Geographic and Governmental Profile of 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 in 1921 and regained its independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Mounting public discontent over rampant corruption and ineffective government services, followed by 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. In the aftermath of that popular movement, which became known as the "Rose Revolution," new elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his United National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Periodic flare-ups in tension and violence culminated in a five-day conflict in August 2008 between Russia and Georgia, including the invasion of large portions of undisputed Georgian territory. Russian troops pledged to pull back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russian military forces remain in those regions.
Location
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe; note - Georgia views itself as part of Europe
Geographic coordinates
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Middle East
Area
total:
69,700 sq km
rank:
121
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
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
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
timber, 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)
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Irrigated land
4,330 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
63.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita:
808 cu m/yr (2000)
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
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:
Tbilisi
geographic coordinates:
41 41 N, 44 50 E
time difference:
UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
9 regions (mkharebi, singular - mkhare), 1 city (k'alak'i), and 2 autonomous republics (avtomnoy respubliki, singular - avtom respublika)
regions:
Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli
city:
Tbilisi
autonomous republics:
Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika (Sokhumi), Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika (Bat'umi)
the administrative centers of the two autonomous republics are shown in parentheses
Independence
9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier date: A.D. 1008 (Georgia unified under King BAGRAT III)
National holiday
Independence Day, 26 May (1918); note - 26 May 1918 was the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 9 April 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution
adopted 24 August 1995
Legal system
civil law system
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Mikheil SAAKASHVILI (since 25 January 2004); the president is the chief of state and serves as head of government for the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
head of government:
Prime Minister Ivane "Vano" MERABISHVILI (since 30 June 2012); the prime minister is head of government for all the ministries of government except the power ministries of internal affairs and defense
cabinet:
Cabinet of Ministers
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 5 January 2008 (next to be held in January 2013)
election results:
Mikheil SAAKASHVILI reelected president; percent of vote - Mikheil SAAKASHVILI 53.5%, Levan GACHECHILADZE 25.7%, Badri PATARKATSISHVILI 7.1%, other 13.7%
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament or Parlamenti (also known as Supreme Council or Umaghlesi Sabcho) (235 seats; 150 members elected by proportional representation, 85 elected by the majority system; members to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 21 May 2008 (next to be held in the fall of 2012)
election results:
percent of vote by party - United National Movement 59.2%, National Council-New Rights (a Joint Opposition, nine-party bloc) 17.7%, Christian Democratic Movement 8.8%, Labor Party 7.4%, Republican Party 3.8%; seats by party - United National Movement 120, National Council-New Rights 16, Christian Democratic Movement 6, Labor Party 6, Republican Party 2
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
Christian Democratic Movement [Giorgi TARGAMADZE]; Conservative Party [Kakha KUKAVA]; Democratic Movement United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]; For Fair Georgia [Zurab NOGAIDELI]; Georgian Party [Erpso KITSMARIASHVILI and Irakli OKRUASHVILI]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Bachuki KARDAVA]; National Forum [Kakhaber SHARTAVA]; New Rights [David GAMKRELIDZE]; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) [Irakli ALASANIA]; People's Party [Koba DAVITASHVILI; Republican Party [David USUPASHVILI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]; United National Movement or UNM [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]
Political pressure groups and leaders
separatists in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
International organization participation
ADB, BSEC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-11, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Temuri YAKOBASHVILI
chancery:
2209 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 387-2390
FAX:
[1] (202) 393-4537
consulate(s) general:
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador John BASS
embassy:
11 George Balanchine Street, T'bilisi 0131
mailing address:
7060 T'bilisi Place, Washington, DC 20521-7060
telephone:
[995] (32) 27-70-00
FAX:
[995] (32) 53-23-10
Flag description
white rectangle with a central red cross extending to all four sides of the flag; each of the four quadrants displays a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; although adopted as the official Georgian flag in 2004, the five-cross flag design appears to date back to the 14th century
National symbol(s)
Saint George; lion
National anthem
name:
"Tavisupleba" (Liberty)
lyrics/music:
Dawit MAGRADSE/Zakaria PALIASHVILI (adapted by Joseb KETSCHAKMADSE)
adopted 2004; after the Rose Revolution, a new anthem with music based on the operas "Abesalom da Eteri" and "Daisi" was adopted
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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