Monthly Archives: November 2011

//November

Maestro appeals for people to stay the night

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - As police peeped in through his locked studio door, Maestro TV's producer Mamuka Glonti appealed to viewers Wednesday evening to come to Nutsubidze Street 83 and stay there overnight, in order to prevent that he and the others who are hauled up inside the studios are evicted. He said that he believes that [...]

Ossetian opposition sets up camp in Tskhinvali

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

TBILISI, DFWatch - Winner of the South Ossetian de facto presidential elections Alla Dzhioyeva has appealed to the region's supreme court with a request to have yesterday's decision to annul the election overturned. South Ossetian news agency RES reports that Dzhioyeva's appeal was delivered to the de facto supreme court chairman Acamaz Bichenov. Her appeal will be [...]

Shots fired in Tskhinvali

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

TBILISI, DFWatch - Russian news agency Ria Novosti Wednesday reported shooting on the main square in Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. Supporters of the Alla Dzhioyeva, the appearant winner of the so-called presidential elections, are protesting against the region’s Supreme Court decision to annul the results of the elections. The government’s security [...]

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 [...]

‘Government wants to shut down Maestro’

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The crisis continues at independent Georgian TV station Maestro, as suspicion is growing that the interference is politically motivated. Financier Bidzina Ivanishvili for the first time came to Maestro’s studios Tuesday evening for a live conversation on a regular discussion program called Pirdapiri Saubari (Direct Talk). Wednesday morning before daylight, the station's manager [...]

TV station under siege!

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists at Maestro were pacing nervously around in the TV station’s yard Wednesday afternoon, still physically prevented by police from entering their studios to reestablish normal broadcasting. Inside the studios, behind locked doors, producer Mamuka Glonti was leading an emergency broadcast with a few other journalists and technicians, who managed to enter before [...]

2007 rerun! Independent TV taken off air

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An independent TV station in Tbilisi was taken off air Wednesday morning, the day after businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili was on live from their studios. Police have surrounded their studios and most journalists are not allowed in, but the station's director and a few journalists are inside,broadcasting short updates. Many regard what is happening as [...]

Young lawyers concerned about press freedom

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) supports the Press Association rally Tuesday and says Tbilisi City Hall is worsening the conditions of the print media’s distribution system. GYLA says that the organization thinks that the government has a positive obligation to support freedom of the media; which first of all is to get rid [...]

Republicans also against newsstand scheme

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republican Party expresses solidarity with distributors and publishers of print media and joins the Press Association in its demands. The party released a statement Tuesday saying that it protests against Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks. “Tbilisi City Hall’s decision several weeks ago about the location of booths turned out, [...]

Walked 250 km for democracy

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Three supporters of the Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili walked for five days and nights to support his right to get back his citizenship. The ordeal started in front of Gelati, a church in Western Georgia vested with religious and historical significance, and ended at the Trinity cathedral in central Tbilisi. Ivanishvili was stripped [...]

Looming specter of turmoil in Tskhinvali

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

TBILISI, DFWatch - The dreaded specter of new unrest in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia has not abated, as the Supreme Court cancels the presidential elections as fraudulent and the authorities announce new elections in Spring. According to the news agency RIA Novosti, Amiran Diakonov, chairman of the de facto legislative committee, said that the [...]

Georgian press makes a stand

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian publishers, journalists, editors and others rallied in front of Tbilisi’s City Hall high rise Tuesday to protest against a new plan to replace the capital’s newsstands. The project is called ‘1000 Booths’ and will according to representatives of the media involve removing most of the newspaper sales points which have been a [...]

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 [...]

Tskhinvali’s election commission gagged

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The election commission in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has been forbidden by the supreme court from announcing any more preliminary results after Sunday's election. The region is on the verge of conflict, as a standoff is developing between the region's supreme court and central election commission (CEC). Tensions grew after it [...]

Kiosk owners asked to boycott censorship plan

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Coalition for Freedom of Choice expresses solidarity with the print media regarding a new system for kiosks in Georgia’s capital which is threatening the newspaper sector and calls other booths owners to join in. “We call for all persons interested in City Hall’s so-called ‘1000 Booths’ tender: to express a civic and social [...]

Saakashvili’s opponent joins press protest

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili expresses solidarity with the Georgian Press and is joining them in a protest outside Tbilisi City Hall on Tuesday at 2 pm. “Under the cover of a project called ‘supporting small and medium sized enterprises’, the government attacked the free Georgian print media. We think that the City Hall decision [...]

Media coalition joins protest

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Coalition of Media Advocacy is expressing its solidarity with Georgian newspapers which are facing a dire threat of having their distribution virtually strangled. The Coalition said in a statement they too will attend Tuesday’s rally in front of Tbilisi City Hall at 2 pm, along with representatives of the press to protest against [...]

‘Not an election’

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “What is happening in the Tskhinvali region can not be called elections,” Davit Bakradze, Georgian Speaker of Parliament said Monday at a parliamentary session to discuss the developments in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. Alla Dzhioyeva and Anatoly Bibilov were pit against eachother in the second round of the de facto presidential [...]

Saakashvili’s opponent allowed to start movement

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s press office Monday announced that the Public Registry has finally registered the movement ‘Georgian Dream.’ An hour earlier, they announced that the Civil Registry had refused to register Georgian Dream. “An hour after releasing the [first] press statement the Civil Registry registered the public movement 'Georgian dream'. This information [...]

Watchdog body pushes for progress in ‘Batumelebi case’

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tugushi, Georgia’s Public Defender, asks the chief prosecutor to study information provided by the newspaper Batumelebi. Batumelebi, which is published in the western city of Batumi, November 20 revealed the identity of a policeman who they say tried to blackmail one of their journalists in 2009. In huge letters proclaiming "Found!" the [...]

Tskhinvali beefing up security for election results announcement

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - In Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia people are waiting for the results of the second tour of the de facto presidential elections. Early results indicate that opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva is heading for victory. According to Bela Plieva, chairman of Tskhinvali’s de facto Central Election Commission (CEC), elections have been completed and [...]

Press to picket Tbilisi City Hall

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of Georgian press are planning a demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Tuesday, November 29. Their demand is for the City Hall to stop harassing the free press. This comes after Tbilisi City Hall began to take away press newspaper booths in the capital, which is the main distribution channel [...]

Is harassed businessman Fady Asly?

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman who was harassed by Georgia's Revenue Service last week is Fady Asly, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) of Georgia and President and CEO of Agritechnics Holding. Georgian daily Rezonansi reported this in its Monday edition, Mteli Kvira. It is the head of Georgia's Association for Small and Medium Sized [...]

Opposition leads in Tskhinvali

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Oppositional candidate Alla Dzhioyeva is leading and might win the second round of the election in Georgia's breakaway region South Ossetia. At 2 am counting showed she had more than 51 per cent of the votes, while alleged Kremlin favorite Anatoly Bibilov fell significantly behind with 46 per cent. This is a clearer [...]

Appeal to civil society, the government, the diplomatic corps and interested persons!

By | November 27th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

We, representatives of the Georgian media, regard the Tbilisi City Hall project “Promotion of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises” as having nothing to do with the development of small and medium sized business and creating jobs. It is directed at the destruction of the existing system of distribution of print media and poses a real danger [...]

Georgian mine claims 13th victim

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A miner died Thursday morning following an accident in a coal mine in Tkibuli in the central region of Georgia. Miner Sergi Ashotia died after a wall collapsed. This is the 13th death in the same mine in the last two years. Early comments indicate that the reason for the accident was a massive [...]

Claims of harassment by Revenue Service

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrat leader Giorgi Targamadze claims that Georgia’s Revenue Service harassed the head of one of the country's largest companies. Two days before, the person had suggested to the government had made suggestions regarding liberalization of the system to handle tax disputes in a closed session between parliamentarians and business council members. He [...]

‘Georgia world leader in fighting corruption’

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The whole world is taking note of how Georgia is tackling corruption, at least according to Prime Minister Nika Gilauri. While answering questions in parliament Friday he said that the whole world is learning from the methods Georgia is using to fight corruption. The comment came during a debate regarding the government’s ’10 [...]

‘Access to Russian market crucial’

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrat leader Giorgi Targamadze says that improving relations with Russia is crucial to Georgia’s economic development. The statement came during a debate in parliament Friday about the government’s ’10 point plan’, a debate his party had called for. Targamadze said, if investments are the most important factor for the country’s economic development, [...]

