It should be noted that the collapse of Great Russia (the Russian Empire, the USSR) caused similar phenomena in the North and South Caucasus. This is the heyday of the wildest nationalism, jihadism, banditry, conflicts between neighboring ethnic groups on religious, national grounds, due to economic reasons and disputed territories. Hate for yesterday’s “elder brother” - Russian, Soviet “colonialist occupiers” - is also flourishing. The newly formed republics are trying with all their might to secede from Russia, the Russians, to forget about the common history and common successes, victories, and immediately begin to fall into dependence on external forces - Turkey, Germany, England, and the USA.
Although it was the Russians who brought peace to the Caucasus, the Caucasian peoples were protected from external aggression and the threat of genocide by regional powers such as Iran and Turkey. The Russians brought a higher level of civilization to the Caucasus, caused an accelerated growth of spiritual and material culture. Unfortunately, during the turmoil all this is forgotten, only historical insults are remembered, often false, exaggerated. To the top, people who lead anti-Russian policies are making their way, thereby destroying the future of their peoples.
The 1917 revolution of the year led to the collapse of the Russian Empire. On the territory of the South Caucasus (Transcaucasia), state entities were created. The Transcaucasian Commissariat, the coalition government created in Tiflis with the participation of the Georgian Social Democrats (Mensheviks), Social Revolutionaries, Armenian Dashnaks and Azerbaijani Musavatists, took over the power in the territory of the Transcaucasus in November 1917. That is, among the political forces dominated by the Social Democrats and nationalists. The Transcaucasian Commissariat was hostile to Soviet Russia and the Bolshevik Party, fearing that they would restore the unity of Russia, which would lead to the collapse of local political forces.
The Russian Caucasian front, which had long held back the enemy, collapsed, the Russian soldiers for the most part began to go home. Turkey, waiting for a favorable moment, as it seemed to the Turkish military and political leadership, launched an invasion in February 1918 of February with the aim of returning the previously lost territories and occupying a significant part of the Caucasus. In February, the Transcaucasian Seym was convened in Tiflis, at which a heated discussion about the future of Transcaucasia flared up. Armenians offered to leave Transcaucasia as part of Russia on the rights of autonomy, divided into national regions, and in relations with Turkey - to speak for self-determination of Western Armenia (it was occupied by the Ottomans for a long time). The Muslim (Azerbaijani) delegation advocated independence and peace with Turkey, in fact, Azerbaijani politicians for the most part had a pro-Turkish orientation. Georgians supported the course of independence. In the meantime, while politicians were arguing, Turkish troops seized one city after another. They were resisted only by Armenian detachments and Russian volunteers. And the armed Muslim groups began to act on the side of the Turks.
Berlin, concerned about the agility of its Turkish ally and having its plans for the future of Transcaucasia, pressed its partner. Istanbul, which fell into complete military-economic dependence on Germany during the war, gave way. In April, 1918, the German and Ottoman empires signed in Constantinople a secret agreement on the division of spheres of influence. Azerbaijan and the territories occupied by Turkish troops in Armenia (most of Armenia) and Georgia went to Turkey, the rest of the land to Germany. In addition, Berlin was also interested in the Baku oil fields and planned to get to Baku through Georgia. The British from Enzeli (Persia) also aimed there.
In May, the first German troops arrived in Georgia. In the same month, the Transcaucasian Seim collapsed - Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia declared their independence. Georgia focused on Germany and pursued a frankly anti-Russian, Russophobic policy. On June 4, an agreement was signed in Batumi, according to which Georgia renounced claims to Adjaria with a predominantly Muslim population, as well as the cities of Ardahan, Artvin, Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. The Georgian government tried to compensate for this loss by seizing territories from its neighbors, in particular, Russia and Armenia. The Georgians blocked the border with Armenia, not letting food go to the starving "fraternal Christian" people. They quickly seized all the disputed lands and declared that under these conditions the Armenians would not be able to create a viable state, and they need to strengthen Georgia by forming a single strong Christian state in the Caucasus, which with the help of the Germans will maintain independence.
