Georgia [Country Flag of Georgia]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Georgia]



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Current issues: Beset by ethnic and civil strife since independence in 1991, Georgia began to stabilize in 1994. Separatist conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been dormant since spring 1994, although political settlements remain elusive. Russian peacekeepers are deployed in both regions and a UN Observer Mission is operating in Abkhazia. As a result of these conflicts, Georgia still has about 250,000 internally displaced people. In 1995, Georgia adopted a new constitution and conducted generally free and fair nationwide presidential and parliamentary elections. In 1996, the government focused its attention to implementing an ambitious economic reform program and professionalizing its parliament. Violence and organized crime were sharply curtailed in 1995 and 1996, but corruption remains rife. In 1997, SHEVARDNADZE succeeded in bringing international attention to the Abkhazia conflict. The UN sponsored two meetings on the subject, but a resolution is still far off. Georgia also took some steps in 1997 to reduce its dependence on Russia, acquiring coastal patrol boats it hopes to use to replace the current Russian border units on the Black Sea coast. The year 1997 also saw a sharpening of rhetoric—especially from parliament—against Russia's continued military presence on Georgian territory.


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

Geographic coordinates: 42 00 N, 43 30 E

Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States

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; 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 Mqinvartsveri (Gora Kazbek) 5,048 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: 9%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 34%
other: 28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 4,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

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: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Desertification


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Population: 5,108,527 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (male 562,623; female 540,378)
15-64 years: 66% (male 1,631,296; female 1,756,087)
65 years and over: 12% (male 235,042; female 383,101) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.92% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 11.72 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 14.1 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -6.79 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 51.07 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.79 years
male: 61.36 years
female: 68.4 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.54 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Georgian(s)
adjective: Georgian

Ethnic groups: Georgian 70.1%, Armenian 8.1%, Russian 6.3%, Azeri 5.7%, Ossetian 3%, Abkhaz 1.8%, other 5%

Religions: Christian Orthodox 75% (Georgian Orthodox 65%, Russian Orthodox 10%), Muslim 11%, Armenian Apostolic 8%, unknown 6%

Languages: Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, other 7%

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 100%
female: 98% (1989 est.)


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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

Data code: GG

Government type: republic

National capital: T'bilisi

Administrative divisions: 53 rayons (raionebi, singular—raioni), 9 cities* (k'alak'ebi, singular - k'alak'i), and 2 autonomous republics** (avtomnoy respubliki, singular - avtom respublika); Abashis, Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika** (Sokhumi), Adigenis, Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika** (Bat'umi), Akhalgoris, Akhalk'alak'is, Akhalts'ikhis, Akhmetis, Ambrolauris, Aspindzis, Baghdat'is, Bolnisis, Borjomis, Chiat'ura*, Ch'khorotsqus, Ch'okhatauris, Dedop'listsqaros, Dmanisis, Dushet'is, Gardabanis, Gori*, Goris, Gurjaanis, Javis, K'arelis, Kaspis, Kharagaulis, Khashuris, Khobis, Khonis, K'ut'aisi*, Lagodekhis, Lanch'khut'is, Lentekhis, Marneulis, Martvilis, Mestiis, Mts'khet'is, Ninotsmindis, Onis, Ozurget'is, P'ot'i*, Qazbegis, Qvarlis, Rust'avi*, Sach'kheris, Sagarejos, Samtrediis, Senakis, Sighnaghis, T'bilisi*, T'elavis, T'erjolis, T'et'ritsqaros, T'ianet'is, Tqibuli*, Ts'ageris, Tsalenjikhis, Tsalkis, Tsqaltubo*, Vanis, Zestap'onis, Zugdidi*, Zugdidis
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Independence: 9 April 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 26 May (1991)

Constitution: adopted 17 October 1995

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Eduard Amvrosiyevich SHEVARDNADZE (previously elected chairman of the Government Council 10 March 1992, Council has since been disbanded; previously elected chairman of Parliament 11 October 1992; elected president 5 November 1995; inaugurated 26 November 1995); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Eduard Amvrosiyevich SHEVARDNADZE (previously elected chairman of the Government Council 10 March 1992, Council has since been disbanded; previously elected chairman of Parliament 11 October 1992; elected president 5 November 1995); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 5 November 1995 (next to be held NA April 2000)
election results: Eduard SHEVARDNADZE elected president; percent of vote—Eduard SHEVARDNADZE 74%

Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme Council or Umaghiesi Sabcho (235 seats; members are elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 5 November 1995 (next to be held NA November 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party—CUG 24%, NDP 8%, AGUR 7%, all other parties received less than 5% each; seats by party—CUG 107, NDP 34, AGUR 32, Progress Bloc (DUG, Political Association "Georgian Proprietors," Political Union of Young Democrats, Solidarity) 4, SPG 4, others 9, Abkazian deputies 12, independents 29, not filled 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges elected by the Supreme Council on the president's recommendation; Constitutional Court

Political parties and leaders: Citizen's Union of Georgia or CUG [Eduard SHEVARDNADZE]; National Democratic People's Party [Mamuka GIORGADZE]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Irina SARISHVILI-CHANTARIA]; Union for "Revival" Party or AGUR [Alsan ABASHIDZE]; Union of Traditionalists or UGT [Akaki ASTANTIANI]; Socialist Party or SPG [Vakhtang RCHEULISHVILI]; Georgian United Communist Party or UCPG [Panteleimon GIORGADZE, chairman]; Greens Party [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; United Republican Party or URP [Nodar NATADZE, chairman]; National Independent Party or NIP [Irakli TSERETELI, chairman]; Social Democratic Party or GSDP [Guram MUCHAIDZE, secretary general]; Conservative-Monarchist Party or GCMP [Temur ZHORZHOLIANI]

Political pressure groups and leaders: supporters of ousted President Zviad GAMSAKHURDIA (deceased 1 January 1994) remain a source of opposition; separatist elements in the breakaway region of Abkhazia

International organization participation: BSEC, CCC, CE (guest), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tedo JAPARIDZE
chancery: (temporary) Suite 424, 1511 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 393-5959
FAX: [1] (202) 393-4537

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
embassy: #25 Antonelli Street, T'bilisi 380026
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: 995-32-989-967 or 995-32-933-803 (operator assisted)
FAX: tie-line FAX 997-0200; 933-759 or 938-951

Flag description: maroon field with small rectangle in upper hoist side corner; rectangle divided horizontally with black on top, white below


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Economy—overview: Georgia's economy has traditionally revolved around Black Sea tourism; cultivation of citrus fruits, tea, and grapes; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing wine, metals, machinery, chemicals, and textiles. The country imports the bulk of its energy needs, including natural gas and oil products. Its only sizable internal energy resource is hydropower. 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 in 1995-97, increasing GDP growth and slashing inflation. Georgia still suffers from energy shortages, although energy deliveries are steadily improving. Georgia is pinning its hopes for long-term recovery on the development of an international transportation corridor through the key Black Sea ports of P'ot'i and Bat'umi. The construction of a Caspian oil pipeline through Georgia—scheduled to open in early 1999—should spur greater western investment in the economy. A growing trade deficit, continuing problems with corruption, and political uncertainties cloud the short-term economic picture.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.1 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 11.8% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,570 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 29%
industry: 16%
services: 55% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 7.1% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 2.2 million (1996)
by occupation: industry and construction 31%, agriculture and forestry 25%, other 44% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 16% (1996 est.)

revenues: $441 million
expenditures: $606 million, including capital expenditures of $54 million (1996 est.)

Industries: steel, aircraft, machine tools, foundry equipment, electric locomotives, tower cranes, electric welding equipment, machinery for food preparation and meat packing, electric motors, process control equipment, trucks, tractors, textiles, shoes, chemicals, wood products, wine

Industrial production growth rate: 8.1% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 4.558 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 7.1 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,175 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: citrus, grapes, tea, vegetables, potatoes; small livestock sector

total value: $400 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: citrus fruits, tea, wine, other agricultural products; diverse types of machinery; ferrous and nonferrous metals; textiles; chemicals; fuel re-exports
partners: Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria (1996)

total value: $733 million (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: fuel, grain and other foods, machinery and parts, transport equipment
partners: Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan (1996); note—EU and US send humanitarian food shipments

Debt—external: $1.3 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $28 million (1993)
note: commitments, 1992-95, $1,200 million ($675 million disbursements)

Currency: lari introduced September 1995 replacing the coupon

Exchange rates: lari per US$1 (end of period)—1.32 (December 1997), 1.28 (December 1996), 1.24 (December 1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 672,000 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: poor service; 339,000 unsatisfied applications for telephones (December 1990 est.)
domestic: NA
international: landline to CIS members and Turkey; satellite earth station—1 Eutelsat; leased connections with other countries via the Moscow international gateway switch; international electronic mail and telex service available

Radio broadcast stations: 2 national broadcast stations, 3 regional broadcast stations

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 3

Televisions: NA


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total: 1,583 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 1,583 km 1.520-m gauge (1993)

total: 20,700 km
paved: 19,354 km
unpaved: 1,346 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 370 km; refined products 300 km; natural gas 440 km (1992)

Ports and harbors: Bat'umi, P'ot'i, Sokhumi

Merchant marine:
total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 87,730 GRT/122,769 DWT
ships by type: cargo 3, oil tanker 5, short-sea passenger 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 28 (1994 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1994 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 6 (1994 est.)

Transportation—note: transportation network is in poor condition and disrupted by ethnic conflict, criminal activities, and fuel shortages; network lacks maintenance and repair


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Military branches: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Forces, National Guard, Republic Security Forces (internal and border troops)

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 1,286,126 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,017,954 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 40,946 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: 79 million lari (1997); note—conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 8.8% (1998 approved budget)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; used as transshipment point for opiates to Western Europe