Aslan Abashidze was born into a renowned princely house that was ruling in Adjaria since the 15th century. Mr Abashidze was born on July, 20, 1938. In 1962 he graduated from the faculty of philology and history of Batumi State Pedagogical Institute. In 1984 he obtained degree in economics from Tbilisi State University. In 1962 he was convicted of illegal possession of firearms and hooliganism and sentenced to two years’ probation. He gave classes at a music school, worked as a headmaster at a vocational training school and did a lot of komsomol work. During these years he became familiar with Eduard Shevardnadze’s elder brother Ippokrat.
Since 1981 deputy chairman of the Batumi gorsovet (city counsil)
Since 1984 minister of public service of the Adjarian Autonomous SSR
Since 1986 deputy minister of public service of the Georgian SSR, president of Gruzbytservice concern
In March 1991 he secured a position of chairman of the Supreme Council of Adjaria. At the time
Zviad Gamsakhurdia whom he had known since his childhood was arrested. In June he was elected chairman of the Supreme Council of Adjaria. He was reelected to hold this position in 1996.
1991—1995 a deputy speaker of the Georgian Parliament
In December 1991 after the outbreak of civil war he set up an army to defend from armed groups that included both advocates and critics of Gamsakhurdia
In 1992 he became leader of a political party, known variously as the Union of Democratic Revival (since 1997) or the Union for Georgia's Rebirth. The party succeeded in the 1992 and 1995 parliamentary elections.
On September, 28, 1992 he basically announced independence of the autonomy’s economy. He did not push for Adjaria’s independence and promoted its development into a free economic zone with a right to set its own custom regulations.
In 1994 he welcomed Georgia’s joining the CIS.
In 2000 he ran for presidency but withdrew from the campaign in favor of Shevardnadze. In the same year he was elected president of Adjaria by 99% of voters, his name being the only option on the ballot.
In May 2004 Mikheil Saakashvili introduced direct rule of the state government in Adjaria. A major armed conflict was prevented through the negotiations between Georgia and Russia.
On May, 5, 2004 after the negotiations with Russia Abashidze chose to leave Adjaria. The next day a plane with Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, on board arrived in Batumi and the same evening took Abashidze to Moscow.
In December 2005 Georgian public prosecution office initiated criminal case and put Abashidze on wanted list over accusations in terrorism, public office misconduct and corruption.
In March 2006 Abashidze was accused of a premeditated murder of the deputy chairman of the Adjaria Supreme Council, Norad Imnadze, commited in 1991. On January, 22, 2007 Batumi city court sentenced Abashidze in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment. The court obliges him to pay about 60 million dollars to the budget of Georgia. International police also put Aslan Abashidze on Interpol’s wanted list.
Sources close to Saakashvili claimed that Mr. Abashidze “did not cease to take provocative actions” and contacted Igor Giorgadze, former head of the State Security Service of Georgia, who is also on the wanted list in Georgia over accusations of heading several terrorist operations.
Abashidze is the author of the flag, coat of arms, music and lyrics to the anthem of Adjaria. He was awarded the order of Badge of Honor and the Order of the People's Friendship, a Russian Federation Honor Badge "For Service in the Caucasus", Vakhtang Gorgasal's Order of 1st degree. Laureate of the Nansen Award. Distinguished member of the Russian Academy of Pedagogical Science and the Academy of Political Science of Georgia, a member of the International Informatization Academy. He is a major-general of the Georgian Army and a colonel of the Russian Armed Forces. Upon German Titov’s initiative, a star in the Sagittarius constellation is named after Mr. Aslan Abashidze.
His wife, Maguli Gogitidze (1951—2003), headed the Adjarian Fund of Culture and the Adjarian branch of "Georgian Women for Peace and Life". She gave birth to two children, daughter Diana, born in 1970, and son George, born in1976, who was the mayor of Batumi until his father's resignation. They also have two grandchildren and favor Islam.
In the middle of September, at the time of the outbreak of the armed conflict between Georgia and Russia, Mr. Aslan Abashidze visited Moscow where he held negotiations with Mr. Valery Loshchinin, a special presidential envoy on the settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, the minister of Defense, Mr. Sergey Ivanov, and other State Duma officials. He chose to leave the president of Georgia in the dark about the backbone of the negotiations.
