Author: TCHKOIDZE ΕΚΑ
Translation: SPANOU THALEIA
FWW: First World War
Essays on the history of Southwestern Georgia: სამხრეთ-დასავლეთ საქართველოს ისტორიის ნარკვევები: აჭარა, 4 ტომად, ტ. 3 ბათუმის ოლქი (1877-1920) (“Essays on the history of Southwest Georgia: Adjara”), 4vols edition, 3rd vol. “The province of Batoum in 1877-1920”), Batoum 2008.
GSE: ქართული საბჭოთა ენციკლოპედია (Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia), 12vols. edition, Tbilisi 1975-1987.
CSHAG: Central State Historical Archive of Georgia, Archive, Directory, File (in Georgia: სცსსა: საქართველოს ცენტრალური სახელმწიფო საისტორიო არქივი, ფონდი, აღწ., საქმე).
Ιn 1888 Batoum acquired self-administration and the first elections of the city were carried out. The Urban Prefect was not elected but was appointed by the Governor-General of Kutaisi. He was Konstantin Gavronsky (Константин Гавронский). 
The first (appointed) Urban Prefect of Batoum Konstantin Gavronsky (1888-1892).
He turned out to be a great administrator, but he failed to cope with the high authorities and by the end of his tenure, he resigned.  D. Kldiashvili writes about him: “he was an official from Tbilisi who knew Georgian well and the place here [Batoum]. He was not a bad person but from top to bottom was an official, a classic firm servant”.  During the transitional period (1892-1893) before the elections, as an Urban Prefect acted one of the three members of the City Council, A. Koyander. D. Kldiashvili mentions him as კოიანდრა (Kayandra), adding that he was a former judge, liberal, educated, sharp, tireless in his work, with knowledge but an excessive chauvinist. He harbored no assessment to other nationalities, especially to Georgians”. 
1892-1894 Intermediate period before the elections of the first Urban Prefect of Batoum.
The second elections of the city to elect an Urban Prefect, as mentioned above, had been postponed from 1892 to 1894. On 25 January 1895 the members of the City Council were elected.  The same day the first elections were conducted for the appointment of the Urban Prefect. ლუკა ასათიანი (Luka Asatiani) is the first (appointed) Urban Prefect of the city,  who maintained his position until his death in 1902.  The election of Asatiani was secured by the majority of the Georgian Councilors that were elected on the 12th and 19th of October.
The first elections for the Urban Prefect of the city were quite episodic. The campaign period had a rich background. Each ethnic group and each faction wanted to promote its own candidate. The Georgians of Batoum were organized and actively supported by eminent personalities from across Georgia and especially Tbilisi. According to D. Kldiashvili, the Armenians of the city had brought as their candidate general Bebutov who had resigned and they were absolutely convinced of his victory.  Another election faction had derived from the official imperial authorities led by the temporary Urban Prefect of the city, A. Koyander. The two Georgian members of the city Council Gr. Volsky and I. Meskhi had a difficult task to carry out: first they had to affiliate other groups of the city in order to ensure the necessary for the victory votes and, secondly to convince Georgians for the victory of the Georgian candidacy, since the Georgian population of the city was quite defeatist. D. Kldiashvili describes the election campaign of Georgians in every detail and among a lot of valuable information mentions an interesting story showing how delicate had been the balances between the various nationalities and what diplomacy had been required to retain them. The Georgian side had decided to affiliate the Greek voters. They achieved it with great skill. First they arranged an appointment with a Greek voter with great prestige, Giago Benlis.  Great caution was needed in the negotiations with him. I remember how nervous they were, Gr. Volsky and I. Meskhi, on the evening meeting in Meliton Lortkipanidze’s apartment.  It was night when Benlis arrived. The negotiations lasted for hours. The signs were good. In a few days Benlis had to come back bearing 2-3 friends (obviously Greeks). So it happened. On the arranged day the meeting was repeated with utmost secrecy behind closed doors, hidden from everyone. Such meetings were frequently held. The case had the desired results. Greek voters joined with ours on condition that Georgians would vote 5 Greeks as members of the City Council. The secret operation of Georgians was progressing successfully. Georgians were awaiting elections with hope and this hope had a brilliant ending.  The only thing that had remained was to find the suitable candidacy, something that divided them quite enough. Eventually, they agreed upon Luka Asatiani, former Urban Prefect of Kutaisi and member of the City Guberniia of Kutaisi at the time. The Georgians drafted the text of the letter/solicitation, which was signed by 21 eminent Georgians of Batoum and sent it to Asatiani through D. Kldiashvili.  Asatiani accepted this proposal. On the Election Day, a real battle took place. For these elections Ilia Chavchavadze himself, arrived in the city.  Finally the Georgian Luka Asatiani won. The opponents were quite dissatisfied. Shalikov, the Governor of Kutaisi at the time, who personally knew Asatiani and appreciated him deeply, he immediately ratified the election results.  Luka Asatiani was undoubtedly one of those officials of the Russian Empire who managed to serve the tsarist regime honestly and to simultaneously defend the interests of the local community. 
