Issue 3, 2018. June-July



A military parade, high-ranking political guests, celebrations abroad, nationwide concerts and a savvy social media campaign: Georgia has been preparing for months to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921).

Photo by President of Georgia Press Office

The Georgian government has been working hard over the past several months to create a special celebration for the country's Independence Day and the 100th anniversary of the Georgian Democratic Republic.

In addition to official events, at home and abroad, a lively social media campaign was launched to engage young Georgians with the words and ambitions of the men and women who founded the Georgian Democratic Republic.

Photo by Government of Georgia Press Office

While more events are planned for the rest of the year, May 26 was a major celebration across the country and in diaspora communities abroad.

The presidents from six countries and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in addition to a host of high-ranking officials from other nations, joined Georgia in its celebrations. The children and descendants of the Republic's first leader, Noe Jordania, and other prominent statesmen also attended the celebration.

Photo by Government of Georgia Press Office

Democratic Legacy

The Republic did not last long, just three years, from 1918 to 1921, before the democratically elected government was forced into exile and the country fell to Bolshevik Russia.

But the influence of those three years, and the patriotic men and women who strove to create a modern democracy for the Georgian nation following the collapse of the Russian Empire, is still growing.

Scholarly research into the accomplishments of the First Republic continues to uncover more and more details about those fateful years, and with it comes increased recognition for what Noe Jordania and his government were able to do: Among many other accomplishments, the first female Muslim MP was elected in Georgia; the country was one of the first to give women the right to vote; and it had a dynamic foreign policy with efforts to build ties with European powers.

Nationwide Celebrations

The Georgian government held a days-long celebration across the country, complete with a military parade and high-ranking foreign officials. There were also planned events in France, the U.S. and the UK, as well as other countries, and more conferences and openings in honor of the country's First Republic are scheduled to take place until the end of the year.

On May 26th, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili praised the legacy of the First Republic in an address.

Photo by Government of Georgia Press Office

"We created the Georgian Democratic Republic a hundred years ago, but in three short years the Red Army invaded Georgia and the country's independence and our freedom was put on hold for 70 years," Kvirkashvili said while addressing a ceremony. "Over these years, we never betrayed the idea of freedom and passed it from generations to generations and resulted in the restoration of the independence of Georgia 27 years ago."

"The declaration of independence by Georgia in 1918 and its establishment as a sovereign country carries greater importance now. The First Republic's experience is another strong argument proving our Western identity. And the fact that Georgia is now so strongly pursuing the path of integration into NATO and Europe originates from there [the year of 1918]," he added.

Photo by President of Georgia Press Office

At the same event, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili hailed the country's successful foreign policy, its engagement with the West and its developing democracy. "Georgia has never [before] had such representative delegations as are now in Georgia, and we are confident that this is a prerequisite for victory that is leading us to our strategic goal, our membership in NATO and the European Union," Margvelashvii said.

"Our goal is clear; we must maintain our country's independence. We should establish a free country in which our citizens, through their multiple talents, will strengthen our homeland and leave a legacy of achievements for our future generations as our ancestors [did]....The unity of our nation clearly demonstrate that Georgia is walking the path of victory. Together with our friends we will move only in this direction.

"God Bless Georgia!" President Margvelashvili said.