Democratic Republic of Georgia

The Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG, Sakartvelos Demokratiuli Respublika, საქართველოს დემოკრატიული რესპუბლიკა in Georgian, 1918-1921) was the first Republic of Georgia, a country to the east of the Black Sea, in the Southern Caucasus. DRG was established after the collapse of the Russian Tsarist empire in the Russian Revolution of 1917. DRG had borders with Russia in the north and Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan in the south. Population: about 2,500,000; Area: 107,600 km2; Capital: Tbilisi. The state language of DRG was Georgian. A Trans-Caucasian house of representatives convened on February 10, 1918. In February, 1918 - May, 1918, during the Russian civil war, Georgia was one of the republics of the Trans-Caucasian Democratic Federative Republic. Transcaucasian Federation was managed by the Transcaucasian Commissariat with the representatives of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. On May 26, 1918 this Federation was abolished and Georgia declared a state independence.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA | საქართველოს დემოკრატიული რესპუბლიკა (1918-1921)
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In February 1917, in Tbilisi the first meeting was organised concerning the future of Georgia. The main organizer of this important event was Professor Mikheil Tsereteli (one of the leaders of the Committee of Independence of Georgia from 1914-1918). The participants of this meeting were: the National-Democrat Colonel David Vachnadze (since 1919 a member of the Parliament of Georgia), Social-Federalists General Ioseb Gedevanishvili, Mikheil Tsereteli (from 1918-1920 Ambassador of Georgia in Norway) and Social-Democrats (Mensheviks) Noe Zhordania (since October 1918 Chairman of the Government of DRG), Evgeni Gegechkori (from 1917-1918 Chairman of the Transcaucasian Commissariat, and, since May 26, 1918 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of DRG), and Meliton Kartsivadze (since 1919 Member of the Parliament of Georgia). They decided to proclaim the independence of Georgia.

In 1917, in accordance with this, the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church was restored.

On May 22, 1918, in Batumi, the second meeting was organized, by Zurab Avalishvili. The participants of this meeting were: Zurab Avalishvili (representing the National-Democratic Party of Georgia), Noe Zhordania (representing the Social-Democratic Party), Akaki Chkhenkeli (representing the Social-Democratic Party), Niko Nikoladze (Honorary Chairman of the National-Democratic Party) and Petre Surguladze (representing the National-Democratic Party). After this meeting, Avalishvili created the document which became the "Declaration of State Independence of Georgia".

The "Declaration of the State Independence of Georgia" was adopted by the National Council of Georgia on May 26, 1918 (see photo). Many prominent Georgian politicians and public figures, as well as many guests attended, among them General Schulenburg. Thus was created the government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. The first Chairman of the Government was Noe Ramishvili, a Social-Democrat). Among members of the Government were representatives of the Social-Democratic Party, the Social-Federalists, the National-Democratic Party, and the Social-Revolutioners.

The Meeting of the National Council (May 26, 1918)
The Meeting of the National Council (May 26, 1918)

After October, 1918, the government was ruled by Noe Zhordania (leader of the Social-Democratic (Menshevik) Party).

The Chairman of the National Parliament was Karlo Chkheidze (one of leaders of the Social-Democratic Party); Deputy Chairman: Professor Ekvtime Takaishvili (one of the leaders of the National-Democratic Party). It was an established multiparty system: among the members of the Government and the Parliament were also representatives of the National-Democratic Party, the Party of Georgian Social-Federalists, Party of Social-Revolutioneers and other political organizations. The Parliament had 130 members. Famous Members of the Parliament were: Revaz Gabashvili (National-Democrat), Samson Pirtskhalava (Social-Federalist), Seit Devdariani (Social-Democrat), Vasil Tsereteli (National-Democrat), Giorgi Gvazava (National-Democrat), Meliton Kartsivadze (Social-Democrat), Iason Javakhishvili (National-Democrat), Irakli Tsereteli (Social-Democrat), etc.

During 1918-1920 the Democratic Republic of Georgia proved to the world that she was able to manage her own affairs. In 1919 free, democtratic and multiparty elections were held and a National Parliament elected.

The independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was de jure recognized by Romania, Argentina, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Russia, among other countries.

On February 21, 1921 the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was adopted by the Parliament. The Parliament proclaimed with this Constitution an absolute equality of race and sex, freedom of the press and the speech, freedom of religion and all other basic freedoms. Also adopted were other important legal acts: Law about the Regular Army (1918), Law about the Education (198), Law about the State Language (1918), Act about the "People's Council of Abkhazia" (1918), Law about the Citizenship (1919), etc.

At the end of 1919 and in the beginning of 1920 the Government of Bolshevik Russia achieved the decisive success in all points of the Russian Civil War. The policy of Great Britain failed in "the Russian Problem". After that there was raised a question - to direct attention to the national states of the former tsarist Russian Empire, that is, to the region of Transcaucasus - to the independent states of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. France and Italy continued to be passive and gave up their activities in the Russian post-imperial space.

In January 27, 1921 Great Britain together with the allied countries recognized the Democratic Republic of Georgia de jure. But it was rather a belated act and naturally it could not yield any good result.

On February 25, 1921, the Bolshevik Russia's Red Army reoccupied the country and Georgia became a Soviet republic. In March 1921, the legal Parliament and Government of the DRG were forced to leave Georgia.

Georgia was then forcibly merged with Armenia and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, one of the republics of the Soviet Union.

The Georgian people have never submitted to the Soviet communism. Guerilla resistance in 1921-1924 was followed by a large-scale patriotic Uprising in August, 1924. General Kote Abkhazi, General Nestor Gardapkhadze and Colonel Kakutsa Cholokashvili were the most prominent guerilla leaders.

