About  |   Contact  |  Mongabay on Facebook  |  Mongabay on Twitter  |  Subscribe
Rainforests | Tropical fish | Environmental news | For kids | Madagascar | Photos

Georgia Historical and Political Profile

Mongabay.com seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics, and finance on conservation and development (more)


Georgia Index

  • Georgia-Music and Dance
  • Georgia-Relations with Neighboring Countries
  • Georgia-Crop Distribution
  • Georgia-Within the Soviet Union
  • Georgia-Occupation and Inclusion in the Russian Empire
  • Georgia-Long-Term Security
  • Georgia-Prospects for Reform
  • Georgia-Wages and Prices
  • Georgia-Human Rights
  • Georgia-The Supreme Court
  • Georgia-Arms Supply
  • Georgia-The Arts
  • Georgia-Formation of the Shevardnadze Government
  • Georgia-Abkhazia
  • Georgia-Population Characteristics Population and Ethnic Composition
  • Georgia-Table A - Chronology of Important Events
  • Georgia-The Soviet and Gamsakhurdia Periods
  • Georgia-Early History
  • Georgia-New Parties and Shevardnadze's Return
  • Georgia-The First Shevardnadze Period
  • Georgia-Russia
  • Georgia-Industry
  • Georgia-National Security
  • Georgia-Foreign Relations
  • Georgia-Economy
  • Georgia-The Russian Presence
  • Georgia-Christianity and the Georgian Empire
  • Georgia-Government and Politics
  • Georgia-Post-Stalin Politics
  • Georgia-The Military Establishment National Security
  • Georgia-Agriculture
  • Georgia-The Gamsakhurdia Government
  • Georgia-Preface
  • Georgia-Economic Reform
  • Georgia-The Economy
  • Georgia-The Chief Executive
  • Georgia-The Cabinet
  • Georgia-Religion
  • Georgia-Parliament
  • Georgia-Historical Background
  • Georgia-The Rise of Gamsakhurdia
  • Georgia-GEORGIA
  • Georgia-Foreword
  • Georgia -Chapter 3 - Georgia
  • Georgia-The Judicial System
  • Georgia-Land Redistribution
  • Georgia-Patiashvili
  • Georgia-Enterprise Privatization
  • Georgia-Transportation and Telecommunications
  • Georgia-Conditions in the Soviet System
  • Georgia-Acknowledgments
  • Georgia-Topography Physical Environment
  • Georgia-Energy Resources
  • Georgia-The Struggle for Control
  • Georgia-Obstacles to Development
  • Georgia-Gamsakhurdia's Ouster and Its Aftermath
  • Georgia-Internal Security
  • Georgia-Environmental Issues
  • Georgia-Architecture
  • Georgia-Crime
  • Georgia-The Foreign Policy Establishment
  • Georgia
  • Georgia-Transportation and Telecommunications
  • Georgia-Climate
  • Georgia-Revived Contacts in 1992
  • Georgia-Civilian National Security Organization
  • Georgia-Nationalism Rises
  • Georgia-Turkey
  • Georgia-Language Language, Religion, and Culture
  • Georgia-Health
  • Georgia-Education Education, Health, and Welfare
  • Georgia-After Communist Rule
  • Georgia-The Spirit of Revolution
  • Georgia-Banking, the Budget, and the Currency
  • Georgia
  • Georgia-Draft Policy
  • Georgia-Government and Politics
  • Georgia-The Military Council
  • Georgia-Establishing Democratic Institutions
  • Georgia-Ethnic Minorities
  • Georgia-World War I and Independence
  • Georgia-Introduction
  • Georgia-Social Security
  • Georgia
  • Georgia-Social and Intellectual Developments
  • Georgia-The Constitution Regional Courts
  • Georgia-The Underground Economy
  • Georgia-Film and Theater
  • Georgia
  • Georgia
  • Georgia-Foreign Trade
  • Georgia-Geography Country
  • Georgia-The Election of 1992
  • Georgia-Within the Russian Empire
  • BackgroundThe 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 Russian assistance and support to the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After a series of Russian and separatist provocations in summer 2008, Georgian military action in South Ossetia in early August led to a Russian military response that not only occupied the breakaway areas, but large portions of Georgia proper as well. Russian troops pulled back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This action was strongly condemned by most of the world's nations and international organizations.
    LocationSouthwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
    Area(sq km)total: 69,700 sq km
    land: 69,700 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    Geographic coordinates42 00 N, 43 30 E
    Land boundaries(km)total: 1,461 km
    border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km

