News, Sport

Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not take part in Olympics

by | September 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia will not take part in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as independent nations. Georgia’s National Olympic Committee has received a letter from the International Olympic Committee (IOC)

News

Man doused himself in gasoline in Tbilisi

by | September 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man attempted to set himself on fire at a protest rally in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Monday. Pouring gasoline over himself, the man said he has nothing in this world and there is no point in living. Protesters and police managed to stop him and took

Economy, News

Best Georgian wine harvest in decades

by | September 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--81 companies have received and produced the highest amounts of grapes for decades, according to the Agriculture Ministry: 80 097.6 tons of grapes have already been processed this season. Last year, the number was 52 000 tons. Of Saperavi, one of the

News

Tbilisi displays divided views of Saakashvili’s legacy

by | September 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili was given a hero's welcome at Tbilisi airport Sunday, but outside the old parliament building protesters burnt an effigy of him. A crowd greeted Saakashvili as he arrived at the airport on Sunday night. They said that the

Opinion

The price of the state

by | September 30, 2013

Everyone demands something from the state budget: pensioners - increased pensions, public sector employees - higher salaries, socially needed – adequate social assistance, everyone else – free healthcare, education, etc. Not many of them realize that there is no

In brief, News

76 prisoners released early

by | September 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--67 prisoners were released on Saturday on recommendation of the commission for early release, according to the Prison Ministry. 14 of the released prisoners are women. The ministry says the commission has reviewed about 300 cases and

Caucasus region, News

Georgian journalists rally at border village

by | September 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian journalists Saturday rallied in Dvani against the newly restarted work by Russian soldiers to reinforce a de facto border with the breakaway region South Ossetia. Locals say the Russian soldiers are going to move the razor wire perimeter 50

News

Georgia to increase police powers

by | September 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is looking to increase police powers. Police will no longer have the right to stop and search people on ‘reasonable doubt’, but will have powers to do ‘special police control’, which according to the government's

News

New law will bar some Georgians from leaving the country

by | September 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian citizens may be barred from leaving the country because of state interests, and may not even be able to know the real reason for it, even by going to court. Members of the Georgian Dream coalition, who are the authors of the draft bill, say

News

Georgia considers fining insufficient knowledge of language

by | September 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is pondering the creation of a language inspection which will fine domestic media and public officials up to five thousand lari (nearly USD 3000) if they show lack of knowledge of the state language. The bill is still in the process of being prepared, but

In brief, News

Russian helicopter spotted over border village

by | September 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A military helicopter was seen Friday flying over the village Dvani, where Russian soldiers are reinforcing the de facto border with barbed wire blocks and fences. The allegedly Russian military helicopter was filmed on video. The Ministry of Interior

Caucasus region, News

Ivanishvili: border reinforcement has to do with Olympics

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the moving of the border line near the villages Ditsi and Dvani is connected to security around the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. His comments were made on Wednesday while meeting economic analysts at his business

In brief, News

Saakashvili met Anders Fogh Rasmussen

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in New York, within the frames of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. According to the president's press office, Saakashvili spoke with Rasmussen

In brief, News

70% increase in administrative fines

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Fines issued by the police for administrative violations have increased by 70 percent in the first six months of 2013 compared to last year. According to the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), which obtained official data

In brief, News

Two attempts to bring drugs into prison

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prison Ministry employees in Georgia have disrupted two attempts to bring drugs into a prison in Tbilisi. According to the ministry, the father of a prison came to Prison No 8 with a parcel. When the prison employees opened the parcel, there was

News

20 years since end of Abkhazian war

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Today, 20 years have passed since the fall of Sukhumi. The war in Abkhazia in 1992-93 ended after 13 months and 13 days. The war resulted in the death of about 6 000 combatants from both sides and about 20 000 civilians, and ended with the capture

News

Ivanishvili asks economic experts for advice

by | September 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Wednesday sat down with a group of economic analysts to find out more about how they view the situation. The PM had brought along quotes from newspapers with statements made by the assembled experts to different

News, Politics

Ivanishvili has decided on who will be his successor

by | September 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he has already selected a candidate for his successor, which will be the most powerful person in Georgia. Ivanishvili said Wednesday he has made a choice between three candidates, but defers

