Direct SpeechIndepthRepublic 100

On Recognition of Georgia by Entente Powers: January 14, 1920

Address by Noe Zhordania, President of the Government to the Constituent Assembly

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Noe Zhordania (also spelled Noé Jordania), President of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

“Citizens! Allow me to congratulate you, to congratulate the Georgian people on joining the community of nations with unfurled banners, and on assuming our equal station among the peoples of Europe.

From now on, the Georgian Nation is accepted by the great nations, as equal – among equals.

Our present life, as well as our path to the future have now been intimately, without mediation, intertwined with the West, and no power can break this union.

…and we owe this great historic event to one circumstance: an unequivocal will of the Georgian people, rallying to the same banner, united in their will.

If hundred years ago, Georgia had been lain low by feudal bickering, today Georgia is being resurrected by democratic unity.

As Georgia fell, it did not exist as a body united, come suffering or joy. The kings had failed to build a whole, unifying motherland.

Georgia of today, as it rises, represents one body, organically fused, in peril as well as in glory. Democracy gave us our united motherland.

With Georgia’s erstwhile fall, fell the throne of the kings and the governance of the feudal lords.

With Georgia’s resurrection, the Georgian people have risen and the governance of democracy has prevailed.

The people regained what the kings have squandered – Freedom – and they created the state of the people, order of the people, governance by the people.

Such is the new Georgia as it stood before the eyes of Europe, awaiting its verdict. We did not come begging for charity, but to claim our right [applause]. And they asked us – What bring you here? And we answered: we bring two thousand years of culture, a country rich in beauty and nature; we bring the functioning democratic order, creative democracy and we demand the rightful place we deserve, in this antechamber of Asia. We are not the people to become a mandated territory; we carry our own mandate, we are our own masters [applause, ovation]…and we could offer proof – not in words only, nor by our good intentions, but through the evidence of our indefatigable state-building.

Text of the speech as published
Text of the speech by Noe Jordania on January 14, 1920; Retrieved from the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia.

Our words and our actions were first acclaimed by the Workers’ Democracy, as we were recognized as an independent Georgia in Lucerne [applause]. And now, as several months have passed, the ruling classes have reached the same conclusion, affirmed at the Paris Conference. I can say without hesitation, that in this past year the Conference has not seen such a consensus, as it saw for Georgia.

If the workers were gathered there, in Lucerne, state representatives have conferred in Paris. When it comes to Georgia, every class, every party, every nation speaks the same language.

Here is Great Britain – motherland of culture, great industry, and free trade.

Here is France – birthplace of the Great Revolution, and the first disciple of human rights.

Here are the United States – motherland of glorious democracy and of political ingenuity.

Here is magnificent Italy – this living bridge between the civilizations ancient and new, with its sun so hot, and with its people full of quick spark, just like ours. And all of these nations took our extended hand as friends, accepting their role in the baptism of our newborn nation.

Gentlemen! We can be proud. The rare thing has happened – whole Europe, irrespective of party and class spoke to us with one voice: may your birth be blessed, welcome! and we shall stay true to this blessing, proffered to us in unison – by becoming truly European.

…As we shall, if we pursue the same policy we have implemented up till now; if we walk firmly on the road we took up till today.

Great events have happened and will continue to happen around us. We need great fortitude and wisdom not to be led astray from our path. You know that the Soviet Russia offered us military alliance. We have refused categorically – as you have read our response.

For what would such an alliance signify? It would mean us breaking the link with Europe, as they [the Soviets] have broken, and turning towards the East, where they now look for their new allies.

The West, or the East – this is the question that is posed to us and on this question, we cannot hesitate. We have always chosen and will continue to choose the West, and if the Bolsheviks cling to the East, this is only because the West refused them alliance, refused to recognize them.

You can see now, that the paths of Georgia and of Russia have diverged in this as well. Our path leads us to Europe, while Russia moves towards Asia. I know, the enemies will say – you are siding with the imperialists! But I say without hesitation: I’d rather stand with western imperialists than with eastern fanatics! [long applause].

Gentlemen, let us not forget the elementary notions of science, let us not be blinded and confused by idle talk. The elementary thing is that working people stake their hopes on culture, not barbarity. They are the heirs to the capitalist society, not of the Asian self-isolation. They [the working class] claim the right to the riches they have created under imperialist direction. But they stand fully by the tenets of the European industry and of the European ideas. And what now, we may see ourselves dragged towards barbarity? No, we shall not go there, even if this path seems to lead more leftwards. On the contrary, we shall tell Soviet Russia: come back to Europe, embrace democracy, become a European nation!

Gentlemen, policy is judged by its results. The best policy is the one that gives best results and our policy, our path has led us from victory to victory.

It has saved us from being ravaged by disbanded armies, when the front fell apart.

It has saved us from being conquered by the Ottomans.

It has helped us avoid internal strife and anarchy.

It has helped us preserve all gains of the revolution.

It has kept us safe from foreign adventurism, gave us alliance with neighbors.

It now brought us to the family of nations.

We won’t leave this tried path, and we will defend it – arms in hand – from the invades.

We will protect ourselves, our borders: “if we have ourselves, we are not forsaken”. Long live Free Georgia and its Alliance with Europe!”

 [applause, ovation]

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian)

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