Most likely, it was made clear to Mr. Abashidze that in the current circumstances Moscow considers him as a figure to pursue pro-Russian policy in Georgia.
Sourse: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 02.10.2002
On March 14, 2004, president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the nation: Over the past years of president Shevardnadze’s wide open indifference local authorities set up their own military force with a SWAT of 1500 specially trained soldiers. Furthermore, grossly violating the Constitution of Georgia, the 25th brigade of Georgian Armed Force ceased to be under control of the government and the Commander-in-Chief and was put on war footing by an illegitimate order of the head of the Adjarian Autonomous Republic.
It is absolutely clear that we are not talking about a difference in customs rules or taxation and etc. We are talking about an attempt of military uprising against Georgia.
I spoke to Mr. Aslan Abashidze and I told him that I would not put up with the situation when the Constitution of Georgia is not enforced on the territory of Adjaria.
Source: Lenta.ru, 03.14.2004
In the times of mild leadership and gap filling policy, Tbilisi had to put up with Mr. Abashidze’s usurpation of power. Moreover, this was even beneficial for Tbilisi as prince Abashidze, a very distinguished and heavy weighted politician, in exchange for his freedoms in the region agreed to keep away from the state policies and not to run for presidency. But when a young, energetic and established politician, Mr. Mikheil Saacashvili, took office, the situation changed dramatically. Tbilisi started its attack on the region that had started to act independently. This is when the illusion of power and influence of the “Adjarian lion” was exposed. It turned out that people were tired from his dictatorship and oppose to the fact that all the power in the region was in the hands of the Abashidze clan.
Source: APN, 11.02.2010
Moscow kept sitting on the fence watching the situation as long as it could. Mr. Saakashvili was obviously winning the battle. Mr. Abashidze’s mistakes are partly to blame. Moscow feared to trigger an armed conflict in the Trans-Caucasion region.
Source: Gzt.ru, 05.07.2004
On May 5, 2004, president of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin on the initiative of the Georgian government sent Mr. Igor Ivanov, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, to Georgia to consult on the settlement of the crisis in Adjaria.
Source: RIA Novosti, 05.06.2004
Overnight May 6, 2004, head of the Adjarian Republic announced his resignation. After the end of the negotiations, he and his son George flew out to Moscow.
Source: RIA Novosti, 05.06.2004
The former Adjaria leader’s expensive foreign cars and pedigree dogs are to be auctioned off. Money from the sales of Mr. Aslan Abashidze’s property will become part of the region’s budget, allocated for social benefit programs for the poorest communities of Adjaria.
Source: RIA Novosti, 05.08.2004
On May 12, 2004, damaging information collected by the former Adjarian Republic leader, Mr. Aslan Abashidze, was found in his office in the Supreme Council of Adjaria. Among this damaging evidence there were materials on the Prime Minister, Mr. Zurab Zhvania, the Speaker of Georgian Parliament, Ms. Nino Burdzhanadze, and also facts testifying that Mr. Abashidze wiretapped telephone conversations of journalists.
Source: RIA Novosti, 05.12.2004
On May 17, 2004, Mr. Revaz Morchiladze, a criminal also known as “Pitkin”, one of Mr. Aslan Abashidze’s confidants was arrested in Adjaria. Mr. Morchiladze is accused of an armed attack on police officers. Up to the recent times Mr. Morchiladze was in charge of an illegal armed group in Adjaria and was implicated in illegal substance dealing.
Source: RIA Novosti, 17.05.2004
On May 6, 2004, Mr. Yuri Luzhkov promises to provide assistance to the former Adjarian leader Mr. Aslan Abashidze in such turbulent times. “Mr. Abashidze is a close friend of mine, and we will not neglect him in time of trouble", says Mr. Luzhkov. "We will help Mr. Aslan Abashidze to find his place here in Moscow if he would want to.”
