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Leader of Georgia’s main opposition party stripped of his seat in parliament

By | September 20th, 2021|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , , , |

Nika Melia. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--The largest opposition party’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor has lost his seat in the Georgian parliament. Nika Melia, leader of the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM), asked for the revocation himself in July, after the ruling party abandoned the EU mediated compromise agreement negotiated by European Council President Charles Michel. [...]

Georgian ombudsman names priest, blogger as organizers of July 5 anti-LGBTQ rally and calls for their prosecution

By | September 6th, 2021|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Zurab Makharadze (center with a microphone) and Archpriest Spiridon (left, with a wooden cross) at the rally in front of parliament. (Megatv.ge) The ombudsman calls for the prosecution of an ultra-nationalist journalist and an archpriest of the Georgian Orthodox Church for organizing violence against journalists and LGBTQ rights activists. Ombudsman Nino Lomjaria said 53 people have [...]

GD chairman rules out early parliamentary elections

By | August 31st, 2021|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of Georgia's ruling party, Georgian Dream. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party has dashed the opposition's hopes of holding early elections for parliament in 2022 as a spokesman ruled it out entirely regardless of how few votes Georgian Dream will be able to get in the local elections this October. "Even if Georgian Dream gets [...]

Georgia’s Public Defender calls for postponing the local elections due to Covid-19

By | August 25th, 2021|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Nino Lomjaria, Public Defender of Georgia. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Defender calls for postponing the local elections amid skyrocketing numbers of new Covid-19 cases and deaths. Nino Lomjaria’s call is backed by the opposition, but the government categorically rules out postponing the poll, which is scheduled for October. "We have more than 60-70 dead per day. What [...]

Georgian NGOs express concern over oil spill off Russia’s Black Sea coast

By | August 19th, 2021|Categories: NGO news|

(Photo: Instagram / _svetlana__radionova_) TBILISI, DFWatch--Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform, a coalition of more than 200 non-governmental organizations, expresses concern over an oil spill off Russia’s Black Sea coast and calls on the Georgian government to take appropriate measures to prevent the spill from causing major environmental destruction and threatening the Georgian coastline. [...]

22 Georgians stranded in Kabul. Turkey, other partners will help, MFA says

By | August 16th, 2021|Categories: World|Tags: , |

People storming Kabul airport after Taliban takeover of Afghan capital (VOA). TBILISI, DFWatch-Twenty two citizens of Georgia are stuck in Kabul and are unable to return to Georgia. They were scheduled to fly off on a Ukrainian plane on Monday, but were unable to reach the airport due to security concerns. They are currently in a [...]

Georgia halts public transport in biggest cities amid new deadly wave of Covid-19

By | August 12th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Facebook/MIA.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is tightening regulations due to the worsening epidemiological situation, but still refrains from reintroducing curfew and lockdown, measures that are wildly unpopular among the population. The government was originally expected to announce a new tightening of measures on Tuesday after news of hospitals buckling under the stress of skyrocketing Covid-19 numbers, [...]

Covid-19 surge reaching crisis point in Georgia as hospitals struggle

By | August 11th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Ekaterine Tikaradze at the briefing on Wednesday. (Government of Georgia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The recent surge in Covid-19 is causing a steadily deteriorating situation in Georgia and approaching crisis level. Hospitals are reporting  an acute shortage of free beds and medical staff, while the government is considering more restrictions, something it did not intend to do before the [...]

Georgia brings back some stricter regulations amid skyrocketing number of new Covid-19 cases

By | August 9th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The meeting of the Coordinating Council was presided over by PM Irakli Gharibashvili, August 8, 2021. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Against the backdrop of a skyrocketing number of new cases of Covid-19 and a steady increase in the number of deaths, authorities in Georgia decided Monday to bring back stricter regulations, but stopped short of using another round [...]

Georgia denies that PM Gharibashvili’s visit request was turned down by Baltic states

By | August 5th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies claims by the opposition that the three Baltic countries refused to host PM Irakli Gharibashvili, who was planning a visit. One of the largest online publications in Lithuania, 15min.lt, confirmed, based on anonymous sources, that the PM's request to come on an official trip to [...]

For the first time, Georgia’s president criticizes the country’s ruling party

By | August 4th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Salome Zourabichvili (1tv.ge). TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili has criticized the ruling Georgian Dream party for unilaterally abandoning the EU-mediated agreement.  She also reiterated the importance of the country's European development. This is the first time the president has criticized the political movement that brought her to the presidency. Salome Zourabichvili was able to win [...]

Missing Australian woman, 31, found dead in Tbilisi

By | July 31st, 2021|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

Shanae Brooke (Facebook). TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of an Australian expat was found at the Mtatsminda Recreational Park near the center of Tbilisi. It is reported that she was allegedly murdered. Shanae Brooke, 31, went missing Friday when she went to Mtatsminda Park for jogging, which she did routinely. She was last heard from placing a disturbing [...]

Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling to run for mayor of Gori for Georgia’s ruling party

By | July 31st, 2021|Categories: Sport|Tags: , |

Lado Khinchegashvili (Sova.news). TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream has nominated Olympic champion Vladimer (Lado) Khinchegashvili as a candidate for mayor of Gori in the October local elections. Following the results of the previous elections in this city, the 30-year-old athlete, who has not yet made a public announcement to leave the sport, will most likely win this election. [...]

Georgia responds to Russian threat of ‘countermeasures’ to NATO drills

By | July 30th, 2021|Categories: Security|Tags: , , |

Lasha Darsalia (Imedinews). TBILISI, DFWatch--As NATO’s military drills ‘Agile Spirit 2021’ got underway in Georgia this week, spokespersons for both Georgia and Russia made warning statements illustrating the risk of another round of conflict.  Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov first said NATO’s Agile Spirit 2021 exercise with 2,500 military personnel from 12 alliance members and three partner [...]

GD withdrawal from EU-brokered political agreement fuels confrontation ahead local elections

By | July 29th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Irakli Kobakhidze (center) at the GD briefing. Georgian Dream’s withdrawal from the EU-brokered political agreement has fueled ongoing political confrontation in the country. The case has even reached the point where part of the opposition is considering boycotting the local elections scheduled in October. One MP, Zurab “Girchi” Japaridze, has already left parliament. On Wednesday the [...]

Georgia’s public defender calls on law enforcement to prosecute perpetrators of July 5 violence

By | July 27th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s public defender calls on law enforcement bodies to react to the violent attacks on journalists during the night of July 5 and the following days and make the results public. After crowds of ultra conservatives hunted down journalists in the street and beat them in the night of July 5 [...]

UNM nominates its chairperson for Tbilisi mayoral race but fails to put up united opposition front

By | July 25th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

UNM candidate for Tbilisi mayor, Nika Melia (left), and UNM candidate for city assembly chair, Elene Khoshtaria. TBILISI, DFWatch--The largest opposition party in Georgia, the United National Movement, on Friday nominated party chairman Nika Melia as its candidate for Tbilisi Mayor in the local elections in October. But Melia has so far failed to secure broad [...]

Georgia sees disturbing rise in Covid-19 cases but government rules out another lockdown

By | July 24th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Vaccination center at Hualing shopping mall in Tbilisi (1tv.ge). TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia  is facing a setback in its fight against the coronavirus as experts predict an increase in daily cases in the next 2-3 weeks, but the government reiterates that it’s not planning another lockdown. Meanwhile, the mass vaccination program is continuing and the [...]

Georgian PM rules out another lockdown despite Covid-19 virus again running rampant

By | July 21st, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

PM Irakli Gharibashvili rules out another lockdown, saying that country’s economy can’t withstand it. (Stopcov.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is not going to declare a lockdown ahead of the upcoming elections, despite a rapidly deteriorating situation in tackling the spread of the coronavirus. Many see the government’s avoidance of new unpopular restrictions in light of the [...]

Rally in Tbilisi calls for PM’s resignation after death of cameraman beaten in July 5 violence

By | July 11th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Rally organizers demanded the resignation of PM Irakli Garibashvili, as well as a full independent investigation of the death of TV cameraman Lekso Lashkarava. (Interpressnews.) Opposition parties, journalists and civil society activists are protesting in the center of Tbilisi on Sunday, demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, after the death of a cameraman who was [...]

Dozens injured as far-right groups attack Tbilisi Pride, journalists

By | July 5th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Far-right activists attacking a reporter for Formula TV. (IPN). TBILISI, DFWatch--Dozens of people were injured in Tbilisi on Monday as far-right activists attacked the LGBTQ Pride parade. There were incidents several places in the capital. The main targets of the attacks were journalists and cameramen for several opposition TV stations that are considered "propagandists for liberalism." [...]

Georgia lifts nightly curfew from July

By | June 22nd, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(Adjaratv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is relaxing or lifting the two Covid-19 measures that have irritated the population the most. PM Irakli Gharibashvili said on Tuesday that the government is lifting the nightly curfew from July 1, although restaurants and cafes, as well as other entertainment establishments will be open only until midnight. At the same time, Gharibashvili [...]

Ivanishvili rejects rumors of links to his ex-PM’s new party

By | June 8th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: |

Giorgi Gakharia and Bidzina Ivanishvili (Facebook/GeorgianDream)  TBILISI, DFWatch--The founder of Georgia’s ruling party has publicly dispelled rumors that he is secretly supporting the former prime minister Giorgi Gakharia’s new political party. In a letter published on Monday, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili called Gakharia a "traitor" and categorically ruled out collaborating with the party he founded. Gakharia, who [...]

Two injured in clashes as special forces arrest hydropower protester near Tskaltubo

By | June 1st, 2021|Categories: Environment|Tags: , , |

Locals gather at Sakulia cemetery after the clash. TBILISI, DFWatch--At least two people were injured as protesters clashed with police in a village near Tskaltubo Tuesday evening. The clashes broke out as special forces arrived in the village of Sakulia in order to arrest a 29-year-old man for involvement in protests against the Namakhvani hydropower project. [...]

