News

Georgia continues border operation near Dagestan

by | August 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia continues its operation on the border with Russia, while a Chechen Islamic Internet news agency claims what really happened was that insurgents stumbled upon a group of Georgians and let them go, after which their location was revealed.

News

Ivanishvili speaks on Maestro TV

by | August 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the Georgian Dream coalition says he can’t wait until he leaves politics. Georgia’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili, on Friday was invited on Maestro TV in the morning, where he stated that he has never been interested in

News

Georgia recovers 11 bodies from militant group

by | August 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Eleven dead bodies have been recovered from the rebel group, which according to the Georgian interior ministry counted about 20 people in total. The ministry says some of the militants were from North Ossetia, a republic which is part of the

News

Ivanishvili calls for non-confrontational election campaign

by | August 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the largest opposition bloc in Georgia, promises that he will defend people's vote solely by peaceful means and not call for a confrontation. But he also says that there are several measures that need to be taken

News

Saakashvili believes border incident was a ‘provocation’

by | August 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili explains the deadly incident on the Russian border this week as an attempt at ‘testing the country’s readiness to fight’ and ‘a provocation’. President Saakashvili visited the town Kvareli, which is

Elections, News

Democracy groups in Georgia go on the offensive

by | August 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian National Platform, a coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has released a statement regarding the period leading up to the parliamentary election. The National Platform was set up in October 2010 with a goal to support

News

Georgia releases footage of dead Islamist militants

by | August 30, 2012

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia Interior Ministry released a footage of operation of Georgian special forces against Islamist militants from Russia’s volatile Dagestan republic of North Caucasus, when two Georgian officers and one army doctor died, along with 11

Media, News

Georgian voters to get political debates

by | August 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The ruling party says the current parliamentary speaker and the prime minister will represent it in election debates. Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili is the National Movement's candidate for prime minister in the election. The chair of the public

NGO news

Bribery of a voter in eastern Georgia

by | August 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A group working on election fairness demands that a case of bribery in one of the regions of Georgia is investigated. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) calls on law enforcement bodies to investigate a case of bribery in

News

Georgia says border shooting not reason for Russian action

by | August 29, 2012

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia says a serious border incident which led to fourteen deaths can not be a reason for Russia to intervene. Despite witness accounts from the Georgian side, Russia's secret police, the FSB, which also controls the borders, does not confirm that armed groups

News

Two law enforcers, one military doctor and 11 boeviks killed, Georgian officials report

by | August 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two members of Georgian Interior Affairs Ministry special unit and one military doctor has died, while eleven saboteurs were killed and 6 are currently surrounded, MIA reported recently. According to Georgian officials all hostages released in the

News

Police operation on Georgia-Russia border

by | August 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday night, security forces in Georgia were deployed near the border with Russia after an armed group was spotted in a the area. The Interior Ministry has blocked access to a valley in Kakheti while while the operation is ongoing and all measures

News, Politics

Audit body brings up more cases related to ruling party

by | August 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The audit body in Georgia, which for several months has been busy fining the largest opposition bloc, now wants to fine five persons for donating to the ruling party. In contrast to the opposition related cases, the identity of the people in

Elections, News

Audit agency fines pro-government campaign group

by | August 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's State Audit Service wants to fine a non-governmental organization (NGO) which supports the government by 5 000 lari, or about USD 3 000. The State Audit Service, which has authority to track the financial relations of political parties and

In brief, News

Georgian team in good position despite loss to Netherlands

by | August 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s basketball team is in a shared first place in Group D of the qualification for EuroBasket 2013 next to Bosnia-Herzegovina after losing a match against the Netherlands. After three victories in a row, it was the first defeat of Georgia’s Jvarosnebi

News

Village head murdered by friend

by | August 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The head of a village near Tbilisi has been shot to death. A friend of the victim has admitted to have carried out the crime. The body was found in a forest Monday morning. The suspect says he was drunk and had a quarrel with the victim. After

NGO news

Interactive election map lets parties plan strategy

by | August 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Interactive maps of past election results and voter lists are now available online. The interactive maps are offered by a recently established web portal which aims to collect information about alleged violations and incident throughout the election

News, Politics

Ivanishvili may hold referendum about parliamentary republic

by | August 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the largest opposition bloc in Georgia doesn’t exclude that if he wins the parliamentary election he will hold a referendum regarding government structure. Currently, the president holds almost all power. From 2013 these powers will

News

Two on trial for deadly chlorine leak

by | August 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court today held a pre-trial hearing on in the case of two persons accused of being responsible for a chlorine leak in Tbilisi July 3, which resulted in the death of one person and tens of injured. A water company claims that its supplier of chorine,

In brief, News

Forest fire in Borjomi

by | August 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - About one acre of forest burned as a result of a fire in Borjomi, a resort town in eastern Georgia. The fire started yesterday afternoon and wasn’t put out until Monday morning. What caused the fire is not yet known, but the reason might have been

News

Bollywood returns to Georgia to film medieval drama

by | August 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A second Bollywood film is being filmed in Georgia on the initiative of Georgia's National Investment Agency. The film tells a story set in Georgia in the Middle Ages. Indian actors and actresses play the roles of a Georgian king and other characters.

News

Assessment of the election campaign so far

by | August 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The international community has begun to assess the election period in Georgia. Their comments focuse on the government's fining of Georgian Dream coalition members and seizing their bank accounts. As they see it, such actions restrict

Elections, News

Eleven parties and blocs agree to campaign financing

by | August 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Eleven party lists and coalitions have agreed to election campaign financing. Central Election Commission informs that Freedom to Way of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgian Dasi, Free Georgia, New Rights Party, Christian Democrats, People’s

News

Archaeologists in Georgia discover graves from 3rd century BC

by | August 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia, archeologists have discovered burial chamber from the third or fourth century BC. The discovery was made during sewage work. The qvevri burial place lies in Kaspi, a small town 48 km away from the capital Tbilisi. The online newspaper

News

Georgia wins basketball match against Latvia

by | August 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s national basketball team won against Latvia on August 24, strengthening its position in the qualification for the European championship next year. The match ended 79:76, which puts Georgia at the top of Group D. The qualification match

Elections, News

Pro-democracy group: violations are harming the election process

by | August 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – An American pro-democracy group says it's questionable whether there is rule of law in Georgia. The non-government organization (NGO) Committee for Open Democracy said at a press conference on Friday that the organization will have 20 observers

News

Thornike Gordadze becomes Minister for Euro-integration

by | August 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister has become State Minister for Euro-integration. Thornike Gordadze replaced Giorgi Baramidze, former minister for Euro-integration, who left the position in order to participate in the upcoming parliamentary

News

OSCE calls on South Ossetia to not demolish Georgian villages

by | August 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities asks the de facto leadership of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia to explain what a statement about demolishing Georgian villages means. Leonid Tibilov, de facto president of South Ossetia,

News, Politics

Former AC Milan player Kaladze denied to book Tbilisi stadium

by | August 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Former AC Milan player who left football to go into politics was planning to hold a friendship match with Milan in Georgia as a symbol of him leaving, but Georgia refused to make a stadium available for the match. Kakhi Kaladze, who now is a partner

Elections, News

Saakahsvili to deal with problems in the election environment

by | August 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A spokesperson for President Mikheil Saakahsvili says the president is thankful to a delegation from OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly which recently criticized conditions here before the election. The experts visited Georgia in order to the study the

Opinion

Georgia: From the Beacon to the Crossroads

by | August 24, 2012

What is the internal political situation established in the country since the Rose Revolution? How much competition is there between political parties, and what are the threats and challenges in the pre-election environment for the parliamentary elections scheduled for

In brief, News

Israel recognizes Georgia’s ‘neutral’ passports

by | August 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Israel has recognized Georgia's so-called neutral travel documents, according to the ministry on reintegration issues. Neutral travel document and neutral ID are a system for issuing passports and identity documents to the population of Abkhazia and

News, Politics

Georgian government responds to criticism

by | August 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia claims the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly is spreading incorrect information provided by lobbyists of a certain party. A delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on Thursday released a statement

Elections, News

Observers say Georgia’s election campaign has signs of Leninism

by | August 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A delegation from the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) which is in Georgia to observe the election says Georgia’s law enforcement bodies lack objectivity. The observers mainly criticize the State Audit Office, saying they act on the basis

Elections, News

ODIHR arrives in Georgia to observe the election

by | August 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Observers from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) are now in place in Tbilisi and have started monitoring events leading in preparation for the parliamentary election. ODIHR will publish its final report two months

News, Politics

Claims procedures against opposition parties delayed

by | August 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s National Enforcement Bureau postponed the enforcement of fines that have been issued to political parties which are members of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition. June 27, seven political subjects in the coalition were were fined

Media, News

Investigative journalist beaten during assignment

by | August 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A journalist and a cameraman were beaten while investigating the illegal cutting of trees in eastern Georgia. Journalists Vasil Dabrundashvili and his cameraman Bacho Buliskeria, who work for the production company Studio GNS, visited the town Akhmeta

News, Politics

Government claims opposition is trying to discredit authorities

by | August 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia accuses the opposition bloc Georgian Dream of attempting to discredit government bodies. Two officials in the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly expressed concern about the seizing of bank accounts of parties

Economy, News

SGS to monitor goods across Russia-Georgia border

by | August 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Swiss company SGS will monitor the movement of goods on Russian-Georgian border from September 1, 2012. November 9, 2011, the governments of Georgia and Russia signed a deal which paved the way for Russia’s WTO membership, with Switzerland as

News, Politics

Saakashvili reaching out to Georgian youth

by | August 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says the ruling party will have several 21 year-old candidates on their list for the upcoming parliament elections. Saakashvili today met students who have a summer job in the small Black Sea coastal town

In brief, News

Georgia wins qualifying match against Bosnia-Herzegovina

by | August 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s national basketball team yesterday defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina in a qualification match for Eurobasket 2013. The final score was 96:95. Georgia started first round with significant advantages scoring 20 points, but the opposing team

NGO news

Report documents violations in Georgian election campaign

by | August 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new report reveals cases of violence, pressure and illegal usage of administrative resources in the election period. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) found two cases of people being firing because of their political

Economy, News

Cartu Bank fined USD 12 million

by | August 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian bank affiliated with the largest opposition bloc has been fined with USD 11 609 500 by the National Enforcement Bureau. The reason Cartu Bank, which is facing a series of problems after businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to enter

Elections, News

CoE expresses concern about campaign finance measures

by | August 21, 2012

Two officials in the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in a new statement express concern about how Georgia's authorities are enforcing a set of new tough campaign finance rules. The regulations were ushered in late in 2011, after the appearance

News, Politics

Ivanishvili announces his candidacy for prime minister

by | August 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Opposition businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is challenging Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia's October 1 parliamentary election, has announced himself as candidate for prime minister. The announcement comes one day after Saakashvili's National

News

Cleanup work starts in villages, as new storm hits Rustavi

by | August 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Another cleanup effort has started in villages in the east of the former Soviet republic of Georgia following another hailstorm. Meanwhile, people reeling from the losses after the last storm, which caused massive damage. Thousands of houses were

News, Politics

Saakashvili says his PM will continue after October 1

by | August 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia has placed the speaker of parliament on the top of its party list, which probably means he will keep his post if they win. It also said the current prime minister is their prime minister candidate after the election.

Elections, News

Opposition bloc in Georgia signs code of conduct

by | August 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia has decided to join the code of conduct for political parties. The rules were the brainchild of the campaign This Affects You Too, and the 17-point document outlines rules of conduct for political parties

NGO news

Campaign finance watchdog treats parties unequally

by | August 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new report by Transparency International Georgia shows that the State Audit Service (SAS) has is treating political parties unequally. According to the report “Political Parties’ Finance – in 2011”, the SAS tends to be more interested

In brief, News

Forest fire in eastern Georgia

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 15 acres of forest has burned down in eastern Georgia despite two days of attempts at extinguishing it. The fire occurred in the village Artana, which is 21 km from Telavi, the largest city in the Kakheti region. Beech, hornbeam and chestnut trees

Elections, News

Georgian Dream denied to use number 7 on the ballot

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia was denied to register under the number seven on the ballot in the upcoming parliamentary election. Representatives of the Georgian Dream coalition say that they have asked the Central Election Commission

In brief, News

Georgian opposition has run out of cash

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Nodar Khaduri from the opposition Georgian Dream says the coalition doesn't have money, because the government seized the party's accounts. He calls on the population to donate to Georgian Dream, only to not give money, but posters and t-shirts with

News

Girl to swim across the Dardanelles with hands and feet tied

by | August 20, 2012

A 17 year old Georgian girl plans to swim across the Dardanelles with her hands and feet tied on August 30, the ten year anniversary of Henry Kuprashvili carrying out the feat in 2002, setting a Guinness record. Kuprashvili is the girl's instructor. This style of

News

Another hailstorm wipes out crops in Georgia

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another storm hit the former Soviet republic of Georgia Sunday in what has become the most stormy year in recent memory. The storm completely or partly destroyed the harvest in villages in a number of regions in the east of the country. Sunday

News, Politics

Georgia’s opposition bloc has exceeded its fundraising limit

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition coalition in Georgia will no longer be allowed to receive donations from persons who partly or fully receive financing from its leader Bidzina Ivanishvili or companies related to him. The State Audit Office informs that

