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GEORGIA



 

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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)

Books on Georgia

 



Update No: 364 - (28/04/11)

'We are not ideal….”Wars may last only five or seven days and yet decide the fate of countries and regions for decades or centuries thereafter.

The outcome of the Seven-Day War in June 1967 has decided the fate of the Middle East to date.

The even shorter five-day war between Russia and Georgia in August in 2009 looks like it has settled the fate of the Caucasus for a long time to come.

Russia to stay
Russia signed an agreement two years ago with two Georgian rebel regions to maintain military bases in the independence-seeking territories for nearly five decades. The pact with Abkhazia and South Ossetia was signed on September 15, 2009.

It is still rankling in Georgia, notably with its nefarious leader, who is no longer able to press the anti-Russian button to remain in power; he has become so unpopular with his own populace, something no demagogue should ever do.

Turmoil comes to Tbilisi
Georgia has not escaped the popular unrest and potential upheaval that are rife now in the Middle East and the Caucasus. Thousands of opposition supporters in Georgia have carried out days of protests, calling on President Mikhail Saakashvili to step down. Demonstrators have gathered outside the parliament in Tbilisi, before marching on to the presidential palace, where they had planned to hold an ongoing protest.

Unfortunately, passion has faltered, if not flagged. Many have just gone home to bed. And who can blame them?
Correspondents say turnout is falling and the opposition seems increasingly unsure of how to continue its campaign. It is of course not organised - or a relay system could have been instituted.

The person in charge of the Georgian polity, Mikhail Saakashvili, says Russian oligarchs are financing the Georgian opposition. But he would of course. He cultivates hatred of Russia as the leitmotif of his rule. As Dr Johnson said: “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

The opposition accuses him of mishandling the conflict with Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, and of being increasingly autocratic. They are obviously right.

Commendable courage
Still, after a brief pause on April 17, more than 20,000 opposition supporters returned to the Georgian parliament building for another day, chanting "Misha, Go!". They again blocked the capital's main street, cheered on the main opposition leaders and began to march on the presidential palace.

"The fight continues, and today I have the impression that this fight will end soon with your victory," said Levan Gachechiladze, the main opposition candidate in last year's presidential election. "Saakashvili must leave," he added. "There is no place for him in Georgia's future."

The BBC's Tom Esslemont in Tbilisi says the protesters' message has not changed - they still want Mr Saakashvili to resign - but with a diminishing turnout, the opposition seems increasingly unsure as to how to convince him or the rest of the country of its cause.

Some 60,000 people rallied at the start of the campaign. On April 16, the opposition leaders talked about entering dialogue with the president and about spreading their protest to the regions.

Now, those two ideas appear to have been shelved.

Whither Georgia?
While many opposition supporters hold the president to account for leading his country into a disastrous war with Russia last summer, others see no alternative to him as president and are wary of further destabilising their country.

Saakashvili, it has to be said, remains resolute in his determination to finish his final term in office and has repeatedly offered to engage in dialogue with the opposition.
   

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