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Ilia Chavchavadze

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Title: Ilia Chavchavadze  
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Subject: Culture of Georgia (country), Nana Meskhidze, List of Tbilisians, Kvareli, Luarsab II of Kartli
Collection: 1837 Births, 1907 Deaths, 19Th-Century Novelists, 19Th-Century People from Georgia (Country), 19Th-Century Poets, 19Th-Century Russian Writers, 20Th-Century Christian Saints, 20Th-Century People from Georgia (Country), Assassinated Activists, Assassinated People from Georgia (Country), Burials in Georgia (Country), Georgian Historical Novelists, Georgian Nationalists, Imperial Russian Nobility, Imperial Russian Politicians, Nobility of Georgia (Country), People Murdered in Georgia (Country), Poets from Georgia (Country), Politicians from Georgia (Country), Saints of Georgia (Country), Unsolved Murders in the Russian Empire, Writers from Georgia (Country)
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Ilia Chavchavadze

ილია ჭავჭავაძე
Ilia Chavchavadze
Ilia Chavchavadze (digitally colorized illustration)
Born (1837-11-08)8 November 1837
Kvareli, Kakheti, Georgia
Died 12 September 1907(1907-09-12) (aged 69)
Tsitsamuri, outside Mtskheta, Georgia
Resting place Mtatsminda Pantheon
Occupation jurist, poet, novelist, humanist, publisher, philosopher
Nationality Georgian
Literary movement Realism, Historical fiction


Russian rule of Georgia. Today he is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Georgia.

Inspired by the contemporary liberal movements in Europe, as a writer and a public figure, Ilia Chavchavadze directed much of his efforts toward awakening national ideals in Georgians and to the creation of a stable society in his homeland.

His most important literary works were: The Hermit, The Ghost, Otaraant Widow, Kako The Robber, Happy Nation, Latters of a Traveller and Is a man a human?!. He was editor-in-chief of the Georgian periodicals Sakartvelos Moambe (1863–1877) and Iveria (1877–1905), and authored numerous articles for journals. Most of his work dealt with Georgia and Georgians. He was a devoted protector of the culture from Russification.

Chavchavadze was fatally wounded in Tsitsamuri, outside Mtskheta, by a gang of assassins. His legacy earned him the broad admiration of the Georgian people.

In 1987 he was

  • NPLG.

External links

  • Baron de Baie: Au nord de la chaine du Caucase souvenirs d'une mission", Paris, 1899 (in French)
  • Baron de Baie: Tiflis souvenirs d'une mission, Paris, 1900 (in French)
  • Companjen, Françoise J., "Between Tradition and Modernity". Amsterdam 2004, pp. 167–171 (in English)
  • Leist, Arthur: Das georgische Volk, Dresden, 1903 (in German)
  • Lehman-Haupt, C.F. : Reisen und Forschungen, Berlin, 1910, pp. 106–111 (in German)
  • Reisner, Oliver: The Tergdaleulebi: Founders of Georgian National Identity. In: Ladislaus Löb, István Petrovics, György E. Szonyi (eds.): Forms of Identity: Definitions and Changes. Attila Jozsef University, Szeged 1994, pp. 125–37
  • Wardrop, Oliver The Kingdom of Georgia, London, 1888, pp. 150–152


  1. ^ Socialism in Georgian Colors: The European Road to Social Democracy, 1883–1917, Stephen F. Jones
  2. ^ a b c "Martyr Ilia Chavchavadze of Georgia", Orthodox Church in America
  3. ^ Simon Sebag Montefiore, "Young Stalin," page 57.
  4. ^ Simon Sebag Montefiore, "Young Stalin," page 179.
  5. ^ David Marshal Lang, History of Modern Georgia, p. 176.


See also

  • Georgische Dichter. Translated and compiled by Arthur Leist, Dresden-Leipzig, 1887 (Poems of Ilia Chavchavadze and other Georgian poets, in German)
  • The Hermit by Prince Ilia Chavchavadze. Translated from the Georgian by Marjory Wardrop, London, 1895

Important publications of the works of Ilia Chavchavadze

In 1987, Prince Chavchavadze was formally

As a result of Chavchavadze's death, the Georgian Social Democrats, especially the Mensheviks, started to gain significant power and support among the population. Eventually, after the temporary disengagement of Russia from Transcaucasia, Georgian Mensheviks decided to revive Georgian statehood and proclaimed the United National Movement party which claimed the political legacy of Ilia Chavchavadze's party, and which played a major role in the so-called Rose Revolution of 2003 which ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Monument on the tomb of Ilia Chavchavadze in Mtatsminda Pantheon.
Monument to Chavchavadze (l) and Tsereteli (r) in front of the first Gymnasium in Tbilisi


Either way, the Prince's murder was seen as a national tragedy which was mourned by all strata of Georgian society. Prince [5]

During World War II, an old man confessed to having been hired by the Tsarist Okhrana to assassinate Ilia. During the Soviet period, an investigation was launched by the Soviet authorities which later concluded that the Tsarist secret police and administration had been involved in the assassination.

