Georgia

 

The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

 

An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by two ethnic conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continue in both regions.

 

Geography:
Location: South-western Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 42 00 N, 43 30 E
People:
Population: 4,570,934 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.6% (male 383,856/female 333,617)

15-64 years 68.3% (male 1,511,844/female 1,620,727)

65 years and over: 16% (male 293,143/female 442,687) (2011 est.)

Median age: Total:  39.3 years

male: 36.8 years

female: 41.8 years (2012 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Georgia

local long form: none

local short form: Sak’art’velo

former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: republic
Capital: name: T’bilisi

geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E

time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 597,000 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 3.193 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 22 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 18

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 2 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Georgian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defence Forces, National Guard (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation – 18 months (2005)

Economy:

Georgia’s economy has sustained robust GDP growth of close to 10% in 2006 and 12% in 2007, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, a widening trade deficit and higher inflation are emerging risks to the economy.

 

Areas of recent improvement include increasing foreign direct investment as well as growth in the construction, banking services and mining sectors. Georgia’s main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, aircraft and chemicals. The country imports nearly all its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity, a growing component of its energy supplies.

Transnational Issues:

Russia and Georgia agree on delimiting 80% of their common border, leaving certain small, strategic segments and the maritime boundary unresolved; OSCE observers monitor volatile areas such as the Pankisi Gorge in the Akhmeti region and the Argun Gorge in Abkhazia; UN Observer Mission in Georgia has maintained a peacekeeping force in Georgia since 1993; Meshkheti Turks scattered throughout the former Soviet Union seek to return to Georgia; boundary with Armenia remains undemarcated; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy from the Georgian government; Azerbaijan and Georgia continue to discuss the alignment of their boundary at certain crossing areas.