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Introduction: The region of present day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the...

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Economic Overview: Georgia's economy has traditionally revolved around Black Sea tourism; cultivation of citrus fruits, tea, and grapes; mining of manganese and copper; and the output of a small industrial sector producing wine, metals, machinery, chemicals and textiles.

Turkey is currently Georgia's largest trading partner, but Russia is still critically important for Georgia's energy needs (natural gas and oil). Despite this, Georgia is well-positioned on the route of new energy pipelines taking Caspian Sea oil and gas resources from Azerbaijan into Western Europe. Georgia's economy has been slowed by the global economic crisis and its ...

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Government: Georgia is a republic in which the president is elected for a term of 5 years, limited to two terms. The constitutional successor is the speaker of Parliament.

Parliamentary elections on November 2, 2003 were marred by irregularities and fraud according to local and international observers. Popular demonstrations ensued in the streets of Tbilisi. Protestors carried roses in ...

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International Relations: Georgia’s Relations with Russia

Tensions between Russia and Georgia date back to post-independence conflicts in the early 1990s. Relations remained strained throughout the 90s and the early 2000s, with Georgia accusing Russia of supporting separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia meanwhile accused Georgia of harbouring Chechen separatists and supporting other terrorists operating in the North Caucasus.

The 2008 War

Tensions rose significantly in April 2008 when Russia issued a decree to establish closer relations with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South ...

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Georgia's location at a major commercial crossroads and among several powerful neighbors has provided both advantages and disadvantages through some twenty-five centuries of history. Georgia is comprised of regions having distinctive traits. The ethnic, religious, and linguistic characteristics of the country as a unit coalesced to a greater degree than before under Russian rule in the nineteenth ...

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Area Handbook Series
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