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Eduard Shevardnadze, Former Georgian President, Dies At 86

Former Soviet minister and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, who is credited with helping end the Cold War, died Monday after a long illness, his spokeswoman tells the media.

To remind you of the former leader's career, NPR's Corey Flintoff has this report for our Newscast unit:

"White-haired and dapper, Eduard Shevardnadze was the face of Soviet foreign policy during the era when President Mikhail Gorbachev was attempting to liberalize the Communist bloc.

"He was admired by counterparts in the West — but many Russians came to blame him, along with Gorbachev, for the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Shevardnadze returned to his native Georgia and became its second president in 1993. He helped turn Georgia toward Europe, but his government was accused of widespread corruption. He was overthrown during Georgia's Rose Revolution of 2003."

Gorbachev mourned the passing of his friend:

"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," Gorbachev said, according to Reuters.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said he offers "deep condolences to friends and relatives as well as to all Georgian people," according to the official TASS news agency.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.