Monthly Archives: November 2012

//November

New NGO to protect victims of government

By | November 30th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Ani Nadareishvili, wife of the detained former interior and defense minister Bacho Akhalaia, is founding a new non-governmental organization (NGO). The new NGO will request official statistics about the criminal cases recently from the interior […]

Hillary Clinton comments on detentions

By | November 30th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s opposition National Movement party is reacting to statements made by U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a visit by Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze to the US. “We are very much supportive of the peaceful […]

Ex-official detained a second time

By | November 30th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former Interior Ministry official who was recently detained, but let out on bail, has again been detained. Tengiz Gunava, former chair of General Inspection at the Interior Ministry after Bacho Akhalaia was appointed as minister, was called […]

TV9 becomes general broadcaster

By | November 30th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A TV company affiliated with the governing Georgian Dream coalition is going to become a general broadcaster. Thursday morning it became known that TV 9 will become a general broadcaster, which means that it will have the right to broadcast […]

Zestaponi town trustee detained

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s new government Thursday detained another official from the previous government. Kakha Getsadze, trustee of Zestaponi, a town in western Georgia, who is also president of the Wrestling Federation, was November 29 detained. He is accused […]

Rubin sees need for further justice reforms

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, says there is need for further reforms of the justiciary in Georgia to create rule of law. Commenting on the recent detention of dozens of former government […]

Georgia to introduce new tough labor code

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The new government in Georgia has started amending the country’s labor code, which has been criticized by local groups and the international community. The parliamentary committee on health care and social issues initiated a draft amendment […]

Crime wave hits Georgia due to ‘vacuum’

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Interior Minister says he is not alarmed by a 50 percent increase in petty crime after the new government came to power, compared to previous months. After the Georgian Dream coalition took over in early October, the National Movement […]

Ivanishvili defends cuts in Saakashvili’s lifestyle

By | November 29th, 2012|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia spends nearly USD 85 000 per day on its president, while the minimum amount of pension is USD 60 a month. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said it on Wednesday as his government was discussing the 2013 draft budget, and the comment […]

LSE wants to educate Georgian business leaders

By | November 29th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — What does it take to get a company listed on London Stock Exchange (LSE)? That was one of the questions addressed at a conference in Tbilisi Tuesday, and who better to hear it from than the LSE itself, which organized the event. The goal of the […]

Georgia’s ex-speaker of parliament may also be investigated

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — An investigation may be launched against the former parliament speaker in Georgia. Koba Davitashvili, who represents the majority in parliament, demands an investigation against Davit Bakradze, the former parliament speaker in the previous period. […]

6 500 prisoners to be released in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — According to preliminary estimates by the Prison Ministry, about 6 500 prisoners will leave prison in Georgia soon. Prison Minister Sozar Subari said this in an interview on one of the local TV channels Wednesday. A day earlier, his deputy Giga […]

Broad investigation of Tbilisi City Hall

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgian investigators are preparing a massive check-up of seven departments in the Tbilisi City Hall system. The press office of City Hall says an investigation has been launched at three different bodies: the Finance Ministry, Interior Ministry […]

Political clashes in Georgian villages

By | November 28th, 2012|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — There were clashes between supporters of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakaashvili in two Georgian villages on Tuesday. Locals in Martvili, a small town in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region in the west, demanded […]

Amnesty plan modified out of concern for consequences

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The planned mass amnesty in Georgia may apply to eight thousand prisoners and 19 000 on probation. Giga Giorgadze, Deputy Prison Minister, said this Tuesday at a session of parliament’s committee of human rights during review of a draft bill. […]

New round of Georgia-EU free trade talks

By | November 27th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — EU-Georgia today opened the fourth round of negotiations of the proposed Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in Brussels. In parallel, the twelfth session of negotiations of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU was also […]

Friendly talks between Rubin and Ivanishvili

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for EU and Eurasian Affairs, held a meeting with Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Tuesday. At the meeting the parties spoke about US-Georgian relations, expressing hope to further […]

New investigation into death of Georgian PM

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Investigators in Georgia have reopened the case of the death of a former prime minister, according to his brother. Goga Zhvania, brother of Zurab Zhvania, who served as Saakashvili’s first prime minister from 2004 to 2005, yesterday evening […]

