Posts by DFWatch staff:

News

Armenians rallied at Turkish embassy in Tbilisi

by | Apr 24
Ethnic Armenians demand from Turkey and the government of Georgia to recognize Armenian genocide (DFWatch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ethnic Armenians in Georgia on Friday gathered at the embassy of Turkey in Tbilisi demanding to recognize almost all-out extermination of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century as a Genocide.

News

Georgia partners with Gilead Sciences for mass trials of hepatitis C medicine

by | Apr 24
Georgia signed agreement with Gilead Sciences (Health Ministry Photo)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has launched a project aimed at assisting people with hepatitis C after signing an agreement with the American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences on April 21. The government claims

News

Belarusian president calls on Georgia to join Russian ‘family’

by | Apr 24
aleksander_lukashenko_giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Thursday called on Georgia to live in a ‘common family’ with Belarus and Russia. “Europe’s last dictator” said he has never been to Georgia before, except Abkhazia, one of two Georgian regions

News

Lukashenko has arrived in Tbilisi

by | Apr 23
aleksander_lukashenko_irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Belarus, who is on a first visit to Georgia, arrived in Tbilisi the day before official meetings, which are planned for April 23-24. Even though the flight between Minsk and Tbilisi is over four hours, he arrived a day before with his

Sport

Top Georgian football team disqualified because it is broke

by | Apr 23
Zestaponi_FC

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Football Federation (GFF) has banned one of the country's top teams from taking party in national championships after it stayed away from a match due to financial problems. GFF decided this after Zestaponi FC violated the rules

Economy

Low-cost airlines queuing up to enter Georgian market

by | Apr 23
wizzair_plane

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several low cost airlines are looking to enter the Georgian market, according to the Ministry of Economy. Prospective new carriers include Ryanair, EasyJet, Air Berlin, and the Greek company Ellinair. According to the ministry, Ellinair applied to the

News

Georgian PM blasts media for ‘hysteria’ about recruitment for IS

by | Apr 22
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili scolded the media on Tuesday for their coverage of Pankisi youth who become radicalized and join Islamic State in Syria. The media have shown an ‘unnatural hysteria’ about this problem, which

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade fell 10% Jan-Mar compared to ’14

by | Apr 22
Rustavi_car_market_-_rustavi.ge_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2015 was 10 percent less than in the same period last year. The foreign trade turnover in January-March, 2015 was USD 2,279 million, according to the new report of Georgia’s National

News

New showdown over location of presidential palace

by | Apr 21
Avlabari_residence

TBILISI, DFWatch--Refurbishment work in a building intended as a new presidential palace is now finished and this has sparked a new round of bickering between the president and the government.  The minister of regional development and infrastructure stated during

In brief

Regional development minister resigns in Georgia

by | Apr 21
davit_shavliashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A minister in the Georgian government resigned on Tuesday. Not much is known about why Davit Shavliashvili decided to resign as regional development and infrastructure, but a notice from the ministry said it was for health reasons.

Background

Georgian speaker visits Ukraine, but have Kiev-Tbilisi ties weakened?

by | Apr 20
davit_usupashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia’s speaker of parliament visits Kiev, political analysts in Tbilisi are watching for signs of how strong the bond is between the two governments. Speaker Davit Usupashvili is accompanied by parliament members Tedo Japaridze and Tinatin

Society

Tbilisians rallied against terrorism

by | Apr 20
assyrian03

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against terrorism was held on Sunday in Tbilisi and several other towns in Georgia to show support for the refugees persecuted by Islamic State.   A call went out on Facebook a few days in advance for people to meet outside the old parliament

News

Two dead as crane collapses at Norwegian hydropower project

by | Apr 20
broken_crane_Didadjara

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons died and one is in hospital with injuries after an accident at a construction site for a hydropower facility in Khulo, southwest in Georgia Friday night. The two who died are Paata Iakobadze, a Georgian citizen, and Ahmed Chakmak,

News

Georgian volunteer soldier dies in Ukraine

by | Apr 19
giorgi_janelidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier was killed in Ukraine on April 18, fighting for the extreme right wing Azov battalion. Giorgi Janelidze died during mine clearance work near the coastal town Shirokine. The other fighters came under fire as they

News

Georgia toughens anti-terror legislation to include recruitment for IS

by | Apr 18
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to make it a crime to be a member of a terrorist organization or take part in a paramilitary group in another country. The law was drafted after calls for the government to do more to stop the flow of youth joining the war in Syria.

News

Saakashvili party boycotts parliament after ex-official’s suicide attempt

by | Apr 18
zurab_japaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of Mikheil Saakashvili’s party deliberately disrupted Friday’s parliamentary session because of a former official's suicide attempt the day before. The former special unit’s representative who attempted to commit suicide is detained

News

Merabishvili promises revenge

by | Apr 17
vano_merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Interior Minister and ally of Mikheil Saakashvil promises to take revenge for every official involved in the detention of former government officials. “I will personally punish them. I will hold each of them responsible personally.” Vano Merabishvili,

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia down 24% in March compared to ’14

by | Apr 17
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money transfers to Georgia in March fell by 23.5 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a report by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The amount of money transfers in March was USD 92.2 million, which is USD

News

Two Austrian climbers found dead in Georgia

by | Apr 17
kazbegi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Austrian climbers were found dead on Thursday in a mountain region in Georgia. The two apparently froze to death. The two tourists, a man and a woman, camped near the hill for several days. They left the camp on Wednesday to head

News

Armenian member of Georgia’s parliament calls for recognition of genocide

by | Apr 17
Samvel_Petrosian

TBILISI, DFWatch--An ethnic Armenian parliamentarian in the Georgian parliament calls the assembly to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, which began a century ago in Turkey. Ethnic Azerbaijani MPs are against, arguing that it is not a matter for the Georgian

News

Georgian PM: We can’t stop youth from joining IS

by | Apr 16
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says the government is not capable of preventing Pankisi youth from joining the war in Syria. There have been many reports lately that young men from the Pankisi Gorge in the north of Georgia have left

News

Interpol snubbed Georgian prosecutors in Adeishvili case

by | Apr 15
zurab_adeishvili-

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol did not ask Georgian prosecutors for additional information before deciding to call off the search for a former justice minister. Yesterday, the story broke that Interpol no longer has a so-called red notice on its webpage seeking the arrest

News

Interpol cancels red notice for Georgia’s former justice minister

by | Apr 14
zurab_adeishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol has revoked a red notice seeking the arrest and extradition of Georgia’s former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili. Last year, the organization announced an international search for Adeishvili, along with former Defense Minister

In brief

Georgia’s president pardons 78 prisoners for Easter

by | Apr 14
Prison_No_8_Gldani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday pardoned 78 prisoners in connection with Easter. Zviad Koridze, Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, said at a press conference that 57 prisoners will be released from jail today. The remaining 21 had their

News

Two Pankisi youth turned IS fighters call home from Syria: ‘We are fine’

by | Apr 14
(კახეთის საინფორმაციო ცენტრი)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian boys who recently went to Syria to join Islamic State have called their parents in Pankisi Gorge and sent home their first picture. Muslim Kushtanashvili (16) and Ramzan Baghakashvili (18) said they are fine and haven’t seen any fighting

