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Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
Georgia to Rebury First President
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 27 Mar.'07 / 19:38

Remains unearthed in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on March 3 have been identified as those of Georgia’s first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgian and Russian officials revealed on March 27.

A forensic examination has been carried out in the Russian town of Rostov.

Gamsakhurdia's remains will be handed over by the Russian side to Georgian authorities at the Zemo Larsi border crossing point on March 27.

The arrangements were finalised at a meeting between the Russian ambassador in Tbilisi, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, and Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Valeri Chechelashvili.

Reburial is planned for March 31 – Gamsakhurdia’s birthday. He would have turned 68 if he were still alive.

It is, however, still unclear where he will be reburied.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia was ousted in a military coup in January, 1992, less than eight months after he had been elected President.

The deposed president initially fled to Armenia, but subsequently ended up in Chechnya, which at that time was controlled by rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudaev.

The following year Gamsakhurdia returned to Georgia in an attempt to regain power. His forces were, however, repelled by troops loyal to the new regime.

He died in December 1993 in the western Georgian region of Samegrelo in mysterious circumstances. Besarion Gugushvili, a prime minister in Gamsakhurdia’s government, who was accompanying Gamsakhurdia, claims that the president committed suicide. This has been disputed by many though.

Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the late president’s son, who is now a leader of the opposition Freedom Party, has demanded that the Georgian authorities allow an outside, namely U.S., forensic examination of the remains. Only then, he says, will the true cause of death be known.

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