Georgia (country)

Context of Georgia (country)

Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, romanized: Sakartvelo; IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (listen)) is a transcontinental country at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is part of the Caucasus region, bounded by the Black Sea to the west, by Russia to the north and northeast, by Turkey to the southwest, by Armenia to the south, and by Azerbaijan to the southeast. The country covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres (26,900 sq mi), and has a population of 3.7 million people. Tbilisi is its capital as well as its largest city, home to roughly a third of the Georgian population.

During the classical era, severa...Read more

Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, romanized: Sakartvelo; IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (listen)) is a transcontinental country at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is part of the Caucasus region, bounded by the Black Sea to the west, by Russia to the north and northeast, by Turkey to the southwest, by Armenia to the south, and by Azerbaijan to the southeast. The country covers an area of 69,700 square kilometres (26,900 sq mi), and has a population of 3.7 million people. Tbilisi is its capital as well as its largest city, home to roughly a third of the Georgian population.

During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as Colchis and Iberia. In the early 4th century, ethnic Georgians officially adopted Christianity, which contributed to the spiritual and political unification of the early Georgian states. In the Middle Ages, the unified Kingdom of Georgia emerged and reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under the hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Turks, and various dynasties of Persia. In 1783, one of the Georgian kingdoms entered into an alliance with the Russian Empire, which proceeded to annex the territory of modern Georgia in a piecemeal fashion throughout the 19th century.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia emerged as an independent republic under German protection. Following World War I, Georgia was invaded and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1922, becoming one of its constituent republics. By the 1980s, an independence movement emerged and grew quickly, leading to Georgia's secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991. For most of the subsequent decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from economic crisis, political instability, ethnic conflict, and secessionist wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms aimed at integration into the European Union and NATO. The country's Western orientation soon led to worsening relations with Russia, which culminated in the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, and entrenched Russia occupation of a portion of Georgia.

Georgia is a representative democracy governed as a unitary parliamentary republic. It is a developing country with a very high Human Development Index. Economic reforms since independence have led to higher levels of economic freedom, as well as reductions in corruption indicators, poverty, and unemployment. It was one of the first countries in the world to legalize cannabis, becoming the only former-socialist state to do so. The country is a member of international organizations, such as the Council of Europe, the OSCE, Eurocontrol, the EBRD, the BSEC, the GUAM, the ADB, the WTO, and the Energy Community.

More about Georgia (country)

Basic information
  • Currency Georgian lari
  • Native name საქართველო
  • Calling code +995
  • Internet domain .ge
  • Speed limit 110
  • Mains voltage 220V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 5.31
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 3717100
  • Area 69700
  • Driving side right
  • Wikipedia History
    Claw foot of the royal throne and patera depicting emperor Marcus Aurelius uncovered near Mtskheta, 2nd century AD.

    The territory of modern-day Georgia was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.[1] The earliest evidence of wine to date has been found in Georgia, where 8,000-year old wine jars were uncovered.[2][3] Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources also reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond.[1] In fact, early metallurgy started in Georgia during the 6th millennium BC, associated with the Shulaveri-Shomu culture.[4]

    King Mirian III converted the nation to Christianity in the 4th century.

    Archaeological evidence indicates that Georgia has been the site of wine production since at least 6,000 BC, which over time played a role in forming Georgia's culture and national identity.[5][6] The classical period saw the rise of a number of early Georgian states, the principal of which were Colchis in the west and Iberia in the east. In Greek mythology, Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Apollonius Rhodius' epic tale Argonautica. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers.[7] In the 4th century BC, a kingdom of Iberia – an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hierarchy – was established.[8]

    After the Roman Republic completed its brief conquest of what is now Georgia in 66 BC, the area became a primary objective of what would eventually turn out to be over 700 years of protracted Irano-Roman geo-political rivalry and warfare.[9][10] From the first centuries AD, the cult of Mithras, pagan beliefs, and Zoroastrianism were commonly practised in Georgia.[11] In 337 AD King Mirian III declared Christianity as the state religion, giving a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts, and ultimately playing a key role in the formation of the unified Georgian nation,[12][13] The acceptance led to the slow but sure decline of Zoroastrianism,[14] which until the 5th century AD, appeared to have become something like a second established religion in Iberia (eastern Georgia), and was widely practised there.[15]

    Middle Ages up to early modern period
    Northwestern Georgia is home to the medieval defensive Svan towers of Ushguli and Mestia.

    Located on the crossroads of protracted Roman–Persian wars, the early Georgian kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages. This made it easy for the remaining Georgian realms to fall victim to the early Muslim conquests in the 7th century.

    Bagratid Iberia

    The extinction of the Iberian royal dynasties, such as Guaramids and the Chosroids,[16] and also the Abbasid preoccupation with their own civil wars and conflict with the Byzantine Empire, led to the Bagrationi family's growth in prominence. The head of the Bagrationi dynasty Ashot I of Iberia (r. 813–826), who had migrated to the former southwestern territories of Iberia, came to rule over Tao-Klarjeti and restored the Principate of Iberia in 813. The sons and grandsons of Ashot I established three separate branches, frequently struggling with each other and with neighbouring rulers. The Kartli line prevailed; in 888 Adarnase IV of Iberia (r. 888–923) restored the indigenous royal authority dormant since 580. Despite the revitalization of the Iberian monarchy, remaining Georgian lands were divided among rival authorities, with Tbilisi remaining in Arab hands.

    Kingdom of Abkhazia
    Bedia Chalice, a medieval Georgian goldsmithery dated c. 999, was commissioned by King Bagrat III for Bedia Cathedral in Abkhazia.

    An Arab incursion into western Georgia led by Marwan II, was repelled by Leon I (r. 720–740) jointly with his Lazic and Iberian allies in 736. Leon I then married Mirian's daughter, and a successor, Leon II exploited this dynastic union to acquire Lazica in the 770s.[17] The successful defence against the Arabs, and new territorial gains, gave the Abkhazian princes enough power to claim more autonomy from the Byzantine Empire. Towards 778, Leon II (r. 780–828) won his full independence with the help of the Khazars and was crowned as the king of Abkhazia. After obtaining independence for the state, the matter of church independence became the main problem. In the early 9th century the Abkhazian Church broke away from Constantinople and recognized the authority of the Catholicate of Mtskheta; the Georgian language replaced Greek as the language of literacy and culture.[18][19] The most prosperous period of the Abkhazian kingdom was between 850 and 950. A bitter civil war and feudal revolts which began under Demetrius III (r. 967–975) led the kingdom into complete anarchy under the unfortunate king Theodosius III the Blind (r. 975–978). A period of unrest ensued, which ended as Abkhazia and eastern Georgian states were unified under a single Georgian monarchy, ruled by King Bagrat III of Georgia (r. 975–1014), due largely to the diplomacy and conquests of his energetic foster-father David III of Tao (r. 966–1001).

    United Georgian monarchy
    Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The stage of feudalism's development and struggle against common invaders as much as common belief of various Georgian states had an enormous importance for spiritual and political unification of Georgia feudal monarchy under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 11th century.

    The Kingdom of Georgia reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period during the reigns of David IV (r. 1089–1125) and his great-granddaughter Tamar (r. 1184–1213) has been widely termed as Georgia's Golden Age or the Georgian Renaissance.[20] This early Georgian renaissance, which preceded its Western European analogue, was characterized by impressive military victories, territorial expansion, and a cultural renaissance in architecture, literature, philosophy and the sciences.[21] The Golden age of Georgia left a legacy of great cathedrals, romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin, the latter which is considered a national epic.[22][23]

    David suppressed dissent of feudal lords and centralized the power in his hands to effectively deal with foreign threats. In 1121, he decisively defeated much larger Turkish armies during the Battle of Didgori and liberated Tbilisi.[24]

    Queen Tamar, the first woman to rule medieval Georgia in her own right.[25]

    The 29-year reign of Tamar, the first female ruler of Georgia, is considered the most successful in Georgian history.[26] Tamar was given the title "king of kings" (mepe mepeta).[25] She succeeded in neutralizing opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the downfall of the rival powers of the Seljuks and Byzantium. Supported by a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus, and extended over large parts of present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, and eastern Turkey as well as parts of northern Iran,[27] until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death in 1213.[28]

    The revival of the Kingdom of Georgia was set back after Tbilisi was captured and destroyed by the Khwarezmian leader Jalal ad-Din in 1226.[29] The Mongols were expelled by George V of Georgia (r. 1299–1302), son of Demetrius II of Georgia (r. 1270–1289), who was named "Brilliant" for his role in restoring the country's previous strength and Christian culture. George V was the last great king of the unified Georgian state. After his death, local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Georgia was further weakened by several disastrous invasions by Tamerlane. Invasions continued, giving the kingdom no time for restoration, with both Black and White sheep Turkomans constantly raiding its southern provinces.

    Tripartite division
    King Vakhtang VI was caught between rival regional powers.

    The Kingdom of Georgia collapsed into anarchy by 1466 and fragmented into three independent kingdoms and five semi-independent principalities. Neighboring large empires subsequently exploited the internal division of the weakened country, and beginning in the 16th century up to the late 18th century, Safavid Iran (and successive Iranian Afsharid and Qajar dynasties) and Ottoman Turkey subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively.[30]

    The rulers of regions that remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. However, subsequent Iranian and Ottoman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions. As a result of incessant Ottoman–Persian Wars and deportations, the population of Georgia dwindled to 784,700 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century.[31] Eastern Georgia (Safavid Georgia), composed of the regions of Kartli and Kakheti, had been under Iranian suzerainty since 1555 following the Peace of Amasya signed with neighbouring rivalling Ottoman Turkey. With the death of Nader Shah in 1747, both kingdoms broke free of Iranian control and were reunified through a personal union under the energetic king Heraclius II in 1762. Heraclius, who had risen to prominence through the Iranian ranks, was awarded the crown of Kakheti by Nader himself in 1744 for his loyal service to him.[32] Heraclius nevertheless stabilized Eastern Georgia to a degree in the ensuing period and was able to guarantee its autonomy throughout the Iranian Zand period.[33]

    In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, by which Georgia abjured any dependence on Persia or another power, and made the kingdom a protectorate of Russia, which guaranteed Georgia's territorial integrity and the continuation of its reigning Bagrationi dynasty in return for prerogatives in the conduct of Georgian foreign affairs.[34]

    However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia, Russia rendered no assistance when the Iranians invaded in 1795, capturing and sacking Tbilisi while massacring its inhabitants, as the new heir to the throne sought to reassert Iranian hegemony over Georgia.[35] Despite a punitive campaign subsequently launched against Qajar Iran in 1796, this period culminated in the 1801 Russian violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk and annexation of eastern Georgia, followed by the abolition of the royal Bagrationi dynasty, as well as the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Pyotr Bagration, one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi, would later join the Russian army and rise to be a prominent general in the Napoleonic wars.[36]

    Within the Russian Empire
    The reign of George XII was marked by instability.

    On 22 December 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on 8 January 1801,[37][38] and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on 12 September 1801.[39][40] The Bagrationi royal family was deported from the kingdom. The Georgian envoy in Saint Petersburg reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin.[41]

    In May 1801, under the oversight of General Carl Heinrich von Knorring, Imperial Russia transferred power in eastern Georgia to the government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lazarev.[42] The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until 12 April 1802, when Knorring assembled the nobility at the Sioni Cathedral and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia. Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested.[43]

    In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Iranian army during the 1804–13 Russo-Persian War and saved Tbilisi from reconquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories. Russian suzerainty over eastern Georgia was officially finalized with Iran in 1813 following the Treaty of Gulistan.[44] Following the annexation of eastern Georgia, the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti was annexed by Tsar Alexander I. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler, Solomon II, died in exile in 1815, after attempts to rally people against Russia and to enlist foreign support against the latter, had been in vain.[45]

    From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars now against Ottoman Turkey, several of Georgia's previously lost territories – such as Adjara – were recovered, and also incorporated into the empire. The principality of Guria was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in 1829, while Svaneti was gradually annexed in 1858. Mingrelia, although a Russian protectorate since 1803, was not absorbed until 1867.[46]

    Russian rule offered the Georgians security from external threats, but it was also often heavy-handed and insensitive. By the late 19th century, discontent with the Russian authorities grew into a national revival movement led by Ilia Chavchavadze. This period also brought social and economic change to Georgia, with new social classes emerging: the emancipation of the serfs freed many peasants but did little to alleviate their poverty; the growth of capitalism created an urban working class in Georgia. Both peasants and workers found expression for their discontent through revolts and strikes, culminating in the Revolution of 1905. Their cause was championed by the socialist Mensheviks, who became the dominant political force in Georgia in the final years of Russian rule.

