News

Five persons arrested in Georgia for trying to sell uranium

by | April 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were arrested April 26 for attempting to sell radioactive uranium for USD 3 million. Savle Matiashvili, investigator at the counterintelligence service of the State Security Service, said at a briefing on Thursday

Interviews

Interview: Thomas de Waal on Georgia’s policy on Abkhazia

by | April 30, 2016

The senior associate with Carnegie Europe specialising in the Caucasus region, the author of books Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War and The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas de Waal discusses the need for nuanced approaches in Georgian policy towards Abkhazia and the future of Abkhaz–Georgian relations.

News

Quincy Jones, Macy Gray, Prodigy will play at Black Sea Jazz Festival

by | April 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Quincy Jones, Macy Gray, the Prodigy are some of the artists to visit the Black Sea Jazz Festival in Georgia in July. Director of Eastern Promotion, which organizes the festival, said on a press-conference on Thursday that the festival will be held in

News

Georgian Dream almost caught up by the UNM: IRI polls

by | April 29, 2016

Georgia’s governing coalition has almost been caught up by the former ruling party, according to the latest poll by International Republican Institute (IRI), published Friday.

News

Population in Georgia shrunk by 15 percent in 12 years: Census

by | April 28, 2016

Tbilisi, DFwatch - Population of Georgia declined by 15 percent from 4.372 million in 2002 to 3.714 million in 2014, according to the data released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat) on Thursday.

News

No land transfer between Georgia and Turkey

by | April 28, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The information about the alleged transfer of 15 acres of land from Georgia to Turkey, which went viral on Georgian media, was untrue. Yesterday, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah  published information about the alleged land transfer between Georgia and Turkey.

In brief

Georgian president pardons 95 prisoners in connection with Easter

by | April 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Wednesday pardoned 95 prisoners in connection with Orthodox Easter. The pardon decree was issued on April 27, and 69 of the pardoned prisoners have already left jail, according to Zviad Koridze,

News

Parliament speaker fears visa-free travel for Georgians may be delayed

by | April 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU's plans to allow visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia may be postponed, the Georgian speaker of parliament said Monday. Davit Usupashvili blamed members of the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili of lobbying against visa

News

PM Kvirikashvili: Peace roadmap for Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the works

by | April 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced the need for ‘decisive and brave’ steps in relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and revealed that Georgia was working on a peace plan, which is to be consulted with Georgian public opinion and the de facto republics.

Media

Freedom House: Georgia regional leader in media freedom

by | April 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia took the 96th place among the world’s 199 countries and regions evaluated in the latest edition of the Freedom of the Press  report prepared annually by Freedom House. Georgia earned the highest score of 49 points

News

Pshavi historical province to get Protected Landscape status

by | April 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pshavi, the historical and cultural province of eastern Georgia, might soon be granted the official status of a Protected Landscape. Pshavi is located in the mountains of Mtskheta–Mtianeti region alongside the Aragvi River, on the way to the historical

Youth

Pro student union rally draws people who don’t know why they’re there

by | April 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups from different universities in Georgia demonstrated in the streets of Tbilisi on Tuesday, mainly demanding education reform, but local media wrote that many of the students didn’t know what the goal of the event was. The

News

National Movement activist claims he was attacked by local officials in Rustavi

by | April 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An activist for the National Movement claims that several officials at the Rustavi City Hall, including the deputy mayor, insulted and beat him Monday night. Mamuka Chikovani, head of the UNM’s branch

News

Georgian charged with murdering mother and son arrested in Greece

by | April 27, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The extradition procedures have already been started, but yet it is not known when or whether Greece will extradite the suspect. “I cannot tell you more details,” DFWatch was told at MIA press office. the suspect Giorgi Kuparadze is at the hospital

Youth

Tbilisi students object against Soviet style surveillance methods

by | April 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University (TSU) protested on Monday against what they call a ‘police regime’, demanding that law enforcement bodies stop threatening their families and that the so-called ODRs are removed from publicly owned universities.

News

Ramazzotti’s concert in Tbilisi

by | April 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eros Ramazzotti dedicated his concert in Tbilisi on Sunday to the American singer and songwriter Prince, who died April 21 at the age of 57.

