Georgia profile - Timeline


A chronology of key events:

1801-04 - Most of present-day Georgia becomes part of the Russian Empire.

1879 - History's best-known Georgian, future Soviet leader Iosif Dzhugashvili (Joseph Stalin), is born in the town of Gori.

1918 - Independent Georgian state declared in wake of Russian Revolution.

1921 - Red Army invades, Georgia absorbed into emerging Soviet Union.

1956 March - Protests against Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev's de-Stalinisation policy turn violent and prompt calls for secession from the USSR; they are brutally crushed by Soviet forces.

1972 - Eduard Shevardnadze appointed head of the Georgian Communist Party.

1989 April - Soviet troops kill 19 pro-independence demonstrators in Tbilisi.

1989 - Demands for more autonomy in the South Ossetia region lead to violent clashes between Georgians and Ossetians. Soviet peacekeepers are deployed.

1990 - Nationalist coalition wins multi-party parliamentary elections; former dissident Zviad Gamsakhurdia becomes chairman of parliament.

1990 - 1991 - Growing South Ossetian independence aspirations bring further violence between separatist and Georgian forces. Hundreds die and tens of thousands flee their homes.


1991 - Georgian parliament declares secession from the Soviet Union after independence is overwhelmingly supported in a referendum.

Gamsakhurdia is elected president by more than 85% of the votes cast.

1992 January - Gamsakhurdia is deposed after fighting in central Tbilisi between government troops and opposition militias.

South Ossetians vote in favour of independence in an unrecognized referendum.

1992 March - Shevardnadze is appointed head of the newly formed State Council.

Abkhazia crisis

1992 August - Fighting breaks out in Abkhazia between Georgian government troops and separatist forces.

1992 October - Shevardnadze is directly elected chairman of parliament.

1993 September - Georgian troops driven out of Abkhazia by separatist forces.

1993 October - Insurrection by Gamsakhurdia supporters in western Georgia is suppressed after Georgia agrees to join the CIS and receives help from Russian troops.

1994 - Georgian government and Abkhaz separatists sign a ceasefire agreement, paving the way for the deployment of a Russian peacekeeping force in the region.

New constitution adopted which provides for a strong executive presidency. New currency, the lari, introduced.

1995 November - Shevardnadze wins elections to the restored post of president.

2000 April - Shevardnadze re-elected president.

2001 June/July - Russia hands over Vaziani military base to Georgia.

Tension with Russia

2001 October - Clashes in Abkhazia between Abkhaz troops and Georgian paramilitaries backed by fighters from the North Caucasus. The tension is heightened as Russia accuses Georgia of harbouring Chechen rebels, a charge dismissed by Georgia.

2001 November - Raid by security forces on privately-owned Rustavi-2 TV station, known for its criticism of Mr Shevardnadze and corruption, sparks protests. Mr Shevardnadze responds by sacking cabinet.

2002 April/May - US special forces arrive to train and equip Georgian forces for counterterrorist operations.

2002 September - Russian President Putin warns of military action if Georgia fails to deal with Chechen militants which, Moscow says, Georgia is harbouring in Pankisi Gorge.

2002 October - Row with Russia defused after Georgia promises to mount antiterrorism operation against Chechen rebels on its territory. Several suspected guerrillas are killed, or detained and extradited to Russia.

2003 May - Work begins on laying Georgian section of oil pipeline to run from Baku in Azerbaijan through Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey.

Shevardnadze ousted

2003 November - "Rose Revolution" topples Shevardnadze. It is triggered by opposition allegations of irregularities in parliamentary elections.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The bloodless ''Rose Revolution'' toppled the government of Eduard Shevardnadze

2004 January - Mikhail Saakashvili wins presidential election.

2004 March - Amid rising tension with the leadership of the autonomous region of Ajaria, Tbilisi briefly imposes sanctions and closes the border.

Mr Saakashvili's National Movement-Democratic Front wins overwhelming majority of seats in parliament in re-run of parliamentary elections.

2004 May - Leader of semi-autonomous Ajaria region, Aslan Abashidze, resigns and leaves Georgia after President Saakashvili orders him to comply with Georgian constitution and disarm his forces.

South Ossetia, Abkhazia troubles

2004 June - Georgia's decision to beef up its anti-smuggling operation in South Ossetia prompts sharp a response from the local leadership and is criticised by Russia.

2004 August - Several deaths are reported in clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces.

2005 January - Sergei Bagapsh wins rerun of Abkhaz presidential elections after doing a deal with his main rival, Raul Khadzhimba, who becomes vice president.

2005 February - Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania is found dead in a Tbilisi flat, apparently from gas poisoning. Zurab Noghaideli, hitherto finance minister, becomes premier.

2005 July - Russia starts to withdraw its troops from two Soviet-era bases under the terms of a deal reached in May. The pull-out is due to be completed by late 2008.

Pipeline blasts

2006 January - Explosions on Russian side of border cut gas supplies and disrupt electricity supplies from Russia. Russia says it suspects North Caucasus insurgents but President Saakashvili accuses Moscow of sabotage.

Georgia receives gas from Iran via recently-repaired pipeline running through Azerbaijan.

2006 March - Tbilisi protests at Russian decision to suspend imports of Georgian wine on health grounds, saying the move is politically motivated.

2006 July - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline formally opened after Caspian oil starts flowing along it.

Georgia seizes control of Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge from local warlord Emzar Kvitsiani and announces plan to move pro-Tbilisi government-in-exile of Abkhazia into the area. Abkhazia breaks off peace talks in response.

2006 September-October - Russian army officers detained on spying charges. Russia imposes sanctions, cuts transport links and expels hundreds of Georgians.

2006 November - South Ossetians vote in favour of independence in an unrecognised referendum.

Anti-Saakashvili protests

2007 September - Former defence minister Irakli Okruashvili accuses Mr Saakashvili of corruption and plotting a murder, sparking a wave of protests.

2007 November - State of emergency declared. Riot police battle protesters demanding president's resignation.

Russia says it has withdrawn last troops based in Georgia since 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but retains a presence in the breakaway provinces.

2008 January - Saakashvili re-elected in snap election.

2008 April - NATO summit in Bucharest defers decision on Georgia's application to join Membership Programme until December.

2008 April - Russia says it will step up ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, prompting Georgia to accuse Moscow of planning their de facto annexation.

2008 May - Ruling party wins landslide victory in parliamentary election. Opposition says election was rigged and threatens to boycott new parliament.

Russia sends 300 unarmed troops to Abkhazia, saying they are needed for railway repairs. Georgia accuses Russia of planning military intervention.

2008 June - Abkhazia cuts all contact with Georgian government, accusing it of being behind recent series of blasts in breakaway republic. Georgia denies having any role.

South Ossetia war

2008 August - Tensions between Georgia and Russia escalate into a full-blown military conflict after Georgia tries to retake South Ossetia by force after a series of lower-level clashes with Russian-backed rebels.

Russia launches a counter-attack, ejecting Georgian troops from both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. After five days of hostilities, the two sides sign a French-brokered peace agreement, but Russia subsequently recognises the two breakaway regions as independent states, in a move that draws protests from Georgia and the West.

Russia says it will keep a military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Saakashvili under pressure

2009 May - Georgian authorities quell an alleged mutiny by a tank battalion at the Mukhrovani army base, describing it as part of a Russia-linked coup against President Saakashvili. Russia denies any involvement.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Opposition groups mounted street demonstrations to try unseat President Saakashvili

Nato military exercises begin in Georgia amid condemnation from Russia.

2009 July - UN observers leave Georgia after 16 years of monitoring the Abkhazia cease-fire line. The UN Security Council failed to extend the mission because of a Russian veto.

2009 September - EU report on 2008 conflict with Russia puts part of blame on Georgia.

2010 January - Russia and Georgia reopen air traffic with the first direct passenger flight between the two countries since the war in 2008.

2010 October - Parliament approves constitutional changes aimed at curbing the powers of the president and expanding the role of the prime minister and parliament.

2011 October - Georgia's authorities rescind the citizenship of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili a week after he announced he was forming the "Georgian Dream" political party to contest parliamentary elections in 2012, as he was already a citizen of Russia and had just obtained a French passport.

2012 July - President Saakashvili appoints veteran Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili as prime minister to fight the October parliamentary elections.

2012 September - The government dismisses the interior minister and prisons chief when footage of the abuse of prisoners comes to light. The government pledges a full and open investigation.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili spearheaded the drive to unseat Mikheil Saakashvili

Power shift

2012 October - Tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili becomes prime minister following parliamentary elections; President Saakashvili is relegated to a secondary role.

2013 October - Giorgi Margvelashvili wins presidential election.

2013 November - Bidzina Ivanisvhili steps down as prime minister and is replaced by his hand-picked successor, Irakli Garibashvili. He denies accusations that he plans to continue ruling from behind the scenes.

Former president Mikheil Saakashvili leaves Georgia after his term in office ends.

2014 February - Former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili is sentenced to five years in prison for corruption, in what critics say is part of a wider campaign against allies of former President Saakashvili.

EU trade deal

2014 June - European Union and Georgia sign association agreement - far-reaching trade partnership deal.

2014 July - Municipal elections produce a clean sweep for the governing Georgian Dream coalition.

Georgia's main opposition leader, Giorgi Ugulava, is detained on money laundering charges. His supporters say the arrest is politically motivated.

2014 August - Former president Mikheil Saakashvili is charged in absentia with organising an assault in 2005 against one of his political opponents. Mr Saakashvili dismisses all the charges against him as politically motivated.

2014 November - Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili sacks pro-Western defence minister Irakli Alasania. Two other ministers resign in protest.

Russia signs a strategic partnership agreement with Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, to protests from the Georgian government.

2015 March - Russia signs an "alliance and integration" treaty with South Ossetia in a move denounced by the Georgian government.

2015 May - Former President Mikheil Saakashvili is appointed governor of Ukraine's Odessa Region. In Georgian TV appearances he agitates against the Georgian Dream coalition government and vows to return to Georgia one day and unseat it.

2015 August - Russian forces in South Ossetia move internal border 1.5 km further inside Georgia proper, threatening main road linking west and east of country.

2015 December - Prime Minister Garibashvili abruptly resigns after months of falling poll ratings for the coalition and tension with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, and is replaced with his foreign minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

2016 October - The governing Georgian Dream coalition wins parliamentary elections with an enhanced majority.

2017 April - Breakaway region of South Ossetia holds presidential election and a referendum on changing its name to the State of Alania as part of a plan to join the Russian Federation.

2018 June - Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigns over dispute with Bidzina Ivanishvili, who returned to a leading position in the Georgian Dream party earlier in the year. He is succeeded by Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze.

2020 October - The opposition refuses to recognise the parliamentary election win by Georgian Dream, launching months of political crisis.

2021 February - Defence Minister Irakli Garibashvili is nominated to form a government following the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia over the attempted arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia.