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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: 349 - (25/01/10)

Saakashvili in court martial?
There are people demanding that Tony Blair be prosecuted for war crimes. Correspondingly, the Georgian Labour Party has demanded from the UN that it hold a special Security Council Meeting to sit in judgment on Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili at a court martial. This was announced by George Gugava, the party’s political secretary, according to Pravo on-line paper.

“Saakashvili's regime has turned into an international criminal syndicate which is dangerous not only for Georgia, but for the whole region. See the situation in Ukraine where Saakashvili has sent troops to destabilize the country,” said George Gugava.

Was it all a colossal mistake?
We have all made mistakes - and sometimes colossal mistakes. It must have occurred to President Saakashvili that this is the case. He made a colossal mistake in August 2008 in going to war with Russia.

Another country where big mistakes have been made is Ukraine.

Who wins in Ukraine?
Events in one country can be decisive in another. The outcome of the second round of the Ukrainian election on February 7 is going to prove all-important for Georgia.

Tbilisi’s arch-enemy, Moscow, is shaping up as the potential big winner in Ukraine’s presidential election, which the opposition contenders are expected to win.

The way it goes
Ukraine under outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko served as a firm friend for Georgia after relations between Tbilisi and Moscow soured, and then disintegrated completely following the South Caucasus state’s 2008 war with Russia. Yushchenko and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, former university classmates in the US, both came to power through popular uprisings, and shared aspirations to align their respective countries more closely with the West.

But that cooperation may soon come to an end, many Georgians fear. Pro-Russian opposition leader Dmitri Yanukovich received over 35% of the vote in the first round of the poll. In sharp contrast, Yushchenko was eliminated from the election, finishing the first round with just 5.45% of the vote.

If Yanukovich holds his 10-percentage-point lead over nationalist Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko in the February 7 run-off, Kiev’s Georgian sympathies may experience a sudden reversal.

The threat of Yakunovich
Yanukovich, who lost a 2004 bid for president amid widespread protests over election fraud, has indicated that he would recognize the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries, as well as halt Ukraine’s integration campaign with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Naturally Saakashvili stated in televised comments on January 19 that Ukraine’s pro-Western direction is "irreversible" and that friendly relations between the two countries will survive any change in government. But then he would, would he not?

Georgian television channels have provided daily vote tallies and heavy coverage of the treatment of Georgian election observers and journalists, who left Ukraine after a series of alleged attacks by Yanukovich supporters. There is no doubt that an enormous amount hangs on the outcome of the Ukrainian poll for Georgia.

The president on 2009
2009 was the most difficult year in Georgia’s recent history, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Christmas Day. “We have suffered war and post-war occupation, the world financial crisis and lengthy internal political destabilisation,” Saakashvili said on Rustavi 2’s weekly talk show Position. “One of these could have been enough to end the existence of any State, however we resisted all three,” he added.

The upcoming local elections, which are the first since the occupation, are “very important”, according to Saakashvili. “My dream is that the elections which will be held in Georgia are accepted by the majority. The accession of another party to power should not involve a catastrophe for a city, a village or the country,” he noted.

Saakashvili said that some of the opposition had become “much more realistic” since the spring protest rallies. He said that the rallies had been an “FSB scenario”, referring to the Russian Federal Security Service, adding that the demonstrations in the capital had “damaged the country’s investment environment.” “Lately I have spent much more time with the opposition than with the majority and this is very useful. Practically everyone came to the Security Council Session. Practically all the serious forces take part in work on the election code. Some of them take the position that they do not like the agreed code, but they will participate in the elections nonetheless. This means that the agreed legislation is good enough,” the President stated.

Saakashvili also commented on former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli’s recent visits to Moscow, saying that “Noghaideli is not the first one through whom Russia is trying to control the situation in Georgia.” and that Kremlin policy has been very consistent. “At different times there have been Igor Giorgadze, Tengiz Kitovani, Aslan Abashidze, Badri Patarkatsishvili, Alexander Ebralidze and now Noghaideli,” Saakashvili noted, adding that “Noghaideli has fallen lower than one could imagine.”

“If The Kremlin has nobody in Georgia except Noghaideli to rely on and has to pay Nauru USD 50 million in exchange for its recognition of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, the situation is not as catastrophic as it might seem,” the President said. “Russia has tried all possible ways to destroy us, including war, occupation, espionage and so on. Tbilisi airport was open for us; they wanted the Georgian Government to flee. Accounts were opened for us in a Swiss bank. But we did not run away and the Russians saw more than a million Georgian citizens standing in a live chain,” Saakashvili stated.

The President also commented on Georgia’s relations with Russia, saying that “Georgia cannot be willing to have bad relations with Moscow.” “We are not crazy,” he said.

The “tragedy” in Kutaisi was the result of “recklessness, incompetence and negligence,” Saakashvili said, referring to the demolition of the World War II Memorial in Kutaisi on December 19 which caused the death of a 42-year old woman and her 11-year old daughter. He said the issue of the memorial had been “politicised” and downplayed Russian criticism over the demolition, calling the Russian authorities’ statements about “dishonouring ancestors” a “mere pharisaism.”

Saakashvili outlined the economic situation in the country. “In terms of the economy, 2009 was not successful,” he said. “Many people lost their jobs, the social situation in the country is difficult, but let’s remember what we did achieve this year: we managed to increase the budget, to maintain the banking sector and maintain construction companies thanks to the good programme implemented by the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office. Investments are coming to Georgia,” the President said, adding that the adoption of the Act of Economic Freedom was a major breakthrough.

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