Eduard Shevardnadze is death, the former Soviet minister of Foreign Affairs and second president of the capitalist; Republic of Georgia has passed away at 86 years. Shevardnadze was a Georgian, a supporter of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Like many Soviet politicians he was part of the ruling Stalinist caste. A privileged bureaucracy ruling over the oppressed proletariat. Shevardnadze made a big name for himself inside his caste. He ruled the Georgian Socialist Soviet Republic as first secretary of the Georgian Communist Party from 1972 until 1985 when he was made minister under Gorbachev. After the collapse of the Soviet-Union, he was elected leader of the Republic of Georgia. From 1995 until 2003 he was president, before a nationalist uprising forced him out of office. In the end, Shevardnadze behaved like most ex-stalinists. They switched sides, joining the bourgeoisie against the workers they already oppressed as supporters of stalinism!
Young Eduard was born in 1928 to a family which was deeply divided. His father was a die-hard communist, but his mother opposed communism. His home nation of Georgia was turned into a Soviet republic not by a proletarian revolution, but by military force. Soviet Russian troops invaded the nation in 1921, a master-plan of Joseph Stalin and local Georgian communists. Many Georgians hated the Russian communists and after a failed uprising, Stalin forced Russian chauvinism on the Georgians. The father of Eduard Shevardnadze used to be a Menshevik, but turned to the Bolshevik side after the invasion. As Stalin took over, Eduard’s father remained loyal as most party members!
Yet the fact that he used to be a Menshevik made him a target in the 1930’s. Stalin’s great terror caused the death of 600.000 communists and almost 20 million Soviet workers would die between 1924 and 1953. As a former Menshevik, Eduard’s father could have been deported to a Gulag camp. But thanks to his contacts inside the Soviet government, he was not arrested. At the age of 20, Eduard Shevardnadze joined the All-Union Communist Party in 1948. Like most new recruits he became part of a elite group of people. Party members were giving special privileges and lived far better then average workers!
When Nikita Khrushchev gave his famous anti-Stalin speech in 1956, it shocked Shevardnadze. The scale of Stalin’s crimes caused massive disillusionment among many young party members. Eduard Shevardnadze was even more shocked when the Soviet government used brutal force against a pro-Stalin demonstration by young Georgians. When Khrushchev exposed Stalin many of his supporters were angry. Because Stalin was a Georgian and Georgians were proud of this fact. In March 1956, young stalinists started a rally on the third anniversary of Stalin’s death. Soviet forces reacted quickly and gunned down the demonstrators. The killing of these young people shocked many inside the Georgian Communist Party!
Eduard Shevardnadze was demoted after he dared to criticize a senior party member. Inside the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union, criticism of leading party bureaucrats was not allowed. If a party member dared to criticize a senior leader, demotion was very common. Since most members wanted to remain inside the ruling caste ( because of the many privileges ) very few dared to oppose senior leaders who’s corruption was widespread. Shevardnadze started to oppose corruption and was able to challenge the corrupt leadership of the Georgian SSR. In 1966 he was made Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. After initiating a successful anti-corruption campaign supported by the Soviet government, Shevardnadze was voted Second Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party!
As Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR, Eduard Shevardnadze started a massive anti-corruption campaign. He ordered the arrest of 25,000 people. 17,000 party members, many government former ministers and 70 KGB officials. Because of his anti-corruption work, the Soviet government made him leader of the Georgian Socialist Soviet Republic after Vasil Mzhavanadze stepped down as first secretary. Shevardnadze ruled over the Georgian SSR from 1972 until 1985. While other Soviet republics suffered from shortages thanks to economic mismanaged, this was not the case in the Georgian SSR. Shevardnadze’s economic policy had a positive effect on the Georgian planned economy. The agricultural reform in Georgia became the model of the nationwide Agricultural-Industrial Organisations established by a decree in 1982!
Still Eduard was a supporter of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. He even went so far in calling him ”leader” a title only used by Stalin. Although the politics of Shevardnadze stood in direct opposition to the bureaucratic leadership of Brezhnev, he remained dogmatic loyal to Moscow. He knew that criticizing the party leadership would mean he lost all his privileges and status as leader of the Georgian SSR. But in 1985 a new leader was elected. Mikhail Gorbachev was a reformer and like Shevardnadze wanted to improve the lives of the Soviet people!
Under Gorbachev, the leader of the Georgian SSR was made Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. It made Shevardnadze very powerful, because he also controlled the politics of Eastern Europe. Nations like Poland and Bulgaria were puppets of Moscow and were now dancing at Shevardnadze’s feet. But unlike his predecessors, the new minister choose to give the governments of Eastern Europe, more freedoms. When the people rose up against the Stalinist governments, Eduard Shevardnadze refused to send Soviet troops to save the totalitarian regimes, Stalin created 40 years ago!
