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Former Mkhedrioni leader shot in Tbilisi

7 February 2018
Dodo Gugeshashvili (Tabula)

Dodo Gugeshashvili, formerly a prominent member of the Mkhedrioni paramilitary group, has been shot in the outskirts of Tbilisi. Gugeshashvili remains in serious condition in hospital; her son, who was with her at the time, was killed in the attack.

The Interior Ministry confirmed to OC Media that Gugeshashvili, 50, and her son, 33, were shot several times in their flat in Dighomi Massive, in the north west of Tbilisi.

Gugeshashvili, who suffered several gunshots to the chest, was rushed to hospital where she underwent surgery. A doctor at Ghudushauri Clinic told journalists that her condition was ‘serious but stable’.

An investigation has been launched for premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder in aggravating circumstances, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

Gugeshashvili, who also formerly served as a colonel in the Georgian armed forces, maintained a low profile after the Mkhedrioni was dissolved in 1995. In 2014, she volunteered to fight in Ukraine Donbass region, saying she was fighting for the ‘territorial integrity of Ukraine’.

‘A powerful wave of theft, looting, and armed robberies’

The Mkhedrioni (Georgian for cavalry), was a powerful paramilitary group in Georgia in the early 1990s. They fought in the Georgian Civil War against the country’s first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and his supporters, as well as on the Georgian side during the conflict in Abkhazia.

The Mkhedrioni, formed and led by Jaba Ioseliani, a thief-in-law (a high-ranking criminal in organised crime) and a military commander, led a coup d’état against Gamsakhurdia, helping to topple him from power.

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The group has been accused of committing widespread atrocities, both in Abkhazia and eastern Georgia’s Samegrelo Region.

Stephen F. Jones, a prominent writer on Caucasus, describes how Tbilisi and the regions were ‘swept by a powerful wave of theft, looting, and armed robberies’ as a consequences of Mkhedrioni’s accession of power.

The group was outlawed in 1995 and subsequently dissolved.

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