Country profile for Georgia

A Georgian map

Georgia has a distinctive and ancient cultural heritage, is renowned for its traditions of hospitality and cuisine, and is located at the strategically significant intersection where Europe and Asia converge.

Before being eventually annexed by Russia in the 19th century, Georgia was the subject of rivalry between Persia, Turkey, and Russia over the course of centuries.

Georgia has once again become the scene of competing interests since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Georgia's aspirations to join NATO and the EU, as well as growing US economic and political influence in the nation, have long been a source of worry for Georgia's neighbor, Russia.

Moscow's support for the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has further strained relations with the country, which resulted in a brief war in August 2008.

  • : capital. Tbilisi.
  • Area:. 69,700 sq km.
  • Population:. 3.06 billion.
  • Languages:. Abhkaz is a Georgian.
  • Expected lifespan: (Men) 69 years; (Women) 78 years.

Salome Zourabichvili is the president.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili in Brussels, January 2019
In December 2018, Salome Zourabichvili took over the largely ceremonial position.

When President Mikheil Saakashvili appointed Salome Zourabichvili to the position of foreign minister, she first gained notoriety in 2004. Before obtaining Georgian citizenship, she worked in the French diplomatic service and served as ambassador to France, where she was born the daughter of Georgian immigrants.

She remained independent of the Georgian Dream party that ousted Mr. Saakashvili in the 2012 elections, but she soon turned against the president, calling him a "dictator," despite this.

Since Georgian Dream, the office of president has been reduced to ceremonial status, and electors, not popular vote, will now select all future presidents.

In 2018, Ms. Zourabichvili ran for the position as an independent with Georgian Dream's support, defeating the pro-Saakashvili opponent Grigol Vashadze in the run-off.

Garibashvili is the current prime minister.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili

Following Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia's resignation in February 2021 over proposals to detain opposition leader Nika Melia, Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili formed a government.

Mr. Gakharia was concerned that an arrest would exacerbate the situation because the opposition has refused to accept the results of the parliamentary elections in October.

It's unlikely that Mr. Garibashvili will be able to bring the two sides together. He is close to the contentious Georgian Dream party's founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili, and during his previous tenure as prime minister from 2013 to 2015, he adopted a combative stance toward the opposition.

Georgian newspapers

The most widely used medium is television, but online news sources are growing in popularity.

Journalists frequently criticize government officials, and the constitution guarantees freedom of speech. The media are "robust and competitive, but frequently partisan," according to Freedom House.

Here are some significant dates in Georgia's modern history:

1801-04 . - The majority of modern-day Georgia joins the Russian Empire.

A religious procession outside Tbilisi's Holy Trinity Cathedral
a religious procession in front of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.

1879 . - Joseph Stalin, the most well-known Georgian in history and a future Soviet leader, is born in Gori.

1918 . - After the Russian Revolution, the independent state of Georgia was established.

1921 . - The Red Army invades, absorbing Georgia into the newly formed Soviet Union.

1956 . - Violent protests against the de-Stalinization policy of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev result in calls for secession from the USSR, and they are brutally put down by Soviet forces.

Houses in old Tbilisi
old Tbilisi homes.

1989 . - Violent clashes between Georgians and Ossetians result from demands for greater autonomy in the South Ossetia region. There are deployed Russian and later Soviet peacekeepers.

1990-1991. - Growing tensions between separatist and Georgian forces are brought on by South Ossetian aspirations for independence. Tens of thousands leave their homes while hundreds are killed.

1991 . - Following a referendum with a clear majority in favor of independence, the Georgian parliament declares secession from the Soviet Union.

1992 . - Conflict between separatist forces and Georgian government forces erupts in Abkhazia.

1993 . - Separatists drive Georgian troops out of nearly all of Abkhazia, which, under Russian guidance, secedes and becomes an unrecognized state around the world.

1994 . - A cease-fire is signed between the Georgian government and the Abkhaz separatists, opening the way for the arrival of a Russian peacekeeping force in the area.

2001. - Clashes in Abkhazia between Abkhaz forces and paramilitaries from Georgia supported by North Caucasus fighters. Russia accuses Georgia of harboring Chechen rebels, a claim Georgia denies, which heightens the tension.

2004 . - Clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces have claimed several lives.

2006 . - In an unofficial referendum, South Ossetians choose to become independent.

2008 . - Following lower-level clashes with Russian-backed rebels, Georgia attempts to retake South Ossetia by force, which inflames tensions between Georgia and Russia and leads to a full-fledged military conflict.

Georgian troops are driven from South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russian forces after they launch a counterattack. The two sides sign a peace treaty that was mediated by France after five days of fighting. Following that, Russia declares the two secessionist regions to be independent states, which is met with criticism from Georgia and the West. Russia claims to maintain a military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

2009 . - An EU report on the 2008 conflict with Russia assigns Georgia some of the blame.

2014. - Georgia and the European Union sign an association agreement, forming a substantial trade partnership.

2015 . - Russian forces in South Ossetia pushed the internal border into Georgia proper by 1.5 km, endangering the main road that connects the west and east of the nation.

2017 . - As part of a plan to reunify with Russia, the breakaway region of South Ossetia holds presidential elections and a referendum on changing its name to the State of Alania.

14th Century Tsminda Sameba Church, (Holy Trinity Church), Gergeti, at 2200m above Kazbegi, in dawn light against Mount Kazbek, Georgia
Georgia made a Christian conversion in the fourth century.

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