In brief

Georgian wins silver in Women’s Chess Championship

by | May 31, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian chess player Nino Batsiashvili took silver at the European Women’s Individual Chess Championship 2015, which was held in Chakvi, Georgia from May 18 until May 30. Batsiashvili, who is from Batumi, came second after Ukrainian Natalya Zhukova.

In brief

Two brothels busted in Tbilisi, five detained

by | May 31, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were detained in Tbilisi on Saturday, accused of providing premises for prostitution. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detainees - one man and four women - are managers of the hotels Sabudara and Viza in Tbilisi. The investigation

News

Saakashvili loses Georgian citizenship to become Odessa governor

by | May 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has given up his citizenship of his own country in order to assume the post as governor of Odessa in Ukraine. The former president was appointed head of a reform council in Ukraine earlier this year.

News

Zoo worker who lost arm speaks fondly of tigers that attacked her

by | May 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman employee of Tbilisi Zoo who was attacked by a tiger and her cubs has recovered. Doctors earlier considered amputating her legs. Guliko Chitadze, who has worked at the zoo for more than 25 years and raised the three cubs herself, had to amputate

News

Saakashvili proposed as a governor in Ukraine

by | May 30, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is to be appointed as a governor of Odessa Oblast in southern Ukraine. His candidacy has been proposed by the Ukrainian government to the President Petro Poroshenko. Valery Chalyi, the presidents foreign

News

New children’s hospice to be opened in Tbilisi

by | May 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new children's hospice will be opened in Tbilisi, a joint project between Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), the medical corporation EVEX and the president’s reserve fund. The hospice will open in the end of 2016

Environment

Anti-hail rockets deployed to save crops in Georgia

by | May 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An anti-hail system was activated yesterday and for the first time helped partly prevent a hailstorm from destroying harvest in Kakheti. But part of the harvest was destroyed because the system started functioning 20 minutes late. The State Security

Minorities

NGOs criticize Georgia for not protecting minorities

by | May 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia criticize the government for not doing enough to eliminate discrimination of religious minorities, and underline that over the last two years, the country has seen a number of conflicts on a religious

NGO news

Report: Informal governance is rife in Georgia

by | May 29, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - 15 non-government organizations prepared report about 2 years of Georgian Dream’s being in power describing progress and challenges, also main problems for the government, among which there is ‘informal governance’, the parliament failing to fulfill

Minorities

PDO calls for gender change in documents of trans-individuals

by | May 29, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Public Defender's Office (PDO) addressed the Ministry of Justice on May 18 proposing to allow trans-people to change their gender records in official documents. According to the PDO, there are provisions in the Georgian law that hint

News

Chechen who fought against Russians wounded in Tbilisi

by | May 28, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An ethnic Kist (Chechen) from Pankisi, who is believed as being a mediator during controversial Lapankuri special operation in August, 2012, was wounded Thursday noon in Tbilisi when an unknown assailant opened fire from a car at the doorsteps

News

Former pop-singer, MP, drafts a bill to stop jailing people for marijuana usage

by | May 28, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - MP Goga Khachidze, former National Movement member, who defected former ruling party few days ago with three other fellow MPs, submitted a draft bill to the parliament about decriminalization of marijuana usage on Thursday. The third year in a row a large

News

State auditors request assumed suspicious by Saakashvili government former officials

by | May 28, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The State Audit Office (SAO) auditors may set about scrutinizing finances of the recently established movement of Iveria, which consists of former prominent members of the past government, among them are former foreign affairs minister Grigol Vashadze, his former deputy Nika Vakashidze, ex-minister of culture Nika Rurua, and former ambassadors to France and China, Mamuka Kudava and Mamuka Gamkrelidze respectively.

NGO news

Poroshenko spontaneously left car to support NGO rally in Riga

by | May 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Civil society activists who rallied in Riga during the EU summit caught the attention of Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, who saw the rally from his car and walked over to them to express his support. Members of the non-governmental organizations

In brief

Ten Georgians released from detention by breakaway region

by | May 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ten Georgian citizens were released by authorities in the breakaway region South Ossetia Tuesday evening. They had been detained for ‘violating the border’. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the released are: Nugzar Gelashvili, from the village

Politics

Saakashvili allies left party to save Georgia from ‘pro-Russian forces’

by | May 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four former members of the National Movement say they left the party to save the country from ‘pro-Russian forces’ which may come to power in the 2016 parliamentary election. Zurab Japaridze, Goga Khachidze, Pavle Kublashvili and Giorgi Meladze