News

Saakashvili rallies Eastern Europe against Russian imperialism

by | September 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday gave a speech at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. His address mainly dealt with the threat Russia in his view poses to Georgia and other Eastern Partnership countries. The Russian

Elections '12-'13, News

NDI poll shows Georgian Dream will win the presidential election

by | September 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--39 percent of Georgians would like to have Georgian Dream's candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, as their next president. 18 percent support Davit Bakradze from the United National Movement, according to a new survey by the National Democratic Institute

News

Merabishvili trial to start October 7

by | September 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The main court hearing in the case of the former interior minister Vano Merabishvili and the Kakheti governor Zurab Chiaberashvili will start on October 7. The main defendant must remain in pre-trial detention until then, the court decided. Both of

In brief, News

Georgia extends maternity leave

by | September 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is extending maternity leave and increasing the amount of paid leave. Parliament Wednesday began a fast-track review of the new bill, which will amend the labor code; an initiative of the healthcare committee. With the new

News

Continued trouble at South Ossetia de facto border

by | September 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ossetians ask locals in the village Dvani to empty their storage rooms, which they claim are on South Ossetian territory. “Ossetian villager came to us yesterday afternoon, called us and required to empty storage rooms in two days, because the

Elections '12-'13, News

NGOs highlight problems with voter registration

by | September 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--DF Watch organized another round table discussion on September 18 about election. It was attended by the representatives of two local non-governmental organizations, and the purpose was to discuss problems in the election period and what steps have

Elections '12-'13, News

Violations found in Burjanadze’s party

by | September 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office says it found violations in the financial declaration of the Democratic Movement party, the leader of which is presidential candidate Nino Burjanadze. According to the office, Burjanadze’s party recently started opening new

Elections '12-'13, News

23 candidates in Georgia’s presidential election

by | September 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--23 people have registered as candidates in the upcoming presidential election in Georgia, according to the Central Election Commission. There were 54 applications, out of which 31 were rejected due to various reasons. 42 of the applications came from

News

Government downplays A, SO Olympic ‘recognition’

by | September 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two government spokespersons in Georgia Tuesday sought to downplay the significance of a news report that the Georgian breakaway regions will take part in the Olympics as independent nations. Georgia was planning to send a note of protest after the

In brief, News

Obama had brief meeting with Saakashvili

by | September 24, 2013

(Comments from Saakashvili added.) TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili Monday met with President Barack Obama in New York. The brief conversation too place at a civil society event in connection with the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

News

Georgians think government is doing important changes

by | September 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to the new survey of the National Democratic Institute, people think the government is making important changes for them, but do not like the prime minister’s decision about leaving his post. NDI's survey of public attitudes, which was

News

Abashidze warns of risks with trading with Russia

by | September 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's representative in trade talks with Russia says there are considerable risks involved in entering that market. Zurab Abashidze, the prime minister’s special representative in Russian relations, nonetheless has a positive view of the

News, Security

Georgia commits to peaceful means to solve border issue

by | September 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry says Georgia can only use peaceful and civilian methods against Russia’s action to move the border to the breakaway region South Ossetia. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Jalaghania said on Monday that Russia

News

EU advisor: Georgia must stop looking back into the past

by | September 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU’s Special Advisor Thomas Hammarberg asks the government of Georgia to not politicize investigation of former officials and says Georgian society must stop looking back into the past and instead think about the future. Hammarberg, who is EU’s

In brief, News

Saakashvili visits the US

by | September 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has left for the US to go on a working visit and deliver a speech at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The president will also hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of different countries,

Environment, News

At least 60 houses flooded in Georgia

by | September 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWath--Heavy rain on Saturday flooded more than 60 houses in Kakheti, a region in eastern Georgia . Rivers burst their banks and water flowed into the first floors and basements in the village Kistauri, in the Akhmeta region. Water destroyed home equipment

News

Russian soldiers move South Ossetian border 600 meters

by | September 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers Sunday moved the border 600 meters into Georgian-controlled territory in the village Dvani, close to South Ossetia. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russian soldiers started preliminary work to install wire fences,

Europe, News

Some challenges with EU’s simplified visa procedures

by | September 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new study shows that there are some challenges with the visa facilitation agreement Georgia has with the European Union. The agreement has led to a considerably simpler procedure for Georgians who want to travel to EU, as the number of documents

News

Ukraine extradites former official to Georgia

by | September 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukraine has extradited a former Georgian Interior Ministry official to Georgia. Oleg Melnikov was brought to Georgia Saturday morning. He was detained ten months ago in Ukraine after being subject to an Interpol search. Melnikov is charged with

Economy, News

Georgia’s economy is on the right track, says economy minister

by | September 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's economy is growing and will grow faster after the presidential election, the country's economy minister said before the opening of a business forum on Friday. Saakashvili's party, the National Movement, has frequently criticized the

Caucasus region, News

Russia asks Georgia to extradite suspect in diplomat’s murder

by | September 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian citizen from Chechnya who was recently detained for a shooting in Batumi is a suspect in the murder of a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia. The information comes from the de facto General Prosecutor of Abkhazia. According to Russian media, the

News, Security

US concerned about Russian border activity in contested region

by | September 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United States expresses concern about Russian soldiers installing wire fences at the South Ossetian border. A statement issued by the US Embassy to Georgia on Friday on instructions of the Department of State says the US is concerned with

News

Border reinforcement brought up at Georgia-Russia talks

by | September 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The recent border reinforcement work by Russian soldiers near South Ossetia was one of the topics at the fourth round of bilateral talks between Russia and Georgia in Prague Thursday. Georgia was represented by the Prime Minister’s Special

In brief, News

Suspect in Batumi shooting wanted for diplomat’s murder in Abkhazia

by | September 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian citizen who was detained for shooting a cop in Batumi is suspected of murdering a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia on September 9. According to Russian channel NTV, Yusuf Lakayev is suspected of murdering the Russian envoy to the breakaway

Environment, News

Gigantic hydro power dam given a green light in Georgia

by | September 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A public discussion on Thursday about the construction of a new hydro electric power station in Svaneti led to a physical scuffle between supporters and opponents. The reason for disagreement was Khudoni power station, a mega project that was

Media, News

Two talk show hosts dismissed from the Public Broadcaster

by | September 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has dismissed Channel 1 talk show hosts Eka Kvesitadze and Davit Paichadze. The two journalists claimed at a press conference on Wednesday that their dismissal, which they learned about the day before, was politically

NGO news

2 300 have been replaced in local government

by | September 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Staff changes and dismissals at municipalities that began after the 2012 parliamentary elections continuing in Georgia. About 2300 person have lost their seats during the last 9 months. According to a report by International Society for Fair

News

Georgia defines ‘immoral behavior’ in public

by | September 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs has defined the meaning of 'immoral behavior' in public places, a crime punishable with a fine of 200 lari (USD 120). 'Immoral behavior' is defined as actions which show disrespect to others, including sexual type

In brief, News

Bomb hoax update: two schools and a bank evacuated

by | September 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Wednesday there were two more false bomb reports in Georgia. The target of one of the hoax calls was the central office of Bank of Georgia. No bomb was discovered. An adult was apprehended and may be risking up to three years in jail. The other

News, Security

Russian soldiers cease border activity

by | September 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have halted the installation of wire feinces in the border village of Ditsi near South Ossetia. According to the Interior Ministry, the situation is now peaceful in Ditsi, while police are continuing to patrol and the village.

News, Security

Russian border work is continuing, Georgia protests

by | September 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers are continuing to install wire fences along the border with South Ossetia in the village Ditsi. The fence now run a few meters from the house of the Beruashvili family. But locals say the three houses, which it seemed might end up on

In brief, News

Olympic Committee lists Abkhazia and South Ossetia as countries

by | September 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The public broadcaster in Georgia on Tuesday reported that the Russian Olympic Committee has listed Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate countries to take part in the winter Olympics in Sochi in February. “This is very unpleasant precedent and we

News

Bomb hoaxes continue in Georgia, tougher punishment introduced

by | September 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The TV station Maestro was evacuated twice on Tuesday, as Georgia is increasing the sentence for making false terrorism reports from three years to five years in jail. The government explains that it is doing this after the many false bomb reports

