Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic

Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Закавказская демократическая федеративная республика


Transcaucasia (South Caucasus) immediately prior to the formation of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.
Capital Tbilisi
Languages Georgian
Government Federative republic
President Nikolay Chkheidze
Historical era World War I
   Federation proclaimed April 22, 1918
  Georgia declares independence May 26, 1918
  Armenia and Azerbaijan declare independence May 28, 1918
   Federation dissolved May 28, 1918
Currency Transcaucasian ruble
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Transcaucasian Commissariat
Democratic Republic of Armenia
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Democratic Republic of Georgia
Today part of  Georgia
 Russian Federation

The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic (TDFR; Закавказская демократическая Федеративная Республика (ЗКДФР); Zakavkazskaya Demokraticheskaya Federativnaya Respublika (ZKDFR); 22 April  28 May 1918), also known as the Transcaucasian Federation, was a short-lived South Caucasian state extending across what are now the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, plus parts of Eastern Turkey.


After the February Revolution, the Russian Provisional Government installed the Special Transcaucasian Committee (особый Закавказский Комитет (ОЗАКОМ), osobyy Zakavkazskiy Komitet (OZAKOM)) to govern the area.


Nikolay Chkheidze

In November 1917, following the October Revolution, the first government of an independent Transcaucasia was created in Tbilisi. A Transcaucasian Committee and a Transcaucasian Commissariat (Sejm, headed by the Georgian pro-Menshevik Social Democrat Nikolay Chkheidze) existed for a couple of months. On December 5, 1917, the Committee endorsed the Armistice of Erzincan signed by the Ottoman command of the Third Army.

Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic

On March 3, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk marked the end of Russia's involvement in World War I. The Ottoman Empire regained Batum, Kars and Ardahan. Starting on March 14, the Trabzon peace conference was held between the Ottoman Empire and a delegation from the Sejm. By April 5, the head of the Transcaucasian delegation, Akaki Chkhenkeli, accepted the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk as a basis for more negotiations and urged the Transcaucasian governments to accept this position.[1] The mood in Tbilisi, however, was very different. Instead of being bound by the terms of Brest-Litovsk, the Sejm gathered and made the decision to establish independence. On 22 April 1918, it proclaimed the establishment of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. A state of war between the Republic and the Ottoman Empire was confirmed[1] and, shortly afterwards, the Ottoman Third Army took Erzerum and Kars.

A new peace conference was convened at Batum on May 11.[2] The Ottoman Empire extended its demands to include Tiflis as well as Alexandropol and Echmiadzin, where their leaders wanted to build a railroad to connect Kars and Julfa with Baku. No agreement was reached and, on May 21, the Ottoman forces resumed their advance. The battles of Bash Abarn (May 2124), Sardarapat (May 2129) and Kara Killisse (May 2428) followed.

On May 26, 1918, the Democratic Republic of Georgia declared independence, followed two days later by the Democratic Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This marked the end of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.


Following the Russian Revolution, the breakup of the Russian Caucasus Army left the Caucasus virtually undefended against the advancing Ottoman Third Army. In response, the Armenians, Georgians and Azerbaijanis attempted to establish a unified military, placing their forces under the command of a "Military Council of Nationalities". These forces consisted of Armenian volunteer units formed during the course of World War I; Georgian forces raised by their Provisional Government; and Azerbaijani troops raised independently.

The Military Council of Nationalities was short-lived. On May 28, 1918, Georgia signed the Treaty of Poti with Germany and welcomed the German Caucasus Expedition as protection against post-Revolution instability and the Ottoman military advance.[3] Azerbaijan, on the other hand, chose to ally itself with the Ottoman Empire.


See also


  1. 1 2 Richard Hovannisian, "The Armenian people from ancient to modern times", pages 292-293.
  2. Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, page 326.
  3. Lang, David Marshall (1962). A Modern History of Georgia, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, p. 207-208.

Coordinates: 41°43′N 44°47′E / 41.717°N 44.783°E / 41.717; 44.783

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