In brief

Road Department warns: Slippery roads in north of Georgia

by | November 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Road Department in Georgia warns that there are traffic restrictions in mountainous areas. Due to frost, trailers, semi-trailers and other vehicles with more than 30 seats are asked to use snow chains from the 80km to 136km section

News

TV channel reports four detained in Georgia for links to Islamic State

by | November 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian TV channel reported Sunday that special forces had arrested a person in the west of the country for allegedly being affiliated with Islamic State. The TV channel also reported that a further three persons were arrested a day before the special

Environment

Flood prevention work begins in Tbilisi hills to prevent new disaster

by | November 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall has begun clean-up work on the Tskneti-Betania road close to the capital, which was the origin of a landslide that caused a flood wave in Tbilisi in June, 2015. City Hall said on Saturday that experts have finished examining

News

Radicalisation in the South Caucasus

by | November 28, 2015

Children jump over puddles on the pock-marked street outside the mosque in Duisi, a small village situated in Georgia’s scenic Pankisi Valley.  Inhabited by 8,000 ethnic Kists, a minority group related to the Chechens of the North Caucasus, Pankisi is also home to refugees from Chechnya

News

South Ossetia field meeting ends in feast

by | November 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and the breakaway region South Ossetia met on Thursday for a regular field meeting, ending it with a feast. The meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms have been held regularly since

In brief

Eleven detained in Georgia for attempting to jump Turkish border

by | November 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian border police arrested nine Bangladeshi and two Turkish citizens on Thursday for illegally trying to cross the border with Turkey. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the group was attempting to cross the border in an area near Akhaltsikhe,

Minorities

Jehovah’s Witnesses house in Tbilisi fired at

by | November 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A house used by Jehovah’s Witnesses was fired at in Tbilisi on Monday night. Witnesses say they heard sounds of shots at about 23:00. At least 15 bullets were fired at the building. No-one was injured. Representatives of the Kingdom Hall

Society

School children held performance to show what early marriage means

by | November 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--School children appeared outside the government office on Wednesday, enacting scenes where they were forced to abandon their dreams in order to become a wife and mother. The street performance was staged by the Georgian Women’s

Society

Debate on the need of pro-social labour reforms

by | November 26, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Debate between the representatives of the government and different interest groups intensifies as pro-social labour market reforms are being implemented. On 25 November, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Georgia hosted the

News

Opposition party calls off hunger strike against election fraud

by | November 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from a Georgian opposition party which claimed a recent election was falsified called off their 16-day hunger strike on Tuesday after meeting with parliamentarians. Irma Inashvili, the Alliance of Patriots’ candidate for parliament in in October’s by-election

News

479 foreigners barred from entering Georgia since Paris attacks

by | November 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the ten days that have passed since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, law enforcers in Georgia have prevented 479 foreigners from entering the country. One Georgian citizen and 31 foreign citizens have been detained for

News

ISIS threatens Georgia in new video

by | November 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The terror group ISIS threatened Georgia in a video appeal on Sunday recorded in the Georgian language with Russian subtitles. The intelligence service is examining the clip but have not yet made detailed comments. Local media have researched

News

Russian border guards detain three on South Ossetia perimeter

by | November 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people were detained by Russian soldiers on Monday in a village near the disputed border with South Ossetia. Locals in the village Adzvi told the television channel Imedi that the three were planning to go to a church which lies near

News

Suspected ISIS fighter arrested in Georgia

by | November 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested in Georgia Saturday suspected of being connected with ISIS. Davit Borchashvili was arrested as he arrived at Tbilisi airport after having been extradited from Turkey. After his arrest, he was sent to hospital where he is currently receiving

In brief

Traffic restrictions many places in Georgia due to heavy snowfall

by | November 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Road Department has established restrictions on road throughout the country due to heavy snowfall that started Saturday morning. From 188km to 198km of Zugdidi-Jvari-Mestia-Lasdili road in Svaneti and 142km to 157km of the

News

Georgian opera singer considers going into politics

by | November 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A famous Georgian opera singer and philanthropist is considering going into politics as less than a year remains until the parliamentary election. Paata Burchuladze, a world-renowned operatic bass and in Georgia also known

News

Russia considering visa liberalization for Georgian citizens

by | November 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia are considering simplifying visa rules. This became clear as diplomats from the two countries met in Prague on Thursday to discuss transport, communication and humanitarian issues. During the regular Prague meeting,

News

Two miners injured in Chiatura, Georgia

by | November 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two mine workers were injured Thursday as result of an accident at a manganese mine in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. According to Tamaz Dolaberidze, head of the mining and metallurgical workers’ trade union, the accident took

Europe

Georgian PM accuses Saakashvili party of undermining visa liberalization

by | November 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister has accused opposition MPs of influencing members of the European Parliament to not accept visa-free travel for Georgian citizens as long as the current government is in power. PM Irakli Garibashvili

News

‘Islam Is Not Terrorism’ rally in Tbilisi attracts few participants

by | November 19, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A small group of activists protested against equating Islam with terrorism in the wake of Paris terrorist attacks. Ten activists gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on 18 November for ‘Islam Is Not Terrorism’ rally. The activists held posters saying ‘Terrorism has no religion’, ‘Pray for Syria’, ‘Pray for Africa’, and ‘ISIS is not Islam’, among others. The rally follows a larger gathering on 14 November, when up to 200 people commemorated the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and expressed their solidarity with France. ‘We gathered here to remind everyone that religion isn’t connected to terrorism. Georgia is a multicultural state where people of different religions live. We won’t achieve anything by stigmatising religions. We condemn terrorism, but not religion, which has, as such, little to do with terrorism’, Grigol Gegelia, one of the event’s organisers, told DF Watch. ‘Our aim is to show to the world that Islam doesn’t equal terrorism. Religion doesn’t preach violence, but all of us should fight terrorism and violence in its all forms. It is important to separate a ...

News

Anti-Gazprom rally outside Ivanishvili’s residence

by | November 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s residence in Tbilisi was Wednesday besieged by protesters opposed to the government’s negotiations with the Russian company Gazprom. In September, the Energy Minister revealed that there have been

Security

Stricter border checks for Africans and Asians arriving in Georgia

by | November 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is introducing stricter border checks for visitors from Africa and Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Head of Georgian intelligence Vakhtnag Gomelauri said on Wednesday after a session of the Crisis Management Council that the measures

Politics

Opposition activists on hunger strike taken to hospital

by | November 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several members of the party Alliance of Patriots were taken to the hospital on Tuesday after going on a hunger strike ten days ago. Emzar Kvitsiani, Manana Abuseridze, Lali Khutsishvili and Ada Marshania were brought to Chapidze clinic, while

Security

Dozens suspected ISIS recruits prevented from entering Georgia

by | November 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An intelligence official in Georgia says dozens of foreigners have been prevented from entering Georgia, because they were suspected of preparing to go to Syria to join ISIS. Deputy head of the State Security Service Levan Izoria told Maestro TV that the government

News

Flood severs main highway through Georgia – again

by | November 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A section of the E60, the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road in western Georgia, was damaged again on Sunday due to flooding. This is the second time flooding has damaged the road. After flooding hit a few days ago, repair work allowed the road

Security

Georgian intelligence investigating websites supporting ISIS

by | November 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian intelligence is investigating a Georgian-language blog which publishes propaganda material from the terrorist organization the Islamic State, or ISIS. Georgian users on Facebook Monday shared a link to the website, and called for help

In brief

First wind farm in Georgia to begin construction in February

by | November 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s energy ministry last week announced a tender for building the country’s first wind farm. According to Giorgi Bezhuashvili, the director of Georgian Energy Development Fund, the turbines are already in Georgia and installation of them

News

Tbilisians commemorate victims of Paris attacks

by | November 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi residents gathered Saturday evening in front of parliament to show solidarity with France following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Up to 200 people gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi in order to commemorate the

In brief

Authorities in Georgia increase security measures after Paris terror

by | November 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Georgia are tightening security after the terrorist attacks in Paris. A spokesperson for the State Security Service said on Saturday that there are stricter security measures in force at border crossings and airports. There are also enhanced security measures

News

Georgians express support for France after Paris terror attacks

by | November 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politicians expressed support for and solidarity withh France on Saturday after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Expressions of support came from politicians as well as organizations and ordinary people. Three bomb attacks

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover continues to fall

by | November 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In first nine months of 2015, Georgia’s foreign trade turnover was 14 percent less than in the same period last year. According to a preliminary monthly report published by the National Statistics Department, the foreign trade turnover in January-October

In brief

Georgia’s main east-west highway has been blocked for two days

by | November 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--E60, the central highway through Georgia, has been blocked for two days due to bad weather. Vehicles are currently rerouted near Kutaisi in the western part of the country. According to the Infrastructure Ministry’s Road Department,

Media

Court reverses Rustavi 2 director’s dismissal and reinstates management

by | November 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Thursday restored the status of the managers of TV channel Rustavi 2, including its director general, and abolished the status of one of the interim managers. The background is a ruling by the city court earlier this year

Media

Rustavi 2: Public Registry denies that new manager was appointed

by | November 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The feud over the ownership of Georgia’s most powerful anti-government television channel became even more obscure Wednesday evening, as the Public Registry denied having registered a document appointing a new manager of Rustavi 2.

Media

Rustavi 2 takeover: new manager appointed, but rejects offer

by | November 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The interim owners of Georgia’s largest anti-government TV channel have appointed the anchor Zaal Udumashvili as new manager, but he rejected the job. The failed attempt to appoint a new manager follows several months of legal

Minorities

Day of remembrance for transgender people observed in Tbilisi

by | November 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two dozen activists gathered in Tbilisi Tuesday evening to observe a new national day of remembrance for transgender people, exactly one year after the murder of a transgender woman. The memorial event was held

Security

Bill to end the draft approved by judiciary committee

by | November 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A draft bill about ending compulsory military service has survived a debate in the judiciary committee of the Georgian parliament. The bill was approved by the committee on Tuesday. Member of parliament Zurab Japaridze, who co-authored the bill, said

News

Georgian president refuses to move out of Saakashvili’s palace

by | November 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government wants the president to move out of the presidential palace and move into the building they have refurbished for him, but the administration of president once again refused to move into the new residence.

Politics

Georgian Stalin admirer quits as member of parliament

by | November 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An MP from the ruling coalition who was recently criticized for praising Joseph Stalin, announced that he plans to resign as member of parliament after a draft bill he proposed has been discussed. Gogi Topadze from the Industrialists

News

Alliance of Patriots rally against alleged election fraud

by | November 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition party Alliance of Patriots on Sunday demonstrated in Tbilisi, demanding the resignation of two ministers because of election fraud. Several hundred people took part in the demonstration, which started at the Rustaveli statue

News

Storm in a teacup: South Ossetian referendum on joining Russia

by | November 8, 2015

South Ossetia’s declaration of holding a referendum on joining Russia seems to have more to do with local power dynamics than regional geopolitics. The recent South Ossetian announcement of its intentions to hold a referendum on joining the Russian Federation came about suddenly. While announcing his decision,

News

Politicians, civic groups, diplomats about Rustavi 2 events

by | November 6, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The controversy over the ownership of the major opposition-leaning TV channel Rustavi 2 receives diverse assessments from cabinet members, parliamentarians, civil society members, and diplomats. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili issued

Media

Interim owners pledge not to break into Rustavi 2

by | November 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The interim owners of the largest opposition-aligned TV station in Georgia, Rustavi 2, claim that they are not planning to break into the office of the company with the help of police. But they haven’t specified when they are planning to show up at the premises.

News

Constitutional Court lifts work ban for former Soviet officials

by | November 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Constitutional Court in Georgia has decided that a controversial provision barring former senior Soviet officials and Communist Party members from holding post in state institutions is unconstitutional. The court on Tuesday announced the ruling,

Media

Breaking: Court ruling paves way for Rustavi 2’s immediate takeover

by | November 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court Thursday evening dismissed Rustavi 2's CEO and appointed two persons to run Georgia’s largest TV company until the end of a lawsuit that will decide its ownership. The ruling of the judge, Tamaz Urtmelidze, reads

Economy

Georgian 20, 50 and 100 lari banknotes get facelift

by | November 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Bank has presented the design of the new lari banknotes, which will go into circulation in 2016. The denominations that will get a facelift are 20, 50 and 100 lari. They will go into circulation alongside the old banknotes. National Bank

News

Former Georgian official appointed head of national police in Ukraine

by | November 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more former Georgian official was appointed to a high position in Ukraine on Wednesday. Khatia Dekanoidze, who served as minister of education in Georgia in the final months of Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency in 2012, is now chief of the Ukraine’s

Minorities

International ‘pro-family’ congress to coincide with Day Against Homophobia

by | November 4, 2015

A major ‘family values’ conference will be held in Tbilisi on the 17 May amidst fears that it might be yet another attempt at silencing LGBT rights activism Georgia was chosen as the site for the tenth World Congress of Families, Christian News Wire reported.

Media

Rustavi 2 loses court case, ownership transferred

by | November 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court ruled Tuesday to transfer ownership of one of Georgia’s largest TV channels to a businessman whom the opposition believes is acting on orders from the government. The court decided that 100 percent of shares in Rustavi 2, a TV channel sympathetic to the National Movement,

Media

Constitutional Court intervenes in Rustavi 2 dispute

by | November 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A violent takeover of the embattled Georgian television station Rustavi 2 has apparently been averted, as the Constitutional Court decided to review a case filed in a lower court about the suspension of the government’s power to immediately enforce a court ruling.

News

Saakashvili: Recordings intercepted, doctored by Russian intelligence

by | November 2, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In the wake of release of new wiretapped telephone conversations on Monday, Georgia’s former president makes his first comment denouncing the recordings as ‘doctored’ by the Russian intelligence.

Caucasus region

Support and resistance for Svan language activism

by | November 2, 2015

Mestia, DFWatch - Svan language activists explain why it’s necessary to stop the decline of the language amidst reluctance on behalf of the authorities and the Church.  ‘A language is a dialect with an army and navy’,

Elections

Government coalition won in Georgia’s local and by-elections

by | November 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition looks likely to gain one seat in parliament after the by-elections yesterday. The coalition’s candidates were leading in both Sagarejo and Martvili, according to preliminary results (http://results.cec.gov.ge/).

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