On April 17, to commemorate 30 Years after April 9, 1989 Tbilisi Massacre and on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the restoration of Independence of Georgia on April 9, 1991 the Embassy of Georgia organized photo exhibition dedicated to the fight for Independence of Georgia.
Exhibition at the Embassy of Georgia featured historic photographs of the National Archive of Georgia displaying one of the most tragic events in the history of Georgia when the Soviet army brutally dispersed a large pro-independence rally on Rustaveli Avenue, in the heart of Georgian capital, on April 9, 1989; Independence Referendum, polling stations and process of voting on March 31, 1991; and the restoration of Georgia’s Independence on April 9, 1991.
The Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. George Sharvashidze welcomed the audience. His Excellency emphasized that Tbilisi Massacre is remembered as the beginning of Georgia’s difficult journey to independence and is marked as the day of National Unity. On April 9, 1989 twenty-one people including women and youth were tragically killed as Soviet troops attacked peaceful protesters in the center of Tbilisi. Hundreds of citizens were poisoned.
April 9 inspired many young people to join the national liberation movements and contribute to the independence of Georgia. On March 31, 1991, referendum for independence from the Soviet Union was held. With a 90.5 percent turnout, 99 percent voted in favor of Georgia’s independence. The referendum posed a single question: “Do you support the restoration of the independence of Georgia in accordance with the Act of Declaration of Independence of Georgia of May 26, 1918?” (Georgia declared the first democratic republic by adopting the act of independence in 1918, however, this was short-lived independence as the country was re-invaded by Russia’s Bolshevik Army in 1921).
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.
Georgia is today remembering the youth who tried to stop Russian tanks with their bare hands and other people who were killed by Russian troops as they supported the independence of Georgia 30 years ago. “April 9 is one of the most tragic and the most heroic day in Georgia’s modern history. 30 years ago Georgians tried to oppose to the powerful Soviet Army and the blood shed on that day after two years led to the restoration of Independence of Georgia. April 9 is a symbol of Georgia’s fight for freedom and Independence” –said Ambassador Sharvashidze.
Also Young Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Erekle Koplatadze addressed the audience. “I was born in November 1992. That is 3 years after the Tbilisi Massacare and a year after the Restoration of Independence of Georgia. I feel it is my responsibility, our responsibility, to uphold the values for which they fought. I owe them my Georgian passport and for that, I owe them protection of my freedom of speech and of our independence. Unfortunately, even though I was born years after these events in an independent Georgia, the struggle still continues. Now, to protect the territorial integrity of Georgia against Russian occupation”- said Young Ambassador of Georgia.
During the opening of the photo exhibition dedicated to fight for Independence of Georgia H.E. George Sharvashidze extended special thanks to Georgia’s foreign friends for generous support of Georgia. By decree of December 4, 2018 of the president of Georgia, honorary consul of Georgia, Mr. Cornelis Gijsbertus de Jager and Managing director of Caucasus Interconnect and Professor of Amsterdam University, Dr. Françoise Juliette Companjen were awarded with the Order of Honour for their extensive work and supporting Georgia. Ambassador of Georgia bestowed the Order of Honors to Mr. Cornelis Gijsbertus de Jager and Dr. Françoise Juliette Companjen.
Also short documentary about the Georgia’s fight for Freedom was shown during the event.
The opening was attended by the Heads of Diplomatic corps, government officials, business sector representatives, culture and education professional, International organizations, NGO and Georgia diaspora representatives.
The exhibition will continue until April 30, 2019. Students of Dutch Universities are invited to attend the exhibition.
Source: Press release Embassy of the Republic of Georgia
Photos: Embassy of the Republic of Georgia