Georgia Descending Into Chaos

Gamsakhurdia flees, clouding his new nation's future and sending a chilling message to the other republics on the state of democracy

Fate can be fickle. Georgian leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia made history eight months ago when he became the first person to win the presidency of a Soviet republic by popular election. It was a stunning triumph for the anticommunist nationalist, who had been at the forefront of Georgia's campaign to gain independence from Moscow. Gamsakhurdia's lead at the polls was so commanding -- he had 87% of the vote -- that few doubted his hold on power. Last week he made history again, this time in an ignominious way: he became the first elected President of a former Soviet republic to be...