News

Remains of dead Georgian PM may be exhumed

by | September 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a former Georgian prime minister may be exhumed in order to determine the cause of death. Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, one of the architects of the rose revolution, died in 2005, officially of gas poisoning due to a faulty heater.

In brief, News

Margvelashvili calls for peaceful resolution of frozen conflicts

by | September 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili appeared on the Turkish TV Monday, explaining his country’s policy toward two breakaway regions that have been controlled by Russia since the war in 2008. Georgian territorial integrity will be restored,

In brief, News

Georgia to help Kyrgyzstan get access to the EU market

by | September 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili says the free trade treaty Georgia signed with the EU earlier this year opens opportunities also for other countries to reach the EU market. He said this while discussing bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan

Environment, News

Georgian authorities issue warning about new storm in southwest

by | September 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain hit Georgia’s southwestern parts on Monday, but so far without causing the amount of damage which was feared after meteorologists issued a dire forecast the day before. Last night, there was strong wind and a constant downpour

Opinion

The Georgian model of libertarianism and its applicability to Ukraine

by | September 29, 2014

Ukraine has garnered the world’s attention as a country facing a myriad of complex challenges, among which economic problems play a significant role.  The corruption-stricken government of Ukraine is reminiscent of Georgia in the beginning of the 21st century,

In brief, News

Pathologist in Zhvania’s death must remain in detention

by | September 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on the body of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania denies that he harassed a witness. The trial about the prime minister’s death in 2006 continued Thursday with questioning of the pathologist Levan Chachua.

News

Schools in Turkey to start teaching Georgian language

by | September 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Turkish Ministry of Education has adopted a plan to teach Georgian in the schools, according to a Facebook post by the Georgian embassy in Turkey. In its post, the embassy writes that if there are 10 or more students at a given school who want

News

Sixth Georgian from Pankisi Gorge dies in Syrian war

by | September 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--An 18 year old Georgian has died in the Syrian civil war. He is the sixth fighter to die in the war who is a native of Pankisi Gorge. Pankisi Gorge in the northeast of Georgia was used as a jihadist base during both Chechen wars, and this was where

In brief, News

Georgia to join arms trade treaty

by | September 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Friday, Georgia will join a new treaty which restricts the international trade in small arms. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on April 2, 2013, and is a first of its kind. It will regulate the sale

Environment, News

Western Georgia flooded by heavy rain

by | September 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm of strength five hit western Georgia early in the morning on September 24 and caused damage to infrastructure, floods and landslides in the Adjara and Guria regions. In Guria, a river flooded a school in Shemokmedi, students and staff were  evacuated by the

News, Security

Tbilisi denies that it offered US to host training camp for Syrian rebels

by | September 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government denies that it has offered the US to host a training facility for Syrian rebels fighting both the Assad government and the ISIS, against whom the US and some of its allies wage a military operation. Foreign Policy

News

Decision in Girgvliani trial expected in two weeks

by | September 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A verdict in one Georgia’s most controversial murder cases is expected two weeks from now, with a former interior minister as one of the defendants. The defense made its closing remarks in Tbilisi City Court Wednesday in the trial about the murder

News

Georgian MP: three out of five pregnant women opt for an abortion

by | September 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the healthcare committee in the Georgian parliament wants tougher punishment for illegal abortions. In 2012, there were about forty thousand registered legal abortions in Georgia. But committee head Dimitri Khundadze stressed that

News

Saakashvili’s former head of security also subject to asset freeze

by | September 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--After slapping an asset freeze on former President Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office got court approval to do the same with the property of his almost inseparable head of security, Temur Janashia. Sitting next to his attorney

Opinion

Being a foreign ‘gogo’ in Georgia

by | September 22, 2014

It is always challenging to be a foreigner. But being a foreign woman in the Caucasus is even harder. “You will see that in Georgia women are treated like queens, like princesses”. This was one of the first sentences I heard when a Georgian man picked me up at

News

Court hearing into 2005 death of Georgian PM focuses on autopsy

by | September 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trial into the circumstances surrounding the death of Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005 continued in Tbilisi on Monday. The investigation into Zhvania's death was reopened after the change of government in 2012. During today’s hearing

Environment, News

Storm causes landslides and power cuts in western Georgia

by | September 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm Sunday night left about 7,000 households without electricity in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. According to local media, a further 1,800 families are without electricity in Khelvachauri municipality. There has been heavy rain in Batumi

News

Saakashvili’s Georgian bank accounts also seized, lawyer claims

by | September 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has seized the bank accounts of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, his attorney wrote in a Facebook update on Sunday. This comes only days after the a ruling in the Appeals Court which confirmed the seizure

