Opinion

/Opinion

Comment articles from our contributors

My time in the official service is over

By | September 14th, 2018|Categories: Opinion|

Dear friends and colleagues, as of today, September 13, my time in the official service of the Georgian government will be over. I wish to thank the people of Georgia, whose support and advice has empowered me to work for every Georgian administration since 1989. […]

In Memoriam of Sen. John McCain

By | August 29th, 2018|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze and Sen. John McCain in helicopter en route to Pankisi in 2002. I had the great honor of meeting Senator McCain in early November of 1994 when I was Ambassador to the United States from Georgia.  He quickly and organically understood the challenges of a young democracy like ours trying to overcome [...]

Drug control: time to right the wrong policies

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

Michel Kazatchkine is former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, and member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. The Parliament of Georgia is currently engaged in a promising debate to reform its drug laws, possibly by ending the criminalization of drug use and possession, and seeking alternatives for low-level actors in the drug trade. This would go a long way to enacting an effective drug control framework that puts individuals first, with great benefits for communities in terms of security and public health. […]

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili: “We are making open and determined peace statement”

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

Today the Government of Georgia adopted a package of draft legislative amendments by that making a new, proactive and important step in the frames of peace policy of reconciliation and engagement. […]

Leaving behind “post-Soviet” politics in Georgia

By | October 12th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

For years democratization is seen as a top down process of constitutional engineering, nation-building, and market reforms. Until the early 2000s, states in former Eastern Europe saw their membership of NATO and the European Union as the final stage of consolidating their democracy. […]

Abduction of Mukhtarli Abated Trust of Ethnic Azerbaijani Population towards Georgian Authorities

By | October 11th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

Khayal Azizov Ethnic Azerbaijani people make up 6.3% of the Georgian population that is 233,000 persons. It is the biggest ethnic minority community in the country though their voice is least heard here. […]

Abduction of Mukhtarli Reduces Trust in Georgian Authorities among Ethnic Azerbaijani Population

By | September 27th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Ethnic Azerbaijani people make up 6.3% of the Georgian population, or 233,000 persons. It is the biggest ethnic minority community in the country, though their voice is least heard here. The main reason is that ethnic Azerbaijani people do not trust the Government of Georgia. Moreover, they are afraid of the government. […]

Helmut Kohl was a great friend of Georgia

By | June 20th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

Helmut Kohl (wikiwand.com) Helmut Kohl, in hand with Edward Shevardnadze, Michael Gorbachev, and George H.W. Bush, convinced Europe to rise to the occasion and believe that history can progress, that unity and national sovereignty can go hand-in-hand, and that conflict is not inevitable when Germany is united. […]

Zbigniew Brzezinski will be missed

By | June 2nd, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Brzezinski at the Munich Security Conference, 2014. (www.securityconference.de) To anyone close enough to speak with him in first name terms, he was Zbig. A typical American habit of kerbingconsonant-rich names that echo history to sound short, familiar, and approachable. […]

To Understand Georgia’s Constitutional Reforms, Look Beyond the President

By | May 6th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia needs a parliament that is more pluralistic, not less. Rather than locking in Georgia’s democratic gains, the draft constitution appears likely to benefit Georgian Dream, writes Joseph Larsen, analyst at Georgian Institute of Politics. The Georgian Dream (GD) […]

Constitutional Reform in Georgia – a Step Forward

By | May 6th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Tamar Chugoshvili is Parliament’s First Deputy Chairperson. In 2010-2012 she was the Chairperson Georgia’s of Young Lawyers’ Association. In total, 33 amendments have been made to the Constitution of Georgia, adopted in 1995, however, only two rounds of these amendments have been of fundamental importance […]

Georgian vulnerability to the EU’s uncertain future

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

Tatia Dolidze is Georgia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations. As the EU is experiencing the greatest identity crisis in its 60 years of existence, it is important to remember that  European integration is a history of crises and compromises. The current crisis is a good chance for the EU to address its democratic deficit, […]

Tbilisi and Brussels: tending to the democracy we have fired up

By | March 14th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , , |

Ambassador Tedo Japaridze is a former Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. Every time someone in Brussels criticizes the Georgian government, a chain reaction begins in Tbilisi.  With specs of truth, the opposition starts a fire designed to scorch the reputation of Georgia, while certain media will provide ventilation. It is not long before the whole […]

Remembering Bob Walsh: A man who brought big ideas to life in Georgia and around the world

By | March 10th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Bob Walsh The Memorial Service, remembering Bob Walsh, will be held on March 11 in Seattle… So today, indeed, is a sad, tough, rough day because Bob Walsh was my friend for 30 years. Maybe it was for even longer, it seemed that he was a part of my entire life. […]

About a former KGB operative’s lawsuit

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Igor Giorgadze has sued DFWatch. Igor Giorgadze, the former Security Minister of Georgia, and an extremely controversial person in the country’s modern history, has sued DFWatch for an article published on July 23. First of all, he objects to the title of the English version of the article, which refers to him as ‘public enemy number one’. […]

In Memoriam of Sen. John Glenn

By | December 24th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|

Tedo Japaridze Former foreign minister of Georgia, former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in Georgia’s Parliament. Currently political advisor to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili. It is with great regret that we received the news of the passing of Senator John Glenn, a man who best expressed the pioneering spirit of the American nation. […]

Mshybzia! Futile activism serves the interests of elites

By | June 27th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

A screenshot from the project’s website (mshibzia.com) The new Georgian social media campaign aimed at reaching out to Abkhaz society is an example of a futile activism informed by nationalist narratives which are being used by Georgian political elites to distract society from the core issue of unresolved ethnic conflict […]

Strengthening the European Agenda – A view from Georgia

By | June 7th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , , , |

Zviad Kvachantiradze is MP and Leader of Majority in the Parliament of Georgia; Co-Chair of EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee; Ambassador (IPN) In today’s world, the citizens as well as the leaders of organisations are faced with ever dynamic and fast shifting socio-economic and political climates, individuals as well as organisations are challenged to their limits in terms of successful and sustainable leadership to navigate within such a turbulence setting. Leaders, institutions, and citizens are tested by fast paced shifts in socioeconomic and political conditions. Navigating through turbulence is a litmus test.    […]

Reading the 2016 Independence Day Parade

By | May 30th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|

Ana Dolidze (Official Photo) The 2016 Independence Day parade was different from any other. It was different in form and in content. It was, I would like to claim, a parade that most adequately reflected the Georgian spirit. It was both international and originally Georgian. It struck the right […]

In Memoriam: Hans-Dietrich Genscher

By | April 4th, 2016|Categories: Opinion|

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

Threats to the Russian NGOs: Institute of ‘foreign agent’

By | September 23rd, 2015|Categories: Opinion|

Maria Kanevskaya Campaign of the Russian authorities to ‘reveal’ and include in the special ‘foreign agents’ registry of non-governmental (NGOs) organizations, has been accelerating exponentially. After two and a half years of introducing the law, there are […]

Responsibility, not informal influence

By | August 7th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

(DF Watch.) Georgia’s greatest obstacle to becoming a European democracy is the persistence of an informal system of political governance. Though most welcomed the change of government in 2012, the signs were there early on: When then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili […]

Nuclear deal opens up business opportunities for Iran and Georgia

By | August 3rd, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Mohammad Reza Noruzi is PhD in Public Policy and Assistant Professor at Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, and a policy adviser for the private sector in Iran. After a landmark deal with the P5+1 group in Vienna, a window to the world will open up for Iran. Iranians are set to start a new era of cooperation with important global businesses in many fields. This is bound to affect many of Iran’s economic sectors positively, […]

Georgia’s Magna Carta

By | July 13th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Davit Usupashvili is Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. Shakespeare would no doubt concur that democracy has an element of drama. In this drama, a constitution may be likened to a play, minus the actors. Setting the scene, a constitution lays out the notion of a state, like the preamble of a play. Articulating the script, […]

Dances with a bear

By | June 30th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|

(DF Watch.) The lukewarm Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga further outlined the value of Georgia’s two most important interconnected strategic goals: transforming the country into a modern European state and its European perspective of joining the EU. […]

Alexandre (Alika) Rondeli, in memoriam

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|

Alexander Rondeli Alexandre Rondeli (Alika for most of his Georgian friends and colleagues) was a charming and talented man, a close friend, a consul, a strategic ally, from the category of “usual suspects”, and, at times, a political opponent. Most of the people who dealt with him called him a “Wise Man of the Caucasus,” at times because he […]

Freezing the Kremlin’s policy

By | February 18th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Lasha Tughushi is founder of DFWatch, PhD and chair of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum – Georgian National Platform. How Europe should respond to Putin at the Riga Summit Against the backdrop of a rain of bullets, and the rumble of tanks and cannons, Europe is preparing for the Riga Summit in May. Expectations are already low, but one likely positive decision is visa liberalization […]

#jesuisgeorge

By | January 15th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Victims of the Paris terror comemmorated in Tbilisi. (Interpress “Freedom of speech and the press are supreme values that must be duly protected everywhere and at all times,” Irakli Garibashvili stated before flying to the global peace rally in Paris. These are the words of the man who was the head of the Ministry of Internal […]

Eurasian Customs Union Crawling Closer to Georgia

By | January 2nd, 2015|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. In 2015 Armenia became a full-fledged member of the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union (ECU). Georgia, on the other hand signed Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union. […]

Georgia’s labor code still favors employers

By | December 9th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. Last week hundreds of train workers went on strike after negotiations to improve working conditions and raise salaries failed. The strikers demand overtime compensation, new salary rules and a 13th month salary payment [1]. Leaders of the trade union say the railway […]

Respect will not save women from violence

By | December 5th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Arguably the most influential person in Georgia, the Patriarch Ilia II, does not agree that a woman should be equal to a man in  a family. Instead “she must be respected by her husband. She [a wife] has been always holding high authority in Georgia, and so it shall […]

Ashamed of being straight

By | November 13th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

A trans gender woman was killed in Tbilisi Tuesday. (Interpressnews.) I am lucky to be born straight. I am lucky to be one of those people who are not stigmatized on the basis of their sexual affection to a certain human being; who can kiss and hold hands in public without being attacked or bullied for it; who can get officially married […]

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women

By | October 27th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. Two weeks ago the weekend news was dominated by cases of acts of violence against women. Especially the murder at Ilia State University on October 17 and the subsequent media reports of other cases of domestic violence over the course of two days spurred the debate. […]

ECtHR condemns Georgia for harassment of Jehovah’s Witnesses

By | October 18th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. On 7 October, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) unanimously ruled in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the case of Begheluri and Others v. Georgia. The 99 Georgians, all but one of whom are Jehovah’s Witnesses, alleged that they were victims of large-scale […]

A red ghost of virginity

By | October 10th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) “Inga, can I stay with you for a week? Something terrible happened.” This is a message I got from a  close friend earlier this week. Apparently, she went out with her friends and did not hear her brother calling. Then, in the middle of the night, her brother and her […]

The Georgian model of libertarianism and its applicability to Ukraine

By | September 29th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Vladimer Papava is Professor of Tbilisi State University. Ukraine has garnered the world’s attention as a country facing a myriad of complex challenges, among which economic problems play a significant role.  The corruption-stricken government of Ukraine is reminiscent of Georgia in the beginning of the 21st century, […]

Being a foreign ‘gogo’ in Georgia

By | September 22nd, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

Contestants in the 2011 Miss Georgia competition. (Interpressnews.) It is always challenging to be a foreigner. But being a foreign woman in the Caucasus is even harder. “You will see that in Georgia women are treated like queens, like princesses”. This was one of the first sentences I heard when a Georgian man picked me up at […]

From Europe to the Caucasus: hunting time, then and now

By | August 11th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. There is indeed a civilizational cleavage between “Europe” and the South Caucasus. To encapsulate this cleavage in a single metaphor, one could say it is the difference between youth and age: the European sense of time seems youthful, with the certainty that […]

Lingering concerns over implementation of Georgia’s anti-discrimination law

By | August 4th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. Earlier this summer the UN Human Rights Committee published its concluding observations on Georgia’s fourth periodic report. The report praises the Government of Georgia on a number of positive steps, both at the legislative and the institutional level. Nevertheless, […]

If NATO delays path to Georgia’s membership, what is the alternative?

By | July 30th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. Alliance’s September summit must offer ‘concrete,’ not ‘token’ help as Georgia faces Russia In the same week that the European Union signed an association agreement with Georgia on June 27, NATO officials meeting in Brussels decided not to offer the country […]

How NATO can open a path to membership for Georgia

By | July 18th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Mamuka Tsereteli is director of research at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Amid Ukraine Crisis, US Should Push to Remove an Obstacle Mae West once said that “an ounce of performance is worth a pound of promises.” For Georgians, to whom NATO promised eventual membership in the alliance back in 2008, truer words have never been spoken. […]

The missing page in the Association Agreements

By | June 22nd, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Why was child protection left out the EU’s agreement with Georgia? the authors ask. On June 27, Georgia and Moldova will sign in Brussels the Association Agreements with the European Union that were initialed last year in Vilnius (Ukraine’s new authorities are expected to sign only the economic part of the Agreements on the same day). After a high level meeting that took place last month between president […]

Hate crime vs hooliganism

By | June 18th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the LGBT rally which turned violent in Tbilisi. The tense situation in the country in the run-up to the International Day Against Homophobia made activists resolve to a silent protest [1] this year. A few days […]

Emergence of entrepreneurship in Georgia

By | June 10th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Irina Guruli is Program Manager at the Economic Policy Research Center. Georgia’s economy is made of two components: the so-called formal sector and the “unobserved” part. In the observed part of Georgian economy, 96 percent of all registered firms are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs). However, there are many registered firms […]

Georgia’s economic growth and budgetary indicators

By | June 3rd, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. In comparison with 2013, current year began with better economic indicators. In particular, high growth rate was observed in January, February and March – with 7,4 percent quarter average. However, April saw a decrease to 2,7 percent. One of the factors that ensured […]

A lost Georgian letter & Europe’s idealist deficit

By | May 30th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. Recently, I made a discovery of the kind that spices up historians’ books. In my archive, I discovered a draft of a letter by Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the first Georgian President, directed to Secretary James Baker. The date was 1991. These were devastating but hopeful […]

Who’s next?

By | May 16th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Andrea Keerbs is Country Director of International Republican Institute, Georgia. When the Sarkozy Agreement was brokered after the brief war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 it was expected that Russia would adhere to its terms. Six years on Georgians are still waiting for Russia to return back to the “boundaries” of August 7, 2008. […]

The Trans-Caspian Pipeline – a strategic opportunity

By | May 14th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Giorgi Vashakmadze is Director of W-Stream Ltd, a company which promotes the Trans-Caspian and White Stream gas pipeline projects. The EU is advocating stable and transparent regulatory rules for energy production and trade in countries that play an important role as energy suppliers, and especially in countries that are interested in closer ties with the EU. Transparent and stable regulatory […]

Georgia’s watered-down anti-discrimination law

By | April 26th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a criminologist working for Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre in Tbilisi. The Ministry of Justice of Georgia has been working on a draft anti-discrimination law since early 2013. In December last year it was passed on to the government for review and this government-proposed bill was sent to the Parliament for approval on March 28. Several […]

Planned funding scheme for religious groups is discriminatory

By | April 8th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sarah Delys is a Criminologist working at Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center. Late January the Government of Georgia adopted a resolution which enables the financing of four traditional religious confessions: the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Muslim and Jewish groups. Until now, the Georgian Orthodox Church was the […]

Ukraine-Crimea-Georgia – the West and Russia

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Johan Galtung is professor of peace studies. (Photo by Paul Bernhard.) There is much in a name.  Ukraine means borderland. The position of the extreme West–like US neocons–is clear: get all into NATO, encircling, containing, defeating Russia.  Some in Ukraine and Georgia share that goal.  The less extreme West would focus on EU […]

Regarding the situation in Ukraine

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Alexandra Hall Hall is Britain’s Ambassador to Georgia. A choice isn’t a choice when it is made with a gun to your head. Yet on Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: to vote to become subjugated by Russia; or to vote for independence – with no guarantee that Russia will show any more […]

Police complaints authority will increase public’s trust

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Eka Khutsishvili is criminal lawyer, Master of Law. In 2007, it was revealed that Georgian society was immensely dissatisfied with the performance of the police, and this negative perception has been growing incessantly. What are the reasons for the lack of trust in the police, and what does Georgia have to do […]

Managing non-performing loans in Georgia

By | February 12th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Irina Guruli is Program Manager at the Economic Policy Research Center. TBILISI, DFWatch–The problem of bad loans gets huge attention nowadays. It has become a headache for all from bank managers to government authorities. Bad loans were basically the driver of the recent world economic downturn. The situation is no different in Georgia. […]

Saakashvili’s appointment as ‘Senior Statesman’

By | January 23rd, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

John C. Kornblum is an American diplomat and businessman. (Photo: International Students’ Committee.) This letter was published January 21, 2014, in The Tufts Daily, a student newspaper at Tufts University.I was distressed to read in your newspaper that former Georgian President Saakashvili had been appointed as a so-called “Senior Statesman” at the Fletcher […]

Child protection is missing from Georgia’s Association Agreement

By | January 12th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In December 2013, Georgia signed the Association Agreement with the European Union during the Eastern Partnership summit held in Vilnius.The newly signed Association Agreement thus becomes the main treaty between Georgia and the EU and highlights key areas of cooperation.  The Agreement focuses […]

Seeing Georgia plain

By | December 19th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Paul Goble is an American analyst and columnist. Almost two centuries ago, the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in an oft-cited verse “And would some Power the small gift give us/To see ourselves as others see us! /It would from many a blunder free us, /And foolish notion:/What airs in dress and gait would leave us, /And even devotion!” […]

Better regulation of vehicle procurement by public offices

By | November 29th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sopho Chareli is a Project Lawyer at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. The issue of procuring vehicles by public agencies has frequently been discussed by the public and the media for the past several years. Procurement of luxurious cars by high state officials with state money has also been criticized. State procurement which is linked […]

The Georgian Judiciary Today

By | November 19th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Eka Khutsishvili. I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.-Thomas JeffersonThe judiciary is in permanent need of control from the side of an impartial and quality observer with a view to ensuring its existence. We are still on […]

The “two truths” about the reserve funds

By | November 8th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sulkhan Saladze is project coordinator at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. Since some days after the 2013 presidential elections, much has been said about the millions spent from the President’s Reserve Fund. Representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream Coalition allege that funds from the President’s Reserve Fund were spent for party […]

Why ‘no’ to the Eurasian Customs Union

By | October 19th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. “The Eurasian Customs Union in the framework of Eurasian Economic Development” – the name of this union mainly has an economic connotation to it. However, everyone agrees that its main goal is political. Spheres of competence of the union prove this argument: […]

Tbilisi enganges Europe, Europe engages an Eastern neighbor

By | October 18th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Ilia Roubanis. In the recent International Parliamentary Conference that took place under the aegis of the Parliament of Georgia and the United Nations Development programme in Tbilisi on October 7, 2013, the focus was on the Vilnius Summit. Suitably, the Georgian delegates, […]

Georgia and the Eurasian Union

By | October 16th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Michael Fuenfzig is Assistant Professor at Tbilisi State University’s School of Economics. A few weeks ago, speaking at a press conference, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili floated the idea of Georgia joining the Eurasian Union. Although he later backtracked on his statements, the cat was out of the bag. Predictably, the United National Movement slammed […]

The price of the state

By | September 30th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. Everyone demands something from the state budget: pensioners – increased pensions, public sector employees – higher salaries, socially needed – adequate social assistance, everyone else – free healthcare, education, etc. Not many of them realize that there is no […]

What pension model should Georgia have?

By | August 19th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. We often hear pre-election promises of various political parties that envisage increasing pensions to equal the subsistence minimum. Such promises enjoy a positive reaction from society, however the necessity of a pension reform in the country is underestimated and is […]

Georgia needs a competent energy strategy

By | August 5th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Murman Margvelashvili is Director of Energy Studies at World Experience for Georgia. Georgia is an energy dependent country – with 65% of energy demand being covered from external sources. Despite the richness in hydropower resources Georgia still has a negative balance even in electricity import-export. Energy dependence has a negative impact […]

The Rule of Bonus Payment in Public Offices

By | July 26th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Giorgi Narmania is a lawyer. Public officials’ remuneration is regarded one of the most important aspects for the functioning of public offices both in Georgia and elsewhere in the World. Issues such as effective fight against corruption in public office, attracting qualified candidates to government jobs, […]

The Role of Fiscal Policy in Economic Growth

By | July 18th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. During the planning process of the state budget, a 6% real economic growth was predicted; however the civil society and political circles are questioning the feasibility of achieving 6% growth rate and performance of the planned budgetary revenues. According to the […]

Local government reform – a new chance

By | July 17th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

David Losaberidze is Project Coordinator at the Caucasus Institute for Peace Democracy and Development. Establishing true local self-government was one of the new Government of Georgia’s major pre-election promises. The ambitious goal of creating local self-governing units is now part of the government’s strategy. In Georgia’s two decades of independence, no other […]

Freedom to peaceful assembly and freedom of movement

By | June 29th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nona Kurdovanidze is coordinator of the Project ‘Innovative and Durable Solutions to Displacement‘ at the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. I can think of a number of demonstrations over the past few years when the police arrested participants for blocking traffic and violating the public order. However, today, I would like to draw your attention to the latest incident of May 1, 2013 in which the question […]

The State’s Role in the May 17 Incident

By | June 21st, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tamta Mikeladze is strategic litigations lawyer at Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association. The May 17 incident and its subsequent developments should be discussed in two paradigms: the legal and the socio-cultural. The legal aspect relates to the state, whereas the socio-cultural is linked to society, in particular the existing social and cultural structures. […]

Washington and Tbilisi Are Still On The Same Side

By | June 20th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. For eight years, long before the 2008 war, I served as Ambassador of Georgia to Washington. At the time, the main issue at hand was capacity-building: to think in terms of policies, allocating competencies and tasks, preparing the normative ground, pinpointing […]

NYT picks on an easy target

By | June 11th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. On June 5th, the New York Times was running an article entitled “Taliban Attack Kills 7 Georgian Soldiers in Afghanistan.” Despite the title, the article said very little about the circumstances surrounding this tragic event; it focused mostly on an analysis […]

Foreign Policy or a Battle Cry?

By | June 10th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. What happened in October? The October 2012 parliamentary election gave Georgia a chance for normal development. Needless to say, a government assuming power through violence cannot be democratic. Thus, defeating the National Movement through the ballot box instead of […]

Ill-treatment – old and new challenges

By | June 3rd, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nino Gobronidze is Project Coordinator at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. When thinking about the crucial events of the year 2012, what comes to my mind first is the prison abuse scandal. The released videos depicting the various acts of torture and ill-treatment […]

Mere Violence or Clash of Values?

By | May 21st, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Beka Natsvlishvili is Research Associate at the Centre For Social Studies. The May 17 events revealed confrontation between church and secularism as one of the main public conflicts in any political system. Public conflict is a matter of public concern. Public opinion on this issue is divided into opposite positions, various social groups […]

Religious Radicals – the Biggest Threat to Georgia’s Democracy

By | May 20th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Tornike Sharashenidze is professor and head of MA Program of International Affairs at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. These shameful events posed new questions (or rather question marks) for the Georgian democracy. The country has achieved a lot since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has effectively fought crime and corruption; it has managed to change its government through peaceful […]

Being homeless

By | May 20th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nona Kurdovanidze Project Coordinator at the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. There are no accurate statistics about the number of homeless families living in Georgia. The homeless people have been particularly active in reminding the state of their existence following the October 2012 elections, when they occupied a number of buildings in Tbilisi, staged […]

Understanding Georgia’s Foreign Direct Investment Trends

By | May 11th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Irina Guruli is Program Manager at the Economic Policy Research Center. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Georgia fell significantly from the second quarter of 2012, closing the year 23% down from 2011. After several years of steady recovery, this is a serious concern for policy makers. Georgia’s domestic capital market is […]

Preventive Measures in Criminal Cases

By | May 5th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Tinatin Avaliani is Project Analyst at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. On April 2, 2012 GYLA held a presentation of trial monitoring results focused on criminal cases in the city courts of Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The trial monitoring was conducted within the framework of the USAID funded Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project […]

Land Market in Georgia – Threats and Challenges

By | April 22nd, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Nino Evgenidze is Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Center. It has been 20 years since the country’s independence, but 70% of the land in Georgia is still unregistered; fragmented land parcels impose another problem to the individuals, thus hinders their commercialization process; the land market in the country […]

Moral of a Short Story

By | April 21st, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tatuli Todua is the parliamentary secretary of Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. It has been almost three weeks since Adjara senior police official physically abused a driver that had committed a violation. The small story was followed by big developments – local police officer destroyed one of the pieces of evidence proving the truth […]

Ten Questions Georgians Should Be Asking Themselves Today

By | April 15th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Paul Goble is an American analyst and columnist. Outsiders in both Russia and the West are quite prepared to tell Georgians what they should want and how they should pursue it. That is not their proper role: Georgians are the ones who must make choices about Georgia’s future. But outsiders sometimes can play […]

The reserve funds should be regulated

By | April 9th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Sulkhan Saladze is project coordinator at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. On March 4, 2012, Georgian media outlets reported that the President of Georgia was opening a summer theatre in Batumi. Had it happened before the 2012 parliamentary elections, there would have been nothing unusual about it, but in fact it was […]

Twin Deficit

By | April 1st, 2013|Categories: Economy, News, Opinion|

Irina Guruli is program coordinator at the Economic Policy Research Center. Twin deficit is a situation where a country’s economy is running two deficits at the same time: a fiscal deficit, and a deficit on the current account of the balance of payments. According to the twin deficit hypothesis, persistent fiscal shocks cause a deterioration […]

Between either/or and both/and: Georgia’s foreign policy choices

By | March 28th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Paul Goble is an American analyst and columnist. Even as Europe and the United States encourage the countries between Russia and the West to adopt a “both/and” approach to relations with the two and in many cases criticize those governments which don’t, Moscow has signaled that in its view, these countries […]

The Quest for Mundane Democracy in Georgia

By | March 24th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Ilia Roubanis holds a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and has worked for the International Center for Black Sea Studies in Athens. Democratura is a term that would resonate perfectly with a post-Soviet republic, such as Georgia, mainly because it is a word designed to [...]

Georgia’s democratic transition

By | March 22nd, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Parliament of Georgia. I hoped to publish this in an American newspaper during Speaker Usupashvili”s visit to Washington DC, a very successful one, by the way! I wanted Americans to read that message about Georgia and the recent developments there. I did not succeed, but I want to share […]

Why the Bipartisan Foreign Policy Resolution is Significant

By | March 9th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Tedo Japaridze is head of parliament’s foreign policy committee representing the Georgian Dream coalition. Adopting a bipartisan resolution on foreign policy in Georgia is significant both in terms of process and in terms of substance. In terms of process, anything bipartisan, in the first experience of a real bipolar party system, not least a cohabitation, should not be […]

Intellectual Dilemma or Political Hoax?

By | March 3rd, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

George Khutsishvili is director of the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation in Tbilisi, Georgia. “Georgia? What kind of place is that?” “Well, this is a post-Soviet country where a pro-Russian billionaire won the elections over a pro-Western reformer president…” That is a tag line that has already appeared in many foreign publications on Georgia, […]

What Constitutions are not about and what foreign policy is about

By | February 13th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Tedo Japaridze is chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs committee. Polemical reflections on the UNM’s proposal for the constitutionalization of Georgian Foreign Policy Constitutions are binding principles that are non-negotiable in the context of a polity. This is why principles enshrined in a Constitution set minimum benchmarks, […]

The End of Neoliberal Hegemony

By | February 11th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Bakar Berekashvili is a lecturer at Georgian-American University in Tbilisi. The new ruling political class needs to make more effort to emancipate their minds from market oriented stereotypes, writes Bakar Berekashvili. 20 years of post-communist transition cultivated and produced lots of troubles, dramas and traumas in many post-communist […]

Saakashvili and Friends

By | January 25th, 2013|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Beka Natsvlishvili is Research Associate at the Centre For Social Studies. Certain powers in Europe declare unconditional support for Mikheil Saakashvili and his National Movement whom the Georgian people replaced peacefully, through tremendous efforts and social consolidation. This article offers the reader a description of reasons behind […]

Local government after the parliamentary elections

By | December 29th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The victory of the opposition in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary election created an unusual political situation for Georgia: the majority in parliament and the local governments are controlled by two different political forces, the ruling and the opposition party. […]

Elite Corruption and Government Pressure on Business in Georgia

By | December 27th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Elite corruption directly affects the economic development of a country. There are a number of studies, including publications by the World Bank, which prove the interdependence between the size of the unobserved economy and corruption in a country. Moreover, […]

The fate of truth in our days

By | December 20th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The example of one small country The reason behind this letter lies in critical comments made by western political circles and media concerning the government, which was elected by the majority of the citizens of Georgia in the October 2012 parliamentary election, […]

Misunderstanding that Georgia will not Facilitate a Solution

By | December 3rd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

If our strategic allies’ warning is about reversing the current legal processes, I would say it is impossible and could be even harmful. If it is about being more considerate in decision-planning and aware of the environment, I would agree and subscribe to it. […]

Georgia and the Great Ideological Struggle

By | November 21st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Mikhail Saakashvili’s conceding speech heralded historical victory for liberal democracy in a region, where intimidation, oppression and revolution had been the common place for two centuries of Russian domination. His speech indicated that for the first time in […]

Can Georgia Avoid the Traps of the Past?

