Kaikhosro Cholokashvili (Georgian: ქაიხოსრო ჩოლოყაშვილი, French manner: Kakoutsa Tcholokhachvili) commonly known as Kakutsa (ქაქუცა, a hypocorism of Kaikhosro) (July 14, 1888 – June 27, 1930) was a Georgian nobleman and military commander, regarded as a National Hero of Georgia. Formerly a Colonel in the armies of Imperial Russia and the Democratic Republic of Georgia and a World War I veteran, he led, in the early 1920s, a guerrilla resistance against the Bolshevik regime established by the Soviet Russian Red Army in 1921. After the unsuccessful 1924 August Uprising against the Soviet Union, in which Cholokashvili commanded the largest single unit of the insurgent fores, he fled to France, where he died of tuberculosis. His remains were moved to the Mtatsminda Pantheon, Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2005.
Early life and career
Born into the prominent aristocratic family of Prince Ioseb Cholokashvili in the family estate at Matani, Kakheti, eastern Georgia (then part of the Tiflis Governorate, Imperial Russia).There is spelling of his name "Челокаев" (Chelokayev) in Russian documents... Cholokashvili graduated from the Tiflis Gymnasium for Nobility in 1907, and enlisted in the Imperial Russian army. After having served in the Tver Dragoon Regiment, he retired in 1912 and returned to Georgia, where he married Princess Nino née Meghvinetukhutsesi in 1913. With the outbreak of the World War I in 1914, he was recalled to active service and assigned to lead a cavalry squadron on the Austrian front. Wounded later that year, he was transferred to the Caucasus Front. During the Battle of Sarikamish in December 1914, he commanded a cavalry squadron within the corps led by General Gabashvili and distinguished himself by capturing and defending the strategic "Eagle's Nest" against the overwhelming Ottoman troops. He was severely wounded again and awarded a golden saber for his valor. After a medical course at the Tiflis St. Nino hospital, he was enlisted in the nascent Georgian Cavalry Legion which marched in Iran as part of General Baratov's 1915 expedition, and made a raid into Mesopotamia, where he joined the British expeditionary forces in 1916.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he returned to Georgia and became involved in the Georgian independence movement. He joined the National Democratic Party of Georgia in mid-1917 and helped organize national cavalry units early in 1918. On May 26, 1918, Georgia declared independence as the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Promoted to Colonel, he commanded a cavalry division in the wars with Armenia (1918), Russia (1921), etc. He also briefly served as Deputy Defense Minister in 1919.
The Soviet invasion early in 1921 led to the fall of independent Georgia and the establishment of the Georgian SSR ruled by a Bolshevik Revolutionary Committee (Revkom). Cholokashvili did not follow many of his compatriots into emigration, but withdrew into mountains to organize guerrilla resistance to the new regime. In March 1921, he led a small partisan group "The Conspirators of Georgia" which engaged in a series of skirmishes with the Red Army and Cheka units in his native region of Kakheti. After a clash at Sighnaghi in June 1922, Cholokashvili moved to the mountainous district of Khevsureti where he rallied local peasants against the Soviet government. The Red Army, supported by aviation, overran the area, but Cholokashvili managed to escape to neighboring Chechnya whence he made an inroad into Georgia in November 1922. His brother, Simon, was killed in action, while his family members were arrested and his father-in-law was later executed by the Cheka.
The most intense fighting erupted during the August Uprising in Georgia in 1924, the banner of which was entrusted to Cholokashvili. He took the town Manglisi in a surprise attack on August 29, but could not get reinforcement and moved to the eastern Georgian mountains where he seized control of Dusheti and crushed the Red Army units at Svimoniant-Khevi on September 3. Despite the uprising was generally unsuccessful and brutally suppressed, Cholokashvili refused to surrender and tried to organize, though vainly, sortie to Tbilisi on several occasions. He fought his last engagement at Khev-Grdzela in Kakheti in mid-September and could escape unbeaten despite being vastly outnumbered and shelled by the Red Army artillery. Eventually, the partisans' forces exhausted and Cholokashvili had to flee to Turkey where he was joined by several emigrants and moved to France.
He lived a hard life in France and died of tuberculosis in 1930. Buried initially at the Cimetière de Saint-Ouen he was moved in a few years to the Leuville Cemetery at Leuville-sur-Orge, a burial ground of the Georgian emigration to France.
Cholokashvili's name was banned throughout 70 years of the Soviet Union. With a new tide of national-liberation movement in the late 1980s, he reemerged as a major symbol of Georgian patriotism and national resistance to the Soviet rule, his portraits seen elsewhere at protest manifestations. Public interest to his person further increased after his most trusted friend and comrade in arms, Alexandre Sulkhanishvili, returned from emigration bringing Kakutsa's famous banner of rebellion back to Georgia in 1990.
On November 20-21, 2005, he was moved to another grave at the Mtatsminda Pantheon, Tbilisi. The burial was attended by all high-ranking officials and thousands of Georgians from various regions of Georgia. His portrait graces the new banknote in value of 200 Lari. His name has also been given to a street in popular Vake district in Tbilisi where ironically the Russian embassy is located.
- Cholokashvili, Georgian surname
- (Georgian) Sharadze, Guram; Gverdtziteli, Guram (ed., 1989) Kakutsa Cholokashvili. Tbilisi.
- "Kartuli Idea-The Georgian Idea" by Dr. Levan Z. Urushadze, (2008).
- Urushadze, Levan Z. (2006), For the biography of Kaikhosro (Kakutsa) Cholokashvili.- "Amirani", XIV-XV, Montreal-Tbilisi, pages 147-166, ISSN 1512-0449 (in Georgian, English summary).
- Mikaberidze, Alexander (2007), Kakutsa Cholokashvili. The Dictionary of Georgian National Biography.