News

Woman mauled by tiger in Tbilisi Zoo

by | May 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Doctors had to amputate one arm on a woman who was attacked by a tiger in Tbilisi Zoo. The victim, Guliko Chitadze, is a 25 year veteran of the zoo. The tiger attacked her on Tuesday at about 5pm. According to the zoo, she was in the caretaker area at the time of the incident, while the tiger was inside the cage. She was taken to the hospital and according to the doctors she is in a serious condition, and her legs may have to be amputated. “Unfortunately, the tigers managed to injure the caretaker from inside the cage. The injured woman was taken to the Republican Hospital with bodily and limb injuries,” the zoo said in a statement. The statement says it is unclear why the animals attacked Mrs Chitadze. There is one tigress and three tiger cubs in the cage. Tbilisi Zoo was opened in 1927 and currently holds 300 species of animals, including white tiger, white lion, African wild dogs, elephants and penguins. There are also fishes and reptiles. A few days ago, a foal and zebra were born, both in a good condition. Apart ...

News

Georgia celebrated a people’s Independence Day

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia marks Independence Day on May 26 in most of the cities and towns all over the country by organizing different events. There is no military parade, but many military elements are visible in the capital. At 13:00, 200 recruits swore an oath

News

Defectors from Saakashvili’s party plan to start new movement

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four prominent members of Saakashvili’s National Movement who recently left the party are planning to start a new movement. DF Watch spoke with Mikheil Machavariani, who is one of the most high profile members

Photo gallery

Independence Day celebration in Tbilisi

by | May 26, 2015

Georgia celebrated its Independence Day on May 26. U.S. soldiers participated in a oath taking ceremony for Georgian soldiers at Freedom Square in the center of Tbilisi. Rustaveli Avenue was closed off and a street fair offered entertainment for visitors. See our

In brief

Privacy declaration open for signing today on Rustaveli Avenue

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Everyone who wishes so may today sign the declaration of protection of personal information and respect toward others. This is an initiative by the Personal Data Protection Inspectorate, which was created nearly two years ago and are out on the street

In brief

Farmers threaten to block highway after sheep returned sick from Jordan

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in Uplistsikhe, in Georgia’s Kartli region, threaten that they will block the central highway near Gori because sheep that was returned from Jordan is dying from an unknown disease. Teo Tlashadze, member of the local council in Gori,

Security

Two more people detained at disputed S.O. border as parties meet

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two more people were detained on the disputed border with one of Georgia’s breakaway regions on Monday. The incident took place the same day as the parties were gathered in a border village for EU- and OSCE-hosted negotiations. The

In brief

Socially disadvantaged groups demonstrated in Batumi

by | May 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Socially disadvantaged groups protested in Batumi on Monday, some demanding government help to handle their bank loans, others to get back land property taken from them. Some of them demanded to get back land property that they were given

News

Saakashvili’s National Movement loses four prominent party members

by | May 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The party secretary and three prominent members abandoned the National Movement on Monday. There has not yet been official confirmation that the four have left Georgia’s former ruling party, but party members have confirmed it in private

News

Georgia unveils new unmanned attack helicopter

by | May 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has presented a new unmanned attack and reconnaissance helicopter produced by the state research and development center Delta. The new helicopter is on a display now for the first time on Roses Square in Tbilisi, in connection with

In brief

Georgian detained with 194,000 in counterfeit dollar bills

by | May 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Monday detained a man for attempting to distribute more than USD 194,000 in fake dollar bills. The suspect, who was born in 1994, was detained at the Red Bridge border crossing with Azerbaijan. The fake money, which was

Legal reform

Georgian govt plans controversial new control mechanism in the courts

by | May 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is planning a new court reform, which will involve creating a new body to conduct oversight over the judges. Georgia already has an control mechanism over the court system. It is called the High Council of Justice,

In brief

Russian border guards detain Georgian man (42) during funeral

by | May 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 42 year old man was detained by Russian border guards at the funeral of his mother-in-law, which was held on a cemetery close to the border with South Ossetia. The detainee, Gia Solashvili, comes from the village Karkusaani. Since the cemetery

News

U.S. soldiers will take part in Georgia’s Independence Day celebration

by | May 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. soldiers will be present during Georgia’s Independent Day celebration on May 26. The American soldiers will be together with Georgian soldiers as they conduct an oath taking ceremony on Freedom Square. Having U.S. soldiers present will

