World News TV

Working Lives Georgia

Combination photograph of the BBC's Tom Esslemont and five people from Tbilisi, Georgia
Image caption Five very different people talk to Tom Esslemont (top centre)) about their working lives in Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia is experiencing a resurgence in national pride five years after its war with Russia in 2008.

The tensions with its powerful neighbour and biggest export market forced businesses to look elsewhere for trade, fuelling an economic revival of previously flagging industries, while thousands of Georgians fight hard against poverty.

In 2009, a year after the war with Russia, Georgia's economy contracted by 3.8%. But by 2011, the economy grew by 7%, fuelled by massive public spending, a big rise in tourist numbers, and exports to new markets around the world.

For Working Lives, Tom Esslemont travelled to the capital, Tbilisi, to talk to five people who have been riding Georgia's post-war economic rollercoaster.

Under the Soviet Union his favourite sports were banned, but now Georgian martial arts specialist Nukri Mchedlishvili is training hundreds of youngsters in traditional sword-fighting and wrestling.

Georgians have been making wine for millennia. When Russia banned the imports of Georgian wine seven years ago in the run up to war, it nearly put wine producer Giorgi Margvelashvili out of business, but now he's bounced back.

With much more money for essential public services, even high-flying graduates like former lawyer Nino Pkhakhadze are being attracted to jobs in the police force.

In the last decade Georgia has seen a real growth in consumerism. A burgeoning middle class has enabled cosmetic surgeon Gia Gvaramia to add six more clinics to the very first one in Georgia, which he opened in 2000.

However, Georgia's rising wealth hasn't trickled down to the poorest in the country including those displaced by the 2008 conflict with Russia. Although a qualified engineer, Iza Mikhanashvili, a war refugee, has to bake bread to make a living.