Rubin visiting Georgia for defense and security talks

By | November 27th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in EU and Eurasian Affairs, is visiting Georgia. Rubin will have meetings during November 27-29. The US Embassy in Georgia informed DF Watch that Eric Rubin will meet representatives of […]

Georgia’s trade turnover grows 15 percent Jan.-Oct. 12

By | November 27th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia increased its foreign trade turnover with 15 percent in the first ten months of 2012. In plain numbers it totaled USD 8 521 million. Out of this, export was USD 1 985 million, while import was USD 6 536 million. The country’s negative […]

Ashton urges Saakashvili and Ivanishvili to work constructively

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Monday met with Prime Minister and President. Briefing the media at Sheraton Metekhi Hotel, Catherine Ashton said she arrived to congratulate both Prime Minister and […]

Stalin monument restored in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A statue of Joseph Stalin in a town east in Georgia which was dismantled in 2011 has been restored. According to Information Center of Kakheti, locals Sunday morning discovered the restored Stalin statue in Akhmeta. The monument of the Soviet […]

Gulf owner buys more shares in company

By | November 26th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — One of Georgia’s richest businessmen increased his share of ownership in one of the country’s largest chains of petrol stations. Davit Iakobashvili is the largest shareholder in Gulf Company. According to Gulf’s press office, he has now increased […]

Ashton visiting Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Catherine Ashton, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visits Georgia. Her one day visit includes meetings with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanisvhili and Foreign Affairs […]

Ex-minister Merabishvili denies wrongdoing

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former Interior Minister who is accused of abuse of power says he is ready to answer all questions, but that the accusations against him can not be taken seriously. The case broke a few days ago, when the Interior Ministry provided the prosecutor’s […]

Georgian PM proposes controversial TV plan

By | November 26th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims he is ready to give his TV channel to Georgian Public Broadcaster or transform it into a public broadcaster. He will even finance it for next 20 years with no strings attached. TV 9 was set up about ten […]

Trade unions advise new Georgian government

By | November 25th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian Dream coalition had on its agenda to change many things after coming to power, including improve conditions in the work place by amending the Georgian labor code, which was amended in 2006 and has been criticized since both locally and […]

Three Georgians released by Tskhinvali authorities

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Three Georgian citizens have been released from prison in occupied Tskhinvali region. The three were arrested for crossing the de facto border at the village Kirbali, near the town Gori. Georgia’s Interior Ministry informs that Gia and Akaki […]

Merabishvili may be investigated

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The interior ministry in Georgia has asked the prosecutors to investigate former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. Ministry spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani Saturday morning explained at a press conference that the material submitted to […]

Georgian media is partial, report shows

By | November 24th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A new report shows that Georgian TV companies have problems with bringing balanced and objective information. Channel 9, which belongs to Prime Minister Bidizna Ivanishvili, is now positive to the new government, but before the election […]

Rose revolutionaries organize SOS movement

By | November 24th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A recently established movement called SOS on Thursday gathered to celebrate the 9 year anniversary of the Rose Revolution. About 30 people showed up at Square of Roses, which is named after the Rose Revolution. The SOS movement was set up a week […]

Friend of Tbilisi Mayor released on bail

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A friend of the Tbilisi Mayor suspected of money laundering was today released on a USD 90 000 bail for 30 days. Giorgi Kelbakiani, Georgia Director of the construction company NCC, and Archil Chigogava, Financial Director of the same company […]

Georgian PM’s visit to US postponed

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian Prime Minister’s visit to the US has been postponed until next year. Bidzina Ivanishvili explains that too many problems arise when he leaves the country. At Thursday’s press conference, the Prime Minister spoke very little about […]

Four intelligence personnel released on bail

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Appeals Court released four out of ten employees of the Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry from pretrial detention on Thursday evening. All of them left prison at about 04:00 in the morning. November 15, ten employees […]

Amnesty plan leads to controversy

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Prime Minister says that the planned law about amnesty may increase the level of crime for a certain time in the country, but society should understand this. At Thursday’s press conference at Radisson Blu Iveria with tens of […]

Borjomi mineral water may get back to Russia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The well known Georgian mineral water Borjomi is ready to be brought back on the Russian market. November 19, Borjomi International Company officially appealed to the chair of Russia’s consumer protection agency CPS (Rospotrebnadzor) requesting […]

Political prisoners list criticized

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The former government in Georgia accuses the new government of having illegally granted prisoners status as political prisoners, but new the government denies the accusation. After a parliamentary committee recognized 186 persons as political […]

Ivanishvili will not impeach Saakashvili

By | November 22nd, 2012|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will not impeach President Mikheil Saakashvili, as he previously had said he would do. “When we enter parliament as a majority we will immediately begin to discuss his impeachment if he doesn’t proceed to […]

Money laundering charges against friend of Tbilisi mayor

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A friend of the Tbilisi mayor who is co-owner and director of a large construction company was yesterday detained accused of money laundering. Giorgi Kelbakiani, who owns 70 percent of the shares in, and is director of NCC Ltd, was detained […]

Ivanishivili changes plans: won’t leave power

By | November 22nd, 2012|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who recently became prime minister of Georgia, is considering going back on a promise to leave politics in a year and a half. During the election campaign, Ivanishvili claimed that he would leave politics […]

Estonia recognizes Georgia-issued neutral passports

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Estonia has recognized so-called neutral passports as travel documents. The Reintegration Minister’s office November 12 received a note from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Estonia which said that the country approves the documents as valid […]

Georgia’s new parliament is privately owned

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian parliament has decided to study the expenses spent on constructing an entirely new building for the assembly in the city Kutaisi, in western Georgia. It was a controversial decision from the start to move parliament to the west, made […]

President’s security unit turned into paramilitary force

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The majority in parliament wants the government to take control over the Special State Protection Service (SSPS). Today, this security force answers directly to the president. Parliament’s committee on human rights today reviewed the issue. […]

Georgia and the Great Ideological Struggle

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

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

Georgia ready to extend Afghanistan mission

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan also after 2014. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said this while briefing David Lidington, the UK’s Minister of State for Europe, about the Georgian […]

Court heard new charges against top general

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday has released the accused former head of the General Headquarters from detention for a third time as he awaits trial for beating and harassing his subordinates. The Prosecutor’s Office asked the court to detain […]

Lidington visits Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — David Lidington, the UK’s Minister of State for Europe, will visit Georgia on November 21 and 22. Wednesday, he will meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister, Giga […]

Saakashvili compares Ivanishvili with Robespierre

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili calls on the new government to start fulfilling its election promises and stop vengeance, comparing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili with the French revolutionary leader Maximilien de Robespierre. He drew attention […]

Okruashvili case postponed

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The court hearing for former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili was postponed till December 3 at the request of his lawyers. Okruashvili served as minister in Saakashvili’s government, but left in 2007 and has since been living in France, where he has […]

NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Brussels Tuesday

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, November 19 left for Brussels to attend the session. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is also on a working visit to Brussels, both participating in the NGC session on the level […]

Okruashvili returned to Georgia to clear his name

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former Defense Minister who has lived the last years as a political refugee in France this morning returned to Georgia and was detained on arrival. He was brought to Gldani’s No 8 prison in Tbilisi, which is one of the most crowded prisons in […]

Why Ivanishvili cut 93% of Security Council’s funding

By | November 20th, 2012|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Security Council, which is a body subordinate to the president, cannot prove what it has spent USD 13.8 million on. This is why new the government cut its financing by the same amount in next year’s draft budget. Georgia’s 2013 draft […]

Pardon commission prepared list of recommendations

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — While on Monday parliament discussed a draft bill about amnesty, the pardon commission reviewed 1 400 cases of prisoners, but made a decision to release less than half of them. The pardon commission studies cases of prisoners to prepare a list […]

Prosecutor preparing further detentions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — “There is no official whose name is not present in the prosecutor’s office’s database,” says Georgia’s chief prosecutor, but he avoids revealing who might be detained next in the near future. Archil Kbilashvili made this statement after […]

Military top handed new charges

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Presecutors in Georgia have charged the former head of the General Headquarter with a new accusation of illegal deprivation of freedom. Monday morning the accused, Giorgi Kalandadze, was once again […]

A mass amnesty expected in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s parliament on Monday started discussing a draft law on amnesty which will release thousands of prisoners and reduce the sentence of others to half. The ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the minority National Movement party hold […]

Georgian sailors abandoned by ship’s owner

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Twelve Georgian sailors have asked for help from Panama as they are five km away from the nearest port and running out of food and electricity. The sailors are aboard the Maria Del Carmen sailing under Nigerian flag and have been out for […]

Can Georgia Avoid the Traps of the Past?

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

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

Minimum wage increased one dollar in October

By | November 19th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The minimum wage has increased by about one dollar in October compared to September, 2012, according to Georgia’s National Statistics Department. According to GeoStat, the minimum wage for men of working age has increased from USD 89.7 to USD 90.7; […]

Unscheduled audit of Georgia’s public broadcaster

By | November 19th, 2012|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Revenue Service November 6 started an unscheduled audit of the financial activity of the Public Broadcaster. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri November 7 stated that Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has about USD 2.2 million in debt to the […]

Germany to help Georgia mend relations to Russia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Germany wants to play a positive role in the process of restoring relations between Georgia and Russia, says Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister after meeting with her German colleague in Germany. According to the foreign ministry, Foreign […]

Former interior ministry top denied bail

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Former Deputy Interior Minister Shota Khizanishvili was on Sunday given pre-trial detention until the start of the court case on December 28. Khizanishvili, who is currently Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, was detained November 15 for abuse of powers […]

Georgia’s former intelligence chief to be charged in absentia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Prosecutor’s Office on Monday is expected to charge the former head of Georgia’s domestic intelligence service in absentia. Data Akhalaia was head of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD), locally known as ‘Kudi’, and former […]

Ten intelligence officers jailed for 55 days

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Ten of the intelligence officers who were detained Friday have been sentenced to preliminary detention by Tbilisi City Court and were denied bail. November 15, eleven employees of the constitutional security department (CSD) of the interior ministry […]

U.S. envoy discussed Georgia’s new approach to Russia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Saturday met the U.S. Philip Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited Georgia for a second day […]

Gordon calls on Saakashvili and Ivanishivli to cooperate

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The U.S. diplomat Philip Gordon Friday met government and other officials in Georgia. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, met with Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament; Davit Bakradze […]

Saakashvili heavyweights weigh in on detentions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The long serving interior minister in Georgia has weighed in on the prosecution of his former deputy. Vano Merabishvili, the powerful and feared former interior minister who last summer became prime minister, and after losing the parliamentary […]

Georgian intelligence accused of political interference

By | November 16th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Intelligence officers detained yesterday are accused of using computer viruses to record audio and video of opposition groups, and blackmailing a man to record a prepared statement on video and upload it to Youtube. Former officials of the […]

Georgia opens sweeping case against domestic intelligence

By | November 16th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prosecutors in Georgia have detained twelve former and current mostly intelligence officers and accused them of kidnapping, unjustified interrogations, abuse of powers, intrusion on privacy and intentional damage to property. Eleven out of the […]

Russia considers lifting embargo on Georgian wine

By | November 16th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Moscow is ready to consider allowing Georgian wine back onto the Russian market. Andrei Denisov, First Deputy Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday that there is a willingness on both sides to study the issue. “If we talk about specific cases, it is […]

How Mze TV was taken over and muted

By | November 16th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former owner of a Georgian TV station claims that he was forced to sell it by the former government. TV Mze (which in Georgian means ‘Sun’) was launched by millionaire Vano Chkhartishvili, a member of parliament before the Rose Revolution in 2003 […]

NATO visit postponed to next year

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The delayed visit by NATO’s Military Committee will take place in the first half of 2013. “The parties have decided that high military officials of the Alliance will visit Georgia in the first half of 2013,” the defense ministry informs, explaining […]

Gordon to visit Georgia Friday

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, is visiting Georgia Friday. Gordon will meet with government officials. According to the U.S. embassy in Georgia, he will once again underline that the U.S. is […]

Rustavi 2 gets new director

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A TV channel controlled by the former Saakashvili’s government on Wednesday got a new director, who used to be former government official. Rustavi 2 is considered to have played a major role during the Rose Revolution in 2003 and used to be […]

2013 budget to focus on the social dimension

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s new government has now detailed what its priorities are by presenting a budget for next year of 7.34 billion lari, or USD 4.42 billion, which is USD 335 million more than this year’s budget. According to the 2013 budget bill, the […]

Ex-minister received death threats in prison

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The moving of former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia from one prison to another was done because other inmates had threatened to kill him, according to Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani. After Akhalaia was detained for abusing powers, illegal […]

Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page flooded with criticism

By | November 15th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page has seen an influx of traffic the last week from Georgian users responding to the NATO Secretary General’s recent statement about expressing concern over the detention of military and political officials in […]

Ivanishvili met Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels

By | November 14th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Wednesday morning, the Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels. After the meeting, they held a joint press conference. Fogh Rasmussen said they had a positive and constructive […]

Workers protest continues at Telasi

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The crisis at an energy company continued Wednesday as three employees went on hunger strike. The strike at Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, started weeks ago, after the election results became known. Current and former […]

Ex-minister moved to mafia prison

By | November 14th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

A detained former government official has been moved from a prison scandalized by revelations of torture to another prison, which is known for holding so-called thieves in law. Former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia is in detention awaiting trial for abuse of power, […]

Forbes editor takes over Georgian TV station

By | November 14th, 2012|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former editor of Forbes Georgia has been appointed as new director of Imedi TV, which used to be one of the government-controlled channels during the previous government. Shortly after the parliamentary election, the former owners of Imedi made […]

General implicated in abuse case released

By | November 14th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The former head of Georgia’s general headquarters, who was taken in for further questioning, has been released. This time Giorgi Kalandadze was released against USD 6 000 bail. The former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia is still in preliminary […]

NATO criticizes new Georgian government

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly criticizes the new government for putting pressure on the public broadcaster and local government and asks it to refrain from politically motivated arrests. The resolution was passed Monday in Prague at the 58. annual […]

Two Georgian leaders continue parallel visits

By | November 13th, 2012|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Two Georgian leaders representing different political parties are continuing their visit to Brussels, holding meetings with EU and NATO officials. President Mikheil Saakashvili is Tuesday meeting Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, […]

Ex-minister ‘locked 17 soldiers in for 3 days’

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday revealed details about additional charges that were slapped on top of an already serious abuse case against former interior minister and Saakashvili faithful Bacho Akhalaia. The former prison minister, […]

Saakashvili says NATO is critical of detentions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili says he can’t remember having heard such a critical tone before from NATO regarding Georgia. He was responding to a statement by NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said he was […]

Groups drop out of review process for political prisoners

By | November 13th, 2012|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Two human rights groups in Georgia have opted out of a working group tasked with identifying political prisoners, because they believe there is too much time pressure to handle each case in a responsible way. The working group for political […]

Thousands of prisoners to get amnesty in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The government in Georgia is planning to give amnesty to thousands of prisoners. Some of them will be released immediately, while the rest will have their sentence reduced to half. The Georgian Dream coalition has presented a draft law in […]

Ex-minister accused of torture

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A jailed former minister was Monday handed additional charges under a section of the law which deals with torture. The torture charge against Bacho Akhalaia — a close personal ally of President Saakashvili and former prison minister, […]

Bus strike may be over Tuesday

By | November 12th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The bus strike in Tbilisi Monday appeared to be heading for a solution, as drivers promised to return to work Tuesday if a commission is formed to study their problems. The conflict has lasted five days and encompassed more than 1300 drivers […]

Ivanishvili met Barroso in Brussels

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Prime Minister today held meeting with the President of the European Commission in Brussels. José Manuel Barroso congratulated him on being appointed as prime minister and underlined the importance of his first visit to Brussels. […]

Fogh Rasmussen concerned about detentions in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses concern about the detention of political and military officials in Georgia. ‘I’m extremely concerned about the development we have, not least related to recent arrests of political […]

Two Georgian leaders visit Brussels in parallel

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s prime minister and president are both in Brussels these days on separate working visits. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili left on Sunday. He has planned to meet November 12 and 13 with the president of the Euro Commission; with Stefan […]

Officers accused of abusing staff suspended

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Two military officers who were detained together with a former interior minister for abuse of powers, were on Sunday suspended. Giorgi Kalandadze a month ago was appointed to the post of head of the general headquarters. November 7 he was detained […]

Jailed ex-minister’s father on the offensive

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The father of Bacho Akhalaia, the ex-minister who is jailed while awaiting trial for beating subordinates, demands an investigation of the defense minister. Bacho Akhalaia was detained November 7 for abuse of powers and illegal deprivation […]

Bus strike continues as negotiations fail

By | November 11th, 2012|Categories: News, Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Sunday, Tbilisi bus drivers met representatives of city hall to try to solve the conflict which has brought bus transport to a standstill, but the meeting ended unsuccessfully. All drivers of yellow buses in Tbilisi are on strike for the fourth day. […]

Poti strike over

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The strike among port workers in Poti has ended, as workers were promised a 20 percent pay rise. A local correspondent for Interpressnews reports that what solved the crisis was when Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Irakli Petriashvili, […]

General charged with abusing subordinates returns to his post

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — After being arraigned for crimes carrying a penalty of up to eight years in prison, general Giorgi Kalandadze is returning to his duties as head of the general headquarters. November 7, he was detained together with the commander of the elite […]

Courts in Georgia to finally become independent

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

TBILISI, DFWatch – The court system will be depoliticized, cumulative sentencing will be abolished and video recording at trials will be allowed under certain conditions. This is the decision of te new government. An appropriate bill has been prepared. The […]

Mayor’s surprise visit at government may be investigated

By | November 10th, 2012|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The prosecutor’s office is considering to investigate the mayor of Tbilisi who feels offended that he wasn’t allowed to attend the government session on Friday, even though he didn’t have a right to attend. Georgia’s finance minister Friday […]

Saakashvili loyalist placed in scandal-engulfed prison

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former minister and Saakashvili’s loyalist thought to have been engaged in prison abuse, will serve his seven week preliminary detention at Gldani prison, where most of the torture took place. Bacho Akhalaia was prison minister from 2005 to […]

Bus strike creating difficulties for Tbilisians

By | November 10th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A bus strike is making life difficult for the population in the capital. For a third day more than 1300 bus drivers have been on strike, as they joined a wave of workers’ protest that erupted after the parliamentary election in October. Together with […]

NATO cancels visit because of detention of general

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A visit by NATO’s Military Commission to Georgia has been postponed because of the detention of the head of the general headquarters November 7. Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro and Euro Atlantic Integration, said this Friday. His source […]

Ex-minister jailed for seven weeks

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Tbilisi City Court has decided that Bacho Akhalaia is to be kept in pretrial detention until the next hearing in the case on December 25. Two military officers were released against a USD 12 000 bail each. The hearing started at 14:00 on Friday […]

Ivanishvili visits Brussels November 12

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s first visit abroad after assuming office will be to Brussels on November 12 to 14. After Friday’s government session, Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said Ivanishvili will be meeting with […]

29 MPs support ex-minister in abuse case

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — 29 members of parliament (MPs) have declared their support for a former government minister, claiming that the case is politically motivated and that testimonies presented by the prosecutor’s office are insufficient reason for detaining him. […]

Court hearing for ex-minister and 2 officers

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former interior minister and two military officers are appearing in court Friday for a preliminary detention hearing. Tbilisi City Court is hearing the case of Bacho Akhalia, former interior minister, Giorgi Kalandadze, […]

Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S. resigns

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S. resigned on Thursday. A new ambassador should be presented by the new government, he says. Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia’s Ambassador to the U.S., posted a note about his decision on Facebook, where he writes that […]

New Georgian PM plans NATO strategy

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s NATO integration coordinating commission held its 39. session at the government office on Thursday. Chair of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who chaired the session for the first time. The commission discussed NATO […]

Saakashvili visits families of detained officials

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Thursday visited the families of several officials who were arrested yesterday. He also had a phone conversation with another military official and the former interior minister’s wife. According to the […]

Solution in worker’s rebellion at Telasi

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Agreement was achieved on Thursday between employees and management at the electric company Telasi. The management of Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, agreed to give 125 fired employees their jobs back and fire several in […]

Saakashvili loyalist may face a decade in jail

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former government official and Saakashvili’s loyalist was today officially charged with abusing his power and illegal deprivation of freedom. Georgia’s chief prosecutor’s office has charged Bacho Akhalaia, former prison, defense and interior […]

Bus drivers on strike in Tbilisi

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Drivers of the capital’s yellow buses have joined a wave of strikes that has rocked Georgia since the election. Since Thursday morning they have refused to go to work as normal but protest in order to improve their work conditions and increase their salaries. […]

Ivanishvili asks for patience in military detention case

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Prime Minister says the opposition should not jump to conclusions about the recent events and call it a political game. Bidzina Ivanishvili told journalists that the detention of two military tops and a former defense minister […]

Muslims under pressure in Georgian village

By | November 8th, 2012|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

`TBILISI, DFWatch — A lawyers group warns about religious differences in a village in western Georgia. The confrontation began on November 2 between Christian and Muslim Georgians in the village Nigvziani in the western part of the country. Controversy erupted when […]

Saakashvili’s party boycotts parliament in reaction to detentions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The party of President Saakashvili has decided to boycott parliament because of the detention of a former minister and two top military officers. Minority leader Davit Bakradze said Wednesday that the reason his party is laying down work is […]

Saakashvili calls for respect and dialogue

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili says he is concerned by the latest events in the country and asks for respect for the rule of law and the state’s interests. The Georgian leader’s appeal comes the same day as his opponents who are in government […]

Nina Khatiskatsi nominated as ombudsman

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The majority in parliament has picked a former employee of Transparency International as candidate for ombudsman. Nina Khatiskatsi was fired by TI Georgia shortly before the parliamentary election, allegedly for political reasons. Who will fill […]

Saakashvili’s associates alarmed by detentions

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council says that the detention of the former interior minister and head of the General Headquarters is ‘an alarming signal’. The only legal move which can slightly simplify the situation […]

Poti Port paralyzed by strike

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — In Poti, a city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, the port is paralyzed by a strike. The port is important not only because it connects South Caucasus to the outside world but also because it is an important transit hub for the flow of goods […]

Two of Georgia’s top military detained overnight

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The head of the General Headquarters and the Commander of the Fourth Brigade were detained overnight. This follows after a former defense minister was detained hours before. All are accused of abusing their power. Giorgi Kalandadze, Head of […]

Ex minister detained in Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A strongman from the former government, associated with most of the torture cases in the prisons, was Tuesday night detained after four hours of interrogation at the prosecutor’s office. Bacho Akhalaia, a firm Saakashvili loyalist and former government official, […]

Enguri hydro power station is still on Georgian hands

By | November 7th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s Energy Minister says Enguri hydro power station has not been sold but is the property of Georgia. He says there were negotiations regarding the facility but they were suspended. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze does not comment about […]

Former government minister to be interrogated tonight

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Bacho Akhalaia, a firm Saakashvili loyalist and former government official, has been ordered to appear at the prosecutor’s office for interrogation today at 20:30. Archil Kbilashvili, Georgia’s new Chief Prosecutor, said at a special […]

Georgian minister wants to reopen land connection with Russia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s State Minister for Reintegration Issues says that the government should support restoring overland transportation with Russia through breakaway Abkhazia. Minister Paata Zakareishvili said this in an interview with the newspaper […]

Georgia prepares to investigate Saakashvili officials

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — A loud discussion broke out in parliament today while lawmakers were trying to agree on who should chair a commission which will investigate former government officials. The National Movement Party of President Saakashvili, which is now in minority, […]

Ivanishvili practically shuts down Georgia’s Security Council

By | November 6th, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — One of the controversial cuts Prime Minister Ivanishvili wants to make in next year’s budget is to reduce funding for Georgia’s National Security Council – which had a central role in protecting the country in the 2008 war – from USD 15 million […]

Ivanishvili’s emergency aid returned

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

Money donated to families affected by a severe hailstorm in July has been returned to the Prime Minister, who donated it while he was in opposition earlier this year. Bidzina Ivanishvili, a former businessman and now prime minister, whose fortune is 6 billion dollars, […]

Ombudsman candidates roasted by students

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Society for a better Society organized a meeting between three candidates for ombudsman in front of students at Tbilisi State University on November 5, 2012. Each candidate had 15 minutes to talk about their views and future plans. The rights […]

Ex minister returns to Georgia to face criticism

By | November 5th, 2012|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — A former government official seen by many as the main architect of the torture in Georgia’s prisons says he has returned after leaving the country shortly after the parliamentary election. Bacho Akhalaia, who served as prison minister for three years, then defense minister for three […]

Government claims growing prisoner unrest is staged

By | November 5th, 2012|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The unrest in Georgia’s prison system has spread to the most infamous facility in the country: Ksani prison north of Tbilisi. At No 15 Facility, as it is officially called, thousands of prisoners have gone on hunger strike demanding that the recently appointed […]

Ivanishvili claims right to appoint governors

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The new government in Georgia has decided that from now on the Prime Minister will appoint and present governors to the president for confirmation. Currently, this is the prerogative of the president. A governor is appointed for each region […]

Gudaishvili Square protests continue

By | November 5th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Protests have reignited to protect a historic square in the old part of the Georgian capital as the square’s fate is still uncertain. Saturday, groups once again gathered on Gudiashvili Square in downtown Tbilisi. The rally was directed at […]

Hillary Clinton talks to Saakashvili and Georgia’s FM

By | November 5th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Hillary Cliton has had a phone conversation with President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia. The press office of Mikheil Saakashvili informs that main topic of his conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State on Saturday was Georgia’s progress on […]

Ivanishvili makes cuts in Saakashvili’s daily habits

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

Georgia’s Defense Minister refuses to cover the expenses to keep the president’s plane, while the prime minister calls on Mikheil Saakashvili to move out of his president’s palace and instead go to work at the government office. Friday, Defense Minister Irakli […]

Behind the battle lines of a miners’ strike

By | November 4th, 2012|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The miners in Georgia are not giving up as they enter their fourth week of protest in the village Chiatura. More than 3600 workers demand a substantial pay rise and improvement in their slave-like working conditions. They started protesting […]

Rustavi prison director leaves his job

By | November 3rd, 2012|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

The director of Rustavi prison has been suspended while allegations against him of abuse are under review. But the general inspection will not fully study the situation in this prison. The prison in Rustavi, about 20 km south of the capital, started on Wednesday. […]

Prison protest was sabotage, hints Ivanishvili

By | November 3rd, 2012|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says there are signs of sabotage at No 16 prison in Rustavi. The prison minister says a criminal investigation may be launched against the director if there is proven that violence. People with loved ones inside […]

Prisoners go on hunger strike in Rustavi

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

Prisoners in Rustavi prison have gone on hunger strike in protest against cruel treatment by staff. The new director at Rustavi Prison Number 16 has been implicated in cruel treatment of prisoners, as have some of his staff. Representatives of Georgian Young […]

Independents formally recognized as faction

By | November 2nd, 2012|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Six parliamentarians who left the former governing party of President Mikheil Saakashvili are officially recognized as a faction of independents. The National Movement Party’s vote weight in the assembly thus fell from 65 to 59. But the ruling […]

Telecom investor offers more details about eavesdropping

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — The former owner of a telecommunication company accuses other companies of illegal eavesdropping. Mamia Sanadiradze, founder and former owner of Caucasus Online, said a few days ago that his company was subject to pressure. He said that the […]

Chiatura miners on strike descend on Tbilisi

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Workers in the mining town Chiatura are keeping up a several weeks’ long protest. Part of them have moved to the capital to rally outside government bodies and the owning company’s offices. The parliamentary election gave hope to workers all over […]

Interest rates will drop, says Bank Association

By | November 2nd, 2012|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The president of the Georgian Bank Association says the interest rate on loans will go down. Zurab Gvasalia said there is already a trend of falling interest rates on loans, but he thinks it is impossible to decrease the rates immediately. In […]

Ivanishvili appoints Russia relations envoy

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prime Minister Ivanishvili has established a new position as Georgia’s special representative for Russian relations and appointed Georgia’s former Russia ambassador to the post. Ivanishvili said at a press conference Thursday that the country […]

National Movement Party claims harrassment by Georgian Dream

By | November 1st, 2012|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch — The former ruling party accuses the new government of blackmailing and harassment, while the new government officials ask them to present evidence. The claims were described at a briefing in the National Movement party’s […]

Ivanishvili unveils deputy ministers

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

TBILISI, DFWatch — New candidates have been unveiled for deputy ministers in the new government. Despite an offer from Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to previous deputy ministers that they may remain in their positions, only a few of them have stayed. Those […]

Riot attempt at Rustavi Prison No 16

By | November 1st, 2012|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch — Prisoners in a prison south of Tbilisi Wednesday protested, demanding the new director’s resignation. Prisoners claim that the director Levan Aburjania, a former policeman, threatened them with torture. Shortly before the new prison minister was approved by the new parliament, […]

Government to rent houses for socially vulnerable families

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

Tbilisi, DFWatch — The new government wants to solve the problems for different groups in society that have broken into abandoned buildings recently. Davit Sergenko, new health minister, said Wednesday that the government is taking action to solve problems that socially vulnerable […]