Eleven Years by Shevy’s Side
- LITERARY CRITICISM-DOCUMENTARY PROSE
ELEVEN YEARS BY SHEVY’S SIDE by Gela Charkviani is a historical memoir. Events that had taken place over the course of eleven years when Eduard Shevardnadze, having returned from Moscow, ruled Georgia, are described in it in chronological order. This period of history is full of dramatic events, separatist wars, terrorist attacks on the country’s leading figure, revolts, raids by criminal gangs, and thitherto unseen hardship of the people. Despite such an unfavorable backdrop, it was precisely then that the foundation was laid for the post-Communist transformation of Georgia, in which Shevardnadze’s international reputation, as one of the architects of the emerging new world order played a significant part. Although still an unelected, illegitimate leader, he nonetheless received serious political support from the West. Germany was the first to do so. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Germany’s minister of foreign affairs, visited Tbilisi in 1992. Germany was traditionally considered as Georgia’s closest partner, whereas after Eduard Shevardnadze, a Georgian, had amply contributed to its unification, the sympathies of Germany’s political class toward Georgia further increased.
Gela Charkviani was Eduard Shevardnadze’s foreign policy adviser and the head of the President’s international relations office. He was constantly at President’s side, attended all his meetings, and often translated his open and confidential conversations with foreign colleagues and counterparts. Even though the book does not contain a complete, exhaustive description of the period of Georgia’s history in question, it is highly valuable as a source, if only because it represents an insider’s narrative about all he lived to witness. While writing, the author made use of his diaries and the detailed records of events he kept between the years 1992 and 2003. This makes the factual material presented in the book particularly trustworthy and reliable.