The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a revolutionary democratic school of social thought in the 1860’s and 1870’s in Georgia. Tergdaleulebi is a Georgian term that literally means “one who has drunk the waters of the Terek”; that is, one who has been to Russia.

The basic principles of the Tergdaleulebi were shared by those members of the progressive Georgian intelligentsia who for the most part had received their higher education in Russia and were known as the Georgian shestidesiatniki (men of the sixties). The Tergdaleulebi, who included I. Chavchavadze, A. Tsereteli, G. Tsereteli, and N. Nikoladze, expressed the interests of the Georgian peasantry and urban petite bourgeoise, attacked the feudal-serf system, and called for the social and national liberation of the Georgian people.

In the 1860’s and 1870’s, the Tergdaleulebi held that freedom could be achieved through the restoration of an independent Georgian state by organizing a general popular uprising. Later, taking into account the positive influence of the progressive social life of Russia on Georgian society, the Tergdaleulebi appealed for greater political rights for the Georgian people within the framework of the Russian Empire. They advocated the principles of materialist philosophy and realistic aesthetics and promoted the establishment of a new Georgian literary language. The views of the Tergdaleulebi developed under the influence of the ideologists of Russian revolutionary democracy, namely, V. G. Belinskii, N. G. Chernyshevskii, and N. A. Dobroliubov, as well as the European Utopian socialists.

By the second half of the 1870’s, the Tergdaleulebi no longer existed as a single movement. In the 1880’s and 1890’s, the later Tergdaleulebi urged the “nation” as a whole to harmony, equality, and unity, but this appeal was not justified by existing conditions.


Istoriia Gruzii: Uch. posobie, vol. 2. Tbilisi, 1973. Pages 80–91 and 105–10.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.