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Historic document signed

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 30
Late on May 26, on the Day of Independence of Georgia, the Government of Georgia gathered the descendants of the leaders of the First Republic of Georgia in a garden on Rustaveli square for them to sign a Document of Intend of handing a five hectare Leuville estate in France to Georgia.

In the garden that was named after the First Republic of Georgia, a document confirming Georgia’s independence was signed on May 26, 1918.

The document validated Georgia’s separation from the Russian Empire, but in 1921 Bolshevik Russia invaded the country again and the leaders of the First Republic of Georgia had to leave the country and file for asylum in France, where they settled in Leuville, located about 30km south of Paris.

In September 2015, Georgia’s State Minister for Diaspora Issues Gela Dumbadze said the Georgian Government had allocated €107,000 (285,000 GEL) to settle all details involving transfer of ownership of the estate to Georgia.

Dumbadze said this money was need for the estate assessment and diagnostic works, which was necessary for the property to be handed over.

Today, Dumbadze said the process of transfer could be completed this year, presumably until September 20 of the year.

The Document of Intent that was signed in the afternoon by the descendants of the officials of the First Republic of Georgia was a preceding, official document before the final deal with France.

“It’s an historic day for Georgia as on the place where the leaders of Georgia’s First Republic signed Georgia’s independence, their descendants signed a preceding document about handing the Leuville estate to Georgia,” Georgia’s Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani said.

“The estate was purchased with the Georgian people’s money. Georgians cared about the area and now the land is returning to Georgia,” the Minister added.

On March 18 1921, then-chairman of the government Noe Zhordania, government members and a handful of Georgian representatives and their families boarded the Ernest Renan ship and sailed to France, where they founded the Georgian Association in France.

Life in Leuville was difficult for the Georgians; there was no water or electricity supply and their money quickly vanished. At the time, about thirty Georgian emigrants lived in 15 flats inside the castle and shared a common lounge.