Georgian ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze dies at 86


He was the last Soviet FM with important role in ending Cold War.

Former Georgia President Eduard Shevardnadze has died aged 86, the BBC informs.
His aide Marina Davitashvili said he had passed away on Monday after a long illness.
In 1992 he became the head of state of Georgia after it broke away from the Soviet Union.
Born in 1928 in the city of Lanchkhuti, Mr Shevardnadze joined the Communist Party’s youth movement in 1946 and became the party’s head in Georgia in 1972.
In 1985, he was appointed foreign minister of the Soviet Union under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev and was credited with helping end the Cold War.
Mr Gorbachev told the Russian Ekho Moskvy radio station that Mr Shevardnadze was a “very capable, talented man, very much predisposed to working with people, with all strata of society”.
Mr Shevardnadze resigned from the post of foreign minister in 1990 before briefly taking it up again in 1991 as the country was disintegrating. After returning to Georgia he managed to quell a civil war but was seen as having failed to tackle corruption in his time as president. He spent his final years in a quiet retirement in the capital, Tbilisi.
According to rt.com, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed “deep condolences” to the Shevardnadze family and all the Georgian people on the occasion of death of the politician, informed presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
The first and only Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he’s devastated by the death of a man he believed to be his friend, “a bright character with truly Georgian temper.”
“Shevardnadze used to be big-league politician. He made a great contribution to perestroika policies, a devout supporter of new ways of thinking in international relations”, Gorbachev added according to Interfax.
As the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union, Eduard Shevardnadze was one of the major figures who prepared and set in motion the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Shevardnadze was Georgian president from 1995 till 2003 and was ousted from office as a result of the Rose Revolution that ended in electing Mikhail Saakashvili Georgia’s new leader.
Former President Iliescu bemoans death of ‘a leader with firm and powerful convictions’
Former President of Romania Ion Iliescu bemoans the death of former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, Iliescu adding that he was a leader with firm and powerful convictions.
‘I learned with sadness the news, this morning, of the death he who once was Eduard Shevardnadze, former President of the Georgian Republic and the last Foreign Minister of the USSR. He was, together with Gorbachev, one of the artisans of the perestroika, of the liberalization and democratization of the Soviet political regime. He made essential contributions to the easing of international relations, in a delicate moment of the Cold War’, said Iliescu, according to a press release remitted to Agerpres.
‘I bemoan his disappearance and send condolences to his family and to those who have known him and were close collaborators’, former President Ion Iliescu said.

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