Middle East :: Georgia
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Georgia
Location of Georgia
 
Map of Georgia
Introduction ::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 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.
Geography ::Georgia
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
42 00 N, 43 30 E
total: 69,700 sq km
country comparison to the world: 120
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly smaller than South Carolina
total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
310 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
forests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
arable land: 11.51%
permanent crops: 3.79%
other: 84.7% (2005)
4,690 sq km (2003)
63.3 cu km (1997)
total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
earthquakes
air pollution, particularly in Rust'avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
party 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
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
People ::Georgia
4,615,807 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
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.)
total: 38.6 years
male: 36.1 years
female: 41 years (2009 est.)
-0.325% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 222
10.66 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
9.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
-4.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
urban population: 53% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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.)
total: 16.22 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 121
male: 18.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 76.72 years
country comparison to the world: 62
male: 73.41 years
female: 80.45 years (2009 est.)
1.44 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
2,700 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
noun: Georgian(s)
adjective: Georgian
Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
Orthodox Christian 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7% (2002 census)
Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2004 est.)
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2006)
3.1% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 145
Government ::Georgia
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Georgia
local long form: none
local short form: Sak'art'velo
former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
republic
name: T'bilisi
geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
9 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
9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Independence Day, 26 May (1918); note - 26 May 1918 was the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 9 April 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
adopted 24 August 1995
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief 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: state security (includes interior) 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: state security (includes interior) 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%
unicameral 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
Supreme 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
Christian Democratic Movement [Giorgi TARGAMADZE]; Democratic Movement United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Georgian United Communist Party or UCPG [Panteleimon GIORGADZE]; Georgia's Way Party [Salome ZOURABICHVILI]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Council-New Rights (bloc forming joint opposition) [Levan GACHECHILADZE]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; United National Movement [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; Union of National Forces-Conservatives [Koba DAVITASHVILI and Zviad DZIDZIGURI]
separatists in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
ACCT (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
chief of mission: Ambassador Batu KUTELIA
chancery: 2209 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390
FAX: [1] (202) 393-4537
consulate(s) general: New York
chief of mission: Ambassador John F. TEFFT
embassy: 11 George Balanchine Street, T'bilisi 0131
mailing address: 7060 T'bilisi Place, Washington, DC 20521-7060
telephone: [995] (32) 27-70-00
FAX: [995] (32) 53-23-10
white 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 ::Georgia
Georgia'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.
$21.51 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
$21.07 billion (2007 est.)
$18.76 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$12.87 billion (2008 est.)
2.1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
12.3% (2007 est.)
9.4% (2006 est.)
$4,600 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$4,500 (2007 est.)
$4,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 12.5%
industry: 27.9%
services: 59.6% (2008 est.)
2.317 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
agriculture: 55.6%
industry: 8.9%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
13.6% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
31% (2006)
lowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 27% (2005)
40.8 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 58
37.1 (1996)
22.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
revenues: $4.596 billion
expenditures: $5.345 billion (2008 est.)
10% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
9.3% (2007 est.)
8% (25 December 2008)
NA% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key monetary policy rate of the Georgian National Bank
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 15
20.41% (31 December 2007)
$972.4 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 117
$1.154 billion (31 December 2007)
$1.606 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 114
$1.379 billion (31 December 2007)
$3.754 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 105
$3.374 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 99
$1.389 billion (31 December 2007)
$668.3 million (31 December 2006)
citrus, grapes, tea, hazelnuts, vegetables; livestock
steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine
-1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
8.17 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
6.902 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
628 million kWh (2007 est.)
430 million kWh (2007 est.)
977.4 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
14,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
1,486 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
16,590 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
35 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
8 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
1.73 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 174
1.72 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$-3.17 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$-2.119 billion (2007 est.)
$2.428 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
$2.088 billion (2007 est.)
scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts
Turkey 19.3%, Bulgaria 17.9%, US 9%, Germany 5.2%, Canada 4.9%, UK 4.3%, Azerbaijan 4.3% (2008)
$6.261 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$4.984 billion (2007 est.)
fuels, vehicles, machinery and parts, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
Turkey 15.1%, Russia 10.9%, US 8.9%, Ukraine 7.1%, Germany 5.9%, Azerbaijan 5.6%, Bulgaria 4.5%, China 4.3% (2008)
$1.48 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$1.361 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$7.711 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 91
$5.343 billion (31 December 2007)
laris (GEL) per US dollar - 1.47 (2008 est.), 1.7 (2007), 1.78 (2006), 1.8127 (2005), 1.9167 (2004)
Communications ::Georgia
618,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
2.755 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 111
general 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
AM 7, FM 12, shortwave 4 (1998)
12 (plus repeaters) (1998)
.ge
104,243 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 72
1.024 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 85
Transportation ::Georgia
22 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 133
total: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
3 (2009)
gas 1,591 km; oil 1,253 km (2008)
total: 1,612 km
country comparison to the world: 80
broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified)
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2008)
total: 20,329 km
country comparison to the world: 109
paved: 7,854 km (includes 13 km of expressways)
unpaved: 12,475 km (2006)
total: 191
country comparison to the world: 35
by type: bulk carrier 18, cargo 148, carrier 2, chemical tanker 1, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 2
foreign-owned: 153 (China 10, Cyprus 1, Egypt 12, Germany 2, Greece 5, Hong Kong 2, Israel 2, Lebanon 4, Monaco 4, Nigeria 1, Romania 16, Russia 12, Syria 49, Turkey 14, Ukraine 18, UAE 1) (2008)
Bat'umi, P'ot'i
large parts of transportation network are in poor condition because of lack of maintenance and repair
Military ::Georgia
Georgian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces
note: naval forces have been incorporated into the coast guard (2009)
18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
males age 16-49: 1,113,251
females age 16-49: 1,168,021 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 908,282
females age 16-49: 959,290 (2009 est.)
male: 32,355
female: 30,809 (2009 est.)
0.59% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
a 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
Transnational Issues ::Georgia
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
refugees (country of origin): 1,100 (Russia)
IDPs: 220,000-240,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2007)
limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; used as transshipment point for opiates via Central Asia to Western Europe and Russia