Georgia: Comeback Politics

Comeback Politics

In Russia he is known as the incorruptible paladin of democracy who resigned because he could not countenance dictatorship. To the rest of the world he was the public face of perestroika who played a pivotal role in ending the cold war. So it is a bit strange to see Eduard Shevardnadze staging a comeback in the one place where his reputation has been dogged by obloquy: his native Georgia.

During the republic's campaign for independence, the erstwhile friend of Mikhail Gorbachev was branded a "top Kremlin agent." But in the wake of ousting dissident turned despot Zviad Gamsakhurdia in January,...