Although widely hailed as the father of Georgian independence, many Georgians still blame Gamsakhurdia for the civil war and ethnic divisions that followed his seven-month presidency, which was terminated by a coup d'état in January 1992. The effects of that period, which brought Georgia to the brink of collapse, persist to this day. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
"Of course, I thought Georgia should be independent and he was for independence," said Ramaz Natsvilishvili, who was a medical student at the time of Gamsakhurdia's 1991-1992 presidency. "But later he started dividing people; city people from the country, Kakhetians from Mengrelians, Georgians from Ossetians
Paul Rimple is a freelance writer based in Tbilisi. Sophia Mizante is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi