99 Years Since the Red Army Occupation of Georgia

Flags are flying a half-mast in Tbilisi and countrywide, as Georgia coeorates the 99 years since the Soviet occupation of the Georgian capital.

Georgia was the last Caucasus country to fall to the Red Army, despite ruthless partisan fighting by the Junkers. The Red Army was also headed by Georgians, under the leadership of Lenin. The attaché placed to lead the Red army into Tbilisi was Sergo Orjonikidze, the Georgian trustee for the Bolshevik Party to claim Transcaucasia. Ironically, Orjonikidze committed suicide later, during the ruthless political oppression by Stalin, and to memorialize him, Stalin named a Northern Caucasian city after him. What is now known as Vladikavkaz, was called Orjonikidze throughout the history of the Soviet Union.

The Red Army took Azerbaijan first, then they entered Armenia. They were planning carefully since they understood the resistance the Georgian populace would give them. Ultimately, the Red Army entered Georgia from the South and took Tbilisi from Tabakhmela, seeing merciless battles fought.

The First Republic of Georgia lasted from 1918 until 25 February 1921, which, according to the 2010 parliamentary resolution, is considered the official day of the Soviet occupation.

This day commemorates the hundreds-of-thousands of lives lost during the Soviet rule. Although the Soviet oppression claimed the lives of many intellectuals and political expats, the anniversary of the day Tbilisi fell is most prominently used to honor those who sacrificed themselves to a much larger force of the Red Army.

When the Red Army took over Tbilisi, they coup’ed the democratically elected government of Georgia, who went into exile in Europe. The Bolsheviks then annexed the First Republic of Georgia, and thus began the 70-year rule of the Soviet Union, until 1991. Although one must not mistakenly believe that after the 1990's dissolution of the Red Empire, the geopolitical situation changed for Georgia: we were faced with challenges we never thought of before, and sequentially took blows, first with Abkhazia, later on with South Ossetia. 

By Beka Alexishvili                 

25 February 2020 13:56