Visit to Georgia (1): the country

Top of my bucket list is the wish, so long as I have sufficient health and wealth, to have visited as many countries as my age. I am now 69 and I am about to experience my 71st country thanks to the invitation to attend the launch of a book by my good friend Eric Lee. I will be accompanied by my sister Silvia and there will be 16 of us in Eric’s group.

The book, entitled “The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution”, is about a short period of Georgian history (1918-1921) when the county was politically a social democracy before the Russians occupied the nation and imposed communism.

Present day Georgia obtained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991 but has lost control over two secessionists areas Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is a little country, slightly smaller than Austria or Ireland, and less than half the size of the American state of Georgia. It is boarded by Russia to the north and by Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan to the south. Is Georgia in Europe or in Asia? It competes in the Eurovision Song Contest but it has an Asian telephone code.

The population is only 5 million. Three of its most famous sons are Josef Stalin and Lavrenti Beria, two of the most barbarous architects of the Soviet Union, and Eduard Shevardnadze, Soviet Foreign Minister and first President of independent Georgia. One of its most famous daughters is the singer Katie Melua.

It should be a fascinating, if short, trip.


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