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Georgia marks the anniversary of Soviet invasion

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, February 26
The sound of protest horns was heard in all towns of Georgia early on Wednesday, as Georgian citizens marked the 88th anniversary of the Russian Red Army’s occupation of Georgia on February 25, 1921. A number of events were held both in Tbilisi and the regions of Georgia commemorating the day the Russian Red Army took control of Tbilisi, overthrew the newly created Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, which Moscow had already recognized as a sovereign state on May 7, 1920 and established Bolshevik rule, which lasted 70 years. This military operation aimed to establish Soviet control of territories which had been part of Imperial Russia until World War I.

With blazing headlights and horns and a minute’s silence Tbilisi residents honoured those who died during this invasion. Students formed a human chain in all public schools in Tbilisi as a sign of protest.

“By such actions society expresses its resistance to the occupation and the occupiers,” the Chairman of Tbilisi City Hall, Zaal Samadashvili, said. Samadashvili also announced an initiative to rename streets which currently bear the names of Bolsheviks after Georgian soldiers. “Very soon we will name several streets after officers who heroically died fighting the Russian aggression of August, 2008,” Samadashvili said at a special session of Tbilisi City Hall “These heroes were and will always be Tbilisi residents. Their names will be immortalized in this way,” Samadashvili added.

Minister of Culture and Sport Nika Rurua visited the village of Shorapani to unveil a memorial plaque commemorating people shot by the Bolsheviks in 1924 for planning a coup against the Soviet regime. “A nation which forgets such things will never be able to become successful,” Rurua said, adding that “we should remember this day in order to make sure that it does not repeat itself in Georgia.”

The Georgian Parliament began its plenary session with a minute’s silence. MP Rusudan Kervalishvili announced that she was asking Parliament to give February 25 a special legal status and declare it “The Day of Russian Annexation.” Parliament Speaker David Bakradze also hosted events dedicated to this date. “From the prospective of the aggression in August, the events of February 1921 acquire a very special meaning. I think that everyone should ponder the historical parallels with today and everyone should realize what our country escaped in August 2008. Today all politicians should once more realize their responsibilities to the country and not play the role of Sergo Orjonikidze, who destroyed the country with his actions,” Bakradze said on Wednesday. .

Meanwhile representatives of the young wing of Irakli Alasania’s Alliance for Georgia held a protest rally in front of the Museum of the Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi. “Saakashvili – the Bolshevik of the 21st century,” was the slogan of the rally. The participants of the rally compared Saakashvili with Orjonikidze and Stalin and said they “will not put up with Georgia’s occupation.”