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The nation of georgia is located on the crossroads of world cultures in the Caucasus region between the Black and the Caspian Sea. About the size of the U.S. state of Georgia, the nation has a relatively small population of 5 million. In 2004, the Western-educated and U.S.-oriented Mikheil Saakashvili swept into power along with a government for national reform led by the National Movement Party. The goals of this new government have included the opening of markets, democratization, and the development of new investment. Progress in these goals has been challenged by Russian support of the two breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, leading to sometimes-serious border disputes. A recent initiative for peaceful resolution of South Ossetia, however, was introduced in 2005. The ...

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