Background: 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.
Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe
Area land: 69,700 sq km
Area water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 310 km
Country name conventional long form: none
Country name conventional short form: Georgia
Country name former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
Population: 4,585,874 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.6% (male 383,856/female 333,617); 15-64 years: 68.3% (male 1,511,844/female 1,620,727); 65 years and over: 16% (male 293,143/female 442,687) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: -0.326% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 10.73 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 9.92 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.113 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.15 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female; total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.17 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 17.1 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 13.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.12 years; male: 73.8 years; female: 80.82 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.45 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,500 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 100 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: 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%;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 100%; male: 100%; female: 100% (2004 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $22.32 billion (2010 est.); $21.16 billion (2009 est.); $22.02 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $11.23 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 5.5% (2010 est.); -3.9% (2009 est.); 2.3% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,800 (2010 est.); $4,600 (2009 est.); $4,800 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11%; industry: 27.1%; services: 62% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 31% (2006);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.9%; highest 10%: 30.6% (2008);
Labor force: 1.918 million (2007 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 55.6%; industry: 8.9%; services: 35.5% (2006 est.);
Unemployment rate: 16.4% (2009 est.); 13.6% (2006 est.);
Budget: revenues: $3.172 billion; expenditures: $3.915 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine;
Industrial production growth rate: 4% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 7.97 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 6.902 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - exports: 628 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 430 million kWh (2007 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
(Independent, English-language daily), Tbilisi
Displaying 1 to 4 of 8 items.
The Caucasus region is rife with conflict—its countries battling over resources, military might, political leverage—and its near future could prove to be increasingly explosive.
Daan van der Schriek, writing from Tbilisi, reports on the reaction to the ouster of former President Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia's streets and newspapers.
Thomas de Waal and Margarita Akhvlediani interview former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in Tbilisi.
In an article for Moscow's Novaya Gazeta, Pavel Felgenhauer considers the effects the toppling of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze will have on Russia and the United States.