Politics

Georgia strips bank supervision authority from the National Bank

by | May 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has decided to strip the National Bank of responsibility for supervising banks and transfer this mechanism to the prime minister. The decision follows months of criticism by the government against the head of the National

News

Georgia again opting for a people’s Independence Day celebration

by | May 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is preparing to celebrate Independence Day, May 26. Roses Square, where there usually are held exhibitions and organized different activities on this day, will be closed off to traffic this year from May 22 until May 26. President Mikheil Saakashvili

News

Construction project in Old Tbilisi causes outrage

by | May 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A massive construction project in the old part of Tbilisi has enraged the city’s inhabitants. This time, it is a construction project on Mirza Shafi Street, right behind Abanotubani, one of the oldest parts of the capital. There was a tender announced for projects

News

The EU promises decision on visa liberalization by the end of 2015

by | May 22, 2015

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Riga did not bring unexpectedly good news to Georgia. The EU restated their support for Georgia’s European path and congratulated it on achieved progress. But Georgians will have to wait visa-free travels at least

Europe

Georgia remains optimistic about getting visa-free travel to EU

by | May 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian government officials remain optimistic about visa liberalization with the EU, while EU officials say Georgia is not yet ready for visa free rules. The Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga opened yesterday, and even though there were hopes earlier,

News

Public defender demands investigation of ‘selective justice’

by | May 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's public defender demands an investigation into ‘selective justice’ toward former government officials, but the government is still not planning to do this. Parliament has now started going through the public defender’s recently published report

Economy, News

Georgia govt backtracks on budget cuts

by | May 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a period of depreciation, Georgia’s national currency, lari, has started to stablize. The government has cancelled plans to drastically cut the budget. According to data from the National Bank, one USD is today worth 2.3234 laris. Due to the

News

Georgia’s disappointment in Riga?

by | May 21, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - This week’s Riga summit for Georgians will not result in the visa-free travel to the EU. Moreover, the final summit declaration, according to the media reports, is even more vague about the possibility of the EU membership than the 2013 Vilnius declaration.

News

‘2nd June’ group rally for legalization of marijuana

by | May 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A movement demanding to decriminalize marijuana in Georgia plans to rally on June 2, in front of the government office. Campaigners have two demands: to stop jailing people for personal use of marijuana and to stop the use of forced random drug tests.

News

Rustavi road workers still on strike, decision expected Thursday

by | May 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers on a highway south of Tbilisi are still on strike, demanding a USD 4 per day pay rise, because of the rapid devaluation of the national currency over the half year. Efforts are now underway to try to negotiate with the Chinese company

News

Hazardous waste blamed on exiled ex-justice minister

by | May 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The discovery of 25 tons of hazardous waste in the roof of the House of Justice in Tbilisi may lead to new charges against ex-Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili or his deputy. According to current Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, the construction waste

Economy

IMF downgrades Georgia’s economic growth forecast to 2%

by | May 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has further reduced its economic growth outlook for Georgia. According to the new IMF forecast for 2015 and 2016, Georgia will have 2 percent economic growth in 2015 and 3 percent in 2016, while

News

Over two thousand Georgians have been detained on disputed borders

by | May 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--2,117 Georgians have been detained by Russian border guards accused of crossing the border with Abkhazia or South Ossetia since 2009. The new figures were presented by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and are based on data

News

Ombudsman calls for measures after man beats 3 children

by | May 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender warns that children are victims of domestic violence in Georgia, after a 25 year old man allegedly severely beat three children. The children, one of whom was his own and two were step-children, were taken to hospital. According

News

Russian general, wounded in 2008, appointed at Abkhazian army military command

by | May 19, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - One of commanders of Russian forces invading Georgia during August War in 2008, has been appointed as a Chief of the General Staff of the breakaway Abkhazia's army.

News

Georgian govt officials visiting Beijing, signalling closer cooperation

by | May 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is seeking closer relations with China. After a recent visit by a Chinese delegation to Georgia, a  parliamentary delegation with government members plan to visit China in about a week. Head of the delegation is Davit Saganelidze, MP from

News

How to empower women in business?

by | May 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Only 3.9% of CEOs around the world are women. And only 14% of the richest 500 companies in the world have female executives. What can be done to include more women to predominantly male world of business? May 14-15 the European Bank

Economy

Georgian government preparing almost USD 300 million budget cuts

by | May 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is preparing to drastically cut the state budget to deal with a 30 percent reduction in value of the national currency. Presenting the plans Monday, members of the ruling coalition said the budget will be cut by 500

