News, Security

Two more Georgians detained by Russian border guards

by | May 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have detained two more Georgian villagers for illegally crossing the so-called administrative border around breakaway South Ossetia. The detainees are Avtandil and Kakha Khaduri. They were detained two days ago and taken to Tskhinvali.

News

Former interior minister must remain in detention

by | May 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court placed Vano Merabishvili in pre-trial detention; the second time such a measures is imposed on the former interior minister. This time additional charged were added since his hearing in Kutaisi City Court last week, dealing with

News, Security

Russia silent about South Ossetia border-moving

by | May 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Russian Federation has not yet reacted to a diplomatic note of protest from Georgia regarding the moving of the so-called administrative border into Georgian-controlled territory near breakaway South Ossetia. But the Deputy Foreign Affairs

News

Six policemen being held in ordinary prison

by | May 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six policemen who are in prison awaiting trial are not in any danger, according to the Prison Ministry in Georgia. The six are being held at Gldani prison in northern Tbilisi, a large facility which became infamous last year in connection

News

Lithuanian businessman detained in Georgia

by | May 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has confirmed for DF Watch that a Lithuanian businessman has been detained. According to the office, Saulius Vaitkevičius, owner of supermarket chain Populi, is charged with appropriation of another company's

Legal reform, News

Saakashvili vetoes amendments to Criminal Procedure Code

by | May 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has again blocked a bill. This time it was a set of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code. The president has remarks about two aspects of the draft: First about the dates when certain regulations will come into force.

News

Ivanishvili bloc will let dual citizenship holders lead Georgia

by | May 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition is considering making it possible for a person with dual citizenship to hold three top posts in the country: president, prime minister and speaker of parliament. The amendments will only apply to the constitution, which

News, Security

South Ossetia downplays importance of border moving

by | May 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border soldiers have again been seen in the village Ditsi, on Georgia controlled territory close to the de facto border with Russian-controlled South Ossetia. On Monday, the first reports came about Russian soldiers in the villages Ditsi and

News, Security

EU observers consider Russian border activity unacceptable

by | May 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The recent installation of fences near Ditsi is unacceptable, EUMM says in a statement. Staff from the EU Monitoring Mission arrived in the village Ditsi, where Russian soldiers have erected new barbed wire which moves the de facto border 300 meters

News

Metal workers in Zestaponi still holding out

by | May 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--At Zestaponi’s ferroalloy factory workers are still on strike. The week-long strike is paralyzing the one of the largest companies in the country, which accounts for 12 percent of the exported product. Two of the workers are on hunger strike, while

News

Demonstration outside Russian “embassy” in Tbilisi

by | May 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A rally was held outside the former Russian embassy in Tbilisi on Tuesday to protest against Russian soldiers moving the so-called administrative border 300 meters into Georgian controlled territory on Monday. Members of non-government organizations,

News

Expanded charges against former interior minister

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The charges against former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili concerning events on May 26, 2011 were Tuesday expanded. The violent dispersal of peaceful anti-government protesters by police and regime loyal vigilantes two years ago resulted in at least

News, Security

EU’s observer corps studying Russian border activity

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers' moving of the de facto border between Georgian- and Russian-controlled territory is being followed by European Union's observers in the area. Yesterday evening, the European Union Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM)

News

Saakashvili’s UNM protests against detention of party secretary

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of parliament for President Saakashvili’s National Movement party have again taken leave from their duties as a sign of protest. Party spokesman Giorgi Baramidze says they will not attend plenary sessions until all the ‘political

News

In Georgia, online game which emulates gay rights clash goes viral

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new Facebook game has become popular among Georgians. It emulates the violent incidents on May 17, when clerics took the lead in disrupting a demonstration against homophobia in Tbilisi. The violence, which led to almost 30 persons being injured,

Society

1600 workers in Zestaponi now on strike

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The week-old strike at Zestaponi’s ferro-alloy plant continues, as there is still no progress in the attempts to negotiate with management. Meanwhile representatives of the Georgian Trade Unions claim that parliament is about to adopt amendments

News, Security

Russia moves de facto border around South Ossetia

by | May 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia Monday confirmed that Russian soldiers have moved the de facto border with South Ossetia 200 to 300 meters and is planning to raise the issue at the next meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM).

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover fell 4 % Jan-Apr

by | May 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in January-April 2013 fell by 4 percent compared to the same period in 2012. The trade turnover with EU was reduced by 13 percent, while the negative net trade balance with CIS countries went down 57 percent.

News

Georgia marked Independence Day in 26 cities and towns

by | May 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday May 26, Georgia marked its Independence Day in 26 cities and towns all over the country. The celebration included folklore ensembles and choir concerts, military and police equipment exhibitions, theatrical performances and other events.

News

Tbilisi mayor criticizes Saakashvili for LGBT comment

by | May 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava criticizes President Mikheil Saakashvili for having 'incorrectly ordered' his facts while commenting on a gay rights rally last week. Saakashvili criticized the LGBT activists for having planned a rally the same day

In brief, News

Georgian metal workers still on strike

by | May 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the largest factories in Georgia is still paralyzed by a now week-long strike by hundreds of workers who demand higher salaries, better social conditions, collective contracts and compensation for night shifts. A group of students have joined

Society

Again the sides meet in Georgia’s most touchy debate

by | May 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two small counter-rallies were held at the Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday in Tbilisi. The organizers of one rally, ‘The law is supreme’, were the same as those who organized 'No to Theocracy' on Friday. Meanwhile members of the National Front

In brief, News

PACE’s Mignon visits Georgia on Tuesday

by | May 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of PACE will arrive in Georgia May 28 for a two-day visit. Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is on a regional tour and comes to Georgia after finishing his visit to Azerbaijan. He

News

Georgia celebrates Independence Day Sunday

by | May 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Preparations are ongoing in Georgia for the Independence Day celebration Sunday, May 26. Government officials say there will not be a military parade through the capital as there has been in the past. Instead, there will be held different events

In brief, News

Two more charged with May 17 violence

by | May 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two more persons have been charged with violence on May 17, when a rally against homophobia was disrupted by a crowd of thousands of people encouraged by Orthodox clerics. The clashes led to almost 30 people being injured. The Interior Ministry

News

Strongly opposing views expressed peacefully at Tbilisi rally

by | May 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two opposing rallies about very sensitive social issues went ahead peacefully in downtown Tbilisi Friday. People gathered at 18:00 to protest against ‘propaganda of homosexuality’, while the other rally was ‘no to theocracy’ – a protest

Media, News

Georgia preparing switch to digital by 2015

by | May 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A conference on digital media was held in Tbilisi May 23-24 to discuss the transition to digital TV, good and bad examples from other countries and positive and negative sides of the process. Media experts from Estonia, Lithuania, UK, Moldova, Russia,

News, Security

Saakashvili signs Georgia’s new security strategy

by | May 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, has approved the main directions of development of the ministry and Georgia’s armed forces until 2016. The goal of the Strategic Review of Defense 2013-2016, which is a manual for the Defense Ministry,

News

Opposing views on gay rights to meet, peacefully this time

by | May 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two opposing sides in Georgia's gay rights debate are to hold demonstrations at the same spot in Tbilisi today. But Prime Minister Ivanishvili reassures the public that people will be able to express their views peacefully. The first one is in support of the LGBT people

NGO news

15 000 sign petition to punish May 17 hate crimes

by | May 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 15 000 persons have signed a petition that asks to punish those who committed violence on May 17. After clerics and parishioners attacked a peaceful demonstration by LGBT persons and their supporters on May 17 to mark the International Day

News

Metal workers in Zestaponi are holding out

by | May 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers at the Chiatura Mining and Enrichment Plant will May 25 join the strike at the Zestaponi Ferroalloy Plant, which started four days ago, while three persons Thursday went back on hunger strike in the same conflict. The workers who are

News, Security

NATO-Georgia Commission discussed visit of NATO tops

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A session of the NATO Georgia commission was held May 22 in Brussels. Ambassadors discussed the planned visit to Georgia of the North Atlantic Council this summer. Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations,

News, Sport

Update: Former AC Milan player Kaladze’s farewell match

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze's farewell match on May 31 is getting closer and people are already queuing to buy tickets. Davit Mujiri, who coordinates the organizing of the match, on Wednesday held a press conference to give more details

In brief, News

Georgia charges two Orthodox clerics after anti-gay violence

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia says it is charging two high-ranking clerics who work for the country's Orthodox church. (Article has been corrected.) The police is pressing charges against the archimandrite of Sameba cathedral, Father

News

Merabishvili moved to Matrosov prison

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili on Thursday was moved from Kutaisi, in western Georgia, to the capital, and placed in the so-called Matrosov prison, where former government officials and others are offered slightly better conditions

News

Ex interior minister placed in pretrial detention

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI--Kutaisi City Court Wednesday placed former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili in pretrial detention. Zurab Chiaberashvili was released on bail. The hearing lasted five hours. Both Merabishvili, Secretary General of Saakashvili’s United National

Society

Georgian Church explains its position on the May 17 events

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Orthodox Church separates itself from the violent incidents of May 17, when clerics disrupted LGBT activists from holding a peaceful rally, resulting in 28 injured. Church spokesman Mikael Botkoveli on Wednesday evening said at a briefing

News

Georgian Railway director charged with embezzlement of USD 40 mill

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The unit to combat financial fraud in Georgia has charged Irakli Ezugbaia, the former head of Georgian Railway, of appropriation and embezzlement of state money. He is not in Georgia but has been sentenced in absentia to pretrial detention. His

News

First court appearance for ex interior minister today

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The City Court in Kutaisi will this afternoon decide whether to place Saakashvili ally Vano Merabishvili and National Movement party member Zurab Chiaberashvili in pretrial detention. Meanwhile their supporters and other UNM members are gathered

In brief, News

Strike continues at Georgian metalworks plant

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds workers of Georgia’s large ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi are continuing their strike and do not plan to give up until their demands are met. Three workers have decided to end their hunger strike after consultations with the head

News

PM: Being a cleric is no excuse for violent behavior

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says that church prayer isn't an excuse for anyone to violate the law. The PM on Tuesday met with a club of experts and after the meeting he commented on the May 17 events, when Orthodox Christians and clerics

Society

Four arrested for May 17 violence, attacks continuing

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police have detained four persons suspected of resisting police and petty hooliganism on May 17, when Orthodox Christians held a counter-rally against an attempt at marking the International Day Against Homophobia. There is one minor among

Opinion

Mere Violence or Clash of Values?

by | May 21, 2013

The May 17 events revealed confrontation between church and secularism as one of the main public conflicts in any political system. Public conflict is a matter of public concern. Public opinion on this issue is divided into opposite positions, various social groups

News

Georgia detains former interior minister

by | May 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained former Interior Minister and Saakashvili faithful Vano Merabishvili. He is charged with sabotaging the investigation of the murder of a bank employee, Sandro Girgvliani, in 2006, appropriation and embezzlement in connection with

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s travels: Whose fault is the bad coordination?

by | May 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministry and the president's administration in Georgia are embroiled in a quarrel over who is to blame for the bad coordination of foreign visits. The ministry accuses the president's administration of not coordinating visits abroad

In brief, News

Metalworks plant in Georgia paralyzed by strike

by | May 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Metal workers in Zestaponi in western Georgia are on strike and have paralyzed the functioning of a plant which is responsible for 12 percent of Georgia's export. The operation of the Zestaponi ferroalloy plant was suspended almost all of Monday.

In brief, News

Hammarberg: Hard to explain how May 17 could happen

by | May 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thomas Hammarberg says it will be difficult to explain to Europe how the May 17 violence could occur in a democratic country such as Georgia. Christian Orthodox activists last Friday used violence to disrupt a planned peaceful event to mark

News

Lawmakers discussed how to destroy ‘dirty archive’

by | May 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs plans to partially destroy illegally recorded secret surveillance material in one week. Deputy Interior Minister Levan Izoria said on Monday that this process will be conducted with the participation of society.

Opinion

Religious Radicals – the Biggest Threat to Georgia’s Democracy

by | May 20, 2013

These shameful events posed new questions (or rather question marks) for the Georgian democracy. The country has achieved a lot since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has effectively fought crime and corruption; it has managed to change its government through peaceful

Opinion

Being homeless

by | May 20, 2013

There are no accurate statistics about the number of homeless families living in Georgia. The homeless people have been particularly active in reminding the state of their existence following the October 2012 elections, when they occupied a number of buildings in Tbilisi, staged

News

Saakashvili asks the government to travel more

by | May 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili again asks members of the Georgian Dream coalition to go on visits abroad together with him. The president on Sunday left for Thailand in order to participate in the second Asia-Pacific Water Summit, as well as to hold

In brief, News

Calls for a truth and justice commission

by | May 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former political prisoners on Sunday held people’s congress at Sport’s Palace in Tbilisi in order to demand the restoration of justice and put the Saakashvili regime on trial. The congress decided to set up a people’s movement with the same

News

Police Day observed in Georgia

by | May 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police Day was marked in Georgia May 19. It was supposed to have been held on May 6, but the event was rescheduled due to the Easter celebration. The Interior Ministry used the occasion to present a new uniform, a shoulder-mounted video

NGO news

Amnesty International says Georgian police failed on May 17

by | May 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Amnesty International says the police in Georgia failed to protect demonstrators from aggression on May 17. The human rights group which has more than 3 million supporters worldwide believes that the police failed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual,

Society

Day after violence, LGBT campaigners call for accountability

by | May 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A peaceful rally to protest Friday’s violent clashes went ahead without serious incidents outside the government office on Saturday. In the afternoon, LGBT activists and their supporters started gathering in front of the government’s office,

News

Gathering today to condemn Friday’s violence

by | May 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After the violence yesterday, a gathering is planned today Saturday outside the government building on Ingorokva Street 7 at 15:00 to condemn what happened. Organizers say the goal is to condemn the violence by clerics and others who confronted the LGBT

News

Georgian Church distances itself from anti-gay violence

by | May 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian church is distancing itself from the violence on May 17, but maintains that LGBT propaganda is not acceptable. Patriarch Ilia II commented on the violent clashes between his parishioners and LGBT campaigners in Tbilisi. Ilia II called

News

Georgian Church mobilized thousands against LGBT event

by | May 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thousands of parishioners and clerics from the Georgian Orthodox Church May 17 prevented LGBT rights activists from carrying through a peaceful rally against homophobia in downtown Tbilisi. According to the health minister, the day ended with 28

News

Gay rights protesters driven out of Tbilisi, many injured

by | May 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Orthodox Christian activists Friday successfully prevented a peaceful demonstration to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Tbilisi. After numerous violent incidents throughout the day which led to more than twenty people being

Society

Tense ahead of gay rights rally in Tbilisi today

by | May 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rallies are planned in Tbilisi today to prevent a gathering of activists who want to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. The two organizations Identoba and Women’s Initiative Support Group announced about a month ago that they were

Economy, News

Foreign trade turnover fell 4% Jan-Apr 2013

by | May 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to preliminary data, Georgia’s foreign trade turnover has decreased by four percent in the months January through April of 2013, compared to the same period in the preceding year. The total foreign trade turnover in this period totaled

News

Three rebel fighters reburied in Pankisi

by | May 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The bodies of three militants who died in a border shooting in August 2012 were Thursday reburied in Duisi, in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia. An autopsy has been carried out on the bodies of Salam Zaurbekov, Aslan Margoshvili and Bajaudi Baghakashvili,

News, Security

Three dead ISAF soldiers brought back to Georgia

by | May 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The three Georgian soldiers who May 13 died in Afghanistan were today brought back to Georgia. The bodies of Corporal Alexandre Kvitsinidze, Corporal Vladmier Shanava and Sergeant Zviad Davitadze, arrived at Tbilisi airport on Thursday morning.

News, Security

Georgia declares a day of mourning after Afghanistan losses

by | May 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, has declared May 16 a day of mourning as a tribute to those Georgian soldiers who have lost lives while serving in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The presidential order says that May 16 will be announced

News

Secret archive of abuse videos discovered

by | May 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office and the Prison Ministry have discovered a secret archive of prison videos. At a meeting with journalists, Prison Minister Sozar Subari said that when the government came to power these kinds of archives were put away, but

In brief, News

Suspect in sex tape leak out on bail and fired

by | May 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gela Khvedelidze, the Deputy Interior Minister accused of leaking a sex tape, is free on USD 3 000 bail and has been removed from his position. Khvedelidze was detained a few days ago for publishing a video with intimate scenes between three people. Wednesday Tbilisi

News

Saakashvili back for another US visit

by | May 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After touring the United States for several days in the beginning of May, President Mikheil Saakashvili is back on an other visit to the country. He has already had a meeting with Senator Marco Rubio, one of the Republican party's presidential

News, Security

27 Georgians were wounded in attack, some back on duty

by | May 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ten of the 27 wounded Georgian soldiers in an insurgent attack have returned to duty in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, while the remaining 17 are still undergoing medical treatment. Part of the wounded may be taken to Germany or brought to

Environment, News

Another hailstorm hits eastern Georgia

by | May 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A strong hailstorm hit Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region Monday, almost completely destroying fruits and crops in five villages. Giorgi Sibashvili, former Deputy Governor of Kakheti, told Interpressnews that hail has destroyed agricultural lands

News, Security

Injured ISAF soldiers brought to hospital

by | May 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian soldiers who were wounded in yesterday’s attack in Afghanistan are in a satisfactory health condition and have been moved to the main hospital at Base Bastion, according to the Ministry of Defense. Three Georgian soldiers in the 42nd battalion

In brief, News

Georgia preparing second investigation into the 2008 war

by | May 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of eight persons will study crimes commited during and after the Russia-Georgia war in August, 2008. Following a decision by Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili, representatives of three bodies will sit in the investigative group and study

Society

Activists planning to prevent gay rights rally in Tbilisi

by | May 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--An announced gay rights rally is causing outrage among different groups in Georgia who plan to interrupt the rally May 17 and organize parallel rallies against LGBT people in the country. Non-governmental organizations which work with defending

NGO news

Ex officials subject to pressure in prison

by | May 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA) claims that former government officials are being subject to pressure while in prison. Representative of GYLA visited seven former employees of the Ministry of Agriculture just after they were arrested

News, Security

Three Georgian soldiers die in Afghanistan

by | May 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three Georgian soldiers died on Monday in Afghanistan in a large attack by insurgents. There are wounded soldiers as well, Defense Minsiter informs. Georgia's Defense Minsiter Irakli Aalasania said Monday that the insurgent attack took place

News

Saakashvili vetoes two bills

by | May 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed two bills passed by parliament. One of the bills is about amendments to the Civil Code of Georgia, which allows to change the status of non-profit legal entities and change the status of a a private law entity

News

Georgia to destroy its ‘dirty archive’ of personal secrets

by | May 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs has agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office to immediately destroy a ‘dirty archive’ of compromising material created during President Saakashvili’s various governments. Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said

News

Interior Ministry official detained for publishing sex video

by | May 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The deputy interior minister has been detained for posting a sex video on the Internet allegedly involving a journalist who had criticized him. Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili Sunday evening held a press conference to talk about the investigation into

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili impatient to set date for presidential election

by | May 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli calls on President Mikheil Saakashvili to set a date for the presidential election. Representatives of the president's administration told DF Watch that the president's opinion about this issue is still unknown.

News

Saakashvili escapes late night brawl

by | May 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili left a restaurant in Tbilisi before there broke out a scuffle between several well-known politicians. Three members of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), including two parliamentarians,

In brief, News

21 percent more visitors to Georgia in April

by | May 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--21 percent more foreigners visited Georgia in April 2013 than in the same month the year before. In the first five months of the year as a whole, 32 percent more foreigners visited the country, compared to the preceding year. These figures

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili picks Margvelashvili as candidate for president

by | May 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition has chosen Minister of Education Giorgi Margvelashvili as its candidate for president in the upcoming election. "Giorgi Margvelashvili has all good skills to be a president," Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said at

Opinion

Understanding Georgia’s Foreign Direct Investment Trends

by | May 11, 2013

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Georgia fell significantly from the second quarter of 2012, closing the year 23% down from 2011. After several years of steady recovery, this is a serious concern for policy makers. Georgia’s domestic capital market is

Society

Georgians discuss introducing a ban on abortions

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Patriarch’s Easter epistle has caused a debate about abortion in Georgia. Ilia II in his recent sermon called on the government to introduce a prohibition on abortion, but the government does not yet plan any changes in this field. The

Society

Georgia to decriminalize use of marihuana

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream coalition is preparing a bill to decriminalize the use of marihuana. Head of parliament's human rights committee Eka Besealia said the coalition plans to introduce certain measures regarding marihuana, because certain

News

Tbilisi’s new biolab to be owned by the NCDC

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has decided to change the ownership of the Richard G Lugar Public Health Research Center in Tbilisi. The liquidation process is to take three months and the center's property will be handed over to the National Center

Europe, News

EU Day marked in Georgia

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--May 9, “EU Day” was observed in its member countries. Also in Georgia, which is not a member, the day was celebrated with cultural events. A concert was held in Tbilisi by the initiative of the mayor. Diplomats and national minorities, as

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia’s next president is being selected

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of the two main political blocs in Georgia are discussing who might be their candidate for the presidential election in October, 2013. Both plan to hold a ballot to select their candidate. In a recent survey conducted by the National

News, Security

Eleven more Georgians released by South Ossetia

by | May 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eleven more Georgia citizens have been released from their detention by Russian soldiers. They were detained earlier in May for crossing the border with South Ossetia. The release on Wednesday came after the Ministry of Interior had held

Society

Five May Day protesters fined

by | May 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has fined five participants at a May Day rally in Tbilisi with 400 GEL (USD 240). About two dozen other participants are awaiting sentencing in two months. The five were fined for petty hooliganism and for disobeying police orders.

NGO news

TI: Georgian state stole over 111 million USD under Saakashvili

by | May 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Transparency International suspects that gifts worth more than USD 111 million that were received by the Georgian government during the last 8 years may actually have been robbery conducted by the state. This is the conclusion Transparency

News, Politics

Controversial head of party finance watchdog resigns

by | May 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Natia Mogeladze, head of the Financial Monitoring Service for political parties, resigned on Wednesday. According to the State Audit Office, a body subordinate to the Financial Monitoring Service, it was Mogeladze's own decision to resign.

Society

Gay rights activists rally in Tbilisi May 17

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Human right organizations and gay rights activists plan a flash mob event May 17 outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The flash mob will last half hour and the purpose is to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, which is marked in

News, Security

FBI’s Robert Mueller visiting Georgia regarding Sochi Olympics

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Robert Mueller, director of the US federal police FBI, has paid a visit to Georgia in connection with the Olympic winter games in Sochi in 2014. This is Mueller's second visit to Georgia. The first time was in May, 2010, when he discussed deepening

News, Security

Georgia examining bodies of dead Chechen fighters

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Georgia Wednesday conducted a somewhat belated autopsy of the bodies of some of the dead in a special operation along the border with Russia in August, 2012. The shooting in a forested hillside in Lapankuri, near the border between Georgia

In brief, News

OSCE delegation held closed door meetings

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliamentarians from the coalition of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the National Movement (UNM) party of President Saakashvili on Tuesday met with a delegation from the OSCE to discuss current events in Georgia, foreign policy and other

News

12 Georgians released from South Ossetian detention

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Twelve Georgian citizens were Tuesday released after having been detained by Russian soldiers for crossing the border of South Ossetia. May 1 to 4, Russian soldiers detained 22 people living in villages near to the breakaway region. According

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili intensifies search for presidential candidate

by | May 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition will name its candidate for president next week. At the end of the week, the coalition's council will decide who will represent it in the upcoming presidential election. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Tuesday

In brief, News

Saakashvili and Aliyev discussed Kars-Akhalkalaki railway

by | May 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili discussed the construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway with President Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Azerbaijan. The heads of state of the two neighboring countries underlined that the construction of

Education, News

University rectors call for amendment to be stopped

by | May 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The rectors of two large universities in Georgia ask President Mikheil Saakashvili to use his right to veto a law amendment which in their opinion will restrict the autonomy of universities. Gigi Tevzadze, Rector of Ilia State University, also known as Iliauni, said on Tuesday

In brief, News

OSCE parliamentarians visiting Georgia

by | May 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chaired by Wolfgang Grossruck, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, arrives in Georgia today Tuesday for a three day visit. In the delegation are also

News, Security

Ombudsman claims Saakashvili government trained Chechen rebels

by | May 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Defender says the eleven Chechen fighters who died in a shooting incident at the border between Georgia and Russia in August 2012, were part of an operation by the then Georgian government to train and equip fighters and send

Society

Georgia celebrates Orthodox Easter

by | May 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Orthodox Church celebrated Easter May Day 5, as the parish attended traditional prayers at churches around the country and the Patriarch conducted midnight mass at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi. The liturgy started at 11:00 pm Saturday

Opinion

Preventive Measures in Criminal Cases

by | May 5, 2013

On April 2, 2012 GYLA held a presentation of trial monitoring results focused on criminal cases in the city courts of Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The trial monitoring was conducted within the framework of the USAID funded Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project

NGO news

Young lawyers claim police used disproportionate force May 1

by | May 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA) claims that the police used disproportionate force against participants of a peaceful demonstration on May 1. The demonstration, organized by the youth group Laboratoria 1918 to mark the

News, Sport

Former AC Milan player Kaladze’s farewell match May 31

by | May 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, Andriy Shevchenko, Demetrio Albertini, Alessandro Nesta, these are among the confirmed names for football players who will take part in the farewell match of former AC Milan player and current Minister

In brief, News

Romania recognizes Georgia’s neutral passports

by | May 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Romania has recognized Georgia's so-called neutral travel documents, which are issued to people living in the breakaway territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia's Foreign Ministry received word of the decision Friday in a note from the

Society

Surveillance footage shows vandalism at May Day rally

by | May 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police on Thursday published footage from street surveillance cameras which shows how participants in a May Day rally damaged private property by spray painting slogans on city walls and damaging police cars and private cars. The students who

Media, News

Georgia improves on press freedom list

by | May 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia climbs 15 places on Freedom House’s latest list of press freedom around the world. On the list Freedom of the Press 2013, Georgia is listed as partly free in 96th place with 49 points, up from 111th place and 52 points the year before.

News

Agricultural minister resigns amidst fraud scandal

by | May 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Minister of Agriculture, Davit Kirvalidze, resigned on Thursday taking responsibility for a fraudulent scheme uncovered in his ministry which recently led to ten people being detained. Police on Wednesday detained ten employees suspected

Legal reform, News

Court reform set to be enforced against Saakashvili’s veto

by | May 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia has overturned President Saakashvili’s veto against legislative amendments about judicial reform. Those behind the amendments claim that they serve to depolarize the court system. According to the draft, which has been passed

In brief, News

Saakashvili met Kerry and Biden

by | May 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday continued his tour of the US and held meetings with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden. "We applaud the democratic transition that has been taking place in Georgia," Kerry said in

In brief, News

Alasania disappointed by lack of support from Germany

by | May 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said on Wednesday that in the past, there have been exceeded expectations about Germany's support for Georgia's aspirations to become a NATO member. He said this as he opened a forum to discuss strategic

Society

May Day rally turned violent in Tbilisi

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Wednesday dispersed a peaceful protest organized by students and youth groups that wanted to mark the International Workers' Day, May 1. About twenty persons, including a journalist, were detained by police and later released.

News

Ivanishvili considers halting prosecution of ex officials

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia the Ivanishvili government will consider halting the prosecution of former government officials as part of an initiative by the prime minister to bring about reconciliation. But Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili made it clear

News, Security

Ivanishvili expects NATO membership plan next year

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new government expects Georgia to receive a membership action plan (MAP) next year. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said this Tuesday at the 22. anniversary of the Georgian army. The head of government has often had to defend himself against

News, Security

NATO experts discuss reopening Abkhazia railway

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The plan to reopen a railway through breakaway Abkhazia came up during a NATO seminar in Tbilisi. Lawrence Scott Sheets, South Caucasus Project Director for the International Crisis Group, said during the 83rd Rose Roth Seminar of NATO’s

News, Politics

Uncertainty over Saakashvili’s annual address to parliament

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament is ready to listen to the president’s annual address to the nation, but the president may not show up. Pavle Kublashvili from President Saakashvili’s United National Movement party says that the annual address has not been scheduled.

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