Georgian independence referendum, 1991


Georgian independence referendum, 1991

A referendum was held in the Republic of Georgia [ Although still de jure part of the Soviet Union, the Georgian SSR Supreme Soviet proclaimed the Republic of Georgia, dropping "Soviet Socialist" from its name, in a constituent session on November 14, 1990. Peter N. Stearns, William Leonard Langer (2001), "The Encyclopedia of World History", p. 910. Houghton Mifflin Books, ISBN 0395652375.] on March 31, 1991, on the question of Georgia's independence from the Soviet Union.

The referendum was sanctioned by the Georgian Supreme Council which was elected in the first multi-party elections held in Soviet Georgia in October 1990, and was dominated by a pro-independence bloc Round Table-Free Georgia led by the Soviet-era dissident Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Having mostly boycotted the all-Union referendum on continued federation and the negotiations on a new union treaty on March 17, [Although polling were opened in parts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia where the voters opted to remain in the renewed Union. Imogen Bell (2002), "Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia", p. 171. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 1857431375.] Georgia became the fourth Soviet republic, after the three Baltic states (Lithuania, February 9, 1991; Latvia and Estonia, March 3, 1991), to organize the referendum on the issue of independence.Cornell, Svante E., [http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/publications/0419dissertation.pdf "Autonomy and Conflict: Ethnoterritoriality and Separatism in the South Caucasus – Case in Georgia"] . Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Report No. 61. p. 163. University of Uppsala, ISBN 91-506-1600-5.]

The only question of the referendum asked: "Do you support the restoration of the independence of Georgia in accordance with the Act of Declaration of Independence of Georgia of May 26, 1918?" The official results showed nearly 99 per cent in favor with a 90.5 per cent voter turnout. ["The Encyclopedia of World History", p. 910.] Jonathan Wheatley (2005), "Georgia from National Awakening to Rose Revolution", p. 64. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0754645037.] Due to the ongoing ethnic discord, the polls were largely boycotted by the non-Georgian population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Four days after the final results were announced, the Georgian Supreme Council unanimously passed the declaration of independence on the second anniversary of the Soviet army crackdown on peaceful protests in Tbilisi, April 9, 1991. ["Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia", p. 171.] Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), "The Making of the Georgian Nation", p. 326. Indiana University Press, ISBN 0253209153.]

The referendum coincided with a private visit of the former U.S. President Richard Nixon who visited a few polling stations in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi before his departure to Moscow later that day. [ [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BG&p_theme=bg&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADDF46D6950EB2&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM Soviet Georgians vote on independence.] "The Boston Globe", April 1, 1991.]

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