Chronology 1783 – 1921Posted: June 2, 2013
1783 : IRAKLI II, King of Kartli and Kakheti (eastern Georgia),needing an ally against attacks from Muslim Turkey and Persia, signs a treaty of friendship with CATHERINE II of Russia, a fellow Orthodox country: the Treaty of Georgievsk.
But Russia has only one aim, the extension of her empire to the South; so she let Turkish and Persian invasions go on, weakening Georgia this way.
1800. Estimated population of Georgia: 675,000 inhabitants.
1801 : forced incorporation of the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakéthie (eastern Georgia, September) to the Russian empire in violation of the Treaty of 1783, followed by the annexation of the Kingdom of Iméréti (western Georgia, 1810), of Principality of Guria (western Georgia, 1829) and Principalities of Mingrelia, Abkhazia. The whole becomes a province of the Russian empire
1804,1809,1812.Uprisings against the russification.
1811. Abrogation of the autocephaly of the Georgian church which is put under the authority of the Russian church.
1819-1820, resumption of the uprisings.
Tiflis becomes the center of the exile of Russian political opponents of czarism, acquired to liberal ideas.
1821: popular insurrection against the viceroy of Caucasus, ERMOLOV, who wants to russify Georgia through a policy of terror. The insurrection is repressed by slaughters and deportations.
1830. Start of the insurrection of Muslim highlanders of North Caucasus.
1832: failure of the conspiracy of the Georgian nobility against Russian occupation (December).
1841: uprising of Guria
1845. The Caucasus becomes a Viceroyalty whose capital is Tiflis (Tbilisi). Under the actions of the viceroy prince Michael VORONTSOV, the Georgian intelligentsia experiences a new boom.
1848. Creation of a Caucasian educational section with establishment of new schools.
1850. Creation of Georgian newspapers, libraries, Opera, and official agencies and associations such as the Caucasian company for agricultural production or the Caucasian society of geography.
1850-1860: popular insurrections shake the country, with a very important uprising in Mingrelia (1857).
The end of the 19th century signals the resurrection of the national idea and hope for the restoration of independence.
1860: Ilia TCHAVTCHAVADZE, writer and poet whose personality dominates the Georgian cultural life, leads a group of intellectuals known as the PirveliDasi(the First group). Ilia TCHAVTCHAVADZE militates in favor of Georgia’s greater cultural freedom, defends the Georgian language, supports Georgian schools and church, defends peasants and fights against serfdom. From 1880 on, he becomes a conservative liberal.
1861. Abolition of serfdom in Russia
1864. End of the wars of the Caucasus; the muslims of the North are defeated. The Georgian peasants are released from serfdom.
1866. Guiorgui TSERETELI creates the MeoreDasi (second group), set of young radical writers influenced by populism and democratic ideas.
1867. Beginning of the construction of Poti-Tbilisi railway line, including the hiring of Georgian peasants chiefly from Guria. On the site, these peasants meet with Russian workers, most of whom support the ideals of democracy.
1868. Birth of Noah JORDANIA, future leader of the independent Georgia.
1870-1880: development of naphtha industry in Baku and of manganese in the area of Chiatura. Georgian peasants are going to work in cities and have contacts with liberal and progressive ideas. In 1872, opening of the first line of railway in Transcaucasia: Tiflis-Poti.
1875. Opening in Tiflis of Nobility Bank.
1873. The population of the country reaches 1.300.000 inhabitants.
1876.Jakob GOGEBACHVILI (1840-1912) publishes a manual of learning Georgian language for children, still being used in Georgia: “Dédaéna” (mother tongue).
1877. First issue of I. TCHAVTCHAVADZE’s newspaper, “Iveria”.
1878. Turkish defeat in the war against Russia. Russia takes over Ardahan, Artvin and Kars and aggregates them to Georgian lands, especially Batumi and its region.
Demonstrations begin at the Seminary of Tiflis because of the provocations of the Russian rector who said that “Georgian language is dog language!” The Rector is trashed by Sylvestre DJIBLADZE (student leader of the revolt of the small Seminary of Ozourgeti) who is sentenced to 3 years of disciplinary company. The seminar is closed, the students go back to their villages and spread democratic ideas.
1879. Georgia becomes the world’s leading producer of manganese.
At the initiative of J. GOGEBACHVILI and I. TCHAVTCHAVADZE, an Association for spreading education among the Georgians is founded.
1880. Capitalism expands swiftly in Caucasus; it is represented in Georgia by Russians, Armenians and representatives of Western Europe capitalists (English, French, German…)
1880-1890: During this period, G. TSERETELI and N. NIKOLADZE (MeoreDasi) represent transitional figures of importance, between I. TCHAVTCHAVADZE’s reformism and the Social Democrats’ socialism.
1881. Murder of Alexander II by populist militants. He was succeeded by Alexander III, a conservative and nationalist tsar. Systematic policy of russification of non-Russian populations.
1883. Completion of the transverse railway Baku-Tbilisi-Batumi which will promote the development of Georgia and its exchanges with Europe. Baku oil becomes a fundamental element of the economic and social life of Transcaucasia
Turning point in the political movement: claims go beyond demands for cultural recognition.
1885. Formation of the first Marxist groups in Georgia with, at their head, Noah JORDANIA, Sylvester DJIBLADZE, Egnaté NINOCHVILI and Nicolas TCHEÏDZE.
Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” is translated into Georgian.
1886: first major strike at the Tiflis railway depot of. This event marks the beginning of the junction between the Marxist circles and the workers.
1891. Noé JORDANIA, who finished the seminary in 1890, goes to Warsaw to carry on his studies. He discovers the European socialism, in particular through K. Kautsky’s books which are developing the theory of historical materialism. He discovers also the extent of the Polish national feeling. He begins a regular correspondence with his Georgian fellows and sends them prohibited Russian-language editions.
1892: when Noé Jordania went back to Georgia, the first Georgian Socialists’ Conference where populist ideas prevailed was held in December in Kwirila (Imereti). Not agreeing with them, Sylvester DJIBLADZE, Egnaté NINOCHVILI and Noé JORDANIA decided to hold in Tiflis a second Conference and to present their own claims program.
1893: this program was adopted on February the 7th during the Tiflis Conference, which is considered as the foundation Congress of the Social Democratic Party of Georgia. This date marks the emergence of traditional Marxist socialism in Georgia. The party proclaimed
– the right to independence for all nations, from which derives the right to independence of Georgia
-socialism (a minimum and maximum program, i.e. the passage from the democratic stage to the socialist stage, is adopted).
Following the arrest in Warsaw of their Georgian fellows by the Tsarist authorities, the party organizes the departure of Noah JORDANIA for Europe (his arrest order will reach Georgia only two months after). He will spend there four and a half years, dedicated to studying, and deepening his understanding of different cultures and new ideas. He will meet European Socialists. Impressed by his discoveries, he decides to introduce European culture to his compatriots. “During my European stay there was no other Georgian able to describe and make Europe known to Georgia, I decided to fulfill this duty,” he wrote. “I accomplished that zealously through the articles that I sent to Georgia from 1893 to 1897”.
