Posts by DFWatch staff:

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
defense_ministry

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

In brief

Poland ratifies Georgia’s EU agreement

by | Feb 8
sejm

TBILISI, DFWatch--Poland ratified the association agreement between Georgia and the EU on Friday; the 13th EU member state to do so. The vote in the Sejm was 439 for ratification, none against and one abstaining. The agreement gives Georgia free trade access

News

Woman dies during robbery

by | Feb 7
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman died during a robbery of her house on Friday in Tbilisi. Her colleagues believe she was murdered and demand a proper investigation. Lela Avlokhashvili, 43, died while robbers were in her house stealing money and gold jewelry. Vendors

News

Georgian fishing boat owners protest in Poti

by | Feb 6
fishing_boats_Poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Owners of about 40 fishing boats in Poti demonstrated Friday to demand less strict environmental protection in order to compete with the Turkish fishing fleet. The boat owners, who use seines to catch anchovy, think the law puts them

In brief

Escaped prisoner caught in Batumi

by | Feb 6
gurjaani_regional_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prisoner who escaped from a court building two days ago has been apprehended in Batumi on the Black Sea coast. The prisoner escaped from the court cell in Gurjaani Regional Court on February 2 after hearing that he was being placed in

In brief

Two detained in Georgia for forging US visas

by | Feb 6
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people were detained in Georgia on Friday for making fake US visas. Police working together with staff of the US embassy’s security department found that two people - a man about 40 and a woman about 50 - were making forged documents

Economy

Georgia downgrades its economic growth outlook

by | Feb 6
Nodar Khaduri

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has downgraded its economic growth outlook for 2015 from five to four percent. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said on Thursday that stagnation is expected in all neighboring countries, and this is reflected in the new

News

Georgia’s interior minister says ‘certain forces’ are planning a coup

by | Feb 5
vakhtang_gomelauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s new interior minister says ‘certain forces’ are attempting to destabilize the country, but Georgia won’t allow a ‘Ukraine scenario’ to be repeated in Georgia. After journalists asked Vakhtang Gomelauri to specify if he meant the former ruling

Environment

Work halted on new hotel in Vake Park

by | Feb 5
Music in the camp (DF Watch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--City Hall temporarily halted construction work on a new hotel in Vake Park in central Tbilisi on Wednesday. Environmental activists from a group called Guerrilla Gardening gathered in the park warning that the workers are in violation of law

News

Two more former officials charged in Zhvania case

by | Feb 5
mamuka_gvaramia

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former chief prosecutor and a deputy head of the National Forensic Bureau were Wednesday charged with involvement in the murder of PM Zurab Zhvania in 2005. The Prosecutor’s Office claims the two exceeded official powers

News

Wanted Georgian ex-justice minister spotted in Kiev

by | Feb 5
zurab adeishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, who has been wanted for more than a year and is subject to an Interpol Red Alert, was recently spotted in Ukraine. The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has now asked the Ukrainian government

News

Robbers target Georgia’s small bank service centers

by | Feb 4
liberty_bank_service_center

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bank service center was robbed in Tbilisi Wednesday. This is the fourth such robbery in a short time. An armed robber attacked Bank of Georgia’s service center on Noneishvili Street in Gldani, northern Tbilisi. It is still unknown whether

In brief

Six detained in Tbilisi at rally against National Movement

by | Feb 4
anti_National_Movement_rally_2015-02-03

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people were detained for petty hooliganism in Tbilisi on Tuesday, during a rally outside the office of the National Movement. The rally was organized by the youth movement Free Generation, which demands to convict former officials and ‘restore justice.’

In brief

Prisoner on the run in Kakheti, eastern Georgia

by | Feb 4
ozurgeti_police_car

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are searching for a prisoner who escaped from a court building on Monday. The man, a resident of the a village Velistsikhe, is charged with injuring a person with a weapon. The regional court in Gurjaani, in the Kakheti region

News

Belarus and Georgia resume cooperation, Lukashenko plans visit

by | Feb 3
alexander_lukashenko

TBILISI, DFWatch--Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko plans to visit Georgia in April. Georgian agriculture minister Otar Danelia said this today during a visit to Minsk. Danelia is there in connection with a session of the newly revived Georgia-Belarus

Economy

Three percent drop in visitors to Georgia in January

by | Feb 3
ski_lift_bakuriani

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three percent less people visited Georgia in January 2015, compared to the same period last year, according to new figures from the Ministry of internal Affairs. The figures were presented on Tuesday by the ministry’s Department of Analysis,

News

Georgian PM downplays Ivanishvili’s criticism of NGO leaders

by | Feb 3
irakli_Garibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister on Monday downplayed criticism of three NGO leaders by businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili last week. The billionaire who created the coalition now in power said in a TV interview that an organization he runs is working

News

Rally in Tbilisi to demand accountability for Saakashvili regime

by | Feb 2
restore_justice10_2015-01-31

TBILISI, DFWatch--Over a thousand people demonstrated in central Tbilisi on Saturday, demanding that officials that broke the law during the Saakashvili regime are held to account. They demand that officials in the Saakashvili regime who committed crimes are punished,

In brief

Seat in Georgian parliament empty as MP dies of illness

by | Feb 2
tamaz_avdaliani

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition has died as result of serious illness, parliament’s press office said on Friday. Tamaz Avdaliani, who was born September 16, 1964. In October, 2012, was elected through the party list

Environment

Activists say ‘SOS’ for Old Tbilisi as massive development goes ahead

by | Feb 1
SOS_Panorama

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people marched through Tbilisi on Saturday to protest against the construction of a number of massive buildings in different locations mostly in the old part of the capital. Protesters gathered outside Tbilisi City Council and walked toward

News

Georgia creates body to investigate crimes by legal proceedings

by | Jan 31
prosecutors_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia wants to create a new department which will investigate offenses committed in the course of legal proceedings. The initiative comes after the office has received thousands of applications from victims of alleged

In brief

Ivanishvili plans tv series about Saakashvili’s nine year rule

by | Jan 30
bidzina ivanishvili --

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili plans a TV series about the nine years of National Movement rule. In an interview with Imedi TV on Wednesday, Ivanishvili said the name of the series will be ‘9+1’, which indicates the nine

News

HRW criticizes Georgia for not prosecuting political violence

by | Jan 30
HRW_World_Report_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a new report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Georgia for failing to prosecute attacks on activists from the National Movement, even though the perpetrators have been identified. In its latest world report, the organization writes that during

NGO news

Ivanishvili on collision course with the U.S. on role of NGOs

by | Jan 30
richard_norland

TBILISI, DFWatch--The godfather of the government in Georgia, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, was rebuked by the US ambassador Thursday after criticizing three of the most influential NGO leaders in the country. In a long TV interview on one of the national TV

Environment

New day of protest against hotel in Vake Park

by | Jan 29
vake_park_guerilla_gardening_2015-01-28

TBILISI, DFWatch--Environmental activists in Tbilisi on Wednesday continued their protest against the construction of a hotel inside one of the city’s central parks. City Hall decided to fine the company for minor violations, but protesters want a halt in the construction

In brief

Gulf under investigation for tax avoidance in Georgia

by | Jan 29
gulf_gas_station

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigation service is going through the accounting documents of Gulf, one of the largest oil retail companies in Georgia. According to the vice president of the company’s marketing department, the service entered

News

Ivanishvili’s latest reprimand: Do they think Margvelashvili is doing magic?

by | Jan 29
bidzina_ivanishvili_on_Imedi_TV_2015-01-28_

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bidzina Ivanishvili, the businessman who created the Georgian Dream coalition, on Wednesday criticized the president in an interview with Imedi TV. For the last year, the president and prime minister in Georgia have been in a subdued conflict.

News

Ivanishvili criticizes Saakashvili’s party for urging youth to join Ukraine war

by | Jan 29
bidzina_ivanishvili_on_Imedi_TV_2015-01-28

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticizes the party of ex-President Saakashvili, the National Movement, of encouraging youth to volunteer for the war in Ukraine. “[Mikheil] Saakashvili and others who wish to see Georgians going

News

Leader of 2006 Kodori mutiny released after entering plea deal

by | Jan 28
emzar-kviciani_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former warlord who was sentenced to 12 years in jail last November, was Wednesday released after entering a plea agreement. Emzar Kvitsiani, who was convicted of leading the mutiny in Kodori Gorge in 2006 and for setting up an illegal paramilitary

News

Lowest lari rate for eleven years

by | Jan 28
national library

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian lari has dropped in value again and is now traded for more than two US dollars - the lowest exchange rate for the last eleven years. According to the National Bank, the exchange rate for lari on January 28 is 2.0144 for one USD.

In brief

Consultations continue to find new head of Georgia’s Supreme Court

by | Jan 28
kote_and_pavle_kublashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Consultations are continuing in Tbilisi’s political circles to find a new head of Supreme Court. Current head Kote Kublashvili’s term expires in the end of February. During Kublashvili’s ten year tenure, the court system in Georgia became

News

Prisoner was to have murdered mother of Buta Robakidze

by | Jan 28
Ia_Metreveli

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prisoner serving time for drug related crime claims he was forced to carry out a murder in 2008, but the plan was called off. The prisoner’s story was discovered by the Georgian ombudsman, who recommended that the case be investigated

Society

Trade union blames weak worker protection for deaths in the workplace

by | Jan 27
DSC_0346_copy_Chiatura_miners_2014-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Trade Union blames a weak labor code for what it says is a rise in the number of deaths in the workplace since the Saakashvili regime took away almost all worker protection in 2006. During Saakashvili, the labor code was changed so there

News

Deputy head of NATO visiting Georgia, will visit planned training center

by | Jan 27
alexander_vershbow

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO's deputy secretary general, Alexander Vershbow, will visit Georgia January 29-30. The purpose of the trip is to monitor the implementation of a 'substantive package' offered by the alliance at the Wales summit last summer, according

News

Prisoners with life sentence on hunger strike to be part of 2013 amnesty

by | Jan 27
Prison_No_8_Gldani

TBILISI, DFWatch--At least 50 prisoners serving life sentences have gone on hunger strike to demand to benefit from a mass amnesty introduced in early 2013. The prisoners want to change their life sentences into a set number of years, after which

In brief

Georgian PM appoints new interior minister

by | Jan 26
vakhtang_gomelauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday appointed Vakhtang Gomelarui as new interior minister after the previous minister resigned in connection with the bombing of a human rights activist. Until now, Gomelauri served as first deputy

In brief

Yuri Vazagashvili buried Sunday

by | Jan 26
funeral

TBILISI, DFWatch---Yuri Vazagashvili was Sunday buried in the village Karapila, near Kaspi, 50 km west of the capital. He was buried next to his son Zurab, who died in a police operation in 2006 during the Saakashvili regime and became a symbol of the heavy-handed

In brief

Lithuanian PM starts two day visit to Georgia

by | Jan 26
algirdas butkevicius

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Lithuanian prime minister on Monday starts a two day visit to Georgia. On the first day of his visit, Algirdas Butkevičius will meet his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashivli after an official welcoming ceremony at the government office

News

Few of the ombudsman’s recommendations are followed

by | Jan 26
public defender - ombudsman

TBILISI, DFWatch--Only 35 out of 154 of the ombudsman recommendations in 2014 were followed, according to a report published on Friday. 22 out of the 154 recommendations to central and local government bodies, or the government officials were partly fulfilled, 47 not fulfilled

News

More people leave Georgia’s law enforcement after activist’s death

by | Jan 25
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The fallout from a bombing of a rights activist in Georgia last week continued Sunday with several prosecutors asking to be suspended and police officers being fired. On Friday, the interior minister resigned. This was followed by the

In brief

Police official in Georgia resigns following bombing of activist

by | Jan 24
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--A high-ranking police official in Georgia resigned Friday evening. His resignation follows that of the interior minister, and is related to the bombing of a rights activist last Wednesday. The activist, Yuri Vazagasvili, was blown up while standing

News

Georgia’s interior minister resigns

by | Jan 23
alexandre_chikaidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze, who was hardly seen in public during his tenure, on Friday resigned following the controversial murder of Yuri Vazagashvili. In his letter of resignation to the PM, Chikaidze writes that he made the

News

Appeals Court upholds nine year sentence against Megis Kardava

by | Jan 23
megis kardava

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former government official charged in the case of Sergo Tetradze’s murder, was on Friday sentenced to nine years in jail by the Appeals Court of Georgia. Megis Kardava, who held the post of deputy at the military police department, was found

News

Georgian Dream hesitates over inquest into destruction of gold mine

by | Jan 23
sakdrisi_investigate_destruction_2014-12-19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Doubt has been cast on the Georgian parliament's plans to have an inquest into the destruction of a prehistoric gold mine, as a leading parliamentarian says he no longer thinks it's a good idea. The ancient cave complex in Sakdrisi in southern

News

Suspect in Batumi murder of girl, 16, detained in Iran

by | Jan 23
murder_suspect_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Iran has detained the suspect in the murder of a 16 year old girl in Batumi in July, 2013. Mariam Kochalidze was found dead with her throat slashed and a large stone on her back near the new boulevard in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. The 28-year old Iranian suspect in the murder was identified as Mohamadamin Ruintan. He came to Georgia from Turkey on June, 23 entering at Sarpi, according to the Interior Ministry. He went back to Turkey on the day of the murder. Batumi City Court sentenced him to pre-trial detention in absentia. On Wednesday, Interpol’s Georgian bureau received a letter from the organization’s office in Tehran, saying that Ruintan had been detained. The letter says that there was no record of the suspect crossing into Iran, so he might have entered illegally. Local police say Ruintan may have committed another murder of an underage boy. Police detained him a few hours after the murder. Interpol announced a search for the suspect on October 24, 2013.

In brief

Coffin of Georgian who fought in Ukraine greeted at Tbilisi airport

by | Jan 22
Tamaz_Sukhiashvili_coffin_Kashueti

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a Georgian volunteer fighter who died in Ukraine on January 17 arrived in Georgia on Wednesday and will be brought to his hometown Khashuri today. Earlier, there was a public funeral for Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 36, in Kiev, which was attended

News

Over 30 witnesses questioned about Yuri Vazagashvili’s death

by | Jan 22
yuri_vazagashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--At least thirty people have so far been questioned about the death of Yuri Vazagashvili, father of a victim of a controversial police operation in 2006. Zurab Vazagashvili’s death nearly nine years ago became a symbol of the heavy-handed police

Economy

China’s ambassador briefed about investment prospects in agriculture

by | Jan 22
meeting with chinese ambassador

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s agriculture minister on Wednesday met with the Chinese ambassador to discuss bilateral relations and the mostly positive dynamic in trade relations. Ambassador Yue Bin said that the year 2014 was the most successful, fruitful and positive

News

Return of dead 19 year old discussed at IPRM meeting

by | Jan 21
IPRM photo

TBILISI, DFWatch--At a regular field meeting Tuesday between the parties in the 2008 South Ossetia war, Georgia brought up the question of how to bring home the body of a 19 year old boy who was recently found dead in South Ossetia after being missing for six months.

News

Man blaming police of the son’s death, killed at his grave

by | Jan 21
It is still unknown whether it was a suicide or homocide (Interpressnews)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A father of a victim of controversial police special operation back in 2006 was found dead on the grave of his son as result of an explosion on Tuesday. It is still unknown whether it was a suicide or a homicide,

Minorities

Muslims in northeast Georgia demonstrate against Charlie Hebdo

by | Jan 20
საპროტესტო აქცია დუისში („ინტერპრესნიუსი“)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in a valley northeast in Georgia demonstrated Monday against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing a caricature depicting Prophet Mohammad on January 14. People in the village Duisi, in Pankisi Gorge, believe the cartoon

In brief

Body of Georgian priest from Norman Atlantic arrives in Tbilisi

by | Jan 20
ilia_kartozia

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday posthumously honored priest Ilia Kartozia, 27, for his bravery rescuing people in the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster. The fire on Norman Atlantic started on December 28. There were eight Georgians aboard, all of whom

News

Third Georgian fighter dies in the war in Ukraine

by | Jan 19
Tamaz_Sukhiashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A third Georgian has died in the war in Ukraine. Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 36, was killed in the battle for Donetsk Airport near the village of Pisky on January 17, fighting alongside Kiev’s forces. Three more Georgians were slightly wounded in the same battle.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade grew 5% in 2014

by | Jan 19
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in 2014 was five percent more than the previous year according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The turnover totalled USD 11,459 million. According to the preliminary

In brief

Chinese citizen detained for facilitating prostitution

by | Jan 18
brothel_busted_in_Gonio

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chinese citizen was on Sunday detained in Georgia’s second largest city Kutaisi for providing premises used for prostitution. According to the Interior Ministry, the suspect rented a house on Chavchavadze Avenue 33 and opened a parlour offering

In brief

23 Georgian sailors stranded on five ships in Benin

by | Jan 18
maritime_transport_agency

TBILISI, DFWatch--23 Georgian sailors have been stuck on five ships under Greek management close to Benin in western Africa. The sailors are asking for help because their supplies of food and water are running low and they haven’t received their salaries for about six months.

News

Georgian Church explains its position regarding Charlie Hebdo

by | Jan 17
Patriarchate

TBILISI, DFWatch--In its first comments about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, the Georgian Orthodox Church condemns the terror act but also calls on the government 'to set a limit to freedom of expression in order to protect other internationally recognized human rights.'

Economy

Sharp drop in money transfers into Georgia

by | Jan 16
lari_cash

TBILISI, DFWatch--Money transfers to Georgia in December 2014 were 24.9 percent lower than in the same period in 2013, according to new figures from the National Bank. The amount of money transfers in December was USD 116.1 milllion, which was USD 38.5 million

News

Film made by Georgian director nominated for Oscar

by | Jan 16
tangerines

TBILISI, DFWatch--A film made by a Georgian filmmaker which was previously nominated for a Golden Globe, was Thursday nominated for an Oscar. Tangerines, a Georgian-Estonian co-production, was selected for the short list of foreign language film nominees together

In brief

Missing 77 year old found dead near South Ossetia

by | Jan 16
ergneti_03_resized

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 77 year old man who went missing a few days ago in the village Ergneti next to South Ossetia was found dead on Thursday. Valiko Kasradze disappeared late at night on January 12. His family thought he might have lost his way and been detained

News

Georgian government plans to sell university tower in Batumi

by | Jan 16
UNM rally Batumi technical university

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants to sell a high-rise in Batumi that was built during the previous government to be used for a new university. Then president Mikeil Saakashvili opened the 35-storey tower in 2012, which has a small ferris wheel

News

Four Georgians nominated for Ukraine’s Justice Ministry

by | Jan 15
gia getsadze

Former deputy interior minister and three more former Georgian officials have been nominated on high positions in Ukaraine Justice Ministry and will officially be appointed immediately after getting Ukrainian citizenship. All of them have already applied for Ukrainian citizenship that is a requirement for appointment by the Ukraine law and will probably get it after a special presidential commission that grants citizenship to foreign nationals announces its decision. Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, who announced the nominations during a press conference on Wednesday, said he hoped the commission’s decision would be positive. Among the nominees are Gia Getsadze, former deputy interior minister and former governor of Imereti region in western Georgia, Jambul (Jaba) Ebanoidze, former head of the revenue service and Khatia Shelia and Giorgi Tsiklauri, both holding various leading positions in the Georgian Justice Ministry under Mikheil Saakashvili government. Gia Getsadze, who is nominated for the position of the first deputy justice minister in charge of fighting corruption, was elected as a dean of the law faculty at Ilia University in Tbilisi in July, 2014. He is also a founder partner of the ...

News

PM Garibashvili: no obligation to attend the presidents ‘symbolic’ address

by | Jan 14
Irakli Garibashvili, the PM, at the opening ceremony of the five-stars hotel in Borjomi resort town (Press Office photo)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Irakli Garibashvili, the PM, once more publicly disregards the President stating that government members have no obligation to attend the latter's the state of the nation address at the parliament in February. The constitution doesn’t oblige government

News

Georgian parliamentarians visit Kiev

by | Jan 14
session hall parliament 2012-10-21

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid tensions over appointment of former Georgian officials on the high positions in Ukraine, Georgian parliamentary delegation visits Kiev Nov. 19, according to the chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee. Tedo Japaridze,

News

Saakashvili criticized for his Syria statement

by | Jan 13
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia slammed his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili, accusing him of manipulating with important and strategic issues of the country's security just for his own interests. Mikheil Saakashvili earlier in Monday criticized

News

Man taken from his garden at South Ossetia border

by | Jan 13
Dvani

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian was detained Monday in a village that lies on the de facto border with the breakaway region South Ossetia. One more is missing in another village, and presumed detained. The first incident took place in Dvani, a village which

News

One Chinese worker injured in fire at youth Olympic festival site

by | Jan 12
olympic_village_fire_2015-01-11

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chinese worker was injured in a fire on Sunday on the construction site of the future Olympic village in Tbilisi. About 700 square meters was burned in the fire. The Chinese worker who was injured was taken to hospital. The fire spread across

News

Ivanishvili has abandoned the idea of hosting TV show

by | Jan 12
bidzina_ivanishvili_TV1_2014-11-08

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili has finally abandoned the idea to host a political talk show on a TV channel owned by his rapper son Bera.  The launch of the talk show has been postponed several times. Finally, in the end of 2014, it was announced

Environment

Traffic restrictions lifted on most roads in Georgia after heavy snowfall

by | Jan 11
plowing_snow_on_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic restrictions have been lifted on most road sections in Georgia after being closed due to heavy snowfall that began on January 6. According to the most recent data from the road department, traffic is now moving freely through the Rikoti

News

Another archaeological site in Georgia being destroyed

by | Jan 10
digging_beri_kldeebi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another historical object allegedly more than 6,000 years old is believed to be destroyed by a construction company. In a report by the TV channel Rustavi 2, archeologist Iulon Gagoshidze tried to raise the alarm about excavation work at Beri Kldeebi settlement,

Environment

Locals in Tbilisi demonstrating against Chinese road construction company

by | Jan 9
Sinohydro_Corp_Tbilisi-Rustavi_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a village just south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi, locals are protesting against a Chinese company which they claim is destroying their farm land. Residents in Krtsanisi fear that if the company continues its work, a road leading to the village

In brief

Snowfall causing interruptions several places in Georgia

by | Jan 8
jvari_tunnel

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Latvian tourists are stranded in Jvari pass in the north of Georgia. Snowfall is also causing other problems in parts of Georgia. Some areas in the north are without electricity and food supplies. A rescue operation is underway in Jvari pass

News

Heavy snow and avalanche danger on Georgian roads

by | Jan 7
Weather created difficulties on roads of Georgia over the few days (Road Department photo)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Parts of the important roads in Georgia, including a highway connecting it with Armenia are still blocked due to heavy snow and danger of the deadly avalanches. According to the most recent data of the Georgia’s Road Department,

Economy

Georgia had 2% growth in tourism in 2014

by | Jan 6
tourists

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia had a two percent growth in tourism in 2014. More than 5.4 million people visited the country last year, which is a 1.9 percent increase compared to 2013. The Interior Ministry published its monthly statistics of visitors to Georgia,

News

Three suspects admit double murder during robbery

by | Jan 6
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Tbilisi on Sunday detained three suspects who all pleaded guilty of the murder of two brothers during a robbery of an office. According to the Interior Ministry, the crime took place in Dighomi, a northern Tbilisi suburb. The perpetrators,

In brief

Missing 19-year old boy found dead in Akhalgori

by | Jan 6
forest

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 19-year-old boy who has been missing for six month has been found dead in South Ossetia. Davit Basharuli was declared missed last summer. On Monday, locals discovered his body hanging from a tree between Akhalgori and the village Ikoti,

News

Three killed when train crashed with minibus

by | Jan 6
marani_train_crashed_with_minibus

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three died and dozens were injured as result of a minibus crashing with a train in western Georgia on January 2. The injured remain in hospital, several of them in a serious condition. Among the injured there were four minors. The accident

News

Georgian priest who died in ferry disaster praised for heroic rescue effort

by | Jan 4
norman_atlantic1

TBILISI, DFWatch--A witness has told how a Georgian priest helped save people before he himself perished in the Norman Atlantic disaster. Father Ilia Kartozia reinforced other passengers' confidence, which aided in the evacuation of the doomed ferry, Irakli, a Georgian survivor,

News

One believed dead, three more missing after avalanche

by | Jan 3
bakhmaro_avalanche_Jan-2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person is believed to have been taken by an avalanche in Bakhmaro, in the Guria region of western Georgia. The victim was part of a group of four youth who were visiting the winter resort on December 31. All of them are still missing and rescue

Environment

Four environmental activists detained outside city council in Tbilisi

by | Dec 30
guarilla_gardening_four_detained_Dec30-2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four environmentalists were detained outside the city council building in Tbilisi on Wednesday. The four were demonstrating against the project Panorama Tbilisi, which involves constructing a new cable car and several buildings in the old

News

Georgian priest among dead in Norman Atlantic fire

by | Dec 30
norman_atlantic_ferry_fire

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian priest is among those who died after the ferry Norman Atlantic caught fire in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday. A spokesperson for Georgia's Foreign Ministry said a few minutes ago that the body of priest Ilia Kartozia has been found.

