News, Politics

Tbilisi’s ex-mayor accused of embezzlement involving parking fees

by | June 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, was Monday charged with embezzlement involving the city’s parking company. In a statement the Finance Ministry’s investigative service says the company CT Park Ltd, which hires parking

News

Government cuts duration of administrative detention

by | June 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition in Georgia has proposed to reduce the maximum duration of administrative detention from 90 to 15 days. In 2012, it wanted to end the practice. Administrative detention is a form of harsh punishment left over from

Economy, News

Georgia improves on global retail index

by | June 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has improved its position on the Global Retail Development Index, a list of the most prospective countries for investing in retail trade. Georgia has climbed one place and is now number seven among 30 developing countries.

Elections, News

Repeat elections held in Georgia

by | June 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia conducted repeat elections at fourteen precincts on Sunday. The government coalition won in eight precincts, while the National Movement won at two precincts. Other parties’ candidates and independents won in the rest of the precincts.

Minorities, News

Jehova’s Witnesses still under pressure in Georgia

by | June 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Jehovah’s Witnesses in Georgia continue to be under pressure as another community denies the establishment of a prayer house. This time, it is locals in Terjola, a town in Imereti, western Georgia, who refuse to allow another community

News

Georgians celebrated becoming ‘part of a big family’

by | June 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On June 27, Georgia became part of a big family, President Margvelashvili said at a concert in Tbilisi to celebrate the event. The concert took place at Europe Square near the presidential palace and was to celebrate the signing

News

Lavrov’s threat of trade measures met with calm in Tbilisi

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A threat by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Russia may take protective measures against the EU’s new free trade area on its doorstep are not being taken seriously by an analyst DF Watch spoke to. By signing the association agreement

Europe, News

New treaty between EU and Georgia finally signed

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia on Friday signed the Association Agreement with the EU in Brussels. The 1,135 page document was signed by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, EU Council President Herman van Rompuy, EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, and heads of state of all EU’s 28 members.

News

Georgian former paramilitary detained in Azerbaijan

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former employee of the paramilitary organization Mkhedrioni who was wanted for four murders was Thursday detained in Azerbaijan, in a joint operation between Georgian and Azerbaijani prosecutors. The detained woman,

Europe, News

Georgia signs association agreement with the EU

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia today signs the association agreement with the EU at 09:00 in Brussels. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and the rest of the Georgian delegation arrived on Thursday. At Place du Luxembourg, Georgians have gathered together with

News, Youth

Georgia holds national exams

by | June 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--National exams started Thursday morning all over Georgia, on three different levels of education. About 36,000 school graduates will take exams from June 26 until July 16, while 4,500 students will try to pass an ability test which will improve

News

Workers protest bad drinking water at ferroalloy plant

by | June 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tens of workers at the ferro-alloy plant in Zestaponi went on strike on Wednesday to protest the quality of drinking water at the plant. As DF Watch previously reported, workers at the plant are dissatisfied with their working conditions.

News, Security

NATO will not offer Georgia a membership plan this year

by | June 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO will not offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at a summit in Wales in September, the alliance’s secretary general said on Wednesday. “The Summit in Wales will not be about a Membership Action Plan; but about more support

News

Tbilisi mayor withdraws court case

by | June 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor who was removed from office has called off his lawsuit to get back his job, calling the whole justice system ridiculous. Gigi Ugulava, who was elected mayor of Tbilisi in 2010, at a time when most of the international community

Environment, News

Rebellion against oil company in Georgian village

by | June 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals have rebelled against an oil company that wants to search for oil in an eastern Georgian town. People fear that they may lose their water supply. On Wednesday, they blocked the road for employees of Canargo Georgia and didn’t let

News

Georgia ends moratorium on foreigners buying agricultural land

by | June 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Foreigners will be again able to purchase agricultural lands in Georgia unhindered. This follows from a decision by Georgia’s Constitutional Commission which means that the Constitutional Court abolishes the moratorium on foreign citizens

Europe, News

Georgia plans concert to celebrate new EU treaty

by | June 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to hold a big outdoors concert in the capital to celebrate the signing of a treaty with the European Union on June 27. Georgian singers from Europe and from Georgia will perform at the concert, which will also feature

News

Georgia and Russia to hold trade talks

by | June 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia plan to hold a meeting of experts on trade and economic issues. The meeting will also deal with Georgia’s signing of a new treaty with the European Union about reforms and free trade. On the agenda is two treaties that Georgia

Caucasus region, News

South Ossetia parliament to discuss joining Russia

by | June 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto parliament in South Ossetia plans to start discussing the issue of joining Russia. It was the parliament’s speaker who said this on Monday, as quoted by Itar-Tass. “We do not renounce our slogans, there will be no two-pronged

News

Opera Australia cans Georgian opera singer for homophobic comment

by | June 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opera Australia has canceled a contract with the Georgian opera singer Tamar Iveri after she made comments that were taken as homophobic. The offending comment by Iveri, a world famous soprano, posted a comment on her

News, Politics

Campaign finance watchdog wants to fine the government

by | June 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The public watchdog overseeing the financial activity of political parties in Georgia claims that the government coalition has received an illegal donation of GEL 40,000 (USD 22,500). The Financial Monitoring Service of the Georgian

Economy, News

Russian experts in Georgia to inspect produce

by | June 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of four experts from Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, Rosselkhoznadzor, Monday arrived in Georgia to examine the quality of fruit and other products that are exported to the Russian market. The

News, Politics

Georgian president will not attend signing of EU treaty

by | June 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president, whose authority includes signing international treaties and who delegated the right to sign the Association Agreement with EU to the prime minister, won’t be in the Georgian delegation. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze

Minorities, Youth

Language exams prepare Azeri-Georgian youth for university

by | June 23, 2014
dsc_0091_copy_marneuli_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tural is a 19 years old high school graduate who plans to go on to university and study IT. The problem is, the teaching language at university is Georgian, which he doesn’t know well enough. Like many of his peers, Tiral chose to study

In brief, News

National Movement activist beaten in Batumi

by | June 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of the National Movement was Saturday attacked in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. Party activist Levan Tetemadze was beaten outside his house on Vazha-Pshavela street, according to Giorgi Kirtadze, head of the UNM in Adjara.

Opinion

The missing page in the Association Agreements

by | June 22, 2014

On June 27, Georgia and Moldova will sign in Brussels the Association Agreements with the European Union that were initialed last year in Vilnius (Ukraine's new authorities are expected to sign only the economic part of the Agreements on the same day). After a high level meeting that took place last month between president

Interviews

Russia might intervene in Ukraine if major violence

by | June 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Right now we have a civil war in Ukraine, says peace researcher Johan Galtung. He warns that Russia might intervene with a 'short sharp shock' if ethnic Russians are subject to widespread violence in eastern Ukraine. Russia is deploying troops

In brief, News

Rikoti tunnel reopened for traffic

by | June 21, 2014
landslide_rikoti_01_landslide_rikoti_2014-06-12_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rikoti tunnel was reopened for traffic on Friday. It is part of the road which connects the eastern and western parts of Georgia and had been blocked for several days due to a landslide. The landslide was the second one in ten days. According

News

National Movement implicated in election fraud video

by | June 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Interior on Friday charged 13 persons with having engaged in election fraud at two precincts in the south of Georgia in the local election on June 15. The precincts lie in the town Marneuli, 30 km south of Tbilisi. The ministry

Elections, News

Georgia repeat elections will be on June 29

by | June 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Repeat elections will be held June 29 at seven precincts because results there were canceled, Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. Among the precincts which will hold another first round in the local elections two are in Marneuli,

News

Russia invites Georgia to establish diplomatic relations

by | June 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia thinks Georgia should take the first steps toward restoring diplomatic relations, but Georgia answers that restoring diplomatic relations with Russia is not on the agenda right now. Gregory Karasin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister,

News

South Ossetia recognizes Lugansk breakaway republic

by | June 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto South Ossetian government on June 18 recognized the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic. The Lugansk republic, comprising a land area in the southeast of Ukraine, was established on April 27 after a referendum held on May 11.

