Georgia is located in the southern Caucasus
where Europe meets Asia. Throughout history, the country
has been an exposed prey to the region's great powers
Persia, Turkey and Russia. In our time, Georgia has been
torn apart by separatist outbreaks in the republics of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The former Soviet Republic is also a chip in the security policy
game between Russia and NATO.
Brief profiles of Georgia, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Georgia is a mountainous country, roughly
twice as large as Jämtland. The country is bounded on
the north and south by the mountain ranges of the Great
Caucasus and the Little Caucasus.
The climate varies between different countries. On
the coast and in the plain around the river Rioni in the
west it is mild and humid while the plains in the east
are isolated from the sea and have a continental climate
with cold winters and hot, dry summers.
The snow remains year-round on the highest mountain
peaks, which reach several thousand meters in height.
The avalanche danger can be great in the spectacular
valleys and along the mountain roads, as well as the
risk of landslides. The Georgian military road is the
historical name of a road connecting the country's
capital Tbilisi with Vladikavkaz in Russia. It has been
described as one of the most beautiful stretches of road
in the world.
Georgia's difficult terrain means that there are
valleys that have occasionally been isolated and
therefore have not been heavily exploited. The nature of
the Khada Valley, an hour's journey from the capital,
attracts hikers and cultural tourists, but the valley
may be greatly affected by a planned road project which
involves, among other things, building tunnels through
69,700 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey
Capital with number of inhabitants
Tbilisi, 1,161,000 (2011 estimate)
Other major cities
Kutaisi (195,000), Batumi (124,000), Rustavi
(121,000) (2011 estimate)
Sjchara (5064 m asl), Kazbegi (5033 m asl)
New government with new boss
On December 29, Parliament approves Kvirika Kashvili as new Prime Minister.
The only change to the new government is that 34-year-old Micheil Janelidze will
step down as Foreign Minister after Kvirika Kashvili.
The government is leaving
Prime Minister Garibashvili submits his and the government's resignation
application on December 23. He gives no further justification for his
resignation after only two years, but judges believe it is part of trying to
strengthen the ruling alliance's poor opinion figures ahead of the October 2016
parliamentary elections. President Margvelashvili is commissioning Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikaashvili to form a new government.
Saakashvili is deprived of citizenship
The government withdraws former President Saakashvili from his Georgian
citizenship, as he has become a citizen of Ukraine where he has been given a
high political post. The decision is entirely in accordance with the Georgian
constitution which does not allow dual citizenship.
Court intervention against TV channel raises concern in the West
A court orders the private TV channel Rustavi-2 to change its management and
appoint new managers nominated by a businessman who is reported to be close to
the government. The court's demand for a change of boss stems from a dispute
between shareholders over control of the company. But the employees of the TV
channel refuse to accept the new managers or even let them into the premises and
threaten to prevent them physically. The dispute has raised concerns among
Georgia's allies in the West that the government should try to silence
opposition media ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Ex-mayor released after criticism but arrested again and sentenced
The Constitutional Court finds that Tbilisi's former mayor Gigi Ugulava is
being held in breach of the country's constitution. Ugulava has been in custody
for 14 months awaiting trial since he was arrested in July 2014, but according
to the constitution, only nine months' detention is allowed. Ugulava, who is
close to former ex-president Michail Saakashvili, is accused of money
laundering. The numerous arrests of Saakashvili employees have prompted repeated
criticism from the EU and the US against the current government for political
persecution through the judiciary. The day after the court ruling, Ugulava is
released, but another day later he is sentenced to four and a half years in
prison and remanded.
The Foreign Minister surprisingly dismissed
Prime Minister Garibashvili surprisingly dismisses Foreign Minister Tamar
Berutjasvili, just ten months after she was appointed. She is replaced by the
Minister of Economy, Giorgi Kvirikaashvili, who has no foreign policy
experience. The Prime Minister does not explain the decision, which comes as a
surprise. Opposition politicians and analysts say the shift is an example of the
lack of transparency in the government's work, which is considered to be staged
by the backdrop of former Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanichvili.
NATO helps Georgia
NATO opens a training center just outside Tbilisi. According to the Western
Military Alliance, the center should allow Georgia to modernize its defense.
Russian exercises in the breakaway republics
President Margvelashvili protests that Russia is conducting military
exercises in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgia and the international
community considers occupied Georgian land.
Demonstration against Russia
At least 3,000 people are demonstrating in Tbilisi against Russia's
"occupation" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Russia "steals" Georgian land
Georgia accuses Russia of "creeping annexation" of Georgian territory.
Russian military in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia has set up border
markings up to 1.5 kilometers into Georgian soil so that a stretch of an
Azerbaijan oil pipeline has come under Russian control. The EU calls on Russia
to avoid provocative measures that could increase tensions in the region.
Saakashvili becomes governor and citizen of Ukraine
Saakashvili is appointed governor of the Ukrainian province of Odessa by
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (see also February and April 2015).
According to Poroshenko, Saakashvili has become a Ukrainian citizen.
The European Court of Justice charges Georgia
The European Court of Human Rights convicts the Georgian state of failing to
protect participants in a gay pride parade in Tbilisi in 2012. Several parade
participants were harmed by counter-protesters incited by Orthodox priests. The
police did not intervene to stop the abuse but instead seized several
participants in the parade. The Court orders the state to pay damages of between
EUR 2,000 and EUR 4,000 each to 13 persons.
Reformed government takes office
Parliament approves the reorganized government as presented by Prime Minister
Garibashvili. The greatest attention is paid to the new Minister of Defense Tina
Chidasjeli. She is the third person on that post since July 2014 but the first
female Defense Minister in the country's history.
The government falls after the ministerial resignation
The government falls after another minister resigned. This is the seventh
resignation from the government, which according to the constitution means that
the entire ministry must resign. In all likelihood, Prime Minister Garibashvili
will be tasked with putting together a new government. It is expected to receive
Parliament's support in a vote of confidence within three weeks, as the Georgian
Dream Alliance has a large majority.
Ukraine does not extradite Saakashvili
Ukraine's State Prosecutor's Office rejects Georgia's request to have former
President Micheil Saakashvili extradited (see February 2015). According to the
Ukrainian State Prosecutor, a disclosure would run counter to the 1950
Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Giant demonstration against the government
Tens of thousands of people protest against the government in the biggest
demonstration in Tbilisi in several years. The protesters are demanding that the
government resign as a result of a greatly deteriorating economy. The value of
the Georgian currency, lari, has decreased by almost 30 percent over the past
year. Former President Saakashvili speaks to the protesters on a video link from
South Ossetia is tied near Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov
sign an agreement giving Russia control over the Georgian breakaway republic's
defense and border protection. South Ossetia's military is included in the
Russian defense forces. The EU describes the agreement as a violation of
Georgia's sovereignty and NATO calls it a violation of international law.
Tibilov says there are no plans to formally connect South Ossetia to Russia,
even though "the idea is with our people".
Saakashvili becomes presidential adviser in Ukraine
Former President Mikhail Saakashvili is appointed as advisor to Ukrainian
President Petro Poroshenko. Saakashvili will lead an international group to help
Ukraine's government in its reform efforts. The Georgian government is calling
on the Ukrainian authorities to extradite Saakashvili and former Minister of
Justice Zurab Adeyshvili, who are also in Ukraine. Both are wanted in Georgia
for, among other things, fraud and abuse of power.
Putin signs agreement with Abkhazia
Russian President Putin signs the "Strategic Partnership" Agreement between
Russia and the Georgian Extermination Republic of Abkhazia (see October 2014).
Organizations feel threatened by Ivanishvili
46 Georgian NGOs protest in a joint statement against what they describe as
"threatening statements" from former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. He has
said in a TV interview that he "keeps an eye on" the activities of the NGOs and
plans to compile "interesting research" on them. The organizations say that
Ivanishvili, the country's richest man and founder of the Georgian dream of the
ruling party, pronounces himself as a kind of unofficial head of state, despite
saying he has left politics.
Suspected murder traps the interior minister
Interior Minister Aleksandr Tjikaidze then resigns a man who accused him of
obstructing a police investigation into two homicides probably himself murdered.
Tjikaidze denies interference but says he takes his "moral responsibility" by