Elections

Third party Patriot Alliance is 244 votes from getting into parliament

by | October 9, 2016

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 | October 9, 2016

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 | October 9, 2016

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 | October 8, 2016

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 | October 8, 2016

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

News

Saakashvili won’t leave Ukraine, regardless of election outcome

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t plan to leave Ukraine, where he serves as governor of the Odessa region, no matter what the results of today’s parliament election is. “I won’t abandon my huge plans to help Ukraine,”

Elections

Voter turnout 20% by noon in uncertain Georgian election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--All election precincts in Georgia opened at 08:00 in the morning, according to Central Election Commission (CEC), and the election is proceeding peacefully. Voter turnout was 19.81 % by 12:00, according to the CEC. Most government officials

Elections

Georgians vote in uncertain parliamentary election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians go to the polls on Saturday to elect 150 new members of parliament, with no party or bloc likely to win an outright victory. 73 of the new MPs will be majoritarians, while the rest will come from the party lists through a proportional

News

Suspect identified after Tuesday’s car bomb in Tbilisi

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A suspect has been identified in the case of a car bomb on Tuesday targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said Friday evening that law enforcement bodies searched

Elections

Two UNM activists charged with violence against GD members

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two National Movement activists have been charged with violence and threats against members of the governing Georgian Dream party at a campaign event in western Georgia a few days ago. The incident happened on October 1

Crime

Policeman’s wife shot in the head, case investigated as suicide attempt

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman’s wife is in hospital in Kutaisi, fighting for her life after being shot in the head with her husband’s gun Thursday evening. Authorities are investigating the case as a suicide attempt. Early media reports indicated that the policeman

News

CEC traces violations in the campaign ad of Georgian conservative party

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Central Elections Administration (CEC) rejected a plea by major conservative party against the main opposition-leaned TV channel, which cancelled broadcasting its electoral advertisement. CEC ruled that Alliance of Patriots’ video

Elections

Saakashvili’s party rallies ahead of election

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three days before Georgians go to the polls, the National Movement on Wednesday rallied their supporters in Tbilisi. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed people from Odessa, Ukraine on a big screen via Skype. He criticized

News

Georgian troops vote in Afghanistan

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian troops serving within NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan cast their ballots on Wednesday, three days prior of the parliamentary elections, which is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 8.

News

Tbilisi politicians react to last night’s car blast, assign blame

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politicians Wednesday reacted to the explosion which blew up of the car of a parliamentarian the night before. Different culprits were singled out but they seemed to agree that the purpose was to affect the outcome of the parliamentary

News

Suspect turns himself in after shooting at political rally

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested a person accused of shooting and injuring two persons at a political rally in Gori on October 2.  According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), investigators have determined that the suspect fired shots during the meeting,

News

Georgian MP’s car explodes near Freedom Sq in Tbilisi

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An apparent car bomb exploded in central Tbilisi Tuesday night, targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The car’s owner MP Givi Targamadze was sitting in the front passenger seat as it exploded. He was not seriously injured. Georgia’s deputy interior minister, who was at the scene, said five people were injured by the explosion. Four are hospitalized, and one of them is in grave condition. In a phone interview, Targamadze said he believes the explosion was the result of a deliberate act. He believes that it was a bomb placed in the rear of the car. The rear section of the car is completely destroyed. Targamadze said it happened as he left the office. He was in the car with his driver. “I left the office. I moved to the Kolmeurneoba Square. At first, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I thought that someone was shooting at us. When we came to better consciousness we left the car. Me and my driver do not have a lot of injuries,” he told Rustavi 2. The UNM party figure also said ...

Politics

Saakashvili mocks Ivanishvili: ‘You are destined for defeat’

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvil has mocked his main opponent former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, saying he was destined for defeat in the October 8 election. Saakashvili, who is governor of Odessa in Ukraine,

Politics

Two wounded in shooting at political rally in Georgia

by | October 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister claims he was the target when shots were fired during an election rally in Gori, a town 60km northwest of Tbilisi, on Sunday. Irakli Okruashvili was meeting voters in the town where he is a candidate

News

Tourism jumps by one fifth, statistics

by | October 3, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia had a 19.5 percent growth in tourism in the nine months in 2016, according to the data released by National Tourism Administration on Monday.

Youth

Georgia’s Constitutional Court strikes down tough marijuana law

by | October 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a law that has landed many young people in jail for years for using marijuana. The court abolished part of article 273 of the Criminal code, which mandated jail sentence for anyone caught

News

Pope Francis speaks of the importance of women during mass in Tbilisi

by | October 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pope Francis on Saturday conducted a mass on Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in the center of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. In his sermon, the head of the Roman Catholic Church spoke about the importance of women in Georgia, quoting Mother Teresa,

In brief

Radicals object to Pope’s visit to Georgia

by | September 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A radical Orthodox Christian group Friday protested against Pope Francis’s visit to Georgia with a small gathering of about 30 persons shouting ‘devil’, ‘cursed’ and holding posters with messages like ‘Antichrist, get out of Georgia.’

News

Pope Francis visits Georgia

by | September 30, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Pope Francis’s aircraft landed at Tbilisi International Airport on Friday afternoon. Next day he’s having a mass and sermon in Tbilisi second largest football stadium, where he’ll likely touch political themes. However, Georgia’s ambassador at Vatican isn’t optimistic the Pope will use a term ‘occupation’. Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, head of Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as President Giorgi Margvelashvili met the Pope at the airport.

News

Anti-NATO, antigay MP withdraws from majoritarian race, express allegiance to Ivanishvili

by | September 29, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A member of Georgian parliament, notorious for his radical anti-NATO, antigay statements, Thursday withdrew his candidacy in a majoritarian district and expressed support to Georgian Dream and its founder, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Nine days before the election Tamaz Mechiauri, MP and a leader of a party 'Tamaz Mechiauri – United Georgia", released a statement informing that he will continue election campaign. Tamaz Mechiauri was a member of GD but left it after constant bickering with Republican Party members, which was also in the same coalition that time. He set his party up only after formally leaving GD in June. Mechiauri called for the voters of Georgian Dream to support him. ‘Despite different views about the country’s foreign policy, our party expresses support to Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team and is ready to stand by him in any critical situation, including the attempt of destabilization,’ Mechiauri’s short Facebook statement reads. Recently anonymous video tape was published on YouTube purporting that United National Movement leaders, including ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, plotting revolution in Georgia after elections, if they lose. Soon the GD politicians ...

In brief

Government embarks on examining beauty salons

by | September 28, 2016

Tbilisi, DFwatch - Beauty salons have to formally register at the Public Registry from October 1, in order to be properly examined by the Ministry of Health in the frames of the government program aimed at eliminating Hepatitis C.

