Georgian officials pay tribute to cadets fallen in 1921 Soviet invasion

The Red Army invasion of Georgia took place from February 15 to March 17, 1921, and was a military campaign by the Soviet forces that aimed to overthrow the Georgian government and annex the country into the USSR. During the clashes that followed the invasion, 118 Georgian cadets lost their lives. They won the defensive battle near the village of Tabakhmela outside Tbilisi, however the Red Army ultimately prevailed through a multi-pronged assault that occupied the country and forced its government into exile. Photo: The National Library of Georgia/Archive., 23 Feb 2022 - 17:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian officials on Wednesday paid tributes to the memory of the young military cadets who fell defending the country during the February 1921 Red Army invasion that put an end to the three-year First Democratic Republic of Georgia.

The country’s Prime Minister, President and Parliament Speaker made comments on the 101st anniversary of the fateful February battles that saw the cadets sacrifice their lives in clashes near Kojori and Tabakhmela near Tbilisi, as the invading Soviet forces threatened the capital.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili and PM Irakli Garibashvili at the Georgian Parliament Palace. Photo: Press Office of the Government of Georgia.

PM Garibashvili paid homage to the national heroes by telling a ceremony hosted to mark the date “[f]or many decades, the sacrifice of cadets for our country, our freedom and independence has remained in our memory.”

A century later, we are an independent state. [...] [T]he cadets sacrificed themselves for the protection of their homeland, freedom and independence, but they could not stop the Red Army that occupied our country […] The example of their heroism has remained a guide for our generations,” the head of the government said.

While remembering the young servicemembers, President Salome Zourabichvili hailed their heroism, noting “the number of warriors does not matter when they know what they are fighting for”.