When did Polish-Georgian relations start?

Hello dear readers, In this blog I would like to tell you about the first impression as a Georgian, who arrived in Poland, Upper Silesia, Katowice. Since I had the chance to visit Silesian museum (Muzeum Śląskie) in Katowice, I had the feeling that Georgia and Poland had many similarities in history. First impression about the people was also nice, since mostly people in Upper Silesia are polite to foreigners and ready to help you, even though they will speak to you in Polish, they still try to assist you in case of any questions.  

All Georgian knows that Poland is our beloved partner and assists us to obtain EU and NATO membership, Poland was there for us in August 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and Russian troops were in the middle of Georgia (Gori), also Poland was one of the first country, which recognized our independence. But still, I wonder when our countries started relationship, not only the diplomatic, but in general, when did we and Polish people discovered about each other?! Did Poland knew that we have been existed before the Soviet Union?!

The first article which attracted my attention was by Ambrosi Grishikashvili, published in the journal by Georgian Foundation for strategic and international studies (Rondeli Foundation) and US embassy Georgia. There is written that after 1774 year, when 3 imperialistic countries – Russia, Austria and Prussia just “distributed” Poland in each other, King Erekle II received up to 1000 and then after 1795 –  4000 Polish families. Polish people were the leaders of highly important reforms in social, political and economic sectors of Georgia. One of the bright example is Grigol Wolski, who was born in Kutaisi, in 1880 he established “the society of Georgian Language Dissemination and Study”. You may not understand the importance of it, but in that period, our language was restricted and replaced by Russian, so that we were losing part of our national identity. Grigol Wolski (doctor, publicist and public figure) promoted Georgian language and often organized cultural events.

Georgian – Polish relationship had been developing, in 1907 in Tbilisi was established Dom Polski, which was cultural and educational center and was especially popular in independent Georgia. After 1918 Year, when we regained independence, was established Polish newspaper “Tygodnik Polski”.

Unfortunately, our independence was not long, but government of Poland had been finding the ways to support us somehow. Poland was trying not to recognize the Soviet Union, because of the occupation of Caucasus. In 1918 May, couple of days before the announcement of independence of Georgia, Stefan Żeromski (Polish writer, publicist) wrote: „ Georgia’s freedom must become a major calling for every free nation“.

After that red army entered to Georgia, but Poland, on behalf of Riga tract, did not recognized The Bolshevik coup (October revolution) in Georgia. There should be mentioned the remarkable role of Poland in development of Georgian military, since Poland was recruiting Georgian military officers for contract service, among them mostly were the people who were fighting for freedom and independence of Georgia.

So, if you think that Polish – Georgian relations is a new thing, now you know the beginning and the reasons why we understand each other so well, since our past is alike and we both know how precious is freedom.  

Hope for the better future together!

Mariam

Silesian Museum in Katowice
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