Georgia

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Georgia
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Georgia
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Map of Georgia
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Photos of Georgia
 
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OF GEORGIA
 

Introduction

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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 United 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.
 
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Geography

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Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe
 
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42 00 N, 43 30 E
 
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total: 69,700 sq km
country comparison to the world: 121
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than South Carolina
 
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total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
 
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310 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
 
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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
 
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lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
 
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timber, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
 
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arable land: 11.51%
permanent crops: 3.79%
other: 84.7% (2005)
 
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4,330 sq km (2008)
 
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63.3 cu km (1997)
 
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total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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earthquakes
 
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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
 
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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
 
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strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
 
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People and Society

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noun: Georgian(s)
adjective: Georgian
 
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Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
 
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Georgian (official) 71%, Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
 
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Orthodox Christian (official) 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7% (2002 census)
 
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4,585,874 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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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.)
 
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total: 39.1 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 41.6 years (2011 est.)
 
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-0.326% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
 
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10.73 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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9.92 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
 
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-4.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
 
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urban population: 53% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: -0.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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TBILISI (capital) 1.115 million (2009)
 
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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.)
 
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48 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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total: 15.17 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 118
male: 17.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 77.12 years
country comparison to the world: 65
male: 73.8 years
female: 80.82 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.45 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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11.3% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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4.538 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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3.32 beds/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 65
 
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improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 96% of population
total: 98% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 4% of population
total: 2% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 95% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 5% of population (2008)
 
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0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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3,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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fewer than 100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
 
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2.3% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 107
 
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3.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 128
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2004 est.)
 
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total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2009)
 
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total: 35.5%
country comparison to the world: 11
male: 32.4%
female: 40.7% (2008)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Georgia
local long form: none
local short form: Sak'art'velo
former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
 
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republic
 
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name: T'bilisi
geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 47 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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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
 
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9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier date: A.D. 1008 (Georgia unified under BAGRAT III)
 
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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
 
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adopted 24 August 1995
 
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civil law system
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); the president is the chief of state and serves as head of government for the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
head of government: Prime Minister Nikoloz GILAURI (since 6 February 2009); the prime minister is head of government for all the ministries of government except the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 5 January 2008 (next to be held in January 2013)
election results: Mikheil SAAKASHVILI reelected president; percent of vote - Mikheil SAAKASHVILI 53.5%, Levan GACHECHILADZE 25.7%, Badri PATARKATSISHVILI 7.1%, other 13.7%
 
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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; members to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 21 May 2008 (next to be held in the spring of 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - United National Movement 59.2%, National Council-New Rights (a Joint Opposition, nine-party bloc) 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
 
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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
 
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Christian Democratic Movement [Giorgi TARGAMADZE]; Conservative Party [Kakha KUKAVA]; Democratic Movement United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]; For Fair Georgia [Zurab NOGAIDELI]; Georgian Party [Sozar SUBARI]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; National Forum [Kakhaber SHARTAVA]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) [Irakli ALASANIA]; People's Party [Koba DAVITASHVILI; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; United National Movement or UNM [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]
 
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separatists in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
 
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ADB, BSEC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-11, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, 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, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Temuri YAKOBASHVILI
chancery: 2209 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390
FAX: [1] (202) 393-4537
consulate(s) general: New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador John BASS
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
 
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white rectangle with a central red cross extending to all four sides of the flag; each of the four quadrants displays a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; although adopted as the official Georgian flag in 2004, the five-cross flag design appears to date back to the 14th century
 
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Saint George; lion
 
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name: "Tavisupleba" (Liberty)
lyrics/music: Dawit MAGRADSE/Zakaria PALIASHVILI (adapted by Joseb KETSCHAKMADSE)
note: adopted 2004; after the Rose Revolution, a new anthem with music based on the operas "Abesalom da Eteri" and "Daisi" was adopted
 
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Economy

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Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed in 2008 following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and turned negative in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers' remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis, but rebounded in 2010. 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 and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of 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, since coming to power in 2004, has simplified the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption. However, the economic downturn of 2008-09 eroded the tax base and led to a decline in the budget surplus and an increase in public borrowing needs. The country is pinning its hopes for renewed growth on a determined effort to continue to liberalize the economy by reducing regulation, taxes, and corruption in order to attract foreign investment, but the economy faces a more difficult investment climate both domestically and internationally.
 
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$22.44 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
$21.1 billion (2009 est.)
$21.93 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$11.67 billion (2010 est.)
 
