Georgia. According to COUNTRYAAH, Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia which is located in Western Asia. The country’s difficult economic situation worsened during the year. Wine exports fell sharply as falling oil prices and Western sanctions against the Russian Federation degraded the economy and purchasing power there. Exports to the war-affected Ukraine also declined. At the same time, Georgia’s exports to the EU increased somewhat following the signed association agreement the year before.
At the beginning of the year, the government presented a austerity package and proposed the privatization of state property. The Georgian currency, Larin, had lost almost a third of its value in a year and the central bank demanded new rules for commercial banks’ lending, which was done at a fixed dollar rate. The domestic currency race made it difficult for many Georgians to settle their loans.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s regime reacted strongly when Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko appointed Margvelashvili’s antagonist, former Georgian President Micheil Saakashvili, as his adviser. When Saakashvili is accused in Georgia of abuse of power and is wanted there he was requested to be extradited, which was rejected. Instead, Saakashvili gained Ukrainian citizenship and was appointed governor of the Ukrainian province of Odessa.
Saakashvili acted against the regime from his exile. He fired the masses with video links when tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the capital Tbilisi demanding the resignation of the government. After several ministers left the government, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili was forced by the constitution to formally resign and form a new ministry. The new government was approved by Parliament in May. But after a few months, the new Foreign Minister was forced to resign without giving any reasons.
In June, Tbilisi was haunted by the worst floods in the city’s memory as 19 people lost their lives and buildings were washed away. The city’s zoo was destroyed, and many wildlife took to the streets where police shot lions, tigers and wolves. A hippopotamus swam in the center, a crocodile was seen among cars and a bear tried to save himself on a roof.
Popular anger was directed at the old regime, which, against expert advice, carried out large construction projects with inadequate land planning. Extremely heavy rain loosened huge amounts of soil from the heights and sent a huge stream of clay and tree trunks into the city center.
In October, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague requested an investigation into suspected war crimes in the war between the Russian Federation and Georgia about the outbreak republic of South Ossetia in 2008. According to the prosecutor, there were reasons to believe that war crimes were committed by both sides.
In October, the president of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia announced a referendum on accession to the Russian Federation. He said he was confident that the result would be positive. No date for the vote was given.
Earlier in the year, South Ossetia had signed an agreement with the Russian Federation on Russian control over South Ossetia’s defense and border protection and that South Ossetia’s military should be integrated into the Russian military. Both the EU and NATO protested the agreement as a violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and international law.
There was conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation over the border markings of South Ossetia, which were placed by Russian military in Georgian territory. In Tbilisi, thousands of people protested against the Russian intervention in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the government in Tbilisi protested Russian military maneuvers in the outbreak republics.
When the Constitutional Court in September declared that the capital’s former mayor had been detained in the Constitution, he was released, only to be sentenced to four and a half years in prison. In November, a court ruled that a private television channel, Rustavi-2, must replace its bosses. The new management had been appointed by a regime-friendly entrepreneur.
Voluntary organizations were also much needed by the regime. They warned of a bill against upliftment that was feared to be used to silence critics and stifle freedom of speech.
In December, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili resigned, and former Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirika Kashvili was appointed new Prime Minister.