Minorities

In pictures: Kist Cultural Evening in Tbilisi

by | April 26, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Cultural activists from Pankisi valley stress the importance of strong Chechen–Georgian relations and the need of challenging the existing negative stereotypes.

News

Abkhazian MFA slams Georgia for blocking Montenegro exposition

by | April 26, 2016

Abkhazia accuses Georgia of pursuing a policy of isolation and puts a question mark on the restitution of the IPRM, while Georgia points towards individual countries’ policies of non-recognition of Abkhazia.

Sport

Georgian team won European judo championship

by | April 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Judo Team won the European Judo Championship in Kazan, Russia. In the final competition, the Georgian male judo team won 3:2 against the Russian team. The victories were won by Nugzar Tatalashvili, Avtandil Chrikishvili

Politics

Saakashvili confident his party will return to power in Georgia

by | April 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and current governor of Odessa, told a Georgian TV channel on Sunday that he is confident of victory for his political party in the parliamentary election in October, and afterward

News

North & East European foreign ministers support visa-free travel for Georgia, Ukraine

by | April 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Foreign ministers of Europe’s northern and eastern countries call on EU member states to go ahead with a plan to allow 90 days visa-free visits for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens. On 21–22 April, a meeting of foreign ministers of Baltic,

Caucasus region

The Azerbaijan Crackdown: An Update

by | April 25, 2016

by OCCRP Soon, it will have been a year since reporters for OCCRP and other organizations took a long, hard look at what is going on inside Azerbaijan’s prison system. Last June, journalists from the US joined colleagues from the Caucasus region and eastern

News

Abkhazian exhibition in Montenegro shut down on Georgia’s request

by | April 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia filed an official complaint with the authorities of Montenegro, as a result of which Montenegrin police shut down an Abkhazian tourism exposition. The Abkhazian exposition was a part of an international

Minorities

Tbilisi City Hall refuses to guarantee security for members of Armenian Genocide rally

by | April 25, 2016

Members of Tbilisi’s Armenian community gathered in front of an Armenian church in Avlabari district following the authorities’ refusal to secure the annual rally in front of the Turkish Embassy demanding recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Minorities

In pictures: Tbilisi Armenians celebrate Palm Sunday

by | April 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Although the Armenian Apostolic Church follows a different liturgical calendar, many Georgian Armenians mark religious holidays on the same days as the Georgian Orthodox. Armenians in Armenia already celebrated Palm Sunday (Tsaghkazard in

Society

Georgia’s frozen conflict hampers Easter celebration in border villages

by | April 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The frozen conflict over South Ossetia will prevent many people in the border areas from visiting their family graves this Easter. As the observance of Orthodox Easter starts today with Palm Sunday, many will be unable to go to cemeteries

Minorities

In pictures: Georgian Jews prepare for Passover

by | April 23, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Passover, also known by its Hebrew name, Pesach, is a major religious holiday celebrated by Jews across the world. It commemorates the liberation of Jews by God from the slavery in Egypt and the

News

US congressman names Ivanishvili ‘illegal arms trader’, calls for freezing his assets

by | April 22, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Republican Steve Russell called for sanctions against representatives of the Georgian government for attempts at rigging the upcoming elections. Steve Russell, 53, representative of Oklahoma, delivered a speech in the United States House of Representatives,

News

Ombudsman asks for thorough investigation of death in detention

by | April 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender has asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate a death in preliminary detention. The ombudsman’s statement reads that March 15, a person who was detained a day before died in a detention facility

News

Flying Spaghetti Monster not approved as religion in Georgia

by | April 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Registry in Georgia rejected an application to register the Autocephalous Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster  as a public legal entity. Journalist Lexo Machavarian's April 19 application was rejected for two reasons. First, because

In brief

Eight flights postponed at Tbilisi airport due to strong wind

by | April 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eight flights were postponed yesterday at Tbilisi airport due to strong wind. All the affected flights were by Turkish Airlines. Interpressnews quoted an airport spokesperson saying that the decision was made by the airline. The delayed flights

News

Abkhazia shelves proposal to allow sale of real estate to foreigners

by | April 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia has decided not to lift a ban on selling real estate to foreigners. The de facto parliament in Sukhumi has rejected a draft law that would have lifted the ban, which is written into the constitution.

