Sunday, April 01, 2007

Zviad Gamsakhurdia

Found my road closed this morning after returning from shopping - why? Did not understand. It's Palm Sunday, there's a church in the road, and maybe someone important was going to come to the church?

The mystery became clear later on which I crossed a road elsewhere just in front of the funeral cortege of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia's first president after independence. Apparently he had died in mysterious circumstances in1994, when he could not win the civil war, or so it says in this rather bizarre Russian article. (An article which in an obituary uses the word 'whorehouse' must be bizarre, but Russia, eh? - they must have saved on translation again). In this 1991 article, written by a Latvian (?) he is described as a dictator - though as a former human rights activist he had spent considerable time in prison in Russia. Wikipedia seems to have the most balanced article about him, including today's reburial. His presidency seems to have been eventful and not equally appreciated by everyone.

It seems his remains were buried in Chechnya, not a peaceful choice of a place, but just recently they were brought back to Tbilisi, and now reburied, a few hours ago, in the pantheon of the great and the good in Mtatsminda, about 15 minutes from my house. Apparently his grave in Grozny had been lost for a while, and they only recently found it again.

If you look carefully at the photograph you will see some Georgian gentlemen in traditional garb, including swords; some children in national costume were also spotted later, and I also could hear singing further up the road. Clearly it was a major event, and many people seem to have some feeling for him.


varske said...

Covered by the BBC today as well