×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Actor, Singer and Politician Vakhtang Kikabidze Dead at 84

Kikabidze acted in legendary films by director Georgi Daneliya.

Courtesy of Laima Rendezvous Jurmala

The Georgian actor, singer and political figure Vakhtang Kikabidze died in a Tbilisi hospital on Sunday. The cause of death was not released, but his producer Rati Abzianidze said that Kikabidze had been in poor health for many years.

Kikabidze was one of the Soviet Union’s most popular singers and actors. He had the distinction of registering the first “vocal-instrumental ensemble” — that is, a popular music group — in 1958. He continued to perform until recent years in Georgia, Latvia, Azerbaijan and other venues.

In the 1960s he embarked on a film career, acting in more than 20 Georgian and Russians films including “TASS is Authorized to Announce” and “Hopelessly Lost.” He was best known for his work with Georgian director Georgi Daneliya: "Ku! Kin-dza-dza" (2013); "Mimino" (1977); and “Fortuna” (2000).


					Poster for "Mimino"
Poster for "Mimino"

“Mimino” made him a star. It is the funny and touching story of a Georgian pilot (Kikabidze) who comes to Moscow with dreams of becoming an international Aeroflot pilot and ends up having adventures exploring Moscow with an Armenian truck driver played by Frunzik Mkrtchyan whom he meets at the Rossiya Hotel. Kikabidze also sings the film’s theme song, “Chito-Gvrito,” which has remained a nostalgic hit throughout the former Soviet republics.  

Kikabidze had a reputation for speaking his mind politically, even during the Soviet period. He criticized the brutal April 9, 1989 attack on protesters in Tbilisi that resulted in 21 dead, and he severed all relations with Russia after that country’s 2008 invasion and partial annexation of Georgia. He refused the Order of Friendship offered that year by then-president Dmitry Medvedev and never performed inside Russia again.

He was a strong supporter of Ukrainian independence and the 2014 Euromaidan protests. In 2021 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded him the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise.

In 2020 Kikabidze was elected a member of the Georgian parliament in a bloc that united several oppositional parties.

Details on the funeral have yet to be announced, but it expected to be held in Georgia on Jan. 19.

.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more