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Mourners Bid Farewell to the Last Soviet Foreign Minister

Published: July 14, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • Honor guards stand around the coffin of the deceased former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze during a farewell ceremony at the Holy Trinity Church in Tbilisi, Georgia on Saturday.
    Photo: Shakh Aivazov / AP

More than 30 delegations from different countries attended the funeral on Sunday of Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet Union's last foreign minister, who later served as Georgian president.

"The world needs leaders like Shevardnadze, leaders who see the future," former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker said at the funeral, according to Interfax. "He was my friend, and we did a lot for the world."

Shevardnadze died last week at the age of 86 following a long-term illness.

Having served as foreign minister under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Shevardnadze is recognized for having contributed to the inception of the liberalizing policies of glasnost and perestroika, and for having helped end the Cold War.

Despite a mixed legacy in his native Georgia, Shevardnadze's presidency is remembered for having strengthened Georgia's ties to the West.

The current Georgian leadership, former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former Estonian President Arnold Rtel, and former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva were among those in attendance at the funeral in Tbilisi's Holy Trinity Cathedral, according to Interfax.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was unable to travel to the funeral due to the weakened state of his health.

Ilia II of Georgia, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, was also unable to attend the funeral because he was receiving medical treatment in Germany. A letter written by the spiritual leader was read out loud at the ceremony, Interfax reported.

Following the service, Shevardnadze's coffin was moved to his family's property in Tbilisi, where he was buried with military honors besides his wife Nanuli, who died in 2004.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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