Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze yesterday declared his property and income in an interview on national radio. He stated that he owns substantial bank savings in Western currencies from lecture fees, interview honoraria and international awards for statesmanship. For the most part these funds date back to the aftermath of his resignation as foreign minister of the Soviet Union, when public interest in Shevardnadze peaked in the West. Other personal assets include a large library and a home in Shevardnadze’s native village of Mamati, in western Georgia. Shevardnadze no longer owns his former apartments in Tbilisi and Moscow. His current residence, at Krtsanisi outside Tbilisi, and the armored Mercedes car received as a gift from the German government, are public property (Radio Tbilisi, January 4).
The president’s disclosure complies with his own recent instructions requiring senior state officials to declare their assets. That anticorruption measure specifically applies to holders of some 500 government posts, beginning with the president himself. Shevardnadze’s step may also be seen as designed to preempt accusations against him and the ruling Union of Citizens of Georgia party in the run-up to the 1999 parliamentary elections and the 2000 presidential election. Shevardnadze, who turns 71 this month, announced on New Year’s Eve that he intends to run for reelection (Georgian Television, December 31).
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