Georgia: Independence Drive Accelerating

Statements 26 May 2014

IDFI congratulates every citizen and supporter of Georgia with Independence Day. Especially for this day the Institute releases a secret document kept in the archives of the USA for the first time. This document was prepared on 24 April 1990, at an early stage of Georgian independence, by Directorate Intelligence of the USA as an analytical memorandum on the events developed in Georgia.

We would like to remind our readers that one of the areas of activities of IDFI is ensuring openness of state archives and access to documentary materials. In this direction the organization cooperates with world’s leading research institutions and scientific organizations. At the instance of IDFI, its partner organization, National Security Archive at the George Washington University, has requested documents concerning April 9, 1989 events in Georgia several years ago. These documents, exclusively obtained for IDFI soon will be fully published. However, until then we present one of the documents, since we strongly believe that knowledgeable choice of the future generations can only be achieved through objective study and rethinking of the past.

As for the document presented below, its title is Georgia: Independence Drive Accelerating. According to the summary, the brutal dispersal of April 9, 1989 has increased pursuit of the republic’s independence, lost in 1921. Differences, though, exist between those who favor a tough approach to Moscow and demand independence quickly, and others who favor a more moderate, gradualist approach. According to the report, a number of republic minorities, feeling oppressed by the Georgians, oppose Georgian independence, and considerable violence is likely to erupt periodically. The author of memorandum notes that Moscow will attempt to avoid military intervention in the republic’s civil conflicts, but will likely take an increasingly tough line in response to republic steps towards independence.

It is also mentioned in the document that greater anti-Soviet feeling among Georgians has occurred. Demonstrators have destroyed and defaced statues of Lenin and vandalized other symbols of Soviet power. Demonstrations of varying size take place in Tbilisi each Friday evening at 6:00 with leaders from various nationalist groups advocating secession from Soviet Union. Georgian nationalist and Orthodox Church flags now fly from nearly all the buildings in the republic’s capital. A new language law makes Georgian the republic’s primary language; all republic schools are teaching Georgian history. According to analysts of US intelligence service, the Georgian Orthodox Church is an important source of inspiration for Georgian nationalism. Citizens openly attend church services. The analysts believe that Georgian are returning to the church for two reasons – it is now possible to openly participate in religious activities without fear of repercussions, and it is a uniquely powerful way for Georgians to express their ethnic identity.

According to assessment of the analysts, Moscow, fears that anti-Russian elements of Georgian nationalism will become more pronounced if Georgians are not allowed more independence. If Russians were to become the targets of violence or if radical nationalists were to attempt the violent overthrow of the republic government, Moscow would feel compelled to intervene, probably through airlifting non-Georgians out of the republic or economic sanctions. Moscow would still be reluctant to use force or military coercion, however. Gorbachev’s reaction to the Lithuanian situation will have different implications to different groups of Georgian nationalists. The moderates are likely to see his hard line as further evidence that independence should be achieved gradually through negotiations, and that precipitate steps should not be taken. Radicals, however, may perceive these events as proof that Moscow will never willingly allow a republic to secede and the only solution is radical action.

See the full document.


/public/upload/pdf/Georgia Independence Drive Accelerating.pdf

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