The Transcaucasian Federal Socialist Republic (TSFR) is country located in the South Caucasus that is geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. It borders on the North with Russian FSR, on the East with the Caspian Sea, on the South with Turkey and Iran, and on the West with the Black Sea. Member of the Federation of Socialist Republics since 1923.
Name in the official languages:
- Անդրկովկասի Սոցիալիստական Ֆեդերատիվ Հանրապետություն (Andrkovkasyan Soc‘ialistakan Federativ Hanrapetowt‘yown, in Armenian)
- Zakavkazskaya Federativnaya Sotsalisticheskaya Respublika (in Azerbaijani)
- ამიერკავკასიის ფედერაციული სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკა (Amierk'avk'asiis Pederatsiuli Sotsialist'uri Resp'ublik'a, in Georgian)
- Закавказская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика (in Russian)
The formation of the TFSR
Following the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, on July 1918 Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia proclaim their independence from Russia. Being briefly united in November of 1918 in the Transcaucasian Federation, which is shortly invaded by the Ottoman Army. In December of the same year the Transcaucasian Federation is dissolved and each of the former member republics negotiates independently a cease fire with the Ottoman Army. At the end of the year definitive peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia is signed.
On July 1920 the Red Army enters and occupies the region of Transcaucasia. Revolutionary committees (revkoms) organized by Bolshevik-lead organizations took control of local government in all three South Caucasus republics. All political parties, save the Bolsheviks are banned. On August 1920, Workers' and Peasants' Councils proclaimed the SRs of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
A joint congress of the communist parties of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia establishes the Communist Party of Transcaucasia (CPT) on January 1921. On March 1921, after a series of negotiations and under pressure from the Russian FSR it is proclaimed by the provisional Congress of the Supreme Soviets of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia the union of the three republics in the Transcaucasian FSR. The rationale for establishing the TFSR were to destroy remnants of counter-revolutionary forces, restoring the economy, the elimination of inter-ethnic distrust and hostility. The said benefits were the establishment a common territory that would facilitate industrialization and economic planning, and promote economies of scale. The Congress of Supreme Soviets became the supreme authority electing the Central Executive Committee and Council of People's Commissars. The Constitution of 1921 also ordained the internal organization of the member republics that basically was the same one at federal level.
The Federal Socialist Republic did not enjoyed a full support among an important number militants of the local Bolshevik parties, noticeably in Georgia. The internal conflict between local Bolsheviks and Russian political commissars escalate in intensity. Between 1921 and 1926 a series of purges of local Bolshevik party members begins under the charges of national deviationism. The campaign to collectivize the land started on 1925, but lead to civil unrest in the rural areas. In a divided vote the CEC revoked temporally the decree of the Council of People's Commissars and asked for the resignation of Commissar in charge of agriculture. This is followed by a resolution of the Congress of Supreme Soviets asking for a further evaluation of the measure, against the warning from political commissars of the FSR and Russian FSR not to stop the collectivization.
The unrest on the rural areas and calls from trade unions and workers' organization for rectifications of the political and economical policies paralyze all activity within the CPT. Some sectors of the CPT began to openly criticize and later demand the removal of its Politburo. Another conflict came from the proscribed Menshevik members that issued a Manifest that demanded the end of the political ban on all other political parties, aside the CPT. This has a means to save the revolution and address the Armenian exodus from Turkey. The banishment of the authors of the Manifest was meet with protest by militants of the CPT. In March of 1926, after days of unrest in Tbilisi occurs a clash of between the Troops for the Internal Defense (TID) of the Cheka against workers on strike and Red Guard militias helping the workers. The next day Red Guards from Baku arrived by train to help the TID. Order was re-established, but after a toll 10 deaths and 120 injured in two days. This prompted the removal of the Chief of the Cheka by the CEC for his negligent action and loss of control of the situation. The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs also presented its resignation, but no replacement was named immediately.
The final crisis came in April 1926 when administration at federal level was suspended and only the governments on each member republics functioned. This due to disagreements in the CEC and Council of People's Commissars over the Tbilisi Affair, land collectivization and party purges. The CEC also stopped functioning when its members boycotted the sessions or spoke in their mother language without translation. Only calls for prudence from moderate groups and the authority of Lenin stopped the use by Moscow of the Red Army to crush party opposition in Transcaucasia has advocated by hardliners. As a way to solve the many problems that plagued the TFSR an extraordinary meeting of the Congress of the Supreme Soviets was called. At the same time the Politburo resigned in an emergency meeting of the Central Committee, which elected a new Politburo and called for a party congress for the next year in order to reorganized the CPT. The first constitution (1921) was redrafted into a new one in 1927 to address problems of power sharing among the three titular nationalities of the Transcaucasus. It allowed the participation of other political groups has long as they followed the socialist order of the TFSR. This constitution details in a more precise manner the areas of power of each republic, autonomous republics and of the Federation has a whole. It also enshrines the policy of mutual consultation on the areas of industrial and agricultural development and planning. The complete collectivization of the land was never fully implemented and special provisions left it as one of the alternatives for socializing the land, along small property. As part of the compromise industrial development was to be fully socialized and planned. In its V Congress (1927), the CPT is reorganized into the Transcaucasian Communist Federation headed by Filipp Makharadze. It also politically rehabilitates all victims of the purges. The return of Noe Zhordania, the Menshevik leader and his public handshake with Makharadze marked the beginning of the Federal Compromise. By it, the Mensheviks and all groups that accept the general principles of the Revolution and the Socialist State are be allowed to participate in the political life. The Mensheviks and Bolsheviks form a Proletarian Concord for the next federal and republic elections and a government coalition. The ban on political activity is partially lifted, the electoral law reformed, and the new Federal Executive Council passes a decree granting political amnesty. In Moscow the news were not well received, publicly expressed in the clash between the Russian and Transcaucasian delegations in the World Congress of the Comintern.
Political Organization of the Transcaucasian SFR
The constitution approved in 1927 establishes the organization of the Transcaucasian FSR.
- the supreme organ of power is the Supreme Federal Congress of the TFSR. It is composed of the Council of the Republics and the People's Council. Each chamber is elected directly by the people each 5 years. The Supreme Federal Congress is the legislative body of the TFSR. It elects every 5 years the Federal Executive Council, Federal Council of People's Commissars, the Supreme Court of the TFSR and the Federal Prosecutor.
- the executive power resides in the Federal Executive Council, that is the collective head of state. It is integrated by a Chairman and 3 additional members from each socialist republics. The Federal Council of People's Commissars carries out all the executive and administrative functions of the TFSR. The Federal Executive Council and the Council of People's Commissars are responsible before the Supreme Soviet.
- the judiciary is in charge of the Supreme Court of the TFSR and the Prosecutor General.
The right to vote in elections and referenda is extended to those who are above the age of eighteen. During elections and referenda, a citizen can vote or not vote without any consequences from the government.
Territorial Organization of the Transcaucasian SFR
The territorial division of the TSFR distinguishes: member socialist republics, autonomous socialist republics, oblasts, autonomous oblasts and raion (or rayon).
Member republics of the Transcaucasian FSR are:
- Socialist Republic of Armenia
- Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan
- Socialist Republic of Georgia
The next level is followed by the Autonomous Socialist Republics (ASR) that have political, administrative and cultural autonomy within the TFSR. These are the Abkhaz ASR and South Ossetia ASR.
The Autonomous Oblast (AO) have limited political, administrative and cultural autonomy inside the SR they are incorporated. These are the Adjar AO in Georgia and Nakhchivan AO exclave of Azerbaijan.
Between its establishment has an independent state (1921) and the Treaty of Federation (1923) that created the FSR, the Transcaucasian People's Defense Organization (TPDO) was in charge of its national defense. Between 1918 and 1921, the region was in state or war, against the Ottoman Army during World War I, isolated skirmishes between government troops and revolutionaries and the invasion ('liberation') by the Russian Red Army.
From the remnants of the Imperial Russian Army, Bolshevik militia, and workers' and peasants' militia was the TPDO created. The Imperial Russian Navy had only minor coastal defenses in Baku and Batumi, so a new navy had to be built from patrol craft and torpedo boats. One important innovation was the early deployment of aircraft to patrol the coast areas. It was organized in the People's Defense Army and Peoples' Defense Navy. In 1924 the UPMO was attached to the newly created federal Red Army.
Public order is in charge of the Transcaucasia Peoples' Militsiya, that is also an auxiliary force of the Prosecutor General. The People's Troops for the Internal Defense (PTID) serve in the frontiers and rural areas.
Economy of Transcaucasia
Despite the mountainous terrain of Transcaucasia it has significant agricultural output. The humid subtropical lowlands and foothills produce crops such as tea and fruits. Grapes and wine making are the important products. In the valleys the main production are citrus fruits, tea, cotton, grain, and livestock. The mild climate in the coast of Black Sea, besides its usefulness for agriculture, it also fuels an important tourist industry.
The region as many economically important minerals and energy resources, such as: alunite, gold, chromium, copper, iron ore, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, lead, tungsten, uranium, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal (both hard and brown). Azerbaijan, the land of fire since antiquity, is the major oil producer of the Caucasus. the main oil and gas fields are located near Baku. Azneft is the state company in charge of oil and gas extraction and distribution. An oil pipeline goes from Baku, through Tbilisi to Batumi, connecting the Caspian and Black Seas. The main industry of the TFSR are chemicals, electronic products, machinery, processed food, synthetic rubber and textiles.
The transport of cargo is mainly done by the Transcaucasus Railway, a subsidiary of Federal Railroads (FZD). An extensive network of roads and bridges is also being planned and built. the major ports are Batumi on the Black Sea and Baku on the Aral Sea. Both serves has headquarters of the Black Sea and Aral Sea Regional Companies of the Morflot (Directorate of the Merchant Fleet). Since the 1950s Aeroflot operates in Baku and Batumi a fleet ekranoplanes to transport cargo and ferry passengers between Russian FSR and Turkestan.