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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Losing power: Eduard Shevardnadze
All this week, the BBC is talking to people who once held a position of global influence but have since lost it, giving them the chance to reflect on their feelings as their world collapsed. Here, Georgia's former President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Mr Shevardnadze was forced to resign two years ago, when opposition leaders stormed parliament only days after an election deemed by many to be unfair.

I think it would be fair to say that my role in ending the Cold War was crucial.

Eduard Shevardnadze
The tough thing was having nothing to do. It was strange, thinking I was not the president anymore
Eduard Shevardnadze

The unification of Germany, the liberation of eastern Europe. Back then, the United States and Western Europe were interested - but it was up to us, the Soviets, to make it happen.

But it's what happened after that's most important for me.

It was my decision to come back to Georgia that was truly significant.

No normal man, no normal politician, would probably do that. Georgia did not exist as a state - it was total chaos, civil war, and no legitimate government.

Two years after my return, we had a constitution, we had a parliament, we had an election, and we were recognised by the international community.

We worked very hard to achieve it all.

I am a kind of man who adapts easily to any situation. But what happened on 23 November [2003, when he was ousted] was unexpected. This shouldn't have happened to me. I should have been better prepared - I should have known what they were trying to do and what they were preparing for.

No bloodshed

I hate the word "revolution". It was not a revolution. Forty or 50 people breaking into parliament - can you call that a revolution?

Back then I called a state of emergency - I felt it was a coup. I was forced out, and another man, who is the president today, took my place.

Car bomb attack on Eduard Shevardnadze
On that day we were supposed to start the parliament session at 4pm, but we started a little late.

Outside there were people - many people. I had one sentence to finish - then they broke in.

My bodyguards knew what kind of personality I had. They knew I would not leave - so they grabbed me, twisted my arms, and pushed me out of the building.

Now I still remind them of it. I joke with them, and tell them I will break their arms one day.

It was in the car that I started thinking. I declared a state of emergency - but what would it lead to? There would be a confrontation, there would be bloodshed.

I came home and my wife said to me: "What are you doing? Why did you declare a state of emergency? Do you want blood to be shed?"

I said: "No, I don't - but you have to get used to the idea that I won't be a president from tomorrow."

New beginning

The next morning I met with the opposition leaders. They said to me that it would be best for everyone if I resigned.

I said to them: "You are young, you are talented. You can have this country and run it. If you need my advice, call me."

Then I went down. There were many journalists there. They asked me what had happened. I smiled and said: "Nothing - I resigned."

They asked me where I was going. I said: "I'm going home. Where else can I go?"

The tough thing was having nothing to do. It was strange, thinking I was not the president anymore.

I'm not that kind of man. I'm used to working 16, 18-hour days.

I came back and decided I would start writing my memoirs. I started straight away.


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