This biographical sketch of Alexandre Jabadari was kindly provided by Ia Tutashvili and Tinatin Jabadari of the National Archives of Georgia.
Alexandre Jabadari was born in 1862 in the village of Sagarejo in the Georgian region of Kakheti. The records of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary confirm that a son was born to a noble family in Sagarejo, specifically Georgi and Nino Jabadari, and given the name Alexandre. We have no information about his childhood.
After graduating from the Tbilisi Gymnasium, Jabadari continued his education at the Petrov Agricultural Academy (today the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy). Soon he was expelled from the academy, however, for his active involvement in the student revolutionary movement. Jabadari’s memoirs, written at the end of the 19th century, contain information about his biography, particularly the period after his return to Georgia in 1881. Based on his personal writings, it is clear that Jabadari had kept a diary prior to 1881, but he was forced to destroy it to protect himself from persecution for his revolutionary activities.
In Georgia in 1883, along with his associates Gigo Charkviani, Lado Agniashvili, Vaso Rtskhiladze, Z. Chichinadze, and A. Guladze, Jabadari founded the journal Nobati.
Jabadari was actively involved in the life of the Georgian capital. He attended meetings of the Tbilisi City Administration and the City Council, and in 1884 he was elected a council member.
In 1890, the Book Publishing Association of Georgia was founded with a charter drawn up by Jabadari. In 1893, the Association received permission to publish the journal Herald (მოამბე). Jabadari bought the rights to the journal and published it for eight years, beginning in 1894.
The Book Publishing Association of Georgia began its activities in the 1890s with the publication of outstanding works by Georgian writers. Its first publication was a collection of the poems of Ioseba Davitashvili, the author of the famous poem, “Grow, Green Sprout” (იზარდე მწვანე ჯეჯილო).
Next followed a four-volume collection of the works of Alexandre Kazbegi, the poems of Rafael Eristavi, a two-volume set of the works of Akaki Tsereteli, and a four-volume collection of the works of Ilia Chavchavadze. “My plans for the future were much bigger than book publishing.” Alexandre wanted to publish periodicals and unite around this project the best Georgian writers as well as prominent members of society.
In 1900, along with a group of other young men, Jabadari founded the Georgian Socialist-Federalist Revolutionary Party. In that same year, he took over as editor and publisher of the daily, News Sheet (ცნობის ფურცელი). In his time as editor, circulation rose to 13,000 copies a day, at a time when no other periodical in Georgia sold more than 1,900 copies.
News Sheet became even more interesting in 1902 when Jabadari began publishing a weekly illustrated supplement, with which he introduced the process of zincographic printing to the Caucasus.
The artists Oskar Schmerling and G. Gogiashvili regularly produced caricatures for the illustrated supplement. In addition, Grinevsky, Beridze, and Rotter were invited to contribute. It was the first periodical to publish photo evidence of the government’s response to the events of 1905-1906 in western Georgia. Although he did not participate himself in the uprising, in his newspaper Jabadari expressed his sympathy and support for the movement, for which he was locked up in Metekhi Prison several times.
News Sheet was soon shut down by authorities and Jabadari was stripped of the right to live in Georgia or Russia. He was forced to move to Europe, where six sons from his first wife, Manana Rtskhiladze, lived in Paris — Georgi, Irakli, Vakhtang, Shalva, Ilia, and Shota. Jabadari lived for a time in France and Belgium.
When he returned to Georgia, Jabadari did not go back into publishing, but continued to play an active role in society. He arrived in Georgia in 1911 and it took a month and a half before he received official permission to return and take part in political affairs. That same year, he was elected to the school committee of the Georgian Gymnasium, and in 1912, he was elected chairman of the Directorate of the Georgian Drama Society.
In 1914, Jabadari once again set off for Europe where he worked to get concessions for Georgian companies.
From 1918 to 1921, he and two of his sons were in Georgia and were actively involved in the creation of the new democratic Georgian state. Jabadari was one of the biggest investors in the construction of the Kakhetian railroad.
In 1921, after the Sovietization of Georgia, Jabadari was offered a position in the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Trade as a specialist in economics and trade with experience working abroad. But he was quickly dismissed from state service due to his noble origins.
Jabadari is the author of a major unpublished economic study and a number of academic works in the areas of the animal products industry, Georgian light and heavy industry, and beekeeping, which still retain their relevance.
Alexandre Jabadari died on March 4, 1933, at the age of 72, and is buried in Tbilisi at Vera Cemetery.
Photo: The National Archives of Georgia