Monthly Archives: April 2012

//April

Lithuanian PM advocates Georgian NATO membership

By | April 30th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The prime ministers of Georgia and Lithuania today signed a memorandum of understanding. The MoU deals with cooperation within local government between Lithuania’s national assembly, the Seimas’s Committee on State Administration and Local Government […]

OSCE sends extra election observers to Georgia

By | April 30th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A team of election experts from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will visit Georgia June 11-16. The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is sending a mission in connection with Georgia’s […]

Lithuanians arrive to talk about local government

By | April 30th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A delegation from Lithuania’s Seimas will visit Georgia on Monday. In the morning, the delegation which are members of the Seimas’ Committee on State Administration and Local Government, will participate in a Georgian-Lithuanian forum about local […]

A quarter of Georgia’s population are missing

By | April 30th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – 23 per cent of Georgia’s population is away from the country, 80 per cent of which are illegal labor migrants and sole bread-winners. These are some of the findings in a new report made by Liberal Academy Tbilisi, called Visa Facilitation and Readmission: […]

Abkhazia opens embassy in Nicaragua

By | April 29th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia has opened an embassy in Nicaragua. According to Apsnypress, Abkhazia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Zaur Gvajava, will also take on the function as ambassador to Nicaragua. Nicaragua will help Abkhazians in their relations […]

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, […]

McCain asks Clinton to lead on Georgia’s NATO membership

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – In a letter to Hilary Clinton, U.S. Senator John McCain expresses concern about Georgia’s occupied territories and calls for the Secretary of the State to support Georgia. “The upcoming NATO summit in Chicago presents an excellent opportunity to […]

‘We’ll reunite breakaway regions through negotiations’

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The main opposition bloc in Georgia says if it wins October’s election, it will get back the breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia through negotiations, with Germany as mediator. Irakli Alasania, an ex-diplomat and opposition politician who […]

Russian businessman’s beating tells of systematic violence in Abkhazia

By | April 27th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Russian businessman was severely beaten at his office in Abkhazia by local business partners. A video was posted to Youtube showing footage taken from a surveillance camera. Igor Varov was taken to the hospital on April 6, due to injuries suffered […]

Georgia’s interior minister: No-one has been shot by police for years

By | April 27th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Interior Minister says Georgia is the only country in the world where police haven’t used weapons against a criminal for three years. “For the last three-four years no person has died from policemen’s weapon in Georgia, no policeman died […]

The background for Tuesday’s scuffle in parliament

By | April 27th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Armenian community asks parliament to recognize the events of 1915-1923 in Turkey as genocide and also asks Tbilisi City Hall to build a memorial dedicated to victims of the genocide. Two years ago, the community received a positive answer […]

Opposition leader blamed for inspiring Abkhazian hostility

By | April 27th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Giga Bokeria, Georgia’s Secretary of Security Council blames opposition leader Irakli Alasania of having caused the announcement by Abkhazia which declared the head of the EU monitoring mission (EUMM) to Georgia an undesirable person. He expressed […]

Russian President Medvedev calls Georgia’s Saakashvili ‘a zero’

By | April 27th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Russian President calls his Georgian counterpart clueless and says that sooner or later there will be a new leader in Georgia, with whom Russia can cooperate. Dmitry Medvedev made this statement during an interview broadcast on a Russian TV channel. […]

Breakdown in talks between Georgia and breakaway region

By | April 26th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The head of the EU observers in Georgia is a persona non grata in Abkhazia. The breakaway region’s leadership thinks he should have investigated an alleged build-up of paramilitaries in Western Georgia. (Illustration photo. EU.) TBILISI, DFWatch – The de facto foreign ministry of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia has declared the head of the EU observers a persona non grata. As a consequence, the ministry canceled the 36th planned meeting of the incident prevention mechanisms on Tuesday. […]

