Avtandil Imnadze ავთანდილ იმნაძე

* 1940

  • "One day, they put me at the workbench on which Merab was working in the second shift. I saw that there were incorrectly assembled, broken parts lying separately. Merab was making these details in reverse and they were no longer useful. For making these details, they gave us some money, which we used to buy food at the prison store. Merab was doing it on purpose. When I wrote to him, why are you doing this, he wrote to me: "Brother, Avto, these scumbags are bringing our details to the Sverdlovsk military factory, and they are deliberately making us participate in the strengthening of the Soviet military power. After that, I will do it all the time, I didn't know until now". Of course, after that, I also started spoiling these details."

  • “When they put me in Novosibirsk prison, they put me in a cell where it was terribly cold. It was April, but even in April it is winter there. I asked for a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote a letter to be transferred to a normal cell. After a while, they brought me to the office, where two people were sitting. One deputy was writing something, and the other was drunk. The drunk started swearing at me, I was silent, what should I answer. This made him more angry, he took a big stick and started beating me, hitting me on the back several times. And then the other one, who was writing, stopped and scolded him, pretending to help me. After that I was transferred to another cell. The funny thing was that I was taken to a cell in which it was terribly hot. You didn't want the cold, now you have to bear the heat. I prefer heat to cold and I put up with it. Then they took me to another prison. That was the only time they physically touched me.”

  • “Of course we heard [about the Prague Spring], but to make any statement about it then was simply unimaginable, you couldn't speak out loud. The only one was Solzhenitsin, the author of "Gulag Archipelago", who also appeared later. At that time, Sakharov was not even seen, because there was no dissident movement, so I cannot say that there was a great response. Of course, there was an opinion among the people that what happened was terrible, and everyone around me was in solidarity with the Czechs and expressed sympathy, as much as it was possible in Georgia at that time.”

  • “[When Stalin died], like everyone else, I cried - we lost our father. Ioseb Noneshvili even dedicated an amazing poem to him. This poem was read by famous actors and everyone shed tears - this was the country. [Three years later, when the demonstrations happened] we went out and shouted, now I laugh: "Lenin-Stalin, Lenin-Stalin." By this we wanted to say that Stalin was not a small figure and if Lenin was great, so was Stalin. These two were equally great for us, and we hated Khrushchev. I was 15 years old then. When the tragedy happened, I was not there, my sister barely managed to survive.”

  • “My ideological change happened in the family of my friend Romanoz Peradze. Romanoz was St. Grigol Peradze's nephew and I was often in his family. His father was hostile to the Soviet Union, as he and his brothers fought together at Kojori against the 11th Army, and he lost his leg in that battle. He not only could not stand the Soviet Union, he was also a very patriotic person. This was the period, in the late 50s, when my generation and the whole of Georgia were convinced that the Soviet Union was a strong union, a fraternal union, it was bound by the great Russian people, and we thought it should be like that - that was the psychology then. It was from him that I learned for the first time that this is not the case at all, that Georgia has the right to be independent, has always been independent and should be independent.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Tbilisi, 04.07.2023

    duration: 34:34
  • 2

    Tbilisi, 04.07.2023

    duration: 49:32
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Georgian dissident, politician, and director

Avtandil Imnadze, 2023
Avtandil Imnadze, 2023
photo: Natáčení

Avtandil Imnadze, born on October 15, 1940, in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a distinguished Georgian dissident, politician, and director. During the 1970s, he fearlessly co-founded an illegal underground group, dedicated to challenging the oppressive Soviet regime through anti-Soviet and anti-Communist activities. As a result of his actions, he faced arrest and endured four years of hardship in the Perm prison camp, followed by an additional year of exile in Chumikan, Khabarovsk Krai. After graduating from school, Avtandil entered the Technical University of Georgia in Tbilisi, from where he was taken to the Kyiv Aviation Institute, where he spent 3 years. After returning to Georgia, he continued his studies at the Technical University and became a geologist, but he worked in this field for a total of 4 years and then switched to directing. During his years at the Technical University of Georgia, he created the university theater and then he entered the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University. It was Avtandil’s idea to hold a massive protest on April 14, 1978 in response to an attempt by the Soviet government to change the constitutional status of languages in Georgia. This greatly angered the KGB, and in just a few days, Avtandil was arrested. After returning from exile, he was an active member of the National Liberation Movement of Georgia and later, on April 9, 1991, he signed the Act on the Restoration of State Independence of Georgia.