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Vĩnh biệt Shevardnadze





Vĩnh biệt Shevardnadze
Gorbachev và ông này làm sụp đổ Liên Xô
Đây là "công án thiền": Cởi chuông, là phải người buộc chuông.

Chế độ CS Liên Xô chấm dứt, vào lúc, hai ông đoàn viên Cẩm Sờ Mồm, Komsomol, là Goóc Ba Chóp [Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev sinh ngày 2 tháng Ba, 1931 tại Privolnoye, Stavropol province. Ông học Đại học Moscow, tốt nghiệp Luật. Gia nhập Đảng CS năm 1952, và là Bí thư thứ nhất Đoàn TNCS, First Secretary of Stavropol City Committee of Komsomol, nhiệm kỳ 1955-1958] gặp Schevarnadze Eduard (1928-) trong một cuộc họp đoàn, và hai anh đoàn viên này, do đã đọc Tam Quốc, nhớ cái đoạn Tôn Quyền và Lưu Bị chém đá, bèn chỉ "viên gạch" là chủ nghĩa CS, mà nói: Hai ta phải chém bể viên gạch này. (1)

*
In 1995, after an assassination attempt in Georgia. Credit Associated Press (1)
After the Soviet collapse in 1991 Mr Shevardnadze headed home to Georgia, where independence had brought bloody strife and economic collapse. Though he became the only politician to have been foreign minister of one country and head of state of another, his record was at best mixed. He eventually ended the fighting, jailing two of the warlords who had put him in power, sidelining the third, and escaping several assassination attempts.
But for all his courage, skill and brains, he had always been better at preaching democracy than practising it. Though not personally corrupt, he ruled through an intricate web of favours and blackmail. For many Georgians, sleaze and stagnation soon came to outweigh stability.
Can đảm, tài năng, có đầu óc, nhưng chỉ để giảng đạo, không phải để hành đạo!
Bị ám sát hụt mấy lần!


