Geronti Kikodze's brief article which appeared in the Sakartvelo
newspaper in 1917 deals with significant political developments of that
period. The author discusses the issues of self-governance in Georgia,
the process of nationalization of schools, the autocephaly of the Georgian
Church and, especially, the formation of the Georgian army. Geronti Kikodze
refers to the experience of other countries in justifying the necessity
of creating the Georgian national armed forces. By means of succinct and
convincing reasoning, he concludes that the building of a Georgian army
is an urgent and historical task as Georgia “is located right on the highway
and this highway needs a permanent army to defend the country from continuous
offensives of the enemies”. The author also sees the benefit of the formation of a national army in fostering among young Georgians perseverance, a sense of solidarity and selflessness - the qualities that would be of great benefit to the country. This article echoes with the current political situation and life in our country and, therefore, we felt it was very timely to have it published…
According to the information received from Petrograd, the Provisional Government has given permission to form the Georgian national army from the military units that are now scattered in different regions of the country. This decree will be the source of great joy to the Georgian people. After the nationalization of schools and gaining autocephaly of the Georgian Church, this is another decisive step that Georgia is taking toward its national self-governance. By its true importance, this third step surpasses the former two. This is particularly so given today's compelling circumstances.
The war has once again proved the old truth that a weak person is always under the threat from a strong one, that in a human society there is no means for protecting oneself other than with real force. Today, this is recognized by all. Not everybody in this country, however, has the courage and determination to acknowledge the close link between the contemporary culture and the national army, as ninety-three German scientists, men of letters and artists have done. “Had we not had an army, our civilization would have been destroyed long ago,” the German intellectuals declared. “Militarism in our homeland was born to protect the culture that is threatened by numerous new assaults in the next centuries. Our people and our army are one.”
If great Germany says this, what can little Georgia then say? Indeed, our country stands right on the highway and this highway needs a permanent defender to prevent intruders of all stripes from trespassing it. Lately, however, as the detachments composed of Georgian soldiers defended the fortresses of Warsaw and Riga, marauders looted the laurel-covered valleys of Kvemo Achara and Livani, where brigands from the mountains plundered the villages of Kakheti and Khevsureti. We can only hope that such an impudence will be brought to an end when an armed Georgian soldier will be standing close to the Georgian hearth.
The ideologists of militarism maintain that the modern army is the school where a person learns perseverance and acquires firmness of resolve. He develops the sense of solidarity and selflessness. Modern Russian barracks have led to the deaths of Georgian soldiers rather than contributed to their development. The physical and moral atmosphere of the frosty Russia has been totally unfit for the Georgian young men and our soldiers came back from the military service with nothing but worn-out clothes, tuberculosis and syphilis.
Undoubtedly, the formation of a Georgian army has a significant moral value. The poor and illiterate part of the Georgian population has a distorted view of the national self-governance. Very often, they regard it as a step back. This could be explained in part by the fact that the idea of Georgia's autonomy has until now existed as an abstract notion. The national school and the national army will inspire in the Georgian people the love for an autonomous institution. They will be able to see with their own eyes that national self-governance is neither slavery nor serfdom, but their very denial. This experience will prompt them to make a conclusion, which the long-term ideological propaganda has dismally failed to produce.
"Sakartvelo" newspaper, 1917.