MOSCOW, APRIL 9 -- Georgia today became the first non-Baltic Soviet republic formally to proclaim independence from Moscow.

The declaration was adopted by a vote of 227 to 0 in the nationalist-dominated Georgian legislature and was greeted by rejoicing in the streets of the capital, Tbilisi. In a non-binding republic-wide referendum last month, an overwhelming majority of Georgia's 3.3 million voters cast ballots in support of secession.

The Georgian declaration of independence is unlikely to have great practical significance in the short term, since the mountainous southern republic is dependent on the Soviet Union for virtually all its strategic raw materials and most of its industrial goods. The Kremlin already has declared all such independence declarations void and insists that any republic wanting to leave may do so only under terms of a restrictive law on secession.

More than 100,000 Soviet troops are stationed in Georgia, a republic of about 5.5 million wedged between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. It was annexed by the czarist Russian empire in the early 19th century but became independent after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The Red Army invaded Georgia in February 1921, putting an end to the social-democratic Republic of Georgia, which had declared its independence on May 26, 1918.

Today's independence declaration comes against the background of a bitter quarrel between the Kremlin and Tbilisi over how to deal with a violent ethnic dispute involving Georgia's small Ossetian minority. Last week, the Soviet legislature called on President Mikhail Gorbachev to declare a state of emergency in the Georgian territory of South Ossetia and put an end to ethnic clashes that have claimed the lives of more than 50 people this year.

Gorbachev has refrained from declaring a formal state of emergency in the region, apparently for fear of provoking a showdown with Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who has said that such a step would amount to a "declaration of war." But Georgian officials claim that the contingent of Soviet internal security troops in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali has been strengthened significantly over the last few days.

Late last year, the Georgian legislature formally declared an end to the longstanding local autonomy of South Ossetia after the Ossetian assembly voted to remain part of the Soviet Union. Today's declaration of independence proclaims that Georgia is single and indivisible.

The date chosen for the formal restoration of independence was symbolic. On April 9, 1989, Soviet troops killed 20 Georgian civilians during the violent dispersal of a peaceful democracy demonstration on the steps of the Georgian legislature. The incident marked a psychological watershed in Georgia, persuading many ordinary Georgians that they would be better off outside the Soviet Union.

Gamsakhurdia, whose nationalist Round Table Alliance ousted the Communist Party from power in elections late last year, had earlier called for a leisurely "transition period" before the declaration of independence. But he apparently changed tactics because of the dispute with Moscow over South Ossetia and the strong support for independence shown in last month's referendum.

The three Baltic republics -- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- proclaimed the restoration of their pre-World War II independence last year but are now bogged down in negotiations with the Kremlin on a number of political and economic disputes. Moscow has used a mixture of political persuasion, economic pressure and force to try to slow down their drive toward full independence.

Lithuanian officials said that Soviet troops occupied another building in Vilnius today, the first such incident in several weeks. The building, a driving school, was formerly owned by a Soviet voluntary organization for support of the Soviet army.

Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis described the takeover of the building as "the start of a new escalation of provocative actions against Lithuania." At least 16 Lithuanians have been killed as a result of Soviet army actions this year, including a Jan. 13 assault on the Vilnius television tower and station.

Gamsakhurdia, Landsbergis, and Estonian leader Arnold Ruutel boycotted an important session in Moscow today of the Federation Council, which is meant to represent all 15 Soviet republics. The leaders of Latvia and Moldavia said they could not attend because they were sick, while Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, saying he was on vacation, sent his deputy.