In brief

One Georgian detained by Russian border guards near disputed region

by | May 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards on Monday detained one more person near the village Adzvi, which borders with South Ossetia. The detainee is Grisha Balamtsarashvili (67), who was out in the field looking after cattle at the edge of the village, together with

News

Road workers on strike on Tbilisi-Rustavi highway

by | May 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A strike has broken out among workers on a new highway connecting Tbilisi with Rustavi, a town 20km to the south. Workers demand a ten lari (USD 4) pay rise from their current 20 lari (USD 8) per day. Their demand comes as a result of a 30 percent

News

33 year old Georgian from Pankisi dies in Syrian war

by | May 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian from Pankisi has died in the war in Syria. Ibrahim Tsatiashvili, 33, left his home village Tsinubani two months ago. His relatives knew he was in Turkey. On Friday, they learned that he had died. It is not yet known whether

Politics

Georgian government draws up plan for breakup of Interior Ministry

by | May 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has drawn up a plan to split the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) into two units, with counterintelligence kept separately and under parliamentary control. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced the revived

Minorities

Anti-homophobia day marked in secrecy in Tbilisi

by | May 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--When groups in Tbilisi wanted to mark the international day against homophobia May 17, they had to organize it in tightly-controlled secrecy and gather in silence. Time and location was secret, and everyone who showed up, including journalists

Economy

Money transfers in April, 2015 24% lower than previous year

by | May 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Money transfers to and from Georgia fell by 24.4 percent in April 2015, compared to same month in the year before. According to the National Bank, the amount of money transfers last month was USD 91.1 million, which was USD 29.4 million less than

News

Two Georgian boys detained, released by South Ossetia

by | May 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by Russian border guards on Friday near the village Adzvi, near the delineation line around South Ossetia. The detainees were two young men, Lasha Tanashvili, 15 and Levan Kokoriani, 18, who were out looking

News

EBRD downgrades Georgia’s 2015 growth forecast to 2.5%

by | May 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) predicts only 2.5 percent economic growth in Georgia in 2015. In January, the bank predicted 4.2 percent growth this year. The low growth prediction for Georgia

News

Kaladze: ‘National Bank could have monitored large bank transactions’

by | May 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s vice prime minister claims the National Bank could have helped stabilize the lari by monitoring large bank transactions in and out of the country. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze said this during an appearance on the talk show 2030

In brief

Heavy rain cuts electricity for 6,000 in eastern Georgia

by | May 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain caused problems for villagers and farmers in eastern Georgia, destroying their harvest and killing livestock. More than 6,000 people are without electricity. Among the affected areas are Pankisi, Akhmeta and Lagodekhi. The river Alazani

In brief

Port workers end strike in Poti

by | May 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten-day strike among port workers has ended in Poti, in western Georgia. More than 600 workers demanded a 14 percent pay rise. In addition, they demanded an annual award, called a ‘13th paycheck,’ and to review the content of their collective

News

Informal Georgia-Russia talks may be expanded

by | May 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Informal talks between Georgia and Russia may be expanded from today’s one-on-one format, according to Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Georgian officials say the details of the proposal are being processed. Ria Novosti on Thursday quoted Russian

News

Georgians disappointed with the govt, but don’t trust the opposition

by | May 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians are disappointed with the government, lack confidence in the opposition and are worried about the situation in the country - these are the main findings of a recent poll published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Judging

Environment

Court decides that RMG Gold must allow inspection of ancient mine

by | May 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Wednesday decided that a mining company must allow experts access to a site so they can inspect an ancient gold mine which was destroyed last December. Tbilisi City Court ruled that the parties in the conflict, experts and witnesses

News

New Georgian defense minister vows to sign air defense deal with France

by | May 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new defense minister in Georgia promises to sign a disputed military deal with France about air defense. Her predecessor Irakli Alasania claims the reason he was dismissed last November was that he wanted to go ahead with the same deal.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Apr was 13% lower than last year

by | May 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first four months of 2014 was 13 percent less than in the same period last year, according to preliminary figures published by the National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The turnover totaled USD 3,015

News

Fatal hotel fire raises questions about building safety standards

by | May 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is facing another challenge - fire safety in buildings - after three boys died in a hotel fire in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea coast, a few days ago. Wednesday morning there was a fire at a café in Batumi. No-one

Politics

Georgia’s ruling coalition has lost half its support

by | May 13, 2015

ndiTBILISI, DFWatch--A new poll shows that the ruling coalition has lost almost half of its support since last year, while the National Movement has slightly increased its support. For other parties there is no significant change. If there were held a parliamentary

