Monthly Archives: January 2017

Theories swirl about what started Tbilisi shopping centre fire

By | January 31st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Radio Tavisupleba.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several theories were circulating about the cause of a massive fire Monday morning near Tbilisi’s central railway station, which is estimated to have done several million US dollars’ worth of damage, but there is still no firm information about why it started. […]

Terminated employees protesting in front of Georgia’s Defense Ministry

By | January 31st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Hundreds of people protested outside the Defense Ministry on Monday against a mass layoff affecting over two thousand people, demanding fair treatment and respect for labor regulations. Protesters demand to get their jobs back and claim the ministry […]

Georgia dismisses over 2,000 defense employees

By | January 30th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has carried out its biggest layoff ever, as more than two thousands employees were dismissed on Monday. Both military and civilian personnel were affected by the mass layoff. The ministry explained the firings […]

Massive fire at Tbilisi shopping mall spreads, rips through central bazaar

By | January 30th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–Thirty fire fighters in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are trying to extinguish a massive fire that broke out Monday morning at a shopping mall near the city’s central railway station. The blaze has spread to surrounding buildings and engulfed […]

Georgians in Abkhazia protest closure of border crossings

By | January 29th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Authorities in Abkhazia have closed Nabakevi and Otobaya border crossings connecting the breakaway region to Georgia proper. The closing of the two checkpoints was announced by Lasha Tsaava, head of the legal department of the de facto […]

Georgia’s president pardons former Defense Ministry officials

By | January 28th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president on Friday pardoned five former defense ministry officials who were convicted of embezzlement in a politically charged case. The release of the five from prison Friday evening concludes one of the most significant […]

Bologna inclusion lifted quality of Georgia’s education system

By | January 28th, 2017|Categories: Education|Tags: , |

(OSGF.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has bolstered the quality of its higher education and research, thanks to its inclusion in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the authors of a new report argue. By joining the EHEA, popularly referred to as the Bologna process, […]

Georgian soldier freed by Kiev despite Russian extradition request

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–A Georgian volunteer soldier in Ukraine was released from pre-trial detention Thursday evening, thus avoiding extradition to Russia, where he is accused of a murder in 2003. Gia Tsertsvadze thanked his supporters as he left prison but declined making further comments. […]

Georgian PM lectures EPP head on separation of powers

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

From left to right: Giga Bokeria, Joseph Daul, Gigi Ugulava, Davit Bakradze and Gigi Tsereteli. TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s prime minister gave an EU politician a lesson in the separation of powers in democracies on Tuesday, explaining that a government cannot interfere in decisions made by the courts. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the head of government […]

Georgian volunteer soldier’s arrest in Kiev stirs controversy in Georgia

By | January 26th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

(Protest at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Tbilisi, Jan. 23. TBILISI, DFWatch–The top prosecutor in Ukraine is calling off a criminal case against a Georgian man who volunteered to fight in the war in Donbass. The man is accused of a murder in Sochi in 2003 and risks extradition to Russia. His defense lawyer at the trial […]

Vano Merabishvili quits post in Saakashvili’s party

By | January 24th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Vano Merabishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former interior minister and close ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as secretary general of the National Movement on Monday, the latest episode of a turbulent few months for the party that reformed Georgia over the course of a decade. […]

Georgia ushers in bill to criminalize FGM after news report

By | January 24th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

The practice is in use in Kvareli and a few other villages in the east of Georgia. (Aida Mirmaksumova.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has proposed a bill which will make it a crime to carry out female genital mutilation. The bill comes after a journalist revealed last fall that the practice was still in use in a few villages in the east of the country. […]

Republican Party appoints woman to key position

By | January 24th, 2017|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Tamar Kordzaia, party political secretary (right) and Khatuna Samnidze, the chairwoman. (Photo by Republican Party.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Republican Party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Saturday appointed a woman former lawmaker as new political secretary. The appointment the 39-year-old lawyer Tamar Kordzaia is seen as a move to promote gender equality in politics. […]

Paul Goble: I fear that Trump will largely ignore countries like Georgia

By | January 22nd, 2017|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , , , , , |

Paul A. Goble. (VoA.) To assess the latest developments in the domestic and foreign affairs of Georgia, Voice of America’s (VOA) Anna Kalandadze interviewed Washington-based long-standing Eurasia observer Paul Goble. The Georgian-language interview first appeared on VOA.  Here is an English version: […]

Tbilisi joins global Women’s March against Trump

By | January 22nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Dodie Kharkheli.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Like many other cities around the world, also Tbilisi held a women’s march on Saturday, following the inauguration of Donald Trump as new US President. The march was aimed at raising awareness about women’s rights and other civil rights issues and started […]