1893. Foundation of a League for the liberation of Georgia. Installation of the telephone in Tiflis.
1894. NICOLAS II succeeds Alexander III on the Russian throne.
The Third Dasi (Mesame group), first Georgian Marxist organization, is created. It is led by Sylvester DJIBLADZE and Noah Jordania.
1896. The Prince G.GOLITSYNE is appointed viceroy of Caucasus. Breach of the modus vivendi established by his predecessors and violent policy of russification.
1897. Georgia population reaches 1.919.000 inhabitants of which 84% are rural, 68% Georgians and 9% Armenians. Tiflis has 160,000 inhabitants.
Beginning of the awakening of the working class and its political mobilization.Turmoil of ideas. The newspaper “Iveria” disseminates ideas confined to the cultural field: generalization of the education, Georgian schools, Georgian theatre. Progressive ideas appears in the newspaper “Kvali”. Marxist ideas penetrate the society. Thus, Marxists have created workers circles, but they refuse any legal action, focusing on illegal action. This line was defended by the “new Social Democrats” (VassoTabadzé), Pastalevski, Ketskhoveli, etc who dominate the illegal circles. The pioneers of the social democratic movement, known as the “former Social Democrats” (average age 29 years!), are of a different opinion.
When Noé JORDANIA returned in Georgia, after consulting the “former Social Democrats” who had participated in the Conference of Kwirila, the decision was made to give the workers’ movement a broader focus, that is to say that in addition to the economical issues, social and political issues were to be added. Also, it was decided that illegal and clandestine actions shall be completed by legal activities, the first of which was to develop a newspaper.
At the same time, Ilia TCHAVTCHAVADZE offered Noé JORDANIA the direction of his newspaper « Iveria », an offer he declined.
1898. The Socialist Party made contact with G. TSERETELI, who agreed to give up his newspaper “Kvali” (the Groove) in January. NoéJordania became the director. He transformed it into the Georgian Marxists’ legal organ, which would become the rallying point of the Georgian social democracy.
Campaigns carried out by “Kvali” played a significant role in the social and political evolution of Georgia and in “the reawakening of the Georgian people by the uniting of the peasants and the democratic intellectuals with the proletariat, champion of the progress in Georgia as well as in the whole world” (W. Woytinski).
A controversy arose between Georgian socialists and nationalists through articles written by Ilia TCHAVTCHAVADZE and Noé JORDANIA, the articles of the latter showing the reactionary essence of the nationalism of the nobility.
1900. May 1st, 600 activists and socialist supporters gather in a valley near Tiflis. At the end of this event, the decision was made to celebrate May 1st the following year in Tiflis.
Sylvester DJIBLADZE is sent to Russia to contact the POSDR, the Social Democrat Labor Party of Russia, which had recently been created (March 1898) in Minsk. A delegation of Russian Socialists is in turn invited by Georgia.
1901. 1st of May demonstration (April the 18 in the Julian calendar) in Tiflis. Several thousand people participate. Cossacks charge. Many killed and wounded. The prisons fill with social democratic activists, among them NoéJordania, VlassaMgEladzE, SylvesterDjibladzE….
In Russia, foundation of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, arising from the populist movement of the years 1870-1880.
1902. The situation becomes extremely strained; the party’s leaders are in jail, so the Georgian social democracy decides to join the POSDR.
Multiple strikes shake up Georgia. Reprisals are violent: workers are killed or imprisoned; many others are dismissed and have to go back to their villages.
The “old” leaders are joined by a generation of younger activists, Noé RAMICHVILI, Noé KHOMERIKI, Archil DJAPARIDZE, Irakly TSERETELI…The first two assume organization work, the latter two become known through their writings and propaganda.
The party organizes strikes and peasant committees throughout the country. The alliance between workers and peasants is realized and the peasantry (80% of the population) become the main force of Georgian social democracy, as evidenced by the powerful peasant movement of Guria (western Georgia) led by Social Democrats. Guria no longer recognizes the Czarist authorities and has adopted self-government.
During the winter, with the prospect of the election of the Committee of Union of Transcaucasia (central Committee), the Conference of the party for Transcaucasia was held in Tiflis under the chairmanship of N. JORDANIA. He is given the responsibility of writing the program of the party covering the Caucasus and Russia. Then, as an order to have him deported arrives, he manages to embark for Europe.
The Tiflis-Yerevan railway line is opened.
1903. Important political events in Tbilisi and Batumi.
2nd Congress of the POSDR (Brussels-London, July 30 – August 23, 1903). At this Congress there are two opposing sides: the Bolsheviks (of “bolchinstvo”, majority) and the Mensheviks (of “menchinstvo”, minority). Noé JORDANIA versus Lenin, the Bolsheviks’ leader. The split between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks has little impact in Georgia.
The Transcaucasian Committee declares a general strike with a political aim in the region. It will last three days with success. Violent confrontations with the armed forces.
1904. Russo-Japanese war.
In Geneva, the birth of the Georgian Federalist Socialist Party “Sakartvelo”. Similar to the Russian revolutionary Socialists, they claim territorial national autonomy in a decentralized federal State. Its founders are Archil Djordjadze and Giorgi Laskhichvili. In Paris they publish “Sakartvelo”, a bilingual newspaper (Georgian-French) where some articles of Noé JORDANIA are printed; this collaboration will last only a short time. Afterwards Jordania comes out with a pamphlet entitled “The nationalists” in which he condemns the policy of cooperation between the classes defended by “Sakartvelo”. He writes: “How can a wolf and a goose coexist in the same pen?”
The Georgian Social Democratic Party develops organizations throughout Georgia.
A network of tramways is operational in Tiflis.
Injured in July in an attack, the General Governor of the Caucasia, G.GOLITSYNEreturns to Russia.
The following dates are sometimes given according to the double calendar
Julian and Gregorian
(To find the dates of the Julian calendar that existed in the Tsarist Empire and Turkey
13 days must be subtracted from the Gregorian calendar)
January 9 (January 22), Red Sunday at Saint-Petersburg. The guard shoot on a peaceful demonstration led by the pope Gapone. The event triggers a period of unrest and demands for reform in the whole empire.
In Georgia, the social democratic party organizes everywhere demonstrations of solidarity; workers, traders, civil servants, clergy take part in strikes and challenge the Czarist authorities. Virtual insurrectional situation in Guria.
“Kvali” is banned by the Government. Edition of “Mogzaouri” directed by P. Makharadzé, and “Tsnobispourtseli” now led by the social-federalists. “Iveria” is no longer directed by Ilia Chavchavadze.
March. The Union Committee launches a broad debate on the confrontational thesis which were expounded at the London Congress. During a three-day Conference in Batumi, Stalin, who supports Lenin’s thesis is defeated by Noé RAMICHVILI who defends JORDANIA’s thesis.
The underground newspaper “Social democracy” became the organ of Georgian socialism. Noe JORDANIA publishes, with the assistance of Noe Ramichvili, articles on “Menchevism or Bolshevism”, also published in “Iskra” in Russian translation, with a preface by F. Dan and I. Tsereteli. In Georgia the Bolshevik’s thesis remains accepted only by a minority.
