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Introduction to Georgia

Geography

Is Georgia part of Europe?

It’s difficult to answer this question, as the definition of geographic Europe is not very clearly defined on this side. It’s possible to consider that these borders are just a figment of the imagination, because in fact we’re talking about the continent of Eurasia. It is possible to find two types of information: either Europe stops at the Caucasus mountains, and Georgia is not part of it, or it includes the mountains of the Upper Caucasus, and Georgia is part of it! wikipedia link

Anthropologically, Europe refers to people with white skin as “Causasians”. And archaeologists have found Europe’s oldest inhabitant in Georgia (at Dmanissi). This ancestor dates back 1.8 million years!

History

But the fact that we don’t know whether Georgia is part of Europe or Asia is fine by us. Indeed, this region is at the crossroads of all these cultures. From ancient times to the present day, Georgia has been coveted and invaded by all the major powers. The Greeks, Persians, Ottomans, Arabs, Mongols, Russians, etc. have all passed through here.

The Ottoman and Persian empires, two rival Ottoman powers, coveted it in particular. Georgia then asked Russia for help in the 19th century. This has enabled it to retain its dominant Orthodox religion. Indeed, Georgia was the second country in the world to be Christianized in 332, just after Armenia, and by the same person: Saint Nino.

In 1921, Georgia succeeded in gaining a brief two-year independence. Newly communist Russia then invaded to protect its borders from yesterday’s enemy, Turkey. Georgia became one of the fifteen “Soviet Socialist Republics” of the Soviet Union, and the richest.

Post-communism

After the end of communism, civil war broke out between the different regions. The separatist regions of Abkhazia and Ossetia gained “de facto” independence, supported by Russia.

The 1990s were the years of economic collapse, with Georgia losing 75% of its GDP. Georgians who lived through this dark period are still traumatized by it: stores were empty, people needed ration coupons to buy food and electricity only worked for two or three hours a day in the capital.

The revolution

A peaceful revolution took place in 2004: the Rose Revolution, which brought Mikhail SAAKASHVILI to power. At 35, he was the world’s youngest president, and the one who initiated the most reforms. His government fought endemic corruption by dismissing all customs officers and almost all police officers. Finally, he gave them the means to work and a real salary. He severely punished the corrupt and the corrupting, flattened the entire administration to facilitate all administrative procedures, organized efficient tax collection and put the money from this collection back into the real economy. He undertook major works (roads, internet, electricity, neighborhood renovation, construction, etc.). Today, Georgia’s economic results are encouraging (4 to 6% growth over the past 10 years).

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