The Georgian social security system has been changed from the ground up several times and today includes old-age pensions, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and parental benefits and more.
All grants and pensions are at a very low level.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Georgia, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
In the summer of 2018, a new pension law was adopted, but the pension amounts remained among the lowest in the world. Men generally retire at 65 and women at 60. A severely criticized deficiency in the system is that a large part of the population lives on agriculture with low incomes and therefore are hardly inclined to participate in the pension system, which assumes that small business owners themselves account for payments.
According to official data, the percentage of Georgians living below the so-called poverty line was 40 percent in 2005. From about 2010, conditions improved for each year and several Georgians were lifted out of the worst poverty. In a study based on the national accounts in 2016, the World Bank stated the proportion of the poor to 30 percent. In state Georgian statistics, in 2018, one fifth, 20 percent, of the population was considered poor. The best people in rural areas are able to grow their own food.
However, many families with small margins still live. The consequences are quickly becoming large, not least for the children, of, for example, loss of income in the family. When the corona pandemic broke out in 2020, and schools in Georgia were closed and ordered to remotely teach students, UN agency Unicef released official information saying that a fifth of children did not have access to a computer or the Internet at all.
There are quite a number of children living on the street, where they try to feed on begging, theft or prostitution. The fact that you become a criminal offender at the age of 14 increases the risk of minor children being pulled into crime, writes the Norwegian research institute Fafo, which in 2018 conducted a survey for Unicef and the Government of Georgia. The street children become easily addicted to alcohol or drugs. The risks are particularly high for children from ethnic minorities (Fafo mentions Roma and Kurds from Azerbaijan), and it can be difficult to reach families with the help available because minority groups have low confidence in Georgian authorities.
Vulnerable children and women also run the risk of falling into the throes of human traffickers who send their victims to other countries with promises of jobs and a better life. In fact, the journey often ends with prostitution and forced labor without pay. The government is trying to solve the problem through legislation and information campaigns. More and more traffickers have been prosecuted in recent years and sentenced to long prison terms.
In Soviet times, healthcare was ineffective and corrupt. Often relatives were required for bribes in order for the sick person to be treated at all. The healthcare sector has since been modernized with the help of the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). The government’s line since 2007 has been to allow private companies to take over almost all health centers and hospitals. In order to gain access to health care, you must have health insurance, but emergency patients receive help for free. It is still stated that doctors require payment of the patients to treat them and put the money in their own pocket. One downside to the new system is that it has become fragmented and difficult to understand, noted WHO 2018. Another, and more serious, is that quality control is poor, read the WHO report here.
Poverty is one of the reasons why it is permissible to employ surrogate mothers, women who, for a fee, undertake to undergo a pregnancy for couples who for some reason are childless. There are a number of clinics in the country that are hired by couples from other countries (see Calendar).
The fact that life expectancy has increased has contributed to the fact that there are more elderly people living with chronic illnesses than before. There are also relatively many people in Georgia, especially men, who smoke and drink alcohol. Diabetes has increased during the 2000s. Georgia, on the other hand, is relatively mildly affected by HIV / AIDS. In connection with the corona pandemic, the government 2020 stated that one fifth of the population was of retirement age. Among those living with chronic disease as a risk factor, cardiovascular disease was by far the most common.
Gay and bisexual people for a difficult life. Male homosexuality was banned by Soviet leader Stalin in 1933 and severely punished. After independence, conditions improved and no one was convicted of their sexual orientation after 1993, but only in 2000 was homosexuality decriminalized. Same-sex marriages or registered partnerships are still not allowed and same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children. There are some legal protections against homosexual discrimination, for example in the labor market, but a large majority of Georgians strongly distance themselves from homosexuality. Organized resistance comes mainly from the Orthodox Church, which has a strong grip on the population.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 9 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.4 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 93.3 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 90.0 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 7.9 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 308 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 16 percent (2018)
The government is being reformed
President Saakashvili is making new changes in the government and replacing both the Minister of Defense and the Foreign Minister.
Economic crisis is exacerbated
The effects of the global financial crisis are exacerbating Georgia’s difficult economic situation after the war with, among other things, tens of thousands of refugees standing without a home for the winter.
Claims are raised on Saakashvili’s departure
Over ten thousand people are demonstrating in Tbilisi with demands for re-election to parliament and the presidential post. Among other things, Saakashvili responds by dismissing the country’s highest military leader as punishment for the negligence of the army during the war.
Saakashvili weakened after the war
The Georgian unity after the war will not last long. Georgia stands as the loser of the war, and more and more are to blame for the failure of President Saakashvili and his adventurous politics. Several of Saakashvili’s former allies turn to him. Former Speaker Nino Burdzjanadze criticizes Saakashvili for the war and calls for new elections. She is also forming a new political party, the Democratic Movement – United Georgia. Criticism also comes from the country’s human rights ombudsman, Sozar Subari, who accuses Saakashvili of authoritarian rule. Subari also founded a new party, the Movement for Freedom and Justice. One of Saakashvili’s response to the criticism is to dismiss Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and replace him with Oxford-trained diplomat Grigol Mgaloblisjvili.
Temporary support behind Saakashvili
The military threat from Russia temporarily unites Georgians. With the EU anthem as a backdrop, President Saakashvili in Tbilisi speaks to tens of thousands of people demonstrating against Russia’s leaders and against Russian troops remaining in Georgia.
