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Abkhazia opposition calls off protest after reaching compromise with de facto authorities

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

(Sputnik-Abkhazia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in breakaway Abkhazia ended their rally in front of parliament building in Sokhumi on Tuesday, after reaching a compromise with de facto authorities. The sides have agreed to postpone the presidential elections to August 26. The de facto parliament earlier decided to hold elections in July, while the opposition had [...]

Abkhazia opposition demands presidential elections postponed after leader’s suspected poisoning

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

(Sputnik-Abkhazia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition in Abkhazia rallied in front of the parliament building in Sokhumi Tuesday for the second day, vowing not to stop it until parliament postpones the presidential elections until fall due to the suspected poisoning of their leader. Overnight, opposition activists temporarily blocked the central highway at two locations north and [...]

GD heading for clean sweep in Georgia by-elections, but opposition claims massive fraud

By | May 20th, 2019|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Sandra Roelofs addressing the post-election rally in Zugdidi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream party is leading in all of Sunday’s by-elections, including the symbolically important Zugdidi mayoral race. But the vote was marred by numerous controversies, as the opposition claims the elections have been massively rigged. Sandra Roelofs, the wife of Georgia’s ex-President [...]

Opposition and government mobilize ahead of symbolic mayoral election in western Georgia

By | May 17th, 2019|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , , , |

UNM's spokesperson Khatia Dekanoidze (center). (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tensions are running high in Georgia ahead of the May 19 by-election in Zugdidi, a town about 350km west of Tbilisi, with almost daily scuffles outside the office of the Local Election Commission. Both the governing party and the opposition accuse each other of attempting to rig [...]

Tbilisi ‘rave-olution’ protesters mark one year anniversary of night club raids that sparked movement

By | May 12th, 2019|Categories: Youth|Tags: |

(Radiotavisupleba.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A satirical bust of Georgia’s interior minister was placed in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday, on the anniversary of the controversial police raids of two nightclubs. The statue’s pedestal was equipped with a red button, which if pressed made a voice say: "Let's start with an apology." This [...]

Georgia’s domestic intelligence service SUS warns May 9 rally organizers not to use Communist symbols

By | May 7th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Immortal Regiment is sponsored by Russian President Vladimir Putin. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s counter-intelligence service SUS on Tuesday warned the organizers of a May 9 rally to commemorate Soviet victory in World War 2 that they may not use Communist symbols. Such symbols are prohibited by a law Georgia introduced eight years ago called the Freedom [...]

New lawsuit against opposition TV channel Rustavi 2 may ‘kill its editorial policy’

By | May 7th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Nika Gvaramia, CEO of Rustavi 2. TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of Georgia main opposition TV company said Monday that the government has launched a new attack against it, and claimed the goal is to kill its editorial policy. Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia also accused billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili of personal involvement in a new lawsuit [...]

13km line of cars at Russia-Georgia border crossing as tourism season kicks off

By | May 5th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of visitors from Russia to Georgia has skyrocketed, triggering several kilometer long lines at Zemo Larsi border crossing. Most of the queue is on the Russian side, where at least 600 cars were standing still Saturday, waiting to enter Georgia from North Ossetia - Alania; one of the constituent republics of the Russian [...]

Georgian woman weightlifter sues coach of national team for sexual harassment

By | May 2nd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Tatia Lortkipanidze. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian weightlifter Tatia Lortkipanidze is suing the coach of the national team for sexual harassment. Lortkipanidze, who won a bronze medal in the 2018 European Championship, is also suing the weightlifting federation for discrimination, she said at a press conference on Thursday. At the press conference, she accused the federation of discrimination by [...]

Georgia’s president denies retweeting Donald Trump’s ‘Sleepy Joe’ comment

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

The deleted tweet on President Salome Zourabichvili's Twitter page. TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia has become a target of criticism after re-tweeting Donald Trump's viral tweet in which he derides his possible opponent in the 2020 presidential elections, former Vice President Joe Biden, calling him "sleepy Joe". President Salome Zurabishvili’s administration had to hold [...]

Russian bikers denied entry to Georgia

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

The Russian bikers at Zemo Larsi border crossing. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Russian bikers were denied entry to Georgia on Sunday, in an incident resembling the 2017 denial of entry of the infamous Night Wolves. The official reason for denying the bikers entry to the country is that they failed to provide information, [...]

Russian official repeats allegation that Lugar lab is used for biowarfare

By | April 26th, 2019|Categories: Security|Tags: , , , |

Rashid Nurgaliev, deputy chief of Russia's Security Council. (Photo by the administration of de facto president of South Ossetia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has once again accused a medical research facility in the republic of Georgia of launching weaponized bugs into territory under its control. "This is a matter of national security," said deputy chief of [...]

Growing suspicion that Abkhazia’s main opposition candidate was poisoned after security guards also fall ill

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

Aslan Bzhania. TBILISI, DFWatch--Suspicions grew Monday that a key opposition figure in Abkhazia has been poisoned, after two of his bodyguards were hospitalized in a serious condition, at least one of them with similar symptoms. Although officially, Aslan Bzhania, the main opponent of the incumbent de facto president, and his two guards are being [...]

President of Georgia asks CBS to correct script of ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ in which South Ossetia is called part of Russia

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

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--President Salome Zurabishvili calls on CBS to "make the necessary changes" to clear an "irresponsible mistake" in the synopsis of an upcoming episode of the TV series NCIS: New Orleans in which Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia is referred as a Russian province. In the episode [...]

40 injured as Pankisi residents clash with police over hydropower

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

(Radio Way.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Up to 40 people were injured in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge Sunday as locals clashed with riot police over a hydropower plant. The confrontation started in the village Birkiani after police units entered the gorge to protect company employees who are working on the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the river [...]

Georgian parliament names session hall after Zviad Gamsakhurdia

By | April 18th, 2019|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Parliament's bureau voting to name the main session hall after Zviad Gamsakhurdia. (parliament.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has named the plenary session hall of the parliament building after the country's first president since independence. Parliament’s decision on Tuesday to name the hall after Zviad Gamsakhurdia seems to be the outcome of a rivalry between Georgia's top [...]

Three workers seriously injured at construction site of Panorama Tbilisi

By | April 17th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(Facebook/Irakli Kupradze.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Three workers were seriously injured on Tuesday in central Tbilisi after falling from a building during construction work on a new luxury complex owned by the billionaire and former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The three injured construction workers, who are aged 19 to 21, have all been hospitalized with fractures [...]

Georgian weightlifter breaks three world records

By | April 14th, 2019|Categories: Sport|Tags: |

'The strongest man in the world', Lasha Talakhadze. TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Olympic champion Lasha Talakhadze broke three world records at the European Weightlifting Championships in Georgia on Saturday. All three records broken by ‘the strongest man in the world’ were set by himself. The 25-year-old Georgia only needed four lifts to set records on snatch, [...]

Breakaway region South Ossetia loses Internet connection due to cable failure

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

TBILISI, DFWatch--The breakaway region South Ossetia was left without Internet Tuesday due to damage to a fiber-optic cable. It is so far unknown what caused the damage to the cable connecting the separatist republic to the outside world. The cable belongs to the Russian company Gazprom. Local mobile operator Megafon-Osetia claims the Internet outage is not [...]

Georgian far-right groups reach agreement about forming new political party

By | April 6th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Sandro Bregadze (center, with megaphone) at a Georgian March rally in Tbilisi in July, 2017. (Mzia Saganelidze, RFE/RL.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Far-right activists in Georgia are uniting to form a new political party and run in the local and national elections, emulating Marine Le Pen’s Front National. One of the proposals of the new party will [...]

Breakaway Abkhazia to reintroduce the death penalty for drug crime from 2020

By | April 5th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

An unidentified prison in Abkhazia. (Ekhokavkaza.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Breakaway authorities in Abkhazia plan to lift its moratorium on capital punishment in 2020 as tougher sentences are brought in against drug crime. The de facto parliament of breakaway Abkhazia has adopted a new law which imposes tougher punishments for selling large quantities of drugs, including life [...]

Georgia second in Europe by incarceration rate: CoE

By | April 2nd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Gldani prison in Tbilisi. Georgia showed the most significant drop in incarceration rate among Council of Europe member countries between 2008 and 2019. However, it is the second among countries with particularly high incarceration rates just after Russia, according to new statistics released on Tuesday by the CoE on the situation in European prisons [...]

Saakashvili eyes comeback in Ukraine’s politics after Zelenzky’s first round win

By | April 1st, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Mikheil Saakashvili was forcefully deported from Ukraine in February, 2018. (Stringer Media.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The success of an opposition candidate in Ukraine's presidential elections has given Georgia's former leader Mikheil Saakashvili new hope of making a comeback in Kiev politics. After losing power in his home country, Saakashvili re-launched his career as politician in Ukraine, [...]

