Photos of Georgia

Introduction

Background

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 in 1921 and regained its independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

Mounting public discontent over rampant corruption and ineffective government services, followed by an attempt by the incumbent Georgian Government to manipulate parliamentary elections in November 2003, touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. In the aftermath of that popular movement, which became known as the "Rose Revolution," new elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his United National Movement (UNM) party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by Russian assistance and support to the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Periodic flare-ups in tension and violence culminated in a five-day conflict in August 2008 between Russia and Georgia, including the invasion of large portions of undisputed Georgian territory. Russian troops pledged to pull back from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Russian military forces remain in those regions.

Billionaire Bidzina IVANISHVILI's unexpected entry into politics in October 2011 brought the divided opposition together under his Georgian Dream coalition, which won a majority of seats in the October 2012 parliamentary elections and removed UNM from power. Conceding defeat, SAAKASHVILI named IVANISHVILI as prime minister and allowed Georgian Dream to create a new government. Giorgi MARGVELASHVILI was inaugurated as president on 17 November 2013, ending a tense year of power-sharing between SAAKASHVILI and IVANISHVILI. At the time, these changes in leadership represented unique examples of a former Soviet state that emerged to conduct democratic and peaceful government transitions of power. IVANISHVILI voluntarily resigned from office after the presidential succession, and Georgia's legislature on 20 November 2013 confirmed Irakli GARIBASHVILI as his replacement. GARIBASHVILI was replaced by Giorgi KVIRIKASHVILI in December 2015. KVIRIKASHVILI remained prime minister following Georgian Dream’s success in the October 2016 parliamentary elections, where the party won a constitutional majority. IVANISHVILI reemerged as Georgian Dream party chairman in April 2018. KVIRIKASHVILI resigned in June 2018 and was replaced by Mamuka BAKHTADZE. In September 2019, BAKHTADZE resigned and Giorgi GAKHARIA was named the country's new head of government, Georgia's fifth prime minister in seven years. Popular and government support for integration with the West is high in Georgia. Joining the EU and NATO are among the country's top foreign policy goals.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia, with a sliver of land north of the Caucasus extending into Europe; note - Georgia views itself as part of Europe; geopolitically, it can be classified as falling within Europe, the Middle East, or both

Geographic coordinates

42 00 N, 43 30 E

Area

total: 69,700 sq km

land: 69,700 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: approximately 12,560 sq km, or about 18% of Georgia's area, is Russian occupied; the seized area includes all of Abkhazia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which consists of the northern part of Shida Kartli, eastern slivers of the Imereti region and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and part of western Mtskheta-Mtianeti

country comparison to the world: 121

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than South Carolina; slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries

total: 1,814 km

border countries (4): Armenia 219 km, Azerbaijan 428 km, Russia 894 km, Turkey 273 km

Coastline

310 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast

Terrain

largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; fertile soils in river valley flood plains and foothills of Kolkhida Lowland

Elevation

mean elevation: 1,432 m

lowest point: Black Sea 0 m

highest point: Mt'a Shkhara 5,193 m

Natural resources

timber, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth

Land use

agricultural land: 35.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 5.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 27.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 39.4% (2018 est.)

other: 25.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

4,330 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

settlement concentrated in the central valley, particularly in the capital city of Tbilisi in the east; smaller urban agglomerations dot the Black Sea coast, with Bat'umi being the largest

Natural hazards

earthquakes

Geography - note

note 1: strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them

note 2: the world's four deepest caves are all in Georgia, including two that are the only known caves on earth deeper than 2,000 m: Krubera Cave at -2,197 m (-7,208 ft; reached in 2012) and Veryovkina Cave at -2,212 (-7,257 ft; reached in 2018)

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Georgian(s)

adjective: Georgian

Ethnic groups

Georgian 86.8%, Azeri 6.3%, Armenian 4.5%, other 2.3% (includes Russian, Ossetian, Yazidi, Ukrainian, Kist, Greek) (2014 est.)

Languages

Georgian (official) 87.6%, Azeri 6.2%, Armenian 3.9%, Russian 1.2%, other 1% (2014 est.)

note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia

Religions

Orthodox (official) 83.4%, Muslim 10.7%, Armenian Apostolic 2.9%, other 1.2% (includes Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Yazidi, Protestant, Jewish), none 0.5%, unspecified/no answer 1.2% (2014 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.42% (male 472,731/female 435,174)

15-24 years: 10.9% (male 286,518/female 250,882)

25-54 years: 40.59% (male 984,942/female 1,016,353)

55-64 years: 13.24% (male 288,650/female 364,117)

65 years and over: 16.85% (male 326,219/female 504,444) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 55

youth dependency ratio: 31.3

elderly dependency ratio: 23.6

potential support ratio: 4.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 38.6 years

male: 35.9 years

female: 41.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Birth rate

11.26 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Death rate

10.84 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Net migration rate

0.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Population distribution

settlement concentrated in the central valley, particularly in the capital city of Tbilisi in the east; smaller urban agglomerations dot the Black Sea coast, with Bat'umi being the largest

Urbanization

urban population: 59.5% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.42% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

note: data include Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Major urban areas - population

1.079 million TBILISI (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.14 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female

total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

25.4 years (2017 est.)

note: data do not cover Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Maternal mortality rate

25 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

Infant mortality rate

total: 15.1 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 17.26 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.25 years

male: 73.18 years

female: 81.52 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 96.2% of population

total: 98.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 3.8% of population

total: 1.6% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

7.12 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97% of population

rural: 82.7% of population

total: 91.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 3% of population

rural: 17.3% of population

total: 8.9% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2019 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.4%

male: 99.4%

female: 99.3% (2017)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 16 years

female: 16 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 29.9%

male: 26.7%

female: 35.3% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Georgia

local long form: none

local short form: Sak'art'velo

former: Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the Western name may derive from the Persian designation "gurgan" meaning "Land of the Wolves"; the native name "Sak'art'velo" means "Land of the Kartvelians" and refers to the core central Georgian region of Kartli

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Tbilisi

geographic coordinates: 41 41 N, 44 50 E

time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name in Georgian means "warm place," referring to the numerous sulfuric hot springs in the area

Administrative divisions

9 regions (mkharebi, singular - mkhare), 1 city (kalaki), and 2 autonomous republics (avtomnoy respubliki, singular - avtom respublika)

regions: Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta Mtianeti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Shida Kartli; note - the breakaway region of South Ossetia consists of the northern part of Shida Kartli, eastern slivers of the Imereti region and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and part of western Mtskheta-Mtianeti

city: Tbilisi

autonomous republics: Abkhazia or Ap'khazet'is Avtonomiuri Respublika (Sokhumi), Ajaria or Acharis Avtonomiuri Respublika (Bat'umi)



note 1: the administrative centers of the two autonomous republics are shown in parentheses

note 2: the United States recognizes the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be part of Georgia

Independence

9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier date: A.D. 1008 (Georgia unified under King BAGRAT III)

National holiday

Independence Day, 26 May (1918); note - 26 May 1918 was the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 9 April 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution

history: previous 1921, 1978 (based on 1977 Soviet Union constitution); latest approved 24 August 1995, effective 17 October 1995

amendments: proposed as a draft law supported by more than one half of the Parliament membership or by petition of at least 200,000 voters; passage requires support by at least three fourths of the Parliament membership in two successive sessions three months apart and the signature and promulgation by the president of Georgia; amended several times, last in 2020 (legislative electoral system revised)

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Georgia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Salome ZOURABICHVILI (since 16 December 2018)

head of government: Prime Minister Irakli GARIBASHVILI (since 22 February 2021)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 November 2018 (next to be held in 2024); prime minister nominated by Parliament, appointed by the president

note - 2017 constitutional amendments made the 2018 election the last where the president was directly elected; future presidents will be elected by a 300-member College of Electors; in light of these changes, ZOURABICHVILI was allowed a six-year term

election results: Salome ZOURABICHVILI elected president in runoff; percent of vote - Salome ZOURABICHVILI (independent, backed by Georgian Dream) 59.5%, Grigol VASHADZE (UNM) 40.5%; Irakli GARIBASHVILI approved as prime minister by Parliamentary vote 89-2

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Sakartvelos Parlamenti (150 seats; 120 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed, party-list proportional representation vote and 30 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by at least 50% majority vote, with a runoff if needed; no party earning less than 40% of total votes may claim a majority; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 31 October and 21 November 2020 (next to be held in October 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - Georgian Dream 48.2%, UNM 27.2%, European Georgia 3.8%, Lelo 3.2%, Strategy 3.2%, Alliance of Patriots 3.1%, Girchi 2.9%, Citizens 1.3%, Labor 1%; seats by party - Georgian Dream 90, UNM 36, European Georgia 5, Lelo 4, Strategy 4, Alliance of Patriots 4, Girchi 4, Citizens 2, Labor 1

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of 28 judges organized into several specialized judicial chambers; number of judges determined by the president of Georgia); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges); note - the Abkhazian and Ajarian Autonomous republics each have a supreme court and a hierarchy of lower courts

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the High Council of Justice (a 14-member body consisting of the Supreme Court chairperson, common court judges, and appointees of the president of Georgia) and appointed by Parliament; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court judges appointed 3 each by the president, by Parliament, and by the Supreme Court judges; judges appointed for 10-year terms