It made him not popular with die-hard stalinists and nationalists inside the Soviet government. Conservative members of the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union feared a total collapse of their empire. They were right, as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the other Stalinist regimes collapsed one by one and Eduard Shevardnadze did nothing to stop it. In 1990, Shevardnadze became a supporter of western style capitalism. Here he collided with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, who wanted a state-capitalist model. Both men became political enemies as Shevardnadze wanted massive privatizations which Gorbachev rejected!
In December 1990, Eduard Shevardnadze left the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. He could not longer work with Mikhail Gorbachev. In August 1991, the conservatives inside the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union staged a coup against the Soviet government. But their attempt to save the Soviet-Union failed. Shevardnadze returned as minister for a few months and resigned with Mikhail Gorbachev on 26 December 1991. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was dissolved and Shevardnadze returned to Georgia, now called the Republic of Georgia!
One of the first things Shevardnadze did back in Georgia, was converting to the Christian Orthodox faith. By rejecting atheism he was able to gain support from the religious population. After 1991, Georgia was very corrupt. As Shevardnadze left for Moscow in 1985, the nation was ruled by corrupt leaders who gave political and economic corruption free reign. This corruption led to a violent uprising which started in December 1991 and lasted until January 1992. More then 100 people were killed in bloody confrontations between former Stalinist factions!
For three years, the Republic of Georgia was very unstable. Greedy politicians tried to enrich themselves by selling the means of production. Because there was no workers party and thanks to massive anticommunist propaganda by right-wing nationalist forces, there was no leftist opposition. The ideals of socialism were discredited and called ”totalitarian” and ”evil”. Workers were poisoned with nationalist and anticommunist believes. Young people were easy brainwashed as they embraced the new capitalist revolution. Only the elderly remained dogmatic loyal to Joseph Stalin and the ”Marxist-Leninist” ( Stalinist ) ideology. These elderly were abandoned as capitalism destroyed the social security systems which took care of them!
In 1995, Eduard Shevardnadze won the presidential elections. Many hoped he would end the massive corruption and inequality. But Shevardnadze was transformed from a Stalinist bureaucrat into a Capitalist bureaucrat. He served a new master, the Georgian bourgeoisie which reestablished itself after the economy was sold to capitalists. Although Eduard himself was not a greedy capitalist, his closest allies and family owned many key economic enterprises. Shevardnadze’s government enforced nepotism, favoring a very tiny minority. It is said that 70% of all the wealth was concentrated in the hands of people around the president!
American imperialism were happy with this reformed Soviet bureaucrat. But Georgia became known as a very corrupt state. Although Eduard Shevardnadze was a friend of George W Bush and a ally of Russian president; Vladimir Putin, he was hated by most workers and poor people. Still the working class had no political party for themselves. The supporters of the Soviet-Union were never able to win back the minds of the Georgian proletariat. Most workers reject socialism because they are led to believe that it ”does not work” as both Shevardnadze and the capitalist media told them this!
The anger of the Georgians was manipulated by a national-conservative called Mikheil Saakashvili. He represented a new generation of Georgians who rejected socialism and embraced both Georgian nationalism and economic liberalism. Mikheil Saakashvili formed the United National Movement which opposed the nepotistic regime of Shevardnadze. The United National Movement is a right-wing populist party, able to feed on the anger of the working class. Also Saakashvili used anti-Russian hated against Shevardnadze, who was a friend of Moscow. In November 2003, the situation was getting out of hand. The country was again on the brick of a violent uprising. Eduard Shevardnadze met with Mikheil Saakashvili and agreed to step down as president of Georgia!
Many Georgians celebrated the end of the nepotistic president. There was music and dancing when the old president left office. Shevardnadze was 75 years old and for the first time since 1966, he was powerless with no nation or government to control. Germany offered him asylum, but he wanted to remain in Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili became president in January 2004 and turned Georgia into a hard-core nationalist nation. The new nationalist government used the 1921 Soviet invasion, as ”proof” that Lenin was ”imperialist” and wanted to build a Russian controlled ”Soviet-Empire”. This lie is promoted in almost all Georgian newspapers and television networks, most owned by Mikheil Saakashvili and his anticommunists!
In 2014, 11 years after he was removed from power, Eduard Shevardnadze died at the age of 86. Western media outlets praise him for his role as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1991. But the Georgian working class can only hate him. Not only was he a Stalinist leader loyal only to his bosses in Moscow, but he also was a nepotistic president ruling for 8 years. Mikheil Saakashvili changed the flag and state emblem of Georgia, the 1918 flag was replaced by a medieval Georgian flag with the Saint George Cross. The new nationalist state of Georgia under Saakashvili proved to be no alternative. But thanks to his ownership of major media networks, the United National Movement was able to win all elections. This was partly the result of Mikheil Saakashvili’s charisma, his control over the media and the absence of a socialist alternative. The capitalist anti-nationalist opposition to Saakashvili was final able to defeat him during the 2012 elections. The United National Movement lost power after ruling Georgia for 8 years. But win out a workers party to lead the revolution, the capitalists will have nothing to fear!