Zurab Zhvania1

Georgia's late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was born on 9 December 1963 in Tbilisi.

In 1985, after graduating from Tbilisi State University he and a group of other young people formed an environmental NGO with the support of renowned scientists. The Georgian Green Party was founded on the basis of this NGO in 1988. Zhvania was elected as its head.

In 1992 Zhvania became the first co-chairman of the European Greens from Eastern Europe.
In 1993 he was elected the secretary-general of the Citizens Union of Georgia (parliamentary faction) and in 1995 and 1999 served as parliament speaker.

Under Zhvania’s leadership the parliament succeeded in adopting completely a new legislative system based on the principles of democracy, human rights and market economics. These developments, without precedent in the former Soviet Union, have enhanced Georgia’s integration into the international community.

Zhvania has played a significant role in the development of strong, influential civil society institutions and free media in the country.
Zhvania resigned as parliament speaker in 2001, citing corruption in the executive branch and its attacks against freedom of expression.

In July 2002, Zurab Zhvania and his colleagues formed a new political party entitled the “United Democrats”.

After the Rose Revolution in November 2003, Zhvania was appointed state minister and later, on February 17, 2004 he became prime minister.

Zurab Zhvania died on February 3, 2005. He is buried in the Didube Cemetery for Writers and Public Figures.Zhvania was a charismatic person and a distinguished leader who brought a team of politicians of an entirely new generation to the scene and played a key role in molding the character of a number of today's prominent Georgian politicians. He introduced the concept of "team player" to Georgian politics.

2Zhvania was a democrat by nature and was capable of transforming his system of beliefs and values into a political strategy.

He was a good orator and his fluency in the Georgian, Russian and English languages helped him to be equally persuasive of his position, beliefs, attitudes and disposition.

Zhvania was able to evaluate the situation with cold mind, yet take his decision with warm heart. This enabled him to break through stereotypes and build a new system whose future prospects he could foresee with utmost precision. He had a very broad world-vision, yet a very friendly, open and sociable manner and a unique sense of humor.

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II in his speech at Zhvania's funeral said: "Mr. Zhvania was a person of exceptional intellect, yet he was very devoted to his faith. He was always the first to think of and the first to do good and kind deeds. Even today, he is the first one to be placed in this newly built cathedral. Perhaps this is an omen from God telling us that he is close to our Lord."

Zurab Zhvania was married to Nino Kadagidze. They have three children: Elisabeth, Besarion and Anna