Democratic Republic of Georgia
Overview
The Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG; ), 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

.

The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

. Its established borders were with Kuban People's Republic
Kuban People's Republic
The Kuban People's Republic was an anti-Bolshevik state that comprised the territory of the Kuban in the modern-day Russian Federation during the Russian Civil War....

 and the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was a short-lived state situated in the Northern Caucasus...

 in the north, Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Democratic Republic of Armenia
Democratic Republic of Armenia
The Democratic Republic of Armenia was the first modern establishment of an Armenian state...

 in the south, and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

 in the southeast. It had a total land area of roughly 107,600 km² (by comparison, the total area of today's Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 is 69,700 km²), and a population of 2.5 million.

Georgia's capital is Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, and its state language was Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

.
Encyclopedia
The Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG; ), 1918–1921, was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

.

The DRG was created after the collapse of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

. Its established borders were with Kuban People's Republic
Kuban People's Republic
The Kuban People's Republic was an anti-Bolshevik state that comprised the territory of the Kuban in the modern-day Russian Federation during the Russian Civil War....

 and the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus
The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was a short-lived state situated in the Northern Caucasus...

 in the north, Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, Democratic Republic of Armenia
Democratic Republic of Armenia
The Democratic Republic of Armenia was the first modern establishment of an Armenian state...

 in the south, and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

 in the southeast. It had a total land area of roughly 107,600 km² (by comparison, the total area of today's Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 is 69,700 km²), and a population of 2.5 million.

Georgia's capital is Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, and its state language was Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

. Proclaimed on May 26, 1918, on the break-up of the Transcaucasian Federation, it was led by the Social Democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

 party. Facing permanent internal and external problems, the young state was unable to withstand the invasion by the Russian SFSR Red Armies
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, and collapsed between February and March 1921 to become a Soviet republic.

Background

After the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 of 1917 and collapse of the Tsarist administration in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, most power was held by the Special Transcaucasian Committee
Special Transcaucasian Committee
Special Transcaucasian Committee was established on March 9, 1917, with Member of the State Duma V. A...

 (Ozakom, short for Osobyi Zakavkazskii Komitet) of the Provisional Government. All of the Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 in Georgia were firmly controlled by the Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

s, who followed the lead of the Petrograd Soviet
Petrograd Soviet
The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies , usually called the Petrograd Soviet , was the soviet in Petrograd , Russia, established in March 1917 after the February Revolution as the representative body of the city's workers.The Petrograd Soviet became important during the Russian...

 and supported the Provisional Government. The Bolshevist coup in October
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 changed the situation drastically. The Caucasian soviets refused to recognize Lenin's regime. Threats from the increasingly Bolshevistic deserting soldiers of the former Caucasus army, ethnic clashes and anarchy in the region forced the Georgian, Armenian
Democratic Republic of Armenia
The Democratic Republic of Armenia was the first modern establishment of an Armenian state...

 and Azerbaijani politicians to create a unified regional authority known as the Transcaucasian Commissariat (November 14, 1917) and later a legislature, the Sejm (January 23, 1918). On April 22, 1918, the Sejm declared the Transcaucasus an independent democratic federation.

Many Georgians, influenced by the ideas of Ilia Chavchavadze and other intellectuals from the late 19th century, insisted on national independence. A cultural national awakening was further strengthened by the restoration of the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church (12 March 1917) and establishment of a national university in Tbilisi
Tbilisi State University
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University , better known as Tbilisi State University , is a university established on 8 February 1918 in Tbilisi, Georgia. TSU is the oldest university in the whole Caucasus region...

 (1918). In contrast, the Georgian Mensheviks regarded the independence from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 as a temporary step against the Bolshevik revolution and considered the calls for Georgia's independence chauvinistic and separatist. The union of Transcaucasus was short-lived though. Undermined by increasing internal tensions and the pressure from the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 empires, the Federation collapsed on May 26, 1918 when Georgia declared independence followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan within the next two days. The independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was de jure recognized by Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, among other countries.