News

Georgians mentioned in leaked Islamic State documents

by | April 21, 2016

Experts point out inconclusiveness of the analysis of a sample of leaked documents, which mention five Georgian fighters registered with the Islamic State.

News

Georgia plans total ban on tobacco ads, other strict measures

by | April 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is preparing an anti-smoking bill. It is not yet known when the law will come into force. Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of the National Center for Disease Control, says he hopes that the new regulations will come into force from fall.

News

Georgia’s universal health insurance will not be changed

by | April 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s minister of healthcare says there is no plan to change the system of universal health insurance, but the government is considering a number of reforms. Appearing in parliament Wednesday to talk about last year's achievements,

Youth

Darejan Tvaltvadze elected acting rector of Tbilisi State University

by | April 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Academic staff at Tbilisi State University voted for a new acting rector on Wednesday. The winner was the vice rector, Darejan Tvaltvadze, who received 526 out of 967 votes cast. Other candidates were TSU professors Levan Gordeziani

In brief

UN chief to visit South Caucasus this month

by | April 20, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon will pay an official visit to Georgia on 23–24 April on the invitation of Georgia’s Prime Minister. The Secretary General will hold meetings with representatives of the legislative and executive branches.

Media

Georgia’s Press Freedom score declines, ranking rises: RSF

by | April 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the relative rise in the ranking to the 64th place, the highest place in the region, Georgia’s score slightly declined. Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF), a France-based international organization, issued the

Security

Georgia may end compulsory military service in 2017: Defense minister

by | April 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli says compulsory military service may be abolished from 2017. “This is my decision as minister of defense,” she told Channel 1 on Tuesday. “If another leader comes to this office, naturally, that decision may be changed.”

Minorities, News

Family feud linked to Pankisi arson case

by | April 19, 2016

The victim’s family demands an urgent and comprehensive investigation into a suspected arson case, which will otherwise be solved through the application of traditional law. A family house in Pankisi valley was burnt

News

Constitutional Court rules against Saakashvili’s mother

by | April 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled against the mother of former President Mikheil Saakashvili in her appeal against the seizing of her property. Giuli Alasania demanded that it be declared unconstitutional to seize property which might not

In brief

Gold bars worth USD 445,000 seized at Georgia-Azerbaijan border

by | April 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service arrested two Azerbaijani citizens on the so-called Red Bridge border crossing for attempting to illegally import 12 kg of gold to Georgia. The value of the gold bars is more than one million laris (USD 445,000).

Youth

Student activists say police threatened their families

by | April 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The student movement Auditorium 115, which sprang up a during a protest at Tbilisi State University (TSU) in March, claims that law enforcement bodies are putting pressure on them and their families. The State Security Service denies this.

News

EU considers including kill switch in agreement about visa-free travel

by | April 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU may add a suspension clause to the text of the document about visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo. The addendum will give Brussels the right to rapidly bring back visa requirements if it becomes necessary.

News

Tbilisi City Court rules in favor of Gia Gachechiladze in Maestro case

by | April 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court decided Monday that the Georgian rock singer Giorgi Gachechiladze, also known as Utsnobi, will remain in control of the TV company Maestro. The city court’s ruling forms the conclusion of a several months long lawsuit

News

Police in Georgia arrest 6 persons for trying to sell uranium

by | April 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested six persons for attempting to sell radioactive uranium for USD 200 million. Savle Motiashvili, an investigator at the State Security Service, said at a briefing on Monday that they have arrested a three Armenian and

Caucasus region

Abkhazia’s parliament: MP’s car explosion was an ‘act of terrorism’

by | April 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition suggests that the explosion could be connected to the government’s plans to allow foreign nationals to buy property in Abkhazia, while major political actors call for cross-political solidarity. Members of Abkhazia’s de facto parliament,

Youth

Students and lecturers in joint protest at Georgian Technical University

by | April 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last week, several lecturers at Georgian Technical University (GTU) have been on hunger strike demanding the resignation of the rector, who has been elected three times in a row. Five lecturers, with the support of students,

Youth

Revived TSU student protest called off after talks with PM

by | April 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After two days of blocking the journalists’ campus at Tbilisi State University, the Auditorium 115 movement Sunday evening left the building after meeting several hours with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. Students of Tbilisi

Minorities

Batumi Muslims continue demanding the right to build a new mosque

by | April 17, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - On 15 April, after the weekly Friday prayer, Acharan Muslims organised a peaceful rally demanding construction permit for a new mosque in Batumi, Batumelebi (‘Batumians’) reported. The protesters marched to the government buildi

News

Abkhazian MP’s car hit by explosion in Sokhumi center

by | April 16, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The official car of Almas Japua, MP in Abkhazia’s de facto parliament called the National Assembly, was hit by an explosion on Saturday evening, Sputnik Abkhazia reports. The car exploded on Sergei Bagapsh Square in

News

Georgian no longer language of instruction in Gali, Abkhazia

by | April 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are now no schools using Georgian as language of instruction in Gali, a part of the breakaway region Abkhazia where 97 percent of the population are ethnic Georgians (Megrelians). Georgian children have to study school subjects

News, Society

Man arrested in Tbilisi for slitting wife’s throat

by | April 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested a Tbilisi suburb Wednesday, suspected of slitting his wife’s throat with a knife. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an investigation has been launched under article 108 of the Criminal Code about premeditated murder.

Caucasus region

Putin gives yellow light to South Ossetian unification project

by | April 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia accuses Russia of instrumental use of a South Ossetian initiative to conduct a referendum on joining Russia, while Russia continues sending mixed signals to the Tskhinvali leadership. South Ossetian hopes for unification with the Russian Federation

News

Constitutional Court deprives security service of surveillance access keys

by | April 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled Thursday to take the access keys to secret surveillance away from the State Security Service, which until now has had the technical means to access data that may identify people. Lika Sajaia, parliamentary

Minorities

MP’s call for formal recognition of Armenian Genocide reignites debate

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A call to formally recognise the Armenian Genocide further strains interethnic relations in the context of recent hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, upcoming annual genocide commemorations, and impending parliamentary elections.

Society

U.S. Department of State releases new report on Georgia’s human rights record

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--American Country Reports on Human Rights Practices points out shortcoming in Georgia’s democratic development, independence of the judiciary, minority rights protection, political persecution, and restrictions in media freedom.

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover January-March down 7%

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2016 was USD 2.136 million. This is 7 percent less than in the same period last year. According to preliminary figures from Georgia's National Statistics Department, GeoStat,

Economy

Georgian Manganese loses lawsuit over GEL 200 million tax penalty

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The company Georgian Manganese, which owns manganese mines in Chiatura and a ferro-alloy plant in Zestaponi, lost a court case against the government on Tuesday and must pay a 200 million laris (USD over  88.2 million) tax penalty

Youth

TSU students reject reform proposal, relaunch protests Saturday

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students at Tbilisi State University (TSU) will resume their protests on Saturday, after negotiations with the Ministry of Education failed. After a meeting with Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze Wednesday evening, members of the group Auditorium 115,

News

Poll: Georgian Dream 15%, National Movement 13%

by | April 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Less than six months before the parliamentary election in Georgia, an opinion poll shows Georgian Dream in the lead with 15 percent and the National Movement second with 13 percent. But 38 percent don't know who they would vote for.

News

Saakashvili blames sex tape scandal on Bidzina Ivanishvili

by | April 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a TV interview Tuesday, Mikheil Saakashvili blamed former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili of a series of sex tapes posted online with threats against politicians. A fourth video was sent to a Georgian media outlet the same day as the former

News

Former head of Georgian military police charged with contract killing

by | April 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has charged the former head of the military police Megis Kardava with the murder of general Roman Dumbadze. The decision was made on April 7, but published on Tuesday. According to the Chief

News

Georgia improves on Freedom House index

by | April 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia slightly improved its position on the Nations in Transit index published by the human rights organization Freedom House, and has the best result over the past nine years. Georgia’s score in the latest index is 4.61 points out of 7.

