Carnegie: “Shevardnadze’s Lessons for Ukraine”

Georgia’s second President passed away on Monday, aged 86, in his Tbilisi home after battling a long illness., Aug 21, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia

August 16 marked 40 days since the passing of Georgia’s second president Eduard Shevardnadze. Carnegie contributor Thomas de Waal looks back on some of Shevardnadze’s greatest moments and his leadership style, which he believed, "also has many lessons for today’s Ukraine”.

In a piece published on August 20 on the Carnegie website, de Waal notes how Shevardnadze "pulled off a remarkable political feat” but did so by making immense sacrifices for the good of the country.

He slowly disarmed and neutralized Georgia's warlords and played them against each other. He allowed democracy to prosper. And he crafted a distinct foreign policy, courting the West, while keeping on as good terms as he could with Russia,” de Waal writes.

"But to keep the country together, Shevardnadze made Faustian deals with regional bosses, like Aslan Abashidze, turning a blind eye to their corruption and local agendas. His Georgia was more or less democratic, with powerful friends abroad—but also weak, with barely a central government. Huge amounts of energy were devoted to managing crises with Russia.”

"Does that sound familiar? Ukraine’s new leader Petro Poroshenko faces many of the same challenges,” said de Waal.

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