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Russian Volunteer Army in Georgia

Prepared by Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, May 13
In the previous issues, we explored numerous articles published in the Georgian Messenger in 1919. Today, we offer an article published on March 30, 1919 that illustrates the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Georgia (often referred as the First Republic).

Georgia and the Russian Volunteer Army

Between Georgia and the Russian Volunteer Army there exists an irreconcilable antagonism. The reason for this does not arise out of any disputed territory, nor from any isolated incident, such as the Sochi affair. The first cause lies in the essential difference of the bases on which the two organizations are founded - on the one hand the Volunteer Army, on the other, - the Democratic Republic of Georgia. The Volunteer Army is seeking to revive in Russia that form of government which existed in the country under the rule of the autocracy. In all the districts which that army conquers, it resurrects the old order of things, as it was under the tsars, with all the oppression of civil and political liberty, with all the persecution and enslavement of the population. The generals of thepopulation. The generals of the Volunteer Army, wherever they appear, extirpate with fire and sword every trace of democracy, every vestige of local independence. In a word, the Volunteer Army is a weapon in the hands of its leaders, which serves for the restoration of an old form of government, which has outlived its usefulness and has been condemned by history. The Volunteer Army is the symbol of reaction and the enemy of democracy.

The Georgian people, even in the period of imperial rule, was the standard-bearer of democratic aims and ideals. Her ablest sons, even under the old régime, worked hand in hand with the leading circles of the Russian people, and waged an unceasingconflict with the imperial government for the cause of democracy in Russia When the great revolution broke forth in Russia, the Georgian political leaders together with the Russian democrats, sought to direct it into the channels of the transfiguration of the state into the form of a European democracy. When these attempts underwent a fiasco, and Russia was deluged with waves of bolshevik anarchy, the Georgian people categorically refused to follow suit, but at the same time had no desire to give up the liberties which it had at length attained at the cost of so many sacrifices. It chose the path of independence, and founded its own little independent republic. The Georgian Republic is founded on the lines of European democracy. Just as in the leading European states, the power belongs not to a group of tyrants, but to the people itself, incarnated in the person of the Constitutional Assembly. In Georgia all the democratic rights are assured to the population-speech. the press, conscience, meetings, unions, strikes and the like are all free and untrammelled. In a word, Georgia is an oasis of true democracy on the former territory I of the Russian Empire.

This, therefore, is the reason that the former imperial generals hate our country more than all others. They are dreaming of reconquering it with fire and sword so as to put an end to our liberty and independence. Not being able to attain their end by force, they are trying to take it by famine. After having conquered the Norther Caucasus and part of the seacoast of the Black Sea, the Volunteer Army has a firm grip on the natural trade-routes along which the necessary foodproducts such as grain, sugar and the like, are exported to the Caucasus. The Volunteer generals have declared a blockade against us, and do not allow any products to come into the country, intercepting everything which issent to us from the north. The Georgian people, however, which has borne many things before, will be able to stand this hunger blockade. It has had experience enough in its conflict with the representatives of the autocracy, and will stop at no sacrifices when it comes to protecting its political independence and its liberal institutions. We know that in this conflict that we are sure not only of the support of the neighboring small nations, but likewise of Russian democracy as well, upon whom the imperial generals are bringing the old yoke of slavery.

We are certain likewise that in this fight for what we stand for that the support of the European democracies will be on the side of the little democratic Georgian Republic.