Monthly Archives: March 2013

No religious split-lines, ROC says to Abkhaz

By | March 31st, 2013|Categories: News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Abkhaz de facto leader was evidently informed that Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Kremlin which recognized Abkhazia as an independent country, wouldn’t tolerate drawing ecclesiastical borders along political split-lines, at least formally. […]

More communication with Europe needed, GNP argues

By | March 30th, 2013|Categories: NGO news|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia’s National Platform, an umbrella group of the tens of local NGOs, claims that information about current events of Georgia is incorrectly reported abroad and such situation evokes many challenges during a process […]

7 members called for questioning, embattled UNM still holds ground in Tbilisi Sakrebulo

By | March 30th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|

Zaal Samadashvili will retain the post of City Assembly Chairman for the next three months (Official Photo) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Seven members of Tbilisi City Assembly, all from the Saakashvili’s United National Movement, were summoned on Friday for interrogation to the investigative body of the Ministry […]

Third Georgian released by South Ossetia

By | March 29th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – A Georgian was released from prison by the breakaway region South Ossetia Friday. This was the third Georgian prisoner to be released in the same number of days. The de facto authorities of the region on Friday released Ushangi Dotiashvili, […]

MoD proposes draft law increasing accountability to Parliament

By | March 29th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Ministry of Defense prepared two draft laws which, it argues, will increase its accountability before the parliament. The draft is about public and secret procurement […]

Georgia counting damage of the storm

By | March 29th, 2013|Categories: News|

Storm damaged boulevard of Batumi (President Press-office Photo) Tbilisi, DFWatch – The extent of damage after a storm March 23 continues to increase and has now reached about USD 4 million, according to the latest estimate. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze on Thursday informed that the worst losses was damaged houses […]

Georgia’s Mali mission finally decided, no details clear so far

By | March 28th, 2013|Categories: News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia’s participation in the EU led mission in Mali is finally decided but the details has been yet to be defined, nor is it clear how many Georgian officers will participate in operation in the war-torn African nation, Vako Avaliani, Advisor of the Defense Minister, told DF Watch. […]

Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey plan closer cooperation

By | March 28th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Foreign ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will be meeting on Thursday in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. […]

Missing fisherman found dead after storm

By | March 28th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The body belonged to a man who was seen falling overboard in the middle of a storm four days earlier. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The crew of a Georgian fishing boat Wednesday discovered the body of a man, 55, drifting in the Black Sea. The deceased, Davit Geladze, had been lost at sea during the storm of March 23 and was the subject of a search operation at the time his […]

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

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

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

Saakashvili signs constitutional amendment

By | March 27th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – President Mikheil Saakashvili has signed the constitutional amendment which reduces his power, and it will be enforced as soon as it is published on Georgia’s legislative website. Speaker of Parliament […]

Georgia half-way through Russia’s quality control for wine

By | March 27th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – A second group of Russian experts who should have arrived in Georgia on March 25 to monitor about 40 companies have rescheduled their visit for the beginning of April. […]

OSCE supports reform of public broadcaster

By | March 27th, 2013|Categories: Media, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – OSCE supports a draft law to reform Georgia’s public broadcaster, but has some critical remarks. The organization’s media freedom representative, Dunja Mijatović, thinks the amendments of the law on broadcasting can provide for pluralism and transparency […]

Agriculture University gets back authorization

By | March 27th, 2013|Categories: Society|

Agriculture University students perform at Education Ministry (DFWatch Photo) Tbilisi, DFWatch –  The Agricultural University got its authorization back on March 26, two weeks after it was suspended by the authorization commission. The university is now allowed to carry on with all its 25 accredited programs. […]

Saakashvili presents a list of five new ambassadors

By | March 26th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch -President Saakashvili on Monday presented parliament with a list of five new ambassadors. The candidates are Khatuna Salukvadze for Lithuania, Zurab Pataradze for Kazakhstan, Irakli Koplatadze for Turkey, Teimuraz Sharashenidze for Azerbaijan […]

Swiss ambassador rushes to defend Ivanishvili against some European politicians

By | March 26th, 2013|Categories: News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Swiss Ambassador’s appealed to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, besieged by some MEPs mostly from influential European People’s Party, with an open letter which he wrote […]

Saakashvili awards Bagrati architects medals

By | March 26th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili has awarded the architects behind the rehabilitation of Bagrati Cathedral the Medal of Excellence shortly after the cathedral rehabilitation was awarded the international prize Domus Restoration and Conservation. […]

Parliament waiting for Saakashvili to sign constitution

By | March 26th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: , |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The governing coalition in Georgia says parliament will listen to President Mikheil Saakashvili’s annual address as soon as a set of recently passed constitutional amendments are signed into law and enforced. February 8, Saakashvili should have […]

Constitutional amendments are finally passed

By | March 26th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The constitutional amendments which reduce the powers of President Mikheil Saakashvili were passed on Monday by 114 votes against 0 at the third and final hearing. When the amendments come into force, the president can no longer change […]

Saakashvili removes the bill on courts from the parliament’s schedule

By | March 25th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tbilisi, DFWAtch – President Saakashvili on Monday barred Parliament from voting on the bill which according to the government will ‘depoliticize’ courts while United National Movement, the former ruling party […]

Georgians outraged as one year old boy dies of hunger

By | March 25th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

The protesters demand simpler procedures for obtaining social assistance. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–It has caused strong reactions in Georgia that a one year old child died of hunger late at night on March 22. All over the country people are demonstrating against hunger and poverty. According to the doctors, one year-old Gogita Abashidze died […]

Hundreds of houses damaged by storm

By | March 25th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

The storm also hit Batumi. (Photo: Vako Kavzharadze.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A storm that hit Georgia’s Black Sea coast has inflicted losses of USD 1.8 million in the Adjara region alone, according to preliminary estimates. Archil Khabadze, Chairman of the Adjaria government, said at a briefing Saturday that 43 houses […]

Metal workers fired as others block railway

By | March 25th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Striking workers are blocking a railway line in Poti. TBILISI, DFWatch–The management of the metallurgical plant in Poti has fired nine employees the day after the port workers there went on strike. This decision led to a renewal of the workers’ rally, who at first demanded better working conditions and normal salary, […]

Fierce storm hits Georgia

By | March 24th, 2013|Categories: News|

The storm has damaged Black Sea coast in Georgia (Photo: IPN) Tbilisi, DFWatch – A tearing storm that hit Georgia on Sunday morning and has damaged infrastructure in Batumi city, the most popular tourist sight on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. No casualties reported yet, one fishermen disappeared, Ajara autonomous republic’s local authorities stated. […]

Russia asks for renewed visa talks with Georgia

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–Russia again has offered to cancel visa requirements for Georgian citizens, if Georgia creates legal guarantees for Russian citizens to safely visiting the country, which means that Georgia will have to amend its law on the occupied territories. […]

The Quest for Mundane Democracy in Georgia

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

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

Workers protest in Poti

By | March 23rd, 2013|Categories: News, Society|Tags: |

Port and metal workers in Poti went on strike Saturday to demand better conditions. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Port and metal workers in Poti went on strike Saturday, demanding to improve their work conditions and have a normal salary. Journalists from the port city report that workers at the Georgian-Indian owned metallurgical plant were on strike the whole […]

Saakashvili finds new role from the sidelines

By | March 23rd, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

President Mikheil Saakashvili and his wife Sandra Roelofs. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili says he sees his role as different now than when he was in government. “My goal is to watch over the framework of our constitution and ensure that the government has an effective opposition and that the […]

Agriculture students continue studies, protesting

By | March 23rd, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–While the students at the Agricultural University are waiting to see if their learning institution will get its accreditation back, they are continuing to attend lectures and demonstrating outside the Education Ministry. Chances are good that […]

Georgia negotiated about EU Association Agreement

By | March 23rd, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani. (Ministry photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia held a final round of negotiations about an association agreement with the EU March 21-22. This latest round, which dealt with the political part of the agreement, saw some progress which means that Georgia is better prepared for the Eastern […]

Two Georgian battalions depart for Afghanistan

By | March 22nd, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

A farewell ceremony was held at Vaziani military base outside of Tbilisi. (Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The 33rd and 42nd battalions of Georgia’s III and IV infantry brigades are today getting ready to depart for Afghanistan to participate in NATO’s ISAF mission. According to the Defense Ministry, both battalions have been through a six-month […]

