Georgian leaders marked today 30 years anniversary of the referendum in which 99.08% of 3,326,100 Georgian voters opted for independence from the 70-year Soviet rule.
To honor the anniversary, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze laid flowers at the grave of the first President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, one of the most prominent leaders of pro-independence movement. Coincidentally, Gamsakhurdia would have turned 82 today.
In his remarks PM Garibashvili highlighted that Gamsakhurdia’s “personal merit in restoring state independence is immeasurable.”
“Even today we need the unity, spirit and purposefulness that could be felt strongly in Georgia on March 31, 1991,” said Speaker Talakvadze later, addressing the Parliament.
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, on his part, tweeted that the “day marks the inception of new, liberated Georgia,” as voters in the 1991 referendum chose “the path leading to Europe and development.”
The March 31 referendum led to the proclamation of the independence restoration on April 9, 1991, on two-year anniversary from April 9, 1989 Tbilisi massacre. The restoration was based on the 26 May, 1918 Act of Independence, which established the Democratic Republic of Georgia – a short-lived Republic crushed by Soviet Russia in 1921.