, has so many enemies that last week’s attempt on his life could plausibly have been a Russian plot, a Georgian conspiracy, a Caucasian Islamic jihad, or even a scheme related to pipeline politics. The February 9 ambush, carried out by highly disciplined attackers armed with machine guns and anti-tank grenade launchers, killed two persons and wounded others. President Shevardnadze survived thanks to his armored Mercedes, a German gift that replaced a car destroyed by a bomb in an assassination attempt in 1995.

Shevardnadze, the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union, told a meeting of prominent Georgians that he believed the attack originated in Russia: "They can not forgive me [the withdrawal from] Afghanistan, the Berlin Wall, the troop withdrawal from Europe, the oil pipelines and Central Asia-Europe transit corridor. That’s why they want to destroy me."

Georgian law-enforcement officials renewed appeals to Russia to extradite