Though first independent four centuries before Christ in the time of Alexander the Great, Georgia's history since is one of domination by other powers and peoples. From the Persians to the Mongols, to the Turks and Persians again, the region of the Gorj people was divided up into petty principalities, some under Turkish rule and others under Persian. The Persian principalities were absorbed into Russia in 1801 and by the turn of the 20th century, the remaining Turkish hold-out was also taken by Russia. The communist revolution of 1917 seemed to be an opportunity for Georgia to reassert its independence, Georgia was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1921 and made one of the union republics in 1936. But nationalism has always been strong in Georgia, and in 1988 the call became irresistible. But though Georgia was seeking to break free of the Soviet Union, some of its provinces were trying to break free of Georgia. Fighting broke out, particularly in Abkhazia, and the conflict raged for two years (1991-1993). More than 2,000 died. President Eduard Shevardnadze asked his Parliament to grant him extraordinary powers to put down the rebellion. In 1994, Georgia became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1995, Shevardnadze won reelection to a new term, but the unrest in Abkhazia continues, Russian troops are still present, and there have been attempts on Shevardnadze's life, which make future developments difficult to predict.