Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Georgia -- One year after the revolution

By Aussiegirl

Georgia makes strides and faces some continuing problems one year after the Rose Revolution. Read more:

KRT Wire | 03/08/2005 | Democracy flourishes a year after Georgia's Rose Revolution:

"TBILISI, Georgia - (KRT) - A year ago, democracy finally began to take root in Georgia. A brash young president was in charge, a new Parliament was being elected and the Rose Revolution appeared to be in full bloom.
Georgia's riveting populist revolt - 'We were live on CNN for four and a half hours without a commercial,' bragged President Mikhail Saakashvili - became the template for the recent pro-democracy uprising in Ukraine. And it's likely to inspire similar Westward-ho movements elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.
It's been a year of achievements for Georgia, a former Soviet republic of 4.5 million people that borders the Black Sea. The national budget has quadrupled. The despised and thieving traffic police were disbanded. Chechen terrorists were run off. Crooked politicians were fined and jailed. Some taxes even got collected.
But it hasn't all been Georgian wine and roses for the 37-year-old Saakashvili and his new government. The country they inherited was corrupt, broken and bankrupt, and the economy seemed to be living out a grim joke from its communist past: The workers pretended to work and the state pretended to pay them.
'We're basically founding a whole new state,' the president said last week in a wide-ranging interview in Tbilisi.
While the economy grew at a robust 8.5 percent last year, many Georgians grumble about the new government's failure to provide reliable electricity, water and road repairs.
Nostalgia lingers for the Soviet era, when basic services were more predictable - and seemingly free. Saakashvili said weaning Georgians from this nostalgia was his biggest miscalculation of the past year: He expected them to adapt more readily to the rough and tumble of the free market.


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