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional (town) and district courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance of Patriots [Irma INASHVILI]
Democratic Movement-United Georgia [Nino BURJANADZE]
Citizens Party
Development Movement [Davit USPASHVILI]
European Georgia-Movement for Liberty [Davit BAKRADZE]
For Justice Party [Eka BESELIA]
Free Democrats or FD [Shalva SHAVGULIDZE]
Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia [Bidzina IVANISHVILI]
Girchi (Pinecone) [Zurab JAPARIDZE]
Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists) or IWSG [Giorgi TOPADZE]
Labor Party [Shalva NATELASHVILI]
Lelo for Georgia [Mamuka KHAZARADZE]
New Georgia [Giorgi VASHADZE]
Republican Party [Khatuna SAMNIDZE]
Strategy Aghmashenebeli [Giorgi VASHADZE]
United National Movement or UNM [Grigol VASHADZE]

International organization participation

ADB, BSEC, CD, CE, CPLP (associate), EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-11, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador David BAKRADZE (since 18 January 2017)

chancery: 1824 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 387-2390

FAX: [1] (202) 387-0864

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kelly C. DEGNAN (since 31 January 2020)

telephone: [995] (32) 227-70-00

embassy: 11 George Balanchine Street, Tbilisi, 0131

mailing address: 7060 T'bilisi Place, Washington, DC 20521-7060

FAX: [995] (32) 253-23-10

Flag description

white rectangle with a central red cross extending to all four sides of the flag; each of the four quadrants displays a small red bolnur-katskhuri cross; sometimes referred to as the Five-Cross Flag; although adopted as the official Georgian flag in 2004, the five-cross design is based on a 14th century banner of the Kingdom of Georgia

National symbol(s)

Saint George, lion; national colors: red, white

National anthem

name: "Tavisupleba" (Liberty)

lyrics/music: Davit MAGRADSE/Zakaria PALIASHVILI (adapted by Joseb KETSCHAKMADSE)

note: adopted 2004; after the Rose Revolution, a new anthem with music based on the operas "Abesalom da Eteri" and "Daisi" was adopted

Economy

Economic overview

Georgia's main economic activities include cultivation of agricultural products such as grapes, citrus fruits, and hazelnuts; mining of manganese, copper, and gold; and producing alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, metals, machinery, and chemicals in small-scale industries. The country imports nearly all of its needed supplies of natural gas and oil products. It has sizeable hydropower capacity that now provides most of its electricity needs.

Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages and gas supply interruptions of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by increasingly relying on natural gas imports from Azerbaijan instead of from Russia. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucasus gas pipeline, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit hub for gas, oil, and other goods.

Georgia's economy sustained GDP growth of more than 10% in 2006-07, based on strong inflows of foreign investment, remittances, and robust government spending. However, GDP growth slowed following the August 2008 conflict with Russia, and sank to negative 4% in 2009 as foreign direct investment and workers' remittances declined in the wake of the global financial crisis. The economy rebounded in the period 2010-17, but FDI inflows, the engine of Georgian economic growth prior to the 2008 conflict, have not recovered fully. Unemployment remains persistently high.

The country is pinning its hopes for faster growth on a continued effort to build up infrastructure, enhance support for entrepreneurship, simplify regulations, and improve professional education, in order to attract foreign investment and boost employment, with a focus on transportation projects, tourism, hydropower, and agriculture. Georgia had historically suffered from a chronic failure to collect tax revenues; however, since 2004 the government has simplified the tax code, increased tax enforcement, and cracked down on petty corruption, leading to higher revenues. The government has received high marks from the World Bank for improvements in business transparency. Since 2012, the Georgian Dream-led government has continued the previous administration's low-regulation, low-tax, free market policies, while modestly increasing social spending and amending the labor code to comply with International Labor Standards. In mid-2014, Georgia concluded an association agreement with the EU, paving the way to free trade and visa-free travel. In 2017, Georgia signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China as part of Tbilisiā€™s efforts to diversify its economic ties. Georgia is seeking to develop its Black Sea ports to further facilitate East-West trade.

Real GDP growth rate

5% (2017 est.)

2.8% (2016 est.)

2.9% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.8% (2019 est.)

2.6% (2018 est.)

6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB (2019)

Moody's rating: Ba2 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: BB (2019)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$55.776 billion (2019 est.)

$53.129 billion (2018 est.)

$50.662 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 112

GDP (official exchange rate)

$17.694 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$14,992 (2019 est.)

$14,257 (2018 est.)

$13,590 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 110

Gross national saving

22% of GDP (2019 est.)