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6.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
-3.8% (2009 est.)
2.4% (2008 est.)
 
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$4,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
$4,600 (2009 est.)
$4,700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 10.4%
industry: 28.7%
services: 60.9% (2010 est.)
 
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1.918 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
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agriculture: 55.6%
industry: 8.9%
services: 35.5% (2006 est.)
 
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16.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
13.6% (2006 est.)
 
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31% (2006)
 
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lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 31.3% (2008)
 
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40.8 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 59
37.1 (1996)
 
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15.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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revenues: $3.291 billion
expenditures: $4.063 billion (2010 est.)
 
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28.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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-6.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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7.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
1.7% (2009 est.)
 
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8% (25 December 2008)
NA% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key monetary policy rate of the Georgian National Bank
 
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24.213% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
25.521% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.174 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$1.112 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.546 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$2.755 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.96 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
$3.536 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.06 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 106
$733.3 million (31 December 2009)
$327.3 million (31 December 2008)
 
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citrus, grapes, tea, hazelnuts, vegetables; livestock
 
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steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine
 
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4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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8.292 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
 
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7.08 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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675 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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117 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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984 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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13,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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445 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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17,840 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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35 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
 
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10 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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1.71 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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1.7 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
 
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-$1.247 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
-$1.319 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$2.46 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
$1.894 billion (2009 est.)
 
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scrap metal, wine, mineral water, ores, vehicles, fruits and nuts
 
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Turkey 14.1%, Azerbaijan 11.2%, Bulgaria 10%, US 9.8%, UK 9%, Canada 6.7%, Ukraine 6.1% (2010)
 
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$5.027 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$4.293 billion (2009 est.)
 
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fuels, vehicles, machinery and parts, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
 
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Turkey 15%, Ukraine 9.2%, Azerbaijan 8.5%, Russia 6.5%, Germany 6.1%, US 5.9%, China 5.4% (2010)
 
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$2.264 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$2.11 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$10.5 billion (30 June 2011)
country comparison to the world: 92
$3.381 billion (31 December 2009)
 
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laris (GEL) per US dollar -
1.8009 (2010)
1.6705 (2009)
1.47 (2008)
1.7 (2007)
1.78 (2006)
 
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Communications

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597,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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3.193 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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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 cover the entire country; mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 60 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
 
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1 state-owned public television station in Tbilisi and 8 privately-owned TV stations; state-run public broadcaster operates 2 networks; dozens of cable TV operators and several major commercial TV stations are operating; state-owned public radio broadcaster operates 2 networks; several dozen private stations broadcast (2008)
 
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.ge
 
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110,680 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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1.3 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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Transportation

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22 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
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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 (2010)
 
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total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2010)
 
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3 (2010)
 
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gas 1,596 km; oil 1,258 km (2010)
 
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total: 1,612 km
country comparison to the world: 78
broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified)
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2009)
 
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total: 20,329 km
country comparison to the world: 109
paved: 19,123 km (includes 13 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,206 km (2007)
 
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total: 193
country comparison to the world: 34
by type: bulk carrier 18, cargo 151, carrier 1, chemical tanker 3, container 2, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 7, vehicle carrier 2
foreign-owned: 132 (China 11, Denmark 1, Egypt 11, Germany 4, Greece 3, Hong Kong 4, Israel 1, Italy 2, Latvia 1, Lebanon 1, Pakistan 1, Romania 7, Russia 7, Syria 35, Turkey 22, UAE 1, UK 4, Ukraine 15, US 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (unknown 1) (2010)
 
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Bat'umi, P'ot'i
 
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large parts of transportation network are in poor condition because of lack of maintenance and repair
 
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Military

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Georgian Armed Forces: Land Forces (include Air and Air Defense Forces); separatist Abkhazia Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Air Forces; separatist South Ossetia Armed Forces (2011)
 
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18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,080,840
females age 16-49: 1,122,031 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 893,003
females age 16-49: 931,683 (2010 est.)
 
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
male: 29,723
female: 27,242 (2010 est.)
 
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1.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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Transnational Issues

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Russia's military support and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence in 2008 continue to sour relations with Georgia; Georgia continues to restrain the return of Meshkhetian Turks dispersed by Stalin; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy from the Georgian government; local border forces struggle to control the illegal transit of goods and people across the porous, undemarcated Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian borders
 
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refugees (country of origin): 1,100 (Russia)
IDPs: 220,000-240,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2007)
 
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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
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