Georgia. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Georgia is 3,989,178 people in 2020.
The re-election to the presidential post in
January was won as expected by Micheil Saakashvili, who
received more than 96% of the vote. The election followed
the bloody revolution in late 2003, when former President
Eduard Shevardnadze was forced to resign and the opposition,
led by Saakashvili, took power. Only a few weeks after his
presidency, Saakashvili ended up in conflict with the new
opposition. Prosecutors carried out a raid on a private
television station that made critical reports about the
revolution that set off Shevardnadze. According to
prosecutors, the TV station found equipment related to
smuggling, but the opposition saw the raid as an attempt to
squander independent and critical media.
Georgia's regional divide became the most difficult
challenge for President Saakashvili, who in his election
campaign promised to unite the country. In addition to
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which declared themselves
independent, Adzjaria was in practice beyond the control of
the central government. In March, Georgia imposed a blockade
on Adzjaria and Parliament demanded the resignation of
dictatorial Adzarian leader Aslan Abashidze. Instead, he let
police down protest demonstrations and made sure to blast
bridges at the region's border when the Georgian military
conducted an exercise nearby. Saakashvili then introduced
temporary presidential rule in Adzharia, and Abashidze found
in May too good to give up and seek political asylum in
Moscow. As a result, Georgia gained access to Azerbaijan's
good revenues from oil transports on the Black Sea.
Saakashvili's attempt to bring the breakaway republic of
South Ossetia under Georgian control encountered even worse
problems. Tensions rose during the summer and in August
Georgian military posts were attacked by armed groups loyal
to South Ossetia. Over 20 casualties were required in the
fighting. Georgia's military withdrew, but the crisis
strained the country's relations with Russia that supported
South Ossetia's outbreak. In November, however, the Georgian
government managed to establish talks with the South
In the outbreak republic of Abkhazia, presidential
elections were held in October, but confusion prevailed over
the result and the two leading candidates ended up in a
drawn-out conflict over who actually won. Finally, an
agreement was made to re-elect in January 2005.
Politics and economics
According to the constitution adopted in 1999, Abkhazia
is presidential. Raul Chadzhimba was president between 2014
and early 2020 when he was forced out of office.
The president is elected in general elections for five
years at a time. The Head of Government and Ministers are
appointed by, and are responsible to, the President.
The Parliament consists of 35 members who are also
elected by majority vote in one-man constituencies every
After the last election in 2017, only two parties are
represented - President Chadzhimbas Apkhazetis Erovnuli
Ertianobis Phorumi (Forum of National Unity of Abkhazia,
FNUA) - which has 3 seats and the Ainar party which has 1
seat. The other 31 members are party-independent, but the
majority of them are considered to be supporters of the
The latest elections have been conducted without any more
serious comments. Civil society is lively and the opposition
is allowed to work. The government respects freedom of
assembly and demonstrations against the government are held
at regular intervals.
The traditional media is controlled by the government,
but the internet and social media have emerged as vibrant
platforms for political discussions.
Corruption is considered widespread and is not being
blamed by the government according to the human rights
organization Freedom House. The judicial system is one of
the bodies that is adversely affected by corruption and
nepotism. Discrimination against Georgians occurs.
The approach to Russia continued under Chadzhimba's
leadership. An agreement on "strategic partnership" with
Russia, which Chadzhimba signed in November 2014, was
interpreted by the outside world and the domestic opposition
as a step towards a Russian annexation of Abkhazia. The
agreement meant that the Abkhaz defense would be merged with
the Russian and that the economy of the state of the
outbreak was increasingly made dependent on Russia.
A more detailed agreement on military cooperation was
concluded two years later, when it was said, among other
things, that the Russian Ministry of Defense should command
the joint forces in the event of war.
Domestic politics was turbulent with constant changes to
the post of head of government.
In addition, Chadzhimba maintained contacts with
Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria, which, apart from Russia and
the small island nation of Nauru in the South Sea, are the
only states that recognize Abkhazia.
In the 2019 presidential election, Chadzhimba barely won
over Alcha's Kvitsinia. The margin was less than one
percent. The opposition claimed electoral fraud and demanded
the resignation of Chadzhimba. In early 2020, Abkhazia's
supreme court suspended the results of the presidential
election and Chadzhimba was forced to resign. Elections were
announced until March 22.
Contributions from Russia provide the basis for
Abkhazia's economy. About half the state budget is based on
Russian aid. Agriculture is the most important industry.
Above all, citrus fruits, tobacco and tea are grown.
Abkhazia also has certain natural resources in the form of
hydropower and coal.
Tourism is also an important source of income. The vast
majority of visitors are Russians, who can enter the country
without a visa. For citizens in, for example, EU countries,
a visit to Abkhazia is quite complicated.
Abkhazia has a large deficit in its foreign trade.
Imports are worth more than three times as much as exports,
but the deficit is said to slowly decrease. About two-thirds
of the trade is with Russia and almost one-fifth with
Formally, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
still maintains the economic sanctions introduced in 1996,
but Russia violates the trade ban since 2008.
Many support themselves through smuggling. Across the
border between Abkhaz and Georgian territory, intensive
smuggling is carried out with mandarins and hazelnuts grown
in Abkhazia, as well as cigarettes and gasoline. Both Abkhaz
and Georgian leagues earn big money on the smuggling and
thus have a common interest in keeping the conflict alive.
The Abkhaz authorities have no power over the leagues and
the Georgian state is reluctant to establish formal controls
as this could be perceived as in practice a recognition of