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Shevardnadze: World Must Help Soviets Recover From ‘Ugly’ Socialism

May 13, 1991

ATLANTA (AP) _ The world must help the Soviet Union through its painful attempt to erase socialist wrongs and move toward democracy, former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze said Monday.

″It is very much in the interest of all Americans and of all people of goodwill on this Earth that we should be successful in what we undertake in the Soviet Union,″ he said through an interpreter during a commencement speech at Emory University.

″We are engaged in an acute struggle between the advocates of greater freedom and those who want to go back to the conservative, I would even say reactionary, past,″ Shevardnadze said.

His granddaughter, Tamuna Mosashvili, is a freshman at Emory.

Shevardnadze, 63, resigned as foreign minister Dec. 20, warning that the Soviet Union was heading toward dictatorship under President Mikhail S. Gorbachev. He and Gorbachev were the architects of perestroika, or economic restructuring, which brought sweeping changes to the Soviet Union.

After the commencement speech, Shevardnadze told reporters that Gorbachev had little time remaining to institute reforms without losing the confidence of the people.

″The moment has been at hand for a long time,″ he said. ″Time is running out, no doubt. We have only got a couple of months to try to resolve the basic problems.″

He told Emory’s 2,660 graduates that socialism was an ugly mistake for his country.

″A great scholar once said that in science only that is true which is also beautiful,″ Shevardnadze said. ″We became convinced of this by observing our own example of the state of the society of the socialism which we constructed, and which was ugly, and which turned out to be wrong.″

Shevardnadze and his wife, Nanuli, arrived in Atlanta on Sunday and met privately with former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, that night.

Shevardnadze said he and Carter discussed the changes in the Soviet Union, as well as struggles between Ethiopia and the Eritrean rebels. Carter’s Atlanta policy center has helped with peace negotiations in Ethiopia.

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