David Chavchavadze, who died Oct. 5 at 90, was an American spy and a great-great-grandson of Czar Nicholas I of Imperial Russia. As a CIA case officer, he specialized in clandestine communications and surveillance in matters affecting his ancestral homeland. He did much of his work in Berlin in the years after World War II and at the start of the Cold War. His assignments included recruitment of Soviet agents.Share
By blood, he was connected to the Romanov dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years. His mother, Nina, was a Russian princess and a great-granddaughter of Nicholas I, who was czar from 1825 to 1855. His father was Prince Paul of Georgia, a direct descendant of the former Caucasian kingdom’s last monarch, George XII, who died in 1801.
At the CIA, Mr. Chavchavadze fought the political heirs of the Bolshevik revolution that brought down the Romanovs in 1917. In 1918, the Bolsheviks executed Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children by firing squad in the cellar of a house at Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains.
David Paul Chavchavadze was born on May 20, 1924, in London, where his parents, as members of the Russian nobility, had sought refuge from the revolution. (Read more.)