BATUMI, DFWatch--One Sunday in December, Muslims are cramming into the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi. Despite a three decades long effort to get permission to build a second mosque, they still have only one mosque to go to despite the city’s sizable Muslim population.
Posts by DFWatch staff:Minorities DFWatch staff | Jan 16
TBILISI, DFWatch--The party that ran the former Soviet republic Georgia for nearly a decade has split into three factions in parliament after a long internal feud over the role of its former leader Mikheil Saakashvili. For a few days, there was doubt over whether what
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has agreed to less favourable conditions for allowing its territory to be used by Russian energy giant Gazprom to transit natural gas to Armenia. The resulting deal is is expected to be met with harsh criticism from the opposition and local energy experts.
TBILISI, DFWatch--3.7 million Georgian nationals came one step closer to getting visa-free access to EU’s vast borderless Schengen area on Tuesday, as members of the LIBE committee in the EU parliament added their seal of approval to the plan. The Committee on Civil Liberties,
TBILISI, DFWatch--In the former Soviet republic Georgia, the Republican Party has proposed legislation that will make femicide a separate crime - a gender-based hate crime which is causing alarm in the country. The Republicans, a party formed by Soviet dissenters in the 1970s,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three months long infighting in Georgia’s main opposition party concluded with dozens of members announcing their departure and formation of a new opposition party on Thursday. 38 heads of municipal and regional organizations
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in the former Soviet republic Georgia entered the office of a libertarian party on Wednesday, seizing 84 cannabis plants that were planted eleven days earlier in a publicity stunt to promote the decriminalization of drugs. The three officers spent
TBILISI, DFWatch--Campaigning will soon begin for the election to become new de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. The secessionist parliament of the region must schedule the date of the election and start the campaign before January 29.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Leading figures in Georgia's main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) seemed to acknowledge that a split is inevitable in comments made on Tuesday. "This party is no longer united. When people don’t say hello
TBILISI, DFWatch--The son of a former opposition politician in Georgia was Monday officially charged with having assaulted the director of the largest opposition TV channel. The suspect Rati Gachechiladze (29) pleaded guilty and was released on 5,000 laris (USD 1,800) bail.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of Georgia’s largest opposition-leaning TV channel was physically assaulted at a restaurant in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The attack took place as Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia was preparing to leave a restaurant after the funeral of his father.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A New Year’s commercial in Georgia has caused controversy for showing Santa Claus being murdered in front of a child. Now, the Public Defender calls on the advertisement company to stop airing the ad. The video (16+) ‘Santa
TBILISI, DFWatch--The supervisory board of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB) on Thursday selected as new director a candidate with close ties to the ruling party and personal links to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The decision to appoint Vasil Maglaperidze
TBILISI, DFWatch--The former mayor of Tbilisi was released from prison Friday evening. Tbilisi Court of Appeal partially reduced his sentence to 1 year, 3 months and 22 days. As the detention is counted from September 18, 2015, his term expired on January 6.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports. GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A culture house in the Pankisi Gorge in the northern part of Kakheti may close after a fire that staff say was deliberately started. The fire on Tuesday didn’t cause much damage, but a spokesperson for the organization which runs the center
TBILISI, DFWatch--Almost 6.3 million people visited Georgia from abroad in 2016. This is 7.9 percent more than last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration announced on Tuesday. Out of the total number, over 2.7 million stayed in the country for 24 hours or longer
TBILISI, DFWatch--A fire that broke out at a culture house in the Pankisi Gorge was intentionally started, a spokesperson for the center told a local radio station. The building is located in Duisi, the largest village of Pankisi, a mountainous area of Georgia inhabited predominantly
TBILISI, DFWatch--Leaders of a small libertarian party in the former Soviet republic Georgia ask authorities to hold them to account after a marijuana planting stunt four days ago meant to force a softening of the country's drug policy. So far, the activists have not
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three American senators wrapped up their trip to Georgia on Monday by sending not-so-well wishes for the new year to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. The two Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and the their Democratic colleague
TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic Georgia made a small marijuana plantation inside the party office on New Year’s Eve as part of a campaign to decriminalize soft drugs. Zurab Japaridze, leader of a newly formed party called
TBILISI, DFWatch--While Georgian citizens are waiting for the final decision about a visa waiver system with the European Union, Serbia prepares to waive its visa rules for citizens of not only Georgia but also its two neighbors in the South Caucasus. “It was decided
TBILISI, DFWatch--Abkhazia’s de facto government may pull out of the only format of negotiations between Georgia, Russia and the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, de facto Abkhaz president Raul Khajimba warned on Tuesday. The former KGB officer
TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Abkhazia decided at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to close Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings which connect the breakaway region to Georgia proper. There are now only two crossing points that are operational, only one of which
TBILISI, DFWatch--A border guard working for the de facto authorities in Abkhazia, one of two Georgian breakaway regions, was Wednesday found guilty by the district court in Zugdidi of murdering a Georgian man at a border crossing checkpoint last May. Border guard Rashid Kanji-Ogli
TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia’s parliament prepares to declare the country’s foreign policy, the opposition National Movement has lashed out at the ruling party for wanting a ‘pragmatic’ policy toward Russia. Georgia aspires to NATO and EU membership, parliamentarians are preparing to declare,
TBILISI, DFWatch--One of Georgia's largest TV channels confirmed on Tuesday that it has successfully concluded negotiations to merge with two other channels that are linked to former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. Maestro TV was a voice of independent journalism
TBILISI, DFWatch--Lado Bedukadze, a former prison guard who has caused controversy in several of Georgia’s elections, will become a TV host on a newly established broadcaster. Bedukadze will host a short segment on a completely new channel called
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court has struck down a law which sent many young people to prison for using marijuana. Being charged with possession and consumption of marijuana will no longer land you in jail in Georgia, after the Constitutional Court
TBILISI, DFWatch--The arrival of Christmas was observed Saturday night at several churches in Georgia with Midnight Mass at the Catholic Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi and in the Protestant Holy Trinity Church in Batumi. The ceremony in Batumi
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s biggest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), is on the verge of splitting in two, as its key figures claim the party is in the midst of a ‘coup attempt’. Givi Targamadze, the former chair of the defense and security
TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died in an avalanche in Svaneti, in northwestern Georgia on Wednesday. The accident happened in Khaishi on the road between Jvari and Mestia. Rustavi 2 reported that the victim was a local minibus driver who had stopped his vehicle to look at the pileup
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has suspended a police officer who allegedly beat a journalist from Iberia TV a few days ago. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani two days ago told of how he was beaten by a policeman and two others after his car slipped on the icy road.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The prospect for Georgians to enter Europe without a visa came closer on Tuesday as the visa waiver agreement was approved by the Council of the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER. Tuesday’s decision
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister made a made a quick visit to Istanbul on Tuesday a day after Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by a Turkish off duty police officer. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili called the assassination ‘unprecedented
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Sunday ordered the pre-trial detention of two Georgians who are suspected of embezzlement of more than USD 25 million from thousands of microfinance customers. The court rejected a motion to release the accused
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are investigating a fire which broke out Sunday aboard a passenger train en route from Kutaisi to Batumi on the Black Sea. The blaze occurred near the village Khajalia. Although the train carriage was severely damaged,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A journalist in Georgia claims police beat him and pointed a gun at him following a traffic incident. The incident happened in Borjomi, a town in the southern part of Georgia, Iberia TV reported on Monday. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani, who works for
TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has decided to extricate his business from potentially conflicting relationships before he moves into the White House by revoking a licensing deal for a hotel in Georgia and its neighbour country Azerbaijan,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A more than 14 hour long protest ended on Friday with negotiations between opposition leaders and the embattled de facto leader of the Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia. On December 15, hundreds of people converged on the government building in Sokhumi,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Several flights were delayed at Kutaisi International Airport on Saturday due to ice. The airport informed that the flight to Thessaloniki, Greece was cancelled, while also flights to Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary were delayed for one day.
TBILISI, DFWatch--There are still road restrictions many places in Georgia due to the weather. Here is the latest update from the Road Department. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving on the Mleta-Kobi section of the S-3 road from Mtskheta to Larsi,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Following fierce debate between opposition and ruling Georgian Dream members, Georgia’s legislative body on Wednesday approved the 2017 state budget by 102 votes in favor and 10 against. The upcoming state budget envisages GEL 9.489 billion
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Wednesday for stealing two historical books from the National Library the day before. The books the 64-year-old is accused of stealing date back to the 18th and 19th Century, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) wrote in a statement.
TBILISI, DFWatch--75% of women who are murdered in Georgia were stalked by the murderer for 12 months prior to their death, according to a new report. This shocking statistic appears in a new report by the feminist group Safari, which urges the government to use its new
TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a Georgian opera singer who formed a political coalition which participated in the October 8 election, announced his departure from politics on Wednesday. Local media outlets wrote that the new leader of the party will be historian Nika Machutadze.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The infighting in the United National Movement (UNM) continued on Wednesday as 20 members from the main opposition party's central administration were dismissed. The dismissal impacted mostly those who side with Saakashvili loyalist Chiora Taktakishvili,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili may refrain from participating in the work of the state constitutional commission and instead start ‘actively lobbying’ for launching a public discussion regarding constitutional amendments,
TBILISI, DFWatch--There were reports on Tuesday that 20-year-old Ramzan Baghakashvili from Pankisi Gorge in the northeast of Georgia has died in Syria. Baghakashvili, who was from a village Dumastura, left Georgia for Syria two years ago with another teenager.
TBILISI, DFWatch--For two days, Nika Cherkezishvili has spent the night outside the government office in Tbilisi, refusing to leave until he gets a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. What caused Cherkezishvili begin a one-man protest is that he claims
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two young people were pulled out of the snow alive Monday evening after being caught by an avalanche in a mountainous part of Georgia’s Adjara region. Locals helped the two survive the ordeal. They did not have life-threatening injuries but were taken to hospital.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 27-year-old camerawoman working for Georgia’s Public Broadcaster was discovered dead in her apartment in Kutaisi Sunday night. Sopho Bobokidze’s death was first reported by her friends in social media. A health problem is the likely cause
TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against Georgia’s strict drug policy led to clashes with police and two people being detained in Tbilisi on Saturday. Protesters gathered in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Ave in Tbilisi to demand a softer drug policy.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman died in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday after being shot in the head by her ex-husband. The incident happened as the man visited the victim’s house, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said on Saturday. During an argument
TBILISI, DFWatch--Social media in Georgia have lit up with debate about a young man’s naked self-portrait in the highland region Svaneti. Was it an insult to local traditions? The debate was sparked by a video posted on Facebook which shows the man apologizing
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has appointed veteran diplomat and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Georgia’s Parliament Tedo Japaridze as foreign affairs advisor. Japaridze served as foreign minister in 2003 to 2004,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union on Thursday finally agreed on a visa waiver suspension mechanism, the last obstacle to the long-awaited visa free travel scheme to go into effect for Georgian and Ukrainian nationals. On December 7, the EU’s three governing bodies, the European Council,
TBILISI, DFWatch--There are road restrictions all over Georgia due to bad weather, the Roads Department warned Thursday. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving between the 1km and 50km mark on the S-8 Khashuri-Akhaltsikhe-Vale road,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The district court in Telavi, in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region, on Thursday sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for murdering a US citizen last August. The court determined that on August 12, 2016, Mikheil Chincharashvili met the US tourist
DFWatch recently had a Skype interview with Kenneth Yalowitz, former US Ambassador to Georgia (1998-2001). Mr. Yalowitz emphasized that Georgia is a country which expects problems and delays on the way toward democratic reforms, while firmly moving forward
TBILISI, DFWatch--In 2014, Georgia signed an international convention to end violence against women and impunity of perpetrators, but two years later the country has still not ratified it. After Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani had signed the Istanbul Convention on
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 53-year-old man died in an accident in a manganese mine in Chiatura on Saturday. Paata Ghavtadze died from injuries while leaning out of the locomotive he was driving in the poorly-lit Itkhvisi mine in the mining town in the Imereti region in central Georgia.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Mokhe in southern Georgia do not accept a compromise suggested by a government commission and continue to pray on the ruins of a mosque in the village. Local Muslims and Orthodox Christians have disagreed for two years
TBILISI, DFWatch--One person died and eight were injured Saturday in an accident in the south of Georgia. The accident happened on the Tbilisi-Akhaltsikhe highway near Atskuri at about 13:00. The local newspaper Sknews.ge reported that a truck crashed with a minibus
Almost 5.9 million international visitors arrived in Georgia during 2016, which is 7.9 percent more than in the same period last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration said on Friday. Out of these tourists (who stayed in the country during 24 hours and longer)
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian alphabet has been recognized by UNESCO as part of humanity’s cultural heritage. The decision to include three variations of the Georgian alphabet in the United Nations agency’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Wednesday. Schulz is leaving EU politics when his term expires in January in order to focus on the federal elections in Germany next year,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The faction supporting Mikheil Saakashvili narrowly won a debate at a National Movement party conference on Wednesday. A resolution was passed to hold a party convention in the format favored by the country’s former president.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government offers a temporary aid package to people who have their mortgage loans in US dollars, to ease the disastrous consequences of the lari’s continued race to record low depths. The decision was made at a
TBILISI, DFWatch--Amid growing discontent with the economic situation in the country, and a national currency which plunges to new depths every day, the government announces a hike in excise the tax rate for fuel, tobacco, imported autos and gambling. "As you know,
TBILISI, DFWatch--New grim figures from Georgia’s ombudsman show that 13 women have been killed in family violence during the first ten months of 2016. In some cases, the police were alerted in advance, but did not intervene. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili spoke Friday about
TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawmaker with background from the National Movement announced on Monday that he is leaving politics, after founding and campaigning for the splinter party Girchi. Pavle Kublashvili, a former head of the justice committee in parliament,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A forgery ring sold diplomas that looked like they were issued by the country's most prestigious educational institution, Tbilisi State University. Investigators are now trying to hunt down the fake documents.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament Saturday passed a vote of confidence in a new cabinet government formed after Georgian Dream won a landslide in the October 8 election. 110 MPs voted for and 19 against a cabinet, which had only three personnel changes
TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman was attacked in Tbilisi on November 25. The attack happened late at night on Tamar Mepe Avenue. The target of the attack, Nata, had her nose broken and suffered other facial injuries. She left the hospital on Saturday.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Student at Tbilisi’s largest university began another round of protest this week, breaking into building number 6 of TSU and refusing to leave until there are reforms of the education system. Using the same name as the ad hoc group during a wave of protests
TBILISI, DFWatch--Sir Alan Duncan, United Kingdom’s Minister for Europe and the Americas, visited Georgia this week to take part in bilateral talks about reforms and security. The Waldrop dialogue is an annual conference between representatives of the two countries’
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian lari on Friday hit an all-time low at 2.5026 against the US dollar. The previous record was in January this year, when it was valued at 2.49 laris per USD. Georgia’s National Bank has sold USD 180 million of its reserves since August, but has not
Tbilisi, DFWatch - A fistfight broke out between two guests during live political talk show between supporter of the United National Movement and a retired colonel, turned a conservative political analyst.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Acting Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili showed up at several committee hearings on Wednesday as parliamentarians were preparing for a vote of confidence in the new cabinet. Listing his ministry's achievements, Mghebrishvili said police in Georgia
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia is planning to take a fresh look at a high profile trial against the son of deceased former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. "Prior to this decision, a comprehensive and objective investigation had been repeatedly
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons have been arrested i Georgia accused of involvement in a macabre murder. One of the suspects is accused of killing the victim in an alcohol fuelled rage. The murder took place in late October, according to investigators. A neighbor complained
TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman who was attacked and severely injured on October 14 died at the hospital Tuesday night. The lawyer for the Women’ Initiative Supportive Group informed journalists that Zizi (32) had passed away. The attacker cut her throat
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Tuesday appointed General Vladimer Chachibaia as new chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF). 45-year-old Chachibaia, who served as chief of the Joint Staff of the armed forces
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport reported two flights are postponed on Wednesday because of the pilot strike in Lufthansa. The two affected flights were to have been carried out early Thursday morning, Tbilisi-Munich at 4.05am and Munich-Tbilisi at 5.00am.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified an agreement to join the military forces of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with the Russian armed forces. The combined forces agreement signed on November 21, 2015 establishes a joint
TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson says she had never imagined that female genital mutilation is being practiced in Georgia, and that the practice will be ended very soon. Three villages in the eastern Kakheti region are maintaining the practice which
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s acting head of government Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday unveiled his new cabinet, with only minor personnel changes from the last one. One notable change is the promotion of Dimitri Kumsishvili from Economy Minister to the more important
TBILISI, DFWatch--A new study presented on Monday shows that every fifth child in Georgia is living in poverty. The findings in the welfare monitoring study, a household survey published every two years by United Nations Children's Fund’s (UNICEF), emphasized
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Before the America’s president-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of the office, a leading Republican Senator, Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and his fellow party member Lindsey Olin Graham will lead a congressional delegation to Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia January to push back against Trump on Russia policy.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. At the final, which was held in Malta, Mariam Mamadashvili won with a performance of the song ‘Mzeo’ which garnered 239 points.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarch Ilia II joined other Eastern Orthodox leaders in Moscow on Sunday to attend the 70-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in two cities in Georgia on Sunday. In Kutaisi and Tbilisi, small gatherings commemorated transgender people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected parliament mits first session on Friday, and one of its first decisions was to register five factions and the majority and minority. The Georgian Dream majority consists of 116 MPs. 115 are members of Georgian Dream, which received
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new parliament on Friday, and the government now has a caretaker role until lawmakers has approved a new government. MPs voted to recognize the authority of the ninth parliamentary assembly.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A large, colorful abstract Willem de Kooning painting from one of the artist’s most productive periods was Tuesday sold at Christie’s post-war and contemporary auction in New York. The price: USD 66.3 million. The Dutch-American artist’s ‘Untitled XXV’ from 1977
TBILISI, DFWatch--A politician for the UNM party in Adjara has refused to serve in the region’s supreme council, echoing a recent decision by Sandra Roelofs, the former first lady, to not take her seat in parliament. Levan Varshalomidze, former chairman of the Adjara government,
Tbilisi, DFWatch - President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that he wouldn't tolerate acts directed against state institutions in his welcoming speech on Friday at the opening session of the newly elected parliament.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Israel might begin rejecting asylum requests from citizens of Georgia and Ukraine, Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz reports. The past two years have seen a surge in asylum requests by Ukrainians and Georgians, as citizens of these countries
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two high officials in Georgia’s Defense Ministry temporarily suspended themselves from their duties on Wednesday, after being accused of abuse of power during the Saakashvili presidency. Sergo Ninua and George Tsabadze, both lieutenant-colonels
TBILISI, DFWatch--A political party in the former Soviet republic Georgia has launched an unusual campaign to legalize marijuana: If the parliament doesn't decriminalize the weed by the end of the year, they will plant the narcotic plant in their office on New Year's Eve.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has nominated Sergi Kapanadze as vice speaker of parliament from the minority. The leader of the parliamentary minority will still remain Davit Bakradze. He was speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2012. Nika Melia, who was UNM’s candidate
TBILISI, DFWatch--Plans for a Trump Tower on Georgia’s Black Sea coast are being revived, after laying dormant for the last five years. Newly elected US President and businessman Donald Trump visited Batumi personally in 2012 and later praised Mikheil Saakashvili
TBILISI, DFWatch--Clergy from the Georgian Orthodox Church describe getting rid of some misconceptions about NATO and EU after a visit to Brussels last week. The unprecedented visit started November 7 with Georgian clergy meeting NATO's envoy for South Caucasus
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail for shooting an opposition politician last February. Alexi Petriashvili, then the party secretary of the Free Democrats, was approached by two men on a cemetery in the middle
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth constructive year and two-thirds of the world's internet users live in countries where authorities resort to censorship. However, Georgia has improved its position and has ranked as a free country according to a report released on Tuesday by Freedom House, a US government-funded pro-democracy NGO.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The flow of money into Georgia grew by 14 percent in October, according to the latest monthly report by the National Bank. The money flow into the country was USD 102.5 million, USD 12.6 million more than in October 2015. 91.9 percent of transfers
Tbilisi, DFWatch - European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini on Monday has emphasized that the situation in Georgia is ‘extremely encouraging, extremely positive’ to deliver on visa liberalization for the citizens of the country.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 60-year-old woman was arrested in Tbilisi on Tuesday, accused of beating a 10-month-old girl she was looking after. The accused has been working as a nanny for a family in Tbilisi for a month and half, according to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
TBILISI, DFWatch--For the first time Georgia has nominated a candidate for the position as Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ukraine’s National Police Chief Khatia Dekanoidze who was in charge of police reform in the country stepped down on Monday just in a week after resignation of her compatriot and ally, Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - In an official statement released on Monday on its website, Tabula named ‘change the format of its broadcasting, as part of larger structural changes to our operating procedures’ as a ground for suspension.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - An award-wining Georgian film ‘Anna’s Life” directed by Nino Basilaia has triumphed at the prestigious film festivals in Europe this weekend. Soon after winning the Grand Prix for the
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover increased by 22 percent in the first ten months of 2016, but against a background of increased import and reduced export. The trade turnover amounted to USD 9,950 million, according to preliminary figures published
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian lari is on course for a new historic low, after setting a record earlier this year at 2.4921 laris per US dollar. Today it is valued at 2.4899. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili explained the new drop in the value of the lari is as a result of growing imports.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as Odessa governor and is set to lead an opposition party, believes that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko won’t honour Tbilisi’s request to extradite him in the homeland, where he faces criminal charges.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Defender confirms that female genital mutilation (FGM) is being practiced in the eastern Kakheti region, a practice locals call ‘baptizing’. Georgians learned last week that FGM is being practiced in three villages in Kvareli
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has formed a new political party in Ukraine, demanding early elections there. The announcement comes a few weeks after his party in Georgia, the National Movement, was defeated in the parliamentary
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s secret police on Friday arrested a prison inspector for attempted fraud. The suspect is working at prison no 16 in Rustavi south of Tbilisi and is accused of trying to help an acquaintance get a prisoner released earlier in return for USD 7,000 bribe.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany thanked Afghan and Georgian forces on Friday for repelling an attack on a German consulate in northern Afghanistan the day before. The attack on the consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif ended as the attackers were pushed back by consulate security,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The change of leadership among Georgian Dream's former coalition partners continued Friday, as Gubaz Sanikidze said he is leaving the National Forum after the election defeat last month. Sanikidze has been one of the party’s most active
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing inflow of Russian tourists to Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry warns its citizens about the risks associated with such visits, referring to the Law on Occupied Territories, which may result for RF citizens facing formidable fines or even prison term.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Friends and activists gathered Thursday to remember the transgender woman Sabi Beriani, who was brutally murdered in Tbilisi two years ago. November 10 has become a national day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently resigned as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region, blasts members of the National Movement for bowing to the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. On Wednesday, in a video interview
TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a German man who has been missing since July was found Thursday in Svaneti, a mountainous region in northwest of Georgia. Sergei Smislov’s family has been looking for him for several months, believing that he was kidnapped
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian army on Thursday has begun two weeks of military exercises with the NATO at the Vaziani military base, in Tbilisi eastern outskirts. The Joint Training and Evaluation Centre
Tbilisi, DFWatch - An Institute War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) has unveiled that a small native Caucasian ethnic group living in a remote east area of Georgia, has been performing female genital mutilation (FGM) practice during past two decades.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian leaders congratulated Donald Trump with being elected as president of the United States, while political analysts in Tbilisi tried to predict how the result will affect US-Georgian relations. Georgian Dream parliamentarian Gia Volski
Tbilisi, DFWatch- President Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced that he feels disappointed regarding country’s parliamentary elections, as he was expected a multi-party system in the newly elected parliament, but it turned into a bipolar.
Tbilisi,DFWatch - Following the tense electoral night in the United States, Ian Kelly, US Ambassador to Georgia has emphasized that no matter who wins, US will remain strong alley to Georgia.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Political party New Rights left a coalition led by operatic bass Paata Burchuladze after it suffered sound defeat in the parliamentary elections in October. Mamuka Katsitadze, lead figure at the New Rights,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs has turned down her mandate to serve as a member of parliament despite being among the top ten names on the National Movement’s party list. On Monday, Roelofs asked the Central Election Commission (CEC)
Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head of Georgian Church is expected to pay a visit to Moscow in November to attend a 70-year jubilee of his Russian counterpart. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholikos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Pankisi native has been killed in the Middle East. Reports vary about where the 24 year old Mukhad Khangoshvili was killed. According to Interpressnews, which relies on an unidentified source in Pankisi, it happened in Mosul,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Levan Izoria said Monday that he is reversing a decision by his predecessor Tina Khidasheli to end compulsory military service. He made the announcement on Monday during a meeting with the media to present a report about his first 100 days on the job.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The exiled former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced on Monday that he is leaving as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region, a position he has held since May 2015. During a press conference broadcast on his Facebook page,
TBILISI, DFWatch--After a landslide victory in the election, Georgian Dream bigwigs gathered on Sunday to agree on key appointments for the new parliament. After the political council session was over, GD announced its list of candidates, which, not surprisingly,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The teenager colluded with her boyfriend and another friend to knock her elderly mother unconscious, then they stabbed and killed her, dismembered the body, burnt it with gasoline at a garbage dump in Tbilisi and threw it in a ditch, according
TBILISI, DFWatch--After several weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday confirmed that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is considering its secretary Irakli Kobakhidze for the post as new speaker of parliament. It was expected that the stern
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 29-year-old man was arrested a few days ago in Georgia for beating his 15-year-old wife. The young victim’s mother says her underage daughter has broken teeth, broken ribs and a broken nose after suffering systematic abuse at the hands of her husband.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia on Thursday arrested a third person for creating a disturbance at an election precinct near Zugdidi during the parliamentary election on October 8. Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili told journalists on Friday
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested three Chinese citizens on Thursday, as workers on a railway line in western Georgia claim that they were beaten by representatives of the company. In a short statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said its investigators
TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Georgia is blaming the government of impoverishing the country after the lari dropped in value again and is approaching a ‘psychological’ benchmark rate of 2.50 against the US dollar. Its official rate against USD was set as 2.4195
TBILISI, DFWatch--After a crushing victory in the parliamentary elections, Georgia’s ruling party this week began the work of forming a new government. Several changes have been proposed ahead of a meeting in the GD political council to take place at the end of this week.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A commission tasked with settling a dispute between Christians and Muslims over the ruins of a mosque in the south of Georgia delivered its recommendations on Thursday, but it is uncertain if this will help solve the two year old conflict.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia won a constitutional majority in the second round of the parliamentary elections, winning all but one majoritarian district, mostly by a significant majority. In Mtatsmimda district, GD had decided
TBILISI, DFWatch--In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background
TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Saturday announced his resignation and departure from the Republican Party, which he was leader of from 2005 to 2013. He stated his reason as disagreement with the founders and current leadership about the party’s
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has accused the governor of the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region of physically assaulting one of its photographers on Thursday evening. Nikoloz Khizadze claims he was heading to the village Muskhi to document
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 63-year-old man died on Thursday after being run over by a train three weeks ago in the south of Georgia. Zaur Gerliani, who worked as a fitter, had one of his legs run over by a train as he was out repairing tracks in the mining town Kazreti, near Bolnisi,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two months after promising to build a new road to Tusheti, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili now suggests building an air strip in the inaccessible region in the northeast of the country. It's an attractive tourist destination, but difficult to access.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Georgian president pardoned 168 prisoners, 114 of them will leave jail today, while the rest had their sentences reduced, the commission’s head, Zviad Koridze, stated at a briefing on Thursday.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawyer working for Georgian Manganese was arrested for corruption on Tuesday. Mirian Bichikashvili is accused of commercial bribery, the Finance Ministry said. Georgian Manganese owns mines in the small town of Chiatura as well as the ferro-alloy plant
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railways is considering creating a new train line connecting the airports in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, with regular departures. Spokesperson Dachi Tsaguria told Kutaisi Post that Georgian Railways is currently researching whether the new
TBILISI, DFWatch--Several key figures in Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party have expressed support for the ruling Georgian Dream before the second round of the parliamentary elections in most majoritarian districts. "In a few days, there will be a second round.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A key mountain road that connects north and south Caucasus is now closed for large vehicles because of snow and ice. Trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are prohibited from driving on the S-3 between Gudauri and Kobi, the Road Department
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men died in a car accident in a mountainous area in the southwest of Georgia on Monday. One woman survived and was taken to hospital. The accident happened in Keda, a municipality in the Adjara region. The local gamgebeli
TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a man who was shot dead at a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning has been identified as 23-year-old Giga Shengelia. Two other persons who were with Shengelia are being searched for, although their identity has not yet been established.
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday named Davit Rakviashvili, an old colleague at a media and public relations school in Tbilisi, as new secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council. The friendship between the two go back 30 years,
TBILISI, DFWatch--An attempt by a group of people to enter a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning left one young man dead after the sentry fired shots at the intruders. The mother of the deceased reacted strongly at the implication that her son would harm anybody.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement yesterday won the repeat election in a precinct in the south of Georgia, while Georgian Dream won in the western Zugdidi area. But the UNM candidate didn’t win by more than 50% at the 48th precinct in Marneuli,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs is withdrawing from the runoff election for parliament in Zugdidi, after the repeat ballot in three of Zugdidi’s precincts reveals that her opponent from the Georgian Dream is leading by a significant margin.
TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown if a decision by the former Georgian defense minister to end compulsory military service will become a reality. A decision may be expected in November, because Defense Minister Levan Izoria promised to ‘clarify’ the issue by next month,
TBILISI, DFWatch--One soldier died as a military truck overturned on a highway in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday. The other 36 soldiers who were in the same vehicle received only lighter injures. 27 of them were first brought to a hospital in Dedoplistskaro,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Repeat elections are held today at four precincts in south and west of Georgia where results were cancelled October 8 due to irregularities. The results of one precinct in Marneuli and three in Zugdidi were cancelled due to attacks on Election Day. The main
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia demanded the handover of a suspected murderer during a six hour meeting with breakaway authorities in Abkhazia this week. The meeting was held in Gali, in the southern end of the region, and dealt first and foremost
TBILISI, DFWatch--One more construction worker died in Tbilisi on Thursday; the second fatality at a construction site in two days. The accident happened as pipes were being unloaded from a truck on Khizanishvili Street in the northern Mukhiani district of the capital,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The two countries, which were at war with each other eight years ago, both expressed interest in continuing a pragmatic course in order to normalize relations, according to a statement put out by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court elected Zaza Tavadze as new head on Thursday, by five out of eight votes. He will replace Giorgi Papuashvili. The ballot was secret, but it is likely that the following judges supported Tavadze: Merab Turava, Lali Papiashvili, Teimuraz Tughushi
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people died in a car accident in the Georgian town Rustavi on Wednesday. Interpressnews reports that a Mercedes travelling at high speed crashed into lighting pole on Mshenebeli Street near Public School No 2. Two men died on the spot.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A worker fell from a building at a construction site in Tbilisi on Wednesday. He was brought to the Republican Hospital with multiple head injuries and placed in intensive care, but died later the same day. The Ministry of Internal Affairs
TBILISI, DFWatch--The 31-year-old suspected of viciously attacking a transgender woman in Tbilisi on October 14 was Wednesday placed in pre-trial detention. The accused Giorgi Murjikneli’s lawyer asked for his client to be released on 1,000 lari bail, but the judge
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing concern over imminent constitutional majority in the hands of Georgian Dream, Prime Minister airs his initiative to set up a group, which will work on amending constitution.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Individual members of some of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Georgian capital Tbilisi are now calling on opposition political parties to call on their voters to support opposition candidates in the second round of the parliamentary election, fearing that the ruling Georgian Dream might secure enough seats in the new parliament to amend the Constitution on its own. In a letter addressed to opposition parties like Free Democrats, Republican Party, UNM, Labor Party, GIRCHI, Paata Burchuladze's State for People, New Rights and New Georgia, as well as the president (the latter was omitted in the edited version), the NGOs warn that with a constitutional majority, the ruling party will be able to amend the Constitution and disrupt the balance of power between the different branches of government. “Call on your supporters to vote for the candidates of the opposition in the second tour of the election in order to avoid a constitutional majority,” the letter reads. The NGOs fear that Georgian Dream may violate the balance of power in the government branches. Spokesperson for the president Eka Mishveladze said that during the entire election campaign, ...
TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania, the former defense minister and leader of the Free Democrats who ‘temporarily left’ politics after his party failed to reach the minimum 5% in the election, may be hired by the president’s administration. According to domestic media,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three new airlines are opening flights out of Tbilisi from November: Turkmenistan Airlines, the Ukrainian DART Airlines and Russia’s Pobeda. Turkmenistan Airlines will fly twice weekly (Mon, Thu) to Ashgabad, starting November 2. DART Airlines begins flights
TBILISI, DFWatch--The date for the second round of Georgia’s parliamentary election has been set to October 30. 50 election districts will vote for single seat candidates for parliament, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. Candidates for the ruling GD
TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested Monday in Georgia, accused of involvement in the blowing up of MP Givi Targamadze’s car just days before the parliamentary election. The man, born in 1976, was arrested as part of the investigation into the explosion
Anna Kalandadze of Voice of America's Georgian service discusses results of Georgia's Parliamentary elections, and its importance for country's future dynamics with Laura Linderman, of US Atlantic Council in Washington. Parts of this interview ran on VOA program.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian robber who escaped from a court building in August by feigning illness was caught on Sunday with jewelry from a recent heist. Otar Varamashvili escaped from Rustavi City Court on August 31 by claiming he was ill and running away during
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Sunday who is suspected of having attacked a transgender woman two days before. The suspect is accused of attempted murder. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the 31-year-old was on probation
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 32-year-old transgender woman was Friday evening severely beaten in Ortachala, a district in the south of Tbilisi. According to Imedi TV, there were two assailants. Her throat was slit. She remains in the emergency ward in a serious condition,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people who were arrested for participating in the attack on an election precinct October 8 were placed in pre-trial detention by Rustavi City Court on Friday. A crowd threw stones at and smashed windows at the 48th election precinct ithe a village Kizilajo.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia on Thursday conducted a prayer on the ruins of a mosque which the local government in 2014 declared that it wanted to turn into a culture house. The plans by local Orthodox Christians to appropriate
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested six people on Thursday who are accused of attacking an election precinct in Marneuli in the south of Georgia on election day October 8. The six are arrested for interrupting the work of the local election commission
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s winter resort Gudauri had 127% growth in visitors since last year. Now developers plan a Radisson and a Sheraton hotel there. Malkhaz Kunelauri from the real estate company RED-CO told journalists that the first phase of the planned new hotels
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police arrested one person regarding an attack on an election precinct during the election Saturday in Zugdidi, in northwest Georgia. The target of the attack was the 79th precinct, in the village Jikhashkari. Kako Tibua said through his lawyer that he was unlawfully arrested and has started a hunger
TBILISI, DFWatch--After considering a boycott of parliament, the National Movement on Tuesday turned back from the drastic measure and decided to participate in the second round of the election and take their seats in parliament. Some party members wanted
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement plans to convene the party’s political council Tuesday evening to discuss further plans after dismissing the results of the parliamentary election. Some proposed to boycott the second round of the majoritorian elections
TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers in one of the mines in Tkibuli in western Georgia found a co-worker dead on Friday, apparently from gas poisoning. The accident happened in the Mindeli mine. Workers found the body in the morning as they arrived at work. It looks like 51-year-old Temur Kakauridze
TBILISI, DFWatch--A discussion is going on within the National Movement about boycotting parliament, with the one side wanting to start with not participating in the second round of the parliamentary election. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili got involved from
TBILISI, DFWatch--Already before the official election results have been announced, the ruling Georgian Dream party is talking about making two constitutional amendments. Another round of single-seat districts has still not been held, and no-one knows how many members
TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian defense minister Irakli Alasania said Monday that he is quitting politics ‘temporarily’ after his party failed to surpass the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections. Alasania’s statement came after the Central Election Commission (CEC)
TBILISI, DFWatch--There is confusion over how to interpret the results of Saturday's election in Georgia. A CEC spokesperson said Monday that the third party Alliance of Patriots is still below the threshold, but even so, the commission will discuss if it may still be qualified with 4.998%.
TBILISI, DFWatch--51 election districts in Georgia will likely hold a second round of parliamentary election; 18 of them will be in the capital Tbilisi. After 99.92% of votes have been counted, the governing Georgian Dream party has 48.6% in the proportionate system.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Alliance of Patriots is out of parliament, after it seemed for a few hours it had succeeded in surpassing the minimum threshold. At 3pm, the Alliance was at exactly 5 percent, and seemed qualified to get representatives into the new national assembly as the third party,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Former first lady Sandra Roelofs, who is running for parliament representing her husband’s party in western Georgia, has disputed the preliminary results which show that she did not win an outright victory. After 82 percent of votes had been
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three parties are predicted to surpass the 5% percent threshold and make it into parliament, after 82.55% percent of votes have been counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said. As the results currently stand, Georgian Dream looks to get 49.26 percent,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream is predicted as winner of the parliamentary election, based on the preliminary results of two exit polls. In the exit poll by GfK, Georgian Dream will get 39.9 percent, and United National Movement is second with 32.74 percent.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A crowd armed with batons and stones attacked a precinct in Marneuli, a town in south Georgia, allegedly stealing a box of ballot papers. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said police were dispatched to Marneuli’s 48th precinct