Shevardnadze interview

A fascinating interview with Eduard Shevardnadze, former president of Georgia and former foreign minister of the Soviet Union, here. Fascinating, as much as anything, because of the prejudices revealed by his Russian interviewer:

Eduard Ambrosievich, in all honesty, does your conscience ever bother you for ruining the friendship with Russia together with Gamsahurdia and Saakashvili? After all, it wasn’t you but your predecessors who started the friendship, and they were just as smart as you.

To which Shevardnadze replies:

I am not responsible for the actions of Saakashvili and even for those of Gamsakhurdia. As for myself, I was never against Russia. I even did something helpful for Russia. I was a member of the Politburo for seven years, a foreign minister. Who helped end the Cold War? Wasn’t Russia interested in this?

The Russian attitude to Georgia has always seemed to me a bit like that of someone who has recently been dumped by their boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife and hasn’t yet got over it – it doesn’t matter what the Georgians do, it is always wrong. There was a particular edge to it during Shevardnadze’s rule in Georgia, as he was seen by many Russians as a traitor – someone who was firmly at Gorbachev’s side in the years of collapse and then ran away to install an anti-Russian, pro-Western policy on Russia’s southern flank; Shevardnadze seems utterly unaware of his own poor image in Russia (or perhaps he just isn’t letting it bother him).

Meanwhile the Russians don’t understand that from the Georgian side they are perceived as the occupiers of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, not to mention the more recent bombing of Georgian territory three years ago. There is little incentive on either side for improving the political rhetoric.

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1 Response to Shevardnadze interview

  1. kulfuldi says:

    Of the very few I’ve read,I particularly recommend the Decameron (surprisingly entertaining and readable, though a little bit repetitive in the end) and The Devils, and I unrecommend The Idiot (for me, Dostoyevsky is either absolutely amazing or really awful, and this is the latter – though I know there are those who love it) and Death in Venice (only grim determination made me finish, and it’s short). Also, I liked ‘Diplomatic Baggage’ – should be required reading for diplomats, and I’m sure you know the husband.

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