Georgian economist and politician Giorgi Maisashvili Died at 55

George (Gia) Maisashvili was born on November 24, 1962 and died on February 26, 2018.

He was a Georgian economist and politician.

Maisashvili was a presidential candidate in the Georgian presidential election of 2008.

He was born in Tbilisi, Maisashvili graduated from the Tbilisi State University in 1985.

Maisashvili was apart of the students’ pro-independence protests against the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and on the forefront in the struggle for Georgian independence and democracy, which was achieved in 1991.

During 1991-92, he became instrumental in transitioning Georgia into the free-market economic system by founding the country’s first ever commodity exchanges – Tbilisi Universal Exchange and Georgian Tea and Wine Exchange.

Following the Georgian Civil War and the overthrowing of the democratically elected government by Eduard Shevardnadze in 1992, Maisashvili was forced to flee the country and was granted a political asylum by the United States.

After he return to the US, Gia graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1997.

During that same year, he joined the Houston, Texas-based energy company Enron and served as the head of a risk analysis unit until quitting the company in 2001.

Maisashvili returned to Georgia on the eve of the 2003 Rose Revolution and became a political mentor and an economic adviser to then opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili.

Soon after Saakashvili’s ascend to power, Maisashvili became publicly critical of Saakashvili and distanced himself from the new president. During July 2007, Maisashvili started his own political party – the Party of Future (momavlis partia).

He was registered as a presidential candidate for the early elections called on January 5, 2008.

Maisashvili emphasized on economy and social solidarity, and supported Georgia’s bid to join NATO. On November 30, 2007, in what is now considered the critical blunder of his campaign, he stated that he would rather support Mikheil Saakashvili in the case of a second-round run-off against the oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili.

But that statement was immediately exploited by his opponents and sensationalized by the media, resulting in significant drop in his poll numbers from which he never recovered.

Durin May 2008, Gia ran in the Georgian Parliamentary elections representing Tbilisi’s Saburtalo constituency on the Christian-Democratic Alliance ticket—The Alliance.

On May 6, 2009, while attempting to arbitrate a peaceful outcome in a clash between a disorderly political demonstration and the riot police, Maisashvili was shot by the riot police in the head with a rubber bullet.

Maisashvili slowly made a full recovered from his injuries.

But, since that , George (Gia) Maisashvili gravitated away from direct involvement in Georgian politics and has instead focused on bringing about an ambitious bottom-up educational reform in Georgia through the expansion of his Leadership School brand, a venture he originally started in 2006 with the declared aim to rear “a new generation of skilled, wise and courageous future leaders of Georgia.”

Gia Maisashvili had three young children: Sophia, Anna and William (Shalva).

He died at 55 years old.