Transcaucasian Commissariat

The Transcaucasian Commissariat was the First Transcaucasian Government from November 15, 1917 to April 9, 1918.

Transcaucasian parties (Socialist-Federalist Revolutionary Party, Dashnaktsutyun,  Müsavat Party, Social-Democrats (Mensheviks), Kadets, National-Democrats) decided to establish an independent regional government. This decision was supported by USA, England and France. On November 11, 1917, a meeting of representatives of political parties was held in Tbilisi and the representatives of the Triple Entente participated in it. The Transcaucasian Commissariat was established under the chairmanship of social democrat E. Gegechkori. By the order of the Transcaucasian Commissariat, the military units seized the arsenal of the Russian army. The commissariat issued decrees on land, the introduction of national self-government in Transcaucasia, the abolition of ranks, the establishment of 8-hour workdays, the shift of time by one hour, and others; Established control over production and distribution, made a decision to settle the foreign loan. Taking into consideration the financial situation, made a decision to issue vouchers.

The foreign policy of the Transcaucasian Commissariat considered cooperation with all countries. In order to stop the war on the Caucasus front, it passed a decree on changing the conditions of service of soldiers and officers and started negotiations with the commanders-in-chief of the Ottoman troops on the Caucasus fronts. The governments of the North Caucasus republics were invited to participate in the negotiations. But they were too late and therefore the commissariat independently signed a temporary armistice with the Ottoman Empire in Erzincan (December 5, 1917). By the order of the Transcaucasian Commissariat, its armed forces at the Shamkir station (near Ganja) and the Khachmaz station (near Baku) attacked the units of the troops coming home from the Caucasian front with the intent to disarm them. Thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded.

The Transcaucasian government was invited to the Brest-Litovsk peace conference, but it did not participate in the negotiations. In order to create an authoritative government, the Transcaucasian Commissariat convened the Transcaucasian Seim and by its decision the Transcaucasian Commissariat transferred authority to the federal government (see Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic).

A. Surguladze

F. Sikharulidze