News

Saakashvili pardons former officials on eve of presidency

by | October 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has pardoned 248 prisoners, 170 of whom had their sentence stricken from their criminal record. 56 had their sentence reduced to half, while 5 received a lighter sentence. Among those pardoned are former government

News

Bacho Akhalaia acquitted in abuse case

by | October 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court found Bacho Akhalaia not guilty of abusing seven special unit employees, a case which has been under review for two months. The former defense minister was on trial for mistreatment and torture for political reasons of seven special

News

Father of dead prisoner doubts veracity of surveillance video

by | October 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Father of Goga Dzvelaia, who allegedly committed suicide in Kutaisi’s prison no 2 a few weeks ago, claims that the prison ministry showed him footage of another person instead of his son. On Tuesday, the family watched 24 hours of a surveillance tape which

News

Interpol issues red alert for Georgia jihad video suspect

by | October 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol has issued a red alert in the search for Samar Chokutaev, the alleged perpetrator behind the so-called jihad videos against Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia sent documents to Interpol asking to launch

News

Georgians detained in Italy for murder of Rus mafia boss

by | October 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Rome have detained three Georgians who are suspected of murdering the Russian mafia boss Ded Hassan in January, 2013. 76 year-old Aslan Usoyan, also known as Ded Hassan, or Grandpa Hassan, was shot in the head by a sniper when he was

Elections '12-'13, News

Report highlights some irregularities in Georgia’s election

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Task Force (TF) gives Sunday's election a positive evaluation, but also highlights several violations. The task force consisted of seven observers from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland,

News

Inauguration to be financed by gov’t reserve fund

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The inauguration of the new president will be financed from the government’s reserve fund, Georgia's finance minister says. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said Wednesday that there is not enough money in the president's reserve fund to finance

News, Politics

Davitashvili leaves politics, but remains MP

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Davitashvili, a member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition and leader of the People’s Party, says he is leaving politics because of a lack of support. Davitashvili says he realized after the recent presidential election that he

News

Top Abkhazian security official dismissed

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Stanislav Lakoba, Secretary of the de facto Security Council of Abkhazia, who is in the de facto government for years and is known for having anti-Georgian views, has been fired. According to Russian and Abkhazian media, Alexander Ankvab, the de facto

News, Prisoner abuse

Bacho Akhalaia sentenced to three years, nine months

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia has sentenced a former government minister to three years and nine months in jail for his role in a prison riot in 2006. Bacho Akhalaia, former Prison, Defense and Interior Minister, was charged together with Davit Chakua, Revaz

News

Georgia to sue Russian telecom company MTC

by | October 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is preparing to sue the Russian communications network MTC. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday at a press conference that he met with Polish journalists on Sunday and received information that the area near the

In brief, News

United States congratulates Georgia on election

by | October 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United States has congratulated the Georgian people on holding a peaceful presidential election. A statement published on the State Department website says the presidential election on October 27 was an important step for Georgia’s democratic

News

Saakashvili sums up nearly ten years in power

by | October 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili has left for Brussels to meet with Chairman of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. Before leaving, Saakashvili held a last televised address from his palace. He thanked people for giving

News

Parliament in Georgia resumes work Thursday

by | October 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia will continue working from Thursday. At noon, a plenary session will start, and before that a session of bureau will be held to agree on the timetable. The first issue for parliament will be to approve a new government, as

News

NATO, EU and OSCE praise Georgia’s election

by | October 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In statements to the media, NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are celebrating Sunday's election as a historic step forward for democracy in Georgia. The Organization for Security and Cooperation

News

Margvelashvili has decided on new Security Council secretary

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Margvelashvili has picked the person who will be new secretary of Georgia's National Security Council. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, he avoided naming who the new secretary is, but said he has his own

News

Georgia’s new president rules out putting Saakashvili on trial

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is to be the fourth president of Georgia after the inauguration on November 17, promises that there won’t be political prosecution in the country. Monday he appeared next to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at a post-

News, Politics

Naming of new Georgian PM postponed until Saturday

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has again postponed the naming of his successor, saying it needs to be discussed in the Georgian Dream political council first. Ivanishvili said Monday at a press conference that he hopes the candidate for new prime

Elections '12-'13, News

New Georgian president will be sworn in Nov 17

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's new president will sworn in on November 17. The location of the inauguration and other details are unknown. After the swearing-in ceremony, the new president will be empowered to use his authority granted by the Constitution, and the

In brief, News

Margvelashvili won among Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili received most votes among Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. Margvelashvili won over Davit Bakradze, from the National Movement, at two election precincts for Georgian soldiers serving in the NATO-led

News

Margvelashvili celebrates as Bakradze concedes defeat

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Margvelashvili thanked all his supporters and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Sunday night, after exit polls showed he had won the Georgian presidential election in the first round. "Thanks to every citizen [...] to the members of [my campaign] staff,

News

Margvelashvili 62%, Bakradze 22%, as 95% of votes counted

by | October 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili has received 62 percent of the votes in the Georgian presidential election after 95% of the votes have been counted, Georgia’s Central Election Committee (CEC) announced. This is slightly less than two

In brief, News

Exit polls show Georgian Dream winning in first round

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition's candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili is predicted to win Georgia's presidential election in the first round. Two exit polls show Margvelashvili winning clearly. According to an exit poll by the German company GFK on the order of

In brief, News

Low voter turnout, but election’s legitimacy not in question

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite low turnout, the legitimacy of today's election is not in question, says Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC). By 15:00, 32 percent had voted. In 2012's parliamentary election, the turnout at 15:00 was 45 percent. A spokesperson for

News

Candidates cast their vote in Georgian presidential poll

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The main candidates in Georgia's presidential election Sunday cast their vote. Giorgi Margvelashvili from the Georgian Dream coalition arrived at the precinct with his daughter. He said he has voted for a step forward for Georgia. Margvelashvili

In brief, News

Voter turnout at noon highest in Racha and Guria

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--At noon, voter turnout in Georgia's presidential election was highest in the Racha region (29%) in the mid north part of the country and in Guria (24%) in the south west. Overall turnout at noon was 17 %, as just over 600 000 out of 3.5 million who are

News

Burjanadze thanks interior minister for not interfering

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nino Burjanadze, presidential candidate and leader of the Democratic Movement, on Saturday sent an open letter of thanks to the interior minister which was published by the media. A day before the election, she sent a 'thank you' letter

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia goes to the polls to elect its fourth president

by | October 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Today, Georgia is holding presidential election. This is the sixth presidential election in the country, but since Mikheil Saakashvili and Eduard Shevardnadze were elected twice, people will elect the fourth president of Georgia. There are 23 candidates

Elections '12-'13, News

1500 prisoners will be able to vote in Georgia’s election

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Media outlets registered with the Central Election Commission (CEC) will have the right to observe the election in prisons. 1 576 prisoners and detainees are entitled to vote. The Prison Ministry on Saturday expressed full readiness to conduct the

News

South Ossetia blocks Georgians from crossing in order to vote

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto South Ossetian government has imposed restrictions for Georgian citizens along the demarcation line. The Interior Ministry on Saturday issued a statement expressing concern about the de facto government's decision. The Ministry recalls

In brief, News

Over a thousand foreign observers for Georgia’s election

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--60 local and 65 international organizations will observe Sunday’s presidential election. The Central Election Commission published information about the observers on Saturday, after finishing the process of registration of organizations and media.

News

Guards protecting election posters in prison

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Special guards are protecting election posters of one of the presidential candidates in a prison, to prevent prisoners from tearing them down. Under Georgian law, every person who is detained but has not yet received a verdict, and those who have

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili promises Georgians a fair election

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Friday delivered his address to voters two days before the presidential elections, saying that in the last twenty years, this is the first time people have a chance to change their president through election. The

News

‘Goodbye, President!’

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A movement called Patriots held a small rally on Friday to say goodbye to President Mikheil Saakashvili and thank him for his nine years of service. A few tens of people came carrying posters and flags outside Saakashvili’s official residence in

Elections '12-'13, News

Break-in attempt at election precincts in Georgia

by | October 26, 2013

TBILIISI, DFWatch--Unknown people Friday night attempted to break into two election precincts in Nadzaladevi, a district in Tbilisi. Police detained them before they managed to break in. The precincts were not damaged. The reason for the break-in attempt is not yet

News

Former intelligence official detained for election fraud

by | October 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Georgia Friday detained the former chairman of the Constitutional Security Department (known as Kudi) of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, who is accused with organizing election fraud. Temur Pataridze is charged

NGO news

Open Society report highlights progress in Georgia’s reforms

by | October 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Open Society Foundations in Georgia and Armenia say in a new report that there is "some progress" in several areas of Georgia's efforts to fulfill its European aspirations and existing challenges during. The report, which was presented a few days ago,

News

Saakashvili grants citizenship to \more Georgians in Turkey

by | October 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili has granted Georgian citizenship to more than a thousand Turks. According to the State Service Development Agency, Saakashvili granted citizenship to Turks under special rules, which means that they will receive citizenship

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to name successor next week

by | October 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will name his successor on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the economy minister and one of the possible candidates, is now excluded from the list, going by what the PM said,

In brief, News

NATO envoy compliments Georgian defense minister

by | October 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai compliments Georgia's defense minister in a Facebook update after meeting him on Thursday. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania participated in NATO’s ISAF meeting on Thursday at NATO headquarters. After the meeting, he met

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade shifts toward export

by | October 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover fell by a negligible 0.1 percent in the first nine months of 2013, compared to last year, to USD 7 585 million. USD 2 019 out of this was export, which is 14 percent more than last year, while the import was USD 5

Interviews

Interview with the UK Ambassador to Georgia

by | October 24, 2013

DF Watch sat down for talk with the recently appointed Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Georgia, Alexandra Hall Hall. DF Watch: The political situation in Georgia is interesting now, especially since we have presidential elections coming. What are your expectations?

In brief, News

Poll shows Georgia’s election heading for a second round

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to a new survey conducted by the American company Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research, 43 percent would vote for the Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Marvelashvili, while 23 percent would vote for the National Movement party’s Davit

In brief, News

Georgian Dream gets 58% in new poll

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to a survey conducted by Research and Consult Center Psiqo Proeqti, 57.6 percent support the Georgian Dream coalition candidate for president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, while 11.8 percent support Davit Bakradze, the National Movement candidate.

Minorities, News

Uncertainty about plans for new mosque in Batumi

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the center of Batumi stands the large Ortajame Mosque. It was built in the 1860s, and Muslims gather here for Friday prayers. The problem is, there isn't enough room for everybody inside, so many people are having to conduct their prayers outside.

In brief, News

Council of Europe elections observers arrive in Georgia Friday

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will arrive in Georgia October 25 for a three day visit to observe the presidential election. Until Election Day, October 27, the 26 delegation members will meet with the

Society

Government to cut the price of hepatitis C treatment

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Health Ministry will start a new program to reduces the price of treatment for hepatitis C . Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said at a press conference Wednesday that treatment for hepatitis C will be free for prisoners and become cheaper for

Minorities, News

Respecting human rights in Georgia

by | October 24, 2013

I am writing this letter in response to the letter published in Kviris Palitra and Georgian Journal under the title “Respecting Georgian Traditions”. I am a Georgian citizen, an attorney, and the producer of the show "Georgian Legend," which introduced traditional Georgian singing and dance to millions of people around the world. As all who know me will attest, I love my adopted country. “Tradition,” as defined in the authoritative English Merriam-Webster dictionary, means “a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time.” By this definition Georgia has a tradition (“a way of behaving … for a long time”), during both Soviet and modern times, of torturing prisoners. Georgia had a tradition of kidnapping women for marriage. Traditions are not sacrosanct per se, merely because they are traditions. They deserve respect only if their intrinsic merits deserve respect. Some traditions disappear, hopefully like those mentioned above, good riddance! Some traditions evolve over time. Some traditions persevere because they deserve respect. Using “respecting our country’s traditions” as ...

Europe, News

Bildt and Sikorski encourage Georgia’s EU integration

by | October 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Wednesday met with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland. The meeting was closed to the media, but a joint press conference was held afterward. The PM said the guests were interested in the ongoing political

News

Labor Party leader threatens to rally supporters after election

by | October 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Labor Party leader and candidate for president Shalva Natelashvili says he will start protest rallies if he loses the upcoming election, but if he wins Georgia will ‘brighten.’ On Monday, Natelashvili presented his election program, and said that

News

Saakashvili moves out of unofficial residence

by | October 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday moved out of their house in the Didi Dighomi district of Tbilisi and moved into a house in the city center. Saakashvili and his wife Sandra Roelofs personally took part in the moving. The First Lady said most

News

New commission will study Lapankuri border shooting

by | October 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A newly appointed commission will next week start studying a special operation which claimed 14 lives on the Georgia-Russia border in August 2012. The incident took place in the last few months of Saakashvili's government. After the change of government

News

Depardieu on low key visit to Tbilisi

by | October 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--French actor Gérard Depardieu, who recently became a Russian citizen, was spotted at a restaurant in Tbilisi yesterday. Depardieu arrived Monday morning at Tbilisi airport, and it was first reported that he stayed in the transit area

In brief, News

A sixth depot of undistributed refugee supplies discovered

by | October 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Refugee Ministry says there has been discovered a sixth depot where equipment, home appliances and various supplies for refugees has been kept since 2008. The humanitarian goods were this time discovered in Bolnisi. The goods should have been

News

Ivanishvili to name candidate for Tbilisi mayor

by | October 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will name his preferred candidate for Tbilisi Mayor before he leaves his post. In an interview with Imedi TV, the PM explained that before leaving office, he may agree with the party council about who that

In brief, News

Number of charged and convicted fell 59% in Q3

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of people charged with or convicted of a crime has been reduced by 59.3 percent in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, according to the Prison Ministry. The number of people charged or placed in jail

NGO news

NGO report lists gov’t car purchases

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Government bodies in Georgia have purchased 2 146 cars from January 2011 to July 2013, a new a report by Georgian Young Lawyer's Association shows. Six out of ten of the most expensive cars were purchased by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA)

News

More than 150 prisoners recommended for pardon

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pardon commission has sent the president a list of more than 150 prisoners who they recommend be pardoned. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili told journalists after a commission session on Sunday that 120 of the prisoners will be released

In brief, News

Georgian soldiers cast their vote in Afghanistan

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian soldiers serving in the NATO-led ISAF mission have voted at two precincts in Afghanistan. Usually, elections are held in Afghanistan a few days before Election Day, which this year is October 27 for Georgia and for all the other voting

Environment, News

Storm on Georgia’s Black Sea coast causes damage

by | October 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm on the Black Sea coast damaged the boulevard in the Georgian resort city Batumi Sunday and caused 400 meters of a running path to collapse. According to Batumi Mayor Jemal Ananindze, it could cost several million lari to repair the damaged

News

In Georgia, rallies continue against Russian policy

by | October 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rallies against the 'creeping occupation' and the Sochi Winter Olympics continue in Georgia. Saturday, there were protests in 25 different cities and towns all over the country. Despite the rain, youth protested in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea

News

3.1 million voters registered ahead of Georgia’s election

by | October 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission (CEC) annonced Saturday that there are 3 537 719 registered voters ahead of the October 27 presidential election in Georgia. Ekaterine Azarashvili, press spokesperson for CEC, said at a press conference that the number

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian candidates confront each other in two TV debates

by | October 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Broadcaster October 17 and 18 hosted two TV debates between presidential candidates. Only qualified subjects participated in the debates, those who were presented by the political parties, which receive state funding. There are

Opinion

Why ‘no’ to the Eurasian Customs Union

by | October 19, 2013

“The Eurasian Customs Union in the framework of Eurasian Economic Development” – the name of this union mainly has an economic connotation to it. However, everyone agrees that its main goal is political. Spheres of competence of the union prove this argument:

In brief, News

Georgia’s foreign trade was stable Jan-Sept 2013

by | October 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in January to September fell by 0.1 percent, compared to the same period last year. The total amount of turnover in the first ten months this year was USD 7 585 million. USD 2 019 million out of this was export, which

Society

Gov’t in Georgia plans new retirement saving system

by | October 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to introduce a system for retirement savings that will include every citizen in the country. Giorgi Tabuashvili, Deputy Finance Minister, on Thursday met with the parliamentary opposition to discuss the 2014 budget,

News

New details in death of Georgian PM

by | October 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are new details in the investigation into the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005, which may change the official version of how he died. Brother of the deceased PM, Giorgi Zhvania, says that important new evidence has come

News, Politics

Opposition politician to sue Ivanishvili for USD 600 mill

by | October 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of Christian Democrats plans to sue against Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for defamation and will demand one billion lari (USD 600 million) in compensation. Ivanishvili Thursday met with newspapers editors to talk about the upcoming

Opinion

Tbilisi enganges Europe, Europe engages an Eastern neighbor

by | October 18, 2013

In the recent International Parliamentary Conference that took place under the aegis of the Parliament of Georgia and the United Nations Development programme in Tbilisi on October 7, 2013, the focus was on the Vilnius Summit. Suitably, the Georgian delegates,

News, Politics

Ivanishvili confident ahead of presidential election

by | October 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili appeared full of confidence while meeting newspaper editors Thursday, vowing that his coalition, Georgian Dream, is going to win the presidential election. Ivanishvili said he is sure that there won't be a need

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia’s CEC lifts partial photo ban at election precincts

by | October 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission has lifted restrictions on the use of photo and video cameras at election precincts. In a statement, CEC writes that it has revoked a resolution by the commission which prohibited the filming or photographing of voting

News, Politics

Security Council secretary to resign if Ivanishvili bloc wins presidency

by | October 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giga Bokeria, Secretary of the Security Council, says he will leave the post if Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili wins the presidential election. Margvelashvili on Wednesday told journalists that in case of a Georgian Dream victory

News

President Saakashvili signs constitutional amendments

by | October 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The constitutional amendments which reduce the power of the prime minister have come into force, after the president signed a bill which was passed by parliament on October 4. The amendment is published on the website of the legal gazette, matsne

News

Georgian gov’t plans 12 mill USD in development of border areas

by | October 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure says that investments in the amount of 20 million lari (USD 12 million) will be necessary to solve the problems locals are having who living in villages bordering with the Russian

News

Former Georgian defense minister detained for 40 days in France

by | October 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili, who was detained recently in France, has been placed in 40-day detention until his extradition request has been processed. According to French press, Kezerashvili was planning to travel to Albania from Nice

In brief, News

NATO envoy met Georgian Euro-integration minister

by | October 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Alexi Petriashvili, Minister for Euro and Euro-Atlantic integration, yesterday met with NATO envoy James Appathurai, who recounted the meeting on his official Facebook page. "He made a clear, realistic and convincing case for why, if/when the upcoming

NGO news

ISFED lists violations in Georgia’s election campaign

by | October 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The fifth interim report of International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), covering the period from September 8 to October 6, identified 5 cases of political intimidation, 3 cases of obstructing the election campaign and other

News

Georgian Dream tops list of party donations

by | October 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream party in September received more than half a million lari in donations (about USD 350 000). In October, the amount of donations was only 1500 lari (about USD 900). Meanwhile, the party of Nino Burjanadze, the Democratic Movement,

Opinion

Georgia and the Eurasian Union

by | October 16, 2013

A few weeks ago, speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili floated the idea of Georgia joining the Eurasian Union. Although he later backtracked on his statements, the cat was out of the bag. Predictably, the United National Movement slammed

In brief, News

Strasbourg to announce ruling in Georgia vs Russia next year

by | October 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg next year will announce its ruling in a case Georgia has lodged against Russia concerning the deportation of Georgian citizens from Russia seven years ago. This was conveyed in a message from the

News

Former Georgian defense minister detained in France

by | October 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister has been detained in France. According to the Interior Ministry, Davit Kezerashvili, who served in President Saakashvili’s government, was detained on Monday in France in a joint operation between Interpol's Paris

News

Prison minister meets family of dead prisoner

by | October 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prison Minister Sozar Subari Monday arrived in Senaki, in western Georgia, to visit a family whose son is said to have committed suicide in prison. It was the demand of the father of Goga Dzvelaia that he wouldn’t bury his son until Subari

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to name successor first week of November

by | October 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili promises to name his successor in the first week of November, after the presidential election. In an interview with Channel 1 on Monday, he said that people will know who the candidate for new prime minister is in

News

Ivanishvili says Georgia might boycott Olympics

by | October 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli says that ‘if it becomes necessary’, Georgia will refuse to take part in the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but that more time is needed to make a decision. The PM said this during an interview on Channel 1's

News

Saakashvili gives citizenship to 3000 Georgians in Turkey

by | October 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili says he will grant Georgian citizenship to 3 000 more Georgians living in Turkey. Saakashvili was visiting the town Sakaria and the village Nusetie on Monday to meet with ethnic Georgians. He recalled that a few weeks

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party leaves the inter-agency commission

by | October 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party has left the inter-agency commission, which controls election processes in the country, as a sign of protest. UNM members claim the commission chairman, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, said at a closed session meeting

News

No confirmation of claim Adeishvili is in Hungary

by | October 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is unknown in Georgia whether former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili is in Hungary and whether he was appointed as advisor to the Hungarian president. What is known is that Giorgi Sabanadze, the former chairman of Tbilisi Development Fund,

News

Several rallies in Georgia to protest against Russian occupation

by | October 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A number of protest rallies and events were held in Georgia last weekend to protest against Russian occupation and Georgia's participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics. On Saturday, there was a rally outside the government offices in Tbilisi, where

News

One man dies in mining accident

by | October 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 33-year-old has worker after a shaft ceiling collapsed following a micro blast in the coal mine in Tkibuli, a town in western Georgia. According to Valeri Kukhalashvili, Director General of Sakhnakhshiri GIG Ltd, which owns the coal mines

News

Police operation claims two lives, four wounded

by | October 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--One police special unit employee died during an operation to apprehend a man suspected of burglary. The suspect also died in the shooting. According to the Interior Ministry, employees of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti regional police department

News

Three detained at Bakradze campaign rally

by | October 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three former political prisoners were detained in Batumi on Saturday during a campaign rally for Davit Bakradze, the presidential candidate for the National Movement party. Jimsher Kurtskhalidze, Jemal Buadze and Merab Gorgadze were taken away from

News

Saakashvili urges gov’t to continue large scale projects

by | October 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili asks the new government, which took power a year ago, to continue large projects started under him. Saakashvili, speaking after an awards ceremony for a TV show on Friday, said a new prognosis by the

Economy, News

Georgian finance minister disputes IMF’s reduced growth prognosis

by | October 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government of Georgia disagrees with a prognosis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicating that Georgia’s economic growth will experience a further slowdown. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said Friday that the government has been

News

Ex-official wanted in Georgia given asylum in EU

by | October 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Italy has released the former chairman of Tbilisi Development Fund, which means he won’t be extradited to Georgia. Lawyers of Giorgi Sabanadze informed journalists that the reason he won’t be extradited is that he has received

In brief, News

Georgia preparing Interpol search for jihad video suspect

by | October 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interior Minister informs that very soon Interpol will issue a red alert for the search for the man suspected of uploading two videos to Youtube threatening jihad against Georgia. The ministry is preparing the necessary documentation to send

In brief, News

Tbilisi City Hall to buy apples from conflict zone

by | October 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall plans to purchase apples from villages close to the Russian-controlled territories. The plan is the initiative of the Mayor of Tbilisi, and the goal is to help people living in the conflict zone who otherwise would be left without an income

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia will not open election precinct in Russia

by | October 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will not be opened election precincts in the Russian Federation for Georgia’s presidential election on October 27. Davit Zalkaliani, First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, told journalists that there are a number of difficulties involved when

In brief, News

Georgian fruit and vegetables to be exported to Russia

by | October 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia will allow export of Georgian fruit and vegetables to its market. Shalva Pipia, Minister of Agriculture, said Thursday that a document has been signed by the parties which lifts all restrictions on Georgian export of nuts, grapes, apple, pea,

In brief, News

Farmers demand payment for wine grapes

by | October 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 100 farmers demand to be paid for grapes they delivered to the wine maker Shildi. Two days ago, the farmers rallied outside the plant demanding their payment immediately. They told journalists that many of them should be paid thousands

Economy, News

IMF expects growth to slow down in Georgia

by | October 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its prognosis for Georgia’s economic growth this year from 6 to 2.5 percent. In the beginning of 2013, IMF assumed Georgia would have 6 percent growth, but then reduced the prognosis to 4 percent

News

Georgia Security Council deputy resigns

by | October 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The deputy secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, a former ambassador of Georgia to the United States, has resigned. Batu Kutelia did not comment about his resignation, but Tamar Kintsurashvili, the second deputy secretary of the Security

Caucasus region, News

Russia’s South Ossetia fences now stretch 35 km

by | October 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The length of barbed wire and fences along the delineation line with the breakaway region South Ossetia is now 35 kilometers. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze says 65 Georgian families have been affected as result of the installation of barbed wire

News, Sport

Boycott Sochi petition has gathered over 8000 signatures

by | October 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A petition calling for Georgia to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics has gathered over 8000 signatures. The petition was started by local non-governmental organizations. ISFED and Transparency International Georgia do not exclude that there will

News, Security

Georgia to join NATO Response Force in 2015

by | October 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will join NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2015, NATO's Secretary General says. At a monthly press conference, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that from next month the alliance will conduct a major exercise in Poland and the Baltics states.

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian candidates on the campaign trail

by | October 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Less than three weeks left before the presidential election in Georgia, candidates are busy conducting their election campaign. Davit Bakradze, the candidate for the National Movement, on Wednesday met with people in the Racha region. He opened a new

News

Dead prisoner’s body examined, no trace of violence

by | October 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The family of Goga Dzvelaia, a 16-year old who died in a cell in Kutaisi prison a few days ago, has conducted an independent examination of the body. It was conducted by Maya Nikolaishvili, who did an external examination of the body and took photos.

News

Ivanishvili turns down request for Security Council session

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister has refused to participate in a session of the country's National Security Council. In a written statement the PM and the speaker of parliament write that they believe attending the session will be like ‘participation

Society

‘Smiling Georgia’ canceled, some elderly left toothless

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s new government says it will not continue a plan launched by President Saakashvili two years ago called ‘Smiling Georgia’, which involved fixing the teeth of elderly people. Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko said at a press conference

News

Saakashvili: Minister must be held to account for prisoner death

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 16-year old prisoner has died in Prison No 2 in Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city. Preliminary information indicates that it was a suicide, but the teenager's family calls it a murder. According to the Prison Ministry, the deceased was brought

Media, News

Georgia tops media freedom list in Eastern Partnership

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia tops a new survey of media freedom among those eastern European countries that are not members of EU but associated through the Eastern Partnership. The report is called Media Freedom Index in Eastern Partners Countries and was presented in Moldova

News

Audit Office claims found further violations by Burjanadze’s party

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office has again asked for documentation about the financial activity of presidential candidate Nino Burjanadze’s party. The Audit Office monitored the election campaign for two month between July 1 and September 9 and found

News

Petition calling on Georgia to boycott Sochi Olympics

by | October 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A petition launched today in Georgia demanding to boycott the Sochi Olympics has quickly gathered more than 1500 signatures. The petition, which originates in Tbilisi's NGO circles, appeals to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Sports Minister Levan Kipiani

Economy, News

Russia faults seven Georgian wine producers

by | October 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has refused to let seven Georgian wine producers export 28 types of wines to the Russian market 'due to non-compliance with hygienic standards.' The official website of the Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor published a list

In brief, News

Two tourists found after rescue operation

by | October 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rescue workers have recovered two tourists from Israel who were lost for two days in a mountainous part of Georgia. According to the Interior Ministry, the tourists were discovered in Mestia, Svaneti. They left from the village Janbeshi toward the village

Elections '12-'13, News

Burjanadze wants to punish ‘creators’ of 2008 war

by | October 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nino Burjanadze, presidential candidate for Democratic Movement, on Monday presented her election program. Burjanadze explained that the program contains all important areas for the country’s development, and foreign and domestic affairs.

News

Change of prosecutor in Akhalaia case, again

by | October 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--There has twice been a change of prosecutor in the case against former prison minister Bacho Akhalaia for the 2006 prison riot. Prosecutor Ia Darjania on Monday asked the judge to replace her, because she cannot make independent decisions

News

Georgia weighing for and against participation in Sochi Olympics

by | October 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--News that a military pilot declared a hero by Russia for his service in the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 will be torch bearer for the Sochi Winter Olympics has caused a strong reaction in Georgia. The announcement has increased

In brief, News

Poti port closed due to storm

by | October 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four a fourth day, the port in Poti on the Black Sea has been closed for ships due to a storm. According to local media, the unloading of ships has been in progress for the last few days, but fifteen ships which should have arrived have been turned

Society

Tbilisoba warmed crowds in bad weather

by | October 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite chilly weather, the Tbilisoba drew crowds in the old part of the capital last weekend. The Georgian capital's annual festival sported events like tasting traditional Georgian food, taking a ride on a horse and enjoying the sights of old

News

Russian 2008 war hero to be Olympic torch bearer

by | October 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the first Olympic torch bearers for the Sochi Olympics will be Ivan Nachaev, who Russia has granted status as hero for his participation in the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008. According to Russian media, Nachaev is a pilot, whose plane was

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili reelected UNM leader, presents new party banner

by | October 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement in Georgia Saturday voted to keep Mikheil Saakashvili as party leader, and to change the party symbol to set it off from the national flag. UNM's symbol, a five-cross flag, was made the national flag in January 2004 following

Elections '12-'13, News

Poll confirms Ivanishvili coalition’s lead

by | October 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new party poll ordered by the president's administration shows that 43 percent of Georgians support the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate for president, while 22 percent supports the National Movement candidate. The poll, which was conducted

News, Politics

Soon leaving, Ivanishvili looks ahead to the next twenty years

by | October 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Ivanishvili claims he has fulfilled all the plans he had for the first two to three years after going into politics, and now moves on to the next stage: plans for the next 20 years. Ivanishvili said this during a campaign stop Friday

In brief, News

15% more visitors to Georgia in September

by | October 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--15.1 percent more visitors came to Georgia in September 2013 compared to same period last year. According to Interior Ministry, 507 082 persons visited the country in September, while 4 075 600 visitors came to Georgia in the first nine months of the

News

State money siphoned off in construction of new parliament

by | October 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The investigative service of the Finance Ministry has charged the director of the company that built the new parliament in Kutaisi with appropriation of a state money. According to the Investigative Service information, March 17, 2010, Meno International

NGO news

Georgia considered free in terms of Internet

by | October 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a new survey of Internet freedom published by the US-based human rights organization Freedom House, Georgia receives 26 points and is listed in twelfth place among 60 countries measured with status as free. According to the survey, it is the

News

Georgia reduces power of National Security Council

by | October 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing coalition may reduce the powers of the National Security Council and the council secretary to bring legislation in line with the constitution. Constitutional amendments which were passed by the National Movement party when it was

News

Georgia got help from US in jihad video investigation

by | October 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minister of Interior Irakli Gharibashvili says Georgia received assistance from the US in the investigation about the so-called jihad videos, and the government is preparing to announce an international search for the suspect through Interpol.

News

Ivanishvili’s won’t visit the US as prime minister

by | October 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will not manage to visit the US before he leaves politics. He said during a meeting with journalists on Wednesday that the visit should have been held in November, but ‘probably it won’t take place.’

In brief, News

Saakashvili pardons 18 000 probationers

by | October 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili has pardoned about 18 000 people on probation or already finished serving their sentence. The president signed a decree which has been sent to the appropriate bodies in order to be enforced. Andro Barnovi, head of the

News

Saakashvili doubts veracity of government’s jihad video theory

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A spokesperson for President Saakashvili says his administration distrusts the theory presented by the government today about who was behind the jihad threat video, claiming the ministry is telling lies in an attempt to assure people that the case can

News

Ivanishvili debated journalists in live broadcast

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili held a televised round table discussion with Georgian journalists on Wednesday. The debate turned into a squabble as the PM demanded answers about things the journalists have written. After a similar TV debate

Europe, News

EU spokesman: Georgia will not join the Eurasian Union

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A spokesman for EU's delegation to Georgia says although Russia has increased its pressure on Eastern Partnership countries, there is no risk that Georgia will join the Eurasian Union, because the Georgian government’s stance is clear. In 2010, the

Elections '12-'13, News

Candidate numbers assigned in Georgian election

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission in Georgia has assigned which number each candidate in the October 27 presidential election will have on the ballot-paper. Three parties have retained the numbers they had in the previous election, a privilege afforded

In brief, News

Plan to bar Georgians from leaving country put on hold

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Lawmakers in Georgia have retracted a bill to make it possible for authorities to bar Georgians from leaving the country without specifying the reason. MPs Irine Imerlishvili and Zurab Abashidze said they were revoking the bill in order to improve it,

Caucasus region, News

NATO and EU concerned about Russian borderization

by | October 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton express concern about the recent actions by Russian soldiers who are expanding the de facto border around the breakaway region South Ossetia and installing

Caucasus region, News

Russia was asked about Georgian occupation at PACE

by | October 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia avoided questions about the occupation of Georgian territory during a debate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Georgia's delegation was not given an opportunity to ask questions. Speaker for the Russian

Caucasus region, News

Saakashvili warns against Russian moves to take lands in west

by | October 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili claims Russia is planning to put the Baku-Supsa pipeline, Ganmukhuri and other territories in the Samegerelo region behind barbed wire. Saakashvili said Tuesday that he believes the moving of barbed wires and fences

News, Security

One man is detained for ‘jihad videos’ against Georgia

by | October 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Tuesday provided details about a several month long investigation into two jihad videos posted on Youtube a few months ago with threats against Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. His comments were a response

In brief, News

Georgia’s economy grew 1.1 percent in August – estimate

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's estimated real GDP growth rate amounted to 1.1 percent in August 2013. For the first eight months of 2013, the same figure was 1.6 percent, according to Georgia’s National Statistics Department, GeoStat. GeoStat's monthly rapid estimates

Caucasus region, News

EUMM concerned about South Ossetia borderization

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia Tuesday expressed concern about the installation of barbed wire by Russian soldiers in the villages Dvani and Ditsi at the border line around the breakaway region South Ossetia. Toivo Klaar, the new head of EUMM,

News, Prisoner abuse

Groups to study Georgia’s prisoner abuse

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Local and international human rights organizations are to examine the footage of prisoner abuse, one year after it created a firestorm of criticism in Georgia. A handful of videos were leaked to the media by a former prison guard less than two weeks

In brief, News

53 election precincts abroad for Georgian election

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--53 election precincts will be open at locations abroad for Georgians there who want to vote in the presidential election on October 27. According to the Central Election Commission, the highest number of precincts will be in Greece

Economy, News

Preparations continue for Georgia-Turkey 154 kV transmission line

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new 154 kilovolt transmission line will be built between Georgia and Turkey. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze and Nikolay Nikolov, Vice Director of Energo-Pro Georgia signed the memorandum of understanding Monday. A memorandum was first signed in 2009,

In brief, News

Protesters set up wire block outside Ivanishvili’s house

by | October 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The organization Droa protested outside Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's business center Monday evening, installing barbed wires at the entrance. Police prohibited them from blocking the road with wires, so they placed them on the side walk.

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