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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 RЯЯtel, 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

Thursday, Dec. 25


Make this Christmas a slam-dunk and check out the Zenit St. Petersburg basketball club as they take on Nizhny Novgorod this evening at the Sibur Arena on Krestovsky Ostrov at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available on the club’s website for as little as 200 rubles ($3.30).


Spend your yuletide with Oleg Basilashvili this evening at the Concert Hall at 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhnaya . The legendary film and stage actor will chat with fans, tell stories and share memories of an extensive career that has earned him acclaim throughout Russia.



Friday, Dec. 26


Celebrate Boxing Day by playing various tabletop games during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening tonight at 5 p.m. Spread the Christmas cheer and goodwill by making other people regret their decision to come and try to match their intellectual prowess against yours.



Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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