The Red Army invasion of Georgia (15 February – 17 March 1921), also known as the Soviet–Georgian Waror the Soviet invasion of Georgia, was a military campaign by the Russian Red Army aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic (Menshevik) government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) and installing a Bolshevik regime in the country. The conflict was a result of expansionist policy by the Russians, who aimed to control as much as possible of the lands which had been part of the former Russian Empire until the turbulent events of the First World War, as well as the revolutionary efforts of mostly Russian-based Georgian Bolsheviks, who did not have sufficient support in their native country to seize power without external intervention.
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, previously known as the Russian Soviet Republic and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, as well as being unofficially known as the Russian Federation, Soviet Russia, or simply Russia, was an independent state from 1917 to 1922, and afterwards the largest, most populous and most economically developed of the 15 Soviet socialist republics of the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1922 to 1991, then a sovereign part of the Soviet Union with priority of Russian laws over Union-level legislation in 1990 and 1991, during the last two years of the existence of the USSR. The Russian Republic comprised sixteen smaller constituent units of autonomous republics, five autonomous oblasts, ten autonomous okrugs, six krais and forty oblasts. Russians formed the largest ethnic group. The capital of the Russian SFSR was Moscow and the other major urban centers included Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.
The Social Democratic Party of Georgia, also known as the Georgian Menshevik Party, was a Georgian Marxist, and later, social democratic political party. It was founded in the 1890s by Nikolay Chkheidze, Silibistro Jibladze, Egnate Ninoshvili, Noe Zhordania and others. It became the Georgian branch of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. After 1905, Georgian social democrats joined the Menshevik faction, except for some such as Joseph Stalin, Grigol Ordzhonikidze and Makharadze. Several leaders were elected to the Russian Duma from Kutais or Tifli: Nikolay Chkheidze, Akaki Chkhenkeli, Evgeni Gegechkori, Isidore Ramishvili, Irakly Tsereteli, Noe Zhordania.
The independence of Georgia had been recognized by Russia in the Treaty of Moscow, signed on 7 May 1920, and the subsequent invasion of the country was not universally agreed upon in Moscow. It was largely engineered by two influential Georgian-born Soviet/Russian officials, Joseph Stalin and Sergo Ordzhonikidze, who on 14 February 1921 got the consent of Russian leader Vladimir Lenin to advance into Georgia, on the pretext of supporting "peasants and workers rebellion" in the country. Russian forces took the Georgian capital Tbilisi (then known as Tiflis to most non-Georgian speakers) after heavy fighting and declared the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic on 25 February 1921. The rest of the country was overrun within three weeks, but it was not until September 1924 that Soviet rule was firmly established. Almost simultaneous occupation of a large portion of southwest Georgia by Turkey (February–March 1921) threatened to develop into a crisis between Moscow and Ankara, and led to significant territorial concessions by the Soviets to the Turkish National Government in the Treaty of Kars.
The Treaty of Moscow, signed between Soviet Russia (RSFSR) and the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) 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.
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician. He led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Premier (1941–1953). While initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he ultimately consolidated enough power to become the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism.
After the February Revolution that began in Russia in 1917, Georgia effectively became independent.In April 1918 it joined with Armenia and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, but left after one month and declared independence as the Democratic Republic of Georgia on May 26, followed the next day by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia engaged in small conflicts with its neighbouring states as it attempted to establish its borders, though was able to maintain independence and de facto international recognition throughout the Russian Civil War, including being recognized by Soviet Russia in the Treaty of Moscow.
The February Revolution, known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution, was the first of two revolutions which took place in Russia in 1917.
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, also known as the Transcaucasian Federation, was a short-lived South Caucasian state extending across what are now the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, plus parts of Eastern Turkey as well as Russian border areas.
The Democratic Republic of Georgia existed from May 1918 to February 1921 and was the first modern establishment of a Republic of Georgia.
Despite relatively wide public support and some successful reforms, the Social Democratic leadership of Georgia failed to create a stable economy or build a strong, disciplined army capable of opposing an invasion.Although there were a significant number of highly qualified officers who had served in the Imperial Russian military, the army as a whole was underfed and poorly equipped. A parallel military structure recruited from members of the Menshevik Party, the People's Guard of Georgia, was better motivated and disciplined, but being a lightly-armed, highly politicized organization dominated by party functionaries, had little usefulness as a combat force.
The military history of the Russian Empire encompasses the history of armed conflict in which the Russian Empire participated. This history stretches from its creation in 1721 by Peter the Great, until the Russian Revolution (1917), which led to the establishment of the Soviet Union. Much of the related events involve the Imperial Russian Army, Imperial Russian Navy, and from the early twentieth century, the Imperial Russian Air Service.
The People's Guard of Georgia was a Social-Democrat-dominated volunteer force of Georgian former soldiers and civilians, active during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 5 September 1917 to 18 March 1921. It consisted of 2,000 full-time members and 18 field battalions drafted on a territorial basis. In war time it could mobilize up to 10,000 to 12,000 citizens. The commander of the People's Guard was Valiko Jugheli, and notable members included Kakutsa Cholokashvili, Alexander Koniashvili, Alexander Maisuradze, and Vladimer Goguadze.
|History of Georgia|
Since early 1920, local Bolsheviks were actively fomenting political unrest in Georgia, capitalizing on agrarian disturbances in rural areas and also on inter-ethnic tensions within the country. The operational centre of the Soviet military-political forces in the Caucasus was the Kavburo (or Caucasian Office) attached to the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party. Set up in February 1920, this body was chaired by the Georgian Bolshevik Grigol Ordzhonikidze, with Sergey Kirov as his vice-chairman. The Sovietization of the Caucasus appeared to Bolshevik leaders to be a task which would be easier to achieve while the Allied powers were preoccupied with the Turkish War of Independence;furthermore, the Ankara-based Turkish national government of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had expressed its full commitment to close co-operation with Moscow, promising to compel "Georgia … and Azerbaijan … to enter into union with Soviet Russia … and … to undertake military operations against the expansionist Armenia." The Soviet leadership successfully exploited this situation and sent in its army to occupy Baku, the capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but is today accepted by the majority of scholars as being part of Asia.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the executive leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, acting between sessions of Congress. According to own party statutes, the committee directed all party and governmental activities. Its members were elected by the Party Congress.
Sergei Mironovich Kirov was a close, personal friend to Joseph Stalin, and a prominent early Bolshevik leader in the Soviet Union. Kirov rose through the Communist Party ranks to become head of the party organization in Leningrad.
Following the establishment of Soviet rule in Baku in April 1920, Ordzhonikidze, probably acting on his own initiative, advanced on Georgia in support of a planned Bolshevik coup in Tbilisi. When the coup failed, the Georgian government was able to concentrate all its forces on successfully blocking the Soviet advance over the Georgian-Azerbaijani border. Facing a difficult war with Poland, Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin ordered a start to negotiations with Georgia. In the Treaty of Moscow signed on 7 May 1920, Soviet Russia recognized Georgia's independence and concluded a non-aggression pact. The treaty established the existing borders between the two nations de jure and also obliged Georgia to surrender all third-party elements considered hostile by Moscow. In a secret supplement, Georgia promised to legalize the local Bolshevik party.
The Georgian coup in May 1920 was an unsuccessful attempt to take power by the Bolsheviks in the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Relying on the 11th Red Army of Soviet Russia operating in neighboring Azerbaijan, the Bolsheviks attempted to take control of a military school and government offices in the Georgian capital of Tiflis on May 3. The Georgian government suppressed the disorders in Tiflis and concentrated its forces to successfully block the advance of the Russian troops on the Azerbaijani-Georgian border. The Georgian resistance, combined with an uneasy war with Poland, persuaded the Red leadership to defer their plans for Georgia’s Sovietization and recognize Georgia as an independent nation in the May 7 treaty of Moscow.
The Polish–Soviet War was fought by the Second Polish Republic, Ukrainian People's Republic and the proto-Soviet Union over a region comparable to today's westernmost Ukraine and parts of modern Belarus.
