Introduction

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
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Geography

Location
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia

Geographic Coordinates
42 00 N, 43 30 E

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
4,700 sq km (1998 est.)

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

Notes
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them

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People

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.)

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Government

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
T’bilisi

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

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; 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 Right [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: Suite 602, 1101 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005; telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390; FAX: [1] (202) 393-4537

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

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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)
$15.55 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: 16%; industry: 26.8%; services: 57.2% (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% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed)
26.6% 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 – 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
$-439.3 million (2005 est.)

Exports
$1.4 billion (2005 est.)

Exports – Commodities
scrap metal, machinery, chemicals; fuel reexports; citrus fruits, tea, wine

Exports – Partners
Turkey 18.3%, Turkmenistan 17.8%, Russia 16.2%, Armenia 8.4%, UK 4.9% (2004)

Imports
$2.5 billion (2005 est.)

Imports – Commodities
fuels, machinery and parts, transport equipment, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals

Imports – Partners
Russia 14%, Turkey 10.9%, UK 9.3%, Azerbaijan 8.5%, Germany 8.2%, Ukraine 7.7%, US 6% (2004)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold
$350.1 million (2005 est.)

Debt – External
$2.04 billion (2004)

Economic Aid – Recipient
ODA, $150 million (2000 est.)

Currency (Code)
lari (GEL)

Exchange Rates
ari per US dollar – 1.8127 (2005), 1.9167 (2004), 2.1457 (2003), 2.1957 (2002), 2.073 (2001)

Fiscal Year
calendar year

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Communications

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)

Television Broadcast Stations
12 (plus repeaters) (1998)

Internet Country Code
.ge

Internet Hosts
8,942 (2005)

Internet Users
175,600 (2005)

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Transportation

Airports
25 (2005)

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 (2005)

Airports – With Unpaved Runways
total: 6; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4; 914 to 1,523 m: 1; under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Heliports
3 (2005)

Pipelines
gas 1,697 km; oil 1,027 km; refined products 232 km (2004)

Railways
total: 1,612 km (1,612 km electrified); broad gauge: 1,575 km 1.520-m gauge (1,575 electrified); narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 electrified) (2004)

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

Notes
transportation network is in poor condition resulting from ethnic conflict, criminal activities, and fuel shortages; network lacks maintenance and repair

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Military

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 (2005 est.)

Manpower Fit for Military Service
males age 18-49: 827,281 (2005 est.)

Manpower Reaching Military Service Age Annually
males: 38,857 (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Dollar Figure
$23 million (FY00)

Military Expenditures – Percent of GDP
0.59% (FY00)

Notes
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

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Transnational Issues

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

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