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Zurab Zhvania

Zurab Zhvania
ზურაბ ჟვანია
Zurab Zhvania (April 28, 2004).jpg
4th Prime Minister of Georgia
In office
17 February 2004 – 3 February 2005
President Mikheil Saakashvili
Preceded by Position established; himself as the State Minister of Georgia
Succeeded by Zurab Noghaideli
State Minister of Georgia
In office
27 November 2003 – 17 February 2004
President Mikheil Saakashvili
Preceded by Avtandil Jorbenadze
Succeeded by Position abolished; himself as the Prime Minister of Georgia
Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia
In office
25 November 1995 – 1 November 2001
President Eduard Shevardnadze
Preceded by Position established;
Eduard Shevardnadze as the Chairman of the Parliament - Head of State of Georgia;
Vakhtang Goguadze as the Speaker of the Parliament
Succeeded by Nino Burjanadze
Personal details
Born 9 December 1963
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union (Now Georgia)
Died 3 February 2005 (2005-02-04) (aged 41)
Tbilisi, Georgia
Alma mater Tbilisi State University
Religion Jewish

Zurab Zhvania (Georgian: ზურაბ ჟვანია; 9 December 1963 – 3 February 2005) was a Georgian politician, who served as Prime Minister of Georgia and Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia. Zhvania remained prime minister for about a year until February 2005, when he was found naked and dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in a secret apartment with another man, Raul Usupov, who also died. Zhvania's death has been a recurring flashpoint in Georgia's political life ever since, with the late politician's bodyguards arguing that his death was a homosexual encounter gone wrong, and his family, perhaps not believing or wishing to admit he had a same-sex encounter, maintaining that it was a politically motivated murder.

Zhvania was born in Tbilisi into the family of Besarion Zhvania, an ethnic Georgian, and Rema Antonova, of mixed Jewish-Armenian ancestry, both physicists working at the Tbilisi Institute of Physics. In 1985 he graduated from the Faculty of Biology of the Tbilisi State University. He worked at the university through 1992. In 1993 he married Nino Kadagidze, who owned a book store with English language books in Tbilisi. They had a son and two daughters: Elisabeth, Besarion and Anna. Zhvania spoke English, German and Russian.

Zhvania entered national politics in 1988. Between 1988 and 1990, Georgia's Green Party, which Zhvania co-chaired, was one of a number of opposition groups that took part in the country's drive to regain its independence. In September 1991 his party joined the opposition to the government of the first post-Soviet President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Gamsakhurdia's violent overthrow in January 1992 resulted in Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, coming to power a few months later.

Shevardnadze established the Union of Citizens of Georgia to provide a moderate centre-right grouping for reformist democrats. Zhvania joined the UGC in 1992, entering the Georgian parliament in the same year, and recruited other reformists to the party, notably Mikheil Saakashvili. In 1993, Zhvania became general secretary of Shevardnadze's party. On 25 November 1995, after the party’s victory at the election, he was elected as chairman of the Georgian parliament.



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