Monthly Archives: December 2013

Stalin monument dismantled in Georgia

By | December 31st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

The new Stalin monument in Telavi before it was paint bombed. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–A Stalin monument in Telavi, Georgia, has been dismantled. The same day as it was installed in September, 2013, the statue was paint bombed by unknown persons, who also painted other Stalin monuments in other Georgian villages, erected after the change […]

Georgia’s chief prosecutor resigns

By | December 31st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Chief Prosecutor of Georgia has resigned, nearly a week after he was targeted by the National Movement party for a robbery conviction in Germany in 2001. Otar Partskhaladze Monday evening issued a statement saying that due to the questions which […]

EU integration main goal of Georgia’s governing coalition

By | December 31st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s parliament speaker said Monday that the country’s main political priority is signing the Association Agreement with the EU and that all the other issues are subordinate to this priority. Summing up the year 2013 at a press conference, Davit […]

Georgia starts work on new constitution

By | December 31st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Photo published by Parliament’s press office.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, a new Constitution Commission is preparing a draft of constitutional amendments that will balance the branches of power. It will start work in the second half of January, 2014. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said this on Monday […]

Georgia moves plan for new airport closer to Abkhazia

By | December 30th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Anaklia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia plans to build an international airport in Anaklia, a beach resort on the Black Sea next to the breakaway region Abkhazia. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy, said at a briefing December 25 that a plan developed by the previous […]

Tbilisi mayor plans to mortgage house to pay USD 30 000 bail

By | December 30th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava plans to mortgage his house in order to pay the bail money in a corruption case. Ugulava was last week suspended by Tbilisi City Court. The mayor is charged with embezzlement of Tbilisi City Hall money and using it to […]

Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Nov grew 4%

By | December 30th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Used cars remained Georgia’s number one export product. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in January-November 2013 was USD 9 681 million. This is four percent more than in the same period last year. USD 2 618 of this was export – 20 percent more than in 2012. Import amounted to USD 7 064 million […]

Georgian president to get a modest pay rise

By | December 30th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili will get increased salary next year, but the increase is less than previously planned. The president’s salary will go up from 4 720 to 6 900 lari (USD 3 900), according to new draft, which parliament is reviewing. […]

Language barrier prevents minorities from going into politics

By | December 30th, 2013|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , |

Rusiko Machaidze, Agit Mirzoev, Tina Ghogheliani, Manana Nachkebia and Levan Vepkhvadze. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Participants at a round table discussion organized by DF Watch said lack of language skills is preventing ethnic minorities from engaging in politics in Georgia. The discussion was held on December 28, and the topic was what obstacles there are […]

National Movement demonstrated against mayor’s suspension

By | December 28th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava at Saturday’s demonstration. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The National Movement on Saturday mobilized thousands of its supporters to protest the removal from office of the Tbilisi mayor. UNM members believe that democracy is in danger in Georgia. Apart from being against the suspension of Ugulava, who is […]

Georgian ombudsman reports mistreatment in prison

By | December 28th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Public Defender claims his staff witnessed mistreatment of a prisoner. Ucha Nanuashvili on Friday appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office to start investigation of Prison No 8 in Gldani. The Ombudsman’s statement says employees visited the […]

Saakashvili era official charged with Abu Ghraib-style abuse

By | December 27th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Megis Kardava. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former official in the Saakashvili regime has been charged in a case involving Abu Ghraib-style sexually degrading treatment of detainees. Megis Kardava, who has held several positions at law enforcement bodies in Georgia, has been out of the country […]

Tbilisi mayor loses appeal

By | December 27th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Gigi Ugulava. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A decision by the city court to suspend Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava pending a corruption trial has been upheld in the Appeals Court. Both the Prosecutor’s Office and Ugulava’s defense lawyers appealed the city court’s decision. The Prosecutor’s […]

National Movement demands chief prosecutor’s suspension

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

Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The National Movement Party in Georgia has exposed that the Chief Prosecutor was convicted of robbery in Germany in 2001. Otar Partskhaladze confirms that he had certain incident with police in Germany, but claims that he was not subject to coercive […]