In brief

UNM pledges not to prosecute Ivanishvili after elections

by | September 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement will not prosecute Bidzina Ivanishvili and his supporters , Giga Bokeria, the party's foreign affairs secretary said at a briefing on Wednesday. Bokeria predicts 'inevitable' loss by the Georgian Dream,

News

Neo-Nazis marched Tbilisi center, 11 detained

by | September 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eleven people were detained for hooliganism Tuesday night during a rally of radical Georgian youth groups in downtown Tbilisi. The police interfered only after the march of Georgian Power, an overtly neo-Nazi bunch of teenagers, went sour,

News

Burchuladze kicks out his major partner, Girchi, from coalition

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a world famous operatic bass who recently formed a political coalition with three other parties, said that he asked Girchi, one of the most important parts of his coalition, to leave.

News

Saakashvili heard plotting revolution in Georgia in Youtube tape

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An audio tape was published Tuesday which appear to capture a conversation between former President Mikheil Saakashvili and other UNM party members plotting a revolution in Georgia. The tape was uploaded to Youtube by a user called Creative Georgia News.

News

Georgia’s ruling party not planning final rally ahead of election

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing party denies that it is planning a final campaign rally before the parliamentary election, despite claims to the contrary from its challenger UNM. One of Georgian Dream’s main challengers, the National Movement (UNM),

Economy

Caucasus rail-link to help Iranian companies establish foothold in Europe

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railway is in talks about increasing rail freight between Iran and Bulgaria through Georgia. The target group of the plan is Iranian investors looking to establish a foothold in the European market. Through using the railway connection

Politics

Ivanishvili recommends Garibashivili as future president

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday that he would like to see Irakli Garibashvili as president. Ivanishvili said this while meeting with local media in Rustavi, a town south of Tbilisi. He said the former PM is ‘a good option for a spare’

Education

Student activists interrupt opening ceremony at TSU

by | September 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Student activists interrupted the traditional welcoming of new students at Tbilisi State University on Monday, in protest against the election of a former deputy education minister as new rector. An activist group called Auditorium 115 prevented Giorgi Sharvashidze

Minorities

After waiting nine years, Radio Marneuli prepares to finally go on air

by | September 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Marneuli, a predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani town in the south of Georgia, the community radio is the only media outlet which is critical of the local government and trying to be balanced, unbiased and objective. The people behind Radio Marneuli went through many difficulties until they finally

Media

Village trustee in Georgia resigns after hitting journalist in the face

by | September 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trustee of a village in eastern Georgia has resigned after admitting that he hit a journalist in the face. The journalist, Gela Mtivlishvili, had showed up at a stretch of road where asphalt was being laid down in pouring rain in anticipation of a visit by

Youth

TSU students threaten to resume protest after rector’s election

by | September 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University threaten to resume their sit-ins and blockades after a former deputy education minister Friday became new rector in what they claim was rigged a election. Gia Sharvashidze was backed by 21 members of TSU’s academic council.

News

Tbilisi-Beijing flights launched by China’s Southern Airlines

by | September 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Beijing-Urumqi-Tbilisi flights have been scheduled from Friday, according to Georgia’s National Tourism Administration. China’s Southern Airlines, China’s largest flight companies, will carry out the flights two times in every week.

News

Three ex-officials including Vano Merabishvili found guilty of beating MP in 2005

by | September 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has found a former interior minister and two other ex-officials guilty of beating a parliamentarian in 2005. The guilty verdict against Vano Merabishvili, Erekle Kodua and Gia Siradze

Crime

A hundred illegal slot machines confiscated

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Financial crime investigators in Georgia have confiscated a hundred home-made slot machines that were placed in several cities around the country. The grey and blue columns do not look like typical slot machines, but offer customers

Minorities

Muslims in Kobuleti win symbolic victory in discrimination lawsuit

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Batumi, the City Court on Monday ruled partly in favor of the Muslim community in a conflict about a planned religious boarding school called a madrasa. The court case, which has lasted two years, deals with a conflict among locals in the town Kobuleti,

News

Saakashvili’s ally in Odessa indicted by Georgia

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia (POG) has indicted a former Georgian official and Odessa governor confidant in Ukraine for directing a brutal dispersal of opposition rally back in 2011. Gia Lortkipanidze, a deputy of then omnipotent

In brief

Man electrocuted trying to save 3-year-old girl who fell into swimming pool

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A young man was electrocuted in Batumi on Wednesday after he jumped into a swimming pool to save a three-year-old girl. The incident happened at about 11:00 in the morning in a guesthouse at a place called Benze. A girl fell into the pool in the garden

News

Orthodox group in Georgia threatens to protest against pope’s visit

by | September 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of orthodox Christian parents in Georgia are planning to demonstrate against Pope Francis during his visit the coming week. The group is called the Union of Orthodox Parents and is well-known among locals for its confrontational style and conservative views.

Environment

Construction work ends on Georgia’s first wind farm

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Construction work on Georgia’s first wind farm has been completed near Gori, the Energy Development Fund of Georgia announced. The facility consists of six turbines, each with a power output of 3.45MW.

News

Ex-official has no time to answer questions about police brutality in 2011

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian government official has refused to travel from Ukraine to Georgia to answer questions about a violent dispersal of anti-government protesters five and a half years ago. Gia Lortkipanidze is head of police in Ukraine’s Odessa region,

News

Opposition journalist flees Russia, settles in Georgia

by | September 21, 2016

Tbilisi,DFWatch - Russian opposition journalist published a video on Tuesday stating he has to leave Russia and settle in Georgia ‘for some time’.

News

New charges against ex-officials for May 26, 2011 mass arrests

by | September 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia on Tuesday charged four former officials for their handling of the dispersal of an anti-government rally in Tbilisi on May 26, 2011. The four are charged with exceeding their official powers.

News

Georgia arrests two bank robbers with some of the stolen money

by | September 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested two men Monday who are suspected of robbing several banks and a convenience store in the Vazisubani district of Tbilisi two days earlier. One of the men was arrested on the Armenian border at Sadakhlo,

In brief

Dniproavia launches direct Odessa-Tbilisi flights from October 6

by | September 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukrainian airline Dniproavia is beginning weekly flights to Tbilisi, Georgia, starting October 6. Flights will have a duration of 2 hours and 25 minutes each way. The airline has decided to use the Brazilian twin-engine jet Embraer 145, which is capable

News

Georgia condemns Russian election precincts inside breakaway territories

by | September 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia condemned the election Sunday for the Russian State Duma inside the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) called on the international community to react against this

News

17-year-old who was detained on border returned by South Ossetia

by | September 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year-old Georgian who was detained Friday by Russian soldiers patrolling the border of South Ossetia was returned on Saturday. Joni Gogichaishvili’s return was confirmed by the European Union Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM),

News

Russian patrol detains 17-year-old Georgian on disputed border

by | September 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards on Friday detained a 17-year-old Georgian near the border with South Ossetia. The incident took place in the village Bershueti. The detainee, Joni Gogichaishvili from the village Sobisi, was taken to the detention facility

Environment

Strong rain and flooding in Batumi

by | September 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Black Sea coast was hit by strong rain on Friday, flooding the streets and inundating ground floors and basements in Batumi, a city of 150,000 people. Emergency workers were still pumping out the flood water from houses

News

Military lyceum in Georgia starts accepting girls for first time

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Cadets Military Lyceum named after Giorgi Kvinitadze accepted girls for the first time since its establishment in 2010. The opening ceremony of the academic year 2016-2017 was greeted by President Giorgi Margvelashvili

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover Jan-Aug up 16% in 2016

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first eight months of 2016 was 16 percent more than in the same period last year, new figures from Georgia’s National Statistics Office show. The figures, presented in the latest preliminary monthly report by GeoStat,

Minorities

Georgian police accused of hate speech in lawsuit at Strasbourg court

by | September 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The beating of four Muslims by Georgian police may be brought up before the European Court of Human Rights after a human rights group in Georgia on Thursday filed a lawsuit at the Strasbourg court. The four were detained by police during a village

In brief

Storm blew roofs off houses in a dozen villages in Georgia

by | September 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong wind blew the roof off buildings in a dozen villages in the east of Georgia on Wednesday, Information Center of Kakheti (ICK) reported. The wind lifted the roof off houses in about ten villages  in villages in Lagodekhi municipality, in the Kakheti region,

Politics

Saakashvili preparing to stoke unrest ahead of election: Georgian PM

by | September 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili claims that Mikheil Saakashvili’s party has started several new organizations in order to foment unrest in Georgia ahead of the election. One of the new organizations started by the National Movement is Georgia in the Name

News

Republican Party leader says he was offered PM seat personally by Ivanishvili in 2015

by | September 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Speaker of Georgian Parliament states he was offered a prime ministerial seat by the former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili  back in April, 2015, when the post was held by Irakli Garibashvili.

News

Gaz distribution company soothes irked Tbilisians

by | September 14, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Natural gas distribution company in Tbilisi, KazTransGaz, issued an official statement on Wednesday calming down residents scared by an intense odour in their apartments.

News

Policeman wanted in Demur Sturua case gives himself up

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman who has been wanted in connection with 22-year-old Demur Sturua’s suicide showed up at the regional prosecutor’s office in Kutaisi Tuesday night accompanied by his lawyer. Goderdzi Tevzadze was declared wanted by the Prosecutor

Economy

Georgia secures free trade deal with China

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has secured a free trade agreement with China which is expected to boost Georgia’s export of wine. The agreement, which still needs to be confirmed formally, will exempt goods and services that were previously charged more than 40 percent

Politics

Ex-ally claims opera star who formed new party is a puppet of Ivanishvili

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another prominent member left opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s party on Tuesday, accusing State for People of being financed by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. “I am leaving Paata Burchuladze’s party, because it is not Paata

Politics

Ivanishvili blasts Burjanadze: Your non-bloc idea is a bluff

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili lashed out at opposition politician Nino Burjanadze on Sunday, accusing her of bluffing when she proposed that Georgia should declare a non-bloc status. Burjanadze, a former parliament speaker,

Minorities

Georgian Muslims celebrate Kurban Bayram

by | September 12, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Muslims in Georgia, as well as around the World, celebrate Eid al-Adha, known as Kurban Bayram, major religious celebration from 12 to 15 September.

News

Party led by anti-NATO businessman disqualified from elections

by | September 12, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Gogi Topadze’s party, former member of the ruling coalition, was rejected to participate in the upcoming parliament election by the Election Administration (CEC) together with 24 other minor parties.

In brief

60-year-old Georgian cattle herder detained by Russian border patrol

by | September 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 60-year-old Georgian man was detained on Sunday near the border with Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia for violating the border. Valiko Khizanishvili, who is from the village Koshka, was detained when he was out in a field looking after cattle.

Sport

Zviad Gogochuri wins Georgia’s first ever Paralympics gold

by | September 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Zviad Gogochuri on Saturday took gold in the men’s 90kg judo competition at the Rio Paralympics. This is the first gold by a Georgia athlete in the Paralympics since the country became independent in 1991. In the final,

In brief

Georgia appoints new ambassador to the United States

by | September 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Krivikashvili on Friday appointed a new ambassador to Washington. Replacing Archil Gegeshidze is Davit Bakradze, the minister of Euro-integration who has been in charge of Georgia’s approaches to the European Union

Elections

Government reshuffle to boost GD’s election campaign

by | September 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday announced a cabinet reshuffle which lets two GD politicians dedicate their time to campaigning as less than a month remains before a parliamentary election where no party or bloc

News

Republican Party proposes new pension system

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party proposes a new pension system based on entitlement earned through work experience. Appearing on Rustavi 2’s election special, spokesperson Davit Usupashvili drew a line between the Republicans

In brief

Construction worker dies after fall in Kutaisi

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A worker died at a construction site in western Georgia on Thursday, after falling from a building. The incident happened on Aghmashenebeli Street in Kutaisi. The victim was a middle-age man. An investigation has been launched

News

Burchuladze’s team-mate splits, asks authorities for protection

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Political commentator Khatuna Lagazidze is leaving opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s party. She expresses concern about her own safety and asks the authorities for protection for herself and her family against ‘criminal elements’ in the party.

Elections

3.5 million have registered to vote in Georgia’s election

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 3.5 million voters had registered in Georgia by August 12; eight weeks before the election for parliament. Ana Mikeladze, Speaker for the Central Election Commission, said Wednesday that from June 10 until today, more than

News

GD announces its party list, pushing some old members aside

by | September 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream announces its party list for Oct. 2, 2016 parliamentary elections, featuring mostly ‘new faces’ on its top and leaving many of its prominent members behind. The list is headed by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, current PM

Minorities

Muslims in Batumi buy land plot for city’s second mosque

by | September 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Batumi took one step closer to building a second mosque in the city by purchasing a plot of land on Wednesday. The initiative group for constructing a mosque in Batumi on September 7 purchased a property on Abashidze Street

News

Ivanishvili urges Alliance of Patriots to clarify its stance toward EU, NATO

by | September 8, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticizes Alliance of Patriots, a conservative political party, which often resorts to the populist nationalistic narrative, for having ‘no clear platform’ and advises them to inform voters what exactly they want and what direction they want to steer the country.

Crime

Fake Nokia and Samsung phones no longer on sale in this shop

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The financial crimes unit in Georgia’s Finance Ministry exposed a shop for selling fake Nokia and Samsung phones on Wednesday, which may lead to up to five years in jail. The Investigation Service revealed that phones were illegally labelled

News

Air taxi to start flying in November – check available destinations here

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A company in Georgia is offering air taxi services from November this year, taking customers to every airport in Georgia. The air taxis are run by Adjara Group. Head of marketing and business development Oto Berishvili

Politics

‘Georgia should have a U.S. military base before it gets into NATO’

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party wants to have a U.S. military base in Georgia before the country becomes a full member of NATO. This was one of the statements made by Republican Party members during a debate on Rustavi 2 Tuesday evening,

Media

Okruashvili’s stakes claim on Rustavi 2 TV with secret contract

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister has revealed the existence of a contract which appears to invalidate the takeover of one of the main TV stations in the country, as the Supreme Court is considering the case. The city court in Tbilisi decided in November

In brief

These streets in Old Tbilisi will become pedestrian zones

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six streets in the old part of the Georgian capital will become pedestrian zones, Tbilisi City Hall has decided. City Hall explained that there is a demand from people to have more pedestrian areas in Old Tbilisi and that there is need for more tourism

Crime

Tbilisi car repair shop killer caught in Zestaponi

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Monday night arrested a 24-year-old suspected of murdering a car repairman a few hours earlier at in Tbilisi. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) informs that a man was arrested for premeditated murder and illegally purchasing,

Elections

GD candidate claims UNM planning election provocations

by | September 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former human rights advocate who is running for parliament claims the former ruling party, the National Movement (UNM), is planning to provoke conflicts in the election campaign. Tamar Chugoshvili, a candidate for parliament for Georgian Dream

Economy

Azerbaijan committed to the Southern Gas Corridor: Baku official

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the falling oil price, Azerbaijan has confirmed its commitment to the implementation of large-scale projects like the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Energy Minister Namig Abbasov said at a conference

Crime

Angry customer shoots electrician at Tbilisi car repair shop

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An enraged customer pulled a gun on an electrician and shot him at a car repair place in central Tbilisi on Monday. The fatal disagreement took place on Kipshidze Street in the western Vake district. Police said the customer had a quarrel with an electrician

Europe

Committee in EU parliament backs Georgia visa waiver program

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a vote on Monday, a majority in the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) supported giving visa-free access to the Schengen area for Georgian citizen. 44 voted for lifting visa rules for Georgian citizens,

Europe

EU parliament discussing visa liberalization today

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A committee in the European Parliament will discuss today whether to offer visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens, as well as citizens of Kosovo. Claude Moraes, head of the Civil Liberties, Justice and

Crime

Rejected suitor raped woman he wanted to marry, gets 7 years’ jail

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The City Court in Zugdidi last Friday sentenced a man to seven years in jail for raping a woman and attempting to force her into marriage. Defense lawyers say the man, who was arrested April 11, will appeal the verdict. According to the Prosecutor

News

Man arrested for harassing witness in Demur Sturua-case

by | September 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested in western Georgia on Saturday for harassing a witness in the Demur Sturua case. Sturua committed suicide on August 7 and left a note indicating that a local policeman had pressured him to give up names of people who were cultivating

News

State Audit Office asks court to fine six parties for election violations

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Audit Office (SAO) has asked the court to fine six political parties for bribery, illegal donations and other election violations. The office asked the court to issue a 4,000 lari fine to Rima Beridze, a majoritarian candidate for Georgian Dream,

Environment

Green activists keep up pressure on City Hall for tree-cutting scandal

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The eco-activists of Guerilla Gardening rallied in front of Tbilisi City Hall again on Friday, demanding the dismissal of the two bureaucrats in charge of tree cutting in the capital. They demand the dismissal of the head and the deputy of City Hall’s

In brief

17 percent more tourists so far in 2016

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The economy minister on Friday summed up the summer tourism season in Georgia together with the head of the National Tourism Administration. According to Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili, 4,247,729 foreigners visited Georgia in the

Economy, News

Grape harvest begins in Georgia’s wine region Kakheti

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--This year’s grape harvest has begun in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region. More than 1,850 tons of rkatsiteli grape and more than 1,110 tons of saperavi has been processed in Dedoplistskaro. Wine producing companies pay 80 tetris for saperavi,

In brief

One dead, one injured in assassination in central Tbilisi

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died and one was injured in an execution style shooting in central Tbilisi on Friday. The Ministry of Internal Affairs arrested a man born in 1981 who is charged with premeditated murder and illegally carrying a weapon. The accused fired multiple

News

Council head in Georgian village called special “men’s session”

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili has called on the municipal council in a valley in Georgia’s southwestern Adjara region to stop making sexist statements. After a meeting of the Keda Council on August 26, a member of the National Movement

News

Funeral service held on the Black Sea for missing military divers

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A funeral service was held Thursday for two Georgian military divers who disappeared during an exercise in the Black Sea more than two weeks ago. The funeral service was held at the location where the soldiers were last seen during a training course on August 16

In brief

Three prison guards arrested after prisoner’s escape from court

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three prison guards were arrested on Wednesday in the case of the prisoner who escaped from the court building in Rustavi. According to the Prison Ministry, one of the detainees is head of shift of the guard service at the second department,

In brief

Georgia’s Sukhishvili dance company boycotts Crimea

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s most famous folk dance ensemble Sukhishvili has turned down an invitation to perform in Sevastopol and Simferopol, two cities in Crimea. The Georgian National Ballet, as it is formally called, posted a short note on Facebook about their decision.

News

Ivanishvili estimates GD will get at least 100 MPs in Oct 8 election

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bidzina Ivanishvili is confident that the governing Georgian Dream party, which he founded, will have at least 100 seats in the next parliament. The billionaire businessman says he cannot imagine that Georgian Dream will get less than 90 MPs in the next assembly.

News

Georgia’s first wind farm almost completed

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s first wind farm is almost completed. Wednesday the first turbine was installed in Gori, close to the television tower. The wind power plant in Gori will be the first of its kind in Georgia. Earlier, there

Minorities

In pictures: Cross-border music festival One Caucasus

by | September 1, 2016

Tserakvi, DFWatch - Festival brings South Georgia’s multi-ethnic community together with visitors from Armenia and Azerbaijan for music, art, sport, and activism. The festival was held for the third time with more guests and artists performing.

News

Georgian prisoner escapes by feigning illness

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It could have been a scene from a Hollywood movie, the moment when a prisoner escaped from Rustavi City Court on Wednesday. According to reports, the escapee was in the waiting room for defendants when he said he was feeling sick.

In brief

Georgia halts military exercises at sea following fatal diving accident

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is halting exercises at sea as there are no certified instructors, Defense Minister Levan Izoria said Wednesday. A search for two military divers who went missing during an exercise was called off yesterday. The soldiers went missing

News

‘Putin is not Georgia’s enemy’: Nino Burjanadze

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin is not an enemy of Georgia, but a very significant politician, according to former Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze. The opposition figure whose party Democratic Movement is without representatives

In brief

Number of hospitalized after wedding poisoning scandal rises to 40

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 40 people - 22 of them children - are still in hospital after being poisoned during a wedding in Georgia. Nearly 200 people were poisoned on Monday at a wedding in Sadakhlo, a village in the south of Georgia near the border with Armenia.

News

Georgia and Turkey call off search for two missing military divers

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After eleven days, the search operation for two missing soldiers has been called off in Gonio on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. The two are believed to have drowned on August 16 during a military exercise.

In brief

Court issues detention order for policeman charged in suicide case

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Tuesday issued an order to detain a policeman who is accused of having caused the suicide of a 22-year-old man. The wanted police officer Goderdzi Tevzadze has gone into hiding, and Kutaisi City Court therefore issued the ruling ‘in absentia’.

News

Parties promise higher pensions, allowances without explaining how to fund it

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--As barely a month remains until the parliamentary election, political parties in Georgia are falling over each other to promise increased pensions and social allowances. “Today, social allowances are distributed

News

200 wedding guests poisoned – 21 still hospitalized

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Almost 200 people were taken ill with food poisoning at a wedding in the south of Georgia on Monday, 28 of them children. The mass poisoning took place in the village Sadakhlo, near Marneuli. The affected wedding guests mostly complained about feeling sick and disoriented.

News

Georgian PM’s latest election promise: a new road to Russia

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday promised to build a new highway that will improve the road connection between Tbilisi and the Russian border. “Within the next four years, we plan to build a highway from Mtskheta to Vladikavkaz,”

Politics

Should Georgia’s foreign policy alignment be defined in the Constitiution?

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two proposals to define Georgia’s foreign policy alignment in the Constitution were postponed by a parliament committee because not enough MPs showed up. The rebellious opposition leader who started the debate now claims parliament has violated election rules.

News

Policeman on the run – charged with causing 22-year-old’s suicide

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A police officer in Georgia was Monday charged with causing a young man to commit suicide. The police officer, Goderdzi Tevzadze in the western Georgian town Samtredia, has gone into hiding and was charged in absentia. He is charged with abusing his official powers

News

More details emerge about Georgia pipeline plot

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Monday, the newspaper Kviris Palitra published an interview with the person who tipped off the State Security Service about a plot to blow up a pipeline which brings natural gas from Russia to Armenia. Seven persons were arrested on August 22,

Sport

Georgia’s Nino Khomeriki 2nd time European chess champion

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Nino Khomeriki has become European youth chess champion for the second time. Yesterday’s win at the European Youth Chess Championship in Prague, Czech Republic, is the second time Khomeriki claims the title.

News

Foreign tourists spend 450 laris a day in Adjara

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report shows that foreign tourists spend 450 laris a day in Adjara, a Black Sea region of Georgia heavily reliant on tourism. Over a thousand tourists were asked about their stay as they left the country, and the results draws a picture

News

Fire devastates vineyards and hazelnut gardens in Kakheti

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Fire devastated 50 hectares of agricultural land in the vicinity of Akhalsopeli, a village in Kvareli Municipality, Kakheti. 5 hectares of vineyards and hazelnut gardens had been almost totally destroyed, while in other areas the damage was not so serious,

News

WATCH TRAILER: New TV series about Saakashvili regime’s crimes

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The first episode of a new TV series about the crimes of the Saakashvili regime premiered at Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi on Saturday (watch trailer below). Georgian filmmaker and political activist Goga Khaindrava finished work on the documentary TV series,

News

Two tourists rescued in Mestia, one man missing at sea

by | August 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Israeli and one German tourist were rescued Saturday in Mestia, a picturesque mountain region in the northwest of Georgia. The two tourists were heading for the Tetnuldi peak, but not heard from. A search was immediately started after they

Minorities

Can Caucasus become one? Festival opens where three countries meet

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The One Caucasus Festival kicked off in Georgia on Thursday, bringing together tourists and young people from all over the country, from different ethnic backgrounds, in order to enjoy music performances by local and foreign artists. One Caucasus

Environment

Tbilisi mayor’s speech interrupted by protesters against tree-felling

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor defended his conduct in the tree-felling scandal at an extraordinary City Council meeting Friday but had to halt his speech because of interruption by protesters. Environmentalists claim Mayor Davit Narmania

Crime

21-year-old’s stabbing rampage in Kobuleti leaves one dead

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died Thursday night after a street fight near Kobuleti, a town on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. Four others were taken to hospital with injuries, including a policeman. Police arrested a 21-year-old who is suspected of stabbing a 20-year-old man in the chest,

News

Republicans’ 9 muses: More women in politics means more solidarity

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Under the slogan ‘Let’s break free’, the Republican party has nominated nine women candidates for parliament under the single-seat majoritarian system for the October 8 election. “We have to break free of a lot of things.

News

Campaign against family violence not working, women still afraid

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The stigma attached to family violence is still keeping women from seeking help. The campaign is simply not working, a Georgian human rights group has said. In 2009, the United Natioins carried out a survey which showed that one in every 11 women in Georgia

News

Goodbye, Narmania! UNM begins no-confidence proceedings against mayor

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch --The National Movement faction in Tbilisi City Council initiated a motion of no-confidence against Mayor Davit Narmania on Thursday, following protests against a controversial tree-felling to make room for two new apartment blocks. "Today we officially start procedure of no-confidence in the City Council against the mayor of Tbilisi. We call on the majority [Georgian Dream, ed.] whose signature is required for this procedure, to take responsibility for the activities of the mayor of Tbilisi," UNM’s Irakli Abesadze said. The UNM needs 24 signatures out of 47 City Council members and in order to succeed 34 votes are needed, which is barely feasible as Georgian Dream faction numbers 16, plus some other factions close to the GD. The tensions ran high after a construction company cut down trees in a small park on Kazbegi Avenue to build two multi-storey residential buildings. Many Tbilisians have had it with this kind of moves by the city's mayor, and this was the last straw. Cutting down healthy trees requires a special permit from Tbilisi City Hall, which the company had. City Hall insists that the trees were sick. Environmental activists doubt this, as it has been common ...

Environment, News

Anti-tree felling protester in Tbilisi hospitalized after hunger strike

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Guerilla Gardening group is continuing their protest outside City Hall against the recent tree-cutting in the capital. One of the group’s leaders was hospitalized on Wednesday after being on hunger strike for seven days, but she was replaced by another activist.

News

Georgia pipeline plot suspect denies link to Ukraine

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the seven men arrested in Georgia for planning to blow up a Russian gas pipeline has denied any links to Ukraine. The suspect Beka Bekauri is still in hospital after suffering serious head trauma. He has had an operation and his condition is now stable.

News

PM vows to tighten Constitution’s marriage definition after election

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister on Wednesday again promised that Georgian Dream will amend the Constitution after the October 8 election in order to change the definition of marriage. Now that the president has rejected a proposed

News

Death of military divers may lead to criminal charges: Defense minister

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense minister says a crime may have been committed when two soldiers disappeared while diving off the Black Sea coast eight days ago. Their bodies have still not been found. Levan Izoria said Tuesday that there are possible

News

21-year-old IS militant from Georgia dies in Syria air raid

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 21-year-old man from Georgia has died fighting alongside ISIS in the Syria war. Sultan Gumashvili was from Pankisi Gorge. Georgian media outlets are reporting that the deceased militant’s father Adam Gumashvili is also fighting for ISIS in Syria and is a prominent

News

Traffic accidents claimed 7 lives in 7 days

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the last week, three traffic accidents have claimed the lives of seven people in Georgia, including a 12-year-old boy, while three were injured. The latest accident took place August 21, on the Gori highway near the so-called Tskhinvali bridge.

News

Beaten Georgia pipeline plot suspect questioned at the hospital

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the men suspected of planning an act of sabotage against a natural gas pipeline in Georgia was questioned at the hospital on Tuesday. Yesterday, lawyer Maia Chrelashvili said that her client was unable to attend a hearing

News

Journalist Merab Metreveli leaves opera star’s new party

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Journalist Merab Metreveli Monday left opera singer’s Paata Burchuladze’s party because he was dissatisfied with being allied with former National Movement members. The opera star was joined by a more politicians on August 18,

News

Terror suspect was beaten, according to lawyer

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The lawyer of one of the men who is accused of planning a terrorist attack against a gas pipeline in Georgia claims her client has been severely beaten in detention. Seven men were arrested on Monday, accused of planning to blow up a pipeline

News

Sabotage against a major pipeline prevented in Georgia, 7 arrested: State Security

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Security Service of Georgia (SUS) claims it has prevented an attempt to blow up a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Armenia. Five people planned to set off explosives at the portion of pipeline that crosses

In brief

Three die in car crash in Gori

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people died in a serious car accident on Sunday in Gori, a town 80km west of the capital. A small Mercedes car and a truck crashed. The driver of the truck survived and was taken to hospital. But all the occupants of the small car

News

Georgian PM declares support for Turkey after wedding terror blast

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of government in Georgia on Sunday in a written statement expressed concern about the recent terrorist attack in Turkey and voiced support for the people of Turkey. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says in the statement

Sport

Geno Petriashvili wins bronze in men’s frestyle 125kg wrestling

by | August 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Geno Petriashvili from Georgia won bronze in men's freestyle 125 kg wrestling in the Rio Olympics on Saturday. This is Georgia’s seventh medal in the games: two gold, one silver and four bronze medals. In the final, Petriashvili won against Tervel Dlagnev

Youth

Protesters blame Georgia’s drug policy for young man’s suicide

by | August 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists clashed with police in a town in western Georgia on Saturday. The protesters blame the government’s drug policy for driving a 22-year-old man to take his own life. Protesters gathered in front of the Samtredia

Sport

Georgia’s Khinchegashvili wins Olympic gold in freestyle wrestling

by | August 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Vladimer Khinchegashvili won gold in men's freestyle 57 kg wrestling at the Rio Olympics on Friday. Georgia now has two gold medals in the games. In the final, Khinchegashvili faced Japan’s Rei Higuchi, who got silver. The first round

News

Former first lady Sandra Roelofs UNM candidate in Zugdidi

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs is a candidate for parliament for her husband’s National Movement party for Zugdidi election district in the west of Georgia. Unlike her husband, Roelofs is not wanted by Georgian law enforcement,

News

More groups coalescing around Georgian opera star

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opera star Paata Burchuladze expanded his followership on Thursday as more politicians joined his party, State for People. The merger with the New Rightists brings in politicians from a party that has a long presence in Georgian politics, but

News

Georgian drivers can now check if their car is radioactive

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian drivers can now get their car examined for radioactivity. But why would they want to do that? The new radiation control service became available on Wednesday and will be handled by the agency for nuclear and radiation security

News

Four men found guilty of bride kidnapping in Georgia

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Wednesday sentenced four men to up to 8 years in jail on Wednesday for bridenapping. The bride kidnapping took place in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea coast, in November last year. In her court testimony,

Minorities, News

Jehovah’s Witnesses recorded 51 cases of discrimination in 2015

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--On November 23 last year, shots were fired at a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Vazisubani, a district in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. When bullets slammed into the building again one week later, a lawyer representing the religious community wondered

Economy

200 tons of produce enters Akhalgori every day

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Every day, about 200 tons of agricultural products is brought from Georgia into the Akhalgori district of South Ossetia, Sputnik Ossetia reports. Akhalgori is a part of the breakaway region which was under Georgian control until the war in 2008. Many people cross

In brief

Flooded river brings Tbilisi Zoo a new baby lynx

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Zoo has a new baby lynx, which was recently discovered in Lagodekhi in eastern Georgia. The animal was discovered by ranger Gogita Khunashvili in Lagodekhi nature preserve in July, after the river Shroma was flooded, carrying

Economy

Foundations being laid for second terminal at Tbilisi airport

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The construction of the second terminal building at Tbilisi International Airport is proceeding as planned. Currently, the foundation is being laid, a spokesperson for the airport told DFWatch. The need for a second terminal is evident in the steady

News

Military spox claims safety rules not violated when two divers drowned

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Defense Ministry claims safety regulations were not violated when two Georgian soldiers went missing Tuesday during a military exercise at sea, off the Black Sea coast. Two soldiers never made it up to the surface during a course in combat diving.

Sport

Miraculous weightlifter wins first Gold for Georgia in Rio, beating World Record

by | August 17, 2016

  TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian weightlifter competing in the heaviest, +105 kg, category won the country's first Olympic gold in these summer games, setting a new world record, while his teammate from the same weight category won bronze. Lasha Talakhadze,

Sport

Wrestler Bolkvadze wins bronze, Georgia’s third medal in Rio

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Shmagi Bolkvadze took bronze in the Rio Olympics Tuesday in the Men's Greco-Roman 66 kg wrestling. Georgia now has two bronze and one silver medal. The two other medals were won in Judo. Bolkvadze competed against Japan’s Tomohiro Inoue,

News

Two military divers missing off Georgia’s Black Sea coast

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian soldiers are missing after diving off the Black Sea coast of Georgia during a military drill. The Defense Ministry said the two failed to resurface near Gonio in southwest Georgia near the border with Turkey. A search was immediately launched

Security

Russia begins military exercise in South Ossetia involving 5000 troops

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia began a military exercise in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia on Monday, which will involve 5,000 soldiers, rockets and artillery. The pro-government news agency RES reports that the exercise is taking place at seven different training grounds.

News

Georgia’s CEC revokes registration of pro-Russian party

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission (CEC) in Georgia has revoked the registration of a micro-party which used its right to free advertisement to call for Russian pensions and dual citizenship, accompanied by a portrait of Vladimir Putin and Russian tanks and flags.

Politics

Free Democrats promises to decriminalize all drug use

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats promises a liberal drug policy and the decriminalization of all forms of drugs if they come to power. But the punishment for drug dealing will be tougher, the party’s healthcare strategist Nikoloz Pruidze

Politics

GD nominates candidates for parliament from Tbilisi districts

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream party on Monday nominated its majoritarian candidates in most of Tbilisi’s 21 electoral districts. The exception was the downtown Mtatsminda district, where GD refrained from nominating a candidate to support

Economy

Direct foreign investments in Georgia down 11% in 2015

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in Georgia was 11 percent less in 2015 than in 2014, according to precise data published Monday by Georgia’s National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to the report, the amount of investments

In brief

Two Georgians detained by Russians while fishing

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by a Russian border patrol on Saturday while out fishing along a river close to the breakaway region Abkhazia. Levan Morgoshia and Pridon Matkava were apprehended while standing on the left bank of the river Inguri.

In brief

16 rescued from sea during the storm: MIA

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--16 people, among them several foreign tourists, have been rescued in Adjara after a strong storm hit the Black Sea coast of Georgia on Sunday, according to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The rain lasted several hours, flooding

Politics

Election ad featuring Putin causes outcry in Georgia

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten seconds long election video has caused a strong reaction from Georgia’s political establishment and calls for using legal means to stop the party behind it. The provocative advertisement ran on the Public Broadcaster’s Channel 1 Saturday night

Crime

Murdered U.S. tourist was spotted arguing with suspect

by | August 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Witnesses in the village where a U.S. citizen was stabbed to death Thursday night reported seeing the tourist in an argument with the suspected murderer two hours before his body was found. The motive for the murder is still unknown, but Imedi TV

Crime

U.S. tourist stabbed to death in eastern Georgia

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An American man of around 40 was stabbed to death in a small village in eastern Georgia Thursday night. Police have arrested a 20 year old man who is suspected of the murder. The victim, a U.S. citizen, was found dead on a road in Lechuri,

News

Census shows only 7% Georgians living in South Ossetia

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia has published results of a census showing that only 7 percent of the population there are ethnic Georgians. The region from which tens of thousands fled in the 2008 war today has only 3,966 Georgian residents

Crime

Suspect arrested for murdering woman and burying body in wine tank

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in eastern Georgia arrested a man on Friday who is suspected of bludgeoning an elderly woman to death and burying the body in a wine-making tank. The 28 year old man, who was arrested in Telavi in the Kakheti region,

News

Aslan Abashidze, Adjara’s former ruler, sentenced in absentia to 15 years’ jail

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Aslan Abashidze, the ruler of breakaway Adjara who fled the country after the Rose Revolution, was Friday sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail for a murder 25 years ago and other crimes.

Politics

National Forum politician’s home broken into

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The home of a candidate for parliament from the National Forum was broken into Thursday night, a few days after the party’s office was robbed. Tamar Tsikhiseli told journalists that the burglars didn’t steal anything. She thinks the people

Minorities, Youth

New cafe offers youth a place to meet in Pankisi

by | August 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new café in Pankisi Gorge will offer young people a place to gather. Locals say they cannot remember ever having had a place for young people to get together. The café opened Wednesday in the village Duisi, the central village in Pankisi Gorge,

In brief

PM promises better mountain roads, starting with Tusheti

by | August 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is planning to build a new road to the mountainous Tusheti region in the northeast of the country. The current road to Tusheti is bumpy and becomes non-traversable in winter, during which time the only access is by helicopter.

News

Traditionalists furious at president for rejecting marriage referendum – vow massive rallies

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The group of traditionalists behind the referendum bid to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman are fuming at the president after he shelved their proposal. The activists claim President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s decision

News

Tbilisi’s Turtle Lake ropeway will reopen in September

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ropeway connecting the biggest park in Tbilisi with a recreational lake in the hills above will reopen in September after having been closed for seven years. Spokesperson for Tbilisi Transport Company (TTC) Gvantsa Potskhveria told DFWatch

News

Georgian IS militant sentenced to 12 years in jail

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen was Wednesday sentenced to 12 years in jail for cooperating with the terrorist organization Islamic State. As most of the Georgians who have joined the Islamic State group, Davit Borhcashvili comes from Pankisi Valley. He was detained in November 2015

Sport

Georgia takes second medal at Rio Olympics

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani won silver medal in men's 90 kg judo at the Rio Olympics. This is the country’s second medal in the games. Liparteliani defeated Gwak-Dong Han from South Korea in the semi-final, but in the final round, he was

Crime

Elderly woman found buried inside wine tank in her own garden

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman was found dead Wednesday morning, buried in her own garden inside a traditional Georgian wine-brewing tank. The macabre discovery was made in the village Shakriani, in Georgia's eastern Kakheti region. The elderly woman

News

Military police investigating 39-year-old corporal’s death from heart failure

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 39-year-old corporal in the Georgian army died Wednesday morning, apparently from heart failure. The deceased is Davit Lomidze, a corporal in 52th Battalion of the 5th Infantry Brigade of the Eastern Command of the Land Forces, the Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday morning.

Sport

Georgia’s triumphant judo win over Russia eight years after war

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia won its first medal in the Rio Olympics on Tuesday, as Lasha Shavdatuashvili claimed the bronze medal in men’s 73kg judo. He defeated Sagi Muki from Israel in the final rounds. Earlier, he defeated Denis Yartsev of Russia in the quarter finals,

In brief

National Forum office robbed in Tbilisi

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The office of National Forum, a right wing political party, which recently split with Georgian Dream, was broken into overnight in Tbilisi. Members of the party say that the investigation is in progress and yet it is hard

News

Georgian president blocks referendum to ban same-sex marriage

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will not hold a referendum over whether to have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. President Giorgi Margvelashvili made it clear Tuesday evening that he does not support the proposed referendum about amending

In brief

John Kerry’s statement on August War 8th anniversary

by | August 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned occupation of Georgian territories by Russia by issuing a short statement on 8th anniversary of Russo-Georgian war.

News

Former European wrestling champion shot dead in Kakheti

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former European wrestling champion was shot dead in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region Monday evening. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Nodar Modebadze (66) was shot with a rifle in the village Akura. Police have a suspect

Politics

President meets group who proposed referendum to define marriage

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will Tuesday meet the Georgians who proposed holding a referendum about defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the president’s administration,

News

8 years since ’08 war: Over 2,000 civilians have been detained on disputed borders

by | August 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia marked eight years since the war with Russia, figures show that over two thousand civilians have been detained on the provisional borders that were drawn after the end of that war. From 2009 to 2015, the number of people

News

Georgia mulls bringing back compulsory military service

by | August 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Compulsory military service remains a hot topic after resignation of Tina Khidasheli, who actively lobbied a shift toward voluntary service and managed to partly abolish the system during her tenure as a minister of defense.

News

Four tourists found dead on Mount Ushba, northern Georgia

by | August 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four foreign tourists were found dead on Mount Ushba in northern Georgia on Saturday. The Interior Ministry’s emergency service said the bodies are in the process of being brought down from the mountain. Authorities received notice on Friday

Politics

Former UNM members join New Rightists in bloc called ‘New Choice’

by | August 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two political parties formed by ex-National Movement members together with an opposition party without representatives in parliament on Friday launched a new election bloc for the upcoming parliamentary election. The name of the new

News

Socialists’ founding congress canceled after slapping incident

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new party Socialist Georgia canceled its founding congress on Thursday, after a quarrel with a protester led to the arrest of one of its members. The assembly was planned held at the music school in Telavi, a town in the eastern Kakheti region.

Environment

Borjomi park partly destroyed by flooding after strong rainfall

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A historical park in the southern Georgian resort town Borjomi was partly destroyed by flooding Thursday evening. Strong rain flooded houses and streets and trees more than a hundred years old were torn down. Infrastructure was damaged.

News

Sudden family feud in southern Georgia leaves one man dead

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a small town in the south of Georgia, a disagreement between two politicians' families resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man on July 30. The confrontation took place in the village Nardevani, in the Kvemo Kartli region. The families Tamarian

In brief

Political clash outside UNM office in Batumi, one detained

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person was detained in western Georgia on Thursday,  after a fight broke out in front of the local branch office of the National Movement (UNM). Protesters from the organization Our Homeland burned an effigy of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili,

In brief

One Georgian detained by South Ossetia for violating border

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The incident took place this morning in the village Kveshi, according to Gori municipality. Locals say 36-year-old Aleko Sheverdashvili was in his garden when armed men came and took him away. They say Sheverdashvili didn’t cross the administrative

News

Georgian PM makes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage a campaign issue

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister on Thursday promised to change the Constitution so that it specifies marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- if his party wins an absolute majority in the October 8 election.

News

Rapist of pregnant 16-year-old girl may escape justice, group warns

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The rape of a pregnant 16-year-old girl two weeks ago may go unpunished, because the alleged rapist is not in detention, a human rights group claims. July 8, a 16-year-old married and pregnant girl was raped at knifepoint in Marneuli,

News

Clothes market in Zestaponi partly destroyed by fire

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A clothes market was partly destroyed by fire in Zestaponi Tuesday night. According to the Emergency Service, more than 1,000 square meters was destroyed by the fire in the center of the western Georgian town. No one was injured.

News

Tbilisi Zoo welcomes three lion cubs

by | August 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Zoo, which was devastated by a flood in June 2015, welcomed three new lion cubs on Monday. The zoo’s administration said the lioness Cleopatra had a complicated and protracted delivery, but it ended happily as both the mother and her offspring

News

CEC approves referendum bid about definition of marriage

by | August 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bid to define marriage in the Constitution as a union between a man and a woman has been approved by Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) after campaigners collected more than the required 200,000 signatures. Georgia's Civil Code already

News

PM slams back at outgoing defense minister

by | August 2, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Comments of outgoing Defense Minister, who criticized appointment of Security Service official in her vacant seat, triggered an angry response from the Prime Minister and a member of government. "(Their) comments were very inappropriate, unfortunately. I am sure that after Batoni Davit and Kalbatoni Tina overcome emotions, they will make different comments,” said to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday. At the same time, Sozar Subari, Minister of IDPs and Refugees, says that for him Tina Khidasheli’s comment, when she said that the second time Security Service people were taking over Ministry of Defense, was quite strange as Irakli Alasania was also a former Security cadre. "I do not understand an example, when Tina made a distinction between Alasania and Izoria. We all remember very well that one time Alasania was a Deputy Security Minister and, if I'm not mistaken, had pretty high rank of colonel or general... However, I believe that it is an advantage rather than disadvantage,” Sozar Subari said. On Monday Tina Khidasheli state that observes an unhealthy trend when the second time after Georgian Dream took over the ...

News

PM, Refugee Minister slam back at Tina Khidasheli

by | August 2, 2016

Comments of outgoing Defense Minister, who criticized appointment of Security Service official to her vacant seat, triggered an angry response from the Prime Minister and a member of government. "(Their) comments were very inappropriate, unfortunately. I am sure that after Batoni Davit and Kalbatoni Tina overcome emotions, they will make different comments,” said to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday. At the same time, Sozar Subari, Minister of IDPs and Refugees, says that for him Tina Khidasheli’s comment, when she said that the second time Security Service people were taking over Ministry of Defense, was quite strange as Irakli Alasania was also a former Security cadre. "I do not understand an example, when Tina made a distinction between Alasania and Izoria. We all remember very well that one time Alasania was a Deputy Security Minister and, if I'm not mistaken, had pretty high rank of colonel or general... However, I believe that it is an advantage rather than disadvantage,” Sozar Subari said. On Monday Tina Khidasheli state that observes an unhealthy trend when the second time after Georgian Dream took over the power State Security ...

In brief

Security official appointed as a new Minister of Defense, Khidasheli sees “unhealthy trend”

by | August 1, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Levan Izoria, a deputy head of State Security Service (SUS), and Ketevan Tsikhelashvili,  deputy minister, were appointed as replacements of the ongoing ministers of defense and reconciliation respectively.

Minorities

Growing tension between Christians and Muslims in Adigeni

by | August 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is growing tension between the Christian and Muslim communities in the small village Adigeni, west of Akhaltsikhe. The Samtskhe–Javakheti region, where Adigeni village is located, was historically known as Meskheti, after the Muslim Meskhs.

News

UAE Sheikh opens upscale hotel in Tbilisi

by | August 1, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Emirati minister visits Georgia to pompously inaugurate an upscale hotel in Tbilisi center.

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