Economy

China and Georgia launch new cooperation in agriculture

by | May 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--China has gifted 245 units of tractors and other machinery to Georgia. The hardware, which also includes bulldozers, excavators, trucks and off-road vehicles, is worth about USD 10 million. Accepting this gift from one of Georgia’s top trading

News

Head of Georgia’s National Bank gets backing from EBRD president

by | May 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commends the head of the National Bank for conducting an exemplary monetary policy. The Georgian lari has tanked in recent months. The lari has gone down

News

Georgian president visits EU, NATO tops in Brussels

by | May 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU is allocating 150,000 euros for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili learned about this decision during his visit to Brussels during a meeting with EU's neighborhood commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Minorities

“This street is taken” – Tbilisi gay rights campaigners prepare for May 17

by | May 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--“This street is taken - there’s no place for homophobia and transphobia here!” This is the slogan of another online campaign to prepare for the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17. Behind the campaign stands

News

Stalin monument goes up and is taken down in Georgia

by | May 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in a village in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region installed a bust of Joseph Stalin on Victory Day, May 9. This was the third time someone put up a bust of the dictator in Akura since Victory Day, May 9, 2012. On the previous two occasions

News

Georgia denies reports that German company visited Abkhazia

by | May 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies reports in Abkhazian media that representatives of a German company visited the region. Media outlets in Sukhumi reported that representatives of an unspecified German company met with the de facto leaders

News

Jobs, high prices and poverty are now Georgians’ top concerns

by | May 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians think jobs, higher prices and poverty are the three most important issues, according to a new opinion poll published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday. Earlier, territorial integrity was the most important issue

Economy

Georgia’s wine export falls sharply

by | May 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s wine export was reduced by 58 percent in the first four months of 2015, compared to the same period last year. The reason is less sales to Russia (-76 percent) and Ukraine (-57 percent). From January through April, Georgia exported wine

Photo gallery

A trip to Georgia’s savannah

by | May 10, 2015

VASHLOVANI, DFWatch--A few hours east from Tbilisi lies a magical place, where lonely pistachio trees give shade to rear birds and rolling hills slowly turn into sharp limestone cliffs, which once were deep under a sea. Vashlovani National Park was established

News

Three children dead in hotel fire in Georgia

by | May 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is shaken by the death of three boys in a hotel fire Sunday morning. 45 people were rescued from Hotel Armazi in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea. Among the hotel’s inhabitants were 31 minors. The three boys who died were were 10 and 11 years

News

Uneasy victory day celebration in Tbilisi

by | May 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--It was 70 years since Nazi-Germany was defeated Saturday, but in Tbilisi, people had difficulty to decide whether or how to celebrate it. In the end of the day, seven people were detained for hooliganism and resisting the police. Like in most

Politics

Georgian government wins confidence vote in parliament

by | May 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a week of political speculation, the ruling coalition declared confidence in the new government and its plan. The vote took place late at night on Friday, after MPs had been asking questions to cabinet members the whole day. There was some

News

Economy minister admits life has gotten tougher for Georgians

by | May 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The economy minister in Georgia has finally admitted that people’s conditions have worsened in recent weeks and months. But Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili follows his predecessor and godfather of this government in blaming the devaluation

News

Georgian leaders call on EU to deliver on visa-free travel

by | May 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--On the background of rumors that Georgia, like other aspirant states Ukraine and Moldova will be disappointed on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Riga Summit the three highest officials of Georgia sent common letter to Donald Tusk

News

Government reform of Prosecutor General’s Office met with skepticism

by | May 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government plans to change the procedure for appointing a chief prosecutor. Instead of letting the prime minister do the selection, parliament will have the power to do this. According to Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, this will

Minorities

Gay rights activists in Georgia are confined to the Internet

by | May 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two years after a violent mob attacked them, gay rights activists in Georgia are confining their protest to the Internet as they observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). No-one has been prosecuted for the

News

Georgian National Bank raises interest rates to deal with falling lari

by | May 7, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the second time this year, the National Bank has increased the refinancing rate by half a percentage point. The rate now stands at 5 percent. About 8,000 people will have higher interest rate on their loans because of the change. Economic

Politics

Georgian government will face vote of confidence on Friday

by | May 7, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament will hold a vote of confidence about the new government May 8 at 13:00, by request of the speaker of parliament, who asked the president to schedule a special session at that time. The government has been pretending

In brief

Unloading of containers halted in Poti port as workers negotiate

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Unloading of containers and some other operations have been halted in the port in Poti due to a strike among workers. Most other types of operations are not affected by the strike, according to the company that runs the port. The strike began

News, Society

UN agency finds Georgian couples prefer to have boys

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--46 percent of Georgian families would like to have a son instead of a daughter. Nine percent have the opposite preference, while women with partners or husbands admit they have had an abortion because of the sex of child. These are some

Politics

Parliament anxiously awaiting the president’s list for new government

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday is the last day for the president to present parliament with his candidates for a new government. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili Tuesday evening warned President Giorgi Margvelashvili about the terms of the procedure by saying

In brief

Port workers on strike in Poti

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers at the port in Poti went on strike Sunday, demanding a 14 percent pay rise. The workers gave their bosses ten days to comply with their demand, otherwise they threatened to completely paralyze the functioning of the port. On Tuesday, the term expired,

News

Court further prolongs detention of former mayor

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Tbilisi decided Tuesday that the former mayor and Saakashvili confidante Gigi Ugulava must remain in detention. Tuesday’s decision by Tbilisi City Court regarding Ugulava is strongly challenged by the National Movement, the former ruling

Sport

Eight detained in Georgia for match-fixing

by | May 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia detained eight persons on Tuesday for match-fixing. Some of the detainees are football (soccer) players. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detainees include the president of the football club Stu Tbilisi,

News

Georgia-Armenia row brewing over contacts with separatists

by | May 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A diplomatic row is brewing between Georgia and Armenia after the speaker of Armenian parliament met with the de facto parliament speaker of South Ossetia. Yesterday, Russian media reported that there had been a meeting between the speaker

In brief

Georgia’s economy minister says lari will soon recover

by | May 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia's national currency lari is continues to fall in value, the economy minister assures the public that the fall will not continue and calls on journalists not to speculate. Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Monday that there

Politics

New ministers begin working before approval in parliament

by | May 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three new ministers Monday started working, even though they haven't been approved by parliament yet. Constitutional experts say it is unlikely that they have a right to function as ministers. The three new appointees arrived at their respective

News

Ivanishvili criticizes president for postponing ministers’ appointments

by | May 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili again criticized the president and leading NGOs on Sunday, on the talk show 2030, aired on his son Bera’s TV channel GDS. The program was first broadcast a few weeks ago. Ivanishvili has since used

News

Georgian film director Rezo Chkheidze dies at age 88

by | May 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The famous Georgian film director Revaz (Rezo) Chkheidze has died in Tbilisi at age 88. Rezo Chkheidze rose to fame in the Soviet Union for his iconic 1964 World War 2 black-and-white drama Father of a Soldier, with a powerful performance by Sergo

News

Still no answer to Georgia’s request to Azerbaijan regarding Saakashvili

by | May 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prosecutor General’s Office told DF Watch that they still haven’t received a response from Azerbaijan to a request to extradite former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Last week, Saakashvili visited Baku to participate in a political

In brief

Armed bank robber caught in Tbilisi, might have been a customer

by | May 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An armed man robbed a bank in Tbilisi on Saturday. The crime took place at about 10:45 in the morning at a branch of ProCredit Bank at 54 Chavchavadze Avenue in the Vake district. No-one was injured. According to witnesses,

Youth

May Day rally in Tbilisi focused on dangerous work conditions

by | May 2, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Youth activists marched through the streets of the Georgian capital on Friday to mark the International Workers' Day and protest against intolerable work conditions. There were demonstrations and gatherings several places in Tbilisi on May 1, separately organized

Minorities

Asureti – a German village in Georgia

by | May 2, 2015

ASURETI, DFWatch--In the 1940s, there were over 20,000 Germans living in Georgia. Today almost none are left. Stalin deported them in 1941-42, and barely anyone came back. Now, Germans are rediscovering this part of their past. Manfred Tikhonov (67) moved to Asureti

Youth

Youth activists mark International Workers’ Day in Tbilisi

by | May 1, 2015

       

Politics

Georgian PM appoints more western-oriented new ministers

by | May 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili named three new ministers on Friday, two of whom are members of the Republican Party, which is regarded as a more western-oriented coalition member. The nominations are made against the backdrop

News

Georgian government relaunches plan to split the Interior Ministry

by | May 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has announced the start of long-awaited reform of the powerful Interior Ministry. It is formally known as the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), and was created during Saakashvili when the counterintelligence

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