The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II.
Despite the peace treaty, an eventual overthrow of the Menshevik-dominated government of Georgia was both intended and planned.With its well-established diplomatic ties to several European nations, and its control of strategic transit routes from the Black Sea to the Caspian, Georgia was viewed by the Soviet leadership as "an advance post of the Entente". Stalin called his homeland "the kept woman of the Western Powers". Georgian independence was seen as a propaganda victory for exiled Russian Mensheviks in Europe; the Bolsheviks couldn't long tolerate a viable Menshevik state on their own doorstep.
The cessation of Red Army operations against Poland, the defeat of the White Russian leader Wrangel, and the fall of the First Republic of Armenia provided a favorable situation to suppress the last independent nation in the Caucasus to resist Soviet control.By that time, the British expeditionary corps had completely evacuated the Caucasus, and the West was reluctant to intervene in support of Georgia.
Soviet military intervention was not universally agreed upon in Moscow, and there was considerable disagreement among the Bolshevik leaders on how to deal with their southern neighbor. The People's Commissar of Nationalities Affairs, Joseph Stalin, who by the end of the Civil War had gained a remarkable amount of bureaucratic power, took a particularly hard line with his native Georgia.He strongly supported a military overthrow of the Georgian government and continuously urged Lenin to give his consent for an advance into Georgia. The People's Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, strongly disagreed with what he described as a "premature intervention", explaining that the population should be able to carry out the revolution. Pursuant to his national policy on the right of nations to self-determination, Lenin had initially rejected use of force, calling for extreme caution in order to ensure that Russian support would help but not dominate the Georgian revolution; however, as victory in the Civil War drew ever closer, Moscow’s actions became less restrained. For many Bolsheviks, self-determination was increasingly seen as "a diplomatic game which has to be played in certain cases".
According to Moscow, relations with Georgia deteriorated over alleged violations of the peace treaty, the re-arrest by Georgia of Georgian Bolsheviks, obstruction of the passage of convoys to Armenia, and a suspicion that Georgia was aiding armed rebels in the North Caucasus.
The tactics used by the Soviets to gain control of Georgia were similar to those applied in Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1920, i.e., to send in the Red Army while encouraging local Bolsheviks to stage unrest; however, this policy was difficult to implement in Georgia,where the Bolsheviks did not enjoy popular support and remained an isolated political force.
On the night of 11-12 February 1921, at Ordzhonikidze's instigation, Bolsheviks attacked local Georgian military posts in the predominantly ethnic Armenian district of Lori and the nearby village of Shulaveri, near the Armenian and Azerbaijani borders. Georgia had taken over the Lori "neutral zone" in a disputed Armeno–Georgian borderland on the pretext of defending the district and approaches to Tiflis in October 1920, in the course of the Turkish–Armenian War. The Armenian government protested, but was not able to resist.
Shortly after the Bolshevik revolt, the Armenian-based Red Army units quickly came to the aid of the insurrection, though without Moscow's formal approval.When the Georgian government protested to the Soviet envoy in Tbilisi, Aron Sheinman, over the incidents, he denied any involvement and declared that the disturbances must be a spontaneous revolt by the Armenian communists. Meanwhile, the Bolsheviks had already set up a Georgian Revolutionary Committee (Georgian Revkom ) in Shulaveri, a body that would soon acquire the functions of a rival government. Chaired by the Georgian Bolshevik Filipp Makharadze, the Revkom formally applied to Moscow for help.
Disturbances also erupted in the town of Dusheti and among Ossetians in northeast Georgia who resented the Georgian government's refusal to grant them autonomy. Georgian forces managed to contain the disorders in some areas, but the preparations for a Soviet intervention were already being set in train. When the Georgian army moved to Lori to crush the revolt, Lenin finally gave in to the repeated requests of Stalin and Ordzhonikidzeto allow the Red Army to invade Georgia, on the pretext of aiding an uprising. The ultimate decision was made at the 14 February meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party:
|“||The Central Committee is inclined to allow the 11th Army to give active support to the uprising in Georgia and to occupy Tiflis provided that international norms are observed, and on condition that all members of the Military Revolutionary Council of the Eleventh Army, after a thorough review of all information, guarantee success. We give warning that we are having to go without bread for want of transport and that we shall therefore not let you have a single locomotive or railway track. We are compelled to transport nothing from the Caucasus but grain and oil. We require an immediate answer by direct line signed by all members of the Military Revolutionary Council of the Eleventh Army.||”|
The decision to support the invasion was not unanimous. It was opposed by Karl Radek and was held secret from Trotsky who was in the Ural area at that time.The latter was so upset by the news of the Central Committee decision and Ordzhonikidze’s role in engineering it that on his return to Moscow he demanded, though fruitlessly, that a special party commission be set up to investigate the affair. Later Trotsky would reconcile himself to the accomplished fact and even defend the invasion in a special pamphlet.
At dawn on 16 February the main body of 11th Red Army troops under Anatoliy Gekker crossed into Georgia and started the Tiflis Operationaimed at capturing the capital. Georgian border forces under General Stephen Akhmeteli were overwhelmed on the Khrami river. Retreating westward, the Georgian commander General Tsulukidze blew up railway bridges and demolished roads in an effort to delay the enemy’s advance. Simultaneously, Red Army units marched into Georgia from the north through the Daryal and Mamisoni passes, and along the Black Sea coast towards Sukhumi. While these events were proceeding, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs issued a series of statements disclaiming involvement by the Red Army and professing willingness to mediate any disputes which had arisen within Georgia.
By 17 February, Soviet infantry and cavalry divisions supported by aircraft were less than 15 kilometers northeast of Tbilisi. The Georgian army put up a stubborn fight in defense of the approaches to the capital, which they held for a week in the face of overwhelming Red Army superiority. From 18 to 20 February, the strategic heights of Kojori and Tabakhmela passed from hand to hand in heavy fighting. Georgian forces under General Giorgi Mazniashvili managed to push the Soviets back inflicting heavy losses; they quickly regrouped and tightened the circle around Tbilisi. By 23 February, the railway bridges had been restored, and Soviet tanks and armoured trains joined in a renewed assault on the capital. While the armoured trains laid down suppressing fire, tanks and infantry penetrated the Georgian positions on the Kojori heights.On 24 February, the Georgian commander-in-chief, Giorgi Kvinitadze, bowed to the inevitable and ordered a withdrawal to save his army from complete encirclement and the city from destruction. The Georgian government and the Constituent Assembly evacuated to Kutaisi in western Georgia, which dealt the Georgian army a significant morale blow.
On 25 February, the triumphant Red Army entered Tbilisi. Bolshevik soldiers engaged in widespread looting.The Revkom headed by Mamia Orakhelashvili and Shalva Eliava ventured into the capital and proclaimed the overthrow of the Menshevik government, the dissolution of the Georgian National Army and People’s Guard, and the formation of a Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. On the same day, in Moscow, Lenin received the congratulations of his commissars – "The red banner blows over Tbilisi. Long live Soviet Georgia!"
Georgian commanders planned to concentrate their forces at the town of Mtskheta, northwest of Tbilisi, and continue fighting on new lines of defense; the fall of the capital, however, had heavily demoralized the Georgian troops, and Mtskheta was abandoned. The army was gradually disintegrating as it continued its retreat westward, offering sometimes fierce but largely unorganized resistance to the advancing Red Army troops. Sporadic fighting continued for several months as the Soviets secured the major cities and towns of eastern Georgia.
The Mensheviks entertained hopes of aid from a French naval squadron cruising in the Black Sea off the Georgian coast.On 28 February, the French opened fire on the 31st Rifle Division of the 9th Red Army under V. Chernishev, but did not land troops. The Georgians managed to regain control of the coastal town of Gagra, but their success was temporary. Soviet forces joined by Abkhaz peasant militias, the Kyaraz, succeeded in taking Gagra on 1 March, New Athos on 3 March, and Sukhumi on 4 March; they then advanced eastward to occupy Zugdidi on 9 March and Poti on 14 March.
The Georgians’ attempt to hold out near Kutaisi was spoiled by the surprise advance of a Red Army detachment from North Caucasia, which traversed the virtually impenetrable Mamisoni Pass through deep snow drifts, and advanced down the Rioni Valley. After a bloody clash at Surami on 5 March 1921, the 11th Red Army also crossed the Likhi Range into the western part of the country. On 10 March Soviet forces entered Kutaisi, which had been abandoned, the Georgian leadership, army and People’s Guard having evacuated to the key Black Sea port city of Batumi in southwest Georgia. Some Georgian forces withdrew into the mountains and continued to fight.
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On 23 February, ten days after the Red Army began its march on Tbilisi, Kâzım Karabekir, the commander of the Eastern Front of the Turkish Army of the Grand National Assembly, issued an ultimatum demanding the evacuation of Ardahan and Artvin by Georgia. The Mensheviks, under fire from both sides, had to accede, and the Turkish force advanced into Georgia, occupying the frontier areas. No armed engagements took place between the Turkish and Georgian forces. This brought the Turkish army within a short distance of still Georgian-held Batumi, creating the circumstances for a possible armed clash as the Red Army’s 18th Cavalry Division under Dmitry Zhloba approached the city. Hoping to use these circumstances to their advantage, the Mensheviks reached a verbal agreement with Karabekir on 7 March, permitting the Turkish army to enter the city while leaving the government of Georgia in control of its civil administration.On 8 March Turkish troops under Colonel Kizim-Bey took up defensive positions surrounding the city, leading to a crisis with Soviet Russia. Georgy Chicherin, Soviet People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, submitted a protest note to Ali Fuat Cebesoy, the Turkish representative in Moscow. In response, Ali Fuat handed two notes to the Soviet government. The Turkish notes claimed that the Turkish armies were only providing security to local Muslim elements put under threat by Soviet military operations in the region.
Despite Moscow's military successes, the situation on the Caucasus front had become precarious. Armenians, aided by the Red Army involvement in Georgia, had revolted, retaking Yerevan on 18 February 1921. In the North Caucasus, Dagestani rebels continued to fight the Soviets. The Turkish occupation of Georgia's territories implied the near certainty of a Soviet–Turkish confrontation, and the Georgians repeatedly refused to capitulate. On 2 March Lenin, who feared an unfavorable outcome to the Georgian campaign, sent his "warm greetings to Soviet Georgia", clearly revealing his desire to bring hostilities to an end as quickly as possible. He emphasized the "tremendous importance of devising an acceptable compromise for a bloc" with the Mensheviks. On 8 March, the Georgian Revkom reluctantly proposed a coalition government, which the Mensheviks refused.
When the Turkish authorities proclaimed the annexation of Batumi on 16 March the Georgian government was forced to make a choice. Their hopes for French or British intervention had already vanished. France had never considered sending an expeditionary force, and the United Kingdom had ordered the Royal Navy not to intervene; furthermore, on 16 March the British and Soviet governments signed a trade agreement, in which Prime Minister Lloyd George effectively promised to refrain from anti-Soviet activities in all territories of the former Russian Empire. Simultaneously, a treaty of friendship was signed in Moscow between Soviet Russia and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, whereby Ardahan and Artvin were awarded to Turkey, which renounced its claims to Batumi.
The Turks, despite the terms of the treaty, were reluctant to evacuate Batumi and continued its occupation. Fearing permanent loss of the city to Turkey, Georgian leaders agreed to talks with the Revkom. In Kutaisi, Georgian Defense Minister Grigol Lordkipanidze and the Soviet plenipotentiary Avel Enukidze arranged an armistice on 17 March, and then, on 18 March, an agreement which allowed the Red Army to advance in force to Batumi.
