February 25, 1921 – Heroic Georgians who fought against Russia’s Red Army
25 February, 2016
February 25, 1921 – Heroic Georgians who fought against Russia’s Red Army
February 25 of 1921 is one of the tragic and painful dates in Georgia’s history. On this day Georgia again lost its newly gained independence that lasted less than three years. Soon after freeing itself from Russian Empire’s more than century-old rule and declaring its independence in May of 1918, Red Army invaded Georgia in February of 1921. The Soviet invasion of Georgia was a military campaign by the Soviet Russian Red Army aimed at overthrowing the Social-Democratic (Menshevik) government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia and establishing a Bolshevik regime in the country. Soviet forces took the Georgian capital Tbilisi (then known as Tiflis to most non-Georgian
speakers) after heavy fighting and declared the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic on 25 February 1921.

Russian soldiers in Tbilisi on February 25, 1921
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Georgian Cadets in the yard of Church were the former parliament of Georgia stands at present
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When Russia’s 11th Army entered Georgia, Georgian Army, the People's Guard of Georgia and other volunteers tried to fight the enemy. The main battles took place near Kojori and Tabakhmela, where Georgian cadets (Junkers in Georgian) played an important role in fighting Russian army. Georgians honorably confronted Russians and managed to restrain the enemy for some period, yet despite their commitment and substantial effort, 11th army invaded the capital. Although there were a significant number of highly qualified Georgian officers who had served in the Imperial Russian military, the army as a whole was poorly equipped and was defeated eventually.

Russia's Red Army in Tbilisi

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Georgian Cadets
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Maro Makashvili

On 24 February, the Georgian commander-in-chief, Giorgi Kvinitadze, bowed to the inevitable and ordered a withdrawal to save his army from complete encirclement and the city from destruction. It’s worth mentioning that Maro Makashvili, 20-year-old daughter of poet Konstantine Makashvili , who fought near Tbilisi as a volunteer nurse, died on the battlefield as a result of bomb explosion.


Ivane Javakhishvili

It is also noteworthy that during the times of hardship Ivane Javakhishvili, Georgian historian and one of the founding fathers of the Tbilisi State University, addressed his students that were gathered in the yard of the university on February 23, 1921. 
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“My sons, my duty is
to call on you to study, yet there are certain moments in life, when you have to put away everything, take the guns and fight the enemy. Today I call on you to take the guns and defend your country”, said the outstanding public figure in his speech.

Georgian cadets who fell on the battlefield near Kojori, where buried with big respect in the yard of the church on Rustaveli Avenue, one of the central streets of Tbilisi. The church was subsequently destroyed by the Soviet regime in 1930. Today Georgia's Parliament building is situated there.

On March 17, 1921 the Government of Georgia left the country and migrated to Europe in order to continue their struggle from there, however they were not able to free the country from Bolshevik rule that lasted 70 years.


Related stories:

The Fateful Battle of Krtsanisi


Ekvtime Takaishvili – The Man of God and guardian of Georgia’s treasure
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