From the 30-50s of the XIX cen. there was mainly the stabile situation in Georgia. Agriculture, trade and industry were developed. The number of population arose, as because of the natural increase, also because of the colonisational policy of the king government, which for the reason of strengthening its social support, was widely running the settlement of Russian and foreigner colonists in Georgia.
In this period, decomposition of feudal natural farming and increasing the monetary-productive relations were intensively developing. The owners of industrial enterprises of Georgia mainly were Russian and foreigner capitalists. But the resistance of development of capitalism was self-ownership in Georgia. In the 30-40s of the XIX cen. these vicious reminders were even strengthened, as Russian government supported the rights of Georgian landlords for the reason of enticing them on its side. Thus, the rights of Georgian nobility were made equal to the Russian ones. The form of government changed in Transcaucasia too. From 1840 there were adopted the same administrative and court organizations, as were in the inner provinces of Russia. The limited cultur al autonomy (Georgian newspapers and magazines, Georgian theater) was permitted. With such policy the government reached the complete devotion of Georgian nobility to Russia from the 40s. Georgian aristocrats were searching for the careers, first of all in military service. They served as in the regular army of Russia, also in the Georgian militia, which played the active role in the Caucasian wars of Russia during the whole XIX cen.
In the second half of the 50s, the crisis of the serf regime in Russia was strengthened. This fact spread in Georgia too. The peasants were rebelling against their owners (especially the large rebellion happened in Megrelia in 1857). This forced the government to hold the peasant reforms in Georgia too. In 1864-1871 the serfdom was abolished in Georgia.
The 60-70s of the XIX was the period of changes in the history of Georgia. After the reforms, capitalism was rapidly developed. The factories and enterprises were built, minerals (coal and manganese) were acquired, cities – Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Poti, Batum i etc. were developed, the railway station was constructed. Inspite of these things Georgia remained the agrarian country, though development of capitalistic relations was in the high process.
Annexation with Russia brought the knowledge of European culture to Georgia, which played the positive role in the further development of Georgian culture. In the 60-70s there appeared the new progressive-democratic generation on the path of literature and society, the education of which was from the Russian Universities, and had a critical opinion about the colonial regime and feudal reminders in Georgia. The leader of this generation was the writer, social and political body, Ilia Chavchavadze (1837- 1907). The open movement under his leadership was the new peaceful form of the national-liberating action, which changed the local armed rebellions in the first half of the XIX cen.
After the assassination of the Russian Emperor in 1881, Alexander II, the political reaction occupied the country. The government stood on the way to oppression and russification of the people, inhabiting the Empire and Georgians among. The publishing of Georgian books, newspapers and magazines was extremely limited. There was abolished Georgian language in schools. The word “Georgia” was even erased from the official documents, and put the “Tbilisi province” and “Kutaisi province” instead. This policy was excused by the wrong theory that the time of small nations was over and they were historically doomed for the assimilation with the larger nations.
In such conditions Ilia Chavchavadze and his adherents bravely strived against the national-colonial oppression. They strived for deepening the consolidation of Georgian nation and its national self-consciousness. The government couldn’t cluntch these actions. On the contrary, this movement was strengthened and widened afterwards, though it didn’t accept the shape of political rebellion.
In the 90s, there began the process of Marxism propaganda in Georgia. Georgia was one of the important centers of the revolutionary struggles during the revolution in Russia in 1905-1907. Peasants and workers were rebelling. There happened barricade st ruggles in Tbilisi, also there began the armed rebellions in the villages of West Georgia. The punishing armies, sent by the government exterminated several villages.
The big part of Georgian revolutionaries was calling the social slogans in 1905-1907 but they were striving against the national oppression too. Besides, there existed the second branch in the revolutionary-democratic stream, which considered the liber ation of Georgia as priority question. Some of them required the entire separation from Russia, most of them were for the autonomous feudal union with democratic Russia after victory of revolution
So, the revolutionary movement in Georgia in the beginning of the XX cen. was the next stage of the national-liberating action.
National motive was of stronger shape in Georgia during the period of new revolutionary revival, which began from 1912 in Russia too. But the beginning of the World War I temporarily retarded this process. The continuous wars in Georgia and in Russia c aused the farming decomposition. Already in the first year of the war, some industrial spheres of Georgia diminished the producing for 40-50 per cents. In the next years the condition was harder. The important part of workers (200 thous. people) was in ac tive army. Georgia became the war-coast country after involving Turkey in the war against Russia. The crisis after the war caused the increase of revolutionary characters in Russia again, the end of which was the 1917 February revolution, which ended the existence of monarchy in the country.
by Dr. George Anchabadze