News

Tuvalu withdraws recognition of Georgian breakaway regions

by | March 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tuvalu has withdrawn its recognition of the Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A government delegation from Tuvalu is visiting Georgia these days to sign a protocol establishing diplomatic and consular relations between the two

News

UNM parliamentarian attacked in Tbilisi by masked men

by | March 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A close ally of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was attacked Sunday night in Tbilisi. Nugzar Tsiklauri, an outspoken member of parliament for the National Movement Party, recalls that at about 3 am Monday morning he was approached

Economy, News

Are interruptions in Georgia’s wine export economic warfare?

by | March 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are interruptions in the export of wine from Georgia to Belarus, although formally the export is not stopped. The sale of wine to Ukraine and Russia is continuing without any restrictions, according to Levan Davitashvili, head

Minorities, News

Discussion: Ethnic minorities and language skills

by | March 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of NGOs working with minority issues took part in a discussion organized by DFWatch.net about how ethnic minorities often lack skills in Georgia's only official language - Georgian. Agit Mirzoev, Executive Director of Analytical

News

Controversial preacher holds law lecture at Tbilisi City Court

by | March 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the most prominent and famous representatives of Georgian clergy, Teodore Gignadze, Saturday held a lecture at Tbilisi City Court. Gignadze is head of Cross Ascension Monastery and has become famous for his controversial

News

Saakashvili offers to give testimony, but only during trial

by | March 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former President Mikheil Saakashvili offers the current government his own rules of the game; rules which are against Georgian legislation. The rules in question are about how to question witnesses in criminal cases. This issue has been a source

Europe, News

Georgia’s EU treaty will be signed by the prime minister

by | March 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When Georgia finally signs the Association Agreement with the EU by the end of June, it will be the prime minister who does the signing, not the president. Exactly who will sign the agreement - president or prime minister - has been a subject of

Minorities, News

Georgian PM wants constitutional block against same-sex marriage

by | March 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister wants to define a family as a union between a man and a woman. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says he has asked the constitutional commission to look at his proposal. “Though according to the current legislation,

Minorities, News

EU criticizes Georgia for failing to protect human rights

by | March 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU criticizes Georgia for not having done enough in 2013 to protect freedom of speech and prevent violent outbreaks of islamophobia and homophobia. The new report is published by the European Commission and is part of the implementation of the

News, Security

Georgians debate Obama’s comment on NATO expansion

by | March 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that there has not been any immediate plans for expansion of NATO’s membership, referring to Ukraine and Georgia. His statement caused protest and criticism among some in Georgia. On Thursday,

News

Saakashvili refuses to be questioned via Skype

by | March 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has refused an offer from the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office to give witness testimony via Skype. Saakashvili was called to come and answer questions about ten criminal cases, with status as witness, but the

News

Pro- and anti-Russia demonstrators clash in Tbilisi

by | March 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people have been detained during a scuffle at a demonstration against the US sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. The non-governmental organization Earth is our Home held a rally on Pushkin Square in the center of Tbilisi to express support for eleven Russian

Minorities, News

Georgia to start funding religious minorities

by | March 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia will finance four traditional religious confessions besides the Orthodox Church. Non-traditional religions will not receive financing. Until now, the Orthodox Church has received financing from the state, the argument being

News

Saakashvili did not show up, supporters and opponents clash

by | March 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili was supposed to meet at the Prosecutor’s Office today at 13:00, but he didn’t come. Supporters and opponents had gathered at the office and clashed and two people were detained for hooliganism. “Today I am Misha

News

Zhvania family accuses Saakashvili of lying

by | March 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The family of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania accuses ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili of lying. Saakashvili said in a recent interview on Rustavi 2 that during the investigation of Zhvania’s death, his widow was only interested in money which

Minorities, News

LGBT group in Georgia cancels May 17 demonstration

by | March 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Identoba, an organization which protects the rights of sexual minorities in Georgia, has decided to not mark the international day against homophobia May 17. Last year, the organization announced it would organize a demonstration for the rights

Minorities, News

Armenians and Doukhobors in Gorelovka, Georgia

by | March 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gorelovka is a small village in Samtskhe-Javakheti, a region to the south of Georgia populated by ethnic Armenians, Russian Doukhobors and Georgians who have been resettled from Adigeni and Khulo because of landslides. The village is small and,

News, Politics

Georgia without ambassador to the UK for more than a year

by | March 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has been without an ambassador to the UK for more than a year. In recent days, a candidate who is being considered for the post became a subject of dispute among politicians. During the process of so-called co-habitation between ex-president

News

Saakashvili refuses to come home for questioning, blames Putin

by | March 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday made his first comments regarding the news that he is asked to testify in ten serious criminal cases in his home country. Many of his closest associates have been put on trial in the last two

News

Saakashvili wanted at home, party office sprayed with red paint

by | March 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Demonstrators in Georgia Tuesday demanded that former President Mikheil Saakashvili returns to his home country and answers questions from prosecutors. Two people were detained for throwing red paint at party symbols outside the National Movement

News

Strike in Kazreti called off after agreement with RMG Gold

by | March 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest in the Georgian village Kazreti, where people protested the treatments of workers in the gold mines, ended on Monday. RMG Gold, the company which owns the mines in Kazreti, reached agreement with the demonstrators, who protest against

Minorities, News

Georgian anti-gay activists warn of tougher line

by | March 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Anti-gay activists and clerics want to be more tough toward LGBT rights activists if the latter demonstrate for their rights on May 17, on the one-year anniversary of a violent attacks on them organized by Orthodox priests. Pressed with multiple

News

Supporters and opponents of NATO clash in Tbilisi

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people were detained in Tbilisi on Monday as supporters and opponents of NATO clashed outside the Cinema House. Tension was already high during the screening of a 30 minutes long film about NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia

Economy, News

17% increase in Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Feb confirmed

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover January-February, 2014, was USD 1 567 million. This is a 17 percent increase, compared to the same period last year. Precise figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat, show that export accounted

In brief, News

Two detainees in Zhvania case placed in pre-trial detention

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men detained for negligence in connection with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania were Sunday placed in pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Levan Chachua, who participated in the autopsy on Zhvania's body in 2005, and Mikheil

Europe, News

West warns Georgia against prosecuting Saakashvili

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Western partners are threatening that prosecuting former President Saakashvili may jeopardize an EU treaty and membership in NATO. Georgia has for years sought closer integration with the European Union and membership in NATO. In June,

News, Security

Georgian soldiers in NATO-Ukraine military exercise

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian soldiers are participating in a two-week joint NATO-Ukraine military exercise in eastern Bulgaria, 400 km from Crimea. The exercise, which started Friday. is called Saber Guardian and has been planned for about a year. It involves 700

Society

One dies in manganese plant in Chiatura, Georgia

by | March 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A mine worker died Thursday in a metal ore processing plant in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. Another worker was injured and brought to the hospital. The plant was being dismantled by workers in the Darkveti mine on orders of the mine's owner,

News

Saakashvili called in for questioning in numerous cases

by | March 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's former President Mikheil Saakashvili will be declared a wanted person if he doesn't come and answer questions in a long list of criminal cases. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said this today. "If he does not come, he will be declared

News, Security

SO field meeting highlights border problems and helicopter overflight

by | March 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parties in the 2008 war met again on Friday for a field meeting in a tent in Ergneti, a village on the border with South Ossetia. These field meetings are formally called Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) and hosted by the EU's

News

One more detained in case about Georgian PM’s death

by | March 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained a second person in connection with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005. The new detainee is Mikheil Dzadzamia, who was head of the shift of Zhvania’s security, and the charge is the same: negligence.

Opinion

Ukraine-Crimea-Georgia – the West and Russia

by | March 21, 2014

There is much in a name.  Ukraine means borderland. The position of the extreme West–like US neocons–is clear: get all into NATO, encircling, containing, defeating Russia.  Some in Ukraine and Georgia share that goal.  The less extreme West would focus on EU

Europe, News

EU speeds up signing of treaties with Georgia and Moldova

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Council accelerates the process of signing association agreements with two former Soviet republics, Georgia and Moldova. The move comes amid an escalating crisis in Ukraine, where there is a threat of unrest spreading in the eastern

Economy, News

Georgia creates service center to assist exporters

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ministry of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili is creating a new service center to protect the interests of exporters. Kvirikashvili said on Thursday said that the new body will start working from Friday. “Along with positive trends in Georgia’s foreign trade turnover,

Environment, News

UN helping Georgia improve disaster preparedness

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Nations will help Georgia strengthen its preparedness against natural disasters. “Georgia is often challenged by the risk of natural disasters, which seriously jeopardizes the country’s economy, as well as our citizens,” Environment

News

Pathologist detained in case about death of Georgian PM

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has ordered the detention of pathologist Levan Chachua in relation with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. Chachua was one of the experts who conducted an autopsy on Zhvania's body in 2005, and

News

Georgian PM horrified by Zhvania autopsy photos

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says it was horrible to see recently published photographs from 2005 of PM Zurab Zhvania's dead body. Gharibashvili said he thinks the case doesn’t need ‘additional speculation.’ He also said that

Minorities, News

Debate: Minorities and local government reform in Georgia

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On March 14 , DFWatch.net organized a discussion about ethnic minorities’ participation problems in pre-election process. The non-parliamentary opposition and representatives of NGOs working with minority rights participated

News

Saakashvili ideologue questioned about university privatization

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday questioned an influential Georgian economist in connection with an investigation into possible embezzlement when the Agricultural University was privatized. Kakha Bendukize, an influential businessman and free market

News

Autopsy photos of deceased Georgian PM posted on Youtube

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For several days a video titled “Saakashvili murderer” has gone viral in social media in Georgia. The video, which was first uploaded on Youtube, shows photos of the dead bodies of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and Raul Usupov, who died

News, Politics

What did Ivanishvili criticize the Georgian president for?

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili refrained from commenting on criticism from ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili beyond saying it is ‘painful’. In a TV interview, Ivanishvili said Margvelashvili revealed completely different features after the

NGO news

Georgians switching off phones one hour to protest wiretapping

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, campaigners are asking people to switch off their mobile phones for one hour on Friday to protest illegal wiretapping. The campaign ‘This Affects You Too - They Still Listen to Us’ envisages turning off mobile phones every Friday

In brief, News

NATO parliamentarians coming to Georgia next week

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is coming to Georgia March 24-26. The NATO parliamentarians will be attending a round table discussion at the NATO office here. Another part of the visit is a meeting with their Georgian counterparts

In brief, News

France’s Hollande visiting Georgia May 13

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--French President François Hollande will visit Georgia on May 13, the foreign minister of the host country said on Wednesday. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the schedule and other details of the visit are still being put together.

News, Politics

Ivanishvili dissatisfied with president he recommended

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is dissatisfied with the president that he selected as candidate. Ivanishvili selected Giorgi Margvelashvili as the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate before the presidential election in October

News

Ten persons convicted in torture ring case in Georgia

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ten persons have been convicted in the case about a secret weapons cache in Samegrelo, a region in eastern Georgia. In summer of last year, the government found weapons, video and audio recordings buried in barrels in the ground in Samegrelo. Apart

Environment, News

Dead fish found on shores of recreational lake near Tbilisi

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A large number of dead fish has been discovered on the shores of Kumisi Lake. Specialists at the National Food Agency claim the fish died due to a lack of water and oxygen. Kumisi Lake is a popular place for anglers and lies about 20 km south

News, Security

Georgian president visited soldiers in Afghanistan

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has paid a visit to Afghanistan and met with Georgian soldiers participating in the ISAF mission. Supporters of former President Saakashvili have criticized Margvelashvili for not being active, even though

News

Afghanistan and Georgia consider economic cooperation

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Afghanistan is interested in Georgia’s location and prospects for cooperation in the fields of economy and transport, but nothing specific has yet been said about concrete project. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osman on Monday talked

Media, News

NGO founded by former Georgian PM to offer media training

by | March 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A non-governmental organization founded by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is to offer training courses for journalists who work for Georgian media outlets. In a statement on Monday, the organization, called Citizen, explained the

In brief, News

Former head of Georgia’s special police charged with fraud

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has charged former Interior Ministry official Erekle Kodua with abuse of power and fraud. Erekle Kodua is former head of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operative Department (SOD). Investigators found that on August

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade up 17% Jan-Feb

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover was USD 1 567 million in January-February 2014, according to preliminary figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The figures show that foreign trade turnover in the first two months of the year

In brief, News

Tbilisi does not recognize Crimea referendum

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi does not recognize the referendum in Crimea, according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry Sunday evening. The statement says the referendum was conducted as a result of Russian pressure of armed forces and in violation

News

Clashes in Tbilisi for and against Crimea referendum

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters and opponents of the referendum in Crimea clashed in Tbilisi Sunday. A group called "Eurasian Choice" tried to hold a demonstration on Cholokashvili Street in front of the old Russian embassy building at 15:00, but were pushed away

News, Politics

Christian Democrats leader leaves amid coalition talks

by | March 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement, has left the party, after it began planning to form a coalition with Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement. Targamadze, a former TV journalist, said at a press

News

Georgia allows commercial gold mining in prehistoric cave

by | March 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--RMG Gold, a company which owns mines in the south of Georgia, was Friday given permission to start mining work in Sakdrisi. According to German and Georgian scientists, the site is an ancient mine with a rich history. Deputy Culture Minister Alexandre Margishvili

News

Georgian president holds first event at disputed residence

by | March 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili met with ambassadors at the president’s residence in Tbilisi, which has been nonoperational after Saakashvili left office in October, 2013. In a ceremony in the Avlabari residence, President Margvelashvili received

News

Georgian parliament to consider prosecution of one of their own

by | March 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has asked parliament for its consent to start a criminal prosecution against one  parliamentarian, Roland Akhalaia. Parliament will announce its decision on Monday. MP Roland Akhalaia is father of Data

Media, News

Georgian ‘propaganda’ TV in South Ossetia was run illegally

by | March 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A parliamentary commission in Georgia has exposed how one television station was operating for years without a license during Saakashvili. The channel, Alania, was found to have close links to the government while Saakashvili was in power and though

Minorities, News

Jehova’s Witnesses accused of stoking separatism in Georgia

by | March 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday, about 100 Orthodox Christians demonstrated in Georgia against Jehovah’s Witnesses constructing a congregation center in their town. The Witnesses began building a Kingdom Hall in the western town of Khobi about a week ago. Today, opponents were

In brief, News

Former counterintelligence chief convicted in absentia

by | March 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian counterintelligence chief who is currently wanted was today convicted in absentia for abuse of power. Data Akhalaia, whose whereabouts are unknown, was head of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD). He was on trial for

Opinion

Regarding the situation in Ukraine

by | March 14, 2014

A choice isn't a choice when it is made with a gun to your head. Yet on Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: to vote to become subjugated by Russia; or to vote for independence - with no guarantee that Russia will show any more

News

Two former counterintelligence officials arrested in Georgia

by | March 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Chief Prosecutor in Georgia has ordered the arrest of former officials at the Constitutional Security Department (CSD), after they were questioned about the cases against Bacho and Data Akhalaia. Former CSD head Levan Kardava and Giorgi

News

UN, OSCE and EU diplomats on field trip in South Ossetia

by | March 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of the United Nations, OSCE and European Union this week paid a two-day visit to South Ossetia and met with members of the breakaway region's delegation to the Geneva talks. The delegation consisted of co-chairs of the talks, which

Society

UNDP plans aid projects for USD 15 million in Abkhazia

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Nations is ready to finance projects in Abkhazia with USD 15 million this year. Resident Coordinator for the UN Development Program in Georgia, Niels Scott, told this to de facto President Aleksandre Ankvab, according to Apsnypress.

News, Security

Georgian defense minister visits Italy

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Italy and Georgia will strengthen their defense cooperation, according to a press release published by Georgia's Ministry of Defense. Irakli Alasania, the Georgian defense minister, on Thursday met his Italian colleague Roberta Pinotti during a visit

Economy, News

Foreign investments in Georgia virtually unchanged in 2013

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia received USD 914 million in direct foreign investments in in 2013. This is 0.3 percent more than in 2012, according to preliminary figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to the figures, direct foreign

News, Politics

National Movement designates candidate for Tbilisi mayor

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the out-of-power National Movement party has designated its candidate for Tbilisi mayor by direct appointment. Nika Melia, a relatively unknown former official in the capital, was directly appointed, as the party chose not to conducted a

News

Theater play canceled in Georgia, actor listed as Putin supporter

by | March 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A theater play featuring Russian actor Sergei Bezrukov has been canceled in Tbilisi, because of his support for Russia’s policy toward Crimea. The background is a petition signed by artists living and working in Russia who support President Putin’s

Economy, News

Georgian PM woos foreign investors

by | March 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia offers investors a favorable environment and a market of potentially 900 million people, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said during the Georgia-Israel Business Forum. Gharibashvili mentioned that a common system of allowances with 8 countries,

News, Security

NATO may accept Georgia as member if Russia annexes Crimea

by | March 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia may move one step closer to joining NATO as a result of the Ukraine crisis. If Russia annexes Crimea, NATO will offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP), Russian daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday. The paper based its report on sources

News

Tbilisi to get rid of its old Soviet style apartment blocks

by | March 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian capital plans to dismantle its so-called Khrushchovkas, a type of low-cost apartment blocks that were built in Tbilisi during the Soviet Union. The project will be carried out by an investment holding company based in

Minorities, News

Azerbaijani women in Marneuli

by | March 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--83 percent of residents in Marneuli, a city in southern Georgia, are Azerbaijanis. Nearby villages are inhabited by Azerbaijanis too. Lack of knowledge of the official language, deficit of jobs, almost nonexistent infrastructure - this is a short list of the problems that

NGO news

Campaign asks people to turn off mobile phones in protest

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several Georgian NGOs that are involved in the campaign 'This Affects You Too-They Still Listen to Us' call on citizens to turn off their mobile phones for two hours and protest against the government's illegal wiretapping. Nino Lomjaria, head

In brief, News

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed again

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The direct talks between Georgia and Russia have been postponed again. Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister's Special Representative for Russian Relations, and Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia should have met on March 4-5,

News

Georgia begins pilot project for e-government

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is starting a pilot project to introduce electronic government, or e-government. Representatives of the Justice Ministry on Monday presented an action plan for 2014-2018 named ‘digital Georgia’ which has 11 priority areas. The goal is

Economy, News

Georgia may revise taxation on some imported goods

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia may change the rules for VAT taxation and abolish advantages for importers of certain categories of goods. Parliament has started reviewing the draft, but the National Movement criticizes it and says they believe members of the ruling

News

Negotiations in Kazreti, the Georgian village on strike

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Negotiations have started in a Georgian village where the population has been on strike to protest the treatment of workers in the gold mines. A mediator appointed by the Ministry of Health held a first round of negotiations in Kazreti in the southern

News, Security

Obama to meet Georgian PM at Hague summit

by | March 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Barack Obama writes in a letter that he hopes to meet Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili at the third Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague 23-25 March. The US president's letter to Gharibashvili, published on Monday,

News, Politics

Georgian opposition parties call ruling coalition undemocratic

by | March 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Political parties not represented in parliament accuse the government of making one-sided decisions in relation to the Election Code. The opposition parties accuse the governing Georgian Dream coalition of anti-democratic actions when it last week

News, Security

Georgia to present 2014 reform plan to NATO

by | March 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Commission for NATO Integration on Monday approved the annual national program (ANP) for 2014, which will be presented to NATO. Alexi Petriashvili, Minister of Euro and Euro-Atlantic Integration, chaired

News, Sport

Riot interrupts football match in Georgia

by | March 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A match of Georgia’s National Football Championship in Kutaisi between old rivals, local FC Torpedo and Dinamo Tbilisi, was interrupted by the riot of Torpedo fans who flooded the field and attacked Dinamo players and their fans. The score was 2-0 in

News

Villagers, Government reached agreement

by | March 10, 2014

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Adjarian villagers who on Saturday protested construction of a hydro-power plant and were dispersed by the police achieved agreement with the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.  Negotiations started at 03:00 am in the morning

Environment, News

Police beat villagers for Norwegian hydro power in Georgia

by | March 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Saturday broke up a protest in a village where a Norwegian company wants to build a hydro power plant. About two hundred policemen were mobilized to break through a road block put up by villagers in Ghurta, in the south western Adjara

News, Politics

Budget gridlock finally solved in Tbilisi

by | March 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council decided to write the 2014 budget themselves, after refusing twice to pass drafts proposed by City Hall. The capital's executive government is staffed by people from Saakashvili's National Movement, but the city council is dominated

News

Four tourists dead in avalanche in Georgia

by | March 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four tourists have died in an avalanche in Ushguli, a village in the Upper Svaneti region, north in Georgia. According to the local government in Mestia, two German and two French tourists have died. One French tourist survived. His health is in no

Society

Hundreds from a Georgian mining village demonstrated in Tbilisi

by | March 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundreds people from the village Kazreti in southern Georgia demonstrated in front of the government office in Tbilisi on Friday. They demand that the government mediates between the workers and the company that owns the mines in their

Europe, News

Georgian parliament condemns Russia’s actions in Crimea

by | March 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Russia's deployment of military forces in Crimea, which it says is a threat to all of Europe. The resolution says Georgia became a victim of Russian military aggression in the war in 2008,

News

Georgian PM: ‘Suicide’ if Ukraine takes advice from Saakashvili

by | March 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili claims former President Mikheil Saakashvili is being used as an adviser by the new interim authorities in Ukraine. Appearing on a TV show Wednesday evening, he warned Ukrainian leaders not to trust the

News

Russian military helicopter and UAV fly over Georgia

by | March 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian military helicopter violated Georgian air space on Thursday. The helicopter, which was of the type Mi-8, flew over an area in the vicinity of the towns Gori and Kaspi, according to Georgia's Foreign Ministry. According to the ministry, the helicopter took

NGO news

2012’s democracy campaign revived in Georgia

by | March 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A campaign in Georgia which played an important role ahead of Saakashvili's unexpected election defeat in 2012 has been revived. The campaign This Affects You Too is being brought back to life in order to fight against illegal surveillance by

News

Georgia miners’ strike gathers more supporters

by | March 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The strike among mine workers in western Georgia is continuing. Workers in the coal mines in Chiatura demand better conditions and higher salaries, both of which they were promised over a year ago at the end of an extensive protest.

News

New charges against Bacho Akhalaia lawyer

by | March 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has brought in new charges against a lawyer representing former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia. Prosecutors have already charged Goga Oniani, a former police official, with harassing a man printing t-shirts

Economy, News

47 % price hike on vegetables in Georgia

by | March 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vegetable prices are on course to a 46.6 % projected annual increase in Georgia, new figures from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat, show. Georgia's monthly inflation rate was 0.2 percent in February, according to the new report. In February

Minorities, News

Georgian receives Women of Courage Award

by | March 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rusudan Gotsiridze, Bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, has been given the International Women of Courage Award 2014. The award ceremony was held in Washington DC. Gotsiridze received the award because of her merits in promoting

Society

37% of children in Georgia are below the poverty line

by | March 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--37 percent of children in Georgia live below the poverty line, according to a new report by UNICEF. Child poverty increased 2 percent in 2013, compared to 2011. Georgia has the second highest rate of inequality in Europe, the organization writes.

News

Georgia’s parliament to hold meetings in two cities

by | March 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili has started working at the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The speaker explained it was only the first step in a gradual moving process. "Parliament will be moved back to Tbilisi step by step," he said,

Europe, News

Presidents of Turkey and Georgia discussed Ukraine crisis

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The presidents of Georgia and Turkey have spoken on phone about the latest events in Ukraine. President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, and the Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, underlined the importance of supporting the territorial integrity

Europe, News

EUs Füle working ‘intensely’ on timetable for Georgia trade pact

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia says negotiations with the European Union about the schedule and procedures for signing the Association Agreement must be finished in March. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said this after meeting with Štefan Füle, European Commissioner

Opinion

Police complaints authority will increase public’s trust

by | March 4, 2014

In 2007, it was revealed that Georgian society was immensely dissatisfied with the performance of the police, and this negative perception has been growing incessantly. What are the reasons for the lack of trust in the police, and what does Georgia have to do

News

Georgians demonstrated against Russian fences in Atotsi

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundred people demonstrated Monday near the de facto border with South Ossetia, to highlight the recent resumption of installation of barbed wire by Russian soldiers. The demonstration was held in the village Atotsi, near the town Kareli.

News

Georgian ministers call Ukrainian interim counterparts

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Monday spoke by phone with Ukraine’s acting defense and foreign ministers. In the phone conversation, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze expressed deep concern about the events taking place

News

Suspect in 2006 Kodori Valley crisis detained in Tbilisi

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Emzar Kvitsiani, who was accused of organizing a mutiny in Kodori Valley and has been wanted since 2006, has been detained as he arrived at Tbilisi airport. Tbilisi City Court placed him in pretrial detention. Since 2006, police have been offering

In brief, News

French, German FMs postpone visits due to Ukraine crisis

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministers of France and Germany and an EU commissioner have postponed their visits to Georgia due to the latest developments in Ukraine. EU Commissioner Stefan Fule should have visited Georgia on Monday while Laurent Fabius and Frank

In brief, News

Tbilisi City Council March 7 makes last attempt to pass budget

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council will hold a special session on March 7 to once more put the city's 2014 budget bill to a vote. City Hall has sent a draft budget to the council for the fourth time, but the council failed to approve it. The capital has remained

News

Hundreds rallied outside Ukrainian embassy in Tbilisi

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of Ukraine on Sunday outside the Ukrainian embassy in Tbilisi. Some came carrying Ukrainian flags and some were dressed in yellow and blue. Their posters bore slogans like “Save Ukraine”, “Russia go

News

Georgia reacts to Russian Duma’s Ukraine resolution

by | March 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia's actions in Crimea are a brutal intervention in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state and calls on the international community to not allow a new conflict to escalate in Europe. The Georgian

News

Protest in Tbilisi for better protection of workers’ rights

by | March 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundred people gathered outside the government building in Tbilisi on Friday to demand better protection of workers' rights. Workers are on strike several places in Georgia. In Kazreti, the entire village is protesting against a mass

In brief, News

Stefan Fule to visit Georgia March 3-4

by | March 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commissioner Stefan Fule is planning a visit to Georgia next Monday and Tuesday. According to his press office, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy will meet with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister

Society

Why is a whole village in Georgia on strike?

by | March 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For about two weeks, the entire Kazreti village has been on strike. People have joined the strike among workers in the gold mines. Eight people are on hunger strike. The workers want increased salaries, improved working conditions and insurance, and

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