News

Georgian sex tape scandal continues, another video threat posted online

by | April 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian sex video was posted on the Internet on Tuesday. The clip was sent to a media outlet; the same delivery method as the previous three times. This time, the website news.ge received an email with a video depicting

News

More Georgians think the country is moving in the wrong direction

by | April 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A larger share of Georgians think the country is going in the wrong direction, according to  new opinion poll published Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). According to the poll, 39 percent of people think that Georgia is moving

News

Georgia increasingly attractive for Azerbaijani businessmen and activists

by | April 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An increasing number of Azerbaijani citizens have been moving to Georgia in order to work and study. In addition to growing interest from tourists, one can already speak of a trend in which an increasing number of Azerbaijani choose

News

Georgia strengthens economic ties with China

by | April 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian authorities are set to strengthen cooperation with China in the areas of trade, transit, and tourism. The Georgian government has expressed interest in making Georgia a part of China’s transit initiatives known colloquially as ‘New Silk

News

10% fewer Georgians want to join the Russian-led Eurasian Union

by | April 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The proportion of Georgians who think their country should join the Russian-led Eurasian Union has fallen by about ten percent since August, 2015. 20 percent of Georgians now agree that they should join the Eurasian Union, according

In brief

One person detained at South Ossetian boundary line

by | April 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--43-year-old Erosi Takadze was detained by Russian border police at South Ossetian administrative boundary line (ABL) on Saturday, 9 April. According to Mr Takadze’s relatives in the village of Kirbali, which is located in Gori region right next

News

Another Georgian citizen killed in Syria

by | April 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vakha Bugiev, 39-year-old native of Chechnya became yet another Georgian citizen who died in Syria, Information Centre of Kakheti (ICK) reported. Mr Bugiev arrived to Georgia via Azerbaijan during the Second Chechen War in 2000 and was

News

Panama leak shows how Davit Kezerashvili became an oligarch

by | April 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A newspaper report based on the leaked Panama documents shows how Davit Kezerashvili, who was defense minister during Saakashvili’s presidency, became an oligarch a few days after he resigned. The Swiss newspaper Tribune

News

12 Babushara victims buried in Tbilisi

by | April 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--12 more bodies have been identified from the Babushara airport disaster during the 1992-1993 Abkhazian war. The bodies were buried at Brothers’ Cemetery in Tbilisi on Saturday April 9, when Georgia commemorates the victims of the tragedy of 9 April 1989.

News

Pope Francis to visit Georgia as part of Caucasus tour

by | April 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pope Francis will visit Georgia in September as part of a tour of the Caucasus, by invitation of President GIorgi Margvelashvili. The president’s administration said Saturday that Margvelashvili invited the pope last year during his

News

Georgia marks National Unity Day

by | April 9, 2016

Members of the Georgian government gathered on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi in order to commemorate victims of the tragedy of 9 April 1989.

News

Shalva Ramishvili denies allegations he sexually harassed actress

by | April 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The actress Tatia Samkharadze, or Taso Barnova as she is also known, claims that journalist and producer Shalva Ramishvili sexually harassed her. “I confirm that [my] former boss, Shalva Ramishvili, sexually harassed me, and it

News

Republican Party cabinet members will resign in August

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican cabinet members will leave their posts in August, party leader Khatuna Samnidze said in an interview on Friday. The Republicans are part of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, but recently decided to run on an independent ticket

News, Society

Feminists protest against abortion ban outside Poland’s embassy in Tbilisi

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 20 people gathered Friday outside the Polish embassy in Tbilisi to show solidarity with Polish women trying to stop a proposed ban on abortion in their country. The gathering was organized by Independent Group of Feminists

News

Check-in-Georgia kicks off April 24, nationwide series of concerts

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A nationwide music festival titled Check-in-Georgia will kick off in Tbilisi on April 24. The 35 concerts and festivals around the country will feature Robbie Williams, Maroon 5 and José Carreras. The festival,

In brief

Forest fire nearby Russian military base in South Ossetia

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has declared readiness in helping to extinguish a forest fire in the vicinity of a Russian military facility in South Ossetia, Novosti-Gruziya reported.

News

Georgian lawmaker questions policy of seeking NATO membership

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prominent member of parliament from the governing Georgian Dream coalition says Georgia should not seek membership in NATO if it is against the state interests. Tamaz Mechiauri, head of the finance and budget committee, also said he

Minorities

Suspect arrested for fatal stabbing in Tbilisi suburb

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a person Thursday accused of murdering 22 year old Pikrat Akhmedov on December 28 in Ponichala, a predominantly Azeri suburb of Tbilisi. The Ministry of Internal Affairs informed said police from Isani-Samgori

News

Romania welcomes Georgia, Ukraine in potential NATO Black Sea fleet

by | April 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minister of defense of Romania Mihnea Motoc hopes that during the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw a decision will be made regarding creation of NATO Black Sea fleet with participation of Georgia and Ukraine.

News

Georgia to begin checking asset declarations by officials

by | April 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is introducing a new law from January 2017 which will lead to a 1,000 fine for any official who fails to file or files incorrect asset declarations. There is currently no mechanism for reacting to incorrect submissions of asset declarations.

News

UK refuses to extradite former Georgian minister of defense

by | April 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--‘Political prosecution’ was used as the justification for the London court’s refusal to extradite former UNM official who served as Minister of Defense of Georgia during 2008 Russo-Georgian War and was charged with numerous crimes after his party

News

Talk show host fired, reason unclear

by | April 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Shalva Ramishvili, a talk show host and producer at Imedi TV, was fired on Tuesday. In an interview with DFWatch, the journalist ruled out the possibility that he was fired because of government pressure. There was no warning

News

Georgia leaves gas transit agreement with Gazprom unchanged

by | April 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has renewed an agreement with Gazprom which means the country will continue to receive 10% of natural gas transiting through to Armenia. Gazprom has sent the text of the agreement to the Georgian Ministry of Energy,

Minorities, News

One Armenian and one Azerbaijani MP concerned by Karabakh escalation

by | April 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two parliamentarians from the governing Georgian Dream coalition - one of Armenian, the other of Azerbaijani origin - express concern over the military situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the recent escalation in hostilities. “We call

News

Usupashvili: Partnership with UNM ‘not serious’

by | April 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili flatly denied allegations that the Republican Party of Georgia, commonly known as the Republicans, was considering a partnership with the United National Movement (UNM) before the parliamentary

Society

The story of Azerbaijani journalist fleeing her country

by | April 6, 2016

By Delilah Damanova TBILISI, DFWatch--Last week European House hosted another meeting of the Thinking Citizen Center, an alternative education initiative for Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijanis. The Center’s vision is the intellectual and cultural transformation of ethnic

News

Georgia marks NATO Week on the eve of Warsaw Summit

by | April 6, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Two-day NATO–Georgia Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi opened NATO Week 2016, which will last from 4 to 19 April. ‘Georgia’s NATO and EU integration is our return to the European family with whom we are linked to by our common values of democracy, freedom and human rights protection.

Minorities, News

Fighters recruited among Georgia’s minorities for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

by | April 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has complicated relations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in Georgia. A small group of Georgian citizens plan to go to fight in case the conflict continues.

News

Georgia’s parliamentary election scheduled for October 8

by | April 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia on Tuesday announced that the parliamentary election in 2016 will be held on October 8. “I want to inform the public that the date of the parliamentary election is set for October 8. Tomorrow, the prime minister

News

Gori university lecturer claims she was fired because of anti-Stalinist views

by | April 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lecturer at the University of Gori, a town 80km west of the capital, claims that she was fired because of her anti-Stalinist opinions. Arina Tavakarashvili wrote on her Facebook page that the canceling of her lectures was related to the issue

News

Vice speaker doubts ‘Panama Papers’ report about Ivanishvili

by | April 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A leading Georgian parliamentarian says she doubts the accuracy of a journalistic investigation published on Sunday which also included material about the Georgian billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili’s

News

Georgian president calls for Karabakh de-escalation

by | April 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili called for a ‘peaceful end to the tensions’ in the recent outbreak of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, Rustavi 2 reported. President made his remarks during the second day of the NATO–Georgia

In brief

17% more visitors to Georgia in March 2016 compared to last year

by | April 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of visitors entering Georgia in March grew by 16.7 percent, compared to same period last year, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the new monthly report of MIA the number of visitors in March was 450,875.

