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OCCUPATION OF GEORGIA BY BOLSHEVIKS
Professor SIMON MASKHARASHVILI (SM) continues telling the story.
The Bolshevik government embarked on the pernicious policy the second they took over Georgia.
GJ - On the 16th of March of 1921, the last sitting of Georgia's Founding Assembly (parliament) was held, which resolved that the Menshevik government leave Georgia to immigrate into another country. As the well-known historical events would corroborate, Lenin's Russia was faced with much implicated problems to solve. The time was asking for daring and rational decisions to be made by Georgia's ruling circles, but the menshevik government did lot turn out to be capable of rescuing Georgia. The country was left without a government in the face of the formidable Bolshevik occupation ...
SM - As I said, the moment the faithless and inefficient Georgian government lad boarded the ship, having abandoned Georgia to its own devices, a wide-scale revolt of the Baltic Sea Fleet sailors erupted in St. Petersburg. The Bolshevik Russia was faced with myriad other problems, and at that moment, rescuing Petersburg was much bigger a task than dealing with Georgia.
GJ - Isn't it terribly frustrating that Georgia had lost every possible chance at that time? And the Georgian government boarded the ship and left the country, as easy as that.. .
SM - Indeed, they boarded the ship and left. As simple as that! Plus, they got with them the national treasure, the entire stock of gold, which mainly consisted of the museum property. They just loaded the treasure on the ship at a huge risk (The ship could have perished for any possible reason, couldn't it?) and took it with them into emigration so that the Bolsheviks could not get their hands on it. With the elevated purpose of protecting the national treasure, the ship was boarded by deputy chairman of the parliament, eminent Georgian historian Eqvtimeh Takaishvili, predestined to be later sanctified as the saint by the Georgian Orthodox Church. There was a serious chance of selling and squandering the national treasurer by the persecuted Menshevik government. It was only thanks to Eqvtimeh Takaishvili's martyrdom that the treasure was rescued and preserved, which was returned to the Georgian national museum from France in 1945 with the consent of Charles de Gaul.
GJ - The life and activity of Eqvtimeh Takaishvili is one more moving story, worth of special presentation, which I personally, can never read callously. So Zhordania and his government had abandoned the country. How did the events develop later on?
SM - Zhordania had handed over Georgia to Russians due to his feebleness and faithlessness in the Georgian national cause. Meanwhile Georgia had every possible chance to emerge victorious from the battle with Bolsheviks. The only thing that he did not bungle was the fact that he had never recognized the Bolshevik occupants. Batumi was captured by the Turks after Zhordania and his incompetent and useless government had relinquished Georgia. Batumi became the venue for the survived Georgian military units which were joined by the Achara (Adjara) youth. They asked Turks to vacate Batumi. Their proposal was certainly rejected.
GJ - Their leader was the self-same General Mazniashvili, the famous Georgian patriot. Why don't we say that he had never left Georgia since the Soviet takeover and stayed in the country to serve it faithfully? Finally, he became the victim of the Bolshevik repressions and was executed by the Stalinist Soviet regime together with thousands of others.
SM - You are right! At that time, the Turks rejected the proposal of the Georgian warriors which was followed by the attack against the Turks who were not only driven out of Batumi but pursued all the way down to Trabzon. The decisive battle took place near Kakhaberi where the Georgians completely pulverized them.
GJ - Is that the way Batumi was rescued?
SM - Yes, that's how it was. Otherwise, Lenin had long ceded Batumi to Turks. You see, it was not in vain that Ata-Turk was so much afraid of Georgia. His military units tasted the defeat right in the first confrontation. When the Georgian heroes returned to Batumi, they saw that the Russians had occupied it without any battle, exactly the way it had happened in case of Tbilisi. The Russians occupied Batumi, but they did not dare annex it because in March of 1921 Georgia had already been recognized by about 20 European countries, which was much more than the number of nations who had recognized Lenin's Russia. The Bolsheviks made certain attempts to follow legal ways. At least, they wanted to create illusion that in Georgia, one social-democratic (Menshevik) power was substituted by another social-democratic (Bolshevik) power. Georgia remained a republic. Only after a year's time it became possible to enter it into South Caucasus Federation along with Armenia and Azerbaijan. After 22 months of the annexation, Georgia was made part of the Soviet Union, which means that for over a year's time, Georgia was a legally independent nation, and the recognition of Georgia by the European nations de jure had not ceased. The only pain in the neck was that the Bolshevik government, installed by the power of a Russian weapon, was at the helm.
GJ - What kind of initial steps did the occupants make in the captured land?
SM - The Bolshevik government embarked on its pernicious doings in Georgia as soon as they took over. In 1921, Apkhazeti (Abkhazia) and Achara (Adjara) were declared a republic. In 1922, the formation of the so called South Ossetia was pronounced, and this happened when, on that territory at that time, only two Ossetian families were dwelling, and they lived just in the declared capital city of Tskhinvali. It was a 100 % Georgian region. Incidentally, most of the Apkhazeti population was also ethnic Georgians, and those who were the Apkhaz were fighting the Russians with a weapon in their hands. In October of the same year, the Bolsheviks signed the agreement about ceding Tao-Klarjeti to Turkey which was an absolutely unlawful act. In Moscow, it was decided that Hereti be transferred from Georgia to Azerbaijan, and part of the Kvemo (lower) Kartli to Armenia. Thus, I don't know of a single historian who could produce today either the original or a copy of the act of this fact of reshuffling Georgia's territory, signed even by the occupant government, even a bogus one.
GJ - Do you want to say that there exists no document, not even an illegal one, corroborating the fact?
SM - Yes, that's exactly what I mean. This was an oral decision. Let me reiterate that we are not familiar with such a document. We are familiar with a document - the egregiously unlawful one - signed by the Turks and the occupants. It was illegal because even the elections had not taken place which makes the entire act unlawful. But we don't know of any document whatsoever, in compliance with which the lands recognized by the League of Nations as part of Georgia, were redistributed among Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Published in Georgian Journal. 11 - 17 November, 2010
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