Society

Tbilisi celebrates Orthodox Easter

by | Apr 13
government_in_Easter_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Easter was celebrated in Tbilisi as usual this year, despite bad weather. People visit the graves of their relatives on the first or second day of Easter. Christianity was declared state religion in Georgia in 4th century and as the eastern

News

Man dies in traditional Easter ball game

by | Apr 13
leloburti

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died during a traditional Easter ball game in a small village in Georgia's Guria region on Sunday. The victim was Gocha Pirtskhalaishvili, of about 50 years. Doctors believe the cause of death was shortness of breath. He died while participating

News

Gas explosion killed woman, damaged houses in Tbilisi

by | Apr 13
gldani_apartment_explosion

TBILISI, DFWatch--An explosion allegedly caused by a gas leak killed a 65 year old woman in Tbilisi Sunday morning. The explosion demolished the eighth floor of a building in Gldani, a district in northern part of the capital, and killed Zoia Kalandarishvili,

In brief

Suspect in murder of two policemen placed in pre-trial detention

by | Apr 11
tbilisi_city_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday placed a man suspected of murdering two policemen in pre-trial detention. The defense did not object to the Prosecutor General’s Office request for detention. The suspect Shalva Abuladze and his lawyer said

In brief

Georgian president visits Pope Francis

by | Apr 11
giorgi_margvelashvili_pope_francis

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Friday met with Pope Francis in Rome. President Giorgi Margvelashvili afterward summed up the meeting as a ‘very important’ one for Georgia. He said he told the pontiff about security issues, the situation in the Caucasus

News

Government declares ‘ruthless’ policy toward crime

by | Apr 10
irakli_gharibashvili--

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a man suspected of killing two policemen evaded arrest for almost a week, Georgia's prime minister says that government will be ‘ruthless toward crime’. The announcement came after several law-enforcement ministers have talked about tougher

News

Georgia arrests suspected police killer after nearly week-long manhunt

by | Apr 10
shalva_abuladze_arrest

TBILISI, DFWatch--The suspect in the murder of two policemen, who was subject to a search by not only the police, but also counterintelligence, was apprehended near his hometown in an abandoned house on Friday. The Interior Ministry confirmed this on Friday.

News

Georgia signs deal with UK consultancy firm to reform its health system

by | Apr 10
DSC_0128_copy

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has signed an agreement with a British consultancy firm to reform the country's healthcare system. The goal of the agreement with Global Alliance for Health and Social Compact Ltd is to bring Georgia's health system in line with European

News

Georgia remembers 1989, when people stood up for independence

by | Apr 9
irakli_gharibashvili_9_April

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia today marks the restoration of independence in 1991. It is also a day of commemoration of an independence rally two years prior which was violently dispersed, resulting in twenty deaths. After becoming independent in 1918, Georgia

News

Four Nigerian students found dead in Tbilisi

by | Apr 9
nigerian_students_dead_rustavi2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four Nigerian students were found dead in a Tbilisi apartment Wednesday night, apparently from gas poisoning due to a faulty water heater. Three of them were students at Tbilisi State Medical University and one at Georgia’s University. Their bodies were found

NGO news

Activist group appeals against surveillance legislation in Constitutional Court

by | Apr 9
(DF Watch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch--NGOs in Georgia have revived their campaign This Affects You Too, and are launching a lawsuit against the Ministry of Internal Affairs for having direct access to communication operators’ networks and, thus, having ability to eavesdrop on citizens unchecked.

Security

Georgia’s defense minister says new anti-aircraft system is on schedule

by | Apr 9
mindia_janelidze2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze explained in parliament Wednesday that a defense deal with France has not been put on hold. His predecessor Irakli Alasania accused the government of halting the planned installation of new air

News

Lukashenko visits Georgia April 23

by | Apr 8
President Lukashenko (Press office)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is visiting Georgia for the first time ever on April 23-24 to meet his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Margvelashvili, as well as the prime minister and other officials. Mr Lukashenko’s visit to Georgia was planned back in February, when he first

News

Tbilisi naming ten more streets after women

by | Apr 8
nato_vachnadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi is making an effort to correct the gender imbalance in its street names, by changing the names of ten streets, naming them after famous women. There are about 1,200 streets in the capital, 1,120 of which are named after men, according

In brief

High winds caused power cut in Batumi

by | Apr 8
strong_wind_batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--High winds injured two people in Batumi and left 4,000 households in the Adjara region without power on Tuesday. In Batumi, strong wind blew down a tree which fell onto a nearby building with three people inside, two of whom were slightly injured.

In brief

Village evacuated after liquid oxygen leak

by | Apr 7
MIA photo of accident

TBILISI, DFWatch--A village was evacuated in Imereti in western Georgia Monday night, after a leak of liquid oxygen from an overturned truck. The truck overturned in a sharp bend, according to the Interior Ministry. It was carrying a large amount of liquid oxygen.

News

Former embassy building on Atoneli Street will not be sold

by | Apr 7
atoneli_street

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's government has decided not to sell a stately building in the center of Tbilisi that was meant to be a presidential residence and once served as the US embassy. The building on Atoneli Street near Freedom Square was on a list

News

Georgia to expand police powers after ex-convict’s shooting rampage

by | Apr 7
policeman

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is considering expanding police powers after a former convict killed a policeman and evaded capture. It is not known in what way the powers of the police might be increased. The Saakashvili regime started increasing

News

Swiss company Geotest to provide landslide monitoring in Georgia

by | Apr 7
Geotest_landslide_monitoring_Devdoraki

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is installing a monitoring system in Dariali Valley in the northern part of Georgia, which will provide a few minutes' warning in case of landslide. Last summer, the valley was hit by several massive landslides that

News

Murder suspect was released by parole board in November, 2013

by | Apr 6
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The man suspected of killing two police officers was pardoned in November, 2013, because the parole board thought he had put hid criminal past behind him. Gedevan Popkhadze from the parole board said the members were sure that the suspect

News

Pankisi locals demand the return of youth who went to Syria

by | Apr 6
pankisi_council_of_elders_meeting_April2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in Pankisi Gorge in northeast Georgia demand the return of two boys who allegedly went to Syria to join Islamc State. The Council of Elders, an informal mediation body in Pankisi, on Monday met to discuss what to do after Muslim

News

Manhunt on police murderer underway in Georgia

by | Apr 6
103725(1)saiti

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Law enforcement bodies in Georgia are engaged in a large-scale hunt for a man suspected of murdering one policeman and wounding several others. On Sunday, the Prosecutor General’s Office released a photo of the suspect asking for the public's assistance in locating him,

In brief

Two more Pankisi youth leave Georgia to join IS in Syria

by | Apr 5
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian boys, one 18 and the other younger, have allegedly left the country to become fighers for Islamic State in Syria, acording to locals. The two were attending tenth and eleventh grade at a school in the village Omalo, in Pankisi Gorge.

News

Georgian PM campaigning for mining in ancient gold mine

by | Apr 4
sakdrisi_artifacts

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Friday defended the destruction of an ancient gold mine, arguing that locals need the jobs. Appearing with employees of RMG Gold at the municipal building in Marneuli, a town south of the capital,

Politics

Georgian minister says defense deal with France not called off

by | Apr 4
mindia_janelidze2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense minister denies allegations by his predecessor that negotiations with France about a defense deal have ended. But the French ambassador to Georgia claims Georgia has not signed any air defense deal with France.

Politics

Free Democrats lose its members in Tbilisi City Council

by | Apr 4
giorgi_muskhelishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania’s party have withdrawn as a faction in the city council. The reason, they explain, is ‘incompatibility’ with his party, the Free Democrats. The Free Democrats Party was a member

News

Alasania details how air defense treaty with France was stopped

by | Apr 3
irakli_alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania accuses the government of having failed to implement an air defense treaty with France and proposes setting up a parliamentary investigation commission to look into it. Alasania Friday

In brief

Moldovan detained in Georgia for using ATM skimmer

by | Apr 3
liberty_bank_service_center

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Friday detained a Moldovan citizen for using an ATM skimmer to illegally obtain money. The suspect installed a so-called ATM skimmer, a barely noticeable device installed in the card reading slot of the machine which copies information

News

Ivanishvili vows justice for murdered businessman in funeral speech

by | Apr 3
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Thursday spoke in the funeral of businessman Besik Khardziani, who was murdered at his house a few days ago. He promised that those responsible will be held to account in accordance

In brief

Two veterinarians accused of fraud, approved unchecked meat

by | Apr 2
deserters_market

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s Investigative Service on Thursday detained two veterinarians in Tbilisi for fraud that allowed potentially dangerous meat to get through to consumers. Veterinarians Khvicha Bichiashvili and Mamuka Mzhavanadze are charged with

Politics

Georgian Dream losing support according to IRI poll

by | Apr 1
IRI

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing coalition has lost support, while the former ruling party has gained, according to the latest poll by International Republican Institute (IRI), published Wednesday. If there were held parliamentary elections next Sunday,

In brief

New figures confirm upward trend of Georgia’s population

by | Apr 1
natural_growth_Georgia_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--New figures show that Georgia's increase in population continued an upward trend in 2014, but the growth rate is still barely above zero. The number of live births minus the number of deaths, which scientists call the natural increase, was 11,548 in 2014.

Economy

New Georgian plant may produce parts for Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier

by | Mar 31
irakli_kovzanadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--An Israeli company plans to build a new factory in Georgia with the goal of producing parts for Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier passenger planes. The construction of the 'high tech and modern' aviation plant will begin in three months, Economy

News

Georgian government absent as president delivers annual speech

by | Mar 31
giorgi_margvelashvili_annual_address_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--When the Georgian president held his state of the nation speech in parliament on Tuesday, the government and the prime minister were absent - again. This is the second time the government has snubbed President Giorgi Margvelashvili. The same

News

Georgian president swears in one more ‘rebel judge’

by | Mar 31
merab_turava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday marked the appointment of one more 'rebel judge' to a top level position the country's court system. Merab Turava was sworn in as a new member of the Constitutional Court at a ceremony in Batumi attended

News

High winds tore off roofs in northwestern Georgia

by | Mar 30
weather

TBILISI, DFWatch--High winds damaged several villages in the northwestern part of Georgia on Monday. A reporter for Interpressnews said there are houses without roof in six villages Kveda Chkhorotsku, Lesichine, Akhuti, Nakiani, Kirtskhi and Zumi; totalling

In brief

Fake priests detained in Georgia

by | Mar 30
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained four fake priests who apparently falsified documents in order to get visa for the Schengen area. The young men are accused of forging documents that make them out to be clerics in the influential Georgian Church.

News

Family of Turtle Lake murder victim claims UNM member did it

by | Mar 29
kus-tba

TBILISI, DFWatch--A businessman who accused the National Movement government of seizing his property at Turtle Lake was shot to death Saturday morning. Besik Khardziani was hit by several gunshots, also to his head, near his house in Tbilisi. He was taken to hospital

News

Givi Targamadze questioned about police leaks

by | Mar 28
givi_targamadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--MP Givi Targamadze was Saturday questioned for nine hours in a case related to the leaking of information from the Interior Ministry. More than a week ago, a Georgian Interior Ministry employee was fired for allegedly handing over secret information

News

NATO holds democracy conference in Tbilisi

by | Mar 28
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO organized a two-day international conference in Tbilisi on Thursday and Friday, hosting Georgian, Armenian and Turkish politicians, and U.S. political and economic analysts. The local US embassy and Open Society also helped organize the conference,

Minorities

Batumi synagogue back to Jewish community after 86 years

by | Mar 27
batumi_synagogue

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Agency on Religious Issues on Thursday decided to transfer ownership of the Batumi synagogue to the Jewish community. The Jewish community has been requesting ownership and usage rights to the oldest synagogue in the city,

Economy

WizzAir ending flights between Georgia and Ukraine

by | Mar 27
wizzair_plane

TBILISI, DFWatch--WizzAir is ending flights between Georgia and Ukraine from April 20 because the company WizzAir Ukraine is being dissolved. “This decision was made, with regret, due to the ongoing instability in Eastern Ukraine, the devaluation and volatility

Media

Two TV hosts in Georgia accuse govt coalition of pressure

by | Mar 26
inga_grigolia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two hosts on the TV channel Imedi accuse the government of trying to put pressure on them, while the company’s management distances themselves from the statements made by their own journalists.

News

Deputy defense minister questioned in the ‘cables case’

by | Mar 26
zaza_broladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday questioned former Deputy Defense Minister Zaza Broladze for nine hours in connection with the 'cables case', for which the Defense Minister Irakli Alasania was sacked last year. As he left the building after

News

Relatives of woman who died in childbirth rally outside clinic

by | Mar 25
batumi_maternity_clinic

TBILISI, DFWatch--Relatives of a pregnant woman died in childbirth rallied outside the hospital in Batumi on Wednesday. Another pregnant woman died at the same hospital about a month ago. Relatives of Maia Verdzadze (29) blame the doctor for her death.

News

Georgia begins treatment of 5,000 hepatitis C patients

by | Mar 25
sergeenko

TBILISI, DFWatch--One month from now, Georgia begins an ambitious government program to treat 5,000 hepatitis C patients. The program starts on April 21, and is focused on those patients who need treatment the most. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said

Minorities

Adjara government finds solution to overcrowded mosque

by | Mar 25
batumi

BATUMI, DFWatch--The local government in Batumi, Georgia, is buying two buildings for local Muslims, to try to solve the decades-long problem with an overcrowded mosque. There is only one mosque in Batumi, and it is unable to accommodate all the

News

Dangerous parasite found in meat at Tbilisi kindergarten

by | Mar 24
meat

TBILISI, DFWatch--A dangerous parasite of the type sarcoysistis has been found in meat at a kindergarten in Tbilisi. The parasite was found by the National Food Agency, which is doing checks following the recent discovery of dangerous semi-prepared food. Sarcocystis -

News

Home-made drug use reduced by 90% in Georgia

by | Mar 23
prescription_drugs_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The use of home-made drugs and import of new psychotropic substances has decreased by over 90 percent since 2013, according to the latest annual report by the US State Department. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2015

Economy

Georgia wants to be a springboard for Chinese trade with Europe

by | Mar 23
kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia wants to use its free trade access to the EU to become a springboard for Chinese trade with Europe. Last year, Georgia signed an association agreement with the EU. Included was what’s called a deep and comprehensive free

