The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic of 1918
Federal Aspirations, Geopolitics and National Projects
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The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR) was a unique, bottom-up, and a fleeting display of political unity and federalism among the main Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian political factions between 22 April 1918, when it declared its independence, and 26 May 1918, when it was dissolved and replaced by the three nation-states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Focusing on a crucial but poorly understood moment in the modern history of the Caucasus at the end of the First World War, this book offers a systematic, contextually-rich, and multi-perspectival—Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Ottoman, German, British, American, Italian, Bolshevik, Ukrainian and North Caucasian—account of the TDFR, drawing on contributions (with the new material from archives in Tbilisi, Grozny, Yerevan, Baku, Istanbul, Berlin, London, Washington D.C.) by a new generation of historians and scholars working on the region.
The book argues that despite its month-long existence in this geopolitically volatile region, the TDFR, with and its federative nature and the various discussions about federalism and federation that it provoked, continued to have an appeal for Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians as well as for the Great Powers well beyond its dissolution. Moreover, the experience of the TDFR reifies federalism as a key political concept in the modern history of the Caucasus.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Caucasus Survey.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Who wanted the TDFR? The making and the breaking of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Adrian Brisku and Timothy K. Blauvelt
1. Between empire and independence: Armenia and the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
2. Azerbaijan and the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic: historical reality and possibility
3. The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR) as a "Georgian" responsibility
4. Pragmatism and expediency: Ottoman calculations and the establishment of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
5. The German perspective on the Transcaucasian Federation and the influence of the Committee for Georgia’s Independence
6. Feeble projects and aspirations: the Caucasian and Transcaucasian federation/confederation in the geopolitics of 1918–1920
7. Ideology meets practice in the struggle for the Transcaucasus: Stepan Shaumyan and the evolution of Bolshevik nationality policy
Timothy K. Blauvelt
8. Ukraine and the Transcaucasus in 1917–1918: parallels, interactions, influences
Timothy K. Blauvelt and Stanislav Tumis
9. Turning towards unity: a North Caucasian perspective on the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Adrian Brisku is intellectual historian working at Charles University (Prague), University of Vienna, and Ilia State University (Tbilisi). He is the author of Bittersweet Europe: Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe, 1878–2008 (Berghahn Books, 2013), Political Reform in the Ottoman and Russian Empires: A Comparative Approach (Bloomsbury, 2017) and National Economy-Building in Albania, Czechoslovakia and Georgia in the 1920s (Routledge, forthcoming 2023).
Timothy K. Blauvelt is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Ilia State University (Tbilisi), and is also Regional Director for the South Caucasus for American Councils for International Education. He has published more than two dozen peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His book Georgia after Stalin: Nationalism and Soviet Power (edited with Jeremy Smith) was published by Routledge in 2015, and his next book, Clientalism and Nationality in an Early Soviet Fiefdom: The Trials of Nestor Lakoba, is forthcoming from Routledge.