    Declaration of independence
    Noe Zhordania, Prime Minister of Georgia who was exiled to France after the Soviet takeover

    After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was established with Nikolay Chkheidze acting as its president. The federation consisted of three nations: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.[47] As the Ottomans advanced into the Caucasian territories of the crumbling Russian Empire, Georgia declared independence on 26 May 1918.[48] The Menshevik Social Democratic Party of Georgia won the parliamentary election and its leader, Noe Zhordania, became prime minister. Despite the Soviet takeover, Zhordania was recognized as the legitimate head of the Georgian Government by France, UK, Belgium, and Poland through the 1930s.[49]

    The 1918 Georgian–Armenian War, which erupted over parts of disputed provinces between Armenia and Georgia populated mostly by Armenians, ended because of British intervention. In 1918–1919, Georgian general Giorgi Mazniashvili led an attack against the White Army led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the Black Sea coastline from Tuapse to Sochi and Adler for the independent Georgia.[50] In 1920 Soviet Russia recognized Georgia's independence with the Treaty of Moscow. But the recognition proved to be of little value, as the Red Army led by Joseph Stalin invaded Georgia in 1921 and formally annexed it into the Soviet Union in 1922.[48]

    Soviet Socialist Republic
    The Bolshevik Red Army in Tbilisi on 25 February 1921. Saint David's church on the Holy Mountain is visible in the distance.

    In February 1921, during the Russian Civil War, the Red Army advanced into Georgia and brought the local Bolsheviks to power. The Georgian army was defeated and the Social Democratic government fled the country. On 25 February 1921, the Red Army entered Tbilisi and established a government of workers' and peasants' soviets with Filipp Makharadze as acting head of state. Georgia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, alongside Armenia and Azerbaijan, in 1921 which in 1922 would become a founding member of the Soviet Union. Soviet rule was firmly established only after the insurrection was swiftly defeated.[51] Georgia would remain an unindustrialized periphery of the USSR until the first five-year plan when it became a major centre for textile goods. Later, in 1936, the TSFSR was dissolved and Georgia emerged as a union republic: the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.

    Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian born Iosif Vissarionovich Jugashvili (იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი) in Gori, was prominent among the Bolsheviks.[52] Stalin was to rise to the highest position, leading the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death on 5 March 1953.

    In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union on an immediate course towards Caucasian oil fields and munitions factories. They never reached Georgia, however, and almost 700,000 Georgians fought in the Red Army to repel the invaders and advance towards Berlin. Of them, an estimated 350,000 were killed.[53] The Georgian uprising on Texel against the Germans was the last battle of the Second World War in Europe.

    After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the Soviet Union and implemented a policy of de-Stalinization. This was nowhere else more publicly and violently opposed than in Georgia, where in 1956 riots broke out upon the release of Khrushchev's public denunciation of Stalin, which had to be dispersed by military force.

    Throughout the remainder of the Soviet period, Georgia's economy continued to grow and experience significant improvement, though it increasingly exhibited blatant corruption and alienation of the government from the people. With the beginning of perestroika in 1986, the Georgian Soviet leadership proved so incapable of handling the changes that most Georgians, including rank and file communists, concluded that the only way forward was a break from the existing Soviet system.

    After restoration of independence
    Georgian Civil War and the War in Abkhazia in August–October 1993

    On 9 April 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Supreme Council of Georgia declared independence after a referendum held on 31 March.[54] Georgia was the first non-Baltic republic of the Soviet Union to officially declare independence.[55] In August 1991, Romania became the first country to recognize Georgia.[56]

    On 26 May, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as the first President of independent Georgia. Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been classified as autonomous within the Georgian SSR.[57]

    He was soon deposed in a bloody coup d'état, from 22 December 1991 to 6 January 1992. The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called "Mkhedrioni" ("horsemen"). The country then became embroiled in a bitter civil war, which lasted until nearly 1994. Simmering disputes within two regions of Georgia; Abkhazia and South Ossetia, between local separatists and the majority Georgian populations, erupted into widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars.[57] Supported by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia achieved de facto independence from Georgia, with Georgia retaining control only in small areas of the disputed territories.[57] Eduard Shevardnadze (Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1991) returned to Georgia in 1992.[58]

    During the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993), roughly 230,000 to 250,000 Georgians[59] were expelled from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasian volunteers (including Chechens). Around 23,000 Georgians fled South Ossetia as well.[60]

