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Name of leader          Zviad Gamsakhurdia  

Organization                    Zviadists

Conflict country              Georgia       

Gender                              Male   


Year of birth                     1939[1]

Place of birth                   Tbilisi, Georgia (former Soviet Union)[2]  

Year of death                   1993 or 1994 (December 31 or January 1)[3]






Yes, he was killed in action in 1993 or 1994.


Birth order




Age at start of rebel leadership


In 1992, technically, which means he was aged 52. In 1991 he was still the president of Georgia, so he was not a leader of the rebel group at that point.[4]


Leader entry method


He was elected, although it is important to note that he was actually elected as president of Georgia and then when he was ousted, he and his supporters, known as Zviadists, fought back.[5]




No, there is no evidence of powersharing.


Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student


“In… [1957] he entered the University of Tbilisi and graduated it in 1962 (the faculty of Roman and German Languages and philology), as a specialist of English and American literature. He began lecturing at University of Tbilisi and Foreign Languages Institute from 1966. In the same year he becomes the member of Writers Union of Georgia. In 1973 there was his promotion at the Tbilisi University, where he received the degree of a candidate of sciences for his thesis.”[6]


Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage


Yes, he was married.[7] Age of first marriage is unknown.




Yes, he had three sons.[8]


Religious identification


He was likely Christian, like most Georgians.[9]


Elite family background


Yes, he was “the son of Konstantin Gamsakhurdia, a leading Georgian literary figure. Some of his forebears were princes.”[10]


Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made


Yes, “he became politically active in the 1950s, was arrested but continued to be politically active in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.”[11] During that time, he helped found the initiative Group for the Defence of Human Rights Literary, helped found “a group monitoring observation of the Helsinki Accords of 1975”[12] and two secret journals, the Golden Fleece and the Georgian Messenger.[13] He also met with many significant individuals such as Gleb Jakunin, Juri Orlov, Andrei Sakharov, Alexsander Ginsburg, Sergei Kovalev, Juri Gastew, Andrei Tverdokhlebov, Alexander Lavrit, and Merab Kostava.[14]


Physical and mental health


No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.


Pre-militant leader occupation


He “was a literary scholar by profession.”[15]


Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties


No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.


Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties


No, there is no evidence of experience in a nonstate military.


Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?


No, there is no evidence of combat experience.


Held government position prior to assuming leadership?


Yes, he was president of Georgia.[16]


Lived in exile?


Yes, after being overthrown as president “Gamsakhurdia was finally driven into exile in Armenia in January 1992.”[17]


Study abroad?


No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.


Did the leader receive military training abroad?


No, there is no evidence of military training abroad.


Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?


No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.


Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?


Yes, he was put in prison in 1978 for acts that were anti-Soviet and released early in 1979.[18]


Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?


Yes, in 1989 there “were two unsuccessful attempts of assassinating him, but the activists of national movement organized groups to guard him, and [Georgian] KGB terrorists could not realize their plans.”[19]


Cause of Death?


He was killed in combat fighting against the new government of Georgia.[20]


Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult


His primary language was likely Georgian and he likely spoke Russian as well.[21]






Image Credit:

[1] "Zviad Konstantinovich Gamsakhurdia," Oxford Reference, 2016, Accessed December 06, 2016,

[2] "Biography of Zviad Gamsakhurdia," Press Bureau of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, accessed December 06, 2016,

[3] See f.n.1

[4] See f.n.2

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Religions,” CIA, Accessed November 13, 2017,

[10] “Obituary: Zviad Gamsakhurdia,” The Independent, February 24, 1994, accessed December 06, 2016,

[11] Ibid.

[12] See f.n.1

[13] Ibid.

[14] See f.n.2

[15] See f.n.1

[16] Ibid.

[17] See f.n.10

[18] See f.n.1 and f.n.2


[20] See f.n.1

[21] See f.n.2

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