“It is only in Georgia that the Marxist organizational and fundamentally political directive was preeminent: The Workers ‘liberation is the workers ‘job (…)” Meantime the Russians ‘watchword was: “The liberation of the workers is the job of the dedicated intelligentsia’s ” (…). “That’s the way Georgian and Russian Social Democrats ‘paths diverged”. N. JORDANIA “My past” (more in “True and false communism“, by N. JORDANIA, published in Paris, 1925). See also, L. H. Haimson
The Georgian socialism binding worker and peasant is taking its own character.
May. Arrival at Tiflis of the new viceroy countVorontsov-Dachkov, an aristocratic liberal (position restored, it had been abolished in 1882).
June. Battleship Potemkin’s mutiny.
August. The 6, Nicholas II accepts the principle of convening a Duma.
The 29, in Tiflis, Cossacks attack a social democratic meeting: 60 deaths and hundreds of wounded. The Central Committee decides to respond and defend: a militia —the hundred reds– is created. This organization is the embryo of the future “people’s Guard”. A few days later, in Tiflis, all Cossacks’ cantonments are attacked and bombed. This act had a huge impact; the Imperial administration was forced to recognize its powerlessness.
September Following the Russia’s capitulation, signature of a peace treaty with Japan.
October, a general strike breaks out in Russia. October 17 (October 30), Nicholas II is forced to sign the Imperial manifesto allowing freedom of opinion and association, and an elected parliament, the Duma. De Witte is appointed Prime Minister.
At theend of 1905, Georgia is in insurrection. A “Republic of Guria” chaired by the Social Democrat Benia TCHIKHVICHVILI and led by a revolutionary and republican power is proclaimed.
The “Republic of Guria” throws light on the unusual relationship between the Georgian social democracy and the peasantry. (…) The Georgian peasants changed the Georgian section of the POSDR into a mass organization, defying in this way the major components of the POSDR revolutionary strategy. (…). The massive recruitment of peasants in the Georgian organizations provoked serious reservations from Russian members of the POSDR about the Marxist orthodoxy of the Georgian Social Democrats.” S. Jones “Socialism in Georgian colors.”
1906. The reactioncrushes the revolutionary movements throughout the Empire. Georgia is victim of a terrible repression. The Republic of Guria, which lasted 6 months, is drowned in blood.
Cossack troops commit murders, rapes, arson. 13,000 people are arrested in Georgia. Many are deported to Siberia. The Tsarist Government attempts to break the forces of democracy in Transcaucasia, stirring up national discords and religious conflicts between Armenians (Christians) and Azerbaijanis (Muslims). After the killings in eastern Transcaucasia, it was to be Tiflis turn. The armed communities were ready for a confrontation, but the Georgian Social Democrats managed to avoid the planned pogrom. They organized a demonstration to intervene between the belligerents, thus avoiding a bloodbath.
The tsarist Government failed to destroy the Georgian Social Democratic Party whose resolutions and positions were published in the legal daily “Skhivi” (Radius) directed by N. JORDANIA.
In March, in theelections to the 1st Duma of the Russian empire, while the two factions – Menshevik and Bolshevik – of the POSDR are boycotting these elections, the Georgian social democracy decided to present its candidates. Its success is overwhelming; the three representatives of Georgia are all Social Democrats: Noé JORDANIA, leader of the party; Isidore RAMICHVILI, who had led the demonstration of Tiflis avoiding bloodshed; and Nicolas (Carlo) TCHEIDZE.
April. POSDR IV Congress of unification in Stockholm. The Georgian democracy opposes the Bolsheviks’ thesis, in conjunction with the Russian Mensheviks. Lenin is beaten. The false mandates of Joseph Dzhugashvili (Stalin) and his friends are invalidated by the mandates commission. The POSDR is reunified, but the Bolsheviks organize themselves by “tendencies”, thus establishing the basis for the future “Bolshevik” party. Plekhanov issues a statement on behalf of the Congress: “self-determination means the right of the nation to create its own state”.
The Bolsheviks are virtually eliminated from the Georgian political landscape.
May.Meeting of the 1st Duma.
July.Dissolution of the 1st Duma.
The deputies decide to go to Finland and there they sign the “ Manifesto of Viborg” written by Noé JORDANIA and Pavel MILYUKOV (KD party leader). The signatories are arrested and sentenced to 5 months of jail. Noé JORDANIA escapes arrest and remains more than 18 months in the underground.
1907. In March, elections to the 2th Duma. All tendencies present candidates. The Georgian social democracy has its seven candidates elected, including Artchil DJAPARIDZE, Irakly TSERETELI, Bikenti LOMTATIDZE, Constantin KANDELAKI, Severian DJOUGHELI, and Guerassime MAKHARADZE. The junior, Irakly TSERETELI, is elected head of the social democratic group of the Duma, which gathers 56 deputies. He leads the fight against STOLYPIN, Prime Minister of the Tsar.
In May, at the London Congress (Vth Congress of the POSDR), Georgia is represented by 29 delegates, 30% are from Guria among them N. JORDANIA. The Bolsheviks take back the majority and introduce the principle of democratic centralism. Noé JORDANIA is still elected as member of the Central Committee
Getting ready to dissolve the Duma, the Government puts an ultimatum: remove the parliamentary immunity of the Social Democrats deputies to allow their arrest and bring them to trial.
June. In the name of the Social Democrat Group, in a memorable speech, Irakli TSERETELI called on the Duma to enter the road of the revolutionary struggle and to take the necessary measures for the defense of the representatives of the people and of the people’s rights. The next day, the Duma is dissolved. All the Democrats deputies are arrested and sentenced to hard labour. Deported to Siberia, DJAPARIDZE and LOMTATIDZE will die there.
In August, signature of the Triple Entente between France, England, and Russia against the Germanic Triple Alliance.
Murder of Ilia TCHAVTCHAVADZE. The mystery remains about its perpetrators. At his funeral, intervention of two executives of the Georgian social democratic party: Nicolas TCHEÏDZE and Vlassa MGUELADZE.
Baku-Batumi pipeline completion.
Despite the intense repression, Georgian social democracy continues to gain ground in the cities as well as in the countryside. Thus, in November, Georgian democracy manages to have all its candidates elected at the 3th Duma, so-called “Duma of the Lords”, in spite of the modification of the Electoral Act to the benefit of the nobles and the rich. At the Duma, of a total of 442 members, only 18 represent social including Nicolas (Carlo) TCHEIDZE (candidate of the gubernia of Tiflis) and EvgeniyGuEguEtchkori (candidate of the gubernia of Kutaisi).
During ten years, the Georgian Social Democrats GuEguEtchkori, TchEidzE, Tchenkeli, TSERETELI will remain on the extreme left of the Duma and will provide a legal and public representation to the democratic requirements.
1908. In December, plenary meeting of the POSDR central Committee in Paris. N. JORDANIA member of the central Committee participates. At the origin of the convocation is the arrest of the Bolshevik Litvinov for his theft of assignats (old paper money). The Bolsheviks, who have lost any prestige in the European Socialist circles and with the Socialist International, give up and stop their “expropriations”.
The party shared between Bolsheviks “expropriators” and Mensheviks “liquidators” (that is to say, against the secret action, and whose objective is the establishment of bourgeois democracy in Russia), appears near to collapse.
In December, while remaining with the Mensheviks ‘position, PLEKHANOV and his group argue for the continuation of illegal organizations and illegal work of the party. They make an agreement with Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
Georgian social democracy continues on its original road and decides to develop at the same time legal and illegal organizations.
At numerous meetings in Geneva, Akaki TCHENKELI expounds the theory of national cultural autonomy.
Archbishop Nikon, Exarch of Georgia, is murdered. Tensions prevail between Georgian priests and conservative elements of the Russian clergy.
1911. PLEKHANOV breaks off with Lenin.
The Social democratic organizations discuss the national question.
1912. At the Prague Conference (January), the Bolsheviks exclude the Mensheviks, thus formally inaugurating an autonomous existence. Stalin (Joseph Djougashvili) enters the central Committee. However, until 1918, the Bolsheviks will continue under the name of POSDR, with the word “Bolsheviks” between quotation marks. In 1918, the POSDR will indicate only the Mensheviks led by MARTOV.
General strike in Georgia (April).
Dissolution of the 3th Duma (June).
The Georgian social democrat deputy, Akaki TCHENKELI,calls for the “creation of institutions for the free development of each nationality.” Lenin is furious. Stalin prepares the Bolsheviks response.
November, beginning of the 4th Duma. New laws and repression provoke the decrease of the number of social democrats deputies. Russian workers give massively their votes to the Bolsheviks candidates, unlike what happens in Georgia. There, as usual, Social Democrat candidates are elected.
1913. Celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov family’s reign.
Publication of “The national question and social democracy” by Stalin.
Strikes and demonstrations through all the country.
28 June, murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.
28 June, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
1 August, Germany declares war on Russia then,the 3rd, on France and Serbia; and invades Belgium.
4 August Britain and France come into the war
6 August, Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia
French, German and Belgian Socialists vote for the military appropriations (sacred Union). At the Duma, in name of the social democrat group, Nicolas (Carlo) TCHEÏDZE refuses to vote the military credits.
Foundation in Germany of a Georgian Committee led by G. Matchabeli and M. Tsereteli; the aim of this Committee: to free Georgia with German and Turkish help. They do take contact with Noé JORDANIA. An agreement is established: inside each country each formation will work according to its own policy line. Abroad, the Committee will work according to its own policy. On the fundamental point of the independence of Georgia, there was no difference. But a tactic must be defined in order to achieve the objective without risking the physical existence of the Georgian nation.
November 1, the Turkish Empire declares war alongside the central powers.
November 2, Russia declares war on Turkey, the ally of Germany. The Caucasus becomes an important stake. More than 150,000 Georgians are sent on the battlefields of the Great War.
The war, the hopes of revolution and freedom that it arouses among oppressed peoples, the possible alliances with the belligerents of all sides, feed the debates in political circles.
April. Turkish incursions on the Black Sea coast
Spring.Beginning of the Armenian genocide in Turkey.
The Grand Duke Nicolas is appointed as viceroy. Resumption of the Russian offensive (September)
1916. Wave of strikes in Russian cities (February-may).
Trebizond is occupied by the Russian Army (April).
June. Victorious attack of the Russian army in Anatolia.
Georgia: sets aside land areas for the many Armenian refugees.
At the 3rd Congress of the Union of Nationalities in Lausanne, Irakly TSERETELI presents a report about the “rights of the Georgian people”.
1917. January. Catastrophic food situation in Georgia.Cases of famine in some areas.
In Lanchkhuti, the social democratic party organizes a conference where all the representatives of the Georgian organizations gather. An agreement is reached on an essential point of strategy: to declare the independence of Georgia in case of favorable circumstances, i.e. if the Russian army withdraws from Georgia. To avoid any hasty approach, it is decided to keep that decision secret until the next Conference, which will decide whether to make this decision public or not. A month later, the Russian revolution begins.
The February Revolution.Strikes, demonstrations, riots are going crescendo; in February 26th, the Czar dissolves the Duma. The 27, establishment of a dual power: the temporary Committee of the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ Deputies (chaired by a Georgian, Nicolas TCHEIDZE, replaced in March by his compatriot IraklyTSERETELI ,back from deportation).
The Committee gathering all the Georgian parties increases its authority as of the beginning of the revolution.
2. The czar abdicates.
March3, formation of the temporary Russian Government. The 6, publication of the temporary Government’s program (amnesty, convening of a constituent assembly elected by universal suffrage).
12. The Georgian church restores its autocephaly.
15. Tiflis hears of the fall of the regime.
17. The Tiflis Revolutionary Soviet of workers and soldiers elects Noé JORDANIA as President.
22. The temporary Government creates Ozakom, a special Transcaucasian Committee.
April. Arrival of Lenin in Petrograd. Strong reactions of the Petrograd soviet to Milyukov’s note confirming to the allies the commitment of Russia in the war, including anti-war demonstrations.
On the initiative of the Federalist Socialists and of the newly formed National Democratic Party, the main Georgian parties, Social Democrats included, create a cross-parties information office.
May.Second temporary government which includes Petrograd soviet representatives.
3-24 June.First all-Russia Congress of soviets in Petrograd.Lenin, in the name of the Bolshevik minority (105 delegates from over 800) declares that he is ready to take the power.
3-4 July.”July days” in Petrograd.Violent demonstrations of workers, soldiers and sailors of Kronstadt against the Government and the Soviet. The 24, third temporary Government led by Kerensky.
21 August. The cross-parties Information Office is renamed “Cross-parties National Committee.” N. JORDANIA and A. Tchenkeli are elected to the Executive Committee, but the relationship between Social Democrats and National Democrats are difficult.
27-31 August.Attempt of military putsch by General Kornilov.
September.Proclamation of the Republic of Russia.
VIth Congress of the Bolshevik Party with the participation of the inter-districts organization whose four representatives are elected to the central Committee, among them, TROTSKY.
October 7. Opening of the Pre-Parliamentand withdrawal of the Bolsheviks from the inaugural session.
12. TROTSKY sets up the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee (PMRC) to prepare the Bolshevik uprising.
24. Start of the Bolshevik coup d’état.
25. Petrograd falls into the insurgents’ hands; the PMRC proclaims the removal of the temporary Government and takes the power.
Night of 25 to 26. Attack of the Winter Palace and opening of the 2d Pan Russian Congress of Soviets.Withdrawal of the socialist revolutionaries and of the Mensheviks who denounce the Bolsheviks’ coup d’etat.
Night of 26-27. Last session of the Congress and formation of the Bolshevik temporary Government: the Soviet Council of People’s Commissars chaired by Lenin.
During all these events, the Georgian people remains organized around the Georgian social democracy.
