TBILISI, DFWatch--The owners of Georgia’s biggest opposition TV station have offered to hand over a controlling stake in the company to its staff. The brothers Giorgi and Levan Karamanishvili published an open letter to the staff of Rustavi 2 staff on Friday, offering them shares in the embattled TV company.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The daughter of the president of Georgia claims police framed her friend because he has been involved in political work for the president. It used to be an oft-heard story during the Saakashvili presidency: regime critics who are set up by police planting drugs in their pocket. But now activists raise the alarm and say police are again placing drugs on people connected to the opposition in order to get them hooked for a crime. A crowd of protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs building in Tbilisi on Wednesday to protest the resurgent practice. Incredibly, the daughter the serving head of state was among the protesters. Ana Margvelashvili, daughter of President Giorgi Margvelashvili, claims that when her friend was detained recently, it was part of what the activists call ‘the repressive drug policies’ of the law enforcement agencies. Ana’s friend, Mikheil Tatarashvili, was detained on March 17 for possessing Subutex, a brand name of buprenorphine; a synthetic opioid used to treat drug addiction which is illegal in Georgia. Now the president’s daughter insists that her friend was detained because of his links to ...
TBILISI, DFWatch--An 11 year old girl was killed in a car crash on the outskirts of Tbilisi on Tuesday. The tragic accident occurred in the morning hours Tuesday on Aghmashenebeli Lane on the northern outskirts of the city. The car, presumably a BMW,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong wind hit Tbilisi Monday evening, uprooting tens of trees and damaging houses and street signs. Monday night at 10pm, the wind reached a speed of up to 32 meters per second in the capital. This qualifies as a hurricane,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday vetoed a surveillance bill which civil society groups claim does not go far enough in reining in the powers of the secret police. Also opposition parties have criticized the bill. They suspect that it will give
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police detained eight more people on criminal charges on Saturday as the blame game continues for last weekend's violent riot in Batumi. Altogether, the number of detainees has now reached 100, all of them men, the local newspaper Batumelebi reports.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A Hungarian tourist died in an avalanche in Georgia on Friday while skiing near Gudauri, a mountain resort north of Tbilisi. Authorities did not identity the victim beyond describing him as a man aged around 40. The accident occurred when a group of tourists
TBILISI, DFWatch--Spanish police have arrested dozens of Georgian nationals suspected of home burglaries in an elaborate operation said to be targeting ‘the Georgian mafia’. The police released information on Thursday but operations were carried out earlier,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested six more people on Thursday who are suspected of having been involved in a riot in the Black Sea city Batumi last weekend that started with a disagreement over a parking fine. The six are expected to appear in court on Friday.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two young men related to government critics were arrested in Tbilisi on Tuesday on drug charges. Their mothers think it was politically motivated. One of the detainees is the son of Khatia Dekanoidze, a justice specialist who introduced Georgian experience with police reforms to Ukraine
Georgian court's decision regarding Rustavi 2 looks like 'an attempt to silence opposition voices', US Senator John McCain said to Voice of America's Georgian service. "I am deeply concerned that the Georgian Supreme Court’s decision regarding Rustavi 2 appears to be an attempt to silence opposition voices in the press and curtail the country’s vibrant, pluralistic, and open media," Republican Senator from Arizona states in a written comment to VoA's Ia Meurmishvili. "As I have said, I strongly believe that a free and open press is an essential pillar of democracy, and vital for any democracy to succeed. I encourage the Government of Georgia to preserve a pluralistic media environment so that all voices in Georgia can be heard."
TBILISI, DFWatch--Most who were detained in a riot in Batumi, Georgia have now been released, but the interior minister warned that they will be strictly punished. Seven people are still incarcerated after a court placed them in preliminary administrative detention,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The government and the largest opposition party in Georgia are blaming each other for being behind a riot that shook the Black Sea resort city Batumi last night, injuring dozens and leaving the burgeoning tourist destination in disarray. A special unit
TBILISI, DFWatch--“A common incident has been utilized by destructive political forces to escalate the situation,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated at an emergency briefing at about 5 am on Sunday appealing the crowd in Batumi to calm down. “Unfortunately, those forces
TBILISI, DFWatch--Around twenty police and protesters are injured after a riot broke out in Batumi, Georgia, Saturday evening over a disagreement about a parking fine. The riot began after a man refused to accept a fine for parking in the wrong place
TBILISI, DFWatch--A meeting summoned by the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has become the latest episode in the downward spiral of deteriorating relations between him and the ruling Georgian Dream party. On Thursday, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor's Office of Georgia on Wednesday presented its theory of how a priest allegedly was planning to murder an adviser to Patriarch Ilia II, backing the allegations up by secretly obtained videos. The central part of the evidence
TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of the European Unions executive branch denies that there is any connection between a proposal to host refugee centers in Georgia and the recent decision to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian passport holders.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday confirmed a decision by one of its judges to suspend a ruling by Georgia’s Supreme Court about changing the ownership of the opposition-leaning TV company Rustavi 2. "A Chamber constituted from the Section
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia distances itself from a controversial statement by the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, who proposed establishing refugees’ centers outside the borders of the EU, including in Georgia. “There are no plans to set up refugee camps
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister proposes creating an office of media ombudsman. The PM's proposal comes at the same time as the situation surrounding a lawsuit about the country’s most popular TV company remains in a deadlock. After a meeting with PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili
TBILISI, DFWatch--Embattled Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 plans another rally in Tbilisi on Saturday to protest what it claims is an attempt by authorities to silence free speech in the country. On March 3, Georgia’s Supreme Court upheld a decision to change ownership of Rustavi 2.
TBILISI, DFWatch--When top clerics within the Georgian Orthodox Church gather for a Holy Synod on March 9, there are several difficult problems on their agenda, notably a priest accused of planning to murder someone in the patriarch’s inner circle. The Synod is the highest authority
TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of Georgia’s largest opposition TV company says the European Court of Human Rights has decided to temporarily suspend a ruling by the former Soviet republic’s Supreme Court which changes the ownership of the company, Rustavi 2.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Friday stepped into the tense situation surrounding the largest TV station in the country, urging all sides to refrain from undertaking 'immediate' action. The decision led to a protest
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream is backing down on a previous pledge to phase out the use of direct elections to select a president already from next year. Instead, the ruling coalition plans to introduce the change from the 2023 election. “The rules of presidential
TBILISI, DFWatch--Opposition activists and supporters of Rustavi 2 held a vigil at the studio complex last night, after the Supreme Court upheld a decision to hand ownership of the embattled TV company over to a private investor who critics fear will silence the government’s
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Supreme Court in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has controversially upheld a decision to take away ownership of the country’s biggest opposition TV channel and hand it to a private investor. Critics say the decision will effectively silence
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Supreme Court in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Thursday begins to review a highly publicised lawsuit about the ownership over the country's biggest TV channel. The case concerns who shall control 100 percent of shares in Rustavi 2,
TBILISI, DFWatch--After years of negotiations, Georgia’s prime minister finally signed an agreement with the EU on Wednesday which gives his country’s citizens the right to visa-free travel to the Schengen area. The visa waiver plan will be published in the EU
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prosecutors in Georgia are still unable to interrogate archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze who is accused of murder attempt of an unidentified person from patriarch's inner circle. "Instead of responding to our critical questions, he cursed us,
TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO is concerned that the closure of two crossing points between the breakaway region Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia may have adverse impact on the local population. A spokesperson for the alliance on Tuesday asked for the de facto authorities
TBILISI, DFWatch--A visa waiver system for Georgian citizens was given the final approval by the EU Council on Monday, and now only formalities remain until 3.7 million citizens of the Caucasus nation can enjoy up to 90 days trips to Europe’s vast borderless Schengen area
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian judo team performed brilliantly at Düsseldorf Grand Prix with two gold medals and second place ahead of Russia and France. The team from Japan won the competition with five gold medals. Vazha Margvelashvili (-66 kg) and Beka Gviniashvili (-90 kg)
TBILISI, DFWatch--The second of two Georgian pilots who were taken prisoner by rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been identified as Vyacheslav Pluzhnikov. Pluzhnikov has a background from the Georgian air force. He was arrested for alleged espionage
TBILISI, DFWatch--In the latest twist in the scandal about an alleged assassination plot within the Georgian Church, the head of the patriarch’s security detail confirmed Sunday that he has resigned from his post. "I went to his holiness… [and] asked for his blessing to left the position,”
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tickets for an Aerosmith concert in Georgia on May 20 went on sale Saturday and were sold out in three hours. Tickets were bought not only by Georgians, but also customers from neighboring Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Tickets for the concert, which will take
TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia will not be prosecuted for planting cannabis in their office on New Year’s Eve because the saplings contained too little of the forbidden narcotic substance. The New Year’s Eve pot
TBILISI, DFWatch--Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev is certain that nothing can prevent the construction of a new pipeline from his country to the European mainland. As a major producer of natural gas, the Caspian Sea nation has much to gain from the planned Southern Gas Corridor,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian private contractors are being held captive in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after the military helicopter they were in crash landed in the east of the country nearly a month ago. Georgia’s Ministry of Defense said Wednesday
TBILISI, DFWatch--Breaking an earlier promise, Georgia’s top prosecutor did not release new evidence about an alleged assassination attempt in the Georgian Orthodox Church upon the return of the patriarch, leaving the public in the dark and the case shrouded in mystery.
Between 2012 and 2014, the Georgia Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) spent 3.8 million lari (about $US2.26 million) to finance patrols watching to make sure nobody was stealing gas from oil or gas pipelines.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Lawmakers in Georgia are pondering a blanket ban on smoking indoors which will also cover sports stadiums and all forms of public transport. If the bill is passed, smoking will be prohibited inside all kinds of buildings, except for private homes, laboratories
TBILISI, DFWatch--41 members of the Georgian parliament are millionaires (in GELs); 37 persons from the Georgian Dream majority and 4 members of two opposition parties, United National Movement and Alliance of Patriots. There are six millionaire ministers
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia expects new details to emerge about an alleged assassination attempt in the higher circles of the Orthodox Church, as Patriarch Ilia II has left the hospital in Berlin and is expected to arrive in Tbilisi at around 6pm Monday local time.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawyer has been elected chairman of the embattled Free Democrats, perhaps the most staunchly pro-western party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The Free Democrats’ failure to win any seats in the 2016 parliamentary elections coupled with
TBILISI, DFWatch--A rally is underway in the center of Tbilisi to show solidarity with Rustavi 2, as a decision is expected in the Supreme Court that could change its ownership, and - according to supporters of the TV company - bring its criticism of the government to a halt.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The biggest opposition TV station in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has voluntarily suspended its broadcast for two days to protest what it claims is an attempt by the government to silence it. "It was not an easy decision[…] but today we are left
TBILISI, DFWatch--Massive snowfall is causing problems in western Georgia, especially the two regions Samegrelo and Svaneti, where the snow cover in some places exceeds one meter. An avalanche cut off an important road connecting Zugdidi and Mestia, the administrative centers
TBILISI, DFWatch--Top prosecutors in Georgia now say the target of an assassination attempt within the Orthodox Church was not the patriarch, but one of his advisers. In an interview with the newspaper Rezonansi, POG spokeswoman Natia Sukhiashvili specifically
TBILISI, DFWatch--Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is launching cheap flights between London Luton and Kutaisi, a city in the western Imereti region of Georgia. United Airports Georgia announced the direct flights Kutaisi-London-Kutaisi two times per week, on Thursdays
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians are reacting to the detention of an Orthodox priest whom prosecutors accuse of trying to poison a high church official, widely believed to be the head of the Georgian Church. The story immediately went viral in Georgia, where the Orthodox Church
TBILISI, DFWatch--A demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Monday turned violent when activists for the United National Movement (UNM) tried to break into City Hall in order to meet Mayor Davit Narmania. Thirteen members of the opposition supporters were
TBILISI, DFWatch--An archpriest in the Georgian Orthodox Church was arrested at Tbilisi airport, accused of trying to poison a person in ‘the Church’s highest hierarchy’ with cyanide. Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze was arrested as he was trying to board a plane
TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in South Ossetia has sentenced a Georgian man to 20 years in a Tskhinvali jail for ‘sabotage and terrorist activities’. 49 year-old Giorgi Giunashvili, a native of the village Disevi inside the breakaway region, was arrested by Tskhinvali forces
TBILISI, DFWatch--Opposition parties in the former Soviet republic of Georgia warn that the independence of the courts will be weakened after the ruling party overturned the president’s veto against a judicial reform bill. The so-called third wave of judicial reform was vetoed
TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian-backed separatists who have ruled a region of Georgia since the early 1990s plan to name their self-declared republic after a nomadic tribe that conquered swaths of Europe and North Africa in the Middle Ages. If the 50,000 population approves
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has jailed 51 persons over the last nine years for entering Abkhazia or South Ossetia from the wrong direction. The ombudsman now calls for a review of the law. Georgia’s Law on the Occupied Territories
TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party gathered in front of the Supreme Court building in Tbilisi on Friday to support their TV station, Rustavi 2, in a private lawsuit that could dampen down its criticism of the government. The activists marched down
TBILISI, DFWatch--A fiercely anti-government TV station in Georgia aired allegations against a former high-level prosecutor purporting that he had tried to sell a secret recordings of a former prime minister and billionaire. The word fight was launched during
TBILISI, DFWatch--Four transgender women are being treated for cuts after an attack at a nightclub in downtown Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The incident occurred at 7am Monday on Elbakidze Street, near Rustaveli, one of the main metro stations in the city.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from Georgia’s former ruling party are rallying in Tbilisi on February 10 in order to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling against the top people in the largest opposition TV station. UNM's Nika Melia said on Wednesday that the party of ex-President
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s top prosecutor on Tuesday presented text messages allegedly sent from Ukraine as proof that a close ally of former President Mikheil Saakashvili had tried to put pressure on two Supreme Court judges in a lawsuit that could silence
TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for stabbing and killing a transgender woman acquaintance in Tbilisi last year. Tbilisi City Court decided to sentence 31 year-old Giorgi Murjikneli to 10 years in jail for viciously attacking and cutting
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian authorities have suspended the accreditation of a private school with links to the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara has accused of plotting the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The council of the National Center
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Supreme Court judges in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have still not revealed who tried to put pressure on them in a case about the ownership of a large TV station critical to the government. Judges Besarion Arveladze and Paata Katamadze,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia offers inhabitants in the breakaway region Abkhazia to be included in a visa waiver scheme to the Schengen area. Sukhumi calls the offer manipulation. The EU parliament on Thursday voted in favor of extending
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two judges in the Supreme Court of the former Soviet republic of Georgia have filed a formal request to the country’s top prosecutor to investigate an attempt to influence them. The case led to an exchange of strong claims and counterclaims on Friday,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Imedi TV, one of Georgia’s largest TV stations, has bought GDS, a smaller company linked with billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Imedi confirmed that it had purchased 100 percent of shares in the broadcasting company
TBILISI, DFWatch--The plan to extend visa-free entry into Schengen to more than 3 million citizens of the former Soviet republic of Georgia passed another hurdle today, as the EU’s parliament approved the plan with a clear majority. At a plenary session the 751 member assembly session endorsed
TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine is looking for political asylum in Ukraine, as he believes his life's in danger if he returns to his home country Georgia. Former Vice Colonel Gia Tsertsvadze is wanted in Russia for a murder in 2003. Recently
TBILISI, DFWatch--A working group within the Georgian parliament on Monday proposed to establish a new agency under the State Security Service to monitor telephone and internet communications, as well as conduct video and audio eavesdropping.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Mi-24 military helicopters with a combined crew of at least four crashed on Friday in North Kivu province near the border with Rwanda and Uganda, authorities reported on Monday. Tbilisi based military magazine Arsenal wrote that
TBILISI, DFWatch--Several theories were circulating about the cause of a massive fire Monday morning near Tbilisi’s central railway station, which is estimated to have done several million US dollars’ worth of damage, but there is still no firm information about why it started.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people protested outside the Defense Ministry on Monday against a mass layoff affecting over two thousand people, demanding fair treatment and respect for labor regulations. Protesters demand to get their jobs back and claim the ministry
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has carried out its biggest layoff ever, as more than two thousands employees were dismissed on Monday. Both military and civilian personnel were affected by the mass layoff. The ministry explained the firings
TBILISI, DFWatch--Thirty fire fighters in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are trying to extinguish a massive fire that broke out Monday morning at a shopping mall near the city’s central railway station. The blaze has spread to surrounding buildings and engulfed
TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Abkhazia have closed Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings connecting the breakaway region to Georgia proper. The closing of the two checkpoints was announced by Lasha Tsaava, head of the legal department of the de facto
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Friday pardoned five former defense ministry officials who were convicted of embezzlement in a politically charged case. The release of the five from prison Friday evening concludes one of the most significant
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has bolstered the quality of its higher education and research, thanks to its inclusion in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the authors of a new report argue. By joining the EHEA, popularly referred to as the Bologna process,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine was released from pre-trial detention Thursday evening, thus avoiding extradition to Russia, where he is accused of a murder in 2003. Gia Tsertsvadze thanked his supporters as he left prison but declined making further comments.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister gave an EU politician a lesson in the separation of powers in democracies on Tuesday, explaining that a government cannot interfere in decisions made by the courts. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the head of government
TBILISI, DFWatch--The top prosecutor in Ukraine is calling off a criminal case against a Georgian man who volunteered to fight in the war in Donbass. The man is accused of a murder in Sochi in 2003 and risks extradition to Russia. His defense lawyer at the trial
TBILISI, DFWatch--A former interior minister and close ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as secretary general of the National Movement on Monday, the latest episode of a turbulent few months for the party that reformed Georgia over the course of a decade.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has proposed a bill which will make it a crime to carry out female genital mutilation. The bill comes after a journalist revealed last fall that the practice was still in use in a few villages in the east of the country.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Saturday appointed a woman former lawmaker as new political secretary. The appointment the 39-year-old lawyer Tamar Kordzaia is seen as a move to promote gender equality in politics.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Like many other cities around the world, also Tbilisi held a women’s march on Saturday, following the inauguration of Donald Trump as new US President. The march was aimed at raising awareness about women's rights and other civil rights issues and started
TBILISI, DFWatch--The pro-Saakashvili wing of the opposition National Movement party took control of the party on Friday at a high-profile convention that concluded a months long internal feud. According to party officials, over 7,000 delegates took part in the event at Tbilisi Sports Hall.
TBILISI, DFWatch--After years of fundraising and hard work, a new end-of-life care unit for children living with life limiting illnesses has finally opened in Tbilisi. The center is a hospice for minors who need a specific type of palliative care. At the opening ceremony on Tuesday,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party bounces in a new opinion poll published on Wednesday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) now dominates Georgian politics with nearly half of voters sympathetic to it. The poll was
TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of lawyers in the former Soviet republic Georgia calls on the government to disclose a controversial deal it recently struck with the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom over switching monetized payments for transiting Russian gas to Armenia.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili views a controversial deal recently struck between the Georgian government and the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom as less favorable than the previous agreement, and ‘harmful' to the political and economic
TBILISI, DFWatch--Following the high-profile breakup of Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday sat down with Tbilisi based television channel Rustavi 2 and gave his first interview about
TBILISI, DFWatch--Support among Georgians for joining NATO and the European Union has fallen slightly but remains high, according to a new opinion poll published on Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The survey was carried out in
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.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The party that ran the former Soviet republic Georgia for nearly a decade has split into three factions in parliament after a long internal feud over the role of its former leader Mikheil Saakashvili. For a few days, there was doubt over whether what
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has agreed to less favourable conditions for allowing its territory to be used by Russian energy giant Gazprom to transit natural gas to Armenia. The resulting deal is is expected to be met with harsh criticism from the opposition and local energy experts.
TBILISI, DFWatch--3.7 million Georgian nationals came one step closer to getting visa-free access to EU’s vast borderless Schengen area on Tuesday, as members of the LIBE committee in the EU parliament added their seal of approval to the plan. The Committee on Civil Liberties,
TBILISI, DFWatch--In the former Soviet republic Georgia, the Republican Party has proposed legislation that will make femicide a separate crime - a gender-based hate crime which is causing alarm in the country. The Republicans, a party formed by Soviet dissenters in the 1970s,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three months long infighting in Georgia’s main opposition party concluded with dozens of members announcing their departure and formation of a new opposition party on Thursday. 38 heads of municipal and regional organizations
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in the former Soviet republic Georgia entered the office of a libertarian party on Wednesday, seizing 84 cannabis plants that were planted eleven days earlier in a publicity stunt to promote the decriminalization of drugs. The three officers spent
TBILISI, DFWatch--Campaigning will soon begin for the election to become new de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. The secessionist parliament of the region must schedule the date of the election and start the campaign before January 29.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Leading figures in Georgia's main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) seemed to acknowledge that a split is inevitable in comments made on Tuesday. "This party is no longer united. When people don’t say hello
TBILISI, DFWatch--The son of a former opposition politician in Georgia was Monday officially charged with having assaulted the director of the largest opposition TV channel. The suspect Rati Gachechiladze (29) pleaded guilty and was released on 5,000 laris (USD 1,800) bail.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of Georgia’s largest opposition-leaning TV channel was physically assaulted at a restaurant in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The attack took place as Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia was preparing to leave a restaurant after the funeral of his father.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A New Year’s commercial in Georgia has caused controversy for showing Santa Claus being murdered in front of a child. Now, the Public Defender calls on the advertisement company to stop airing the ad. The video (16+) ‘Santa
TBILISI, DFWatch--The supervisory board of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB) on Thursday selected as new director a candidate with close ties to the ruling party and personal links to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The decision to appoint Vasil Maglaperidze
TBILISI, DFWatch--The former mayor of Tbilisi was released from prison Friday evening. Tbilisi Court of Appeal partially reduced his sentence to 1 year, 3 months and 22 days. As the detention is counted from September 18, 2015, his term expired on January 6.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports. GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A culture house in the Pankisi Gorge in the northern part of Kakheti may close after a fire that staff say was deliberately started. The fire on Tuesday didn’t cause much damage, but a spokesperson for the organization which runs the center
TBILISI, DFWatch--Almost 6.3 million people visited Georgia from abroad in 2016. This is 7.9 percent more than last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration announced on Tuesday. Out of the total number, over 2.7 million stayed in the country for 24 hours or longer
TBILISI, DFWatch--A fire that broke out at a culture house in the Pankisi Gorge was intentionally started, a spokesperson for the center told a local radio station. The building is located in Duisi, the largest village of Pankisi, a mountainous area of Georgia inhabited predominantly
TBILISI, DFWatch--Leaders of a small libertarian party in the former Soviet republic Georgia ask authorities to hold them to account after a marijuana planting stunt four days ago meant to force a softening of the country's drug policy. So far, the activists have not
TBILISI, DFWatch--Three American senators wrapped up their trip to Georgia on Monday by sending not-so-well wishes for the new year to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. The two Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and the their Democratic colleague
TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic Georgia made a small marijuana plantation inside the party office on New Year’s Eve as part of a campaign to decriminalize soft drugs. Zurab Japaridze, leader of a newly formed party called
TBILISI, DFWatch--While Georgian citizens are waiting for the final decision about a visa waiver system with the European Union, Serbia prepares to waive its visa rules for citizens of not only Georgia but also its two neighbors in the South Caucasus. “It was decided
TBILISI, DFWatch--Abkhazia’s de facto government may pull out of the only format of negotiations between Georgia, Russia and the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, de facto Abkhaz president Raul Khajimba warned on Tuesday. The former KGB officer
TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Abkhazia decided at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to close Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings which connect the breakaway region to Georgia proper. There are now only two crossing points that are operational, only one of which
TBILISI, DFWatch--A border guard working for the de facto authorities in Abkhazia, one of two Georgian breakaway regions, was Wednesday found guilty by the district court in Zugdidi of murdering a Georgian man at a border crossing checkpoint last May. Border guard Rashid Kanji-Ogli
TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia’s parliament prepares to declare the country’s foreign policy, the opposition National Movement has lashed out at the ruling party for wanting a ‘pragmatic’ policy toward Russia. Georgia aspires to NATO and EU membership, parliamentarians are preparing to declare,
TBILISI, DFWatch--One of Georgia's largest TV channels confirmed on Tuesday that it has successfully concluded negotiations to merge with two other channels that are linked to former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. Maestro TV was a voice of independent journalism
TBILISI, DFWatch--Lado Bedukadze, a former prison guard who has caused controversy in several of Georgia’s elections, will become a TV host on a newly established broadcaster. Bedukadze will host a short segment on a completely new channel called
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court has struck down a law which sent many young people to prison for using marijuana. Being charged with possession and consumption of marijuana will no longer land you in jail in Georgia, after the Constitutional Court
TBILISI, DFWatch--The arrival of Christmas was observed Saturday night at several churches in Georgia with Midnight Mass at the Catholic Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi and in the Protestant Holy Trinity Church in Batumi. The ceremony in Batumi
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s biggest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), is on the verge of splitting in two, as its key figures claim the party is in the midst of a ‘coup attempt’. Givi Targamadze, the former chair of the defense and security
ADIGENI, DFWatch--A dispute about the ruins of a mosque in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia has deteriorated further after Christians began conducting prayer on the site. Muslims began holding Friday prayers on the ruins two months ago and did not stop
TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died in an avalanche in Svaneti, in northwestern Georgia on Wednesday. The accident happened in Khaishi on the road between Jvari and Mestia. Rustavi 2 reported that the victim was a local minibus driver who had stopped his vehicle to look at the pileup
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday sentenced former intelligence official Data Akhalaia in absentia to 12 years in jail in connection with the Navtlughi special operation in 2006. Data Akhalaia is seen as a close ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has suspended a police officer who allegedly beat a journalist from Iberia TV a few days ago. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani two days ago told of how he was beaten by a policeman and two others after his car slipped on the icy road.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The prospect for Georgians to enter Europe without a visa came closer on Tuesday as the visa waiver agreement was approved by the Council of the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER. Tuesday’s decision
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister made a made a quick visit to Istanbul on Tuesday a day after Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by a Turkish off duty police officer. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili called the assassination ‘unprecedented
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Sunday ordered the pre-trial detention of two Georgians who are suspected of embezzlement of more than USD 25 million from thousands of microfinance customers. The court rejected a motion to release the accused
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are investigating a fire which broke out Sunday aboard a passenger train en route from Kutaisi to Batumi on the Black Sea. The blaze occurred near the village Khajalia. Although the train carriage was severely damaged,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A journalist in Georgia claims police beat him and pointed a gun at him following a traffic incident. The incident happened in Borjomi, a town in the southern part of Georgia, Iberia TV reported on Monday. Journalist Giorgi Gasviani, who works for
TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has decided to extricate his business from potentially conflicting relationships before he moves into the White House by revoking a licensing deal for a hotel in Georgia and its neighbour country Azerbaijan,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A more than 14 hour long protest ended on Friday with negotiations between opposition leaders and the embattled de facto leader of the Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia. On December 15, hundreds of people converged on the government building in Sokhumi,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Several flights were delayed at Kutaisi International Airport on Saturday due to ice. The airport informed that the flight to Thessaloniki, Greece was cancelled, while also flights to Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary were delayed for one day.
TBILISI, DFWatch--There are still road restrictions many places in Georgia due to the weather. Here is the latest update from the Road Department. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving on the Mleta-Kobi section of the S-3 road from Mtskheta to Larsi,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Following fierce debate between opposition and ruling Georgian Dream members, Georgia’s legislative body on Wednesday approved the 2017 state budget by 102 votes in favor and 10 against. The upcoming state budget envisages GEL 9.489 billion
TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Wednesday for stealing two historical books from the National Library the day before. The books the 64-year-old is accused of stealing date back to the 18th and 19th Century, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) wrote in a statement.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a Georgian opera singer who formed a political coalition which participated in the October 8 election, announced his departure from politics on Wednesday. Local media outlets wrote that the new leader of the party will be historian Nika Machutadze.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The infighting in the United National Movement (UNM) continued on Wednesday as 20 members from the main opposition party's central administration were dismissed. The dismissal impacted mostly those who side with Saakashvili loyalist Chiora Taktakishvili,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili may refrain from participating in the work of the state constitutional commission and instead start ‘actively lobbying’ for launching a public discussion regarding constitutional amendments,
TBILISI, DFWatch--There were reports on Tuesday that 20-year-old Ramzan Baghakashvili from Pankisi Gorge in the northeast of Georgia has died in Syria. Baghakashvili, who was from a village Dumastura, left Georgia for Syria two years ago with another teenager.
TBILISI, DFWatch--For two days, Nika Cherkezishvili has spent the night outside the government office in Tbilisi, refusing to leave until he gets a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. What caused Cherkezishvili begin a one-man protest is that he claims
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two young people were pulled out of the snow alive Monday evening after being caught by an avalanche in a mountainous part of Georgia’s Adjara region. Locals helped the two survive the ordeal. They did not have life-threatening injuries but were taken to hospital.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 27-year-old camerawoman working for Georgia’s Public Broadcaster was discovered dead in her apartment in Kutaisi Sunday night. Sopho Bobokidze’s death was first reported by her friends in social media. A health problem is the likely cause
TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against Georgia’s strict drug policy led to clashes with police and two people being detained in Tbilisi on Saturday. Protesters gathered in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Ave in Tbilisi to demand a softer drug policy.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman died in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday after being shot in the head by her ex-husband. The incident happened as the man visited the victim’s house, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said on Saturday. During an argument
TBILISI, DFWatch--Social media in Georgia have lit up with debate about a young man’s naked self-portrait in the highland region Svaneti. Was it an insult to local traditions? The debate was sparked by a video posted on Facebook which shows the man apologizing
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has appointed veteran diplomat and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Georgia’s Parliament Tedo Japaridze as foreign affairs advisor. Japaridze served as foreign minister in 2003 to 2004,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union on Thursday finally agreed on a visa waiver suspension mechanism, the last obstacle to the long-awaited visa free travel scheme to go into effect for Georgian and Ukrainian nationals. On December 7, the EU’s three governing bodies, the European Council,
TBILISI, DFWatch--There are road restrictions all over Georgia due to bad weather, the Roads Department warned Thursday. Trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving between the 1km and 50km mark on the S-8 Khashuri-Akhaltsikhe-Vale road,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The district court in Telavi, in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region, on Thursday sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for murdering a US citizen last August. The court determined that on August 12, 2016, Mikheil Chincharashvili met the US tourist
TBILISI, DFWatch--In 2014, Georgia signed an international convention to end violence against women and impunity of perpetrators, but two years later the country has still not ratified it. After Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani had signed the Istanbul Convention on
TBILISI, DFWatch--A 53-year-old man died in an accident in a manganese mine in Chiatura on Saturday. Paata Ghavtadze died from injuries while leaning out of the locomotive he was driving in the poorly-lit Itkhvisi mine in the mining town in the Imereti region in central Georgia.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Mokhe in southern Georgia do not accept a compromise suggested by a government commission and continue to pray on the ruins of a mosque in the village. Local Muslims and Orthodox Christians have disagreed for two years
TBILISI, DFWatch--One person died and eight were injured Saturday in an accident in the south of Georgia. The accident happened on the Tbilisi-Akhaltsikhe highway near Atskuri at about 13:00. The local newspaper Sknews.ge reported that a truck crashed with a minibus
Almost 5.9 million international visitors arrived in Georgia during 2016, which is 7.9 percent more than in the same period last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration said on Friday. Out of these tourists (who stayed in the country during 24 hours and longer)
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian alphabet has been recognized by UNESCO as part of humanity’s cultural heritage. The decision to include three variations of the Georgian alphabet in the United Nations agency’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Wednesday. Schulz is leaving EU politics when his term expires in January in order to focus on the federal elections in Germany next year,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The faction supporting Mikheil Saakashvili narrowly won a debate at a National Movement party conference on Wednesday. A resolution was passed to hold a party convention in the format favored by the country’s former president.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government offers a temporary aid package to people who have their mortgage loans in US dollars, to ease the disastrous consequences of the lari’s continued race to record low depths. The decision was made at a
TBILISI, DFWatch--Amid growing discontent with the economic situation in the country, and a national currency which plunges to new depths every day, the government announces a hike in excise the tax rate for fuel, tobacco, imported autos and gambling. "As you know,
TBILISI, DFWatch--New grim figures from Georgia’s ombudsman show that 13 women have been killed in family violence during the first ten months of 2016. In some cases, the police were alerted in advance, but did not intervene. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili spoke Friday about
TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawmaker with background from the National Movement announced on Monday that he is leaving politics, after founding and campaigning for the splinter party Girchi. Pavle Kublashvili, a former head of the justice committee in parliament,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A forgery ring sold diplomas that looked like they were issued by the country's most prestigious educational institution, Tbilisi State University. Investigators are now trying to hunt down the fake documents.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament Saturday passed a vote of confidence in a new cabinet government formed after Georgian Dream won a landslide in the October 8 election. 110 MPs voted for and 19 against a cabinet, which had only three personnel changes
TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman was attacked in Tbilisi on November 25. The attack happened late at night on Tamar Mepe Avenue. The target of the attack, Nata, had her nose broken and suffered other facial injuries. She left the hospital on Saturday.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Student at Tbilisi’s largest university began another round of protest this week, breaking into building number 6 of TSU and refusing to leave until there are reforms of the education system. Using the same name as the ad hoc group during a wave of protests
TBILISI, DFWatch--Sir Alan Duncan, United Kingdom’s Minister for Europe and the Americas, visited Georgia this week to take part in bilateral talks about reforms and security. The Waldrop dialogue is an annual conference between representatives of the two countries’
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian lari on Friday hit an all-time low at 2.5026 against the US dollar. The previous record was in January this year, when it was valued at 2.49 laris per USD. Georgia’s National Bank has sold USD 180 million of its reserves since August, but has not
TBILISI, DFWatch--Women carried dresses and skirts as flags through central Tbilisi on Friday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The march was organized by Movement of Women and began from Pushkin Square in the center toward the police station.
Tbilisi, DFWatch - A fistfight broke out between two guests during live political talk show between supporter of the United National Movement and a retired colonel, turned a conservative political analyst.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Acting Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili showed up at several committee hearings on Wednesday as parliamentarians were preparing for a vote of confidence in the new cabinet. Listing his ministry's achievements, Mghebrishvili said police in Georgia
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia is planning to take a fresh look at a high profile trial against the son of deceased former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. "Prior to this decision, a comprehensive and objective investigation had been repeatedly
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons have been arrested i Georgia accused of involvement in a macabre murder. One of the suspects is accused of killing the victim in an alcohol fuelled rage. The murder took place in late October, according to investigators. A neighbor complained
TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman who was attacked and severely injured on October 14 died at the hospital Tuesday night. The lawyer for the Women’ Initiative Supportive Group informed journalists that Zizi (32) had passed away. The attacker cut her throat
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Tuesday appointed General Vladimer Chachibaia as new chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF). 45-year-old Chachibaia, who served as chief of the Joint Staff of the armed forces
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport reported two flights are postponed on Wednesday because of the pilot strike in Lufthansa. The two affected flights were to have been carried out early Thursday morning, Tbilisi-Munich at 4.05am and Munich-Tbilisi at 5.00am.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified an agreement to join the military forces of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with the Russian armed forces. The combined forces agreement signed on November 21, 2015 establishes a joint
TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson says she had never imagined that female genital mutilation is being practiced in Georgia, and that the practice will be ended very soon. Three villages in the eastern Kakheti region are maintaining the practice which
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s acting head of government Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday unveiled his new cabinet, with only minor personnel changes from the last one. One notable change is the promotion of Dimitri Kumsishvili from Economy Minister to the more important
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Before the America’s president-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of the office, a leading Republican Senator, Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and his fellow party member Lindsey Olin Graham will lead a congressional delegation to Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia January to push back against Trump on Russia policy.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. At the final, which was held in Malta, Mariam Mamadashvili won with a performance of the song ‘Mzeo’ which garnered 239 points.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarch Ilia II joined other Eastern Orthodox leaders in Moscow on Sunday to attend the 70-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the Patriarchate of Georgia, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II was invited by the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in two cities in Georgia on Sunday. In Kutaisi and Tbilisi, small gatherings commemorated transgender people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected parliament mits first session on Friday, and one of its first decisions was to register five factions and the majority and minority. The Georgian Dream majority consists of 116 MPs. 115 are members of Georgian Dream, which received
TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new parliament on Friday, and the government now has a caretaker role until lawmakers has approved a new government. MPs voted to recognize the authority of the ninth parliamentary assembly.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A large, colorful abstract Willem de Kooning painting from one of the artist’s most productive periods was Tuesday sold at Christie’s post-war and contemporary auction in New York. The price: USD 66.3 million. The Dutch-American artist’s ‘Untitled XXV’ from 1977
TBILISI, DFWatch--A politician for the UNM party in Adjara has refused to serve in the region’s supreme council, echoing a recent decision by Sandra Roelofs, the former first lady, to not take her seat in parliament. Levan Varshalomidze, former chairman of the Adjara government,
Tbilisi, DFWatch - President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that he wouldn't tolerate acts directed against state institutions in his welcoming speech on Friday at the opening session of the newly elected parliament.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Israel might begin rejecting asylum requests from citizens of Georgia and Ukraine, Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz reports. The past two years have seen a surge in asylum requests by Ukrainians and Georgians, as citizens of these countries
TBILISI, DFWatch--Two high officials in Georgia’s Defense Ministry temporarily suspended themselves from their duties on Wednesday, after being accused of abuse of power during the Saakashvili presidency. Sergo Ninua and George Tsabadze, both lieutenant-colonels
TBILISI, DFWatch--A political party in the former Soviet republic Georgia has launched an unusual campaign to legalize marijuana: If the parliament doesn't decriminalize the weed by the end of the year, they will plant the narcotic plant in their office on New Year's Eve.
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has nominated Sergi Kapanadze as vice speaker of parliament from the minority. The leader of the parliamentary minority will still remain Davit Bakradze. He was speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2012. Nika Melia, who was UNM’s candidate
TBILISI, DFWatch--Plans for a Trump Tower on Georgia’s Black Sea coast are being revived, after laying dormant for the last five years. Newly elected US President and businessman Donald Trump visited Batumi personally in 2012 and later praised Mikheil Saakashvili
TBILISI, DFWatch--Clergy from the Georgian Orthodox Church describe getting rid of some misconceptions about NATO and EU after a visit to Brussels last week. The unprecedented visit started November 7 with Georgian clergy meeting NATO's envoy for South Caucasus
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail for shooting an opposition politician last February. Alexi Petriashvili, then the party secretary of the Free Democrats, was approached by two men on a cemetery in the middle
Tbilisi, DFWatch - Internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth constructive year and two-thirds of the world's internet users live in countries where authorities resort to censorship. However, Georgia has improved its position and has ranked as a free country according to a report released on Tuesday by Freedom House, a US government-funded pro-democracy NGO.