Regular Political Errors or Fear of Loss of Power? – Part One
23 September, 2010
Regular Political Errors or  Fear of Loss of Power? – Part One

 

There was a huge chance of toppling the Menshevik government by strengthened professional law enforcing structures to let the National-Democrats come to power as a result. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.


GJ – In addition to the fact that the Georgian government was compelled from the very first days of its independence to be making political decisions in a very unstable and complicated international situation (saying nothing about process of building a new state), its Menshevik authorities made myriad incorrigible

mistakes which yielded into an absolutely disastrous result for the country. Could you please give a chronology and description of those inadvertent or maybe deliberate errors made by the-then Georgia’s government?
SM – The first most egregious mistakes were made in the process of building the army and formation of armed forces in general. Cavalry has traditionally been a very popular and agreeable part of Georgia’s military history. Anybody who is slightly familiar with geography of Georgia in terms of undelayed movement of military gear and personnel from one place to another, cavalry could be more efficient here than any mechanical means of transportation even today. For example, during WWII when Germans were on the assault towards the Caucasus Mountains, cavalry played a decisive role. To put it more specifically, transportation of manpower and provisions as well as communications was made much easier with the help of cavalry. That’s the way Georgia’s terrain works. There was not even one household without a horse in Georgia. In a military action, cavalry used to be an indispensable asset. Georgians were also highly skilled in the art of artillery. As we are analyzing the reasons of our 1921 defeat, every problem that had occurred then was a consequence of not having cavalry which was eliminated by Noah Zhordania as an army unit. Let us now have a brief look at aviation! Georgians were seriously interested in aviation starting from the very beginning of the 20th century. It was not an accident that one of the biggest stars of the American aviation was an ethnic Georgian – Alexander Kartveli (kartvelishvili). Beriashvili, one of the most outstanding representatives of the Russian aviation was also an ethnic Georgian. There was academician Nadiradze, also a Georgian, in Rocket-building industry. In a word, innovations and inventions in the military field were a commonplace thing in Georgia and among those Georgians who lived outside the country, but the problem was that Zhordania had no trust and belief in military experts.


GJ – Why did he not trust the military specialists?
SM – Because they were militarily ranked during WWI and recognized by the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. Although most of the generals, including the brilliant General Mazniashvili, were of a peasant background, the majority of the afore-mentioned 20 thousand officers were aristocrats, and also, the followers of Ilia Chavchavadze.

GJ – Was Zhordania aware of this?

SM – He certainly was. Most of them were dyed in the wool nationalists, and hence, not acceptable for Zhordania.

GJ – Zhordania was a socialist with imperial thinking, wasn’t he?

SM – He absolutely was. He was an imperialist with Russian mentality, but not a “Romanov’ adherent. He was a social-democrat who was afraid to death of creating military structures in the country.

 

GJ – Was he afraid of military coup d’etat to happen? Was he scared to lose power?
SM – Yes, he was! Let me remind you that the first Georgian military units were created as early as in 1915 at the German-Turkish front by the initiative of genuine Georgians like Gyorgy Machabeli, Leo Kereselidze, Mikhako Tsereteli and other followers of Ilia Chavchavadze. They all returned to Georgia after declaring Georgia’s independence, and naturally, found themselves involved in national military structures. In 1917, they founded the National-Democratic Party headed by Niko Nikoladze as an honorary chairman. National-Democrats were involved in law-enforcement structures everywhere in the country. For example, Levan - poet Vazha-Pshavela’s son, member of the Party was chief of police in the Pshavi Region. Head of secret police Kedia was also member of the same party. Christian-Democrats – opposition to Zhordania were also massively involved in law-enforcement structures. Members of this party were ranking Georgian officers – the military of noble background. The only armed force which supported Zhordania and Mensheviks was the people’s guard made up of non-professionals and a crowd of former brigands and other criminals.

 

GJ – In a word, Zhordania’s government was actually faced with a serious danger, wasn’t it?

SM – There was a huge chance of toppling the Menshevik government by strengthened professional law enforcing structures to let the national-democrats come to power as a result.

GJ – It has now become clear why Zhordania was against strengthening the army, but how could he imagine otherwise the effective defense of the country and its independence?
SM – Moreover! Georgia at that time possessed about100 airplanes. Georgia was the only country via which the Azerbaijan oil reached Europe. Meanwhile, when the Soviets occupied Georgia in 1921, the country was out of fuel, and 90 % of the aircrafts were out of order. Zhordania relinquished the air park, eliminated the cavalry, did not open the arsenal and left the tanks dry of fuel. He did not trust the Georgian army and never supported it. Instead all the provisions, clothes and arms were amply in the hands of the People’s Guard, which fled the Loreh District from the very first hours of the war so, and they did it so quickly that their whereabouts have not been known since then. They have not even moved a finger for the defense of the country and its independence because they were good for nothing as a military force and they knew nothing except plundering and looting. They were not even motivated to fight. They would never make any sacrifice for the motherland. There is much more to it! Zhordania did not care at all about economic reforms. He never introduced the monetary reform and did not let the stable Georgian currency into circulation. He introduced vouchers which were devalued in no time. This all meant that he made no steps towards the nation’s economic reinforcement.

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