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Georgia’s Former Illegal Armed Group Colonel and Her Son Gunned Down

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 8
Colonel Dodo Gugeshashvili, former illegal armed group Mkhedrioni member, and his son Grigol Gugeshashvili were gunned down in their own flat by an unknown person on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia, Gugeshashvili’s son, 33, died during the attack and the former colonel was transferred to Gudushauri Hospital, where she underwent surgery as she had wounds in her chest.

“The expert-criminalists of the MIA are working at the scene and active investigative activities are underway. Investigation was launched into the fact of attempted murder of intentional murder and aggravating circumstances under Articles 108 and 19-109 of the Criminal Code of Georgia,” the Interior Ministry stated.

The representative of MIA, Mamuka Chelidze stated that the killer allegedly knew the family well.

“We cannot speak about the motive of murder or details of the case due to the interests of the investigation,” he said, adding the ministry will periodically inform the public about the developments of the investigation.

The neighbors of Gugeshashvili say they had not noticed anything suspicious until they heard the colonel screaming.

One of the neighbors told Netgazeti that Gugeshashvili left the flat after the incident and covered in blood was asking for help.

“The incident happened at 11am. We called the ambulance and police,” the neighbor added.

Another neighbor says the colonel and her son had economic difficulties, adding the version of robbery should be excluded.

“They had lived here for a year. They were renting the flat. Gugshashvili’s son was a decent young man...They had financial difficulties and I do not think anyone wanted to rob them,” the neighbor told Kvirispalitra news agency.

According to Mamuka Chokuri, a close relative of Dodo Gugeshashvili's family and Isani-Samgori district former governor, Dodo Gugeshashvili’s operation was completed.

“The doctors said the operation is over. She had a wound in her lung. Further details will be known later,” he said.

Gugeshashvili’s close friend and Tbilisi City Council former Chair Irakli Shikhiashvili also commented on the incident. He said the state should protect its citizens.

“I do not say that the citizens should carry the guns with them, but the state must protect people. The fact is that a young man was killed for nothing, "said Shikhiashvili.

The establishment of the Mkhedrioni took place as Georgia moved towards independence in the final years of the Soviet Union. Relations between Georgian nationalists and the country's national minorities, especially the Abkhaz and Ossetians, were difficult even during Soviet rule and grew more tense during the rise to power of the nationalist dissident and the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

The Mkhedrioni was one of a number of nationalist paramilitary groups established during this period as a counterbalance to similar paramilitary organizations set up by rival nationalists elsewhere in Georgia. Mkhedrioni presented itself as the heir to historic Georgian guerrilla groups.

The military group relied on illegal sources of income (targeting gasoline supplies) and exploited connections with Moscow's Georgian underworld. Mkhedrioni members were often accused of criminal activity, extorting "protection money" from businesses in areas which they effectively controlled, operating roadblocks where drivers would be "fined", smuggling drugs and committing robberies.