News & CommentAfter the Breakup

Civil War Leaves Once-Proud Georgian Science in Tatters

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Science  14 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5268, pp. 1581-1582
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5268.1581


Tbilisi, Georgia—Shortly after declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the southern republic of Georgia was plunged into almost 2 years of civil war. Although the conflict is now restricted to the breakaway republic of Abkhazia in northwestern Georgia, this country of 5 million people is exhausted—its gross national product is $350 per person, on a par with Mozambique. And not surprisingly, Georgian science, which once boasted a strong math community and a productive suite of optical telescopes, is in crisis. Researchers and government officials are warning that without fundamental reforms, it will be hard to maintain even the best groups.