Georgia's first lawmaking body president Karlo Chkheidze honoured with memorial album

Karlo Chkheidze headed Georgia's nascent lawmaking bodies during the short-lived independence of the republic between 1918-1921. Photo via Institute for Development of Freedom of Information., 25 Nov 2019 - 20:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

The legacy of Karlo Chkheidze, one of the major historical figures of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia, has been honoured with a publication of a memorial album and an unveiling of a plaque in Tbilisi.

Chkheidze, who served as the President of the Constituent Assembly, National Council and Parliament of Georgia during the brief independence of the country between 1918-1921, has been commemorated in a project between the Tbilisi-based Institute for Development of Freedom of Information and the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia.

The two institutions hosted a presentation of a memorial album with a selection of photographs including some never-before-seen shots of Chkheidze as well as biographical facts, stories and quotes from significant personalities like Noe Zhordania, chairman of the government of the republic.

Words from the latter tell about the personality and work ethic of Chkheidze, as Zhordania characterises him as a "highly moral person" leading work of major importance while "trying to always let others enjoy the spotlight and taking a back seat himself".

Chkheidze was a prominent figure in the years of the Russian Revolution. Here he is seen addressing sailors of the Russian Baltic Fleet in Petrograd. Photo via IDFI.

He was a very educated public servant, quiet but humorous, an admirer of society but accustomed to solitude [...] a very complex and moral person who has remained unknown to many" - Noe Zhordania about Karlo Chkheidze

The presentation of the album, hosted at the parliamentary library on Monday, saw addresses on Chkheidze from its author Anton Vatcharadze, IDFI Executive Director Giorgi Kldiashvili, library director Giorgi Kekelidze, historians and more.

The event's tribute to the historical figure of the republic has been amplified by an unveiling of a commemorative plaque on a Tbilisi house where Chkheidze resided. Vatcharadze told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty his team had managed to identify the previously unknown residence at 4, Zurab Chavchavadze Street in the capital, where the plaque has now been installed.

The cover of the memorial album on Chkheidze's life and work, unveiled in Tbilisi on Monday. Photo via IDFI.

Before his political work in the independent republic Chkheidze had been a major figure in the social-democratic movement in the early 20th century and a prominent personality in the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Later serving in the office of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, he returned to Georgia to head the nascent lawmaking bodies of the newly proclaimed independent state.

The 1921 invasion and occupation of Georgia by the Russian Red Army saw Chkheidze escape alongside other political figures of the state to France, where he and his fellow emigres resided in the Leuville Estate south of Paris.

Finding himself in difficult financial circumstances shared with other exiled figures and facing health complications, Chkheidze was hospitalised with injuries following a suicide attempt on July 7, 1926 and died on July 11.