Various

The Falsification of History: In 1801 Georgia Joined Russia of Its Own Free Will

9 November, 2017

On October 25, 2017, online editions Geworld.ge and Sakinform released an identical article headlined “Neither God, nor Mankind Needs Ungrateful Man and Nation!” The publication contains historical fabrications about the Russian-Georgian relations in the 19th century. The author rejects annexation of Georgian kingdoms and principalities by Russia and notes that Georgia joined Russia of its own free will that, as the author claims, had a positive influence on its development.

Fabrication No.1: In 1801 Georgia joined Russia of its own free will.
Real fact: In 1801 Russia annexed the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti.

Georgia did not join the Russian Empire of its own free will. In 1801 Russia annexed the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti. Subsequently, Russia also annexed other kingdoms and principalities of Georgia.

  • 1801 – The Russian Empire abolished the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti
  • 1810 – The Russian Empire abolished the Kingdom of Imereti
  • 1811 – The Russian Empire abolished the autocephalous status of the Georgian Church
  • 1828 – The Russian Empire abolished the Principality of Guria
  • 1834 – The Russian Empire took control of the Principality of Svaneti
  • 1858 – Annexation of Svaneti
  • 1864 – The Russian Empire abolished the Principality of Abkhazia
  • 1867 – Annexation of the Principality of Samegrelo

On September 12, 1801, Russian Emperor Alexander I issued a manifesto on joining the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti to Russia. The manifesto was read out to the Georgians gathered at the Sioni Cathedral on April 12, 1802. To avoid any resistance from Georgians, the Cathedral was surrounded by Russian troops. By annexing the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, the Russian Empire violated the Treaty of Georgievsk signed between the Russian Empire and the Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti in 1783. The Russian Empire gradually abolished other Georgian kingdoms and principalities as well and annexed their territories. In 1811, Russia abolished the autocephalous status of the Georgian Church and subordinated it to the Russian Synod.

Fabrication No.2: Georgians did not allow Prince David of Georgia to ascend the throne of Kartli-Kakheti.|
Real fact: It was the Russian Empire that did not allow Prince David of Georgia to ascend the throne.

the death of King George XII, his son, Prince David of Georgia should have ascended the throne, but Russia went against it. After annexation, Prince David, together with other representatives of the Royal House of Bagrationi, was exiled to Russia. By this, Russia averted a threat of restoration of the monarchy in Kartli-Kakheti.

Fabrication No.3: The Russian Empire promoted the establishment of Georgian national consciousness.
Real fact: The Russian Empire restricted Georgian language teaching at schools.

The author of the article makes reference to the Society for the Spreading of Literacy among Georgians, which, as the author claims, operated with the support of the Russian authorities. Actually, Russia had no goal to promote the Georgian language at schools. In 1881, teaching the Georgian language at schools became non-mandatory. The Society for the Spreading of Literacy among Georgians led by Ilia Chavchavadze started to open schools in villages and supplied them with books at its own expense. The newspaper Iveria, which was led by Ilia Chavchavadze and which published various materials critical towards the Russian government, became a permanent target of censorship. In 1906, the newspaper was closed.

Fabrication No.4: In 1878, Russia returned Adjara to Georgia.
Real fact: By receiving Adjara in 1878, the Russian Empire expanded its own territories.

the July 13, 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Russia took control of Adjara, Kars and Ardahan; moreover, upon the Britain’s initiative, the Batumi port was granted the status of Porto Franco (free economic zone). Porto Franco transformed Batumi into a European-style city, which attracted investors from the oil industry sector. Construction of the Batumi-Baku railway in 1883 goes back just to that period.

Georgia was not an independent subject during that period; it was annexed by the Russian Empire. Thus, not only the Russian Empire did not return Adjara to Georgia, but it further expanded its own territories. If previously Adjara was controlled by the Ottoman Empire, now it appeared in the hands of the Russian Empire.

Real fact: Batumi, Kars ad Ardahan were ceded by Russia to Turkey under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed in 1918.

Under the peace treaty signed in Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918 between the Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire), Russia ceded Kars, Ardahan and Batumi to Turkey through neglecting the interests of the Transcaucasian government. The Transcaucasian Sejm convoked by the Transcaucasian Commissariat on February 10, 1918 refused to cede Kars, Ardahan and Batumi to the Ottoman Empire; however, Turkey insisted on meeting the commitments of the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty.

this situation, General Otto von Lossow, head of the German mission to Georgia, pledged Akaki Chkhenkeli, the Head and Foreign Minister in the government of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, that his country would protect Georgia against Turkish occupation and recognize the country’s independence. In 1918 Georgia declared its independence with the support of Germany.

See full timeline at the following link


Prepared by Irakli Iagorashvili
Myth Detector Laboratory