In brief

Nearly a hundred prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | Dec 30
geguti prison camp

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly a hundred prisoners have been pardoned in Georgia, partly in relation to the New Year celebration. Most of the prisoners who are being freed or have their sentences reduced were pardoned by the president’s pardon commission; one of two

Caucasus region

Chechen leader proposes building road and railway to Georgia

by | Dec 29
larsi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov proposes building a new railway as well as a new road connecting the Russian republic with Georgia, which still has tense relations with Russia. Kadyrov's provocative plan was launched at a press conference in Grozny.

In brief

Ombudsman asks Prosecutor’s Office to investigate police brutality

by | Dec 29
Gldani_police_station

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian ombudsman has asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate an incident of possible mistreatment by police. On Monday, the Ombudsman’s Office reported that a citizen, whose name is mentioned by initials, was detained

In brief

Eight Georgians among passangers of ferry that caught fire in Adriatic Sea

by | Dec 29
Ferry_caught_fire_Adriatic_2014-12-19

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ferry which caught fire on December 28 in the Adriatic Sea, was carrying eight Georgian citizens. According to Italian media there were 478 people on the ferry, including the crew. At least eight people have been killed in the fire aboard MS Norman Atlantic

News

Georgian president considers meeting Putin

by | Dec 29
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president says he is ready to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin if bilateral relations between the two states will be on the agenda. A meeting between the leaders of the two countries which broke off relations after fighting

News

Five Georgian Defense Ministry officials must remain in detention

by | Dec 29
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi city court on Saturday turned down a plea from five Defense Ministry officials who asked to be released on bail. The defense team of the five officials who were detained in late October and charged with embezzlement of about USD 2.3

News

One more Georgian jihadist dies in Syrian war

by | Dec 27
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian citizen has died in the Syrian war. Israphil Tsatiashvili, 18, died in Kobani, Syria, fighting for Islamic State. He is the eighth fighter from Pankisi who has died in Syria. Israphil’s brother Zelimkhan, 21, died about a month

Politics

Brawl in Georgian parliament

by | Dec 27
fight_in_parliament_2014-12-26

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliamentarians on Friday got into a physical scuffle hitting microphones at each other because they didn't agree on how to distribute delegates to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. The ruling coalition proposed reshuffling

News

Georgia to reorganize Interior Ministry, Prosecutor’s Office

by | Dec 26
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to reorganize the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor's Office. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said at a press conference Friday that the Interior Ministry will be completely transformed and made

Environment

Georgian parliament halts work in prehistoric mine, orders investigation

by | Dec 26
sakdrisi_mining_work

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Wednesday decided to halt work at a prehistoric mine that was almost destroyed by a mining company, and to put together a commission to investigate the legality of the ongoing work. The cave complex in Sakdrisi has more

News

Famous Georgians plea for detained officers’ release

by | Dec 25
defense_ministry

Tbilisi, DFWatch - 37 famous Georgians, including members of the ruling coalition, stand in bail for release of the five defense ministry officials, detained earlier on corruption charges; 20 of them vouch for their innocence. Along with several popular personalities such

Minorities

Government members attend Catholic Midnight Mass in Tbilisi

by | Dec 25
catholic_midnight_mass_tbilisi_2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several government members attended Midnight Mass at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi last night. The ceremony started at 23:30 and Giuseppe Pasotto, Apostolic Administrator of the Caucasus, conducted the prayer.

Minorities

Georgia doubles state funding of four religious communities

by | Dec 24
პარასკევის ლოცვა ორთა ჯამეს მეჩეთში. (DF Watch.)

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is doubling the funding of four religious denominations operating in the country, apart of the Georgian Patriarchate, the head of the State Agency for Religious Issues said on Wednesday. The four denominations

News

One Georgian released by South Ossetia

by | Dec 24
south_ossetia_border_sign_warning_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia on Tuesday released one of two Georgians who were detained for crossing the disputed border. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Vasil Khidasheli and Alexandre Shiukashvili were detained on December 20

Environment

Tbilisi “invaded” by workers from Russian mining company

by | Dec 24
RMG_Gold_workers_demonstration_crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi was Tuesday “invaded” by workers from a Russian mining company who are angry over the suggestion that they should halt work to protect a 5,400 years old archaeological site. The workers from Sakdrisi in southern Georgia gathered

News

Businessman beaten in Tbilisi, claims political motive

by | Dec 23
mikheil_khubutia

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian businessman was beaten at Tbilisi restaurant on Saturday and claims it was because of his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mikheil Khubutia, who is a member of Putin’s United Russia Party and has business

Media

Many journalists leave Georgian TV channel, claim interference

by | Dec 23
maestro_crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Many employees left their jobs at a Georgian TV station on Monday, as a protest against what they say is interference with the independence of their news reporting. Nino Zhizhilashvili was fired from her position as head of Maestro’s news

News

Prison conditions in Geguti criticized by ombudsman

by | Dec 22
prison_

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian ombudsman has raised the alarm about bad conditions at Geguti Prison in western Georgia. According to a new report, the safety regulations in place are not sufficient to prevent violence between the prisoners, and there is no program

In brief

Eco refugees demonstrated in Batumi

by | Dec 22
refuees_batumi_supreme_council

TBILISI, DFWatch--Refugees living on an abandoned military base near Batumi broke into the yeard of the Adjara Supreme Council on Monday, demanding to meet with its head. Protesters blocked the road of Chakvi Batumi for ten minutes as sign of protest because

Youth

Youth activists rally outside PM’s residence

by | Dec 22
save_sakdrisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Youth activists continued to protest against the destruction of an ancient mine in the south of Georgia on Sunday and gathered outside the house of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. The reason was a comment by Garibashvili in a speech

News

Two Georgian films nominated for Oscar

by | Dec 21
Corn_Island_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian films, Corn Island and Tangerines, the latter of which represents Estonia, are among the nominees for an Oscar in the category foreign language film. Tangerines is also nominated for a Golden Globe in the best foreign film category.

In brief

New EUMM head appointed

by | Dec 21
EUMM_photo

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM), which was recently prolonged for two more years, has a new head. Kęstutis Jankauskas replaces Toivo Klaar, who was appointed in October 2013. According to an announcement sent out by EUMM,

Environment

Groups want independent inquest into destruction of ancient gold mine

by | Dec 19
sakdrisi_investigate_destruction_2014-12-19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations in Georgia demand an inquest into how an important archaeological site was almost completely destroyed by a mining company a few days ago. The 5,400 years old gold mine in Sakdrisi

In brief

44 mosques in Georgia taken over by the state

by | Dec 19
Chela_mosque

TBILISI, DFWatch--44 mosques were taken over by Georgia’s Muslim Department two days ago by decision of the State Commission on Religious Issues. According to Zaza Vashakmadze, who is head of the commission, 21 mosques are in the Kakheti region, while 32

Europe

EU parliament ratifies association agreement with Georgia

by | Dec 19
European_parliament_plenary_session

TBILISI, DFWatch--With 490 votes against 76 and 57 absentees European Parliament Thursday approved EU-Georgia’s Association Agreement and adopted a resolution about Georgia with 491 votes against 84 and 63 absentees. The current Georgian president and his

Economy

Georgian parliamentarian visiting China to attract new investors

by | Dec 18
Davit_Saganelidze_in_Beijing

TBILISI, DFWatch--Head of the parliamentary majority in Georgia is on a visit to China to attract more investments to his country. China is one Georgia’s top five trade partners. The trade between Georgia and China was USD 564 million in all of 2013, while

News

Georgia to reform the Prosecutor’s Office

by | Dec 18
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's PM wants to start consultations about institutional reform of the Prosecutor’s Office which has long been criticized for political bias. Apart from the Prosecutor’s Office itself, the consultations will include law enforcement bodies,

News

Georgian politician confirmed as Ukraine’s new deputy interior minister

by | Dec 18
eka_zghuladze2

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian politician was on December 17 officially appointed as deputy interior minister in Ukraine, the same post she held under President Mikheil Saakashvili in her home country a few years ago. Eka Zghuiladze is now first deputy to Interior

In brief

EU parliament to pass resolution on Georgia and ratify agreement

by | Dec 18
European_Parliament_Strasbourg

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Parliament is voting today over whether to ratify an treaty with Georgia signed in June and already partly in force. The so-called association agreement offers free trade to EU's vast market in return for incorporating hundreds of EU regulations

News

Head of Tbilisi NGO detained for illegal possession of firearm

by | Dec 18
giorgi_kldiashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of an influential Tbilisi-based non-governmental organization says he was detained for illegal possession of a firearm on December 12. Giorgi Kldiashvili, head of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), on Tuesday

In brief

EU’s observer mission to Georgia extended for two years

by | Dec 17
EUMM_observers

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU’s military observers in Georgia have had their mandate extended for another two years, until December 2016. EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM) was established shortly after the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 to support stabilization

Environment

Outrage in Tbilisi over destruction of 5,400 year old gold mine

by | Dec 17
sakdrisi rally

TBILISI, DFWatch--The news that a prehistoric mine has been damaged by a mining company sparked outrage in Tbilisi Tuesday. People gathered in the evening outside the National Agency on Cultural Heritage Protection to demand the Georgian culture

Politics

Governing coalition may dismiss Free Democrats committee head

by | Dec 17
giorgi_volski

TBILISI, DFWatch--The governing coalition is discussing whether to dismiss the head of parliament's finance and budget committee, because he is a member of a party that left the coalition. The parliamentary majority believes it would be a mistake to have a representative

Economy

Georgia’s growth in export grinds to a halt

by | Dec 16
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia looked set to continue growing its export this year, but a 35% drop in November has brought the export down to same level as 2013, according to new preliminary data from  the National Statistics Department. Georgia's export in the month

Minorities

Ombudsman to study progress of Mokhe commission

by | Dec 16
mokhe_scuffles

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Public Defender is considering checking the progress of a new commission tasked with studying a conflict around a mosque in Mokhe, a village in southern Georgia. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili says he thinks people's trust

In brief

Georgian president rides horse during Turkmenistan visit

by | Dec 16
giorgi_margvelashvili_in_Turkmenistan

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited Turkmenistan on Monday and signed four agreements dealing with as diverse issues as economy, culture, trade and tourism. People travelling with him say the business leaders in Turkmenistan

News

Guard accused in Zhvania case released on bail

by | Dec 15
mikheil_dzadzamia_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former head of shift of Zurab Zhvania’s security detail, who was detained in the new investigation into the prime minister's death in 2005, was Sunday released from preliminary detention on a 2,000 lari bail (nearly USD 1,090). Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania

News

One more Georgian ex-official proposed for post in Ukraine

by | Dec 15
eka_zghuladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more former official from Mikheil Saakashvili's government has been granted Ukrainian citizenship after being proposed for a high post in the new Ukrainian government. Eka Zghuladze, a former deputy interior minister in Georgia, is now candidate

Environment

Georgian patriarch deplores destruction of ancient mine

by | Dec 15
sakdrisi IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--The influential Georgian patriarch on Sunday criticized a company which is excavating an ancient mine in the southern part of the country, and called on the government to intervene. Mining company RMG Gold on Saturday resumed work at Sakdrisi,

Environment

Mining work resumed at prehistoric Sakdrisi site

by | Dec 13
sakdrisi_-_overview

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mining work resumed at Sakdrisi on Saturday, a site where scientists and environmentalist groups say is an ancient gold mine with invaluable artifacts from prehistoric man. The controversy about the mine near Bolnisi in the southern part of Georgia has involved

News

One more Defense Ministry official detained for corruption

by | Dec 13
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service detained one more Defense Ministry official on Saturday. Bakhva Surmanidze was detained for accepting a 400 lari (USD 218) bribe. He is head of the purchasing department at the Giorgi Abramashvili

In brief

Oleg Melnikov released

by | Dec 12
oleg melnikov

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former officer in Georgia's domestic intelligence who was involved in the 2006 murder of Sandro Girgvliani has beenreleased from prison. Oleg Melnikov, formerly an officer of the Constitutional Security Department or 'Kudi', was released

News

Film by Georgian director nominated for Golden Globe

by | Dec 12
tangerines

TBILISI, DFWatch--A film by a Georgian filmmaker has been nominated for a Golden Globe award. Tangerines, or Mandariinid, is a Georgian-Estonian production written and directed by the Georgian Zaza Urushadze. Producer of the film is Ivo Felt and it starrs Georgian

News

South Ossetia preparing to sign treaty with Russia

by | Dec 11
tskhinvali

TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia may open its border with Russia and even seek some form of closer association, the breakaway region’s leader says. de facto president Leonid Tibilov said Wednesday that a 'treaty of collaboration' with Russia is likely to be signed

News

Rallies in Tbilisi and Batumi in support of jailed Azerbaijani journalist

by | Dec 11
Khadija_Ismayilova_support_demonstration_2014-12-10

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two demonstrations were held in Georgia Wednesday in support of the Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who was recently detained. Ismayilova was placed in preliminary detention in Baku on December 5, after being subject to a travel ban earlier

News

Georgian government considers reforming the domestic intelligence

by | Dec 11
Moduli_building

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is beginning a debate about restructuring the Ministry of Internal Affairs and make the domestic intelligence a separate service. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said this after a government session on Wednesday. Currently,

In brief

Georgian lari and Armenian dram recover after slump

by | Dec 10
lari_exchange_rate

TBILISI, DFWatch--The currencies of Georgia and Armenia are recovering after a slump of more than 10% in the last few weeks. The sight of money exchanges trading US dollars for more than two Georgian lari (GEL) set off a fervent debate in Tbilisi. Many blamed

News

Four dead from Abkhazia war buried in Tbilisi

by | Dec 10
funeral_abkhazia_dead

TBILISI, DFWatch--A public funeral was held Tuesday for four victims of a plane crash during the Abkhazia war more than twenty years ago. The four were on a plane that was about to land in Sukhumi September 22, 1993, to evacuate head of state Eduard Shevardnadze.

News

Georgia prepares tougher punishment for joining terrorist groups

by | Dec 10
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is working on a new bill that will punish people for joining terrorist organizations abroad. Spokesperson for the Interior Ministry tells DF Watch that the details of the new bill will be known after a draft has been sent

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