Merab Kostava
Merab Kostava (May 26, 1939–October 13, 1989) was a Georgian
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

, musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

 and poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

; one of the leaders of the National-Liberation movement in Georgia. He was born in 1939 in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (the current capital of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...


In 1954, Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a dissident, scientist and writer, who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era...

 founded the Georgian youth underground organization "Gorgasliani". Between 1956 and 1958 Kostava, together with Gamsakhurdia and several other members of this organization were jailed by the KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 for "anti-Soviet activity." The charges against Kostava and Gamsakhurdia included the dissemination of anti-communist literature and proclamations.

Kostava graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in 1962. From 1962-1977 he was a teacher at a local music school in Tbilisi.

In 1973, Kostava and Gamsakhurdia established the Initiative Group for defence of Human Rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. In 1976 Kostava co-founded the Georgian Helsinki Group (later renamed the Georgian Helsinki Union in 1989). From 1976-1977 and 1987-1989 Kostava was a member of the Governing Board of the abovementioned human rights organization. After 1975 Kostava was a member of Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...


In 1977, Kostava and Gamsakhurdia were jailed. Kostava was sent to Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to serve his sentence. He was released in 1987. In 1978, the two men were nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 by the Congress of the USA
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

. In 1988 Kostava co-founded the Society of Saint Ilia the Righteous and was one of the leaders of this political pro-independence organization. From 1988-1989 he was one of the organizers and active participants of most (if not all) peaceful pro-independence political actions
April 9, 1989 Massacre
The April 9 tragedy refers to the events in Tbilisi, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, on April 9, 1989, when an anti-Soviet demonstration was dispersed by the Soviet Army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries...

 within the Georgian SSR. On April 9, 1989 Kostava was jailed again but was released after 45 days.

Merab Kostava was active in the underground network of Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

 publishers, co-publisher of the Georgian underground periodical "Okros Satsmisi" ("The Golden Fleece"). He was the author of many important literary and scientific works.

On October 13, 1989, Merab Kostava died in a car accident.

See also

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