PM: Tourism is booming

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “Georgia is the main tourist country in the region and we will see better results in the next few years,” Nika Gilauri, Georgian Prime Minister told lawmakers Friday at a debate about a ’10 point plan’ recently announced by the government. Gilauri said the tourism sector has even better results to show than [...]

Doubts about gov’t employment plan

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Parliamentary faction Christian Democratic Movement demands that the government presents statistics about an employment program implemented before the elections in 2006. Levan Vepkhvadze, representative of the Christian Democrats made this statement at a debate in parliament Friday regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. The plan was brought in during the campaigning period ahead of the local [...]

PM: ‘Thousands of investors coming’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri claims that “hundred and thousand times more investors are planning to come into Georgia”, because they trust Georgia more than Eastern Europe countries, Greece and Italy. He made this statement in parliament Friday at a debate regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’ held at the request of the [...]

‘Elite corruption’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Jondi Baghaturia, representative of the parliament faction Unity for Justice and the leader of the Georgian Group Party accuses the government of creating monopolies in the country and protecting these monopolies. He made this statement at in parliament Friday. The political debates were held at the request of the Christian Democrats and revolved [...]

‘Nepotism’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Jondi Baghaturia, representative of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice and leader of the Georgian Group Party accuses the government of nepotism. He made this statement in parliament today, during a debate by the request of the Christian Democrats regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. “Mr. Nika, your brother is head of the Bank [...]

‘Georgia one of world’s healthiest economies’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “Going by macro-economic parameters, Georgia is one of the healthiest countries in the world,” Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said Friday at a debate in parliament. The debate was held at the request of the Christian Democrats regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. According to Gilauri, economic growth rates are directly dependent on [...]

Will Georgia’s population be halved?

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Christian Democrats in parliament argue that comparing the specific numbers in the government’s 10-point plan’s to the reality puts the government in a very awkward situation. One of their representatives, Levan Vepkhvadze, said this at a special debates today, which has been held on their request regarding the government’s ten-point plan. “In [...]

Strong growth in GPD

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Prime Minister Nika Gilauri says that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will be 3 100 US dollars this year. He has made this statement at a political debate in the parliament Friday, regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’ at the request of the Christian Democrats. According to the Prime Minister, the [...]

‘No threat of recession’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri says ‘there is no threat of economic recession in the country’ due to the government’s successful efforts. The new aim for the government is the creation of jobs. The Prime Minister made the statement during a special debate in the parliament Friday regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’, [...]

Christian Democrats wants kiosk plan changed

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrats has asked City Hall to directly transfer a hundred booths to newspapers and distributors within the framework of the project ‘1000 booths’. Zaza Gabunia, Christian Democrats representative in Tbilisi City Council, said this at a press conference November 25. He added that if Tbilisi City Hall doesn’t do this, the recent [...]

Republicans shares press concern about kiosks

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republican Party joins representatives of the Georgian press in expressing protest against Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks. The Party’s statement says that City Hall’s decision, which was made several weeks ago, as expected had become an instrument for attack on the press and small business. “We Republicans were against [...]

Informal alliance around Ivanishvili

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republicans, Free Democrats and businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team will be cooperating with eachother, but they have not yet decided to set up a formal coalition or alliance. Davit Berdzenishvili, one of the Republicans leaders, announced this statement today after a meeting with Ivanishvili. The meeting was held at the businessman’s residence on [...]

Prison guards get more protection

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - It has become a criminal offense to threaten a jail worker or his family. A bill adopted by parliament, which makes changes to the Criminal Code, is now in force. Before the change, to resist a lawful order made by a prison or detention facility employee, or in any way prevent the activities [...]

Old taxes may be cancelled

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Some category of high income taxpayers will have their accumulated unpaid taxes until 2005 cancelled. This is foreseen by a bill to change the Tax Code which was presented to parliament on November 25. If the bill is passed, the Revenue Service will be entitled to write off tax debts, fines and penalty [...]

2011 budget passed

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s 2011 budget was passed Thursday after a debate in an almost empty parliament. In its revised form it is increased by 219 million lari to a total of 7 570 million. 84 votes for the budget and 4 against. But during the debate there were hardly anyone in the hall. Only 24 [...]

‘Smear campaign’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tsagareishvili, member of the Free Democrats Party, accuses the government of being engaged in a smear campaign against the opposition. He had made this statement during a debate in parliament Thursday about tightening the rules regarding party financing. Tsagareishvili said that the media have launched what amounts to a smear campaign lately [...]