Azerbaijan, with its capital in Ganja, found itself under the Musavat (Equality) party with a strong Pan-Turkist bias and became a protectorate of Turkey. A general Turkish-Azerbaijani Caucasian Islamic army was formed under the command of the Turkish commander Nuri Pasha. The Islamic army fought against the Armenians, launched an offensive against Baku, where the Bolsheviks and Armenian troops (Dashnaks) were stationed. Baku oil attracted the Turks, like other players, like the British. The Turks also planned to seize Dagestan and other areas of the North Caucasus. 15 September 1918 Turkish-Azerbaijani troops occupied Baku, in October - Derbent.
The Armenians, who lost the most from the collapse of the Russian Empire and the Turkish intervention, found themselves in the ring of enemies. Georgia was hostile. Turkey and Azerbaijan are outspoken enemies who tried to completely destroy Armenia. Armenian partisan detachments stopped the Turks just a few kilometers from Erivan. In the course of this fierce confrontation, Armenia became a small mountainous region around the city of Erivan and Echmiadzin, including Novobayazetsky district and part of the Alexandropol district. At the same time, this small area was packed with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the massacre by the Turks and gangs. In addition, there was a separate Armenian region - Zangezur, under the leadership of General Andranik Ozanyan, who did not recognize peace with Turkey, who cut off the territory of Armenia to 10 - 12 thousand km². His troops fought cruelly against the Turks and local Muslims in the area of Zangezur and Karabakh. Only stubborn resistance and the defeat of Turkey in the world war saved Armenia and the Armenian people from total destruction and the threat of genocide. In November, the Armenians returned Karaklis, in early December - Alexandropol. In the spring of 1919, the Armenians reached the old Russian-Turkish border 1914 year.
Georgia celebrates the first anniversary of its independence. Jordania, Mdivani, Tsereteli, Kahiani, Lordkipanidze, Takaishvili and foreign guests in the stands. May 1919 of the year
The first government of the Georgian Democratic Republic was headed by the Menshevik Noah Ramishvili. The government included social democrats (Mensheviks), federalist socialists and national democrats. In the next government, which was headed by the Menshevik Noah Zhordania, only the Social Democrats remained. At the same time, the government included people who were previously politicians of all-Russian significance, organizers of the Russian Revolution, such as Minister of the Provisional Government Irakli Tsereteli, Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet Nikolai Chkheidze.
The Georgian Mensheviks took a sharply anti-Soviet stance and pursued an aggressive policy. The support of Germany opened up the opportunity for Georgia to compensate for territorial losses on the border with Turkey at the expense of land on the Black Sea coast. In Georgia, the People’s Guard detachments of about 10 thousand people began to be formed under the command of Dzhugeli. Then the formation of the Georgian army took up Lieutenant Colonel of the Russian Tsarist Army Georgy Mazniyev (Mazniashvili). Georgia began to round off its possessions at the expense of Ossetians, Lezgins, Ajarians, Muslims (they were then called in the Caucasus as "Tatars"), Armenians. As a result, national minorities constituted more than half of the population of the new-baked state.
In April 1918, the Bolsheviks established control over Abkhazia. In May, the 1918 of the year Georgian troops attacked the Reds and captured Sukhumi. Georgia took control of Abkhazia. General Mazniyev was appointed Governor-General of Abkhazia, crushed Bolshevik resistance. The Abkhaz National Council, in order to overthrow the power of the Georgians, decided to ask for help from Turkey. In response, the Georgian authorities dispersed the Abkhaz Council. In the summer of 1918, the Georgian troops launched an offensive on the Sochi area. The Georgian leadership has chosen a convenient moment to strike. The Kuban-Black Sea Soviet Republic at that moment was under attack by the army of Denikin (the Second Kuban campaign) and was shackled by the struggle against the insurgent Kuban Cossacks. In addition, the local population, angry with the policy of the Bolsheviks, initially supported the Georgians. 3 July 1918, the Georgian troops under the command of Mazniev seized Gagra, Adler, 5 July - entered Sochi. Then, after a series of battles, having beaten off attempts by the Reds to counterattack, the Georgians occupied 27 on July Tuapse.