Luka Asatiani (1826-12/09/1901), the first elected Urban Prefect of Batoum in the years 1895-1901
He was born in the village Zemo Kvitiri near Kutaisi in 1826. His parents were called Nikolaos and Anastasia (his mother’s surname is ignored).  He graduated from a 4-year School of Kutaisi and his father was willing to further support his studies but he suddenly died. So Asatiani was forced from a young age to look for a job in order to help his mother and his brothers and sisters. He found nothing in Kutaisi and Tbilisi. Then someone (relative or friend) advised him to look for a job in Baku, where he helped him to be appointed as a clerk to the court of the Oblast of Batoum. Afterward, as an experienced clerk and a man gifted with many talents, he became very popular. Thus, he was soon transferred to his hometown, Kutaisi, where he was upgraded as member of the court. The fact that many officials accepted bribes and unjustly wronged ordinary people moved him to look for work again, resulting to his appointment in the directorship of Yerevan’s Guberniia at a fairly high post. However, here a biggest disappointment was expecting him: exploitation of common people, injustice, and with no limits bribery. This forced the authorities to conduct a special investigation resulting to the conviction of all employees. The only one who had no offense against him was Asatiani.  His honest character did not remain unnoticed or without assessment. He was transferred again to Kutaisi in the City Council, where he remained until his election as an Urban Prefect. D. Kldiashvili describes him as a person who has “great knowledge and experience, with a nice speech, reasonable and with an impressive look. He everywhere and always left an excellent impression”.  In a few years Asatiani had managed to be highly regarded in the Georgian elite of the time as an immaculate clerk (which is rare especially in the provinces of the Russian Empire), having many friends among its representatives.
In 1878 Asatiani was elected Urban Prefect of Kutaisi. Throughout his long tenure he had as a priority the defense of ordinary people and of the Georgian national interests. He had come into conflict between the years 1882-1890 with many high ranking including the Head of the Caucasian administration (in Russian Главноначальствующий Кавказской администрации) A. M. Dondukov-Korsakov (1820-1893).  However, as a man was so fair that was very much appreciated by the authorities.  Kutaisi during his long tenure became a city with European air. 
Asatiani in Batoum made some significant reforms,  in the health organization mainly, where older and bigger cities of the Empire had failed. The most important was that he ensured the cleanliness of the city and that the transportation of waste was carried out by city expenses creating special groups and buying special means of transport. The tax on the disinfection of the city was abolished. Instead, the training of the population in terms of public health was established. Essentially it was the first organized effort to cultivate and support the sanitary habits of the population.  Among the very useful projects conducted under his tenure is undoubtedly the great reconstruction of the city. 
On 07/01/1899 new elections of the city were conducted. L. Asatiani was reelected as the Urban Prefect of the city. However, he died suddenly on 09/11/1901 causing a great grief to the local community. Asatiani’s body was transferred to his hometown, in Kutaisi. His tenure was to expire a year later. The new elections were held on 17/01/1902. As the new Urban Prefect the Georgian prince I. Z. Andronikashvili was elected. (ი. ზ. ანდრონიკაშვილი).
