Press – Release
On this day, 32 years ago, on April 9, 1989 the Soviet army brutally dispersed a large pro-independence rally on Rustaveli Avenue, in the heart of Georgian capital. Twenty-one people were killed, including sixteen women. In the aftermath of the brutal raid, a potentially lethal gas was used which poisoned hundreds of peaceful protesters. The tragedy is referred to as the Tbilisi Massacre.
This day gave a significant impetus to the struggle for Georgia's independence and secession from the Soviet Union. On April 9, 1991 on the second anniversary of the tragedy, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia proclaimed Georgian sovereignty and independence from the Soviet Union based on the results of a nationwide referendum. In the same year, one of the leaders of the national protest movement, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, became the first democratically elected president of Georgia.
The Act of Restoration of State Independence of Georgia states: “The Republic of Georgia, striving for a dignified position in the world community of nations, recognizes and ensures equally all the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, including national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups, envisaged by international law, as required by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international pacts and conventions.” The country declared itself a legal successor of the earlier Democratic Republic of Georgia.
The night of April 9 remains in the history of Georgia as both one of the most tragic and heroic dates, a moment when the whole country united to fight for Georgia’s independence. The date is indelibly etched into the minds of Georgians as The Day of National Unity.
The heroes of April 9th events provided the foundation for the future of Georgia and this future is clearly associated with integration into the European family of states. Indeed, membership into NATO and the EU is a guarantee of Georgia’s bright, peaceful and successful future. Furthermore, it is the only way to freedom, decided on by the Georgian state and people and outlined as the number-one priority and political will.
Maintaining of independence turned out to, unfortunately, be harder than gaining it. Since the 1990s, Russia strengthened its efforts to maintain Georgia under its direct political influence and control using old and new tactics. Russia actively performs its aggression against Georgia including Georgia’s choice of democracy and its independent domestic and foreign policy. This aggression grows on daily basis, acting as an existential threat to Georgia; however, no such threats can overturn Georgia’s aspirations to become a democratic and developed state.
Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Moldova
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