November11. The Special Transcaucasian Committee is dissolved on the initiative of the Transcaucasian Revolutionary Councils which do not recognize the Bolshevik coup. The Committee is replaced by a new organization, the Transcaucasian Commissariatchaired by Evgueni GUEGUETCHKORI, with Akaki TCHENKELI as Minister for Foreign Affairs. In addition to this central power, Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis create in their respective countries National Councils to support their respective national needs.
The National Council of Georgia is created on the instigation and the direction of the national cross-parties Committee of Georgia. Convened on the 19, the Congress brings together 329 delegates representing all the major political parties and social organizations, from the trade-unions up to the Assemblies of the Georgian nobles and the Church. In his address to the Congress (20), N. JORDANIA demands a Georgian National Council able to make its own laws, a Georgian army and a militia, a national administration, and also the nationalization of the judicial and educational systems. He says “We have two questions to decide, and we need to be united…The first question is the guarantee of our national existence, the second, the creation of the basis on which we can build a free cultural development of our people. The National Congress is the first stone of this basis.”
At the so-called Georgian National Council the Social Democratic party dominates. Noé JORDANIA becomes the President of this Council.
The National Council was first involved in the creation of a national armed force, but could not immediately oppose his own defense force to the foreign enemy forces. Indeed, on the Caucasus front as elsewhere the soldiers sided with the Bolshevik power which was promising a quick return to their homes. In addition, the majority of Caucasians who were sent on Western fronts, Georgians and Armenians, were in a tragic situation.
December. As a consequence, the people were called upon for the homeland defense. The Executive Committee of Tiflis Soviet of Workers is denied by the arsenal the necessary weapons. The social democratic workers – very weakly armed but highly determined – succeede in seizing the arsenal without firing a shot (the 12). Like Tiflis, other units compound basically of workers and peasants were then established in every part of Georgia. That’s how the country got the opportunity to arm and defend itself; these armed columns were baptized “people’s Guard”. The anniversary of December 12 became, in Georgia, a National day.
The Commissariat and the revolutionary organizations are working along in perfect harmony and tried to give locally a normal course to the post-revolutionary events.
During this time, the anarchy and civil war devastated Russia, and the soviets’ dictatorship became bloody.
The Tcheka,political police of the new regime, was created.
Elections of the All Russian Constituent Assembly where the Georgian social democracy won a huge success (72% of the votes in Georgia).
Armistice of Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Empires (15)
1918 (January – may)
Note 1: As of January 1918, the new Soviet Russia adopts the Gregorian calendar ( calendar new style) and abandons the Julian calendar of the Orthodox tradition.
1may 1918 (18 April according to the Julian calendar), the Gregorian calendar is introduced in Transcaucasia.
Note 2 : in 1918, Tiflis – a Persian name used by Tsarist Russia, becomes Tbilisi (“warm waters” in Georgian), until then a name used only by Georgians.
January5. Convening and immediate dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Russia, elected two months earlier.
Following this dissolution by the Bolsheviks, the Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani members of this Assembly decide to set up another assembly with legislative functions: the Transcaucasian Diet, chaired by Nicolas TCHEIDZE.
Foundation of Tbilisi University. The revolution of February had allowed Georgian scholars, dispersed within the Russian territory or exiled abroad, to come back to Georgia. Through their initiative and that of Professor DJAVAKHICHVILI, in January, in Tbilisi, the first Georgian University was born, with five faculties and 3,000 students at its inauguration.
Brest-Litovsk negotiations. Transcaucasia declined to participate in these negotiations.
Russian troops abandoning the Turkish front flow back through Georgia in order to return to Russia. To prevent the risk of plundering and exactions, the Popular Guard, led by the Social Democratic Party of Georgia, assures order and the return in their country of 500,000 soldiers. This action avoids the falling into anarchy of the Caucasus.
10 February. Outlawing of the Bolshevik organizations in Georgia after their several attempts of seizing power by force.
March. The 3d, Soviet Russia signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, a separate peace with Germany and its allies. By this one-sided Treaty, Russia loses Poland, Finland, Ukraine, the Baltic countries, and gives up Kars, Ardahan and Batumi to the Ottoman Empire. Protest of the Transcaucasian powers.
12, the first Peace Conference between Transcaucasia and Turkey opens in Trebizond. The Turkish delegation is led by the Navy Minister, REUF-BEY. The Transcaucasian delegation is led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, A. TCHENKELI.
During these talks, the Baku Soviet commissariat, led by CHAOUMIAN, proclaims its allegiance to Moscow. In addition, despite the work of the Conference, the Turks continue their military offensive to concretize their vested interests at Brest-Litovsk. They occupy Ardahan and find themselves at the gates of Kars and Batumi.
April. On the night of 13-14, the Transcaucasian Diet decides to recall its delegation and proclaims a state of siege. The young troops from Caucasia, hastily recruited and with insufficient forces and armament, turn out to be too weak to resist the invaders. Threatened in the East by the Bolsheviks armies, they cannot resist in the South to the Turkish army which seizes the fortress of Batumi. Turkey demands to negotiate with a State.
The 22, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republicis proclaimed. The new Government chaired by Akaki TCHENKELI is recognized by Turkey.
The negotiations with Turkey start again. However this formal separation of Transcaucasia (already independent of the Bolshevik central power Transcaucasia didn’t constitute for all that a State) generates – in Russia, the hostile reaction of the KD, the reactionaries, the Bolsheviks and – in Transcaucasia, the hostile reaction of the corps of the state employees and of the russified officers.
May.The 2dpeace conference opens in Batumi (the 11), this timein the presence ofthe Germany delegation as an observer. At the very first meeting, the Turks state their very hard conditions. Their claims exceed the territorial concessions granted by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, concessions questioned by Transcaucasia. Turkey claims in particular the transfer of the Georgian provinces of Meskhetia and Javakheti, and one third of the territory of Armenia. Transcaucasia must also recognize its dependency on Turkey and accept the ottoman control in the decisions of its domestic policy.
12, The Ottoman army seizes the Alexandropol railway at Djoulfa, and address an ultimatum demanding the surrender of Alexandropol (15). Serious differences appear between the Turks and the Germans who consider their allies’ claims exaggerated.
19, The General VON LOSSOV proposes to the Transcaucasian delegation “his intermediary’s good offices to facilitate an agreement between the Transcaucasian Republic and Turkey”. Proposal accepted by the delegation and denied by Turkey. The Federative Republic of Transcaucasia is divided before these events:
o The Azerbaijani’s deputies, whose capital is occupied by the Soviet Russia, play the card of the Turks
o the Armenian’s deputies, whose country is largely under Turkish domination, refuse to fight against the Bolsheviks.
On May 26, the Ottoman delegation Chairman, KHALIL-BEY, presents an ultimatum to the Transcaucasian delegation. The same day, the Diet – unanimously minus two voices – “notes the collapse of Transcaucasia and resigns from his post.”
Immediate meeting of the National Council of Georgia in the Chamber of the Diet. The Independence Act submitted by NoéJordania, the Chairman of the National Council is unanimously adopted. Armenia and Azerbaijan follow two days later.
