Georgia. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Georgia include Independence Day (April 9) and New Year (January 1). The year was marked by a growing political conflict with Russia, a conflict that seemed to be rooted in Russian dissatisfaction with Georgia’s west-friendly politics and the country’s quest for membership in NATO. Like a number of other neighboring countries, Georgia received Russian demands for higher gas prices. In addition, explosions occurred on the gas pipeline from Russia to Georgia at the beginning of the year. President Micheil Saakashvili accused Russia of sabotage, charges that Moscow dismissed as “hysterical”.
In February, Georgia’s interior minister declared a murder trial against President Saakashvili. According to the minister, the president’s plan would be shot down with a Russian-made air defense robot near the border with the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Georgia accuses Russia of supporting the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, areas over which Georgia wants to regain control.
In the spring, Russia launched a boycott of Georgian wines, which is an important export product from Georgia. Russia claimed that the wines contained harmful chemicals, but in Georgia the boycott was considered political.
When the chairman of the South Ossetian Security Council was killed in a bomb attack in July, Georgia was accused of being behind the murder. The charges were rejected.
Tensions in the region increased further when Georgia’s parliament demanded that Russian peacekeepers leave South Ossetia and Abkhazia and be replaced by an international UN force. The Russian forces were in the area to monitor the ceasefire after the Abkhazian outbreak war with Russian help in the early 1990s. Georgia believes peacekeepers support the separatists.
After fighting with the Abkhaz separatist militia in July, Georgia declared that it had regained full control over the Kodoridale, which is the link between Georgia and Abkhazia. Georgia decided to establish an Abkhazian exile government in the valley and President Saakashvili declared Abkhazia to be withdrawn.
Russia has left two military bases in Georgia since the Soviet era, and in September four Russian soldiers and a number of Georgian citizens were arrested for spying. Georgian police surrounded the headquarters of military bases. Russia demanded that the arrested Russians be released and evacuated their citizens from Georgia. At the same time, Eastern European NATO countries were accused of illegally selling weapons to Georgia. Russia also interrupted the retreat of troops from the military bases that had begun the year before, and President Vladimir Putin accused Georgia of taking hostages, practicing state terrorism and trying to provoke Russia with the support of “foreign sponsors”. The Russian military bases were alerted and Moscow cut off all transport links with Georgia. Georgia tried to tone down the conflict by releasing the arrested Russian military. President Saakashvili explained that Georgia wanted dialogue and good relations with Russia, but said that it could not be treated as Russia’s backyard. He also claimed that there was evidence of the spy charges. The conflict had serious consequences for Georgians living in Russia. Moscow ceased to grant residence and work permits to Georgian citizens, hundreds were expelled, Georgian restaurants were closed, and the police called on Moscow’s schools to provide lists of pupils with Georgian names. The conflict had serious consequences for Georgians living in Russia. Moscow ceased to grant residence and work permits to Georgian citizens, hundreds were expelled, Georgian restaurants were closed, and the police called on Moscow’s schools to provide lists of pupils with Georgian names. The conflict had serious consequences for Georgians living in Russia. Moscow ceased to grant residence and work permits to Georgian citizens, hundreds were expelled, Georgian restaurants were closed, and the police called on Moscow’s schools to provide lists of students with Georgian names.
In a referendum in South Ossetia in November, 99% of voters voted for independence. Georgia accused Russia of being behind the referendum and claimed it was part of a strategy to create tension in the area.
In December, Georgia and Russia agreed on new gas prices, when Georgia agreed to pay $ 235 per m 3 instead of the previous $ 110. In the same month, Russia completed the withdrawal of its personnel from the Russian military headquarters in Tblisi.