Walking around in central Batumi, you will most likely find yourself on the fashionable Abashidze avenue. The name Abashidze might ring a bell for those who have followed Batumi’s recent history, remembering Adjara’s former leader, who was ousted in 2004 shortly after the Rose revolution. However, looking closer at the street sign you will notice that it says Memed Abashidze Avenue, and not Aslan Abashidze. Memed Abashidze was a prominent figure in Batumi’s history, and actually the grandfather of the post-Soviet politician Aslan Abashidze.
Memed Abashidze was born in 1873, shortly before Adjara was transferred from Ottoman rule to the Russian Empire. He was a writer and translator but also active as a publicist, advocating unity with Georgia among Muslim Georgians in the region. He became involved in different socialist and revolutionary circles, which forced him to flee to the Ottoman Empire and he was also arrested and deported by the Tsarist police. Abashidze was active in Batumi in the turbulent years of 1918-1920, during the Turkish occupation and following British control of the region, and continued his efforts to maintain a unity with Georgia. Even after the Bolshevik invasion in 1921, Abashidze remained active in the region’s political life and promoted the estsblishment of the Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic of Adjara. During the Great Purges in 1937 Memed Abashidze was arrested and later executed (rehabilitated in 1957).
In Europe Square, close to the museum is the statue of Memed Abashidze (photo above). Memed Abashidzes Museum is on Memed Abashidze Avenue 9.