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Georgia celebrates 30 anniversary of referendum day on the restoration of independence.

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, April 1
The referendum of March 31, 1991, is one of the most important events in Georgia’s history, based on which on April 9, 1991, the Supreme Council of Georgia declared the restoration of Georgia's state independence. On this day, 99.08% of Georgian people voted for gaining independence from the Soviet Union rule of 70 years.

The independence restoration was announced by Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the chairman of the Supreme Council of Georgia, later chosen as the first president of Georgia.

“We consider it expedient that the Supreme Council of Georgia, taking into account the will of Georgian people expressed in the referendum, declares the restoration of Georgia’s independence before the civilized nations of the world… The will of Georgian people has come true, long live independent Georgia!” said Gamsakhurdia on April 9th, 1991.

March 31 is also Gamsakhurdia's birthday, who would have turned 82 yesterday. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the Speaker of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze paid tribute to the memory of the first President and laid flowers at his grave at the Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures. In his statement, Garibashvili stressed the Gamsakhurdia's immeasurable contribution to the restoration of state independence.

Ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia also made a statement on the 30th anniversary of the historical referendum, which he called the turning point in the recent history of the country. According to him, March 31, 1991, was the beginning of the construction of a modern Georgian state.

According to Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, March 31 is a day of greatest importance as 30 years ago, Georgian people chose a path leading towards Europe and development. “This day marks the inception of new, liberated Georgia,” reads FM’s statement.

The restoration of state independence in 1991 was based on the 26 May 1918 Act of Independence, resulting in the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Unfortunately, the short-lived republic was re-invaded by the Russian Army in 1921, which led to Georgia’s forceful sovietization.