Georgian press warns it could be wiped out

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

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian press, which has long been a stronghold of independence, is warning it is in danger of being wiped out by a new distribution system which could be used to censure their access to customers. Newspapers in Georgia are almost totally reliant on street sale. Therefore news stands are the only way [...]

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. [...]

Opposition talked to deaf ears

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - When the opposition bloc Unity for Justice had their thirty minutes in parliament Thursday, the rest of the deputies had left. The only one there was parliament speaker Davit Bakradze. Not only the ruling National Movement were missing, but also other minority representatives. A faction is allowed thirty minutes’ time once for the summer and [...]

Mega dams will go ahead regardless

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Aleksandre Khetaguri, Georgia’s minister for energy and natural resources says two controversial hydropower projects in the west of the country will be built and there is no alternative. He had made this statement during question time in parliament Thursday. The minister saud the construction of the Khudoni and Namakhvani dams started during the [...]

Tbilisi boosts defense by 7%

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia expands its defense budget by 7% next year. The growth is explained with the country’s need for security. 44 600 000 Georgian lari more will become available for military spending, bringing the total to 704 631 200 lari for defense, finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze told lawmakers Thursday at a session to review [...]

Victims of Soviet repression lose compensation

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian authorities have stopped paying compensation to families of people who were victim of Soviet repression, according to Giorgi Tsagareishvili, representative of the Free Democrats and chairman of the parliamentary bloc Unity for Justice. Tsagareishvili asked finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze to clarify the issue Thursday at a plenary session in parliament to review [...]

Did 219 million lari disappear?

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition lawmaker accuses the government of having spent 219 million lari and trying to hide it by creative budgeting. Jondi Bagaturia of the Georgian Group party, who is part of the Unity for Justice bloc in parliament, said this at a plenary session Thursday to review the country’s 2011 budget. The 2011 [...]

Georgia braces for Euro crisis impact

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian finance minister says the country will financially stand on its feet in 2012. Dimitri Gvindadze made this statement today in parliament as lawmakers were gathered for a plenary session to review the 2011 budget. In its revised form, the 2011 budget will be increased  by 219 million lari, to 7 570 [...]

Georgia waives visa on ethnic grounds

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia establishes a new system based on ethnicity, which gives people of Georgian origin the right to visa free travel, education grants and to represent their mother country at sports events. The Law on Diaspora Organizations and Compatriots Living Abroad was approved by parliament Thursday. It establishes a new status for citizens of [...]

Ivanishvili citizenship decision gets closer

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is one step closer to knowing whether he will be allowed to run in Georgia’s coming parliamentary and presidential elections through ordinary avenues, as Tbilisi’s city court schedules his pre-trial session for December 5. The issue before the court is whether to give him back his Georgian citizenship. But Ivanishvili [...]

Congressmen met opposition before the government

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A delegation of US congressmen who came to Georgia for the eight-year anniversary of the rose revolution held meetings with the opposition before meeting the government. At the meetings with the opposition they spoke about the problems in the country. According to official information from the US embassy, the congressmen arrived here for [...]

Tbilisi unveils statue of Ronald Reagan

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian capital marked the anniversary of the rose revolution in 2003 and twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union by unveiling a bronze statue of US president Ronald Reagan today. “He brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and freed the lives of thousands of people. So he now [...]

Newspaper exposes identity of policeman who blackmailed journalist

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian newspaper has gone public with the identity of a policeman who blackmailed one of its journalists two years ago. According to the newspaper Batumelebi, which is published in the western coast city Batumi, the person who blackmailed Tedo Jorvbenadze, the coordinator of the paper’s investigative team, on November 25, 2009, was a [...]

Party financing rules target opposition

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A leading legal expert says the new rules on party financing will severely hamper opposition parties as Georgia enters two consecutive election years. The new rules are widely seen as a move to make it more difficult for billionaire philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili to use his wealth to claim political power. They will criminalize [...]

Tax break for seniors labelled age discrimination

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A leading opposition member of parliament says the government’s new tax break for seniors is a form of age discrimination. Free Democrat leader Giorgi Tsagareishvili, who is chair of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice, says the initiative is a politically motivated decision and part of the election campaign and that it is [...]

