Born of the noble house of Gelovani, he graduated from the Petersburg University in 1901 and briefly practiced law in St. Petersburg. He later joined the Georgian Social Federalist Party and was elected, in 1905, to the Russian Fourth Duma for the Kutais Governorate (western Georgia). Varlam Gelovani was a close friend of Alexander Kerensky, the future Prime-Minister of Russia in February–October 1917. Prince Gelovani was an excellent chess player and became President of the St Petersburg's Chess Club. During World War I, Gelovani led a Red Cross detachment of the Duma members to the Caucasus front where he died of typhus. The obituary in the literary magazine "Zvezda" (the Star) was written by Kerensky.
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