How Georgia got "sovereignty"
There should be a small digression. Before the February revolution of 1917, the lands of Georgia were part of the Russian Empire, and the Georgians, who were one of the most loyal Caucasian peoples to the Russian government, especially those who profess Orthodoxy, were quite active in the life of the empire. At the same time, it was the natives of Georgia who constituted a significant part of the representatives of the revolutionary movement in the Caucasus and in Russia as a whole. There were many Georgians among the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks, the anarchists, and the Social Revolutionaries. But if a part of Georgian politicians, primarily of a radical nature, like their associates from other regions of the empire, did not share nationalist sentiments, then representatives of moderate social democrats were mostly supporters of separatist ideology. It was to them to a greater degree that the main role in the creation of the Georgian Democratic Republic belonged. The Georgian Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries greeted the October revolution negatively - and this was in solidarity with the other nationalist forces of Transcaucasia. Moreover, the Transcaucasian Commissariat created by 15 in November 1917 in Tiflis, which performed the functions of the Transcaucasian government, openly supported anti-Soviet forces in the region.
At the same time, the position of the Transcaucasian Commissariat was rather precarious. Especially in the ongoing World War I. The threat of Transcaucasia from Turkey remained. 3 March 1918 between Russia and its opponents was signed the Brest Peace. In accordance with its conditions, the lands of Kars, Ardogan and Adjara passed under the control of Turkey, which did not suit the leadership of Transcaucasia - the so-called. "Transcaucasian Sejm". Therefore, the Sejm did not recognize the results of the Brest Peace, which resulted in the resumption of hostilities by Turkey. The forces of the parties were incomparable. Already 11 of March the Turks entered Erzerum, and 13 of April took Batumi. The Transcaucasian leadership appealed to Turkey with a request for a truce, but the Turkish authorities put forward a key demand - the withdrawal of the Transcaucasus from Russia.
Naturally, the Transcaucasian government did not have any other choice but to agree with the demands of Turkey. The creation of a Transcaucasian Democratic Federal Republic independent from Russia was proclaimed. Thus, there was no question of any struggle for independence from Russia - история the sovereignty of the states of the Transcaucasus in the revolutionary period is inextricably linked only with the forced concessions superior to Turkey. By the way, the Turks did not intend to stop - in spite of the release of the ZDFR from Russia, the Turkish troops occupied almost all the territories claimed by Istanbul. The main formal pretext for the advancement of the Turkish troops was the concern for the security of the Muslim population living in southwestern and southern regions of Georgia - on the territory of modern Ajara, as well as in Akhaltsikha and Akhalkalaki counties.
The Transcaucasian leadership was forced to turn to the “senior partner” of Turkey - Germany, hoping that Berlin would be able to influence Istanbul and the Turkish offensive would be stopped. However, an agreement on spheres of influence was in effect between Turkey and Germany, according to which the territory of Georgia, with the exception of its “Muslim” part (Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki counties of Tiflis province) was in the sphere of Germany’s interests. The Kaiser government, interested in further dividing the Transcaucasus, recommended that Georgian politicians proclaim Georgia’s independence from the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. The proclamation of the sovereignty of Georgia, according to German leaders, became a salutary step from the final occupation of the country by Turkish troops.
24-25 May 1918 The executive committee of the National Council of Georgia accepted the recommendation of Germany and 26 declared the independence of the Georgian Democratic Republic in May. On the same day, the Transcaucasian Seim ceased to exist. Thus, as a result of the political manipulations of the German and Turkish authorities, an “independent” Georgia appeared. A key role in the government of the Georgian Democratic Republic (GDR) was played by the Mensheviks, the Socialist Federalists and the National Democrats, but then the leadership of the Georgian government passed completely into the hands of the Mensheviks under the leadership of Noah Jordania.
Noah Jordania (1869-1953) in his youth was one of the founders of the Georgian Social Democratic movement, he studied at the Warsaw Veterinary Institute, like many other oppositionists, was subjected to political persecution of the royal power. During the First World War, supported the "defensive" line G.V. Plekhanov.
