Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
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Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic

Emblem (1923-1936) of Transcaucasian SFSR
Emblem (1923-1936)
Location of the Transcaucasian SFSR within the Soviet Union
Location of the Transcaucasian SFSR within the Soviet Union
Common languagesGeorgian
GovernmentFederal Soviet socialist republic
o Established
12 March 1922
o Disestablished
5 December 1936
1922186,100 km2 (71,900 sq mi)
CurrencyTranscaucasian ruble, Soviet ruble
Today part of Armenia

The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (Transcaucasian SFSR or TSFSR), also known as the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union that existed from 1922 to 1936. It comprised Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. As they were separated from Russia by the Caucasus Mountains, they were known traditionally as the Transcaucasian Republics. Created ostensibly to consolidate the economic situation of the region, the TSFSR was also useful in consolidating Bolshevik control over the states. It was one of the four republics to sign the treaty establishing the Soviet Union in 1922.

Names in the local languages

Andrkovkasi Khorhrdayin Soc'ialistakan Dashnayin (Federativ) Hanrapetut'yun
Zaqafqaziya Sosialist Federativ Sovet Respublikas?
Amierk'avk'asiis Sabch'ota Pederatsiuli Sotsialist'uri Resp'ublik'a
Zakavkazskaya Sotsalisticheskaya Federativnaya Sovetskaya Respublika (ZSFSR)


The roots of a Transcaucasian condominium state trace back to the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1918, following the October Revolution, when the provinces of the Caucasus seceded and formed their own state called the Transcaucasian Federation. Competing ethno-national interests and confrontation with the Ottoman Empire in World War I led to the dissolution of the Transcaucasian Federation only two months later, in April 1918.[1]

The three successor states: the First Republic of Armenia, the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, and the Democratic Republic of Georgia, lasted until the end of the Russian Civil War that was being fought across the mountains, when they were invaded by the Red Army and sovietized. Following the proposal by Vladimir Lenin the three now Soviet Republics, the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian SSRs, were united into the Federative Union of Socialist Soviet Republics of Transcaucasia on 12 March 1922. On 13 December that year, the First Transcaucasian Congress of Soviets transformed this federation of states into a unified federal state and renamed it into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, though keeping formally the autonomy of its constituent republics. The congress also adopted the constitution, appointed the Central Executive Committee (the highest legislative body), and the Council of People's Commissars (the government). Mamia Orakhelashvili, a Georgian Bolshevik leader, became the first chairman of the Transcaucasian SFSR Council of People's Commissars.[2]Tbilisi was the capital of the republic.

The republic became a founding member of the Soviet Union on 30 December along with the Russian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Byelorussian SSR. In December 1936, the Transcaucasian SFSR was dissolved and divided again among the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani SSRs.[3]

Autonomous republics within TSFSR

Map of the Transcaucasian region during the Soviet era

After the Red Army invasion of Georgia, Abkhazia, hitherto an autonomous province within the Democratic Republic of Georgia, was declared a Soviet Republic, the SSR of Abkhazia, in March 1921 by the Abkhaz Revolutionary committee. However the republic's relations with Georgia and Russia were not formally settled.[4] On December 16, 1921, Abkhazia signed a treaty of alliance with the Georgian SSR, which defined its status as a treaty republic (Russian ?) and established a military, political and financial union between the two Soviet republics, subordinating the SSR of Abkhazia to the Georgian SSR. Thus, through Georgia, Abkhazia joined the TSFSR and was initially on an equal footing with the other republics of the federation.[5] On February 19, 1931, Abkhazia's republican status was downgraded to that of an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Georgian SSR.[6]

The Adjar ASSR was established on July 16, 1921 within the Georgian SSR as a consequence of the Treaty of Kars. The treaty marking the end of the Caucasus Campaign in World War I provided for the division of the former Batum Oblast of the Kutais Governorate of the Russian Empire between Georgia and Turkey. According to the agreement the northern half with significant Georgian Muslim population would become part of the Soviet Georgia but granted autonomy.

Another autonomous republic was established in July 1920 in Nakhchivan, an area bordering Armenia, Turkey and Iran, which was claimed by Armenians and Azerbaijanis. After the occupation of the region by the Red Army, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was declared with "close ties" to the Azerbaijani SSR. The Treaty of Moscow and the Treaty of Kars affirmed the establishment of the autonomous republic as part of the Soviet Azerbaijan.[7]

Heads of state

Chairs of the Union Council
Name Dates Party
Nariman Narimanov March-December 1922 Communist Party of Azerbaijan
Polikarp Mdivani March-December 1922 Communist Party of Georgia
Aleksandr Myasnikyan March-December 1922 Communist Party of Armenia
Chairmen of the Presidium of the USSR CEC from TSFSR
Name Dates Party
Nariman Narimanov 1922-1925 Communist Party of Azerbaijan
Gazanfar Musabekov 1925-1938 Communist Party of Azerbaijan
Chairs of the Central Executive Committee
Name Period For
Mikhail Tskhakaya (1st time) 1922-1927 Georgia
Samad aga Aliyev 1922-1929 Azerbaijan
Sarkis Hambartsumyan 1922-1925 Armenia
Sarkis Kasyan 1927-1931 Armenia
Filipp Makharadze (1st time) 1927-1928 Georgia
Mikhail Tskhakaya (2nd time) 1928-1931 Georgia
Gazanfar Musabekov 1929-1931 Azerbaijan
Filipp Makharadze (2nd time) 1931-1935 Georgia
Armenak Ananyan 1931-1935 Armenia
Sultan Majid Afandiyev 1931-1936 Azerbaijan
Sergo Martikyan 1935-1936 Armenia
Avel Enukidze March-May 1935 Georgia
Filipp Makharadze (3rd time) 1935-1936 Georgia

Stamps and postal history

Before 1923, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan issued each its own postage stamps. The Transcaucasian Federation began issuing its own stamps on September 15, 1923, and superseded the separate republics' issues on October 1.

The first issues consisted of some of the stamps of Russia and Armenia overprinted with a star containing the five-letter acronym of the Federation inside the points. Massive inflation having set in, this was followed by an issue of the Federation's own designs, four values of a view of oil fields, and four with a montage of Soviet symbols over mountains and oil derricks, values ranging from 40,000 to 500,000 rubles. The 40,000 rubles and 75,000 rubles were then surcharged to 700,000 rubles. On October 24, the stamps were re-issued with values from 1 to 18 gold kopecks. Starting in 1924, the Federation used stamps of the Soviet Union.[8]

Most of the stamps of the Federation are not especially rare today, with 1998 prices in the US$1-2 range, although the overprints on Armenian stamps range up to US$200.[] As might be expected from a short period of usage, used stamps are less common than unused and covers are not often seen.

See also


  1. ^ Suny 1994, pp. 191-192
  2. ^ Suny 1994, p. 245
  3. ^ Archived 2015-09-25 at the Wayback Machine. ? , 3-? ., . . ?. ?. . : , 1972. ?. 9 (A. M. Prokhorov; et al., eds. (1972). "Transcaucasian Federation". Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian). 9. Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia.)
  4. ^ Saparov 2015, pp. 50-57
  5. ^ Hewitt 1993, p. 271
  6. ^ Blauvelt 2007, p. 212
  7. ^ Text of the Treaty of Kars
  8. ^ Retrieved 12 August 2018.


  • Blauvelt, Timothy (May 2007), "Abkhazia: Patronage and Power in the Stalin Era", Nationalities Papers, 35 (2): 203-232, doi:10.1080/00905990701254318
  • Forestier-Peyrat, Etienne (January 2018), "Soviet Federalism at Work: Lessons from the History of the Transcaucasian Federation, 1922-1936", Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 65 (4): 529-559
  • Hewitt, B.G. (1993), "Abkhazia: a problem of identity and ownership", Central Asian Survey, 12 (3): 267-323, doi:10.1080/02634939308400819
  • Lang, David Marshall (1962), A History of Modern Georgia, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • Saparov, Arsène (2015), From Conflict to Autonomy in the Caucasus: The Soviet Union and the making of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh, New York City: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-41-565802-7
  • Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994), The Making of the Georgian Nation (Second ed.), Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press

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