    The Rose Revolution in 2003

    In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won re-election in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud.[61] The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shevardnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004.[62]

    Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms were launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities, as well as to reorient its foreign policy westwards. The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Adjara led to a major crisis in 2004.[63]

    The country's newly pro-Western stance, along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the Second Chechen War,[64] resulted in a severe deterioration of relations with Russia, fuelled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionist areas. Despite these increasingly difficult relations, in May 2005 Georgia and Russia reached a bilateral agreement[65] by which Russian military bases (dating back to the Soviet era) in Batumi and Akhalkalaki were withdrawn. Russia withdrew all personnel and equipment from these sites by December 2007[66] while failing to withdraw from the Gudauta base in Abkhazia, which it was required to vacate after the adoption of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty during the 1999 Istanbul summit.[67]

    Russo-Georgian War and since
    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holding a press conference with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili during the Russo-Georgian War.

    Tensions between Georgia and Russia began escalating in April 2008.[68][69] A bomb explosion on 1 August 2008 targeted a car transporting Georgian peacekeepers. South Ossetians were responsible for instigating this incident, which marked the opening of hostilities and injured five Georgian servicemen. In response,[70] several South Ossetian militiamen were killed by snipers.[71] South Ossetian separatists began shelling Georgian villages on 1 August. These artillery attacks immediately caused Georgian servicemen to return fire periodically.[68][71][72][73][74]

    On 7 August 2008, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire and called for peace talks.[75] However, escalating assaults against Georgian villages (located in the South Ossetian conflict zone) were soon matched with gunfire from Georgian troops,[76][77] who then proceeded to move in the direction of the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) on the night of 8 August, reaching its centre in the morning of 8 August.[78] According to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, the Ossetian provocation was aimed at triggering the Georgian response, which was needed as a pretext for premeditated Russian military invasion.[79] According to Georgian intelligence,[80] and several Russian media reports, parts of the regular (non-peacekeeping) Russian Army had already moved to South Ossetian territory through the Roki Tunnel before the Georgian military action.[81]

    Russia accused Georgia of "aggression against South Ossetia",[82] and launched a large-scale land, air and sea invasion of Georgia with the pretext of "peace enforcement" operation on 8 August 2008.[73] Abkhaz forces opened a second front on 9 August by attacking the Kodori Gorge held by Georgia.[83] Tskhinvali was seized by the Russian military by 10 August.[84] Russian forces occupied Georgian cities beyond the disputed territories.[85]

    During the conflict, there was a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians in South Ossetia,[86] including destruction of Georgian settlements after the war had ended.[87] The war displaced 192,000 people,[88] and while many were able to return to their homes after the war, a year later around 30,000 ethnic Georgians remained displaced.[89] In an interview published in Kommersant, South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said he would not allow Georgians to return.[90][91]

    President of France Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 August 2008.[92] Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate republics on 26 August.[93] In response to Russia's recognition, the Georgian government severed diplomatic relations with Russia.[94] Russian forces left the buffer areas bordering Abkhazia and South Ossetia on 8 October, and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia was dispatched to the buffer areas.[citation needed] Since the war, Georgia has maintained that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied Georgian territories.[95][96] Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Georgia has topped the list of countries which Russian exiles departed to after the war began; Russians are allowed to stay in Georgia for at least one year without a visa, though many Georgians view the presence of more Russian citizens in Georgia as a security risk.[97]

