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Georgia

Geography

Georgia

Georgia is located in the central and western part of the Caucasus. The total area of the Republic is 69 700 km². The total length of Georgian border is 1,461 km, the part with Armenia is 164 km, with Azerbaijan - 322 km, with Russia - 723 km, with Turkey - 252 km. The Black Sea coastline is 310 km long.
A large part of the territory is formed by mountains: in the north - Greater Caucasus, in the south - Small Caucasus mountain range (highest peaks are Shkhara at 5068 m and Kazbek at 5033 m), but among them is also Kolhida lowlands, Cartlia and the Alazni Valley. Georgia's lowest point is in the Black sea (0 m above sea level), while the highest point is Shkhara (5068 m above sea level). The largest river is Rioni, lakes - Paleostomi and Alazni.

Photo: grigoryev.net
Kazbek mountain

The climate in the west of Georgia is subtropical, in the east it is moderate. January sees an average air temperature of + 3 ° C (Kolhida Valley) to -2 ° C (Iverija Valley), August average temperature of + 23 ° C to + 25 ° C. The climatic conditions and soil allow the cultivation of tea and citrus fruits. The rainfall in the west is up to 2800 mm per year, while in the east up to 600 mm per year.
There are many mineral and thermal springs in the Republic, which led to about 50 therapeutic resorts being created, including Borjomi, Tskaltubo, Mendigi, Sairme, etc. For the protection of natural objects and areas of beauty, 15 restricted areas and Tbilisi National Park were created.
Cropland occupies 11.51% of the territory of Georgia, with 3.79% of it relating to cereals and 84.7% to other crops. Major Georgian natural resources include forests, hydropower, manganese and iron ore deposits, as well as small coal and oil reserves.
Georgia is located in a seismically active zone.

Inhabitants

According to the data of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Georgia's population by 2020 was 3.776 million, of which 47.1% were men and 52.9% were women.
According to the national composition, in Georgia live Georgians (86.83%), Azerbaijanis (6.27%), Armenians (4.53), Russians (0.71%), Ossetians (0.39%), Yazidis (0.16%), as well as Greeks, Kists, Ukrainians, Jews, Abkhazians, Assyrians and other nationalities.
The official language of Georgia is Georgian. In terms of religion, 80% of the Georgian population are Orthodox Christians, 10% are Georgian and Azerbaijani Muslims, 3% are Armenian Orthodox and less than 7% are Catholics, Protestants and other denominations.
 

Administrative division

  Photo: za7gorami.ru
Territorial and administrative division of Georgia

According to the current administrative division, Georgia is composed of:  the capital of Tbilisi, two autonomous republics (the Autonomous republic of Adjara, center-Batumi, and the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, center-Sukhumi) as well as 9 regions. These regions are Kakheti, Shida Kartli (Kartli historic region, northern part of the region - the so-called South Ossetia - occupied Russia, the center of Gori), Kvemo Kartlie (center - Rustavi), Mtskheta Mtianeti (Mtskheta), Samtskhe-Javakhety (Akhaltsikhe), Imereti (Kutaisi), Racha-Lechkhumi and Lejassvantiti (Ambrolauri); Guria (Ozurgeti), Samegrelo-Zemo Svanetti (Upper Switzerland, center - Zugdidi). In turn, the regions are divided into 71 municipalities (former districts).
The capital of the Republic is Tbilisi, which has about 1.3 million inhabitants. The largest cities are Kutaisi (241,000 inhabitants), Rustavi (158,000 inhabitants), Batumi (137,100 inhabitants), Zugdidi (105,000 inhabitants), Chiatura (70,000 inhabitants), Gori (70,000 inhabitants) and P’ot’i (50,000 inhabitants).

Economics

Georgia's GDP in 2018 amounted to 16.21 billion USD. Thanks to exports, in 2019 the Georgian economy grew by 5.2%. GDP per capita in 2018 was 4469 USD. The annual inflation rate as of January 2020 was 6.4%, the interest rate – 9%, the unemployment rate – 12.7%, the average salary – 1217 GEL (435.389 USD) per month, international currency reserves – 0.968 billion USD.
According to preliminary data from the National Statistics Service of Georgia, Georgia's foreign trade turnover in 2019 increased by 2.7% and amounted to 12.8 billion USD. In 2019, compared to 2018, Georgia's exports increased by 12.4% to $ 3.8 billion, while Georgia's imports decreased by 0.8% to $ 9.1 billion. Georgia's foreign trade deficit was $ 5.3 billion.
In 2019, trade turnover with EU countries decreased by 2.8% – to 3.1 billion USD. At the same time, Georgia's exports to the EU increased by 13% to USD 825.7 million, while imports decreased by 7.4% to USD 2.3 billion.
In 2019, the trade turnover with the CIS countries increased by 1.8% and amounted to 4.4 billion USD. Exports to the CIS countries increased by 20% to USD 2 billion, while imports decreased by 9.5% to USD 2.4 billion.
Georgia's top ten trading partners in 2019: Turkey ($ 1.8 billion), Russia ($ 1.5 billion), China ($ 1.1 billion), Azerbaijan ($ 1.1 billion), Armenia (679.7 million (USD 659.5 million), the United States (USD 521.9 million), Germany (USD 497.4 million), Bulgaria (USD 408.2 million), Romania (USD 390.2 million).
Georgia's largest export partners: Azerbaijan ($ 498.7 million), Russia ($ 497.1 million), Armenia ($ 412.2 million), Bulgaria ($ 284.2 million), Ukraine ($ 244.7 million) .
Major trading partners in terms of imports: Turkey (USD 1.6 billion), Russia (USD 975.9 million), China (USD 858.7 million), Azerbaijan (USD 559.1 million), Germany (USD 443 million).
In 2019, Georgia exported: car re-exports (USD 686.7 million), copper ores and concentrates (USD 651.6 million), ferro-alloys (USD 303 million), wine (USD 222.9 million), pharmaceuticals (USD 172 million). $ 5 million), mineral waters ($ 133.6 million), alcoholic beverages ($ 129.3 million), nitrogen fertilizers ($ 94.9 million), gold ($ 72.8 million), nuts ($ 66.7 million ) and other products ($ 1.2 billion).
In 2019, Georgia imported: oil and oil products ($ 757 million), passenger cars ($ 653.7 million), copper ores and concentrates ($ 603.7 million), pharmaceuticals ($ 355.4 million), oil gas ( $ 328.5 million), mobile phones ($ 212 million), wheat ($ 105.1 million), cigarettes ($ 104.8 million), new tires ($ 90.9 million), electricity ($ 78.3 million ) and other goods (USD 5.8 billion).
 

Persons

President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili
 

Photo: tass.ru
Salome Zourabichvili with her son and daughter in December, 2018


On November 28, 2018, Salome Zurabishvili was elected President of Georgia in the second round of the presidential election with 59.52% voter support.
S.Zurabishvili, who was supported by the Georgian party "Georgia's Dream", participated in the elections as an independent member of the Georgian parliament. Born in Paris to a family of Georgian emigrants, she graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Science and Columbia University in the United States, and has pursued a career at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working as First Secretary at the French Embassy in the United States. In 2003, she arrived in Georgia as the French Ambassador, and in 2004 she became the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (in the government of Mikhail Saakashvili). After a year and a half (in 2005), she resigned and was formed the opposition party "Georgia's Road". She actively participated in the 2007 and 2009 protests in Georgia. In 2010 he announced her withdrawal from politics and began chairing a commission on issues of sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
Amendments to the Georgian Constitution in 2017 determined the country's transition to a parliamentary form of public administration, envisaging the Georgian president to perform representative functions and to elect a president for six years term instead of five. The 2018 presidential election was the last time the president was elected by population vote. From 2024, the President of Georgia will no longer be elected by the people, but by 300 specially elected representatives – members of the parliament, the Supreme Council of Abkhazia in Georgia, the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and representation of regional self-governing bodies.
Under the current Georgian constitution, the president remains head of state and commander-in-chief of the Georgian Armed Forces, the country's highest representative in foreign relations and leader Georgia's domestic and foreign policy, ensuring the unity and integrity  and work of the country and all its institutions, but all his decisions and work must be agreed with the government. The president reserves the right to pardon prisoners, as well as the right to veto bills on referendums  and projects on laws passed by the Parliament.

Prime minister of Georgia Giorgy Gakharia
 

Photo: dw.com/ru
Giorgy Gakharia 


Georgy Gahari was elected Prime Minister on September 8, 2019 with 98 support of Parlieament members. The opposition party did not take part in the vote. G. Gahariya was born in 1975. From November 13, 2017 to September 9, 2019, he was the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
In his first post-accession statement, Gahariya confirmed that he would continue on the path to Georgia's accession to the EU and NATO and deepen relations with the United States. Gahariya noted the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as the biggest problem in Georgia today.
 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani
 

Photo: wikipedia.org
David Zalkaliani


David Zalkaliani (born 1968) was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on June 21, 2018. D.Zalkaliani is a member of the power party "Georgia's Dream".


Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakliy Garibashvili
 

Photo: wikipedia.org
Irakliy Garibashvili


Irakliy Garibashvili (born 1982) was appointed Minister of Defense on September 9, 2019. I.Garibashvili is a member of the power party "Georgia's Dream", and from November 20, 2013 to December 23, 2015, he was the 11th Prime Minister of Georgia.


Georgia's informal leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili
 

Bidzina Ivanishvili (born in 1956), the founder of the power party "Georgia's Dream – Democratic Georgia", is considered to be Georgia's most influential person or "gray cardinal".

