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Former Soviet Foreign Minister Says Socialism Had No Beauty

May 13, 1991

ATLANTA (AP) _ Former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze told Emory University graduates today that socialism in his country was a mistake that can be corrected.

″A great scholar once said that in science only that is true which is also beautiful,″ he said. Soviet leaders ″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 urged Emory’s 2,660 graduates in a commencement speech to take note of the sweeping changes in Eastern Europe during the past five years and to realize they could not have occurred without the policy of perestroika.

Shevardnadze was one of the architects of perestroika, or economic restructuring, which brought sweeping changes to the Soviet Union.

He said it’s in the interests of ″all Americans and of all people of good will on this earth that we should be successful in what we undertake in the Soviet Union.″

The Soviets ″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,″ he said.

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

Shevardnadze arrived Sunday to meet with former President Jimmy Carter.

Carrie Harmon, a spokeswoman for the Carter Presidential Center, said no details on the meeting would be released.

Earlier Sunday, during a commencement address at Boston University, Shevardnadze discussed the Persian Gulf War.

″The crisis in the Persian Gulf demonstrated the decisive role of technological progress, knowledge, professionalism and competence,″ Shevardnadze said. ″But it also demonstrated that victory is on the side of freedom. Totalitarianism, once again, suffered a defeat.″

Shevardnadze, 63, is touring the United States to raise money for the Foreign Policy Association, a research organization he took over after leaving the government. He also is promoting an upcoming book on the future of Soviet politics.

He resigned as foreign minister Dec. 20, warning that the Soviet Union was heading toward dictatorship under President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

In recent interviews and speeches, he has expressed pessimism about political changes in the Soviet Union, and said he thinks the threat of dictatorship has not diminished.

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