News

Demand for tougher regulation of surveillance following sex tapes scandal

by | April 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Organizations that are members of the campaign This Affects You Too on Monday called on the government to take measures to rein in the use of secret surveillance and wiretapping. The groups also demand the resignation of Chief Prosecutor

Education

Tbilisi State University to select new rector on April 20

by | April 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi State University (TSU) has scheduled the selection of a new rector for April 20. Vladimer Papava resigned as rector after a student rebellion and a nearly week-long sit-in. The TSU’s academic council decided on Monday that the

Caucasus region

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Georgia may offer to host negotiations

by | April 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is considering offering Azerbaijan and Armenia to negotiate about the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, where at least 33 people have died and more than 200 have been injured during the last few days, according to the United Nations.

Politics

National Forum withdraws from coalition, parliamentary majority

by | April 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Forum withdrew from the governing Georgian Dream coalition -on Sunday, and the following day party leaders said they are also withdrawing from the parliamentary majority. Leader of the party Kakha Shartava

Opinion

In Memoriam: Hans-Dietrich Genscher

by | April 4, 2016

As Georgia made its first toddler steps in the community of free nations in 1992, Germany was there to help in a period of dramatic institutional, economic, diplomatic, and political transition. And the face of Germany for the world was none other than the patriarch of diplomacy, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who served Europe as much as his country for eighteen years.For nearly one generation, Mr. Genscher expressed a tradition of German diplomacy that identified German interests with Europe’s interests. No doubt, he will be missed. He represented a man who favored conflict management through negotiation, cooperation, dialogue, and consensus building. He had a vision of a unified Germany, in a unified Europe. And he played a part in laying its foundations.In 1992, Genscher was the first foreign minister of a European state to visit Tbilisi and Germany the first state to open an embassy. Eduard Shevardnadze and Hans-Dietrich Genscher had been working shoulder-to-shoulder for the reunification of Germany, and Europe. Their friendship was built on history, but the connection between nations is very often founded on the warmth between people who ...

Investigative reports

Offshore Company Spent 3 Years Chasing Ivanishvili’s Passport

by | April 3, 2016

By Nino Bakradze and Dave Bloss Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project TBILISI, REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA -- Bidzina Ivanishvili's wealth is not all hidden away in vaults. His 108,000 square foot glass house perches on a hill above the capital city of the country he returned to rule as prime minister after leaving for neighboring Russia as a young man and accumulating billions of dollars before moving back to Georgia in 2004.

Europe

EU’s Avramopoulos optimistic about visa-free travel for Georgians

by | April 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU’s commissioner for home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said Saturday that he is confident that the EU Parliament will support the proposed visa liberalization for Georgia. After meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the commissioner

News

Tbilisi plans to regulate its taxis to ‘eliminate discomfort’

by | April 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall has begun work on a new taxi regulation that will eliminate the discomfort of taking taxis in the capital. Mayor Davit Narmania said Friday that taking a taxi will become more secure and comfortable. The new regulation

News

National Forum third GD coalition partner to go independent

by | April 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Forum, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, declared Thursday its intention to run as an independent party in the parliamentary election this fall. The Republican Party was the first of the parties in the

News

Sex tapes were not uploaded from Georgia: Prosecutor

by | April 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Chief Prosecutor’s Office claims three sex tapes posted to the Internet in order to threaten politicians were not uploaded from Georgia. Mamuka Vasadze, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, said at a briefing on Friday that investigators are currently

News

European People’s Party president meets imprisoned UNM officials

by | April 1, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Joseph Daul expressed his support for the United National Movement and made comments on EU visa liberalisation process. President of the European People's Party (EPP), Joseph Daul paid a visit to Georgia in order to meet with representatives of the opposition party United National Movement (UNM) and express his support for the party.

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