Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tuvalu withdraws recognition of Georgian breakaway regions

By | March 31st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Taukelina Finikaso (left), Foreign Minister of Tuvalu, and Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Minister of Georgia. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tuvalu has withdrawn its recognition of the Georgian breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A government delegation from Tuvalu is visiting Georgia these days to sign a protocol establishing diplomatic and consular relations between the two […]

UNM parliamentarian attacked in Tbilisi by masked men

By | March 31st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Nugzar Tsiklauri received minor injuries, mostly to his face. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A close ally of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was attacked Sunday night in Tbilisi. Nugzar Tsiklauri, an outspoken member of parliament for the National Movement Party, recalls that at about 3 am Monday morning he was approached […]

Are interruptions in Georgia’s wine export economic warfare?

By | March 31st, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Levan Davitashvili, head of Georgia’s National Wine Agency. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There are interruptions in the export of wine from Georgia to Belarus, although formally the export is not stopped. The sale of wine to Ukraine and Russia is continuing without any restrictions, according to Levan Davitashvili, head […]

Discussion: Ethnic minorities and language skills

By | March 31st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Agit Mirzoev (left), Executive Director of Analytical Center for Inter-ethnic Cooperation and Consultations, and Ali Babayev, from the Congress of Georgian Azerbaijanis. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Representatives of NGOs working with minority issues took part in a discussion organized by about how ethnic minorities often lack skills in Georgia’s only official language – Georgian. Agit Mirzoev, Executive Director of Analytical […]

Controversial preacher holds law lecture at Tbilisi City Court

By | March 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Father Teodore Gignadze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–One of the most prominent and famous representatives of Georgian clergy, Teodore Gignadze, Saturday held a lecture at Tbilisi City Court. Gignadze is head of Cross Ascension Monastery and has become famous for his controversial […]

Saakashvili offers to give testimony, but only during trial

By | March 30th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Mikheil Saakashvili speaking at Independence Square in Kiev March 29, 2014. (Maestro TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili offers the current government his own rules of the game; rules which are against Georgian legislation. The rules in question are about how to question witnesses in criminal cases. This issue has been a source […]

Georgia’s EU treaty will be signed by the prime minister

By | March 29th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–When Georgia finally signs the Association Agreement with the EU by the end of June, it will be the prime minister who does the signing, not the president. Exactly who will sign the agreement – president or prime minister – has been a subject of […]

Georgian PM wants constitutional block against same-sex marriage

By | March 28th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian prime minister wants to define a family as a union between a man and a woman. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says he has asked the constitutional commission to look at his proposal. “Though according to the current legislation, […]

EU criticizes Georgia for failing to protect human rights

By | March 28th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Orthodox priests removing a police block May 17, 2013, that separated their supporters from the LGBT rights group. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The EU criticizes Georgia for not having done enough in 2013 to protect freedom of speech and prevent violent outbreaks of islamophobia and homophobia. The new report is published by the European Commission and is part of the implementation of the […]

Georgians debate Obama’s comment on NATO expansion

By | March 28th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Obama’s comments regarding NATO expansion was eagerly debated in Tbilisi Thursday. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that there has not been any immediate plans for expansion of NATO’s membership, referring to Ukraine and Georgia. His statement caused protest and criticism among some in Georgia. On Thursday, […]

Saakashvili refuses to be questioned via Skype

By | March 28th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has refused an offer from the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office to give witness testimony via Skype. Saakashvili was called to come and answer questions about ten criminal cases, with status as witness, but the […]

Pro- and anti-Russia demonstrators clash in Tbilisi

By | March 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two people have been detained during a scuffle at a demonstration against the US sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. The non-governmental organization Earth is our Home held a rally on Pushkin Square in the center of Tbilisi to express support for eleven Russian […]

Georgia to start funding religious minorities

By | March 27th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

A mosque in Chela, Georgia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia will finance four traditional religious confessions besides the Orthodox Church. Non-traditional religions will not receive financing. Until now, the Orthodox Church has received financing from the state, the argument being […]

Saakashvili did not show up, supporters and opponents clash

By | March 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Supporters and opponents of Mikheil Saakashvili fought each other outside the Chief Prosecutor’s office in Tbilisi, where the former Georgian president failed to show up for questioning today. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili was supposed to meet at the Prosecutor’s Office today at 13:00, but he didn’t come. Supporters and opponents had gathered at the office and clashed and two people were detained for hooliganism. “Today I am Misha […]

Zhvania family accuses Saakashvili of lying

By | March 27th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The brother and widow of deceased Prime Minsiter Zurab Zhvania accused ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili of lying. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The family of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania accuses ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili of lying. Saakashvili said in a recent interview on Rustavi 2 that during the investigation of Zhvania’s death, his widow was only interested in money which […]

LGBT group in Georgia cancels May 17 demonstration

By | March 27th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Clerics led the charge against a small LGBT demonstration in Tbilisi May 17, 2013. This year there will be no such event. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Identoba, an organization which protects the rights of sexual minorities in Georgia, has decided to not mark the international day against homophobia May 17. Last year, the organization announced it would organize a demonstration for the rights […]

Armenians and Doukhobors in Gorelovka, Georgia

By | March 26th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Due to the cold climate, most people have cattle as a means of subsistence in Gorelovka. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Gorelovka is a small village in Samtskhe-Javakheti, a region to the south of Georgia populated by ethnic Armenians, Russian Doukhobors and Georgians who have been resettled from Adigeni and Khulo because of landslides. The village is small and, […]

Georgia without ambassador to the UK for more than a year

By | March 26th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , , |

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has been without an ambassador to the UK for more than a year. In recent days, a candidate who is being considered for the post became a subject of dispute among politicians. During the process of so-called co-habitation between ex-president […]

Saakashvili refuses to come home for questioning, blames Putin

By | March 26th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Mikheil Saakashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday made his first comments regarding the news that he is asked to testify in ten serious criminal cases in his home country. Many of his closest associates have been put on trial in the last two […]

Saakashvili wanted at home, party office sprayed with red paint

By | March 25th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Demonstrators called on former President Saakashvili to come home and answer questions about ten criminal cases. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Demonstrators in Georgia Tuesday demanded that former President Mikheil Saakashvili returns to his home country and answers questions from prosecutors. Two people were detained for throwing red paint at party symbols outside the National Movement […]

Strike in Kazreti called off after agreement with RMG Gold

By | March 25th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Locals demonstrating in Kazreti in February, 2014. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A protest in the Georgian village Kazreti, where people protested the treatments of workers in the gold mines, ended on Monday. RMG Gold, the company which owns the mines in Kazreti, reached agreement with the demonstrators, who protest against […]

Georgian anti-gay activists warn of tougher line

By | March 25th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

May 17, 2013, thousands of anti-gay activists disrupted a small peaceful demonstration in Tbilisi to mark the international day against homophobia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Anti-gay activists and clerics want to be more tough toward LGBT rights activists if the latter demonstrate for their rights on May 17, on the one-year anniversary of a violent attacks on them organized by Orthodox priests. Pressed with multiple […]

Supporters and opponents of NATO clash in Tbilisi

By | March 24th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

A group advocating the Russian-led Eurasian Union planned to demonstrate against NATO, but were interrupted by an angry crowd. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three people were detained in Tbilisi on Monday as supporters and opponents of NATO clashed outside the Cinema House. Tension was already high during the screening of a 30 minutes long film about NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia […]

17% increase in Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Feb confirmed

By | March 24th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s foreign trade was 17% higher in the two first months of 2014, compared to 2013, but most of the trade is import. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover January-February, 2014, was USD 1 567 million. This is a 17 percent increase, compared to the same period last year. Precise figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat, show that export accounted […]

Two detainees in Zhvania case placed in pre-trial detention

By | March 24th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

Tbilisi City Court. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two men detained for negligence in connection with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania were Sunday placed in pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Levan Chachua, who participated in the autopsy on Zhvania’s body in 2005, and Mikheil […]

West warns Georgia against prosecuting Saakashvili

By | March 24th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves warns that Georgia’s EU treaty may be stalled if the investigation of former officials continues. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Western partners are threatening that prosecuting former President Saakashvili may jeopardize an EU treaty and membership in NATO. Georgia has for years sought closer integration with the European Union and membership in NATO. In June, […]

Georgian soldiers in NATO-Ukraine military exercise

By | March 24th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

Ukrainian soldiers in the joint NATO exercise Saber Guardian, which was launched Friday in Bulgaria. (Photo by Brooks Fletcher/US Army.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian soldiers are participating in a two-week joint NATO-Ukraine military exercise in eastern Bulgaria, 400 km from Crimea. The exercise, which started Friday. is called Saber Guardian and has been planned for about a year. It involves 700 […]