Postscript: Eduard Shevardnadze, 1928-2014



Posted by Natalia Antelava

Eduard Shevardnadze, the man who helped to end the Cold War and who died this weekend, at the age of eighty-six, entered my consciousness on a cold winter evening in 1992, the year that Georgia, where I was born, fell apart. Separatists were at war in the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; in the capital, Tbilisi, snipers had moved onto the roofs of the old city. Until 1991, we had lived in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Now Tbilisi burned, riven by warring militiamen who couldn’t agree on the country’s independent future. Breadlines stretched for hours. There was no electricity or running water, and—to my great delight at the time—there was no school.
We were sitting around the kitchen table playing Monopoly with real money—hyperinflation had made the post-Soviet currency “coupon” useless for anything else. The phone rang and my mother picked it up; in the dim light of a kerosene lamp, I could see the tension on her face. The phone always brought bad news: kidnappings, deaths, goodbyes from friends who had found a way to leave. But this time, as she listened to the voice on the other end of the line, my mother’s expression grew lighter, her tone more hopeful. When she finally hung up, she paused for effect before triumphantly delivering the news: Shevardnadze, she told us, was coming home.
Shevardnadze was a rock star of Cold War politics and a co-architect, with Mikhail Gorbachev, of perestroika. As Gorbachev’s foreign minister, he was instrumental in bringing about some of the era’s most radical changes: the pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the demilitarization of Eastern Europe, and the reunification of Germany, something that Soviet leaders had previously opposed. His wit, charisma, and courage won over Western leaders. Then, in 1990, acting on his disillusionment in a way that Gorbachev never did, he stood up in front of the Communist Party Congress and, in a dramatic speech, resigned from his post, because, he said, reform was failing and “dictatorship is advancing.” Now he was going back to his homeland, Georgia.
Georgians were waiting, anxiously. Many of them repeated a joke: Two men are dragging a statue of Shevardnadze up a steep hill. “Why do you bother?” a passerby asks. “Just leave him down below and he’ll climb up himself.” The joke expressed a common hope. Shevardnadze, as Georgians saw it, was born in a small village, the son of a teacher, and joined the Communist Party at the age of twenty and then ascended global heights. They wanted him to do so again and bring the country with him.
He brought bitter disappointment. Instead of prosperity, he ushered in a decade of corruption, nepotism, and missed opportunities. Every achievement of Shevardnadze’s rule was offset by a great failure: He ended a civil war, but allowed lawlessness and violent crime to rule. He signed some pro-Western reforms, but Georgia approached the very top of Transparency International’s corruption index. His connections in the West helped him turn Georgia into one of the largest per-capita recipients of U.S. aid, but little of it reached the population. He introduced the national currency, the lari, but the economy was in tatters.
“May he rest in peace, but for me Shevardnadze will always equal humiliation,” my neighbor Maya Kipiani told me, on the day Shevardnadze passed away in Tbilisi. I’d asked her what he’d meant to her. Maya, who is retired, received a pension that, in the Shevardnadze years, was worth just seven dollars a month. What hurt even more, she told me, was when Shevardnadze’s wife, Nanuli Shevardnadze, announced on state television that a good housewife should be able to manage just fine with that kind of money. “They didn’t think we were human. They laughed at us.”
For Maya, like for tens of thousands of others, the breaking point came in 2003, when Shevardnadze’s party rigged a parliamentary election. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, and on November 22nd a group of demonstrators, waving roses as a sign of their nonviolent intent, broke into parliament just as Shevardnadze was about to address the chamber. His bodyguards rushed him out of the building through a back door. Seconds later, the thirty-six-year-old opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili took his place on the stage. He gulped down Shevardnadze’s cup of tea, slammed the cup against the desk, and, still waving a rose, announced that the revolution had won.
A few months after the Rose Revolution, I interviewed Shevardnadze for the BBC, in the residence on top of a hill that he was allowed to keep after resigning. Babu (“grandfather”), as Georgians called him, looked old and fragile.
“Americans built this house for me; the walls are bulletproof. You are very safe here,” he said, smiling. Shevardnadze had survived assassination attempts in 1995 and 1998, and Americans, he told me, made sure that he became the best-protected President in the world. As we spoke, pictures of James Baker, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan looked down from the walls. I asked him whether he felt betrayed when the West had a change of heart and didn’t support him during his last battle for power.
“No,” he said. “Americans are like that. They like to back the opposition.” It could have been different, he added, if he had kept a tighter grip on the country. “Democracy was my main goal. Often power is tempting. It’s tempting to slam your fist against the table and make people scared of you. And if I had done it, this [revolution] would not have happened.”
“But my biggest achievement was that I fought the temptation. I was a Communist and I became the man of democratic principles,” he told me. He got annoyed with me for challenging him on issues like the freedom of the press. But he was keen to talk about his role in ending the Soviet war in Afghanistan and in bringing down the Berlin Wall. Germans, he told me, had invited him to move to Berlin, but he wanted to stay home, close to the grave of his wife, which he visited frequently.
“I don’t get out much these days. The family tells me I should take better care of myself and go for walks. But maybe later,” he said. We spoke for hours, and when it was finally time for me to leave Shevardnadze walked me to the door and gave me an unexpected hug. “Come again,” he said, releasing the embrace. “It gets lonely up here.”




Obituary

[The Economist]

Eduard Shevardnadze

Eduard Shevardnadze, Soviet foreign minister and then president of Georgia, died on July 7th aged 86




