Treaty of Georgievsk, 1783



The Russian Empire of Catherine the Great and the Georgian Kingdom of King Irakly II solemnized the Treaty of Georgievsk on 24 July 1783.

What follows is an English translation of the text of the treaty prepared by Professor Russell Martin of Westminster University (Ph.D., Harvard University).  One of the key terms of the treaty was Russia’s undertaking to maintain the House of Bagration on the Georgian throne forever.  The 1992 edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica contained the following article on the treaty:

“[A]greement concluded by Catherine II the Great…and Erekle [Irakly] II…by which Russia guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning Bagratid [Bagration] dynasty in return for prerogatives in the conduct of Georgian foreign affairs…Under the terms of the treaty, Catherine and her heirs were to defend Georgia against enemies, and Erekle [Irakly] renounced dependence upon Iran or any other power.  Though the treaty was to have permanent validity, Emperor Paul I's manifesto of Dec. 18, 1800, unilaterally declared the annexation of[Georgia] to Russia, and on Sept. 12, 1801, his successor, Alexander I, formally reaffirmed this determination.”



Translated from the Russian by Russell E. Martin, Source: PSRZ, vol. 22 (1830), pp. 1013-1017.

Published in its entirety for the first time on "The Russian Legitimist" with permission of the author


24 July 1783

Treaty established between Her Imperial Majesty

and Tsar Irakli II of Kartli and Kakhetia


Since ancient times, the All-Russian Empire, due to having the same faith as the Georgian people, has served as the defense, support and refuge to the said [Georgian] people and to their Most Serene Sovereigns, against the oppression of their neighbors, to which they were susceptible. The protection given by the All-Russian Autocrats to the Tsars of Georgia, their family and their subjects, has produced this dependence of the latter on the former, which dependence is indicated even in the very Imperial title [of the Russian Autocrat].  Her Imperial Majesty, now happily reigning, has satisfactorily shown her monarchical favor to the said [Georgian] peoples and magnanimous care for their good by Her strong efforts made for their emancipation from the yoke of slavery and from abusive tribute of boys and maidens, which [tribute] certain of these [Georgian] peoples were obliged to render; and by Her Majesty’s continued care for their Rulers.  In this very situation, bowing to a request brought to Her Throne from the Most Serene Tsar of Kartli and Kakhetia, Irakli II Teimurazovich [son of Teimuraz], to receive him with all his heirs and successors, and with all his Kingdoms and Regions in the Monarchical protection of Her Majesty and of Her August Heirs and Successors, with the recognition of the Supreme power of the All-Russian Emperors over the Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakhetia, [Her] Most-Gracious [Majesty] consented to prepare and conclude a treaty of friendship with the aforementioned Most Serene Tsar, by means of which, on the one side, His Serene Highness, in his own name and [that] of his successors, recognizing the Supreme power and protection of Her Imperial Majesty and of Her August Successors over the Rulers and peoples of the Kingdoms of Karli and Kakhetia and the other Regions which belong to him, would determine solemnly and precisely his duties with regard to the All-Russian Empire; and on the other side, Her Imperial Majesty in the same manner could determine solemnly what preferences and privileges are to be granted from Her generous and strong right hand to the aforementioned peoples and to their Most Serene Rulers.

For the concluding of said treaty, Her Imperial Majesty has granted full power to Illustrious Prince of the [Holy] Roman Empire Grigorii Aleksandrovich Potemkin, General of [Her Majesty’s] forces, commanding the light cavalry (regular and irregular) and of many other military forces; Senator; Vice-President of the State Military Ministry; Governor-General of Astrakhan’, Saratov, Azov and Novorossiisk; [Her Majesty’s] General-Adjutant and Active Chamberlain; Lieutenant of the Horse Guards; Colonel of the Preobrazhenskii Life Guards; Head of the Armory; knight of the orders of Holy Apostle Andrew, of Alexander Nevskii, of the Military Order of St. George the Great Martyr, and of St. Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles (First Class); of the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle; and of the Polish orders of the While Eagle, and of St. Stanislav; of the Swedish Order of the Seraphim; of the Danish Order of the Elephant; of the Holstein Order of St. Anna—with power to appoint and to supply, in his [Grigorii Potemkin’s] absence, with full authority [to negotiate], to whomever he should choose as able; who, by [this power] has appointed and fully authorized His Excellency Paul Potemkin, General-Lieutenant of Her Majesty’s army, commander of forces in Astrakhan Province; Her Majesty’s Active Chamberlain; knight of the Russian Orders of St. Alexander Nevskii, of the Military Order of Great Martyr St. George the Victorious; and of the Holstein Order of St. Anna.  And His Serene Highness Tsar Irakli Teimurazovich of Kartli and Kakhetia has appointed and fully authorized from his side:  Their Highnesses Prince Ivan Konstantinovich Bagration, His [Irakli’s] General of the Regiment “of the Left Hand,” and His Serene Highness General-Adjutant Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze.  The aforementioned Plenipotentiaries, having set to work with the help of God and having recognized each other’s plenary powers, have prepared, concluded, and signed the following articles.

