Home Society Zakatala and Davit-Gereji Ridge are the Ancient Georgian Territories

Zakatala and Davit-Gereji Ridge are the Ancient Georgian Territories

Zakatala and Davagareji Range are ancient Georgian territories

In XI-XII Centuries, the strongest state of Georgia was threatening all the Middle Eastern countries. According to the census conducted in 1254,the population of Georgia was  8 million , – comparably more than population of many western European counties. However, due to meanness of times  added by our  spinelessness, at the beginning of XXI c. (2014) number of population of Georgia reduced  to 3 713 thousand i.e. by 2,2 times . Territory of Georgia reduced also as the Shagren’s leather and, instead of 145 thousand sq.km. in XII-XIII cc, now it makes only 69.7 thousand sq.km.   

During the almost two centuries, a basis of existence of a sovereign state – a legal notion of State Border, was “unknown” for Georgia. Because of this, Russia, due to various (objective and subjective) circumstances and without asking to the Georgian nation, first in 1918 and then in 1921 and even thereafter, as a result of the ceasefire negotiations and agreements, transferred the Georgian territories to Turkey. As Prof. Vazha Neidze underlines, the Okrugs of Artvin (3271,3sq.km.), Artaani (5604.5sq.km.) and Oltisi (2983sq.km.) were given to Turkey, while Zakatala Okrug (3985.5sq.km.) was given to Azerbaijan, absolutely without justification. In total, these alienated territories made 15884.8sq.km.

The Zakatala Okrug as an administrative-and-territorial unit, was created in 1860 within the  Russian Empire  and, formed a part of Tbilisi Province. In 1897,Tbilisi Province like in case of composing the family lists in 1886, was divided into 9 mazras and 1 okrug  : Tbilisi, Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, Borchalo, Gori, Dusheti, Sighnaghi, Telavi, Tianeti Mazras and Zakatala Okrug. The  latter was divided into Aliabadi, Belajani, Char-Mukhaki and Kaki counties with the administrative center in Zakatala. The okrug covered a considerable part of the historical Saingilo. Even according to the map composed by the Russian cartographer E. Kondratiev in 1886,   Zakatala Okrug was a part of Tbilisi Province. Preface  of the second volume of the Gross Book of the First Census of the population of the indicates that “The peoples in the Georgians group are considered homogenous unity. To them, together with others, belong Ingilos, who reside in Zakatala Okrug. (1987, v.2, 1905   v. 2 XXVII-XXVIII).

In 1897, a total number of population in Zakatala Okrug was 84 224, among them: Georgians – 12 394 (14,7%), Tatars (Azeris) – 28 950 (34,4%), Khyndzs and Andiels  as the majority  – 34 130 (40,5%), and comparably less number of Armenians (2100), Russians (315) and Ukrainians (118)

In the Russian Empire of Georgia 1916 year

Unfortunately, later on, rather big territorial areas – 1093sq.k. – a part of Garej-Karayi and Eldar Valleys, which belonged to Tbilisi and Sighnaghi  Mazras, were  transferred to Azerbaijan. But, we can say that his was not an end of the process of gifting the Georgian lands. As established on the grounds of searching for and analyzing the appropriate documents,  In 1929, the north-eastern part of Shatili – Teretegi area (212sq.km) was transferred to Chechnya. Earlier, about 2478sq.km areas were transferred to Armenia. In sum, within 1921   1935, leaders of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, willingly or unintentionally alienated 19919,5sq.km. Georgian lands. Thus, both Menshevik and Bolshevik governments of Georgia lost a significant part of the country’s territory so that even did not ty to do something against. Azerbaijan received the Georgian lands By quite unclear reason that as if it  was short of pasture areas.  According to the maps composed in 1921and1924, the Georgia-Azerbaijan border passed on the ridge of Gareji mountain, and the most important religious-and-cultural center of the  feudal era of Georgia  quite a big part of the Monastery caves complex  occurred  within the territory of Azerbaijan. It should be noted that as earlier as in times of Davit Agmashenebeli, the Davit-Gareji monasteries  were turned into the royal property and released from the taxes. Enemies ruined and depressed the Davit Gareji several times, however, the monastic life has never been terminated there. In XVIII c. Davit Gareji again became the property of the Georgian kings who owned extensive lands and villages there.

At present, the Georgia-Azerbaijan relations becomes significantly tensioned because of the belonging of the Davit Gareji Monastery Complex. Azerbaijan is the friend  and partner county of Georgia. There had never been between us any tension and material misunderstanding. As to the given case, we believe that the Azerbaijan’s side will envisage  the historical realities and a truth will celebrate. But until, it is needed that the emotions of both sides tot to overlap the problem, while the commission created for this  issue, be given the possibility of a normal working.

Despite the fact that during 1920s and even thereafter many Georgians were occupying top  governmental positions in the Soviet Union, Georgia damaged considerably by the national viewpoint just during the said period. In early 1920s   the government issued different decrees for granting priority to the Georgian language, the Decree of the Peoples Commissar for Education was published (in 1923) indicating that all affairs and correspondences  with the local bodies of the republic should be in Georgian and that any violator of this instruction will be brought to justice. But this was all. Nothing more was done in this direction. Moreover, the “Transcaucasian Dictator” Sergo Orjonikidze with his lack of education, was making only anti-Georgian things and, by this, causing enormous damage to the Georgian nation. He requested to conduct affairs in Armenian language in the regions of Georgia populated by Armenian nationalities. So, it comes  that in other regions of the country we had to legalize clerical work in different languages (Azerbaijani, Greek, other languages. . . ) “Our Sergo” was threatening the Georgian intelligentsia: “in case of sabotage   a bullet  will be the contact language with you”. At the same time, Sergo  protected strongly other languages. In 1923,on the Baku XII Party Conference, he declared”: “If we  want to form a strong soviet power only Azerbaijani language should be necessarily introduced for communications in the country’s organizations”. In  that period Azeris comprised 32 of the population of Azerbaijan, in terms were the other nations too had the large compact settlements there – Russians (220 thousand), Armenians (282 thousand, etc.

By the demographic point of view, a serious importance deserves locations of the border villages and their sizes. Some  of such villages are situated quite far from the borders and, are scarce populated, especially it is true for our northern border (with Russia, bordered by our 20 villages of  Mestia, Lentekhi, Oni, Dusheti and Kazbegi municipalities where a total number of population makes 1508. of these 20 villages 3 are not populated at all, while in the other17 only Georgians reside

Number of the border villages in Georgia is 132. Of this, 8 are not populated while a total number of population in 1the rest124 villagesis  66178. 95 villages are populated by only Georgians,  12 villages – by only Armenians, 10 – by only Azeris, and 1 – by only Ossetians . the rest villages  are populated by mixed nationalities,  namely, in 2 – Azeris an Armenians,   in 2 – Greeks and Azeris, in 1 – Georgians and Azeris, and in 1 – Greeks and Georgians.

In view of the   country’s security, the border demarcation, i.e. determination of the border on the basis of delimitation thereof with the neighboring countries, is of a great importance. It covers drawing up  the border line, arranging the special border posts in the defined points. This should be implemented by the mixed commission of the neighboring countries, while the demarcation documents should be approved  by the governments   After disintegration of the Soviet Union, the re-demarcation of the borders, i.e. restoration of the earlier established border lines, reconciliations in case of disputable issues, renewal of the border posts etc.,  became a need. This is necessary by view also that in times of the  communists governance, many habitants of the North Caucasus were leaving their place of residence for Georgia

Prof. Anzor Totadze,




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