THE obscure provincial leader was at first sight an unlikely choice to be foreign minister of the world’s largest country. Eduard Shevardnadze did not even want the job: he spoke only his native Georgian and heavily accented Russian, had no important foreign contacts, and had barely travelled abroad. But Mikhail Gorbachev was immovable. The new Soviet leader wanted big changes—and the “Silver Fox”, his friend since the 1950s, to make them.
After decades in which policy had crunched downhill like a glacier, the new man at the foreign ministry brought stunning shifts. Its trademark surly silence gave way to openness and charm. Taboos flew out of the window. He decried ideology and the class struggle, once the mainsprings of foreign policy, as useless. Arms spending too: it brought weakness, not strength. Only friendship with the West could end backwardness and isolation.
Deeds matched the words. He ended the Soviet Union’s proxy wars in Africa, Latin America and Asia, hurrying the Red Army home from its futile and bloody mission in Afghanistan. At arms-control talks with America knotty negotiating problems unravelled overnight. The danger of nuclear war abated. He buried most of the Soviet empire in Europe, and played midwife to a united Germany, saying allies were better than subjects: “It is time to realise that neither socialism, nor friendship, nor good-neighbourliness, nor respect, can be produced by bayonets, tanks or blood.”
Even hawkish Americans realised that the Soviet Union truly wanted to end the cold war. Mr Shevardnadze forged notable friendships with his American and German counterparts. The hardliners back home, with their grumbling jargon and rigid mindsets, were a greater obstacle.
Seemingly, he was cut from the same cloth. He had joined the party at the height of the Stalin era. A ferocious local official, he brought even the sybaritic Georgians to follow Party discipline. A possibly apocryphal story relates how he called a show of hands on some anodyne motion at a meeting of senior officials, on his first day as anti-corruption chief there. As the grey-clad arms went up, he inspected every wrist—and remarked caustically how strange it was that the servants of the proletariat could afford pricey Western watches. Other tactics were tougher: mass arrests, beatings, torture and executions. He jailed dissidents and cracked down on those trying to defend Georgian language and culture from Russification.
It worked well, for him. Having shown the Kremlin the extent of corruption in Georgia, he was given the republic to run. Control of the best food, wine, scenery and hospitality in the Soviet Union proved a fine way to forge important friendships.
But behind the outward appearance of sycophantic loyalty to a brutal system was a different man. Yes, he had been a true believer, but he also knew that his father had narrowly escaped death in Stalin’s purges. His beloved Nanuli was the daughter of an enemy of the people, but he risked his career and married her anyway—declining to “sacrifice love to hatred”, he wrote later. He secretly shared his despair over the Soviet Union’s failures with the young Mr Gorbachev, his counterpart in the nearby Russian province of Stavropol. Both men saw that only radical change could avert catastrophic collapse.
Outfoxed

But unlike Mr Gorbachev, the Georgian went further. Back home he had allowed the making of “Repentance”, an explosive allegorical film (banned by censors) about the crimes of Stalinism. His experiments in economic liberalisation in Soviet Georgia had been successful, but they made him conclude that socialism was unworkable, not reformable. He saw far more clearly than his boss the danger of a hardline backlash. Their friendship frayed. As the shadows darkened over Moscow in the winter of 1990, he spectacularly resigned, with an emotional speech warning of looming dictatorship. For many, that marked the real end of the era of glasnost and perestroika.
After the Soviet collapse in 1991 Mr Shevardnadze headed home to Georgia, where independence had brought bloody strife and economic collapse. Though he became the only politician to have been foreign minister of one country and head of state of another, his record was at best mixed. He eventually ended the fighting, jailing two of the warlords who had put him in power, sidelining the third, and escaping several assassination attempts.
But for all his courage, skill and brains, he had always been better at preaching democracy than practising it. Though not personally corrupt, he ruled through an intricate web of favours and blackmail. For many Georgians, sleaze and stagnation soon came to outweigh stability.
There were some successes. New east-west oil and gas pipelines across Georgian territory helped break Russia’s export monopoly, and put the country on America’s map. He encouraged bright young Georgians to study abroad; one of them was his later nemesis, a brash, polygot lawyer called Mikheil Saakashvili. Egregious election-rigging in 2003 sparked the “Rose revolution”, in which an indignant mob, led by the glitzy young English-speakers, hustled a bewildered and indignant “Silver Fox” into retirement. Too much democracy, he said crossly, was a mistake.

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