Source: RIA Novosti, 05.25.2004
In June 2004 during the interrogation by the Public Prosecution Office of Batumi, the officials questioned Mr. Aslan Abashidze’s daughter, Diana, about family property in Adjaria, a chain of enterprises known under the name "Agordzineba". It is possible that Diana Abashidze will only be allowed to leave Batumi after Tbilisi officials and her father agree on the bail out sum.
Source: Novye Izvestiya, 06.23.2004
In accordance with the orders from the authorities Adjaria budgetary organizations transferred money to the accounts of Mr. Aslan Abashidze’s funds. For instance, at present there are 14 million dollars on the account of Mr. Abashidze’s peace fund in the Maritime Bank. The Aslan Abashidze Fund was allocated over 3 million dollars. And on Mr. Abashidze’s personal savings account there are 718 thousand dollars and 300 thousand dollars are on his daughter Diana’s account.
Source: Gazeta.ru 07.05.2004
Some evidence makes room for doubt concerning the sincerity of Tbilisi motivations when overthrowing Mr. Aslan Abashidze. Experts say that the masterminds behind the former Adjaria leader's expulsion are international drug cartels that control drug trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe.
Source: Political Journal № 28 (31), 08.09.2004
On September 23, 2004, Mr. Aslan Abashidze’s property and property of his relatives impounded. The property includes apartments, land, cars, hotels, buildings with offices of limited liability enterprises.
Source: RIA Novosti, 09.23.2004
On October 13, 2004, a collection of antique weapons that belonged to Mr. Aslan Abashidze has been found and taken to Batumi to the Supreme Security Council of Adjaria. The antique collection is to be handed over to one of the museums in Georgia.
Source: RIA Novosti, 10.13.2004
“Money, illegally acquired by Mr. Aslan Abashidze has been returned to the government and will be spent on the construction of the tunnel between Batumi and Cobuleti”, said Mikheil Saakashvili in early December 2004. About 4.5 million dollars for the construction were withdrawn from the accounts in the Maritime Bank in Batumi.
Source: RIA Novosti, 12.09.2004
In May 2004 several days after Mr. Abashidze left Batumi Georgian authorities sent his favorite dog, a for-year-old Caucasian Shepherd Dog called Basmatch, to Moscow by a charter plane. The rest 73 unique breed dogs that are in Mr. Abashidze’s dog shelter in Adjaria will also not be left to starve. As a result of a bidding round the shelter will be run by "Gamma plus" company for 49 years. The company owner is a famous businessman Mr. Bandi Patarkatsishvili.
Source: Vremya Novostei, 04.14.2005
In April 2005 the public prosecution office of Georgia reopened a criminal case over the murder of the deputy chairman of the Adjaria Supreme Council, Mr. Norad Imnadze, commited in 1991. Mr. Aslan Abashidze is the main suspect.
According to Mr. Abashidze, the deputy chairman came to Mr. Abashidze's office and began shooting with a submachine gun. Mr. Abashidze was wounded and shot Mr. Imnadze as a matter of self defense. The alleged reason for this incident was tension that long existed between the head of the republic and his vice, who continuously accused his boss of separatist moves.
Source: Compromat.ru, 02.06.2006
On May, 9, 2006 International police put Mr. Aslan Abashidze on the wanted list with no restrictions on the arrest. The former political is accused of illegal possession of weapons, fraud, organized crime activity, terrorism and false imprisonment. Mr. Abashidze openly lives in Moscow. The mayor, Mr. Yuri Luzhkov, furnishes all kinds of support to him.
Source: NEWSru.com, 05.24.2006
On January 22, 2007, Batumi Court sentenced Mr. Abashidze in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment. The court ruled guilty of abuse of office and malversation of fund for about 57 million dollars. The court obliges him to pay out the mentioned sum of money to the budget of Georgia.
Source: Lenta.ru, 01.22.2007
In October 2010 Kutaisi court of Appeal rejected Mr. Abashidze’s appeal. Thus, the 2007 ruling of Batumi city court remain legitimate.
Source: Research and information forum Georgia-Online, 10.22.2010
Mr. Aslan Abashindze is working on his memoires. He will touch upon his relationship with the first president of Georgia, Mr. Gamsakhurdia, the former president Mr. Shevardnadze and current officials before they came to power.
Source: kavkasia.net, 01.06.2011