By | November 19th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The results of the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia caught everyone by surprise. Observers had confidently predicted that Misha Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) would prevail and that his declaration of victory would be followed by protests […]

Do we have an opposition in today’s parliament?

By | October 31st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

If we look at the current parliament through the eyes of an outside observer, then the question in the headline will become completely rhetorical. An outside observer will say that in the current parliament, there is Georgian Dream as majority, and the minority is […]

Neither Saakashvili nor Ivanishvili is what the West believes

By | October 22nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

For many in the West, Mikheil Saakashvili remains the poster child of the Rose Revolution, an uncompromising promoter of democracy and defender of his country against Russia, and the incoming Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is viewed as a shadowy and authoritarian […]

The challenge for democracy in Georgia

By | October 17th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

On October 1, Georgia successfully concluded its first constitutional transfer of power through internationally monitored free and fair elections. President Saakashvili graciously accepted his governing party’s defeat and has worked constructively with Bidzina Ivanishvili, […]

Reflections on Georgia’s 2013 draft budget

By | October 11th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Georgian government October two presented draft for state budget adjusted to the interest of the United National Movement to the Georgian parliament. But now election winner Georgian Dream awaits the draft in parliament. This force’s election promises is radically different […]

Will there be civil confrontation?

By | September 29th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Elections are won by media which feed people’s minds and create attitudes. For the first time since November 2003 Georgia has a strong opposition along with a strong ruling team, which makes the parliamentary elections of October 1 really competitive. But government- […]

No more violence

By | September 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

As a representative of Switzerland I am looking forward to be allowed to observe democratic parliamentary elections in Georgia. Both countries, Georgia and Switzerland, are small, very dynamic, and extremely lovely countries. Both together should always and under any […]

Why my husband was arrested

By | September 24th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Nina Khatiskatsi explains that her husband’s recent imprisonment, for arguing with a member of the District Election Commission, is symptomatic of the government’s increased use of police powers to intimidate Georgia’s opposition and the electorate. On the 20th of […]

In Memoriam of Greg Guroff

By | September 1st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

For those of us that retain their curiosity, willingness to fail and to learn, age is measured not in years but in lost friends. I lost a good friend – Greg Guroff. He died of an incurable disease but he fought strong for his life as he did in energetic and rich life – as a diplomat, […]

Georgia: From the Beacon to the Crossroads

By | August 24th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

What is the internal political situation established in the country since the Rose Revolution? How much competition is there between political parties, and what are the threats and challenges in the pre-election environment for the parliamentary elections scheduled for […]

How will ethnic minorities vote in the parliamentary elections?

By | August 19th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Will number 5 strike first again? Today many citizens of Georgia ask themselves what will be their choice in the parliamentary elections, while politicians and analysts try to make prognoses about the electoral behavior of different groups in society, including ethnic […]

Food safety in Georgian — A fairy tale

By | August 16th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

What do you do, if you happen to buy a food in Georgia and before eating it you notice that it is spoiled? In such a case, many people simply throw the food away and that’s it. Some people go back to the shop and request to exchange the food, or to return money. […]

Putin’s Defeat in Georgia

By | August 15th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In 279 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus defeated Roman forces at Asculum in Apuleia at such a cost that the king observed, according to Plutarch, that yet another such “victory” would utterly destroy him and his cause. Because of that observation, made famous by John […]

Learning the Lessons of 2008

By | August 13th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

As the fourth anniversary of the Russian-Georgia war of 2008 has passed, the two nations remain locked in a political and military confrontation which is poisoning the atmosphere of their entire region. A restart of hostilities remains a real danger in several […]

Conflict settlement 20 years after the war in Abkhazia

By | August 8th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

by Dieter Boden, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Georgia 1. Lessons to be learnt On 14 August it is 20 years that Georgian troops under the command of Tengis Kitovani, then Minister of Defence and head of the National Guard crossed […]

Is Georgia still on your mind, America?

By | August 7th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

A Letter from Washington DC by Tedo Japaridze, former Georgian foreign minister, political advisor to Bidzina IvanishviliI shall wrap up my blitz visit to Washington DC by tomorrow, a place where I spent more than 8 years as Georgia’s Ambassador to the United […]

Seizures without Prosecution

By | July 30th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

One of the blatant illegalities that the Georgian authorities have repeatedly committed in the last few months is that they seize one’s property without bringing charges against the owner of such property or any other person with whom the owner may somehow […]

Rejoice Gods of Georgian Democracy!

By | July 18th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Prometheus is in the Cave! by Tedo Japaridze, former foreign minister of Georgia and political advisor to Bidzina Ivanishvili.Last year, the government of Georgia held a session of the cabinet in a grotto named after the mythical martyr of humanity, Prometheus, […]

Inflation in Georgia – Causes and Cures

By | July 17th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

In 2011 inflation can be regarded as one of the major challenges for the Georgian economy, writes Irina Guruli, program coordinator at the Economic Policy Research Center. Even though Georgia has been successful in suppressing the inflationary pressure […]

The Saakashvili government’s osteochondrosis

By | July 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

This headline shouldn’t concern us. It has a sarcastic meaning, but should not be taken as mockery. It is only a convenient metaphor for understanding today’s processes, because this naturally derives from the government’s early formula – ‘Merabishvili […]

President Saakashvili attempts to challenge history

By | June 18th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

It would be strange if the things were different, it would confuse the classics; ad fontes: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Could this maxim be wrong in Georgia’s case? Could Saakashvili be an exception from this truism? asks Giorgi Margvelashvili, […]

Why HSBC discontinued its banking activities in Georgia

By | June 11th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Britain’s largest bank HSBC opened business in Georgia in 2008. But in 2011, it decided to end its involvement here. Why?, asks George Khelaia, economist and former Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Control. The Bank has branch offices in 65 countries and is one of the […]

Georgian Puzzle – Minorities and New Challenges (Part II)

By | June 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

by Arnold Stepanian, chairman of the movement Multinational Georgia.   Israel, the Israel Lobby and Georgian Authorities Georgian authorities’ interest in Israeli capital is hard to overestimate. Since 2003, the authorities have been made efforts to strengthen […]

Georgia needs the U.S. to send Saakashvili a message

By | June 1st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

What does the U.S. expect from Georgia and what does Georgia expect from the U.S.? The U.S. has repeatedly declared Georgia a beacon for democracy and the most westernized country in the region, which accordingly can be called ‘partly democratic’, writes Zaza […]

Hillary Clinton’s visit to Georgia – what to expect

By | June 1st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Georgia and the South Caucasus June 3-6 underscores both the importance of the region to the US and the pressing political and security issues in the Caucasus, which could involve the West, writes Kenneth S. Yalowitz, former U.S. […]

Global TV: Freedom of Speech under Attack

By | May 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Global TV is a cable operator that provides services to its subscribers in Tbilisi and some other regions of Georgia. The company also owns a satellite broadcasting license which allows it to broadcast its signal by way of satellite. Before 2012, Global TV had a […]

The Glorious Lies – Where’s that “Georgia”, Mr. President?

By | May 25th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The recently delivered speech by Michael Saakasvilli in Princeton University was a wholesome educational experience for every graduate in communication studies, writes Tedo Japaridze, former Foreign Minister of Georgia and an advisor to Bidzina Ivanishvili. Those who […]

NATO Summit in Chicago its Importance for Georgia

By | May 22nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

At the Summit of NATO, leaders of the NATO and non-NATO member states are discussing the next major phase of transition in Afghanistan, furthermore, related to the further steps to ensure that North-Atlantic Alliance has the capabilities necessary to meet the challenges […]

So what about the NATO-Georgia relation?

By | May 21st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

On 11th of May Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty published an interview with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. It might not raise big interest amongst Georgian media if it would not be right before the NATO Summit on May 20-21, and the question about Georgia […]

NGOs’ proposal: concrete step towards fair elections

By | May 15th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Last week was remarkable due to the activities of a number of NGOs (such as TI Georgia, GYLA, ISFED, Coalition for Free Choice, Media Coalition and others), which several months ago started a civic movement called “This Affects You Too”, writes Eka Gigauri, executive […]

Inefficient system for releasing prisoners due to illness

By | May 14th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Recent practice and statistics have revealed the extreme severity of the problem of inefficiency of the legal mechanisms that envision release of convicts from imprisonment due to their serious illness, writes Tamta Mikeladze, lawyer at Georgian Young Lawyers’ […]

Violence against journalists on World Press Freedom Day

By | May 7th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – During several days, while the whole world was celebrating World Press Freedom Day, journalists have been violated, insulted, beaten or deprived of their cameras and belongings in Georgia, writes Tamar Chugoshvili, leader of Georgian Young Lawyer’s […]

Disappearances inefficiently investigated by Georgia and Russia

By | April 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

During and after the Russo-Georgia conflict in August 2008, there have been a lot of human rights violations committed by both parties in the conflict, such as unlawful and disproportionate use of force by the military, unlawful detention of persons, inhuman treatment, […]

Major Aspects of the Public Service Reform

By | April 25th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

One of the priority directions of Georgian Development Research Institute (GDRI) is the concept on public service reform, writes Levan Izoria, lawyer at the GDRI. The aim of the given concept is to create a guarantees for the independence of the public servant. Until recently […]

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Georgia

By | April 24th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In 2011, within the framework of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s European Integration Program, a report: Implementation of European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan (ENP AP) for 2011 in Georgia: Assessment of Civil Society Representatives was prepared. Economic […]

Russian investigation of violations against ethnic Georgians in August 2008 war

By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) in partnership with the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) and the Russian Justice Initiative (RJI) have lodged a number of cases against the Russian Federation of victims of 2008 August war with the European Court of Human Rights, writes Tamar Abazadze, lawyer at Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA). The [...]

Eavesdropping without judicial oversight is no longer permitted

By | April 17th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

On 28th of February 2012, the Constitutional Court of Georgia upheld the complaint of Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association and repealed article 8.2 of the Georgian law on “operative investigative activity.” Only if the investigative authority has obtained judicial […]

The Truth about Denial of Citizenship

By | April 9th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A couple of days ago the Government of Georgia denied the Georgian billionaire Bizdina Ivanishvili the Georgian citizenship for which Mr. Ivanishvili, a child of Georgian parents, one who was born, grown up and educated in Georgia, applied in early January 2012. […]

Answer to Marine Chitashvili regarding NDI’s survey

By | April 6th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

  Marine Chitashvili, Thank you for your letter and for citing many of the interesting issues that the survey brings to light. We also thank you for your comments supporting our representative sampling methodology on the March 26 showing of “Tskheli Khazi.” As my […]

I am ready to talk again

By | April 6th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In a press conference held in Tbilisi on 5 April the Georgian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nino Kalandadze, has attacked me for adopting unfriendly positions regarding her Government’s policy line, in particular for critisizing as „illusionist“ official […]

Open letter to Mr. Navarro, NDI – Georgia

By | April 6th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

  Dear Mr. Navarro, From March 21 to 30 I was honored to be named by you as a local expert supporting the methodological part of your recent sociological survey published at 03.21.2012. First of all, I want to express my gratitude for regarding me as an expert or a trustworthy person, […]

NDI’s survey and its influence on Georgian politics

By | April 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The survey which was implemented in March of 2012 in Georgia, by the one of the leading and authoritative organization in the World – The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDIIA or NDI) has caused a hard discussion in Georgian society, writes […]

The American Institutes’ Surveys and Georgian Politics

By | April 4th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

As for many things in Georgia, the fate of sociology is dramatic in Georgian politics, writes Ramaz Sakvarelidze, political commentator. The culmination of this drama was the so-called exit poll on election day in 2008. The results of this survey were nearly identical to […]

Torture still happens in Georgia

By | April 4th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Giorgi Okroporidze – a convict, who suffered from something that authorities maintain “no longer happens”. He was tortured, writes Mikheil Ghoghadze, lawyer at Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. In late December 2011, Giorgi Okropirize’s mother came to us. […]

Why Is Social Sensitivity Required for Judges

By | March 31st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

About a month ago Tbilisi Appellate Court delivered a judgment in a case involving a person with a disability, who was represented in court by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association. The respondents were the legal entity of public law Social Service Agency at the Ministry […]

Socially Dangerous Elements – Past and Present

By | March 21st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

On February 29, 2012, during a debate in Parliament, President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili referred to a former pupil at Tbilisi Public School #53 as a hooligan, writes David Jishkariani is researcher at the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).  […]

Georgian Administrative Detention Undermines Human Rights

By | March 20th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The regulation of administrative offenses and administrative detention in particular are of grave concern to local and international human rights organizations, which has been clearly demonstrated several times, inter alia, by providing observations on the issue and expressing […]

An Empty Circle – Access to Public Information

By | March 15th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Several days ago I had a meeting with two experienced lawyers. They and I are all rather concerned about freedom of expression in the country. During the discussion we concluded that those who don’t write, are not worried about anything at all; they have nothing to say […]

Westerwelle’s visit and Georgia-Germany relations

By | March 14th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The visit of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Guido Westerwelle to Tbilisi on March 15, 2012 represents an important event for the Germany-Georgia relations, taking into account the fact, that this visit coincides with the 20th anniversary […]

What can we expect from Westerwelle’s visit?

By | March 13th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

We have bad experience with a German Foreign Minister’s visits to Georgia. Former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Georgia several weeks before the August war in 2008. He brought along a map with several points for how to solve the Abkhazian conflict. […]

The Subtle Art of Realpolitik

By | March 12th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Guido Westerwelle, a German Foreign Minister, a distinguished and energetic German politician, will soon be visiting Georgia. A visit by the German Foreign Minister in any corner of Europe these days is a significant event, writes former Georgian foreign minister, Ted […]

How Georgia’s future leader should not be

By | March 7th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

When George Washington held the first State of the Union address in the U.S. Congress, there was a debate about where the president should sit so that his official status wouldn’t be diminished, but at the same time wasn’t looking down on Congress, in order to visually […]

How Party Financing Regulations Should be Changed

By | March 6th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia’s party financing law was amended in December 2011. A campaign called This Affects You Too was formed in February out of concern that the amendments are a threat to democracy. Recently, the campaign presented their proposal for how to make new amendments, so that […]

Budgetary Expenses and State Debt in Georgia

By | March 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Social expenses comprised the largest share in the State budget of Georgia in 2011, with 30% of total expenses directed towards this category. Dynamics indicate clearly that the budget is getting more and more burdened by the social obligations, writes Irina Guruli, […]

Virtual Universe Keeps Turning into a Dynamo

By | March 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

President Saakashvili in his recent address to the Parliament referred to the entire opposition as ones locked in a virtual world who have completely lost touch with reality. Interestingly, the ruling team has crafted a virtual reality of another nature, one that manifests […]

From Post-Soviet to Soviet – Something has changed!

By | March 5th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

‘Something’ really changed, because the party, the leader who called the collapse of the Soviet Empire the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century, in fact lost majority support from voters and was only able to retain power through falsification […]

Waiting for Saakashvili’s state of the nation speech

By | February 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

It’s already the fourth year that I am a member of parliament, and for the fourth time I have to listen to the Georgian president in the Georgian parliament; listen to his promises and views, in what in the constitution is called “report about the country’s […]

Georgian Puzzle – Minorities and New Challenges

By | February 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Part 1: Russia and Georgia One cannot Play at Giveaway Since the Rose Revolution and the assumption of political power by Mikhail Saakashvili the scope of influence of the Russian Federation over Georgia has been weakened to that extent that the Russian Federation has […]

Cherchez la femme: look for the woman in Georgian politics

By | February 22nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

It was a long way of looking for the women in Georgian politics. For the last decade, the only explanation for the lack of women in positions of power was: women are not ready themselves, are not showing will, writes Nina Tsihistavi, researcher in gender issues and women’s […]

Analysis of 2012 State Budget and Elections

By | February 21st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Georgia’s 2012 budget is significantly different from the 2011 budget due to it being an election year. The expenditure part of the budget is particularly interesting. There are several expenditures which directly or indirectly aim to increase voters’ content, and this will […]

eTransparency in the Government of Georgia

By | February 20th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

From 2009 to 2011, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) carried out the first and so far only survey of eTransparency in Georgia, monitoring some 100 web pages of different public authorities in Georgia, writes Constantine Janjghava, project […]

Saakashvili’s victory is his own defeat

By | February 16th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

In official or semi-official conversations, president Saakashvili’s supporters often remark that Saakashvili should somehow stay in power to finish the reforms he started, because otherwise the country’s direction will be reversed and it will head back into the past, […]

New law imposes criminal liability on voters

By | February 13th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In December 2011 the Parliament of Georgia upheld amendments to rules about party financing and other relevant regulations. These amendments impose severe and disproportionate limitations on voters, the private sector: business, non-governmental organizations outside o […]

Lazika: Democratic Deficit in Public Decision Making Process

By | February 10th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

On December 4, 2011, the president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili announced an initiative to build a new city called “Lazika” in the West of Georgia, between Anaklia and Kulevi. The new city is supposed to be the largest after the capital, Tbilisi, and reach a population of about […]

Administrative-territorial reform – a taboo in Georgian politics

By | February 6th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A lot of reforms have been carried out in the country during the first two decades after Georgia’s independence in 1991. Although some of them were rather controversial and contradictory, they led to significant changes in various spheres of Georgia’s social life, writes David Losaberidze, […]

Saakashvili: “We basically got what we wanted to get”

By | February 3rd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

– Right! What we did not get was, something that was in the preliminary statement of the White House, stating that: “The President will reconfirm U.S. support for the integrity of Georgia’s territory within its internationally recognized borders”. We did not hear that; and really lacked that […]

Beyond Reset – Building a Pluralistic Political Society

By | February 3rd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia’s only way forward towards strengthened security, economic growth and modernization is to build a pluralistic political society. Georgia cannot build a national security state, it must build a liberal state, writes Levan Tsutskiridze, international relations specialist

Is Georgia’s government still trying to improve the investment climate?

By | February 2nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

The Georgian public is already used to multiple amendments to different laws, which dramatically change regulation principles in different areas in the country. We also got used to the fact that some of the changes are introduced to the parliament and adopted by the legislator […]

What are Georgia’s chances of NATO membership?

By | January 31st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A number of articles and statements have been boosting our hopes that NATO membership is within Georgia’s grasp. There are several arguments made to this effect, some more serious than others, writes Tedo Djapharidze, Georgia's former ambassador to the United States. This rhetoric surely reflects a commitment to this objective, which no one disputes; [...]

Sham Justice: Chamber of Control’s treatment of Georgian Dream

By | January 31st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A couple of days ago, Georgian Dream, a civil society agency established by the Georgian billionaire, Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili, got notice from the Georgia Chamber of Control where the said government agency warned Georgian Dream to refund a total of GEL 1.1 million to Elita Burji Ltd. The failure to implement the Chamber of [...]

Legislative Novelties Leading to the Absurd

By | January 30th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

An election reform which started out with the aim to create an equal and fair election environment in Georgia ended up creating discriminatory regulations, violating freedom of speech and property rights; imposed real threats for voters, media, NGOs and business organizations, writes Tamar Chugoshvili, chair of Georgian Young Lawyer's Association. Amendments made to the [...]

The Georgian-style principle of subsidiarity

By | January 30th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

During his meetings with ordinary citizens (especially in the regions) the Georgian president often assures them he keeps a close eye on everything happening in the country, be it a new road or monument in a small town or village. "Nobody can do it but me," he says, writes David Losaberidze, project coordinator at [...]

A critical time of choice for Georgia

By | January 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Dear Amb. Yalowitz, I am writing to thank you for your compelling editorial in “Democracy and Freedom Watch” in which you rightly warn that my country is at a critical crossroads with upcoming parliamentary elections.  I too share your concern that free, fair and transparent elections are being threatened by an increasingly authoritarian rule [...]

Democracy, National Interests, Idealism and Realpolitik

By | January 28th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Saakashvili is meeting Obama on January 30. The agenda announced on the White House webpage names issues such as: 20 years of diplomatic relations, the U.S. – Georgia Charter, Georgia’s contribution to operations in Afghanistan, U.S. support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, and upcoming elections, writes Giorgi Margvelashvili, rector of Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. [...]

The United States and Georgia: Freedom is in the Interest of Both

By | January 27th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

When President Obama sits down with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday, the conversation they have will take but a small part of the busy and beleaguered American leader’s day, but could have far reaching consequences for Georgia, writes Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats Party and Georgia's former United Nations ambassador. [...]

Will election year work as a reset button for Georgian democracy?

By | January 26th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Two presidents that came to power under the sign of change meet January 30th. Below are some thoughts elicited by my friend Ambassador K.S. Yalowitz’s letter, writes George Khutsishvili, director of the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation. We live in the election year 2012, and I belong to those who believe change is [...]

What will be on agenda of Saakashvili’s Washington meeting?

By | January 24th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

It is very fitting and important that Presidents Obama and Saakashvili meet in Washington on January 30, writes Kenneth S. Yalowitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Georgia and this is an excellent time to reflect on the [...]

The electricity meter produces rubbish in Tbilisi

By | January 22nd, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Most of the government’s decisions are routine in nature and ordinary people rarely feel their effect in everyday life, writes David Losaberidze, project coordinator at Caucasus Institute for Peace Democracy and Development. From time to time, however, the government makes […]

NATO Accession Not a Right, but a Reward

By | January 16th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

While the Free Democrats strongly support the idea of Georgia’s accession to NATO, the government’s language with which the path to achieving this has recently been described, as "inevitable and irreversible," reflects the wrong attitude for success, in our view. As a club of democracies, NATO requires of its members sound and lasting commitment [...]

Georgia and NATO integration

By | January 13th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia is getting prepared for the NATO Summit in Chicago, when the Leaders of NATO member states will gather to discuss the current agenda of the Euro-Atlantic community, including enlargement issues. The outcome of the Summit is determined by exclusively one particular session, which in this case will be held in Chicago in May [...]

Problems in the border areas

By | January 12th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

After the Russia-Georgian conflict of August war 2008 the administrative boundary line still remains as one of the most widely discussed issues for international and Georgian society. Before August 2008 Ossetians and Georgians travelled freely from one side to another, but since October 2008 when South Ossetia closed the administrative boundary line (ABL), which [...]

The role of remittances in Georgian economy

By | January 11th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Remittances constitute 6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and outweigh the inflows of both grants and FDIs in Georgia, writes Irina Guruli, program coordinator at the Economic Policy Research Center. International remittances are personal flows of money by migrants to family and friends in their countries of origin. With more than 215 million people living [...]

2012 Georgian Elections – Battle without Rules?

By | January 9th, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

National law-making pre-New Year incidents The history of how the Georgian parliament amended the law about Political Unions of Citizens is taking on more and more of a comic character. First, while amending this law parliament violated its parliament procedural regulations. Specifically, the second article of the law appeared in the text at the [...]

Electronic Record Management and Georgia

By | January 1st, 2012|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Electronic communications occupy a very significant role in daily activities of state authorities. Accessibility of such kind of electronic data and archiving it must be regulated by law. At the same time access to e-information of state officials will be a very significant step forward to open government and transparency. Also, this will give opportunity to [...]

Patriot’s guide

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

First of all, I welcome member of parliament Mr. Gia Tortladze’s pathos to research Russian capital’s influence on the Georgian reality and accordingly on the policy. As you know, this topic is not unknown to me and I’ve been trying for years (unfortunately, in vain) to focus the government’s attention in this direction. Accordingly, I have [...]

Fighting in Afghanistan for Georgia’s Security

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: , |

Georgia has increased its military presence in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan making it the biggest non-NATO contributor to ISAF operations. The Georgian parliament supported this decision and the Christian Democratic Movement of Georgia voted in favor. This was a well thought-out decision designed for making Georgia a part of a global security network. [...]

The Flanks That Should Be Well Defended

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: |

Pressure for democratic transformation and modernization challenges Georgia from three main “flanks”: Internal stability – that was not a matter for real concern for President Saakashvili until the public unrest in 2007; imperatives of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration; a proper Ambition and the promises of the ruling party to the public. Difficult to say, which [...]

Welcome Back to the USSR!

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Yesterday Parliament of Georgia passed a law which in fact outlaws political activity. Furthermore, to a degree it even outlaws political thinking. The law amends the Organic Law on Political Associations of Citizens, the statute which once controlled political parties as such. Hereinafter it is going to control non-political, non-for-profit or business organizations too and, strangely [...]

The right to health care and Georgia’s penitentiary system

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Corrections, Probation and Legal Assistance declared the reform of the penitentiary health care as one of the priority directions and carried our measures in this area, health care in prisons still remains the Achilles’ heel of Georgia’s penitentiary system. The situation is made difficult by the disproportionate distribution of [...]

Did the police action on May 26 comply with international standards?

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The government’s response to police violence on May 26, 2011, was clearly insufficient and inadequate and encourages a syndrome of impunity, writes Tamta Mikeladze, lawyer with Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. The assembly held outside parliament on May 25-26 was peaceful in general, which, according to applicable international standards, imposed an obligation on the state to resort [...]

Provincial socialism and provincial liberalism

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

A conference of the Georgian national platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place in Tbilisi, in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, on November 24, 2011. Its main objectives were to discuss and endorse the articles of the platform and the code of conduct of member organisations, and elect governing bodies. The discussion turned into [...]

Georgian Labyrinth of Freedom of Information

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Two weeks ago I decided to express in writing my humble personal opinion on the practice of freedom of information in Georgia. I did not actually have to think a lot, and why should have I anyways? As this year only I’ve witnessed so many problems and strange things about freedom of information that I concluded [...]

Georgia and NATO

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Georgia with all its successes and challenges, once again is becoming a significantly important case for the USA and the EU, especially in the foreground of the events, which are unfolding in Russia. Georgia’s democratic development, its success in formation of a modern, European and welfare state, will significantly influence the development of political process even [...]

Impartiality and Georgian Courts

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Almost a century ago an English judge, Lord Chief Justice Hewart, pronounced his famous aphorism: “… it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance, that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” (R v Sussex Justices; Ex parte McCarthy [1924]). Since then these [...]

Who is protected by the Georgian government – entrepreneur or the consumer?

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

According to the EU Charter of Fundamental rights, an integral part of European values is that the government protects the consumer’s rights. But while the Georgian government claims to be on course towards integration with Europe, it still manages to do this integration in a way so that the Georgian consumers’ interests are harmed. In 2010, [...]

Civil Society – Fight for Resources

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The entry of a new political force into the Georgian political landscape in the autumn 2001 has focused the spotlight on Georgian civil society organisations (CSO). There is an evident increase in demand for their services nowadays. The Georgian society has become more active in recent times and the CSOs have a potential to play an [...]

Brief Overview of Human Rights Problems in Georgia 2011

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Human Rights Day is celebrated on December 10. In order to mark the celebration, I would like to offer the public a brief overview of human rights problems revealed throughout the year in Georgia. The human rights protection of which was the most problematic in Georgia during 2011: Right to a fair trial – the problem [...]

Trends of IDP Eviction and Resettlement in Georgia

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Cases of Eviction of IDPs from different buildings by means of police have recently become rather frequent. With regard to each of such evictions, the government is referring to the State Strategy and Action Plan for IDPs and declares that IDPs are offered with rehabilitated apartments in return. On the other hand, IDPs consider that the [...]

Is Georgia a part of, or apart from, the Open Government Partnership?

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

In September 2011,Georgiaopenly announced its aspirations to become a part of Open Government Partnership.  Unfortunately,Georgia’s population is not aware of what kind of commitmentsGeorgia’s government must make in order to become a member of OGP. It is, no doubt,  a positive step for Georgia if our government takes and implements obligations to open   our government for [...]

Maestro – the channel that doesn’t lie

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

It might sound like stating the obvious when a TV company markets itself by saying 'we are the ones who don't lie to you'. But in Georgia, it is not a given that TV don't fabricate news. It is actually the easiest way to set yourself apart from the current national networks. Georgia has in recent [...]

Reasons Behind Unjustly Low Monetary Compensation for Victims of Soviet Era Repressions

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Monetary compensation, awarded to victims of Soviet political repressions and/or their heirs through national court proceedings, has remained one of the most widely discussed issues in Georgian society for more than a year. Not long ago, even “Rustavi 2,” Georgia’s most watched TV network, dedicated a special report to the subject during one of its popular [...]

The new political centre and the new chance

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The autumn of 2011 was marked with increased political activity in Georgia. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a wealthy Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s emergence on the Georgian political scene as a major opposition figure was widely regarded in Georgia as an event of the same magnitude as the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. [...]