Under Reconstruction

Official web site of the President of Georgia

Georgia | Presidents of Georgia | The President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1991 - 1993)

Zviad Gamsakhurdia

The President of Georgia in 1991-1992

Zviad Gamsakhurdia was born in Tbilisi, on March 31, 1939, in the family of a famous Georgian writer Konstantine Gamsakhurdia and Miranda Palavandishvili.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia studied at Tbilisi secondary school N47. He continued his education at Tbilisi State University, the faculty of Western European Languages and Literature, specialty –English Literature. He finished studies at the University in 1962. In 1973 he was awarded PhD candidate degree in the field of philology, and in 1991 – PhD scientific degree.

National Liberation Movement

Protest to the Soviet Union regimen by young Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his friends was revealed in 1956 year. They published proclamations in Tbilisi’s streets and blamed Soviet Union for bloody intervention in Hungary. Members of this group were arrested but soon released. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was arrested for the second time in 1959 but he was again released very soon.

In 1975, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava became members of international organization “International Amnesty”. In 1976, these two friends founded Georgian Helsinki Group in Tbilisi. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a Chairman of this group until the end of his life.  The group was publishing underground magazines, such as: “Georgia”, “Golden Fleece”, “Georgian Bulletin”, etc. Gamsakhurdia was first who published The Gulag Archipelago of Russian dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Tbilisi.

In 1978, the Congress of United States nominated Zviad Gamsakhurdia as Nobel Peace Prize Official Nomineefor the merit of human rights and dissident movement.

Lately, Gamsakhurdia became member of Human Rights International Organization (ISHR-IGFM, Frankfurt). In addition, he actively cooperated with dissident magazine “Chronicle of the Current Events” in Moscow (Editor – S. Kovaliov).
For the dissident movement, the KGB arrested Gamsakhurdia in 1977 and released him in 1979.
In 1979, he was actively involved in National Liberation Movement and was one of the leaders of almost all the peaceful mass demonstration in 1987-1990. The demonstration in 1898 was finished with 9 April tragedy and Gamsakhurdia was arrested as the organizer of this demonstration.

After the death of Merab Kostava, Zviad Gamsakhurdia headed the Society of Saint Ilia the Truth.
In 1990, under his leadership bloc of political parties and organizations “Round Table – Free Georgia “was founded. This bloc won the first democratic and multiparty parliamentary elections on 28 October of 1990.

Career Path

After the graduation from the university, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was assistant at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University at the department of Western Europe and Literature.

In 1972-1977 and 1983-1990, was Senior Researcher Officer of the Department of Rustvelology at Georgian Academy Science Shota Rustaveli Georgian Literature Institute. 

New Georgian Supreme Council held the first session on 14 November of 1990 year and elected Gamsakhurdia as a Chairman. On the same session was taken decision to name the country as “Georgian Republic” and to restore Georgian Democratic Republic (1918-1921) state attribution (flag, emblem, and hymn).
Lately, on 9 April, 1991, according to the results of Public Referendum of 31 March of 1991, the Supreme Council declared about the restoration of state independence of Georgia. Soon, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as the President of Georgia, what was confirmed with the results of presidential elections on 26 May.

In 1992, after the military coup, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was forced to move in Grozny, where the general Johar Dudaev granted him asylum. 
In 1993, Gamsakhurdia returned in Samegrelo, Georgia. In 1993 he was in the villages of Samegrelo with some accompanying person.

he died on 31 December, 1993 in village Xibula, Tsalenjikha region. He was interred in village Jikhashkar and soon was reinterred in Grozny. Finally, he was interred at Mtatsminda Pantheonin Georgia in 2007.
His wife – Manana Archvadze is pediatric. She was partial comrade of Gamsakhurdia.
Has three child: Konstantine Gamsakhurdia (from the first marriage), Tsotne Gamsakhurdia and Giorgi Gamsakhrudia.

Publishing Activity

In 1970, Zviad Gamsakhurdia became a member of Georgian Writer’s Union. On 1 April, 1977, he was expelled from the union for anti-Soviet propaganda. 

He is the author of many significant scientist works (among them 4 monographs) in the field of Rustvelology, Georgian Culture, History of Georgian Literature, Theology, History of American Poesy, etc.; Also author of poems, collection of fables, translations of Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Gogol and other writers.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s election as Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia – November, 1990

Zviad Gamsakhurdia announced restoring the independence of Georgia on April 9, 1991 at the Supreme Council session