Neo-patrimonial Society and Hybrid Regime in Georgia

By | November 22nd, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , , |

On Monday, November 21, 2011, in the conference hall of the Georgian Parliament Library, I was to hold a presentation on the topic: “Government’s Dilemma in a Neo-patrimonial Society: Institutionalisation of Democracy or Destruction of Clientelism?“ The presentation was blocked by an invisible hand phone call - one of three invited members of parliament or the [...]

Secret bill reins in party financing

By | November 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government has secretly sent a bill to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission which seems to block Bidzina Ivanishvili's last option for using his wealth to build an opposition movement. Private companies and organizations are prohibited from financing political parties. Individuals will have the right to give a maximum of sixty thousand [...]

Adjara TV broadcasting in violation of the law

By | November 21st, 2011|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch - For the last three weeks Georgian television station Adjara TV has been broadcasting in violation of the constitution and the law on broadcasting. The Georgian government is responsible by not passing a law which would split it off from the autonomous republic’s authorities. Adjara TV has been operating as a branch of the [...]

Guarantees of Impartiality for Georgian Juries

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

Nowadays, in Georgia jury trials are the hot topic. The first ever jury trial in Georgian legal history has returned a guilty verdict in an aggravated murder case in Tbilisi City Court. Even this first practice with jury trials has revealed some legislative flaws relating to outside influence on the jury, which most definitely comes from [...]

75% support Ivanishvili on Facebook

By | November 21st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - When asked on Facebook ‘Who would you vote for, Bidzina Ivanishvili or Mikheil Saakashvili?’, 24 000 out of nearly 32 000 Georgians answered they would support Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, while only 7 500 voted for the current president. This is a large number and ‘it shows a clear tendency’, according to a specialist [...]

Election-year budget or election budget?

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

An election year budget is seen by economists is significantly different from a non-election year budget. In this regard, the budget expenditure is very interesting, which represents the government expenditure policy in the forms of various activities. In the budget expenditure part we see expenses, which can be directly or non-directly considered as to increase the [...]

Don’t mention the lawyers

By | November 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - 123 lawyers have been put in jail the last 7 years, and tell horrific stories of beatings and rape. But EU parliamentarians Thursday decided not to mention the lawyers in their criticism of Georgia. Krzysztof Lisek, speaker of the European Parliament on Georgia issues, was in Tbilisi Friday discussing the latest resolution with [...]

Proactive Transparency in Georgia

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

The “Institute for Development of Freedom of Information” has been conducting monitoring the level of informational transparency of the official web-pages of public institutions of Georgia for already a few years, starting from 2009. The results of the 2010 study, the evaluation parameters and the methodology are placed on the web-site of the institute:  http://www.idfi.ge/?cat=monitoring_2010_new&lang=en It [...]

PM: Georgia doesn’t need EU integration yet

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Prime Minister Nika Gilauri thinks that under today’s conditions, Georgia doesn’t need to be integrated with the European Union. There are negotiations with the EU now about a free trade agreement, and Georgia ‘is hoping for visa liberalization agreement and free trade agreement’. “For now EU is not ready to accept new [...]

Benefits of an embargo

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Russia’s embargo has made Georgia seek out new markets thereby making the country more independent, Giga Bokeria, secretary of Georgia’s national security council, said on Thursday. Bokeria said this during a conference organized by the British magazine The Economist in Tbilisi. He was responding to a statement by opposition politician Irakli Alasania, who [...]

Bendukidze criticizes European bureacracy

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian economic analyst Kakha Bendukidze Thursday criticized the European Union for having too much bureacracy. “We are a European country. Psychologically and politically we are part of Europe, the Europe of human rights, respecting principles of the circulation of capital. But there is another Europe, which is a bureaucratic creature, which decides tax [...]

Gov’t to Cartu Bank: Stay out of politics

By | November 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - If the managers of Cartu Bank won’t keep out of politics and get its house in order, the National Bank will take it over. Giorgi Kadagidze, president of the National Bank, said this Thursday at a session of the parliament’s finance and budget committee. Cartu Bank is owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian [...]

Too little transparency at the top

By | November 17th, 2011|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , |

The DFWatch interview: Mark Mullen In an interview with DFWatch, Mark Mullen notes that the main problem in Georgia is a lack of transparency at the senior levels. In terms of corruption, he thinks that there is no so-called elite corruption in Georgia, but still there is less transparency ‘at the top’. Regarding the media, he [...]

Ashton commends Georgian trade reforms

By | November 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili hopes that the negotiations about a free trade agreement with the EU will be completed ahead of schedule. The president said this after a meeting with Catherine Ashton, EU's vice-president and high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Ashton is in Georgia within the South Caucasus visit frameworks. [...]

The Economist to hold conference in Tbilisi

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The British magazine The Economist will gather experts and politicians in Tbilisi November 17 to discuss and analyze Georgia’s investment environment and perspectives. The event will take place in the Radisson hotel. Among the Georgian speakers will be prime minister Nika Gilauri, finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze, and Vera Kobalia, the minister of economy [...]

We and the conflict regions population

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

"Disobedient Satellites" First tour of the presidential elections was held in the former South Ossetia on November 13. Kremlin candidate Bibilov, who was openly supported by the Russian Presidential administration and Prime Minister Putin, not only failed to gain a convincing victory, but gathered only 25% of the votes. Not even a speech of Konstantin Kasachov, [...]

Patriarch: Everything will be all right

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - It was a moment heavy with symbolism when Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili and Patriarch Ilia II emerged from their meeting Tuesday. “We are pleased that Ivanishvili visited the Antioch today. We have discussed a number of issues, especially the future of Georgia and its current condition. I think everything will be all right,” [...]

Opposition wants debate about 10 point plan

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Just as the government is getting ready for a nationwide tour to promote its new ten point plan for developing the country, the opposition Christian Democrats say the plan should first be discussed in parliament. “Parliament is a place, where the main positions should be heard, especially when it comes to issues like [...]

Employment and Unemployment Trends in Georgia

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

In order to assess the economic condition of a country, economists look at a various number of statistics. Besides the level of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that measures the country’s economic output, one statistic that attracts attention from the economists as well as the general public is the unemployment rate in the country. Unemployment imposes [...]

Saakashvili challenger consults with Patriarch

By | November 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The main challenger in Georgian politics Tuesday consulted with the country's highly respected patriarch, and received advice about his further steps to claim power.  Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, Georgia's most respected person, met Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday at 6 pm, and the businessman afterwards said he received many tips which will help him in his [...]

Alasania calls for a referendum

By | November 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Free Democrats leader Irakli Alasania asks the government to put the the latest constitutional change to the people in a referendum, calling it an illegal decision. The process is already in motion to change the constitution and increase the number of members of parliament from 150 to 190. But most of the opposition [...]

Prime minister gets increased power

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Changes in how the leader of Georgia's Adajara region is chosen raises further suspicion that power is being concentrated in the office of the prime minister, increasing fears of a Putin scenario. The president has agreed with the government about the candidacy of the Chairman of the Adjara’s Autonomous Republic of Georgia. He [...]

Judiciary’s Inadequate Level of Transparency as an Intended Governmental Policy

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

The judiciary’s inadequate level of transparency remains both a main issue and challenge in Georgia. Though the judicial system has undergone numerous reforms in recent years, these reforms did not preserve or promote a more open judiciary, and in fact, judicial transparency was targeted most effectively by the establishment of a closed court system. As a [...]

Georgian Competition Way to EU

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

  “Antitrust laws … are the Magna Carta of free enterprise. They are as important to the preservation of economic freedom and our free-enterprise system as Bill of Rights is to the protection of our fundamental personal freedoms.” (The Supreme Court, United States v. Topco Associates, Inc. 1972)   Georgia heads towards integration into the EU, [...]

Inconclusive election in Tskhinvali

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Tskhinvali region is heading for a run-off between the two main contenders in the presidential election, after none of them got above the 50 per cent threshold to win in the first round. According to Agence France-Presse, results from 78 out of 86 polling stations showed that alleged Kremlin-favorite Anatoly Bibilov fell [...]

‘Russia and Georgia: looking for a solution’

By | November 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - ‘Russia and Georgia: looking for a solution’ – this is the title of a new collection of articles on Russia-Georgia problems, published by Russian and Georgian experts. With the help of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), and support from the EU and the UNDP project COBERM (Confidence Building Early [...]

Half-empty parliament oks election map redraw

By | November 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Barely half of parliament attended when a crucial proposal to rearrange how they themselves are elected was being discussed yesterday. The constitutional amendment in question will both increase the number of parliamentarians from 150 to 190 and change how they are elected, and is therefore one of the key changes to Georgia's election [...]

Oops! Gov’t backtracks on election reform

By | November 11th, 2011|Categories: Legal reform, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government is retracting on several of its eleventh-hour changes to the Georgian election law, but  stands firm on not allowing video surveillance in polling stations and defends the right of governors to participate in the election campaign. This emerged Friday in comments made by a member of the editorial group which has [...]

Georgia creates terror watchlist

By | November 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia is to build its own list of known terrorists, and seize the property of persons designated as terrorists by the UN. Specifically the bill will amend the law on Anti Money Laundering Support. Initiators are MPs Andro Alavidze and Kakhaber Anjaparidze. If passed, the bill will establish a new commission which will [...]

Nato will discuss Georgia at Chicago summit

By | November 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Nato's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has promised that the issue of Georgia’s membership in the alliance will also be reviewed at the summit in Chicago next May. Rasmussen said this at a press conference with President Saakashvili in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea shore. “We have not yet finished the [...]

Are pension promises for real?

By | November 10th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government has promised to increase pensions and to provide state insurance for the pensioners, but hasn't set aside money for it in the budget. Parliament demanded that the budget made room for these promises. “Within the bill’s assignments framework there should be foreseen finances for the further increase of the pensions. All [...]

Republican leader reelected

By | November 10th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The leader of the Republicans for the last two years, David Usupashvili, was reelected Wednesday by 600 party delegates in a secret ballot at a specially gathered party congress. The to party’s charter requires there to be a congress held once a year, at which the party leadership is chosen. A new computer [...]

NATO demands more reforms in Georgia

By | November 10th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Ambassadors from NATO member countries yesterday reaffirmed their commitment made at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 that Georgia will become member of NATO, but made it clear that membership will require further reforms in the country. They made these statements after a meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Tbilisi. According to NATO's Secretary [...]

New refugee status in Georgia

By | November 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will change the way refugee status is regulated, after a bill was introduced in parliament. The new bill on Refugee and Humanitarian Status is quite lengthy in comparison with the 1998 Law about Refugee Status, which it replaces. The government explains the changes with a need for legal refinement on a number [...]

Two die in mining accident

By | November 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two workers died in a coal mine in Tkibuli in west Georgia after a shaft ceiling collapsed Sunday evening. 12 workers have lost their lives in the same mine over the last two years. The collapse led to the death of Bondo Mikheladze (61) and Tamaz Gordadze (55), according to a statement released [...]

Some NGOs ready to cooperate with Ivanishvili

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Some of the Georgian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are ready for a political partnership with the billionaire turned opposition leader who is the main threat against incumbent president Mikheil Saakashvili's rule. On Monday November 7 tens of Tbilisi based NGOs met with Bidzina Ivanishvili, answering his invitation. The meeting lasted for two hours and [...]

President gives unconstitutional promise

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Saakashvili promises that the first session in the brand new parliament building in Kutaisi will be held on May 26, 2012. To keep this promise it is necessary to either violate the constitution or change it. The third part of the current constitution, which was amended last year this time, deals with the rules [...]

Strictest Punishments for Minor Violations and Ignored Human Rights

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Around 4 000 people are sentenced to administrative imprisonment in Georgia every year. Administrative imprisonment is a purely Soviet mechanism, which remains in effect only in some post-Soviet countries (with the exception of Germany and Austria, where it operates in a different way) and which is broadly used and utilized to the full extent in Georgia. [...]

Waiting for the next exam

By | November 8th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

Neither the government, nor the opposition, nor civil society passed the democracy exam on November 7, 2007.  I’m not writing memoirs about November 7, 2007; nor am I writing a requiem for the young Georgian state. I don’t even want to remember the government's hot-headed actions – how they showed no mercy to citizens or even media equipment. [...]

No November 7 commemoration today

By | November 7th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Political parties are not planning any commemoration of the events of November 7, 2007. Only the Labor Party had planned a rally which was already underway at 15. But that is held to demand the resignation of president Mikheil Saakashvilli. Former member Nestan Kirtadze calls the event a ‘political adventure’. On November 7, [...]

Interior minister to handle hydro power resettlement

By | November 7th, 2011|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The 1970s mega project to build a dam in Khudoni Valley is moving ahead despite obscure funding and secretive implementation. Last week villagers were told they will have to leave. Their resettlement will be planned by an organization founded by Georgia's Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili (pictured). Khudoni would have been the second largest [...]