Amid the ongoing Turkish-Soviet consultations in Moscow, the armistice with the Mensheviks allowed the Bolsheviks to act indirectly from behind the scenes, through several thousand soldiers of the Georgian National Army mobilized at the outskirts of Batumi and inclined to fight for the city. On 18 March, the remaining Georgian army under General Mazniashvili attacked Batumi and was engaged in heavy street fighting with the Turkish army. While the battle raged, the Menshevik government boarded an Italian vessel and sailed into exile escorted by French warships. The battle ended on 19 March with the port and most of the city in Georgian hands. On the same day, Mazniashvili surrendered the city to the Revkom and Zhloba’s cavalry entered Batumi to reinforce Bolshevik authority there.
The sanguinary events in Batumi halted the Russian-Turkish negotiations, and it was not until 26 September when the talks between Turkey and the Soviets, nominally including also the representatives of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian SSRs, finally reopened in Kars. The Treaty of Kars, signed on 13 October contained the provisions agreed upon in March and some other new territorial settlements just reached. In exchange for Artvin, Ardahan, and Kars, Turkey abandoned its claims to Batumi, whose largely Muslim Georgian population was to be granted autonomy within the Georgian SSR.
Despite the Georgian government’s emigration and the demobilization of the National Army, pockets of guerrilla resistance still remained in the mountains and some rural areas. The invasion of Georgia brought about serious controversies among the Bolsheviks themselves. The newly established Communist government initially offered unexpectedly mild terms to their former opponents who still remained in the country. Lenin also favored a policy of conciliation in Georgia, where a pro-Bolshevik revolt did not enjoy the popular backing claimed for it,and the population was solidly anti-Bolshevik. In 1922, a strong public resentment over the forcible Sovietization indirectly reflected in the opposition of Soviet Georgian authorities to Moscow's centralizing policies promoted by Dzerzhinsky, Stalin and Ordzhonikidze. The problem, known in modern history writing as the "Georgian Affair", was to become one of the major points at issue between Stalin and Trotsky in the last years of Lenin's leadership and found its reflection in "Lenin's Political Testament".
The world largely neglected the violent Soviet takeover of Georgia. On 27 March 1921, the exiled Georgian leadership issued an appeal from their temporary offices in Istanbul to "all socialist parties and workers' organizations" of the world, protesting against the invasion of Georgia. The appeal went unheeded, though. Beyond passionate editorials in some Western newspapers and calls for action from such Georgian sympathizers as Sir Oliver Wardrop, the international response to the events in Georgia was silence.
In Georgia, an intellectual resistance to the Bolshevik regime and occasional outbreaks of guerrilla warfare evolved into a major rebellion in August 1924. Its failure and the ensuing wave of large-scale repressions orchestrated by the emerging Soviet security officer, Lavrentiy Beria, heavily demoralized the Georgian society and exterminated its most active pro-independence part. Within a week, from 29 August to 5 September 1924, 12,578 people, chiefly nobles and intellectuals, were executedand over 20,000 exiled to Siberia. From that time, no major overt attempt was made to challenge Soviet authority in the country until a new generation of anti-Soviet movements emerged in the late 1970s.
Soviet historians considered the Red Army invasion of Georgia a part of the larger conflict which they referred to as "the Civil War and Foreign Intervention". In early Soviet history writing, the Georgian episode was considered as a "revolutionary war" and is described in just this term in the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia . Later, the term "revolutionary war" went out of fashion among Soviet writers, partly because it was not easy to distinguish from "aggression", in the Soviets' own definition of that word. Hence, the later Soviet histories put things differently. The Red Army intervention, according to the official Soviet version, was in response to a plea for help that followed an armed rebellion by Georgia's peasants and workers. This version exculpated Soviet Russia from any charge of aggression against Georgia by pointing out that the Georgians themselves asked Moscow to send the Red Army into their country, so as to remove their existing government and replace it with a communist one.
Using its control over education and the media, the Soviet Union successfully created an image of a popular socialist revolution in Georgia. Most Georgian historians were not allowed to consult Spetskhran , special restricted access library collections and archival reserves that also covered the "unacceptable" events in Soviet history, particularly those that could be interpreted imperialist or contradicted a concept of a popular uprising against the Menshevik government.
