Georgia. In January, air travel between Tbilisi and
Moscow resumed, one and a half years after the war between
Georgia and the Russian Federation. In March, the two
countries also opened the only useful border crossing, which
had been closed for three years.
At the beginning of the year, three militants were
sentenced to long prison sentences, which at most 30 years,
accused of mutiny and attempted coups the year before.
However, the myth was debated. According to the opposition,
the regime had fabricated the charges to turn the attention
of several weeks of demonstrations against President Micheil
COUNTRYAAH, the breakaway republic of Abkhazia signed an agreement
with the Russian Federation in February on the establishment
of a Russian military base in Abkhazia. The agreement was
valid for at least 49 years and 3,000 soldiers would be
stationed at the base. The Russian Federation, which
recognized Abkhazia independently after the war against
Georgia in 2008, also planned airbase and naval base in the
Later in the year, Russian Federation President Dmitry
Medvedev visited the outbreak republic for the first time
since the war. Following Medvedev's visit, the Russian
Federation announced that it had stationed advanced
anti-aircraft robots in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In the Georgian municipal elections in May, President
Saakashvili's National Movement Party succeeded and took
about 60 percent of the vote. Despite people's
dissatisfaction with the war in 2008 and the weak economy,
the opposition succeeded poorly, partly because of internal
fragmentation. According to the OSCE election monitors, the
election had significant shortcomings with voting fraud.
In June, a famous Stalin statue was moved from Josef
Stalin's Georgian birthplace Gori. The local authorities
carried out the move at night, and police kept the media
away. The image of the former Soviet dictator was replaced
with a monument in memory of the victims of the war between
Georgia and the Russian Federation in 2008, when Gori was
EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton visited Tbilisi in
July and announced that the Union would begin negotiations
with Georgia on an association agreement with a framework
for economic and political cooperation. Negotiations were
expected to take four years.
In October, Georgian police arrested four Russians and
nine Georgians, including six Air Force pilots, who were
accused of spying on Russian military intelligence service
GRU. The Russian Federation rejected the allegations as
provocations ahead of NATO's impending summit, when the
Russian Federation was invited.
During the year, a new Georgian constitution was passed
which transfers power from the president to parliament and
government. It will come into force after 2013, when the
current term of office of President Saakashvili is over. The
opposition accuses Saakashvili of pushing through the change
and then becoming head of government himself and retaining
In November, opposition leader and former Foreign
Minister Salome Zurabishvili announced that she would leave
politics for a UN mission until further notice. She cited
the lack of democracy as the main reason for her decision.
A man was killed in a bomb attack outside an opposition
party's premises in Tbilisi in late November. In December,
six people were arrested who, according to authorities, were
suspected of being recruited by the Russian military to
carry out the deed and five other assaults during the fall.