Soviet View of Georgia’s History

1917 – 1940

By Cinder Caradine, Dona Corrigan, Eric Derfner

The October Revolution began the Georgians social and national liberations. The Bolsheviks led the way for the "struggling masses toward victory of the Socialist Revolution in Georgia, however they were unable to establish Soviet rule at the same time as in the central regions of Russia. On November 15, 1917 the groups of counterrevolutionary forces created the Transcaucasian Commissariat in the place of the Special Transcaucasian Committee as the Mensheviks seized power. The Mensheviks along with the counter­revolutionaries' support began organizing Georgian national military units, a Georgian national soviet, and the "people's guard". On November 29, 1917 the Mensheviks began their powerful descend upon the Georgian Bolsheviks, first capturing the Tiblisi arsenal, then destroying the Bolshevik newspapers on February 8 and 9 of that same year. The Bolsheviks were forced underground. On May 26, 1918 the Mensheviks proclaimed Georgia to be an independent republic

Under Menshevik rule the Georgian economy began to collapse. Economic ties with Russia were disrupted. The peasantry remained without land. During the first half of 1918 there were many uprisings against Menshevik rule, therefore the Mensheviks called upon the interventionists to forcibly help them with their peasant problems. During October and November of 1919 the struggling masses of many Georgian districts began to rise up against the Menshevik regime causing the Mensheviks to formulate an agreement stipulating that they break off all ties with the Russian counterrevolution, withdraw military units from Georgia, and legalize Bolshevik organizations. The Mensheviks grossly violated this agreement however, subjecting communists to harsh prosecution.

During mid February of 1921 an armed uprising began formulating; covering all of Georgia and on February 16th the Revolutionary Committee of Georgia was formed. This committee subsequently proclaimed Georgia to be a Soviet socialist republic and called upon the masses of Georgia to seize power in the provinces and form local revolutionary committees. The local revolutionaries weren't enough to handle the Mensheviks and interventionists, so they turned to VI Lenin for help. The Soviet government of Feb 25, 1921 dispatched several units of the Eleventh Red Army into Tiblisi who went on to overthrow the Menshevik government. In March of 1921 Soviet Power was established throughout Georgia and by the end of that month Georgia had been cleared of all Menshevik troops. During the initial days after the Soviets and Bolsheviks established Soviet power in Georgia, industry, railroads, banks, and land were all nationalized. Soon after, in Feb and March the first all-Georgian Congress of Soviets adopted the first Constitution of the Georgian SSR and elected the Central Executive Committee of Soviets, which was responsible for establishing the government of Georgia. From March 12, 1922 until December 5, 1922 Georgia along with Armenia and Azerbaijan were a part of the Transcaucasian Federation for Socialist Reconstruction. In 1936 Georgia became a part of the Soviet Union directly with the status of a union socialist republic.

In alliance with the union of Soviet republics the Georgian SSR was able to develop and enhance its economy and culture. During the first years of Soviet power construction had begun on twenty large industrial installations. In 1926 Georgia had reached its prewar level of industrial production; transportation was restored; area under cultivation exceeded its pre-war level and cultural construction expanded as well. As a result of socialist construction and the successful completion of the first five year plans, Georgia had transformed itself into an industrial-agrarian country with a diversified, collectivized agricultural system. In 1937, industry's share in Georgian economy was 75.2% and 800 new industrial installations were constructed. The industrial enterprises built or totally reconstructed under Soviet power reportedly accounted for more than 80% of Georgia's industrial productivity. More than 8,000 km of highways and 250 km of raillines were built. By 1940, Georgia's Gross Industrial Product had increased by a factor of 10,2 over its 1913 level.


Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, Vol. 7, pp. 193 – 230. Moscow, Sovietskaia Entsyklopedia Publishing House 1972.



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