Mayakovsky's Georgia

By the time of Mayakovsky's birth in 1894, Georgia was still considered part of the Russian empire, as it had been since 1801. Historically, Georgia was an Orthodox Christian land that was constantly being fought over by two superpowers of the Muslim world, the Ottoman Turks and Persians. The Russian Empire, also Orthodox, often heeded Georgia's need for help as early as the 16th century, though it wasn't until Peter and Catherine the Great that Russia began creating serious diplomatic ties with Georgia. By Catherine's time, Russia found itself caught in several wars with the Turkish Empire in a struggle to gain access to the black sea and lands surrounding it, and the empire saw Georgia as an important all in this fight. However, despite the fact that Russia agreed to protect Georgia under the Treaty of Georgievsk, Russia sent only meager resources, resulting in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, being burnt to the ground in 1795. Civil war soon broke out, and by 1801 Georgia was officially annexed by Tsar Alexander I, and Russia finally began to send in substantial troops to defend Georgia from Turkish attack. However, when Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, Russian authority began to clamp down on any threats inside and outside the empire. For Georgia, this meant that their status was reduced to just a mere province, instead of their own unique state. Socialism had already been in Georgia for a decade, and by the 1900s many began to unite with Russian peasants and workers under the Socialist Democratic party against the Russian government. The majority of Georgians allied with the Menshevik faction of the Social Democrats: Ioseb Jugashvili, a supporter of the Bolsheviks, would go on to become Joseph Stalin.

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