Posts by DFWatch staff:

Minorities

In pictures: Sunday prayer in Batumi mosque

by | Jan 16
Orta_Jame_Mosque_December2016

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.

News

Saakashvili’s UNM splits in three factions in parliament

by | Jan 15
azer_suleimanovi

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

News

Gazprom to switch to monetary transit fee for using Georgia pipeline

by | Jan 14
anti-gazprom_demonstration

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.

Europe

EU parliament committee approves visa-free access for Georgians

by | Jan 13
eu commission brussels

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,

Crime

Republican Party presents legislation to combat violence against women

by | Jan 13
Republicans-logo

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,

News

Party which reformed Georgia during a decade breaks apart

by | Jan 12
Gigi_Ugulava_1tv

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

News

Police move on libertarians for NYE cannabis planting stunt

by | Jan 12
police_girchi_marijuana_2017-01-11

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

News

Breakaway South Ossetia prepares for presidential elections in spring

by | Jan 11
tskhinvali

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.

News

Breakup of Saakashvili’s UNM party seems inevitable

by | Jan 11
national_movement_office

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

News

Son of former opposition leader charged with assaulting Rustavi 2 director

by | Jan 10
rati_gachechiladze

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.

News

Rustavi 2 head assaulted at father’s funeral meal by son of Maestro director

by | Jan 8
nika_gvaramia

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.

Media

Ad showing murder of Santa goes viral in Georgia

by | Jan 7
dead_santa_frontpage

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

Media

Georgia’s Public Broadcaster selects new head who has links to Ivanishvili

by | Jan 7
Maglaperidze

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

News

Former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava released from prison

by | Jan 6
Gigi_Ugulava_released_from_prison_2017-01-06

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.

News

Ivanishvili-linked GDS TV to shut down political programs

by | Jan 6
Bidzina Ivanishvili

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,

Minorities, News

Culture house in Pankisi may close following ‘intentional’ fire

by | Jan 6
iza_bekauri

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

Economy

Influx of visitors to Georgia jumped 8 % in 2016

by | Jan 5
visitors_front_page

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

Minorities

Fire at Pankisi culture center was ‘intentionally set’

by | Jan 4
fire_culture_center_duisi_pankisi

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

News

‘Come get us’ – Libertarians invite police action after NYE weed planting

by | Jan 4
zurab_japaridze

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

Security

John McCain reaffirms U.S. security guarantee during visit to Georgia

by | Jan 2
john_mccain

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

News

Georgian opposition party plants marijuana on New Year’s Eve

by | Jan 2
girchi_zurab_japaridze_marijuana

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

News

Serbia prepares to lift visa requirements for Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan

by | Dec 31
visa_passport_2

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

News

De facto president hints Abkhazia might pull out of Geneva talks

by | Dec 30
raul_khajimba

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

News

Abkhazia shuts down two border crossings with Georgia proper

by | Dec 30
Nabakevi_border_crossing_Abkhazia

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

News

Georgian court convicts Abkhaz border guard of murder

by | Dec 29
enguri

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

News

Georgia’s ruling party declares ‘pragmatic’ policy toward Russia

by | Dec 29
parliament_vote

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,

Media

Maestro TV to merge with Imedi and GDS

by | Dec 28
Maestro_logo

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

News

Lado Bedukadze, who leaked prison videos in 2012, to become TV host

by | Dec 28
Vladimer_Bedukadze

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

Youth

Constitutional Court decides prison is too harsh punishment for marijuana use

by | Dec 26
DSC_0276_marijuana_June2_2014_Cropped

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

Minorities

Catholics and Protestants welcome Christmas several places in Georgia

by | Dec 26
Church-of-Rabati_Akhaltsikhe_2016_samxretis_karibche_small

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

Politics

Georgia’s largest opposition party on the verge of breaking up

by | Dec 25
givi_targamadze

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

In brief

Man dies in avalanche in Svaneti

by | Dec 22
Khaishi_road_snow

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

In brief

Policeman in Borjomi road rage incident suspended

by | Dec 21
gudauri_police_car_snow

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.

Europe

Council of the EU confirms agreement on visa-free travel for Georgians

by | Dec 21
visa_passport_2

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

News

Georgian leaders condemn assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey

by | Dec 21
giorgi_kvirikashvili2

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

Economy

Two Georgians jailed accused of USD 25 million microfinance fraud

by | Dec 20
tbilisi_city_court

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

News

Fire on Kutaisi-Batumi passenger train under investigation

by | Dec 20
fire_train_blaze

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,

News

Georgian journalist tells of road rage by police

by | Dec 19
gudauri_police_car_snow

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

News

The Trump Organization cancels hotel deals in Georgia, Azerbaijan

by | Dec 19
donald_trump

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,

News

Opposition in Abkhazia ends protest, deal struck with de facto authorities

by | Dec 17
sukhumi_opposition_protest_2016-12-15

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,

In brief

Snow and ice causing flight delays at Kutaisi airport

by | Dec 17
Kutaisi_plane

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.

Roads update

Restrictions on some mountain roads due to snow and ice

by | Dec 16
snow_road_trailer

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,

Politics

Healthcare and infrastructure top priorities in Georgia’s 2017 budget

by | Dec 16
parliament_vote

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

Crime

18th and 19th Century books stolen from Georgia’s National Library

by | Dec 16
national library

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.

Society

75% of murdered women were stalked for a year: Report

by | Dec 15
no_to_violence_against_women02

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

Politics

Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze ends stint as politician

by | Dec 15
paata_burchuladze

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.

Politics

Georgia’s former ruling party fires senior functionaries

by | Dec 15
giorgi_oniani

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,

Politics

President boycotts constitutional commission, calls for public hearing

by | Dec 14
giorgi_margvelashvili

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,

News

Georgian-born militant dies in Syrian war

by | Dec 14
(კახეთის საინფორმაციო ცენტრი)

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.

News

What’s behind a one-man protest outside the government office?

by | Dec 13
Nika_Cherkezishvili

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

Environment

Locals rescue two youth from the snow after avalanche

by | Dec 13
Bodzauri_avalanche

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.

News

Young camerawoman found dead in her apartment

by | Dec 12
police_car

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

Youth

Protest for drug liberalization leads to detentions in Tbilisi

by | Dec 12
drug-liberalization-decriminalization-small

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.

Crime

Woman shot and killed by ex-husband

by | Dec 12
MIA_shark

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

News

Georgian man gets in trouble with Svanetians for posting naked selfie

by | Dec 12
mestiaaaa

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

In brief

Georgian PM appoints veteran diplomat as foreign affairs adviser

by | Dec 12
Tedo Japaridze

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,

News

EU states remove last obstacle to visa waiver scheme for Georgia, Ukraine

by | Dec 10
visa_passport_2

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,

Roads update

Mountain roads in Georgia closed for trailers because of snow

by | Dec 8
gudauri_police_car_snow

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,

Crime

Georgian man sentenced to ten years in jail for murdering US tourist

by | Dec 8
telavi_court

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

Interviews

Yalowitz: No radical changes in US-Georgia relationship under Trump

by | Dec 7
kenneth_yalowitz_

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

News

Convention to combat violence against women still not ratified after two years

by | Dec 7
ngos_istanbul_convention_family_violence_women

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

News

Under-staffing indicated as cause of miner’s death in Chiatura

by | Dec 6
DSC_0372_copy_Chiatura_miners_2014-03-21

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.

Minorities

Compromise it took two years to plan failed to solve mosque dispute

by | Dec 5
Mokhe_prayer_snow

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

News

One dead, eight injured as truck slams into minibus

by | Dec 4
traffic_accident_truck_minibus

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

In brief

19.3 percent more tourists so far in 2016

by | Dec 3
tourists

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)

News

UNESCO recognizes Georgian alphabet as part of humanity’s shared heritage

by | Dec 1
Georgian_alphabet

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

Europe

Martin Schulz optimistic about visa liberalization for Georgia

by | Dec 1
martin_schulz

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,

Politics

UNM barely avoids splitting in two after talk of ditching Saakashvili

by | Dec 1
davit_bakradze

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.

Economy

Government deal to soften impact of currency drop on mortgage lenders

by | Nov 30
National_Bank

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

News

Georgian government to raise excise tax due to tanking lari

by | Nov 29
giorgi_kvirikashvili3

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,

News

13 women killed in family violence so far in 2016

by | Nov 29
take_back_the_night

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

Politics

Founder of failed UNM splinter party leaves politics to start lobbying firm

by | Nov 29
pavle_kublashvili2c

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,

Education

Fake TSU diplomas may be in circulation after forgery ring busted

by | Nov 29
shss-game

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.

Politics

Georgian parliament approves new government

by | Nov 28
parliament_vote

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

Minorities

Another transgender woman attacked in Tbilisi

by | Nov 28
MIA_shark

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.

Youth

TSU students begin new sit-in, demand election cancelled

by | Nov 27
demetre_egnatashvili

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

News

Britain’s Sir Alan Duncan visited Georgia

by | Nov 27
duncan_kumsishvili

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’

News

Georgian lari hits all-time low

by | Nov 27
georgian_lari

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

In brief

Video: Brawl erupts between Georgian politicians’ debating live on TV

by | Nov 25
brawl

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.

Politics

Georgian interior minister lists achievements ahead of confidence vote

by | Nov 25
giorgi_mgebrishvili

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

News

Georgian prosecutor plans to reopen case against former president’s son

by | Nov 24
PIRVELI_tsotne_gamsakhurdia

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

Crime

Two arrested after dismembered body found in Tbilisi basement

by | Nov 24
cellar_dead_body

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

Minorities

Transgender Zizi dies in hospital after brutal attack

by | Nov 24
transgender_attack_ortachala_2016-10-14

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

Security

General Chachibaia promoted to chief of the Georgian Army General Staff

by | Nov 24
vladimer_chachibaia

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

In brief

Two flights cancelled at Tbilisi airport due to pilot strike in Lufthansa

by | Nov 23
Tbilisi_airport_planes

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.

News

Putin ratifies agreement to join military forces with breakaway Abkhazia

by | Nov 23
vladimir_putin

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

News

FGM will be ended ‘very soon’ in Georgia, says acting justice minister

by | Nov 23
tea_tsulukiani

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

Politics

Georgia’s Prime Minister reveals new cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out?

by | Nov 23
kvirikashvili-giorgi

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

Society

UNICEF survey: Children are still the most vulnerable group in Georgia

by | Nov 22
woman sitting street

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

News

McCain visits Georgia in January

by | Nov 21
mccain

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.

News

Georgia wins Junior Eurovision Song Contest

by | Nov 21
mariam_mamadashvili

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.

News

Georgia’s patriarch pledges to mend ties to Russia

by | Nov 21
ilia_and_kirill_july_2013

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

Minorities

Transgender Day of Remembrance observed in two cities in Georgia

by | Nov 21
kutaisi_transgender_day_remembrance

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.

Politics

Georgian parliamentarians appointed faction leaders

by | Nov 20
session-hall-parliament-2012-10-21

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

Politics

Government takes caretaker role as parliament begins selecting new cabinet

by | Nov 20
parliament_vote

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.

News

Ivanishvili sells de Kooning painting at Christie’s for USD 66 mill

by | Nov 19
bidzina_ivanishvili

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

Politics

UNM member refuses to serve in Adjara’s supreme council

by | Nov 18
levan_varshalomidze

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,

News

Margvelashvili vows to protect presidential powers in the face of GD-dominated parliament

by | Nov 18
margvelashvili

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.

News

Israel prepares to turn away asylum seekers from Georgia and Ukraine

by | Nov 18
haaretz

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

News

Defense officials accused of mixing politics and service vow to clear their name

by | Nov 17
officers

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

News

Georgian opposition party threatens to plant marijuana on New Year’s Eve

by | Nov 17
zurab-japaridze

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.

Politics

UNM nominates parliament posts while discussing successor to Saakashvili

by | Nov 17
sergi_kapanadze

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

Economy

Plans revived for Trump Tower in Batumi, Georgia

by | Nov 17
donald_trump_tbilisi

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

Europe

Georgia’s Orthodox Church realizes it was wrong about EU and NATO

by | Nov 16
Patriarchate

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

Crime

Man sentenced to 12 years for attack on opposition politician

by | Nov 16
tbilisi_city_court

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

News

Georgia slightly improved in Internet Freedom ranking

by | Nov 16
Screenshot 2016-11-16 17.36.50

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.

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia up 14% in October year-on-year

by | Nov 16
money_transfer_fuladi_gzavnili

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

News

Mogherini situation in Georgia ‘extremely encouraging’ to get visa waiver

by | Nov 15
visa_passport_2

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.

Crime

Nanny caught on camera beating ten month old baby

by | Nov 15
nanny

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.

News

Georgian diplomat nominated as UNWTO Secretary General

by | Nov 15
პოლოლიკაშვილი

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.

News

Saakashvili ally Khatia Dekanoidze resigns in Ukraine

by | Nov 15
khatia_dekanoidze

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.

News

Opposition-leaning Tabula TV temporarily suspends broadcasting

by | Nov 15
tab

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.

News

Georgian social drama wins awards at European festivals

by | Nov 15
მოვიე

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

In brief

Georia’s trade turnover grew 22% Jan-Oct 2016

by | Nov 14
Sarpi___border

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

Economy

Georgian lari tanking, on course for second record low this year

by | Nov 14
georgian_lari

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.

News

Saakashvili believes Ukraine’s Poroshenko won’t extradite him to Georgia

by | Nov 14
mikheil_saakashvili

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.

Society

Georgia’s ombudsman calls on government to end female circumcision

by | Nov 13
FGM_in_Kvareli_aida_mirmaksumova

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

News

Saakashvili forms new political party in Ukraine, demands snap election

by | Nov 13
saakashvili

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

Crime

Prison inspector accused of asking for bribe to get prisoner released early

by | Nov 12
rustavi_prison_guard_tower

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.

Security

Germany thanks Georgian soldiers for helping repel attack on consulate

by | Nov 12
Georgian_ISAF_soldiers_Afghanistan

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,

News

Gubaz Sanikidze leaves National Forum, former GD coalition partner

by | Nov 11
gubaz_sanikidze

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

News

Russian MFA Warns Citizens of risks travelling in Georgia

by | Nov 11
mid russia

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.

Minorities

Murdered transgender women remembered in Tbilisi

by | Nov 11
Sabi_remembrance_day_2016

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,

News

Exiled Saakashvili losing grip on party, blasts former associates

by | Nov 10
saakashvili

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

News

Body of German missing since July found in Svaneti

by | Nov 10
mestiaaaa

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

News

NATO starts joint military exercises in Georgia

by | Nov 10
US_soldier_in_Tbilisi_Independence_Day_2015

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

News

IWPR Reveals Female Genital Mutilation Practice in Georgia

by | Nov 10
ფგმ

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.

News

Tbilisi reacts to Trump’s victory

by | Nov 10
donald_trump_tbilisi

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

News

Georgia’s President: two-party dominated parliament won’t encourage development

by | Nov 9
giorgi_margvelashvili

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.

News

US support for Georgia will be even stronger: Ambassador Kelly

by | Nov 9
Ian_C_Kelly

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.  

News

New Rights leaves Paata Burchuladze-led coalition

by | Nov 9
paata-burchuladze

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,

Politics

Sandra Roelofs refuses to serve as member of Georgia’s parliament

by | Nov 8
sandra_roelofs

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)

In brief

Head of Georgian Church to attend patriarch Kirill’s 70th Jubilee in Moscow

by | Nov 8
ilia

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

News

Pankisi native, reportedly ISIS member, killed in Middle East

by | Nov 8
Mideast Syria

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,

News

Georgia reintroduces compulsory military service

by | Nov 8
georgian soldiers afghanistan isaf

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.

News

Georgian ex-President Saakashvili quits as governor of Odessa

by | Nov 7
saakashvili

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,

Politics

GD presents its list of committee heads in the new parliament

by | Nov 7
irakli_kobakhidze

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,

News

19-year-old girl took part in ‘ritual murder’ of her own mother

by | Nov 6
MIA_shark

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

Politics

GD considers its party secretary as new speaker of parliament

by | Nov 5
irakli_kobakhidze

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

News

29-year-old man arrested for beating his 15-year-old wife

by | Nov 5
MIA_shark

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.

Elections

Third suspect arrested for disrupting election in Jikhashkari

by | Nov 5
Jikhashkari_election_precinct

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

News

Three Chinese citizens arrested in Georgia, suspected of assaulting workers

by | Nov 4
MIA_shark

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

News

Georgian lari drops again, approaching important benchmark

by | Nov 3
nodar khaduri

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

Politics

GD plans to replace ministers in charge of the economy

by | Nov 2
dimitry_kumsishvili

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.

Minorities

Commission suggests making mosque ruins cultural heritage site

by | Nov 1
mokhe_ruins

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.

Elections

Georgia’s ruling party secures enough seats to amend Constitution

by | Oct 31
voting

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

Elections

Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament

by | Oct 30
giga_bokeria

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

Politics

Speaker of parliament leaves Republican Party

by | Oct 29
davit_usupashvili

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

Elections

UNM claims governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti attacked its cameraman

by | Oct 28
nikoloz_khizadze

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

News

63-year-old railway worker dies after being run over by train

by | Oct 28
khashuri_railway

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,

Economy

First road, now airport – PM promises to develop mountain region Tusheti

by | Oct 28
giorgi_kvirikashvili

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.

News

168 prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | Oct 27
zviad_koridze

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.

News

Georgian Manganese lawyer arrested on corruption charges

by | Oct 26
ferro zestaponi

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

Economy

Georgian Railways considering Tbilisi-Kutaisi airport train

by | Oct 26
georgian_railway_001-300x250

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

Politics

Free Democrats rebels vow to support GD in second round of election

by | Oct 26
davit_onofrishvili

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.

Roads update

Caucasus mountain road closed in north Georgia due to snow and ice

by | Oct 25
snow_road_trailer

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

In brief

Two die as car plunges into river in southwest Georgia

by | Oct 25
Keda_car_plunged_into_river

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

News

Victim of shooting at Krtsanisi training ground was 23-year-old Giga Shengelia

by | Oct 25
defense_ministry

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.

Security

Georgian president picks former GIPA colleague as new NSC secretary

by | Oct 25
davit_rakviashvili_-_giorgi_margvelashvili

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,

News

One man shot dead during intrusion attempt at Tbilisi military base

by | Oct 24
elza_shengelia

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.

Elections

UNM and GD won one contest each in repeat election

by | Oct 24
voting_martvili_2015

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,

Elections

Saakashvili’s wife withdraws from Georgian runoff election, citing fraud

by | Oct 23
sandra_roelofs

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.

News

Will Georgia end compulsory military service? Decision expected in Nov

by | Oct 22
georgian soldiers afghanistan isaf

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,

News

One soldier dies as truck overturns in Georgia

by | Oct 22
military_truck_accident

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,

Elections

Four precincts in Georgia vote again due to irregularities on Election Day

by | Oct 22
voting2016

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

News

Handover of suspected murderer topic at EU-hosted talks about Abkhazia

by | Oct 22
enguri

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

News

One more construction worker dies in Tbilisi, the second in two days

by | Oct 21
construction_workers_pipe

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,

News

Georgia and Russia take further steps toward normalizing relations

by | Oct 21
grigory_karasin-

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).

News

Zaza Tavadze elected new head of Supreme Court

by | Oct 21
zaza_tavadze

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

In brief

Car crash in Rustavi claims two lives

by | Oct 20
car_crash_rustavi_2016-10-19

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.

In brief

Construction worker falls to his death in Tbilisi

by | Oct 20
accident_at_costruction_site2

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

Crime, News

Man suspected of stabbing transgender woman placed in pre-trial detention

by | Oct 19
LGBTQ_activists_court_2016-10-19

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

News

PM Kvirikashvili: A group will be set up to amend constitution

by | Oct 19
giorgi_kvirikashvili

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.

Elections

Tbilisi NGO workers urge opposition for action against imminent GD constitutional majority

by | Oct 18
irakli_kobakhidze

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, ...

News

Free Democrats leader Alasania may be appointed NSC secretary

by | Oct 18
irakli alasania - candidate for defense minister

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,

News

Russian, Turkmen and Ukrainian airlines open new flights out of Tbilisi

by | Oct 18
airport

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

Elections

Georgia to hold second round of parliamentary election Oct 30

by | Oct 17
voting2016

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

Crime

Suspect arrested for blowing up MP’s car days before election

by | Oct 17
police_confiscated_weapons_suspect_targamadze_bomb

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

Interviews

Linderman: GD will have a tendency to consolidate power into one-party rule

by | Oct 17
photo

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.

Crime

Escaped burglar arrested in Tbilisi with jewelry from new heist

by | Oct 17
otar_varamashvili

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

News

31-year-old arrested for attack on transgender woman

by | Oct 17
No-to-violence-against-transgender-MIA

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

News

Transgender woman hospitalized after vicious attack in Tbilisi

by | Oct 16
transgender_attack_ortachala_2016-10-14

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,

Elections

Six alleged election day troublemakers placed in pre-trial detention

by | Oct 15
rustavi_city_court

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.

Minorities

Muslims conduct prayer on ruins of mosque in Mokhe

by | Oct 14
Mokhe_ruins_prayer_2016-10-13

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

Elections

Six arrested for the mass unrest in Marneuli on election day

by | Oct 13
Marneuli_election_unrest_2016

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

Economy

Georgian developers plan Sheraton and Radisson in Gudauri

by | Oct 13
gudauri

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

Elections

Police in Georgia arrest a person for causing havoc in election precinct

by | Oct 12
Jikhashkari_election_precinct

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

Politics

National Movement decides to not boycott parliament

by | Oct 12
davit-bakradze

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

Politics

UNM political council convenes Tuesday to set out post-election path

by | Oct 11
UNM_Davit_Bakradze_2016-10-05

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

News

Mine worker in Tkibuli found dead from apparent suffocation

by | Oct 11
tkibuli-mine

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

News

National Movement debates whether to boycott parliament

by | Oct 11
01-national_movement_rally_2016-10-05

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

Politics

Buoyed by election result, GD begins pushing for constitutional amendments

by | Oct 11
irakli_kobakhidze

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

Elections

Free Democrats leader leaves politics after failing to get into parliament

by | Oct 10
irakli_alasania

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)

In brief

Confusion over election math: Will Georgia’s third party get into parliament?

by | Oct 10
irma_inashvili_c

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%.

Elections

51 election districts will hold second round of parliamentary election

by | Oct 10
election day voting

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.

Elections

Third party Patriot Alliance is 244 votes from getting into parliament

by | Oct 9
davit_tarkhan-mouravi

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,

Elections

National Movement rallies outside CEC, will challenge election result

by | Oct 9
giga_bokeria

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

Elections

Preliminary results: Patriot Alliance gets into parliament with 17 votes margin

by | Oct 9
irma_inashvili_c

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,

News

Exit polls: GD has won the election, UNM came second

by | Oct 8
voting-booth_2016-10-08

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.

Elections

Georgia deploys special police to voting precinct to put down unrest

by | Oct 8
specraz_marneuli

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

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