After occupation of Georgia by Lenin Russia, Communists began to depress the rival forces and to strengthen their power. Armed Forces of Democratic Republic, State and Elective Bodies and Non-Proletarian Parties were abolished. Privacy of lands was abolished as well, a whole industry, railways, fleet, banks etc. passed in the hands of the government. Punisher organizations held the massive shooting and exile on oppositionists of the regime and even suspected persons. Especially, former officers and representatives of nobility and intelligentsia. With the aim of setting atheism, Communists destroyed churches, exterminated clergymen; only in 1922-1923 1500 churches were destroyed in Georgia.
In spite of bloody terror, anti-communistic actions took place in Georgia in 1921-1924. But they were disconnected and government easily managed to localize and suppress them. The most important movement took place in 1924. Rebels had contacts with immigrated government. Simultaneous actions in different regions were planned, but Communists arrested several rebellion leaders. So, the rebellion was not organized and it was cruelly suppressed.
Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia (it was officially called so by that time), was considered as the independent state at first, but its territory was occupied by Russian Army, and Georgian Communists acted only under Moscow orders. The plan of further state construction of Soviet Georgia was made in Moscow as well, which would simplify its steps into Soviet political and economical system.
Georgian SSR, in fact, was a federal state. At the end of 1921 on the ground of the Alliance Agreement, Abkhazia SSR (Autonomous Republic since 1931) entered its structure. Besides, there was created Ajara Autonomous Republic on Georgia territory in 1921 and South Ossetia Autonomous Region in 1922. Georgia SSR itself with Azerbaijan and Armenia, by the proposal of Lenin in 1922, was in Transcaucasia Federation, which entered USSR, created at the end of the same year. In 1936 Transcaucasia Federation was abolished, and Georgia directly entered Soviet Union structure.
From the second half of the 20s, swift processes of industrialization and collectivization began in Soviet State, the real aim of which was maximal strengthening of existing regime. There were built a lot of factories, hydroelectric power stations and mines in Georgia. Coal and Manganese widely mined. Technical cultures, especially tea and citrus for the huge soviet market, were mastered in Agriculture. But enterprises, built in accelerated tempos were of a low quality. The sowing territories were widened after chopping woods. Setting monocultures in all regions lost the traditional light to Georgian many-sided agriculture.
Communist dogmatism in USSR considered industrialization and collectivization with the cultural revolution, as the main condition for socialism. So, in the 20-30s the amount of secondary and high educational institutions rose in Georgia. Science and Art developed. In 1940 there was established the Academy of Science of Georgia USSR. But from that very time the individual thinking abilities of the creative intelligentsia, literature and art representatives were reduced. Everything was obeyed to the Communist Dictatorship Ideology. With the aim of the final frightening and spiritual weakness of the several millionian population of Soviet Union, Stalin government ran the wide repressions in the second half of the 30s, which appeared in the first days of existence of the Communist Regime, but they became especially massive in 1937-1938. Georgia was one of those regions of SSR, where the repressing engine was particularly active. During those years, there were shot thousands of innocent people in Georgia, and even more were sent in "Gulag" camps, where the most of them found their oppressed death. Among repressed people there were the best representatives of intelligentsia, including such remarkable representatives of Georgian culture, as writer M. Javakhishvili, poets T. Tabidze and P. Iashvili, stage-manager S. Akhmeteli, scientist-philologist Gr. Tsereteli, conductor E. Mikeladze etc. Villages were involved in the massive repressions as well, where thousands of peasants died from the public collectivization, which ended in that period.
Political repressions of 30s took lives of the Soviet army and Military-industrial complex personnel, which caused the blow to the self-defencability of the country, but because of those very repressions, the fear, set in the society, strengthened the authoritative Stalin Regime and helped to mobilize all total forces of Soviet Union in the war against Germany, which started on June 22, 1941. There didn't actually take place military movements on Georgian territory (only in summer of 1942, Germans invaded Abkhazia and occupied one village), but the country sacrificed the maximum of its demographic and material resources in this war.
In Georgia, the population of which was 3612 thousand in 1940, there were mobiled and sent in the active army more than 700 thousand people, and more than 300 thousands haven't returned back. The part of the people from Georgia fought in the national Georgian divisions and majority in the other parts of many-national Soviet army.
Georgians fought in partisan groups, as on the SSR territory, so in the countries occupied by Nazis. Among Georgians there were people, who stood for Germany and fought under its flag. Most of them acted on the ground of belief that the victory of Germany would bring the liberation for Georgia. But the amount of those people was scanty in comparison with these legions, which fought for the liberty of USSR.
Most of Georgians who fought in Soviet army, sincerely believed that they protected the "Socialism Property", which was at the high value rank of the Communist Propaganda in that time. Besides, a Georgian soldier knew that any place he fought, in Moscow, Ukraina of on Volga, he was defending Georgia from the horrors of the war and from that slavery, which was caused by Hitler regime to the occupied countries.
The home front laborers were ruled by the same aims as well, which played a big role in the victory over the enemy. The whole economic of Georgia worked with maximal power for the front. In spite of the conscription of the large part of qualified laborers, the machine-building and metal-working factories redoubled their productivity. The place of the soldier laborers at their machines took their wives, sisters and daughters. The large amount of armament, military materials and uniforms was produced. 200 new enterprises were built. Soviet collective farms highly implemented agricultural and production plans. Georgia sheltered also many thousands of evacuated people from the territories, occupied by Nazis. In the famous resorts and medical institutions, wounded Soviet soldiers had courses of cure.
Thus, the population of Georgia played an important role in that great victory, which was got in the struggle against Fascism by Soviet people.
by Dr. George Anchabadze
After February, 1917 revolution democratic changes took place in Russia. One of the results of those changes in Georgia was revival of independence of the orthodox church (March, 1917). But the temporary government of Russia couldn't decide those cardinal issues, which especially bothered the wide layers of population: pax issues (country kept participating in the World War), land issues etc. This condition was well used by Bolsheviks (Communists) with the leadership of Lenin and in October, 1917 they overthrew the temporary government. Transcaucasian political parties and organizations didn't acknowledge the legacy of these changes. On November 15, 1917 they created their own government - Transcaucasian Commissariat, which consisted mainly of local parties. In fact, the process of separation of Transcaucasia from Russia, began.
This process juridically ended on April 9 (22), 1918, when the creation of independent Transcaucasia federation was declared, with the center in Tbilisi. The supreme state body of new-created republic was represented by many-partied Same , the chairman of which was elected Georgian social-democrat, N. Chkheidze. The deputy-chairmen were the representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
One of the most important problems, which stood in front of Transcaucasian government, was the questions of arrangement the situation with Turkey, because the War was lasting, the Russian army, which fought against Turkey, was decomposed, soldiers left their positions and returned at home, and new-established Georgian-Armenian groups couldn't stop the Turkish army. Azerbaijan refused to struggle against Turkey, which was of the same religion and ethnically related.
During the Pax negotiations with Turkey, there appeared the truth, how unreliable was the unifying of Transcaucasia. Between the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijanian deputations of Same, there existed the permanent discord. Azerbaijanian politicians were on the side of Turkey, which declared its territorial requirements to Transcaucasia . Georgia and Armenia were oriented towards Germany, to have the influence on its ally. And, with the help of interfering from Germany, Georgia avoided Turkish occupati on. Turks occupied only South-West part with Batumi.
Life showed that Transcaucasia Republic was not a perspective creature. It didn't exist longer than two months and was destroyed after the inner resistances. On May 26, 1918 on the last meeting, Same officially declared the abolishment of Federation. In the evening of the same day, the sitting of "the national council" of Georgia was held, on which Georgia was declared as the Sovereign-democratic Republic. During the next two days Armenia and Azerbaijan declared their independence too.
Thus, on May 26, 1918 Georgian State, abolished 117 years ago, was revived. Georgian people accepted this fact with celebration. This historical event was the crown result of the national and social-liberating actions of XIX-XXs Georgia. This day, May 26 is celebrated as the national independence day in today's Georgia as well.
The first government of the Republic of Georgia was coalitional, though it consisted mainly of social-democrats. Social-democratic party was the strongest in Georgia. The leader of the party, Noe Zhordania (1868-1953) became the chairman of the government of Georgia.
The young republic stood in front of the hard economical problems. The World War caused the important damage to the economy, and the situation was hardened by the ceasing of economical relations with Russia and other countries. Industry and transportat ions were out of actions, there was a lack of food. And the government had no any capital in the stable currency, while declaring the independence.