Naturally, the "independence" of Georgia in such conditions immediately turned into its complete dependence - first from Germany, and then from England. Two days after the declaration of independence, 28 May 1918, Georgia signed an agreement with Germany, according to which a three-thousandth German army arrived in the country. Later, German troops were transferred to Georgia from the territory of Ukraine and from the Middle East. In fact, Georgia was under the control of Germany - there was no talk of real political independence. Simultaneously with the permission for the presence of German troops on its territory, Georgia was forced to agree with Turkey’s territorial claims, transferring Adharia, Ardahan, Artvin, Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki to its control. At the same time, despite the fact that the German troops were stationed on the territory of Georgia, and part of the country was given to Turkey, legally Berlin did not recognize the independence of Georgia - did not want to aggravate relations with Soviet Russia.
From the German presence, Georgia was spared by the defeat of Germany in the First World War. However, almost immediately after the withdrawal of the German troops from the territory of Georgia, new “strategic partners” appeared - the British. 17 November 1918 was a corps of British troops was deployed in Baku. In total, up to 60 thousands of British soldiers and officers were deployed on the territory of the Transcaucasus. It is significant that throughout the entire 1919 year the Georgian government, consisting of local Mensheviks, hoped that Georgia would become a mandated territory of the United States, Great Britain or France, but none of the Western powers wanted to take responsibility for this Transcaucasian country. The independence of Georgia was stubbornly not recognized by the European governments, since the latter hoped for the victory of General A.I.'s Volunteer Army. Denikin in the Civil War in Russia and did not want to quarrel with Denikin.
Internal and external conflicts
Three years of independence of Georgia - 1918, 1919 and 1920. - were marked by constant conflicts both within the country and with its closest neighbors. Despite the fact that Russia, as it were, did not interfere with the internal development of Georgia, which had declared its independence, it was not possible to stabilize the situation in the country. 1918 to 1920 lasted armed resistance of the Georgian authorities in South Ossetia. Three powerful uprisings followed the refusal of the Georgian government to give the Ossetians the right to political self-determination. Although still 6-9 June 1917, the National Council of South Ossetia, which included local revolutionary parties - from Mensheviks and Bolsheviks to anarchists, decided on the need for free self-determination of South Ossetia. The Ossetians advocated Soviet power and accession to Soviet Russia, which was due to the leading role of the Bolsheviks and their left allies in the uprisings in South Ossetia. The last, most massive uprising, broke out on 6 in May on 1920, after the proclamation of Soviet power in South Ossetia. 8 June 1920 The Ossetian detachments managed to crush the Georgian troops and occupy Tskhinval. After that, South Ossetia declared its accession to Soviet Russia, which resulted in an armed invasion of Georgia.
In addition to the conflict with the Ossetian population, Georgia entered into an armed confrontation with the Volunteer Army of General A.I. Denikin. The cause of this confrontation was a dispute over Sochi and its environs, which the Georgian leadership considered the territory of Georgia. Even 5 July 1918, the Georgian troops managed to dislodge the Red Army from Sochi, after which the territory temporarily came under the control of Georgia. Despite the fact that Britain was considered the main ally of Denikin, London’s plans did not include the return of Sochi to Russian rule. Moreover, the British openly supported Georgia. However, A.I. Denikin, despite the protests and even the threats of the British, demanded that the Georgian authorities release the territory of Sochi.
26 September 1918 Denikinians launched an offensive against the positions of the Georgian army and soon occupied Sochi, Adler and Gagra. 10 February 1919 The Georgian troops were driven back across the Bzyb River. It turned out to be extremely difficult for the Georgian armed forces to fight against the regular Russian army; moreover, it became problematic to keep the lands of Abkhazia adjacent to the Sochi district under control of Georgia. Denikin declared the territory of Abkhazia also part of Russia, and the Denikin units launched an offensive in the direction of Sukhumi. The successes of Denikin could not but alarm the Entente. The British intervened, frightened by the rapid onset of Denikin and the possibility of the revival of a unified Russian state. They insisted on the "neutralization" of the Sochi district by deploying British troops there.
Almost simultaneously with the fighting against the army of A.I. Denikin, Georgia waged war with neighboring Armenia. It was also caused by territorial disputes, and only the intervention of Great Britain allowed for the cessation of hostilities — the British did not plan to mutually destroy two young Transcaucasian states. 1 January 1919 signed a peace agreement between Armenia and Georgia, according to which, prior to the decision of the Supreme Council of the Entente, the northern part of the disputed Borchaly district was transferred to the control of Georgia, the southern - under the control of Armenia, and the central part was governed by the British Governor-General .
Relations with Soviet Russia
All this time neither the UK nor the other Entente countries recognized the political independence of Georgia, as well as the other states of the Transcaucasus — Armenia and Azerbaijan. The situation changed only at the beginning of 1920, which was associated with the defeat of the Denikin army and the risk of moving the Bolsheviks to the South Caucasus. France, Great Britain and Italy, and later Japan, recognized the de facto independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. This was motivated by the need to create a buffer zone between Soviet Russia and the Middle East, divided into spheres of influence of the Entente countries. But it was already too late - in the spring of 1920, Soviet power was established in Azerbaijan. The Georgian leadership, in a panic, announced the mobilization of the population, being confident that the Soviet leadership would send the Red Army to the conquest of Georgian territory. However, at this time, the armed conflict with Georgia seemed unprofitable for the Soviet government, as an armed confrontation with Poland was brewing, and the issue of the defeat of Baron Wrangel's troops in the Crimea remained unresolved.
Therefore, Moscow postponed the decision to bring troops from Azerbaijan to Georgia and 7 in May 1920. The Soviet government signed a peace treaty with Georgia. Thus, the RSFSR was the first large state in the world of such a level to recognize Georgia’s political sovereignty not formally, but formally, by entering into diplomatic relations with it. Moreover - the RSFSR recognized the Georgian jurisdiction over the former Tiflis, Kutaisi, Batumi provinces, Zakatal and Sukhum districts, part of the Black Sea province to the south of r. Psou. However, after the fall of 1920, the Soviet government was proclaimed in Armenia, Georgia remained the last Transcaucasian state out of control of Soviet Russia. This situation, first of all, did not satisfy the Georgian communists themselves. Since it was they who formed the backbone of supporters of Georgia’s joining Soviet Russia, one can hardly say that the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia soon occurred was the result of some kind of “Russian occupation”. Ordzhonikidze or Yenukidze were no less Georgians than Zhordania or Lordkipanidze, they simply perceived the future of their country in a slightly different way.
- Grigory Ordzhonikidze, better known as "Sergo", was one of the most ardent supporters of the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia and the Caucasus as a whole, and played a huge role in the "Sovietization" of Georgia. He was well aware that the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia was a major strategic task for Soviet Russia. After all, Georgia, remaining the only non-Soviet territory in Transcaucasia, was an outpost of British interests and, accordingly, could be considered as a source of anti-Soviet wiles, developed and directed by the British leadership. It should be noted that Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, to the last, resisted the pressure from his comrades-in-arms, who argued about the need for assistance to the Georgian Bolsheviks in establishing Soviet power in Georgia. Lenin was not sure that there was a need for such swift actions and wanted to show some caution.
However, Ordzhonikidze assured Lenin of the readiness of the Georgian population to the recognition of the Soviet government and decisive actions in its support. Although Lenin advocated peace talks with the government of Zhordania, Ordzhonikidze was convinced of the need to bring in Red Army units to support the Georgian Bolsheviks. He wrote in a telegram to Lenin: “Georgia has finally become the headquarters of the world counterrevolution in the Middle East. Here the French are operating, the British are operating here, Kazim Bey is the representative of the Angora government. Millions of gold are thrown into the mountains, predatory gangs are created in the border area with us attacking our border posts ... I consider it necessary to re-emphasize the mortal danger approaching the Baku region, which can only be prevented by immediately concentrating sufficient forces for vovitization of Georgia. "
12 February 1921 in Borchaly and Akhalkalaki counties of Georgia broke out rebellions, raised by local Bolsheviks. The rebels captured Gori, Dushet and the territory of the whole Borchaly district. The rapid success of the Bolshevik rebels in Borchaly district led to a change in the position of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. He decided to send assistance to the Georgian Bolsheviks in the face of the units of the Red Army.
Creation of Soviet Georgia
16 February 1921 The Georgian Revolutionary Committee, headed by Philip Makharadze, proclaimed the creation of the Georgian Soviet Republic, after which he officially turned to the leadership of the RSFSR for military assistance. Thus, the invasion of the Red Army into the territory of Georgia was only the help of the Georgian people, who created the Georgian Soviet Republic and feared that it would be crushed by the Menshevik government with the support of the British interventionists.
16 February 1921 The Red Army crossed the southern border of Georgia and occupied the village of Shulavere. A short-term and swift operation to support the establishment of Soviet power in Georgia, also called the “Soviet-Georgian war,” began (however, this name is hardly true - after all, this is about the opposition of Georgians - Bolsheviks and Georgians - Social Democrats, in which Soviet Russia only first aid to the revolution in Georgia was not crushed).
It should be noted that the Georgian armed forces in the period under review were quite numerous. They numbered at least 21 thousand military personnel and included 16 infantry battalions, 1 combat engineer battalion, 5 field artillery divisions, 2 horse regiments, 2 automobile squadrons, aviation squad and 4 armored trains. In addition, there were serf regiments that performed the functions of territorial defense. The backbone of the Georgian army was made up of former servicemen of the tsarist army, or rather, its Caucasian front, as well as militias and fighters of units of the "people's guard", controlled by the Georgian Social Democrats. The Georgian armed forces were led by professional military personnel. So, Major General Georgy Kvinitadze (1874-1970) was a graduate of the Tsarist Konstantinovsky Military School and before declaring independence of Georgia, he held the position of Quartermaster General of the Caucasus Front.
The units of the Red Army managed to quickly advance to Tbilisi. For the defense of the capital, the Georgian command has built a line of defense of the three groups of troops under the command of Generals Jijihia, Mazniashvili and Andronikashvili. Under the command of Mazniashvili, 2,5 had thousands of military personnel, five batteries of light artillery guns and howitzers, 2 armored vehicles and 1 armored trains. Mazniashvili's group managed to defeat the Red Army in the evening of February 18 and capture 1600 of the Red Army. However, the Red Army redirected the strike and the next day attacked the plot, which was defended by cadets of the military school. During February 19-20, artillery battles took place, then the 5 Guards battalions and a cavalry brigade under the command of General Jijihius went on the offensive. Georgian troops managed to move forward again, but on February 23 they went back to their former lines of defense. 24 February 1921 The Georgian government led by Zhordania was evacuated to Kutaisi. Tbilisi was abandoned by Georgian troops.
Further developments were as follows. Taking advantage of the fighting of the Red Army in Georgia, Turkey decided to satisfy its interests. 23 February 1921 Brigadier General Karabekir, who commanded the Turkish contingent in Western Armenia, issued an ultimatum to Georgia, demanding Ardaghan and Artvin. Turkish troops entered the territory of Georgia, being close to Batumi. On March 7, the Georgian authorities decided to allow Turkish troops to enter the city, while maintaining Batumi control in the hands of the Georgian civilian administration. Meanwhile, units of the Red Army approached Batumi. Fearing a clash with Turkey, the Soviet government negotiated.
16 March Soviet Russia and Turkey signed a friendship agreement, according to which Ardagan and Artvin came under Turkish rule, while Batumi was part of Georgia. However, Turkish troops were in no hurry to leave the city. Under these conditions, the Georgian Menshevik leadership agreed to conclude a treaty with Soviet Russia. On March 17, Georgian Defense Minister Grigol Lordkipanidze and plenipotentiary of the Soviet government Abel Yenukidze met in Kutaisi and signed an armistice. On March 18, an agreement was signed, according to which the Red Army received the possibility of joining Batumi. In the city itself, Georgian troops led by General Mazniashvili clashed with Turkish troops. During street fighting, members of the Menshevik government managed to leave Batumi on an Italian vessel. On March 19, General Mazniashvili surrendered Batumi to the Revolutionary Committee.
After the proclamation of Georgia by the Soviet Republic, Philip Ieseevich Makharadze (1868-1941) headed the Central Executive Committee of Georgia. One of the oldest Georgian Bolsheviks, Makharadze, was descended from the family of a priest from the village of Kariskure of the Ozurget district of Kutaisi province. After graduating from the Ozurgetia Theological School, Philip Makharadze studied at the Tiflis Theological Seminary and the Warsaw Veterinary Institute. Even before the revolution, Makharadze began his revolutionary career, repeatedly came to the attention of the tsarist secret police. It was he who was destined to proclaim the creation of the Georgian Soviet Republic and ask for military assistance from the RSFSR.
Of course, the disputes over the status of Georgia after the proclamation of Soviet power also took place among the leaders of the Bolshevik Party. In particular, the famous “Georgian cause” flared up in 1922. Joseph Stalin and Sergo Ordzhonikidze offered the status of simple autonomies for the Union republics, including Georgia, while I would (Polycarp) Mdivani, Mikhail Okudzhava and a number of other leaders of the Georgian Bolshevik organization insisted on creating a full-fledged republic with all the attributes of an independent state, but as part of the USSR - that is, the transformation of the Soviet Union into a confederal state. It is noteworthy that the last point of view was supported by V.I. Lenin, who saw in the position of Stalin and Ordzhonikidze a manifestation of "Great Russian chauvinism." However, the Stalinist line ultimately won.
After the Soviet government was approved in Georgia, the construction of a new socialist statehood of the republic began. 4 March 1921 was established Soviet power in Abkhazia - the establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia was proclaimed, and on March 5 South Ossetia established Soviet power. 16 December 1921 SSR Abkhazia and the Soviet Socialist Republic Georgia signed a Union agreement, according to which Abkhazia was part of Georgia. 12 March 1922. Georgia became part of the Federative Union of Socialist Soviet Republics of Transcaucasia, December 13. 1922 was transformed into the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. On December 30, the ZSFSR, the RSFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the BSSR concluded an agreement on unification into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In accordance with the USSR Constitution 1936, the Georgian SSR, the Armenian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR left ZSFSR and were part of the USSR as separate union republics, and the united Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was abolished.
As part of the USSR, Georgia remained one of the most prominent republics, and this given that it did not possess the industrial or resource power of the RSFSR or the Ukrainian SSR. The leaders of the Georgian SSR were almost always selected from among the representatives of the Georgian peoples, moreover, the Georgians played an enormous role in the leadership of the USSR. Even if you do not take the figure of Stalin, who largely distanced himself from his national identity, the percentage of immigrants from Georgia in the top leadership of the USSR, especially during the first three decades of Soviet power, was extremely significant. Many ordinary people from Georgia fought with honor on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, participated in the construction of Soviet industrial facilities, received a variety of education, and became nationally recognized cultural and art workers. Therefore, it is hardly possible to talk about the very fact of the “Soviet occupation” of Georgia. Georgia until the collapse of the USSR was considered as one of the most prosperous and richest union republics.
Recall that during the so-called "occupation" there were no bloody wars on the territory of Georgia, the Georgians did not emigrate en masse from the republic, and the republican economy, although not distinguished by a high level of development of production and technology, was not in that condition In which it appeared after the collapse of the united Soviet state. The reasons for the difficult political and economic situation were the result of the desire to "sovereignty", in fact, taking almost anti-Russian orientation in all cases. In making Georgia a state-hostile state, the West played the most important role in 1918-1921, and after 1991, the West: Great Britain, and then the United States of America.