In brief, News

280 prisoners pardoned by president’s commission

by | July 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia on Thursday pardoned 280 prisoners. According to the new head of the president’s pardon commission Zviad Koridze, eight of those pardoned are women and 10 minors. The commission has reviewed 2,744 cases.

News

Russia to suspend free trade agreement with Georgia

by | July 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia plans to suspend its free trade agreement with Georgia. According to Ria Novosti, the Russian Duma has prepared a draft bill about suspending the free trade agreement with Georgia. The note of the draft reads that the agreement signed between

Minorities, Youth

Waiting for new school building in Lambalo

by | July 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For seven years, children in the small predominantly Azeri village Lambalo in Georgia have had to attend school classes in old barns. In 2006, a group of experts announced that the old school in Lambalo had been sold and it was closed. The school

Opinion

If NATO delays path to Georgia’s membership, what is the alternative?

by | July 30, 2014

Alliance’s September summit must offer ‘concrete,’ not ‘token’ help as Georgia faces Russia In the same week that the European Union signed an association agreement with Georgia on June 27, NATO officials meeting in Brussels decided not to offer the country

In brief, News

Pro-Israel demonstration in Tbilisi

by | July 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Georgians demonstrated in front of the old parliament in Tbilisi on Tuesday in support of Israel. The rally was planned through Facebook and was joined by about 50 people. Representatives of the Jewish community in Georgia were present

Society

Georgian government wants tougher sentence for illegal abortion

by | July 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants tougher punishment for carrying out illegal abortions. Dimitry Khundadze, head of the health care committee in parliament from the government coalition, presented a draft bill on Tuesday which will amendments

Minorities, News

Georgian government promises to solve Batumi mosque issue

by | July 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has promised once more to find a solution so Muslims in Batumi can have a place to pray. The only mosque in the city is too small to fit all the Muslims coming to pray. For decades, Muslims have been asking for permission

News

Saakashvili: ‘I have never committed a crime’

by | July 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday responded to the criminal charges brought against him by writing that he has never committed a crime. “They have never proved that I’ve been guilty in any crime as I’ve never committed one

News

UN expert panel supports Georgia’s investigations

by | July 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Nations Human Rights Committee urges Georgia to continue its trials against former officials and welcomes the country's adoption of an anti-discrimination law last May. This is some of the content of a new report drawn up by the influential

Environment, News

Three died when river flooded village in Georgia

by | July 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people died when the town Vani in western Georgia was flooded on Sunday. Heavy rain made the river swell and swoop up several cars and carry them away. A total of five people were in the cars. Three were found Sunday night, one of whom

In brief, News

Georgia on imported electricity while power lines being repaired

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is now being supplied with electricity that is imported from neighboring countries, after three high-voltage power lines failed yesterday. Director of the electricity system, Sulkhan Zumburidze, said Monday that the import from two

News

Saakashvili formally charged for 2007 crackdown

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was Monday criminally charged for the hardhanded crackdown on anti-government protesters and the storming of a TV station in Tbilisi on November 7, 2007.

In brief, News

Two missing after flood in Vani, Georgia

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two women are missing after several villages were flooded Sunday in Vani, a town in the west of Georgia, after heavy rain. Zaza Khurtsidze, head of Vani municipality, told Interpressnews that two women are missing. Three others went missing but

In brief, News

Electricity back online in Georgia after massive outage

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Trains stopped and all but one national TV station went off air in Georgia Sunday evening as much of the country was in the dark for several hours. Late in the night, power was restored in Tbilisi and all other regions, according to the Energy

News, Youth

Traditionalists are against holding music festival KaZantip in Georgia

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of religious radicals protested in Tbilisi on Saturday against the music festival KaZantip, which is planned in the end of August in Anaklia, a sea resort in western Georgia. The same day, locals in Anaklia demonstrated in support of the

News

Massive power outage in Georgia

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A failure in a high-voltage power line has left large parts of Georgia without electricity Sunday evening. The capital Tbilisi is among the areas affected by the massive outage, which the Energy Ministry believes is caused by the failure of a 500 kV

News, Politics

New ministers confirmed by lighthearted Georgian parliament

by | July 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Though officially on summer break, the parliament in Georgia convened on Saturday to declare trust in the government after seven of the ministers were replaced. The vote ended with 89 out of 150 representatives declaring trust in the government. No-one

News, Security

NATO to strengthen cooperation along Russia’s southwest fringes

by | July 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of NATO Parliamentary Assembly says the alliance will strengthen its cooperation with countries along Russia’s southwest borders. Hugh Bayley, a member of the British parliament for the Labour party, says one of the main topics

News, Youth

Georgian Church wants music festival called off

by | July 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Orthodox Church is against holding the electronic music festival KaZantip in Georgia, claiming that it will ‘harm’ Georgians. The ten-day music festival used to be held in Crimea, but due to the Russian annexation it will this year be held in Anaklia, on the Black

Media, News

Georgian lawmaker wants to ban Russian TV channels

by | July 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawmaker from the National Movement wants to ban Russian news channels in Georgia. Giorgi Baramidze floated the idea in a Facebook post last Saturday, but has not yet decided whether to make a formal proposal. Baramidze later explained

In brief, News

90% of cars in Georgia are more than 10 years old

by | July 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 90 percent of the cars people drive in Georgia are from before 2004, according to a new report by the Interior Ministry. The report, which was published on Friday, deals with cars registered in Georgia, but also imported and re-exported

News, Sport

Georgian and Turkish football players clash in Tbilisi

by | July 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian and Turkish soccer players clashed in Tbilisi on Thursday, during a qualification match for UEFA Europe League. Georgia’s Chikhura defeated Turkey’s Bursa with a score 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out. The scuffle started when a Georgian

News

Rustavi 2 head acquitted in appeals court

by | July 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia on Thursday acquitted the head of Rustavi 2 TV in a corruption case. Rustavi 2 boss Nika Gvaramia was charged with accepting a bribe, money laundering, preparing fake financial documents, using them and helping in false

News, Security

NATO politicians on visit to Georgia

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of NATO politicians are arriving in Georgia on Thursday, to meet Georgian politicians and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The delegation is headed by the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, British Labour

News, Politics

Insults exchanged in parliament’s human rights committee

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two members of the Georgian parliament insulted each other on Thursday during a meeting of the human rights committee. The committee was discussing the Public Defender’s annual report for 2013 when Chiora Taktakishvili from the National Movement

In brief, News

Three detained in Georgia for tax fraud with Iranian tar sand

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service on Thursday detained three persons for organized financial crime that caused the state a loss of 345,774 lari (USD 197,551). In a statement, the investigative service says the three aimed at not paying

In brief, News

New Georgian government to be confirmed by parliament on Saturday

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Georgian government will be put to parliament for a vote of confidence on Saturday. Vice Speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze told journalists on Wednesday that parliament now waits for the president to present the new government, and then

News, Politics

New Georgian culture minister a government insider

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Wednesday presented economist Mikheil Giorgadze, a government insider, as new culture minister. The PM on Monday dismissed seven ministers, but immediately reappointed two of them in new ministerial positions.

News

Foreign prosecutors to help Georgia investigate former officials

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three law experts are coming to Georgia to assist with the prosecution of former officials. Many former government officials have been put on trial since the change of government in 2012. Western leaders have expressed concern that the cases

News, Youth

Georgian team won medals at young scientist competition

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A team of Georgian school pupils won one gold and two bronze medals at the 26th International Olympiad in Informatics, which was held in Taiwan July 13-20. The Georgian team consisted of four pupils and two of their leaders. This year, more than 80

News, Politics

Georgian PM names all but one of new ministers

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Tuesday named another four out of seven candidates to fill the empty ministers seats left in a major government reshuffle. The first two replacements - for refugee minister and environment minister

