Ex-Soviet minister and Georgia leader Shevardnadze dies

TBILISI, (Reuters) – Eduard Shevardnadze, a former president of Georgia and Soviet foreign minister, died today after a long struggle with illness, his personal assistant said.

Shevardnadze, who was 86, played a vital role in ending the Cold War as Soviet foreign minister, went on to lead his native Georgia in the stormy early years after independence before being ousted in street protests.

The last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, expressed sorrow over the passing of a “friend”, hailing him as an “extraordinary, talented person” who had done much to bring down the Berlin wall and end the nuclear arms race.

“He was always quick to find a way of connecting with different people – with youngsters and the older generation. He had a bright character, a Georgian temperament,” he said, referring to Shevardnadze’s passionate nature.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to his “family, as well as the Georgian people”.

 Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze

Shevardnadze’s assistant, Marina Davitashvili, told Reuters he had died after a long illness and said he had died at midday local time.

Loved by some but hated by others in his native Georgia after bringing stability but failing to tackle widespread corruption, Shevardnadze rarely ventured out of his hill-top residence during his last years.

As foreign minister under Gorbachev, Shevardnadze oversaw the thaw in relations with the West before the Berlin Wall came down and the communist Soviet Union was dismantled.

He was one of the intellectual fathers of “perestroika” (restructuring), the reform policy which Gorbachev said was conceived during a stroll along the shores of the Black Sea with his Georgian comrade.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, Shevardnadze returned to Georgia to become president and brought some stability to the republic after a period of anarchy, when protesters toting Kalashnikovs prowled the streets.

He was toppled in the country’s 2003 Rose Revolution, unceremoniously bundled out of parliament by his minders when it was stormed by protesters.

“I see that all this cannot simply go on. If I was forced tomorrow to use my authority it would lead to a lot of bloodshed,” he said when he stepped down in November of that year. “I have never betrayed my country and so it is better that the president resigns.”

More in World News

default placeholder

Clinton gets down to campaign business with U.S. Rust Belt trip

HARRISBURG, Pa.,  (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took her newly energized White House bid on the road on Friday for a tour of crucial “Rust Belt” states Pennsylvania and Ohio, but the campaign’s focus was clouded by a newly disclosed cyber attack.

default placeholder

Oil rout erodes 2nd-qtr profits for U.S. majors Exxon, Chevron

HOUSTON,  (Reuters) – Chevron Corp posted its worst quarterly loss since 2001 on Friday and Exxon Mobil Corp reported a 59 percent slide in profit, as the long crude price rout and tumbling refining income inflicted pain across the energy sector.

default placeholder

Turkey’s Erdogan slams West for failure to show solidarity over coup attempt

ANKARA/ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan condemned Western countries yesterday for failing to show solidarity with Turkey over the recent failed coup, saying those who worried over the fate of coup supporters instead of Turkish democracy could not be friends of Ankara.

default placeholder

Brazil’s Lula to stand trial for obstruction of justice – court

SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the former chief executive of investment bank Grupo BTG Pactual SA will stand trial for obstruction of justice, documents from a federal court in Brasilia showed yesterday.

John Magufuli

Tanzania’s president threatens crackdown on opposition protesters

DAR ES SALAAM, (Reuters) – Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said yesterday he would crack down on troublemakers “without mercy”, a day after the opposition called for anti-government demonstrations on Sept.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets her daughter Chelsea Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 28, 2016. (REUTERS/Scott Audette)

In speech of her life, Clinton promises a ‘clear-eyed’ vision

PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) – U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said yesterday Americans faced challenges at home and abroad that demand steady leadership and a collective spirit, and attacked Republican Donald Trump for sowing fear and divisiveness.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: