Until the end of the 1980s, the educational system was
integrated into the Soviet Union. The primary school is 6
years old, followed by 2-year secondary school and 3-year
high school. Since independence in 1991, extensive changes
have been made, especially with regard to the ideological
foundation of teaching. In addition, much greater emphasis
has been placed on Georgian language, history and culture in
the school. There are 26 higher education institutions in
the country, of which 8 are universities, among others. in
Tbilisi (founded 1918), a technical university in Tbilisi
(1922/1990) and in Sukhumi (1985). There are over 200
private educational institutions in the country.
In August 2004, tension between South Ossetia and the
central government in Tblisi increased. It came to armed
clashes between Georgia and South Ossetia security forces,
which cost several killed. The government declared that it
had taken several strategic positions and promised to
"pacify" the region once its troops were withdrawn.
In October, the presidential election in Abkhazia ended
chaotically. The Supreme Court declared Sergey Bagapsh a
winner, but after fierce protests this decision was reversed
and the court demanded re-election. There were strong
tensions between Bagapsh's supporters and supporters of the
In February 2005, Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania died and
the President appointed Finance Minister Zurab Nogaideli as
In May 2005, Tblisi and Moscow agreed on the closure of
Russian bases in Georgia, marking a new stage in relations
between the two countries. Saakashvili stated that the
agreement was a historic opportunity to resolve some of the
historical conflicts between the two countries. The Soviet
Union originally had 4 bases in Georgia. The two were closed
and with the agreement the remaining two will be closed in
the period up to 2008.
Since its takeover in 2004, Saakashvili has sought close
relations with the United States. North Americans have
trained Georgian soldiers, and at the same time, the
Georgian military has grown from 13,000 to 45,000 men. Some
of these are posted as mercenaries in Iraq. The United
States, on the other hand, has been given base facilities in
Georgia. Relations with Israel have also been developed.
Georgia's defense minister is Israeli, and it has placed
large orders for approx. 1 billion US $ to the Israeli war
industry. Israel, in turn, receives oil from Central Asia
via the pipelines passing through Georgia.
In January 2006, explosions destroyed a gas line and a
high-voltage connection, interrupting energy supply from
Russia to Georgia for several days. Saakashvili accused
Moscow of being behind the explosions to put pressure on
In May, relations between the two countries were further
deteriorated and Saakashvili then threatened to leave the
Association of Independent States (CIS) to seek closer
relations with the EU instead. The association brings
together the former Soviet republics.
In March 2007, Georgia sued Russia before the European
Court of Human Rights. The reason was that Russia had
deported hundreds of Georgians from Moscow on charges of
being illegal immigrants. Tblisi claimed the deportees had
been abused by Russian security personnel.
The opposition held extensive demonstrations against the
government in the fall of 2007, and on November 7,
Saakashvili declared the country in 14 days of state of
emergency. Security forces cracked down on protesters with
lace, tear gas, water cannons and high-tech acoustic weapons
provided by the United States to fight protesters.
On November 16, Prime Minister Noghaideli resigned from
the post for health reasons. In his place, Saakashvili
appointed the businessman Lado Gurgenidze, who was educated
in the United States. Already at the beginning of the month,
the president had made new elections for the presidential
post - a year ahead of time. On November 27, he announced
that ifbm. At the same time, the January 2008 presidential
election would be a referendum on the country's accession to
NATO. In May, Saakashvili also held parliamentary elections.
An election that OSCE observers characterized as frauds and