Saakashvili-supporters regain control of the National Movement

By | January 21st, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Free Zone.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The pro-Saakashvili wing of the opposition National Movement party took control of the party on Friday at a high-profile convention that concluded a months long internal feud. According to party officials, over 7,000 delegates took part in the event at Tbilisi Sports Hall. […]

First end-of-life care unit for children opens in Tbilisi

By | January 20th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

First lady Maka Chichua spoke at the opening of the new children’s hospice in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) (DFWatch.) (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–After years of fundraising and hard work, a new end-of-life care unit for children living with life limiting illnesses has finally opened in Tbilisi. The center is a hospice for minors who need a specific type of palliative care. At the opening ceremony on Tuesday, […]

Georgia’s ruling party bounces in first post-election poll

By | January 19th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The ruling party bounces in a new opinion poll published on Wednesday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) now dominates Georgian politics with nearly half of voters sympathetic to it. The poll was […]

Lawyer’s group asks Georgian government to disclose Gazprom deal

By | January 18th, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: , |

Sulkhan Saladze, project coordinator in Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association. (Imedi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A group of lawyers in the former Soviet republic Georgia calls on the government to disclose a controversial deal it recently struck with the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom over switching monetized payments for transiting Russian gas to Armenia. […]

Gazprom deal threatens Georgia’s fundamental interests, president warns

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili views a controversial deal recently struck between the Georgian government and the Russian-owned energy giant Gazprom as less favorable than the previous agreement, and ‘harmful’ to the political and economic […]

Saakashvili believes Georgian tycoon Ivanishvili masterminded UNM’s failure

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili was interviewed by Giorgi Gabunia on Rustavi 2. TBILISI, DFWatch–Following the high-profile breakup of Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday sat down with Tbilisi based television channel Rustavi 2 and gave his first interview about […]

About a former KGB operative’s lawsuit

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Opinion|Tags: , |

Igor Giorgadze has sued DFWatch. Igor Giorgadze, the former Security Minister of Georgia, and an extremely controversial person in the country’s modern history, has sued DFWatch for an article published on July 23. First of all, he objects to the title of the English version of the article, which refers to him as ‘public enemy number one’. […]

Poll shows stable support for EU and NATO among Georgians

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Support among Georgians for joining NATO and the European Union has fallen slightly but remains high, according to a new opinion poll published on Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The survey was carried out in […]

In pictures: Sunday prayer in Batumi mosque

By | January 16th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

BATUMI, DFWatch–One Sunday in December, Muslims are cramming into the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi. Despite a three decades long effort to get permission to build a second mosque, they still have only one mosque to go to despite the city’s sizable Muslim population. […]

Saakashvili’s UNM splits in three factions in parliament

By | January 15th, 2017|Categories: News|

Azer Suleimanov saved the UNM from disappearing in parliament. TBILISI, DFWatch–The party that ran the former Soviet republic Georgia for nearly a decade has split into three factions in parliament after a long internal feud over the role of its former leader Mikheil Saakashvili. For a few days, there was doubt over whether what […]

Gazprom to switch to monetary transit fee for using Georgia pipeline

By | January 14th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Anti-Gazprom demonstration in Tbilisi March, 2016. (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has agreed to less favourable conditions for allowing its territory to be used by Russian energy giant Gazprom to transit natural gas to Armenia. The resulting deal is is expected to be met with harsh criticism from the opposition and local energy experts. […]

EU parliament committee approves visa-free access for Georgians

By | January 13th, 2017|Categories: Europe|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–3.7 million Georgian nationals came one step closer to getting visa-free access to EU’s vast borderless Schengen area on Tuesday, as members of the LIBE committee in the EU parliament added their seal of approval to the plan. The Committee on Civil Liberties, […]

Republican Party presents legislation to combat violence against women

By | January 13th, 2017|Categories: Crime|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–In the former Soviet republic Georgia, the Republican Party has proposed legislation that will make femicide a separate crime – a gender-based hate crime which is causing alarm in the country. The Republicans, a party formed by Soviet dissenters in the 1970s, […]

Party which reformed Georgia during a decade breaks apart

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Davit Bakradze (left), the probable chairman of the new party, and Gigi Ugulava at Thursday’s briefing. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–Three months long infighting in Georgia’s main opposition party concluded with dozens of members announcing their departure and formation of a new opposition party on Thursday. 38 heads of municipal and regional organizations […]

Police move on libertarians for NYE cannabis planting stunt

By | January 12th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Detectives removing marijuana plants from the Girchi party office. Party supporters booing. TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in the former Soviet republic Georgia entered the office of a libertarian party on Wednesday, seizing 84 cannabis plants that were planted eleven days earlier in a publicity stunt to promote the decriminalization of drugs. The three officers spent […]

Breakaway South Ossetia prepares for presidential elections in spring

By | January 11th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Campaigning will soon begin for the election to become new de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. The secessionist parliament of the region must schedule the date of the election and start the campaign before January 29. […]

