Georgian leaders pay tribute to country’s first president

Zviad Gamsakhurdia, with his son Giorgi Gamsakhurdia attended opening of the first session of the Supreme Council, 1990. Photo from the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, owner:Central Library of Zugdidi,, 31 Mar 2019 - 12:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s first president Zviad Gamsakhurdia would have turned 80 today.

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze and other officials went to the Mtatsminda Pantheon in Tbilisi to pay tribute to the former president.

Today Georgia’s first President woud have turned 80. Upon the Georgian Government's decission, the Georgian post has issued an anniversary postmark to commemorate this date”, PM Bakhtadze wrote on his official Facebook page, expressing his respect to the late president.

  • After the Soviet collapse the Georgian people elected Gamsakhurdia as their first president in March 1991 with 87 percent of votes;
  • In 1993 the president was found dead at the age of 31 in yet unclear circumstances with a single bullet wound. 

Georgia's National Library hosts an exhibition dedicated to Zviad Gamsakhurdia'a anniversary. Photo: Government of Georgia

March 31 marks yet another important milestone in Georgian history: the country held its first independence referendum.

Paying tribute to Zviad Gamsakhurdia, President Salome Zurabishvili praised him for initiating the referendum as a "historic and courageous step" that has "opened the path to building the modern Georgian state".