Ana Kalanda

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Ana Kalanda
National Hero of Varkana
Coat of arms of the Second Republic of Varkana.png
4th President of Varkana
In office
30 January 1882 – 17 January 1895
Preceded by Noe Lekishvili
Succeeded by Tamaz Chiladze
Personal details
Born Ana Kalanda Dugashvili
17 June 1854
Moldava, Varkana
Died 12 April 1905 (aged 50)
Moldava, Varkana
Political party Communist Party
Residence Klow
Religion Atheism

Ana Kalanda Dugashvili (Varkan: ანა კალანდა დუგაშვილი; 17 June 1854 - 12 April 1905) was a Varkan socialist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary leader, and the 4th President of Varkana and the first of the Second Republic from 30 January 1882 to 17 January 1895. She led Varkan communists to overthrow the First Republic in January 1882 in what became known as the January Revolution.

Recognised as one of the most significant and influential historical figures of the late 19th century, Kalanda remains a controversial and highly divisive Adonian figure. Admirers view her as a champion of working people's rights and welfare whilst critics see her as a dictator whose regime carried out mass human rights abuses. She was held in high esteem as the first woman President and the founding mother of the Second Republic of Varkana, the first modern communist state, until its collapse in 1943, and remains a key influence over the international communist movement.

Early life

Ana Kalanda was born Ana Irene Kalanda on 17 June 1854, in Moldava, Varkana. She was the fourth child of five of well-to-do farmers and landowners, Elene Kalanda (1832–1890) and her husband Lev Dugashvili (1830–1877). When Kalanda was 12, her landowner father found himself in the middle of a labor strike, resolved by President Giorgi Patsatsia. She graduated secondary school and went to study law at Klow University in February 1871. There, she started to be politically active, joining the Radicals in 1871 and then the Socialists in 1873, before graduating in November 1874.

After graduation, Kalanda becomes involved in labor strikes with the Socialist Party across Varkana. She proposes a general strike to rouse the workers to solidarity and lead a gun-less revolution, but the Socialists are unable to gather support from the Radicals. From 1875, she published articles about labor conditions and politics in Varkana in various left-wing newspapers, mainly in Kaspi. In response to increasing journalistic and political repression by the Lekishvili government, Kalanda organizes anti-Lekishvili demonstrations in Borjomi, calling for conscientious objection to political corruption and the refusal to obey orders. On that account, she is imprisoned for a year for "inciting to disobedience against the authorities' law and order". After being freed, she continues to publish articles. As a result of her political activities, in June 1877, Kalanda is imprisoned again for three years. During imprisonment, she is twice relocated, first to Senaki, then to Klow. Friends including Razikashvili smuggle out and illegally publish her articles. Kalanda is freed from prison in Klow on 8 June 1880. She then founds the Red Flag newspaper with her long-time friend Giuli Dadiani, campaigning against Lekishvili's reelection and demanding amnesty for all political prisoners and the abolition of capital punishment.

Revolutionary activity

Kalanda at the end of the January Revolution with partisans

After Lekishvili's reelection, Kalanda takes part in a joint congress of independent Socialists, including industrialist and sympathizer Tamaz Chiladze, and various workers unions, that lead to the foundation of the Communist Party under the leadership of Kalanda on 1 January 1881. For several months they grow in number and become more violent, clashing with Lekishvili's regime with the help of Chiladze. This leads to the first anti-leftist bill being passed in Parliament in October 1881 outlawing not only the Communist Party but also the Socialist Party and the Radical Party. Several prominent leftists and union leaders are arrested while protesting, and Dadiani, Kalanda and Chiladze go into hiding. They ally with Socialist leader Sofiko Chiaureli, and start to discuss staging an armed uprising. Large massive protests are organized by them in major cities across the country in November and December 1881. More protests follow, after the government outlaws public gatherings of more than fifty people, until January 1882.

In January, the armed communists were ordered to seize control of Klow's key transport, communication, printing and utilities hubs, doing so without bloodshed. Communists had laid siege to the government in the Presidential Palace, succeeding in overcoming it, but Lekishvili managed to flee in time. While the insurrection was taking place, Kalanda gave a speech to partisans announcing that the Lekishvili government had been overthrown. The Communists declared the formation of a new government, the Provisional Government; although Kalanda initially turned down the leading position of President, suggesting Chiaureli for the job, the partisans refused to accept this and ultimately Kalanda relented.

Kalanda's government

Economic policies

Social policies

Religious policies

Foreign policies

Kalanda reading a Breislandic newspaper in April 1882 titled "Varkan catastrophe" denouncing the January Revolution

Kalanda believed her January Revolution would ignite Adonia's socialists and lead to a "World Revolution." Kalanda set up the Communist International to export revolution to the rest of Adonia. Indeed, Kalanda set out to "liberate" all of Adonia from imperialist and capitalist control. The first priority for Kalanda's foreign policy was the Dinarides, above all Aetolia, which was the country that Kalanda thought most ready for revolution due to historical reasons and proximity. Kalanda was most disappointed when, following the January Revolution, a similar revolution did not break out in Aetolia as she had expected and hoped for.