Breakup of Saakashvili’s UNM party seems inevitable

By | January 11th, 2017|Categories: News|

Newly released from prison, ex-Mayor Gigi Ugulava quickly became the leader of the anti-Saakashvili wing of the UNM. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Leading figures in Georgia’s main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) seemed to acknowledge that a split is inevitable in comments made on Tuesday. “This party is no longer united. When people don’t say hello […]

Son of former opposition leader charged with assaulting Rustavi 2 director

By | January 10th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Rati Gachechiladze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The son of a former opposition politician in Georgia was Monday officially charged with having assaulted the director of the largest opposition TV channel. The suspect Rati Gachechiladze (29) pleaded guilty and was released on 5,000 laris (USD 1,800) bail. […]

Atlantic Council Vice-President: Perhaps it’s time to go on the offensive

By | January 9th, 2017|Categories: Interviews|Tags: , , , |

Damon Wilson, Executive Vice-President of the US Atlantic Council. To assess the visit by three top US Senators, John Mccain (R- AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Amy Klobucher (D-MN) to Georgia and Ukraine, Voice of America’s (VOA) Anna Kalandadze interviewed  Washington-based Damon Wilson, Executive Vice-President of US Atlantic Council. […]

Rustavi 2 head assaulted at father’s funeral meal by son of Maestro director

By | January 8th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Nika Gvaramia at the police station. (Palitra TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The director of Georgia’s largest opposition-leaning TV channel was physically assaulted at a restaurant in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The attack took place as Rustavi 2 director Nika Gvaramia was preparing to leave a restaurant after the funeral of his father. […]

Ad showing murder of Santa goes viral in Georgia

By | January 7th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A New Year’s commercial in Georgia has caused controversy for showing Santa Claus being murdered in front of a child. Now, the Public Defender calls on the advertisement company to stop airing the ad. The video (16+) ‘Santa […]

Georgia’s Public Broadcaster selects new head who has links to Ivanishvili

By | January 7th, 2017|Categories: Media|Tags: , , , |

New GPB director Vasil Maglaperidze. (Channel 1.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The supervisory board of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB) on Thursday selected as new director a candidate with close ties to the ruling party and personal links to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The decision to appoint Vasil Maglaperidze […]

Former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava released from prison

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: |

Gigi Ugulava. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The former mayor of Tbilisi was released from prison Friday evening. Tbilisi Court of Appeal partially reduced his sentence to 1 year, 3 months and 22 days. As the detention is counted from September 18, 2015, his term expired on January 6. […]

Ivanishvili-linked GDS TV to shut down political programs

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Bidzina Ivanishvili appearing on ‘2030’ in 2015. TBILISI, DFWatch–A pro-government TV channel in Georgia is suspending its political programs in the wake of a merger of the country’s three major mainstream TV companies, a local online news website reports. GDS is closing down its ‘2030’ program, […]

Culture house in Pankisi may close following ‘intentional’ fire

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A culture house in the Pankisi Gorge in the northern part of Kakheti may close after a fire that staff say was deliberately started. The fire on Tuesday didn’t cause much damage, but a spokesperson for the organization which runs the center […]

Influx of visitors to Georgia jumped 8 % in 2016

By | January 5th, 2017|Categories: Economy|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Almost 6.3 million people visited Georgia from abroad in 2016. This is 7.9 percent more than last year, the head of Georgian National Tourism Administration announced on Tuesday. Out of the total number, over 2.7 million stayed in the country for 24 hours or longer […]

Fire at Pankisi culture center was ‘intentionally set’

By | January 4th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(Radio Way.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A fire that broke out at a culture house in the Pankisi Gorge was intentionally started, a spokesperson for the center told a local radio station. The building is located in Duisi, the largest village of Pankisi, a mountainous area of Georgia inhabited predominantly […]

‘Come get us’ – Libertarians invite police action after NYE weed planting

By | January 4th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Zurab Japaridze from the libertarian Girchi party. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Leaders of a small libertarian party in the former Soviet republic Georgia ask authorities to hold them to account after a marijuana planting stunt four days ago meant to force a softening of the country’s drug policy. So far, the activists have not […]

John McCain reaffirms U.S. security guarantee during visit to Georgia

By | January 2nd, 2017|Categories: Security|Tags: , , |

Senators John McCain (R), Lindsey Graham (R) and Amy Klobuchar (D). (Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three American senators wrapped up their trip to Georgia on Monday by sending not-so-well wishes for the new year to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. The two Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and the their Democratic colleague […]

Georgian opposition party plants marijuana on New Year’s Eve

By | January 2nd, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

(Pirveli TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The leader of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic Georgia made a small marijuana plantation inside the party office on New Year’s Eve as part of a campaign to decriminalize soft drugs. Zurab Japaridze, leader of a newly formed party called […]