Putin and Gorbachov wish condolences to Shevardnadze family

Russia's President Vladimir Putin expresses his condolence following Shevardnadze's death. Photo AFP.
Agenda.ge, 07 Jul 2014 - 15:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is expressing his condolences following the death of Georgia’s second President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Putin sent his sympathies to Shevardnadze’s family and friends, and to the entire Georgian population, following the death of the former leader today.

Meanwhile, the first and only Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said he was devastated by Shevardnadze’s death.

He said Shevardnadze was his friend and had "a bright character with a truly Georgian temper”.

Speaking on Russian television ‘Dozhd’ (Rain), Gorbachev said Shevardnadze and himself were longtime friends.

We were great friends and that friendship lasted until the very last day. He was really talented and an extraordinary person, a talented politician, Gorbachev said.

Gorbachev highlighted that Shevardnadze, as the last Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, he was one of the major figures who prepared and set in motion the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Shevardnadze used to be a big-league politician. He made a great contribution to perestroika policies, a devout supporter of new ways of thinking in international relations, Gorbachev added.

Moreover, Gorbachev marked Shevardnadze’s "great role” in the unification of Germany and European affairs in general, as well as Georgia’s normalising relations with China and dialogue with the US.

In response to those who blamed Shevardnadze for his role in refugee issues and loss of Georgia’s territory, Gorbachev said people needed to know the complete history before they commented.

Shevardnadze was the second President of Georgia and former Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. Georgia’s ex-President died at the age of 86 in Tbilisi earlier today.