Georgia ponders reopening its land borders

By | May 23rd, 2021|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

Paata Imnadze (1tv.ge). TBILISI, DFWatch--With the tourist season approaching, Georgia is thinking about opening its land borders. "Discussions are already underway and the border will probably be opened," said Paata Imnadze, Scientific Director at National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, which is the main body handling the pandemic in the country. Everything has been [...]

Conservative millionaire Vasadze, who suggested anti-LGBT vigilante groups, to launch political movement

By | May 6th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Levan Vasadze with his followers threatening to set up vigilante patrols against LGBT activists in Vere Park in Tbilisi, 2019. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--After years of denying his intention to go into politics, the conservative millionaire Levan Vasadze finally announced on Thursday that he is launching a public movement. "I’ve made a very difficult decision in my [...]

Fatal climbing accident in Svaneti, Georgia

By | May 3rd, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Rescuer workers at Guli Glacier. (Emergency Management Agency). TBILISI, DFWatch--A foreign tourist has died in a climbing accident in the Svaneti highlands, according to the Emergency Management Agency of Georgia. Officials did not name the deceased but indicated it was a citizen of Switzerland. Local media reported that the death was caused by a fall into [...]

Russia sends first batch of Sputnik V vaccines to Abkhazia

By | April 30th, 2021|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

(Sputnik-Abkhazia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has sent its first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine to Abkhazia, where people will start receiving the jab after the May 9 Victory Day celebrations. The Russian vaccine against the coronavirus will only be administered in one location, Sokhumi Republican Hospital. Initially, only medical staff, teachers, government employees and law enforcement officials [...]

Georgia considers return to tougher coronavirus measures after another increase in cases

By | April 20th, 2021|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--In light of rising concerns about the Covid-19 situation in the country, Georgia may tighten its existing restrictions or bring in tougher measures.  The government will hold a meeting with specialists on Wednesday, where a final decision will be made, the health minister said. The epidemic is getting worse, and with more than 10,000 active [...]

EU backs early parliamentary election in Georgia if ruling GD party gets less than 43% in local elections

By | April 19th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

European Council President Charles Michel. (Twitter.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union on Sunday made another attempt at breaking the political deadlock in Georgia, offering a compromise that envisions the release of perceived political prisoners as well as early parliamentary elections. The EU earlier suggested Georgia's factions agree to the release of UNM leader Nika Melia and Giorgi [...]

Georgia’s ruling party signs EU-mediated agreement but opposition refuses to sign

By | April 16th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Archil Talakvadze (Imedinews). TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream party has unilaterally signed an EU-mediated compromise agreement intended to overcome the political crisis in Georgia, which addresses one of the two main demands of the opposition. “Today, the Georgian Dream publicly signs a document created under the auspices of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, [...]

Four Georgians found drowned after trying to cross the Enguri bypassing Abkhazia checkpoint

By | April 7th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Rescue workers at the Enguri River (RFE/RL) TBILISI, DFWatch--Four people were found dead on the banks of the Enguri River on Wednesday. The four are believed to have  drowned as they tried to cross from Abkhazia to Georgian-controlled territory bypassing Russian border guards and Abkhaz customs officers.  Rescue workers found the bodies of three people Wednesday [...]

A PM who recently resigned is Georgia’s most popular politician

By | April 5th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has 65% approval rating among Georgians. TBILISI, DFWatch--A recently retired prime minister is one of Georgia's most popular politicians, according to a new survey published by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on Monday. Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned in February citing disagreement with his party colleagues over the detention of UNM leader [...]

EU-mediated talks fail to resolve Georgia’s political crisis

By | March 31st, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Christian Danielsson addressing the media after the failed talks. TBILISI, DFWatch--EU-mediated negotiations to end the political crisis in Georgia have once more ended in failure.  The compromise proposed by EU envoy Christian Danielsson was rejected Tuesday evening by both the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) and the group of opposition parties led by United National Movement (UNM). [...]

Third wave looming, but half of Georgians don’t want to get vaccinated

By | March 27th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s vaccination effort has run into a roadblock, as many people are skeptical of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is believed to have caused the death of a 27-year-old nurse a week ago. The attitude toward the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is more positive, although the available supplies of it are limited. A large [...]

Georgian ex-PM Gakharia keeps people guessing after cryptic message that he hasn’t left politics

By | March 22nd, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

(Facebook/გახარია.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said on Monday that he has not left politics, without further explanation, leaving people guessing as to what he might have meant. "I am not leaving anything, not even politics," Giorgi Gakharia wrote on his Facebook page on Monday. But when asked by reporters, he did not explain [...]

Georgia will not halt the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine despite 27-year-old nurse’s life-threatening allergic reaction

By | March 18th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(Government of Georgia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is not halting its use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine after a 27-year-old female nurse suffered anaphylactic shock and went into a coma on Thursday after receiving the jab. "We recently heard a report about AstraZeneca from a strict European regulator. It is recognized as a safe vaccine that has far more [...]

Georgian PM rejects opposition’s two main demands

By | March 17th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Irakli Garibashvili meeting with Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. (Facebook/Government of Georgia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister on Tuesday rejected the two main demands put forth by the opposition, thus prolonging the country’s four and a half months long political crisis. "The next parliamentary elections will be held in 2024," Prime [...]

Locals in Gali, Abkhazia demand lifting of 5-day Covid-19 quarantine for crossing Enguri Bridge

By | March 12th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Enguri Bridge. (DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Gali residents demand the opening of the checkpoint on Enguri Bridge and the lifting of the five-day quarantine for travelers that have been tested for Covid-19.  Locals told DFWatch that because of the quarantine requirement, many people have resorted to a dangerous route, wading through the surging Enguri river at the so-called [...]

South Ossetia incident: Two Russian soldiers advance 500m into Georgian-controlled territory, fire warning shots, in failed attempt to detain resident

By | March 9th, 2021|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two armed Russian service members advanced 500 meters into territory controlled by Georgia and fired warning shots in an attempt to seize a local resident in the village Khurvaleti, about 50km northwest of Tbilisi, an eyewitness told Radio Tavisupleba. Khurvaleti is located at the southern tip of the breakaway region South Ossetia, whose de [...]

Audio of Georgian PM discussing crackdown on social media comments sparks outrage in Georgia

By | March 7th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Bera Ivanishvili (left) and Irakli Garibashvili. (Newposts.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Audio recordings aired by an opposition TV channel in Georgia have caused outrage and demands for the prime minister’s resignation. The recordings, aired Saturday on TV Pirveli, appear to show Georgia’s current PM Irakli Garibashvili and ruling party founder Bidzina Ivanishvili's rapper son Bera discussing with Anzor Chubinidze, [...]

Georgia’s economy minister expects a sevenfold increase in flights this month as Covid-19 restrictions on air travel are lifted

By | March 4th, 2021|Categories: Economy|Tags: , , , |

(Avianews.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia expects air traffic to increase sharply as Covid-19 related restrictions on regular flights are lifted, to reach a level this month seven times what it was in August last year. By summer, the number of flights per week may reach 200, a 20-fold increase, the Minister of Economy Natia Turnava said Thursday at [...]

Georgian opposition offers to tone down protests to give negotiations a chance

By | March 4th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: |

Policemen guarding the entrance to parliament during an opposition protest on March 2, 2021. (RFE/RL) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s opposition have decided to scale back their protest rallies, citing a wish to not give the ruling Georgian Dream party an excuse to stall the talks initiated by the President of the European Council. The decision was made at [...]

Political crisis deepens in Georgia following violent police raid and arrest of opposition leader

By | February 24th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Opposition supporters rallied in front of the government office in Tbilisi. (Newposts.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--A police raid of the headquarters of Georgia’s largest opposition party and the arrest of its leader Tuesday morning has further deepened the political crisis in the country. Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement, was dragged out of the party building [...]

Abkhazia village appeals to Tbilisi for help after massive disease outbreak, suspected to be Covid-19

By | February 19th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

A school building in Sida, another village in the Gali region. (DFWatch.) GALI, DFwatch--In the village of Tagiloni in the Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, there has been an explosion of cases of an illness locals suspect to be Covid-19, following a burial feast held ten days ago. Locals reached out to DFWatch, to appeal for [...]

Resignation of PM fails to defuse Georgia’s political crisis, as incoming PM vows to ‘restore order’, hinting that UNM leader Melia may still be arrested

By | February 18th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Irakli Garibashvili speaking at Georgian Dream headquarters during his nomination. TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Georgia breathed a sigh of relief Thursday, as Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation and the MInistry of Internal Affairs postponed the arrest of Nika Melia, leader of the largest opposition party in the country, UNM. Opposition leaders had spent the [...]

Georgia on the verge of fierce escalation: opposition prepares to resist arrest of UNM leader after controversial court ruling

By | February 18th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Nika Melia, surrounded by opposition politicians, speaking to journalists at the UNM office after court ruling. (Timer.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Five out of eight opposition parties and blocks which passed one percent barrier in 2020 parliamentary election - UNM, European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Labour Party - voice their support for and pledge to defend UNM’s Nika Melia [...]

Leader of Georgia’s main opposition party facing imprisonment on charges from 2019 protest rally

By | February 12th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

Nika Melia talking with supporters at an opposition rally in Tbilisi, Novermber, 2020. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of Georgia’s main opposition party faces imprisonment after participating in a protest in 2019.  The prosecutor's office asked parliament on Friday to strip Nika Melia of his immunity as a member of parliament. If parliament agrees - and that [...]

Video appearing to show 15-year-old girl’s engagement sparks outrage in Georgia

By | February 10th, 2021|Categories: Society|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--A video allegedly depicting the forced engagement of an underage girl has sparked public outrage in Georgia and even in neighboring Azerbaijan, where the ombudsman asked her Georgian counterpart to get involved. The case gained country-wide recognition after a video was posted on social media February 8 allegedly depicting the engagement party of a young [...]

Georgia lifts some coronavirus restrictions after week of protests

By | February 4th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Anti-lockdown rally by representatives of the hospitality sector outside the government building in Tbilisi on January 30. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Amid growing discontent and irritation among the population, the Georgian government is lifting some of the most painful restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. From Monday, February 8, public transport in major cities will be allowed to [...]