History

Georgia was immediately recognized by Germany and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The young state had to place itself under German protection
Treaty of Poti
The Treaty of Poti was a provisional agreement between the German Empire and the Democratic Republic of Georgia in which the latter accepted German protection and recognition...

 and to cede its largely Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

-inhabited regions (including the cities of Batum, Ardahan
Ardahan Province
Ardahan Province is a province in the far north-east of Turkey, at the very end of the country, where Turkey borders with Georgia . The provincial capital is the city of Ardahan.- Geography :...

, Artvin
Artvin
-History:See Artvin Province for the history of the region.-Places of interest:* Artvin or Livana castle, built in 937There are a number of Ottoman Empire houses and public buildings including:* Salih Bey mosque, built in 1792...

, Akhaltsikhe
Akhaltsikhe
Akhaltsikhe is a small city in Georgia's southwestern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. It is situated on the both banks of a small river Potskhovi, which separates the city to the old city in the north and new in the south. The name of the city translates from Georgian as "new fortress".- History...

 and Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki
Akhalkalaki is a small city in Georgia's southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti with a population of 60,975. Akhalkalaki lies on the edge of the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau. The city is located about 30 km from the border with Turkey. 90 percent of the city's population are ethnic Armenians...

) to the Ottoman government (Treaty of Batum, June 4). However, German support enabled the Georgians to repel the Bolshevik threats from Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

. The German forces
German Caucasus Expedition
The German Caucasus Expedition was a military expedition sent by the German Empire to the formerly Russian Transcaucasia during the Caucasus Campaign of the World War I...

 were almost certainly under the command of Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein. The British-held Batum remained, however, out of Georgia's control until 1920. On December 25, 1918, a British force was deployed also in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

.
Georgia's relations with the neighbours were uneasy. Territorial disputes with Armenia, Denikin's White Russian
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 government and Azerbaijan led to armed conflicts in the first two cases. A British military mission attempted to mediate these conflicts in order to consolidate all anti-Bolshevik forces in the region. To prevent White Russian army from crossing into the newly established states, the British commander in the region drew a line across the Caucasus that Denikin would not be permitted to cross, giving both Georgia and Azerbaijan a temporary relief. The threat of invasion by Denikin's forces, notwithstanding the British position, brought Georgia and Azerbaijan together in a mutual defense alliance on June 16, 1919.
On February 14, 1919, Georgia held parliamentary elections won by the Social Democrats with 81.5% of the votes. On March 21, Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania
Noe Zhordania was a Georgian journalist and Menshevik politician. He played an eminent role in the Social Democratic revolutionary movement in Imperial Russia, and later chaired the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia from July 24, 1918 until March 18, 1921, when the Bolshevik Soviet...

 formed a new government, which had to deal with armed peasants' revolts, excited by the local Bolshevik activists and largely supported from Russia, and becoming more troublesome when carried out by ethnic minorities such as Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

ns and Ossetians
South Ossetia
South Ossetia or Tskhinvali Region is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic....

.

However, the land reform was finally well handled by the Menshevik government and the country established a multi-party system in sharp contrast with the "dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

" established by the Bolsheviks in Russia. In 1919, the reforms in judicial system and local self-governance were carried out. Abkhazia was granted autonomy. Yet, ethnic issues continued to trouble the country, especially on the side of the Ossetians
Georgian-Ossetian conflict (1918-1920)
The Georgian–Ossetian conflict comprised a series of uprisings, which took place in the Ossetian-inhabited areas of what is now South Ossetia, a breakaway republic in Georgia, against the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic and then the Menshevik-dominated Democratic Republic of Georgia...

 as in May 1920. Some contemporaries observed also increasing nationalism among the Mensheviks.

