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Georgian honor guards stand around the coffin of the deceased former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze during a farewell ceremony inside the Holy Trinity Church in Tbilisi, Georgia, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Eduard Shevardnadze, a groundbreaking Soviet foreign minister and later the president of an independent Georgia, died Monday, July 7, 2014 at the age of 86, his spokeswoman said. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze was buried Sunday in Tbilisi after his death at age 86.

Shevardnadze, also a Soviet ex-foreign minister, died July 7 and was buried next to his wife in the Krtsanisi Presidential Residence of Tbilisi. The country's current president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and a handful of foreign dignitaries attended the ceremony.

As the Soviet Union's foreign minister, Shevardnadze was the diplomatic face of Mikhail Gorbachev's liberalizing policies of glasnost and perestroika.

As the leader of post-Soviet Georgia, he became the victim of revolution at home, and his career in the public eye ended in humiliation when he was chased out of parliament and forced into retirement in 2003.

"Eduard's role in the history of the 20th century will be deeply analyzed in the future, although it's already clear today that he was a world-class politician," Margvelashvili said in his remarks at the funeral.

Shevardnadze kept a low profile after his retirement from politics in 2003, though he did take public stances, including criticism of the Georgian assault on the separatist capital of South Ossetia that was an opening move in the brief 2008 war with Russia. In 2009, when protests against then-president Mikhail Saakashvili arose, Shevardnadze said he should step down.

Shevardnadze's wife, Nanuli, died in 2004. The couple had a daughter and a son.



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