Eduard Shevardnadze

Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze (Georgian: ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე, Eduard Ambrosis dze Shevardnadze; 25 January 1928 – 7 July 2014) was a Georgian politician and diplomat who ruled Georgian SSR from 1972 until his resignation in 2003.

Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze
ედუარდ ამბროსის ძე შევარდნაძე
Shevardnadze in 2003
2nd President of Georgia
In office
26 November 1995  23 November 2003
Preceded byZviad Gamsakhurdia
Succeeded byNino Burjanadze (acting)
1st 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 byZurab Zhvania
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
2 July 1985  20 December 1990
PremierNikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Preceded byAndrei Gromyko
Succeeded byAleksandr Bessmertnykh
In office
19 November 1991  26 December 1991
PremierIvan Silayev
Preceded byBoris Pankin (acting)
Succeeded byPosition abolished
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
Born(1928-01-25)25 January 1928
Mamati, Guria, Georgian SSR, Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died7 July 2014(2014-07-07) (aged 86)
Tbilisi, Georgia
NationalitySoviet (1928–1991) and Georgian (1991–2014)
Political partyCommunist Party of Georgia (Soviet Union) (1948–1991)
Independent (1991–1995)
Union of Citizens of Georgia (1995–2003)
(m. 1951; d. 2004)
RelativesSophie Shevardnadze (granddaughter)
AwardsHero of Socialist Labour
Military service
Years of service1964–1972
Major General
CommandsMinistry of Public Order of the Georgian SSR (1965–68)
Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR (1968–72)

He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1990. In 1992 he become the leader of Georgia (as Chairman of Parliament) after president Zviad Gamsakhurdia resigned. In 1995, he became President and served until his resignation in 2003 because of the 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.

He served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC) from 1972 to 1985, which made him the de facto leader of Georgia. As First Secretary, Shevardnadze started several economic reforms, which would spur economic growth in the republican 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.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Shevardnadze to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. He served in this position, with the exception of a brief interruption between 1990 and 1991, until the fall of the Soviet Union. During this time, only Gorbachev would outrank Shevardnadze in importance in Soviet foreign policy. Shevardnadze was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era, and was seen by the outside world as the face of Soviet reforms such as Perestroika.[1]

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. Allegations of electoral fraud during the 2003 legislative election led to a series of public protests and demonstrations colloquially known as the Rose Revolution. Eventually, Shevardnadze was forced to resign. He later published his memoirs and lived in relative obscurity until his death in 2014.