An autonomous republic of Georgia. During the Soviet era, Ajaria was an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) within the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. The region is dominated by ethnic Georgians known as Ajars, many of whom profess Islam. In postindependence Georgia, Ajaria was granted extensive autonomy by Tbilisi.
   Under the leadership of the local strongman Aslan Abashidze, Ajaria enjoyed economic success, but also became a site of organized crime and corruption. President Eduard Shevardnadze, fearful of pushing Ajaria toward open revolt, did little to reestablish Georgian sovereignty over the region after establishing a modus vivendi with Abashidze. While Ajaria did not claim de facto statehood like Georgia’s other autonomous republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Abashidze did enjoy increasing Russian protection against Georgian efforts to reassert authority. In the wake of the 2003 Rose Revolution that swept Shevardnadze from office, Abashidze declared a state of emergency in the region, prompting suspicion that he might try to make a bid for outright independence. Facing protests at home and threats from the Georgian central government, Abashidze flew to Moscow to seek support from his Russian sponsors. The Russian Foreign Ministry backed Abashidze, characterizing his critics and pro-Georgian protestors as “extremists.”
   Despite Moscow’s posturing, Georgia’s new president, Mikheil Saakashvili, put intense pressure on the Ajarian leadership to reintegrate into Georgia’s political fabric, ultimately triggering a crisis in the spring of 2004. In May, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Igor Ivanov visited the region in the midst of extensive protests. Within one day, Abashidze stepped down and flew to Moscow, where he remains. Shortly thereafter, the Georgian Constitution was amended to reflect greater central control over Ajaria. In 2007, Abashidze was convicted in absentia for misuse of office and embezzlement of state funds.
   See also Foreign relations.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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  • Ajaria — A·jar·i·a (ə järʹē ə) See Adzharia. * * * ▪ autonomous republic, Georgia Introduction also spelled  Adjara , Adzhariya , or  Adžarija   autonomous republic in Georgia, in the southwestern corner of that country, adjacent to the Black Sea and the… …   Universalium

  • Ajaria — Admin ASC 1 Code Orig. name Ajaria Country and Admin Code GE.04 GE …   World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II

  • Ajaria — or Adzharia geographical name autonomous republic SW Republic of Georgia on Black Sea capital Batumi area 1158 square miles (2999 square kilometers), population 381,500 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Islam in Adjara — Ajaria or Adjaria is autonomous region of Georgia on border with Turkey. History Islam appeared in Ajaria between 1510 and the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Ottoman Empire started to expand in the Caucasus. As soon as Ajaria in… …   Wikipedia

  • Aslan Abashidze — ( ka. ასლან აბაშიძე) (born Batumi, July 20, 1938) was the leader of the Ajarian Autonomous Republic in western Georgia from 1991 to May 5, 2004. He resigned under the pressure of the central Georgian government and mass opposition rallies during… …   Wikipedia

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  • Politics of Georgia — The Politics of Georgia is structured as a presidential representative democratic republic (semi presidential system), with a multi party system, and the President as head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal… …   Wikipedia

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