1918 – 1921
The 26 May Act established the Democratic Republic of Georgia, which guarantees civil and political rights to all citizens living in its territory, without distinction of sex, nationality, religion or social status.
Until the convening of the Constituent Assembly, the power remained vested in the National Council supplemented by representatives of national minorities, and the temporary Government responsible to this Council.
Therefore, the Georgian National Council became the first Parliament of the Republic. Including at the beginning only the representatives of the Georgian parties, it was soon supplemented by the representatives of national minorities (10 Armenians, 4 Tatars, 3 Abkhaz, 2 Russians, 2 Ossetians…).
In this first Georgian Parliament, the social democrats held an absolute majority. Its main task was to prepare the convening of the Constituent Assembly, but also to deal with land reform, financial reform and the organization of the State defense.
Noe RAMISHVILI was the chairman of the first Government of independent Georgia. It was a coalition Government, without the Communists:
oNoe RAMISHVILI (Social Democrat), Chairman of the Government and Minister of the Interior
oAkaki TCHENKELI (Social Democrat), Minister of Foreign Affairs
oGrigol GUIORGADZE (Social Democrat), Minister of War
oGiorgi JOUROULI (National Democrat), Minister of Finance, Trade and Industry
oGiorgi LASKHICHVILI (Federalist Socialist), Minister of National Education
oNoe KHOMERIKI (Social Democrat), Minister of Labour and Agriculture,
oMESKHICHVILI Chalva (Federalist Socialist), Minister of Justice
oIvané LORDKIPANIDZE (National democratic), Minister of Communications and Railways
The proclamation of its independence gave Georgia the framework in which to stop the Turkish invasion. During the Batumi negotiations, the representative of Germany had declared to the Georgian delegation that Germany would be ready to guarantee Georgia against the Turkish aggression, on the condition that Georgia agreed to allow German troops on its territory.
The Turkish ultimatum, requiring the transfer of all the railways of Transcaucasia, was expiring on May 29. The 28, the Georgian Government signed with General VON LOSSOV, representative of Germany, the Convention of Poti (never ratified by the Parliament of Georgia) giving to the Germans the right of monitoring the Georgian railways, but without interfering in the internal affairs of the country.
On June 4, the Treaty of Batumi was signed with Turkey.
The first steps of the Republic of Georgia were hampered by these two obligations, which however presented an advantageous aspect for Georgia inasmuch as they were contradictory and excluded one another.
Germany held to its commitments and didn’t abuse its position toward the young Republic. Being determined to defend its independence and neutrality, Georgia declined the later proposal of an alliance with the German empire. German and Georgian soldiers took possession of the railways in some sensitive regions to oppose the advance of the Turks, who stopped their military operations against Georgia. The German army stayed in Georgia approximately six months (June-December).
At the end of June, Noé JORDANIA was called to the Presidency ofthe Government, and Noe RAMICHVILI became the Minister of Interior, War and Education.
Until then the People’s Guard, a politico-military organization that intervened on the battlefield, was not subject to the Ministry of War, and didn’t recognize any other power than that of the President of the General Staff of the Guard, who also was the President of the Workers’ Soviet, i.e. N. JORDANIA. It was only when this power was entrusted to N. JORDANIA, that the People’s Guard recognized the power of the chairman of the Government.
From now on the Georgian armed forces consisted of the Army recruited through compulsory service and of the People’s Guard, composed of volunteers, mostly workers and peasants. In the summer, these young armed troops were forced to fight on several fronts:
o against the Turks in the districts of Bortchalo, Borjomi, Alkhaltsikhé and Alkhalkalaki,
o against the Ossetians pro-bolchevik insurgents
o against the Russian “White” troops of Denikin who didn’t accept the independence of Georgia,
o against the Bolshevik troops at the pass of Darial, and on the Black Sea coast in Abkhazia.
July.Execution of the czar.
October.Blockade of Russia by the Entente Powers that sent troops to fight against the Red Army, alongside the counter revolutionary “White” troops.Civil war in Russia.30, Turkey signs the Mudros armistice with the allies.
November.Beginning of the German army’s defeat.3, Austria-Hungary signs the armistice of Villa Giusti. 8, The Bolshevik power denounces the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. 9. Abdication of Wilhelm II.
11 November.Allied victory.
December.German troops leave Georgia. They are replaced by British troops.
Border conflict with Armenia in the region of Lori.
25 January. Plenary session of the Paris Peace Conference.
28 January. The Georgian Assembly adopts the Agrarian reform submitted on behalf of the Georgian Social Democrat party by Noé KHOMERIKI, Minister of Agriculture. This reform allows a fair redistribution of land to the Georgian peasantry.
“Our socialism took on a specific Georgian character on the agrarian question. Peasants received as private property the confiscated arable land, to which the traditional socialist doctrine was opposed. It was our position from the beginning, since the party’s creation, as explained above. At our previous economic arguments were now added national arguments. Our basic idea was that the vast majority of the Georgian people, that is to say the peasants, had to become aware that independent Georgia gave them the land, gave them new means of existence. So, in the homeland, incontestably the agrarian reform became the national reform.” N. JORDANIA in “My Past “.
Agricultural workers and peasant owners comprised 80% of the Georgian people. The other social classes, craftsman and workers, 20%. The bourgeoisie was almost nonexistent. The railways employed 15,000 workers, the coal mines of Tkivibouli and Tkartcheli 4,000 miners, the manganese mines of Tchiatura, 2,000 miners.
Pierre Renaudel, a national leader of the SFIO (French socialist party) close to Jean-Jaures, deputy, leader of the newspaper “l’Humanité” during the first world war, wrote the foreword of the Agrarian Reform in Georgia, in the French edition.
February .Elections to the Constituent Assembly of Georgia.
With 15 opposing lists of candidates , one could fear the splintering of the votes. Nothing of the kind happened; the vast majority of voters gave its votes to the social-democrat candidates who won 109 of the 130 seats.
The voters were all the citizens of the Republic, of any sex, over twenty years of age, without distinction of ethnicity or religion, and without any census restriction. Elections were conducted a holiday, by electoralists , in conditions insuring the most absolute secret vote. The election results were calculated considering the whole country as a single district, and the 130 Assembly seats were divided between the groups who have submitted lists of candidates, proportionally to the number of votes won by each list.
Distribution of seats in the Constituent Assembly:
Social Democrats………………… 109
National Democrats………………… 8
Socialist Federalists………………. 8
Socialist Revolutionaries……… 5
The overall results gave the following: Social Democrates: 408.541 voices; Socialist Federalists: 33.630; National Democrats: 30.128; Socialist revolutionaries: 21.453; Radicals: 3.107; Members of Dachnak party: 2.353. The other lists obtained each one less than 2,000 votes.
The Constituent Assembly of Georgia gathered on March 12. Nicolas (Carlo) TCHEÏDZE, member of the Social Democrat party,was elected to the Assembly’s Presidency. The Assembly ratified the Independence Act on May 26, 1918.