Elections, News

Results canceled at two precincts after video shows fraud

by | June 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Election results at two Georgian precincts were canceled Tuesday, as a result of a controversial video published by the National Movement party, which lost the local election in that area. The video is made by the organization Free Zone, which

News

Georgia improves its position on Global Peace Index

by | June 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has improved its standing on the latest Global Peace Index by 28 places and is now 111 among 162 countries. The index, which was published Thursday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, gave Georgia 2.22 points. It says Georgia

News, Sport, Youth

Georgian wins European junior wrestling championship

by | June 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian wrestler Tarzan Maisuradze on Tuesday won the European junior wrestling championships in Katowice, Poland. Maisuradze won in Men's Junior Freestyle 74 kg, defeating Konstantin Gkontsis from Greece, Murat Erturk from Turkey,

News

Georgia’s PM claims more power from the president

by | June 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants to take away one more power from the president: the right to award two top awards. The awards in question are the Shota Rustaveli award and the National awards of Georgia. The government wants to give

News, Youth

Music festival KaZantip defends against splinter group

by | June 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republic of KaZantip, until now residing in Crimea, seems to be experiencing its own share of separatism, but it’s hard to figure out who is breaking away from whom. Perhaps it is more fitting to call the music festival uprooted

Opinion

Hate crime vs hooliganism

by | June 18, 2014

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the LGBT rally which turned violent in Tbilisi. The tense situation in the country in the run-up to the International Day Against Homophobia made activists resolve to a silent protest [1] this year. A few days

News

One man dies of electrocution at metal plant in Georgia

by | June 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died from electrocution on Tuesday at the steelworks part of a smelter plant in Rustavi, near Tbilisi. Nukri Kimadze, 29, was taken to the hospital, but he died soon after arrival. Workers at the plant of Rustavi, a town 20 km south

Environment, News

Another landslide blocks main east-west road in Georgia

by | June 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another landslide Tuesday blocked the main road that connects western and eastern Georgia. The first landslide damaged the road through Rikoti Pass on June 12, but the pass was cleaned and reopened after a few days. Tuesday morning

Background, News

Georgians waiting to see what the EU treaty will bring

by | June 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Technical preparations for Georgia and Moldova signing free trade treaties with the European Union ended Monday. As ten days are left until the signing, there is little debate among ordinary Georgians about what the treaty will really mean to

In brief, News

One more dead body found in Dariali

by | June 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another body was found in Dariali Valley on Monday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced. This is the fourth victim of a massive landslide on May 17. The ministry said the body has been sent to Tbilisi to carry out an

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade up 16% Jan-May ’14

by | June 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first five months of 2014 was USD 4,498 million. This is 16 percent more than in the same period last year, according to preliminary figures published on Monday by the Georgian National Statistics Office, Geostat.

Elections, News

Election update after 98% of votes have been counted

by | June 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition had a strong showing in the local election, though not as strong as in the previous two national elections. In the capital Tbilisi, the coalition’s candidate for mayor, Davit Narmania, received 46.12 percent,

Minorities, News

Patriarch meets U.S. Evangelicals regarding festival

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Patriarch Ilia II has met with Viktor Gamm, vice president of Billy Graham Evangelical Association which faced some hurdles when it organized Festival of Hope in Tbilisi. The patriarch expressed his sorrow about the way the organizers

News

Georgian politician who withdrew candidacy wins election by 52%

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian politician who withdrew his candidacy one day before Sunday’s local election seems to have won by an absolute majority. Merab Topchishvili and the Georgian Dream coalition each held press conferences last week to announce his

News

Abkhazia’s interim rulers plan to block Georgians from voting

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new de facto rulers of Abkhazia are preparing to prevent Georgians with dual citizenship from voting in the election planned for August 24. “25-26 thousand people are not eligible to vote in the

Elections, News

Celebratory mood after Georgia’s local election

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Both the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the National Movement celebrated the results of exit polls from Sunday’s local election. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili congratulated candidate for Tbilisi mayor Davit Narmania on his victory,

News

Preliminary results: Government coalition 55%, UNM 20%

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream gets 55.45 percent of the votes in all of Georgia, UNM  20.19 percent while Burjanadze’s coalition received 9.8 percent of the votes counted in 468 out of 3,637 precincts in the country. In Tbilisi, preliminary figures

Minorities, News

Mother claims daughter discriminated against by priest

by | June 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A mother claims a priest forced her daughter to leave a church a few days ago because of her ethnicity. The priest denied this. Inna Sukiasyan, who is of Armenian origins, last week wrote on her Facebook page and later told journalists that

NGO news

Observers say violations do not affect election outcome

by | June 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Independent observers in Georgia’s local election say the extent of violations seen so far is not enough to influence the final results. Two hours before voting ended in Georgia’s local election on Sunday, non-governmental organizations had filed 71