EU Commission makes recommendations to Georgia

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

EU’s Ambassador to Georgia, Philip Dimitrov. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Commission recommends that Georgia amends its law on the occupied territories, improves errors in its election legislation, reforms its justice system, and avoids selective justice. The Commission writes this in a new report about the […]

Georgian tug of war on constitution ends in compromise

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coalition Thursday accepted a demand from President Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement party, which let it pass a set of constitutional amendments which reduces the rights of the president. After the […]

GYLA: Public registry employees fired for political reasons

By | March 22nd, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Three employees of the Public Registry have been illegally dismissed, according to Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA). The three believe they were fired because they are supporters of President Saakashvili’s United National Movement and […]

Georgia’s democratic transition

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

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

US ambassador: Georgia has strong and competitive government

By | March 21st, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

US Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–US Ambassador Richard Norland says Georgia has a strong and competitive government, a competitive parliament, independent media and justice system, and a strong and experienced opposition. Norland said this during a meeting in parliament Thursday. […]

Saakashvili ‘bought 25 000 SIM cards to build Facebook support’

By | March 21st, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: , , |

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri (left) and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania inspecting a military camp earlier this month. (Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Defense Minister Irakli Alasania Thursday told parliament that the defense ministry last year purchased 25 000 SIM cards for mobile phones in order to build up Facebook support before the election. Speaking during a meeting with the defense committee […]

Constitutional amendments may fail

By | March 21st, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The constitutional amendments to limit the president’s power to dismiss parliament may fail to be passed. The reason is that Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvivi’s Georgian Dream coalition lacks the votes to pass the amendments, while Saakashvili’s […]

More stowed-away post-war supplies discovered in Georgia

By | March 21st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Emergency aid given after the 2008 war has been rotting away in several storehouses around Georgia. (Info9.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Local government and Refugee Ministry representatives have discovered another locked warehouse full of undistributed equipment and supplies intended for people affected by the 2008 Russia-Georgia war. This is the second such discovery. In late 2012 […]

Agricultural University’s fate to be decided on Tuesday

By | March 21st, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

Students staged a mock lecture in the street in front of the Education Ministry. (Tabula TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Education Quality Development Center will March 26 at 18:00 decide whether to reinstate the Agricultural University’s accreditation. The center on Wednesday informed that five issues will be on the agenda of Tuesday’s session, including the issue […]

After mass amnesty, some ex-prisoners go back to jail

By | March 20th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

Prisoners released in the 2013 amnesty. (Photo is unrelated to the story in the article.) (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tengiz, a man now in his early sixties, was sentenced to 11 years in jail for burglary in 2007. December 7, 2012, he was pardoned by the president because of a difficult health condition after being recommended by Prison Minister Sozar Subari. Two […]

Saakashvili’s party agrees to constitutional changes

By | March 20th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

Member of Parliament Davit Bakradze says the National Movement party will give exactly as many votes to the governing coalition as it needs. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party has agreed to support a set of the constitutional amendments which will limit the powers of the president, but only if Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coalition lacks the required votes. The Georgian […]

Georgia’s new ambassador to the US

By | March 20th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Georgia’s new ambassador to the US, Archil Gegeshidze. (Radio Liberty.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s new ambassador to the US will continue his activity just like his predecessors did. Newly appointed ambassador Archil Gegeshidze Tuesday said President Mikheil Saakashvili for month didn’t sign the document about […]

Former AC Milan player Kaladze to hold final match

By | March 20th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The former AC Milan player who is became Georgia’s Energy Minister plans to hold a farewell football match in the end of May. Kakhi Kaladze, who played for Milan in 2001-2010 and 2010-2012 for Genoa, originally planned to hold a final symbolic […]

Ivanishvili’s US visit postponed

By | March 19th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili currently has no specific plan to visit the United States. However, there visiting the US is on the list of future plans, according to Archil Gegeshidze, Georgia’s new ambassador to the US. After the […]

Georgia’s foreign minister visits Azerbaijan

By | March 19th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maia Panjikidze, and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. (Ministry photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday met with the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to discuss bilateral relations and further cooperation. During her visit to Azerbaijan, Panjikidze also met with the prime minister […]

Georgia confirms nine new ambassadors

By | March 19th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–President of Georgia on Monday approved the list of nine new ambassadors, by signing the document which parliament passed February 20. The new ambassadors are those serving in Belgium, Ukraine, France, US, Hungary, Austria, Latvia, Czech Republic […]

Georgia to send military instructors to Mali

By | March 19th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is considering taking part in military operations held under the auspices of the European Union. First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani Monday informed the media about planned activities of the ministry. He said that Georgia […]

Georgian government answers European People’s Party

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–After an exchange of open letters between Georgian government officials and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the European People’s Party, the Georgian government has now published a long memorandum to argue its case against criticism […]

Saakashvili dragging out approval of ambassadors

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Georgia’s foreign minister Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili has postponed for a month the signing of a document passed by parliament about confirming the country’s new ambassadors. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze claims in an interview with DF Watch that the president […]

Storm hits Black Sea coast

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The yacht club in Batumi is closed because of a storm. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A storm hit Georgia Sunday evening and is threatening to inflict damage. Rescue personnel are mobilized in several regions of the country. According to local media, the wind has a speed of 20 meters per second on the Black Sea coast in the Adjara […]

Student protest continues despite promises

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Students at the Agriculture University continue to protest today, despite promises to restore the school’s accreditation. TBILISI, DFWatch–The Center for Education Quality Development on Saturday informed that the Agriculture University has corrected errors which led to its accreditation being suspended, and the authorization process will start on Monday. The center’s March 12 decision […]

Lawmakers start work on constitutional amendments

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliament in Georgia will today start reviewing a draft bill for amending the constitution and reduce the president’s right to dismiss the government any time he wants without confirmation from the parliament. The bill, which is signed by 78 MPs, […]

Ivanishvili to address PACE

By | March 17th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister will participate at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg from April 20. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will address the assembly, according to Tina Khidasheli, a member […]

Georgia has as a high level of development

By | March 17th, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

The human development index (HDI) is a national average which hides large variations internally in a country, particularly when it comes to the Roma in southern Europe, UNDP writes. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Georgia is one of the countries that have a high level of human development. This can be gleaned from the new Human Development Report 2013 — The Rise of the South: Human Progress in […]

Agriculture University will get back its accreditation

By | March 16th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

The student protest continued Friday. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The students at the Agriculture University continued their protest Friday, and handed Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili documents which were meant to show that the institution now complies with the law’s requirements. After studying the […]

Georgian parliament speaker finishes ‘interesting’ US visit

By | March 16th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian speaker of parliament said his week-long visit to the US has been ‘beneficial, interesting and timely.’ Speaker Davit Usupashvili was Saturday meeting with the media after holding nearly 50 meetings with the US Congress, State […]

Robakidze video has been edited, examination shows

By | March 16th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A forensic examination has concluded that a video clip of a police operation in 2004 which ended the life of Buta Robakidze has been edited. The Prosecutor’s Office on Friday published the results of an examination of the video, which was released […]

Bushfire in southwest Georgia

By | March 16th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Firefighters have cut down trees to try to contain the fire. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Firefighters are trying to contain a bushfire that is spreading in the Adjara region in south western Georgia on the Black Sea shores, bur wind is making their work is made difficult. Journalists for the local newspaper Batumelebi and the news agency […]

The UK’s position on current developments in Georgia

By | March 15th, 2013|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , , |

Simon Fraser, the UK’s Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, is visiting Georgia. (DF Watch photo.) DF Watch spoke to Simon Fraser, the United Kingdom’s Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service, and David Moran, the UK’s Ambassador to Georgia, about the current situation. DF Watch: What is the view of the UK of our domestic processes as we for the […]

Snow blocks two roads in Georgia

By | March 15th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A road in the Mtskheta region close to the capital is closed for all traffic after an avalanche. Also part of a road in Gudauri-Kobi in northern Georgia is blocked by masses of snow. The Road Department on Friday said clearance work is in progress. […]

European People’s Party continues educating Georgian leader

By | March 15th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Wilfried Martens, Belgian veteran politician and co-founder of the European People’s Party, is a staunch supporter of Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The European People’s Party has published a declaration that highlights a divide in how current events in Georgia are understood in Brussels and Tbilisi. The EPP has adopted a declaration that makes it clear that the party thinks Georgia is no […]

Time schedule for visa liberalization plan ready

By | March 15th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A time schedule for implementing the action plan for visa liberalization between Georgia and the EU has been confirmed. Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili explained Thursday that the new agreement sets detailed goals for […]

Over 8 000 prisoners were freed in Georgia amnesty

By | March 15th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The prisoner amnesty in Georgia ended its term of execution March 13. 8 322 prisoners were freed in total. According to the Prison Ministry, about 800 cases are still pending review in court. Most of them are about charges of fraud, cases which […]

Georgian leader responds to center-right MEPs

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Bidizina Ivanishvili (Press Office Photo) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister has sent an open letter in response to a letter signed by 23 members of the European parliament for the European People’s Party (EPP). The center-right EPP criticizes Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for conducting […]

Ivanishvili warns power-sharing is no rose garden

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Press office Photo) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian prime minister says Europe has unrealistic expectations about the two political blocs in his country drawing a line over the past. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Europe expects the former and current governments to start […]

Georgia asks Interpol to help catch ex-official

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Interpol’s notice regarding Davit Chakua. TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia asks for help from Interpol in its search for a former government official. This time, the wanted note is about Davit Chakua, the former head of the prison department, who is charged with abuse of powers, humiliating and inhumane treatment, […]

Prosecutors struggling to deal with flood of complaints

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has created a 12 member investigative group to deal with the mass of complaints flowing in. Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said on Wednesday that the group consists solely of young prosecutors who finished […]

Doctors’ hunger strike over

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Four fired doctors on Wednesday ended their week-long hunger strike after learning that the director of the emergency service where they worked has been removed from his position. The doctors started their protest March 6. They said had they […]

Agriculture University protest continues

By | March 14th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

The students continued protesting Wednesday. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After another day of protest against the suspension of the Agriculture University’s accreditation, students and the education minister agreed to meet again and go through all the details which caused the suspension. On Wednesday, the students were […]

Progress in prisoner exchange with Tskhinvali

By | March 13th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There are twelve Georgian prisoners in South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region, according to the public defender Ucha Nanuashvili. He told Pirveli Radio Wednesday that his office has received positive signal from non-government organizations in […]

Merabishvili ‘connected’ to controversial 2006 killing

By | March 13th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Vano Merabishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s chief prosecutor and justice minister claim that the long time former interior minister Vano Merabishvili was implicated in the killing of Sandro Girgvliani, a controversial murder committed by the police in 2006. Chief Prosecutor Archil […]

Student protest at Agriculture University

By | March 13th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: , , |

Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili met the students Tuesday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For the last two days, students at an agricultural college have been at the center of a dispute between the governing Georgian Dream coalition and supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The dispute began with the […]

‘Misinformed or shameful’ letter by European People’s Party

By | March 13th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Speaker of the Georgian parliament, Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–23 members of the European parliament for the European People’s Party are criticized for being either misinformed or else writing a ‘shameful’ letter to the prime minister of Georgia. “That letter is a shame, or the MEPs didn’t know […]

Compromise reached in case of fired doctors

By | March 12th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–In the case about the doctors on hunger strike, a managing council will be set up to chair the emergency service until the problems are solved. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said it is being done to find a way out in the case of the four […]

Council of Europe rates Georgian court reform

By | March 12th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has published its final recommendations on the draft of law amendments which are meant to reform the court system in Georgia and make the courts truly independent. The draft bill will amend the law on Courts […]

Most visitors to Georgia come from neighboring countries

By | March 12th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Graph showing number of visitors to Georgia 2006-2013. (Ministry of Internal Affairs.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The majority of foreign visitors to Georgia in 2013 came from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran. As there is no mechanism to categorize people crossing the border of the country, the government provides general information about […]

Pro-Russia party to be founded by former Georgian minister

By | March 12th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: , |

Valeri Khaburdzania. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former security minister who was fired by President Mikheil Saakashvili after the Rose Revolution in 2003 is to found a new political party with a pro-Russian orientation. Valeri Khaburdzania, who has lived in Russia for the last two years and just […]

Foreign investments to Georgia drops

By | March 11th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Direct foreign investments in Georgia dropped by 47 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the previous year, according to a new report by National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to preliminary data, the total amount of […]

Doctors on hunger strike after being fired

By | March 11th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: |

Zurab Lataria, one of the doctors on hunger strike. (Info9.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four emergency service doctors have been on hunger strike since March 6. They are protesting against being fired and demand to replace the local management. The doctors claim that the director of the emergency center illegally fired them and that […]

Bacho Akhalaia moved back to scandalous prison

By | March 11th, 2013|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

Bacho Akhalaia on the day of his detention, November 7, 2012. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former interior minister and close Saakashvili ally Bacho Akhalaia has been moved from a relatively privileged facility to Prison No 8 in north Tbilisi, notorious for numerous cases of torture and death. Akhalaia, who has been in detention since […]

Constitutional amendments may be modified

By | March 11th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A draft law already presented to parliament which will reduce the powers of the president may be amended. According to the draft of constitutional changes, if the president dismisses parliament and government, he won’t have the right to himself […]

Venice Commission’s recommendations on Georgian reforms

By | March 11th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe is finished preparing its first set of recommendations regarding a draft bill for reforming the Georgian justice system. Even though the recommendations have not yet been published, both President […]

Parliament speaker leaves for the US

By | March 10th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tbilisi, DFWatch–Georgia’s Speaker of Parliament on Sunday left for his first visit to the US amidst harsh criticism of the country’s new government from the Congress and US media. Davit Usupashvili, the speaker and the chairman of the Republican Party, […]

Shashkin faced with embezzlement accusation

By | March 10th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Dimitry Shashkin on Rustavi 2. TBILISI, DFWatch–The government want to question newly returned former defense minister Dimitry Shashkin about the embezzlement of state money and appropriation of petrol belonging to the ministry. Defense Minister adviser Vako Avaliani said Friday that an […]

Former head of military police charged in abduction case

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office has presented a new charge against the former head of the military police for illegal deprivation of liberty and humiliating treatment. Khatuna Paichadze, spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office, said Saturday that Megis […]

Why the Bipartisan Foreign Policy Resolution is Significant

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

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

Curious coincidence? Four injured ministers

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

Minister for Diaspora Issues Kote Surguladze arrived with one hand in a cast. (Palitra TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four out of nineteen ministers appeared at the government session on Thursday with some kind of injury. Journalists were surprised to see minister after minister arriving with a broken arm or a black eye. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze, a former AC […]

Bonus system for parliament members to be phased out

By | March 9th, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Members of parliament in Georgia will not receive bonuses after 2013. The total amount of bonuses was over 2.5 million lari in 2012. According to the Institute for development of freedom of information (IDFI), in 2012, MPs were given an additional […]

Controversial restoration of Georgian cathedral wins award

By | March 8th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi. (National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The controversial restoration of Georgia’s historic Bagrati Cathedral has been awarded the international prize Domus Restoration and Conservation. According to the jury, ‘the intervention of critical reintegration of Bagrati Cathedral, one of the […]

Georgia ends use of consecutive sentence

By | March 8th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The parliament in Georgia on Friday decided to end the practice of mandatory consecutive sentence. Following the amendments to the Criminal Law code and Criminal Law Procedure Code, the longer sentence absorbs the shorter one; what is called […]

French university backs Georgia’s justice minister

By | March 8th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Georgia’s justice minister, Thea Tsulukiani. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In a moment resembling the publication of Obama’s birth certificate, Georgia’s justice minister Tuesday appeared on the Public Broadcaster’s Channel 1 holding up two of her university diplomas as proof that she has enough education for the position. […]

Georgia declares commitment to EU, US and NATO

By | March 8th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament Thursday evening voted unanimously for a resolution that says the country aims to join the EU and NATO and defines the EU and the US as its ‘top strategic partners.’ This comes after a period in which President […]

Military tops enriched themselves: Alasania

By | March 7th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri (left) and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. (Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government accuses former officials during Saakashvili’s time in power of having embezzled state money in order to purchase luxurious cars and unnecessary apartments. The apartments were discovered at military bases which are in a […]

Financial amnesty falls flat in parliament

By | March 7th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili’s proposed amnesty for financial crimes has been rejected in parliament, as it failed to garner support in any of the parliamentary committees. At the plenary session Wednesday it emerged that representatives from […]

