Review: Assassination of the First Prime Minister of Georgia Noe Ramishvili, by Gela Suladze

The murder of the former Georgian Interior Minister Noe Ramishvili on a Paris street in 1930 would make a great thriller. It’s an incredible story and it involves a true villain, Lavrenty Beria, who publicly called for the murder months before it took place. The victim, Ramishvili, was one of the most important leaders of the Georgian Social Democracy and the first Georgian republic. The man who pulled the trigger, Parmen Chanukvadze, was an unemployed Georgian emigre who seems to have had connections to some of the right-wing parties. He was a nobody, and was what Bob Dylan (referring to a later political killing) would have called “only a pawn in their game”. Chanukvadze was played by the Soviet secret police. Ramishvili’s murder benefitted no one but the Stalinist regime. What a pity that this story, told in this bilingual account, suffers from the worst translation I have seen in many years. I don’t know if the Georgian version is competent or not, but reading the English “translation” was physically painful — yes, it was that bad.