News

Exit poll: second round may be needed in Tbilisi

by | June 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--An exit poll conducted by Rustavi 2 indicates that a second round might be necessary in Tbilisi. If the exit poll is correct, the candidate for the ruling Georgian Dream coalition will get 46.3 percent of votes, UNM candidate gets 27 percent of

Elections, News

Footballer-minister Kaladze accused of election violation

by | June 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A government spokesperson in Georgia defended himself Sunday against criticism from an opposition politician for standing in front of a political banner during a press conference on election day. Energy Minister and Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze

Elections, News

What you need to know about Georgia’s local election

by | June 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday's election in Georgia marks a significant expansion of local democracy in the country. Voters are electing twelve new mayors, 59 gamgebelis, or heads of municipalities, and about 2,500 members of 71 local councils. 16,190 registered

Elections, News

Voting goes smoothly in Georgia’s local election

by | June 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch-Voting went smoothly Sunday in Georgia’s local election. 517,123 people had voted by noon, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). This is 16 percent of registered voters. ISFED said 98.7% of precincts were ready to receive voters

News, Politics

Two of Georgian president’s top people left

by | June 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president's foreign policy adviser Vano Machavariani left his job on Friday. The head of the president’s administration, Lasha Abashidze, also resigned. Both delivered a written resignation, but Machavariani told

Elections, News

561 foreign observers for Georgia’s local election

by | June 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be 32 international and 59 Georgian organizations observing the local election on Sunday, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). The CEC said the number of representatives of Georgian organizations

Elections, News

Government’s candidate in Marneuli confirms withdrawal

by | June 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A candidate for Georgia’s governing coalition in a town south of the capital has announced that he is withdrawing from tomorrow’s local election. The coalition earlier said he would withdraw. Merab Topchishvili was Georgian Dream’s candidate

News

16 Georgians captured by Iraqi insurgents

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A United Nations spokesperson said Friday that 16 Georgians had been captured by Islamist insurgents in Iraq. Georgian authorities would not confirm the report. It was first reported by Reuters that insurgents in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Environment, News

Court faults Georgia’s lifting of mine’s protected status

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday canceled a decision by the Culture Ministry to remove the protected area status of Sakdrisi, an ancient gold mine which archaeologists say has more than 5,400 years old traces of humans. The court’s decision means

Europe, News

Barroso: Georgia doesn’t have to choose between East and West

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso Thursday arrived in Georgia on the second leg of his visit to countries on Russia’s southwestern perimeter. Barroso said the Association Agreement Georgia is to sign on June 27 is not ‘exclusive’,

Elections, News

Government coalition withdraws its candidate in Marneuli

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream coalition on Thursday withdrew its candidate for gamgebeli in Marneuli in Sunday’s local election, explaining that it was necessary in order to avoid making it into a purely ethnic vote. The National Movement is running with an

Elections, News

National Movement under investigation for faking persecution

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party is under investigation for pretending to be victim of political persecution.  Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani has asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether the National Movement

News

Russian given 12 years for Batumi shooting

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Batumi City Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to 12 years in jail, who is suspected of murdering a Russian diplomat and his wife in Abkhazia last year. Yusuf Lakayev, an ethnic Chechen, was charged with illegally crossing the border, illegally

In brief, News

Barroso visits Georgia to underline EU’s support

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--José Manuel Barroso will visit Georgia Thursday and Friday. The two day stopover will be the EU Commission president’s first official visit to Georgia. Barroso is arriving from Moldova, and will leave for Azerbaijan on June 14. During

News

One more brutal murder case from 2008 reopened

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A few days before the local elections, the Interior Ministry in Georgia has gone public with details of yet one more crime conducted by Saakashvili’s government in which opponents were treated with a brutality reminiscent of Scorsese movies.

News

Family of murdered ranger demonstrate outside UNM office

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The family of a forest ranger who was killed in 2008 demonstrated in Zugdidi Wednesday. Ranger Davit Tsindeliani is still formally missing, but is believed to have been killed in August 2008, after the war between Russia and Georgia. His family

News

Saakashvili ridicules OSCE envoy

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has ridiculed the appointment of Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini as OSCE special representative to Ukraine. In an interview with Ukrainian TV channel TSN on Tuesday, Saakashvili said that

Elections, News

Audit Office wants to fine three political parties

by | June 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office wants to fine the political parties Alliance of Georgia’s Patriots, Conservative Party and Georgia’s Way. The body which monitors the financial activity of political parties claims that Alliance of Georgia’s Patriots didn’t declare donations