Germany recognized the independence of Georgia on May 28. But after the defeat of the central states in the World War I, the question of international recognition became actual again. Government of Georgia appealed with this question to the Paris Peaceful Conference. In 1920, after Turkey, Germany and Argentina, Georgia was recognized as de-facto by the Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan. And after May 7, 1920, when Soviet Russia confessed the Independence of Georgia, the republic was recognized as de-jure by Antanta countries and other states.
The establishment of Georgian democratic republic was running in the most difficult political condition. At first, the country was not recognized by Russian "White Action", which had a motto of "Entire and Indivisible" Russia. Issues, concerning border s between Transcaucasian Republics were not arranged as well. In particular, Georgia had a territorial quarrel with Azerbaijan about Zakatala district. And Armenian Republic had a claim on South regions of Georgia, where the large part of population was of Armenian origin . In December, 1918 Armenian armies imprudently invaded Georgia but they were defeated. Military actions in Transcaucasia were ceased by the interference of English captainship.
In the South part of the disputable region, there was created so-called "Neutral Zone", with Georgian-Armenian administration. The entire jurisdiction of Georgia revived in this region only in November, 1920. In 1918-1920 there were local military move ments in South-West Georgia as well, in Abkhazia, on the territories inhabited by Southerner Osetians and in other regions, where armed actions took place. The important part of those actions were caused by the agitation of Communists.
In spite of these facts, the first hardest steps in creation the State, were overcome. At the end of 1920, the marks of economical and political stabilization in the republic were noticeable. Georgia got back Batumi region, which was occupied by English after the defeat of Turkey in the World War. Science and culture began to revive. The high-educational organizations - the University and the Conservatoire, appeared in Tbilisi. And if not the new intervention and annexation, Georgia could get rid of the crisis and stand on the way to the independent development. But the things turned on the contrary. In 1920, the main counterrevolutionary forces in Russia were exterminated, and the process of re-annexation of every domain of the Empire, began. In the same year, Azerbaijan and Armenia were forced to accept the Soviet regime. So, by the beginning of 1921, Georgia with 78 per cents of perimeter of its land borders, was in the Soviet siege. From South-West part, the neighbor was the young Turkish Republic.
As it was mentioned above, between Georgia and Soviet Russia, there existed May 7, 1920 Agreement, according to which, Russia acknowledged the State independence of Georgia. In return, Georgia pledged the free local activity for Communists on its territory. But soon it became clear, that Russia needed this Agreement only to weaken Georgian sobriety and to create working conditions for its agents in Georgia. Moscow was preparing for military intervention and making the last independent Transcaucasian republics Soviet. It should be denoted , that the negative role for Georgia in this action, was played by the high-rank Georgian communists - I. Stalin, S. Orjonikidze etc.
On February 12, 1921, in the region, contiguous to Armenia, communists arranged the peasant rebellion imitation, and on February 16, on the ground of the aid to the "rebels", Russian armies invaded Georgia. The main grouping of the rival side - the Eleventh Army, advanced Tbilisi from the territories of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Besides, the separate formations and subdivisions advanced Abkhazia and central Caucasia passes. After the bitter struggles near Tbilisi on February 25, 1921, the capital of Georgia fell. Georgian armies receded. Social-democratic government couldn't manage to organize the real public-general resistance. The situation aggravated on Turkey borders as well. On February 21, the government of Ankara required from Georgia to discharge t he cities: Artvin and Ardahan. This requirement was accomplished, but Turks didn't stop and soon came to Batumi and Akhaltsikhe. On March 18, government of Georgia migrated abroad, and the Georgian military groups, left in Batumi, struggled with Turks and maintained the city. After Turks receded, Batumi was occupied by Russia. By March 19 in all the main centers of Georgia there was established the Soviet government. And before that, on March 16, in Moscow, between Russia and Turkey there was made the agreement, accor ding to which Artvin, Ardahan and some other territories were passed to Turkey.
Thus, Soviet Russia, from one side, violated the May 7, 1920 Agreement and implemented the actual annexation of Georgia. There was established the Communistic dictatorship in the country.
by Dr. George Anchabadze
Page 126 of 132