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Flag of Georgia
Map of Georgia
Introduction Georgia
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 two civil conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continue in both regions. The Georgian Government put forward a new peace initiative for the peaceful resolution of the status of South Ossetia in 2005.
Geography Georgia
Location:
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates:
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 69,700 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries:
total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
Coastline:
310 km
Maritime claims:
NA
Climate:
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
Terrain:
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,201 m
Natural resources:
forests, 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:
4,690 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
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
Environment - international agreements:
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
Geography - note:
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
People Georgia
Population:
4,661,473 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.3% (male 428,056/female 380,193)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 1,482,908/female 1,602,064)
65 years and over: 16.5% (male 308,905/female 459,347) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 37.7 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 40.1 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.34% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
10.41 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
9.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.15 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 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 (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 17.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.09 years
male: 72.8 years
female: 79.87 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.42 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 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%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2004 est.)
Government Georgia
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Georgia
local long form: none
local short form: Sak'art'velo
former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
republic
Capital:
name: T'bilisi
geographic coordinates: 41 43 N, 44 49 E
time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
9 regions (mkharebi, singular - mkhare), 9 cities (k'alak'ebi, singular - 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
cities: Chiat'ura, Gori, K'ut'aisi, P'ot'i, Rust'avi, T'bilisi, Tqibuli, Tsqaltubo, Zugdidi
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
Independence:
9 April 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 May (1918); note - 26 May 1918 is the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 9 April 1991 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution:
adopted 24 August 1995
Legal system:
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); note - 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 Zurab NOGHAIDELI (since 17 February 2005); note - the president is 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 4 January 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: Mikheil SAAKASHVILI elected president; percent of vote - Mikheil SAAKASHVILI 96.3%, Temur SHASHIASHVILI 1.9%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Supreme Council (commonly referred to as Parliament) or Umaghiesi Sabcho (235 seats - 150 elected by party lists); members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 March 2004 (next to be held spring 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - National Movement-Democratic Front 67.6%, Rightist Opposition 7.6%, all other parties received less than 7% each; seats by party - National Movement-Democratic Front 135, Rightist Opposition 15
Judicial branch:
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
Political parties and leaders:
Burjanadze-Democrats [Nino BURJANADZE]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Georgian United Communist Party or UCPG [Panteleimon GIORGADZE]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; National Movement Democratic Front [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI] bloc composed of National Movement and Burjanadze-Democrats; National Movement [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Rightist Opposition [David GAMKRELIDZE] bloc composed of Industrialists and New Right Party; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; Union of National Forces-Conservatives [Koba DAVITASHVILI and Zviad DZIDZIGURI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Georgian independent deputies from Abkhaz government in exile; separatists in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; supporters of former President Zviad GAMSAKHURDYA ousted in 1991
International organization participation:
ACCT (observer), BSEC, CE, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Vasil SIKHARULIDZE
chancery: 1615 New Hampshire Ave. NW, No. 300, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390
FAX: [1] (202) 393-6060
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John F. TEFFT
embassy: 11 George Balanchine St., T'bilisi 0131
mailing address: 7060 Tbilisi Place, Washington, DC 20521-7060
telephone: [995] (32) 27-70-00
FAX: [995] (32) 53-23-10
Flag description:
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
Economy - overview:
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, and chemicals. The country imports the bulk of its energy needs, including natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable but underdeveloped hydropower capacity. Despite the severe damage the economy has suffered due to civil strife, Georgia, with the help of the IMF and World Bank, has made substantial economic gains since 2000, achieving positive GDP growth and curtailing inflation. Georgia had suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, the new government is making progress and has reformed the tax code, improved tax administration, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on corruption. In addition, the reinvigorated privatization process has met with success, supplementing government expenditures on infrastructure, defense, and poverty reduction. Despite customs and financial (tax) enforcement improvements, smuggling is a drain on the economy. Georgia also suffers from energy shortages due to aging and badly maintained infrastructure, as well as poor management. Due to concerted reform efforts, collection rates have improved considerably to roughly 60%, both in T'bilisi and throughout the regions. Continued reform in the management of state-owned power entities is essential to successful privatization and onward sustainability in this sector. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on its role as a transit state for pipelines and trade. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline have brought much-needed investment and job opportunities. Nevertheless, high energy prices in 2006 will compound the pressure on the country's inefficient energy sector. Restructuring the sector and finding energy supply alternatives to Russia remain major challenges.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$15.56 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$6.4 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 17.2%
industry: 27.5%
services: 55.3% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
2.04 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 40%
industry: 20%
services: 40% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
12.6% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
54% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 27.9% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8.2% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
24% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $1.43 billion
expenditures: $1.56 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tea, hazelnuts, vegetables; livestock
Industries:
steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese and copper), chemicals, wood products, wine
Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2000)
Electricity - production:
8.634 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 19.7%
hydro: 80.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
9.8 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
71 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
1.2 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
1,982 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
13,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
20 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
1.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
NA cu m
Natural gas - imports:
1.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Current account balance:
-$625 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
$1.4 billion (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
scrap metal, machinery, chemicals; fuel reexports; citrus fruits, tea, wine
Exports - partners:
US 16.1%, Turkey 15.5%, Russia 12.3%, Turkmenistan 11.3% (2005)
Imports:
$2.5 billion (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, machinery and parts, transport equipment, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners:
Russia 16%, Turkey 10.3%, US 9.6%, Ukraine 9%, Azerbaijan 7.4%, Germany 6.5%, Italy 4.3% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$474.2 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.04 billion (2004)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $150 million (2000 est.)
Currency (code):
lari (GEL)
Currency code:
GEL
Exchange rates:
lari per US dollar - 1.8127 (2005), 1.9167 (2004), 2.1457 (2003), 2.1957 (2002), 2.073 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Georgia
Telephones - main lines in use:
683,200 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
840,600 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: local - T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi have cellular telephone networks; urban 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; Georgia and Russia are working on a fiber-optic line between P'ot'i and Sochi (Russia); present international service is available by microwave, landline, and satellite through the Moscow switch; international electronic mail and telex service are available
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 7, FM 12, shortwave 4 (1998)
Radios:
3.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
12 (plus repeaters) (1998)
Televisions:
2.57 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.ge
Internet hosts:
8,942 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2000)
Internet users:
175,600 (2005)
Transportation Georgia
Airports:
23 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 19
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Heliports:
3 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 1,697 km; oil 1,027 km; refined products 232 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 1,612 km
broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified)
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 20,247 km
paved: 7,973 km
unpaved: 12,274 km (2003)
Merchant marine:
total: 192 ships (1000 GRT or over) 936,396 GRT/1,373,814 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 23, cargo 150, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 157 (Albania 1, Azerbaijan 2, Belgium 1, Cyprus 1, Ecuador 1, Egypt 6, Estonia 1, Germany 1, Greece 5, Indonesia 1, South Korea 1, Lebanon 5, Monaco 12, Romania 8, Russia 20, Slovenia 1, Syria 37, Turkey 24, Ukraine 23, UAE 1, UK 5) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Bat'umi, P'ot'i
Transportation - note:
transportation network is in poor condition resulting from ethnic conflict, criminal activities, and fuel shortages; network lacks maintenance and repair
Military Georgia
Military branches:
Ground Forces (includes National Guard), Air and Air Defense Forces, Navy (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,038,736
females age 18-49: 1,105,910 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 827,281
females age 18-49: 903,791 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 38,857
females age 18-49: 38,238 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$23 million (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.59% (FY00)
Military - note:
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
Disputes - international:
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 and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 260,000 (displaced from Abkhazia and South Ossetia) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
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

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006