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Republic News

1919: British Prestige at Stake, as Denikin strikes Georgia troops in Sochi

(The Georgian Messenger, N4, march 16, 1919)

The Sochi incident

The faithless attack of the detachments of the Volunteer Army upon Sochi at the time aroused quite understandable feeling of indignation throughout all Georgia.

We use the expression “thoroughly understandable”, for what other feeling could such a deed call forth, which testifies merely to the extreme cowardice and the absence of any conceptions, even the most primitive, among those who committed it, as to waging a regular war.

We will not stop on this aspect of the matter, as we want to point out that we are more interested in the ultimate results of the risky step which the “Denikinites” have undertaken.

In the whole history of this affair there is one point which is exceedingly important. We refer to English prestige.

The readers will probably remember that previous to the attack of the Denikinites the English commander had declared to the Georgian Government that no danger threatened them from this quarter.

None the less the fact took place – the attack was made. The following step of the English authorities there order to General Denikin to withdraw his troops from the district of Sochi – was clearly dictated first of all by the necessity of supporting the prestige of England. Great Britain fulfilled her duty first of all in this connection towards herself.

This was the interpretation of the intervention of the commanders in Constantinople which was made by the public opinion of the whole Transcaucasus. It would seem that with this one could consider the whole Sochi incident liquidated. ….. – inscrutable are thy ways, O Lord!

It is already a month that negotiations have been going on with General Denikin, but this latter individual not only has no idea of evacuating the district of Sochi, but according to reliable information, continues to mass his forces in this locality.

Such are the facts.

We refrain from drawing any conclusions from the same: we shall merely say that there is one party who is vitally interested in the affair – this is the Republic of Georgia.

She is not in the least interested at the present time in holding on to the Sochi district: indeed, it is three months ago that the Georgian Government declared its readiness to withdraw its forces from the district. For Georgia, however, it is by no means a matter of indifference where Denikin’s forces are located.

Along this front Georgia has a historical and a strategical boundary, and the holding of this boundary alone can guarantee her from the repetition of the Sochi incident. This is the river Makhadur, and this line she must occupy under all circumstances.

The Georgian forces are occupying at the present time the left bank of the Bzyb and cannot remain in this position without the danger of a whole lot of unpleasant surprises. Most serious attention should be paid to this matter. The Sochi must be unraveled or else the delay in doing this will make it necessary to cut it.


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