Impeachment of Supreme Court chair not on the agenda

By | March 7th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Chairman of the Supreme Court Kote Kublashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli says that he and Chairman of the Supreme Court have not discussed the issue of impeaching the latter. “We only spoke about how we should develop and go forward,” Ivanishivli says. Kote Kublashvili has […]

New EU effort to save street children in Georgia

By | March 7th, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

A new 750 000 euro project funded by the European Union will target children living on the streets. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–According to the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the number of children living in large orphanages has decreased by over 5 000. There are only five large child care institutions left, compared to 41 during 9 years ago. But the street […]

Georgia lifts photo ban inside courtrooms

By | March 6th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The parliament in Georgia today passed a law which allows filming and taking photographs inside courtrooms. Also at today’s plenary session, parliamentarians decided to cancel fees for kindergartens and to separate the garbage fee from the […]

Russia approves Georgian wine and fizzy water

By | March 6th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Levan Davitashvili, Chairman of the National Wine Agency. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Russian consumer safety bureau Rospotrebnadzor confirms that 36 Georgian wine companies and four mineral water companies are ready to enter the Russian market. On Wednesday, the agency, which is a federal service for protection consumers’ rights […]

Shashkin returns to Georgia, isn’t charged

By | March 6th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Former government minister Dimitry Shashkin came back to Georgia today. (Imedi.) TBILISI, DFwatch–A former defense minister returned to Georgia Wednesday morning, accompanied by his family, to answer questions from investigators if it becomes necessary. So far, there are no charges against him. (Updated with comments from the Prosecutor’s Office […]

Saakashvili offers opponent to sign common foreign policy statement

By | March 6th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–President Saakashvili offers Prime Minister Ivanishvili to sign a common statement to NATO and the EU confirming their allegiance to a European and Euro-Atlantic political course. A spokesperson for the prime minister told DF Watch that Ivanishvili has […]

Ivanishvili’s fortune shrinks by one billion

By | March 6th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has a large collection of art. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is still Georgia’s richest person, but his fortune has shrunk by USD 1.1 billion to USD 5.3 billion, according to a new rating by Forbes Magazine. On Forbes’s new list of the world’s richest people in 2013, Bidzina […]

Public broadcaster chairman dismissed

By | March 5th, 2013|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

Georgian Public Broadcaster board meeting. (Channel 1.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The supervisory board of Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) has dismissed the company’s chairman because he fired the news chief, allegedly for political reasons. After the change of government in Georgia, TV channels have gone through a period of […]

Price drop for Georgian consumers

By | March 5th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The level of inflation did not significantly change in February, 2013, compared to the preceding month. According to Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat, the national currency is up by 0.3 percent. Price changes in the following […]

Prison official admits guilt in abuse scandal

By | March 5th, 2013|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A former high official in the Georgian prison system admits guilt in a case of mistreatment and torture of prisoners, but says he was a victim of the Saakashvili regime.Gaga Mkurnalidze, former deputy chairman of the Prison Department, is one of 17 […]

Saakashvili claims Georgian exiles behind Ivanishvili’s election win

By | March 5th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

President Mikheil Saakashvili claims a group of Georgian exiles in Russia were behind the Georgian Dream coalition’s election win in October, 2012. (Photo: President’s administration.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili claims that billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili came to power in 2012 thanks to a group of Georgian exiles in Russia who provided funding and support. As he returned from a trip to Azerbaijan last week, Saakashvili […]

President should return to reality, says Ivanishvili

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says his meeting with President Mikheil Saakashvili was an exercise in futility. Summing up today’s conversation with Saakashvili, he opened with asking the journalists: “You have met with the president, did you […]

Saakashvili outlines Georgia’s democracy challenges

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

President Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili says three main challenges are facing democracy in Georgia: establishing independent courts, to end pressure against the media and to stop political persecution. He said this after a meeting with Prime Minister Bidzina […]

Snow and ice is causing traffic problems in Georgia

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Snow chains is a prerequisite on some roads in Georgia these days. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The latest snowfall has made driving conditions so poor that the road from the winter resort Gudauri to the village Kobi has been closed for all traffic. On other roads there are restrictions from some types of traffic. Along the road section from […]

Georgian leaders meeting to solve gridlock

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Expectations are high before a meeting between Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili now at 15:00 Monday to solve a crisis over the constitution. Saakashvili has arrived at the government office in his electric car – this time with an escort […]

Saakashvili and Ivanishvili meet at 3 pm

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The president and prime minister of Georgia will meet have their second official meeting today at 15:00 at the government office to discuss ‘important topics for the country.’ The meeting will be closed to the media. Only PR staff working for the […]

Akhalaia to remain in detention

By | March 4th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court on Saturday held pretrial hearing in two of the five criminal cases currently brought against former defense minister Bacho Akhalaia to decide on preventive measures before the trial. For the third time, Akhalaia was given pretrial […]

Ex minister given further charges of torture

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office Saturday presented a fifth charge against close Saakashvili ally Bacho Akhalaia, this time about torture through abuse of powers. Those who were tortured were ‘punished’ for their political views, and the crime was […]

Intellectual Dilemma or Political Hoax?

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

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

Justice minister lacks law degree, some claim

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

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (DFWatch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A debate is brewing in Georgia about the credentials of the new justice minister, as Thea Tsulukiani’s opponents claim that she doesn’t have a law degree. Her supporters in the governing Georgian Dream coalition claim she has a diploma, but received […]

Prosecutor lost appeal in Tbilisi mayor’s case

By | March 2nd, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office lost its appeal about issuing bail conditions for Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava in a case about money laundering and embezzlement. The Appeals Court refused to set a one million GEL (USD 600 000) bail for mayor and suspend him […]

Russia and Georgia discussed visa rules

By | March 2nd, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–One of the main topics of conversation when Georgia and Russia met in Prague yesterday was whether Russia will simplify visa rules for Georgian citizens. (Article has been updated with comments from Russia’s foreign ministry.) The two countries […]

Ivanishvili and Saakashvili to meet Monday morning

By | March 2nd, 2013|Categories: Elections '12-'13, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s president and prime minister will meet on Monday. The main topic of conversation will be ‘important issues of the country’, according to the president. The date of their meeting became known on Friday, after Prime Minister Bidzina […]

Media commission’s head has been abroad for three months

By | March 2nd, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A new report found violations in the activities of the National Communications Commission. It says that commission head Irakli Chikovani, who has been abroad for the last 3 months, has a conflict of interest. Georgian Young Lawyer’s […]

Ex minister charged with causing fatal prison riot

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: |

Bacho Akhalaia will be charged with setting off a prison riot in 2006 which claimed the lives of seven prisoners. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former government minister and close Saakashvili ally will be charged with misconduct during the country’s largest prison riot in 2006 which caused seven deaths. The Prosecutor’s Office today presented details of the prison riot and charged Bacho […]

Saakashvili reaffirms Georgia’s close ties with neighbor Azerbaijan

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

From left to right: Georgia’s first lady Sandra Roelofs, President Mikheil Saakashvili, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva. (President’s administration.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili says no matter who is in government, the country will continue the same foreign policy course, also in relations with neighboring Azerbaijan. The Georgian leader visited Azerbaijan for two days and held meetings with his […]

Georgia and Russia meet today in Prague

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Gregory Karasin represents Russia at today’s meeting in Prague. (Atlantic Council.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Representatives of Georgia and Russia meet in Prague today to discuss trade, cultural and transport issues. The countries still have no formal relations after fighting a war in 2008. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili a few months ago appointed Zurab […]

Georgia sees a shift toward processing industry

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Used cars is no longer Georgia’s number one export article. (MIA.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s economy has shifted toward processing industry, after many years of basing its exports on used cars and scrap metal, according to an economy expert. New figures show that the country’s economy is growing; and now, the export is no longer […]

Saakashvili in unusual conflict with own security service

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili and his electric car. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili has started a boycott of the protection services, testing the limits of the law. The message he wants to get out is that the government has cut his funding so much that they just as well might take away the security […]

Akhalaia trial postponed because of new evidence

By | March 1st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

The case of former government member Bacho Akhalaia and six others is the most controversial of the current trials.(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The trial of former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia and six others was rescheduled for today, because the judge had to make a decision about whether to allow evidence to be admitted. The new evidence was presented by the Prosecutor’s Office. […]