Georgian court decides to extradite 31-year-old UK fugitive

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

(Pirveli Radio.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday approved the extradition of UK fugitive Jack Shepherd, whom British media have dubbed ‘the speedboat killer’. At the hearing, Shepherd himself also expressed his consent to be extradited, explaining that it was not an easy decision, but he wants to clear the issue and reunite with [...]

Georgian shepherd found guilty of murdering American couple and their 4-year-old son

By | March 26th, 2019|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , , |

The jury found Malkhaz Kobauri guilty of triple homicide and rape. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A 19-year-old shepherd from Georgia was found guilty on Monday of savagely killing an American couple and their 4 year old son in July, 2018. Apart of homicide of three people, Malkhaz Kobauri was also found guilty of other crimes, including [...]

Georgian and Indian youth clash in Mtatsminda Park

By | March 25th, 2019|Categories: Youth|Tags: |

(Youtube.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups of Georgian and Indian youth clashed last Thursday in Mtatsminda Park, one of Tbilisi's main tourist destinations. A video has surfaced showing a fight between groups of young men, with several young women watching. In the video, one of the brawlers, presumably a Georgian, is seen hitting another man violently with [...]

Breakaway Abkhazia sets fixed price for residence permit

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

(DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Sokhumi has set a fixed price for obtaining a residene permit, a document that is required, but hard for many here to obtain. The price will now be set to 600 Russian rubles, or USD 25, which is a relatively decent amount even for impoverished Gali residents. However, local ethnic Georgians who [...]

South Ossetia claims drones ‘violated’ its ‘airspace’

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

Egor Kochiev. (cominf.org.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) violated ‘South Ossetian airspace’ simultaneously, entering from Georgia proper, breakaway South Ossetia claims. "One of them hovered over the town of Kvaisa for 20 minutes and then flew towards Georgia," Egor Kochiev, the head of South Ossetian delegation, said on Friday after a meeting of [...]

Russia bolsters military presence in Abkhazia with 30% troop increase

By | March 21st, 2019|Categories: Security|Tags: |

Russian troops in Abkhazia. (SMD press-office.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of Russian troops in breakaway Abkhazia has increased by 30 percent in the last year, Apsnipress reported on Wednesday. The Sokhumi based news agency cited information provided by the Southern Military District of Russia’s armed forces. This is one of five military districts in Russia, [...]

Georgia’s ex-president Saakashvili finally leaves party reins, recommends successor

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

Mikheil Saakashvili. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's exiled former president Mikheil Saakashvili has asked his political party to find a replacement for him as leader, in order to make it more “flexible”. In a video address publisheed on Facebook, the former president suggested Grigol Vashadze as the best candidate to take over the helm of the [...]

Tbilisi puzzled by Georgian inscriptions on weapons used in Christchurch mosque attacks

By | March 15th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

King David IV The Builder. (George Nikladze.) TBILISI, DWatch--Officials in Tbilisi are puzzled by media reports of inscriptions in the Georgian alphabet on the weapons of the terrorist who slaughtered 49 people and wounded dozens more in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. Photos published by Daily Mail show inscriptions on the [...]

29-year-old Georgian man dies under suspicious circumstances while detained in Abkhazia

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

(apsadgil.info) TBILISI, DFWatch--A 29 year-old man has died  under suspicious circumstances while in detention by separatist forces in breakaway Abkhazia. The man was detained earlier for trying to cross the administrative borderline between the breakaway republic and Georgia proper. The detainee’s death, which Sokhumi claims was a suicide, happened in a Russian military facility [...]

33rd ISIS fighter from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge dead in Syrian war

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

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man from Pankisi valley in Georgia have been killed in Syria. Ruslan Tokhosashvili, 35, was the 33rd Kist militant from Pankisi killed in Syria, local-based radio station, Radioway, reports. Tokhosashvili reportedly left his native village of Birkiani for Syria in 2014 and joined the terror group Islamic State. Birkiani is the home village of [...]

TBC Bank accuses Georgian government of blackmail

By | March 5th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mamuka Khazaradze, former chair of TBC Bank's supervisory board. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government's reputation for interfering in business was further strengthened on Monday as the founder of the country's largest bank accused several named officials of trying to force the bank to help in the election campaign. Mamuka Khazaradze, the founder of Georgia's [...]

Number of foreign students in Georgia doubles in four years

By | March 2nd, 2019|Categories: Youth|Tags: , , |

Foreign medical students in Georgia. (Commersant.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 29,000 foreign students are enrolled at universities and other higher educational institutions in Georgia; most of them come from Turkey, Iraq and India, as well as other Asian countries. The number of foreign students has doubled during the last four years, from 4,812 in 2015 to [...]

Georgia’s ruling party loses constitutional majority in parliament

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

Eka Beselia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party has lost its constitutional majority after three of its members of parliament left the party on Friday. Ever since the party seized power from Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement in October 2012, Georgian Dream has controlled at least two thirds of seats in the national assembly - [...]

Georgia considers ban on making maps of the country without its breakaway regions

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

A map of Georgia. (RFE/RL.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia may make it a criminal offense to make maps of the country without the two breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia as constituent parts. Parliament is to review a draft bill that, if passed, will impose criminal sanctions, including up to two years imprisonment, for producing and [...]

Georgia’s National Bank sanctions two of TBC Bank’s top people

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

Mamuka Khazaradze. TBILISI, DFWatch--The confrontation between Georgia’s biggest private financial institution and the government grew worse on Thursday as the National Bank sanctioned two of the key persons in TBC Bank. The National Bank of Georgia issued a statement on Thursday which orders to suspend the signature rights of Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, [...]

South Ossetia honors Russian journalists who covered 2008 war

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

(Cominf.org) TBILISI, DFWatch--Separatist leader Anatoly Bibilov from the breakaway region South Ossetia presented awards to Russian journalists for ‘objectively’ covering the 2008 war. The event in Moscow on Tuesday honored a number of journalists with medals dedicated to "the 10th anniversary of the Victory of South Ossetians in the Patriotic War" in August. Among [...]

Russia picks woman from Georgian breakaway region to head national tourism agency

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

Zarina Doguzova. (Rosturizm official website.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman originally from the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia was Thursday appointed head of Russia's federal tourism agency Rosturizm, TASS reports. Prior to her new job, Zarina Doguzova, 33, worked at the communications department at the administration of President Vladimir Putin, where she supervised the division [...]

Abkhazia reopens Enguri bridge after nearly month long ‘flu quarantine’

By | February 5th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Shopping center at Rukhi. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic resumed Tuesday across the Enguri bridge, the only crossing between the breakaway region Abkhazia and Georgia proper, locals told DFWatch. However, the bureaucratic hurdles bar most of Gali residents from crossing the conflict line. January 11, breakaway authorities declared a quarantine and unilaterally blocked passage on Enguri [...]

Wizzair to launch six new destinations out of Kutaisi from August

By | February 4th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--From August, 2019, several new flight destinations will connect Kutaisi with cities in Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, Netherlands and Italy. The new flights to Basel, Copenhagen, Brussels, Tallinn, Eindhoven and Bari will be offered by Wizzair, the Hungarian budget airline, operating out of David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport. The new routes will become operational [...]

16 detained in Georgia for spreading compromising video of ruling party politician on social media

By | February 1st, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Eka Beselia expressed hope that the investigation will reveal who are behind the smear campaign. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia detained 16 persons on Friday after compromising videos were spread on social media showing a well-known politician from the ruling Georgian Dream party. The detainees, who include two opposition activists and a popular singer, [...]

Abkhazia may block people from leaving to seek medical treatment because it undermines the breakaway region’s ‘statehood’

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

Temur Nadaraia. GALI, DFWatch--Sokhumi ponders prohibiting Abkhazians from travelling to Georgia proper for medical treatment and in search of other opportunities, because these developments undermine the breakaway region’s 'statehood'. "Those Abkhazians who go to Georgia and receive Georgian citizenship in exchange for loans or other social benefits are actually betraying their nation. I hope [...]

UK fugitive surrenders to police in Tbilisi, Georgia

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

Screenshot from the interview Jack Shepherd gave to Georgian TV station Rustavi 2, in which he said he was framed by the media. TBILISI, DFWatch--Jack Shepherd, 31, a UK national who was sentenced to six years in jail last July for the unintentional killing of 24-year-old Charlotte Brown, surrendered to police in Tbilisi, Georgia [...]

20 students may fail exams due to Abakhazia’s flu quarantine

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

(apsadgil.info) TBILISI, DFWatch--Due to the closure of the Enguri checkpoint, students from breakaway Abkhazia's Gali district are unable pass their exams, which may result in their expulsion from the university. The problems come on the heel of a quarantine declared in early January by Georgia’s two breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia in order [...]

