Eduard A. Shevardnadze, who as Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s foreign minister helped hone the “new thinking,” foreign and domestic, that transformed and ultimately rent the Soviet Union, then led his native Georgia through its turbulent start as an independent state, died Monday. He was 86.
Irakli Garibashvili, the prime minister of Georgia, praised Mr. Shevardnadze for his “important role in finishing the Cold War and founding a new world order.” Mr. Gorbachev issued a statement offering his condolences to the family of Mr. Shevardnadze, as did President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Mr. Shevardnadze was forced from office in 2003 by the Rose Revolution, as the Georgian public vented its frustration with the corrupt post-Soviet system that he presided over. His ouster began a period of dramatic government reform that saw Georgia become a darling of the West under his successor, Mikheil Saakashvili.
Mr. Shevardnadze was a committed Communist from a Communist family who had spent his working life as a Communist official when Mr. Gorbachev called him on June 30, 1985 with an astounding proposition: Would he manage the foreign policy of one of the two most powerful countries in the world?[Source: NYT]