MOSCOW, July 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences to the family and the entire Georgian nation in connection with the death of former President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
Former President Shevardnadze died at the age of 86, his family members told RIA Novosti Monday.
"Eduard Shevardnadze has died,” one of his closest relatives told RIA Novosti.
Shevardnadze was born in the village of Mamati, in the Soviet Union’s Republic of Georgia, on January 25, 1928 and at the age of 20 launched a political career by joining the Georgian Communist Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The future president went through all party ranks to become the leader of the Soviet Republic of Georgia in 1972.
In 1985 Shevardnadze was appointed foreign minister of the USSR by Mikhail Gorbachev. The soon-to-be president held the post until 1991 and played a key role in ending the Cold War, among other accomplishments.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Shevardnadze returned to Georgia, where he became chairman of Republic’s parliament in 1992.
Three years later, in 1995, Shevardnadze was elected president of Georgia and served in office until 2003, when he was ousted as a result of the revolution that ended in the election of Mikhail Saakashvili as Georgia’s new president.
After his early resignation, Eduard Shevardnadze lived in Tbilisi, Georgia, strongly criticized the policies of President Saakashvili and actively supported the activities of the "Georgian Dream" coalition in 2011-2013.
Information about the date and place of Shevardnadze’s funeral is so far unknown, according to his aide Marina Davitashvilli.