Former President of the Republic of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze passed away Monday after a long illness, according to his personal aide. In 1992, Shevardnadze served as the first president of the country, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Born in 1928, he became the head of Georgia’s Communist Party in 1972 and served as foreign minister under Mikhail Gorbachev. Shevardnadze helped craft and promote “perestroika” and helped thaw Soviet relations with the West. He went on to lead Georgia during a tumultuous time and to help guide the country out of civil war. However, his political leadership did not survive the Rose Revolution, and he was removed from office in 2003.