The year 1920 was marked by increased threats from the Russian SFSR. With the defeat of the White movement and the Red Armies' advance toward the Caucasus frontiers, the situation around the DRG became extremely tense. In January, the Soviet leadership offered Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to form an alliance against the White armies in South Russia and the Caucasus. The Government of the DRG refused to enter any military alliance, referring to its policy of neutrality and noninterference, but suggested to start negotiations on political settlement of the relations between two countries in the hope that this would apparently lead to the recognition of Georgia's independence by Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Severe criticism of the Georgian refusal by the Russian leaders was followed by several attempts of local Communists to organize mass anti-governmental protests, which ended unsuccessfully.
In April 1920, the 11th Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 established a Soviet regime in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, and the Georgian Bolshevik Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze
Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze
Grigol Ordzhonikidze ორჯონიკიძე - Grigol Orjonikidze, , generally known as Sergo Ordzhonikidze ; – February 18, 1937) was a Georgian Bolshevik, later member of the CPSU Politburo and close friend to Joseph Stalin...

 requested from Moscow permission to advance into Georgia. Though official consent was not given by Lenin and Sovnarkom, local Bolsheviks attempted to seize the Military School of Tbilisi as a preliminary to a coup d'état on May 3, 1920, but were successfully repulsed by General Kvinitadze
Giorgi Kvinitadze
Giorgi Kvinitadze was a Georgian military commander who rose from an officer in the Imperial Russian army to commander-in-chief of the Democratic Republic of Georgia...

. Georgian government began mobilization and appointed Kvinitadze as commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

. In the meantime, in response to Georgia's alleged assistance to the Azeri nationalist rebellion in Ganja, Soviet forces attempted to penetrate Georgian territory, but were repelled by Kvinitadze in brief border clashes at the Red Bridge
Krasny Most (border)
Krasny Most is the crossing point between Georgia and Azerbaijan on the Tbilisi to Ganja road. The term translates into English as Red Bridge, and is so named because there is a red-brick bridge arch bridge across the Khrami River in the no-man's land area between the border posts...

. In a few days, peace talks were resumed in Moscow. By the controversial Moscow Peace Treaty
Treaty of Moscow (1920)
The Treaty of Moscow , signed between Soviet Russia and the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Moscow on May 7, 1920, granted Georgia de jure recognition of independence in exchange of the promise not to grant asylum on Georgian soil to troops of powers hostile to Bolshevik Russia.- Background...

 of May 7, Georgian independence was recognized in return for the legalization of Bolshevik organizations and a commitment not to allow foreign troops on Georgian soil.

Refused entry into the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 on December 16, 1920, Georgia gained de jure recognition from the Allies on 27 January 1921. This, however, did not prevent the country from being attacked by Soviet Russia one month later.

After Azerbaijan and Armenia had been Sovietized
Sovietization
Sovietization is term that may be used with two distinct meanings:*the adoption of a political system based on the model of soviets .*the adoption of a way of life and mentality modelled after the Soviet Union....

 by the Red Army, Georgia found itself surrounded by hostile Soviet republics. In addition, as the British had already evacuated the Caucasus, the country was left without any foreign support.
According to Soviet sources, relations with Georgia deteriorated over alleged violations of the peace treaty, re-arrests of Georgian Bolsheviks, obstructiveness to the passage of convoys passing through to Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, and a strong suspicion that Georgia was aiding armed rebels in the North Caucasus. On the other hand, Georgia accused Moscow of fomenting anti-governmental riots in various regions of the country, and of provoking border incidents in Zaqatala region
Zaqatala (rayon)
Zaqatala is a rayon of Azerbaijan. The capital and principal town of the rayon is Zaqatala. The rayon is an appendix of Azeri territory wedged between Georgia and Dagestan...

, disputed with the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

. Lorri
Lorri
-Given name:*Lorri Bagley, an American actress and model*Lorri Jean, a leader in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights movement in America-Acronym:...

 “neutral zone” was another challenge as Soviet Armenia categorically demanded that Georgia withdraw its troops stationed in the region since the fall of the Armenian Republic.

Government and law

The Act of Independence of Georgia declared on May 26, 1918, in brief, outlined the main principles of the nation's future democracy. In accordance with it, “the Democratic Republic of Georgia equally guarantees to every citizen within her limits political rights irrespective of nationality, creed, social rank or sex". The first government formed the same day was led by Noe Ramishvili
Noe Ramishvili
Noe Besarionis dze Ramishvili was a Georgian politician and the first Prime Minister of Georgia. He was one of the leaders of the Menshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He was also known by his party noms de guerre: Pyotr, and Semyonov N...

. In October 1918, the National Council of Georgia was renamed into Parliament which prepared new elections held on February 14, 1919.
During its two-year history (1919–1921), the newly elected Constituent Assembly of Georgia
Constituent Assembly of Georgia
The Constituent Assembly of Georgia was a national legislature of the Democratic Republic of Georgia which was elected in February 1919 to ratify the Act of Independence of Georgia and enact the Constitution of 1921...

 adopted 126 laws. Notably, the laws on citizenship, local elections, the country's defence, official language, agriculture, legal system, political and administrative arrangements for ethnic minorities (including an act about the People's Council of Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

), a national system of public education, and some other laws and regulations on fiscal/monetary policy, the Georgian railways, trade and domestic production, etc. On February 21, 1921, facing the onset of Soviet aggression, the Constituent Assembly adopted a constitution of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, the first modern fundamental law
Fundamental law
Fundamental law may refer to:* Organic law, in particular,** Constitution, in particular,*** The Russian Constitution of 1906.*** The German Grundgesetz ....

 in the nation's history.

Chairman of the Government was the chief executive post approved by the parliament for one-year terms of office (the post could not be held more than two times running). The chairman assigned ministers, and was responsible for governing the country and represented Georgia in foreign relations. The Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile
Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in Exile
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia continued to function as the government in exile after the Soviet Russian Red Army invaded Georgia and the Bolsheviks took over the country early in 1921....

 continued to be recognized by Europe as the only legal government of Georgia for some time. The 1919 Government of Georgia adopted law on jury trials. The right to jury trials was later incorporated into Constitution of Democratic Republic of Georgia of 1921.

Political geography

Georgia's 1918–1921 borders were formed through the border conflicts with its neighbours and ensuing treaties and conventions.

In the north, Georgia was bordered by various Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 polities until the Bolshevik power was established in North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 in the spring of 1920. The international border between Soviet Russia and Georgia was regulated by the 1920 Moscow Treaty. During the Sochi conflict
Sochi conflict
Sochi conflict was a three-party border conflict which involved the counterrevolutionary White Russian forces, Bolshevik Red Army and the Democratic Republic of Georgia each of which sought the control over the Black Sea town Sochi and the adjacent region...

 with the Russian White movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

, Georgia briefly controlled the Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

 district (1918).

In the southwest, the DRG's border with Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 changed with the course of the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and was modified after the Ottoman defeat in the hostilities. Georgia regained control over Artvin, Ardahan, part of Batum province, Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. Batum was finally incorporated into the republic after the British evacuated the area in 1920. The Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...

 of 1920 granted Georgia control over eastern Lazistan
Lazistan
Lazistan was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. However, its boundaries did not coincide with the Laz-speaking area...

 including Rize
Rize
Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

 and Hopa
Hopa
Hopa is a city and district of Artvin Province in northeast Turkey. It is located on the eastern Turkish Black Sea coast about from the city of Artvin and 18 kilometres from the border with Georgia.-Geography:...

. However, the Georgian government, unwilling to be involved in a new war with Turkish Revolutionaries, did nothing to take control of these areas.

The border disputes with Democratic Republic of Armenia over a part of Borchalo district led to a brief war between the two countries in December 1918, see: Georgian-Armenian War 1918
Georgian-Armenian War 1918
Georgian-Armenian War was a border war fought in 1918 between the Democratic Republic of Georgia and the Democratic Republic of Armenia over the parts of the then-disputed provinces of Lori, Javakheti, and Borchalo district, which had been historically Armeno-Georgian marchlands, but were largely...

. With the British intervention the Lori "neutral zone" was created only to be reoccupied by Georgia after the fall of the Armenian republic at the end of 1920.

In the southeast, Georgia was bordered by Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 which claimed the control of Zaqatala district. The dispute, however, never led to hostilities and the relations between the two countries were generally peaceful until the Sovietization of Azerbaijan.

The 1919 projects and 1921 constitution of Georgia granted Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

, Ajaria and Zaqatala a degree of autonomy.

The territory of the Democratic Republic of Georgia included some territories that today belong to other countries. It was circa 107 600 km2, compared to 69 700 km2 in modern Georgia. The Soviet occupation of the DRG led to significant territorial rearrangements by which Georgia lost almost 1/3 of its territories. Artvin, Ardahan and part of Batumi provinces were ceded to Turkey; Armenia gained control of Lorri, and Azerbaijan obtained Zaqatala district. A portion of the Georgian marches along the Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus , sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains....

 Mountains was taken by Russia.

Military

The National Guard was the privileged military force in the country. Founded on September 5, 1917 as the Worker's Guard it was later renamed into the Red Guard, and finally into the People's Guard. It was a highly politicized military structure placed directly under the control of the Parliament rather than the Ministry of War. Throughout its existence (1917–1921), the Guard was commanded by the Menshevik activist Valiko Jugheli
Valiko Jugheli
Vladimir “Valiko” Jugheli was a Georgian politician and military commander.He was involved in the Marxist movement in Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century...

.

The DRG formed also its own regular army. Only a part of them were armed in peacetime, the majority being on furlough
Furlough
In the United States a furlough is a temporary unpaid leave of some employees due to special needs of a company, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole...

 and following their callings. If the Republic had been in danger, they would have been called up by the General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

, supplied with arms, and allotted to their places.

From March 1919 to October 1920, Georgian army was reorganized. It consisted of 3 infantry divisions (later coalesced into one), 2 fortress regiments, 3 artillery brigades, a sapper battalion, a telegraph platoon, a motor squadron with an armored car detachment, a cavalry regiment, and a Military School. A People’s Guard consisted of 4 regular battalions. It can further mobilize 18 battalions, i.e., one division. Thus, in 1920, the Georgian army and People’s Guard together comprised 16 infantry battalions (1 army division and a NG regiment), 1 sapper battalion, 5 field artillery divisions, 2 cavalry legions, 2 motor squadrons with 2 armored car detachments, air detachment and 4 armored trains. Beyond staffs and fortress regiments, the army totaled 27,000. Mobilization was to increase this number up to 87,000. The Georgian navy
Georgian Navy
The Georgian Coast Guard is the maritime arm of the Georgian Border Police, within the Ministry for Internal Affairs. It is responsible for the maritime protection of the entire coastline of Georgia, as well as the Georgian territorial waters...

 possessed 1 destroyer, 4 fighter aircraft, 4 torpedo boats, and 10 steamboats.

Although Georgia had almost 200,000 veterans of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 with skilled generals and officers, the government failed to build up an effective defense system, a factor that greatly contributed to the fall of the first Georgian republic.

Economy

Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 was a mainstay of the local economy of Georgia, a typical agrarian country with long wine-making traditions. Land reform well managed by the government contributed to a degree of stability in this field.

The manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

 industry at Chiatura
Chiatura
Chiatura is a city in the Imereti region of Western Georgia. In 1989, it had a population of about 30,000. It is inland, in a mountain valley on the banks of the Kvirila River, and since 1879 has been a major centre of manganese production in the Caucasus. There is a rail link to transport...

 had very great importance in the field of European metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

, providing about 70% of the manganese supply of the world early in the 20th century. Traditionally, Georgia served also as an international transportation corridor through the key Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 ports of Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

 and Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

.

However, the lack of international recognition and the government's not completely successful policy in the field hindered the economic development of the DRG and the country suffered an economic crisis. Some signs of improvement were observed towards 1920–1921.

Education, science and culture

The most important event in the country's cultural life during this turbulent period was indeed the foundation of a national university in Tbilisi (now known as the Tbilisi State University
Tbilisi State University
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University , better known as Tbilisi State University , is a university established on 8 February 1918 in Tbilisi, Georgia. TSU is the oldest university in the whole Caucasus region...

) (1918), a long-time dream of Georgians thwarted by the Imperial Russian authorities for several decades. Other educational centers included gymnasiums
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 in Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

, Kutaisi
Kutaisi
Kutaisi is Georgia's second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti. It is 221 km to the west of Tbilisi.-Geography:...

, Ozurgeti
Ozurgeti
Ozurgeti is a town and the regional administrative centre of Western Georgian province of Guria, former Macharadze or Makharadze . Population of Ozurgeti: 21,009...

, Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

 and Gori
Gori, Georgia
Gori is a city in eastern Georgia, which serves as the regional capital of Shida Kartli and the centre of the homonymous administrative district. The name is from Georgian gora , that is, "heap", or "hill"...

, Tbilisi Military School, Gori Pedagogical Seminary, the Pedagogical Seminary for Women, etc. Georgia had also a number of schools for ethnic minorities.

The National Museum of Georgia, theaters in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, Tbilisi National Opera House, the National Academy of Art were in the vanguard of cultural life.

The newspapers — Sakartvelos Respublika (“Republic of Georgia”), Sakartvelo (“Georgia”), Ertoba (“Unity”), Samshoblo (“Motherland”), Sakhalkho Sakme (“Public Affair”), The Georgian Messenger and The Georgian Mail (both published in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

) — led the national press.

Legacy

The 1918–1921 independence of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, though short-lived, was of particular importance for the development of national feeling among the Georgians, a major factor that made the country one of the most active independent forces within the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Leaders of the national movement of the late 1980s frequently referred to the DRG as a victory in the struggle against the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and made parallels with the contemporary political situation creating somewhat an idealized image of the Georgian First Republic.

On April 9, 1991 the independence of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 was restored when the Act of the Restoration of State Independence of Georgia was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia
Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia was the highest unicameral legislative body in Georgia elected in the first democratic, multiparty elections in the Caucasus in October 1990 while the country was still part of the Soviet Union. The Council presided over the declaration of Georgia’s...

. The national symbols used by the DRG were reestablished as those of the newly independent nation and were in use until 2004. May 26, the day of the establishment of the DRG, is still celebrated as a national holiday
Public holidays in Georgia
-References:...

 — the Independence Day of Georgia.

See also

  • 1920 Gori earthquake
    1920 Gori earthquake
    The Gori earthquake with the surface wave magnitude of 6.2 hit the town of Gori and its district, the Democratic Republic of Georgia, on February 20, 1920, inflicted heavy damage to the area and causing 114 deaths....

  • Aftermath of World War I
    Aftermath of World War I
    The fighting in World War I ended in western Europe when the Armistice took effect at 11:00 am GMT on November 11, 1918, and in eastern Europe by the early 1920s. During and in the aftermath of the war the political, cultural, and social order was drastically changed in Europe, Asia and Africa,...

  • August Uprising
  • Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

  • Democratic Republic of Armenia
    Democratic Republic of Armenia
    The Democratic Republic of Armenia was the first modern establishment of an Armenian state...

  • History of Georgia
    History of Georgia (country)
    The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient Colchis and Iberia...

  • List of Georgian people associated with the Democratic Republic of Georgia
  • Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
    Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
    The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic , was a short-lived state composed of the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the South Caucasus.-...


External links


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