26th May - Independence Day of Georgia
104 years since the declaration of Georgia's independence!
Georgia's Independence Day is a national holiday in Georgia, celebrated annually on May 26, to mark the declaration of Georgia's independence. Although Georgia was officially separated from the USSR on April 9, 1991, Independence Day as a national holiday is celebrated on May 26, when it was declared in 1918. This year in Tbilisi, the Georgian National Council adopted the Act of State Independence and established a European-style Georgian state, a democratic system: "From now on, the people of Georgia have sovereign rights and Georgia is a fully independent state" - the historic act of independence, Noe Zhordania.
The Democratic Republic of Georgia was established on May 26, 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire and the revolution of 1917. The restoration of state independence was the result of two important events - the national movement in the early 19th century and the First World War.
Developments of the Democratic Republic of Georgia
At the time when Georgia was declared an independent republic, the population was 2.5 million, the area was 107,600 km2, the capital was still Tbilisi, and the official language was Georgian.
It was bordered by Russia and the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus to the north, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the south.
In the spring of 1917, after the overthrow of the Russian monarchy, dual power was established in the Caucasus: on the one hand, the Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies; On the other hand, the Transcaucasian Special Commissariat set up by the Russian Provisional Government, which had no real power. At the same time, the first National Council of Georgia was convened, which was attended by representatives of all political and public organizations of different nations. The Congress convened the National Council of Georgia, which served as the Government of Georgia during this transitional period, before the declaration of independence.
After the victory of the October Revolution of 1917, the South Caucasus entered an even more difficult situation. Influential local political forces did not recognize the Soviet government and already in November 1917 formed the local government - The Transcaucasian Commissariat, which created the highest legislative body - Transcaucasian Seim, where Transcaucasian deputies of the Constituent Assembly of Russia entered.
In February-May 1918, during the Russian Civil War, Georgia became part of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federal Republic. It was headed by the Transcaucasian Commissariat, which consisted of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan representatives. But the federation proved to be non-functional, due to the incompatibility of the political and economic interests of the federation members. Turkish aggression was also added to this. As a result, it occupied Batumi, Ardahan, and Ozurgeti, threatening Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki.
The meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Georgia was held on May 24-25, 1918. Chaired by Zhordania. The letter of Akaki Chkhenkeli, the head of the Transcaucasian delegation to the negotiations with the Turks, was discussed at the sitting. In the letter, he described the difficult situation created during the negotiations and called for the acceleration of Georgia's declaration of independence. A decision was made to adopt the Act of Independence of Georgia after the self-destruction of the Transcaucasian Seim. The composition of the future government was approved at the session. They also decided to call the Georgian National Council the Parliament of Georgia.
What Happened on May 26, 1918?
The current political situation led to the abolition of the Transcaucasian Federation. On May 26, 1918, the Georgian National Council declared independence in Tbilisi and created the Democratic Republic of Georgia. In the following days, Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence. They adopted the "Georgian State Independence Act", which stated: "From now on the people of Georgia have sovereign rights, and Georgia is a full-fledged independent state; the political form of independent Georgia is a democratic republic. Georgia is permanently neutral in international wars." "The Democratic Republic of Georgia equally ensures the civil and political rights of all citizens within its borders, regardless of their nationality, religion, social status, and gender; the Democratic Republic of Georgia creates all the conditions for the free development of the nations living on its territory."
The highest body of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was the Parliament (National Council), and the executive body was the Council of Ministers, which was accountable to the Parliament. Both parliament and government were in coalition, but were dominated by members of the Social Democratic Party, supported not only by workers but also by peasants.
The first government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia was formed as follows: Chairman of the Government - Noe Ramishvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Akaki Chkhenkeli, Minister of Internal Affairs - Noe Ramishvili, Minister of Military Affairs - Gr. Giorgadze, Minister of Finance, Trade and Industry - G. Juruli, Minister of Justice - Aleksi Meskhishvili, Minister of Public Education - G. Laskhishvili, Minister of Agriculture and Labor - N. Khomeriki, Minister of Roads - I. Lortkipanidze.
Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in March 1919 with the participation of 60% of the electorate. The Constituent Assembly replaced the National Council and approved the legal force of the Act of May 26, 1918, restoring the state independence of Georgia.
The Democratic Republic of Georgia, whose independence was recognized by the leading European countries, existed for less than three years, until its occupation by Soviet Russia, on February 25, 1921.
How is Georgia's Independence Day Celebrated?
On May 26, Georgia's Independence Day is celebrated with big ceremonial events all over the country. The fact that "This day is ours" is evidenced by the festive mood and various activities. This day is a national holiday and is celebrated together or separately, although for one purpose.
The main event - the swearing-in ceremony - is held at Freedom Square. Georgia's State Independence Day - May 26, is celebrated with the performance of the national anthem not only in the country but also around the world, at 17:10, the historic time of the declaration of independence. Last year, the leaders of foreign countries, ministers, and officials congratulated Georgia on its 103rd anniversary of independence. On this day, various sights of the world are lit in the colors of the Georgian flag. Streets and airports throughout Georgia are decorated with May 26 flags. In Tbilisi and regions - in 14 different cities, cultural, sports, and entertainment events dedicated to Independence Day, wine tasting, entrepreneurial fairs, theatrical performances, and concerts featuring famous Georgian performers are being held.
The involvement of the private sector in the events dedicated to Independence Day is growing every year. All structures of the state are involved in the May 26 events and they are coordinated by the Georgian government administration. Organized by "Produce in Georgia", an entrepreneurial market is held on Rustaveli Avenue, which aims to popularize Georgian entrepreneurs and their products. Many types of products made in Georgia are presented and sold at the exhibition. In addition to this, the event will feature food outlets, entertainment spaces, various workshops, etc.
We should also mention the advertising campaign of digital creative agency Livingstone, related to this day. To celebrate Georgia's Independence Day in 2019, a campaign called "Mkitkhe Moambe" - Knowledge Leads to Freedom, was dedicated to the sharing of knowledge and its importance. The project was created in collaboration with the Administration of the Government of Georgia and the Creative Agency "Livingstone". It included a variety of creative events in the digital space, public places, and streets where people could find adventures.
The idea of "knowledge leads to freedom" serves to share knowledge and thus reminds the history of Georgia. The project aims to revive the names and surnames of the main streets in the big cities of Georgia, to tell the story of famous people, to remember their role and merits, and in this way to appreciate the independence and freedom of their own country.