Delay in electoral roll check

By | November 6th, 2011|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - As less than a year is left until Georgians will go to the polls again, the government should have been moving ahead with a commission to go through the electoral roll, following a rush law amendment, but as of now the commission has not yet been set up. To have such a commission [...]

Russia to become WTO member

By | November 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Both Russia and Georgia have given thumbs up for an agreement which will allow Russia to become member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). But experts are asking that  ‘significant details’ be clarified before the treaty is signed. The question of Russia's inclusion into the WTO has become a pressing issue over the [...]

Legal review of the case of Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ekaterine Khvedelidze

By | November 5th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

The reason of writing this article is an unstoppable speculation of the government representatives regarding the revocation of citizenship of Bidzina Ivanishvili and his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze and the allegations that the revocation was a result of obtaining French citizenship and thereby violating the Georgian constitution by both of them. I have already noted a number [...]

Public Defender to get more power

By | November 4th, 2011|Categories: Legal reform, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Public Defender in Georgia is to get a more active role in the courts and will also do more monitoring of conditions in social institutions. The slightly increased powers comes following a decision by the government, after a bill was introduced to amend the Law about the Public Defender, prepared by Lasha [...]

Risk of corruption in Georgia

By | November 4th, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

“Georgia is number one country fighting corruption”- we frequently hear this message from Georgian Government. Government representatives talk about the achievements in fighting corruption but their opponents underline number of failures in this regards. There are also talks about elite corruption as well and some people think such kind of corruption exists in the upper bureaucracy [...]

New developments in Georgian power struggle

By | November 4th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - On several fronts the simmering power struggle in the southern Caucasus nation saw new developments Thursday. The fallout from challenger Bidzina Ivanishvili's first ever press conference is continuing, after he spoke on live TV in an unusually freespirited manner for Georgian viewers. One of the shocking statements on November 1 was his account [...]

Ivanishvili broadens base

By | November 3rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian challenger Bidzina Ivanishvili is extending a hand to the whole spectrum of opposition parties, promising to cooperate with all of them in order to remove the ruling party from power. At the November 1 press conference he was asked whether he is going to cooperate with all parties. “We will cooperate with [...]

Journalist disciplined for asking wrong question

By | November 3rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A journalist working for Georgia's Public Broadcaster (GPB) is under threat of being dismissed for asking a question the government didn't like at Bidzina Ivanishvili’s press conference Tuesday. The reason was that he asked a question which the broadcaster's leadership thinks is an admission that their journalists are instructed by the government about [...]

Another ‘collection of dreams’

By | November 2nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Government of Georgia has presented a ‘ten-point plan for the country’s development of modernization and employment for the years 2011-2015’, but experts think it's no more than a ‘collection of dreams’ that is hard to take seriously without concrete steps towards its implementation. “The Georgian government’s social-economic policy aim is to create [...]

Government strengthens financial monitoring

By | November 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Experts here in Tbilisi think the government is ‘trying to find legislative methods to put pressure on Ivanishvili’, following a government initiative about strengthening financial monitoring under the pretext of combating money laundering. Amendments will be made to the law called Anti-Money Laundering Support. The initiators are ruling party parliamentarians Zviad Kukava, Andro [...]

“I will impeach president Saakashvili”

By | November 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch- Bidzina Ivanishvili vows to initiate impeachment procedures against Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili after he has won the parliamentary election next year. The businessman made the statement Tuesday at his first and long awaited press conference. It took place in his luxurious Tbilisi business center in the front of nearly 230 Georgian reporters and local [...]

Open Government Partnership Initiative and Georgia – New Challenges

By | November 1st, 2011|Categories: Opinion|Tags: |

On August 30, 2011, Georgia responded to the invitation of the President of the United States Barack Obama and the Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and officially expressed its readiness to actively participate in the Open Government Partnership initiative as “a regional leader” and to address the challenges of open governance in the 21st century http://www.opengovpartnership.org/countries/georgia . [...]

Diplomat claims dismissal was political

By | November 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's honorary consul in the United States says the reason he was dismissed last week was that he refused to take down photos from his Facebook page showing the popular opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Georgia. Just four months ago, Lasha Darbaidze was the subject of [...]