Georgia Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Georgia. According to Countryaah.com, Georgia Independence Day is April 9. Georgia underwent a bloody revolution during the year, when President Eduard Shevardnadze was forced to resign and the opposition took power. The upheaval followed the November parliamentary elections, which became chaotic with accusations against the government about electoral fraud. The charges were supported by foreign observers. The opposition refused to accept the official result that gave the victory to Shevardnadze’s party block For a New Georgia.

Thousands of protesters gathered day after day in Tbilisi, demanding the departure of the 76-year-old president. The opposition also requested that the official election result be annulled. Shevardnadze refused to resign, but when he would open the newly-elected parliament in late November, protesters stormed the building and the president was forced to flee. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov traveled to Tbilisi and participated in negotiations between Shevardnadze and the opposition, which ended with the president giving up and choosing to resign.

Former President Nino Burdzjanadze took over as acting president. The Supreme Court declared the parliamentary elections invalid and a new election was scheduled for 2004. At the same time, a new presidential election was announced until January 4. National Movement – Democratic Front leader Micheil Saakashvili, who was the former opposition’s leading spokesman and has US support, was named the new presidential candidate.

Poverty and corruption contributed to the fall of the old regime. An ordinary monthly salary in Georgia equals about SEK 250. In addition, more than half of Georgians are estimated to be unemployed and hundreds of thousands have left Russia to look for jobs.

Georgia’s strategic location as a future transport area for oil from the Caspian Sea has also made the country the playing field for the great powers. Russia has retained military bases since the time of the Soviet Union and the United States has in recent years gained military presence in the country to train the Georgian army. Russian companies control of Georgia’s electricity and gas networks was exploited by Moscow for pressure against Shevardnadze, prompting Washington to support its opponents. Some analysts believe that the United States contributed to Shevardnadze’s case.

South Ossetia Politics

When South Ossetia declared itself an independent state in early 2008, the tension escalated along the border with Georgia.

During the summer, screenings between soldiers on both sides occurred on several occasions. In early August, direct fighting broke out between Georgians and South Ossetians / Russians (see Georgia: Current Policy). After a few days of war, a ceasefire was announced. The Georgians had then been pushed back and the South Ossetians could take over the parts of South Ossetia that had hitherto been under Georgia’s control.

Hundreds of people were reported to have been killed or injured in the fighting. Even after the ceasefire, attacks on Georgian villages in South Ossetia and its vicinity occurred, making it difficult for refugees to return.

After the war, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia, but the rest of the world behaved coldly. Only a few countries followed in Moscow’s footsteps and recognized South Ossetia, including Nicaragua, Venezuela and a few island states in the South Sea.

In September, Moscow signed a friendship and cooperation agreement with South Ossetia’s leaders. Thus, Russia was given the right to establish military bases in the area.

Elections without change

The post-war reconstruction was slow. Russian-backed President Eduard Kokojty was accused by critics of seizing the contributions from Russia. But the parliamentary elections at the end of May 2009 were still clearly won by the unity power party , which received just over 46 percent of the vote. Then followed the People’s Party and the Communist Party, both with just over 22 percent. Only four parties were allowed to stand in the elections, all more or less loyal to Kokojty. The EU judged the election illegal and Georgia called it a father.

In July, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to South Ossetia, and was greeted there as the rescuer of the Republic, while his visit was condemned by the political leadership in Georgia.

Just before the anniversary of the war against Georgia, a Russian construction contractor, Vadim Brovtsev, was appointed new prime minister. He had no previous connection to South Ossetia and it was unclear why his representatives were dismissed. It was speculated both about dissatisfaction with wasted money for the reconstruction work and pressure from Russian construction companies who wanted lucrative contracts.

Brovtsev was also quickly criticized for incompetent handling of Russian aid but rescued by Kokojty from a vote of no confidence.

In August 2010, Russia’s Air Force Commander announced that Russian air defense had been stationed in South Ossetia.

Krisval

The November 2011 presidential election, when a successor to Kokojty was to be appointed, led to a domestic political crisis. No candidate got absolute majority in the first round. When the Russian government’s stated favorite was about to lose the crucial election round against former Education Minister Alla Dzhiojeva, a court intervened and annulled the election. Parliament then decided that the election would be re-elected in March 2012 but that Dziojeva would not be allowed to run for office at that time. The exclusion of Dzhiojeva led to widespread protests and she herself said she considered herself the legally elected president and intended to appoint a government.

None of the former candidates were allowed to stand when the presidential election was rescheduled in March-April. Neither of the four approved candidates got absolute majority in the first round of elections. In the crucial election, former local KGB chief Leonid Tibilov defeated human rights official David Sanakojev. Tibilov said he wants to continue to strengthen ties with Russia and eventually merge South Ossetia with the Russian sub-republic of North Ossetia.

All Dziojeva, who with his new party emerged as opposition leader, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister responsible for social affairs.

In 2015, South Ossetia took a major step toward incorporating into Russia, when Tibilov signed an agreement with Russian President Putin on “alliance and integration”. Through the agreement, the South Ossetian armed forces, border guard and customs were organized in the Russian defense and the economy was also coordinated with the Russian. The agreement was condemned unison by the Government of Georgia and the Western powers as a violation of international law and Georgia’s sovereignty.

In May 2016, it was announced that a referendum to formally connect South Ossetia to Russia would be held sometime in 2017.

In April 2017, Parliament Speaker Anatoly Bibilov was elected new President. At the same time, a referendum approved a change of name to the “Republic of South Ossetia-Alania”. The Georgia government said the change of name aims to pave the way for a Russian annexation of the area.

Georgia Border Map