Le renard argenté de la dictature et de la démocratie

MOSCOU – Tout au long de ses années au pouvoir, Edouard Chevardnadze était surnommé le « renard argenté », un homme qui semblait glisser sans effort du rôle de chef de file de la Géorgie soviétique à celui de membre du Politburo du Kremlin, puis à celui de ministre des Affaires étrangères réformiste de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, avant de réapparaître comme président post-soviétique pro-occidental de la Géorgie, ironiquement opposé à Gorbatchev. Il se considérait comme le héros qui a libéré la Géorgie de la férule de la Russie. Il était également l'un des politiciens les plus corrompus que son pays ait jamais connu.

À la fin de sa vie, Chevardnadze était devenu un paria politique en Géorgie, en Occident et en Russie, où il était considéré comme un architecte de la dissolution de l'Union soviétique. Pourtant, même s'il a été largement oublié après la Révolution des Roses de 2003 quand il a été renversé par son ancien protégé Mikhaïl Saakashvili, sa ruse et son habileté à manipuler les forces politiques lui ont encore permis de gérer son héritage à son avantage.

Saakachvili, résolument pro-américain, a lancé des réformes économiques efficaces et un assaut tous azimuts sur la corruption de la police, même si lui aussi a finalement été accusé de corruption passive et de se livrer à des impulsions autocratiques. Arrivé au pouvoir à la révolte qui a renversé un Chevardnadze corrompu, il a eu recours aux mêmes techniques de style soviétique : intimider et discréditer les opposants, disperser les dissidents par la force, pour garder ses adversaires à distance.

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