South Ossetia cut off from Russia as personnel unable to clear road of snow for a week

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

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The only road that connects South Ossetia to Russia was still blocked Monday after being closed for traffic seven days ago due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Personnal dispatched by Tskhinvali has been trying to clear the road throughout the weekend and even carried out several controled explosions to try to trigger [...]

Two gas inspectors in KazTransGaz detained for failing to act on gas leak warning before deadly explosion

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

Four people were killed in the explosion in an apartment block in the Tbilisi district Didi Dighomi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The police on Friday detained two people in relation to the deadly gas explosion in Tbilisi which claimed the lives of four, including a 4 year old boy, his mother and an aunt. The two [...]

Four people killed as gas explosion rocks apartment block in Tbilisi

By | January 17th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four people were killed and seven people injured when an explosion rocked a block of apartments in uptown Tbilisi Wednesday evening. Among the injured is one child, whose condition is serious, health minister Davit Sergeenko said. The explosion is thought to have been caused by a natural gas leak in a flat in Didi Dighomi, [...]

Abkhazia, South Ossetia declare quarantine to limit spread of flu virus

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

Razdakhan checkpoint in the Akhalgori district. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's two breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Friday declared a quarantine in order to prevent the spread of the influenza virus H1N1 from Georgia proper. The quarantine will last for two months and not 20 days, as previously reported. In practice, a quarantine [...]

Flu death count reaches 13 in Georgia

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

Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--13 people have died from flu in Georgia since the start of this flu season, the country’s health minister said on Thursday. The number of hospitalizations due to influenza diagnosis has increased to 845 from the previous 616. 44 patients are intensive care at different hospitals throughout [...]

Abkhazia considers 20 day quarantine to stem flu epidemic, locals say real reason is shortage of medicines

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

GALI, DFWatch--Sokhumi plans to announce a 20 day quarantine and close Enguri checkpoint,  the sole passage between Georgia proper and breakaway Abkhazia, locals familiar with the situation told DFWatch. Although breakaway officials claim no instances of H1N1 influenza virus have been reported so far in Abkhazia, DFWatch has witnessed at least dozens of instances of flu [...]

Georgia’s largest bank under investigation for money laundering, opposition claims political motive

By | January 10th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mamuka Khazaradze, chairman of the supervisory board of TBC Bank, was questioned by the chief prosecutor's office. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor's Office (POG) has launched a criminal investigation of the country’s largest bank for alleged money laundering. The opposition calls the case an attack on unwanted business institutions. On Wednesday, POG summoned and [...]

At least 10 have died of flu in Georgia this winter

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

NCDC director Amiran Gamkrelidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--At least 10 people have died in Georgia the last few weeks due to complications after contracting with the flu, health officials have said. The National Center for Disease Control and Public Health cited data showing that the seasonal epidemic is on decline, but there has been a [...]

New Akhalgori travel restrictions delayed for one month

By | January 6th, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

Razdakhan checkpoint. (DFwatch.) AKHALGORI, DFWatch--South Ossetia has postponed for a month the coming into force of a new regulation which makes it harder for Akhalgori residents to cross the de facto border. On December 26, Tskhinvali adopted a new regulation which makes it much harder to cross the de facto border between Akhalgori and [...]

Record traffic across Enguri bridge on New Year’s Eve

By | January 2nd, 2019|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Archive photo by DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--A record number of people crossed Enguri bridge on New Year's Eve this year - in both directions. The queue spanned almost the entire length of the 1km long bridge which connects territory controlled by Georgia's central government and breakaway Abkhazia. "No one has seen such a thing here. [...]

Georgia’s parliament to consider a ban on wearing burqa and niqab in public

By | December 26th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

The bill was proposed by Emzar Kvitsiani, a member of parliament for the Alliance of Patriots who has often appeared at far-right rallies like this one in Tbilisi on July 14. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The  parliament in Georgia is to consider a proposal by a far-right group to ban the wearing of burqa and niqab [...]

US Congress passes Georgia Support Act

By | December 19th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

The US House of Representatives The House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the US Congress, has passed Georgia Support Act, HR 6219, reasserting the United States’ support for its sovereignty and opposition to the forceful and illegal Russian invasion of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.  […]

Akhalgori administrator, who discriminated against Georgians, resigns

By | December 19th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Leonid Bibilov (left) meeting with Philip Khachirov at his office in Tskhinvali. (presidentruo.com) AKHALGORI, DFWatch--The de facto head of administration in Akhalgori, who is known for his anti-Georgian policies, has resigned, but received praise from de facto president Leonid Bibilov, who pledged to find a new job for him in the government in Tskhinvali. [...]

South Ossetia demands removal of protest group from conflict zone

By | December 18th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

IPRM meeting at Ergneti. (SUS.) TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia demands the withdrawal of the Georgian anti-occupation civic group from the vicinity of the conflict zone due to 'security considerations'. This demand, which was aired at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting at the village of Ergneti on Tuesday was rejected by Georgian authorities. [...]

Georgia revokes decision to freeze Gulen-linked university’s student intake

By | December 9th, 2018|Categories: Education|Tags: , , |

Rally by IBSU students and professors outside the Ministry of Education. August 23, 2018. (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian regulatory body for quality in education on Saturday revoked a controversial decision to bar a Tbilisi university from accepting new students for a period of one year. Black Sea International University, one of Georgia’s leading higher [...]

Seven jailed Donbass Battalion members plead not guilty, go on hunger strike in Tbilisi

By | December 4th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

The seven pleaded not guilty during the hearing in Tbilisi City Court. (IPN.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Seven jailed members of the Donbass Battalion have gone on hunger strike in Tbilisi, protesting their detention and claiming that the police planted illegal items. The six Ukrainian and one Georgian citizen are charged with illegal possession of firearms and [...]

Seven members of Ukraine’s Donbass Battalion detained in Tbilisi

By | December 3rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Semen Semenchenko wearing the Donbas Battalion uniform. Photo dated 2017. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian police have detained six Ukrainian and one Georgia citizen who are members of the Donbass Battalion, a volunteer detachment of Ukraine’s National Guard. The seven are suspected of 'illegal purchase and possession of firearms, ammunition and explosive devices', the Ministry of [...]

‘Georgia has no president’: Georgian opposition demands snap parliamentary elections

By | December 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Grigol Vashadze addressing the rally. (IPN) TBILISI, DFWatch--Several thousand people attended a rally in Tbilisi Sunday to support the United Opposition and its demand to dissolve parliament and hold snap parliamentary elections. The opposition repeated its claim that the presidential election was falsified and therefore illegitimate, demanded snap elections and offered the government an [...]

Chidaoba, Georgian traditional wrestling, listed by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage

By | November 29th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Boys contest in Georgian Chidaoba. (Georgian National Wrestling Federation.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Chidaoba has been added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The traditional Georgian style of wrestling has bred dozens of Olympic and world champions in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling as well as judo. "The practice is a complex [...]

Georgian opposition rejects election result, plans massive rallies

By | November 29th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--After suffering a crushing defeat in the runoff election for president, the leaders of the UNM-led United Opposition have decided to reject the results and  launch protest rallies similar to those in 2003, which culminated in the Rose Revolution. Grigol Vashadze, the UO candidate for president, and Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's exiled ex-president, have called upon [...]

Exit polls show Salome Zurabishvili clear winner in Georgia’s presidential election

By | November 29th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Two exit polls published Wednesday night predicted that Salome Zurabishvili won by at least ten percent. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The results of both the 'pro-government' and the 'pro-opposition' exit polls suggest that Salome Zurabishvili, who is backed by the ruling party, has decisively won Georgia's last direct presidential elections. However, the opposition is not eager [...]

Ambassadors of US, UK, NL spending election day in Marneuli, hotbed of manipulation and violence

By | November 28th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , |

From left to right, ambassadors Jos Douma (Netherlands), Justin McKenzie Smith (UK) and Ross Wilson (US), addressing journalists in Marneuli. (Twitter.) TBILISI, DFWatch--American, British and Dutch ambassadors are visiting southern Georgia today to observe the runoff presidential election in the region which has a long history of manipulation and violence during elections. Ross Wilson, [...]

Polls show a close race in Georgia’s run-off election for president

By | November 27th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Salome Zurabishvili at a rugby match between Georgian and Tonga in Tbilisi. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s runoff election for president on Wednesday gained an unexpected drama after the opposition candidate’s strong showing in the first round. One day ahead of the vote, polls indicate a close race. Although the constitution adopted by Georgian parliament in [...]

Regional opposition politician stabbed five days before Georgia’s presidential election

By | November 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Nodar Burdiladze at a UNM rally in Tbilisi in 2017. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A regional official in the United Opposition is in a critical condition after being stabbed outside his house, five days ahead of the runoff election for president. Two persons implicated in the murder attempt are 'associated with Georgian Dream', the opposition claims. [...]

Breakaway authorities in Abkhazia pressuring Georgian schools to teach in Russian language

By | November 20th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

A part Georgian school in the village of Sida. (DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Breakaway Abkhazia is fastening its grip on Georgian schools in Gali, local teachers told DFWatch. Sokhumi suspects that the schools in this southern district with a predominantly ethnic Georgian population are violating a relatively recent policy to only allow Russian as the instructional [...]

Georgian government allows cigarette smuggling from Abkhazia, Gali residents say

By | November 19th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

GALI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has unofficially given Gali residents a green light for smuggling cigarettes, likely as part of the election campaign, according to locals DFWatch spoke to. They have received explicit messages from Georgian law enforcers, they said. "Everybody knows each other here, almost all law enforcement knows who smuggle cigarettes. For the past week, [...]

Gas explosion claims the lives of mother and 9 month old son in Tbilisi

By | November 15th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 30 year old woman and her 9 months old son died in an explosion in an apartment block in Tbilisi Thursday morning, the emergency management service reports. The explosion occurred at around 11am in the eastern Ponichala district and was reportedly caused by a gas leak. Several other people were also injured, including an [...]

Russian soldiers observed installing barbed wire in Dzukaantkari, 24km east of Atotsi

By | November 14th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border forces have begun installing reinforced barbed wire fence through the village Dzukaantkari (Dzukata) near Gori, as part of a gradual demarcation around the breakaway region South Ossetia. The new and ‘more solid’ type of fences are replacing the old fences that were installed in 2009 and run right through the [...]

Death threats against Salome Zurabishvili came from Georgian volunteer fighter in Ukraine war, lawyer claims

By | November 14th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Salome Zurabishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the persons reportedly sending presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili and her family members death threats has been identified and the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched a criminal investigation into the case. "The person who threatened Salome Zurabisvhili and her family members is a member of a military unit which [...]

Candidate for president Salome Zurabishvili received death threats from ‘ex-military servicemen linked to UNM’

By | November 12th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , |

Salome Zurabishvili called on police to respond to several death threats against herself and her son and daughter. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Salome Zurabishvili, the presidential candidate supported by Georgia Dream, calls on the police to respond after reportedly receiving deaths threats from ex-soldiers with links to the opposition National Movement. The threats were also directed [...]

None of Georgia’s political parties campaigned in Gali in first round of presidential election

By | November 9th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--None of the political parties in Georgia’s presidential election campaigned in the conflict zone, according to locals DFWatch spoke to in Gali, the southern district of breakaway Abkhazia. This is unlike previous elections, when the ruling party had local campaign workers out among the population promising various benefits, a resident of the [...]

South Ossetia resumes installation of barbed wire along de facto border

By | November 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Tskhinvali has resumed installation of barbed wire fence along the administrative borderline between Georgia proper and the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. The de facto security committee plans to install one km long fence in the vicinity of the villages of Balta and Atotsi in the Kareli district. The reason for the [...]

Abkhazia halts issuing of residence permits because ‘printer ran out of ink’

By | November 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch--Abkhazia has temporarily suspended the issuing of residence permits, an essential document needed by Gali residents in order to travel to Georgia proper. Breakaway authorities in Gali claim the reason is a technical problem with a printing machine, locals DFWatch spoke to explained. They were told that the printer had run out [...]

Georgian opposition candidate for president vows to call snap election if he wins

By | November 5th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: |

Grigol Vashadze at a meeting with supporters in Tskaltubo. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The opposition candidate in Georgia’s run-off election for president pledges to eliminate the 'political police' if he wins. Grigol Vashadze from the National Movement also promised to release everyone from prison who is serving time for use or possession of soft drugs and [...]

South Ossetia celebrated 100 years since Komsomol’s founding

By | November 3rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(presidentruo.org) TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia on Saturday celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Komsomol, the infamous political youth organization during the Soviet Union. Central in the celebrations were various events with participation by school pupils dressed in pioneer uniforms including the classic red scarves. Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization was the children’s political [...]

Four UNM activists hospitalized after party office in Akhalkalaki attacked by GD supporters

By | October 30th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Grigol Vashadze in Akhalkalaki hospital. (Sknews.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--Four opposition activists were hospitalized Tuesday after supporters of the ruling GD party burst into a local branch office of the UNM in the predominantly ethnic Armenian town Akhalkalaki. Among the attackers were the brother of a member of parliament for GD, UNM claims. One of the [...]

Exit polls differ wildly after Georgia’s presidential election, opposition preparing protest to ‘defend votes’

By | October 28th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Exit poll after Georgia's presidential election on Sunday show dramatically different results and all sides are bracing for a long and fierce standoff to ‘defend votes'. The situation is tense in Tbilisi and the opposition is even talking about launching a wave of protest rallies if the government 'rigs the results'. Three [...]

Georgians go to the polls to elect a president for the last time

By | October 27th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Sunday, Georgians go to the polls for the last time to elect a president. Even though the role of the president in recent years is largely ceremonial, the contest has turned into a fierce political showdown. Although the powers of the president have been gradually reduced since the split between Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader [...]

South Ossetia increases fines for ‘border violations’ 250%

By | October 25th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in the breakaway region South Ossetia have increased the fines for 'illegal crossing of the state border' by two and a half times; from 2,000 (USD 30) to 5,000 Russian rubles (USD 75). This change in the size of fines is one of the reasons for why it took longer time than usual for [...]

Tbilisi City Court holds second hearing in Igor Giorgadze’s lawsuit against DFWatch

By | October 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Igor Giorgadze. TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday held its second hearing in a lawsuit filed by a former Georgian politician turned Kremlin ally against DFWatch for an article published in 2016. The claimant, Igor Giorgadze, served as Minister of State Security in 1993-1995, until he fled to Russia in the wake of the [...]

Audio recording of ex-prosecutor details government corruption, sparks call for snap election

By | October 16th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mirza Subeliani. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch--A one and a half hour long secret audio recording aired by an opposition TV channel has caused an outcry in Georgia, two weeks ahead of the presidential election. The situation has gone so far that the opposition has started talking about snap elections for parliament. "In the first round [...]

Gali residents take up cigarette smuggling after failed harvest

By | October 14th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Enguri Bridge. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The spread of the deadly brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has caused such devastation of orchards that locals have been forced to return to illegal businesses, such as smuggling of goods, particularly cigarettes, from breakaway Abkhazia to Georgia proper. This illegal trade was rife a decade and half ago but [...]

Groups say 25-year old’s fatal stabbing in Tbilisi was motivated by xenophobia

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Vitali Safarov (Facebook). TBILISI, DFWatch--A young human rights activist who was stabbed to death in Tbilisi nearly two weeks ago was murdered by members of a neo-Nazi group, Georgian civic activists say. Vitali Safarov, a 25 year old employee of a Georgian non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating minority rights, was severely beaten and stabbed several [...]

37 y/o woman released by South Ossetia, says she was mistreated during apprehension

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Maia Otinashvili is being met by relatives and family members at the village of Ergneti. (Sputnik Ossetia.) TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian woman released Tuesday by Tskhinvali says he was physically abused when she was apprehended but was treated better during her 10 day long captivity. Maia Otinashvili, a 37 year old mother of three minors, [...]

‘Traitor!’ ‘Fascist!’ Accusations fly in Georgian election campaign

By | October 9th, 2018|Categories: Elections|Tags: , , |

Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Nika Gvaramia, head of the opposition TV channel Rustavi 2, calls the ruling party-backed presidential contender a ‘traitor’. GD party secretary Irakli Kobakhidze responds by calling Gvaramia a ‘fascist’. Kobakhidze, who is the speaker of Georgia's parliament, slammed the Rustavi 2 director Monday morning at a press [...]

Russia does not rule out ‘military measures’ against Georgia in new threats over Tbilisi biolab

By | October 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

The Lugar Center in Tbilisi. (NCDC.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia launched new threats and accusation against Georgia on Thursday over a US-funded laboratory in Tbilisi, warning that even ‘military measures’ are not ruled out. The move was ostensibly triggered by a former KGB general who served as Georgia's security chief in the 1990s but fled the [...]

South Ossetia presents video to show Georgian woman detainee is treated well after family says she was beaten

By | October 4th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--Breakaway authorities in Tskhinvali have released a video supposed to show that a Georgian woman is being treated well in detention. Maia Otinashvili (37) was seized by armed, masked men on September 29 in her orchard in the village Khurvaleti, right on the border to the disputed territory. Meanwhile, the Georgia's Public Defenders states that [...]

Owner of Georgian opposition TV channel Iberia claims ex-PM Ivanishvili extorted him for USD 4 mill

By | October 1st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Zaza Okuashvili sparked a public outcry by accusing former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili of extortion. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The owner of the Georgian opposition-leaning TV channel Iberia blames the billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili of extorting him for four million dollars. Zaza Okuashvili, who owns one of Georgia’s largest tobacco manufacturing and importing companies, [...]

Georgian schools ordered to take part in Abkhazia’s ‘Victory Day’

By | September 27th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Gal Info.) GALI, DFWatch--On September 30, the de facto government of Abkhazia celebrates Victory Day, commemorating victory in the 1992-93 war. Among the planned events will be a procession by the initiative group "Our Heros' Way", which is mainly made up of Abkhaz youth. However, Georgian schools operating in the Gali district have also [...]

Georgia’s former PM joins EBRD as consultant

By | September 25th, 2018|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, former Georgian prime minister. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has embarked on a  new job as a consultant at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The contract which was signed ‘a few weeks’ ago one of the former PM’s responsibilities will be offering advice to Uzbekistan’s government [...]

School pupils in Gali prohibited from attending NGO events

By | September 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

GALI, DFWatch–The deputy head of administration in Gali district has carried out an inspection of the schools in this predominantly Georgian district of breakaway Abkhazia and ordered principals not to let […]

Editor violently attacked by half dozen men in Tbilisi

By | September 18th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

Zurab Vardiashvili. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An editor of a popular Georgian magazine was assaulted and beaten by half a dozen men Saturday evening. The attack on Zurab Vardiashvili, editor of Liberali magazine, took place in the southern Varketili district of Tbilisi. Two SUVs stopped […]

Young men are leaving Gali en masse to seek work abroad

By | September 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(DFWatch.) GALI, DFWatch–Young people are leaving their homes here in Gali, Abkhazia, to seek work opportunities abroad. In the last month, about 50 young people, most of them men, have left for Poland from one of the villages in the district, DFWatch was told by locals. […]

German MEP voices solidarity to Georgia’s embattled university

By | September 7th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Rebecca Harms (Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.) German politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany has expressed her solidarity to an embattled university in Georgia, which is under fire for its alleged links to U.S.-based Turkish cleric and a personal foe of President Erdogan. […]

Saakashvili, Ivanishvili Lobbyist Pleads Guilty in Trump-Related Case

By | September 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

An American lobbyist who worked in Georgia for Mikheil Saakashvili, Irakli Alasania and Bidzina Ivanishvili pleaded guilty on Friday in a case related to investigations of US president Donald Trump. Sam Patten admitted he used an unnamed American to pay $US50,000 for four tickets to one of the parties at Trump’s inauguration in 2017. The tickets were for [...]

Margvelashvili won’t run for president again, slams GD for animosity

By | August 31st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Facebook.) President Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced his decision not to run for the presidential seat in the fall and slammed Georgia’s ruling party for attempts to ‘discredit’ him. […]

Prosecutor suspended after alleged armed assault

By | August 28th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A prosecutor at the west Georgia branch of the Prosecutor’s Office has been suspended and is being evaluated following an alleged armed assault, the POG said in a statement released Monday evening. […]

Georgia bows to Turkey’s Erdogan again, cracks down on Gulen-linked university in Tbilisi

By | August 21st, 2018|Categories: Education, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia keeps on cracking down on educational institutions linked to the Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara has accused of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. […]

New Russian surveillance position spotted at Koda as South Ossetia prepares to redraw de facto border

By | August 13th, 2018|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch–Locals have discovered a new surveillance post near Koda, a village along the perimeter of South Ossetia, where Georgia and Russia fought a brief war ten years ago. The observation post near the village of Koda, which likely includes […]

Russian bases in Abkhazia have mushroomed since 2008 war

By | August 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The Russian military base in Tagolon, a village in the ethnic Georgian Gali region of Abkhazia. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Since the 2008 war, Russia has expanded its military infrastructure in the breakaway republic Abkhazia dramatically. There are currently Russian military facilities in Sokhumi, Ochamchire, Gudauta and Gali, as well as the villages Tagiloni, Nabakevi, Pichori, Otobaia, […]

Strong rain and flooding of houses and streets in Gali, Abkhazia

By | August 10th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Strong rain caused flooding of streets and houses in the southern Gali district of Abkhazia on Friday. The exact scale of the damage is not yet known, but the head of the local de facto administration claims the consequences would have been worse […]

Fire breaks out in South Ossetian de facto president’s building

By | August 8th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The building of de facto president’s administration in South Ossetia caught fire on Wednesday, destroying about 140 square meters. The fire took place on August 8, on the 10th anniversary of the five day Russo-Georgian war, which claimed hundreds of lives from both sides. […]

Separatist politician claims US strong-armed Latin American countries to not recognize Abkhazia

By | August 7th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

Maxim Gvinjia. (Sputnik.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several Latin American countries that considered recognizing Abkhazia as an independent country refrained from doing so after the personal intervention by US and UK leaders, a former Sokhumi politician has claimed in an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti. […]

Former Georgian foreign minister Zourabichvili declares presidential run

By | August 7th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili has declared her intention to run for president of Georgia, and the ruling GD party appears to be ready to back her candidacy. Zourabichvili, who is of of Georgian origin but was born in France, served as French ambassador […]

Officials from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine expected in Georgia for 10th anniversary of August War

By | August 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The foreign ministers of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and the deputy prime minister of Ukraine are among the foreign officials who will visit Georgia on Monday and Tuesday for the 10th anniversary of the Russo-Georgian war. During their visit, […]

Georgia triple murder suspect placed under psychiatric evaluation

By | August 4th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A 19 year old shepherd charged with murdering an American family of three is undergoing psychiatric evaluation, his lawyer said on Monday. Malkhaz Kobauri, who faces life sentence for the savage killing of Ryan and Lora Smith and their 4 year old son Caleb, is being examined […]

1,137 students from breakaway region enrolled at universities since 2005

By | August 3rd, 2018|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch–4,237 students have graduated from the schools in Abkhazia since 2005, out of which 2,458 registered for the National Assessment and Examinations Center exams. According to Gali Educational Resource Center, […]

Three Georgian soldiers in hospital after knife fight at military training center

By | August 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|

(The Kojori training center.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three members of the Georgian military were wounded, and two slightly injured after a physical confrontation at the Kojori military base in the vicinity of Tbilisi overnight. The three received stab wounds with knives that were not military issue, MoD said. […]

Georgia’s ruling party vows to fill ‘legal vacuum’ after Constitutional Court abolished punishment for cannabis use

By | July 31st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

One of the plaintiffs, Zurab Japaridze, at the marijuana planting event on New Year’s Eve 2017. (Pirveli TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The ruling GD party in Georgia rejects a decision by the Constitutional Court to abolish punishment for marijuana use, arguing that the ruling creates a ‘legal vacuum’ that the government pledges to fill. The Constitutional Court on Monday […]

Abkhazia steps up fight against drug crimes with draconian measures

By | July 28th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Sokhumi responds to the mass outcry over the growing problem of drug addiction by introducing draconian new measures, including capital punishment. Abkhazia’s de facto parliament has adopted […]

Villagers clash with riot police over illegal logging in Svaneti, Georgia

By | July 27th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Riot police in Svaneti (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–Villagers clashed with police in the highland Svaneti region of Georgia on Thursday. The unrest was triggered by the arrival of the finance police. The confrontation lasted throughout the day during which locals blocked the only road connecting […]

South Ossetia’s leader visits Bashar al-Assad in Damascus

By | July 24th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

De facto president of the breakaway republic South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov (left) and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. TBILISI, DFWatch–The leader of South Ossetia, a breakaway republic within Georgian territory, visited Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Monday. During the meeting, South Ossetia’s de facto president Anatoly Bibilov pledged to help the Syrian regime ‘fight terrorism’, […]

Gali residents urged to renounced Georgian ethnicity to acquire Abkhazian passport

By | July 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Awarding ‘Abkhaz passport’. In the center Temur Nadaraia, the head of Gali de facto administration. GALI, DFWatch–July 19, a ceremony was held here in Gali to award ‘Abkhaz passports’ to 139 residents who listened to an appeal by something called the Mirzakan Abkhaz Council. This was was only the latest event organized by the Council in an effort backed by Sokhumi […]

Abkhazia resumes issuing of ‘visas’ as FIFA World Cup ends

By | July 18th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

GALI, DFWatch–Sokhumi has resumed the issuing of ‘visas’ used by many Georgians to visit family and do business here in the Gali region in the southeast of the breakaway republic Abkhazia. The issuing of ‘visas’ was suspended about two months ago and locals in this predominantly […]

Four die in coal mine explosion in Tkibuli, Georgia

By | July 16th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The accident happened in one of these mines in Tkibuli. (primenewsgeorgia.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four miners died after a methane gas explosion in a coal mine in Tkibuli, Georgia, Monday morning, prompting the temporary closure of the mine. A further six were injured and brought to hospital. Two of them are still in a serious condition, […]

After years of crime rule, number of robberies finally drops in Gali

By | July 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Gali center. GALI, DFWatch–In the past, robberies were rife here in Abkhazia’s easternmost region Gali, which is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Georgians. But recently, the crime situation has noticeably improved. DFWatch talked to people in Gali about how their situation has changed the last few years. […]

New Georgian PM unveils cabinet with three new names

By | July 12th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Ivane Machavariani is proposed as new finance minister, one of the three new faces in the government. (PIA.) TBILISI, DFWatch–New Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze unveiled his cabinet on Thursday. The list contains three new names, among them proposed Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani (pictured), while the embattled justice minister gets to keep her seat. […]

Five injured as helicopter crash lands in eastern Georgia

By | July 12th, 2018|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

A helicopter of Georgia’s Border Police. (RFE/RL.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Five people were injured as a helicopter crash landed in eastern Georgia on Thursday. Three pilots, a border guard and a police officer were injured as the helicopter belonging to the Border Police had a hard touchdown near the village of Artana in Kakheti. […]

New hurdles for Gali residents as breakaway Abkhazia ends use of ‘passports’

By | July 9th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Newscaucasus.com) GALI, DFWatch–As Abkhazia’s breakaway authorities are planning to end the use of specially issued ‘passports’ by the end of 2018, the Georgian minority here are facing new bureaucratic hurdles and further discrimination. […]

19 y/o shepherd charged with murdering American family of three in Dusheti

By | July 9th, 2018|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , , , , , |

The murder victims Lora (42), Caleb (4) and Ryan Smith (43). TBILISI, DFWatch–A 19 year old shepherd from Georgia’s mountain region Dusheti was charged Monday with the cold blooded murder of an American family of three. The shepherd, whose identity is being withheld by authorities, has confessed to the killing of Ryan Smith, 43, an entrepreneur, […]

More people detained for trying to leave South Ossetia than for trying to enter

By | July 8th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia’s KGB has published data which reveals that more people have been punished for trying to leave the breakaway region than for crossing into the territory. As DFWatch reported early on, people living near the de facto border are frequently being detained […]

Georgian PM Kvirikashvili stricken from GD political council member list

By | July 6th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has mysteriously been removed from the political council of Georgia’s ruling party. As PM, Kvirikashvili had a leading role in the advisory body of the ruling party. But he resigned his position abruptly on June 13, […]

Georgia charges one person with terrorism for posting threat on Facebook

By | July 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–One person has been charged with terrorism in Georgia for allegedly using social media to advocate the hostage taking of the Armenian ambassador. […]

Landslide triggers flooding, evacuation in Svaneti

By | July 6th, 2018|Categories: Environment|Tags: , , |

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfRVhSBLGGc TBILISI, DFWatch–A landslide triggered a flood wave carrying large amounts of mud and debris down the Nenskra river in Svaneti, western Georgia on Thursday. Dozens of people fled their homes or were evacuated, as at least four bridges […]

Georgia’s ruling party to strip president of powers to grant citizenship

By | July 4th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

Presidential spokesperson Ana Natsvlishvili said the bill is the outcome of a long running ‘feud’ between President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling party prepares to take away the president’s power to grant people citizenship. According to a bill presented Tuesday, the president will no longer be entitled to appoint the head of the commission which reviews applications for citizenship. […]

Saakashvili convicted of ordering parliamentarian’s beating in 2005

By | June 29th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The doctors said MP Valeri Gelashvili barely survived after being beaten by masked men in 2005. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court on Thursday found former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili guilty of ordering the beating of a parliamentarian in 2005. Saakashvili was sentenced to six years in prison and stripped of his right to hold government […]

Two women arrested, suspected of stabbing Georgian singer

By | June 27th, 2018|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , |

Tamta Janjgava (left) and Natia Topuria. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have arrested two young women implicated in the near fatal stabbing of a popular crooner. Irakli Nozadze, nicknamed ‘Picasso’, was in a critical condition after major loss of blood after being stabbed multiple times in the chest and neck on Monday. […]

Popular Georgian crooner ‘stabbed by two girls’ in Tbilisi

By | June 26th, 2018|Categories: Crime|Tags: |

Irakli Nozadze. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–One of Georgia’s most popular singers was stabbed in Tbilisi Monday evening. Two girls are suspected of carrying out the crime. Irakli “Picasso” Nozadze of the popular quartet Street Boys (“ქუჩის ბიჭები”) is in a critical condition after being stabbed in the chest. […]

Breakaway South Ossetia asks Georgia for 11th Century icon

By | June 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The 11th Century ivory icon Okon is estimated to be worth 1.6 million euro. (cominf.org) TBILISI, DFWatch–Separatists in South Ossetia have repeated a call to Georgia to hand over an 11th Century icon currently being kept in the National Museum in Tbilisi. Representatives of the breakaway republic raised the issue during […]

US to sell Stinger missiles to Russia’s neighbor Georgia

By | June 21st, 2018|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , |

Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria. (mod.gov.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia will probably receive American-made Stinger MANPADs, the defense minister has revealed. Defense Minister Levan Izoria mentioned the new weapons acquisition during a confirmation hearing in parliament on Tuesday. “Georgia will get, along with the Javelins, […]

Georgian asylum seekers to Europe down 13% in April

By | June 20th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

  Asylum applications by Georgian nationals between April 2016 and April 2018. (www.easo.europa.eu) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of Georgians who sought asylum in Schengen countries dropped 13 percent in April, compared to the month before, but the small Caucasus nation is still over-represented. Despite a modest population of 3.7 million, Georgia still ranks among […]

Abkhazia halts issuing of ‘visas’ during FIFA World Cup

By | June 16th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

GALI, DFWatch–Sokhumi has suspended the issuing of ‘visas’ which is needed by many Georgians to visit family and do business here in the southern Gali region of the breakaway republic. […]

Georgia indicts two South Ossetian officials for Tatunashvili’s torture and murder

By | June 15th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has indicted two South Ossetian officials for involvement in the abduction and torture of a Georgian former soldier in Akhalgori, an enclave under control of the breakaway region. Davit Gurtsiev, the head of de facto security body in Akhalgori, […]

Breakaway Sokhumi plans to import Abkhazians from Middle East to shift demographics

By | June 14th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Abkhazia’s de facto president Raul Khajimba and Beslan Dbar (presidentofabkhazia.org) GALI, DFWatch–Breakaway authorities in Sokhumi plan to invite ethnic Abkhazians in the Middle East to come and settle in the southern Gali and northern Gagra districts. The scheme will shift the demographics in parts of the disputed territory where the Abkhazians are not […]

Georgian PM Kvirikashvili resigns, citing disagreement with Ivanishvili

By | June 13th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigned on Wednesday, citing disagreement with the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili. According to the Constitution, the PM’s resignation also means that the entire government resigns. […]

19 detained in Tbilisi as protests resume in wake of controversial teen murder investigation

By | June 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The leader of Georgia’s largest opposition party UNM was among 19 people detained on Monday as street protests resumed against a murder investigation. Authorities came down hard on organizers as the rallies resumed Monday as a deadline set by protesters […]

Outrage in Georgia over Ossetian officer’s hospital treatment

By | June 10th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

AKHALGORI, DFWatch–Georgians took to social media to express their outrage on Friday after it emerged that a South Ossetian officer was receiving treatment at a Tbilisi hospital. It is being speculated that he might be implicated in the murder of Archil Tatunashvili, […]

Four killed as minivan full of schoolchildren plunges into ravine

By | June 9th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Four died, and 21 were reportedly injured when a minivan full of schoolchildren rolled into a ravine near Tbilisi Saturday. One child and three adults were killed, the latter reportedly parents of schoolchildren. 21 people were injured, including 12 children. […]

One man arrested for witness tampering in Tbilisi school murder case

By | June 8th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–One person was arrested for witness tampering on Friday in connection with the new investigation into the Khorava Street murders. Merab Morchadze, 45, was detained under Article 372 of the Criminal Code on the basis of new evidence obtained in the course of the new […]

Tbilisi City Court hears Igor Giorgadze’s lawsuit against DFWatch

By | June 7th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court has started reviewing a lawsuit against DFWatch filed by Igor Giorgadze, a former head of Georgia’s State Security Ministry who is wanted by Georgia for a failed assassination attempt […]

Forensic examination shows that Archil Tatunashvili was tortured before he died

By | June 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

Photos: Giorgi Tatunashvili, kissing the forehead of his deceased son Archil at the funeral. March 24. (RFE/RL.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new forensic examination carried out in Georgia concludes that Archil Tatunashvili, a former soldier who died in a prison in South Ossetia February 23, was most likely killed. The body had nearly a hundred different injuries and signs that indicate he was tortured. […]

Father of murdered teenager rejects government’s offer of protection

By | June 2nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on Friday offered the father of a murdered teenager who is leading a street protest to enroll in a witness protection program, claiming his life may be in danger. Zaza Saralidze has been at the front of an ongoing street protest […]

Suspicion that the murderers of two teenagers are protected sparks outrage in Georgia

By | May 31st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

First Lady Maka Chichua hugging Zaza Saralidze, father of one of the murder victims, outside the office of the Chief Prosecutor on Thursday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A furious crowd of demonstrators converged on parliament Thursday evening in response to the controversial verdict in the trial of two slayed teenagers. Many in Georgia believe law enforcers granted impunity to one or more persons implicated in the crime and that the real murderers still haven’t been charged. The murder of high schoolers Levan Dadunashvili and Davit Saralidze shocked Georgia and the trial has attracted intense public interest. […]

Feeling of insecurity grows among Azerbaijani activists in Georgia – the story of Khayal Azizov

By | May 29th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Khayal Azizov (Facebook). Azerbaijani journalist Khayal Azizov, who has fled from his country, blames the Azerbaijani authorities in illegal persecution and psychological oppression in Georgia. […]

Syria recognizes two Russia-backed Georgian breakaway regions as independent states

By | May 29th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Syrian government on Tuesday recognized the two Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. In response, Tbilisi severed diplomatic relations with Damascus. […]

Georgia’s Orthodox Church asks priests to stay away from ‘blasphemous’ Rustavi 2

By | May 25th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Orthodox Church on Thursday denounced the largest private TV channel in the country, and asked its clergy to stop giving interviews to or participate in any of its programs. The reason for the unprecedented step was that Rustavi 2 has engaged in ‘blasphemy’ […]

In Gali, Abkhazia, people wait in vain for a new border crossing to open

By | May 24th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

GALI, DFWatch–For almost a year and a half, people in Gali, in the south of breakaway Abkhazia, have been waiting for a new checkpoint to open on the administrative border line to Georgia proper, so far in vain. […]

Moscow approves Abkhazia, South Ossetia cargo monitoring scheme by Swiss company SGS

By | May 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–After seven years of delay, Russia has finally inked an agreement with the Swiss company SGS to carry out monitoring of goods passing through the border with Georgia. SGS will carry out customs monitoring […]

New flights connect Kutaisi to Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Athens and Prague

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatcch–Kutaisi in central Georgia will be connected by direct flights to some of Europe’s biggest cities this week for as little as 25 euros. Hungarian budget airline Wizzair is launching new flights out of Kutaisi International Airport. Already from Thursday, there are new connections […]

Gay rights rally canceled in Tbilisi following pressure from far-right groups

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

In 2017, activist in Tbilisi met under strict security to observe the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Organizers have called off a gay rights rally in Tbilisi out of security concerns. The rally should have been held in front of the government building in Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). “Considering all existing […]

Georgian clubbers call off protest after interior minister promises investigation of police brutality

By | May 14th, 2018|Categories: Youth|Tags: , , , |

Beka Tsikarishvili, one of the spokespersons for the clubbers who protested. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi youth outraged by police raids of two night clubs called off their two day long protest Sunday night after the interior minister publicly apologized for police brutality and promised an investigation. […]

Georgia raises bar for obtaining residency permit

By | May 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is bringing in stricter rules for acquiring permanent residency, in order to stem the tide of irregular immigration, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said. According to the amendments submitted by the government, foreign nationals […]

Ivanishvili elected leader of Georgia’s ruling party at grandiose meeting

By | May 12th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

(Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was formally elected head of the ruling Georgian Dream party on Friday, at a grandiose party convention resembling those held by the Communist party during the Soviet Union. Ivanishvili retired from politics in 2013, […]

South Ossetia blocks Georgian bishop from entering border chapel on St George’s Day

By | May 7th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

Andria Gvazava, Archbishop of Gori and Ateni. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Separatists prevented a Georgian bishop from conducting St George’s Day mass on Sunday in a chapel on the administrative border line between the disputed territory South Ossetia and Georgia proper. Guards have allowed archbishop Andria to conduct the important mass […]

Massive delays on Enguri bridge

By | May 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Long queues on the Enguri bridge has caused major interruptions for people wanting to cross the de facto border between Abkhazia and Georgia proper. Locals told DFWatch the immediate reason for the traffic jam is that only one out of four passport counters is operational on the Abkhaz side, […]

Georgian court bans condoms depicting Queen Tamar

By | May 5th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A court in Georgia has banned three types of condoms because the packaging was found to be unethical. Human rights groups see the ruling as an attack on freedom of expression. Tbilisi City Court’s decision bans the sale and promotion of three types of condoms sold by the company Aiisa. […]

Ivanishvili to make political comeback, will head Georgia’s ruling GD

By | April 26th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili is making a comeback in politics and will head Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream. The move comes amid ongoing tension within the party’s ranks. “On behalf of myself and my team, I personally asked the party’s founder to lead the party. […]

Lawmaker in Georgia suggests making it a crime to cause offense to religious feelings

By | April 26th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Emzar Kvitsiani. TBILISI, DFWatch–A conservative MP in Georgia has presented a bill that would prescribe punishment of up to one year in jail for ‘offending someone’s religious feelings’. The human rights committee in parliament agrees with the bill ‘in principle’. “I’m ready to take part in and make […]

Alania diocese facing uncertain future as South Ossetia confiscates bishop’s ‘passport’

By | April 20th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Bishop Ambrosi. (osinform.org) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Alania diocese, which covers the area of the separatist region South Ossetia, is facing an uncertain future after law enforcers for the breakaway republic confiscated the ‘passport’ of the head of the diocese. The ‘passport’, which is required […]

Seven Georgian schools may be closed in the southern part of Abkhazia

By | April 16th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The Georgian school in the village Tagiloni was closed recently. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Abkhazia’s breakaway authorities are planning to close seven Georgian schools in Gali, according to locals, who fear that such a decision, if taken, will cause the district to be depopulated. The school closures are being considered as part of an ‘optimization’ plan for the public schools in Abkhazia. […]

Georgian parliament speaker slams Freedom House report

By | April 12th, 2018|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The speaker of Georgia’s parliament on Thursday slammed a report by the US based organization Freedom House, accusing its local contributors of being hostile to the Georgian government and the Trump administration. Using extraordinarily strong language […]

Violent attack on Nigerian students sparks racism debate in Tbilisi

By | April 10th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch-A group of Nigerian students were physically assaulted in the Dighomi neighborhood of Tbilisi Sunday evening. They claim the attack was unprovoked and motivated by racism. The incident, which took place on a playground as the students were playing football, […]

Six killed as coal mine collapses in Tkibuli, Georgia

By | April 5th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Six miners died when a coal mine collapsed in Tkibuli, Georgia Thursday morning. A further three were injured and brought to hospital, where they remained at press time. The immediate cause of the incident is still to be determined. According to a statement […]

GEM Fest 2018 thrown into doubt after application for permit rejected

By | April 4th, 2018|Categories: Youth|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–GEM Fest may be canceled this year, after an agency of the Georgian government denied the festival a permit to rent a land plot. The fate of the annual electronic music festival, which is popular among youth in Georgia and neighboring countries, was thrown into doubt because the The National Agency of State Property (NASP) […]

Russia bans fruit and vegetables from Abkhazia, which in turn blocks same products from Georgia

By | April 1st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Breakaway vice premier Aslan Kobakhia finds it strange that Russia has imposed a blockade only on Abkhazia, not Georgia. (aiaaira.com.) TBILISI, DFWatch–From April 2, Moscow will prohibit the import of fruit, vegetables and herbs from breakaway Abkhazia, which heavily relies on selling agricultural commodities to Russia. Sokhumi responded by imposing an embargo […]

A shopping mall near the Abkhazian border offers services to people on both sides

By | March 31st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

The hypermarket. (DFWatch.) ZUGDIDI, DFWatch–A five hectare shopping mall in Rukhi, only meters from the administrative border line (ABL) with breakaway Abkhazia, is doing good business, says its director David Machavariani, speaking to DFWatch. “Of course, the idea has justified itself, as [the mall] allows people to have more access to the services closer to their homes. […]

Georgia expels one Russian diplomat over UK spy poisoning

By | March 29th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi is expelling a Russian diplomat in solidarity with its western allies over the poisoning of the ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK. The decision was taken on Thursday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after strong pressure from the opposition. […]

Two women accuse the head of Georgia’s Public Registry of sexual harassment

By | March 27th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The head of Georgia’s Public Registry has been accused of discrimination and sexual harassment by at least two of the agency’s former female employees. Papuna Ugrekhelidze, the 43 year old chairman of the NAPR, who is currently on a business trip to the US, flatly denied the accusations […]

Integration of ethnic Azeris starts with language

By | March 24th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

The Constitution of Georgia stipulates that the state language of country is Georgian. The status of the official language creates grounds for, on the one hand, the social isolation and exclusion from economic and political spheres of people who do not speak Georgian and, on the other hand, the banning on the use of a minority language in administrative domains. […]

Georgia number two in Europe in incarceration rate, only surpassed by Russia

By | March 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Only Russia has a higher percentage of its population behind bars among European countries. 256.3 persons per 100,000 inhabitants were incarcerated in Georgia in 2016, according to a new report by the Council of Europe. This means the small Caucasus nation […]

South Ossetia beginning strict control of ‘citizenship’ procedures

By | March 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

AKHALGORI, DFWatch–South Ossetia is creating a new body that will examine whether its ‘nationals’ comply with the procedures for obtaining ‘citizenship’ of the breakaway region. A civic activist from Akhalgori might become the first victim of the novelty. […]

South Ossetia hands over body of deceased detainee

By | March 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

The car with the body of Archil Tatinashvili crossing into Georgia proper near Akhalgori. (1tv.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetian de facto authorities late Tuesday evening handed over to Georgian law enforcers the body of a Georgian war veteran who died in Tskhinvali under suspicious circumstances. The release of Archil Tatunashvili’s body was facilitated by the Red Cross. […]

Putin received the highest percentage of votes in Georgia’s two breakaway regions

By | March 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Abkhazia’s de facto president Raul Khajimba at a precinct opened in the breakaway region for voting the Russian presidential election. (Ekhokavkaza.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In two enclaves carved out of neighboring Georgia, Vladimir Putin received the highest percentage of votes in the Russian presidential election: 94 percent of votes in Abkhazia and 93 percent in South Ossetia. The two regions which both have a heavy Russian […]

Far-right activists violently assault TV journalists in Tbilisi, six detained

By | March 20th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Giorgi Gabunia. TBILISI, DFWatch–Six men were detained after a group of nationalists assaulted reporters working for the opposition leaning TV channel Rustavi 2 in Tbilisi on Monday. At least one journalist was injured. The TV channel’s sports reporter Davit Eradze was hospitalized […]

At least eight injured as ski lift fails in Gudauri, Georgia

By | March 16th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--At least eight people were injured in an accident in Georgia’s ski resort Gudauri Friday as after a ski lift failed. Two people - a Swedish and Ukrainian national - are in a serious but not life threatening condition, while the others suffered minor injuries, Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko said, speaking to Imedi TV. [...]

Sokhumi’s lack of a heart clinic leads many to seek treatment in Georgia proper

By | March 13th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

GALI, DFWatch–Abkhazia’s de facto authorities have not managed to open a much needed heart clinic in Sokhumi due to the lack of qualified medical staff, a Georgian cardiologist who was involved in the process told DFWatch. […]

South Ossetia lets two Georgians go but still refuses to hand over body of deceased prisoner

By | March 11th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili and Sozar Subari meet with newly released Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili. (Photo courtesy of the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Separatist authorities in control of the South Ossetia region Sunday released two Georgian men who were detained about three weeks ago, but still refused to hand over the body of a third detainee who died in detention. […]

Rally for transgender rights thwarted by egg-throwing ‘family values’ activists

By | March 9th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Guram Palavandishvili was detained for throwing a raw egg. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Anti-gay activists thwarted a demonstration for transgender rights in Tbilisi Thursday. Police detained one person for throwing a raw egg at the group of LGBTQ protesters who had gathered outside the House of Justice to demand smoother procedures […]

Far right group has patrolled Tbilisi streets for the last week

By | March 6th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The insignia worn by the street patrols are seen here in this photo from a protest in July, 2017, with organizer Sandro Bregadze (right) holding an icon of King Davit IV. (Facebook/Nini Ketelauri.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A far right group in Georgia has been patrolling the streets of Tbilisi for ‘over a week’, wearing armbands and T-shirts with its insignia, the group’s leader confirmed on Monday. Georgian March’s patrols covered an area in the city center including Leselidze Street, […]

Georgia’s ruling party allegedly preparing to pick justice minister as candidate for president

By | March 4th, 2018|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling party is going to pick Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani as a candidate for president, an opposition TV station claims. Rustavi 2 TV claimed Tsulukiani’s candidacy has been approved by former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. […]

South Ossetia deploys security force to Akhalgori, conducting stop and search

By | March 4th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Tskhinvali OMON. 2016. (Osinform.) TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia has imposed strict security measures in Akhalgori, the only part of the breakaway republic inhabited predominantly by ethnic Georgians. Units of the region’s riot police have been deployed to the town of Akhalgori and its surroundings. […]

South Ossetia launches ‘genocide’ accusations as pressure builds to transfer deceased prisoner’s body

By | March 3rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia’s de facto authorities still refuse to hand over the body of a former Georgian soldier who died after what appears to have been physical abuse by prison guards, and has instead repeated allegations that the 2008 war was a ‘genocide’ against Ossetians. […]

Gülen school manager offered state protection

By | March 1st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The manager of a private school linked to the exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen was included in the state protection program, his lawyer confirmed Thursday. Mustafa Emre Cabuk, quality manager at Demirel College, was released on bail on February 19 […]

Integration of ethnic Azeris starts with language: challenges in quality education and employment

By | February 27th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|

In Soviet times, the great majority of the population of Georgia spoke Russian, which served as the language of inter-ethnic communication. 66 year old Bayram Abbasov, resident of Telaveri village of Bolnisi district, describes that since Russian was the common language, they had little or no knowledge of Georgian. “We did not feel disenfranchised if we [...]

Abkhazian ‘residency permit’ enforced by threat of cutting off pensions

By | February 25th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

GALI, DFWatch–After requiring people to obtain a residency permit which costs almost USD 200, breakaway Abkhazia now threatens to cut off pensions and teachers’ salaries of those who don’t comply. Locals in the Gali region consider the new regulation a form of blackmail. […]

Georgia demands investigation into death of war veteran in South Ossetia prison

By | February 23rd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian military serviceman died Friday morning in South Ossetia after what appears to have been physical abuse by prison guards. Georgia demands an immediate and impartial investigation of the incident and access to the corpse for Georgian forensic experts. The breakaway region’s Security Ministry announced the death of Archil Tatunashvili Friday morning. According [...]

South Ossetia hit by population crisis as birth rate drops 20% in five years

By | February 22nd, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–South Ossetia’s population is dwindling, and the de facto authorities will have to do something to address the problem, local media report. In 2017, there were born 513 babies in the breakaway region, which has experienced a 20% drop in its birth rate […]

Minibuses replacing horse carts at Enguri Bridge

By | February 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

GALI, DFWatch–Four-wheel horse carts (‘tachkas’) are still the main means of transport for crossing the Enguri Bridge, which separates breakaway Abkhazia from Georgia proper. However, recently three ‘marshrutkas’ have started competing for this profitable business, […]

Georgian president accuses Russia of running smear campaign in Europe

By | February 21st, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The president of Georgia has hinted that Russia may have manipulated media in Europe and made them focus on crime committed by Georgian nationals. “It may be the result of Russian propaganda when in the capitals of some European countries […]

Gulen-linked school manager released on bail by Tbilisi court

By | February 19th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Emre Cabuk (left). (Twitter/ISFED.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The manager of a private school linked to the exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen was released on bail by a Tbilisi court on Monday. Mustafa Emre Cabuk, quality manager at Demirel College, was arrested in May, 2017 in what appeared to be a case of pressure […]

Police in Georgia warn far-right activists against forming vigilante groups

By | February 17th, 2018|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia on Friday warned far-right activists against forming vigilante groups to patrol Tbilisi streets. Any attempt by Georgian March to set up vigilante groups will be met with a ‘strict response’, the Ministry of Internal Affairs was quoted as saying […]

Renowned Abkhazian composer charged with sexual abuse of a minor

By | February 15th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , |

ვალერი ჭკადუა (http://apsnyteka.org/). TBILISI, DFWatch–A renowned Abkhaz musician who wrote the anthem of the breakaway republic was arrested Wednesday in Sokhumi and charged with sexual abuse of a minor. The criminal prosecution against Valeri Chkadua, 70, was initiated after a complaint […]

Georgian far-right group plans to form new political party

By | February 15th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A far right group in Georgia that is forming vigilante groups to patrol Tbilisi’s streets looking for ‘suspicious foreigners’ is also planning to establish a new political party. Leaders of Georgian March confirmed this to different media outlets. […]

Ukraine detains Saakashvili and deports him to Poland

By | February 12th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: |

An eyewitness caught this video of Saakashvili’s detention, according to an update on the ex-president’s Facebook page. TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili has been deported from Ukraine. Saakashvili was detained in central Kyiv and deported to Poland by the border guard service. A statement on the service’s website says supporters of Saakashvili […]