Joni Pirtskhalaishvili

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US Air Force General Richard B. Myers (right), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Lieutenant Joni Pirtskhalaishvili (left), Chief of the General Staff of Georgia

Joni Pirtskhalaishvili (Georgian: ჯონი ფირცხალაიშვილი) (born May 22, 1947) is a retired Georgian lieutenant general (1999). He was the country's Minister of Defense from 15 September 1991 to 2 January 1992[1] and the Chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces from May 1998 to September 2003.[2][3][4]

Born in Lanchkhuti and a graduate of the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow, Pirtskhalaishvili commanded a Soviet motor-rifle division in Ukraine before returning to Georgia. He briefly served as the country's Defense Minister in the government of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia from September 1991 to January 1992, when Gamsakhurdia was declared deposed in a military coup. During the rule of Eduard Shevardnadze, Pirtskhalaishvili became Deputy Defense Minister under Vardiko Nadibaidze, but ultimately resigned because of differences with Nadibaidze over military reforms. After the dismissal of Nadibaidze in 1998, Major-General Pirtskhalaishvili was appointed Chief of the General Staff and promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.[5] During his tenure, the United States launched the GTEP training program for the Georgian troops and Georgia deployed its contingent in Iraq.[6][7] During the disputed parliamentary election in November 2003, eventually annulled by the Rose Revolution later that month, Pirtskhalaishvili ran, unsuccessfully, in the Lanchkhuti constituency on a ticket of pro-Shevardnadze election bloc For New Georgia.[8]

Military offices
Preceded by
Zurab Meparishvili
Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Givi Iukuridze
Preceded by
Office created
Minister of Defense of Georgia
Succeeded by
Levan Sharashenidze