+995 is the dialing code for Georgia.
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.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Georgia, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
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 the mountains.
|Cultivated land||35.5 %|
|Land area||69700 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||-0.08 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||53.6 %|
|Death rate||10.82 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||80.36 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||71.85 years|
|Birth rate||12.74 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||16.15 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||9475 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per inhabitant||825.2 kg. oil per resident|
|Internet users||50.6 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||109 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||155 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||16.7% of the workforce|
|GDP||9600 per resident|
|Primary occupations||55.6 %|
|Secondary profession||8.9 %|
|Tertiary professions||35.5 %|
69,700 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey
Capital with number of residents
Tbilisi, 1,161,000 (Sources: Allcitypopulation.com)
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 Brussels.
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 resigning.