Georgia adopted a Western type of democratic structures. At the same session, the National Assembly entrusted to a commission the work out the Constitution of the Republic’s project, giving a legal form to the political organization which existed alread, de facto, in the institutions and the constitutional practice followed by Georgia.”. Publication Paris, February 1922
According to the Constitution that the Assembly worked out: “The sovereignty belongs to the entire nation. The Parliament shall exercise this sovereignty within the limits fixed by the Constitution. “Article 52, and, “the representative body of the Georgian Republic is the Parliament of Georgia, composed of deputies elected by universal, equal, direct, secret and proportional suffrage.” “Article 46
The head of State is the Chairman of the Government. “The Chairman of the Government elected by the Parliament is the Supreme representative of the Republic He appoints the Ministers and representatives of Georgia to the foreign powers and receives accreditation of the representatives of these powers. If the governmental decision is obstructed, the Chairman shall have the right to recourse the armed force of the Republic while informing the Parliament immediately. For the implementation of laws the Chairman issues orders and instructions but without the right to suspend or obstruct the implementation of a law.” Article 70
A coalition Government was proposed by the social democrat majority to other parties. Faced with their refusal, a Government, exclusively composed of members of the Social Democrat party, was formed.
o Noé JORDANIA Chairman of the Government
o Noé RAMICHVILI Minister of Interior, National Education and War
o Evgeni GUEGUETCHKORI Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice
o Noe KHOMERIKI Minister of Agririan Reform, Labour and Communications
o Constantin KANDELAKI Minister of Finance, Trade and Industry
o Irakli TSERETELI Plenipotentiary representative of the Government
o Akaki TCHENKELI, Plenipotentiary representative of the Government in Europe
Noé JORDANIA surrounded himself with personal advisors: Niko NIKOLADZE (National Democrat), Ivané ZOURABICHVILI (National Democrat), Giorgi LASKHICHVILI (Social-federalist), Giorgi GVAZAVA (National Democrat), Giorgi JOUROULI (National Democrat)
April. 1th Congress of Trade Unions.
The State occupied a predominant place in industry and transportation. The cooperative sector plays an important role in urban areas.
17. Georgian troops move forward up to the River Mekhadyr (Abkhazia), after having repelled the DENIKIN White troops’ attack, who are trying to invade Georgia.
18. Georgian troops repel the advance of Turkish troops. 20. They seize the city of Ardahan, occupied by the Turks.
27. In Tbilisi, opening of the Conference of the Transcaucasian republics. E. GUEGUETCHKORI represents Georgia, TIGRANIAN Armenia, KHAN KHOÏSKY Azerbaijan. The Republic of the Mountaineers’ delegation doesn’t attend the first Conference.
May.The British government, which is supporting DENIKIN’ s troops, seeks to put pressure on the Government of Georgia in order to get its support for the White Russian troops.
16. Arrival in Tbilisi of an Italian Military Mission.
26. Parades and demonstrations commemorating the National day.
June. Sir Oliver Wardrop, a good friend of Georgia, became the first British Commissioner of Transcaucasus in Tbilissi.
June 16. A mutual defense agreement is signed between the Republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The delegation of Georgia is composed of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, E. GUEGUETCHKORI, the Minister of War, N. RAMICHVILI, the aid de camp, General GUEDEVANOF and a member of the Superior Council of War, General ODICHELIDZE.
Mid June.DENIKIN troops occupy the cities of the Republic of the Mountaineers of Caucasus. The Mountaineers are organizing resistance in the mountains and the countryside.
22. The bi-weekly “Independent Georgia”, published in French, becomes weekly.
28. Signature of the Versailles Treaty Peace between Germany and allied powers. The Covenant of the League of Nations (League) is incorporated as a preamble to the text of the Treaty of peace. The Treaty had been prepared by the Peace Conference (Paris, January 18, 1919 – August 10, 1920) who also developed the four secondary treaties: with Austria (The treaty of Saint-Germain-en Laye), Hungary (Trianon Treaty), Bulgaria (Treaty of Neuilly) and Turkey (Treaty of Sevres). These treaties deeply modify the map of Europe. Moreover, Turkey is limited to Constantinople and Asia minor.
End of June. An Italian company exploits the forest wealth of Georgia. A British Bank settles down in Georgia.
Georgian cooperative societies organize their cooperative bank.
July.A Georgian delegation takes part in the Peace Conference. Georgia sent to Europe a special delegation chaired by Nicolas (Carlo) TCHEÏDZE, with the mission of obtainlng the legal recognition of the new State.
August (beginning). The French Government accuses the Georgian Government of slowing down the help to Armenia. The Georgian Government replies to this unfounded accusation.
31. The Assembly of representatives of Muslim Georgia in Batumi elects Mamed-Beg ABACHIDZE as President and asks to connect the Batumi district with “the motherland”, Georgia.
September.An Armenian-Georgian common management of the area of Bortchalo is organized under the control of British troops. 13, Bolshevik attacks against the Georgian generals.
October 2, General HARBORD, the Chief of staff of the United States is on visit in Georgia.
October and November, the Bolsheviks organize unrests, protests and armed demonstrations. Noe RAMICHVILI quickly intervenes with the Army and National Guard.
January 10. The League of Nations becomes operational following the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by Germany and three of the main partners. The 11, Georgia is recognized de facto by France, Great Britain and Italy.
Starting in February – after the decision of the Entente Supreme Council to transform Batumi into a free port – meetings, public meetings, press articles re-launch the debate about the return to the Republic of Georgia of the city of Batumi, occupied by the British troops.
March. Multiple provocations from the Volunteers army (Denikin’s “White” Russians troops) stationed in Batumi, which expresses its opposition to the return of this region to the Republic of Georgia.
The President of the Muslim Georgia Assembly, M. ABACHIDZE presents a memorandum – wishing for the return of Batumi and its region to the Republic of Georgia, to Oliver WARDROP, the British High Commissioner.
Conference of the Transcaucasian Republics. The Georgian Government tries to mitigate the divergences between Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations while, on the field, battles intensify between the armed forces of the two republics.
8. First court session with a popular jury, in Georgia. On the list of jury members, there are 14 women and 19 men. Nationalities are represented: 25 Georgians, 5 Armenians and 3 Russians.
30. A diplomatic mission of the Republic of Poland arrives in Tbilisi. It represents Poland interests in the three Caucasian Republics.
April.4, Comte de MARTEL, High Commissioner of France, arrives in Georgia. A Georgian military delegation – led by General ODICHELIDZE (Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of War) and colonel ERISTAVI – is received in France.
After an agreement between the Azeri Turkophiles and Bolsheviks, Soviet power is proclaimed in Baku.
The P.C.R. Caucasus Office (kavbjuro) is created.
27. Azerbaijan is Sovietized.
May. On the night 2 to 3: failed coup attempt of Russian agents to take control of the military school of Georgia and to instigate a revolt of the NCO students against the Government.
On the night 3 to 4: an invasion attempt of Georgia by the Red Army is foiled at the border (Red Bridge) between Georgia and Azerbaijan (occupied by the Soviet Red Army troops). Immediate reaction of the Georgian army and National Guard (former People’s Guard).
7. The Democratic Republic of Georgia and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR), conclude a Treaty of Recognition of Georgian Independence by Soviet Russia. Its two first articles determine the status of Georgia towards Soviet Russia:
-Article I: Based on the right proclaimed by the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic of all peoples to fully dispose of themselves including the right to total withdrawal from the state of which they form a part, Russia recognizes without reservations the independence and the sovereignty of the Georgian State, and voluntarily renounces all sovereign rights which belonged to Russia with respect of the Georgian people and territory.
-Article II: Based on the principles proclaimed in the foregoing Article I, Russia agrees to renounce all intervention in the internal affairs of Georgia.
Precarious economic situation: serious budget deficit, high inflation.
The Communist Party (CP) is legalized.
26. The anniversary of the Independence Day is widely celebrated in all towns and villages of Georgia.
June 1, signature between the Democratic Republic of Georgia and the Azerbaijan Soviet Republic of an economic Treaty; 27, The Soviet Russia opens its Consulate in Tbilisi.
July. The 1, the Batumi district returns to Georgia. 6, The White Russian troops evacuate the city and leave for Crimea. 7, in front of the allies’ military delegations, the English troops leave Georgia and abandon the Batumi district. The Georgian army led by Generals KVINITADZE and ZAKARIADZE, enter the city.
Bolshevik conspiracy unmasked in Sukhumi.
2nd Congress of the Georgian Social Democratic party
2. Beginning of Aviation week, held to raise funds for the creation of a military aviation.
10. Treaty of Sevres (never ratified by Turkey) which will lead to the Turkish attack against Armenia.
26. Commissioning of telephone and Telegraph apparatus manufactured by the Georgian Post office administration.
14-30, Visit of a delegation of the International Socialist in Georgia, consisting of:
oRamsay MAC DONALD, Thomas SHAW and Mrs. SNOWDEN (Great Britain)
o Emile VANDERVELDE, Camille HUYSMANSand Louis de BROUCKERE (Belgium)
o Karl and Louise KAUSTSKY (Germany)
September-November 1920, Karl and Louise KAUSTSKY are visiting Georgia and continue their investigation of the Georgian Republic. Back in Germany, Karl KAUTSKY writes his book: “Georgia: a Social Democratic Peasant Republic “.
In November, Georgia requests admission to the League of Nations.
The member parties of the Second International support this application by press campaigns in European countries.
The Red Army rescue Armenia attacked by Turkish troops, as a reward for its sovietization.
Georgian troops are mobilized and most are sent to the borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In December, the Assembly of the League of Nations has to deal with the admission of Georgia in their organization. Although it receives double the votes of the other States who had applied at the same time, Georgia doesn’t collect the minimum needed for admission.
On January 27, the independence of Georgia is recognized de jure by the Supreme Council of the Entente (England, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium). See letter of A. Briand. It is proclaimed by Germany, Turkey and Argentina. The recognition de facto of the Georgian State dated from January 1920. The example of the Supreme Council is followed by Poland, Romania, Austria, Mexico, etc.
On the night of February 11, without any preliminary diplomatic warning or declaration of war, the troops of the Soviet army XI (which were in Armenia, already occupied by the Soviets), cross the frontiers of Georgia at various points and head toward Tbilisi. And so,suddenly Soviet Russia violates the Treaty signed on May 7, 1920, with Georgia, by which it solemnly recognized the independence of Georgia and guaranteed its borders.
Two days after this invasion from the Armenian side, this same Red Army XI’s troops located in Soviet Azerbaijan, are launched against Georgia and threaten Tbilisi. Then, the 4th and 5th Red armies march from the North Caucasus on Georgia, toward Tbilisi and Koutaïs; finally on the Black Sea coast, Red Army troops head toward Soukhoum. That is how Soviet Russia invaded Georgia with three armies, and attacked it from five different sides at the same time.
21 February. Vote by the Constituent Assembly of the final text of the Constitution.
23 February. Turkey, to whom Soviet Russia promised to yield the two coveted Georgian provinces of Artvin and Ardahan, declares war on Georgia. The Georgian army has now to fight against Russian and Turkish troops
25 February. Fall of the city of Tbilisi. The Government, army and National Guard withdraw to Batumi.
The same day, the French President Millerand granted a solemn audience to the Plenipotentiary Minister of Georgia, Akaki Tchenkeli and the Georgian Legation opens in Paris. It will remain until July 1933. ( Report in the French review “Revue Internationale”). Photo.
16 March. Signature of a commercial Treaty between Soviet Russia and England, which includes a non-intervention clause
On March 17, the Assembly, meeting in Batumi under bombardment, requests the Government to go into exile to continue the fight. The Georgian Government, which refuses to surrender, accepts the French proposal of political asylum.
On 18 March the National Government, acting on the decision of the Constituent Assembly, leaves Georgia entrusted with the mission of defending the sovereign interest of independent Georgia before the public opinion of the civilized world and before foreign powers.
March 19, the Georgian troops under the command of General MAZNIACHVILI defeat the Turkish troops attacking Batumi. This ultimate exploit of the troops of the 1st Republic allow to keep Batumi and its region as part of Georgia.
The fighting lasted 6 weeks.
The years of exile and fight
This blog will later return to succeeding events which unfolded on the national territory as well as outside, and particularly those relating to the 1924 insurrection.
The National Government chaired by N. JORDANIA will be continuing his fight for the independence of Georgia on and out of the national territory.
oOn the national territory: thus, in Georgia, political resistance was organized very quickly through demonstrations, strikes, petitions and other actions. It was directed by the Georgian Social Democratic Party which continued to supervise and organize ten thousand activists and to assist them in their struggles.
April 10, 1921: with the authorization of the occupation troops, the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party of Georgia organized a public meeting: 3,000 people participated. The Social Democratic Party published a motion where he declared:
1 – Under the new conditions, our political line remains the same as previously: toward Socialism through Democracy,
2 – The social democratic party re-affirms that the independence of Georgia always remains one of the bases of its action, and this action will, as before, strengthen this independence.
3 – In view of the abnormal and complicated conditions in which Georgia finds itself, we wish that the International Workers’ Association intervene in a friendly manner in the domestic relationships within the Working class of Georgia. We would like that the two currents of the Labor movement of Europe – Socialist and Communist– form a joint commission under the control of which would take place in Georgia a free vote that would express the workers’ will.
But in May 1921, the occupation troops arrested more than 2,000 activists of the social democratic party; this marked the start of arrests and repression aiming to abolish the very memory of the 1st Republic, embodying an independent and democratic Georgia.
o Outside of Georgia,the action of the National Government in exile will make the voice of free Georgia heard, tirelessly denouncing its annexation by Soviet Russia flouting international Law. This permanent work with the free world’s governments, International Instances, European Socialist Parties, trade unions, and the numerous books and articles devoted to the Georgian issue, will allow the voice of free Georgia to be heard and oppose a historically true account to the false propaganda emanating from Moscow.