On November 28, 1917, after the October Revolution in Russia, there was a Transcaucasian Commissariat established in Tiflis. A moderate, multi-party democratic system led by the Social Democratic Party of Georgia (Georgian Mensheviks) operated in the Democratic Republic of Georgia, which existed from May 1918 to early 1921. But in February 1921, the Red Army invaded Georgia. The Socialist Soviet Republic of Georgia was established on February 25, 1921. On March 2 of the following year the first constitution of Soviet Georgia was accepted.
Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republics
From March 12, 1922 to December 5, 1936 it was part of the Transcaucasian SFSR together with the Armenian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR. In 1936, the TSFSR was dissolved. During this period the province was led by Lavrentiy Beria, first secretary of the
Georgian Central Committee of the Georgian Communist Party The Soviet Government forced Georgia to cede several areas to Turkey (the province of Tao-Klarjeti and part of Batumi province), Azerbaijan (the province of Hereti/Saingilo), Armenia (the Lore region) and Russia (northeastern corner of Khevi, eastern Georgia).
In 1936, the TSFSR was dissolved and Georgia became the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Lavrentiy Beria became head of the Georgian OGPU and he was transferred to Moscow in 1938.
World War II
Reaching the Caucasus oilfields was one of the main objectives of Hitler's invasion of the USSR in June 1941, but the armies of the Axis powers did not get as far as Georgia. The country contributed almost 700,000 fighters (350,000 were killed) to the Red Army, and was a vital source of textiles and munitions. During this period Stalin (born in Georgia) ordered the deportation of the Chechen, Ingush, Karachay and the Balkarian peoples from the Northern Caucasus; they were transported to Siberia and Central Asia for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. He abolished their respective autonomous republics. The Georgian SSR was briefly granted some of their territory until 1957.
Workers at a factory in Georgian SSR
On March 9, 1956, about a hundred Georgian students were killed when they demonstrated against Nikita Khrushchev's policy of de-Stalinization that was accompanied by general criticism of the whole Georgian people and culture.
The decentralisation program introduced by Khrushchev in the mid-1950s was soon exploited by Georgian Communist Party officials to build their own regional power base. A thriving pseudo-capitalist shadow economy emerged alongside the official state-owned economy. While the official growth rate of the economy of the Georgia was among the lowest in the USSR, such indicators as savings level, rates of car and house ownership were the highest in the Union, making Georgia one of the most economically successful Soviet republics. Corruption was at a high level. Among all the union republics, Georgia had the highest number of residents with high or special secondary education.
Although corruption was hardly unknown in the Soviet Union, it became so widespread and blatant in Georgia that it came to be an embarrassment to the authorities in Moscow. Eduard Shevardnadze, the country's interior minister between 1964 and 1972, gained a reputation as a fighter of corruption and engineered the removal of Vasil Mzhavanadze, the corrupt First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party. Shevardnadze ascended to the post of First Secretary with the blessings of Moscow. He was an effective and able ruler of Georgia from 1972 to 1985, improving the official economy and dismissing hundreds of corrupt officials.
Soviet power and Georgian nationalism clashed in 1978 when Moscow ordered revision of the constitutional status of the Georgian language as Georgia's official state language. Bowing to pressure from mass street demonstrations on April 14, 1978, Moscow approved Shevardnadze's reinstatement of the constitutional guarantee the same year. April 14 was established as a Day of the Georgian Language.
End of the Soviet period
Shevardnadze's appointment as Soviet Foreign Minister in 1985 brought his replacement in Georgia by Jumber Patiashvili, a conservative and generally ineffective Communist who coped poorly with the challenges of perestroika. Towards the end of the late 1980s, increasingly violent clashes occurred between the Communist authorities, the resurgent Georgian nationalist movement and nationalist movements in Georgia's minority-populated regions (notably South Ossetia). On April 9, 1989, Soviet troops were used to break up a peaceful demonstration at the government building in Tbilisi. Twenty Georgians were killed and hundreds wounded and poisoned. The event radicalised Georgian politics, prompting many – even some Georgian communists – to conclude that independence was preferable to continued Soviet unity.
On October 28, 1990, democratic parliamentary elections were held, and on November 15 the nation was renamed the Republic of Georgia. Georgia (excluding Abkhazia) was one of the six republics along with Armenia, Moldova and the Baltic States who boycotted the participation of the union-wide preservation referendum in March. It declared independence on April 9, 1991, under Zviad Gamsakhurdia, as one of the republics to secede just four months before the failed coup against Gorbachev in August which was one of the republics to support it. However, this was unrecognized by the Soviet government and Georgia was in the Soviet Union until its collapse in December 1991.