One dies in manganese plant in Chiatura, Georgia

By | March 23rd, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: |

One worker died and another was taken to hospital with injuries after an accident in a mineral ore processing plant in Chiatura, Georgia, March 20. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A mine worker died Thursday in a metal ore processing plant in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. Another worker was injured and brought to the hospital. The plant was being dismantled by workers in the Darkveti mine on orders of the mine’s owner, […]

Saakashvili called in for questioning in numerous cases

By | March 22nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

May become a wanted person. Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addressing the crowd at Independence Square in Kiev, December 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili will be declared a wanted person if he doesn’t come and answer questions in a long list of criminal cases. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said this today. “If he does not come, he will be declared […]

SO field meeting highlights border problems and helicopter overflight

By | March 22nd, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , , |

Problems created by new border fences was brought up again at the regular field meeting between the parties in the 2008 war. (EUMM.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The parties in the 2008 war met again on Friday for a field meeting in a tent in Ergneti, a village on the border with South Ossetia. These field meetings are formally called Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) and hosted by the EU’s […]

One more detained in case about Georgian PM’s death

By | March 22nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have detained a second person in connection with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005. The new detainee is Mikheil Dzadzamia, who was head of the shift of Zhvania’s security, and the charge is the same: negligence. […]

Ukraine-Crimea-Georgia – the West and Russia

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Johan Galtung is professor of peace studies. (Photo by Paul Bernhard.) There is much in a name.  Ukraine means borderland. The position of the extreme West–like US neocons–is clear: get all into NATO, encircling, containing, defeating Russia.  Some in Ukraine and Georgia share that goal.  The less extreme West would focus on EU […]

EU speeds up signing of treaties with Georgia and Moldova

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , , , |

EU leaders will sign treaties with Georgia and Moldova no later than June 2014, Barroso wrote on Twitter. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Council accelerates the process of signing association agreements with two former Soviet republics, Georgia and Moldova. The move comes amid an escalating crisis in Ukraine, where there is a threat of unrest spreading in the eastern […]

Georgia creates service center to assist exporters

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Grape harvest 2013. Wine if one of Georgia’s export products. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Ministry of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili is creating a new service center to protect the interests of exporters. Kvirikashvili said on Thursday said that the new body will start working from Friday. “Along with positive trends in Georgia’s foreign trade turnover, […]

UN helping Georgia improve disaster preparedness

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , , |

The coastal city Batumi was damaged by a storm in March, 2013. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The United Nations will help Georgia strengthen its preparedness against natural disasters. “Georgia is often challenged by the risk of natural disasters, which seriously jeopardizes the country’s economy, as well as our citizens,” Environment […]

Pathologist detained in case about death of Georgian PM

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has ordered the detention of pathologist Levan Chachua in relation with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania. Chachua was one of the experts who conducted an autopsy on Zhvania’s body in 2005, and […]

Georgian PM horrified by Zhvania autopsy photos

By | March 21st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says it was horrible to see recently published photographs from 2005 of PM Zurab Zhvania’s dead body. Gharibashvili said he thinks the case doesn’t need ‘additional speculation.’ He also said that […]

Debate: Minorities and local government reform in Georgia

By | March 20th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Journalist Rusiko Machaidze, Zaur Khalilov from Civil Integration Fund and Levan Vepkhvadze of the Christian-Democratic Movement.  (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–On March 14 , organized a discussion about ethnic minorities’ participation problems in pre-election process. The non-parliamentary opposition and representatives of NGOs working with minority rights participated […]

Saakashvili ideologue questioned about university privatization

By | March 20th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Kakha Bendukidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday questioned an influential Georgian economist in connection with an investigation into possible embezzlement when the Agricultural University was privatized. Kakha Bendukize, an influential businessman and free market […]

Autopsy photos of deceased Georgian PM posted on Youtube

By | March 20th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

In the 2012 election campaign, the Georgian Dream coalition demanded a new investigation of Zhvania’s death. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For several days a video titled “Saakashvili murderer” has gone viral in social media in Georgia. The video, which was first uploaded on Youtube, shows photos of the dead bodies of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and Raul Usupov, who died […]

What did Ivanishvili criticize the Georgian president for?