The 1980s wave of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost ("publicity") policy refuted an old Soviet version of the 1921–1924 events. The first Soviet historian, who attempted, in 1988, to revise the hitherto commonly accepted interpretation of the Soviet-Georgian war, was a notable Georgian scholar, Akaki Surguladze, ironically the same historian whose 1982 monograph described the alleged Georgian worker revolt as a truly historical event.
Under strong public pressure, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian SSR set up, on 2 June 1989, a special commission for investigation of legal aspects of the 1921 events. The commission came to the conclusionthat "the [Soviet Russian] deployment of troops in Georgia and seizure of its territory was, from a legal point of view, a military interference, intervention, and occupation with the aim of overthrowing the existing political order." At an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the Georgian SSR convened on 26 May 1990, the Sovietization of Georgia was officially denounced as "an occupation and effective annexation of Georgia by Soviet Russia."
Modern Georgian politicians and some observers have repeatedly drawn parallels between the 1921 events and Russia’s policy towards Georgia and Western Europe's reluctance to confront Russia over Georgia in the 2000s, especially during the August 2008 war.
On July 21, 2010, Georgia declared February 25 as Soviet Occupation Day to recall the Red Army invasion in 1921.The Georgian parliament voted in favor of the government’s initiative. The decision, endorsed unanimously by the Parliament of Georgia instructs the government to organize various memorial events every February 25 and to fly the national flag half-mast to commemorate, as the decision puts it, the hundreds of thousands of victims of political repressions of the Communist occupational regime.
Leon Trotsky was a Russian revolutionary, Marxist theorist, and Soviet politician whose particular strain of Marxist thought is known as Trotskyism.
The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, also known as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union that existed from 1922 to 1936. It embraced Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. As they were separated from Russia by the Caucasus Mountains, they were known traditionally as the Transcaucasian Republics. Created ostensibly to consolidate the economic situation of the region, the TSFSR was also useful in consolidating Bolshevik control over the states. It was one of the four republics to sign the treaty establishing the Soviet Union in 1922.
Georgia, formally the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, was one of the republics of the Soviet Union from its inception in 1922 to its breakup in 1991. Coterminous with the present-day republic of Georgia, it was based on the traditional territory of Georgia, which had existed as a series of independent states in the Caucasus prior to annexation by the Russian Empire in 1801. Independent again as the Democratic Republic of Georgia in 1918, it was annexed by Soviet forces, who invaded it in 1921. The Georgian SSR was subsequently formed, though from 1922 until 1936 it was a part of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, which existed as a union republic within the USSR. From November 18, 1989, the Georgian SSR declared its sovereignty over Soviet laws. The republic was renamed the Republic of Georgia on November 14, 1990, and subsequently became independent before the dissolution of the Soviet Union on April 9, 1991, whereupon each former SSR became a sovereign state.
Grigory Konstantinovich Ordzhonikidze, generally known as Sergo Ordzhonikidze ; 24 October [O.S. 12 October] 1886, Kutais Governorate – 18 February 1937, Moscow) was a Georgian Bolshevik, later member of the CPSU Politburo, the head of the Supreme Soviet of the National Economy and close associate of Joseph Stalin. Ordzhonikidze, Stalin and Anastas Mikoyan comprised what was jokingly referred to as the "Caucasian Clique."
The August Uprising was an unsuccessful insurrection against Soviet rule in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic from late August to early September 1924.
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, also known as Azerbaijan People's Republic or Caucasus Azerbaijan in diplomatic documents, was the third democratic republic in the Turkic world and Muslim world, after the Crimean People's Republic and Idel-Ural Republic. The ADR was founded by the Azerbaijani National Council in Tiflis on 28 May 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire. Its established borders were with Russia to the north, the Democratic Republic of Georgia to the north-west, the First Republic of Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. It had a population of 2.86 million. Ganja was the temporary capital of the Republic as Baku was under Bolshevik control. The name of "Azerbaijan" which the leading Musavat party adopted, for political reasons, was, prior to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, exclusively used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran.
The Turkish–Armenian war, known in Turkey as the Eastern Operation or Eastern Front of the Turkish War of Independence, refers to a conflict in the autumn of 1920 between the First Republic of Armenia and the Turkish nationalists, following the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres. After an initial Armenian occupation of what is now eastern Turkey, the army of the Turkish National Movement under Kâzım Karabekir reversed the Armenian gains and further invaded and defeated Armenia, also recapturing territory which the Ottoman Empire had lost to the Russian Empire in 1855 and 1878.
The Southern Front of the Russian Civil War was a theatre of the Russian Civil War.
Nestor Apollonovich Lakoba was an Abkhaz Communist leader. Lakoba helped establish Bolshevik power in Abkhazia in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, and served as the head of Abkhazia after its incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1921. While in power, Lakoba saw that Abkhazia was initially given autonomy within the USSR as the Socialist Soviet Republic of Abkhazia. Though nominally a part of Georgia with a special status of "union republic", the Abkhaz SSR was effectively a separate republic, made possible by Lakoba's close relationship with Joseph Stalin. This also ensured that during the era of collectivization, Abkhazia was largely spared, though in return Lakoba was forced to accept a downgrade of Abkhazia's status to that of an autonomous republic within the Georgian SSR.
Mamia Orakhelashvili was a Georgian Bolshevik and Soviet politician energetically involved in the revolutionary movement in Russia and Georgia.
The Svanetian uprising of 1921 was an unsuccessful rebellion against the recently established Bolshevik regime in Georgia.
Polikarp "Budu" Mdivani was a veteran Georgian Bolshevik and Soviet government official energetically involved in the Russian Revolutions and the Civil War. In the 1920s, he played an important role in Sovietization of the Caucasus, but later led Georgian Communist opposition to Joseph Stalin's centralizing policy during the Georgian Affair of 1922. In the 1930s, he was persecuted for his support to the Trotskyite opposition and executed during the Great Purge.
The Georgian affair of 1922 was a political conflict within the Soviet leadership about the way in which social and political transformation was to be achieved in the Georgian SSR. The dispute over Georgia, which arose shortly after the forcible Sovietization of the country and peaked in the latter part of 1922, involved local Georgian Bolshevik leaders, led by Filipp Makharadze and Budu Mdivani, on one hand, and their de facto superiors from the Russian SFSR, particularly Joseph Stalin and Grigol Ordzhonikidze, on the other hand. The content of this dispute was complex, involving the Georgians' desire to preserve autonomy from Moscow and the differing interpretations of Bolshevik nationality policies, and especially those specific to Georgia. One of the main points at issue was Moscow's decision to amalgamate Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan into Transcaucasian SFSR, a move that was staunchly opposed by the Georgian leaders who urged for their republic a full-member status within the Soviet Union.
The German Caucasus expedition was a military expedition sent in late May 1918, by the German Empire to the formerly Russian Transcaucasia during the Caucasus Campaign of World War I. Its prime aim was to stabilize the pro-German Democratic Republic of Georgia and to secure oil supplies for Germany by preventing the Ottoman Empire from gaining access to the oil reserves near Baku on the Abşeron peninsula.
Joseph Stalin was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. In the years following Lenin's death in 1924, he rose to become the authoritarian leader of the Soviet Union.
Georgiy Aleksandrovich Atarbekov, born Atarbekyan was an Armenian Bolshevik and Soviet security police official.
The left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks were a series of rebellions, uprisings, and revolts against the Bolsheviks by oppositional left-wing organizations and groups that started soon after the October Revolution, continued through the years of the Russian Civil War, and lasted into the first years of Bolshevik reign of the Soviet Union. They were led or supported by left-wing groups such as some factions of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and anarchists. Generally, the uprisings began in 1918 because of the Bolshevik siege and cooptation of Soviet Democracy, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk which many saw as giving huge concessions to the Central Powers, and opposition to Bolshevik socioeconomic policy. The Bolsheviks grew increasingly hard-line during the decisive and brutal years following the October Revolution, and would suppress any socialist opposition whilst also becoming increasingly hostile to inner-party opposition. These rebellions and insurrections occurred mostly during and after the Russian Civil War, until approximately 1924.