Georgia Reformer, Businessman Bendukidze Dies in London at 58

Kakha Bendukidze, a leading figure behind Georgia’s anti-corruption economic reforms after the 2003 Rose Revolution under Mikheil Saakashvili, has died in London, his sister Nunu Bendukidze said on the phone today. He was 58.

The cause of death is not yet known, Vato Lejhava, chancellor of the Free University of Tbilisi, which Bendukidze founded, said in televised comments this morning. He had recently had heart surgery.

Bendukidze, who amassed wealth in Russia during the 1990s, moved back to Georgia in 2004 and was appointed economy minister. He became government chief of staff in 2008.

He was a general director of OMZ Gruppa Uralmash-Izhora, Russia’s biggest producer of heavy machinery.

Bendukidze returned to Georgia following the 2003 Rose Revolution that swept Saakashvili to power. He earned a reputation as a liberal economic reformer. He sold his OMZ stake in 2005.

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