Shevardnadze – Opposition’s Alternative to Gamsakhurdia
08 December, 2011
Shevardnadze – Opposition’s Alternative to Gamsakhurdia

So the world-renowned founder of soviet democracy Eduard Shevardnadze started being contemplated as the best alternative to Georgia’s beleaguered President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – The opposition became very serious and quite loud-mouthed about the usage of force against Georgia’s first elected President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his ‘Round Table’ political association. Their fury was going beyond any limits. The impression was that the big part of intelligentsia of the country has rebelled against Georgia’s first President, not

giving him a chance to continue ruling the country the way he though was good and right. Soon the anger turned into dangerously charged action. Heavy-duty military vehicles and combat equipment appeared in front of the state-run TV & Radio Corporation building, where crowds of protesting people were gathered. Part of those demonstrators was genuinely angry with the President, and another part was hanging out there under the influence of some political hearsay. At that time in Tbilisi any volunteer who could produce an ID would be given a weapon free of any charge and free of any special responsibility for wearing it. This had turned out to be very tempting for a considerable part of Georgia’s youth. It became very clear that the capital city of Georgia, and the entire country too, was precipitously headed towards destabilization...

SM – The situation was made even graver by the fact which is no longer remembered today by most of us. At that time, President Mikhail Gorbachev reappointed Mr. Eduard Shevardnadze on the post of the soviet foreign minister, who had voluntarily retired from office not very long before that. Also, Gorbachev initiated the merger between the soviet ministry of foreign affairs and the committee for foreign economic relations. The main function of the latter was the management of the vast country’s natural resources and regulation of relations with foreign companies. It was Shevardnadze who had signed the agreements with British Petroleum and other relevant foreign companies about the production of oil and natural gas in the former soviet republics. The signed deals were extremely lucrative of course. This period coincides with the fact of final withdrawal of soviet troops from Germany, which had also resulted in considerable financial gains. In Georgia, the oppositional elite and part of the population took those facts as sign of Shevardndze’s return into the world politics. There was nothing especially surprising in the people’s resulting belief because further career steps made by Shevardnadze were truly impressive. His figure was known to the entire world, and it was know very positively. His personality figured in every encyclopedia of the world as a prominent democrat and Gorabchev’s closest ally in dismantling the Evil Empire (President Reagan’s term for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

GJ – So the world-renowned founder of the soviet democracy Eduard Shevardnadze started being contemplated as the best alternative to Georgia’s beleaguered President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, didn’t he? Hasn’t history repeated itself? This is the Nation which had learned nothing out of its mistakes, isn’t it?

SM – Well, we could say so! But there is one factor working here which triggers my deep thoughts about our attitude to history: very few people in Georgia are aware of the exact chronology of events of the years between 1918 and 1921 (the years of Georgia’s short-lived national independence and the triumph of democracy). No thorough analysis of those years has ever been made in this country.

GJ – Let us for once try to be fair and impartial and recognize that there has never been a huge desire to have done one! Am I exaggerating in any way?

SM – No, I wouldn’t say so! History will some day make fair and truthful judgments anyway . . . Whatever was done, the infuriated opposition laid down a plan of bringing down Zviad Gamsakhurdia as soon as possible.

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