News

Ivanishvili: Georgians don’t forget as easily as UNM thinks

by | Mar 23
bidzina_ivanishvili_2030_2015-03-22

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians don’t want Saakashvili's party back, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili predicted Sunday. He appeared as one of the guests in the talk show ‘2030’ on his son’s TV channel GDS. Saturday, the National Movement

News

Activists ‘disinfect’ square after Saakashvili party’s rally

by | Mar 22
disinfection_chancellery_2015-03-22

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists Sunday ‘disinfected’ a square in Tbilisi where the National Movement had rallied the day before. “We think they left behind bits of their unhealthy ideological views. Therefore  we decided to conduct a disinfection," Irakli Kipiani told

In brief

Traffic restrictions eased in Georgia

by | Mar 22
gudauri-kobi-road

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a few days of restrictions, Gudauri-Kobi road in northern Georgia is now open for traffic. But all kinds of vehicles must use snow chains on the Gudauri-Kobi road due to snow and ice, according to the Roads Department. Vehicles

News

Saakashvili supporters rally in Tbilisi against the government

by | Mar 21
national_movement_rally_2015-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tens of thousands of people rallied in Tbilisi on Saturday, demanding the government’s resignation. People came to Tbilisi from faraway Samegrelo, Adjara and other regions. Many arrived by bus. Organizers also

News

Saakashvili’s party preparing anti-government rally today

by | Mar 21
UNM_supporters_2015-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement, Georgia’s former ruling party, is preparing an anti-government rally in Tbilisi today. The party, which was voted out of power in 2012, is demonstrating against the government’s economic policy, and calling on the government to step down.

News

Tbilisi NGOs launch petition against GD member’s ‘anti-Western statements’

by | Mar 21
gogi_topadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Some of the most influential non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia on Friday launched a petition against anti-western statements recently made by members of the ruling coalition. A few days ago, a businessman who is leader

News

Court acquits former Saakashvili ally

by | Mar 20
roland_akhalaia_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday acquitted a close ally of former president Saakashviili for abuse of powers while serving as a chief prosecutor of a region in the west of Georgia. Parliament member Roland Akhalaia used to be chief prosecutor

News

Georgian parliament approves new chief justice

by | Mar 20
margvelashvili-gvenetadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Friday approved Nino Gvenetadze as new head of the Supreme Court by 88 votes against 0. President Giorgi Margvelashvili selected Gvenetadze from 28 prospective candidates. Gvenetadze was a Supreme Court

News

Ten police employees fired in Georgia for leaking information

by | Mar 20
givi_targamadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--An employee of the Georgian Interior Ministry was sacked Thursday because he allegedly had been handing over secret information to parliament member Givi Targamadze from the National Movement. Nine other police employees were also fired

News

27 year old woman killed by ‘jealous’ co-worker

by | Mar 20
murder_in_Bodbiskhevi_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 36 year old man shot and killed a 27 year old woman and afterward took his own life in the village Bodbiskhevi in eastern Georgia, International Center of Kakheti (ICK) reports. The news service does not specify when the murder happened.

In brief

Convicted murderer may be free one day after president converts sentence

by | Mar 19
geguti prison camp

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Margvelashvili on Thursday converted the sentence of a man so he will no longer need to spend the rest of his life behind bars. The head of the president’s pardon commission Zviad Koridze said the most serious crime the prisoner

Society

Georgia to allow teenagers to test for HIV without parents knowing

by | Mar 19
AIDS_HIV_blood_test

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to allow teenagers between 14 and 18 years to test themselves for HIV without permission from their parents or guardian. This is an initiative by the health committee in parliament, which will amend the law on patient rights.

News

Georgian and Russian diplomats clash over new South Ossetia treaty

by | Mar 19
ministry_of_foreign_affairs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian and Georgian diplomats meeting in Geneva for regular talks clashed over a new treaty Russia signed yesterday with the breakaway region South Ossetia. At the latest round of talks, which ended on Wednesday, Georgia brought up the

News

South Ossetia signs treaty on ‘alliance and integration’ with Russia

by | Mar 18
leonid_tibilov_vladimir_putin2_2015-03-18

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, was in Moscow on Wednesday and signed a new treaty on alliance and integration with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Georgia, EU, NATO and the United States protested against

News

Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan launch geopolitically important pipeline project

by | Mar 18
Ilham_Aliyev_Recep_Tayyip_Erdogan_Giorgi_Margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The presidents of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan have agreed to start construction of a natural gas pipeline which will bypass Russia and reduce Europe's energy dependence on Russia. The ceremony was held in Kars, a Turkish city near

Youth

40,000 have registered for entrance exams to study in Georgia

by | Mar 18
entrance_exams

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 40,000 candidates will try to pass the national exams this summer, in order to enter universities in Georgia. According to the National Assessment and Examinations Center (NAEC), registration for exams in 2015 finished on Tuesday.

News

Warning: Dangerous food products on sale in Georgia

by | Mar 18
khinkali_National_Food_Agency

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Food Agency warns against buying and eating many semi-processed food products after finding that they are contaminated by listeria and salmonella. The agency warns against semi-processed food products from the following companies:

News

Georgian consul in Turkey accused by newspaper of beating woman

by | Mar 18
Irakli_Asashvili_Larisa_Berezina

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian consul in Istanbul denies a report in a Turkish newspaper that he beat a woman working for him as a stylist. The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported Monday that Consul Irakli Asashvili beat the Moldavian stylist Larisa Berezina at her house,

Politics

Georgia to hold by-election in Martvili as parliament member passes away

by | Mar 17
janashia_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be this a by-election in one election district in Georgia to elect a replacement for a majoritarian member of parliament who passed away. Nauli Janashia, 68, represented Martvili, a town in the western Samegrelo region,

News

Court acquits pathologist on trial in Georgian PM’s 2005 death

by | Mar 17
levan_chachua_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia has acquitted a forensic expert who was on trial for negligence in connection with the death of a prime minister in 2005. Levan Chachua sat almost nine months in detention, accused of not noticing marks of violence on the body

In brief

Traffic update: Still restrictions on some mountain roads

by | Mar 17
road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is prohibited for all kinds of vehicles along the Gudauri-Kobi road section in northern Georgia due to intense snow and wind. The Roads Department also warns that it is not allowed to stop on 134km-135km of the Stepantsminda-Larsi

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia fell 22% in February

by | Mar 17
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money transfers to Georgia in February fell by 21.7 percent compared to same period last year, according to a new report by the National Bank. The total amount of incoming transfers in February was USD 82.0 million laris;

News

Georgian govt coalition party: ‘Joining NATO now may bring problems’

by | Mar 16
giorgi_topadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of a party that is member of the ruling coalition says that joining NATO doesn’t have to be a priority for Georgia, because the alliance doesn’t plan to accept Georgia and it may also bring problems for the country to join NATO now.

News

Ivanishvili show goes live on Georgian TV with praise of GD government

by | Mar 16
bidzina_ivanishvili_GDS_2015-03-15

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Sunday appeared on his new political commentary show ‘2030’ on GDS, a TV channel run by his son Bera. The businessmen quit politics a year ago and started the non-governmental organization

News

Former Tbilisi mayor must stay in detention longer than maximum term

by | Mar 16
ugulava_court_hearing

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Tbilisi ruled Sunday that a former mayor and close ally of Mikheil Saakashvili must stay in prison on aggravated charges recently presented by prosecutors. The ruling in Tbilisi City Court came not long before ex-Mayor Gigi

News

UNM, GD supporters clashed in Zugdidi

by | Mar 15
Clashes resulted number of injured (Maestro)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement (UNM) and the ruling Georgian Dream coalition clashed in Zugdidi, western Georgia, resulted in injuries and bitter mutual accusations less than a week before the former plans

In brief

Restrictions on roads in some mountain areas in Georgia

by | Mar 15
snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are traffic restrictions on the Ninotsminda road, which leads to the border with Armenia. Restrictions are in effect along the 94km-100km section of the road, where trailers, half-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are

News

Georgia modifies charges against five ex-officials including Saakashvili

by | Mar 14
mikheil_saakashvili_turkish_border_aug_2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office on Saturday modified the charges against five former high officials, including ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. In Saakashvili’s and former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili’s cases, the charges

News

Public Defender asks to investigate possible mistreatment by police

by | Mar 14
ucha_nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender in Georgia has asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate an instance of alleged mistreatment by police. A prisoner at Kutaisi (“No 2”) prison told Public Defender’s staff about the incident, which took place

News

Ian C. Kelly nominated as new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia

by | Mar 13
Ian_C_Kelly

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ian C. Kelly has been nominated as new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. Kelly is the U.S. State Department’s diplomat in residence at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If confirmed, he will replace Richard Norland, the current ambassador.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade in Jan-Feb fell 9%

by | Mar 13
trailers_Sarpi_customs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first two months of 2015 fell by 9 percent compared to the same period last year. This is indicated by new preliminary data published by the National Statistics Department (Geostat). The total foreign trade

Politics

Georgian parliament again fails to hold crisis session

by | Mar 13
parliament

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament again failed to hold an extraordinary session about how to tackle a drastic drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Again, the reason for cancelling the plenary session was that parliament members from the governing

News

New ski resort to open in Svaneti

by | Mar 13
tetnuldi_ski_lift

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new ski resort is to open in the Svaneti region in the northwest of Georgia. The facility in Tetnuldi will open for tourists from December, 2015, according to the government’s press office. It will have the longest ski slope in South Caucasus

In brief

Activists clash at Interior Ministry building

by | Mar 13
kakha_kukava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of a small Georgian opposition party was detained by police for hooliganism on Thursday. The incident took place at an Interior Ministry building in the capital Tbilisi. Kakha Kukava, leader of Free Georgia, was there for some business, when

Youth

Six detained in clashes outside parliament in Tbilisi

by | Mar 12
Lado_Sadghobelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people were detained during clashes at a rally against the government’s economic policy outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Thursday. Free Zone, an activists group which supports the National Movement, demonstrated

News

Georgia to supply Abkhazia with power as Inguri Dam closes for maintenance

by | Mar 12
enguri_dam_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Abkhaz and Georgian representatives met Thursday to discuss the closing of Europe’s largest hydroelectric dam, Inguri, for several months to carry out maintenance work. The power station is located partly on Georgia-controlled territory

Economy

Foreign investments up 39% in 2014

by | Mar 12
Sinohydro_Corp_Tbilisi-Rustavi_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in Georgia in 2014 was 39 percent more in 2014 than it was in 2013, according to a new preliminary report of the National Statistics Department (Geostat). The amount of the investments in 2014 was USD

News

University tower in Batumi sold for USD 25 million

by | Mar 12
university_tower_batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A disputed tower building in Batumi, Georgia, was sold on auction on Wednesday. The tower was meant to be a technical university, an initiative of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, but the idea stranded. The building was criticized

Minorities

Sexuality conference goes ahead without incident

by | Mar 11
(DF Watch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--A conference about sexuality went ahead without interruption in Tbilisi on Wednesday, despite an announced protest by conservatives. The conference was organized by Identoba, a group which works against discrimination on the basis of sexual

News

Georgia denies that financial dispute delayed Czech parliament’s ratification

by | Mar 11
kakhi_kaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia denies the veracity of a report that the Czech parliament has postponed the ratification of Georgia’s association agreement with the EU because of a dispute about a fine to a large Czech energy company in Georgia. A few days ago,

Politics

Parliament meets Friday for crisis session

by | Mar 11
margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday called a special parliamentary session dedicated to the monetary crisis in the country on March 13 at 12:00. The president’s administration published a decree signed by Giorgi Margvelashvili, which specifies

News

Georgia and China sign new economic agreement

by | Mar 10
giorgi_kvirikashvili_signed_economic_agreement_china

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili signed a new economic agreement with China on Monday, during a visit to the country. From the Chinese side, the agreement was signed by Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng. The agreement

News

Georgian battalion leaves for Afghanistan

by | Mar 10
31th_infantry_battalion_leaves_for_afghanistan_2015-03-10

TBILISI, DFWatch--A farewell ceremony was held at Vaziani military base Monday for one hundred Georgian soldiers who are departing for Afghanistan. The soldiers, who come from the 31th infantry battalion, are to take part in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission,

News

Crisis session in parliament this week

by | Mar 10
Free_Democrats_and_Giorgi_Margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday decided to call a special session of parliament to let the government face its critics after the national currency dropped thirty percent. Free Democrats MP Irakli Chikovani announced the decision after a meeting

In brief

Georgia detains man for distributing counterfeit US dollars

by | Mar 9
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was detained in Georgia on Monday, accused of distributing counterfeit money. According to the Finance Ministry’s investigative service, the accused imported a large amount of counterfeit US dollars and sold it among Georgian citizens. The amount

Minorities

No signs that Mokhe commission has done anything yet

by | Mar 9
Mokhe_demonstration_2015-02-13

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict between Christians and Muslims continues in a village in southern Georgia. A commission created in December to solve the dispute appears to have done nothing so far. Muslims in Mokhe demonstrated in February against the appointment

News

Man accused of attacking journalist released on bail

by | Mar 8
tbilisi_city_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday released on bail a man suspected of beating a photojournalist and damaging his camera on March 4. The suspect, who is around 21 years old, was released on a 3,000 laris (about USD 1,500) bail pending the first

Minorities

Women’s representation in Georgia unchanged for over a decade

by | Mar 8
eka_beselia_pirveli_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The percentage of women in local government has remained unchanged for the last fourteen years, according to campaigners. There are currently 11 percent women in city and municipal assemblies. In the previous period, there were 10 percent

In brief

Names of two Georgians killed in New Jersey car crash released

by | Mar 8
Identities of the dead students will be released by the Ministry of Defense after notification of their families in Georgia.

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Ministry of Defense released names of the two Georgian students at the US military academy in New Jersey killed during a car crash. The two died soon after Saturday midnight, after 9 am Tbilisi time.

In brief

Two Georgian military students in the US died in car crash

by | Mar 8
ministry_of_foreign_affairs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian students at military academy in New Jersey died in a car accident soon after Saturday midnight, at about 9 am Tbilisi time. The identity of the two, both in their early 20s, will be released by the Ministry of Defense after notification of their families in Georgia.

News

Three life prisoners get sentence converted to 20 years

by | Mar 7
gldani-prison-guard-tower

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three female prisoners who were in for life on Friday had their sentences converted to fixed term. The decision was announced by Zviad Koridze, head of the president’s pardon commission; one of two such bodies in Georgia. Instead of life,

News

Margvelashvili considering parliament session about currency crisis

by | Mar 7
nodar_khaduri

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Margvelashvili is reconsidering the idea of having a special parliament session to discuss the crisis sparked by an over 30% drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. At the height of panic a few weeks ago, the president

Security

Russia sends forces for exercises inside Georgian breakaway regions

by | Mar 7
russian_soldiers_2008

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia is massing military forces inside the breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and announcing that it is starting military exercises. Official Tbilisi calls on the international community to react to this violation of Georgia’s

Environment

Govt coalition sabotaged vote over inquest into destruction of ancient site

by | Mar 6
sakdrisi IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia again failed to create a commission to study the destruction of an ancient gold mine in December. Scientists have found more than 5,400 years old human artefacts in the Sakdrisi cave near Bolnisi, but the archaeologically

Politics

Georgia’s govt fails to present crisis plan by March 5 deadline

by | Mar 6
Nodar Khaduri

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia says it has not yet prepared an action plan for tackling the currency crisis after a drastic drop in the value of the national currency lari over the last few months. An action plan was expected on March 5, after

In brief

Tbilisi slips three places in quality of living ranking

by | Mar 6
tbilisi_buses_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi ranks 194th among 230 cities in the newest survey of quality of living published by Mercer’s. While last year’s report noted the Georgian capital as the lowest-ranked city in Europe at 191, residents may this year find some comfort

News

Saakashvili urges US senators to supply arms to Ukraine

by | Mar 5
mikheil_saakashvili_senate_foreign_affairs_committee

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted in Georgia in four criminal cases, on Wednesday spoke at a session of the foreign relations committee in the US Senate. Saakashvili was recently appointed head of Ukrainian President Petro

News

Georgian opposition party’s board member helped beat journalist

by | Mar 5
irakli_gedenidze_attack

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained a suspect after Wednesday evening’s attack on a photo reporter during an anti-government demonstration. Photographer Irakli Gedenidze from Interpressnews was beaten and had his camera damaged while

News

Journalist beaten in Tbilisi

by | Mar 5
irakli_gedenidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A photo journalist was beaten at a political demonstration in Tbilisi on Wedneday. Irakli Gedenidze, who works for new agency Interpressnews, came to Roses Square to cover a rally against the falling lari rate organized by the Reformers, Free Georgia

News

Georgia’s oldest member of parliament (88) retires

by | Mar 5
gogi_ochiauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--The oldest member of the Georgian parliament, 88 year old Giorgi (Gogi) Ochiauri, has asked to be relieved for health reasons. Ochiauri is a professor at the Academy of Arts. He was elected from the National Movement party list in October, 2012.

In brief

Georgia pardons eight female prisoners to mark Mother’s Day

by | Mar 5
rustavi_women_s_prison

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president pardoned eight women on Monday in connection with Mother’s Day, which in Georgia is marked on March 3. Zviad Koridze, head of the president’s pardon commission, said at a press conference on Monday that four among

News

Prisoners with life sentence call off hunger strike

by | Mar 4
prison

TBILISI, DFWatch--47 prisoners with life-long sentences have ended their hunger strike after more than a month without getting what they demanded. Almost 60 prisoners were part of the protest when it began in late January. Their demand was to be included

Environment

Court rules Sakdrisi should have remained protected heritage site

by | Mar 4
sakdrisi_gold_mine

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government lost its appeal in the case about lifting the protected status of an ancient gold mine in order to open for commercial exploitation. Tbilisi City Court decided last summer that the ministry has wrong

Politics

Georgia’s governing coalition received most donations in 2014

by | Mar 4
Georgian_Dream_office_

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream received almost 82 percent of all political donations in Georgia in 2014. In total, 7.4 million laris (USD 3.7 million) was donated to political parties and subjects last year. The State Audit Office, a government body tasked

In brief

Number of Tourists declined in Jan-Feb, 2015: MIA

by | Mar 3
Border with Azerbaijan (DFWatch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In the wake of tightening visa regulations by the Geoorgian government and crisis in Ukraine, the latest data released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia showed decline in numbers of tourists and overall visitors in Georgia. However, according to the same data, number of the transit visitors increased. 

News

Evnoy to Russia accuses Free Democrats of Incompetence

by | Mar 3
abashidze_zurab

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A cross-fire between political team of the Former Defense Minister and Georgia's Special Envoy to Negotiations with Russia went sour after the latter's remarks over Georgia's NATO membership prospects. Zurab Abashidze,

Politics

Saakashvili’s party planning rallies to unseat the government

by | Mar 2
zurab_japaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former ruling party, the National Movement, is preparing to take to the streets this spring in a change of roles since a few years back. The call comes after the government refused to show up in parliament on Saturday to debate

In brief

Georgian president speaks out against discrimination

by | Mar 2
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Sunday highlighted the most pressing problems Georgia faces in terms of discrimination, as he observed United Nation’s Zero Discrimination Day. He drew particular attention to violence against women and

News

Body of dead 19 year old handed over by South Ossetia

by | Mar 1
IPRM_EUMM_2015-02-27

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Saturday, the body of a dead 19-year-old handed over to Georgian authorities by the breakaway region South Ossetia. David Basharuli was found hanging from a tree in a small village in South Ossetia in January, after having been reported missing

In brief

Georgian leaders shocked by Nemtsov assassination

by | Feb 28
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president and prime minister are shocked by the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. “I’m shocked by the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. He was a politician who fought tirelessly for the

News

Saakashvili hints Putin may be behind Nemtsov murder

by | Feb 28
mikheil_saakashvili_lobbying_for_weapons_to_ukraine

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, vaguely blames President Vladimir Putin of the assasination of a leading Russian opposition politician Friday night. In a Facebook post published early Saturday morning, Saakashvili recalls

News

Georgia’s National Bank will not spend reserves on stabilizing lari

by | Feb 27
giorgi_kadagidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Bank will not spend its reserves of foreign currencies to stabilize the lari despite a dramatic 30 percent drop earlier in the week. The bank’s president Giorgi Kadagidze explained at a briefing at noon on Friday that

News

Abashidze-Karasin talks resume after a four-month break

by | Feb 27
abashidze_zurab

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Thusday, Georgia and Russia resumed their economic and humanitarian talks after a four-month break. Georgia's special envoy Zurab Abashidze and Russia's deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin discussed trade and reopening

In brief

Seven people detained in Georgia for making counterfeit money

by | Feb 27
counterfeit_20-50-100-lari_bills

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia detained seven people on Thursday for manufacturing and distributing a large amount of counterfeit money. The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that a group of criminals were in possession of special equipment for producing

In brief

Opposition groups blame government for lari’s fall

by | Feb 27
anti_government_lari_free-georgia

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were several anti-government demonstrations in Tbilisi on Thursday in reaction to the thirty percent drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Smaller groups that are not represented in parliament made up the brunt

In brief

Georgian parliament to meet on Saturday to discuss crisis

by | Feb 27
session-hall-parliament-2012-10-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the Georgian government is waiting to hear what ideas experts from the IMF have to deal with the weakened national currency, the lari, the former ruling party will be demanding answers at a special session of parliament on Saturday.

News

Ivanishvili blames the head of the National Bank for currency crisis

by | Feb 26
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili weighs in on the question of who is to blame for the more than 30% depreciation of the national currency in recent days. The businessman blames the National Bank and its head, who he assumes

News

Parliament approves president’s chief justice nominee on third attempt

by | Feb 26
nino_gvenetadze_parliament

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Wednesday approved Nino Gvenetadze as new Supreme Court chair. Two hearings on Monday failed because many Georgian Dream representatives didn't show up and a quorum was not reached. Some were

News

What are two military trucks with Russian plates doing in Tbilisi?

by | Feb 25
military truck with Russian number plate_from facebook

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pictures of two massive Russian trucks parked in Tbilisi went viral on social media Wednesday and made many think that Russian soldiers had paid Georgia an unwelcome visit. It caused concern among people to see photos of the trucks, which

News

Georgia to sell off state properties to deal with currency crisis

by | Feb 25
money_exchange_dinamo_tbilisi_

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has presented a list of state properties to be sold off to bring in new money, as a means to deal with an unexpected 30% drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Among the properties to be sold are the

News

Five victims of 1993 plane crash buried in Tbilisi

by | Feb 25
babushera_victims_funeral_2015-02-24

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five more victims of a plane disaster during the Abkhazian war in 1993 were buried in Tbilisi on Tuesday after being recovered from a cemetery inside the breakaway region. Giorgi Chargeishvili, Malkhaz Piranishvili, Zurab Melishiani, Rusudan

News

Georgian govt to cut spending as lari drops rapidly

by | Feb 24
money_exchange_tbilisi_

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has proposed to cut spending in order to deal with a drastic drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. The lari began falling in November last year, and went from a level of 1.75 lari against the US dollar

Minorities

Georgia doubles funding for religious minorities

by | Feb 24
catholic_midnight_mass_tbilisi_2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to spend 3.5 million laris on traditional religious groups and dedicate a new square to the idea of tolerance. As reported by DF Watch, there have been growing friction in Georgian society in recent

Environment

Ombudsman says lifting of ancient gold mine’s heritage status was illegal

by | Feb 24
save_sakdrisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the ombudsman claims that a government official broke the law when he greenlighted the destruction of a 5,400 year old cave complex with invaluable archaeological findings. In December, the Russian company RMG Gold

News

Former Kvemo Kartli governor charged with embezzlement

by | Feb 23
davit_kirkitadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service on Monday brought embezzlement charges against a former government official. Former Kvemo Kartli governor Davit Kirkitadze is accused of having used state-owned machinery to carry out construction

News

Lifetime prisoners in Georgia demand fixed terms and better conditions

by | Feb 23
lifetime_prisoners_relatives_rally

TBILISI, DFWatch--Family members and relatives of 55 prisoners with life sentence who claim being on hunger strike during almost a month, rallied on Sunday outside notorious Gldani No 8 jail in Tbilisi outskirts, demanding reducing their terms and better conditions for inmates.

News

One man dies in mining accident in Georgia

by | Feb 22
tkibuli_mine

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died in a mining accident in Western Georgia on Saturday. Early indications are that it was an accident. The victim is Kote Bakhutashvili, who worked in the transport district in the Mindeli mine in Tkibuli, a mining town in the north

In brief

Gudauri-Kobi road closed

by | Feb 22
gudauri-kobi-road

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road between Gudauri and Kobi in northern Georgia was Sunday closed for all traffic due to strong wind and limited visibility. Machinery has been deployed to the place by the Infrastructure and Regional Development Ministry. Vehicles are

In brief

Rally to save old naval station building in Poti

by | Feb 22
rally_to_save_naval_station_poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals rallied Saturday in the Georgian port city Poti. They are opposed to a decision by the local government to demolish the naval station building. Demonstrators say the building is a symbol of the city, which lies on the Black Sea coast and

News

Abashidze-Karasin talks to resume later this month

by | Feb 21
zurab_abashidze_-_grigory_karasin

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia and Georgia will resume their one-on-one talks in Prague in the end of February, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in an announcement. The so-called Abashidze-Karasin talks, which are limited in scope to economic and other practical issues,

Environment

Uncertain if Georgian parliament will investigate destruction of ancient mine

by | Feb 21
sakdrisi IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia has still not created a committee to investigate why a pre-historic gold mine was destroyed by a Russian mining company in mid December last year. The Free Democrats on Friday nominated one of their members to chair

Youth

Red paint bombs thrown at Saakashvili Library in Tbilisi

by | Feb 21
lado_sadgobelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were detained during tumults outside the Saakashvili Presidential Library in Tbilisi on Friday. Inside the building, activists for the National Movement held an exhibition dedicated to the one year anniversary of the revolution in

In brief

Road restrictions in north and west Georgia

by | Feb 21
Gudauri-Kobi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Snow has made Georgian authorities enforce restrictions on several roads in mountainous regions in the west and north. On the road between Kutaisi and Ambrolauri, via Tkibuli, traffic is restricted on the 36km to 72km section. No trailers,

Economy

Georgian government’s economy experts gather as lari continues to fall

by | Feb 20
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the Georgian lari reached a new record low, the Georgian government’s “economy team” gathered to come up with a plan to save the country’s economy. The US dollar is valued at 2.1771 laris in the most recent figures from the National Bank

In brief

Parliament replaces Free Democrats’ vice speaker

by | Feb 20
gubaz_sanikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament on Wednesday approved a new vice speaker, following the departure of one party from the government coalition. The Free Democrats left the Georgian Dream coalition November 5, and now the party’s highest

News

Former Tbilisi mayor must remain in detention, court decides

by | Feb 20
Gigi_Ugulava_in_court_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Tbilisi court decided on Wednesday that former Mayor Gigi Ugulava must stay in detention. Lawyers asked the court to release Ugulava on bail and promised to hand his ID card and passport over to prosecutors as a guarantee

News

Free Democrats: No deal with Saakashvili party

by | Feb 19
irakli alasania - candidate for defense minister

Tbilisi, DFWatch -After exchanging barrels of criticism, Georgia’s two main pro-western political parties deny likelihood of future political alliance. At least one of them, Free Democrats of the former defense minister Irakli Alasania,

News

Georgian diplomat casts doubt on NATO membership goal

by | Feb 19
zurab_abashidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A statement by a Georgian diplomat makes many ask whether the country’s foreign policy has changed. Russian relations special envoy Zurab Abashidze was answering a warning by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday, that Russia

Politics

Wrestling world champion confirmed as member of Georgian parliament

by | Feb 19
luka_kurtanidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian wrestler and double Olympic bronze medalist on Tuesday became a member of parliament. Luka Kurtanidze will be replacing Tamaz Avdaliani, who recently passed away due to illness. Eldar (Luka) Kurtanidze is on the same party list,

News

Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia defends Saakashvili appointment

by | Feb 19
Vasyl_Tsybenko_

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia on Monday defended his country’s appointment of Georgian officials who ex-President Saakashvili as an adviser, after being called in to the Foreign Ministry in Tbilisi. Saakashvili is wanted in four criminal