21.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

19.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 92

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 8.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.7% (2017 est.)

services: 67.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 62.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 29.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 2.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 50.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -62.2% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 83.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 99.6 (2020)

Trading score: 90.1 (2020)

Enforcement score: 75 (2020)

Agricultural products

milk, grapes, maize, potatoes, wheat, watermelons, tomatoes, tangerines/mandarins, barley, apples

Industries

steel, machine tools, electrical appliances, mining (manganese, copper, gold), chemicals, wood products, wine

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 55.6%

industry: 8.9%

services: 35.5% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 31.3% (2008)

Budget

revenues: 4.352 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.925 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

44.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

44.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities; Georgia does not maintain intragovernmental debt or social funds

country comparison to the world: 116

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.348 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.84 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

Exports

$3.566 billion (2017 est.)

$2.831 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Exports - partners

Russia 12%, Azerbaijan 12%, Armenia 9%, Bulgaria 8%, China 6%, Turkey 6%, Ukraine 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

copper, cars, iron alloys, wine, packaged medicines (2019)

Imports

$7.415 billion (2017 est.)

$6.747 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Imports - partners

Turkey 17%, China 11%, Russia 9%, Azerbaijan 6%, United States 6%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, refined petroleum, copper, packaged medicines, natural gas (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.039 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.756 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Debt - external

$18.149 billion (2019 est.)

$17.608 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Exchange rates

laris (GEL) per US dollar -

2.535 (2017 est.)

2.3668 (2016 est.)

2.3668 (2015 est.)

2.2694 (2014 est.)

1.7657 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 638,092

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12.95 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 6,638,125

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 134.72 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: telecommunications fastest growing area of Georgia's economy; LTE services now cover the vast majority of the population; fixed-line telecommunications network has limited coverage outside Tbilisi; multiple mobile-cellular providers provide services to an increasing subscribership throughout the country; broadband subscribers steadily increasing; with the recent investment in infrastructure customers are moving from copper to fiber networks (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 13 per 100, cellular telephone networks cover the entire country; mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 135 per 100 persons; intercity facilities include a fiber-optic line between T'bilisi and K'ut'aisi (2019)

international: country code - 995; landing points for the Georgia-Russia, Diamond Link Global, and Caucasus Cable System fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Russia, Romania and Bulgaria; international service is available by microwave, landline, and satellite through the Moscow switch; international electronic mail and telex service are available (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

The Tbilisi-based Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) includes Channel 1, Channel 2 as well as the Batumi-based Adjara TV, and the State Budget funds all three; there are also a number of independent commercial television broadcasters, such as Imedi, Rustavi 2, Pirveli TV, Maestro, Kavkasia, Georgian Dream Studios (GDS), Obiektivi, Mtavari Arkhi, and a small Russian language operator TOK TV; Tabula and Post TV are web-based television outlets; all of these broadcasters and web-based television outlets, except GDS, carry the news; the Georgian Orthodox Church also operates a satellite-based television station called Unanimity; there are 26 regional television broadcasters across Georgia that are members of the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters and/or the Alliance of Georgian Broadcasters; the broadcaster organizations seek to strengthen the regional media's capacities and distribution of regional products: a nationwide digital switchover occurred in 2015; there are several dozen private radio stations; GPB operates 2 radio stations

(2019)

Internet users

total: 3,151,218

percent of population: 63.97% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 840,603

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 17 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 516,034 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 750,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 18 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2017)

under 914 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 4 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

2 (2013)

Pipelines

1596 km gas, 1175 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 1,363 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 37 km 0.912-m gauge (37 km electrified) (2014)

broad gauge: 1,326 km 1.520-m gauge (1,251 km electrified) (2014)

country comparison to the world: 84

Merchant marine

total: 81

by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 22, oil tanker 2, other 55 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 99

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Black Sea - Bat'umi, P'ot'i

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Georgian Defense Forces: Land Forces (includes Aviation and Air Defense Forces), Special Operations Forces, National Guard; Ministry of the Interior: Border Police, Coast Guard (includes Georgian naval forces, which were merged with the Coast Guard in 2009) (2021)

Military expenditures

2.3% of GDP (2019)

2.1% of GDP (2018)

2.1% of GDP (2017)

2.2% of GDP (2016)

2.1% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 46

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates for the size of the Georgian Defense Forces vary; approximately 25,000 active troops, including National Guard forces (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Georgian Defense Forces are equipped mostly with older Russian and Soviet-era weapons; since 2010, it has received limited quantities of equipment from Bulgaria, France, and the US (2020)

Military deployments

860 Afghanistan (NATO) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

conscription abolished in 2016, but reinstated in 2017; 18 to 27 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation is 12 months (2019)

Military - note

Georgia does not have any military stationed in the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but large numbers of Russian servicemen have been stationed in these regions since the 2008 Russia-Georgia War (2019)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Russia's military support and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence in 2008 continue to sour relations with Georgia

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 301,000 (displaced in the 1990s as a result of armed conflict in the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; displaced in 2008 by fighting between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia) (2019)

stateless persons: 559 (2019)

Illicit drugs

limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; used as transshipment point for opiates via Central Asia to Western Europe and Russia