posts QR 4.7 Billion 9Month Net ProfitQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha October 20 (QNA) - Riding on a third quarter net profit of QR 1.9 Billion Industries Qatar (QE: IQCD) posted a net profit of QR 4.7 Billion for nine-month period ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Lufthansa LongHaul Pilots Join StrikeQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Frankfurt October 20 (QNA) - Long-haul pilots of German Airline Lufthansa said Monday they will join a strike started by their short and medium-haul colleagues who are ...

 Oct 21 2014 - MediCare Group Qatar German Company Disclose Interim Financial StatementsQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha October 20 (QNA) - MediCare Group disclosed the interim financial statements for the period ending September 30 2014. The interim financial statements revealed a ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Pakistan's Army Chief Heads to IndonesiaQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Islamabad October 21 (QNA) - Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Gen. Rachel Sharif headed to Indonesia last night for a three-day visit. According to a statement issued by ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Qatar- HH the Emir Meets Azerbaijan's Emergency MinisterQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha Doha (date) - HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met here Monday morning at Al Bahr Palace with Minister of Emergency Situations of the Republic of ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Bin Alawi Meets Tanzanian Parliament SpeakerQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Muscat October 20 (QNA) - Omani Minister in Charge of Foreign Affairs Youssuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah met here today with Speaker of Tanzanian Parliament Anne Makinda. ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Qatar- HH Sheikha Moza Opens 31st IASP World ConferenceQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha October 20 (QNA) - Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development (QF) opened today the 31st World Conference of the International ...

 Oct 21 2014 - Qatar- BDF CommanderinChief Meets Commander of the Joint Peninsula ShieldQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Manama October 20 (QNA) - Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa met here Monday with the Joint Peninsula ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help