    Coastline(km)310 km

    Climatewarm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
    Natural resourcesforests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
    Land use(%)arable land: 11.51%
    permanent crops: 3.79%
    other: 84.7% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)4,690 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)63.3 cu km (1997)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
    per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardsearthquakes
    Environment - current issuesair pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - notestrategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
    Population4,615,807 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 16.1% (male 395,929/female 345,071)
    15-64 years: 67.6% (male 1,503,360/female 1,616,234)
    65 years and over: 16.4% (male 302,103/female 453,110) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 38.6 years
    male: 36.1 years
    female: 41 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)-0.325% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)10.66 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)9.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-4.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 53% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: -0.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.13 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 16.22 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 18.21 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 13.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 76.72 years
    male: 73.41 years
    female: 80.45 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.44 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Georgian(s)
    adjective: Georgian
    Ethnic groups(%)Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)

    Religions(%)Orthodox Christian 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7% (2002 census)
    Languages(%)Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
    note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia

    Country nameconventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Georgia
    local long form: none
    local short form: Sak'art'velo
    former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
    Government typerepublic
    Capitalname: T'bilisi
    geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions9 regions (mkharebi, singular - mkhare), 1 city (k'alak'i), and 2 autonomous republics (avtomnoy respubliki, singular - avtom respublika)
    regions: Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli
    city: Tbilisi
    autonomous republics: Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika (Sokhumi), Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika (Bat'umi)
    note: the administrative centers of the two autonomous republics are shown in parentheses
    Constitutionadopted 24 August 1995

    Legal systembased on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief of state: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: internal affairs and defense
    head of government: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); Prime Minister Nikoloz GILAURI (since 6 February 2009); the president is both the chief of state and head of government for the power ministries: internal affairs and defense; the prime minister is head of the remaining ministries of government
    cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 5 January 2008 (next to be held January 2013)
    election results: Mikheil SAAKASHVILI reelected president; percent of vote - Mikheil SAAKASHVILI 53.5%, Levan GACHECHILADZE 25.7%, Badri PATARKATSISHVILI 7.1%

    Legislative branchunicameral Parliament or Parlamenti (also known as Supreme Council or Umaghlesi Sabcho) (150 seats; 75 members elected by proportional representation, 75 from single-seat constituencies; to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held 21 May 2008 (next to be held in spring 2012)
    election results: percent of vote by party - United National Movement 59.2%, National Council-New Rights 17.7%, Christian Democratic Movement 8.8%, Labor Party 7.4%, Republican Party 3.8%; seats by party - United National Movement 120, National Council-New Rights 16, Christian Democratic Movement 6, Labor Party 6, Republican Party 2

    Judicial branchSupreme Court (judges elected by the Supreme Council on the president's or chairman of the Supreme Court's recommendation); Constitutional Court; first and second instance courts

    Political pressure groups and leadersseparatists in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
    International organization participationACCT (observer), ADB, BSEC, CE, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Flag descriptionwhite rectangle, in its central portion a red cross connecting all four sides of the flag; in each of the four corners is a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; the five-cross flag appears to date back to the 14th century