Russia recognizes the independence of the outbreak
The peace plan includes, among other things, future negotiations on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but just over two weeks after the fighting, Moscow recognizes the independence of the outbreak states. Although no other country except Nicaragua follows Moscow’s example, the August War means that Georgia, instead of being able to strengthen control over the outbreak provinces, lost them altogether.
Russian buffer zones in the breaker provinces
Just over a week after the ceasefire, Moscow announces that the Russian forces have been withdrawn from Georgia itself, but the Russians are also establishing buffer zones around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Mutual accusations after the war
Both sides accuse each other of starting the war. Saakashvili argues that the Russians and the South Ossetians provoked the fighting through troop movements and escalated shooting of Georgian villages. Moscow claims that the Georgians conducted ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia and that they did not intervene until Georgia began the Tschinvali shooting. According to human rights organizations, both sides have used indiscriminate violence against civilians.
The EU announces a ceasefire after five days
After five days of fighting, the war ends and the parties agree on a peace plan that the EU has presented. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured in the fighting.
Open war in South Ossetia and Abkhazia; Russian invasion
Following repeated clashes during the summer along the border between South Ossetia and Georgia, Georgian artillery in early August goes on strike against South Ossetia’s capital Tschinvali. Russian flight responds to bombing targets in Georgia, and fighting erupts between Georgian and Russian troops arriving at the rescue of the South Ossetians. Russian tanks enter Tschinvali and the Georgians are driven back from South Ossetia. Struggles also erupt in Abkhazia, where Russian flights and separatists are attacking Georgian positions in the Kodorid Valley, taking back the only area of Abkhazia that Georgia has so far controlled. Russian forces are also entering Georgia itself, advancing all the way to the main road between Tbilisi in the south and the Black Sea coast in the west. Russian soldiers also enter the port city of Poti.
Russia recognizes violation of airspace
Russia surprisingly acknowledges that one of its military plan violated Georgian airspace. Previously, all such allegations from Georgia have been rejected by Moscow.
The US demands Russian restraint
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Tbilisi and meets with both President Saakashvili and the opposition. She promises continued US support to Georgia and demands that Russia stop inflating the tension in the area. Moscow responds that US support for Georgia is leading to increased tension.
Struggles in the provinces of the breaker
Struggles break out between Georgian and South Ossetian troops, and beyond the border with Abkhazia, Georgia temporarily seizes some Russian peacekeeping troops. Georgia is accused by Russia of wanting to recapture Abkhazia and warns of war. Abkhazia breaks all contacts with the government in Tbilisi and accuses Georgia of being behind a series of blast attacks in the outbreak republic.
Flight tensions over Abkhazia are stopped
Following a UN investigation, Georgia promises to stop sending unmanned spy planes across Abkhazia. According to the UN, the overflight is a violation of the ceasefire. The firing of some planes has increased the tension between Georgia and Russia.
Protests against the election result
The news of the National Movement’s superior victory triggers the anger of the opposition, and led by opposition leader Levan Gatjetjiladze calls on all opposition parties except one their members to boycott the work in parliament. Foreign election observers believe that the election did not meet international standards, but still thinks it is an improvement over the presidential election in January.
The ruling party wins again
In the parliamentary elections, Saakashvili’s party wins the National Movement with 59.2 percent of the vote against 17.7 percent for the United Opposition / National Council. Otherwise, only three smaller parties come in. In total, the National Movement receives 119 seats against 17 for the United Opposition / National Council.
NATO hesitates in favor of Georgian membership
The NATO summit in Bucharest is divided on the issue of whether Georgia and Ukraine will be allowed to join the military alliance. The US is for but Germany and France are opposed, and the decision is postponed until December. From Russia come warnings that NATO membership to both countries would be a major strategic mistake, which would change the balance of power in Europe. Moscow decides to strengthen its ties with the Georgian outbreak provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and announces an increase in the number of Russian peacekeeping troops there, prompting Georgia to accuse Russia of planning to attack Georgia and annex the outbreak.
Outbreak provinces want to be recognized
The outbreak provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are calling for international recognition as independent states, inspired by the fact that many countries have just recognized Kosovo.
Parliament is reduced
Parliament adopts a constitutional amendment losing the number of members from 235 to 150, a measure that the opposition is protesting because it considers it to favor the ruling party. In addition, the seven percent block for incursion into parliament is reduced to five percent.
The people run through parliamentary elections
At the same time as the presidential election, two referendums are being held. One, which is advisory, applies whether Georgia should become a NATO member. 77 percent of voters say yes. In the second, binding referendum, four voters of five agree on the question of whether this autumn’s parliamentary elections should be scheduled and held as early as April or May. The election date is set for May 21.
Saakashvili retains power
The re-election to the presidential post will be a clear victory for incumbent President Micheil Saakashvili, who gets 53.5 percent of the vote against 25.7 percent for the second election, Levan Gatjetsjiladze of the United Opposition / National Council. The outcome still represents a major setback for Saakashvili compared to the 2004 election when he received 96 percent of the vote. The opposition immediately accuses the government of electoral fraud, and also international election observers in front of a number of complaints, but does not question the result.