Georgia’s interior minister must explain warning against 2008 war

By | April 26th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s interior minister, Vano Merabishvili, must today answer a question in parliament about a warning he received a year and a half before the war with Russia in August 2008. The billionaire who says he made the warning is now building an opposition […]

Georgia’s National Bank lowers interest rate

By | April 26th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The National Bank of Georgia Wednesday decided to lower the main refinancing rate by a quarter point to 6.25%. Lowering the rate now is an indication that the bank has an optimistic view of the country’s economy. In a statement, the bank notes that the […]

Secrecy law criticized by groups in Georgia

By | April 26th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Two groups in Georgia want to change a new secrecy law which they say restricts access to public information. Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information […]

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 […]

Georgian media to be scrutinized ahead of important election

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The European Union and United Nations Development Program is starting a new round of media monitoring in Georgia for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in 2012 and 2013. All kinds of media outlets will be monitored, including TV, radio, […]

Sixteenth Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

By | April 25th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Defense Ministry informs that another soldier has died in Afghanistan, bringing the total number of servicemen lost there to sixteen. Valerian Khujadze was serving in the 31st Battalion in the volatile Helmand province. The incident happened on […]

Scuffle in Georgian parliament over Armenian genocide

By | April 25th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A scuffle broke out Tuesday in the Georgian parliament during a debate about the Armenian genocide. Jondi Baghaturia, member of parliament (MP) for the opposition Georgian Troupe party, asked in a speech what the government is going to do regarding a […]

New 210 MW hydro power station to be built in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – President Mikheil Saakashvili Monday marked the start of construction work for a new hydro power station in a mountainous region in Western Georgia. The Nenskra power station in the village Chuberi will deliver 210 megawatt when finished. According to […]

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 […]

EU Commissioner Štefan Füle encourages civic groups in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Štefan Füle, the EU’s commissioner for enlargement, promises that the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia will remain a high priority on the EU’s agenda. He says they are paying particular attention to the newly adopted law on political unions […]

Tax incentive near breakaway regions

By | April 24th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The tax pressure will be relieved, sanctions liberalized and the administration will be simplified, the government has decided. Rusudan Kemularia, Deputy Finance Minister, held a briefing on Monday regarding the plan. She presented amendments to the tax […]

Negotiations in May for U.S.-Georgia trade plan

By | April 24th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Negotiations will start between Georgia and the U.S. at the end of May aimed at intensifying trade relations. Georgia’s Prime Minister Nika Gilauri announced this after returning from a visit to the U.S. Gilauri met the heads of the Millennium Challenge […]

CoE criticizes Russian passports in Georgian breakaway regions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly again says Russia’s practice of issuing passport in territories it occupies in Georgia is a violation of international rules. According to the Georgian parliament’s press office, relating information […]

More sites may be added to Georgia-Turkey monuments deal

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia and Turkey have still not reached agreement over the exact text of a treaty about protection of historic sites. Deputy foreign minister Nino Kalandadze said Monday that additional sites may be included as the talks progress. The treaty concerns […]

ODIHR positive to strengthened monitoring of Georgian election

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights expresses readiness to take part in observing the parliamentary elections in Georgia. Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze adds that Georgia is not waiting for an official response […]

Construction of new Georgian parliament still engulfed in secrecy

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – An advocacy group of young lawyers says the construction of a new parliament building in western Georgia is so opaque that there could well be corruption without anyone noticing. Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) has researched the […]

South Africans arrive to learn secrets of Georgian soil

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A delegation of South African farmers have arrived in Georgia to check the prospects of taking root here. Papuna Davitaia, State Minister for Diaspora Issues, opened the conference, which is held at Radisson Hotel, by underlining that business relations […]

As Elit Electronics takeover is completed, ex-owner fights on

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Anzor Kokoladze believes the takeover of Elit Electronics was a conspiracy. (Photo: Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch – One of the largest electronics chains in Georgia has been taken away from its founder, as the remaining 15 per cent of shares were sold at an auction. Anzor Kokoladze, who built the chain from scratch, is serving an eight year prison term after a tax […]

Georgian opposition: Zero tax for those with low income

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Saturday, the opposition party everybody expects to challenge Mikheil Saakashvili in October’s parliamentary election gathered for a founding congress in Tbilisi. Its unofficial leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, promised to revive agriculture […]

Georgian ambassador protests country’s portrayal as Orwellian

By | April 23rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s ambassador to Sweden protests against the portrayal of his country as an Orwellian society where everybody is under surveillance by the secret police. Ambassador Konstantin Kavtaradze sent a letter to SVT, the Swedish public broadcaster, […]

Trump spoke about planned high rise, left Georgia

By | April 22nd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – American billionaire Donald Trump has left Georgia, after a two day visit. Trump arrived Saturday in Tbilisi, and Sunday held a press conference in Batumi, where he plans to cooperate with local investors on building a 47-storey residential high rise […]

Global weapons trade may be brought under control

By | April 22nd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The international trade in weapons which fuels conflicts around the world may be brought under control, if talks in New York in July bear fruit. If successful, the talks will lead to the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty, aimed at preventing weapons from reaching the […]

Georgian opposition movement chooses woman to front party

By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBLISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s main opposition party today chose a female lawyer as its temporary leader. As there is less than six months left until the parliamentary elections, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili today formally established his Georgian Dream party. Due to […]

Bankruptcy frees companies of all debt

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new law lets companies escape all debt if they go bankrupt, freeing the owners of all responsibilities. Following a decision by the government, companies in Georgia will be able to liquidate without paying debts. Creditors won’t be able to ask […]

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 [...]

Donald Trump arrives in Tbilisi for 2-day visit

By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The American billionaire Donald Trump arrived at Tbilisi international airport noon Saturday for a two day visit to Georgia. Meeting him at the airport were Minister for Economic Development Vera Kobalia and head of Silk Road Group Giorgi Ramishvili. […]

Uncertain who will front Georgian opposition movement

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – It is still unknown who will be the formal leader of the main opposition movement in Georgia, less than six months before the parliamentary elections. But there is little doubt that the real leader will be billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who Saturday […]

Why do many Georgians give their property to the state?

By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Anzor Kokoladze, the founder of one of Georgia’s most successful electronics chains, Elit Electronics, accuses the authorities of having conspired to take it over. He claims a bank, the prosecutor, the Tbilisi mayor, and a court cooperated on the scheme. Kikodze is currently in jail serving an eigth year term for failure to service a debt, a sentence upheld by the Supreme Court. (Photo: Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch – There are many reports in Georgia these days of deprivation of property rights. People abandon their property or donate it to the government right after registering it at the Public Registry, and later refuse to speak about their reasons. The founder […]

Georgians victim of human trafficking in Turkey

By | April 20th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – An organization in Georgia has revealed video footage showing the working conditions of Georgians in Turkey. Merab Ghoghoberidze, head of Information Center for Georgia’s Fight against Corruption in Batumi, told Interpressnews that Georgians contacted […]

Saakashvili’s apparatus accused of bribing voters

By | April 20th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration is accused of bribing voters, after several closed meetings with the population in different cities in Georgia, Maestro TV reports. The meetings were held to introduce the ruling National […]

Russia concerned over Georgia’s NATO aspirations

By | April 20th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says it causes confusion and apprehension for his country that Georgia continues to be a candidate for NATO membership. Lavrov said this after a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council Thursday. “Now, NATO […]

Tax incentive for Georgians living near the conflict zone

By | April 20th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Property close to the occupied territories of Georgia are to be exempted from property tax. The government proposes to amend the tax code so that land which is owned by a person or property lands that are located near the occupied territories, […]

Seeds of prosperity between Georgia and Armenia?

By | April 20th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – How can Armenia and Georgia create more growth – literally – in their border region? Agriculture was the topic of a conference Thursday at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi. The goal was to exchange information on local planning and […]

Tougher sentences for family violence

By | April 19th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Family violence may become a crime in Georgia. Systematic physical, psychological violence or force by one family member against another, which causes physical, psychological or moral pain or suffering for the victim, will be punished by a fine or […]

New leader inaugurated in Tskhinvali

By | April 19th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – South Ossetia Thursday inaugurated its newly elected de facto president, former local KGB head Leonid Tibilov. The second round of president elections in the Georgian breakaway region was held on April 8. Tibilov competed against David Sanakoyev, […]

Political pressure on opposition activists in Eastern Georgia

By | April 19th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The pressure group Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association says supporters of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition are regularly subject to pressure in the eastern Kakheti region of Georgia. Spokesperson for GYLA’s Kakheti office told Interpressnews […]

Abkhazians go to Georgia for medical treatment

By | April 19th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia recently said a veteran from Abkhazia had died in a Georgian hospital. The government here in Tbilisi has not commented of given any details. DF Watch visited a few large hospitals […]

German-Georgian relations reaffirmed in Tbilisi

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Germany is satisfied with how the negotiations between Georgia and the EU are going, to work out an association agreement. Cornelia Pieper, Germany’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said this after a meeting with her Georgian colleague. Pieper […]

The trouble with American military laboratories

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

The U.S. has been subject to criticism for several covert projects which some claim are in breach of the ban on biological weapons. But there is no reason to suspect that such research would be done at this laboratory in Tbilisi. TBILISI, DFWatch – A new U.S. financed biological laboratory opened in March 2011 near Tbilisi. It will have American military researchers working there. Is it a problem? According to the website of the Central Public Health Reference Laboratory, it “will belong to an international […]

Another suicide reported in case of Abkhazian attackers

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another suspect in the attack on de facto Abkhazian president is reported to have committed suicide. Ria Novosti reports that Temur Khutaba hanged himself. He was one of the men suspected in the failed assassination attempt on Alexander Ankvab on […]

Suspect in Ankvab assassination attempt commits suicide

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A former Interior minister suspected of participating in the attack on the de facto president of Abkhazia on February 22, committed suicide on Tuesday. Abkhazian news agency Apsnypress reports that operational units of the co-called Interior Ministry […]

Roki tunnel to be closed the next three years

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The Roki tunnel is closing. (Photo: Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch – The tunnel carrying the only road connecting Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia will be partly closed for the next three years, starting April 24, Russian media reports. The Roki tunnel runs through the greater Caucasus mountain range […]

Georgian Railways is to be listed on London stock exchange

By | April 18th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Railways is set to be listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), becoming the second Georgian companies to achieve a listing, after Bank of Georgia. Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said April 12 that the government was planning to place several […]

German foreign affairs official visits Georgia

By | April 17th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Germany’s Minister of State under Foreign Minister Cornelia Pieper visits Georgia. Announcing the visit Tuesday, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said that Pieper will arrive today on April 17 and have meetings here April 18 and 19. […]

Clinton visit is certain, but date not set

By | April 17th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – That Hillary Clinton is coming to Georgia is now certain, as the two countries have completed agreeing on formalities around the visit. But the exact date for the U.S. Secretary of State’s trip still has to be decided, says Nino Kalandadze, Deputy […]

Georgian interior ministry in the dark about cesium traffickers

By | April 17th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia has no detailed information about the three Turkish citizens who were arrested for smuggling radioactive material to Turkey. The three had driven by car from Russia, transiting through Georgia, and were arrested on April 11, carrying […]

Democracy topic of U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership talks

By | April 17th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The fifth meeting of the working group on democracy within the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter was held on April 16 in Washington. The Georgian Foreign Affairs Ministry informs that parties discussed ongoing and already implemented […]

Russia protests Georgia’s withdrawal from treaty

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Russia considers Georgia’s decision to terminate its obligations under the Open Skies treaty with respect to Russia a flagrant violation of the treaty. “The Treaty does not provide any discriminatory restrictions on the rights of any state party. […]

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 […]

Strict rules leave rail passengers in Tbilisi for the holidays

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Saturday morning, the day before Easter, there is a large crowd at the railway station in Tbilisi. All of them have bags of luggage and are trying to find their tickets for the train or are buying them. The Easter holiday lasts four days in Georgia […]

Taxi drivers in Tbilisi hit by rising fuel price

By | April 14th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Givi Maisuradze (41) is one of many independent taxi drivers in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. He works day and night and has been a driver since the 1990s, a period he calls ‘the dark times’, because the whole city was in darkness at night. Today, […]

Azerbaijan warns against visiting Georgia’s breakaway regions

By | April 14th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Azerbaijani government warns its citizens about visiting Georgia’s occupied territories. The warning is more matter-of-fact than a previous warning from the Kremlin to Russians who might be tempted to go to Georgia after a visa is no longer needed […]

Slovakian visas to be issued in Georgia

By | April 14th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Foreign Minister met his Slovakian colleague on Thursday during a visit to Bratislava. The ministers discussed bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including important issues for both countries ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago […]

Ivanishvili reluctantly agrees to run as a French candidate

By | April 13th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili continues his struggle to be allowed to stand for election for parliament in October. His lawyers say a recently proposed constitutional change to allow non-Georgians to hold office has not made the […]

Georgia calls Russian travel warning a made up danger

By | April 13th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Russia warns its citizens of going to Georgia, while Georgia responds that the dangers are made up. Russian travel advice for those of its citizens who plan to vacation in Georgia is not the usual notes about vaccines and visas; it warns that […]

Six detained for assassination attempt on Abkhazian leader

By | April 13th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The de facto authorities in Abkhazia yesterday detained six suspects in the case about the assassination attempt on the president in February. On February 22, Alexander Ankvab’s car was fired on with machine guns and a […]

Allegations of a plot against Ivanishvili not taken seriously

By | April 13th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia does not take seriously allegations about the existence of a plan to kill President Saakashvili’s main competitor, Bidzina Ivanishvili. Full transcript here But one of the politicians in Ivanishvili’s coalition says that […]

Opposition party in Georgia says EU is not distrusting them

By | April 12th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A comment by the EU’s Ambassador to Georgia was interpreted as casting doubt on claims by the opposition Georgian Dream bloc about the government secretly building a paramilitary force. But now Georgian Dream blames a Georgian […]

Media regulatory body denies harassment

By | April 12th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The media regulatory body in Georgia Thursday said a cable station was trying to politicize the situation in order to divert attention from its own violations. The body has fined Trialeti TV 5 000 lari (about USD 3 000) for broadcasting on a […]

Media alliance in Georgia protests against harassment

By | April 12th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A group in Georgia asks the media regulatory body to stop putting pressure on independent media outlets in the country. The alliance behind the appeal is called Solidarity for Freedom of Media and was formed in early February in the wake of the takeover of […]

Court removes licence requirement for cable broadcasters

By | April 12th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Constitutional Court made a decision in favor of canceling the requirement of a license for cable broadcasting. But a license is still needed for satellite broadcasting. The court partly satisfied an appeal by the Public Defender, who […]

Georgia protests destruction of royal grave in Moscow

By | April 12th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, a prince and writer who lived in the 18th century, is buried at Vsesvyatsky Cemetery in Moscow. TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Foreign Ministry has formally protested against how Russia is treating a royal cemetary in Moscow. Tbilisi believes that authorities in Moscow are going ahead with construction work on the cemetary, which contains the graves of the […]

Arab Spring negotiator comes to Tbilisi for talks

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Frank Wisner, former US Ambassador to the UN, who last year negotiated with Hosni Mubarak to defuse the Egyptian crisis, is in Georgia to hold meetings. Wisner arrived on invitation of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian president’s main political […]

Youth protested against the fining of a TV station

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Around ten youth activists today protested outside the Georgian National Communication Commission against the fining of a regional television station. Irakli Beraia, one of the activists, says the fine is an attempt by the government to suppress […]

Ivanishvili will not apply for double citizenship

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s richest is not going to apply to the president for double citizenship. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship issue is still unresolved. Six months has passed since the president revoked it, which happened four days after the businessman released […]

U.S. brings mine-resistant vehicles to Georgia for training

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. Department of Defense has brought 28 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAP) to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The U.S. embassy in Tbilisi released a statement saying that the vehicles will be transfered from the […]

New South Ossetian leader to seek a union with Russia

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The newly elected leader of South Ossetia, a former local KGB head, promises to continue the course of closer relations with Russia, on a course towards uniting South and North Ossetia. South Ossetia, or the Tskhinvali region, which was occupied […]

Bust honoring Lech Kaczynski unveiled in Tbilisi

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A bust of Poland’s late president Lech Kaczynski was opened Tuesday here in Tbilisi. The square where it is located is near the street named after him by Tbilisi City Council to honor him after his tragic death two years ago. Zaal Samadashvili, […]

Saakashvili defends reservist plan opposition labeled paramilitaries

By | April 11th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Monday defended a new network of voluntary reservists which the main opposition bloc has warned are paramilitaries meant for starting a civil war. Saakashvili, speaking at an event to mark 23 years since […]

Georgia enforces ban on entering breakaway reps the wrong way

By | April 10th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Tbilisi City Court has sentenced a Russian businessman to pay a fine of about USD 1 200 because he had visited Abkhazia before coming to Georgia. The court found that the businessman had violated a law which bans travel across the borders […]

70% increase in Russian visitors to Georgia

By | April 10th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – About 30 000 Russians have entered Georgia since visa restrictions were lifted February 28. This is seventy per cent higher than the same period last year. Before President Mikheil Saakashvili the liberalized visa rules for Russians, there was visa […]

Cleared away mourners and needy to make room for Saakashvili

By | April 10th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – They came holding candles to commemorate the twenty people who died here twenty three years ago. But police cleared them away to make room for President Mikheil Saakashvili’s April 9 event. Just before Saakashvili was to hold his speech, police […]

Saakashvili warns against the enemy within

By | April 10th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Speaking on April 9, officially known as The Day of National Unity, President Mikheil Saakashvili warned against his country’s enemy within. Addressing soldiers in the yard of the parliament building on the important public holiday dedicated to unity, […]

Georgia tests new domestically produced drone

By | April 10th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – President Mikheil Saakashvili announced the test flight in a speech April 9. The date is symbolically significant as a peaceful demonstration for independence was attacked by Soviet troops here in Tbilisi in 1989. Saakashvili made reference to […]

April 9 remembered in Tbilisi, 23 years later

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – April 9 is 21 year anniversary for the restoration of Georgia’s independence and 23 years since the Soviet Union used soldiers to disperse a peaceful protest in Tbilisi. Georgian society, government and opposition remembered this day on Rustaveli […]

Russian sanitary official concerned about Tbilisi laboratory

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Russia’s chief sanitary inspector is concerned about the deployment of U.S. military laboratories at former Soviet medical institutions in Ukraine and Georgia. According to NEWSru, a Russian news website owned by Gazprom, Gennady Onishchenko […]

Georgia to amend constitution in Ivanishvili case

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – President Mikheil Saakashvili’s main competitor will be allowed to participate in the parliamentary elections in October, after the government agreed to amend the constitution. Following the amendment, EU citizens can run in elections in Georgia. […]

Museum in Stalin’s hometown to focus on history of stalinism

By | April 9th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The museum dedicated to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in his hometown of Gori in Georgia will change name to the Museum of Stalinism. The Ministry of Culture is behind the idea that the museum will offer visitors a historical account of stalinism, […]

Dzhioyeva forms opposition party in South Ossetia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – In South Ossetia, the opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva has decided to set up a new political party. April 7, an organizing committee for the new party called ‘Iriston – Freedom Square’ met at Dzhioyeva’s headquarters, Ekho Kavkaza reports. “We […]

Ex-KGB officer wins in South Ossetia

By | April 9th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A former local head of the KGB in South Ossetia has won the presidential elections in the breakaway region. Leonid Tibilov received about 55 percent of the votes beating competitor David Sanakoyev, presidential human rights commissioner. The […]

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. […]

High turnout in South Ossetian election

By | April 8th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – More than 13 percent of voters in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia had cast their vote in the presidential election by 10:00 in the morning. The Central Election Commission of the region says this is a higher turnout than in the first […]

South Ossetia to go to the polls again

By | April 7th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The de facto republic South Ossetia tomorrow holds the second round of its second presidential elections. The first election was held in November 2011. The Kremlin favorite and an opposition leader got through to the second round, in which the […]

Ombudsman calls for reduced number of prisoners

By | April 7th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Defender in Georgia believes the time has come to reduce the number of prisoners in the country. The ombudsperson said this at a joint session of parliamentary committees to discuss his report about the human rights situation last year. […]

Groups call for end to xenophobic slurs

By | April 7th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian non-governmental organizations call on Georgian politicians to stop making xenophobic statements and ask the media not to spread such comments. “The authors of such statements probably try to play on ethnic and religious feelings […]

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 […]

Georgia wants election observers to come immediately

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Foreign Ministry today invited international organizations to send a long-term observation mission ‘immediately’ ahead of the parliamentary elections in October. Normally, long-term observers would arrive about six weeks before the election, […]

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, […]

South Ossetia makes Russian a second state language

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia makes Russian its second state language. The region’s elected assembly adopted a constitutional law called “On State Language of the Republic of South Ossetia”, which obliges the de facto state’s bodies […]

Georgia to no longer allow Russian observation flights

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia will no longer let Russia conduct observation flights over its territory, and has suspended its obligations under a post-Cold War treaty which provide countries with mutual openness in each other’s military activities. The Georgian Foreign […]

Christian Democrats want to change the law in Ivanishvili case

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Christian Democrats propose a new law which will allow Saakashvili’s main opponent to participate in elections without being a Georgian citizen. His citizenship issue is still unclear. The Georgian president revoked billionaire businessman […]

Georgia snubs German diplomat over alleged Nazi comment

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia has broken off relations with a distinguished German diplomat, alleging he compared the Saakashvili regime to Nazi Germany. Dieter Boden, who negotiated a peace plan for how to solve the conflict with breakaway Abkhazia ten years ago, told […]

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 […]

Ivanishvili says he will get back political rights

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Yesterday, he was denied having his political rights restored, but today Georgia’s richest man vowed to regain his citizenship, form a political party and launch himself as candidate for Prime Minister within just over two weeks. Georgian […]

Abkhazia gathers its de facto parliament for first session

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The de facto parliament of Georgia’s breakaway republic Abkhazia has elected a Speaker of Parliament. The first session of the new breakaway Abkhazian parliament was held yesterday, April 3. Valery Bganba was elected as new Speaker of Parliament. […]

U.S. Ambassador criticizes journalism in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, says there is a deficit of curiosity and questioning among Georgian journalists. He said this in Batumi while meeting with the media. Bass says he sometimes is surprised by the lack of curiosity among […]

Ivanishivli denied political rights, continues fight

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian authorities today denied the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili of becoming a citizen of his native country. Today’s decision by the Civil Registry to deny him citizenship by naturalization ends the last legal avenue the opposition […]

Finland’s foreign minister visits Tbilisi

By | April 4th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Finland’s Foreign Minister is on a working visit to Georgia within the frames of a tour of the region. Erkki Tuomioja arrived in Georgia on April 3, the 20 year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Finland and […]

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 […]

Georgia’s foreign minister concerned about Russian exercise

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s foreign minister Grigol Vashadze says he too is concerned about a major military exercise Russia is planning to hold right before Georgia’s parliamentary election in October. Russia’s exercise “Kavkaz 2012” will for the first time take place […]

Saakashvili commits to having extra election observers

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian president calls on the international community to send ultra long-term election observers to his country before the parliamentary elections in October. Rights groups and part of the opposition have been appealing to the world to send […]

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. […]

NATO chief reaffirms membership pledge to Georgia

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – NATO once again underlines that the decision that Georgia will become member of Alliance stands firm. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, said this today during a press conference with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili at the […]

Georgian official warns of new war with Russia

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A top Georgian security official warns that there could be another war with Russia. Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 over two breakaway republics. Now the secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council warns that an […]

40 % growth in visitors to Georgia

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The number of visitors to Georgia in the first quarter of 2012 was 680 000. This is a 40 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. The new statistics were released by the Interior Ministry on April 2 and is based on data from custom’s […]

Georgia saves second citizen from hanging in Malaysia

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The second of two Georgians has been saved from execution for drug crimes in Malaysia. Babutsa Gordadze had her death sentence changed into eight years in jail. She has already served two years in a Malaysian jail. Earlier, Darejan Kokhtashvili, […]

Ivanishvili counting days till political rights restored

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is considered the main competitor of the Georgian government, is counting the days left until his Georgian citizenship is restored, giving him full political rights. The final date for when the government […]

Saakashvili to attend NATO Georgia commission

By | April 3rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian president will participate at the session of the NATO Georgia commission on April 3 in Brussels. According to the president’s administration, Mikheil Saakashvili will meet NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and the two will […]

Saakashvili welcomes foreign election observers

By | April 2nd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – President Mikheil Sakashvili says Georgia as never before needs many foreign observers. “We need many international observers not only on the day of the elections but today, tomorrow, and the day after. The sooner observers arrive from the […]

Mobile company in Georgia “recognizes” Abkhazia as a country

By | April 2nd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Russian mobile operator in Georgia portrays Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia as an independent country on its website. It’s Beeline, which is owned by the Russian mobile company VimpelCom, which now suggests to readers of its website […]

Borisov to Saakashvili: Bulgaria backs Georgia’s EU approach

By | April 2nd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Bulgaria expresses its full support for Georgia’s integration process towards NATO and the EU. Boyko Borisov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, said this Sunday during a meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Specifically Borisov said his […]

Solidarity action in Tbilisi Saturday brought out many

By | April 2nd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Marking a break with single issue campaigning, rights groups in Tbilisi Saturday held a demonstration for solidarity and people power. The demonstration was called Civic Solidarity Campaign and consisted of six human chains on six squares in the capital, […]

Planned Mosque in Batumi focus of popular unrest

By | April 2nd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Three thousand locals massed in Batumi Saturday to protest the planned construction of a mosque honoring the historic Turkish leader Aziz. The decision to construct the mosque is part of an agreement reached by authorities in Tbilisi and the Turkish […]

One Georgian saved from execution in Malaysia

By | April 1st, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian authorities have succeeded in saving one of their citizens from being executed for drug crimes in Malaysia. The news comes in a statement released by Georgia’s Prosecutor General’s office. It says a Malaysian court has overturned Darejan […]

NDI Georgia defends poll which shows Ivanishvili losing

By | April 1st, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new poll by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) shows the opposition Georgian Dream led by Bidzina Ivanishvili reduced to only 10%. Mikhail Saakashvili’s National Movement party receives 47%. NDI has been in hot waters locally over the poll, […]