Vakhtang Dzabiradze ვახტანგ ძაბირაძე

* 1953

  • “I had a good relationship with Rak [prison officer]. We were both fans of football: he was a fan of Dynamo Kyiv, I was a fan of Dinamo Tbilisi, and he used to come and talk about football. Once he came when I was working and started talking to me. We continued the conversation and cursed the Soviet government. I suddenly stopped him and said, how do you talk like that, that's why I'm here, but you're my boss here and you're watching me. He answered, do you know what’s the difference is between us? You didn't know with whom to talk about it, but I do. The system was so rotten, the prisoners told the colonel, "When we become free and come to power, we will arrest you.”

  • “Dato Berdzenishvili was arrested first, and on January 3, 1984, we were arrested as well, they did not even let us celebrate the New Year. When Dato was arrested, we stopped our activities. By the way, it was very difficult for them to find clues on us. As the KGB members said later on, they did not expect that we could be the authors of these magazines. They were not expecting 25-year-old guys, but more experienced people, 40-45 years old, therefore they were looking elsewhere. In the end, they still got the person who knew it all. When they caught us, they already knew everything. When Dato was caught, one of the members of our main committee had already told everything [to the KGB]. Then he told us that he might have said something on accident to some woman. When they realized that they were looking in the wrong place, they began to hang around Dato, and the man who told them everything was his relative. They were checking everyone and one of the people who was arrested was this person. He was a member of the main committee, he knew everything and he told them everything he knew.”

  • “What was written, printed and staged in the cinema and theater in our country, nothing similar happened in other republics. Our intelligentsia then, one might say, was playing on the edge of dissidence. We entered the period when the communist ideology was beginning to break down. Our generation did not actually obey the communist ideology. The Communist Party existed, but people went there to make a career, and everyone knew it. I assume that only one in a hundred people believed in the ideology itself. The rest of the space was anti-Soviet and in Georgia, of course, there was a desire for independence. The emergence of the Helsinki Union was also an added factor.”

  • “When I entered the Polytechnic Institute, my youth and student years, it was the 70s, some changes were beginning to happen. A very important fact was that Eduard Shevardnadze appeared on the political scene in the 1970s, and this was the period when the conflict within the party was going on and a new force was coming, and indeed Shevardnadze came in 1972. As always, in such a situation, when one ruler leaves, another comes (still similar to today), there is always a free space, because the one who is leaving no longer has the power to fully maintain his influence, and the newcomer has not yet taken power in such a way that would allow him to control everything, and such a situation creates space. I say this because this period coincided with my student years. Also, in Georgia, unlike other republics of the Soviet Union, the field of culture was quite free. What was written, staged and filmed in Georgia, such freedom was rare in other republics. A new generation came along with these transformations, which began in the 70s, when Shevadnadze came and brought a new wave. Today, we are surprised that 20-22-year-old boys are appointed governors, it was like that then, they were just appointed secretaries of the Raikom”

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    Tbilisi, 28.06.2023

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I spent several years in the Perm prison camp

Vakhtang Dzabiradze, Tbilisi, 2023
Vakhtang Dzabiradze, Tbilisi, 2023
photo: Natáčení

Vakhtang Dzabiradze was born on February 6, 1953 in the village of Kldeeti, Zestaponi municipality, Georgia. He is a Georgian dissident and politician, former member of parliament. In the 1970s, together with his friends, he created an illegal political organization that engaged in anti-Soviet and anti-Communist activities. For this, he was arrested and had to spend several years in the Perm prison camp. In 1970, Vakhtang Dzabiradze entered Tbilisi Technical University. His student years coincided with the period when Eduard Shevardnadze appeared in the political arena and confronted Vasil Mzhavanadze. He was interested in politics before and took the first step in 1978, when he founded the Republican Party of Georgia with his friends Levan Berdzenishvili and Vakhtang Shonia. Party members created illegal groups and started publishing an illegal anti-communist magazine. The group was gradually expanding, but soon one of the new members gave information about the members to the KGB and they were arrested. After returning from prison he joined the “Chavchavadze Society”. He was at the center of the events of April 9, 1989. After Georgia gained its independence, Vakhtang Dzabiradze was a member of the parliament, but due to disagreements with fellow party members on fundamental political issues, he left the Republican Party and withdrew from active political life. Nevertheless, of course, he is still interested in current politics.