Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn (Міґељ Пјотаршўн, born 1944; died 5 February 2012 near Minsk, Belarus) was the first president of the independent Adzhatian Republic. He was in office from 2 October 1990 to 18 June 2004, when he voluntarily left the country after being offered a lot of money to step down as president. Although some Adzhatians favour his return to Adzhatian politics (mainly members of the political party Oi Vŭo Mihelun Pjotarśŭnin or 'We want Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn'), the former president never prepared a comeback.
As a member of a family of members of the Adzhatian Communist Party, Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn's early years went without many unforseen trouble. After his engineering studies were completed in 1964, his father Pjotaŕ Iĺicśŭn, the future chairman of the presidium of the Adzhatian A.S.S.R., arranged a job for him as a general foreman at the shipyards in the town of Ćŭŕdveź. He did this work for a few years, and then was appointed general director of a factory in Kercei.
In 1981, Pjotarśŭn lost his right arm in a car accident. When he was released from hospital, he was offered a ministerial post, by his uncle, Miheĺ Iĺicśŭn, who was chairman of the presidium at that time. Pjotarśŭn declined at first, because he was very self conscious about people seeing him without his arm, but four years later, he accepted nevertheless and became minister of culture, which he remained until the revolution of 1990.
After the death of his popular father Pjotaŕ Iĺicśŭn, Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn was put forward as his successor and as provisional leader ('acting president') of the now independent Adzhatian Republic. Elections were organised in early 1991, which Pjotarśŭn won with almost 85%. After a few months in office president Pjotarśŭn seemed to get on very well with some heads of other former Soviet republics, and the first fear arose among Adzhatians that prefered a more American and European oriented policy that little would really change under this president. Moreover: the president was still a proud member of the Adzhatian Communist Party, that wasn't disbanded after 1990.
A few years later it had become clear that foreign business contracts had gone to businesses from former Soviet countries for more than 90% and European businesses that did try to get a hold in Adzhatia, had to comply with so many additional rules that they left the country sooner rather than later. Although several parties in the Dume heavily criticised the president and his government, nothing changed at all. After the parliamentary elections of 1995, most of the opposition parties hadn't managed to return to the Dume ; the Adzhatian Communist Party got 68% of the seats and opposition became as meaningless as it was during the Soviet era. For the normal people the president's dictatorial style wasn't so bad; the Adzhatian economy didn't do worse than it had done during the Soviet era. In comparison with the average in the former Soviet republics, Adzhatia even did slightly better, so the status quo remained.
The official presidential term was fixed at seven years in the 1990/1991 constitution and so there were presidential elections in early 1998. Just before, Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn had changed the Soviet version of the Adzhatian national anthem by replacing the word 'beloved' into 'feared' in a reference to Stalin. The president won the election with 92.7%, officially thanks to this sophisticated change of the anthem.
It was the liberal party A.V.Ŏ.D. that staged the so called Blue Revolution of 2004. They had demanded that president Pjotarśŭn wouldn't stand again in 2005 after two terms, but when the president responded to the demands by laughing loudly, they knew that they had to come with something more drastic. In a short move in June 2004, the president was abducted from the presidential palace and put on the first plane to Belarus. Although many people admired this violentless revolution, it later turned out that the president had received a substantial amount of money from rich A.V.Ŏ.D. party prominents to leave the country.
Family and name
Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn married in 1968 to Taŕe Baćkak (1947 - 1996), with whom he had one daughter, Lidije (*1972). Miheĺ and Taŕe divorced in 1993, after which Lidije started to carry her mother's family name. She is now a business entrepreneur in Stockholm (Sweden).
Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn's father was, as mentioned, former chairman of the presidium Pjotaŕ Iĺicśŭn. The fact that they didn't share the same last name is in fact based on a clergical error in the chaotic years during and after the movement of the Adzhatian people to the island of Valya; Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn's intended name was Miheĺ Pjotaŕ Iĺicśŭn.
|Heads of state of Adzhatia|
|Miheĺ Iĺicśŭn (1950 - 1982) · Vadim Erkŏhśŭn (1982 - 1984) · Miheĺ Iĺicśŭn (1984 - 1986) · Pjotaŕ Iĺicśŭn (1986 - 1990) · Miheĺ Pjotarśŭn (1990 - 2004) · Ereh Ħĭnzei (2004 - 2005) |
Ăŕva Ośŕoncei (2005) · Miheĺ I (2005) · Ereh Ħĭnzei (2005 - 2006) · Grigeŕ Maććok (2006 - 2010) · Ăŕva Bekina (2010 - 2014) · Kataŕine Matuś (incumbent since 2014)