Society

Bus drivers in Georgia protest against rough work conditions

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bus drivers demonstrated in many Georgian towns on Tuesday, as a response to one of their colleagues who died on the job in Tbilisi following a fight with a passenger. At 14:00, drivers stopped their bus or minibus and let the vehicle’s horn cry

In brief, News

Georgian parliament speaker visiting Israel

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian speaker of parliament is Tuesday visiting Israel. Davit Usupashvili will meet with Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset, as well as with the head of the Israel-Georgia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Avraham Michaeli. Usupashvili

Minorities, News

Ombudsman asks for effective investigation of Armenian church attack

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian ombudsman addresses law enforcement bodies to properly and effectively investigate the attack on priests at an Armenian church on July 19. On Saturday, about 50 people attacked Surb Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi. The Armenian Diocese

News, Youth

Cramped student houses in Tbilisi

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--At the end of Kekelidze Street, in Vake, one of Tbilisi’s most prestigious districts, there is a lane with small houses with tiny rooms. Mostly students are living here, usually those who were born outside the capital. They had to come here

News, Youth

Georgian students: the generation of ‘three nos’

by | July 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--DF Watch on July 18 organized a discussion about the situation of students today. What problems are students facing? How can they be let to realize their skills and knowledge? In what way can the government or educational institutions help them,

News, Politics

Seven ministers replaced in Georgian government reshuffle

by | July 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday fired seven ministers: the ministers for agriculture, prisons, refugees, environment, infrastructure, culture and diaspora. Explaining his decision at a morning briefing, he said that for the last two

Environment, News, Youth

Green concert against maximum resource extraction

by | July 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--What connects the Khudoni hydro power project, a prehistoric gold mine, shrinking green areas in Tbilisi and human rights abuses in the mining industry? They are all problems caused by the government's economic policy, according to the youth group

Minorities, News

Priests attacked at Armenian church in Tbilisi

by | July 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 50 people physically attacked priests at an Armenian Church in Tbilisi on Saturday. The Armenian Orthodox Church says the attack was motivated by religious and ethnic prejudice, but Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs

News, Youth

Indian medical students in Tbilisi

by | July 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of Indians come to Georgia every year to study medicine at Tbilisi State Medical University (TSMU). The two Indian friends Nirmal and Samy have been studying at the university for three years and are quite happy about their choice.

News

Georgia ratifies association agreement with the EU

by | July 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Friday ratified a new agreement with the European Union which was signed three weeks ago. The vote took place at a special session with 123 out of 150 MPs voting for and none against.27 MPs didn’t attend the session.

In brief, News

16 year old boy dies in rockslide in Borjomi, Georgia

by | July 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 16-year-old boy died on late Thursday as a result of a rockslide in Borjomi, a tourist resort in the south of Georgia. Nika Korghanashvili, who was spending his holiday in Borjomi with some friends, was walking home from the sulphur baths

Opinion

How NATO can open a path to membership for Georgia

by | July 18, 2014

Amid Ukraine Crisis, US Should Push to Remove an Obstacle Mae West once said that “an ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises.” For Georgians, to whom NATO promised eventual membership in the alliance back in 2008, truer words have never been spoken.

Europe, News

Georgian parliament expected to ratify EU treaty Friday

by | July 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament will vote on whether to ratify the Association Agreement with the European Union on Friday. Several prominent European politicians are expected to attend the vote, including Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, Latvian

In brief, News

Tbilisi bus drivers on strike following death of colleague

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Drivers of bus line number 19 in Tbilisi on Thursday laid down work as a sign of protest, after one of their colleagues died on the job. A passenger got into a physical scuffle with a bus driver at noon on the number 19 line in the suburb Ponichala,

Minorities, News

Georgian opera singer plans charity concert for gay rights

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian opera singer plans a charity concert dedicated to gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities. Tamar Iveri’s announcement in Tbilisi on Thursday comes after she was denied to perform by Opera Australia and La Monnaie of Brussels

In brief, News

Georgia signs agreement with Orthodox Church about cultural heritage

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Culture Ministry and Georgian Church will Thursday sign a memorandum about protection of cultural heritage. The memorandum is about taking care of cultural heritage that is in the ownership of the Georgian Church. According to the

News

Georgian soldiers leaving base in Helmand

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian soldiers are leaving the U.S. military base Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as it is being closed down. According to the Ministry of Defense, the closure of the base is related to the transfer of security responsibility

Economy, News

GeoStat publishes foreign trade data for Jan-Jun ’14

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first half of 2014 was 16 percent more than last year, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to the new report published on Wednesday, the amount of foreign

In brief, News

Court adds to Bacho Akhalaia’s pre-trial detention

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday added further pretrial detention for former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia for the murder of Sergo Tetradze. Akhalaia's defense lawyers wanted the court to set a 30,000 lari bail, but the court decided on two months

News

Georgia considers reopening Ergneti market

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government plans to reopen the Ergneti market on the border with South Ossetia. In recent days, it has said reopening the market would not contradict a free trade agreement Georgia recently signed with the EU. Ergneti market was

In brief, News

14 year old girl dead in traffic accident in Rikoti

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A minibus crushed into a truck on Tuesday, resulting in the death of a 14-year-old girl and ten others being injured. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the accident happened at Rikoti Pass, which connects western and eastern Georgia.

News

Georgian president calls ex-ambassador’s death a murder

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former candidate for Rustavi mayor Erosi Kitsmarishvili was found dead in his car on Kipshidze Street in a prestigious district of Tbilisi. The car was at an underground parking in the building where he was residing. According to the Interior

News

Former ambassador found dead in Tbilisi

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politician and media investor Erosi Kitsmarishvili was found dead in Tbilisi Tuesday afternoon. The Ministry of Internal Affairs immediately launched an investigation into what appears to have been a suicide, and later the Prosecutor's

Minorities, News

Naturalized Chechen still being denied to leave Georgia

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chechen refugee continues to claim that he is being harassed by government bodies and that he is not allowed to cross the Georgian border. Non-governmental organizations and the Ombudsman appeal to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop violating his

News

Former presidential security staff questioned in ‘top secret’ case

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has questioned three of former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s security personnel as well as a former maid about a ‘top secret’ matter, refusing to give any details. Former protection service employees

In brief, News

Court rejects prosecutor’s motion in case of suspended mayor

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Monday rejected a motion by the Prosecutor’s Office to change the USD 30,000 bail set for former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava into pre-trial detention. The judge said that the arguments in the motion were not strong enough

News, Politics

New Tbilisi city assembly convenes after the election

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Tbilisi City Council on Monday held its first session after the local election to elect a new council head. Only nine members are being carried over from the previous assembly; four from the Georgian Dream coalition and five from

Economy, News

Flight route to connect Mestia with Tbilisi by air

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be regular flights between Mestia, in the northwest of Georgia, with Mtskheta, just north of Tbilisi. The route, which opens on July 18, will cut travel time to the tourist resort from seven hours by land to 45 minutes. Flights will depart from the airport

News

Georgian film wins prize at Karlovy Vary film festival

by | July 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian film Corn Island won the top prize at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic on Saturday. According to Agence France Press, the film won among eleven other films. Georgian director George Ovashvili

News, Youth

Tbilisi beer festival held at Roses Square

by | July 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi beer festival was held July 12-13 for the fifth year. It brought together thousands of people to drink beer, play games, listen to live performances and watch the World Cup final on a big screen. As usual, people could buy tokens as they entered

Elections, News

Clean sweep for government in Georgia’s local election

by | July 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition won the second round of the local election in every city and municipality, according to preliminary results from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC). Davit Narmania, Georgian Dream candidate for Tbilisi mayor,

News

Eduard Shevardnadze buried in Tbilisi Sunday

by | July 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eduard Shevardnadze was buried on Sunday with military honors at his residence in Krtsanisi, Tbilisi. The former Soviet foreign minister and president of Georgia was honored by the speakers of parliament of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Austrian

News, Youth

Bicycle marathon in Tbilisi to promote a healthy lifestyle

by | July 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bicycle marathon Sunday brought together youth from many countries in Tbilisi. “Live with sport” was the slogan of the marathon, which started from the Sports Ministry at 11:00 in the morning and ended at Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi.

Elections, News

Landslide victory for the government coalition in Tbilisi local election

by | July 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor will get 72.7 percent of votes, according to  preliminary results from the Central Election Commission (CEC) in Georgia. Presenting the results Sunday night, CEC head Tamar Zhvania

In brief, News

Lower voter turnout in Georgia run-off elections

by | July 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The second round of Georgia’s local elections are proceeding without any major violations. Voter turnout at 17:00 was 28%  - significantly less than in the first round, when the turnout was 35% at 17:00, according to the Central Election Commission

News

Georgia seizes record 2.8 tons of heroin hidden in trailer

by | July 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Friday seized 2.8 tons of liquid heroin hidden in a trailer truck destined for Turkey, in a joint operation between the Interior Ministry and Finance Ministry. The amount of the seized heroin is unprecedented and surpasses a 2.1 ton find last

Elections, News

Georgia holds second round of local elections

by | July 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Today, Georgia holds the second round of the local election in eight cities and 13 municipalities. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), there are 1,715,514 voters for the second round, who will vote in 28 electoral districts comprising

News

Shevardnadze’s body moved to Sameba Cathedral

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze was moved to Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi on Friday. A prayer was conducted at 13:00. The public funeral will be on Friday and Saturday at Sameba. Sunday, July 13, there will be a funeral

In brief, News

EU ambassador: Georgian business will not be served breakfast in bed

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Ambassador to Georgia Philip Dimitrov says business in Georgia will have to do a lot and is not going to be served breakfast in bed after the signing of the association agreement. Speaking at a conference in Batumi, Dimitrov told

News, Youth

Women used as percussion instruments on TV show

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A TV show on Thursday has stirred controversy for showing a man performing music by slapping his hands on the bottoms of two women. Human rights activists as well as the ombudsman say

News

Prosecutor says suspended mayor broke bail conditions

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has asked a court to further toughen the pre-trial conditions of former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Ugulava is already in detention for one charge, but in another case he was given 50,000 lari (USD 30,000) bail.

News

Russia allows Georgian export of new products

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will begin exporting melons and watermelons and some other products to Russia. The agricultural products will add to goods like alcohol, mineral water and other products, which are already being exported to Russia. The Agriculture

Minorities, News

British citizen tells of racial discrimination in Tbilisi

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A British citizen says he has been subjected to racial discrimination in Tbilisi. Dancer Aaron Shikamaru Charles has lived in Georgia for two years. His wife, Nutsa Eristavi, is Georgian and the artist couple carry out joint projects here. Aaron says

News, Security

NATO envoy to Georgia: Courts must act independently

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai says the justice system shouldn't be politically motivated and trials must be conducted independently, without political interference. Appathurai, who is on a visit to Georgia, on Wednesday met with Defense

In brief, News

Businesses offer discount for Georgians who vote

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several large companies in Georgia are offering discounts for customers who go and vote in the second round of local elections on Saturday. A commercial appeared on television Thursday, placed by 'businesses united for a common goal'. It calls

News

No significant changes expected in Russia-Georgia trade relations

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin says it is not necessary to begin threatening sanctions yet, but that Georgia and Russia should sit down and carefully calculate what changes Georgia’s new free trade treaty with the EU might lead to in trade relations between Russia and Georgia.

News

Bishop’s warning against Saakashvili’s party causes controversy

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Is the National Movement a legitimate political party or an antidemocratic movement which leading figures in society have a duty to stand up against? That is the essence of a controversy sparked by a bishop in the Georgian Orthodox Church.

News, Youth

Candidates for Tbilisi mayor face off in TV debate

by | July 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The candidates for Tbilisi mayor are facing off in a televised debate now at 8 PM local time. Davit Narmania from the government coalition has as his main election promise to build a youth center in Tbilisi, while his competitor Nikanor Melia

Economy, News

Georgia unveils new symbol for its currency, the lari

by | July 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Bank has unveiled a new symbol for its currency, the lari. The sign is a modified old Georgian letter ‘L’ with two bars, slightly resembling the euro sign. The winner of the National Bank’s competition is a cross between the Georgian letter

In brief, News

Lithuania ratifies Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova agreements with EU

by | July 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday ratified the association agreements between Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova with the EU. The vote was almost unanimous, according to the webpage of the national assembly, called Seimas. Lithuania is often

News

Court rejects appeal from ex-mayor

by | July 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeal’s Court in Georgia rejected an appeal from former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and he must therefore remain in detention. Ugulava is charged with embezzlement of more than one million lari from parking fees. His lawyers say they 

In brief, News

Georgia appoints new ambassador to the UK

by | July 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday appointed professor Revaz Gachechiladze as new ambassador to the UK, Northern Ireland and the International Maritime Organization. The appointment marks the end of more than a year without a UK ambassador.

News

Many reactions to Shevardnadze’s passing away

by | July 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--As former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze died on Monday, aged 86, the same day several people organized a demonstration outside his residence in Krtsanisi, Tbilisi, where he lived in his final years. A group of several people

In brief, News

Drop in summer visitors to Georgia

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of visitors to Georgia in June dropped eight percent compared to the same period last year, according to new figures published on Monday by the Interior Ministry. Around 450,000 people visited Georgia in June. The summer drop breaks

In brief, News

NATO envoy to Tbilisi to discuss ‘substantive package’

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai will visit Georgia on Wednesday to discuss the ‘substantive package’ which the alliance is to offer the former Soviet state at the upcoming summit in Wales in September, the minister in charge of European integration said Monday.

News

Eduard Shevardnadze dies at age 86

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze died on Monday at about 12:00 PM, at age 86. Shevardnadze was minister of internal affairs of the Georgian Socialist Soviet Republic from 1967, making his mark fighting corruption, and in 1972

Economy, News

Georgia hopes to keep its free trade with Russia

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Sunday that his country will try to have free trade with both Russia and the European Union. An expert meeting between Georgian and Russian bureaucrats is planned for Monday in Prague

News

Former mayor moved to Matrosov Prison

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was Sunday moved to the so-called Matrosov Prison, where former government officials are usually held. Gigi Ugulava was first brought to the scandalous prison number eight in Gldani, Tbilisi. This is where most

In brief, News

Seven fined after Friday’s scuffle about ex-mayor’s detention

by | July 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Seven people were Saturday fined 100 lari (USD 60) each for hooliganism after being detained the day before in a violent disturbance outside Tbilisi City Court. The violence happened after the court had decided to place former Mayor

In brief, News

Former defense minister must remain in detention, court rules

by | July 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court Saturday placed former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia in pretrial detention on new charges concerning the murder of Sergo Tetradze. Akhalaia’s lawyers wanted the court to set 30,000 lari bail, but the court decided to place

News

Four detained in outburst of violence outside Tbilisi court

by | July 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of the National Movement were Friday night involved in a violent disturbance outside Tbilisi City Court, after it decided to place former Mayor Gigi Ugulava in pre-trial detention. Several of its representatives were detained by police 

News

Former mayor placed in pre-trial detention

by | July 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court Friday night placed former mayor Gigi Ugulava in pretrial detention. He faces charges of money laundering and election fraud. Ugulava was detained at Tbilisi airport Thursday morning as he was about to take a plane to Ukraine.

Europe, News

Romania ratified EU agreements with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

by | July 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the first EU member state, Romania on Thursday ratified Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova’s association agreements with the Union. Leaders of the three countries in Europe’s southeast signed the agreements at a ceremony in Brussels on June

Elections, News

Mayor candidates promising Tbilisians better times

by | July 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One week before the run-off election for Tbilisi mayor, candidates are showering the electorate with promises, though the major issue in the campaign, whether to have direct debates between candidates, is still undecided. The government

News

President’s pardon commission gets new head

by | July 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Friday appointed a journalist to take over as head of the pardon commission under his purview. The journalist Zviad Koridze will become new head of the commission, filling the empty seat left by Alexandre

Elections, News

Second round of Georgia’s local election slated for July 12

by | July 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The second round of Georgia’s local election will be held on next Saturday, July 12, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). CEC made its decision after a session which ended late Thursday night. The first round of the local

News

Russia violated human rights when expelling Georgians, court rules

by | July 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia violated the European human rights convention when it expelled thousands of Georgians following a spy row in 2006. The ruling will be seen as a moral victory for Georgia, which sued Russia

News

Former mayor detained at Tbilisi airport

by | July 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Mayor Gigi Ugulava was detained Thursday morning at Tbilisi airport as he was about to leave for Ukraine. He is accused of money laundering. The Finance Ministry’s investigation service on Monday brought new charges against

Economy, News

Two thirds of Georgia’s growing wine export goes to Russia

by | July 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia exported 26,872,145 bottles of wine in the first half of 2014. Out of the 34 different countries receiving the wine, two thirds of it went to Russia. In sheer volume, the almost 27 million bottles, each 0.75 liters, if put together

News

South Ossetia accuses EU observers of bias

by | July 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A spokesman for the Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia has accused the European Union's observers of being biased following a field meeting Tuesday. As usual, the Incident Response and Prevention Mechanism (IRPM) meeting took place

News

New torture charge against Bacho Akhalaia

by | July 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia on Wednesday brought further charges against former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia, for abuse of power and organizing torture and sexual abuse. Akhalaia called the accusations a lie. The incident took

In brief, News

Court did not set bail for former Tbilisi mayor

by | July 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday decided not to set bail conditions for former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava, who is charged with embezzlement of more than one million lari from parking fees. The court did not agree with a request

News

Court to decide bail conditions for former Tbilisi mayor

by | July 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has asked the court to set a 50,000 lari (USD 30,000) bail for former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava in a case involving embezzlement of money from parking fees. The office on Tuesday also asked Tbilisi City

News

The grave of painter Pirosmani allegedly found in Tbilisi

by | July 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The tomb of the Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani has allegedly been discovered in Tbilisi. Pirosmani was self-taught and his paintings are easily recognized for their simple style and depictions of country life, often of merchants,

Minorities, News

New report details obstacles for minorities in Georgia

by | July 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are many obstacles to integrating minorities in Georgia, according to a new report published on Thursday by the Ministry of Reconciliation and Civil Equality. Problems include access to information and education, not knowing the

News, Youth

Art students in Tbilisi protest ‘Russian, socialist’ teaching methods

by | July 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Art students in Tbilisi protested Monday against what they see as a backward teaching style and an outdated understanding of art. Students at the Academy of Arts demand transparency and changes in the procedure for electing a rector.

Economy, News

Georgia and Russia meet to sort out EU vs CIS free trade

by | July 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian and Russian trade experts will meet in Prague on July 7 to find out how compatible Georgia's new free trade with the European Union is with its already existing free trade framework with countries of  the former Soviet Union. The

Minorities, News

How well did Georgia’s local election include minorities?

by | July 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On June 23, DF Watch invited members of three non-governmental organizations working with minority issues to discuss how well ethnic minorities were able to participate in the June 15 local election. Our point of departure was the fact that

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