Second Urban Prefect of Batoum the prince I. Z. Andronikashvili was elected in the years 1902-1916.
The second elected Urban Prefect of Batoum, Ivane Zacharias Andronikashvili (10 23.09.1862-11.07.1947) was one of the most distinguished agronomists of his time. He had been elected Urban Prefect  for 5 consecutive years.  In 1887 he graduated from the Agricultural and Forestry Academy Petrovskoe of Moscow (now known as ως K. A. Timiriazev Moscow Agricultural Academy: TSKh A, while in the years 1865-1889 it was called Petrovsko-Razumovskoe, which until 1889 was known as the Petrovskoe Farming and Forestry Academy).  In 1900 he visited France, Italy and Algeria on business.  Between the years 1889-1902 he worked as a general expert of the Caucasian Committee of phylloxera and was leading special missions against phylloxera in Georgia and Northern Caucasus. He was also distinguished as a researcher as he was the editor of the journal “Vine and wine” (ვაზი და ღვინო). Also in 1921 he founded the magazine (სოფლის მეურნე) (“Farmer of the village”). He had organized several scientific agricultural exhibitions in Moscow in the Soviet years. 
In 1902, as soon as he was elected Batoum’s Urban Prefect, Andronikashvili started working hard and responsibly: “From morning till evening I was directing the governmental affairs and at night I was reading the relevant legislation”.  During his tenure as Urban Prefect of Batoum several imported projects were completed that played a catalytic role in the city’s development. He gives an account and more specifically mentions in his memoirs “My confession” the most important projects that were initiated or completed during his tenure. 
1. A new aqueduct of drinking water was built (40 thousand cubic meters of water were increased to 600 thousand).
2. The process of drying the swamps continued more intensively in the surrounding areas of Batoum.
3. It started an organized fight against malaria and the insect that carried it.
4. High schools for boys and girls were built.
5. The power station which until then had a 120 horse power was converted into a 300 horse power.
6. The building of the hospital was renovated and became bigger and from 40 beds acquired 120.
7. It was created the brigade team of the city and was fully equipped with new equipment.
8. It was decided to be installed a new hydraulic station. For this purpose the well-known engineer-plumber was invited from St, Petersburg, Boris Alexandrovich Bakhmetiev (1880-1951) (Борис Александрович Бахметьев). 
9. It was studied and raised as an issue to the authorities to build a free port in the port of Batoum.
10. It was studied and decided to be constructed the railway line Batoum-Kars on city expenses.
11. It started the scientific study of the coastal area of the city.
12. It was entirely studied the drainage system and the biological treatment of sewage.
13. It was studied the tram construction.
14. They started planting the botanical park in Mtsvane Kontshki. 
15. In the main streets they started planting subtropical plants.
16. They were initiated and partially completed the works for the expansion of the botanical park and boulevard.
17. He mediated and achieved the institutionalization of the special charge from exports, a percentage that would be solely devoted to the city needs.
18. On his initiative, care and contribution, the anniversary volume of the city was printed under city expenses. 
Andronikashvili, extremely active, frequently visited Tbilisi to meet in person with the Viceroy of Caucasus and those meetings are recorded in the local press. 
Andronikashvili’s tenure as an Urban Prefect was ending in 1920 but in 1916 he resigned and was transferred to Tbilisi for economic reasons. His salary which in the beginning was 5000 rubles a month and then increased to 8000 was not enough to maintain his five-member family.  At that time he was invited by the famous Georgian merchant named A. M. Khoshtaria (1887-1932) to work in his company and Andronikashvili accepted.  He delivered a speech at the last meeting of the City Council on 22/03/1916 where he emphasizes the economic reasons which forced him to resign from this post. 
There is a document (23/11/1916) on the “honorary citizen” of Batoum, a title given to I. Andronikashvili. It was approved and signed by the last Emperor Nicholas II (1894-1917). The document bears his handwritten note “I approve it”.  His wife Lida Nikolaevna Plescheva-Muratova (Лида Николаевна Плещева-Муратова (1861 -1953), had a charity work and she was supporting the nurses in the First World War. 
