Alex Rondeli is head of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. He used to head the Department of International Relations at Tbilisi State University. He is one of Georgia's foremost commentators on international affairs.
I was born on January 7th, during the cold and dramatic winter of 1942. My mother was like Mother Mary because, according to the Orthodox calendar, this is Christmas Day, so she delivered me into this world at a very special moment.
My mother hated Stalin and everything having to do with him. In 1937, during the Great Purge, her parents and brother had been taken away and shot. I had an older brother, but now she thought she might like a daughter and became pregnant.
Then, on 22 June 1941, Hitler attacked. My mother went to see her sister and asked her what to do. "Don't have a baby now," she said. "There's war." But the propagandists claimed that the Soviet army would never have to fight the enemy on its own territory