Georgian Embassy at 6.30-8.00pm 7th January 2016 4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ
Alex Rondeli (7th January 1942–12th June 2015) was a brilliant, charismatic and inspirational figure whose love and knowledge of Georgia was without equal. A leading political scientist and expert on international affairs, Alex founded the highly respected and influential think tank GFSIS in 1998. As a distinguished orientalist and expert on Iran, a well-known public figure, an important foreign policy adviser to Georgian governments, the first port of call for foreign journalists and politicians and a hugely popular teacher to successive generations of Georgian high-flyers his legacy and impact on Georgia’s developing western orientation through 25 years of independence are immense.
‘I was born on January 7th, during the cold and dramatic winter of 1942. My mother was like Mother Mary because, according to the Orthodox calendar, this is Christmas Day, so she delivered me into this world at a very special moment.
My mother hated Stalin and everything having to do with him. In 1937, during the Great Purge, her parents and brother had been taken away and shot. I had an older brother, but now she thought she might like a daughter and became pregnant.
Then, on 22 June 1941, Hitler attacked. My mother went to see her sister and asked her what to do. "Don't have a baby now," she said. "There's war." But the propagandists claimed that the Soviet army would never have to fight the enemy on its own territory – so she thought the war would not be very serious because the Germans would soon be pushed back. So it is thanks to Stalin's propaganda that I was born!’
The beginning of an interview for ESI September 2008