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#1
Old 05-24-2008, 04:42 PM
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Why did the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic dissolve?

Why did the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (which existed from February to May 1918) break up so soon after it was formed? Surely the members of the federation would have anticipated the threat of being overrun by the Soviets and recognized that they had a better chance of countering it together than as separate countries. And of course, that's exactly what happened a couple years later.
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Old 05-24-2008, 06:00 PM
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Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have a very long history of not getting along very well. Just as importantly, however, the Ottomans wanted to snatch up Armenia while Russia's back was turned, and the Georgians didn't want to fight the Turks.
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:12 PM
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If they had a long history of not getting along very well, one wonders why they established a federation to begin with...
#4
Old 05-25-2008, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychonaut
If they had a long history of not getting along very well, one wonders why they established a federation to begin with...
Because their quarrels didn't outweigh the whole 'independence' issue. Russia, of course, wanted to swallow all of them. Turkey had the bright idea of singling out one (or two, I don't believe any hostile gestures were made towards Azerbaijan, but I oculd be wrong), instead of all three.
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychonaut
If they had a long history of not getting along very well, one wonders why they established a federation to begin with...

It was the best they could make out of a bad situation. It was formed as a result of the break up of the Russian Empire / start of the Soviet Union. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan make up the Southern Caucasus. These were split off from the Russian Empire following the February Revolution 1917. The three countries were governed the Special Transcaucasian Committee.

Then came the more famous October revolution. Unfortunately, the STC were mostly Mensheviks, not Bolsheviks, so their days were numbered. The STC was then renamed by the Soviets as the Transcaucasian Republic. When the parliament (the Transcaucasian Commissariat) convened, they were between a rock and a hard place. If they fell in with the Russsians, they knew that they would be first against the wall when the revolution happened - and the revolution had already happened. The only available thing to do was to declare that they were independent.

It was not a situation that was ever going to last.

Even if you ignore the internal divisions, there was more going on than the Russian situation. There was also little matter of WWI and the Ottoman Empire. All three countries of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic bordered the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey). Armenia really, really didn't want to fall under Turkish control (see https://academicpursuits.us/columns/050520.html). Georgia was in a similar position, but felt that it could rely on Germany for protection. Azerbaijan doesn't really come into this bit of the story as a) only the autonomous enclave of Nakhchivan bordered the Ottoman Empire and b) the Armenians were pretty much in control of Baku, the capital city and centre of oil production.

Now on to the religios problems. For pretty much reasons stated immediately above, I'm going to leave out Muslim Azerbaijan. Georgia and Armenia are both historically Christian countries. In fact, they are both Orthodox Christian countries, but it's often the case that the biggest divisions between religions are between those with the least differences. The Georgian Orthodox Church is very closely linked to most other Eastern Orthodox Churches, while the Armenia Orthodox Church is in its own little world (and has been for 1500 years). I'm sure the fine folks running the Soviets at that time would have denied it, but Georgia had closer ties to Russia than with Armenia.

And there you have it (well, a lot of it).

The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic split off from the Russians to avoid the Soviets.

Then they started to get massacred by the Turks. The Georgians said "screw this for a game of soldiers", we're better off falling in with the Germans and declared independence.

Of course, the Germans and the Ottomans lost WWI, leaving Russia the only superpower in town, and whole region went back to Soviet control in a few years anyway.
#6
Old 05-25-2008, 07:09 AM
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Wow, thanks for that really in-depth explanation, Tapioca Dextrin! How do you know so much about the Caucasus?
#7
Old 05-25-2008, 11:29 PM
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Well, I'm staying in Baku for the next three weeks
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