Andronikashvili was replaced by E. Krinitsky (Darakhvelidze).  After the revolution of the February of 1917 E. Krinitsky was appointed as Commissioner of the Oblast of Batoum and he managed to maintain order in Batoum. Precisely when he was transferred to that post is unknown, as in the 01/04/1917 in an official document he is still referred as the Urban Prefect of the city.  Then, Urban Prefect of the city became V. Sabakhtarishvili (in Georgian ვ. საბახტარიშვილი) .
 It is difficult to give information on his origin. On the website of the Russian genealogical trees he cannot be identified with any person or any family. See http://arc.familyspace.ru/cataloge/gavronskij as we realize, we know very little about his life.
 თ. კომახიძე, ქალაქ ბათუმის დაგეგმარებისა და განაშენიანების ისტორია [T. Komakhidze, History of design and construction of various buildings of the city of Batoum], 6 (6th book), (Batoum: 2000), p. 40.
 დ. კლდიაშვილი, ჩემი ცხოვრების გზაზე to [D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life], (Tbilisi: 1961), p. 49.
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, p. 50.
 T. Komakhidze, History of design and construction,ibid p. 40.
 He won the elections marginally, with only one vote difference. From the 36 councilors he took 19 positive (white) and 17 negαtive (black) votes. His opponents were B. Bikov and B. Severin (or Severian) who took 16 positive and 19 negative votes. Newspaper ივერია (Iveria), 04/02/1895, n. 26, p. 3. I. Bikov, the member of the City Council, in the elections of 1892, (see details on him in the template “City Councils”), was a Russian candidate and Severian an Armenian candidate. მ. სიორიძე, საქალაქო თვითმმართველობის შექმნა ბათუმში, [M. Sioridze, “The creation of self-administration in Batoum”], in ნარკვევები ბათუმის ისტორიიდან (Essays on the history of Batoum), თბილისი (Tbilisi: 2011), p. 218.
 T. Komakhidze, Important people of Batoum, (Batoum: 1993), p. 7.
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, p. 50.
 Although the text does not explain why this Benlis enjoyed such a great prestige and what he was exactly doing.
 He was an assistant to the chief of the administration of Okrug of Batoum. Кавказский Календарь на 1884 год (Caucasian Calendar for the year 1884), издан Кавказским Статистическим Комитетом (Issued by the Statistical Committee of Caucasus), (Tbilisi: 1883), Annex IV Адресс-Календарь “Guide-Calendar”, p. 35.
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, pp. 69-70.
 The author describes in touching details the meeting and the dialogue with him. [D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life], pp. 70-71.
 თ. კომახიძე, ქალაქ ბათუმის განათლებისა და კულტურის ისტორიის საკითხები [M. Sioridze, Issues of the history of education and the culture of the city of Batoum], 1 (1rst book), (Batoum: 1996), p. 82. The open support of Ilia Chavchavadze mainly helped by “taking” the votes of the undecided voters in favor of Asatiani. მ. სიორიძე (M. Sioridze), საქალაქო თვითმმართველობის შექმნა ბათუმში, p. 218
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, p. 71.
 მ. ძიძიშვილი, ლუკა ასათიანი [M. Dzidzishvili, “Luka Asatiani”], newspaper აჭარა (Adjara), 23/01/2012, n. 8. See the electronic version of the newspaper on the website http://www.gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1604:2012-01-23-08-11-05&catid=137:2123--8&Itemid=189
 R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, (Tbilisi: 2011), p. 59. From this book we draw information on his life before and after his tenure in Kutaisi (meaning three years from 1826 to 1891) pp. 59-86.
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, p. 72.
 D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life, p. 72.
 See brief details of his life in English http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Dondukov-Korsakov,+Aleksandr+Mikhailovich
R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, pp. 67-68. He gave a touching speech in 1888 welcoming the Emperor Alexander III in Kutaisi: “we do not have the clear skies of Batoum, the fire of Baku and the gold of Tbilisi. However we have a heart full of love to welcome you”. Quote from the text R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, pp. 68-69.
R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, p. 69. Further details on his action in Kutaisi see pp. 69-86.
 For each project we will talk below, in the templates of the section “4.2. Infrastructure” and mainly in “4.2.6. Public Services”.
R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, pp. 137-138. In this framework is also included the effort he made to establish the veterinary and animal health station in 1898, which strictly controlled meat, dairy products and other foods. He also raised taxes for every slaughtered animal by greatly increasing the city budget· a measure which initially caused the strong reaction of the feed-breeders and the farmers. R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani, pp. 139-140.
 T. Komakhidze, Important people of Batoum, pp. 68-69
 As the previous Urban Prefect was elected so did Andronikashvili. He was the nomination proposed by Ilia Chavchavadze. თ. კომახიძე, ივანე ანდრონიკაშვილი [T. Komakhidze, Ivane Andronikashvili], (Batoum: 2003), p. 5.
 He assumes that the objectivity and the impartiality were those elements that ensured his victory 5 times. ი. ანდრონიკაშვილი, ჩემი აღსარება [Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession], in რ. სურმანიძე, ივანეანდრონიკაშვილიბათუმისქალქისთავი [R. Surmanidze, Ivane Andronkashvili Urban Prefect of Batoum], (Tbilisi: 2010), p. 75. In his celebratory speech after his 5th election he emphasized that this was the best recognition and approval of the work he had done during his previous tenure. Newspaper სახალხო ფურცელი (Sakhalkho purtseli), 25/08/1915, n. 365, p. 4, signed by someone under the pseudonym ვინმე (“someone”).
 It is one of the biggest and oldest educational institutions in this industry. See more details on http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Moscow+Agricultural+Academy.
R. Surmanidze, Ivane Andronkashvili , p. 16.
 გ. თოდუა, ივანე ანდრონიკაშვილი [G. Todua, Template “Ivane Andronikashvili”], Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia, 1st vol. (1975), p. 450.
 Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession, ibid, p. 72.
 Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession, ibid, pp. 104-110.
 He was the first to express his opinion for the construction of the station at the river Atcharistskali. ი. [Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession], pp. 139-140.
 Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape) is one of the loveliest beaches not only in Batoum but throughout Georgia. Manager of this park was designated, by the personal intervention and initiative of Andronikashvili, the famous professor Krasnov.
 T. Komakhidze, Important people of Batoum, pp. 72-73. Also see, [R. Surmanidze, Ivane Andronkashvili], pp. 21-22.
 See indicatively the newspaper სახალხო გაზეთი (Sakhalkho gazeti), 09/10/1911, n. 420, p. 2, under “The news” category.
 He writes: “banks were happy to help me but life had become unbearable. The members of the Council knew nothing about my situation and in 1916 they chose me again increasing my salary to 8,000 rubles but without helping my situation. I could not find a way out”. [Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession], p. 125.
 T. Komakhidze, Important people of Batoum, p. 73.
 The document is available in ფ. ქარდავა, „ქალაქისთავი მაღალანაზღაურებადი სამსახურის ძიებაში [P. Kardava, “Urban Prefect in search of a well-paid job], in http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com/2009/11/24 (under the categoryσქალაქისთავები (“Urban Prefects”).
 If you consider how great the Russian Empire was, it is clearly proven the big reputation Andronikashvili enjoyed so as the Emperor himself to deal with the former Urban Prefect of such a small region. ფ. ქარდავა (P. Kardava), “Urban Prefect in search of a well-paid job”. P. Kardava in the same report highlights how difficult is to imagine today an elected Urban Prefect, who has in front of him a 4-year tenure to complete, to resign for economic reasons and to seek another job more well paid.
 Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession, ibid, p. 139.
 He was Urban Prefect at the time of Andronikashvili.
 CSHAG, Archive 2080, Directory 1, File 544, l. 4. He is mentioned among the people who attended the meeting on the construction of the railway Batoum-Trabzon.