News, Security

Georgia issues appeal about Russian border activity

by | September 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry appeals to the international community to take measures in order to prevent illegal actions by Russia in the conflict zone. The appeal comes in response to reports about new activity by Russian soldiers on the

News

Russian soldiers begin border work, locals resist

by | September 17, 2013

Russian soldiers have restarted work along the de facto border around South Ossetia in the village Ditsi. Locals say three houses are in danger of ending up on the other side, inside Russian-controlled territory. A few months ago

News

Russian suspect in Batumi shooting on Sochi ‘dangerous persons’ list

by | September 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A suspect detained for a street shooting in Batumi on a list of 88 persons considered a security threat to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The list presents persons who are allegedly involved in extreme activities and terrorism, and includes Yusuf

News

Abashidze-Karasin meeting to take place Sept 19 in Prague

by | September 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, will meet with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia, Gregory Karasin, in Prague on September 19. Abashidze said Monday that they will discuss issues like export of Georgian product to Russia, cultural issues, and transport. “We will discuss these issues on the level of ideas

Economy, News

Foreign trade turnover on same level as in ’12

by | September 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover was reduced by 0.1 percent in the first eight months of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012, according to new figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The preliminary foreign trade data

NGO news

Access to public information has improved in Georgia

by | September 17, 2013

  TBILISI, DFWatch--Access to public information has improved in Georgia after the October 1, 2012 parliamentary election, according to a new survey. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) named the most accountable and most closed public

News

More hoax bomb calls in Tbilisi, TV buildings evacuated

by | September 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The wave of bomb hoaxes continued in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Monday morning, with first a call about a bomb in the parliament building in Kutaisi and in the building of Imedi TV. Both of the threats turned out to be hoaxes, but both buildings

News

Georgia to simplify impeachment procedures

by | September 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is considering simplifying the procedures for impeaching some holders of high office. Apart from the president, the change will apply to the head of the Supreme Court, members of government, the general auditor of the State Audit Office and

News, Politics

Georgia’s lawmakers consider taking a break to campaign

by | September 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia is considering suspending work in October before the presidential election on October 27. Zviad Kvachantiradze, MP from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, on Saturday told journalists that the parliamentary majority agreed

News

TV studio in Georgia evacuated after bomb threat

by | September 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Sunday the TV studios of Rustavi 2 had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat. This is the fifth bomb threat in four days in Tbilisi. The live Sunday night show Post Scriptum was interrupted when the host, Davit Kikalishvili, said there was

In brief, News

OSCE’s Krivokapic visiting Georgia

by | September 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE, Ranko Krivokapic, is visiting Georgia for three days, starting Monday. Krivokapic, who is also the Speaker of Parliament in Montenegro, will hold meetings with government officials and members of

Economy, News

Direct foreign investments in Georgia grows 3% in Q2

by | September 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in the second quarter 2013 was USD 232 million, according to preliminary information. This is three percent more than in the first quarter and seven percent more than it was in the second quarter of 2012. According to

Elections '12-'13, News

Campaign event in Zugdidi goes ahead without violence

by | September 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--On September 11, the National Movement's presidential candidate David Bakradze rallied supporters in Zugdidi while representatives of Defend Georgia gathered for an anti-UNM demonstration. Unlike the events of July 20, there was no violence against

News

Shooting incident in Batumi, three wounded

by | September 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three men were wounded in a shooting in Batumi on Friday night. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the incident began as a Russian citizen started shooting at the police. Ministry spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani said on Saturday that the

In brief, News

Switzerland signs visa agreement with Georgia

by | September 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Switzerland has signed an agreement about simplifying procedures for the issuing of visas between the two countries. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze signed the agreement during a visit to her Swiss colleague Didier Burkhalter, according

Elections '12-'13, News

Should media be allowed to film inside election precincts?

by | September 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's inter-faction group to oversee the election asks the Central Election Commission (CEC) to lift restrictions on the media in election precincts. Former head of CEC Zurab Kharatishvili last year enforced restrictions on where journalists

News

Saakashvili grants citizenship to Georgian Turks

by | September 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili Friday granted Georgian citizenship to almost 1000 Turkish citizens. According to the president's administration, the reason for the decision is that all the persons concerned know Georgia and for practical purposes they

News, Security

Russia and South Ossetia to sign border agreement

by | September 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued an order to sign an agreement with the de facto government of South Ossetia about the ‘state border.’ The order instructs the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs to hold negotiations with the de facto

News

Merabishvili appears in court in Kutaisi, cracks jokes

by | September 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili on Thursday appeared in City Court in Kutaisi in an extensive criminal trial. Merabishvili is charged in several different cases, including the violent dispersal of protesters on May 26, 2011.

