Armeno-Georgian War of 1918

and Armeno-Georgian Territorial Issue in the 20th Century



By  Andrew Andersen and Georg Egge





In the Foremath of Delimitation:

Conceptual Conflict and the Lack of mutual Understanding



The fall of 1918 was marked by the territorial expansion of the recently created states of Armenia and Georgia that came into physical contact after Turkish evacuation. That presumed the need for official territorial delimitation. However, as has been mentioned above, the approaches of the parties were far from consensus in terms of the status of the two counties of the province of Tiflis, namely Akhalkalaki and Borchalo.


Official Tiflis firmly claimed the southern border of the province of Tiflis to be the national border of Georgia while the Armenian government refused to accept that approach, and argued that the administrative borders of the former imperial provinces should not be taken into account, as not corresponding to either ethnic or historical boundaries[1].


Armenian officials also reminded their Georgian counterparts that as early as in 1917, during the Transcaucasian Conference for the Reorganization of Local Government in Petrograd, Georgian Socialists, who a year later formed majority government of independent Georgia, assured the representatives of Armenian nationalist parties to support the idea of reviewing a number of administrative boundaries in the region in accordance with the ethnic principle[2]. Basing on the above mentioned promises the government of the Democratic Republic of Armenia urged Georgia to give up a number of border areas with the heavy Armenian presence[3]. The official Tiflis argued though that the agreement reached at the Petrograd Conference of 1917 was, in fact, not an agreement but rather a manifestation of constructive initiative regarding administrative and economic delimitation within the limits of a single federal stated (the reformed Russian Empire). According to the representatives of the Georgian government, such an initiative took place long before the declaration of independence of Armenia and Georgia and could not be accepted as the basis for the demarcation of state borders [4].


Thus by the fall of 1918, Georgia and Armenia failed to agree on the future status of the disputed territory that included the counties of Akhalkalaki and Borchalo. In addition to the two counties, Armenian government also laid claims to a small part of Gori county proposing the future state border to go through the Tskhra-Tskaro pass.












[1] Georgian officials could hardly argue this statement of their Armenian opponents keeping in mind that during the period between 1801 and 1913 the administrative borders of Russian possessions in the South Caucasus were redrawn many times. As a result of all the “adjustments” such historical provinces as, for example, Pambak or Shamshadin  found themselves beyond the limits of the province of Tiflis despite the fact that at the moment of annexation of Kartli-Kakhetian Kingdom by Russian Empire in 1801, they were parts of the kingdom on the basis of which the  province of Tiflis was formed. (Аuth.)


[2] Hovannisian, Vol. I, p. 71

[3] Iz Istorii Armiano-gruzinskih Vzaimootnoshenij, р.63

[4] Ibid., p. 64