 Official website of Batoum’s Council
And, M. Sioridze, “The creation of self-administration in Batoum”, p. 219. The date of the tenure of the last Urban Prefects in Batoum has not been established.
http://batumicc.ge/index.php?lang=1&page=menu&top_menu=1&l_menu=9 (Official website of Batoum’s Council)
CSHAG: Central State Historical Archive of Georgia, Archive 416, Directory 3, File 820.
CSHAG: Central State Historical Archive of Georgia, Archive 2080, Directory 1, File 544.
Newspaper ივერია (Iveria), 04/02/1895, no. 26.
მ. ძიძიშვილი, „ლუკა ასათიანი“ [M. Dzidzishvili, “Luka Asatiani”], newspaper აჭარა (Adjara), 23/01/2012, no. 8. See the electronic version of the newspaper on the website http://www.gazetiajara.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1604:2012-01-23-08-11-05&catid=137:2123--8&Itemid=189
სახალხო გაზეთი (Sakhalkho gazeti), 09/10/1911, no. 420.
Newspaper სახალხო ფურცელი (Sakhalkho purtseli), 25/08/1915, no. 365.
- ი. ანდრონიკაშვილი, ჩემი აღსარება [Ι. Andronikashvili, My confession], in რ. სურმანიძე, ივანეანდრონიკაშვილიბათუმისქალქისთავი [R. Surmanidze, Ivane Andronkashvili Urban Prefect of Batoum], (Tbilisi: 2010).
- ფ. ქარდავა , „ქალაქისთავი მაღალანაზღაურებადი სამსახურის ძიებაში“ [P. Kardava, “Urban Prefect in search of a well-paid job”], in http://oldbatumi.wordpress.com/2009/11/24 (under the category „ქალაქისთავები“ (“Urban Prefects”).
- Кавказский Календарь на 1884 год lender for the year(Caucasian Calendar for the year 1884), издан Кавказским Статистическим Комитетом (Issued by the Statistical Committee of Caucasus), (Tbilisi: 1883).
- დ. კლდიაშვილი, ჩემი ცხოვრების გზაზე, [D. Kldiashvili, The path of my life], (Tbilisi: 1961).
- თ. კომახიძე , ბათუმის ამაგდარნი [T. Komakhidze, Important people of Batoum), (Batoum: 1993).
- თ. კომახიძე, ქალაქ ბათუმის განათლებისა და კულტურის ისტორიის საკითხები [T. Komakhidze, Issues of the history of education and the culture of the city of Batoum], 1 (1st book), (Batoum: 1996).
- თ. კომახიძე, ქალაქ ბათუმის დაგეგმარებისა და განაშენიანების ისტორია [T. Komakhidze, History of design and construction of various buildings of the city of Batoum], 6 (6th book), (Batoum: 2000).
- თ. კომახიძე, ივანე ანდრონიკაშვილი [T. Komakhidze, Ivane Andronikashvili], (Batoum: 2003).
- მ. სიორიძე, „საქალაქო თვითმმართველობის შექმნა ბათუმში“, [M. Sioridze, The creation of self-administration in Batoum), in ნარკვევები ბათუმის ისტორიიდან (Essays on the history of Batoum), თბილისი (Tbilisi: 2011).
- რ. სურმანიძე, ივანეანდრონიკაშვილიბათუმისქალქისთავი [R. Surmanidze, Ivane Andronkashvili Urban Prefect of Batoum), (Tbilisi: 2010).
- რ. სურმანიძე, ლუკაასათიანი[R. Surmanidze, Luka Asatiani], (Tbilisi: 2011).
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Ελληνική γλώσσα (in greek language)
http://batumicc.ge/index.php?lang=1&page=menu&top_menu=1&l_menu=9 (Επίσημη ιστοσελίδα του Συμβουλίου του Βατούμ)
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ΚΚΙΑΓ: Κεντρικό Κρατικό Ιστορικό Αρχείο της Γεωργίας, Αρχείο 2080, Κατάλογος 1, Φάκελος 544.
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