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Georgia (new flag)

Sakartvelo

Last modified: 2004-01-17 by
Keywords: georgia | europe | caucasus | commonwealth of independent states | sakartvelo |
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[Flag of Georgia] by Jaume Ollé

Flag adopted 14 January, 2004


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News of the new flag

Today, on January, 14, 2004, the Parliament of Republic of Georgia has official adopted a new State flag of Georgia - white with five red crosses. which we have already discussed as a flag of National Movement (leader - Mikhail Saakashvili, new President of Georgia).  This is posted at Interfax (in Russian).
Mikhail Revnitsev, 14 January 2004

An English language version of the article was posted on 15 January at Itar-Tass News Agency.

I found another story on the new flag, this time from a Georgian source at http://207.218.249.154/cgi-bin/eng/detail.pl?id=6018. I just spoke to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tblisi and they confirmed that the parliament has passed an act changing the flag but they said the details of the design had not been agreed yet. This includes whether the crosses in the corner have straight edges or curved edges.
Graham Bartram, 15 January 2004

In November, when the Rose Revolution was happening, this flag was widely seen. An item from MSN News summarised what is known about this flag (http://slate.msn.com/id/2091667/)

What's With Georgia's Flags? One of them isn't in the encyclopedia.

By Brendan I. Koerner

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003, at 2:31 PM PT

To celebrate the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze, supporters of the Georgian political opposition have been parading through the streets of Tbilisi. Many wave white flags adorned with red crosses, quite different from the nation's official flag. What's the meaning of the red-and-white standard?

The so-called five-cross flag, which dates back to Georgia's medieval glory days, is the symbol of the main opposition party, Mikhail Saakashvili's National Movement. The flag isn't meant to imply that Saakashvili favors feudalism—he's usually characterized as a pro-Western reformer—but that the opposition is fed up with Shevardnadze's autocratic ways. A majority of Georgians, including the patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, have long favored adopting the five-cross banner as the nation's official flag. But the outgoing president stymied all efforts to make the change. In 1999, the Georgian parliament voted to change the flag, and all Shevardnadze had to do was issue a supportive decree. Inexplicably, he refused to do so, instead setting up a powerless heraldic commission to study the matter. When Saakashvili founded the National Movement in 2001, therefore, the five-cross flag was the natural choice to illustrate his party's populist bent.

The first mention of the five-cross design dates back to the middle of the 14th century, when an unknown Franciscan monk wrote that the kingdom's flag was "a white-colored cloth with five red crosses." In prior centuries, Georgian kings had marched into battle brandishing a simpler flag, similar to the "St. George's cross" favored by English nationalists—a single red cross, on a white background. According to a vexillological history written by the Georgian scholar Giorgi Gabeskiria, the four extra crosses were likely added during the reign of Giorgi V (also known as "the Brilliant" or "the Splendid"), who drove out the Mongols. Around that time, Georgians founded several monasteries in the Holy Land and became widely known for their piety. The new design was ostensibly fashioned after the Jerusalem cross, a symbol used by crusaders there and adopted as a testament to Georgia's righteous reputation."

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