ISSN 1829-4618

THE PROBLEM OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF TRANSCAUCASIA AND POLITICAL PARTIES

By: Vahan Melikyan, Institute of History, NAS RA

As a separate intermediary period in the activities of the Transcaucasian Seim could be regarded the formation of the new government.
In March 13 (26), 1918, at the 17th session of the Seim N.Chkheidze, the chairman reported that the «praesidium of the Seim was requested to invite a person who could take the responsibility to form the government».
Reminding the deputies that the new government follows the program-declaration of the Seim, E. Gegechkori presented the priorities of the government.
At first place was the problem of «firm peace and restoration of neighborly relations with Turkey».
All parties responded to the establishment of the new government.
In the period of the February revolution coalition meant the cooperation of socialist and bourgeois elements in the same cabinet. Meanwhile, the European vision of coalition means the introduction in the cabinet of the representatives of different political parties. In normal conditions European governments were mostly homogeneous, i.e. they consist of one party, which comprises majority in the parliament (for example, England).
During exceptional situations, in order to consolidate the state was permitted to organize coalitionary, interparty cabinets.
In the Transcaucasian new government the principle of coalition was put into practice according to European and Russian models. «The formation of our cabinet, concludes «Kavkazskoe slovo» - is a result not of the agreement between two compact socialist and non-socialist groups but of more compound combination - socialist, bourgeois-feudal and national ones».
Thus, in March 13, 1918 the new government of Transcaucasia was formed. It was a coalitionary one which brought together three authoritative Transcaucasian political parties, the latters expressing the interests of the three main peoples of the region. The program of the homogeneous post-October socialist government was not realized and it was impossible since many parties which consider themselves as socialist-revolutionary, were mostly nationalistic, especially Tatar-Muslim groups.
It could be said that after the Bolshevik coup the «socialist» complexity of ARF was released from its chains and the national tendencies began to prevail.
The classical Georgian socialist-Menshevik elite, in the context of the departure from Soviet Russia, termination of the Bolshevism in Baku and separate negotiations with the Turkey, also had gained absolutely nationalistic character; in fact, these forces who had formed the power and government under the socialist and revolutionary slogans, finally declared the national character and perspectives of this state.
In the Transcaucasian Seim the problem of the independence of the region first was debated in February 22, in the 9th session.
The doubledealing and political falsification is seen clearly in the fact that the independence of Transcaucasia exactly was associated with Turkey, more to say, that was the demand of Turkey in the negotiations at Trapizon. This time N. Zhordania was tangled in his political formulations when he insists that «the problem is placed as the next; here it should be the Turkish orientation and Turkish invasion, or we must declare our independence in order to avoid it». The denial of the Russian orientation he tries to justify with the absence of the «Russian bayonet», again neglegting the the Armenian factor. According to N. Zhordania, «Russia himself has gave up its own orientation and suggests us to stand on our own feet».
So, in February 22, 1918 (after May 5 - V.M.) first time the Seim had discussed the probm of independence on the level of state and the government.
It directly was connected with the «shameful» territorial concessions at Brest-Litovsk, negotiations at Trapizon, a possible Turkish invasion and the alternative of the Sovietization of Transcaucasia.
In this discussions were fully revealed the positions and strategy of three leading political forces of Transcaucasia.

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