News

Three bomb hoaxes in Tbilisi, TV studios, airport evacuated

by | September 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thursday there were three more false bomb reports in Georgia's capital Tbilisi. Two TV buildings and Tbilisi international airport were evacuated, but no bombs were found. A number of flights were postponed because of the evacuation of the airport.

News

Saakashvili classified documents to cover up crimes: Ivanishvili

by | September 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili asks President Mikheil Saakashvili to release secret documents. One of the documents concerns the TV station Imedi. The PM says he is ‘shocked’ by all the material which is classified as top secret, as ‘crime

News

US looking forward to cooperating with Georgia’s new leaders

by | September 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia says the United States is looking forward to cooperating with the new prime minister and president of Georgia. Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party not allowed to air TV commercials

by | September 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Public Broadcaster has turned down the National Movement party's request to place free election commercial on its channels. According to a statement by the UNM, the party provided six commercials, one of which was about the ‘unfulfilled

NGO news

Municipalities are awarding bonuses without specific criteria

by | September 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to Transparency International Georgia (TI), municipalities in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region issued bonuses to civil servants worth more than half a million lari without speficying the reason. The organization's third report about public

In brief, News

Georgia’s CEC selects new chair

by | September 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission in Georgia Wednesday chose Tamar Zhvania as new chair. Zhvania previously worked on election issues at UNDP. She received the votes of all six of the commission members. President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday

Economy, News

Georgia had 28% more visitors in August compared to ’12

by | September 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia had 28.2 percent more visitors in August 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, according to the Interior Ministry. The ministry every month publishes data about visitors. There are three categories of visitors: tourists, transit travel

News

Third century ruins discovered in Tbilisi

by | September 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ruins of what may have been an ancient palace were discovered on Monday in the old part of Tbilisi. Archeologists Merab Dzneladze and Levan Latsabidze said the ruins may date back to the fourth or third century AD, going by the architectural style,

Economy, News

Third team of Russian quality experts to Georgia Sept 16

by | September 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A third team of Russian experts are coming to Georgia on September 16 to check the quality of wine and mineral water. The experts come from the consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor and will check approximately 30 Georgian wine

Europe, News

EU expert team to evaluate Georgia’s visa action plan

by | September 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Commission is sending a team of experts to Georgia in mid-October in order to evaluate the implementation of the action plan for visa liberalization, according to Georgia's Foreign Affairs Ministry. This was the outcome of

In brief, News

Zourabichvili loses appeal

by | September 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia Tuesday upheld a decision by the Central Election Commission (CEC) to not allow Salome Zourabichvili to register as a presidential candidate. Zourabichvili earlier lost an appeal in Tbilisi City Court. The CEC's decision,

Caucasus region, News

Georgia opens new customs facility on border with Russia

by | September 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The customs checkpoint at Kazbegi, on the border between Russia and Georgia, was opened on Tuesday after a year of construction work. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri told journalists that new checkpoint help boost Georgia’s export.

News

Tbilisi Air Show displays SU-25 and L-39

by | September 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Alexander Kartvelishvili Air Show was held in Tbilisi on Monday, with a display of Sukhoi SU-25 "Frogfoot" and the Aero L-39 Albatros. The first air show ever in the Georgian capital was held at the air field at the plane factory Tbilaviamsheni,

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili names three candidates for new CEC head

by | September 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, has presented three candidates for head of the Central Election Commission (CEC). Saakashvili's proposed candidates are Tamar Zhvania, Manuchar Gamkrelidze and Konstantine Amirajibi. The candidates were

News, Security

NATO and Georgia hold joint military exercise

by | September 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO on Saturday held a joint exercise with Georgia's coast guard in Batumi. According to the Interior Ministry, three mine sweepers arrived in Batumi on Friday. The aim of the exercise was to demonstrate and test the existing mechanisms

News

Saakashvili completes conquest of Mount Kazbegi

by | September 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili continued his walk on Mount Kazbegi with one of the leaders of the Russian opposition, Andrey Ilarionov. The Georgian president wrote about his trip on his official Facebook page. “Who said we would not climb up

News

Russian diplomat shot in Abkhazia

by | September 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The first secretary at the Russian embassy in Abkhazia, Dmitry Vishernev, was Monday morning shot and killed in Sukhumi, the capital of the breakaway region. According to Abkhazian and Russian media, Vishernev was shot in the morning

News

Georgia to sign Association Agreement with EU by spring

by | September 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says Georgia will sign an Association Agreement with the EU ‘by spring’, according

News

First five Georgian evacuees arrive home from Syria

by | September 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five of the Georgians who have been waiting to get out of Syria were brought home on Sunday. The five arrived from Istanbul the Tbilisi by plane and are among in all 18 Georgians who are expected to make it home soon. Seven more Georgians will arrive

Caucasus region, News

New oil refinery planned on Georgia’s Black Sea coast

by | September 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new oil refinery will be constructed on the Black Sea coast with Azerbaijani money, according to Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Mr Ivanishvili was speaking during a visit to Riga, where he attended Riga Conference 2013. Government

In brief, News

54 through first hurdle ahead of presidential election in Georgia

by | September 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--54 persons are through the first hurdle in the upcoming presidential election in Georgia as the deadline to register as a candidate expired on Friday. Among applicants are Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate, and Davit Bakradze,

Caucasus region, News

Georgia denies report that it agreed to open Abkhazia railway

by | September 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government denies information from Armenia's Secretary of National Security Council Artur Baghdasaryan that Georgia has agreed to open the railway through Abkhazia. Baghdasaryan said Georgia, Russia and Abkhazia had all

News

Teenager arrested for parliament bomb scare

by | September 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year old boy has been detained for being behind a bomb scare in the parliament building in Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city. The Interior Ministry said Saturday that the suspect yesterday at 20:40 called in to the 112 call center to report

Elections '12-'13, News

Zourabichvili lost appeal in city court, continues fight

by | September 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday upheld a decision by the Central Election Commission (CEC) to not allow former Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili to register as a candidate for the presidential election. Zourabichvili's appeal against the CEC's decision

News, Sport

France-Georgia ends 0-0 at Tbilisi stadium

by | September 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia played 0-0 against France in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match Friday. The teams met at Dinamo Stadium in Tbilisi. Goalkeeper Giorgi Loria successfully blocked what could have been a goal, and the game ended in a draw. “I am proud

In brief, News

Parliament evacuated after another bomb threat

by | September 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament building in Kutaisi was evacuated Friday due to a bomb threat. Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili appealed to lawmakers to leave the building, despite the fact that a bomb threat earlier this year turned out to

News

One more Stalin monument appears in Georgia

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new Stalin bust has appeared in the village Vanta in Kakheti. It stands on the fence of one of the houses, in front of a shop. Dali Kirvalidze, a resident in the house with the fence, says strangers installed the bust without their permission when the family

News

Saakashvili goes for a walk at 4500 meters’ height

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has gone for another mountain walk, this time to conquer Mount Kazbeg, one of the highest peaks in the Caucasus, reaching 5 047 meters above sea level. According to the president's administration, Saakashvili accepted

In brief, News

Georgia’s Ivanishvili visiting Latvia

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is visiting Latvia for two days, starting Friday. The visit begins with a meeting with Andris Bērziņš, President of Latvia, and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis. Ivanishvili will also meet with the speaker of

Environment, News

Storm leaves thick sediment, danger of landslides

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite heavy rains and wind in the west of Georgia the last two days, no serious damage was done to villages and towns. But there is still a danger of landslides. Strong wind and rain caused problems in several regions of Georgia for the last two

News

Georgia destroys 110 DVDs with illegal surveillance videos

by | September 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The interior minister in Georgia Thursday destroyed 110 DVDs containing highly sensitive footage illegally acquired by the domestic intelligence during President Saakashvili's government. The DVDs contained 144 files, totaling 181 hours, and were fed

News

Georgians in Syria will return home on Sunday

by | September 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian citizens who are currently in Syria will return home on September 8, Archil Dzuliashvili, Georgian Ambassador to Egypt, said Thursday. Georgia will cover transportation costs for 18 of its citizens in order to bring them home from Syria,

News, Politics

Still unknown who will be Georgia’s next prime minister

by | September 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the great public interest, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili refrains from naming his replacement as he steps down in the near future. Georgia's next head of government will benefit from a constitutional change which invests the prime minister with

News

Russia offers Georgia help in bringing civilians home from Syria

by | September 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia offers to assist in returning Georgian citizens to their home country from Syria. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili told media Wednesday that the offer was conveyed to Zurab Abashidze, the prime minister’s special representative for relations with

Economy, News

Ivanishvili offers UNM to give advice through mediators

by | September 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will only deal with Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement party through mediators and suggests that they present their views to experts who then will explain it to the government. Ivanishvili

News

Ivanishvili: Georgia might join Eurasian Union

by | September 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanisvhili doesn’t rule out that Georgia might join the Eurasian Union, which will span most of the former Soviet Union when it is realized. But Ivanishvili says Georgia will only become member if it is benificial for the

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia to meet in Prague in mid September

by | September 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia plan another round of direct talks in Prague in the middle of September. The Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations, Zurab Abashidze, told journalists on Tuesday that the details of the meeting are

Environment, News

Georgia on high alert as flooding expected Thursday evening

by | September 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm system is expected to hit western Georgia for the next two days, starting late on Wednesday. The weather forecast predicts a storm that will spread from the Baltic Sea to the shores of the Black Sea with cold and humid air masses, and

Elections '12-'13, News

Salome Zourabichvili not allowed to register as a candidate

by | September 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission refused to let former Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili register as a candidate for president in the upcoming election. The reason is that under Georgian legislation a citizen of a foreign country cannot

News

New Stalin statue in Telavi paint bombed

by | September 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new Stalin monument in the east of Georgia was paint bombed the same day as the opening ceremony. As Stalin monuments are resurrected around Georgia's towns and villages, protesters paint them with slogans against the dictator

News

Georgia’s dirty archive to be destroyed on September 5

by | September 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A date has been set for destroying the Soviet-style ‘dirty archive’ accumulated by the secret police during the Saakashvili regime: September 5 at 15:00. Some of the archive consists of videos from hidden cameras pointing into the bedroom of

News

Hospital director accused of harassment and discrimination

by | September 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Doctors at the largest children's hospital in Georgia accuse its new owner of sexual harassment, physical abuse and religious discrimination. Staff of several hospitals gathered outside the main entrance of Iashvili Hospital on Monday to protest against what

News, Politics

Ivanishvili explains reasons for leaving Georgian politics

by | September 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili seems to be sticking to his word and really plans to leave politics after two years in the game. On Monday, he issued another open letter explaining the reasons for his leaving. But again, he left the main

In brief, News

Georgia to brief its diplomatic corps about foreign policy

by | September 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Foreign Ministry is holding a conference for its diplomats. Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister, opened the conference in Tbililsi Monday. Prime Minister Ivanishvili and other government representatives will also attend the meeting,

News, Politics

Georgian government impatient with delayed ambassadors issue

by | September 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the government is growing impatient as President Saakashvili has delayed for nine months the confirmation of seven new ambassadors. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Saakashvili has not fulfilled his promise, but National Movement

News

New Stalin statue unveiled in Telavi, Georgia

by | September 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A monument of Stalin has been installed in Telavi, a town in Georgia's eastern Kakheti region. The new statue is the work of two organizations, Stalineli and Veteran Union, and the creation of the monument was financed by donations. It now stands at the

News

Croatian climber found 39 years after his death

by | September 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rescue crew for the Georgian Interior Ministry's emergency service have discovered a corpse of a Croatian climber who was lost in Caucasian mountains in 1974. A group of Croatian rock climbers went on an expedition to Ushba in the Svaneti region

News

Muslims in Batumi, Georgia apply to build one more mosque

by | September 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in Batumi have asked the central government for permission to build one more mosque in the Black Sea coastal city, as the one mosque they have is not big enough. On Friday, people gathered and conducted prayers at the a deserted plot marked

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