In Search of Zviad

Shevardnadze's erratic rival creates his latest mystery

As a human-rights activist in the 1970s, he was incarcerated in a Soviet psychiatric ward and his name mentioned as a Nobel Peace Prize candidate. Soon after, he shocked supporters by recanting, on national TV, his entire code of beliefs. More than a decade later, he became Georgia's first freely elected President, only to stun everyone again, this time by forging a brutish dictatorship whose excesses provoked his own violent ouster. Last week, after a 20-month exile in which he fought an unsuccessful war to regain power, Zviad Gamsakhurdia carried out his most baffling flourish yet, shrouding his apparent death in...

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