Posts by Inga Popovaite:


Akhalkalaki media: Tbilisi should not fear Armenian separatism

by | Jul 24

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia should not fear separatism in Samtskhe-Javakheti, writes jnews, an Akhalkalaki-based news website. In a meeting, organized by the Go Group Media back in June, journalists


Sleazy 90s transition – Paul Manning on “Shevardnadze Era” in Georgia

by | Jul 6

TBILISI, DFWatch--When I heard Paul Manning, an anthropologist from Trent University (Canada) is visiting Tbilisi, I knew I had to meet him. Not only because of his papers on  toasts and supra culture, cartoons during the Rose Revolution, notion of terror in Pankisi,


LGBT* community in Georgia has bigger concerns than same sex marriages

by | Jul 5

TBILISI, DFWatch--Same sex marriage legislation in the U.S. is a landmark decision, but LGBT* people in Georgia have bigger problems than not being allowed to get married. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriages country wide


On the road. A story of one Iraqi refugee in Georgia

by | Jun 30

Tbilisi, DFWatch – According to the estimates from the UNCHR, as of December 2014 there were over 1200 asylum seekers and over 800 refugees in Georgia. 26 year old Mustafa Shalan is one of them. His story, which he told me one spring afternoon in a sunny balcony in the center of Tbilisi, is a tale of a young man seeking a place to settle, as he is no longer welcome at home.


A small crowd in Tbilisi rallied to support Yerevan protesters

by | Jun 24

Tbilisi, DFWatch -- A crowd of a few dozen gathered in front of the Armenian embassy in Tbilisi on Wednesday afternoon to show their solidarity with protesters in Yerevan.  One of the rally organizers Rezo Karanadze


Pankisi residents want moderate Islam lessons to counter radicalism

by | Jun 17

PANKISI, DFWatch--Pankisi residents suggest to counter radical Islam by providing moderate Islam lessons for the young generation. Recently, four people were detained for recruiting new ISIS members in Pankisi Gorge. Journalists on a media tour here organized


Tbilisi residents mobilize for flood relief

by | Jun 15

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi residents are mobilizing to help victims of the flood via social media, people are encouraged to volunteer and to donate money or things needed.  A Facebook group 13 June – Volunteers currently have over 12,000 members, and the number is still growing. They


Javakheti people excited over year-long visa-free stay comeback

by | Jun 12

Samtskhe-Javakheti Armenians applaud the comeback of the year-long visa-free stay permit in Georgia, as those who hold Armenian or Russian passport no longer need a residency permit to stay in the country.  As DFWatch has reported


Georgian artists are not welcome in Britain

by | Jun 4

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A group of Georgian artists, invited to perform a play about immigration in the international theater festival in the UK, got their visa applications rejected. Mareike Wentzel is a German actress and performance artist, who frequently visits Georgia and works on various art projects here. She was the one to encourage her former students from the Center for Contemporary Art, the New Collective, to send an application to the Flare festival in Manchester. Their performance about problems and stories of female immigrants in England,  was one of 23 selected for the emerging artists’ festival out of 300 applicants. But, despite having an official invitation letter from the festival organizers, the New Collective got rejection letters instead of visas to the UK. “I am not satisfied that you are a genuine visitor to the UK and will leave the UK at the end of your visit or that you have sufficient funds available to cover your costs whilst in the UK without working or accessing public funds,” reads the letter from the UK Visas and Immigration office. “We were all aware of the ...


Zezvaoba – a traditional horse race between Kists and Georgians

by | Jun 2

ALVANI, DFWatch--The last Sunday of May is a day of celebration in the Tush villages Kvemo Alvani and Zemo Alvani in Kakheti. Zezvaoba is the festival to honour the warrior Zezva Gaprindauli, who lead the Tush alongside the Georgian army against Persians at the Bakhtrioni


The EU promises decision on visa liberalization by the end of 2015

by | May 22

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga did not bring unexpectedly good news to Georgia. The EU restated their support for Georgia’s European path and congratulated it on achieved progress. But Georgians will have to wait visa-free travels at least


Georgia’s disappointment in Riga?

by | May 21

Tbilisi, DFWatch - This week’s Riga summit for Georgians will not result in the visa-free travel to the EU. Moreover, the final summit declaration, according to the media reports, is even more vague about the possibility of the EU membership than the 2013 Vilnius declaration.


How to empower women in business?

by | May 18

TBILISI, DFWatch--Only 3.9% of CEOs around the world are women. And only 14% of the richest 500 companies in the world have female executives. What can be done to include more women to predominantly male world of business? May 14-15 the European Bank

Photo gallery

A trip to Georgia’s savannah

by | May 10

VASHLOVANI, DFWatch--A few hours east from Tbilisi lies a magical place, where lonely pistachio trees give shade to rear birds and rolling hills slowly turn into sharp limestone cliffs, which once were deep under a sea. Vashlovani National Park was established


Asureti – a German village in Georgia

by | May 2

ASURETI, DFWatch--In the 1940s, there were over 20,000 Germans living in Georgia. Today almost none are left. Stalin deported them in 1941-42, and barely anyone came back. Now, Germans are rediscovering this part of their past. Manfred Tikhonov (67) moved to Asureti


The lords of the streets and their big black cars

by | Apr 28

In western Europe, people in cities opt for small, economy class cars. But Tbilisi is clogged with huge SUVs, which are more suitable for off-road travels than for daily home-work-home commute. 


Woman forced out of her job because she took maternity leave

by | Apr 23

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is illegal to fire anyone on maternity or paternity leave. It is also illegal to harass someone into quitting their job. But it is not uncommon for a woman to come back to work after a maternity leave, and realise that the employer will do anything


“He will walk free, because he didn’t kill me”

by | Apr 21

“When a man beats a woman for the hundredth time, something happens to him. He starts jonesing for it,” says Lali, who has fled Abkhazia to hide from her abusive husband. I met Lali (her name has been changed) in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.


A gay man from Tbilisi: ‘I haven’t told my mother yet’

by | Apr 15

A country in which the Church is a powerful presence, which strongly advocates for traditional values, probably would not be the first place of choice for LGBTQ people. But what if it is your homeland?


Homophobia in Georgia: tolerance is a myth

by | Apr 3

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians like to talk about tolerance as a part of the national psyche. But the ability to accept and live alongside people who are different from yourself seems to end when it comes to gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities. According to NDI,


Tsalka – a Greek ghost town in Georgia

by | Apr 2

TSALKA, DFWatch--Tsalka in southern Georgia used to be home to more than twenty thousand Greeks, but today there are only 1,500 left. ”My parents, grandparents and great grandparents, they all were born in Georgia. This is our home. Sadly,


Women in Georgia do thirteen times more housework than men

by | Mar 27

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to global data from the UN, women spend at least twice as much time as men doing unpaid domestic work. All across the world, women on average work more, but earn less than men, as their domestic chores are not paid for. In 2008, Eka


Preventing child brides in Kvemo Kartli

by | Mar 25

Marneuli, DFWatch--“The man thinks that she is still a child, she doesn’t know anything, and that is a good thing for her,” says Samira Bayramova, a women's rights activist in Marneuli working to prevent young girls from becoming child brides. “Mothers-in-law


Every third woman in Georgia has experienced domestic abuse

by | Mar 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--Every third woman in Georgian has been victim of domestic abuse, but it is not socially accepted to discuss it outside the family. We sat down to talk about the problem with Salome Chagelishvili from Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG), an


Traditional gender roles cause inequality in labor market

by | Mar 16

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In Georgia, a woman make less than ⅔ of a man’s salary due to segregation in labor market and prevailing traditional gender roles. Gender pay gap Washington-based Institute


Meskhetians are denied residency permit in Georgia

by | Mar 11

TBILISI, DFWatch--Meskhetians who are being repatriated to Georgia are facing obstacles when trying to obtain a residency permit. Now human rights groups are defending their cases in the courts. Iunis Arifov has been living in Akhaltsikhe for the last eight years.


Activists rally in Tbilisi to demand women’s quotas in politics

by | Mar 9

TBILISI, DFWatch--Women comprise 53 percent of the Georgian population but are heavily underrepresented in politics, say activists from Georgian Women’s Movement (GWM), a non-governmental organization working to promote women’s rights. On March 8,


World famous game designer gets inspired by Georgian myths

by | Mar 1

TBILISI, DFWatch--“Amirani is the legendary first Zombie, some worship him. Legend has it that he is the original Prometheus and still chained to the Caucasus Mountains, he brought fire to humans and half life to us. Three Angels made him


Islam expert doesn’t see any rise in islamophobia in Georgia

by | Feb 23

It is harder to be a Muslim anywhere, when international media headlines are dominated by terrorist groups, such as ISIS or Boko Haram. In Georgia, one out of ten citizens is a Muslim. What do we know about Islam in Georgia? Is Islamophobia on the rise here as well?


Georgia wants to give locals preferential treatment in labor market

by | Feb 4

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is preparing to impose a protectionist labor migration law, under which local employees only will be allowed to hire a foreigner if they cannot find a local who satisfies their requirements. The draft law on Labor


Quota system in Georgian universities helps ethnic minorities, but is easy to abuse

by | Jan 30

TBILISI, DFWatch- The possibility to study Georgian intensively for one year and then to continue studies in any Georgian university seems like a great opportunity for students coming from ethnic minority background. How helpful is the integration program



by | Jan 15

“Freedom of speech and the press are supreme values that must be duly protected everywhere and at all times,” Irakli Garibashvili stated before flying to the global peace rally in Paris. These are the words of the man who was the head of the Ministry of Internal


Weak ruble and new immigration law impacting Armenians in Georgia’s south

by | Jan 8

It is a hard winter for ethnic Armenians living in Georgia’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The fall of the ruble has led to less money being sent home from relatives who have found jobs in Russia, and Georgia’s new immigration law is forcing people


Armenians in Akhalkalaki struggle to learn Georgian

by | Dec 26

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Armenians from Samtskhe-Javakheti have a dilemma: They feel isolated from Georgian society because they don't speak the state language, but at the same time they don't have enough motivation to learn it. Shushana Shirinian, a journalist from


Brain behind Georgian charity success shares his secrets

by | Dec 19

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to the official data, one out of three young Georgians (20-29 years old) is unemployed.  But a senior student at the University of Georgia Boris Kiknadze is not one of them. Less than one year ago he established a crowd-funded


Controversial bilingual education program to be changed

by | Dec 14

TBILISI, DFWatch--The current bilingual education program does not serve its purpose, according to Armenians in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. A specialist from the Ministry of Education and Science agrees with the critique and says that the current program


Respect will not save women from violence

by | Dec 5

Arguably the most influential person in Georgia, the Patriarch Ilia II, does not agree that a woman should be equal to a man in  a family. Instead “she must be respected by her husband. She [a wife] has been always holding high authority in Georgia, and so it shall


Foreign students facing bureaucracy and complex visa procedures

by | Dec 5

TBILISI, DFWatch--How attractive is Georgia as a country for young students looking for a career path? At the moment, there are 19 public and 47 private higher education institutions in Georgia. According to the National Statistics Office, there were 2,297 foreign students

Minorities, Youth

Pankisi youth choose radical Islam over grim reality

by | Nov 21

DUISI, DFWatch--The people in Pankisi Gorge have been under increasing scrutiny for the last few months, as fighters from this region have become high-ranking commanders in the forces of the Islamic State. Pankisi is merely a 34 square kilometers cut into the Greater


Ashamed of being straight

by | Nov 13

I am lucky to be born straight. I am lucky to be one of those people who are not stigmatized on the basis of their sexual affection to a certain human being; who can kiss and hold hands in public without being attacked or bullied for it; who can get officially married


Transwoman killed and flat set on fire in Tbilisi

by | Nov 11

TBILISI, DFWatch--A young transgender person was killed in her apartment last night on Pekini street, Tbilisi. The victim's apartment was set on fire, apparently in order to destroy the evidence. Local media report that the victim was a 23 year old transwoman, who has appeared


Pankisi women challenge traditional law

by | Nov 11

DUISI. DFWatch--Centuries-old mountain traditions and customs still regulate daily life in Pankisi, a valley in the northeast of Georgia populated by Kists and Chechens. Now the old ways are challenged by a new women’s council. Traditionally, the highest decision


Changes in Georgia’s immigration law expected in December

by | Oct 31

TBILISI, DFWatch--The criticism of the new immigration law in Georgia seems to have yielded some results: lawmakers are contemplating amendments to existing legislation concerning visa and residency permit. The parliament of Georgia has already received


Georgia’s new immigration law criticized for flaws

by | Oct 16

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's new immigration law has created a lot of problems for foreigners who already live, study or work in the country. People DF Watch spoke to say their applications are being rejected for unclear reasons. They also question why it is required to file


A red ghost of virginity

by | Oct 10

“Inga, can I stay with you for a week? Something terrible happened.” This is a message I got from a  close friend earlier this week. Apparently, she went out with her friends and did not hear her brother calling. Then, in the middle of the night, her brother and her

Minorities, Society, Youth

Deadly ‘bridenapping’ in Kakheti

by | Oct 8

TBILISI, DFWatch--When a young man was murdered last weekend in Kazlar, an Azeri village 40km east of Tbilisi, it could have been one among many stories of violence and homicides in rural Georgia, but the circumstances of this case makes it stand out. 21 year


Kobuleti, where Muslims are not welcome

by | Oct 4

KOBULETI, DFWatch--In the past couple of years, Muslims in Georgia have experienced more and more animosity directed toward them. In 2012, Muslims were opposed when they tried to open a mosque in Nigvziani; in 2013 villagers in Samtatskharo were not allowed to perform

Environment, News

Western Georgia flooded by heavy rain

by | Sep 24

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm of strength five hit western Georgia early in the morning on September 24 and caused damage to infrastructure, floods and landslides in the Adjara and Guria regions. In Guria, a river flooded a school in Shemokmedi, students and staff were  evacuated by the


Being a foreign ‘gogo’ in Georgia

by | Sep 22

It is always challenging to be a foreigner. But being a foreign woman in the Caucasus is even harder. “You will see that in Georgia women are treated like queens, like princesses”. This was one of the first sentences I heard when a Georgian man picked me up at

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