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Georgia (country)

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Georgia (country)

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Quick Facts
Currencylari (GEL)
Areatotal: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
Population4,960,951 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageGeorgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
ReligionGeorgian Orthodox 65%, Muslim 11%, Russian Orthodox 10%, Armenian Apostolic 8%, unknown 6%

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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. Ethnic separation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, poor governance, and Russian military bases deny the government effective control over the entirety of the state's internationally recognized territory. Despite myriad problems, progress on market reforms and democratization support the country's goal of greater integration with Western political, economic, and security institutions.


Map of Georgia
Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates 
42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references 
total: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 69,700 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
310 km
Maritime claims 
warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
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: 11.21%
permanent crops: 4.09%
other: 84.7% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
4,700 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
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


4,960,951 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 19% (male 481,669; female 462,966)
15-64 years: 68.2% (male 1,631,351; female 1,752,230)
65 years and over: 12.8% (male 246,663; female 386,072) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
-0.55% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
11.48 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
14.61 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
-2.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
51.81 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 64.67 years
female: 68.32 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.19 years
Total fertility rate 
1.48 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
less than 500 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
less than 100 (1999 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%
Georgian Orthodox 65%, Muslim 11%, Russian Orthodox 10%, Armenian Apostolic 8%, unknown 6%
Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 100%
female: 98% (1989 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Georgia
local short form: Sak'art'velo
former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
local long form: none
Government type 
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); Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika** (Sokhumi), Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika** (Bat'umi), Chiat'ura*, Gori*, Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, K'ut'aisi*, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, P'ot'i*, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Rust'avi*, Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli, T'bilisi*, Tqibuli*, Tsqaltubo*, Zugdidi*
note: the administrative centers of the 2 autonomous republics are shown in parentheses
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
adopted 17 October 1995
Legal system 
based on civil law system
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; president since 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; president since 26 November 1995); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers
election results: Eduard SHEVARDNADZE reelected president; percent of vote - Eduard SHEVARDNADZE 80%
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 9 April 2000 (next to be held NA 2005)
Legislative branch 
unicameral Supreme Council (commonly referred to as Parliament) or Umaghiesi Sabcho (235 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - CUG 41.85%, AGUR 25.65%, IWSG 7.8%, all other parties received less than 7% each; seats by party - CUG 130, AGUR 58, IWSG 15, Abkhaz (government-in-exile) deputies 12, independents 17, other 3
elections: last held 31 October and 14 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2003)
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 [Zarab ZHVANIA]; Georgian People's Front [Nodar NATADZE]; Georgian United Communist Party or UCPG [Panteleimon GIORGADZE]; Greens [Giorgi GACHECHILADZE]; Industry Will Save Georgia or IWSG [Georgi TOPADZE]; Labor Party [Salva NATELASHVILI]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Irina SARISHVILI-CHANTURIA]; New National Movement [Mikheil SAAKASHVILI]; New Rightists [Levaii GACHECHILADZE]; Republican Party [David BERDZENISHVILI]; "Revival" Union Party or AGUR [Alsan ABASHIDZE]; Socialist Party or SPG [Irakli MINDELI]; Traditionalists [Akaki ASATIANI]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
Georgian independent deputies from Abkhazia (Abkhaz faction in Georgian Parliament); separatist elements in the breakaway region of Abkhazia; supporters of the late ousted President Zviad GAMSAKHURDYA remain a source of opposition
International organization participation 
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Levan MIKELADZE
chancery: Suite 300, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
FAX: [1] (202) 393-6060
telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard MILES
embassy: #25 Atoneli Street, T'bilisi 380026
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [995] (32) 989-967/68
FAX: [995] (32) 933-759
Flag description 
maroon field with small rectangle in upper hoist side corner; rectangle divided horizontally with black on top, white below


Economy - overview 
Georgia's main economic activities include the cultivation of agricultural products such as citrus fruits, tea, hazelnuts, and grapes; 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. 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 since 1995, achieving positive GDP growth and curtailing inflation. However, the Georgian government suffers from limited resources due to a chronic failure to collect tax revenues. Georgia also suffers from energy shortages; it privatized the T'bilisi distribution network in 1998, but collection rates are low, making the venture unprofitable. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on its role as a transit state for pipelines and trade. The start of construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline will bring much-needed investment and job opportunities in 2003.
purchasing power parity - $15 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
4% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $3,100 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 20%
industry: 25%
services: 55% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line 
54% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 28% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index 
37 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
5.2% (2002 est.)
Labor force 
2.1 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
industry 20%, agriculture 40%, services 40% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate 
17% (2001 est.)
revenues: $499 million
expenditures: $554 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
steel, aircraft, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese), chemicals, wood products, wine
Industrial production growth rate 
3% (2000)
Electricity - production 
7.404 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 21%
hydro: 79%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
7.886 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
200 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
1.2 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
citrus, grapes, tea, vegetables, potatoes; livestock
$515 million (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities 
scrap metal, machinery, chemicals; fuel reexports; citrus fruits, tea, wine
Exports - partners 
Russia 23.0%, Turkey 21.5%, Azerbaijan 3.3%, US 3.0%, Germany 2.5% (2001)
$750 million (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities 
fuels, machinery and parts, transport equipment, grain and other foods, pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners 
Turkey 15.3%, Russia 13.3%, Azerbaijan 10.7%, Germany 10.1%, US 4.1% (2001)
Debt - external 
$1.7 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient 
ODA $150 million (2000 est.)
lari (GEL)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
lari per US dollar - 2.1888 (January 2002), 2.0730 (2001), 1.9762 (2000), 2.0245 (1999), 1.3898 (1998), 1.2975 (1997)
Fiscal year 
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
620,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
185,500 (2000)
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: 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)
3.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
12 (plus repeaters) (1998)
2.57 million (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
6 (2000)
Internet users 
25,000 (2002)


total: 1,583 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 1,546 km 1.520-m gauge
narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (2000 est.)
total: 33,900 km
paved: 29,500 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
unpaved: 4,400 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)
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: 64 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 210,620 GRT/288,565 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 46, container 5, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Belize 1, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 1, Ecuador 1, Egypt 4, Gibraltar 1, Greece 5, Jordan 1, Latvia 1, Liberia 1, Malta 1, Panama 9, Romania 8, Russia 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Saudi Arabia 2, Syria 5, Turkey 2, Ukraine 7, United Arab Emirates 11, United Kingdom 1, United States 1 (2002 est.)
31 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 16
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
under 914 m: 6 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 4
Transportation - note 
transportation network is in poor condition resulting from ethnic conflict, criminal activities, and fuel shortages; network lacks maintenance and repair


Military branches 
Ground Forces (includes National Guard), combined Air and Air Defense Forces, Naval Forces, Republic Security and Police Forces (internal and border troops)
Military manpower - military age 
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 1,300,259 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 1,027,407 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
males: 41,561 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$23 million (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
0.59% (FY00)
Military - note 
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

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
Chechen and other insurgents transit Pankisi Gorge to infiltrate Akhmeti region; boundary with Russia has been largely delimited, but not demarcated; several small, strategic segments remain in dispute
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