Socialists, Nationalists debate independence

Even on the eve of Georgia pronouncing its independence, country’s main political parties continue heated debate on the matter. As we have reported, Tbilisi is threatened by the advancing Ottoman army at the time, with some Azerbaijani residents welcoming their arrival.

The “Sakartvelo” (Georgia) newspaper of the National Democratic Party has been calling for announcing Georgia’s independence since 1917. Now, they are slamming the ruling Social-Democrats for spoiling relations with nationalist Azerbaijani leaders for purely ideological reasons:

“The Georgian Mensheviks [Social-Democrats] have failed to create the strong “democratic front” of Trans-Caucasia – something that nobody but their own party was, in fact, seeking. Their policy has deeply aggravated the Tatars [Azerbaijanis]. This has spoiled their traditionally friendly relations with us. This has pushed them towards closer and closer union with the Ottomans, to rid themselves of the Socialist predominance [in Trans-Caucasus Republic government]… The [Social-Democrats’] strange policy has turned all of its neighbors against [Georgia]…”

“Sakartvelo” argues further that “the Georgian nation had the chance to avoid this horror. It could find for itself a protector, a supporter, but the ruling parties found this unthinkable. Today, they have to respond to the Georgian nation – where have they been leading them, and what have they led them to.”

In its 24 May issue, the Social-Democrats’ “Ertoba” hits back:

“What did the National-Democrats need to blurt out such an unfounded accusation for?  Do they truly believe, that it is our failure to declare Georgia’s separation [from Trans-Caucasus Republic] that caused the deterioration of our “traditionally friendly” relations with Tatars? Does “Sakartvelo” truly ignore, that our people had never enjoyed friendly relations with the ruling class of the Ottoman empire, and when it comes to the Ottoman democracy, to the extent it exists, we never had any conflict?”

“Not only are we ready stand to account to the Georgian nation, but we act upon the wishes of the Georgian people. It has been the wish of the Georgian people and their democracy to stuck with Russia and seek the protection within its emerging democracy. But as the democracy has vanished from Russia’s horizon, we have decided independence of Trans-Caucasus, which could best protect the democratic interests of the local nations. And if on one hand, Trans-Caucasus democracy has proven itself weak, and on the other hand, foreign enemy has advanced upon us, it is not our crime. It would, on the other hand, have been a crime to articifially weaken the Trans-Caucasus democracy by splitting it up, by seceding and declaring a separate state for Georgia, which both National-Democrats and [Turkish] Beys [aristocratic leaders] so covet.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian)