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Country profile for Georgia

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

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Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Amber (Moderate Risk)
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

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Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Tbilisi
  • Major Languages: Georgian
  • Currency: Lari
  • Timezone: GMT +4:30

Country Map

Map of Georgia

In recent years, the security situation in Georgia has significantly improved due to the modernisation of the country’s law enforcement agencies and the increasing standards of living. Although organised crime and corruption still pose serious issues in Georgia, violent crime rarely affects foreign visitors. Tourists are most likely to be targeted by petty crime, such as bag-snatching and pickpocketing. Incidents may occur in some popular tourist sites across the country and on public transports.

Sporadic outbreaks of civil unrest have been reported in the country and they are mostly concentrated around the capital, Tbilisi, and Rustaveli Avenue. Large scale anti-government protests tend to turn violent. In November 2019, protests broke out after parliament initially rejected a bill to introduce electoral reforms in Georgia. Although the bill was championed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, some of its members broke party ranks and voted against it. The bill's rejection generated intense international criticism. Demonstrations are likely to become more frequent during 2020 when the country is set to hold its parliamentary election. Religious-motivated demonstrations are also frequent. In June 2019, dozens were injured when a demonstration in Tbilisi turned violent. The protest was called by the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), an international body to promote cooperation among Orthodox Christian countries. In January 2021, hundreds of protesters gathered in Tbilisi to stage a demonstration against Covid-19 pandemic measures.

Geopolitically the status of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are yet to be formally resolved, and a renewed conflict with Russia in these regions remains a possibility. The current situation often leads to demonstrations. In November 2019, a Georgian doctor was detained for entering South Ossetia. Vazha Gaprindashvili was released a month later after mass demonstrations broke out across Georgia. Russia continues to exert some influence in both regions. In November 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a far-reaching military agreement with Abkhazia's president, Raul Khadzhimba. The deal led to the formation of a joint military force comprised of both Russian and Abkhaz soldiers while promoting closer foreign policy cooperation. Georgia is in the process of applying for membership of NATO, a move which is likely to antagonize Russia, who perceive this as another threat to its security. For several years, the country is also negotiating the start of future ascension talks to join the EU.

Georgia is among a number of countries worldwide which have been hit by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The latest case figures can be viewed here.

News articles

By RSF

Journalist dies after being attacked six days earlier by homophobic lynch mob

Cameraman Aleksandr “Lekso” Lashkarava died after being seriously injured while covering a counter-demonstration by homophobic far-rightists. Reporters Without Borders demands an in-depth, impartial and transparent official investigation of the circumstances of Lashkarava’s death.

View all articles for Georgia

Alerts for Georgia

Scuffles break out in parliament

Scuffles have reportedly broken out in parliament in Tbilisi over the recent death of a cameraman after he was attacked at an anti-Pride event. The fracas broke out over demands for the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's resignation following cameraman Lekso Lashkarava's death. Lashkarava died after sustaining severe facial injuries during an attack by anti-LGBT protesters last week. Lashkarava's passing has sparked protests, with many demonstrators accusing the Garibashvili's government of allowing violence against the media, after police failed to stop far right militants attacking Lashkarava. On Monday, opposition lawmakers joined protesters in confronting the government in parliament, leading to scuffles as four MPs were escorted out after occupying the speaker's chair.

Police investigate death of camerman after attack at anti-Pride rally

Georgian police are investigating the death of a cameraman who was attacked while covering an anti-Pride rally in Tbilisi.  Lesko Lashkarava was wounded at the demonstration on 5 July but was later discharged from hospital. He was found dead on Sunday and the cause of death has not been confirmed. Lashkarava was among more than 50 journalists who were targeted at the rally.

Tbilisi Pride cancelled amid violent protests

Tbilisi Pride has been cancelled after protests against the event turned violent. LGBT activists and event organiser confirmed their decision to cancel the major gay rights protest after their offices were stormed by far-right protesters. More than 20 journalists and activists were also attacked ahead of the event. In a statement on Monday, Tbilisi Pride said local authorities had "not only failed to secure safety of the queer community and our supporters, but actively hampered us from exercising the right of assembly". Georgia's Interior Ministry had previously called on the organisers to cancel the march due to safety concerns, while PM Irakli Gharibashviil described the event as "unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society". The violence has been condemned by the UK, the US, and the EU, who have called on the authorities to stop the violence.

Shots fired at protesters in Imereti

Gunshots have been fired at protesters in Imereti, where a group of demonstrators have been protesting against a nearby hydro power plant. According to reports, at least two protesters were injured after police opened fire to disperse the crowd in the village of Sakulia. Controversy surrounding the Namakhvani HPP hydro power plant has been at the centre of recent nationwide unrest. Further protests are deemed likely.

Ethnic clashes reported in Dmanisi

Violent clashes have reportedly broken out between ethnic groups in Dmanisi, Kvemo Kartli. The fighting allegedly broke out overnight on Sunday, after a dispute between ethnic Azeri and Georgian residents escalated violently in a market place on 9 April Street. According to reports, the fighting escalated into a mass brawl, with multiple casualties reported on both sides. Several arrests have been made following the incident, while reconciliation efforts have also been launched between both communities.

Employees strike outside Rustavi Azot chemical plant

Around 2,000 employees of the Rustavi Azot chemical plant have gone on strike to demand a 50 percent increase in salaries. Production at the site, which is 20km south of Tbilisi, has been suspended and striking workers are blocking trucks from leaving the plant. Around 300 staff members took part in an earlier strike on Tuesday; when their demands were not met, the rest of the workforce joined them in taking industrial action.

Protests to be held in Tbilisi

A series of protests have been scheduled to be held in the capital city of Tbilisi next month. The demonstrations are set to begin on Thursday 27 May and have been organised to rally against government plans for the construction of the Namarkhvani dam. Some general disruption should be anticipated throughout affected areas of Tbilisi - particularly outside the Georgian parliamentary buildings on Shota Rustaveli Avenue.

EU-brokered deal signed ending political impasse

An EU-brokered deal has been signed between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition United National Movement party which ends a months-long political impasse in the country. The agreement came about following months of political crisis which broke out in Georgia following disputed parliamentary election results in October last year. 

Anti-government protest held in Kutaisi

An anti-government protest has been held in Kutaisi, Imeretien. Protesters reportedly gathered in Kutaisi's Central Square over the weekend to camp out overnight as part of a demonstration to call for the resignation of the Minister of Economy. According to reports, the protesters are demanding the minister's resignation over the building of a Turkish hydroelectric power station in the area.

Six anti-government protesters detained in Tbilisi

Six anti-government protesters have reportedly been detained by the police whilst demonstrating outside the headquarter offices of the ruling Georgian Dream party in the capital city of Tbilisi on Wednesday. According to reports, the demonstration was organised as part of ongoing opposition-led anti-government protests over the recent arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia.

Rally to take place in Tbilisi against curfew

A demonstration is due to be held in the capital city of Tbilisi against a night time curfew which has been imposed amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Protesters are reportedly scheduled to start congregating in Liberty Square on Saturday 6 March. The rally has been organised to call for the abolition of the curfew, which protesters claim is overly restrictive and a suppression of free movement.

Opposition protesters detained in Tbilisi

Several protesters have reportedly been arrested by police in Tbilisi amid demonstrations demanding the release of detained opposition leader Nika Melia. According to reports, seven arrests were made on Tuesday during protest demonstration by opposition groups in the capital. The protesters are calling for the leader of the United National Movement (UNM) party to be released after he was detained in a controversial police raid last month. The issue of Melia's detention has divided government, with the former prime minister resigning last month over the planned arrest. Protests remain ongoing outside parliament buildings. Significant disruption should be anticipated throughout the surrounding area and other parts of the capital.

Opposition protest to take place in Tbilisi

A large-scale opposition-led protest is due to be held in Tbilisi later this week. The protest has been scheduled for Friday 26 February and has been organised by the United National Movement (UNM) - the main opposition party in parliament, whose leader, Nika Melia, was recently arrested during a police raid on UNM headquarters on charges related to inciting unrest during 2019 anti-government protests. The demonstration will commence at 15:00 local time.

Opposition protesters gather in Tbilisi

Opposition protesters have gathered in the capital city of Tbilisi to demonstrate against the recent arrest of opposition leader, Nika Melia - who heads the United National Movement (UNM) party. Melia was recently detained on charges related to inciting unrest during a police raid on UNM headquarters in Tbilisi, in a controversial move which prompted the prime minister to resign last week. According to reports, protesters have congregated outside government buildings on Pavle Ingorokva Street to call for Melia's release.

Police storm opposition offices

Police in Tbilisi have stormed the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party's offices and detained UNM leader Nika Melia. According to reports, hundreds of riot police fired tear gas against UNM supporters who were camping out at the UNM headquarters during the early-morning raid on Tuesday, which came after former prime minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned last week due to a disagreement over whether to arrest Melia. Gakharia warned that arresting Melia could further worsen the country's political crisis and threaten the wellbeing of citizens. Footage from the raid shows the UNM leader barricaded inside a room in the building along with some of his supporters, while opposition activists clashed with police out on the street. Melia stands accused of organising "mass violence" during 2019 anti-government protests and is now being held in pre-trial detention.

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns

Georgia's prime minister has reportedly handed in their resignation. Recent reports indicate Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has announced his decision to stand down on Thursday morning. It's believed his resignation comes over disagreement with his party colleagues over the detention of opposition leader Nika Melia - who was recently sent to pretrial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Melia called on opposition supporters to storm parliament in June 2019, leading police to charge him with attempting to incite unrest. Gakhaira claims his detention poses several risks, including unduly complicating the country's economic recovery and pandemic management.

Protest held in Tskhinvali

A protest is due to take place in Tskhinvali in South Ossetia. The demonstration has been scheduled for Friday 12 February and has been organised by a group of workers demanding their pay. The protesters claim the payment of their wages have been delayed and are taking to the streets in front of regional parliament building to demonstrate over the issue. Some disruption throughout the immediate area should be anticipated.

Protests reported in Zugdidi

Protests have reportedly been held against Covid-19 restrictions in Zugdidi. According to reports, the demonstrations were held  on Tuesday evening, when protesters began to congregate outside the regional administration building. From there, demonstrators marched towards the governing party's regional office. Clashes allegedly broke out between protesters and the police when protesters attempted to paint a slogan on the pavement; however, no casualties have been reported.

Protests held against pandemic measures in Batumi

Protests have been held over the weekend against coronavirus restrictions in Batumi, Adjara. The demonstrations were reportedly staged on Sunday and were organised by groups opposed to restrictive measures being imposed amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in a bid to prevent further spread of the virus. Local reports indicate that at least 11 protesters were arrested by police for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions.

Hundreds protest in Tbilisi

Hundreds of people have gathered in Tbilisi to stage a protest against coronavirus restrictions. The demonstration took place on Sunday, with protesters calling on the government to relax pandemic restrictions. Local reports are suggesting that protesters have issued an ultimatum to the government, threatening to block government buildings if their demands aren't met by Tuesday 26 January.

National lockdown to come into effect

A national lockdown is due to come into effect in Georgia this weekend. From Saturday 28 November, a night time curfew will be in effect between the hours of 21:00 and 05:00 local time and all bars and restaurants must limit food services to takeaway options only. All swimmings pools, gyms, and other events and leisure facilities must close and all intercity travel will be heavily restricted. Non-essential businesses will be restricted to delivery services only. These measures are expected to remain in effect over the Christmas and New Year festive period, until 31 January 2021.

Activists stage rally near parliament

A demonstration has been staged near the parliament building in Tbilisi. Activists have rallied on Shota Rustaveli Avenue to campaign for civil rights. The protest has been organised by a group of civil activists, who have called the demonstration the "Animal Farm" rally. According to reports, the protesters are opposed to Bidzina Ivanishvili - chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party - whom they have accused of trying to establish "one-man rule".

Hostages released after Tbilisi siege

A gunman has released all nine hostages that he had been holding in Tbilisi. The assailant had held the victims at gunpoint at a microfinance organisation in the capital on Friday. His demands were for social changes, rather than a ransom, and included lower prices for medicines. Last month 43 people were held hostage during a bank robbery in the western town of Zugdidi. The masked gunmen fled after receiving a ransom of $500k.

Opposition candidate headquarters burnt down

The headquarters of an opposition candidate has reportedly been burnt down in Tbilisi. Local reports indicate the building was set ablaze early on Monday morning, at around 06:00 local time. The building is located in the Gldani district of the capital city. Preliminary investigations suggest the fire was started by a molotov cocktail which had been thrown at the building. No casualties have been reported as a result of the fire, as the building was empty at the time. The arson incident is believed to have been motivated by political differences. Investigations remain ongoing.

Thousands protest in Tbilisi against parliamentary vote results

Thousands have gathered outside the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to protest against the results of the parliamentary elections held last month. Demonstrators accused the ruling Georgian Dream of fraud and widespread irregularities despite international observers claiming that "fundamental freedoms were respected". The Georgian Dream retained its grip in power after securing 48 percent of the votes, granting the party the possibility to form a ruling coalition. 

Hostages released by armed suspect in Zugdidi

Almost 50 people who were being held hostage by an armed suspect in a Bank of Georgia branch in Zugdidi have since been released. The incident unfolded yesterday, when the suspect stormed the bank and held the victims hostage while demanding a sum of USD 500,000 and safe passage. It's understood that, after several hours of negotiating with police, the suspect left the premises and drove away in a police car, taking four hostages with him. Since then, the authorities have confirmed that all hostages have now been released and have been secured, while operations continue to apprehend the suspect. The incident has come just days before crucial parliamentary polls this month, prompting President Salome Zurabishvili to appeal to political parties to refrain from politicising or mounting "artificial tensions" around the incident.

Scores taken hostage during bank heist in Zugdidi

Nearly 20 people have been taken hostage during a bank robbery in Zugdidi. Mtavari reported that the incident happened at a branch of the Bank of Georgia at Rustaveli Square. Reports indicate that the suspect requested a payment of $500k to release the hostages. As of Wednesday afternoon, no further information about the incident was released. Investigations are ongoing.

NATO-led military drill underway in Georgia

A major NATO-led military drill is underway in Georgia. Despite stringent coronavirus restrictions being imposed in the country, the military said that enhanced measures were imposed to avoid an outbreak amongst the armed forces. This is the fifth edition of the 'Noble Partner' exercise, which involves more than 2,700 soldiers from the UK, US, Poland, France and Georgia. Georgia is not a NATO member but announced its intentions to join the organization back in 2008.

Two teenagers drown in Tbilisi Sea

Two teenagers have been confirmed dead after they drowned in the Tbilisi Sea. Their deaths were announced yesterday, after rescuers recovered the bodies of two 15-year-olds on Tuesday afternoon. Search and rescue operations were launched after they were reported missing earlier in the day. A diving team comprised of five divers were involved in search efforts. No further information has been released regarding their deaths, but they are presumed to have drowned whilst swimming in the lake.

Georgia to reopen shops and restaurants from early-June

Prime Minister Giorgio Gakharia has announced that all shops and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from early-June. In a statement, he said that non-essential shops, hotels, shopping centres, cafes and restaurants will resume activities from 8 June. Public transport is also set to start operating again. The government already lifted the state of emergency last week. The country has so far confirmed more than 700 coronavirus cases, including a dozen deaths - 537 have recovered.

Coronavirus state of emergency to be lifted

The state of emergency which was imposed in Georgia by the government in response to the global coronavirus pandemic is due to be lifted. The nationwide state of emergency and curfew will be lifted on Friday, but some restrictions will still remain in place. Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said on Thursday that the state of emergency would not be extended and that the 21:00 to 06:00 curfew would therefore be lifted; however, the Georgian parliament is due to vote on a bill which would allow a broader range of covid-19 restrictions to be enforced without the declaration of a state of emergency. So far, around 721 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in Georgia, including 12 deaths.

Coronavirus lockdown to be lifted in Tbilisi and Rustavi

Coronavirus measures in Tbilisi are expected to be lifted from Monday, 11 May. Some shops will be allowed to reopen as the government of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia eases some restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In Rustavi, the lockdown will be lifted three days later and that international travel into the country will resume from early-July. Lockdown measures were imposed in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi back in mid-April. The measures were already lifted in Batumi and Kutaisi. So far, Georgia has reported more than 600 coronavirus cases.

Private traffic banned ahead of Orthodox Easter celebrations

Private traffic has been banned until Monday, 21 April, as the government enforces enhanced lockdown measures. Georgia's government is currently braced for travel and mass gatherings during the Orthodox Easter holidays, where church services will go ahead. Despite some strict rules being implemented, authorities have raised concerns over a rise in the number of infections. Lockdowns have already been imposed in four major cities in Georgia, while a curfew is enforced between 21:00 and 06:00 local time. Over 300 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Georgia.

Thirty new covid-19 cases reported

At least 30 new cases of covid-19 have been reported in Georgia in the past 24 hours, taking the national total number of confirmed infections there to at least 336 as of Thursday morning. No new coronavirus deaths have been reported over the last day, and the national death toll remains at three confirmed covid-19 fatalities.

Lockdown to be imposed across four cities in Georgia

A 10-day lockdown will be imposed on four cities across Georgia as a new measure to address the spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has said on Tuesday that the lockdown in the cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi will be implemented from 21:00 on 15 April. PM Gakharia added that the current nationwide state of emergency will also be extended until at least 10 May. Georgia has so far confirmed nearly 300 coronavirus cases, including three deaths.

Government imposes curfew and new restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has imposed a night-time curfew as part of a new set of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. He announced on Monday a series of new guidelines, which include the shutdown of the country's metro system and intercity public transports. He also imposed a ban on large gatherings. The measures will be implemented on Tuesday, 31 March. So far, Georgia has confirmed 98 cases of the coronavirus.

Avalanche kills three in Svaneti

An avalanche has killed at least three people and injured another six in Svaneti. The avalanche occurred on Wednesday in the mountainous Tetnuld area of Svaneti, where a group of Italian tourists were on a climbing expedition when they entered a restricted area and triggered an avalanche. Three people are thought to have survived the accident.

First case of coronavirus reported

The first confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported in Georgia. According to reports, the patient is a Georgian citizen who had recently travelled back from Iran via Azerbaijan. Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradza stated that the man had travelled by minibus with 12 other passengers over the Georgian border from neighbouring Azerbaijan on Tuesday. All other passengers who were in the vehicle were also tested, with results coming back negative; however, they will remain in quarantine. The Georgian government announced measures yesterday to suspend travel Georgia and Iran for two weeks.

Government blames Russia for October's cyberattack

Georgia's government has accused Russia of being behind a major cyberattack against national online services and institutions back in October. A spokesman for the Georgian foreign ministry has said: “The investigation conducted by the Georgian authorities, together with information gathered through cooperation with partners, concluded that this cyber-attack was planned and carried out by the main division of the GRU". The statement was backed by both the US and the UK. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The GRU’s reckless and brazen campaign of cyber attacks against Georgia, a sovereign and independent nation, is totally unacceptable". UK agencies accused the Russian intelligence unit known as 'Sandstorm' of being behind the attacks. Thousands of government websites and services operated by Georgian state and private media were brought down during the attack.

Skier killed in avalanche on Tetnuldi mountain

A skier has been killed after they got caught in an avalanche in the Svaneti northern region. The avalanche occurred on Monday on Tetnuldi mountain, which has recently received heavy snowfall - thought to have triggered the avalanche. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area to search for two missing skiers following the incident. Whilw one preson was found alive and rescued, the second person was found dead. The deceased has reportedly been identified as a Ukrainian national.

Influential opposition leaders sentenced for embezzlement

An influential opposition leader has been sentenced to more than three years in prison over corruption. Gigi Ugulava was the mayor of the capital, Tbilisi. He was charged with embezzling up to $17m during when he was mayor between 2005 and 2013. DW reported that the sentence was handed by the Georgian Supreme Court. Ugulava claims that the charges are politically motivated and led by the Georgian Dream Party of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Although Ivanishvili left office in 2013, he is still an influential political figure in Georgia and a close ally of incumbent PM Giorgi Gakharia.

Six killed in Baghdati house fire

Six people have been killed in a house fire in the town of Baghdati, near Kutaisi in western Georgia. According to reports, four children and two women have been confirmed dead after firefighters found their bodies once the fire had been extinguished. The blaze engulfed a 2,150 square foot residential wooden house, which allegedly caught fire incredibly quickly, killing those inside despite fire crews responding within two minutes of the emergency call being made. Investigations will be carried out to determine what caused the fire.

Protesters storm Abkhazian president's office

Protesters have reportedly storm the presidential office of Raul Khadzhimba, who was re-elected as the president of breakaway republic, Abkhazia, back in September. Hundreds of protesters gathered for the demonstration in Sukhumi, the regional capital, before breaking down the door and smashing windows to get inside the president's office. Demonstrators are contesting the results of the election and are demanding the resignation of the de facto leader of the Russia-backed separatist region. Protesters claim there were widespread irregularities in the re-election of Khadzhimba, whose office has denounced the protest has a coup attempt.

Russian tourist killed in avalanche in Gudauri

A Russian tourist has been killed after an avalanche hit a ski resort in Gudauri, northern Georgia. Local media reported that the victim went missing on Sunday. Investigations are still ongoing. Avalanches are common in Georgia, especially during the winter months. During this period, intense snow may also create hazardous driving conditions in some popular tourist resorts located in the northern regions of the country.

US embassy issue travel alert

The US embassy in Tbilisi has issued a travel security alert for US citizens in Georgia. The embassy website has advised people of "heightened tension in the Middle East that may result in security risks to US citizens abroad". Additional security measures have reportedly been implemented at the embassy as a precaution in response to the heightened tension, which has come about as a result of the killing of an Iranian general in a US airstrike last week. US government personnel have also been advised to exercise a higher level of personal security awareness.

Protest held in Tbilisi

A protest has been held in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi over the weekend. According to reports, tens of thousands attended the rally, which was held in Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi on Saturday over Georgia's presidency of the Council of Europe. Several streets throughout the surrounding area were blocked off by the police in response to the protest, leading to some traffic disruption; however, the rally remains largely peaceful with no major skirmishes.

Large-scale demonstration to take place in Tbilisi

A large-scale demonstration is scheduled to take place in Tbilisi on Saturday as political tensions in Georgia remain high. Following a demonstration outside parliament on Thursday, protesters are expected to take to the street of the capital in a fresh anti-government rally. According to reports, the police may restrict access and traffic to areas along Rustaveli Avenue and around the Republic and Freedom squares. The protests are expected to last until 15:00 local time. Caution is advised as there are reports that counter-protesters may join the rally. People are recommended to avoid the area.

Several detained for blocking parliament entrance in Tbilisi

At least a dozen protesters have been detained after they attempted to block parliament's entrance in Tbilisi. According to the interior ministry, the protesters were arrested for failing to comply with police orders. Reports indicate that among them was Giorgi Veshadze, the leader of the opposition New Georgia. Demonstrators gathered around parliament after the election of 19 candidates to the Supreme Court. Civil unrest has been affecting Georgia in recent weeks as the opposition demands immediate electoral reforms. They claim that the current system benefits the ruling Georgian Dream Party.

Civil unrest continues in Tbilisi

Civil unrest remains ongoing in the capital city of Tbilisi, where protesters have been calling for a democratic upheaval of the voting system for two weeks. Protesters have reportedly gathered outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on Rustaveli Avenue. Some disruption should be expected around these areas. Demonstrations first broke out earlier this month on Thursday 14 October, with protesters demanding electoral reform in favour of a fully-proportional system. 

Opposition supporters rally in Tbilisi

Around 20,000 people gathered for an opposition rally in Tbilisi on Monday. The crowds marched through the centre of the capital waving Georgian and EU flags, despite a police crackdown and the earlier arrest of protesters. The rally increased the pressure on the ruling Georgian Dream party, which sparked anger this month when it voted against holding parliamentary elections next year. "The Georgian people and the entire opposition spectrum are trying to force the ruling party to introduce a fair electoral system in the country," said the leader of opposition Republican Party, Levan Berdzenishvili.