Following the January Revolution, Varkan communists defeated all the opposition one by one and took full control of Varkana. In response, Aetolian President Aegis Economos in November 1882 announced an Aetolia policy of refusing to deal with the new regime. Though she was indignant at the conduct of Aetolia towards Varkana's revolution, Kalanda avoided an open rupture with the country. In response to Economos's announcement, Varkana encouraged communist uprisings in Aetolia and other countries.

With increased international pressure and threats of war with Aetolia, the worldwide revolution was halted in 1884. Under the advise of Giuli Dadiani, Kalanda changed to a new policy of both seeking pragmatic co-operation with the imperialistic powers when it suited Varkan interests while at the same time trying to promote a Communist revolution whenever possible. Kalanda announced she rejected the practice of sponsoring communist uprisings. In 1884 came recognition by Breisland, Echia, Volisania and Zong. Kalanda dismissed Communists who openly preached world revolution as a gesture of good faith. Kalanda's immediate priority was no longer a worldwide revolution, but protection of the revolution in Varkana, which provided the basis for all future developments. She labelled it "Socialism in One Country".

Despite the new policy, Aetolia refused to recognize the Socialist Republic of Varkana as long as Economos and the Classical Party were in power. Eventually, the incoming Reform government of Dionysius Petrakis successfully established permanent diplomatic relations with Socialist Varkana in April 1889, which was followed by a state visit by Kalanda to Palaiochori in May of the same year. It marked Kalanda's first foreign trip as President, where she was greeted with awe and admiration by the population. Kalanda delivered a speech at the Palace of the Representative Assembly of Aetolia reaffirming the Varkano–Aetolian Alliance and promoting peace in the Mesogean basin.

In a secret speech to the Varkan military leadership in March 1886, Kalanda decided that efforts to continue the world revolution would be done covertly through the newly established SSD, and as such her ultimate goal was not changed. She recognized Varkana's inability to carry out a regular war with any of the great powers, and instead focused on diplomatic solutions during her presidency.



September Revolution

Political ideology

Personal life and characteristics

Kalanda and Giuli Dadiani with Dadiani's nephew in 1889

Ana Kalanda never married, although she had several lovers; the reasons for this are not clear. Historians have speculated that she knew herself to be infertile. There is also a widely popular belief in Varkana that her good friend Giuli Dadiani was at one point her lover. Historian Luka Razikashvili noted that she exhibited a great deal of charisma and personal magnetism, and that she had "total commitment to the revolutionary cause." Aside from Varkan, Kalanda spoke and read Aetolian and Breislandic.

Concerned with her health, she enjoyed cycling, swimming, and watching rugby. She also developed a passion for mountain walking in the Shesasvlelis near Klow. In personal dealings with others, she was modest, and for this reason disliked the cult of personality that the Communist Party had begun to build around her; she nevertheless accepted that it might have some benefits in unifying the movement. Throughout her life, she always preferred reading in seclusion to attending social engagements, and several times had to be pressured by others to remain in public service.

Decline and death

The Varkan government publicly announced Kalanda's death the day after she passed away, with President Sofiko Chiaureli tearfully reading an official statement to delegates of the Parliament at noon. On 14 April, mourners from the Communist Party Central Committee, the Klow party organization, the trade unions and the communes began to assemble at her house, with the body being removed from her home at about 9 AM the following day, being carried aloft in the Varkan flag. Transported by horse to the Presidential Palace in Klow from her familial home in Moldava, hundred of thousands of mourners gathered on the road along the way.

As per Varkan custom, her body was buried in the gardens of the Presidential Palace in the Varkan flag. Several prominent Varkans paid their respects during the burial to the deceased leader, with speeches being made by Chiaureli and Chiladze. The cause of death was, according to her doctors, a major stroke.


A cult of personality devoted to Kalanda had begun to develop during her lifetime by the Communist Party, although it would only be fully established after her death, especially during the Gotua years. Gotua's propaganda described Kalanda as "the mother of the [communist] revolution" and of a "celibate married only to the cause of revolution."

Kalanda's image spread largely and quickly in the Varkan proletariat and elsewhere, notably due to her reputed beauty. Blooming during Shota Rustaveli's difficult presidency, her cult of personality was greatly expanded with the presidency of Levan Gotua, almost treating her as a goddess. Paintings and busts of her were arranged in almost all public buildings and they used her name to name public buildings, railway stations, metro stations, schools, etc.

In 1992, historian Hildegard Pursalidze wrote The Reluctant Leader, a biography of Kalanda. Unlike previous portrayals of Kalanda as a one-dimensional fairy tale princess, Pursalidze portrayed her as a depressed, unhappy woman full of self-loathing and various mental disorders. She was seen to have searched for happiness, but died a lonely woman who never found it. Pursalidze's portrayal explored new facets of the legend of Ana Kalanda, that were heavily criticized by prominent figures in Varkana.

Kalanda features on the 10 lari banknote, as well as being the subject of many socialist and communist songs, including the Kalinovan socialist song smuglyanka.