Citizens Party calls off parliament boycott after GD promises reforms, rest of opposition still rejects 2020 election results

By | January 29th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Aleko Elisashvili answering journalists at the parliament (video grab from 1tv.ge) One of the opposition parties in Georgia announced Friday that they are calling off their boycott of parliament, breaking ranks with the rest of the opposition, which have held that the October 31 election was fraught with violations and should be annulled. Chairman of the [...]

Georgia’s Public Defender says representatives are threatened by Soviet-style inmate leaders

By | January 20th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Nino Lomjaria. (ombudsman.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Penitentiary authorities in Georgia have unleashed “prisoners managed by the administration” to systematically carry out “verbal attacks, threats and aggression” against representatives of the Public Defender's Office, Ombudswoman Nino Lomjaria said on Wednesday. The PDO earlier released a report claiming the management model of semi-open prisons was based on an informal hierarchy [...]

Georgian opposition party Citizens to break off parliament boycott if government promises election reform

By | January 20th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian opposition’s boycott of parliament after the October 31 election is in doubt, after one of the parties indicated they will break off the boycott. Aleko Elisashvili, leader of the  Citizens party, said Wednesday that he will announce the party’s decision to take up their two seats in parliament in a few days. "If [...]

Georgia to lift some Covid-19 restrictions after drop in number of infections

By | January 18th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Amiran Gamkrelidze. (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia plans to gradually lift Covid-19 related restrictions as the most recent statistics show a reduction both in new cases and the number of deaths, the country's chief epidemiologist Amiran Gamkrelidze said on Monday.  This process will be accompanied by an increase in the total number of tests and the start of [...]

42-year-old Irakli Kobakhidze takes over reins of Georgia’s ruling party as billionaire founder steps down

By | January 16th, 2021|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Former party secretary Irakli Kobakhidze was "unanimously" elected as new leader of Georgian Dream. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party on Saturday elected former party secretary Irakli Kobakhidze as new chairman, after its billionaire founder stepped down.  The choice of a new leader and new composition of the political council at the party convention are important developments for [...]

Novosibirsk Opera terminates contract with wife of former leader of Georgian opposition party UNM

By | January 14th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Nino Ananiashvili. TBILISI, DFWatch--A Russian theater in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, which was supposed to be headed by the wife of a prominent Georgian opposition politician, has terminated its contract with her. Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater said the decision was provoked by the fact that former Bolshoi prima ballerina Nino Ananiashvili made a premature [...]

Wildfires now threatening Gagra, the former Soviet holiday resort north in Abkhazia

By | January 8th, 2021|Categories: News|

Wildfires in the hills above Gagra. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A number of wildfires have been put out in the Gali district of Abkhazia but the fires have now moved further north, threatening Gagra, an iconic holiday resort on the Black Sea coast. Despite lacking the means to fight the fires, the breakaway authorities in Sokhumi have rejected [...]

Wildfires threatening populated areas in Gali, Abkhazia

By | January 5th, 2021|Categories: News|

https://www.facebook.com/nona.khasaia.5/videos/1123278944771617/ Fire in the village Zemo Barghebi published by a local resident at about 2 pm. GALI, DFWatch--Wildfires tore through several villages here in the Gali district of Abkhazia on Tuesday. The fires broke out late last night and soon spread to populated areas due to strong winds.  Despite reports by the breakaway authorities that they [...]

Georgia shuts down again due to Covid-19, brings back nightly curfew

By | January 3rd, 2021|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia on Sunday re-introduced strict Covid-19 restrictions that will last until January 15. The rationale behind the measures adopted by the government in November was to reduce people’s mobility amid a worrying rise in the number of cases, which were well above 4,000 new cases a day during that month and continued growing. After a [...]

Georgia’s main electricity provider announces price hike in midst of pandemic

By | December 28th, 2020|Categories: Economy|Tags: , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--At the end of a difficult year with families struggling to get through a pandemic, Georgia’s largest electricity provider announced a price hike that risks causing major discontent. On Monday, the CEO of Energo-Pro Georgia, which in 2016 controlled 62% of the country’s energy distribution, said an increase in electricity tariffs was inevitable. "The existing [...]

Georgia’s ruling party softens stance on two controversial bills severely limiting oppposition parties

By | December 24th, 2020|Categories: News|

Opposition parties holding a joint briefing after the October 31 elections. (On.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Facing growing criticism from the West, Georgian Dream seems to soften its strict stance towards the opposition. Although parliament on Wednesday adopted a bill at the first reading that strips all opposition parties of their state funding, GD said it would send the [...]

Volunteer teacher bringing hope to university entrants remotely from locked down Gali

By | December 21st, 2020|Categories: News|

Rusudan Samushia. (Facebook.) GALI, DFWatch--Classes have been suspended in public schools in Abkhazia as in the rest of Georgia because of the pandemic, and also here in Gali, local teachers try their best to assist students with distance learning.  Despite many difficulties, including the interruption of electricity supply, local teachers are still more or less able [...]

Georgian Dream starts crackdown on opposition after talks to stop boycott fail

By | December 18th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

GD Executive Secretary Irakli Kobakhidze. TBILISI, DFWatch--After talks between Georgian Dream and the opposition failed to defuse the political crisis, the ruling party in Georgia has started to weigh in with threats of revoking registration for the largest opposition party and stripping others of state funding. On Thursday, Irakli Kobakhidze, the Georgian Dream executive secretary, said [...]

Gali residents struggling to get by under Covid-19 travel restrictions

By | December 13th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: |

Gali. (DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Under conditions that amount to a blockade, the population of Gali are finding ways of sorting out their daily life problems, such as how to receive pensions when they can’t get to a Georgian bank. In spring, Abkhazia’s separatist authorities closed the only road connecting the Gali district with the rest of Georgia, [...]

Opposition boycotting parliament in Georgia, first session begins with only ruling party in attendance

By | December 11th, 2020|Categories: News|

First session of newly elected parliament with opposition seats vacant. (Tabula.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's newly elected parliament opened its first session on Friday with only one party in attendance. All opposition parties are boycotting the parliament despite many rounds of negotiations and efforts by Western diplomats to break the deadlock. Nine parties surpassed the threshold in the [...]

Georgians in Gali welcome the partial opening of Enguri Bridge, but want it opened in both directions

By | December 10th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: |

(apsadgil.info) GALI, DFWatch--Georgians living in Gali welcome the opening by separatist authorities of Enguri Bridge for travel in one direction, but demand they also allow passage in the other direction across the bridge that connects Abkhazia with Georgia proper.  Although Sukhumi does not allow the passage from Gali to Zugdidi, locals think that if the Georgian [...]

Georgian resident of Gali sentenced to 9 years in jail in Abkhazia for dishonoring the flag

By | December 8th, 2020|Categories: News|

 The textile which Bebua is accused of burning (also shown in the video below) was part of decoration in the colours of Abkhaz flag. TBILISI, DFWatch--A resident of Gali who is accused by the breakaway authorities of Abkhazia of vandalism and dishonoring the flag, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison. The Georgian side protests [...]

Political gridlock continues after third round of negotiations between Georgian government and opposition

By | December 7th, 2020|Categories: News|

Speaker of Parliament Archil Talakvadze exiting the meeting at the US diplomat’s residence. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--The third round of negotiations between the Georgian government and opposition ended with minor progress on Monday.  The talks were mediated by Western diplomats and aimed at ending the boycott of the newly elected parliament.  Nine parties overcame the 1% threshold [...]

Council of Europe urges Russia to not delay €10 million compensation to victims of 2006 mass expulsion of Georgians

By | December 5th, 2020|Categories: News|

CoE Committee of Ministers sitting in Strasbourg, France. TBILISI, DFWatch--The Council of Europe (CoE) has urged  Russia to not delay further the payment of EUR 10 million damages to Georgia for human rights violations when thousands of Georgian citizens were expelled from Russia following a spy row between the two neighboring countries.  The European Court of [...]

Enguri Bridge to open temporarily from December 3 to 10 for humanitarian reasons

By | December 3rd, 2020|Categories: News|

(Gal Info.) DFWatch--The separatist authorities in Abkhazia have decided to temporarily open the Enguri checkpoint with Georgia proper from December 3 to 10 for "humanitarian" reasons. Those who possess Abkhaz citizenship or permanent residence there and are Covid-19 free can cross the “border” from 9 am till 7 pm during this period, reads a statement released [...]

Covid-19 restrictions causing extreme hardship for residents of Gali, Abkhazia

By | November 30th, 2020|Categories: News|

Enguri Bridge. GALI, DFWatch--The pandemic has caused an extremely difficult situation for tens of thousands of Gali residents whose livelihood depends on commuting to Georgia proper. The restrictions to halt the spread of Covid-19 have exacerbated the situation for locals here in Gali, a mostly ethnic Georgian area of Abkhazia, where residents are already suffering under [...]

Georgia goes into lockdown as surge in Covid-19 cases threatens to overwhelm healthcare system

By | November 26th, 2020|Categories: News|

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced drastic new measures after consultations with major businesses and business unions. (Imedi.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government on Thursday announced new restrictions amid a skyrocketing number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, and with a healthcare system on the verge of collapse. The new measures, though anticipated, are much less strict than what [...]

With power cuts and poor Internet, remote learning no substitute for closed schools during Covid-19 in Gali, Abkhazia

By | November 23rd, 2020|Categories: News|

Public school in the village Sida, Gali district. (DFWatch) GALI, DFWatch--School closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic are worsening an already difficult situation in Gali district  in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia. Teachers are struggling to continue classes remotely, but with unstable electricity supply and a lack of computers and Internet, few students are able to [...]

ECHR finds Georgia in violation of right to life in Roin Shavadze murder case

By | November 19th, 2020|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday found Georgia in violation of ARticle 2 - the right to life - in the high-profile case of torture and death of Georgian sergeant, an Iraq War veteran. In its judgment, the ECHR unanimously held that “there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention [...]

US State Dep official calls on opposition parties in Georgia to work within, not boycott parliament

By | November 18th, 2020|Categories: News|

Opposition parties held a “silent rally” on Rustaveli Avenue. (Formula TV) The Georgian opposition should call off their threats of boycotting parliament and instead fight for change within the parliament, a senior US State Department official told the traveling press at a briefing Wednesday. “So to see them calling for a boycott again is like watching [...]

As Georgia records 3,157 new Covid-19 cases, government considers using indoor arena to treat patients

By | November 16th, 2020|Categories: News|

Amiran Gamkrelidze, director of Georgia's National Center for Disease Control. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--A few months ago, Georgia was commended for its success in containing Covid-19, but in the last few weeks the country has seen a record spread of the virus causing the disease.  There are growing concerns that the health care system is failing to [...]

One injured as opposition clash with GFF staff over government officials’ attending Georgia – North Macedonia match despite Covid-19 restrictions

By | November 13th, 2020|Categories: News|

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRev36mExbk Activists quoted from Georgia Orwell's book Animal Farm, that 'some animals are more equal than others'. At least one person was injured during a brawl at the offices of the Georgian Football Federation Friday, during an opposition rally against the presence of high-ranking government officials at the UEFA Cup qualifier between Georgia and North Macedonia [...]

Georgian government meets opposition for talks to end post-election deadlock

By | November 13th, 2020|Categories: News|

The EU ambassador's car leaving the US ambassador's residence after the meeting. (Video grab from Mtavari Arkhi.) Government and opposition representatives met for the first time Thursday evening at the residence of US Ambassador Kelly Degnan to look for solutions to the continuing political crisis in the country. The meeting lasted three hours and was attended [...]

Shots fired outside residence of Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili

By | November 6th, 2020|Categories: News|

Opposition rally at the residence of Bidzina Ivanishvili (RFE/RL) TBILISI, DFWatch--Shots were fired outside the residence of Georgian Dream leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili on Friday, during a rally by the opposition party United National Movement and its allies to protest what they call “total rigging” of the October 31 parliamentary election. No-one was injured in the [...]

Georgian opposition demands election results canceled and CEC head’s resignation

By | November 3rd, 2020|Categories: News|

CEC chairwoman Tamar Zhvania is confronted by an opposition member of the CEC during an announcement of preliminary results. TBILISI, DFWatch--Eight of the nine political parties which qualified for seats in Georgia’s new parliament declare the October 31 election fraudulent and demand a new election and the resignation of the head of the Central Election Commission. [...]

Georgia’s ruling party declares resounding victory, but opposition rejects election results, claiming fraud

By | November 1st, 2020|Categories: News|

Nika Melia, UNM's candidate for the Tbilisi district Gldani. TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party holds a significant lead after Georgia’s general election, according to the Central Elections Commission, and will be able to form a new government without the need for a coalition. The opposition, meanwhile, refuses to accept the election results released by CEC, insisting they [...]

Ten opposition parties unite to exclude ruling Georgian Dream from new coalition

By | October 30th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Opposition leaders at the signing of agreement at Labor Party office in Tbilisi. (1tv.ge) A day before the general election, ten opposition parties signed an agreement not to form a coalition government with the Georgian Dream, a political party presided by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili which rules the country since 2012. The parties state that current government [...]

The government in Georgia claims the opposition is preparing a revolution

By | October 29th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: |

Irakli Kobakhidze, secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party. (Facebook.) Three days ahead of Georgia’s general election, the government is trading barbs with the opposition with each side accusing each other of extreme measures, ranging from election rigging to staging a violent overthrow of the government. Minister of Defense Irakli Garibashvili, who has previously served as [...]

Zugdidi hostage-taker still at large as manhunt continues

By | October 27th, 2020|Categories: News|

Police and forensic experts on Monday searched the house of Esebua's parents near Zugdidi. TBILISI, DFWatch--An ongoing police hunt in Georgia as so far failed to turn up a former soldier suspected of taking dozens of people hostage in a bank in Zugdidi, a town in west Georgia, and escaping with USD 500,000 of ransom money. [...]

18 natives of Georgia’s Javakheti killed in Karabakh war: local media

By | October 20th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Photos of those fallen in Karabakh are displayed at Surb Khach (The Holy Cross) church in Akhalkalaki. (Jnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--At least 18 natives of Georgia’s Javakheti region have died in the ongoing Karabakh war, an Akhalkalaki-based news website reports. The list published on Jnews.ge includes both volunteers and military personnel. Many natives of Javakheti live in [...]

Saakashvili’s ex-ally accuses him of undermining opposition unity

By | October 12th, 2020|Categories: News|

Gigi Ugulava. Opposition infighting intensifies to new extremes three weeks ahead of general elections as former ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili accuses him of violating opposition unity. Gigi Ugulava, the former mayor of Tbilisi and leader of the European Georgia party, says "Saakashvili stabbed opposition unity in the back." In a video address posted on Facebook, [...]

Armenia refuses to attend Russian-led military ODKB drills in Belarus

By | October 5th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Indestructible Brotherhood-2019 in Tajikistan. (CSTO) Amid full-scale war in Nagorny Karabakh, Armenia refuses to take part in Russian-led military exercises “Indestructible Brotherhood-2020", which will be held in Belarus in mid-October, the Armenian Defense Ministry stated Monday. The exercises are dedicated to carrying out peacekeeping missions. It is scheduled on October 12 to 16 at the Losvido [...]

“Clear disinformation”: Georgia denies allowing Turkish weapons shipments to Azerbaijan

By | October 5th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Lasha Darsalia. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia categorically denies rumors spread on various social networks that weapons are being brought to Azerbaijan through its territory and calls on the Armenian side not to rely on such misinformation and fake news. "We observe that various types of misinformation and fakes are spread in the social space, as if weapons [...]

Locals in Javakheti blocked for several hours road at the border with Turkey

By | September 30th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Jnews.ge) Ethnic Armenians of Georgia’s Javakheti regions blocked for several hours Tuesday a road that connects Georgia with Turkey and didn’t let trucks with Turkish numberplates in at the village of Kartsakhi, Akhalkalali Municipality. About a thousand people, mostly men, participated in the rally, local news agency Jnews reports. They suspect Turkey transfers weaponry [...]

Tensions high in Georgia as ethnic Armenians, Azerbaijanis rally to support sides in Karabakh war

By | September 29th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Registration of volunteers at Ninotsminda stadium. (Radio Nor) Ongoing armed conflict between Azerbaijan and breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh has had strong repercussion in Georgia with its ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijan minorities. Both groups hold mass rallies in support of their ethnically kin states. People in Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda, two municipalities in southern part of the country [...]

UNM embraces four minor parties to defeat “oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili”

By | September 15th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Coalition presentation. (Newposts.ge) Georgia’s largest opposition force forms an electoral block with four small political parties to propose candidacy of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili for PM office. State for the People, Republican Party, Chven Tviton, and Progress and Freedom joined ranks with UNM to defeat “oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili” and signed a formal agreement on Tuesday. [...]

Russian MP claima Georgia might have been involved in Navalny poisoning

By | September 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Yuri Shvytkin. (Facebook) As the world, and democratic forces in Russia, remain shocked by cold-blooded poisoning of President Putin’s top foe by Novichok, the Kremlin points at Georgian and the United States as possible perpetrators. Russia is not engaged in the manufacture of chemicals from the Novichok group, such laboratories are located in Georgia [...]

Anger in SO triggers political crisis, MPs boycott sessions

By | September 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|

Chief prosecutor Uruzmag Jagaev (Cominf.org) Situation in the breakaway South Ossetia remains tense after torture and death of a 28 y/o local man by police. The opposition and relatives keep on holding rallies in Tskhinvali, while the deputies at the de facto parliament have started boycotting sessions. Opposition MPs, who constitute majority in de [...]

Tskhinvali regime shaken after 28 y/o suspect “tortured to death” by police

By | August 29th, 2020|Categories: Conflict news|Tags: , , , |

(Cominf.org) The de facto leader of breakaway South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov dissolved “the government” Friday evening after hundreds of people rushed to the central square of Tskhinvali to protest a death of young man in Tskhinvali hospital. Inal Jabiev, 28 y/o, was suspected of attacking de facto minister of interior Igor Naniev. The latter’s [...]

Georgia cracks down on another Gulen-linked private school

By | August 25th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Faqcebook.) Georgia cracks on educational institutions linked to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen again. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education declined appeal by a private schooled linked to Turkish President Erdogan’s top foe. The school named after Shota Rustaveli is located in Rustavi, about 20 km east from Tbilisi and is regarded by locals as [...]

Georgia declares nationwide mourning on August 25 after 17 killed in minibus crash

By | August 24th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(1tv.ge) Georgia marks August 25 as a day of mourning for victims of deadly crash on the road to Khevsureti. Out of 20 people on board of minibus, 17 died and three others, all women, are currently in the critical condition. The tragedy occurred on the mountainous road leading to the ancient fortress of [...]

Georgia’s opposition forces agree to join efforts to beat Ivanishvili

By | August 18th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Opposition meeting at GLP office. (IPN) A group of Georgia’s opposition political forces, including United National Movement, the biggest opposition party, has agreed to unite their efforts “to defend” their votes against possible rigging by government in general elections in October. "Opposition parties will work in a coordinated manner in all electoral districts, including [...]

Georgian NGOs condemn Belarusian elections, violence against peaceful demonstrations

By | August 14th, 2020|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , , |

A coalition which unites over 180 Georgian NGOs harshly criticizes violence of Belarusian authorities against peaceful citizens in the wake of presidential elections held on August 9, and urges Georgian government not to recognize the election results. “As a result of actions taken by the riot police, thousands of people have been arrested and two have died who protested non-compliance of [...]

Cornered, beaten, thrown into the river: POG reveals its version of the footballer death

By | August 11th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Giorgi Shakarashvili (FC Saburtalo). The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia claims it has untangled a mystery behind a high profile case of tragic death of a young Tbilisi football player. Five young men, including two underage adolescents and a rugby player, were direct culprits of the intentional homicide, the POG representative said at the briefing [...]

