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The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the early centuries AD, and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires vied for influence in the region. Georgia was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918–1921) after the Russian Revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1921 and regained its independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Growing public discontent over rampant corruption and ineffective government services, followed by an attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate the parliamentary elections in November 2003, led to widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. In the aftermath, popular movement, which became known as the “Rose Revolution,” new elections in early 2004 brought Mikheil SAAKASHVILI to power, together with his United National Movement (UNM) party. Progress has been made in market reforms and democratization in the years since independence, but this progress has been hampered by Russian aid and support to the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Periodic flare-ups of tension and violence culminated in a five-day conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, including the invasion of large parts of undisputed Georgian territory. Russian forces pledged to withdraw from most occupied Georgian territory, but in late August 2008 Russia unilaterally recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Russian forces remain in those regions.

Billionaire Bidzina IVANISHVILI's unexpected entry into politics in October 2011 brought together the divided opposition under his Georgian Dream coalition, which won a majority of seats in the October 2012 parliamentary elections and removed UNM from power. SAAKASHVILI admitted defeat and appointed IVANISHVILI as Prime Minister and allowed Georgian Dream to create a new government. Giorgi MARGVELASHVILI was inaugurated as President on November 17, 2013, ending a tense year of power-sharing between SAAKASHVILI and IVANISHVILI. At the time, these changes in leadership were unique examples of a former Soviet state emerging to implement democratic and peaceful transitions of power. IVANISHVILI voluntarily resigned after the presidential succession and the Georgian legislature on November 20, 2013 confirmed Irakli GARIBASHVILI as his replacement. GARIBASHVILI was replaced by Giorgi KVIRIKASHVILI in December 2015. KVIRIKASHVILI remained Prime Minister following Georgian Dream's success in the October 2016 parliamentary elections, where the party won a constitutional majority. IVANISHVILI re-emerged as chairman of the Georgian Dream party in April 2018. KVIRIKASHVILI resigned in June 2018 and was replaced by Mamuka BAKHTADZE. In September 2019, BAKHTADZE resigned and Giorgi GAKHARIA was appointed the country's new head of government, Georgia's fifth Prime Minister in seven years. Popular and government support for integration with the West is high in Georgia. Accession to the EU and NATO are among the country's most important foreign policy objectives.

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