The independent Georgian Social Democratic Republic was declared on 26 May 1918 and was recognized by the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic on 7 May 1920. In 1936 the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic became one of the constituent republics of the USSR. Following nationalist successes at elections in Oct. 1990, the Supreme Soviet resolved on a transition to full independence and on 9 April 1991 unanimously declared the republic an independent state. President Zviad Gamsakhurdia was deposed by armed insurrection on 6 Jan. 1992 and a military council took control. After elections in which he gained 95% of votes cast, Eduard Shevardnadze became de facto head of state in Oct. 1992. On 22 Oct. 1993 Georgia joined the CIS. Supporters of the deposed president Gamsakhurdia were in intermittent conflict with the government, mainly in Mingrelia, but suffered heavy defeats once Russian support became available via the CIS. Ethnic conflict has been rife in the two autonomous republics of South Ossetia and Abhkazia. Civil war broke out with South Ossetia in 1990 and Abhkazia in 1992 and 1998. Georgia has since moved closer to the West but economic reforms have been slow in coming and industry and agriculture are both in need of investment. In Nov. 2003 Eduard Shevardnadze resigned after opposition forces stormed parliament in protest against alleged fixing of elections three weeks earlier.
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