President Zourabichvili rebuffs pardoning Rurua – “No one and nothing can influence me”

By | July 31st, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Salome Zourabichvili (1tv.ge). Despite a growing number of appeals, President Salome Zourabichvili has rejected the idea of pardoning Giorgi Rurua, an opposition activist and former paramilitary. “I won’t pardon [him]. The Georgian society knows better than me everything about him and is aware why I will not make this decision. No one and nothing [...]

23 y/o programmer mysteriously disappeared, found dead near Tbilisi

By | July 23rd, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tamar Bachaliashvili (Facebook). The mysterious disappearance and death of a 23 year old programmer cause mass agitation in Georgia. The police clearly indicate that cause of death was a suicide, which is flatly rejected by the family. Many in Georgia point at the tragedy as an example of the low efficiency of police, which [...]

Companies related to GD donors receive tens of millions of public funds: Report

By | July 9th, 2020|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

GD president Bidzina Ivanishvili (left) and speaker of parliament Archil Talakvadze. (Facebook.) Georgia’s ruling party received almost half of revenues totally got by all parties in 2019, whilst ultra-conservative Alliance of Patriots is on the second place, according to the findings of Transparency International Georgia, a major Tbilisi-base watchdog. When it comes to private [...]

Ex-official charged with mass torture in Georgian prison extradited from Germany

By | July 6th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Davit Chakua (center) upon his extradition in Batumi airport. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany Friday extradited the former head of Georgia's prison department Davit Chakua, who is charged with abuse of powers, humiliating and inhumane treatment, provoking a crime, falsification of evidence and influencing a witness. A plane with Chakua on board landed at Batumi airport. [...]

Georgia lifts restrictions from exhibitions, trainings and conferences

By | June 30th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Activities such as exhibitions, trainings and conferences are expected to be allowed from July 6 on, but this does not apply to swimming pools and fitness centers, said Economy Minister Natia Turnava Tuesday after Interagency Coordinating Council meeting. "Of course, this will be done in accordance with certain rules. In fact, the Ministry of Health has [...]

Abkhazia temporarily reopens Enguri crossing for “humanitarian reasons”

By | June 20th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

Sokhumi regime re-opens the sole crossing point on the river Enguri for three days for “humanitarian reasons” for the return of “citizens and residents of the republic temporarily being in Georgia”, the breakaway republic’s security service states on its website. Between June 22 and June 24, the passage through the checkpoint will be carried out daily [...]

Did Kadyrov send a hitman to murder Georgian journalist for swearing at his patron?

By | June 16th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Riot police at the scene of Vasambeg Bokov arrest. (RFE/RL) Mounting evidence indicates the authoritarian leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has sent a hitman “to punish” Georgian journalist for publicly insulting President Vladimir Putin of Russia. The State Security Service of Georgia (SUS) Monday late evening confirmed information that had earlier that day been [...]

Libertarian group rallies in Tbilisi, demands swift re-opening of gyms

By | June 9th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

(Girchi.com) A couple dozen people, mostly gym employees and libertarian opposition party Girchi members, rallied in front of Georgian government in Tbilisi Tuesday demanding re-opening gyms. Protesters say they don’t understand why they are forbidden to exercise and expect explanation from government. "This ban damages people’s health more than the virus could have done," [...]

Wizzair drops 19 destinations from Kutaisi base: source

By | June 8th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Wizzair planes at Kutaisi Int. Airport (1tv.ge) A Hungarian lowcoster WizzAir has removed 19 routes from Kutaisi, its base in Georgia, and decreased number of based aircraft to two, from previous three, Belgian aviation news platform aviation24.be reports relying on a Twitter user @SeanM1997 as a source. In July 2019, WizzAir announced that its [...]

Prominent mobster’s family, friends clash with police in Georgia, 9 detained

By | June 5th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(RFE/RL.) At least nine people were detained in Adjara Friday during a clash between the police and a group of people demanding extradition to Georgia of a prominent mobster. The clash occurred Friday afternoon after dozens of protesters blocked a road connecting Batumi to the Turkish border. The protesters, mainly relatives and friends of [...]

Georgian March turns political party, pledges to hold convention in a week

By | June 2nd, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Sandro Bregadze (1tv.ge). Georgian far-right group Georgian March plans to set up a political party and settle deeper in Georgian politics, its leader Sandro Bregadze says. "We were forced to go into politics in order to create a strong, nationalist political center on the basis of the Georgian March,” Sandro Bregadze said in an [...]

Amid optimistic figures Georgia starts reopening restaurants, malls, public transportation

By | May 27th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Imedinews.ge) Georgia will scale down most of restrictions imposed in February and March, including public transportation, shopping malls and even cafes and restaurants, PM Giorgi Gakharia said Wednesday. Public transportation, including metro, buses and minibuses, will resume operating on Friday, while intercity travel will reopen on June 8. People shall wear medical face masks [...]

Covid-19 bill sparks controversy in Georgia

By | May 19th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

(Parliament.ge) A bill drafted by Georgian Dream MPs sparked a heated debate in the parliament Tuesday, with the opposition accusing the government of curtailing certain freedoms, including freedom of movement and freedom of assembly, i.e. holding protest rallies. The opposition suspects delivering additional rights to government may be abused in order to suppress critical [...]

Two Georgian opposition politicians released from prison, threw scathing remarks towards Ivanishvili

By | May 15th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(IPN.) Embattled Georgian Dream admitted a major concession on Friday when President Salome Zurabishvili pardoned two opposition politicians. The two, former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and ex-Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili were soon released and immediately hailed Bidzina Ivanishvili, the GD leader, with scathing remarks. "The only easy promise that Ivanishvili made was to [...]

Electoral reform in deadlock, opposition threatens resuming rallies in Georgia

By | May 13th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

(Newposts.ge) Political conflict in Georgia over electoral reform has escalated again amid disagreement between the government and main opposition forces, as the latter accuses the Georgian Dream of renouncing an agreement struck in March 8. The tension is so high some opposition politicians threaten to resume protest rallies despite Covid 19 restrictions. In particular, [...]

Georgia plans to establish special safe zones for tourists, reopens for international visitors by July 1

By | May 7th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , , , |

Giorgi Gakharia (Imedinews photo). Georgia gradually scales down restrictions imposed due to Covid 19 outbreak in order to reopen its embattled tourism industry and pledges to establish special Covid-free zones in several mountainous resorts across the country. "Georgia can allocate Covid-free tourist zones. These could be Tskaltubo, Gudauri, Sairme, Abastumani, Borjomi and many more,” [...]

Former chief of Georgian patrol police detained, sentenced for domestic violence

By | April 30th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Davit Tsinaridze (Facebook.) Tbilisi court sentenced Georgian patrol police former chief Davit Tsinaridze to two months of pretrial detention for domestic violence on Thursday. Tsinaridze was detained Tuesday after he reportedly physically assaulted his wife and shot a pistol. “The investigation established that on the night of April 27, 2020, drunk [Davit Tsinaridze] verbally [...]

Tskhinvali regime revives the city’s Soviet-era name, Stalinir

By | April 27th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Stalin's monument in central Tskhinvali (formerly Stalinir) in early 1950s. (Facebook.) The head of South Ossetia puppet regime Anatoly Bibilov seems to revive Soviet-era name of Tskhinvali. The city, which was a capital of South Ossetia Autonomous Oblast, between 1934-1961 bore the name of Soviet leader Josef Stalin- Staliniri or Stalinir in Ossetian. It [...]

Farmers took to the streets, blocked major highway protesting strict quarantine measures

By | April 22nd, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Imedinews.) Dozens of farmers took to the streets in Marneuli municipality Wednesday protesting strict quarantine regime and appealing to the authorities for assistance. Farmers, mostly ethnic Azerbaijani from nearby settlements, assembled at Shulaveri, a village five km south from Marneuli, an administrative center in Kvemo Kartli region, and blocked traffic on a road leading [...]

Georgia extends state of emergency, vows to ease some restrictions in May

By | April 21st, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Salome Zurabishvili (Newposts.ge) Georgia extends state of emergency by one month till May 22. “This decision will allow us to prepare for the lifting of restrictions,” said President Salome Zurabishvili on Tuesday, after announcing the decree. “The measures undertaken during this month helped us to control and check the spread and scale of the [...]

Ex-defense minister sentenced for participating in Gavrilov Night clashes

By | April 13th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Irakli Okruashvili. (1tv.ge) Irakli Okruashvili, who served for various important offices under President Mikheil Saakashvili in early 2000s, was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday for taking part in the Gavrilov Night clashes with police. Initially he was accused of attempting coup d’état but later was charged with organizing of and participating [...]

Prominent Georgian doctor says the country will overcome pandemic with minimal losses

By | April 7th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Tengiz Tsertsvadze (TV Pirveli.) The peak of covid19 pandemic in Georgia will come in two or three weeks, a prominent medical doctor of infectious diseases said on Tuesday, adding that he predicts total number of cases at about 1,000. “Georgia will overcome this harshest challenge with minimal losses," said Dr. Tengiz Tsertsvadze, Director of [...]

Additional flights designated to evacuate stranded Georgians, but much more still needed

By | April 5th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Georgian Airways crew for emergency flight to Rome in March 10. (Facebook/GA.) Georgia designates additional emergency flights to evacuate its nationals from abroad due to covid19 pandemic. However, the demand is so high the carrier's sales portal was virtually flooded and broken in few minutes after sales started for the first flight. Up to [...]

Campaigners deliver 1,500 flowers to medics fighting covid19 in Georgia

By | April 5th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

(Facebook/Ketevan.Lortkipanidze.) Volunteers have delivered 1,500 home-grown tulips to medics fighting covid19 after a campaign in social media to raise money to support a stranded farmer. Kako Jeiranashvili is a 63 y/o resident of one of Kakheti village. He’s been growing tulips for years and usually sell them to Tbilisi markets. However, the coronavirus pandemic [...]

Georgia sets up 600 million dollar stimulus package

By | April 1st, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Giorgi Gakharia (Imedinews photo). Georgian government puts forward two billion GEL (USD 605 million) stimulus package to respond coronavirus and diminish damage, PM Giorgi Gakharia said on Wednesday. “According to the government decision, GEL 2 billion has been allocated for direct assistance to the economy. This is the assistance that will be directed to [...]

