Courtesy Reuters

Soviet Transcaucasia

GEOGRAPHICALLY the Transcaucasian region forms a bridge between East and West, between Asia and Europe. Politically it has been a perpetual battleground of opposing civilizations and of invading armies; this in part accounts for the fact that it is the cradle as well as the grave of numerous cultures. Each of the conquering Powers left the imprints of its particular civilization upon the inhabitants of the land. This is particularly true of Russia, the last of the invaders. Transcaucasia as it exists today has been very largely conditioned by the century and a half of Russian domination.

Before the advent of Russia, the areas included in the present Socialist Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan and in the eastern part of Georgia were under Persian domination. Almost all of the remainder was held by the Ottoman Turks, though some of Georgia enjoyed a certain degree of independence. But this state of affairs changed when the colossus of the north reached the Caucasus towards the close of the eighteenth century. By a proclamation of July 24, 1783, Catherine the Great placed most of Georgia under Russian suzerainty. Thirty years later the rest of Georgia, along with half of Azerbaijan, passed to Russia by the Treaty of Gulistan. After the war of 1827-1828 Persia had to surrender all territories on the left bank of the Aras river, which is still the boundary between the Soviet Union and Iran (as Persia is now called). Thus, in less than half a century Russia had become master of Transcaucasia. Today the area is an integral part of the Soviet Union under the euphemistic term "Federated Republic."

The Transcaucasian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic is one of the seven principal units of the Soviet Union. This particular unit is made up of the Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, with an aggregate area of about 80,000 square miles and a population of slightly over 7,000,000. The population contains 2,100,000 Georgians, 1,900,000 Azerbaijan Turks, and 1,700,000 Armenians; about half of the remainder are Russians and the

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