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Key Economic Data
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 3,937 3,324 3,100 126
GNI per capita
 US $ 830 650 590 145
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Georgia


Update No: 360 - (24/12/10)

Russia and Georgia are still in a state of high tension between them. They broke off diplomatic relations in August 2008 when they fought a brief war over the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. After the war, Russia recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia and deployed thousands of troops in the regions. Russia has refused to restore ties with Georgia while President Mikhail Saakashvili, a rebarbative fellow, is still in power.

The most recent contretemps
In a move that is expected to worsen tensions, Georgia accused a Russian military officer of organising a series of bomb attacks in Tbilisi, the capital, in December, 2009. A year ago, it is true, but the matter is still a very live issue.

Six Georgian citizens have been arrested and charged with planning bomb attacks near the US embassy, railway stations and the Labour party headquarters in Tbilisi. “Evidence gathered thus far points to a clear connection between the six suspects and an active-duty major in the Russian army,” it said.

In a televised statement Saakashvili said: “Judging by materials seized [by police] and according to a preliminary version, which of course must be proved in court, we have managed to escape very serious terrorist attacks.”

Eka Zguladze, deputy interior minister, said there was no evidence yet that linked the bombings to Russia’s political leadership. Georgia will invite Russia to co-operate in the investigation, she said.

Now the big one; Georgia out of the CIS
The latest and most important ramification of all this is that Georgia has decided to pull out of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS), the successor to the Soviet Union.

At a press conference in Moscow held in early December, 2010, dedicated to CIS issues, all of a sudden Russian President Medvedev spoke about Georgia. According to him, Georgia has lost out following its decision to abandon the organization. Georgian analysts meanwhile think that this statement by Medvedev proves that Moscow cannot fully digest Georgia’s move.

Medvedev stated that by withdrawing from the CIS Georgia has cut off all links with CIS countries; it can only have a negative impact on the state. The Russian president was trying to prove the effectiveness of the organization. “This means that, even in this negative example, the CIS proves its capacity to regulate interstate relations and it helps us to develop jointly,” stated Medvedev.

Comrade Medvedev is too young to have sclerosis, so he should remember in which situation Tbilisi made the decision to withdraw from the organization and, in this regard, the regulation of ‘interstate relations’ of joint development sounds ridiculous, cynical and hypocritical, as it is well-known president Saakashvili took the decision to withdraw from CIS when Russian troops were attacking Georgian villages and Russian aviation was bombing a sovereign country’s territory and a CIS member country was occupying the territory of another CIS country. These incidents were followed by organizing puppet states on Georgian territory and recognizing them as independent states.

Georgia entered CIS under Shevardnadze, when Russians supported Abkhaz separatists, managed to defeat Georgian forces in Abkhazia, several hundred peaceful population of ethnic Georgians were forced to leave the region and the Shevardnadze administration was under the threat of collapse. So, it was an attempt to rescue Georgia and to satisfy Moscow’s greed at the same time. It was impossible to solve the problems which had been artificially created by Moscow itself.

The biggest benefit of CIS membership for Georgia was access to the Russian market. But starting from 1999, Russia blocked this by introducing a visa regime between the countries and, from 2006, closed its market to Georgian agricultural products, wines and mineral waters. So, while the Russian market was and still is closed for Georgian products, the markets of other CIS countries are open for Georgia courtesy of bilateral agreements.

Georgia’s withdrawal from CIS was not just an emotional reaction over the Russian invasion, it was a result of Moscow’s consistent pressure on Georgia in different directions, culminating in war against Georgia.

Georgian analysts think that Medvedev’s above mentioned statement proves that Georgia made the right step, whereas Russia is upset. One thing should be clear to the Russians and everyone else, even the utmost pro-Russian leader or force in Georgia would not dare make any step towards the CIS if Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region are not integrated back to Georgia.

There is one opinion also, which was humbly aired in 2008, for Georgia to stay in the CIS to draw a case against Russia who attacked a fellow CIS member country militarily, and use the CIS tribune to strengthen its opposition and undermine Russian leadership in the CIS and thus obtain the support of the other CIS countries. But this would have been a gamble because of current developments in Russia itself. There have recently been nationalistic slogans seen in Russia and in Moscow in particular. This provides extra justification for other CIS countries to reconsider their presence in the organization.

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