Economy, News

Georgia received 56 percent more tourists in 2012

by | June 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of tourists grew by 56 percent in 2012, according to the National Tourism Administration. 4 389 256 tourists visited Georgia last year. In the period from January to May 2013, the number of tourists was 1 698 146, which is an increase of

NGO news

Groups call on authorities to prevent religous conflict in Georgia

by | June 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups in Georgia call on the government to settle the religious conflict in a Kakheti village and ensure the safety of Muslims. The groups are backed up by the Public Defender in their call for Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili to take immediate action to avoid

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party names four presidential candidates

by | June 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement on Saturday named four candidates for the party’s primary election to select as candidate for the upcoming presidential election in October. Party spokesman Giorgi Vashadze presented the

News

Locals beat wife of Hajji in Kakheti village

by | June 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals attacked and beat the wife of the Hajji in the village Samtatskharo Friday, only weeks after the religious conflict there seemed to have been solved. Locals had earlier prevented Muslims from conducting Friday prayer for three weeks, but the

Opinion

Freedom to peaceful assembly and freedom of movement

by | June 29, 2013

I can think of a number of demonstrations over the past few years when the police arrested participants for blocking traffic and violating the public order. However, today, I would like to draw your attention to the latest incident of May 1, 2013 in which the question

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party to start election campaign on June 30

by | June 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United National Movement has announced that its election campaign will be launched on June 30. UNM member Giorgi Vashadze said on Friday that the party will name all its candidates, who will then participate in a primary election to select

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party suspends work in parliament, again

by | June 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement has again suspended work in parliament, due to the recent detentions of the Tbilisi City Hall and Council officials. Levan Bezhashvili, member of the UNM, on Friday said that their decision

News

CoE asks Georgia to investigate anti LGBT violence

by | June 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the Georgian government to conduct a ‘prompt investigation’ of the violence on May 17 2013. 30 persons were injured that day, as radical clerics and their supporters prevented LGBT

News

NATO envoy concerned about lack of trust in Georgian politics

by | June 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai says he is ‘a bit concerned by the level of mistrust’ between Georgia’s government and opposition. Appathurai, whose full title is NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia,

News

Tbilisi council members detained

by | June 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The investigative service of the Finance Ministry on Thursday morning detained 22 employees of Tbilisi City Hall and Tbilisi City Council. They were released in the evening, and then four of them were again detained. After the first detentions,

In brief, News

Heavy rain flooding the streets of Tbilisi

by | June 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain hit the Georgian capital Thursday evening with hail in some of districts. Rain flooded the first floors of houses and underground pedestrian tunnels. In some districts of Tbilisi there was a short hailstorm. Interpressnews reports that

News

24 000 families to be compensated for war losses

by | June 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 24 000 families who lost a member while doing military service will get increased compensation according to a new initiative, which will be presented to parliament on Friday. The proposed bill will amend the law on the status of a military servant

News

117 Georgians detained by Russian border guards so far this year

by | June 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--117 persons have been detained by Russian soldiers so far in 2013 close to the so-called administrative borders with the breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI),

News, Security

Appathurai: Georgian troops in Afghanistan are not targeted

by | June 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai says the alliance does not have any evidence that Georgian troops in Afghanistan ‘are specifically targeted.’ Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, said

News

Rasmussen: Georgia is close to NATO

by | June 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--“Yes, Georgia is close [to NATO] but there’s still a lot of work to do,” NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says. The secretary general is visiting Georgia and on Wednesday held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili

Legal reform, News

The justice minister will no longer have added role as prosecutor

by | June 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has taken away the justice minister's added role as a prosecutor in a new regulation that came into force from Tuesday morning. Speaking at a press conference, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani explained that before, as justice minister

In brief, News

Israel and Georgia considering visa free travel

by | June 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says Israel and Georgia may enter an agreement about visa free travel. Ivanishvili said this after meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. He said that they also discussed establishing

News

One further ex-official detained for Girgvliani murder

by | June 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained a fifth person in one of the most controversial cases during the previous government, Sandro Girgvliani’s murder. The Prosecutor’s Office says it has been unknown until quite recently that Tamaz Kokiashvili

News, Politics

Saakashvili again exercises his veto powers

by | June 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed the amendment of three more laws in a package passed by parliament. This time it was about the law on broadcasting, the election code and the law about the public defender. The president's spokesperson

Society

Lawmaker wants to ban violence and ‘gay propaganda’ on TV

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition suggests introducing restrictions on TV series and other TV programs which ‘contain propaganda of violence, or homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations.’ Member of Parliament Koba

Europe, News

Council of Europe did not discuss ‘deteriorating situation’ in Georgia

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, did not go through with an announced discussion about the ‘deteriorating situation’ in Georgia. During the session which is ongoing in Strasbourg a majority of 73 members voted against

In brief, News

NATO tops visit Georgia

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO's highest political body, the North Atlantic Council, will visit Georgia June 26-27. The delegation, which is headed by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, have planned meetings with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina

Society

Five thousand came to Oasis Music Festival

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Oasis Music Festival was held this weekend in Mtskheta, not far from the capital, with well-known bands like WhoMadeWho, Mumiy Troll and Motorama. The festival lasted two days and was held at Theatron, an area between the old castle and the River

News

Israel and Georgia sign economic cooperation agreement

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Israel will create a common commission to enhance economic cooperation. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will sign the agreement in Israel Tuesday. On Monday, the first day of a two-day working visit, the Georgian leader met Israeli

News

New charges against Merabishvili

by | June 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prosecutor’s Office on Monday introduced a new charge against former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, that of abuse of powers in the case of Sandro Girgvliani’s murder. In a statement, the office said Merabishvili took a number

In brief, News

Georgia’s GDP in Q1 was USD 3.5 billion

by | June 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s GDP in the first quarter of 2013 was 5 782.8 million GEL (USD 3 500 million), which is 2.4 percent more than same period last year. According to Georgia's National Statistics Department, industry has the largest share for GDP figures

News

Saakashvili: I gave the order to create weapons cache

by | June 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili says he ordered the establishment of underground weapons caches all over the country. He said, in case of renewed aggression, Georgia wouldn't be ‘unprotected as it was in 2008.’ “There is nothing new for me in that

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili says he will leave after election

by | June 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili plans to leave his post after the presidential election in October. He said this in an interview with the Russian edition of the Estonian newspaper Postimees on Saturday. The prime minister said he plans to leave

In brief, News

Council of Europe will discuss the ‘deteriorating situation’ in Georgia

by | June 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--PACE will discuss the ‘deteriorating situation in Georgia’ during a session which opens Monday, June 24 and lasts until June 28. Georgia is on today's agenda under the headline ‘changes in the membership of committees’. The name of the topic

News

Did UNESCO remove Bagrati from World Heritage List?

by | June 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Culture Ministry in Georgia claims that UNESCO has decided to take Bagrati Cathedral off the World Heritage List. But UNESCO says it is only a question of modifying the boundaries of the site. Bagrati Cathedral, which is located in Georgia's second largest

News

Parliament discussed May 17 violence with initiative group

by | June 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The May 17 initiative group Saturday met with parliament’s human rights committee in order to discuss the draft statement regarding the violence that occurred that day, when radical priests and activists disrupted a small rally against homophobia.

Environment, News

Hailstorm destroys crops in eight villages in eastern Georgia

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A hailstorm Friday night damaged eight villages in Akhmeta in the eastern Kakheti region of Georgia. The damaged villages are Ashkhnis Velebi, Akhshani, Arashenda, Chabinaani, Khorkheli, Zemo Khodasheni, Ozhio and Atskhuri, according to

News

Georgian released from Tskhinvali detention

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen who was detained May 29 by Russian border guards for crossing the so-called administrative border with South Ossetia was released on Friday, June 21. The 35th session of Incident Prevention and Reaction Mechanisms was held on

News

More surveillance material found in western Georgia

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia Friday announced the discovery of more weapons in an underground cache in the western Samegrelo region. The latest find adds four more barrels to a cache discovered last week containing weapons, drugs and surveillance

Society

GeoStat to begin census work July 2014

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Statistics Department will starts the first phase of a population census on July 1, 2014. Minister of Regional Development Davit Narmania said Friday that the first part of the work will be conducted in the regions Adjara,

In brief, News

Russian border guards detain Georgian near South Ossetia

by | June 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards have detained two more locals on the de facto border with South Ossetia while several people detained during the last few weeks still remain in detention. According to locals, armed Russian border guards took Zaza Khidasheli

Opinion

The State’s Role in the May 17 Incident

by | June 21, 2013

The May 17 incident and its subsequent developments should be discussed in two paradigms: the legal and the socio-cultural. The legal aspect relates to the state, whereas the socio-cultural is linked to society, in particular the existing social and cultural structures.

News

Protest against parliament’s handling of anti LGBT violence

by | June 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--June 20 a protest rally was held at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel while parliament's human rights committee was holding a meeting inside. A few days ago, the committee presented a draft statement about the events of May 17, when radical clerics and

NGO news

GYLA asks government to regulate public bonuses

by | June 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) claims that there is no legal act that regulates the procedures for awarding bonuses within state agencies. GYLA has studied data from Georgian ministries, the government chancellery, the presidential

News

Media leaders walked out of torture video screening

by | June 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After criticism from the US Congress the government in Georgia decided to display proof of the former government’s illegal actions and organized a presentation of videos showing torture and mistreatment. There was first a screening for diplomats

NGO news

New report exposes faults in Georgia polling

by | June 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report about the political polls in 2012 warns of a dangerous trend if last year’s polls continue this year ahead of the presidential election in October. The report Making Public Polling Matter found that the results of last year’s polls

Opinion

Washington and Tbilisi Are Still On The Same Side

by | June 20, 2013

For eight years, long before the 2008 war, I served as Ambassador of Georgia to Washington. At the time, the main issue at hand was capacity-building: to think in terms of policies, allocating competencies and tasks, preparing the normative ground, pinpointing

Economy, News

57% of visitors to Georgia Jan-Mar 2013 were tourists

by | June 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--57 percent of foreigners who crossed the border into Georgia in first quarter of 2013 were tourists, according to the first result of a report conducted by the Georgian National Tourism Administration. Giorgi Sigua, head of the administration, said

News

Torture videos will be shown in closed screening

by | June 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia Thursday will hold a screening for media leaders of newly discovered videos of torture and rape, but filming will not be allowed. A few dozen people will be shown the tapes which were discovered in a buried weapons cache

News

Georgia torture videos not published, nine detained

by | June 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia changed its mind about publishing videos showing torture of prisoners, but said nine persons have been detained regarding the discovery of the weapons cache where the videos were found. Minister of Internal Affairs

Society

Parliament questioning whether anti hate crime petition is real

by | June 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the Georgian parliament’s human rights committee has come under fire on social networks, after she instructed her committee to investigate whether 12 000 signatures in a petition are real or fake. The petition is addressed to

News

Merabishvili to get a TV

by | June 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former interior minister Vano Merabishvili, who is in prison awaiting trial, will get a TV set in his cell today or tomorrow, according to the prison minister, Sozar Subari. Merabishvili, who is a long-time ally of President Saakashvili and

News, Prisoner abuse

Further proof of prisoner torture to be revealed

by | June 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili plans to release a video today at a meeting where also foreign diplomats will be present. The video is said to contain strong scenes of sexual abuse of prisoners and was discovered in an underground

News

Russia and Georgia consider opening regular flights

by | June 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Russia, the transport ministry and travel agencies are ready to start negotiations about reopening regular air travel with Georgia. The minister of reintegration in Georgia says ‘this is not bad generally’. Alexander Lukashevich, spokesperson

Society

Parliament in Georgia considers how to react to May 17 violence

by | June 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights committee in parliament is preparing a resolution about the May 17 events, when thousands of Orthodox Christians disrupted a protest by a few tens of LGBT activists. The resolution was a response to an appeal addressed to the speaker

News

Merabishvili on hunger strike, demands TV in his cell

by | June 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vano Merabishvili, Secretary General of the United National Movement party, has gone on hunger strike in prison to demand a TV set. When contacted by DF Watch, representatives of the Prison Ministry were only willing to say that he really

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party to hold primary while gen secretary is in jail

by | June 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party is still planning to hold primary elections to select a candidate for the presidential election, even though party secretary Vano Merabishvili is in detention. The names of the participants have not been revealed,

News

Weapons cache found in western Georgia

by | June 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia has discovered an underground cache in the Samegrelo region, which borders with breakaway Abkhazia. The cache contained ammunition, explosives and explosive devices, grenades, automatic rifles and other weapons.

News

Georgia introduces new law to protect minorities

by | June 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is planning to introduce a law aimed at protecting the rights of religious, sexual, ethnic and other minorities in the country and avoid discrimination. Speaking at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi, Justice Minister Thea

In brief, News

Russia detains a man on border with Abkhazia

by | June 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards Sunday detained a Georgian citizen near the administrative border around Abkhazia. A reporter for Interpressnews said Russian border guards took Tengiz Kurua from the village Orsantia, Zugdidi. Kurua was walking along the

Elections '12-'13, News

Government wants parliament to have more time to prepare budget

by | June 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream bloc wants to keep having a relatively low threshold for amending the constitution and to give parliament longer time to work out a budget before it leads to a government's dismissal and a new election.

News

US Congress warns Georgia about ‘democratic backsliding’

by | June 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A statement by the U.S Congress about defense cooperation with Georgia caused debate in the country on Saturday. Government officials claim the congress was misled by a lack of, or incorrect, information about current events, while their opponents claim

News, Prisoner abuse

Sixteen convicted of prisoner torture in Georgia

by | June 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Tbilisi determined sixteen persons as guilty of torture of prisoners, humiliation and mistreatment, but recognized Vladmier Bedukadze, the person who released the video footage documenting it, as innocent. He was freed from criminal

Legal reform, News

Two seats still vacant in Georgia’s court oversight council

by | June 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, two seats still remain vacant in the High Council of Justice after an election that has been going on for two weeks. Four more members were elected by parliament in the second round, but due to objections by representatives from

Society

Friday prayer goes ahead in Georgian village after tension

by | June 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Friday prayer in Samtatskharo, a village in eastern Georgia, went ahead as normal without interruptions yesterday, after being canceled three weeks in a row due to protests by locals. Minister of Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili showed up

News

Georgia to offer amnesty for illegal surveillance material

by | June 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is proposing an amnesty for people who are in the possession of illegally obtained footage of someone's private life and are willing to hand it over to the Interior Ministry. A bill has been drafted and will soon

News

Families of war dead to get increased compensations

by | June 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Families of dead military soldiers, including those who died during the war in Abkhazia in 90s and those who died as part of Georgian soldiers' participation in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan, will receive USD 600 monthly from 2014. Defense

NGO news

Phasing out bonus system for parliamentarians had little effect

by | June 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the phasing out of bonuses, the income of members of parliament has not decreased significantly. According to data published by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), even though the parliament elected in October 2012

News

Georgia detains two suspected terrorists

by | June 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained two foreign citizens, Mikail Kadiev and Rizvan Omarov, suspected of preparing to carry out an act of terrorism. The two were detained in Tbilisi as part of an investigation by the Interior Ministry’s antiterrorism

Economy, News

First Georgian cognac in 7 years to reach Russian consumers

by | June 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--20 000 bottles of cognac were Tuesday sent to Russia to be sold there. This is the first time Georgian beverages are sold in Russia after it imposed an embargo on Georgian products in 2006. Levan Davitashvili, Chair of the National Wine Agency

Education, News

Rector of Tbilisi State University resigns

by | June 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi State University formally approved Rector Alexandre Kvitashvili's resignation on Wednesday, according to a short statement published on its official website. The decision is allegedly related to a recent amendment to the law on higher

News

Georgia considering to tigthen visa rules

by | June 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is reconsidering its liberal visa rules towards 121 countries, Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze says. Mrs Panjikidze said she is not ruling out revising the liberal visa policy towards many countries, as the migration policy

News

Jihad threat video was uploaded from Georgia

by | June 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The video containing threats against Georgian soldiers was uploaded to Youtube from Georgia, the Georgian interior minister says. Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said the IP address of the user who uploaded the video has been determined,

News, Security

Georgia to close two bases in Afghanistan

by | June 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two of Georgia’s military bases in Afghanistan will be closed, according to the defense minister. In a TV interview on Tuesday Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said that his government, acting on recommendations from its armed forces

Opinion

NYT picks on an easy target

by | June 11, 2013

On June 5th, the New York Times was running an article entitled “Taliban Attack Kills 7 Georgian Soldiers in Afghanistan.” Despite the title, the article said very little about the circumstances surrounding this tragic event; it focused mostly on an analysis

News, Security

Two Georgians detained in border area

by | June 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards detained a father and son in a village close to the de facto border with breakaway South Ossetia. Zviand and Vakhtang Zghentis were bringing cattle out to graze when they were detained and taken to Tskhinvali. Later the same

News

Heavy rain inflicts damage in Georgia again

by | June 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain damaged roads and flooded streets in several villages in Georgia. The capital Tbilisi was also affected. Clean-up work is being conducted in the village Ereda, in the Akhalgori region, where the roads were damaged. Rain killed livestock,

News

Georgia’s Security Council to meet Tuesday

by | June 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Security Council will meet Tuesday at 18:00 at the president’s palace in the capital. This will be the second session of the Security Council after the change of government after the parliamentary election in October 2012.

Opinion

Foreign Policy or a Battle Cry?

by | June 10, 2013

What happened in October? The October 2012 parliamentary election gave Georgia a chance for normal development. Needless to say, a government assuming power through violence cannot be democratic. Thus, defeating the National Movement through the ballot box instead of

Economy, News

42 000 less jobs since fourth quarter of 2012

by | June 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of employed in the business sector has increased by 16 000 in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, but the number has decreased by 42 000 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. In the first quarter of 2013,

News, Security

Georgia’s Security Council to meet to discuss video threat

by | June 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has called Georgia's National Security Council together for another session in the beginning of this week to discuss a video threat uploaded on Youtube. The video contains threats against Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan

News

Thousands attend funeral of dead Georgian soldiers

by | June 10, 2013

  TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday, thousands of people attended the funeral of the seven soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Patriarch Ilia II conducted the funeral which took place at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi. The prime minister and almost the entire government were present during the service

News

Demonstration in Tbilisi to demand withdrawal from Afghanistan

by | June 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students rallied in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi Friday to demand the withdrawal of Georgian troops from Afghanistan. The protest came after seven Georgian soldiers died in a suicide attack in Helmand province on Thursday.

News

NATO to investigate threat video against Georgia

by | June 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO is to investigate whether there was a connection between a suicide attack on a Georgian base in Afghanistan and a video posted the same day which threatened to attack inside Georgia in retaliation for the country's participation in ISAF. James

Society

200 locals gathered to prevent Friday prayers

by | June 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday prayers were disrupted by locals yesterday in a village in eastern Georgia. About 200 locals had gathered in the village Samtatskharo in the Kakheti region in order to prevent Muslims from praying in a house that has been purchased for this

News, Security

Georgia commemmorated fallen soldiers

by | June 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday, Georgia commemorated the seven soldiers who died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan the day before. The soldiers were serving in the 42nd infantry brigade at Base Lezernik in Helmand Province. “We took the bodies of our seven heroes

News, Security

Diplomats in Georgia visit border area

by | June 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia Friday organized a trip for a few dozen foreign diplomats to villages close to the Russian-controlled breakaway region South Ossetia, where Russian border guards last week moved the border 300 meters into

News

Destruction of dirty archive delayed

by | June 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several organizations in Georgia criticize the Interior Ministry for delaying the destruction of an archive of compromising videos filmed with a hidden camera. The publication of videos in April and May showing several well-known persons engaging

News

Georgians demand to know who posted video threat

by | June 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A video posted on Youtube which contains threats against Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan has caused debate in Tbilisi. The video has spread fear, especially among family members and relatives of the soldiers, but it now appears that the video was

News

Russia demands that Georgia abandons law on territories

by | June 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia maintains its demand that Georgia must do away with its law on the occupied territories, which makes it a crime for people to visit the breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia without permission from official Tbilisi. Gregory Karasin,

News, Security

Seven Georgian soldiers die in Afghanistan suicide bombing

by | June 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Seven Georgian soldiers died in a suicide attack in Afghanistan Thursday. President Mikheil Saakashvili has called for a national day of mourning on June 7 and asked that all the flags be lowered. The Ministry of Defense on Thursday informed that

News, Security

Saakashvili rallies people to resist Russia

by | June 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday described the moving and fortifying of a de facto border between Georgian- and Russian-controlled territory in place since the war in 2008, as a call for everybody to resist Russian occupation. “This session

News

Abashidze mentioned border issue at direct talks with Russia

by | June 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The small-scale careful dialogue between Georgia and Russia continued in Prague Wednesday as Zurab Abashidze and Gregory Karasin met to sum up the results of six month of talks. Abashidze, who was specially appointed by Prime Minister Bidzina

Society

Thousands came for open air music festival in Tbilisi

by | June 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Open Air 2013 brought thousands of people to Dinamo Arena on Wednesday. The one-day festival started an hour late, which resulted in the Berlin-group Modeselektor having to leave without playing in order to catch the plane. Georgian band Kid Jesus

News, Security

Georgian soldiers to remain in Afghanistan after 2014

by | June 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The NATO-Georgia commission held a session in Brussels on Wednesday as part of a meeting of ministers from member states. The Alliance's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen opened the session by reiterating the importance of Georgia’s

News, Security

Saakashvili calls Security Council session to discuss border issue

by | June 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has called for an unscheduled session of Georgia's National Security Council today at 4 pm. Prime Minister Ivanishvili and several ministers who are abroad will not attend the meeting, but some government officials

News, Politics

Georgia’s Ivanishvili slams the Washington Post for editorial

by | June 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims the Washington Post is drawing conclusions based on information from President Mikheil Saakashvili’s lobbyists. The newly elected head of government demands an answer as to how the newspaper gets

News

Priests to be put on trial for anti-gay violence

by | June 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trial of the two priests who are suspects regarding the violent clashes on May 17, is scheduled for July 15. Meanwhile the Prosecutor’s Office didn’t ask the court to place them in pre-trial detention or administrative punishment.

Society

Tbilisi preparing for Open Air Festival today

by | June 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Open Air Festival is getting closer as most of the bands have arrived in Tbilisi. This year’s big surprise, Deep Purple, arrived in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Right before their departure, Altervision Group, which organizes the festival, made

News

MEP Lisek visits Saakashvili ally in prison

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vano Merabishvili says he is optimistic, but complains about lack of information, according to Krzysztof Lisek, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), after meeting the former Prime Minister in Matrosov Prison Tuesday. Representatives of

News, Security

NATO’s Appaturai calls Russian border activity a violation

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO is concerned about illegal separating constructions in the conflict zone, says the alliance's Caucasus and Central Asia envoy James Appathurai. Last week, Russian soldiers moved the so-called administrative border 300 meters on a point south

Society

Deep Purple arrives in Tbilisi to play festival gig at Dinamo Arena

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians are getting ready for the next Tbilisi Open Air musical event, which this time will include world famous stars like Deep Purple, Tricky, Infected Mushrooms and Modeselektor. Tbilisi Open Air Festival, which has been held every year since

In brief, News

Two Georgians released by South Ossetia

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian father and son who were detained by Russian soldiers close to the so-called administrative border with South Ossetia a few days ago were were released on Monday. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, Avtandil and Kakhi Khaduri,

In brief, News

Georgian’s foreign minister visits the US

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Maya Pankikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia, is on a visit to the United States and will today attend a reception in Washington organized by the Georgian embassy to mark Independence Day of Georgia. She will also meet with Miriam Sapiro,

Society

Decriminalize marijuana rally in Tbilisi

by | June 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than a thousand people gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday to demand the decriminalization of marijuana. Under current legislation it is illegal to use or sell marijuana and other soft drugs. Organizers of the rally

Economy, News

Georgia rejects Russian accusation of biological warfare

by | June 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Food Safety Service responds to the Russian chief sanitary inspector, who said that Georgia was planning ‘bio-sabotage’ in Russia. Veriko Gulua, head of the Service's press office told DF Watch that this statement is groundless

News

Egypt police thought Georgian tv crew were making porn movie

by | June 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Egypt has apologized for detaining a group of Georgians during a swimwear photo session. The Georgians were having a photo shoot for swimwear when several Egyptian policemen thought they were filming a porn movie and detained the crew. Egyptian

Opinion

Ill-treatment – old and new challenges

by | June 3, 2013

When thinking about the crucial events of the year 2012, what comes to my mind first is the prison abuse scandal. The released videos depicting the various acts of torture and ill-treatment

News

Georgia to scrap Soviet style archive of compromising secrets

by | June 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian interior minister says that an archive of secret recordings of people's private lives will be destroyed next week. Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli Gharibashvili said this during a public meeting at the Center of European Politics

In brief, News

NATO week in Georgia

by | June 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will mark NATO week from 3 to 10th June. It will be opened by NATO envoy James Appathurai and the minister for Euro Atlantic integration. Elene Gotsadze, director of the information center for NATO and EU, said Friday that James Appathurai,

News

Parliament forces through two more laws

by | June 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia has forced through two more laws that were vetoed by President Saakashvili. This is the latest in a series of vetoes by Saakashvili after the change of government in October, 2012. Under normal circumstances, his signature

News

Lithuanian businessman freed by the court

by | June 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday released a Lithuanian businessman pending his trial. Saulius Vaitkevičius was detained two days ago at Tbilisi airport and charged with a large amount of money appropriation and embezzlement. The prosecutor

In brief, News

Zestaponi strike over, most demands accepted

by | June 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--1 600 workers at the Ferro plant in Zestaponi called off their strike Friday. The strike lasted more than a week, and paralyzed the plant which accounts for 12% of Georgia's national export. Management agreed to enter into negotiations and finally

News, Sport

Former AC Milan player Kaladze played farewell match

by | June 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The farewell match of former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze on Friday ended with Kaladze’s friends losing 1-3 to Milan. Kaladze, who is Energy Minister now, played for Milan against his friends, a team which was mainly filled by well-known Georgian

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