"The Bolshevik position in Georgia was undermined by the assassination of the hugely popular Prince Ilya Chavchavadze. in August 1907. The Bolsheviks had attacked his patriarchal vision of Georgian culture and, it was widely believed, had decided to kill him. There is some evidence that Stalin's friend [4]

Author and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore suspects that a young Joseph Stalin may have been involved in planning the Prince's murder. According to Montefiore,

After serving as a member of the Upper House in the first Mtskheta. The assassination of Ilia Chavchavadze remains controversial today. Based on recent discoveries in archives, the plot to assassinate Ilia is believed to have been a joint operation by both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks wings of Social Democrats, due to Ilia's condemnation of their revolutionary views, his socially conservative vision for Georgian nationalism, and his tremendous popularity among the public.

Prince Chavchavadze's funeral in Tbilisi


"The Prince was sufficiently impressed to show the teenagers work to his editors. He admired Stalin's verse, choosing five poems to publish – quite an achievement. Prince Chavchavadze called Stalin the, 'young man with the burning eyes.'"[3]

Prince Chavchavadze briefly acted as a literary mentor to a young Joseph Stalin, who was then an Orthodox seminarian in Tbilisi. According to historian Simon Sebag Montefiore,

In addition to his works described above, he was also the founder and chairman of many public, cultural and educational organizations (Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and other languages. Between 1906 and 1907, he was a member of the State Council (Gosudarstvennaya Duma) in Russia. His eclectic interests also led him to be a member of, among others, the Caucasian Committee of the Geographical Society of Russia, the Society of Ethnography and Anthropology of Moscow University, the Society of Orientalists of Russia and the Anglo-Russian Literary Society (London).

Ilia's main political and social goals were based on Georgian patriotism. He radically advocated the revival of the use of the Georgian language, the cultivation of Georgian literature, the revival of autocephalous status for the Georgian national church, and, finally, the revival of Georgian statehood, which had ended when the country became part of the Russian Empire. As the number of supporters for his ideas grew, so did opposition among the leading Social Democrats like the Menshevik Noe Zhordania; their main aims were focused on battling the Tsarist autocracy and a democratic transformation of the Russian empire. This did not include the revival of a Georgian state or of a Georgian self-identity. Ilia was viewed as bourgeois and as an old aristocrat who failed to realize the importance of the revolutionary tide.

Newspaper "Iveria" (Iberia) founded and edited by Chavchavadze during his political career. The newspaper focused on the national liberation movement of Georgia in the late 1800s.
Chavchavadze's house in Tbilisi.

Political life

Ilia finally returned to Georgia after the completion of his studies in 1861. During his journey back, Ilia wrote one of his greatest masterpieces, The Travelers' Diaries, where he outlines the importance of nation-building and provides an allegorical comparison of Mt. Kazbegi and the Tergi River in the Khevi region of Georgia.

That same year, Ilia was admitted to the University of St. Petersburg. During his student years, numerous revolutions sprang up in Europe which Ilia observed with great interest. Ilia's attention focused on the Nik'oloz Baratashvili. Due to the harsh climate in St Petersburg, Ilia became very ill and returned to Georgia for several months in 1859.

After graduating from the academy, Ilia decided to continue his education at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia. Before leaving for St. Petersburg, Ilia composed one of his most remarkable poems, To the Mountains of Kvareli in the village of Kardanakhi on 15 April 1857, where he expressed his lifelong admiration for the Greater Caucasus Mountains and his sorrow at leaving his homeland.

Ilia Chavchavadze during his studies at the university in Saint Petersburg, 1860

Student years

In 1848, after the death of Princess Chavchavadze, Ilia was sent to Tbilisi by his father to begin his secondary education.[2] Ilia attended a private school for three years before he entered the 1st Academy of Tbilisi in 1851. Soon after, Ilia's father died and Aunt Makrine looked after the family. His secondary school years were very stressful, due to his father's death. However, the Chavchavadze family suffered another devastating blow when Ilia's brother, Constantine, was killed during the Dagestani raid on Kakheti. Ilia expressed his anguish and grief in one of his first short-poems called Sorrow of a Poor Man. In addition to his personal problems, the political situation in Georgia worsened under the harsh authority of the Russian Empire, which played a destructive role to the nation and its culture.

[2] Ch'avch'avadze was educated at the elementary level by the

Ilia was the third son of Grigol Chavchavadze and Mariam Beburishvili. Grigol, like his father and his famous ancestors, had a military background. He, along with the local militiamen protected the village from numerous Dagestani invasions. This can be seen in the architecture of the Ilia Chavchavadze museum house in Kvareli, incorporating a Medieval castle style in the two-storey castle in the yard, which was designed to protect the house during invasions.

Ilia Chavchavadze was born in Qvareli, a village in Erekle II's order, Ilia's great grandfather, Bespaz Chavchavadze was knighted when he defeated twenty thousand Persian invaders in Kvareli in 1755.

Chavchavadze in 1st Gymnasium of Tbilisi, 1848

Ancestry and early life



  • Life 1
    • Ancestry and early life 1.1
    • Student years 1.2
  • Political life 2
  • Death 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Important publications of the works of Ilia Chavchavadze 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Resources 8
  • External links 9


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