News, Politics

Georgian president says he may resign

by | September 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has said he may dissolve parliament or step down if this is needed to avert a political crisis. After months of simmering conflict between him and the government, both part of the same coalition, there was

Economy, News

Slight increase in money transfers to Georgia

by | September 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's National Bank noted a one percent increase in money transfers into the country in August 2014, compared to the same period last year. The amount of money transferred from abroad in August was 225.1 million lari (130.1 million USD); 0.9 percent

In brief, News

New US-trained judge candidates taking exams in Georgia

by | September 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new cohort of judge candidates are taking qualification exams September 20 and 27, under the auspices of the High Council of Justice. The exams are held at the Technical University's first building and for the first time conducted electronically.

Environment, News

Groups sound final alarm for threatened landscape in Georgia

by | September 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opponents of the Khudoni hydropower project met in Mestia on Thursday to sound the final alarm before a massive dam floods parts of the unique Svaneti region, threatening an age-old cultural landscape. The Svaneti region is a rare landscape

News

Court in Georgia orders seizure of ex-President Saakashvili’s property

by | September 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia Friday upheld a decision to seize the property of former president Mikheil Saakashvili, along with the property of his spouse, sons, parents and grandmother. To most Georgians, it has been unknown until today that there even was

News, Politics

Georgian president denies that he plans to split from coalition

by | September 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president has rejected suggestions that he is planning to set up his own political party, despite an apparent widening split between him and the government coalition. Speculations of a possible new opposition party seeing the light of day

News, Politics

Council member in Adjara accuses local official of corruption

by | September 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There was further infighting in Georgia's government coalition  on Thursday as a member of the council in the Adjara region accused a local finance official of corruption. The accusation was put forth as the official, Davit Baladze, September 18 briefed

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover Jan-Aug up 12%

by | September 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first eight months of 2014 was 12 percent more than in the same period last year. Preliminary data from Georgia’s National Statistics Department, GeoStat, published on Tuesday show that the total amount

News, Youth

Students at TSU protest against ‘low level of education’

by | September 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students protested on Tuesday against the level of education at Tbilisi State University. Some of the students left the hall whistling after meeting the rector and the administration of the department for social and political studies. They say that every time such

News, Politics

Split widened between Georgia’s president and government

by | September 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict between the Georgian president and the government soured even more on Wednesday after the TV company Rustavi 2 exposed private correspondence between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the president’s administration.

News

Tbilisi’s ‘gypsy market’ destroyed by fire

by | September 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A fire destroyed the ‘gypsy market’ in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Vendors claim the fire was started deliberately. About 2500 square meters was burned. Vendors say they think the fire was started in order to get rid of them and build

News

Georgian lawmakers plan to introduce language tests in public sector

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament has begun discussing a draft bill which will require all public employees to pass a language test to prove that they know either the Georgian or Abkhazian language. The latter is also an official language in Georgia,

In brief, News

German tourist hospitalized after roadside robbery in Georgia

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of German tourists were robbed in Mestia Monday night, several Georgian news outlets reported. The reports differ on important details, but most say three German tourists were robbed along the road from Zugdidi to Mestia, one of

News, Politics

Tbilisi mayor says former government squandered city’s money

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor says the city must tighten its belt, because the National Movement, which ruled the city for a decade, left 'the worst budget ever'. Newly elected Mayor Davit Narmania from the Georgian Dream Coalition said on Tuesday that

News

Fired Georgian tourism official says he was pressured by the Church

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former head of Georgia’s National Tourism Administration has said that the Georgian Orthodox Church demanded that he cancel a music festival shortly before he was sacked. Giorgi Sigua was one of those who helped organize the festival, but was

Minorities, News

Discussion: Reasons for instances of religious intolerance

by | September 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A few days ago, in a town on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, local Orthodox Christians hung a pig’s head on the entrance to a Muslim madrasa school which was to be opened in few days, insulting the religious feelings of Muslims. What are the reasons

News

Vatican official is visiting Georgia

by | September 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, is visiting Georgia September 13-16. The Vatican’s Section for Relations with States corresponds to the foreign ministry of civil governments.

