Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgia’s second president and Soviet Union’s last foreign minister, who died on July 7 at the age of 86, was buried in Tbilisi after a live televised state funeral on Sunday.
Foreign dignitaries from about thirty states, Georgian leadership, government ministers and the family members attended the funeral service in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, where his coffin was lying in state since Friday.
His flag-draped coffin was carried from the Cathedral by men dressed in black chokhas, who passed through soldiers, lining up the yard of the Holy Trinity Cathedral; the coffin was then driven into a motorcade to Krtsanisi residence in Tbilisi, where Shevardnadze was buried next to his late wife after a senior Orthodox cleric performed religious ritual.
Shevardnadze had lived in Krtsanisi residence since he resigned from presidency after the 2003 Rose Revolution.
“Eduard Shevardnadze was victorious even in defeat. In this sense, his resignation from presidency was the biggest victory in his life, amounting victory over history,” his son Paata Shevardnadze said during the funeral service in the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Former U.S. State Secretary James Baker and Shevardnadze’s West German counterpart in the late 1980s Hans-Dietrich Genscher were among the foreign dignitaries attending the service.
“We gathered here today in God’s house to express our respect and our admiration for a man helped shape his country, Europe and indeed the world,” James Baker said at the ceremony. “World needs leaders like Eduard Shevardnadze.”
Genscher said that Shevardnadze “showed an example how to change the world for better.”
“Dear friend, thank you what you have done for Europe and what you have done for our people,” the former German foreign minister said.
Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili said at the ceremony that Shevardnadze helped shape Georgia’s pro-Western course and recalled 2002 NATO Prague summit when Shevardnadze, then president of Georgia, made a formal declaration for his country’s intention to join the Alliance.
According to the Georgian foreign ministry, among the foreign dignitaries, who attended the ceremony, were Austrian justice minister; speakers of Azerbaijani and Armenian parliaments; Turkish security of labor and social minister; agriculture minister of Belarus.