Thus, by September 1918, the entire Black Sea area was occupied and declared “temporarily attached to Georgia”. The Georgian authorities substantiated their claims by the fact that these lands were under the control of medieval “Greater Georgia” (King David the Builder and Queen Tamara the Great). True, the “liberators” in the Sochi district behaved like robbers and marauders. State property was plundered, even the rails of the Tuapse road, hospital equipment, cattle were stolen, etc.
It is worth noting that the most severe regime was established for the Georgian Republic against the Russians. In Armenia, Russians were treated well, they valued Russian specialists, especially the military. They were looking for contacts with Soviet and white Russia, most of them understood that without Russia, Armenia would perish. The Azerbaijani government, despite the apparent pan-Turkism and orientation towards Turkey, was tolerant of Russians. The young republic, poor in cultural, educated cadres, needed Russians for development. In Georgia, it was the opposite. Although the power in the republic was seized by former famous Russian politicians, members of the State Duma, the most prominent organizers of the February Revolution, the creators of the Provisional Government and the second center of power - the Petrograd Soviet, the February revolutionaries. However, the Russian Mensheviks Tsereteli, Chkheidze, Zhordania turned out to be, in fact, avid nationalists. They sowed hatred for everything Russian. In this regard, they were allies of the Ukrainian Social Democrats, nationalists. Tens of thousands of people - the backbone of the Russian Transcaucasus, were deprived of civil rights, work. Subjected to forced eviction, arrest. They were expelled from Georgia to the ports of the Black Sea or along the Georgian Military Highway.
Georgian General Georgy Ivanovich Mazniyev (Mazniashvili)
Georgian cavalry in 1918 year
Change of patron
After the defeat of the Central Powers in world war, Germany and Turkey withdrew their forces from the Caucasus. The British immediately replaced them. In November 1918, the 5 ths. English detachment of General V. Thomson arrived in Baku. At the end of 1918, the British occupied other strategic points of the Caucasus: Tbilisi, Batumi, controlled the Transcaucasian railway. The number of British army in the whole of Transcaucasia reached 60 thousand people, in Georgia - about 25 thousand soldiers. The British immediately established the export of oil and kerosene from Baku, manganese - from Georgia.
British policy was ambivalent, hypocritical. According to the principle of "divide and conquer." With one hand, London supported the Transcaucasian state formations, their striving for "independence", which from the very beginning was illusory. Since the "dependence" on Russia immediately changed to German-Turkish, and then British. The dismemberment of the Russian civilization, and the Caucasus is the Russian suburbs, its natural southern defensive line, for which the Russians paid with great blood and made great efforts to develop the region, is the strategic goal of England.
With the other hand, the British supported the army of Denikin in the fight against the Bolsheviks, by all means fomenting the fratricidal war in Russia. At the same time, the white government adhered to the principle of “united and indivisible” Russia, that is, refused to recognize the independence of Georgia and other Transcaucasian formations. Denikin proposed an alliance against the Bolsheviks, and after the war a general Constituent Assembly, which should resolve all issues, including territorial ones. In the meantime, Georgia was promised autonomy in the future. Tiflis did not like it. The Georgian government wanted independence, and the creation of "Great Georgia" at the expense of the Russian lands (Sochi), as well as Muslim Georgia (Ajaria), which was taken away by the Turks. Now Turkey was crushed and in chaos, it was possible to feast at its expense.
Demonstration in support of the entry of the Georgian army in Sochi in 1918. Source: https://ru.wikipedia.org
To be continued ...