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The dean of Georgian political scientists and scholars of international relations, Alex could explain his country, the Caucasus, and the entire post-Soviet world with a rare combination of passion and realism. He knew—and would say it freely—that the transition from the Soviet past would be measured in decades rather than years, that the obstacles would be many, and that progress would come from durable institutions rather than powerful personalities. He more than knew it—he acted on it. He founded GFSIS—the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. He worked hard to build independent scholarship and public policy analysis, to establish them as durable institutions in Georgian public life. It is his gift to his beloved Georgia. In an age when politics is often dominated by young men in a hurry, his vision, his wisdom and his sense of humor will be missed.
Rest in peace, Alex.
Alex eventually made his biggest commitment to his country by founding Georgia's first serious think-tank, GFSIS. He was a patriot in the best sense of the word, being on good terms with successive governments, but never afraid of criticizing them. He had friendly but critical words for both Eduard Shevardnadze, to whom he was a foreign policy adviser, and Mikheil Saakashvili.
Alex was also more than that. In post-Soviet Georgia, a poor, chaotic country he pulled off the feat of not complaining about his lot or competing with his peers. He was, in short, a gentleman. He also had a great sense of humor, delivering jokes in his incomparable deep gravelly voice that could have given him a career in the theater.
He was one of a kind and will be dearly missed.
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