News

Workers rally outside clinic treating burnt miners

by | June 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Trade Union demonstrated outside a hospital in Tbilisi on Tuesday to show solidarity with workers who were burnt in a fire in a coal mine the day before. Two of the injured workers after the fire in a Tkibuli coal mine are still in a difficult

News

South Ossetia election raises specter of ‘Crimean scenario’

by | June 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliamentary election in South Ossetia Sunday was soundly won by a political bloc which wants the breakaway region to join the Russian Federation. The party Edinaya Ossetia, or United Ossetia, has union with Russia as a

Elections, News

Tbilisi court restores UNM’s candidate in Marneuli

by | June 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday restored a National Movement candidate’s right to run in the June 15 local election. Akmamed Imamkuliev was launched as the UNM’s candidate for gamgebeli in Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia. But June 5,

Economy, News

Foreign investments Georgia was USD 260 million in Q1

by | June 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investment in Georgia in the first quarter of 2014 was USD 260 million, according to preliminary data from National Statistics Office, Geostat. The preliminary data published on Tuesday show that the amount of investments in the

Opinion

Emergence of entrepreneurship in Georgia

by | June 10, 2014

Georgia’s economy is made of two components: the so-called formal sector and the “unobserved” part. In the observed part of Georgian economy, 96 percent of all registered firms are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs). However, there are many registered firms

News

Seven injured in Georgian coal mine fire

by | June 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Seven people were injured in a fire in a coal mine in Tkibuli on Monday. Two of them are seriously injured. According to Tamaz Dolaberidze, head of the Metallurgy and Mining Industry Worker’s Trade Unions, coal caught fire at about 18:00 on Monday

News

CEC upholds rejection of UNM candidate in Marneuli

by | June 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission (CEC) in Georgia has canceled the registration of a National Movement candidate for gamgebeli of Marneuli in the June 15 local elections. CEC explained that the candidate didn’t comply with the requirements of the

News

Saakashvili offers to help Georgian government

by | June 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former President Mikheil Saakashvili continues to offer his assistance. On Sunday, after instructing Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, to under no circumstance weaken the military operation against pro-Moscow separatists in the east,

News

Biden announces new USD 5 million aid package to Georgia

by | June 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United States allocates USD five million in assistance to Georgia, specifically people affected by the so-called borderization at the administrative boundary lines around the breakaway regions. US Vice President Joe Biden announced the assistance

News

Georgia to cut troop numbers in Afghanistan to 700

by | June 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is reducing its number of troops in Afghanistan from January 1, 2015, to 700, Mindia Janelidze, Chairman of the Council for State Security and Crisis Management (CSSCM), announced Sunday. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, who participated

Society

One man dies in accident at Zestaponi metal plant

by | June 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 50-year old man died last Tuesday night at the ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi as he was hit by a high voltage electric shock. Mamuka Nebieridze died on the spot in the June 3 accident. An investigation has been launched in order to determine whether

News

New investigation into brutal 2008 murder in Georgia

by | June 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Internal Affairs has opened an investigation into the 2008 disappearance and murder of Paata Kardava, an intelligence officer at the Ministry of Defense. The investigation centers on Roman Shamatava, former head of the Constitutional Security

Minorities, News

Orthodox activists protest evangelical event in Tbilisi

by | June 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Orthodox Christian activists protest against the international evangelistic Festival of Hope to be held in Georgia and call on people not to attend. Clerics and their supporters gathered at a church in Didube, the district of Tbilisi where

Environment, News

Dariali Valley evacuated after landslide alert

by | June 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Clean-up work in Dariali Valley in northern Georgia was resumed on Saturday, a day after  workers were evacuated due to a risk of a new landslide. Seismologists registered microquakes in Devdoraki glacier, which the government’s experts said was the direct

Elections, News

Mayor breaks into district election office, swears at official

by | June 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Suspended Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava Thursday broke into a district election commission office in Marneuli and swore at the local official in charge. It’s the latest in a series of incidents involving the party, as Georgia gets closed to the local

Environment, News

Calls to restore heritage status for Sakdrisi mine

by | June 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A rally was held Thursday to demand the restoration of protected area status for the old Sakdrisi mine in southern Georgia. The rally took place outside the National Cultural Heritage Protection Agency in Tbilisi and was organized by environmental

News, Security

Georgia doesn’t know what Obama’s military assistance means

by | June 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is unable to say specifically what Barack Obama’s initiative to boost the military capacity of non-NATO partner countries will mean and how the US will assist Georgia, but they welcome the initiative. Georgia’s defense

News, Security

Rasmussen stops short of promising Georgia MAP

by | June 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen promises that Georgia’s progress will be assessed at the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, but stops short of saying what the outcome might be. Many Georgians had reckoned that their country would

Minorities, News

30,000 conservatives demand anti-discrimination law changed

by | June 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--30 000 people in Georgia have signed a document demanding changes in a newly adopted anti-discrimination law. The Union of Genus Leaders has been gathering signatures since May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, and asked

In brief, News

Merkel to visit Georgia

by | June 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Georgia before spring 2015, by invitation of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. The PM on Monday met Merkel in Berlin and invited her to Georgia. She accepted the invitation and expressed her desire

News, Politics

Georgian PM expects ‘adequate assessment’ of his efforts

by | June 4, 2014

Tbilisi, Dfwatch - Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili hopes that a progress done by Georgia will be ‘adequately assessed’ on the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, but he also thinks it is not advisable to speak of this issue in advance, as it raises false expectations among his fellow counterparts.

Environment, News

Heavy rains hit Georgia, a man drowned near Borjomi

by | June 4, 2014

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A 25-year-old man has drowned in a river Sakirula, near resort town Borjomi, in southern Georgia on Tuesday after heavy rains caused floods across the area. Murman Lomsadze has virtually been washed away from his own yard and drowned

Economy, News

Georgia’s wine export is booming

by | June 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia increased its export of wine by 147 percent in the first five months of 2014, compared to last year. 22,779,153 bottles of wine was exported to 32 countries worldwide, which amounted to USD 73,795,849. Revenues from wine export in January

Environment, News

Court temporarily bans mining in Sakdrisi

by | June 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has suspended a decree by the Ministry of Culture that gave a green light to begin mining at the site of an alleged ancient gold mine in south east Georgia. RMG Gold, a gold mining company that was prohibited from carrying on work in Sakdrisi,

Opinion

Georgia’s economic growth and budgetary indicators

by | June 3, 2014

In comparison with 2013, current year began with better economic indicators. In particular, high growth rate was observed in January, February and March – with 7,4 percent quarter average. However, April saw a decrease to 2,7 percent. One of the factors that ensured

Environment, News

Temporary road to be opened in Dariali

by | June 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For over two weeks, the only road through the Caucasus mountain range has been closed due to a massive landslide May 17. Now, Georgian authorities say a new temporary road will be opened in few days, after intense work to dig a new path

News, Youth

Georgia to change its policy toward softer drugs

by | June 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people, mostly youth, gathered Monday outside the government office in Tbilisi to demand decriminalization of marijuana. The rally started at 18:00 in the evening. There were no speeches or appeals. People were dressed in green colors

In brief, News

Swiss President Burkhalter visiting Georgia

by | June 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Swiss President Didier Burkhalter arrived in Georgia Monday evening as part of a round trip in the South Caucasus. Lasha Abashidze, head of Georgia’s Presidential Administration, and Davit Zalkaliani, First Deputy Foreign Minister, met him

News, Security

Merkel: NATO not to offer Georgia MAP in September

by | June 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--German Chancellor Angela Merkel says NATO will not offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the upcoming summit in Wales in September. Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday met Merkel during a visit to Germany. At a joint

Minorities, News

Gardabani street fight was ethnic, local says

by | June 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A recent street fight last week in the eastern Georgian town Gardabani appears to have background in ethnic tensions. Some fear there may be more violence if the responsible are not held to account. Wednesday night’s streets clashes in Gardabani,

News

Abkhazian leader resigns

by | June 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia,  Alexander Ankvab, resigned on Sunday. Ankvab said he resigned in order to ‘maintain the stability of the country’, according to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass. “In accordance with

Politics, Youth

Parties in Georgia don’t pay enough attention to youth

by | June 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three youth politicians told DF Watch in a recent discussion that political parties in Georgia do not pay much attention to youth problems. On May 31, Tako Kakabadze from New Rightists Party’s youth wing, Ako Goguadze from the youth wing of the

News, Youth

Demonstration in Tbilisi for decriminalization of marijuana

by | June 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mostly young demonstrators marched through Tbilisi on Saturday, against what they see as a too tough drug policy. Their slogan, ‘Beka is not a criminal’, is in support of a man who may be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail for possession

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