Minorities, News

Turkish religious official visiting Georgia

by | September 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Turkish public official who is visiting Georgia says he hopes there will be built new mosques in Batumi and Akhaltsikhe. Mehmet Görmez,President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, arrived on Friday on his first visit to Georgia

News, Security

U.S. to strengthen its military cooperation with Georgia

by | September 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United States is strengthening its military cooperation with Georgia and several non NATO-member states on the background of events in Ukraine. US is a strategic partner of Georgia and supports its North-Atlantic integration, US Secretary

Minorities, News

Georgian Orthodox Church issues statement on madrasa incident

by | September 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Patriarchate of Georgia claims that a boarding school for Muslim kids was built against the will of a majority of the local population in Kobuleti, a small town on Black Sea coast. For the last few days, locals have tried to oppose the opening of the

News, Youth

Music festival KaZantip to be held in Georgia in 2015

by | September 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Organizers of KaZantip are determined to hold the electronic music festival in Georgia next year too, despite low visitor numbers last month. But the condition is that the government allows the festival site in Anaklia to be used. KaZantip was held

News

Georgian president cancels New York trip due to resistance

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili has canceled a planned trip to New York to attend the UN climate change summit, after weeks of squabbling with the government about who should represent the country. The decision comes after the businessman

In brief, News

Georgian PM visiting Azerbaijan

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met Thursday with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to discuss strategic cooperation and bilateral relations. The meeting took place at the president’s palace, and Gharibashvili was accompanied by members

News, Politics

Georgian businessman Ivanishvili criticizes president

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a rare interview, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has criticized President Giorgi Margvelashvili for harming the country’s image. Ivanishvili left politics after the presidential election in October, 2013. He said in an interview

Minorities, News

Investigation into protest against Muslim school

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into an incident in a small town about a pig head being placed on the door of a Muslim religious school called a madrasa. The incident happened in Kobuleti as locals were protesting against

Minorities, News

Locals slaughtered pig outside planned madrasa in Georgia

by | September 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in the small Georgian town Kobuleti on the Black Sea coast are protesting against the construction of a madrasa, a religious educational facility for Muslims. As a sign of protest people killed a pig and placed its head at the entrance

Economy, News

Georgia sees sharp drop in foreign investments

by | September 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of direct foreign investments in Georgia in the second quarter of 2014 was USD 151 million; significantly lower than in the same period last year. This is down 27% compared to in the second quarter of 2013, when there was USD 208 million

Minorities, News

Yazidi refugees in Georgia awaiting decision

by | September 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 50 Yazidis have fled from Iraq to Georgia and applied for political asylum here. DF Watch September 3 organized a discussion about the situation. Dimitry Pirbar, head of the Religious Council of Yazidis in Georgia, said he had been to Iraq

Environment, News

Building of gigantic hydro power dam may be postponed

by | September 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The building of a controversial hydropower dam in a mountainous region of Georgia may be further postponed, if the company behind it fails to submit the required documents in time. The planned Khudoni hydropower project is located

News

New wave of frequent police searches in Georgia

by | September 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Over a year after a wave of complaints about frequent police searches in the streets, new reports are coming in of the same problem. People are being stopped and searched by the police in the streets.  During one such raid, a reporter for media.ge

News

Georgian victim of Ukraine war brought home

by | September 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a Georgian who died a few days ago in a bomb explosion in Ukraine's Donetsk region arrived in Georgia on Monday. Arsen Beridze, 23, from Adjara region, had been living in Ukraine with his family for the past 12 years. He was killed when

News, Politics

Georgia sending two delegations to UN

by | September 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will attend the UN Climate Summit 2014 despite the express wishes of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. The president has said many times that he will go to the US and his plan about the visit hasn’t changed.

News, Politics

Georgian president no longer to oversee student scholarships

by | September 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government wants to strip the president of the power to set terms for student scholarships and studies abroad. A new draft law about higher education will if passed let the it be up to the government to confirm the use of student advantages,

News, Youth

Discussion: Youth unemployment in Georgia – causes and solutions

by | September 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On September 6, DF Watch organized a discussion about the difficulties youth are having finding employment. We invited students from three different universities to share their views on youth unemployment. They agree that there are problems,

News, Youth

Art students in Tbilisi protesting against new government decree

by | September 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students demonstrated Friday outside the Culture Ministry against a decision to only allow professors at accredited universities to become rector of the Academy of Art. The decree was signed by Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze on September 1.

News, Security

What NATO’s Wales declaration said about Georgia

by | September 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 113 point declaration passed by leaders of NATO countries at the summit in Wales has two points about Georgia. Apart from support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and a commitment that it will become a member of NATO someday

News

Boy’s torture sparks crime debate in Georgia

by | September 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The torture of a 4-year old boy in a village in western Georgia has shocked Georgians and made many question official statistics indicating a significant decrease in crime. Two days ago, Ketevan Arveladze was at home alone with her 4-year old when

Environment, News

Georgia warns of possible new landslide in Dariali Valley

by | September 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Geologists in Georgia say heavy rainfall would cause another landslide in Dariali Valley, where eight people have already been killed this year in two natural disasters. Six people were killed in a landslide in Dariali Valley May 17, and two more

News, Security

Georgian president compares Ukraine events with 2008 war

by | September 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in a speech at the NATO summit in Wales that the events in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014 demonstrate that stability and peaceful development of young democracies is a significant challenge

News, Security

Georgian soldiers to take part in military exercise in Ukraine

by | September 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian platoon is taking part in the annual exercise Rapid Trident in Ukraine September 13-27. The multinational exercise will be conducted at the training ground Yavoriv, nearby the western Ukrainian city Lviv, and include participants

News, Security

NATO chief meets Georgian president

by | September 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Thursday met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in preparation for the NATO summit in Wales. The two talked about the importance of the summit on the background of the Ukraine crisis and the significance

Economy, News

Georgian wine export up 69% Jan-Aug ’14

by | September 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia increased its wine export by 69 percent in the first eight months of 2014, compared to last year. According to the the National Wine Agency, the country exported 36,585,769 bottles (0.75 liters) of wine in the period. The agency on Wednesday

News

Georgian parliament calls for end to violence in Ukraine

by | September 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Wednesday asked the international community to use every kind of means to stop the military actions and aggression in Ukraine, to deescalate the situation and handle humanitarian concerns. This is the third

In brief, News

Less visitors to Georgia in August than last year

by | September 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--772,216 people visited Georgia in August, which is 0.5 percent less than in August 2013. The new statistics published by the Interior Ministry shows that 3,685,834 people visited Georgia in the first eight months of 2014. This is a 3 percent drop

News

Wales Summit: NATO discusses setting up new mission in Georgia

by | September 4, 2014

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Against the backdrop of tragic events going on in Ukraine, Georgian delegation left optimistic to Wales to take part in the NATO Summit on Sept. 4-5, while NATO states that it expects establishing new defense capacity building mission in Georgia. Although

News

Georgia offers rehabilitation for Ukrainian children

by | September 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday offered her Ukrainian colleague to bring children to Georgia for vacation and rehabilitation course. Panjikidze made the offer during a phone conversation with Pavlo Klimkin. She said that the

Interviews

Interview: Francis Fukuyama on the war in Ukraine and NATO expansion

by | September 3, 2014

Many Georgians are discussing how far Mr Putin will go in his attempt to subdue his neighbor Ukraine. Maybe he will take this important seaport of Mariupol and go to Odessa or even Kiev? What’s your opinion about the outcome of this conflict? I don’t really have a prediction about this

News, Security

NATO plans to hold more military exercises in Georgia

by | September 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO is ramping up its defense of Eastern Europe with a new expeditionary force that will be able to "travel light but strike hard if needed". Also planned are five new bases in the Baltic states, Poland and Romania, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine

News

Police chief investigated for beating detective

by | September 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the police department and his deputy at one of the regions in Georgia on Sunday beat investigator Roman Korshia. He required medical assistance. The participants in the incidents are not commenting. An investigation was launched

In brief, News

53,067 were granted Georgian citizenship during Saakashvili

by | September 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--53,067 foreigners were granted Georgian citizenship from 2005 to 2013, and in 2013 the president granted citizenship to most of them – 9,626 people. According to the report of Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), the

Europe, News

Georgia begins free trade with EU

by | September 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A free trade agreement between Georgia and the European Union came into force today, September 1. This means that Georgian product may be exported to Europe without customs fee. Free trade was part of an association agreement Georgia signed with

News

Georgia preparing to send humanitarian assistance to Ukraine

by | September 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Children and injured people will be brought from Ukraine to Georgia for treatment, and Georgia will offer humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said on Saturday. “We are also thinking of bringing children, injured,

Minorities

50 Yazidis from Iraq ask for asylum in Georgia

by | September 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Kurdish Yazidis who fled from Iraq are seeking asylum in Georgia. Agit Mirzoev, the head of House of Yazidis in Georgia, told DF Watch that about 50 Yazidis have come to Georgia and asked the government for asylum. He said another group is expected

News

Saakashvili makes appearance on Turkish border

by | September 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former President Mikheil Saakashvili on Saturday appeared at Sarpi checkpoint's Turkish side, on the border between Georgia and Turkey and met with members and supporters of his National Movement party. After his appearance was reported, the Prosecutor’s Office started

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