Aleksei Sepiashvili was born in 1911 in the Jewish village of Lailashi, in western Georgia, into a Jewish peasant family (most of Lailashi's Jews engaged in agriculture). In 1930, he was drafted into the Red Army and became a career military man. In 1939 and 1940 he took part in the Soviet-Finnish (Winter) war. In August 1941, in the second month of the Soviet-German war, Captain Sepiashvili, then commander of a rifle battalion, was wounded and captured by the Germans near Smolensk, in western Russia. The fact that his captors did not identify him as a Jew (they assumed he was Georgian) saved Sepiashvili's life. He spent the following seventeen months in German POW camps. In January 1943, Sepiashvili succeeded in escaping and reaching Yugoslavia, where he joined a partisan unit that was fighting in Slovenia. He was wounded several times. When the Soviet Army entered the area in August 1941, Sepiashvili was the commander of his unit.
After meeting the Red Army, Sepiashvili rejoined it. The Soviets apparently pardoned him for having been in enemy captivity. He was reinstated as a battalion commander and toward the end of the fighting in Europe he was promoted to the rank of major. After VE-Day, he was awarded the Order of Patriotic War, 1st Class, and sent to the Far East to fight against Japan.
In 1948 Sepiashvili was arrested by the MGB (the precursor of the KGB), blamed for being a German POW and also for alleged connections with Iosip Broz Tito , the former commander of the Yugoslav People's Army and Yugoslavia's the current Communist dictator, who at this time was Stalin's enemy. Sepiashvili was sentenced to the GULAG, where he served his term in Kolyma in the Arctic zone. He was "rehabilitated" in 1955. The incarceration in the Kolyma camp undermined his health. Sepiashvili died in Kutaisi, Georgia in 1971.