Saakashvili barred from entering Ukraine

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

Mikheil Saakashvili addressing the protesters in Kyiv December 7, 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Ukrainian government has barred former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvil from entering the country after he visited the protesters in Kyiv. Saakashvili’s name appears along with 29 Georgians on a list published by the Ukrainian foreign […]

Rough debate about rough interrogation methods

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

Chiora Taktakishvili threatens to sue Eka Beselia, head of the parliamentary committee on human rights. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A lawmaker from the National Movement party in Georgia has threatened to sue her colleague from the Georgian Dream coalition for defamation during a debate about rough interrogation methods. The quarrel broke out during a session of the parliamentary […]

Ivanishvili tells Forbes he won’t return to politics

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

Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili told Forbes he is sure he won’t return to politics. In an interview with the Russian edition of the publication, he explained that he would keep his promise to stay out of politics. “I guarantee […]

Georgian PM to visit US in first half of 2014

By | December 23rd, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian prime minister Irakli Gharibashvili plans to visit the US in the first half of 2014, according to the country’s foreign affairs minister. Maia Panjikidze announced the visit while summing up events the last year on Monday, but did not […]

National Movement reacts to mayor’s suspension

By | December 23rd, 2013|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

The National Movement’s parliamentary leader Davit Bakradze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The National Movement party went on the offensive on Sunday and demanded an investigation into claims that the Prosecutor’s Office pressured two judges in a corruption case against Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Ugulava was Saturday night suspended from […]

Vice mayor takes over as acting Tbilisi mayor

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

Gigi Ugulava and Sevdia Ugrekhelidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Vice Mayor Sevdia Ugrekhelidze will take over as acting mayor of Tbilisi, after a decision by Tbilisi City Court to suspend Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Gigi Ugulava said on Sunday that this follows by law. “According to Georgian law, the first vice mayor […]

National Movement party resumes work in parliament

By | December 23rd, 2013|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

Davit Bakradze, leader of the minority in parliament, the National Movement. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The National Movement party will resume work in the Georgian parliament on Monday after being absent since December 11. The party’s delegates went on a boycott after a scuffle between one of their MPs and one from the Georgian Dream coalition, which […]

Group criticizes Georgia for handling of religious conflicts

By | December 23rd, 2013|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , |

Muslims praying in Samtatskaro. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After a year of religious conflict in three Georgian villages, neither Christians nor Muslims are fully satisfied with the way the problem was solved. The Christians do not exclude that conflict might erupt again, while the Muslims still have no […]

Georgian Dream leaders are most trusted

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

After the patriarch, ex-prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is the most liked person in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new poll shows that the top people in the Georgian Dream coalition are the most trusted public figures in Georgia, after the patriarch. The results are part of a wider survey of public attitudes organized by a US agency that builds democracy […]

Tbilisi mayor removed from office pending corruption trial

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

Gigi Ugulava said in a statement he will fight on: “I won’t let the will of the people be trampled on behind closed doors.” (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was Saturday night stripped of his authority by the city court. Ugulava was informed about the court’s decision at 1 am Sunday. The decision was made without a hearing and came hours after the court had issued him bail […]

Saakashvili to teach governance at Tufts University

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

Former president Mikheil Saakashvili speaking at the UN earlier in 2013. TBILISI, DFWatch–The former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili will join Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the US from January. He will hold lectures about European governance and other contemporary international and regional issues, […]

EU moves forward signing of agreement with Georgia

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

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–EU is willing to move forward the signing of the Association Agreement with Georgia and Moldova to August 2014 or earlier. This is the content of a statement by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, published December 20, 2013. “This […]

Anti-Russia demonstrators detained in Tbilisi

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

The organization Free Zone protested against a conference to further closer relations between Georgia and Russia. (Photo by Free Zone.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four members of the organization Free Zone were detained on Friday during a protest against a meeting at Hotel Vere-Palace in Tbilisi dedicated to closer relations between Georgia and Russia. Demonstrators blocked the road as they blew whistles and […]

National Movement boycotting parliament

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–The minority National Movement party has been boycotting parliament for more than a week and refuses to continue work in the assembly. The party’s delegates left the session hall as a sign of protest when a scuffle broke out between MP Giorgi […]

Asian Development Bank funds infrastructure in Georgia

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

Klaus Gerhaeusser (left), ADB’s General Director, and Georgian Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri. (Photo published by the Finance Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia on Thursday signed agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) about financing infrastructure projects. According to the Ministry of Finance, Minister Nodar Khaduri and Klaus Gerhaeusser, ADB’s General Director, signed the agreement, […]

What is being discussed at the Geneva talks?

