Georgia is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Tbilisi, Georgia 2020 population is estimated at 3,989,178 according to countryaah. Georgian peoples have been living in the Caucasus for at least the millennium before our era. In the 500s BC, the kingdom of Kolchis (Kolcheti) was founded in what is today western Georgia. Two hundred years later it was united with the kingdom of Iberia east of the Surami mountain range. East Georgia was Christianized in 331, and Christianity spread rapidly westward.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Georgia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
As a result of the power struggle between Östrom (Byzantine) and Persian princes, the empire in the 500s was divided into small princes. In the early 12th century, the land was united under King David II (“David the Builder”, Davit Aghmasjenebeli). Now, what is usually called the “golden age” in Georgian history began. It culminated in Queen Tamar’s time in power (1184-1212) as the territory expanded and culture flourished.
The country was invaded by Mongols in 1236 and gradually it fell into disrepute. Then followed three centuries of Turkish and Persian domination, respectively. In the early 18th century, a cultural renaissance began in eastern Georgia. Trade increased and the first Georgian dictionary was printed. The two eastern regions of Kartli and Kachetia were united in 1762 under King Erekle II.
Faced with the threat of a Turkish invasion, the king, hoping for protection, entered into an alliance with Russia. Tsar Alexander I dissolved the kingdom and in 1801 converted eastern Georgia into a province of the Russian Empire. The Russian conquest of western Georgia lasted until the middle of the century. Society changed rapidly. The Russians took over political power and Armenian merchants dominated trade and economy. Many Georgian farmers moved to the cities to work in the emerging industry.
Towards the end of the 19th century, a national liberation movement emerged in the countryside. Its ideas were taken over by the working class under the leadership of Georgian intellectuals. It all culminated in a bloody uprising in 1905. In the following decade, Georgia’s revolutionaries split into a Social Democratic phalanx, the Mensheviks, and a radical revolutionary, the Bolsheviks. The latter was led by Georgian Josef (Ioseb) Djugashvili, later known as Stalin.
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, an independent Georgian state was founded under the leadership of a Menshevik government. In 1921, the country was invaded by the Red Army and incorporated into the Soviet Union. In 1936, Georgia was granted the status of its own Soviet republic.
The Soviet regime meant that the state took over private property as companies and real estate and that the Communist Party became the only permitted party. All opposition was suppressed by hard methods.
In 1929, a compulsory collectivization of agriculture began, which destroyed the old peasant society. During threats of violence, the peasants were forced to abandon their lands, which were merged into large properties that would be owned and used jointly.
At the same time, extensive industrialization began. The working class grew rapidly, and immigration to the cities accelerated. Between 1940 and 1958, the country’s industrial production more than doubled. Literacy increased and the level of education increased.
From 1953 to 1972, Georgia was ruled by Communist leader Vasilij Mzjavanadze. His rule was characterized by corruption, brother-in-law politics and a growing black economy. His successor, Georgian former KGB boss Eduard Shevardnadze, undertook a cleanup. He dismissed nearly 300 people from the leadership, who were accused of corruption, among other things.
Shevardnadze initiated economic reforms which resulted in a significant increase in industrial and agricultural production in the early 1980s. In addition, he succeeded in balancing the demands of Moscow with Georgia’s growing desire for national self-government. When Mikhail Gorbachev had become Soviet leader in 1985, Shevardnadze was appointed Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.
By the mid-1980s, freedom of expression increased as a result of Gorbachev’s reform policy. Now organizations were formed that fought for better environment and strengthening the position of the Georgian language. The question of language gradually grew into a conflict in which Ossetians and Abkhazians protested against Georgian domination.
In early 1989, a campaign for liberation from Georgia was launched in Abkhazia. On April 9 of the same year, the Georgians responded with a counter-demonstration in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi demanding that Abkhazia should remain Georgian and that Georgia should become independent from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Army turned down the demonstration. Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured. The event diluted the anti-Soviet moods of Georgians. At the same time, the tension between different groups of people increased. The opposition’s pressure eventually forced the regime to hold the first multi-party in Georgia history in October 1990.
The election was won by an alliance, the Round Table, which sought an independent Georgia. The new parliament elected the well-known nationalist Zviad Gamsachurdia as chairman. He created an authoritarian and undemocratic regime, attacked the opposition, took control of the security police and set up a national guard.
The country’s richest man is forming a new political movement
Georgia’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, announces that he has formed a new political movement, the Georgian Dream, which will work for a change of power. Several thousand people are reported to have joined the movement’s first public meeting. He was deprived of his Georgian citizenship, as he was at the same time a French and Russian citizen. A preliminary investigation into money laundering is being launched against him and the equivalent of about US $ 3 million is seized from a bank he owns.
Parliament must be moved
A constitutional amendment is expected to move Parliament from Tbilisi to the country’s second largest city, Kutaisi. The project is estimated to cost over SEK 200 million.
Prolonged protests against the government
Several days in a row, demonstrations are ongoing in central Tbilisi against the government. On the fifth day, two people were killed and nearly 40 injured when police intervened with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the protesters.
The ICJ does not take up the complaint against Russia
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announces that it does not address Georgia’s claim against Russia for “ethnic cleansing” of Georgians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008. The Court considers that both countries should have tried to resolve the issues on their own.