Historical and democratic processes in Gori
The "Narodnik" movement, which originated in the center of the Russian Empire, eventually reached Georgia where its strongest foothold was established in Gori. The movement, in the name of ordinary people, opposed the aristocracy and the monarchical system, and started working with Gori natives in the 1870s. In particular, literary circles and societies were created, and the local intelligentsia actively disseminated popular ideas among local residents. Civil and democratic notions spread like wildfire albeit privately. However, in 1876, a circle of people engaged in such activity was revealed and a significant contingent of its leaders were arrested. Those who evaded arrest continued their work, undeterred. Crucially, the "Georgian History and Literature Study Society" was created, and its members illegally disseminated folk ideas and literature which had been prohibited in schools. With the establishment of the independent Republic of Georgia, local self-governments, including Gori, were strengthened throughout the country as citizens actively participated in elections and discussions on public issues. Indeed, the parties engaged in the Gori city elections distributed their electoral lists through the local press. During the period of 1917-1921, the elections of the Constituent Assembly of Russia, as well as city, national, and Georgian constituent assemblies were held in Gori. After the occupation of Georgia by the Soviet Union, this tradition of democratic elections came to an abrupt halt. The totalitarian regime even prohibited certain groups of citizens from participating in fictitious elections and declared them "disenfranchised." Though not found in any archives, people were known to have sent letters appealing to the administration to restore their right to vote, which had been suddenly taken away. Despite many decades without democracy action in Gori and the surrounding municipality under the heavy pressure of the Russian and Soviet empires, the democratic spirit of the local residents has survived.
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