By | December 20th, 2013|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , |

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili is Deputy Minister of Reintegration. TBILISI, DFWatch–The talks between the parties in the 2008 Georgia-Russia war will meet in Geneva for another round of talks on March 25-26. It is known that the OSCE heads of the meeting this time will be from Switzerland. The last round of Geneva talks was held […]

A thousand prisoners are on hunger strike in Georgia

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

The prisoners demand a commission to review faults in the judicial process. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–1 032 prisoners are now on hunger strike in several prisons in Georgia, according to the Prison Ministry. This is the most recent information as of 19:00 on December 19, and the majority – 946 prisoners – are on hunger strike at Geguti No […]

Georgia becomes member of UNESCO committee

By | December 20th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has been elected as member of the Hague Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the election was held on December 17 at UNESCO headquarters during the 5th […]

Poll: Georgians think country is getting more democratic

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

63% of respondents say the number of jobs has increased the last year. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–54 percent of Georgians say their country has democracy now, while 35 percent say there is no democracy in Georgia, according to a poll by National Democratic Institute (NDI). These numbers show a clear upward trend; in September, 44 percent said […]

Poll: 66% of Georgian want athletes to participate in Sochi

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

Downhill skier Nino Tsiklauri and three other Georgian athletes will take part in the Olympics. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–66 percent of Georgians approve of the decision by the government that Georgian athletes will participate in the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, while 17 percent disapprove of this decision. 16 percent didn’t answer. In September 2013, 76 percent supported this […]

Two former Tbilisi officials released on bail

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

Two former city officials are accused of money laundering. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The former gamgebeli of Old Tbilisi and his deputy were Wednesday released on 400 000 lari (USD 234 000) bail each. Prosecutors wanted to keep them in detention, but Tbilisi City Hall disagreed. Defense lawyers for Lasha Purtskhvanidze and Koba […]

Seeing Georgia plain

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

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

Former interior minister says he was threatened by prosecutor

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili accuses Chief Prosecutor of harassing him. The National Movement party asks to have the case investigated and that the responsible officials are dismissed. The government claims Merabishvili’s accusations […]

Georgia introduces law against discrimination

By | December 18th, 2013|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani. (Photo published by the Justice Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Ministry of Justice has prepared a draft law on anti-discrimination. The proposal aims at eliminating all forms of discrimination, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani explained as she met human rights organizations, representatives of […]

Georgian president pardons 75 prisoners

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

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed his first decree to pardon 75 prisoners on Wednesday. According to the head of the president’s administration Lasha Abashidze, 54 of the prisoners were released, 14 got their sentence reduced to half, while […]

Tbilisi mayor questioned in embezzlement case

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

Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava was on Wednesday questioned at the Prosecutor’s Office in case about embezzlement of City Hall money by employees. The Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday explained charges to the mayor which may lead to him being […]

Georgia to invest in Shah Deniz

By | December 18th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , , |

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili (left) and President of Azerbaijan Iljam Aliyev. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia plans to invest USD 400-700 million in the Shah Deniz project in Azerbaijan, according to Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze. Kaladze was in Azerbaijan December 16-17 along with a delegation from the Georgian government who signed a resolution […]

Georgian lawmaker fined for defamation of Imedi investor

By | December 17th, 2013|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , , |

One of history’s greatest hoaxes was, according to Time Magazine, this fake news report on Imedi announcing another Russian invasion in March 2010, just weeks before the local election. The caption says: “Medvedev’s statement”. (Screen grab from Imedi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A member of parliament from the National Movement party was fined 50 000 lari (USD 30 000) on Monday for defamation of businessman Joseph Kay. Kay is the investor who took over the control of Imedi TV after the owner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, died […]

Saakashvili is living in New York

By | December 17th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili appearing on Ukrainian TV channel 112 last Sunday. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–A month after leaving office as president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili has revealed that he is currently living in New York and working on reform programs with several major US universities. Appearing on Ukrainian TV 112, Saakashvili said he is […]

Power cuts continue in Georgia ten days after snowfall

By | December 17th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

People demonstrated in Batumi last Friday against a lack of attention from authorities. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Ten days after snow fell in the eastern Adjara region of Georgia, frustration is growing as there are still problems with supply of electricity, natural gas and water. December 13, people demonstrated in Batumi against what they feel is a lack of […]

Two detained for money laundering in Tbilisi

By | December 17th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, two former officials in the city administration in Old Tbilisi were detained on Monday. The detained are the former gamgebeli of Old Tbilisi and his deputy. They are charged with illegal participation in industrial activity and money laundering. The charges are that they manipulated the prices of trees and plants for green areas [...]

Georgia creates crisis management centers

By | December 16th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

Snow storms in winter and flooding in summer have knocked out infrastructure in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia on Sunday created two new bodies to address urgent problems. The first one is a temporary center for crisis management to deal with the problems caused by bad weather and earthquakes. The second state body is a center to […]

Georgian PM on visit to Azerbaijan

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

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday began an official visit to neighboring Azerbaijan. Gharibashvili will meet President Ilham Aliyev, and December 17 participate in a conference about the financing of the second phase of Shah […]

EU funds education reform in Georgia with €27 mill

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

The European Union gives 27 mill euros to education reform in Georgia. (Photo published by the Ministry of Education and Science.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia will receive 27 million euros from the EU which is to be spent on reforms in education, professional training and employment. The EU will allocate 35 million euros for Moldova and 25 million euros for Armenia. According to Štefan Füle, […]

Activists in Georgia demand to have justice restored

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

Activists are putting pressure on the government to create a committee to right the wrongs of the Saakashvili regime. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Activists on Sunday gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi demanding the creation of a committee to go through miscarriages of justice during former President Saakashvili. The demonstration was organized by the organization […]

Former Defense Ministry official detained

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia Saturday detained a former official in the Defense Ministry and charged him with illegally owning and keeping a weapon. Alexandre Ninua, former head of the purchasing department at the ministry, was placed in pre-trial detention the same day. […]

Pardon commission approves 54 applications

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

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The president’s pardon commission gave a positive recommendation in 54 of recent applications from prisoners. The commission which is one of two such bodies, the other one part of the government, was recently staffed by the […]

Parliament asks to investigate violations during Saakashvili

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

A student demonstrates against Saakashvili outside Tbilisi State University in the aftermath of the prisoners abuse scandal in September 2012. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, the parliament has asked the government to investigate crimes committed during the Saakashvili regime. The bureau of parliament on Friday recommended the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office […]

British, German and Hungarian pharma to enter Georgia

By | December 14th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , , , |

Companies based in the UK, Germany and Hungary will try to enter the pharmaceutical sector in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Foreign pharmaceutical companies are preparing to enter the Georgian market, according to the Health Ministry. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said on Friday that foreign pharmaceutical companies plan to start operating in Georgia and negotiations […]

Prisoners in Georgia overcoming isolation by making handicraft

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

Artwork made by female prisoners is on display at Europe House in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An exhibition of handicraft art made by prisoners at the women’s facility is open for visitors until December 15 at the Europe House in Tbilisi, Freedom Square. More than 250 pictures crafted from felt is on a display, as well as accessories like […]

86 schools closed in Georgia due to snow

By | December 13th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

Snow is creating problems many places in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–86 schools in Georgia are closed due to bad weather, according to the Education Ministry. 69 of them is in the Adjara region – Keda, Shuakhevi and Khelvachauri. Four schools are closed in Guria, six in Imereti, four in Svaneti, one school in Kakheti, one in […]

Georgia gets new governors in nine regions

By | December 13th, 2013|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili on Friday appointed new governors in nine of the country’s regions. The new governors are Irakli Shiolashvili, lawyer, in Kakheti, Zaza Meparishvili, engineer and lawyer, in Imereti, Zurab Rusishvili, […]

Skating arena collapses in Georgia

By | December 13th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , , |

Lika Nakaidze. (Video still from Imedi TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An ice skating arena in Batumi, Georgia, collapsed Thursday due to heavy snowfall. The last five days there has been an electricity problem in Batumi, in the Adjara region, as transmission lines and poles were damaged due to the amount of snow in recent […]

Georgia signs on to many new EU programs

By | December 13th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

Foreign Minister of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze, and Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius. (Photo published on Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia Thursday signed a protocol with the EU about participating in several programs within health care, science, culture and business. The signing took place in Brussels and was carried out by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and […]

Georgia to spend more on health and education in 2014

By | December 12th, 2013|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The new Georgian government has presented a 9 billion lari (about USD 5 billion) budget for 2014 which prioritizes health care and education. The budget bill was approved by 86 votes against 0 at a plenary session on Wednesday. Members of the […]

150 000 households still without electricity in Georgia

By | December 12th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

The snow masses have knocked out power supply in south western Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Batumi, one of the largest cities in Georgia, has been without electricity and heating four days due to a snow storm. There is still more than one and half meter snow cover in Batumi and the rest of the mountainous Adjara region. Some streets […]

Georgians rallied in support of Kyiv protesters

By | December 12th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Tbilisi Wednesday evening in solidarity with the protesters in Ukraine. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Hundreds of people demonstrated in the streets of Tbilisi Wednesday to support the protesters in Kyiv. Georgians, as well as Ukrainians living in Georgia, gathered in the evening outside Tbilisi concert hall, waving the flags of Ukraine, EU and Georgia, […]

Georgian parliament declares support for Ukrainian people

By | December 12th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

As parliament expressed full support for Ukraine’s EU integration, there was a street rally to show solidarity with Ukrainians. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The parliament in Georgia Wednesday passed a statement supporting the demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital. “The Georgian parliament declares its complete solidarity with the Ukrainian people in its struggle for freedom of choice. It expresses […]

UNICEF report exposes weak child protection in Georgia

By | December 12th, 2013|Categories: Society|Tags: , |

UNICEF’s new report warns that children in Georgia are at risk. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–UNICEF Georgia claims that since 2005, the government has made significant progress in reforming the child care system, but important challenges remain, such as child poverty, violence against children and weak child protection. Currently, there are […]

Scuffle breaks out in Georgian parliament

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

TBILISI, DFWatch–A physical scuffle broke out in the Georgian parliament on Wednesday. Soso Jachvliani, MP from the Georgian Dream coalition, scolded Giorgi Baramidze from the National Movement. His microphone was switched off. This lead to a physical confrontation […]

Georgia charges two more for prison death

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

(DFWatch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prosecutors in Georgia have charged two more persons with causing the death of a prisoner last May. December 11, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Nugzar Bechuadze and Shota Sinauridze in connection with the death of Levan Kortava. Bechuadze is […]

Georgia increases the president’s salary

By | December 11th, 2013|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia has decided to raise the president’s salary by 2 500 lari (USD 1 450). There has been talk about increasing the president’s pay for the last week and on Tuesday the governing Georgian Dream coalition asked parliament […]

Georgia appoints seven new ambassadors

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

President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed the appointments of seven new ambassadors. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has seven new ambassadors abroad, after President Giorgi Margvelashvili last week signed their appointment. The new ambassadors are the ones to Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Germany, Japan, China, Iran and Jordan. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, […]

Local government reform modified after criticism from patriarch

By | December 11th, 2013|Categories: Legal reform, News|Tags: , , |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili has managed to convince the government to amend a disputed passage in a draft bill about local government reform, as promised. The government prepared a draft law to regulate the country’s territorial […]

Investments in Georgia up 20% in Q3 year-on-year

By | December 10th, 2013|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Hydro power is one of the things international financial institutions are funding in Georgia. TBILISI, DFWatch–The amount of direct foreign investments in the third quarter of 2013 was USD 239 million, up three percent from the second quarter. Investments in third quarter of 2013 was 20 percent more than the same period last year. Foreign investments […]

Georgia cleaning up prison mafia in wake of inmate death

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

Khatuna Kortava said earlier her nephew was a victim of a system of abuse, mafia and murder in Georgian prisons. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has charged prisoners and prison administration employees with causing the death of Levan Kortava, who was allegedly killed by the so-called thieves in law inside prison. Kortava died May 23, 2013, at the prison hospital, […]

The revolving doors of Georgia’s politics and business

By | December 10th, 2013|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

Kakhi Kaladze (pictured) was involved in at least three companies in the energy sector before he became energy minister, according to TI’s report. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Business and politics are tightly connected in Georgia, according to a new report by Transparency International. The organization claims that some wealthy businessmen have been elected to the Georgian parliament and some members of the executive […]

Two die as greenhouse collapses near Batumi

By | December 10th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

Two people died as a greenhouse collapsed in Georgia. (First Channel.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two persons have died after a roof of a greenhouse collapsed in Georgia because of bad weather. The accident happened Monday evening in the village Salibauri in the Adjara region and was caused by strong wind and heavy snowfall. Two women, aged 35 […]

Access to cemetery discussed at SO border meeting

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

The border meeting as usual took place in a tent at Ergneti. (EUMM.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The parties in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war Monday discussed the installation of warning signs and fences in the villages Ghogheti and Bershueti on the border to the breakaway region South Ossetia. This was the 40th meeting of the Incident Prevention […]

Direct flights between Tbilisi and Sochi during Olympics

By | December 9th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Tbilisi Airport. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Airways will offer direct flights between Tbilisi and the Olympic village Sochi from February 4, 2014, in connection with the upcoming Winter Games. There will be flights between Tbilisi and Sochi every Tuesday and Thursday until May. The […]

Snow storm causes electricity blackout in Georgia

By | December 9th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

The snow storm has caused a power blackout affecting 155 000 households. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–155 000 households are left without electricity in Georgia, according to the Energy Ministry. Deputy Energy Minister Irakli Khmaladze said at a briefing that the bad weather has created problems mainly in the regions in the west of Georgia, and that the damage is caused by snow and blizzard. […]

Supporters of Ukraine’s protesters gathered in Tbilisi

By | December 9th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

Georgians have been gathering every day at the same place since the protests started in Ukraine. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Supporters of the protesters in Ukraine gathered Sunday in Tbilisi to support a mass mobilization in the Ukrainian capital. The gathering outside the former parliament building started at 14:00, the same time as the demonstration in Ukraine. Georgians […]

NGOs call for new impact assessment of gigantic power dam

By | December 9th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

A gigantic planned hydro power station has brought environmentalists out in the streets in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia ask the government for answers about the construction of Khudoni hydro power station. There are many questions regarding environmental and social issues. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and an […]

Former deputy prosecutor placed in pre-trial detention

By | December 9th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court has placed a former deputy chief prosecutor in pre-trial detention. Davit Chkhatarashvili, the former deputy of former Chief Prosecutor Murtaz Zodelava, was December 7 detained and charged with organizing staged torture videos […]

Prison Ministry asks inmates to end hunger strike

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

Nana Kakabadze from the organization Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prison Ministry in Georgia Saturday called on prisoners to put an end to a hunger strike that has been joined by 146 prisoners all across Georgia. In Prison No 6 in Rustavi, 20 km away from the capital, about a hundred […]

Saakashvili addressed Ukrainian pro-EU demonstrators

By | December 8th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili on Saturday addressed the protesters gathered in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. His speech to the movement which started two weeks ago, when President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign an Association Agreement with the […]

Increasing discrimination of religious minorities in Georgia

By | December 8th, 2013|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , |

A Jehova’s Witnesses book stand on Freedom Square, Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A human rights group claims there has been an increase in discrimination of religious minorities in Georgia in 2013. On November 15, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall, located in Upper Etseri, Samegrelo, West Georgia, was shot at twice. […]

Georgia charges former deputy prosecutor with staging torture

By | December 7th, 2013|Categories: News, Prisoner abuse|Tags: , , |

Davit Chkhatarashvili. (IPN.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have detained a former deputy prosecutor and charged him with participating in filming videos of staged torture at a prison in Tbilisi. The Prosecutor’s Office charges Davit Chkhatarashvili, the former first deputy of ex-Chief […]

Georgia to not send officials, only athletes to Sochi Olympics

By | December 7th, 2013|Categories: News, Sport|Tags: |

Figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili and three other Georgian athletes are participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics in less than two months. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian athletes will participate in the Sochi Winter Olympics, but the country will not send an official government delegation. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said a few days ago in an interview with Russia Today that only Georgian athletes […]

Georgian wine-making technique listed as world heritage

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

Kvevri, a ceramic vessel buried in the ground, where wine is made the traditional way. (UNESCO.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s age-old method for making wine is now listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. On its eighth session, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Non-Material Cultural Heritage decided to list Georgia’s traditional […]

Georgia to hold local elections in June 2014

By | December 6th, 2013|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: , |

Davit Berdzenishvili from the Georgian Dream coalition. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The local elections in Georgia will be held in June 2014, instead of May, the parliamentary majority says. The last local elections were held on May 30, 2010. Davit Berdzenishvili from the Georgian Dream coalition said on Friday that the local […]

Tender announced to dismantle Stalin statue

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

The new Stalin statue in Telavi was quickly paint-bombed. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The local government in Telavi, a town in the Kakheti region, has announced a tender for the dismantling of a statue of Joseph Stalin. According to Information Center of Kakheti, the local government allocated 1 121 lari (USD 660) for the dismantling […]

Georgian patriarch against local government reform

By | December 6th, 2013|Categories: Legal reform, News|Tags: , |

Ilia II, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament has postponed the adoption of a landmark bill that will drastically change local government, after the draft Self-Governance Code was harshly criticized by the influential head of the Georgian Church. The bill should have been […]

Two fined for interrupting Hanukkah celebration in Tbilisi

By | December 6th, 2013|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Tbilisi City Court. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court has fined two persons who tore down posters announcing Hanukkah. Wednesday night, two people tore down the posters and damaged the tribune that had been prepared for the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. They were fined 100 lari (USD 60) […]

Georgian gov’t sets out goals for improving democracy

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

Thomas Hammarberg. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government of Georgia will two months from now approve a strategy of protecting human rights. The document will be complex aiming to establish a high standard of democracy. This is one of the results of a human rights conference in Tbilisi […]

23 % more visitors to Georgia in Jan-Nov

By | December 5th, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

(Ministry of Internal Affairs.) TBILISI, DFWatch–4 973 632 people visited Georgia in January-November, 2013 according to the Interior Ministry. This is 22.6 percent more than the same period last year, and 12.3 period more than the total number of visitors in 2012. The highest number of visitors […]

NATO top: Georgia can seek membership and be friends with Russia

By | December 5th, 2013|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says it is possible for Georgia to have good relations with Russia and at the same time move towards NATO membership. Rasmussen said there are examples of nations that are member of NATO and […]

Georgian president says Russia cannot stop moves towards EU

By | December 5th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia has no means of influence that could divert Georgia from its course toward integration with Europe and interrupt the signing of the Association Agreement next year. In a TV interview on Tuesday, […]

Bacho Akhalaia acquitted in abuse case, two others convicted

By | December 4th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Bacho Akhalaia was acquitted in yet another trial, but remains in detention pending another court case. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Appeals Court in Georgia has acquitted former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia, but sentenced the others who were charged in the same case to 3 years and nine months in jail. Bacho Akhalaia, Giorgi Kalandadze, former head of Joint Staff and Zurab […]

Georgians defy frosty weather to support Ukraine

By | December 4th, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–People gathered in Tbilisi again on Tuesday to show support for Ukraine despite the frosty temperatures and cold wind. About 50 people showed up outside the old parliament building carrying Ukrainian flags to express support for the Ukrainian people, […]

Georgia gets worse ranking on corruption index

By | December 4th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has slightly worsened its ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index – from 51st to 55th place. In 2012, Georgia ranked 51st among 176 countries, but in 2013 it is in 55th place among 177 countries. The organization […]

Futuristic service center damaged by storm in Tbilisi

By | December 4th, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

Bits of the roof flew off the new public service center in downtown Tbilisi. (IPN) TBILISI, DFWatch–The House of Justice in Tbilisi was Tuesday evacuated as a result of high winds which damaged the roof of the building. No-one was injured, but the building remained evacuated throughout the day. The roof was damaged at the entrance of the building, […]

Inquest into Georgia’s cooperation with Chechen rebels progressing

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

Georgian police in Lapankuri 2012. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Public Defender in Georgia says an independent inquest into a border skirmish in 2012 has revealed many interesting details. But ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili refrained from saying specifically what has been revealed and says this will be published […]

Bad weather in Georgia, power cuts, road closure

By | December 3rd, 2013|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

The main road connecting eastern and western Georgia is closed due to bad weather. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–More than 70 000 households in Georgia are left without electricity due to strong wind and snow according to the utility company Energo-Pro Georgia. Electricity was switched off as the lines are damaged and technical crews are now working to rectify […]

GUAM countries support EU’s Eastern Partnership

By | December 3rd, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

Zurab Abashidze, who chairs the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly. (Pirveli.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM adopted a document during the sixth session in Tbilisi, which reflects major aspirations and goals, which the countries of the union have. The document also focuses on supporting the EU’s Eastern Partnership. The sixth […]

Ukrainian MP breaks off Georgia trip due to political crisis

By | December 3rd, 2013|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Ukrainian opposition MP, Ruslan Koshulinski, who is deputy speaker of parliament, broke off his visit to Georgia due to the protests in Kyiv. Koshulinski visited Georgia in order to attend the sixth session of the parliamentary assembly of GUAM; […]

Pro-Ukraine rally in Tbilisi again Monday

By | December 3rd, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

(Photo: Davit Mikheil Shubladze.) TBILISI, DFWatch–People rallied in Tbilisi again Monday in support of the Ukrainian people. As on Sunday, they gathered in front of the old parliament building, and vowed to continue protesting and also hold support rallies in other parts of Georgia. Participants […]

Anti-Putin protests in Yerevan

By | December 2nd, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Photo: TBILISI, DFWatch–Armenians protested on Liberty Square in Yerevan Monday against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who is visiting. Blognews Armenia informs that the protesters brought posters reading ‘Stop Russia’, ‘Serzh the Betrayer’ and shouted ‘Stop Russia’ […]

Georgian premier blasts former ruling party on RT

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

Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgia’s Prime Minister. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has strongly criticized the former ruling party, the National Movement, in an interview on Russia Today, the state-owned Russian television station. It’s a bit difficult to understand the opposition, they […]

Putin visiting Armenia

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Yerevan today for the first time in five years. Russian media report that during his visit, Putin will meet with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan. There will also be held a Russia-Armenia regional […]

South Ossetia spokesperson: ‘Razor wire will be dismantled’

By | December 2nd, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: |

Part of the razor wire being installed by Russian soldiers. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The razor wire bundles along the de facto border will eventually be changed into wire-mesh fences, a spokesperson for the South Ossetian KGB’s press service told the online news service Caucasian Knot. According to Wikipedia, razor wire blades are […]

Rally in Tbilisi in solidarity with the Ukrainian people

By | December 2nd, 2013|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

People rallied outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi to show support for the Ukrainian people. (Photo: Elene Khachapuridze.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tens of people gathered on Sunday in Tbilisi wearing yellow and blue to support people in Ukraine and express solidarity with them after a violent dispersal in Kyiv. “Our Ukrainian friends need support, they mustn’t be alone facing impudent violence,” […]

Council of Europe imposes sanctions against Georgia

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

Vassiliy Likhachev, Russian Duma member and PACE observer. (Photo: Council of Europe.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has imposed sanctions against Georgia after a Russian election observer was denied entry before the presidential election a month ago. The organization has decided not to hold any committee […]

GUAM to meet in Tbilisi on Monday

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

Zurab Abashidze, Chairman of the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Representatives from the GUAM countries will meet in Tbilisi on Monday. The occasion is the sixth session of the Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM, a cooperation between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Zurab Abashidze, chairman of the […]