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Neil MacFarlane, Centre for International Relations, Queen's University, 1997, Coming Together Or Falling Apart?: Regionalism in the Former Soviet Union, p. 105 ^ a b c "Georgia: Abkhazia and South Ossetia". www.pesd.princeton.edu. Encyclopedia Princetoniensis. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019. ^ "Obituary: Eduard Shevardnadze". BBC News. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2021. ^ "Georgia/Abchasia: Violations of the laws of war and Russia's role in the conflict". Hrw.org. March 1995. Archived from the original on 20 February 2001. Retrieved 4 December 2016. ^ "Russia – The Ingush–Ossetian conflict in the Prigorodnyi region". Human Rights Watch/Helsinki. May 1996. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2007. ^ "EurasiaNet Eurasia Insight – Georgia's Rose Revolution: Momentum and Consolidation". Eurasianet.org. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2009. ^ "არჩევნების ისტორია" (in Georgian). Tabula. 17 August 2016. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017. ^ "Georgia moves to rein in Ajaria". BBC News. 5 May 2004. ^ Gorshkov, Nikolai (19 September 2002). "Duma prepares for Georgia strike". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. ^ "Russia, Georgia strike deal on bases". Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. 30 May 2005. Archived from the original on 13 August 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2021. ^ "Russia Hands Over Batumi Military Base to Georgia". Civil Georgia, Tbilisi. 13 November 2007. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2021. ^ Russia's retention of Gudauta base – An unfulfilled CFE treaty commitment Archived 5 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine Socor, Vladirmir. The Jamestown Foundation. 22 May 2006 ^ a b Whitmore, Brian (12 September 2008). "Is The Clock Ticking For Saakashvili?'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ "Russia criticised over Abkhazia". BBC News. 24 April 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2015. ^ "Countdown in the Caucasus: Seven days that brought Russia and Georgia to war". Financial Times. 26 August 2008. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. ^ a b Marc Champion; Andrew Osborn (16 August 2008). "Smoldering Feud, Then War". The Wall Street Journal. ^ Luke Harding (19 November 2008). "Georgia calls on EU for independent inquiry into war". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017. ^ a b Roy Allison (2008). "Russia resurgent? Moscow's campaign to 'coerce Georgia to peace'" (PDF). International Affairs. 84 (6): 1145–1171. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2008.00762.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2015. ^ Jean-Rodrigue Paré (13 February 2009). "The Conflict Between Russia and Georgia". Parliament of Canada. Archived from the original on 2 January 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2015. ^ "Saakashvili Appeals for Peace in Televised Address". Civil.Ge. 7 August 2008. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2021. ^ "The Goals Behind Moscow's Proxy Offensive in South Ossetia". The Jamestown Foundation. 8 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ "Georgian conflict puts U.S. in middle". Chicago Tribune. 9 August 2008. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ Peter Finn (17 August 2008). "A Two-Sided Descent into Full-Scale War". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2017. ^ Pavel Felgenhauer (14 August 2008). "The Russian-Georgian War was Preplanned in Moscow". Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ Chivers, C.J. (15 September 2008). "Georgia Offers Fresh Evidence on War's Start". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017. ^ СМИ: российские войска вошли в Южную Осетию еще до начала боевых действий (in Russian). NEWSru.com. 11 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2 January 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2015. ^ "Russian Federation: Legal Aspects of War in Georgia". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. ^ "Abkhaz separatists strike disputed Georgia gorge". Reuters. 9 August 2008. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2017. ^ Harding, Luke (11 August 2008). "I got my children out minutes before the bombs fell". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017. ^ "Russia opens new front, drives deeper into Georgia". Associated Press. 11 August 2008. Archived from the original on 14 August 2008. ^ "Report. Volume I" (PDF). Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia. September 2009. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2009. ^ "Amnesty International Satellite Images Reveal Damage to South Ossetian Villages After..." Reuters. 9 October 2008. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. ^ "Civilians in the line of fire" (PDF). Amnesty International. November 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ "Georgia Marks Anniversary of War". BBC News. 7 August 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ Эдуард Кокойты: мы там практически выровняли все (in Russian). Kommersant. 15 August 2008. Archived from the original on 16 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ "Rights Groups Say South Ossetian Militias Burning Georgian Villages". RFE/RL. 30 September 2008. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. ^ "Russia Endorses Six-Point Plan". Civil.Ge. 12 August 2008. 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Stay safe
  • Wikivoyage stay safe
    Stay safe  Georgian police car

    Most of Georgia is very safe for foreigners. Crime rates are among the lowest in Europe. The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs provides some useful information for foreign visitors.

    Corruption, once a big hassle for tourists, has become far less visible since the Rose Revolution. It is now safe and reasonable to trust the Georgian police, as the infamous and corrupt traffic police have been disbanded. Police cars patrol streets in Georgian cities and towns regularly, and can help in case of car trouble or any other problem on the road.

    Use of seat belts is now obligatory and strictly enforced. Radars are installed at all main junctures and on key streets and highways throughout the country. However, Georgia leads the South Caucasus in reported road traffic accidents. A person is injured every hour in a traffic-related accident, while one death occurs every 18 hours, according to a study released by a Georgian NGO, the Safe Driving Association. The World Health Organization puts the number at 16.8 fatalities per 100,000 a year (compared to Azerbaijan at 13 and Armenia at 13.9).

    ...Read more
    Stay safe  Georgian police car

    Most of Georgia is very safe for foreigners. Crime rates are among the lowest in Europe. The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs provides some useful information for foreign visitors.

    Corruption, once a big hassle for tourists, has become far less visible since the Rose Revolution. It is now safe and reasonable to trust the Georgian police, as the infamous and corrupt traffic police have been disbanded. Police cars patrol streets in Georgian cities and towns regularly, and can help in case of car trouble or any other problem on the road.

    Use of seat belts is now obligatory and strictly enforced. Radars are installed at all main junctures and on key streets and highways throughout the country. However, Georgia leads the South Caucasus in reported road traffic accidents. A person is injured every hour in a traffic-related accident, while one death occurs every 18 hours, according to a study released by a Georgian NGO, the Safe Driving Association. The World Health Organization puts the number at 16.8 fatalities per 100,000 a year (compared to Azerbaijan at 13 and Armenia at 13.9).

    Women should be aware that many Georgian men do not believe "no" means no. They believe that no means maybe and maybe means yes. It is not uncommon for men to be very pushy with foreign women in particular. It is best to stay with groups and not to smile or give men attention. If you make a Georgian friend or get to know a Georgian man well, they will take care of you when you go out. There are many kinds of Georgian men, but keep your guard up. As for dressing, follow the general rules of being more conservative in the countryside than in cities. An easy way to avoid unwanted attention is to cover your legs. Georgian girls don't show a lot of leg even in summer, so even a naughty hint of knee can elicit public ogles. Conversely, tight clothes are fairly standard.

    According to new marijuana laws, as of early 2019 it is decriminalized to be actively smoking a joint but not legal to have marijuana in your possession (or to sell, etc.) If you are out with young Georgians, you're likely to be invited to smoke, but even if you find somewhere, usually best not to risk actually buying it. It's not great quality outside of Svanetia anyway.

    Taking picture inside of churches is not welcome, and taking a picture of a priest in churches is an offence and even a crime.

    The display of Soviet symbols is illegal in Georgia, with only limited exceptions within Stalin's hometown of Gori.


    Things in Tbilisi and the surrounding countryside have calmed down a lot. Although Tbilisi sometimes has been singled out for its (not always deserved) reputation for street crime, muggings are rather rare.

    In the early 2000s, other crime-related hazards in Tbilisi included apartment break-ins and car-jacking, but the situation has changed dramatically, and today Georgia boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Europe.


    The available evidence indicates that Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia, suffers from crime rates significantly higher than the national average. It is very important to exercise caution in Kutaisi after dark.


    The conflict between Adjara and the central government ended with little violence, and it is now perfectly safe to travel throughout the region. The once rampant corruption should now be a rarity for foreigners. Passing through customs at the Sarpi-Hopa border crossing is now routine and uneventful for most tourists, though at certain times it may take two hours or longer, due to long queues.

    Separatist regions

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia pose challenges for visitors, South Ossetia more than Abkhazia. Abkhazia is easy enough to visit, provided attention is paid to paperwork and border crossings. South Ossetia remains more untamed.

    LGBT travellers

    While support of LGBT rights has been slowly increasing among the general public over the past several years, homosexuality is considered a major deviation from highly traditional Orthodox Christian values prevalent in the country, where public discussions of sexuality in general tend to be viewed in a highly negative light.

    Georgia prohibits discrimination against all LGBT people in legislation, labor-related or otherwise (one of few former Soviet countries that does). Since 2012, Georgian law has considered crimes committed on the grounds of one's sexual orientation or gender identity an aggravating factor in prosecution.

    Homosexuals are often targets of abuse and physical violence, often actively encouraged by religious leaders. LGBT persons must exercise maximal caution when showing affection towards a person of the same sex. Doing this anywhere outside the capital centre or designated spaces might result in violence.

    Hugging, kissing on the cheek and touching in public between heterosexual men is pretty common and is an innate part of the Caucasian culture. Hence, such actions between partners are often unnoticed, but they are still dangerous if they show you are more than friends.

    There are one or two places in the country that are safe places for LGBT people: one of them is the Bassiani club, which has a weekly LGBT night.

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