By | March 20th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili refrained from commenting on criticism from ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili beyond saying it is ‘painful’. In a TV interview, Ivanishvili said Margvelashvili revealed completely different features after the […]

Georgians switching off phones one hour to protest wiretapping

By | March 20th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , , |

Eka Gigauri. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, campaigners are asking people to switch off their mobile phones for one hour on Friday to protest illegal wiretapping. The campaign ‘This Affects You Too – They Still Listen to Us’ envisages turning off mobile phones every Friday […]

NATO parliamentarians coming to Georgia next week

By | March 19th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is coming to Georgia March 24-26. The NATO parliamentarians will be attending a round table discussion at the NATO office here. Another part of the visit is a meeting with their Georgian counterparts […]

France’s Hollande visiting Georgia May 13

By | March 19th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

President of France François Hollande. (Photo by Remi Jouan.) TBILISI, DFWatch–French President François Hollande will visit Georgia on May 13, the foreign minister of the host country said on Wednesday. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the schedule and other details of the visit are still being put together. […]

Ivanishvili dissatisfied with president he recommended

By | March 19th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , |

Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is dissatisfied with the president that he selected as candidate. Ivanishvili selected Giorgi Margvelashvili as the Georgian Dream coalition’s candidate before the presidential election in October […]

Ten persons convicted in torture ring case in Georgia

By | March 18th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Ten persons have been convicted in the case about a secret weapons cache in Samegrelo, a region in eastern Georgia. In summer of last year, the government found weapons, video and audio recordings buried in barrels in the ground in Samegrelo. Apart […]

Dead fish found on shores of recreational lake near Tbilisi

By | March 18th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

Dead fish on the shores of Kumisi Lake. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A large number of dead fish has been discovered on the shores of Kumisi Lake. Specialists at the National Food Agency claim the fish died due to a lack of water and oxygen. Kumisi Lake is a popular place for anglers and lies about 20 km south […]

Georgian president visited soldiers in Afghanistan

By | March 18th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. (Photo by Defense Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has paid a visit to Afghanistan and met with Georgian soldiers participating in the ISAF mission. Supporters of former President Saakashvili have criticized Margvelashvili for not being active, even though […]

Afghanistan and Georgia consider economic cooperation

By | March 18th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osman with Maia Panjikidze, Georgia’s Foreign Minister. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Afghanistan is interested in Georgia’s location and prospects for cooperation in the fields of economy and transport, but nothing specific has yet been said about concrete project. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osman on Monday talked […]

NGO founded by former Georgian PM to offer media training

By | March 18th, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s new organization Citizen is to offer training courses for journalists. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A non-governmental organization founded by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is to offer training courses for journalists who work for Georgian media outlets. In a statement on Monday, the organization, called Citizen, explained the […]

Former head of Georgia’s special police charged with fraud

By | March 17th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Erekle Kodua, former head of the Special Operations Department. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has charged former Interior Ministry official Erekle Kodua with abuse of power and fraud. Erekle Kodua is former head of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operative Department (SOD). Investigators found that on August […]

Georgia’s foreign trade up 17% Jan-Feb

By | March 17th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s foreign trade turnover was USD 1 567 million in January-February 2014, according to preliminary figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The figures show that foreign trade turnover in the first two months of the year […]

Tbilisi does not recognize Crimea referendum

By | March 17th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi does not recognize the referendum in Crimea, according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry Sunday evening. The statement says the referendum was conducted as a result of Russian pressure of armed forces and in violation […]

Clashes in Tbilisi for and against Crimea referendum

By | March 17th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Supporters and opponents of the referendum in Crimea clashed in Tbilisi Sunday. A group called “Eurasian Choice” tried to hold a demonstration on Cholokashvili Street in front of the old Russian embassy building at 15:00, but were pushed away […]

Christian Democrats leader leaves amid coalition talks

By | March 16th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , |

Giorgi Targamadze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement, has left the party, after it began planning to form a coalition with Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement. Targamadze, a former TV journalist, said at a press […]

Georgia allows commercial gold mining in prehistoric cave

By | March 16th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The ancient Sakdrisi site. (Culture Ministry.) TBILISI, DFWatch–RMG Gold, a company which owns mines in the south of Georgia, was Friday given permission to start mining work in Sakdrisi. According to German and Georgian scientists, the site is an ancient mine with a rich history. Deputy Culture Minister Alexandre Margishvili […]

Georgian president holds first event at disputed residence

By | March 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

The president’s residence in Avlabari, Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili met with ambassadors at the president’s residence in Tbilisi, which has been nonoperational after Saakashvili left office in October, 2013. In a ceremony in the Avlabari residence, President Margvelashvili received […]

Georgian parliament to consider prosecution of one of their own

By | March 15th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Roland Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has asked parliament for its consent to start a criminal prosecution against one  parliamentarian, Roland Akhalaia. Parliament will announce its decision on Monday. MP Roland Akhalaia is father of Data […]

Georgian ‘propaganda’ TV in South Ossetia was run illegally

By | March 15th, 2014|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

Alania TV later turned into PIK TV. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A parliamentary commission in Georgia has exposed how one television station was operating for years without a license during Saakashvili. The channel, Alania, was found to have close links to the government while Saakashvili was in power and though […]

Jehova’s Witnesses accused of stoking separatism in Georgia

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Locals in Khobi, Georgia, accuse Jehova’s Witnesses of stoking separatism because they are using the minority language Megrelian. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Friday, about 100 Orthodox Christians demonstrated in Georgia against Jehovah’s Witnesses constructing a congregation center in their town. The Witnesses began building a Kingdom Hall in the western town of Khobi about a week ago. Today, opponents were […]

Former counterintelligence chief convicted in absentia

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

Data Akhalaia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former Georgian counterintelligence chief who is currently wanted was today convicted in absentia for abuse of power. Data Akhalaia, whose whereabouts are unknown, was head of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD). He was on trial for […]

Regarding the situation in Ukraine

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , , |

Alexandra Hall Hall is Britain’s Ambassador to Georgia. A choice isn’t a choice when it is made with a gun to your head. Yet on Sunday, the people of Crimea will be asked to make an impossible choice: to vote to become subjugated by Russia; or to vote for independence – with no guarantee that Russia will show any more […]

Two former counterintelligence officials arrested in Georgia

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Guram Donadze was also questioned, but said he had nothing to do with the fake video. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Chief Prosecutor in Georgia has ordered the arrest of former officials at the Constitutional Security Department (CSD), after they were questioned about the cases against Bacho and Data Akhalaia. Former CSD head Levan Kardava and Giorgi […]

UN, OSCE and EU diplomats on field trip in South Ossetia

By | March 14th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Antti Turunen, UN Secretary General’s Representative for Georgia, who was part of the delegation. (Photo by OSCE/Dieter Nagl.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Representatives of the United Nations, OSCE and European Union this week paid a two-day visit to South Ossetia and met with members of the breakaway region’s delegation to the Geneva talks. The delegation consisted of co-chairs of the talks, which […]

UNDP plans aid projects for USD 15 million in Abkhazia

By | March 13th, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , , |

The maternity ward at Gali hospital was renovated with the help of UNDP. (Frame from UN’s video report.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The United Nations is ready to finance projects in Abkhazia with USD 15 million this year. Resident Coordinator for the UN Development Program in Georgia, Niels Scott, told this to de facto President Aleksandre Ankvab, according to Apsnypress. […]

Georgian defense minister visits Italy

By | March 13th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , , |

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania (left), and Italy’s Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti. (Photo by Georgian Ministry of Defense. ) TBILISI, DFWatch–Italy and Georgia will strengthen their defense cooperation, according to a press release published by Georgia’s Ministry of Defense. Irakli Alasania, the Georgian defense minister, on Thursday met his Italian colleague Roberta Pinotti during a visit […]

Foreign investments in Georgia virtually unchanged in 2013

By | March 13th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

The top investment sector in 2013 was energy. Here Enguri dam. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia received USD 914 million in direct foreign investments in in 2013. This is 0.3 percent more than in 2012, according to preliminary figures from Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to the figures, direct foreign […]

National Movement designates candidate for Tbilisi mayor

By | March 13th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , |

Nika (Nikoloz) Melia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Georgia, the out-of-power National Movement party has designated its candidate for Tbilisi mayor by direct appointment. Nika Melia, a relatively unknown former official in the capital, was directly appointed, as the party chose not to conducted a […]

Theater play canceled in Georgia, actor listed as Putin supporter

By | March 12th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Sergey Bezrukov. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–A theater play featuring Russian actor Sergei Bezrukov has been canceled in Tbilisi, because of his support for Russia’s policy toward Crimea. The background is a petition signed by artists living and working in Russia who support President Putin’s […]

Georgian PM woos foreign investors

By | March 12th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , , |

Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia offers investors a favorable environment and a market of potentially 900 million people, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said during the Georgia-Israel Business Forum. Gharibashvili mentioned that a common system of allowances with 8 countries, […]

NATO may accept Georgia as member if Russia annexes Crimea

By | March 12th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , |

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania with Georgian soldiers. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia may move one step closer to joining NATO as a result of the Ukraine crisis. If Russia annexes Crimea, NATO will offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP), Russian daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday. The paper based its report on sources […]

Tbilisi to get rid of its old Soviet style apartment blocks

By | March 12th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

City authorities have hired an emirates company to tear down the old Soviet style blocks and build new ones ( TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian capital plans to dismantle its so-called Khrushchovkas, a type of low-cost apartment blocks that were built in Tbilisi during the Soviet Union. The project will be carried out by an investment holding company based in […]

Campaign asks people to turn off mobile phones in protest

By | March 11th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

Nino Lomjaria, head of International Society For Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED). (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several Georgian NGOs that are involved in the campaign ‘This Affects You Too-They Still Listen to Us’ call on citizens to turn off their mobile phones for two hours and protest against the government’s illegal wiretapping. Nino Lomjaria, head […]

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed again

By | March 11th, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Zurab Abashidze (left), the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations, and Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The direct talks between Georgia and Russia have been postponed again. Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations, and Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia should have met on March 4-5, […]

Georgia begins pilot project for e-government

By | March 11th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili emphasized the importance of strengthening local governments and proposed building more public service centers. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is starting a pilot project to introduce electronic government, or e-government. Representatives of the Justice Ministry on Monday presented an action plan for 2014-2018 named ‘digital Georgia’ which has 11 priority areas. The goal is […]

Georgia may revise taxation on some imported goods

By | March 11th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Gogi Topadze, one of the parliamentarians who authored the bill. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia may change the rules for VAT taxation and abolish advantages for importers of certain categories of goods. Parliament has started reviewing the draft, but the National Movement criticizes it and says they believe members of the ruling […]

Negotiations in Kazreti, the Georgian village on strike

By | March 11th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

The strike began February 14 and is to demand better work conditions and rehiring workers who were fired. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Negotiations have started in a Georgian village where the population has been on strike to protest the treatment of workers in the gold mines. A mediator appointed by the Ministry of Health held a first round of negotiations in Kazreti in the southern […]

Obama to meet Georgian PM at Hague summit

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , , , |

President Obama and Gharibashvili when they met last month at the White House. (Official photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–President Barack Obama writes in a letter that he hopes to meet Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili at the third Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague 23-25 March. The US president’s letter to Gharibashvili, published on Monday, […]

Georgian opposition parties call ruling coalition undemocratic

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , , , , , , |

Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement, is one of the signatories of the statement. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Political parties not represented in parliament accuse the government of making one-sided decisions in relation to the Election Code. The opposition parties accuse the governing Georgian Dream coalition of anti-democratic actions when it last week […]

Georgia to present 2014 reform plan to NATO

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

Alexi Petriashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s State Commission for NATO Integration on Monday approved the annual national program (ANP) for 2014, which will be presented to NATO. Alexi Petriashvili, Minister of Euro and Euro-Atlantic Integration, chaired […]

Riot interrupts football match in Georgia

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: News, Sport|Tags: , |

Fans of Kutaisi’s football club FC Torpedo ran onto the field and attacked the visiting players. (Photo published by Dinamo Tbilisi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A match of Georgia’s National Football Championship in Kutaisi between old rivals, local FC Torpedo and Dinamo Tbilisi, was interrupted by the riot of Torpedo fans who flooded the field and attacked Dinamo players and their fans. The score was 2-0 in […]

Villagers, Government reached agreement

By | March 10th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Adjarian villagers who on Saturday protested construction of a hydro-power plant and were dispersed by the police achieved agreement with the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.  Negotiations started at 03:00 am in the morning […]

Police beat villagers for Norwegian hydro power in Georgia

By | March 9th, 2014|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: , |

Seven hundred villagers clashed with two hundred police in Ghurta. (Video still from Adjara TV’s report.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia Saturday broke up a protest in a village where a Norwegian company wants to build a hydro power plant. About two hundred policemen were mobilized to break through a road block put up by villagers in Ghurta, in the south western Adjara […]

Budget gridlock finally solved in Tbilisi

By | March 8th, 2014|Categories: News, Politics|Tags: , |

Irakli Shikhiashvili, head of Tbilisi City Council. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Council decided to write the 2014 budget themselves, after refusing twice to pass drafts proposed by City Hall. The capital’s executive government is staffed by people from Saakashvili’s National Movement, but the city council is dominated […]

Four tourists dead in avalanche in Georgia

By | March 8th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Two German and two French citizens died in Ushguli, a village in the north of Svaneti, Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four tourists have died in an avalanche in Ushguli, a village in the Upper Svaneti region, north in Georgia. According to the local government in Mestia, two German and two French tourists have died. One French tourist survived. His health is in no […]

Hundreds from a Georgian mining village demonstrated in Tbilisi

By | March 8th, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: |

People from Kazreti and their supporters demand better work conditions for workers in the mines. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several hundreds people from the village Kazreti in southern Georgia demonstrated in front of the government office in Tbilisi on Friday. They demand that the government mediates between the workers and the company that owns the mines in their […]

Georgian parliament condemns Russia’s actions in Crimea

By | March 7th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , |

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said the debate about the Ukraine resolution was one of his most difficult days in parliament. TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliament in Georgia Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Russia’s deployment of military forces in Crimea, which it says is a threat to all of Europe. The resolution says Georgia became a victim of Russian military aggression in the war in 2008, […]

Georgian PM: ‘Suicide’ if Ukraine takes advice from Saakashvili

By | March 7th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili claims former President Mikheil Saakashvili is being used as an adviser by the new interim authorities in Ukraine. Appearing on a TV show Wednesday evening, he warned Ukrainian leaders not to trust the […]

Russian military helicopter and UAV fly over Georgia

By | March 7th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

A Russian helicopter of the type Mi-8 flew over an area near Gori in Georgia Thursday. (Photo by U.S. Department of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Russian military helicopter violated Georgian air space on Thursday. The helicopter, which was of the type Mi-8, flew over an area in the vicinity of the towns Gori and Kaspi, according to Georgia’s Foreign Ministry. According to the ministry, the helicopter took […]

2012’s democracy campaign revived in Georgia

By | March 6th, 2014|Categories: NGO news|Tags: , |

Kakha Kozhoridze, one of the campaigners. (Video still from the new ad by This Affects You Too.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A campaign in Georgia which played an important role ahead of Saakashvili’s unexpected election defeat in 2012 has been revived. The campaign This Affects You Too is being brought back to life in order to fight against illegal surveillance by […]

Georgia miners’ strike gathers more supporters

By | March 6th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

From the Chiatura miners’ strike in November 2012. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The strike among mine workers in western Georgia is continuing. Workers in the coal mines in Chiatura demand better conditions and higher salaries, both of which they were promised over a year ago at the end of an extensive protest. […]

New charges against Bacho Akhalaia lawyer

By | March 6th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Goga (Giorgi) Oniani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has brought in new charges against a lawyer representing former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia. Prosecutors have already charged Goga Oniani, a former police official, with harassing a man printing t-shirts […]

47 % price hike on vegetables in Georgia

By | March 6th, 2014|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: , |

Vegetable prices had a projected annual growth of 46.6 percent in February, according to GeoStat. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Vegetable prices are on course to a 46.6 % projected annual increase in Georgia, new figures from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat, show. Georgia’s monthly inflation rate was 0.2 percent in February, according to the new report. In February […]

Georgian receives Women of Courage Award

By | March 5th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Michelle Obama and Rusudan Gotsiridze. (Photo published by the US Embassy.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Rusudan Gotsiridze, Bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, has been given the International Women of Courage Award 2014. The award ceremony was held in Washington DC. Gotsiridze received the award because of her merits in promoting […]

37% of children in Georgia are below the poverty line

By | March 5th, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , |

Twelve refugee families living in a derelict hospital building in Zugdidi in July, 2013. (DF Watch photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–37 percent of children in Georgia live below the poverty line, according to a new report by UNICEF. Child poverty increased 2 percent in 2013, compared to 2011. Georgia has the second highest rate of inequality in Europe, the organization writes. […]

Georgia’s parliament to hold meetings in two cities

By | March 5th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

Old parliament in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili has started working at the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The speaker explained it was only the first step in a gradual moving process. “Parliament will be moved back to Tbilisi step by step,” he said, […]

Presidents of Turkey and Georgia discussed Ukraine crisis

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: , , |

President of Turkey Abdullah Gül. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The presidents of Georgia and Turkey have spoken on phone about the latest events in Ukraine. President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, and the Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, underlined the importance of supporting the territorial integrity […]

EUs Füle working ‘intensely’ on timetable for Georgia trade pact

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: Europe, News|Tags: |

Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia says negotiations with the European Union about the schedule and procedures for signing the Association Agreement must be finished in March. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said this after meeting with Štefan Füle, European Commissioner […]

Police complaints authority will increase public’s trust

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Eka Khutsishvili is criminal lawyer, Master of Law. In 2007, it was revealed that Georgian society was immensely dissatisfied with the performance of the police, and this negative perception has been growing incessantly. What are the reasons for the lack of trust in the police, and what does Georgia have to do […]

Georgians demonstrated against Russian fences in Atotsi

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Some carried Ukrainian flags. (Maestro TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several hundred people demonstrated Monday near the de facto border with South Ossetia, to highlight the recent resumption of installation of barbed wire by Russian soldiers. The demonstration was held in the village Atotsi, near the town Kareli. […]

Georgian ministers call Ukrainian interim counterparts

By | March 4th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Monday spoke by phone with Ukraine’s acting defense and foreign ministers. In the phone conversation, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze expressed deep concern about the events taking place […]

Suspect in 2006 Kodori Valley crisis detained in Tbilisi

By | March 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Emzar Kvitsiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Emzar Kvitsiani, who was accused of organizing a mutiny in Kodori Valley and has been wanted since 2006, has been detained as he arrived at Tbilisi airport. Tbilisi City Court placed him in pretrial detention. Since 2006, police have been offering […]

French, German FMs postpone visits due to Ukraine crisis

By | March 3rd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , , |

Laurent Fabius (left) and Frank-Walter Steinmeier when they announced the trip in January. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The foreign ministers of France and Germany and an EU commissioner have postponed their visits to Georgia due to the latest developments in Ukraine. EU Commissioner Stefan Fule should have visited Georgia on Monday while Laurent Fabius and Frank […]

Tbilisi City Council March 7 makes last attempt to pass budget

By | March 3rd, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Council will hold a special session on March 7 to once more put the city’s 2014 budget bill to a vote. City Hall has sent a draft budget to the council for the fourth time, but the council failed to approve it. The capital has remained […]

Hundreds rallied outside Ukrainian embassy in Tbilisi

By | March 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: |

The demonstration started outside Ukraine’s embassy and continued across the street at the former Russian embassy. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of Ukraine on Sunday outside the Ukrainian embassy in Tbilisi. Some came carrying Ukrainian flags and some were dressed in yellow and blue. Their posters bore slogans like “Save Ukraine”, “Russia go […]

Georgia reacts to Russian Duma’s Ukraine resolution

By | March 2nd, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia’s actions in Crimea are a brutal intervention in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state and calls on the international community to not allow a new conflict to escalate in Europe. The Georgian […]

Protest in Tbilisi for better protection of workers’ rights

By | March 1st, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

‘Jurisdiction continues underground,’ the poster on the right says. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several hundred people gathered outside the government building in Tbilisi on Friday to demand better protection of workers’ rights. Workers are on strike several places in Georgia. In Kazreti, the entire village is protesting against a mass […]

Stefan Fule to visit Georgia March 3-4

By | March 1st, 2014|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

EU Commissioner Stefan Fule (right) during a previous meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili in Brussels February 3, 2014. (Government photo.) TBILISI, DFWatch–EU Commissioner Stefan Fule is planning a visit to Georgia next Monday and Tuesday. According to his press office, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy will meet with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister […]

Why is a whole village in Georgia on strike?

By | March 1st, 2014|Categories: Society|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

School kids on strike (DF Watch) TBILISI, DFWatch–For about two weeks, the entire Kazreti village has been on strike. People have joined the strike among workers in the gold mines. Eight people are on hunger strike. The workers want increased salaries, improved working conditions and insurance, and […]