On April 9, 1991 was restored the state independence of Georgia. The "Act about the Restoration of State Independence of Georgia" was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia.


In the Ministry of Defence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia worked many famous Georgian Generals and Officers: Gen. Kote Abkhazi, Gen. Giorgi Kvinitadze, Gen. Giorgi Mazniashvili, Gen. Alexandre Andronikashvili, Gen. Varden Tsulukidze, Gen. Alexandre Chkheidze, Gen. Nestor Gardapkhadze, Gen. Shakro Bakradze, Gen. Leo Kereselidze, Colonel Kakutsa Cholokashvili, Colonel Parnaoz Karalashvili, Colonel Elizbar Gulisashvili, Colonel David Vachnadze, Colonel Solomon Zaldastanishvili, Colonel Svimon Tsereteli, Colonel Erekle Tsereteli, Colonel Rostom Muskhelishvili, Colonel Dimitri Chrdileli, etc. But, unfortunately, the National Army of Georgia has not a proper favour of the Menshevik Government of Zhordania. Main role was given to the troops of Georgian Mensheviks - the so-called People's Guards. The commanders of this military group was completed by the diletantes.

In 1918 was founded the Tbilisi Military School. The head of this school was a distinguished Georgian military figure, Colonel Alexandre Chkheidze (later Major General of the Polish Army).

Education, culture and science

Important educational, cultural and scientific centers of the Democratic Republic of Georgia were: the Tbilisi State University, the Military School in Tbilisi, Gymnasiums in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Poti and Gori, the Pedagogical Seminary in Gori, the Pedagogical Seminary for Women, the Agrarian School, the State Museum of Georgia, the State Theatres in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, Tbilisi State Opera Theatre, Tbilisi State Academy of Art, the Union of Georgian writers, the Public Library of Georgia, the Physical Observatory in Tbilisi, the Central Scientific Archive of Georgia, State Scientific Council, Central Botanical Garden in Tbilisi, etc.

Main newspapers of DRG were: "Sakartvelos Respublika", "Sakartvelo", "Ertoba", "Samshoblo", "Sakhalkho Sakme", "The Georgian Messenjer" (in English) and "The Georgian Mail" (in English).

Outstanding representatives of culture and science were: Niko Nikoladze, Vasil Barnovi (Barnaveli), Kote Makashvili, Niko Lordkipanidze, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Pavle Ingorokva, David Kldiashvili, Grigol Robakidze, Shalva Amirejibi, Ekaterine Gabashvili, Tedo Sakhokia, Shalva Dadiani, Ioseb Grishashvili, Galaktion Tabidze, Zakaria Paliashvili, Meliton Balanchivadze (George Balanchines father), Vano Sarajishvili, Sandro Akhmeteli, Gigo Gabashvili, Mose Toidze, Jakob Nikoladze, David Kakabadze, Alexandre Tsagareli, Ivane Javakhishvili, Andria Benashvili, Andria Razmadze, Nikoloz Muskhelishvili, Shalva Nutsubidze, Giorgi Akhvlediani, Luarsab Andronikashvili, Vakhtang Muskhelishvili, Alexandre Aladashvili, Grigol Tsereteli, Ekvtime Takaishvili, Zurab Avalishvili, Mikheil Tsereteli, Sargis Kakabadze, Zakaria Kanchaveli, Dimitri Uznadze, etc.

Industry and Agriculture

The Manganese Industry in Georgia (Manganese of Chiatura) had wery great importance for European Metallurgy (about 70% of the manganese industry of the world in 1920s-1940s).

very important are Georgian mineral waters ("Borjomi", "Nabeglavi", "Sairme", etc.).

Important were also the Ports of Poti and Batumi.

Georgia is a traditional agrarian country with well-developed gardening, viticulture and wine-making (Georgia is a classical country of viticulture and wine-making).


  • "Legal Acts of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921)", Tbilisi, 1990 (in Georgian)
  • I. Tseretelli, "Separation de la Transcaucasie et de la Russie et Independance de la Georgie", Paris, Imprimerie Chaix, 1919 (in French)
  • P. Surguladze, "The international importance of the independence of Georgia", Istanbul, 1918 (in Georgian)
  • P. Surguladze, "Georgia as the independent country", Istanbul, 1918 (in Georgian)
  • D. Ghambashidze, "Mineral resources of Georgia and Caucasia. Manganese industry of Georgia", London, 1919
  • K. Salia, "The History of Georgian Nation", Paris, 1983
  • Al. Manvelichvili, "Histoire de la Georgie", Paris, 1951 (in French)
  • Z. Avalishvili, "The Independence of Georgia in the International Politics of 1918-1921", Paris, 1923 (in Russian)
  • K. Kandelaki, "The Georgian Question Before the Free World", Paris, 1951
  • G. Kvinitadze, "My answer", Paris, 1954 (in Georgian)
  • Jan V. Nanuashvili, "What everyone in the Free World should know about Russia", Vantage Press, New York - Washington - Hollywood, 1973
  • V. Tevzadze, "The memoirs of the Georgian Officer".- J. "Iveria", No 32, Paris, 1988 (in Georgian)
  • N. Matikashvili, M. Kvaliashvili, "Cadets".- J. "Iveria", No 32, Paris, 1988 (in Georgian)
  • O. Janelidze, "From May 26 to February 25", Tbilisi, 1990 (in Georgian)
  • G. Mazniashvili, "The Memoirs", Batumi, 1990 (in Georgian)
  • L. Urushadze, "Bolshevism-Menshevism and the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921)", Tbilisi, 1991 (in Georgian)
  • R. Tsukhishvili, "The English-Georgian Relations (1918-1921)", Tbilisi, 1995 (in Georgian, English summary)

Related topics

External links

et:Gruusia Demokraatlik Vabariik


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