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Key Economic Data
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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)

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Update No: 334 - (24/10/08)

Saakashvili the miscreant and fool
Mikhail Saakashvili did a very foolish thing in early August. He in effect invaded Russia. 

He assaulted South Ossetia, formally part of Georgia, but not de facto since the early 1990s. He did something that nobody had dared do since Hitler in 1941, engage Russia in hot warfare. Why? 

There is no end of animosity between Russia and Georgia. The Russians resent the new-found freedom of the Georgians deeply. They should be eternally subject to Moscow - that is the Russian view! 

The Georgians take another view, naturally enough. But Saakashvili made a fundamental mistake in August. 

He should have been appreciative of the fact that the Russians have been incredibly forbearing, allowing the jewel in their former empire to secede. 

He should have allowed them South Ossetia - and Abkhazia also- for their inhabitants are pro-Russian (they have no interest in being Georgian). He should have consolidated proper on Georgia - an excellent place, shorn of its extras. 

The status quo 
Thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks entered Georgia after its August 7 military intervention, who had no real problem in vanquishing the greatly inferior Georgian forces, in what Moscow said was an exercise to prevent the slaughter of Ossetian citizens. 80% of them hold Russian citizenship and regard Russia as their natural protector. 

Dozens of Ossetians did indeed die in the conflict. But the Russsian advance went well beyond the conflict area into Georgia proper. This caused Georgian deaths and considerable economic damage. At this juncture the West began to react against Russia, but only verbally. There was never the slightest chance of a military reaction. Was Saakashvili given a most misguided encouragement? The State Department is on record as telling him not to do it, before he did. We do wonder about the US military advisors who have been there for nearly three years. Where there any ‘gung-ho’ colonels taking a different position? Georgia was specifically kept out of NATO at its last meeting in Bucharest, precisely to rule out any such adventurism. 

Saakashvili is calling for a return to the status quo ante.  He is unlikely to get it. He had better accept that he made a colossal blunder; and, if he wants to keep his job, that he is in the Caucasus, next to Russia, not in North America next to his beloved US, where he was educated at Harvard. 

Europe to help economically 
The EU is to grant reconstruction aid, to be specified at a donor conference soon. Saakashvili has requested the EU to continue giving clear signals to foreign investors that Georgia is on the way to integration with itself, via trade and visa agreements, as well as financial aid. His government is pledged to lower business taxes and further deregulate the economy – despite the global crunch – to attract FDI. 

The US has also promised $1bn. Tbilisi has asked the IMF for a $750m emergency stand-by loan. 

They still hope for NATO membership which Vice president Cheney (who else) has encouraged, not unconnected with the fact that the US media has had one of those lapses, associated with the facts surrounding the US invasion of IRAQ, where they crudely describe the above events as the “Russian invasion of Georgia”.

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