Georgia marks Mother Language Day with commemoration of mass protest under Soviet rule

  •  Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said the protests marked the first successful demonstration during Soviet rule. Photo: Government press office

Agenda.ge, 14 Apr 2023 - 12:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

Institutions, officials and citizens in Georgia are marking Mother Language Day today, with the date commemorating mass protests that forced Soviet authorities in 1978 to abandon plans to strip Georgian of the status of the official language.

In comments on the date, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said the protests hard marked the first successful demonstration during the Soviet rule, making the date a symbolic event.

It was the first time in the history of the Soviet Union when the regime had to step back due to popular protests”, said the PM. 

He also noted the “unprecedented peaceful demonstration” 45 years ago and the “victory” of the Georgian people to protect their language became “exemplary” for other republics in the USSR and influenced the formation of the ultimate versions of their constitutions.

Our mother language is one of the most important determinants of our identity, unity and strength”, the PM stressed and highlighted his office had approved a 10-year strategy for protection and development of the state language. 

Around 100,000 citizens marched from Tbilisi State University to the building of the Supreme Council in the capital in the demonstration against plans revealed by the Soviet authorities to strip Georgian of the official status. The protest led to the authorities ultimately shelving the plans.

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