Photo: forbes.com
Bidzina Ivanishvili 

B.Ivanishvili is considered to be the richest Georgian in the world. According to Forbes, Ivanišvili ranked 298th in the rating of the richest people in the world in 2016, and his wealth was estimated at 4.8 billion USD. Ivanishvili has gained his wealth by doing business in Russia. The Georgian opposition believes that Behind B.Ivanishvili's policy "stands Russian money".
Ivanišvili himself justified his entry into politics with the need to change the country's constitution and put an end to the monopolization of power by the then President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili.
 

Internal politics

Georgia's domestic politics before the forthcoming parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020 is politically unstable. The country is protesting against decisions taken by parliament, social and economic problems have worsened and crime has risen sharply.
The party "Georgia's Dream – Democratic Georgia", which won the 2016 parliamentary elections, has lost its constitutional majority in 2019, as well as is experiencing a split within the party. The ruling party is experiencing a crisis of confidence in society.
In October 2019, the Georgian authorities announced the abandonment of the promised commitment to pass over to a fully proportional electoral system already in the 2020 parliamentary elections, which provoked a new wave of protests in the country. The Georgian opposition, led by former President Mikheil Saakashvili's the former United National Movement party, is demanding the withdrawal from politics of B.Ivanishvili, the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party, the dismissal of the government and the holding of early parliamentary elections before the due term.
The current domestic political situation in Georgia creates an unpredictable and unstable political environment ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020, in which the main struggle will be between the former "United National Movement" and the current power party "Georgia's Dream – Democratic Georgia".

Foreign policy

Georgia has mainstreamed its integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, cooperation with its neighbours, deepening its strategic partnership with the United States, consolidating relations with Russia, deo-occupying Georgia and restoring its territorial integrity.
The Georgian government's program confirms the continuation of the country's foreign policy course in European and Euro-Atlantic structures and Georgia's efforts to "actively and fully exploit the potential of relations with the United States in various directions". The program defines the organization of free trade with the EU, strengthening regional relations with Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia as priority areas.
As for Russia, the Georgian government believes that relations with Russia are important to Georgia and that Tbilisi will continue its policy of de-escalation policy towards Russia. At the same time, a compromise on national sovereignty and territorial integrity issues is not possible.
 

Wednesday, October 14th

Population
14.10.2020
According to a study done by “Edison Research”, conducted from this year September 17 to October 7, Georgians have the most confidence in the army, the church and the disease control centre, but the least in political parties, the president and banks. On October 12, the news publication “Georgia Onl...

Thursday, July 30th

Population
30.07.2020
According to a study by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), every tenth citizen surveyed in Georgia believes that the spread of the coronavirus is related to 5G technology, this year, on July 29, the news publication „Georgia Online” informs.

Tuesday, April 7th

Population
07.04.2020
The Georgian opposition Free Democrats believe that restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus should be extended to the Georgian Orthodox Church. News publication „Kavkazskiy Uzel” writes on April 4.

Wednesday, January 22nd

Population
22.01.2020
According to a survey published by the National Institute for Democracy (NDI), more than half of Georgians consider the work of state leadership to be ineffective. Political scientists attribute the loss of confidence in the authorities to the worsening economic situation of the population, this yea...

Wednesday, April 10th

Population
10.04.2019
44% of Georgian citizens believe that despite the Russian occupation, good neighbourly relations with Moscow should be established in Tbilisi. This is evidenced by the results of a sociological study conducted by The Caucasus Research Resource Centres, commissioned by the non-governmental organizati...

Monday, February 11th

Population
11.02.2019
Representative office of the Free Russia foundation opens in Tbilisi. More than four years ago, this non-governmental organization was founded in Washington, and its founders are emigrants from Russia. The platform informs international politicians, the media and public leaders about the real situat...

Wednesday, January 30th

Population
30.01.2019
Most Georgians still support the Euro-Atlantic integration of the country, according to a recent poll by the National Democracy Institute (NDI). This year on January 28, writes the Georgia Online Newsletter.

Tuesday, January 22nd

Population
22.01.2019
The human rights' situation in most post-Soviet countries last year was poor, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) review of 2018.

Wednesday, August 8th

Population
08.08.2018
Most Russian residents surveyed by the sociological research centre Levada-Centr believe that responsibility for the five-day Russia-Georgia war of 2008 should be taken by the Georgian leadership, as well as NATO countries.

Wednesday, May 16th

Population
16.05.2018
In 14 May of this year, President of Georgia announced that the country’s drug policy needs to be more humane towards drug users, but stricter towards drug sellers.

Saturday, May 12th

Population
12.05.2018
Georgia is ranked fourth in one of the most western post-Soviet countries after the Baltic states - Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.