Noe Zhordania

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Noe Jordania
Noe Schordania.jpg
Jordania in 1918
Prime Minister of Georgia
In office
24 June 1918 – 18 March 1921
Personal details
Born (1868-01-14)January 14, 1868
Lanchkhuti, Guria, Kutaisi Governorate, Russian Empire (present-day Georgia)
Died January 11, 1953(1953-01-11) (aged 84)
Paris, France
Resting place Leuville Cemetery, near Paris
Nationality Georgian
Political party Social Democratic (Menshevik) Party of Georgia
Alma mater Theological Seminary of Tbilisi, Warsaw Veterinarian Institute
Profession Politician
Religion Eastern Orthodox, later none (atheist)

Noe Zhordania (also transliterated as Jordania; Georgian: ნოე ჟორდანია; Russian: Ной Никола́евич Жорда́ния) (14 January [O.S. 2 January] 1868 (according to other sources: 21 March [O.S. 9 March] 1869) – January 11, 1953) was a Georgian journalist and Menshevik (social democratic) politician. He played an eminent role in the socialist revolutionary movement in the Russian Empire, and later chaired the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from July 24, 1918 until March 18, 1921, when the Bolshevik Russian Red Army invasion of Georgia forced him into exile to France. There Zhordania led the government-in-exile until his death in 1953.

Family and education[edit]

Zhordania was born on 14 January [O.S. 2 January] 1868, to a petty landowner in the village of Lanchkhuti in Guria, western Georgia, then part of the Kutaisi Governorate of Imperial Russia. He then moved to Tiflis where he graduated from the Georgian Orthodox Theological Seminary, a prestigious academic institution of the time. In 1891 he moved to Warsaw, Poland, and attended the Warsaw Veterinarian Institute. It is during this period of his life that young Zhordania acquainted himself with the ideas of Marxism.

Early career[edit]

Returning to Georgia, he propagated Marxist ideas among the workers of Tiflis and in the 1890s emerged as a leader of the first legal Marxist organization in Georgia, Mesame Dasi (the Third Group). In 1894, he was tried by the Russian authorities for his participation in the "League of Freedom of Georgia". Elected a delegate to the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in 1903, he sided with the Menshevik faction and gained significant influence among them. In 1905, he edited a Tiflis-based Georgian Menshevik newspaper Sotsial-Demokratia known for its fierce attacks on the Bolsheviks. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he went against the armed uprising and advocated the creation of a legal workers’ party. On the 4th Congress of the RSDLP in 1906, he supported the idea of land municipalization. The same year, he was elected to the First State Duma for the Tiflis Governorate and became a spokesman for the Social-Democratic faction. The 5th Congress of the RSDLP elected him into the Central Committee where he maintained his post until 1912. Having signed the "Viborg declaration," a protest against the dissolution of the First Duma, in December 1907, he was sentenced to three months of imprisonment. In mid-1912, he edited a Baku-based legal Menshevik newspaper Nashe Slovo. In 1914, he collaborated with Leon Trotsky in the magazine Borba where he published a series of articles on the question of nationalities.

Revolution and independence[edit]

Georgia celebrates the first anniversary of its independence. Noe Zhordania, S. Mdivani, N. Tsereteli, P. Kakhiani, G. Lordkipanidze, E. Takaishvili, and foreign guests are seen on the tribune.

During the World War I years, he maintained a “defensist” position and worked for Georgi Plekhanov’s Samozaschita (1916). After the February Revolution of 1917, he chaired the Tiflis soviet and on March 6, 1917 was elected a commissar of the executive committee of the Tiflis Soviet. In August 1917, he was elected to the Central Committee of the RSDLP(u[nited]). On the session of the Tiflis Soviet of September 3, 1917, he made a speech calling the workers not to succumb to the Bolshevist sentiments, but rather to fight for the establishment of a parliamentary republic. In October 1917, he joined the all-Russian Pre-Parliament, but soon became disillusioned in it and returned to his native Georgia. On November 26, 1917, he became a chair of the Presidium of the National Council of Georgia and played a leading role in the consolidation of the Menshevik power in Georgia. His wavering position on the formal secession from Bolshevist Russia ended in May 1918, and Zhordania effectively chaired a parliament session which declared the independent Democratic Republic of Georgia. On July 24, 1918, he became Head of the Government of Georgia.

Zhordania with the Second International Delegation. Tbilisi, 1920


Within the three years of rule, his government organized a successful land reform, adopted comprehensive social and political legislation, and cultivated widespread international ties, enabling Georgia to become the only Transcaucasian nation to earn de jure recognition from Soviet Russia and the Western powers. Apart from a massive peasant support, his government managed to gain, through combining socialism, democracy, and a moderate form of nationalism, the loyalty of intellectual élites and nobility, and played a crucial role in transforming Georgia into the modern political nation.[1] However, the invasion of the Soviet armies in February–March 1921 toppled down the Georgian government, forcing Zhordania and many of his colleagues to take refuge in France where he led the government-in-exile and continued his efforts to earn the international recognition of the Soviet occupation of Georgia and foreign support for the Georgian independence cause until his death in Paris in 1953.

In 1923, Noe Zhordania made an appeal to Washington on which he said:

He also said in the appeal that Chekists had killed without trial hundreds of people, including women and children, many of them from the Georgian intellectual class.[2]

Zhordania was buried at Leuville-sur-Orge Cemetery in France.



  1. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation, 2nd edition, p. 207. Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3.
  2. ^ "Sons of Thargamos", TIME Magazine, May 19, 1923.
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (ed., 2007), Zhordania, Noe. Dictionary of Georgian National Biography. Retrieved on May 24, 2007.
  • (Russian) Noi Zhordania. Hronos. Retrieved on May 24, 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Noe Ramishvili
Head of the Government of Georgia
Succeeded by
Soviet rule
Preceded by
Head of the Government of Georgia in Exile
Succeeded by
Evgeni Gegechkori