Full list of businesses permitted during quarantine

By | March 31st, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Army and police officers at the special checkpoint in western Georgia. (Facebook/MIA.) The government of Georgia on Tuesday released a list of 18 “economic directions”, which are permitted to keen on their activities during tightened quarantine measures. The list includes: - Medical facilities. - Businesses related to production, distribution and sale of food, and [...]

Georgia declares nationwide quarantine

By | March 30th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

Giorgi Gakharia (Imedinews photo). PM Giorgi Gakharia declared full quarantine throughout the entire territory of Georgia on Monday evening. The quarantine will be enforced from 8 am Tuesday on and it prohibits free movement by any public transportation by 9 pm. From 9 pm till 8 am morning a curfew is being imposed. Any type [...]

Covid19 update: Georgia bans public gatherings, passenger traffic

By | March 23rd, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Army checkpoint on Marneuli road. (MoD/Facebook.) Georgia introduces new measures to tackle covid19 spread inside the country as total number of cases reaches 61 with seven new cases reported on Monday. The decree issued by the government on March 23 bans all social gatherings which involve ten people or more, including funerals, weddings, birthday [...]

Azerbaijan unexpectedly frees journalist who was secretly abducted in Tbilisi three years ago

By | March 17th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Azerbaijan’s authorities released on Tuesday Afgan Mukhtarli, an investigative journalist convicted on falsified charges. The released was ordered by the court, his lawyer Neymat Karimli said. He immediately left the country and flew to Germany, his wife Leyla Mustafayeva said. The release might be connected to Nowruz celebrations, Azerbaijan’s news agency Turan reports. Afgan Mukhtarli, an [...]

Five measures introduced by Georgia to tackle coronavirus spread

By | March 17th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

(Facebook.) Georgia introduces special measures to tackle coronavirus spread in the country by virtually closing borders and proposing shutdown of cafes and restaurants. On Monday, the government declared blanket ban on aliens to enter the country, and decided to close down ski resorts. Additionally, on Tuesday it ordered banning marshutkas as public transport across [...]

Georgian government says “no threat of epidemic outbreak”

By | February 28th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Health minister Ekaterine Tikaradze (Facebook). No new cases of coronavirus, except the one confirmed on Wednesday, have reported in Georgia so far, and public officials affirm citizens that situation is under control. “At this stage in Georgia there is no risk of a widespread coronavirus infection and therefore there is no threat of the [...]

Georgia ponders suspending flights to Iran fearing coronavirus pandemic

By | February 22nd, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Amiran Gamkrelidze (Facebook). Georgia ponders suspending direct flights to Iran amid the growing fear of coronavirus outbreak in the country. The government of Georgia has been discussing the issue for two days, said Amiran Gamkrelidze, the director of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). Ultimately, the final decision is up [...]

Saakashvili government strongman release from prison, promised to topple “regime”

By | February 20th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(IPN) “I ensure you this government will be finished in a year,” said Vano Merabishvili, former PM and ex-minister of interior, on Thursday after release from prison where he served almost seven years. Merabishvili was an iconic figure in the government led by Mikheil Saakashvili and one of his closest allies. He’s been widely [...]

Opposition rages in Georgia as Supreme Court sentences key politician to prison term

By | February 10th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Gigi Ugulava at Labor Party office making statement upon hearing information about the judgment. (IPN) The political confrontation in Georgia hit another low point on Monday after the Supreme Court sentenced Giorgi "Gigi" Ugulava, key opposition politician, to 3 years in jail for diverting public funds during his tenure as Tbilisi Mayor in 2005-2013. [...]

Georgian NGOs call on government to immediately move toward proportional electoral system

By | January 28th, 2020|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , , , |

Georgia’s major NGOs call upon the government to “fulfil the promise made to the public and move to a proportional electoral system”, which will be assumed as its readiness to ensure the country’s democratic development. It also will signal recovery of trust and repute in the eyes of Western partners and diminish the level of polarization, [...]

Khajimba resigns, refuses to meet key Kremlin fixer

By | January 12th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Raul Khajimba and Vladislav Surkov (right) at "presidential" office in Sokhumi. August 5, 2019. Embattled de facto president of breakaway Abkhazia Raul Khajimba had to file his resignation amid growing protests of opposition on Sunday evening. Immediately before the resignation, a group of about a hundred of opposition supporters came to his state datcha [...]

Mass unrest in Sokhumi: Khajimba flees his office, threatens to impose state of emergency

By | January 9th, 2020|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Opposition activists at the Khajimba's office. TBILISI, DFWatch--Raul Khajimba, de facto president of the Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia, threatens to impose a state of emergency after opposition activists stormed his office on Wednesday. "I am in Sukhumi at the workplace in the state building," Khajimba was quoted by Interfax. The authorities work to “localize” [...]

Russian journalist asks Georgia for asylum

By | January 5th, 2020|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

Yuri Izotov. (Svoboda.org) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian dissident and investigative journalist Yuri Izotov has applied to Georgian authorities for asylum. According to the Ukrainian news website, ua.krynr.com, he said that fears persecution by Russia for his journalistic activities. “[Russian authorities] carried out investigative check for my posts on social networks where I revealed the data of [...]

Georgian doctor freed from South Ossetian captivity

By | December 30th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prominent Georgian medical doctor was released on December 28 after spending 50 days in South Ossetian captivity for “illegal border crossing”. After his release on Saturday, Vazha Gaprindashvili emphasized that he has never admitted crossing the border, which is not recognized as such by Georgia. “My position was from the first day [of captivity], and [...]

South Ossetia refuses to reopen Akhalgori checkpoint

By | December 28th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Anatoly Bibilov at the meeting with Akhalgori residents. (Photo by the de facto president's administration.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tskhinvali refuses to reopen the passage to Akhalgori, a predominantly ethnic Georgian district of South Ossetia, unless Georgia disbands the checkpoint in Tsnelisi, the de facto president of the breakaway republic said on Thursday. "You address me as [...]

Georgia’s opposition TV channels’ accounts seized amid growing concerns of government pressure

By | December 26th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

The logos of TV Pirveli, Rustavi 2 and Kavkasia. Georgia’s opposition TV channels have slammed the financial sanctions by the government as politically motivated and vow to keep on “critical broadcasting” amid what they dub as growing pressure by Georgian Dream authorities. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance seized bank accounts of and started [...]

Tskhinvali regime sentences “defiant” Georgian medic to 21 months in jail

By | December 20th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Dr. Vazha Gaprindashvili Tskhinvali regime on Friday sentenced a prominent Georgian medical doctor to twenty months in jail for “illegal crossing” of “state border” of the breakaway republic. Vazha Gaprindashvili who is a well-known Georgian medical doctor and currently presides the Association of Orthopedists and Traumatologists of Georgia, was detained in mid-November in Akhalgori [...]

Georgian police under attack for brutality as 15 y/o commits suicide after interrogation

By | December 18th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Rally of solidarity to Luka in Kutaisi. Protesters hold banned with slogan "F**k this Life". (Ipress.ge) The tragic death of 15-year old boy has sparked a mass outcry throughout Georgia. Dozens of protesters, mainly young people, went to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Government office and other state institutions to denounce police officers [...]

Georgian parliament staffs Supreme Court amid opposition boycott, “chemical attack” and roaring protests

By | December 12th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

(IPN.) Parliament of Georgia approved 14 candidates as Supreme Court judges amid a cascade of confrontations on Thursday, which included even physical conflict between two MPs. The list of judges includes several controversial individuals which, many civic activists argue, will eventually help ruling Georgian Dream party to tighten its grip to the country’s judiciary. [...]

“The ice has started to melt” – Georgian government, opposition agree to discuss electoral reform

By | December 9th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

(AjaraTV.) The second round of negotiations between the Georgian government and opposition was concluded Sunday late evening with a slight progress amid growing pressure from western politicians and diplomats. The ruling party Georgian Dream has grudgingly agreed to discuss establishment of multi-mandate majoritarian electoral districts instead of single-member ones. “The ice has started to [...]

Such campaigns against American NGOs are being run out of the Kremlin: IRI president

By | December 5th, 2019|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , , |

Daniel Twining (Twitter). “I am a little surprised to be talking about this in the context of Georgia, because such a campaign against American NGOs is being run out of the Kremlin […] When we hear foreign politicians, foreign governments, attacking American NGO’s it is usually in cases like Russia and China, where there [...]

Georgian government accused of utilizing street violence to check opposition protests

By | December 3rd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Confrontation between opposition and pro-government activists in Mtkheta. (1tv.ge) The Georgia Dream has employed a new tactic to check anti-government protests throughout Georgia, which includes unleashing violent gangs of their supporters to confront activists verbally and physically, opposition claims. This invokes a parallel with Euromaidan when the government of pro-Russian leader Victor Yanukovych unleashed [...]

Political crisis in Georgia reaches point of no return, opposition starts “permanent” rallies

By | November 26th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Rally at the parliament. (RFE/RL) TBILISI, DFWatch--The confrontation between the Georgian Dream (GD) government and the opposition appears to have reached a point of no return, as the former on Monday flatly ruled out any chance of changing the electoral system. Kakha Kaladze, the Tbilisi mayor who has been front man for the GD [...]

Infighting between criminal clans named as possible motive of Sokhumi restaurant shooting

By | November 23rd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

The perpetrators of deadly shooting in Sokhumi center are still at large despite efforts by the regime law enforcers who have blocked almost all roads and checkpoints in Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia. At the same time, the de facto officials reveal the identity and possible motives of the crime. Two men, both 38 years old, [...]

Three killed as masked men riddle restaurant in Sokhumi

By | November 22nd, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

(Apsny.Today) A mass police operation is underway in the breakaway Abkhazia in the wake of mass shooting in Sokhumi where three people were murdered and at least three others were wounded on Friday. The shootout occurred at the restaurant San-Remo in Sokhumi center on afternoon. Reportedly a group of masked men opened fire in [...]

37 detained after police disperses opposition rally in Tbilisi

By | November 19th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--37 people were detained in Tbilisi on Monday after riot police dispersed a group of opposition activists blocking the parliament to protest its failure to amend the electoral law. Four people, including two police officers, have sustained injuries, the police said. The police and protesters clashed at the entrance of parliament after [...]

Georgian Dream’s alleged electoral deceit urged thousands to rally

By | November 14th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Thousands of people rallied onTbilisi's Rustaveli Ave on Thursday, after parliament failed to adopt a bill to use a proportional system during the 2020 general elections. The switch to proportional system, a long-standing demand by almost the entire opposition spectrum, was a promise by the ruling Georgian Dream party in the wake of “Gavrilov [...]

Cleric ‘forcefully removed’ from Holy Synod after ‘indecent’ accusation against Georgia’s Patriarch

By | October 31st, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Petre Tsaava surrounded by journalists at the gates of Patriarchate where a session of the Holy Synod was held. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--A session of the Holy Synod in Tbilisi has shocked the entire nation, as one of its members accused the spiritual leader and most popular person in the country, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, of [...]

Cleric’s shocking claim in TV interview triggers political crisis in Georgia

By | October 29th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Archbishop Iakob of Bodbe. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the government is embroiled in a scandal involving the Orthodox Church, after a bishop claimed the government tried to depose the highly respected Patriarch Ilia II. Iakob, Archbishop of Bodbe Diocese, made the incendiary claim during an appearance on Pirveli TV on Saturday. During the interview, [...]

Trial of TBC Bank founders begins at Tbilisi court

By | October 25th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Mamuka Khazaradze.(1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday began hearing a high-profile criminal case against the founders of Georgia’s biggest private bank. The Prosecutor’s Office accuses Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze of money laundering. The two pleaded not guilty and accused the government and Bidzina Ivanishvili personally of engaging in political persecution. The charges [...]

Peace program yields positive results, Georgia’s state minister says

By | October 21st, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili. (Facebook) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government's peace program toward the breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia has yielded its first positive results, State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said Monday. “We have a very complex peace program, which was supported by the parliament. There is a lot of [...]

Former Soviet bureaucrat re-appointed as Abkhazia’s de facto PM

By | October 14th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Valeri Bganba. De facto president Raul Khajimba has re-appointed Valeri Bganba, former Komsomol activist, as a “prime minister” of breakaway Abkhazia. Bganba was first appointed at the office in September 18, 2018, after his predecessor, Genadi Gagulia, was killed in a car accident on the road connecting Sokhumi with Russia’s Sochi when he was [...]

Georgia’s ruling party rocked by sex scandal

By | October 6th, 2019|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Ilia Jishkariani. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party was rocked by a sex scandal Saturday after a staff member of a high profile politician accused him of sexual assault and physical violence, sparking a public outcry. Police have launched an investigation against Ilia Jishkariani, a member of Tbilisi City Assembly (the Sakrebulo), after his assistant accused [...]

Sokhumi regime lifts restrictions on Enguri bridge

By | October 3rd, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

Restrictions on Enguri bridge imposed on June 27 were abolished on Wednesday, the Security Service of the breakaway Abkhazia states. The restrictions were imposed in the wake of anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi due to “security reasons”. Later the Sokhumi regime partially eased the ban to cross the sole passage to the breakaway republic from Georgia proper, [...]

Sokhumi brings in new restrictions at Enguri Bridge, locals charged USD 17 for passing

By | September 28th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

The Enguri Bridge crossing is essential to many local businesses, who rely on trade in products such as hazelnuts. (DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Sokhumi has brought in new restrictions on the administrative borderline between breakaway Abkhazia and Georgia proper, affecting many businesses in the area.  Crossing north-south across the Enguri Bridge is essential to many in [...]

Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze sets three world records in one day

By | September 28th, 2019|Categories: Sport|

Lasha Talakhadze. TBILISI, DFWatch--“Lasha Talakhadze is the strongest man walking the planet… maybe ever in sports,” exclaimed the commentator after the Georgian giant set three World Records in a single day at the World Weightlifting Championships 2019 in Pattaya, Thailand on Friday. With 220 kg in snatch, 264 kg in clean and jerk and [...]

Georgia extradites terrorism suspect Akhyadov to Russia, public opinion opposed

By | September 21st, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Ramzan Akhyadov. (Netgazeti.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia extradited an ethnic Chechen to Russia on Thursday, despite strong opposition to the move. Russia accuses 39-year-old Ramzan Akhyadov, who has lived in Georgia for the last two years, of having ties to the terror group ISIS. Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani said Friday that Georgia received “written assurances” [...]

Abkhazia’s supreme court rejects opposition lawsuit, Khajimba re-elected

By | September 20th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Supreme Court in Abkhazia on Friday rejected a lawsuit filed by presidential candidate Alhaz Kvitsinia, seeking to annul the results of the runoff elections and call a new election. Although Kvitsinia's team will appeal the ruling, it is already clear that Kremlin-backed Raul Khajimba, a former KGB operative, has won the election. In the [...]

Opposition in Abkhazia demands de facto election result canceled

By | September 14th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Opposition candidate Alhaz Kvitsinia. TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Abkhazia is planning a rally in Sokhumi on Tuesday, which will be held in parallel with a court hearing in a lawsuit filed by the opposition candidate Alkhaz Kvitsinia to demand the results of the de facto presidential runoff annulled. Kvitsinia and his supporters argue that [...]

Embattled Georgian banker prepares to step into politics

By | September 12th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Mamuka Khazaradze. (IPN.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s embattled banker Mamuka Khazaradze is expected to launch a new opposition party on Thursday. The event will take place in Anaklia, a resort on the Black Sea coast and will mark the launch of what has until now been described as a “public movement”, which many expect will become [...]

Growing tensions in Abkhazia as opposition refuses to accept narrow win for incumbent

By | September 9th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Raul Khajimba won by 47.4% to 46.2%, according to preliminary results. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tensions are growing in Abkhazia after the runoff in the breakaway republic’s presidential elections, as the opposition refuses to accept the lead by incumbent de facto president Raul Khajimba.  There is a high likelihood that the result will ultimately be declared [...]

Georgian parliamentarian swamped by protesters calling him a “Russian slave”

By | September 8th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Member of Parliament Emzar Kvitsiani was seen physically assaulting several protesters after they called him a "Russian slave". (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A brawl broke out at the parliament building in Tbilisi Sunday, after anti-government protesters yelled at a MP that he was a “Russian slave”.  Emzar Kvitsiani, an MP representing the far-right Alliance of Patriots [...]

Kelly Degnan nominated as next US Ambassador to Georgia

By | September 4th, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , |

Kelly Degnan. (it.usembassy.gov) President Donald Trump nominates Kelly C. Degnan of California to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia, who currently serves as the Political Advisor to the Commander of United States Naval Forces Europe – United States Naval Forces Africa Ms. Degnan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of [...]

Georgian PM steps down, declaring “mission accomplished”

By | September 2nd, 2019|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Mamuka Bakhtadze announced his resignation on Facebook, stating that his mission has been accomplished. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze resigned Monday, stating  that mission is accomplished. Announcing his resignation on Facebook, the outgoing PM also confirmed his allegiance to the ruling Georgian Dream party. In the more than 4,000 words long statement, [...]

Georgia’s prime minister reportedly resigns

By | August 31st, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

PM Mamuka Bakhtadze (center) and Minister of Interior Giorgi Gakharia (right). (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze will be replaced by incumbent Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia several Georgian media outlets reported Saturday, based on sources within the ruling Georgian Dream party. Some outlets report that Bakhtadze may be replaced by Maia Tskitishvili, [...]

After ultimatum was not fulfilled by Georgia, Tskhinvali softened its tone

By | August 30th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The Georgian checkpoint between the villages of Chorchana and Tsnelisi. (IPN). TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia's ultimatum to Georgia to remove a checkpoint was not fulfilled, but the deadline passed without incident Friday.  Another meeting was held within the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in the village of Tsnelisi, and like Thursday’s meeting it ended [...]

South Ossetia issues ultimatum to Georgia to remove checkpoint

By | August 30th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Ossetian forces at the administrative boundary line. TBILISI, DFWatch--The situation along the de facto border of South Ossetia further worsened on Thursday after representative of breakaway authorities put forward an ultimatum to Georgia to dismantle a checkpoint at the village Chorchana, in Khashuri municipality. If Georgia doesn't dismantle the checkpoint by 6 am Friday [...]

South Ossetia sends extra forces to demarcation line as Georgia builds new checkpoint

By | August 29th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

South Ossetia sent additional forces to "ensure the safety citizens". (Sputnik-Ossetia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The situation along the de facto border of South Ossetia remains tense as Tskhinvali sent armed forces to prevent the construction of a police checkpoint by the Georgian side. The checkpoint is being built in the vicinity of Georgian village Chorchana. “In [...]

Breakaway Abkhazia election heads to second round as incumbent fails to pass 50% threshold

By | August 26th, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(IPN.) TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be a runoff election for de facto president of breakaway Abkhazia on September 8, since none of the candidates received over 50% of votes in the first round on Sunday. Incumbent de facto president Raul Khajimba is in the lead, trailed by Oleg Arshba and Alhaz Kvitsinia, according to preliminary [...]

European far-right politicians praise Abkhazia election as free and democratic

By | August 26th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Patrick Poppel (right), Stefan Keuter (second from right) and Gunnar Lindemann (center) at the concluding conference in Sokhumi. (RFE/RL.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Two politicians from the German far-right AfD were among the foreign observers who were present during Sunday’s election for de facto president of Abkhazia. The election was not recognized by Georgia. Among the dozens [...]

Kremlin linked incumbent likely to be re-elected in breakaway Abkhazia

By | August 25th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Raul Khajimba casting his vote in Sokhumi (RIA). TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian breakaway region Abkhazia is holding elections for de facto president on Sunday. Ten candidates are vying for the seat, but none of them stand much of a chance against the incumbent Raul Khajimba, a former KGB operative and close ally of the Kremlin. [...]

Ryanair enters Georgia, starts flights from Tbilisi

By | August 21st, 2019|Categories: Brief|Tags: , , , |

Georgia signs a deal with Irish lowcoster Ryanair, which will launch flights to various destinations from Tbilisi and later from Kutaisi airports, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development says. Tickets for a new route between Tbilisi and Milan Bergamo are already on sale on the carrier's website. Flights start on November 6 and will be [...]

Eight detained Georgians released by Tskhinvali regime

By | August 21st, 2019|Categories: Brief|Tags: , , |

(IPN.) The de facto authorities of South Ossetia have released eight Georgian citizens detained on the occupation line. All of them are already in the territory controlled by Georgia’s central authorities. They were handed over to Georgian officials at the abandoned checkpoint in the village of Ergneti, near Tskhinvali on Tuesday. Seven men were [...]

Georgia’s Rustavi 2 TV fires several key journalists after takeover

By | August 20th, 2019|Categories: Media|Tags: , , , , |

Former news chief Nodar Meladze was approached by a person close to Ivanishvili and offered a collaboration, but declined. TBILISI, DFWatch--A day after Rustavi 2’s new owner laid out his plans to revamp Georgia's biggest opposition TV company, the newly appointed director sacks several of its key journalists. The list outlined on Tuesday by [...]

New Rustavi 2 owner vows to develop it as a “rigorous and critical” TV channel

By | August 19th, 2019|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Kibar Khalvashi, Rustavi 2's new owner. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The new owner of Rustavi 2 is not planning to sell his shares. Instead, Kibar Shalvashi plans to develop Georgia's largest opposition TV channel as a "critical and rigorous" outlet. "I consider it my primary duty to put television freed from Saakashvili into public service and [...]

Several families in Georgia forced to leave their homes by Russian solders to make way for South Ossetia “border” fence

By | August 16th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Davit Katsarava/Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--At least two families in Georgia were forced to leave their homes in a village near the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict line on Thursday. The families left after Russian troops approached them and asked them to vacate their homes within 72 hours. The village of Gugutiantkari belongs to Gori Municipality and is [...]

Two disappeared tourists from Belarus found dead in Svaneti

By | August 15th, 2019|Categories: Brief|Tags: , , , |

Mount Tetnuldi seen from Mestia, the capital of Svaneti. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Two women from Belarus have died and one survived with injures in an hiking accident in Svaneti, on the slopes of Mount Tetnuldi, a 4,858m high peak in the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range.  The three tourists, aged between 36 and 60, departed from [...]

Tbilisi court imposes strict bail conditions on former Rustavi 2 director in corruption trial

By | August 11th, 2019|Categories: Interviews, Media|Tags: , |

Nika Gvaramia at Tbilisi City Court. (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has placed Nika Gvaramia under GEL 40,000 bail in a controversial corruption trial that the opposition calls politically motivated. Initially, the Prosecutor’s Office wanted even stricter bail conditions: GEL 80,000 bail and banning the former head of Rustavi 2 from leaving the country.  [...]

Georgia’s government and opposition trade accusations on 11th anniversary of Georgia-Russia war

By | August 9th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

Russian soldiers in Georgia in 2008. TBILISI, DFWatch--Members and supporters of Georgia's current and previous governments traded accusations on the 11th anniversary of the war between Russia and Georgia. Members of the incumbent government once again blamed the previous government and personally former President Mikheil Saakashvili of irresponsible actions which brought Russian troops on [...]

Fundamental human rights continue to be violated: EU statement on August War anniversary

By | August 8th, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

EU monitor in Georgia. (eeas.europa.eu) On the eve of 11th anniversary of Russo-Georgian War of 2008, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia issues the statement saying that fundamental human rights of the conflict-affected population continue to be violated and Russia keeps on violating the ceasefire agreement by maintaining and even increasing its [...]

Tbilisi authorities ponder renaming Moscow Avenue

By | August 7th, 2019|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , , |

(PrimeTime.) On the eve of 11th anniversary of the 2008 August War between Russia and Georgia, Tbilisi city authorities are considering changing the name of Moscow Avenue. "I confirm that this issue is on the table and included in our agenda," Giorgi Tkemaladze, Chairman of Tbilisi City Council, said on Wednesday. "When the decision [...]

Tskhinvali closes “border” on the 11th anniversary of the August War

By | August 6th, 2019|Categories: In brief|

On the anniversary of the August war, the Tskhinvali regime temporarily closes the de facto border. The checkpoint, located near the village of Mosaburni (the so-called "Razdzhani" checkpoint), will close at 8 pm on Tuesday and open at 6 am on Friday, August 9. According to the de facto State Security Committee, which is in charge [...]

New study finds dangerous levels of toxins in the Black Sea

By | August 5th, 2019|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

The cancerous substance benzo(a)pyrene, commonly found in soot, is present in the Black Sea in levels exceeding its toxicity threshold. TBILISI, DFWatch--The Black Sea contains toxic concentrations of several pollutants, a new study has found. The dangerous substances include soot, pesticides, insecticides, mercury and flame retardants. In addition, 124 chemicals dangerous for the sea [...]

Another music festival in Georgia canceled after threats from priests

By | August 5th, 2019|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , , |

Orthodox priests demanded that the ruins must be protected from 'amoral' behavior. TBILISI, DFWatch--One more electronic music festival in Georgia has been canceled due to threats from clergy, this time in Kobuleti on the Black Sea coast.  Organizers of GR Fest wrote on Facebook that the youth festival, which is scheduled to start on [...]

Russian Duma to consider recognizing 1918-1920 Georgian-Ossetian conflict as a genocide

By | August 3rd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Vyacheslav Volodin in the Russian Duma. (RIA Novosti.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The lower house of Russia's parliament will soon decide whether to recognize the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in the early 20th Century as a genocide. "The State Duma has paid due attention to the statement by the South Ossetian parliament on the recognition of the genocide of [...]

South Ossetia’s “ambassador” to Italy calls for recognition of breakaway region

By | July 30th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Mauri Murgia runs the "diplomatic representation" out of a flat in Rome. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia’s “ambassador” to Italy says that “the time has come” for recognizing its independence. “We believe that the time has come that Italy through its current government recognizes the republic of South Ossetia as a state equal to all [...]

Georgia’s anti-gay campaigner demands strict control over the media

By | July 30th, 2019|Categories: News|

Levan Vasadze at an anti-LGBT rally in Vere Garden in Tbilisi on June 16. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The conservative Georgian businessman Levan Vasadze has demanded that the government impose the strictest possible control over the media, and even jail some journalists, otherwise "nothing will save this country". "I address Bidzina Ivanishvili and our government to [...]

Khazaradze quits Anaklia deep water port project but vows to ‘fight till the end’ as money laundering trial continues

By | July 27th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Mamuka Khazaradze (left) and Badri Japaridze addressing the media outside Tbilisi City Court. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi city court on Friday released the two founders of Georgia's largest bank against a 700,000 lari bail each. The two were also barred from leaving the country without notifying  investigators. The defendants, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, said [...]

Georgia detains opposition politician for attempting coup d’etat

By | July 26th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Irakli Okruashvili was detained as he left a TV studio. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Thursday detained the leader of an opposition party and charged him with participating in an attempted coup d’etat. Irakli Okruashvili, who served as defense minister and prosecutor general during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, was apprehended as he was on his [...]

Georgia charges two in case of leaked compromising video of outspoken female GD lawmaker

By | July 24th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Eka Beselia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have identified the person responsible for uploading to the internet a compromising video of an outspoken female member of parliament. The person identified by his initials as D.A. is currently serving a prison sentence in Armenia, a spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs said on Tuesday.  [...]

NATO asked Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia to reopen checkpoint in 2016

By | July 22nd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Enguri Bridge. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO asked breakaway Abkhazia to reopen a checkpoint to Georgia proper in 2016, local media report. The incident happened after the de facto authorities closed all but one of the crossings along the administrative border line that separates the breakaway republic from the rest of Georgia. Temur Nadaraia, who heads [...]

Georgia’s largest opposition TV channel facing takeover after losing last-ditch defense at European Court of Human Rights

By | July 18th, 2019|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

Backers of Rustavi 2 claim the dispute is aimed at silencing critical opposition media. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's largest opposition TV channel Rustavi 2 will likely be taken over by an allegedly government-backed investor after losing  the final court battle over its ownership at the European Court of Human Rights. In Thursday’s judgment, the court held [...]

Main opposition candidate in Abkhazia stands down due to ill health, replacement vows to stay on same course

By | July 16th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Alhaz Kvitsinia. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the opposition parties in Abkhazia has officially nominated its chairman Alhaz Kvitsinia as a candidate for president of the breakaway republic. A local party official said this in a speech at a party congress of the Amtsakhar party, one of the largest opposition parties in the disputed region. [...]

Alliance of Patriots sends three MPs to Moscow to ‘enhance relations’ between Georgia and Russia

By | July 13th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

From the left to right: Gocha Tevdoradze, Giorgi Lomia and Ada Marshania, Alliance of Patriots MPs at a press conference on Friday. TBILISI, DFWatch--Three members of the Georgian parliament are to visit Moscow and meet the Russian Duma member whose recent visit to Tbilisi led to the country’s worst political crisis for years. The [...]

Anti-government protesters’s tent camp attacked at GD leader Ivanishvili’s private resort

By | July 11th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The anti-government tent town after the raid. (Photo by Tabula.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of angry men assaulted a small protest rally at the residence of Georgian Dream leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili on Wednesday, according to the opposition United National Movement. The residence is situated at Shekvetili, a Black Sea coastal resort in Ozurgeti Municipality [...]

Russia grants South Ossetians right to stay indefinitely

By | July 11th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Vladimir Putin meets with Tskhinvali's de facto president, Anatoly Bibilov in Moscow, 2017. (RIA Novosti.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has granted citizens of South Ossetia the right to stay in Russia indefinitely, in a move seen as yet another step toward annexation of the tiny breakaway territory. Under the current bilateral agreement between Moscow and Tskhinvali, [...]