Article 1.  

His Serene Highness Tsar Irakli of Kartli and Kakhetia, in his name and in that of his heirs and successors, solemnly rejects becoming the dependant of any power, [and rejects] any and all dependence on Persia or any other power; and by [this treaty] declares before the face of all the world that he and his successors recognize over themselves no other authority except the supreme power and protection of the All-Russian Throne of Her Imperial Majesty and of Her August Heirs and Successors, promising to said Throne fidelity and readiness to render aid on behalf of the State on any occasion when such aid should be required from him.

Article 2.  

Her Imperial Majesty, receiving from His Serene Highness this sincere and solemn promise, equally promises and reassures by means of Her Imperial word, on her own behalf and on that of her Successors, that favor and protection shall never be withdrawn from the Most Serene Tsars of Kartli and Kakhetia.  In proof of this, Her Majesty gives Her Imperial guarantee of the territorial integrity of the present realm of His Serene Highness Tsar Irakli Teimurazovich, proposing to extend such guarantee also to such territories which may in the course of time and by circumstances come to be acquired and, by firm means, secured for him.

Article 3.  

As an indication of the sincerity with which His Serene Highness the Tsar of Kartli and Kakhetia recognizes the supreme power and protection of the All-Russian Emperors, it is decreed that the aforementioned Tsars, ascending by [right of] heredity onto their Throne, are immediately to inform the Russian Imperial Court about [the succession of a new Tsar], requesting, through their emissaries, Imperial confirmation of the said succession by means of an investiture, consisting of a decree [to that effect]; of a flag with the All-Russian Imperial arms containing the arms of the aforementioned kingdoms; of a sword; of a royal scepter; and of a cloak or an ermine mantle.  These symbols are to be delivered to the emissaries or to be conveyed through the Chief of the Border, to the Tsar, who, on receiving them, in the presence of the Russian Minister, is obliged solemnly to take the oath of fidelity and diligence to the Russian Empire and to the recognition of the supreme power and protection of the All-Russian Emperors in the manner described in this treaty.  This ceremony is now to be performed by the Most Serene Tsar Irakli Teimurazovich.

Article 4.  

For proof that the intentions of His Serene Highness are pure with regard to his close union with the All-Russian Empire and recognition of the supreme power and protection of the Most All Serene Rulers of that Empire, His Serene Highness promises not to have relations with neighboring Sovereigns without the previous agreement of the Chief of the Border and Her Imperial Majesty’s Minister assigned to [Georgian affairs]; and when emissaries or letters should arrive from these [neighboring sovereigns], he shall, on receiving them, consult with the Chief of the Border and with Her Imperial Majesty’s Minister regarding the return of such emissaries and concerning the response to be sent with them back to their Rulers.

Article 5.  

In order to facilitate all necessary relations and agreements with the Russian Imperial Court, His Serene Highness the Tsar desires to have at that Court his own Minister or Representative; and Her Imperial Majesty graciously acceding to this [request], promises that such [Minister or Representative] will at Her Court be received [with the same honors] as other Ministers of Sovereign Princes of the same rank; and, furthermore, [Her Imperial Majesty] is pleased for Her part, to keep [at the Court of] His Serene Highness a Russian Minister or Representative.

Article 6.  