News

Georgia asks Ukraine to extradite Saakashvili

by | Feb 18
mikheil_saakashvili_-_independence_square_kiev_2014-03-29_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has asked Ukraine to extradite ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and ex Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili. Both are working for the Kiev government despite being charged with a number of crimes in their home country. The Prosecutor

In brief

Victoria Nuland visiting Tbilisi Tuesday

by | Feb 17
victoria nuland

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is visiting Georgia on Tuesday as part of a Caucasus tour. In Tbilisi, Nuland plans to meet with representatives of the government and opposition, as well as non-governmental organizations, so-called

Politics

Saakashvili’s party will never get back in power: Ivanishvili

by | Feb 16
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Godfather of the government coalition in Georgia, financier Bidzina Ivanishvili, said in a newspaper interview this weekend that he doesn’t think the National Movement party will ever be able to get back in power. The National Movement

News

Tbilisi summons Ukraine’s ambassador about Saakashvili appointment

by | Feb 16
mikheil_saakashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has summed the Ukrainian ambassador to explain why ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted in his home country, has been appointed to a high position in Kiev. Ambassador Vasyl Tsybenko was asked to come to the

News

South Ossetia to sign treaty with Russia on Feb 18

by | Feb 15
davit_sanakoyev

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia plans to sign a ‘treaty of alliance and integration’ with Russia on February 18. This follows the signing of a similar treaty between the de facto government of the other breakaway region Abkhazia

Politics

Georgian president meets with candidates for new Supreme Court head

by | Feb 15
giorgi_margvelashvili_gaero

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Saturday met for more than five hours with candidates for new head of the Supreme Court to learn about their plans and programs. Margvelashvili is continuing his selection of candidates for new

Politics

City Hall employee accused of corruption placed in pre-trial detention

by | Feb 14
meria_city_hall

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Tbilisi City Hall’s supervision service was Friday placed in to pre-trial detention on charges of bribery. During the court hearing, Prosecutor Malkhaz Getsadze said that the accused, Jokia Bodokia, accepted a bribe from Darioushi,

News

Saakashvili appointed adviser to Ukraine’s Poroshenko

by | Feb 14
mikheil_saakashvili_

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was Friday officially confirmed as adviser to the Ukrainian president, despite being wanted for crimes in his home country. Saakashvili will be head of the Advisory International Council of Reforms,

Economy

Georgia’s trade in January 30% lower than last year

by | Feb 13
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in January 2015 was 9 percent lower than last year, according to preliminary data published by the National Statistics Department, GeoStat, on Friday. The total turnover was USD 694 million, out of which export

Politics

City Hall employee denies corruption charges

by | Feb 13
davit_narmania

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of City Hall’s supervision service pleaded not guilty in the case of taking a bribe in return for facilitating the construction of a new hotel. Jokia Bodokia was detained on Wednesday. His lawyer, Giorgi Kavlashvili, told journalists that his client

In brief

Families rally in support of prisoners on life sentences

by | Feb 13
families_of_prisoners_on_life_sentences

TBILISI, DFWatch--Families and relatives of prisoners with life sentences and incurable diseases rallied in front of the government house in Adjara on Thursday. They demand that the prisoners are offered a new chance to have their cases reviewed and their sentences

Media

Georgia climbs further on press freedom index

by | Feb 13
me_jurnalisti_var_journalists_demonstrating_2011

TBILISI, DFWatch--Press freedom has been improved in Georgia, judging by the latest annual index published by Reporters Without Borders. The country has moved up 15 places and is number 69 among 180 countries. The last time Georgia listed this high was

News

Parliamentarians object against criteria for selecting head of Supreme Court

by | Feb 12
dimitri_khundadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large part of the governing coalition in parliament are against the criteria the president used when he recently selected candidates for new head of Supreme Court. The initiative began with 16 MPs from the Georgian Dream coalition.

News

City Hall employee detained for corruption

by | Feb 12
meria - city hall

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the Supervision Service at Tbilisi City Hall was detained on Wednesday on suspicion of bribery. Jokia Bodokia is accused of having accepted a bribe of USD 180,000; ten percent of the price of constructing a new hotel. The money

In brief

Prisoners with life sentence continue hunger strike

by | Feb 11
prison_

TBILISI, DFWatch--60 prisoners with life sentence are continuing their hunger strike to demand a new assessment of their cases. The prisoners on lifelong term want to be included in a mass amnesty introduced by the new Georgian Dream coalition

News

Georgia’s governing coalition loses its majority in Adjara assembly

by | Feb 11
medea_vasadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition has lost its majority of seats in the regional assembly in Adjara after one deputy broke ranks last week. Medea Vasadze explained in a statement that her decision was the result of two years and four months of analysis.

News

Two more officials resign in Georgia

by | Feb 11
government_chancellery

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two more government officials resigned in Georgia on Tuesday; one regional police chief and a deputy department head in the Defense Ministry. Robert Grigalashvili, deputy head of military reporting, yesterday evening handed in his resignation

News

28 candidates for new head of Supreme Court

by | Feb 11
zakaria_kutsnashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday presented a list of 28 candidates for new head of Supreme Court. Most of the names on the list are unknown to the public. Among the few known names is Zakaria Kutsnashvili; a member of the Georgian

News

Georgian Defense Ministry official resigns due to public pressure

by | Feb 10
Identities of the dead students will be released by the Ministry of Defense after notification of their families in Georgia.

TBILISI, DFWatch--The deputy head of the general inspection in the Georgian Defense Ministry resigned on Tuesday, explaining that he made the decision due to the accusations against him lately. Explaining the decision, Valeri Zumbadze wrote in a statement published

News

Two boys on life support after being stabbed at Tbilisi school

by | Feb 10
two_boys_stabbed_at_tbilisi_school

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two teenage boys were hospitalized with serious injuries on Monday after being stabbed by another pupil at the same Tbilisi school. Police detained a suspect, who is also a minor. All three are pupils at Public School No 186 in Didi Digomi

News

Locals in Kutaisi accuse police wife of fatal hit-and-run

by | Feb 9
kutaisi_hit-and-run_protest_2015-02-09

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parents and relatives of a girl who died in a car accident three days ago in Kutaisi accuse the police of covering up what happened. They believe the real culprit is the wife of a policeman. The family of the victim Nana Giglemiani demonstrated Monday

News

Suspect in Yuri Vazagashvili murder placed in pre-trial detention

by | Feb 9
tbilisi_city_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Monday placed the suspect in the murder of Yuri Vazagashvili in pre-trial detention. The Prosecutor’s Office asked to keep the policeman in detention. He was detained yesterday, suspected of murdering Vazagashvili.

In brief

Road closed in Gudauri due to heavy snow

by | Feb 9
gudauri_snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is prohibited along the Gudauri-Kobi section of the old military highway in northern Georgia due to snow and danger of avalanche. According to the Infrastructure Ministry’s road department, no vehicles are allowed through in that stretch

News

Policeman detained for murder of human rights activist

by | Feb 9
yuri_vazagashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia has detained a police officer who is suspected of murdering human rights activist Yuri Vazagashvili three weeks ago. Yuri Vazagashvili had been campaigning for justice for his son Zurab, who was

Security

Georgian PM: We are ready for negotiations with Russia

by | Feb 8
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashivli says Georgia is ready for negotiations with Russia. The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since fighting a brief war more than six years ago. Georgia's pro-European course stands firm, the PM

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