President of Georgia
The President of Georgia is the constitutional Head of State of Georgia as well as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces. They represent Georgia in foreign relations; the constitution defines the presidential office as "the guarantor of the country’s unity and national independence."The President's role is ceremonial as in many parliamentary democracies. Prime Minister is the head of government; the office was first introduced by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia on 14 April 1991, five days after Georgia's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. The President serves a five-year term. Any citizen of Georgia having the electoral right, who has attained the age of 40 and who has lived in Georgia for at least 15 years, may be elected President of Georgia; the office cannot be held by a citizen of Georgia, the citizen of a foreign country. The President of Georgia shall not be a member of a political party. According to the 2018 version of Georgia's constitution, starting in 2024, the President will be elected for a five-year term by the 300-member Electoral College, consisting of all members of the Parliament of Georgia and of the supreme representative bodies of the Autonomous Republics of Abkhazia and Adjara members from the representative bodies of local-self-governments.
The same person may be elected President of Georgia only twice. No less than 30 members of the Electoral College shall have the right to nominate a candidate for the President of Georgia; the election of the President of Georgia is appointed by the Parliament for October. No less than one third of the total number of the members of Parliament has the right to raise the question of impeachment of the President of Georgia, they can be considered impeached if the decision is supported by at least two thirds of the members of Parliament. The procedure of the impeachment of the President is constitutionally banned during a state of emergency or martial law. 1. The President of Georgia shall: a) with the consent of the Government, exercise representative powers in foreign relations, negotiate with other states and international organisations, conclude international treaties, accept the accreditation of ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives of other states and international organisations.
The President of Georgia shall have the right to call a referendum on issues defined in the Constitution and law, at the request of the Parliament of Georgia, the Government of Georgia or no less than 200 000 voters, within 30 days after such a request is received. A referendum shall not be held in order to adopt or repeal a law, to grant amnesty or pardon, to ratify or denounce international treaties, or to decide issues that envisage the restriction of fundamental constitutional human rights. Issues related to calling and holding referendums shall be defined by the organic law.3. The President of Georgia shall have the right to address the people; the President shall annually submit a report on crucial state-related issues to Parliament. Prior to assuming office, on the third Sunday after the election day, the newly elected President of Georgia shall address the people and take the following oath of office: The President enjoys immunity. During his/her period in office, he/she may not be arrested, no criminal proceedings may be instigated against him/her.
In the case of the inability of the President of Georgia to exercise powers, or in the case of the early termination of the President's term of office, the Chairperson of Parliament shall perform the duties of the President of Georgia. Security of the President of Georgia is provided by the Special State Protection Service; the standard is adapted from the national flag of Georgia, charged in the center with the Georgian coat of arms. Copies of the standard are used inside the President's office, at the Chancellery Building, other state agencies, as a car flag on vehicles bearing the President within Georgian territory. After Georgia formally seceded from the Soviet Union on 9 April 1991, the Supreme Council voted, on 14 April, to create the post of executive President, appointed Zviad Gamsakhurdia to the office pending the holding of direct elections. In the nationw
Kutaisi is the 3rd most populous city in Georgia, second in importance, after the capital city of Tbilisi. Situated 221 kilometres west of Tbilisi, on the Rioni River, it is the capital of the western region of Imereti. One of the major cities of Georgia, it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Georgia in the Middle Ages, as the capital of the Kingdom of Imereti. From October 2012 to December 2018, Kutaisi was the seat of the Parliament of Georgia as an effort to decentralise the Georgian government. Kutaisi was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BC. It's believed that, in Argonautica, a Greek epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their journey to Colchis, author Apollonius Rhodius considered Kutaisi their final destination as well as the residence of King Aeëtes, it was capital of the kingdom of Lazica until being occupied by the Arabs. An Arab incursion into western Georgia was repelled by Abkhazians jointly with Lazic and Iberian allies in 736, towards c.786, Leon II won his full independence from Byzantine and transferred his capital to the Kutaisi, thus unifying Lazica and Abasgia via a dynastic union.
The latter led the unification of Georgian monarchy in the 11th century. From 1008 to 1122, Kutaisi served as capital of the united Kingdom of Georgia, from the 15th century until 1810, it was the capital of the Imeretian Kingdom. In 1508, the city was conquered by Selim I, the son of Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. During the 17th century, Imeretian kings made many appeals to Russian Empire to help them in their struggle for independence from the Ottomans. All these appeals were ignored. Only in the reign of Catherine the Great, in 1768, were troops of general Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben sent to join the forces of King Heraclius II of Georgia, who hoped to reconquer the Ottoman-held southern Georgian lands, with Russian help. Totleben helped King Solomon I of Imereti to recover his capital, Kutaisi, on August 6, 1770; the Russian-Turkish wars ended in 1810 with the annexation of the Imeretian Kingdom by the Russian Empire. The city was the capital of the Kutais Governorate. In March 1879, the city was the site of a blood libel trial that attracted attention all over Russia.
Kutaisi was a major industrial center before Georgia's independence in 1991. Independence was followed by the economic collapse of the country, and, as a result, many inhabitants of Kutaisi have had to work abroad. Small-scale trade prevails among the rest of the population. In 2011 Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, signed a constitutional amendment relocating the parliament to Kutaisi. On 26 May 2012, Saakashvili inaugurated the new Parliament building in Kutaisi; this was done in an effort to decentralise power and shift some political control closer to Abkhazia, although it has been criticised as marginalising the legislature, for the demolition of a Soviet War Memorial at the new building's location. Kutaisi is located along both banks of the Rioni River; the city lies at an elevation of 125–300 metres above sea level. To the east and northeast, Kutaisi is bounded by the Northern Imereti Foothills, to the north by the Samgurali Range, to the west and the south by the Colchis Plain.
Kutaisi is surrounded by deciduous forests to the northwest. The low-lying outskirts of the city have a agricultural landscape; the city centre has many gardens and its streets are lined with high, leafy trees. In the springtime, when the snow starts to melt in the nearby mountains, the storming Rioni River in the middle of the city is heard far beyond its banks. Kutaisi has a humid subtropical climate with a well-defined on-shore/monsoonal flow during the Autumn and Winter months; the summers are hot and dry while the winters are wet and cool. Average annual temperature in the city is 14.8 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 5.4 degrees Celsius while August is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.7 degrees Celsius. The absolute minimum recorded temperature is −17.0°C and the absolute maximum is 43.1°C Average annual precipitation is around 1,500 mm. Rain may fall in every season of the year; the city experiences heavy, wet snowfall in the winter, but the snow cover does not last for more than a week.
Kutaisi experiences powerful easterly winds in the summer. Kutaisi has an ancient cultural tradition. Here is a list of the cultural centers in Kutaisi. 1. Kutaisi State Historical Museum 2. Kutaisi Museum of Sport 3. Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art 4. Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili 5. Kutaisi State Historical Archive 6. Kutaisi State Scientific-Universal Library 7. David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery 8. Art Salon 9. Akaki Tsereteli State University 1. Kutaisi Lado Meskhishvili State Academic Theatre 2. Kutaisi Meliton Balanchivadze State Opera House 3. Kutaisi Iakob Gogebashvili State Puppet Theatre 4. Cinema and Entertaining Center “Suliko” 5. Hermann-Wedekind-Jugendtheater Georgian Writers’ Union Georgian Painters’ Union Folk Palace Local newspapers include: Kutaisi, Imeretis Moabe, PS, Akhali Gazeti, Kutaisuri Versia. Other publications include Chveneburebi, a journal published by the Ministry of Diaspora Issues, Gantiadi, a scientific journal. TV: "Rioni".
Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze was a Georgian politician and diplomat. He served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia from 1972 to 1985 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Shevardnadze was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era including reunification of Germany. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he was President of Georgia from 1992 to 2003, he was forced to retire in 2003 as a consequence of the bloodless Rose Revolution. Shevardnadze started his political career in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Komsomol organisation, he was appointed its Second Secretary its First Secretary. His rise in the Georgian Soviet hierarchy continued until 1961 when he was demoted after he insulted a senior official. After spending two years in obscurity, Shevardnadze returned as a First Secretary of a Tbilisi city district, was able to charge the Tbilisi First Secretary at the time with corruption.
His anti-corruption work garnered the interest of the Soviet government and Shevardnadze was appointed as First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. He would become the head of the internal affairs ministry and was able to charge First Secretary Vasil Mzhavanadze with corruption; as First Secretary, Shevardnadze started several economic reforms, which would spur economic growth in the republic—an uncommon occurrence in the Soviet Union because the country was experiencing a nationwide economic stagnation. Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign continued until he resigned from his office as First Secretary. Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Shevardnadze to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. From on, with the exception of a brief period between 1990 and 1991, only Gorbachev would outrank Shevardnadze in importance in Soviet foreign policy. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, Shevardnadze returned to the newly independent Georgia, he became the country's head of state following the removal of the country's first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
Shevardnadze was formally elected president in 1995. His presidency was marked by rampant corruption and accusations of nepotism. After allegations of electoral fraud during the 2003 legislative election that led to a series of public protests and demonstrations colloquially known as the Rose Revolution, Shevardnadze was forced to resign, he lived in relative obscurity and published his memoirs. Eduard Shevardnadze was born in Mamati in the Transcaucasian SFSR, Soviet Union, on 25 January 1928, his father Ambrose was a devoted communist and party official. His mother had little respect for the communist government and opposed both Shevardnadze's and his father's party careers. Eduard was a cousin of the Georgian painter and intellectual Dimitri Shevardnadze, purged during Stalinist repressions. In 1937 during the Great Purge, his father, who had abandoned Menshevism for Bolshevism in the mid-1920s, was arrested but was released because of the intervention of an NKVD officer, Ambrose's pupil. In 1948 at the age of twenty, Shevardnadze joined the Georgian Communist Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
He rose through the ranks of the Georgian Komsomol and after serving a term as Second Secretary, he became its First Secretary. During his Komsomol First Secretaryship, Shevardnadze met Mikhail Gorbachev for his first time. Shevardnadze said he grew disillusioned with the Soviet political system following Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the 20th CPSU Congress. Like many Soviet people, the crimes perpetrated by Joseph Stalin horrified Shevardnadze, the Soviet government's response to the 1956 Georgian demonstrations shocked him more, he was demoted in 1961 by the Politburo of the Georgian Communist Party after offending a senior official. After his demotion Shevardnadze endured several years of obscurity before returning to attention as a First Secretary of a city district in Tbilisi. Shevardnadze challenged Tbilisi First Secretary Otari Lolashvili, charged him with corruption. Shevardnadze left party work after his appointment as First Deputy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR in 1964.
It was his successful attempt at gaolling Lolashvili, which got him promoted to the post of First Deputyship. In 1965, Shevardnadze was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs of the Georgian SSR. After initiating a successful anti-corruption campaign supported by the Soviet government, Shevardnadze was voted as Second Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party. Shevardnadze's anti-corruption campaign increased public enmity against him. However, these campaigns garnered the interest of the Soviet government, in turn, his promotion to the First Secretaryship after Vasil Mzhavanadze's resignation. In 1951, Shevardnadze married Nanuli Shevardnadze, whose father was killed by the authorities at the height of the purge. At first Nanuli rejected Shevardnadze's marriage proposal, fearing that her family background would ruin Shevardnadze's party career; these fears were well justified. Between July 25, 1972, September 29, 1972, Shevardnadze served the First secretary of the Tbilisi City Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia.
Shevardnadze was appointed to the First Secretaryship of the Georgian Communist Party by the Soviet government. Shevardnadze's rapid rise in Soviet Georgia's p
David Tevzadze is a retired Georgian lieutenant general, the country’s Minister of Defense from April 1998 to February 2004. Born in Sukhumi, Abkhaz ASSR, Georgian SSR, Tevzadze graduated from the Tbilisi State University Faculty of Philosophy in 1971 and Institute of Foreign Languages in 1978, he obtained Ph. D. at the Georgian Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy where he worked as a researcher and lectured in history of philosophy and mathematical logic at the TSU for several years. He took an interest in martial arts and was a co-founder and the first President of the Georgian Karate Federation in 1989; the Federation was formed on April 8, 1989, a day before the Soviet troops used force against a peaceful pro-independence rally in Tbilisi. Tevzadze and several other members of the organization resisted the advancing soldiers to secure a corridor for the protesters fleeing the scene of the crackdown. With the declaration of Georgia’s independence from the Soviet Union and the outbreak of civil unrest, Tevzadze joined the Kojori-headquartered paramilitary battalion “Orbi” which he commanded from January 1992 to January 1993 and took part in the war with the secessionists in Abkhazia.
After the merger of paramilitary units into the Georgian Armed Forces, Colonel Tevzadze became a commander of the 11th brigade of reconnaissance and of the 1st brigade. From May 1994 to August 1997, he headed a Foreign Relations Office at the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. From 1994 to 1996, he received training at various NATO education centers such as the NATO Defence College, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Command and General Staff College. In April 1998, President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze dismissed Defense Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze, a career Soviet and Russian army officer, replaced him with more Western-oriented Tevzadze. Amid persistent budgetary shortage and a series of attempted mutinies in the army, Tevzadze attempted to implement some reforms in the Georgian military with the declared aim to help transition “from old Soviet model to the modern forces, applicable to the international standards.” He was pursuant to a pro-NATO line declared by Georgia in 1998 and rejected the post of deputy head of the Coordinating Staff of the CIS Armed Forces in 2001, saying he saw no point in multilateral military cooperation between CIS states.
It was during his tenure, that, in 2002, the United States launched a program of training for the selected Georgian military units. Tevzadze tried to remain neutral during the tense days of “Rose Revolution” in November 2003, when the opposition protests forced President Shevardnadze to resign. Tevzadze told reporters before the resignation that he had “received warnings that there should be no action that could lead to bloodshed.” He retained his post in a new Georgian government. In this capacity he visited Georgian troops in Iraq, his plane was fired upon leaving Baghdad on January 16, 2004. The Coalition helicopters were returned fire. No-one was injured and Tevzadze escaped unharmed. In February 2004, Tevzadze was dismissed as Defense Minister and nominated by President Mikheil Saakashvili as an ambassador to NATO. At the same time, he faced a series of accusations of corruption; the Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security launched a probe into the cases of alleged corruptions in the Defense Ministry and summoned Tevzadze who admitted to certain violations in the Ministry, but refrained from naming the officials accountable for these violations.
Tevzadze’s tenure as an ambassador proved to be short-lived, however, as his credentials were revoked in June 2004. Since Tevzadze has distanced himself from politics and engaged in scholarship and teaching. On May 5, 2009, Tevzadze's name was mentioned in a video footage released by the Georgian police as an evidence of the planned disorders in Georgia, of which the failed mutiny in army was part. Tevzadze said allegations about his involvement in the mutiny plot were "absurd."In October 2015, Tevzadze founded his own political party, Georgia for Peace, to take part in the scheduled October 2016 parliamentary election
Defense Forces of Georgia
The Defense Forces of Georgia, known as the Georgian Armed Forces until December 2018, are the combined military forces of Georgia, tasked with the defense of the nation’s independence and territorial integrity. They consist of the Land Force, Air Force, National Guard, Special Operations Forces; the Defense Forces are under overall leadership of the Minister of Defense of Georgia and directly headed by the Chief of Defense Forces. The first regular military was established in the first Georgian Republic in 1918 and was in existence until after the republic's overthrow by the invading Soviet Russian forces in 1921; the modern Georgian military were founded in accordance with the government decree of 24 April 1991. 30 April, the day when the first conscripts were called up for military service in 1991, has been celebrated as the day of the Georgian military forces. The Georgian military have fought in the civil war and separatist conflicts in the 1990s and the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 as well as major international military missions such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Georgia was one of the first former Soviet republics to join the NATO Partnership for Peace program in 1994 and Individual Partnership Action Plan in 2004 and has sought to bring its military in line with the NATO standards. The Georgia Train and Equip Program training was conducted using U. S. Special Operations Forces and U. S. Marine Corps forces from May 2002 to May 2004. During this time 2,600 Georgian soldiers, including a headquarters staff element and 5 tactical units, received training. Another assistance program, the Georgia Security and Stability Operations Program, was launched in January 2005 as a continuation of the of 2002-2004. Georgian contingents were involved in the Kosovo Force and continue to participate in the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; the GAF have been extensively reformed in the recent years to meet Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO and for better response to the existing challenges such as the ongoing tensions in the unresolved separatist conflict areas in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as to the threats of global terrorism.
Georgia views a large-scale foreign invasion and the spillover of conflicts from Russia’s North Caucasus as the worst potential near- and long-term scenarios, respectively. On August 8, 2008 the Georgian military conducted an operation in Georgia's breakaway region South Ossetia; the operation led to an armed conflict with forces from the Russian Federation and resulted in the defeat and expulsion of Georgian forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Following the military operations, Russia recognized independence of the regions, declared a decade ago; the military budget of Georgia increased more than 50 times over the period from 2002 to 2007, reaching over 7% of Georgia's GDP. The military budget was doubled to the end of 2008 and since February 2009, counts 660 mln lari In August 2008, following a series of fierce clashes in South Ossetia, Georgia attempted to re-take the separatist territory by force. In the resulting military conflict with Russia, Georgia was driven out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, lost parts of its military capabilities.
According to Defence Minister Davit Kezerashvili, Georgia lost $400 million of material worth. Out of its original 200 T-72 tanks, some 55 were abandoned and captured by the enemy and 10 destroyed in combat. Much of the captured equipment, not subsequently destroyed got transferred to Russia or given to the separatists. Parts of Georgia's modern artillery and anti-aircraft units were captured and destroyed. Russian forces sank four Georgian naval vessels in the port of Poti, a coast guard gunboat in a naval skirmish, hauled away nine rigid-hull inflatable boats; the Georgian Air Force lost two L-29 jet trainers, one AN-2 airplane, four helicopters, all destroyed on the ground. Despite these non combat losses, President Mikheil Saakashvili claimed that Georgia had lost less than 5% of its military hardware, contradicting figures from the Georgian military itself. Georgia began a process of re-armament after the war; the conflict was followed by a quick replenishment program of the gaps in the single GAF arms components with an additional massive re-equipment and modernization program.
Two Georgian naval vessels sunk in Poti were raised and returned to service, although one had to undergo repairs. Although their heaviest armaments were 25-30mm cannons; the Georgian Navy's remaining operational naval units were merged into the Georgian Coast Guard, which received training in search and seizure tactics from the United States. Ukraine delivered munitions and artillery systems to Georgia in September 2008, supplied Georgia with 25 T-72 tanks, three BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, sixty portable air defence missiles, munitions for rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles. Ukraine continued to supply shipments of arms to Georgia, announced that it would only stop if the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo. Israel supplied Georgia with firearms after the war; the United States delivered some amounts of arms and light military equipment to Georgia after the war, trained Georgian personnel. Israel sold Georgia numerous Unmanned aerial vehicles, supplied Georgia with two helicopters.
The United States trained Georgian soldiers to be deployed in Afghanistan. Georgia rebuilt its damaged military bases. In August 2010, Georgia was reported to be spending 30 times more on its mi
History of Georgia (country)
The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty by the King Bagrat III of Georgia in the 8th to 9th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia. The Kingdom of Georgia flourished during the 10th to 12th centuries under King David IV the Builder and Queen Tamar the Great, fell to the Mongol invasion by 1243, after a brief reunion under George V the Brilliant to the Timurid Empire. By 1490, Georgia was fragmented into a number of petty kingdoms and principalities, which throughout the Early Modern period struggled to maintain their autonomy against Ottoman and Iranian domination until Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire in the 19th century. After a brief bid for independence with the Democratic Republic of Georgia of 1918–1921, Georgia was part of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic from 1922 to 1936, formed the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The current republic of Georgia has been independent since 1991. The first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Gamsakhurdia was deposed in a bloody coup d'état within the same year and the country became embroiled in a bitter civil war, which lasted until 1995. Supported by Russia and South Ossetia achieved de facto independence from Georgia; the Rose Revolution forced Eduard Shevardnadze to resign in 2003. The new government under Mikheil Saakashvili prevented the secession of a third breakaway republic in the Adjara crisis of 2004, but the conflict with Abkhazia and South Ossetia led to the 2008 Russo–Georgian War and tensions with Russia remain unresolved; the history of Georgia is inextricably linked with the history of the Georgian people. Evidence for the earliest occupation of the territory of present-day Georgia goes back to c. 1.8 million years ago, as evident from the excavations of Dmanisi in the south-eastern part of the country.
This is the oldest evidence of humans anywhere in the world outside Africa. Prehistoric remains are known from numerous cave and open-air sites in Georgia; the earliest agricultural Neolithic occupation is dated sometime between 6000 and 5000 BC. known as the Shulaveri-Shomu culture, where people used local obsidian for tools, raised animals such as cattle and pigs, grew crops, including grapes. Numerous excavations in tell settlements of the Shulaveri-Shomu type have been conducted since the 1960s. Early metallurgy started in Georgia during the 6th millennium BC, associated with the Shulaveri-Shomu culture. From the beginning of the 4th millennium, metals became used to larger extend in East Georgia and in the whole Transcaucasian region. In the 1970s, archaeological excavations revealed a number of ancient settlements that included houses with galleries, carbon-dated to the 5th millennium BC in the Imiris-gora region of Eastern Georgia; these dwellings were circular or oval in plan, a characteristic feature being the central pier and chimney.
These features were used and further developed in building Georgian dwellings and houses of the'Darbazi' type. In the Chalcolithic period of the fourth and third millennia BC, Georgia and eastern Asia Minor were home to the Kura-Araxes culture, giving way in the second millennium BC. to the Trialeti culture. Archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of settlements at Beshtasheni and Ozni, barrow burials in the province of Trialeti, at Tsalka. Together, they testify to an well-developed culture of building and architecture. Diauehi, a tribal union of early-Georgians, first appear in written history in the 12th century BC. Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond. Between 2100 and 750 BC, the area survived the invasions by the Hittites, Medes, Proto-Persians and Cimmerians. At the same period, the ethnic unity of Proto-Kartvelians broke up into several branches, among them Svans, Zans/Chans and East-Kartvelians.
That led to the formation of modern Kartvelian languages: Georgian, Svan and Laz. By that time Svans were dominant in modern Svaneti and Abkhazia, Zans inhabited modern Georgian province of Samegrelo, while East-Kartvelians formed the majority in modern eastern Georgia; as a result of cultural and geographic delimitation, two core areas of future Georgian culture and statehood formed in western and eastern Georgia by the end of the 8th century BC. The first two Georgian states emerged in the west known as the Kingdom of Colchis and in the east as the Kingdom of Iberia. A second Georgian tribal union emerged in the 13th century BC on the Black Sea coast under the Kingdom of Colchis in western Georgia; the kingdom of Colchis, which existed from the 6th to the 1st centuries BC is regarded as the first early Georgian state formation and the term Colchians was used as the collective term for early Georgian-Kartvelian tribes such as Mingrelians and Chans who populated the eastern coast of the Black Sea.
According to the scholar of the Caucasian studies Cyril Toumanoff: Colchis appears as the first Caucasian State to have achieved the coalescence of the newcomer, Colchis can be justly regarded as not a proto-Georgian, but a Georgian kingdom.... It would seem natural to seek the beginnings of Georgian social history in Colchis, the ea
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a Georgian politician, dissident and writer who became the first democratically elected President of Georgia in the post-Soviet era. Gamsakhurdia is the only Georgian President to have died. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was born in the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 1939, in a distinguished Georgian family. Influenced by his father, Zviad received training in philology and began a professional career as a translator and literary critic. Despite the country's association with Joseph Stalin, Soviet rule in Georgia was harsh during the 1950s and sought to restrict Georgian cultural expression. In 1955, Zviad Gamsakhurdia established a youth underground group which he called the Gorgasliani which sought to circulate reports of human rights abuses. In 1956, he was arrested during demonstrations in Tbilisi against the Soviet policy of de-stalinization and was arrested again in 1958 for distributing anti-communist literature and proclamations, he was confined for six months to a mental hospital in Tbilisi where he was diagnosed as suffering from "psychopathy with decompensation", thus becoming an early victim of what became a widespread policy of using psychiatry for political purposes.
Gamsakhurdia achieved wider prominence in 1972 during a campaign against the corruption associated with the appointment of a new Catholicos of the Georgian Orthodox Church, of which he was a "fervent" adherent. In 1973 he co-founded the Georgian Action Group for the Defense of Human Rights, he was active in the underground network of samizdat publishers, contributing to a wide variety of underground political periodicals: among them were Okros Satsmisi, Sakartvelos Moambe, Sakartvelo and Vestnik Gruzii. He contributed to the Moscow-based underground periodical Chronicle of Current Events. Gamsakhurdia was the first Georgian member of the International Society for Human Rights. Seeking to emulate his father, Zviad Gamsakhurdia pursued a distinguished academic career, he was a senior research fellow of the Institute of Georgian Literature of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, associate professor of the Tbilisi State University and member of the Union of Georgia's Writers, PhD in the field of Philology and Doctor of Sciences.
He wrote a number of important literary works and translations of British and American literature, including translations of works by T. S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde, he was an outstanding Rustvelologist and researcher of history of the Iberian-Caucasian culture. Although he was harassed and arrested for his dissidence, for a long time Gamsakhurdia avoided serious punishment as a result of his family's prestige and political connections, his luck ran out in 1977 when the activities of the Helsinki Groups in the Soviet Union became a serious embarrassment to the Soviet government of Leonid Brezhnev. A nationwide crackdown on human rights activists was instigated across the Soviet Union and members of the Helsinki Groups in Moscow, Ukraine and Georgia were arrested. In Georgia, the government of Eduard Shevardnadze arrested Gamsakhurdia and his fellow dissident Merab Kostava on 7 April 1977. There remains some dispute about Gamsakhurdia's behaviour or strategy during his pre-trial detention and the trial itself.
In particular, this concerns a TV broadcast in which he recanted his activities as a human rights activist. A contemporary and uncensored account of these events may be found in the Chronicle of Current Events; the two men were sentenced to three years' in the camps plus three years' exile for "anti-Soviet activities". Gamsakhurdia did not appeal but his sentence was commuted to two years' exile in neighbouring Dagestan, their imprisonment attracted international attention. Kostava's appeal was rejected and he was sent to a penal colony for three years, followed by three years' exile or internal banishment to Siberia. Kostava's sentence only ended in 1987. At the end of June 1979, Gamsakhurdia was released from jail and pardoned in controversial circumstances. By taking pre-trial detention into account, he had served two years of his sentence; the authorities recanted his beliefs. According to a transcript published by the Soviet news agency TASS, Gamsakhurdia spoke of "how wrong was the road I had taken when I disseminated literature hostile to the Soviet state.
Bourgeois propaganda seized upon my mistakes and created a hullabaloo around me, which causes me pangs of remorse. I have realized the essence of the pharisaic campaign launched in the West, camouflaged under the slogan of'upholding human rights.'" His supporters and Merab Kostava claimed that his recant