Akaki Chkhenkeli

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Akaki Chkhenkeli

Akaki Chkhenkeli (Georgian: აკაკი ჩხენკელი) (1874-1959) was a Georgian Marxist politician and publicist who acted as one of the leaders of the Menshevik movement in Russia and Georgia. His younger brother was the linguist Kita Tschenkéli.

He was born in the town of Khoni, Georgia, then part of Imperial Russia, to a noble family. A graduate from the universities in Kiev, Berlin, and London, he was a lawyer and a literature expert. He joined the Social Democratic movement in 1898 and sided with the Menshevik faction in 1903. He was involved in the Russian Revolution of 1905 and was briefly arrested in its aftermath. He was elected to the Fourth State Duma where he advocated self-determination for the peoples of Russia. After the February Revolution of 1917, he worked for the Special Transcaucasian Committee as a Commissar for Internal Affairs and was elected, in June 1917, a member of All-Russian Central Executive Committee.

On February 14, 1918, he became a Deputy Head and a Foreign Minister in the government of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, a short-lived Armenian-Azerbaijani-Georgian federation. When the Democratic Republic of Georgia proclaimed independence on May 26 1918, Chkhenkeli assumed the position of Foreign Minister and remained on this post until being replaced with Evgeni Gegechkori in November 1918. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Georgia in 1919 and briefly functioned as an emissary to France in January 1921. The Soviet invasion of Georgia early in 1921 forced him into exile to Paris where he remained in émigré opposition to the Soviet Union until his death in 1959.

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