Elections, News

Political parties agree to rules of conduct

by | August 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Political parties in Georgia are ready to agree with rules of conduct prepared by the campaign This Affects You Too intended to secure a peaceful, fair and competitive electoral environment before the October 1 parliamentary election. The ruling

Opinion

How will ethnic minorities vote in the parliamentary elections?

by | August 19, 2012

Will number 5 strike first again? Today many citizens of Georgia ask themselves what will be their choice in the parliamentary elections, while politicians and analysts try to make prognoses about the electoral behavior of different groups in society, including ethnic

Elections, News

OSCE tops arrive in Georgia to discuss October election

by | August 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Riccardo Migliori, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, will arrive in Georgia for the election period, together with a delegation from the OSCE. According to parliament's press office, the delegation will arrive on August 19 and hold

Elections, News

Government commission warns against local transgressions

by | August 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The inter-agency commission tasked with monitoring the election process calls on local governments not to place party symbols in their offices, as this is a violation of law. Tamar Kintsurashvili, a member of the commission, said on Monday

Media, News

Man sentenced to 20 days in jail for beating cameraman

by | August 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Police have arrested a man accused of beating a cameraman working for an opposition affiliated media outlet. The man has been sentenced to twenty days in jail. The incident took place August 15 in front of the municipality building in

News

Busy season for Georgia’s mountain rescue workers

by | August 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian rescue workers have conducted three separated operations to save foreign climbers stuck in the Georgian mountains. One Russian climber slipped when he was going out of his tent. He fell down from the cliff and died. The other two in his

NGO news

Central Election Commission agrees to standards of practice

by | August 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Central Election Commission has signed a memorandum with seven local non-government organizations (NGOs) and the inter-agency commission about usage of administrative resources during the election period. The signatory

News

Oldest basilica church yet discovered in Georgia

by | August 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian archeologists have discovered ruins a basilica type three-nave church from the fifth or sixth century in eastern Georgia. The ruins cover an area 40 meter long and 16 meter wide, and were found in Kakheti, on the right bank of River Duruji,

News

Ivanishvili formally applies for arbitration with government

by | August 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the largest opposition coalition in Georgia has asked to launch an arbitration case with the Georgian state at the World Bank. On August 15, the 14-day term ended for the government to admit it committed illegalities and to achieve

In brief, News

Georgia notes growing trade deficit

by | August 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia's trade deficit continued to increase from January to July 2012, but the country's foreign trade turnover increased by 18 percent compared to last year and amounted to USD 5 761 million. Georgia’s national statistics department GeoStat

In brief, News

Opposition group opens branch office in tent

by | August 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Dream coalition Thursday opened a tent in the Samtskhe Javakheti region, because the locals refused to let them rent an office. The coalition has had problems with rent offices before. It blames the government, saying it does not

NGO news

ISFED approves work of voters list commission

by | August 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Despite its shortcomings, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and Council of Europe’s election program advisor, Igor Gaon, are positive to how the Commission for Voters’ List Accuracy is working. The commission will

Elections, News

Georgian Dream names candidates to Adjarian council

by | August 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition Georgian Dream coalition continues to name its majoritarian. This time the candidates for the High Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. The nominees are mathematician Amiran Mamuladze in Khulo, doctor

Elections, News

Info9 cameraman beaten by local official

by | August 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A cameraman for an opposition affiliated media outlet was today beaten by a local employee of Lanchkhuti town. His camera was broken in the incident. It happened while a journalist and a cameraman from info9 were standing outside the

Opinion

Food safety in Georgian — A fairy tale

by | August 16, 2012

What do you do, if you happen to buy a food in Georgia and before eating it you notice that it is spoiled? In such a case, many people simply throw the food away and that’s it. Some people go back to the shop and request to exchange the food, or to return money.

NGO news

Young lawyers demand media decree abolished

by | August 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) thinks that a new decree about political advertisements exceeds the frames of law. The decree was issued on August 6 by the State Audit Office and it sets the rules for advertising, both for the media and

In brief, News

Foreign investments in Georgia grew 37 % in 2011

by | August 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's National Statistics Department GeoStat says direct foreign investments grew 37 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. The total amount of direct foreign investments last year was USD 1 117 million. According to GeoStat, direct foreign

Elections, News

Ivanishvili names Irakli Alasania as candidate for Samegrelo

by | August 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian president’s main competitor, plans to win in the western Samegrelo region by having the country's former UN ambassador run there. The region borders on Russian controlled Abkhazia and is that part of the country where Mikheil Saakashvili’s government has the largest influence. Bidzina Ivanishvili named Irakli Alasania as majoritarian candidate in Zugdidi on Wednesday while meeting with the local population. Georgia has an election system with some districts using the proportional system and some the first-past-the-post system, called majoritarian candidates. 73 of the latter must be elected, and the deadline for naming candidates is September 1, one month before the election on October 1. Georgian Dream has already named 68 candidates. Those districts that are left are those that have a minority population. Forming the pillar of Saakashvili's power grip in Samegrelo is the Akhalaia family, which wields large influence in the area. One of the family is a former defense minister, who currently is interior minister – Bacho Akhalaia – while his brother, Data Akhalaia, today is defense minister, but until recently headed the feared secret ...

Elections, News

Georgian opposition asks world to react to election violations

by | August 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Dream, the strongest competitor to the party of Presidential Mikheil Saakashvili, calls on foreign diplomats and international organizations in Tbilisi to react 'correctly and adequately' regarding ongoing political processes in Georgia.

Opinion

Putin’s Defeat in Georgia

by | August 15, 2012

In 279 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated Roman forces at Asculum in Apuleia at such a cost that the king observed, according to Plutarch, that yet another such “victory” would utterly destroy him and his cause. Because of that observation, made famous by John

News

Ombudsman wants better protection against confiscation

by | August 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Public Defender requests to give the owners of confiscated property the right to appeal the seizure. The current Criminal Procedure Code does not allow someone to appeal such action by authorities. The ombudsman’s office now says that

Media, News

Georgia’s ruling party concealing commercials as public ads

by | August 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new report concludes that some of the public service ads in Georgia contain a political message. The report is based on observation of several TV stations and shows that public service ads don’t meets the standards and are in reality covert

News, Politics

Ivanishvhili and Kaladze lost their appeal

by | August 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Appeals Court in Tbilisi rejected an appeal by the leader of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition and a former AC Milan player. This means that the decision by Tbilisi City Court to fine them stands. Bidzina Ivanishvili was fined USD 12.3

News

Athlete to sue Georgia’s Olympic delegation for harassment

by | August 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian athlete has returned to London after a dramatic escape, in order to sue his country's Olympic delegation, saying he has become a victim of “politicized sport”. Betkil Shukvani, a 23 year old Georgian sportsman, was defeated by

News

Georgia compensates storm victims – one month late

by | August 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian government has started paying compensation to people affected by a hailstorm almost a month ago. People in about 40 villages lost their harvest, livestock, a majority of houses are roofless or totally destroyed. Today, local media

In brief, News

Georgian Dream lacks permission for Rustavi rally

by | August 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition party Georgian Dream continues to run into trouble about the location for its rallies around the country. This time a rally is planned for Rustavi, a town 20 km south of the capital, but city hall turned down the application to use

Media, News

Almost 200 000 households can watch government-critical TV

by | August 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's National Communications Commission (GNCC) Monday published data about the implementation of the must-carry and must-offer principles. 193 642 subscribers are now able to watch Channel 9, an opposition affiliated TV channel, which was

News

Energy and finance get new ministers in Georgia

by | August 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two ministers have been changed after the new Georgian government was approved. No reason was given for suddenly making the energy minister finance minister, and the head of the local government committee of parliament, energy minister. Prime

News

Kaladze and Ivanishvili may pay new fines to help storm victims

by | August 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The leader of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition and his partner, a former AC Milan player, are ready to give more money to the state to assist people who suffered losses due to a hailstorm on July 19. The storm seriously damaged villages in

News

Georgia took seven medals at London Olympics

by | August 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia took seven medals as the London Olympics drew to an end; one in Judo and six medals in wrestling. 35 Georgian athletes competed in this year's Olympics, winning one gold, three silver and three bronze medals. Lasha Shavdatuashvili, a 20 year

Opinion

Learning the Lessons of 2008

by | August 13, 2012

As the fourth anniversary of the Russian-Georgia war of 2008 has passed, the two nations remain locked in a political and military confrontation which is poisoning the atmosphere of their entire region. A restart of hostilities remains a real danger in several

News

Senator Richard Lugar gets new lab named after him in Tbilisi

by | August 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The United States will make a significant emphasis on monitoring the election campaign in Georgia, and pay special attention to observing the vote counting process after the election. This is according to a statement by Irakli Alasania,

Elections, News

Plan for Georgian election observers still pending

by | August 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – It is still unknown when international observers will start monitoring the election in Georgia. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 1, but long-term observsers have not yet arrived in the country. Local rights groups have for months

News

EU concerned about Medvedev’s Tskhinvali visit

by | August 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Philip Dimitrov, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, expressed concern about a recent visit by Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Tskhinvali. Medvedev visited Tskhinvali on August 8, on the fourth anniversary of the

Society

The Dry Bridge in Tbilisi – a market of memories

by | August 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – For many years, Goga has been selling various old things in downtown Tbilisi. He mostly sells to tourists, but also to local collectors. He can't even remember when he started, but really enjoys it, as most of his stuff is handmade by himself.

News, Politics

Ivanishvili hit by new USD 12 mill fine

by | August 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court once more issued a fine to Saakashvili’s main competitor Bidzina Ivanishvi. The case was brought by the State Audit Office, which accused the businessman of illegally donating to his own party and fined him 20 243 827 lari,

News, Politics

Former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze fined USD 10 million

by | August 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A well-known football player who left his career to join the opposition Georgian Dream coalition was on Friday fined 17 million lari for not doing as he was told by the State Audit Office. Kakhi Kaladze’s property was also seized, but he doesn’t

NGO news

Groups raise the alarm about the election campaign

by | August 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia appeal to international observers, organizations and diplomatic corps to look closer at the what is happening before the October 1 election.  The groups have been monitoring the election processes

News

Ancient military wall unearthed in Tbilisi

by | August 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – An ancient wall has been discovered during rehabilitation works in the center of Tbilisi. The oldest layer of the fence dates back to the fifth century C.E., but the castle fragments, which are perfectly retained, were built between the twelfth

News

16 people fined for illegal campaign donations

by | August 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 16 Georgians have been fined by Tbilisi City Court for donating money to an opposition party. The court fined supporters of Georgian Dream five times the amount they had donated. Among those fined are the director of Cartu Bank and 7 employees who

NGO news

Transparency International criticizes Georgian TV

by | August 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to a new survey, both the government and the opposition in Georgia are trying to control the media. The authors of the report, Transparency International Georgia's (TI), think that the government and the opposition are trying to have an

Media, News

Journalist stalkers in Georgia continue unhindered

by | August 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – For more than a month, journalists with an opposition-leaning news service in Georgia have been followed around by a group of unknown people while trying to do their work. The stalkers carry cameras and microphones, but do not appear to have an

Media, News

Georgia’s small broadcasters protest strict campaign rules

by | August 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's National Communications Commission (GNCC) claims that broadcasters will be forced to air free political commercials, even if they don't air paid commercials. Regional broadcasters say it is an incorrect interpretation of the law, which will

News, Politics

Seizure continues against staff of Ivanishvili linked bank

by | August 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The bank accounts of the director and seven employees of Cartu Bank were seized today. The bank is known as being connected to the opposition Georgian Dream bloc. Nodar Javakhishvili today told journalists that the seizure has connection to a

News, Politics

Audit office wants to know opposition leader’s spending

by | August 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The financial monitoring service of Georgia's state audit office accuses Bidzina Ivanishvili and his partner, a former professional football player, of withdrawing money from their own accounts, and calls on both of them to return the money to

Media, News

One unquoted word created crisis in Georgian media

by | August 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A report sent out by a Georgian news agency led to controversy Tuesday. GHN's report said that after Russia became involved in the war in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008, it legally brought military equipment into the region. This report was read

News

2008 war remembered in Georgia

by | August 9, 2012
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TBILISI, DFWatch - Commemoration events will be held during a whole week in Georgia to pay tribute to victims of Russian-Georgian war in 2008. 370 people died as a result of the five-day war. 190 of them were civilians, 169 soldiers and 14 policemen, three journalists

News

War refugees chased TV team out of village

by | August 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Refugees from the 2008 Russia-Georgia war forced a journalist from Maestro TV to leave their settlement by throwing stones at her. Khurvaleti is a small village in Gori municipality, where there are cottages for refugees from the Tskhinvali war four

News, Politics

Takeover of Ivanishvili company runs its course

by | August 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A lawyer for a company affiliated with the largest opposition bloc in Georgia has been sentenced to twenty days administrative detention for resisting police. His lawyers say Tbilisi City Court's decision was illegal and are going to appeal.

In brief, News

Russian climbers rescued after two day search

by | August 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Four Russian climbers have been rescued from Svaneti, a mountain region north in Georgia adjacent to the greater Caucasus range. The four were found after a two days search, in an area cut off by a rockslide. One of the climbers had injured a leg,

Economy, News

Fuel prices go up 2 % in Georgia

by | August 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Prices for all types of fuel have gone up 5 tetri in Georgia, which is a two percent rise. The Oil Product Import Union explained the price rise with increased burning of fuel in summer, which always increases the prices of oil products internationally. Earlier, the

News

Former member of Georgian parliament murdered in Minsk

by | August 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The former member of the Georgian parliament and mafia boss Bondo Shalikian has been shot and killed in Minsk, Belarus. According to Belarusian police, the murder took place in the night of August 7. Investigators in Belarus are working from

Opinion

Conflict settlement 20 years after the war in Abkhazia

by | August 8, 2012

by Dieter Boden, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Georgia 1. Lessons to be learnt On 14 August it is 20 years that Georgian troops under the command of Tengis Kitovani, then Minister of Defence and head of the National Guard crossed

News

Four years since the war between Russia and Georgia

by | August 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Four years after the war between Russia and Georgia, which led to hundreds of deaths, occupation of Georgian lands and Russia's recognition of two separatist regions, flags are lowered on all government buildings. Davit Bakradze, Speaker of

News, Politics

Speaker of Parliament is abusing his position

by | August 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Now that the date of Georgia's parliamentary elections has been set to October 1, political parties are under certain restrictions set by law, that last until Election Day. One restriction is that it is prohibited to use administrative resources for campaigning.

Media, News

Georgians get more TV channels, temporarily

by | August 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The must-carry and must-offer principle is starting to have effect also around Georgia’s different regions. People living in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city after the capital, report that they are already able to watch Channel 9, Maestro and Kavkazia

Opinion

Is Georgia still on your mind, America?

by | August 7, 2012

A Letter from Washington DC by Tedo Japaridze, former Georgian foreign minister, political advisor to Bidzina IvanishviliI shall wrap up my blitz visit to Washington DC by tomorrow, a place where I spent more than 8 years as Georgia’s Ambassador to the United

News

Groups call for improved consumer protection

by | August 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Groups in Georgia are concerned that a number of legislative changes will worsen the situation in regards to food safety and consumer rights. Seven non-governmental organizations working on these issues and two independent experts today

In brief, News

More visitors to Georgia, but are they tourists?

by | August 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The monthly number of visitors to Georgia continues to increase. The small country noted a 54 percent growth of visitors during the first seven months of 2012, compared to the same period last year. 2 211 201 foreigners visited Georgia in this

Elections, News

3.6 million voters will decide election in Georgia

by | August 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - There are 3 621 256 voters in Georgia, according to Central Election Commission's (CEC) preliminary data, which was published today. According to the CEC, there are 84 election districts in the country. The majority of voters,155 502, are from

Environment, News

EU commits aid to storm victims in Georgia

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The European Union is to help families affected by the July 19 storm in Georgia which levelled more than 40 villages. More than 20 000 families were affected by the storm, which hit the south east part of Georgia. People lost their houses,

Elections, News

Who is to blame for election violence in Georgia?

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia, the government's main competitor, Georgian Dream, claims that they support fair and free elections and accuses the government of attempting to provoke civil confrontation. Georgian Dream released this statement on Monday as a response

Media, News

A historic first: A Georgian newspaper fined for libel

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The popular newspaper Alia, which has been published in Georgia since 1995, has been fined about USD 30 000 for libel against a well-known actor. The newspaper printed an article which accused actor Otar Koberidze, a favorite of President Mikheil

News, Politics

Ivanishvili linked property sold at an auction

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A company connected to the largest opposition bloc in Georgia has had its property sold at a public auction. Meanwhile, the National Enforcement Bureau is replacing the company's management. Burji Ltd, which has links to billionaire Bidzina

News

Ivanishvili gathers 20 000 supporters in Batumi

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition Georgian Dream coalition Sunday continued showing off its support with a massive rally in Batumi, a port on the Black Sea coast. About 20 000 people gathered in front of the stage. ‘Let Saakashvili see how many of us are here’,

Economy, News

Temporary regulations affects Georgian banking sector

by | August 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new report shows that legislative changes ushered in by the Georgian government to counter the influence of an opposition billionaire has hampered the bank sector. The report shows that new legislation about banks, tax and the executive made

News

Opposition athlete stopped on the way to rally

by | August 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Police have taken possession of a car belonging to Zurab Zviadauri, a Georgian who won gold in judo in the 2008 Olympics and now is a supporter of the opposition. Zviadauri was stopped yesterday while on his way to Batumi to attend Sunday's mass

Economy, News

Price fixing in Georgian food and fuel market 

by | August 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new survey says that the fuel and food market in Georgia is an oligopoly.  The new study presented by Transparency International Georgia (TI) on August 3 is called 'Competition Policy in Georgia' and deals with the fuel and food market segments.

News

Seized property sold at public auction

by | August 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - An auction is in progress to sell property seized from 17 people who donated money to political parties. A land plot with a dwelling belonging to Giga Bukia, a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, has already been sold. The State Audit Service

In brief, News

Iran suspends visa freedom agreement with Georgia

by | August 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Iran is suspending the agreement with Georgia about visa free travel in connection with a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. Georgian citizens who wish to travel to Iran from August 5 to September 1 will need a visa. Georgia's Foreign Affairs

In brief, News

Policeman threatens cousin with gun over politics

by | August 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A police employee threatened his cousin with a gun because he was a member of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition. Georgian Dream representatives told DF Watch that the incident took place in the village Orulu near the town Zugdidi in the

News

Saakashvili supporters prevent Ivanishvili from addressing crowd

by | August 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Activists for the governing party Saturday prevented President Saakashvili's main opponent, Bidzina Ivanishvili, from meeting with the population in a small mountain village in the Adjara region, in the southwest of Georgia. Journalists are reporting

News

Must-carry law goes into force in Georgia

by | August 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Saturday morning the deadline passed for when cable companies in Georgia will have to transmit three small government-critical TV channels which for years have been unable to reach a broader audience, because cable networks have kept them off.

NGO news

‘Protest of the dishes’ outside prosecutor’s office

by | August 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of Georgian media Friday demonstrated in front of the chief prosecutor’s office in Tbilisi against the seizure of satellite dishes belonging to Maestro TV. The event was called 'Let’s Seize the Prosecutor’s Office'

News

Georgian Olympic athlete let down due to opposition sympathies

by | August 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian athlete says he might have been subject to political harassment at the London Olympics. July 28, the Georgian sportsman Betkil Shukvani lost against an Australian in a judo match and then unexpectedly left the Olympics

In brief, News

Another prisoner dies in Georgia

by | August 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The prison ministry on Thursday reported that a prisoner has died at No 18 hospital. According to the ministry, the prisoner was convicted on June 19, 2012, for possession and sale of drugs. The cause of death is given as heart attack, the most

NGO news

Georgian officials to get training in how to hold elections

by | August 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) will hold training courses about the electoral issues for employees in the local government in all Georgian municipalities. The training project aims to contribute to the conduction

News

Polling institute’s bank accounts seized

by | August 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – By decision of Tbilisi City Court the bank accounts of Georgian Development Research Institutes (GDRI) were seized. The leadership of the organization doesn’t know the reason, but suspect that it is because of a donation from Bidzina Ivanishvili.

News

Election campaign starts in Georgia, with strict rules

by | August 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 1. The announcement marks the beginning of the election campaign and political parties are now subject to a special set of rules. Whereas, the Georgian constitution says that parliamentary

News

Georgia’s voters roll is still source of controversy

by | August 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 291 471 voters registered in Georgia are currently living abroad, while 26 000 are dead. These are the main corrections which the state commission working with the voter's lists have found by going door-to-door and checking 3 483 142 voters.

News

Ivanishvili to start arbitration with government

by | August 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Saakashvili's potential nemesis, the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, has lodged a an arbitration case against the Georgian government. Maia Panjikidze, spokesperson for Georgian Dream coalition, said at a briefing Wednesday that the law

News

Media demonstrated outside Saakashvili’s palace

by | August 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A rally was held Wednesday outside President Mikheil Saakashvili's residence in protest against the seizure of thousands of satellite dishes which prevents Georgians from seeing government-critical channels. The president’s residence

In brief, News

Georgia sets date for parliamentary election

by | August 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on October 1, 2012. Manana Manjgalade, spokesperson for President Mikheil Saakashvili, said this at a briefing on Wednesday. She said the president is sure that the October elections will be yet another

News

Bank account frozen because of opposition sympathies

by | August 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another opposition sympathizer in Georgia has had his bank account frozen. By decision of Tbilisi City Court, all bank accounts belonging to former Deputy Security Minister Lasha Natsvlishvili were seized. Currently, Natsvlishvili is not a member

NGO news

Young lawyers say Maestro TV has been unfairly treated

by | August 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - In a new report, Georgian Young Lawyers Association's (GYLA) concludes that the Georgian chief prosecutor's arguments for sequestering the property of a small TV station are wrong and against the law. Tbilisi City Court sequestrated the TV company

News

Doubts about media diversity law in Georgia

by | August 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Media organizations, cable operator companies, non-government organizations and the National Communication Commission (GNCC ) sat down together on Monday to discuss details and issues about the implementation of the must-carry and

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