    Economy - overviewGeorgia's economy sustained GDP growth of close to 10% in 2006 and 12% in 2007, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, growth slowed to less than 3% in 2008 and is expected to slow further in 2009. 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. Areas of recent improvement include growth in the construction, banking services, and mining sectors, but reduced availability of external investment and the slowing regional economy are emerging risks. 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. Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by bringing in newly available supplies from Azerbaijan. It also has an increased ability to pay for more expensive gas imports from Russia. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods. Georgia has historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the government has made great progress and has reformed the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on corruption since coming to power in 2004. Government revenues have increased nearly four fold since 2003. Due to improvements in customs and tax enforcement, smuggling is a declining problem. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on a determined effort to reduce regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$21.56 billion (2008 est.)
    $21.12 billion (2007 est.)
    $18.81 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$12.86 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)2.1% (2008 est.)
    12.3% (2007 est.)
    9.4% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,700 (2008 est.)
    $4,500 (2007 est.)
    $4,000 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 12.5%
    industry: 27.9%
    services: 59.6% (2008 est.)
    Labor force2.317 million (2007 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 55.6%
    industry: 8.9%
    services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
    Unemployment rate(%)13.6% (2006 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)31% (2006)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 27% (2005)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index40.8 (2005)
    37.1 (1996)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $4.596 billion
    expenditures: $5.345 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)10% (2008 est.)
    9.3% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$972.4 million (31 December 2008)
    $1.154 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$1.606 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.379 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$3.754 billion (31 December 2008)
    $3.374 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
    $1.389 billion (31 December 2007)
    $668.3 million (31 December 2006)
    Economic aid - recipientODA, $309.8 million (2005 est.)

    Agriculture - productscitrus, grapes, tea, hazelnuts, vegetables; livestock
    Industriessteel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine

    Industrial production growth rate(%)-1% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$2.915 billion (2008 est.)
    -$2.119 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$2.428 billion (2008 est.)
    $2.088 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts
    Exports - partners(%)Turkey 16.9%, Azerbaijan 12.4%, Ukraine 8.5%, Canada 8.4%, Bulgaria 8.2%, Armenia 7.7%, US 7.1%, UK 4.2% (2008)
    Imports$6.261 billion (2008 est.)
    $4.984 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)fuels, vehicles, machinery and parts, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
    Imports - partners(%)Turkey 14.9%, Ukraine 10.4%, Azerbaijan 9.6%, Germany 7.9%, Russia 6.8%, US 5.7%, China 4.7%, UAE 4.4% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.48 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $1.361 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$7.711 billion (31 December 2008)
    $5.343 billion (31 December 2007)

    Exchange rateslaris (GEL) per US dollar - 1.47 (2008 est.), 1.7 (2007), 1.78 (2006), 1.8127 (2005), 1.9167 (2004)

    Currency (code)lari (GEL)

    Telephones - main lines in use618,000 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular2.755 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: fixed-line telecommunications network has only limited coverage outside Tbilisi; long list of people waiting for fixed line connections; multiple mobile-cellular providers provide services to an increasing subscribership throughout the country
    domestic: cellular telephone networks now cover the entire country; mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 75 per 100 people; urban fixed-line telephone density is about 20 per 100 people; rural telephone density is about 4 per 100 people; intercity facilities include a fiber-optic line between T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi; nationwide pager service is available
    international: country code - 995; the Georgia-Russia fiber optic submarine cable provides connectivity to Russia; international service is available by microwave, landline, and satellite through the Moscow switch; international electronic mail and telex service are available
    Internet country code.ge
    Internet users1.024 million (2008)
    Airports22 (2009)
    Pipelines(km)gas 1,591 km; oil 1,253 km (2008)
    Roadways(km)total: 20,329 km
    paved: 7,854 km (includes 13 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 12,475 km (2006)

    Ports and terminalsBat'umi, P'ot'i
    Military branchesGeorgian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces
    note: naval forces have been incorporated into the coast guard (2009)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,113,251
    females age 16-49: 1,168,021 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 908,282
    females age 16-49: 959,290 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 32,355
    female: 30,809 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.59% of GDP (2005 est.)
    Military - notea CIS peacekeeping force of Russian troops is deployed in the Abkhazia region of Georgia together with a UN military observer group; a Russian peacekeeping battalion is deployed in South Ossetia
    Disputes - internationalRussia 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

    Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 1,100 (Russia)
    IDPs: 220,000-240,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2007)
    Electricity - production(kWh)8.17 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 19.7%
    hydro: 80.3%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)6.902 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)628 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)430 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)977.4 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)14,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)1,486 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)16,590 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)35 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)8 million cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)1.73 billion cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS2,700 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 200 (2003 est.)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 100%
    male: 100%
    female: 100% (2004 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 13 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.1% of GDP (2006)

    Copyright mongabay 2000-2013