Opposition leader calls for rally outside parliament

The leader of the opposition has reportedly called for a rally outside parliament, to be held Monday 25 to Tuesday 26th November. The protest will consist of a two-day March to parliament with the intention of disrupting the operation of parliament. The rally has been called to protest against the rejection of the election bill, which had aimed to transform the electoral system into a fully proportional one. Large demonstrations should be avoided, while some travel disruption should be anticipated in and around areas surrounding parliament in Tbilisi.

Government demands release of jailed doctor in South Ossetia

Georgia's foreign ministry has demanded the immediate release of a doctor detained after crossing the border with the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Reuters reported that the head of Georgia's Association of Orthopaedist and Traumatologists, Vazha Gaprindashvili, was taken to Tskhinvali where she is expected to be jailed for at least two months. Reports indicate that Gaprindashvili is accused of crossing the border of the Russian-controlled territory illegally. The US has reiterated calls for her release. After a brief war in 2008, South Ossetia and Abkhazia became recognised as independent nations by Russia. Currently, Russian troops are deployed in both regions.

Protesters detained during protests in Tbilisi

Clashes escalated after demonstrators took to the streets of Tbilisi on Monday. Protests broke out over the weekend after parliament failed to pass electoral reforms, which would change the country's electoral system from mixed to proportional voting. Reuters reported that several people were detained when police officers were deployed to disperse protesters. Demonstrators demand the immediate resignation of the government and early elections. Georgia's electoral system changes are scheduled to take place in 2024. However, the opposition filed a motion to implement it earlier in the 2020 general election.

Parliament fails to pass reforms to electoral system

Georgia's parliament has failed to pass an amendment to introduce electoral system reforms ahead of the 2020 general election. Changing the country's electoral system from mixed to proportional voting is already expected to occur in 2024. However, the opposition submitted a motion on Thursday to introduce it next year. Although the ruling Georgian Dream party supports the move, the party rejected the motion as some MPs claim that it may compromise the party's chances to secure a majority in parliament. A Georgian Dream MP said: “We are leaving the parliamentary majority as this vote was the red line for us." Reforms on the electoral system have prompted a number of demonstrations in Tbilisi that became frequent since they were first proposed in June.

Protests to be held in Tbilisi

Protests are due to take place in the capital city of Tbilisi, where demonstrators are expected to gather outside the parliament building from 19:00 local time on Thursday evening. The authorities have warned that the protest will likely cause significant disruption and people have been advised to avoid large crowds and gatherings. Travel delay should be anticipated throughout surrounding areas, particularly along Shota Rustaveli Avenue.

Anti-LGBT protests to take place near cinemas in Tbilisi and Batumi

The US Embassy in Tbilisi has warned over planned protests outside cinemas and other cultural venues across the Georgian capital and the town of Batumi. Demonstrators linked to an anti-LGBT group are expected to launch protests on Friday and over the weekend due to the screening of the movie 'And Then We Danced'. The movie is a Swedish-Georgian drama that portrays a male young dancer that later falls in love with his dancing rival. Protests are expected at Vera Park in Tbilisi. Extreme Caution is advised as the group involved in the protest had previously led other violent demonstrations.

Massive cyberattack targets government and media websites

Thousands of websites in Georgia have been hit in a massive cyberattack which affected government, media and court web pages. Reports show that most pages displayed the picture of the self-exiled President Mikheil Saakashvili with the caption: "I'll be back!". Quoting the company Proservice, Interpress news agency said: "One of the targets of the attack is a server owned by Proservice, which hosts websites of state agencies, the private sector and media organisations. As a result of the attack, about 15,000 web pages located on the servers of the company were broken." Proservice said that half of those websites affected were already recovered. Investigations are still ongoing, while no claims of responsibility were so far issued. Saakashvili is currently exiled in Ukraine. He fled the country after being charged with abuse of power and just before the Georgian Dream Party was sworn into office.

Russia's Putin signs proposal to revamp Abkhazia's military

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has approved a proposal that will funnel additional funds to the modernisation of the armed forces of the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia. A government document made public on Monday showed Russian intentions to negotiate with the regional government to finance an upgrade of its military. Abkhazia is formally recognised as an independent by Russia. Previous reports have suggested that in recent years the presence of Russian troops in the region has significantly increased. Besides Abkhazia, Russia also recognises the independence of South Ossetia. In 2014, Abkhazia's President Raul Khadzhimba had reached an agreement with Russia to create a joint military force in the Black Sea enclave. Diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia are strained since 2008, when both countries clashed over Georgia's attempted to forcefully retrieve South Ossetia.

Major demonstration to take place in Tbilisi

A major demonstration is scheduled to take place outside the parliament in Tbilisi to mark the third-month anniversary of recent protests that rocked Georgian politics. Demonstrators are set to gather along Rustaveli Avenue from 19:00. Road traffic restrictions may be imposed in the area, while additional security is expected to be deployed. Earlier this year, violent demonstrations engulfed the capital after government officials were accused of ties with Russia. Demonstrations lasted for days when a Russian MP was allowed to chair a session in the Georgian parliament. The case generated a deep political crisis in the country and within the ruling Georgia Dream Party, which forced the resignation of the parliament's speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze.

Prime Minister Bakhtadze resigns

Georgia's Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has reportedly resigned from his post as of Monday. Bakhtadze's resignation was confirmed on Monday, with Bakhtadze saying during a press conference that he had decided to resign after feeling that he had accomplished his mission, although it was not clarified what his 'mission' was. Bakhtadze said he had no intention to stay in politics following his resignation. The ruling Georgian Dream party will now select a successor with an announcement scheduled for Thursday 05 September. The news comes amid anti-government protests accusing the authorities of ties to Russia.

Air passenger communications between Georgia and Russia closed

Air passenger communications between Georgia and Russia have been closed as tensions between both countries remain high. As part of a ban signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in mid-June, the measure comes after a wave of unrest engulfed the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. At the time, protests have engulfed the city after a Russian politician hosted a session at the Georgian parliament. The move has forced the resignation of parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. Connections between Russia and Georgia were mostly offered by Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines. Russian airlines included Aeroflot, S7, Ural Airlines, Pobeda, Red Wings and Nordavia. The ban is feared to have a significant impact on the Georgian multi-billion-dollar tourism industry. A spokesman of the Russian transport ministry said: "The suspension of flights will remain in effect until Georgian Airways and MyWay Airlines provide Russia with an aviation safety program that will have to be audited and approved. At the same time, Georgia needs to fully settle its debt related to air navigation services".

Parliament remove immunity of opposition leader over civil unrest

Parliament has agreed to remove the political immunity of opposition leader Nika Melia, who is accused of orchestrating last week's civil unrest. For days, demonstrators took to the streets of Tbilisi to protest a parliament session chaired by a Russian politician. Thousands demonstrated outside parliament, where violent clashes with the police broke out. Civil unrest led to the resignation of parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Melia is a member of the opposition National Movement. Major opposition parties in Georgia have boycotted the vote.

Parliament speaker resigns over Russian MP controversy

The ruling Georgian Dream party has announced the resignation of parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze as protests in Tbilisi turned violent. Hundreds of people were injured when demonstrations suddenly erupted on Thursday evening. Protests broke out after a Russian MP chaired a meeting in the Georgian parliament as part of a Christian Orthodox assembly. Kobakhidze was not in the country during the event. The opposition has called for further protests on Friday evening, while civil unrest may persist over the weekend. Areas of major gatherings include Vake, Freedom Square, Rustaveli Avenue and areas around the parliament building.

Dozens injured during protest outside parliament in Tbilisi

Dozens of people have been injured after thousands took to the streets of Tbilisi. Riot police were deployed to attempt to block protesters from storming the parliament on Thursday evening. Rubber bullets and tear gas were fired to contain the crowds, which were expected to be around 10,000 people. The protests happened after a Russian MP chaired a session in the Georgian parliament. It came as part of Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), an international body to promote cooperation among Orthodox Christian countries. Protests spread through the early hours of Friday morning and may continue throughout the weekend. Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia are strained since the 1990s and escalated in 2008 after Russia occupied the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Three killed in helicopter crash near Kazbegi

Three people have been killed after a helicopter crashed near the Qulo mountains in Kazbegi, Mtskheta-Mtianeti. AFP reported that the victims include the aircraft pilot and two staff members of a local hotel in Kazbegi. The region is popular with tourists to visit the Greater Caucasus mountain range.

Opposition demands new elections

The leaders of the United National Movement (ENM) have called for the resignation of the government and early parliamentary elections.  The announcements come as part of protests in the capital, Tbilisi where demonstrators marched in front of the parliament building and pitched tents there at night.  

Salome Zurabishvili elected as new Georgian president

Salome Zurabishvili has been elected the new Georgian president. Preliminary results released on Wednesday evening revealed that Zurabishvili garnered nearly 60 percent of the votes against Grigol Vashadze. Zurabishvili is the country's former foreign minister and was endorsed by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. She said that she seeks to find a balance between pro-Russian and pro-West politics in Georgia. This is the last direct presidential vote to occur in Georgia. Due to constitutional changes, the role of the president is set to become ceremonial. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has said that some irregularities were identified in the electoral process. Among them include an alleged advantage to Zurabishvili from resources controlled by the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Georgians set to vote in presidential run-off

Georgians are set to head to the polls on Wednesday as the presidential run-off vote kicked off. Voters will choose between Salome Zourabichvili and Grigol Vashadze. Zourabichvili is being endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream Party, while Vashadze is the candidate for the United National Movement. According to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), more than 3.5m Georgians are eligible to vote. This is the last direct presidential vote to be held in Georgia - from 2024, the president will be nominated by a 150-seat parliament and other members of an electoral college.

Georgia's presidential vote goes to run-off

Independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili is set to face former minister Grigol Vashadze in the presidential run-off in early-December. Preliminary results revealed that Zurabishvili garnered a slight advantage against the centre-right candidate of the Strenght is in Unity coalition, which includes his United National Movement (UNM). Zurabishvili is being endorsed by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Millions of Georgians headed to polls to cast their ballots in the last direct presidential vote to be held in Georgia - from 2024, the president will be nominated by a 150-seat parliament.

Georgia to face presidential elections

Georgia is set to face its presidential election after a series of constitutional reforms transitioned the country into the parliamentary system. Sunday's election will be the last direct presidential vote. In 2024, the president will be nominated by the parliament. Main contenders include former foreign minister and independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili, who is being endorsed by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, former minister Grigol Vashadze of the Strenght in Unity coalition and Davit Bakradze of the European Georgia party. Candidates need at least 50 percent of the votes to avoid heading to a run-off. President is a largely ceremonial post. Georgia is a strategically located in the Caucasus and in recent years sought to strengthen ties with the US and the EU. The country has been engaged in long-standing disputes with Russia over control of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Europe sees sharp rise in measles cases in 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that there has been a sharp rise in the numbers of measles cases in the first half of 2018, with 41,000 people affected, and 37 deaths.  More than half of the cases were reported in Ukraine, with France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia had more than 1,000 cases each.  Vaccine scepticism remains high in many parts of Europe, and although measles can be prevented by a vaccine which has been available since the 1960's, health officials say that vaccination rates of 95 percent are necessary to prevent epidemics.  Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through coughing or sneezing.  Symptoms include a high fever and a rash on the face and neck.  Most people who fall ill do recover, but measles can be dangerous for young children.

Large gatherings expected ahead of Georgia-Russia War anniversary in Tbilisi

Thousands of people are set to gather across central Tbilisi on Tuesday evening to commemorate the anniversary of the Georgia-Russia War. According to the US Embassy, several events are scheduled to start at 19:00 local time in downtown Tbilisi. A demonstration is also scheduled to take place at 51 Chavchavaze Avenue in Vake District. Travel disruption is likely to affect those areas. Caution is advisable as some protests in Georgia may turn violent.

First meeting of tri-lateral assembly to be held in September

On 1 August, it was announced that the first tri-lateral assembly of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia would be be held in Tbilisi at the end of September.  The decision to form the assembly was taken during an international security conference in March, and in early June the statement of formation was signed in Kyev.  The Speaker of the Moldovan parliament said that Moldovan MPs together with their Ukranian and Georgian colleagues would continue to promote the interests of all three countries and the region as a whole.

Four miners killed in coal mine collapse in Tkibuli

Four miners have been killed and six others have been injured in a coal mine collapse in western Georgia. In a statement, the country's interior ministry said that the accident happened on Monday at the Mindeli mine in Tkibuli. Preliminary reports suggest that the mine collapsed due to an explosion caused by thermal pressure. The mine was temporarily shut down as investigations remain ongoing. 

Protests take place in Tbilisi

Protests have been launched in Tbilisi in response to a police investigation into the death of a civilian during a counter-terror operation. The civilian was killed last year, sparking outrage across the country. The protest movement has been called 'Do Not Kill Me' and has mostly been taking place outside the State Security Service (SSS) office in the capital city. The demonstration has remained peaceful so far; however, some disruption should be expected in the surrounding area.

PM resigns after mass protests

Georgia's prime minister has resigned following mass protests in the country. Giorgi Kvirikashvili said he took the decision following a disagreement with Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of his ruling party. "We've had some disagreements with the leader of the ruling party. I think this is the moment now when the leader of the party should be given an opportunity to form a new cabinet," Kvirikashvili said in a televised statement. There were multiple anti-government protests between 31 May and 6 June over an alleged miscarriage of justice following the killing of two teenagers in December.

Thousands protest against murder trial verdict in Tbilisi

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Tbilisi on Thursday to protest against a trial involving the stabbing of two teenagers killed back in December. Demonstrators gathered outside the old parliament building after a court ordered the reduction of the charges for one of the suspects. The protests prompted the resignation of the country's top prosecutor, Irakli Shotadze. Fresh protests are scheduled to occur on Friday afternoon outside the old parliament building in the capital. Travellers are advised to anticipate other demonstrations across the city throughout the weekend.

Hundreds stage protest after anti-drug raid in Tbilisi

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tbilisi after riot police raided two nightclubs in the capital. Demonstrations occurred over the weekend as protesters accused the government of using excessive force during an alleged anti-drug bust, where dozens of club-goers were detained. Another demonstration is scheduled to take place next weekend, while Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili urged calm as talks between protesters and the interior ministry will be held later in the week.

Metro workers to launch strike action over labour dispute

Metro workers in Tbilisi are set to launch a strike action on Thursday amid ongoing labour disputes. All services are expected to be suspended throughout the day. Unity 2013 syndicate is calling the government to mediate in negotiations with Tbilisi Metro following a breakdown in communications.

Six killed in Tkibuli mine collapse

Six people have been killed and three injured when the roof of a coal mine in Tkibuli collapsed on Thursday.  Two of those injured remain in critical condition in hospitals in Kutaisi and Tkibuli. An investigation has been launched to discover whether there were any violations of safety rules.  Four miners were killed in the same mine in May 2017 causing public outrage and forcing the Minister of Labour to promise stricter labour legislation.  Georgia's Interior Ministry data shows that 359 people hae died and 984 have been injured in occupational accidents in the last eight years.

Far-right activists assault TV journalist

Six people were detained after a protest in Tbilisi turned violent and a TV journalist was assaulted.  The target of the assault was Giorgi Gabunia relating to a statement he had made which was allegedly insulting to Christians.  He and another journalist were trapped in a car in the parking lot of the TV station which is apparently sympathetic to the opposition.  When other journalists and TV staff tried to rescue their colleagues, members of the Georgian March assaulted them, causing one man to be hospitalized for minor injuries.  

Grenade found in Gori church

A hand grenade has been discovered in a church in Gori, Shida Kartli region. The explosive was found with a note, explaining the grenade had been owned by an unknown individual who was reluctant to surrender it tot he police for fear of being arrested. A criminal investigation has been launched by the police. Leaving explosive devices in public places is a dangerous side-effect of stringent punishments for owning such weapons in Georgia.

Counter-terrorism operation underway in Tbilisi

A major counter-terrorism operation has been carried out in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Explosions and gunfire were heard as the security forces stormed an apartment building in the Isani district, on the outskirts of the city, to detain an unidentified number of suspects. "According to the preliminary information they are not Georgian nationals and they are members of a terrorist organisation," said Nino Giorgobiani,  the deputy head of administration at Georgia's state security service. At least one security officer has been wounded after the suspects threw grenades and opened fire on troops.

Tbilisi Airport on lockdown amid bomb threat

Tbilisi International Airport has reportedly been put on lockdown after receiving a bomb threat. Preliminary reports suggest the bomb threat was made directly to the airport via a telephone call. Unconfirmed reports suggest the bomb threat may have been a hoax and that operations will return to normal soon. There may be some delay to flight services along with some general disruption as a result of the lockdown.

Massive wildfire breaks out at Borjomi National Park

Hundreds of emergency personnel have been deployed after a wildfire quickly spread across the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, central Georgia. The fires started on Sunday and significantly intensified on Monday threatening a number of villages near the popular mountain resort. So far no casualties have been reported. International assistance was sent from Turkey and Azerbaijan, as emergency services are struggling to put out the fire - which has spread across six hectares of land and has proven difficult for the emergency services to access.

Russian President Putin visits breakaway region of Abkhazia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. On Tuesday, Putin met with Abkhazia's leader Raul Khadzhimba to assure his commitment to militarily support the region. Putin said: "We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case". The visit - highly criticised by NATO and the Georgian government - came nearly a week after US Vice-President Mike Pence visited Georgia's capital Tbilisi and condemned foreign support for separatist rebels.

Five terror suspects detained in Abkhazia

Five terror suspects have been detained by law enforcement authorities in the disputed Abkhazia territory. The State Security Services (SSS) of Abkhazia and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) carried out a joint operation to apprehend five Tajik nationals on suspicion of terrorist activity. The suspects have been handed over to the Russian authorities and will be investigated for links to the Islamic State (IS). Abkhazia - which lies between Russia and Georgia - is recognised by the UN and Georgia as a separatist republic of Georgia. Russia is one of the few countries worldwide to recognise territory as an independent republic.

Protests outside Turkish Embassy, Tbilisi

Protests have taken place outside the Turkish embassy in Tbilisi. The demonstration has been organised by groups pushing for the formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide - which has been a topic of controversy in Georgia and Turkey for decades. Both countries have refused to officially recognise the tragic period in history - which saw 1.5m Armenians exterminated in a mass holocaust.

Parliament speaker wins South Ossetia elections

The breakaway Russian-backed Sout Ossetia region faced its controversial presidential elections on Sunday. Anatoly Bibilov the parliament's speaker was declared the winner after garnering nearly 58 percent of the votes. The elections were highly condemned by the European Union and the US, which considered the elections as illegitimate. 

Georgian separatists to be incorporated into Russia's military

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed an agreement to incorporate South Ossetia's - a separatist region of Georgia - armed forces into the Russian military. Despite the increasing Russian influence in South Ossetia, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze stated that "any agreement between the Russian Federation and de-facto leadership is illegitimate." 

Dozens injured during clashes in Batumi, Adjara

Dozens of people were injured during clashes on Saturday in Batumi, south-western Georgia. The confrontation escalated after six people were arrested due to traffic rule violations. Hundreds have vandalised police vehicles and buildings, forcing the police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. Batumi is located in the autonomous region of Adjara, where rights activists consider the region to be neglected by the Georgian central government.

Hundreds of people stuck at Upper Lars checkpoint due to bad weather conditions

On 6 December, 232 vehicles and 330 people were stuck at the Upper Lars border checkpoint between Georgia and Russia due to bad weather and a risk of avalanches. They have been provided with food and medical assistance. Light vehicles have been able to pass through the checkpoint if equipped with snow chains on their tyres. 

Dream Party wins parliamentary elections

On 31 October, the Georgian Dream Party won parliamentary elections following a second round, winning 115 out of 150 seats. The main opposition party, the United National Movement, won 27 seats. The supermajority allows the party to form a new cabinet and pass amendments to the national constitution. Opposition parties have accused the government of rigging votes, which the government has rejected. The Georgian Dream Party is focused on joining NATO and the EU, but also seeks to repair and improve relations with Russia. 

Gunman killed in NATO training centre attack

A gunman has been killed after attempting to break into the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Center outside the capital, Tbilisi.  The Defence Ministry said three people tried to break into the Krtsanisi National Training Centre, before one was shot dead by a soldier after they ignored warnings.  Georgia’s military police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Suicide bomb attack at state television station in Sukhumi, Abkhazia

On 17 October, an unidentified man blew himself up at entrance of a state television station in Sukhumi, Abkhazia. Georgian authorities believe that he was most likely not alone. The explosion occurred at approximately 07:05 local time. 

Parliamentary elections to be held on 8 October, 2016

Parliamentary elections are due to take place on 8 October, 2016, with the possibility of a second round at the end of October or beginning of November. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) states that although the pre-election atmosphere in the country is generally calm, some small-scale incidents have been reported. They advise travellers to take care and avoid any political meeting or demonstrations during this period. 

Six arrested for attempting to sell radioactive substances in Tbilisi

Georgia's security services arrested six people suspected of trying to sell radioactive substances. According to a statement on Monday, the authorities said that three Georgian and three Armenian nationals were trying to sell uranium-238 in the capital, Tbilisi. Further details have not been announced by the Interior Ministry; however it is believed that the nuclear material, found inside a container in the home of one of the suspects, would have sold for $200 million. Several people have been arrested in recent years trying to sell radioactive substances within countries of the former USSR, raising security concerns over the potential sale of these products to extremists and terrorist groups.

Deadly flooding hits Tbilisi

At least 12 people have been killed in heavy flooding in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.  Several animals also escaped from a zoo in the city, leading to officials to warn residents to stay indoors.  Tigers, lions, bears and wolves are thought to be loose, while a hippopotamus was subdued with a tranquilizer gun and recaptured.  The flooding began when the River Vere burst its banks following torrential rain on Saturday.

Georgia government faces confidence vote

Georgia's government faces a confidence vote in parliament after another minister quit the cabinet.  Levan Kipiani, the country's sports minister, has become the seventh cabinet minister to quit in less than a year. Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili dismissed talk of disharmony and ruled out major personnel changes in the former Soviet republic of 4.5 million.

Opposition leader arrested on money laundering charges

A senior opposition leader has been arrested at Tbilisi airport on money laundering charges.  Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM), was catching a flight to Ukraine when he was detained.  In a statement the UNM said the arrest "marks a deepening of the government's agenda of political retribution and persecution of the opposition."

President of Abkhazia flees capital amid unrest

The president of the breakaway region of Abkhazia has fled from the capital, Sukhumi, after opposition protesters stormed his office.  Alekander Ankvab is reported to have escaped to his home town of Gudata, where he said he is meeting with his Security Council to "stabilise the situation".  Russia has expressed concern over the unrest in the Black Sea region, which most international government's consider to still be part of Georgia.

Leader of breakaway Abkhazia resigns after protests

The leader of the breakaway region of Abkhazia, Raul Khadzhimba, has announced his resignation after days of protests. In a statement, Khadzhimba's office confirmed: “The president is resigning the powers of head of state in the name of peace and stability in the country." Khadzhimba was re-elected during a contested election in September. Protesters claim there were widespread irregularities in the electoral process. The presidential office has denounced the protest as a coup attempt. Abkhazia is considered part of Georgia by most countries. However, Russia is among those that recognise its independence. According to the Russian-based TASS news agency, the local parliament is expected to convene to nominate an interim president.

Georgia Data Sheet

Population:
4.4 million
Major Religion/s:
Christianity
International dialing code:
+995
International dialing prefix:
810
Emergency services:
112
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
220V
Climate:
Varies from sub-tropical in the west to continental in the east
Ohter Major Cities:
Kutaisi, Batoumi, Sokhumi
Borders:
Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation