Georgia. On the first day of the year, Georgia was
visited by U.S. Republican Senator John McCain. He wanted
assurances about US support after incoming President Donald
Trump paid tribute to Russian President Vladimir Putin and
was unclear in his statements on the NATO military alliance.
Countryaah.com, the Georgian Orthodox Church performed mass baptisms in
January at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. Hundreds
of children were baptized by dipping their heads and feet in
a baptismal font three times. Mass baptism has become
popular and was introduced some years ago as a way to
attract the population to give birth to more children, a
hope that has been fulfilled.
The church's feast day was changed in the dark when a
church servant in February was arrested by police on
suspicion of planning to poison the church's patriarch Ilia
II, who was cared for in a German hospital. The priest was
arrested when he boarded a plane to Berlin carrying sodium
cyanide. The arrested was later brought to trial, and the
prosecution then involved murder attempts on the patriarch's
In February, the European Parliament decided to grant
Georgian citizens visa-free access to the Schengen area,
that is, all EU countries except the UK and Ireland. When
the decision came into force in March, it was greeted with
great joy in Georgia, where Prime Minister Giorgi
Kvirikaashvili was one of the first to exploit the new
freedom by flying to Brussels. He described the day as
historic and explained that Georgia had returned to the
In the city of Batumi, riots broke out in March and over
20 people were taken to hospitals after the crowd tried to
storm a police station, ignited police cars and threw stones
at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
The brawl was stated bottom in the refusal to pay parking
fines. According to the political opposition, people are
tired of the police using their position with unreasonably
high fines for minor crimes.
Former President Micheil Saakashvili's Party The national
movement split during the year in conflict over the role of
the volatile Saakashvili. Most of the party's MPs left the
National Movement to form a new party.
In July, the President of Ukraine decided to deprive
Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship, which according to
Saakashvili meant that he became stateless when he
previously lost his Georgian citizenship. In Georgia,
Saakashvili is charged with abuse of power. Later in the
year, the Prosecutor General Saakashvili requested
extradition from Ukraine.
In July and August, the Georgian Army conducted two weeks
of military training along with soldiers from the United
States and a number of other NATO countries. During the
maneuver, Georgia was visited by US Vice President Mike
Pence, who explained that the United States is united with
Georgia and the United States condemned the visit of
Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Georgian state of
Abkhazia in August, the day nine years after the war between
Georgia and the Russian Federation broke out in the region.
Thousands of Russian soldiers are stationed in the breakaway
states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which count as
independent and have been recognized by the Russian
Federation. The United States called on the Russian
Federation to withdraw its troops and withdraw recognition
of the outbreak states.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili tried to stop the
proposal for a new constitution during the year. In October,
he vetoed Parliament, but was voted down by elected
officials and must reluctantly sign the new law. It means,
among other things, that Parliament and not the people will
in future elect president.
In September, a new research study was published showing
that the world's oldest now known wine is produced in
Georgia. According to the researchers, it was about 8,000
years old wine remains that they found in clay pots in two
places south of Tbilisi.