Her Imperial Majesty, having received with favor the recognition of Her supreme power and protection over the Kingdoms of Karlti and Georgia, pledges in Her Own name and in that of Her Successors:  

1) to consider the peoples of these Kingdoms as being in a close union and in complete harmony with Her Empire, and, consequently, to regard their enemies as Her enemies; thus a peace concluded with the Ottoman [Sublime] Porte or with Persia or another power or region would extend also to the peoples [of the Georgian Kingdoms] protected by Her Majesty;

2) to preserve His Serene Highness Tsar Irakli Teimurazovich and the Heirs and descendants to his House, uninterrupted on the Throne of the Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti;

3) to leave the power for internal administration, law and order, and the collection of taxes [under the] complete will and use of His Serene Highness the Tsar, forbidding [Her Majesty’s] Military and Civil Authorities to intervene in any [domestic laws or commands].

Article 7.  

His Serene Highness the Tsar, accepting with due respect this gracious assurance on the part of Her Imperial Majesty, promises for His part and that of His descendants:  1) to be ready at all times to serve Her Majesty with his military forces; 2) to meet the needs of the Russian Authorities, being in constant contact with them regarding all affairs relating to service to Her Imperial Majesty, and to protect [Her] subjects from all offenses and oppression; 3) in the appointment of persons to offices and in their promotions in rank, to show respect for their services to the Russian Empire, on which depends the peace and prosperity of the Kingdoms of Kartli and Kakhetia.

Article 8.  

In proof of Her Imperial good will toward His Serene Highness the Tsar and to his peoples, and as a seal of the union with Russia of this peoples of the same faith [as Russia], Her Imperial Majesty is pleased [to recognize] the Catholicos, or their [most senior] Archbishop, to occupy the eighth rank among the Russian Archbishops, that is, after the [Archbishop of] Tobol’sk, most graciously conferring upon [the Catholicos] permanently the title of Member of the Holy Synod.  Concerning the administration of the Georgian Church and relations with the Russian Synod, additional treaty provisions will be formulated [at a future date].

Article 9.  

Extending Her favor to the subjects of His Serene Highness the Tsar, to the Princes and Nobles, Her Imperial Majesty decrees that [the aforementioned Princes and Nobles] will enjoy all the same privileges and advantages granted to the Russian nobility; and His Serene Highness, accepting with gratitude the gracious indulgence to his subjects, is obliged to send to the Court of Her Majesty a list of all noble families, by which it can be precisely known to whom such privileges belong.

Article 10.  

It is established that, in general, all persons born in Kartli and Kakhetia may settle in Russia, may leave and return again uninhibited; [and that] prisoners, whether freed from the Turks or Persians or other peoples, whether by arms or negotiation, may return to their homes according to their wishes, paying back only the expenses for their ransom and transport; the same His Serene Highness the Tsar piously promises to fulfill with regard to Russian subjects who have fallen into the hands of [Georgia’s] neighbors.

Article 11.  

Merchants of Kartli and Kakhetia have the freedom to ply their trades in Russia, enjoying the same rights and privileges as native Russian subjects; in return, the Tsar promises to make it clear to the Chief of the Border or to Her Majesty’s Minister, that Russian merchants [shall enjoy] all possible freedom in their commercial activities in His territories, or passing through [His territories] to other places, for, without such a precise decree, the [aforementioned] conditions pertaining to the advantages [enjoyed by] His own merchants could not [be guaranteed].

Article 12.  

The present treaty is to remain in force forever; but in the case it shall be seen as necessary to change or amend it for the mutual benefit of [both signatories], such changes must be made by mutual consent.

Article 13.  

Ratification of the present treaty should be made within six months of its being signed or sooner, should that be possible.

In authentication of which, the below signed plenipotentiaries, in accordance with their powers, have signed these articles and have affixed their seals to it in the Georgievsk Fortress, this July 24, 1783.


Pavel Potemkin

Prince Ivan Bagration

Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze



Separate (Secret) Article 1. 

The firm resolve of Her Imperial Majesty that peoples sharing the same faith and united with Her empire by close bonds [as now exist between Georgia and Russia], should coexist in friendship and in complete harmony, [instilling] fear in neighboring realms that are envious of them and whose unity [stands as a defense against] any encroachment on their freedom, peace, and prosperity [by these neighbors]—this firm resolve prompts Her Majesty to give to His Most Serene Highness Tsar Irakli Teimurazovich of Kartli and Kakhetia friendly advice and admonitions concerning the preservation of friendship and good relations with His Most Serene Highness Tsar Solomon of Imeretia, and concerning all things that might facilitate an end to any and all disputes [between them] and to the forestalling of all misunderstandings, promising by Her Imperial word not only to assist by Her efforts relations [between them] as much as will be helpful, but also to provide Her guarantee to the maintenance of peace and harmony.

His Most Serene Highness Tsar Irakli, recognizing with due gratitude Her Majesty’s magnanimous care for the maintenance of friendship between the peoples of these realms [Kartli, Kakhetia, and Imeretia], who share a common origin, and for the rule of law, and recognizing the honor behind Her Imperial Majesty’s promises, hereby pledges that in His relations with His Most Serene Highness Tsar Solomon, now and in the future, to recognize Her Imperial Majesty as the supreme arbiter [over their affairs], submitting to Her supreme decision, without any expectation of the outcome, the resolution of any disputes and misunderstandings that may arise between these two rulers.

Secret Article 2. 

To maintain the territorial integrity of Kartli and Kakhetia from any threats from neighboring powers and to strengthen the military defense forces of the His Serene Highness, Her Imperial Majesty promises to keep in the region two full battalions of infantry with four pieces of artillery; provisions and fodder for their maintenance will be obtained locally from the land by agreement of the Most Serene Tsar with the Chief of the Border for a determined [and fair] price.

Secret Article 3. 

In the event of war, the Chief of the Border will always be fully authorized and is obliged to coordinate with His Serene Highness the Tsar of Kartli and Kakhetia and to deploy forces for the defense of the aforementioned realms and for action against the enemy, not otherwise than for the good of both parties.  Moreover, it is hereby agreed that if part of the armies of Kartli and Kakhetia was used in the service of Her Imperial Majesty beyond the borders of these realms, that to these forces will be fully supplied and supported [to a degree equal to that supplied to the] Her Majesty’s own [Russian] military forces.

Secret Article 4. 

Her Imperial Majesty promises, in case of war, to offer all possible military aid, and in the event of a brokered peace, to insist upon the return of all lands and places that have from time immemorial belonged to Kartli and Kakhetia, which territories will remain as part of the realm of the tsars of these realms as provided for by the present Treaty of Protection and by the supreme power that the aforementioned treaty grants to the All-Russian Emperors over [these realms]. 

These separate articles will have the same force of law as the others that have been included, word for word, in the [publicly known articles of the] Treaty itself; for the sake of which ratification of these additional articles should be obtained in the same period of time [six months] as the [the 13 others].

In authentication of which, the below signed plenipotentiaries, in accordance with their powers, have signed these articles and have affixed their seals to it in the Georgievsk Fortress, this July 24, 1783.


Pavel Potemkin

Prince Ivan Bagration

Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze



Supplemental Article

[Concerning the Coronation and Anointing of the Tsars of Kartli and Kakhetia]

            Inasmuch as the tsars of Kartli and Kakhetia have from ancient times received, at their coronations, a royal crown and were anointed with holy myrrh, Her Imperial Majesty grants, in Her own name and that of Her Successors, to the aforementioned tsars not only the use of this holy ritual, but also, in further proof of her genuine good will [toward the rulers of these kingdoms], permits the Most Serene Successors to His Highness Irakli II to use at Their coronations the historic royal crown [with which Irakli II himself was crowned], in addition to the other insignia of royal investiture to the throne mentioned in the Treaty. 

            His Highness Tsar Irakli, accepting Her Imperial Majesty’s graciousness with due veneration and gratitude, promises, in His own name and in that of His Successors, to perform the holy rites of coronation and anointing to the Throne of Kartli and Kakhetia only after having given the Oath of Allegiance to the All-Russian Emperor as prescribed in the Treaty, and only after having received the confirmatory charter of the Royal Succession [from the All-Russian Emperor, also prescribed in the Treaty].

            This present article shall be counted equal in authority to the other articles constituting the Treaty, in authentication of which, the below signed plenipotentiaries, in accordance with their powers, have signed these articles and have affixed their seals to it, in the month of [blank in the original—REM], 178- [date incomplete in the original—REM].


Pavel Potemkin

Prince Ivan Bagration

Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze