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Country Reports

Georgia Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Georgia (population 4.9 million), a small country located in the Caucasus, is bordered by Russia, Turkey, and Armenia. Smoe Western governments advise against all travel to regions bordering Russia, the secessionist region of Abkhazia (pro-Russian), and South Odessa, as well as nearby areas.

POLITICS

At the end of October 2013, Giorgi Margvelashvili, the candidate supported by then-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanichvili, won a resounding victory in the presidential elections against incumbent President Mikheïl Saakashvili, marking the end of Saakashvili's ten (somewhat fragile) years in power.

The next presidential elections are set to be held in October 2018, followed by legislative elections in 2020.

SOCIAL UNREST

Protests are common in the capital Tbilisi, where marches and rallies generally block symbolically important roads, particularly those near the parliament building. Clashes between protesters and police can occur.

SECURITY

Relations have continued to deteriorate between the Georgian government and the separatist region of Abkhazia, which remains under the control of the self-proclaimed Republic of Abkhazia. The Administrative Boundary Line (ABL), which separates the Abkhazia region from Georgia, is controlled by Russia. Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia was able to acquire de facto control of the region, as well as of a second breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, following a brief war against Georgia in 2008.

Terrorist activity (mined roads, assassinations, kidnappings, bombings) has been a concern in recent years, notably in Abkhazia. Within Georgia proper, an explosion in October 2010 derailed a train transporting oil, making it the third incident of its kind to affect the Georgian railway since mid-2009. Local authorities denounced the incident as an act of terrorism, leaving people to believe that the attack was perpetrated by Abkhazian rebels. In May 2010, the car of a government official was bombed in Batumi. In October 2016, a car bomb targeting an opposition politician party injured five individuals in Tbilisi during an electoral period.

Like other countries in the region, Georgia is concerned about the effect of the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) on its population. It is estimated that dozens of Georgian nationals have gone to fight for IS in Syria or Iraq, leading to fears that these they could return with the aim of carrying out an attack on Georgian soil.

NATURAL RISKS

The country is also periodically struck by floods. In June 2015, a flood killed more than a dozen people around Tbilisi.

Landslides can also occur following heavy rain, especially in the more mountainous regions of the country.

OTHER

Travelers should also note that power outages are frequent, particularly in the winter; hotels outside the capital are often affected.

HEALTH

Health facilities outside the capital are scarce; in case of a serious health issue, a medical evacuation abroad should be considered. All travelers are advised to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance prior to departure.

A limited malaria risk - due to the P. vivax strain - may exist locally from June to October in the eastern part of the country bordering Azerbaijan.

There are cases of animal rabies in the country. The main line of defense against rabies is to avoid contact with both domestic and wild mammals (bites, scratches, licks). If you are scratched or bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Climate

The climate, along the coast of the Black Sea is subtropical with hot and humid summers and mild winters. Inland, temperatures are cooler and winters are cold and snowy. The west of the country receives more precipitation that the east.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 995 Police: 022 Ambulance: 01 or 03

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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