Two blocks to participate in Georgian parliamentary elections
The Central Election Commission of Georgia registered to participate in parliamentary elections two electoral blocks. As reported Trend in the CEC of Georgia, the deadline for submission of election blocks expired on Sunday.
The first election block is "Bidzina Ivanishvili - Georgia Dream", which includes six parties: "Georgia's dream - Democratic Georgia", the Conservative Party, "Industry will Save Georgia", the Republican Party, "Our Georgia - Free Democrats" and "National Forum". 21.08.12 More
Two Georgian battalions prepare for Afghan deployment
Georgian soldiers were participating in a mission-rehearsal exercise for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. U.S. Army Europe photo by Spc. Joshua E. Leonard.
Georgian Defense Minister, Dimitri Shashkin, visited the U.S. army training center in southern Germany this week where Georgian soldiers from two battalions are undergoing training ahead of their deployment in Afghanistan. 17.08.12 More
Former member of Georgian parliament murdered in Minsk
The former member of the Georgian parliament and mafia boss Bondo Shalikian has been shot and killed in Minsk, Belarus. According to Belarusian police, the murder took place in the night of August 7.
Investigators in Belarus are working from the theory that it was a contract murder motivated by a conflict between criminal groups.
Shalikian was claimed to be a mafia boss. His troubles with law enforcement in his home country drove him to leave, and he settled in Russia, becoming a citizen there. He went into politics in the end of 1990s, was elected member of Kutaisi city council in 2002, in 2003 he was elected as member of parliament from a single-mandate district in Tkibuli, Imereti. 08.08.12 More
Iran suspends visa-free rules with Georgia for 26 days
Starting from August 5 till the end of this month Iran is suspending visa-free travel rules for the Georgian citizens for security reasons as Tehran prepares to host the Non-Aligned Movement's summit on August 26-31, according to the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). 06.08.12 More
Secrets of Georgia’s political police operation
A memory card belonging to a policeman in a small village has been presented by an organization which says it reveals how authorities are systematically monitoring people’s political sympathies.
The memory card belongs to Shmagi Uratadze, who works for Lanchkhuti police district. Members of Coalition For Freedom of Choice decline to say how they obtained the card.
Head of the Association of Regional Media and a member of Freedom of Choice, Ia Mamaladze, said at a press conference Monday that the memory card contains information about the population of two villages. There are lists showing where people work, which political parties they support and what channels they are able to receive via their satellite dishes. 30.07.12 More
Implementation of presidential agreement on U.S.-Georgian military cooperation discussed in Tbilisi
Georgian Defense Minister Dmitri Shashkin and Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, United States European Command's Deputy Director for Plans, Policy and Strategy discussed issues of implementation of an agreement on defense cooperation in Tbilisi on Thursday, which was reached between the presidents of Georgia and United States. 26.07.12 More
Georgia to receive WB loan for economic development
The World Bank will grant Georgia a loan for Competitiveness and Growth Development Operation (CG DPO), Trend reports.
The loan is one of the main components for cooperation of the World Bank and Georgia in 2010-2013. Georgia will use the funds for improvement of access for foreign investment, support for trade, energy investment, stimulation of social expenditure, medical services and social support programs. 20.07.12 More
Georgia to supply US military
The former Soviet republic of Georgia is to become a supplier of goods the U.S. military. Georgian Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili announced the news Tuesday during the opening of a conference on Georgian-American cooperation in Batumi.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili met in January 2012 and agreed to deepen cooperation.
At the conference in Batumi, Pentagon officials were attending. Batu Kutelia, Deputy Secretary of Georgia’s Security Council, told journalists that the goal of the meeting is also to let Georgian products get on the list of Pentagon purchasing to later get Georgian products on the international market. 12.07.12 More
Georgian parliament confirms controversial new PM
Parliament voted 102 against 7 today to declare trust in the new government and its action plan presented by a former Interior Minister.
From now on, Georgia’s prime minister will be Vano Merabishvili. The former defense minister will take over as interior minister. There are changes in education and refugee ministries too, and a position of employment minister has been created. 04.07.12 More
Saakashvili promises Georgians NATO membership in 2014
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has renewed his old election pledge about getting his country into NATO, as he is facing parliamentary and presidential elections.
The promise has been a mainstay of Saakashvili’s election campaigning since the rose revolution in 2003.
Ahead of the 2004 parliamentary and presidential elections, he promised to restore Georgia’s territorial integrity and secure NATO membership before the end of his second term. But none of the promises were met. Despite this, Saakashvili still promises NATO integration, but now he says it will happen in 2014, which is after the end of his last term. 26.06.12 More
U.S. will aid Georgia in military surveillance
The United States might might provide military assistance to Georgia’s air and sea defenses.
According to a common statement by the U.S. and Georgia as part of the strategic partnership established in 2009, the U.S. might contribute to surveillance systems for air and sea defense.
“We discussed options to help Georgia develop its air surveillance and air defense and coastal surveillance capabilities as well as defensive combat engineer capabilities, improve leadership and training skills of its non-commissioned officers, advance the command and control abilities of its brigade headquarters, and prepare to upgrade its utility helicopter fleet,” the statement reads. 18.06.12 More
Clinton spoke about democracy and reforms in Georgia
Hillary Clinton Tuesday morning kicked off her visit to Georgia by speaking at a conference of the U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership in Batumi.
The partnership was established in the wake of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008.
During the opening ceremony at the Radisson Hotel, the U.S. Secretary of State called on Georgia’s leaders to conduct a competitive election campaign. 05.06.12 More
Secret phone surveillance in Georgia – is it legal?
Georgia’s education minister on Monday fired the head the of National Examinations Center, which is known as a successfully reformed state body.
The minister said the reason was differences over how to implement reforms. But there are suspecions that the real reason is that Maya Miminoshvili’s son attended an opposition rally on Sunday. She confirms that her son really was there together with his wife and he told her mother about it by phone. That’s why Miminoshvili suspects that her phone calls are being listened in to.
Firing a person because of a family member’s political views is one topic, secret phone surveillance another. A large part of the Georgian population, including politicians and media representatives, believe that they are under surveillance. It seems that government representatives believe so too. 29.05.12 More
Georgia, Azerbaijan agree to settle border issue
Georgia and Azerbaijan will do everything possible to avoid tensions over the David Gareji monastery complex at their common border until they reach an agreement to complete border delimitation in the area, Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze said on Monday.
Earlier this month, Georgian media reported that Azeri border guards had been deployed at the ancient monastery complex, a potential UNESCO World Heritage site some 60 kilometers from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
The monastery complex, whose history traces back to the 6th century AD, is located on a mountain separating Georgia from Azerbaijan, and occupies part of the Georgian-Azerbaijani border that has remained undelimited since the breakup of the Soviet Union. 21.05.12 More
Georgia makes the income of officials secret
Georgia is doing away with a law which guaranteed the public access to information about public officials.
This means that details about the income, expenses and social benefits of public persons will remain unknown to the public.
Openness in this area was regulated by the Administrative Code, where there was a separate article, saying that the personal data of officials and candidates nominated for official positions are public. 17.05.12 More
Secrecy law criticized by groups in Georgia
Two groups in Georgia want to change a new secrecy law which they say restricts access to public information.
Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information preparedrecommendations to amend the law on information security, which they think violates both the constitution and the administrative code. 26.04.12 More
Geocell criticized on Swedish TV for role in Georgia spy case
In Sweden, Geocell was criticized last Wednesday for letting the Saakashvili regime tap into its network to frame four journalists in 2011.
The truth is not yet known about the four Georgian photojournalists who were charged as Russian spies in 2011. But many regard the charges, which never came as far as to a trial, as punishment for having documented the police brutality on the night of May 26, which led to at least four deaths. 23.04.12 More
Georgia to no longer allow Russian observation flights
Georgia will no longer let Russia conduct observation flights over its territory, and has suspended its obligations under a post-Cold War treaty which provide countries with mutual openness in each other’s military activities.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry says it is suspending obligations under the Open Skies treaty, because Russia no longer is fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.
Open Skies is a treaty adopted by 27 OSCE member states on March 24, 1992, in Helsinki. The purpose of the agreement is to promote openness and transparency in military activities, monitoring compliance with existing treaties in the field of arms control and strengthening security through confidence building measures. 09.04.12 More
NATO chief reaffirms membership pledge to Georgia
NATO once again underlines that the decision that Georgia will become member of Alliance stands firm.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, said this today during a press conference with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
He said Georgia is a special partner to NATO and noted the country’s contribution to peacekeeping operations. 04.04.12 More
Georgian official warns of new war with Russia
A top Georgian security official warns that there could be another war with Russia.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 over two breakaway republics. Now the secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council warns that an unprecedented military exercise Russia is planning in September could be the prelude to another war. Russia regularly holds exercises in the North Caucasus, but this year’s Kavkaz 2012 will for the first time take place in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway republics currently occupied by Russia, as well as at a Russian military base inside Armenia. 03.04.12 More
President Saakashvili’s paramilitaries are clan based – claim
An opposition politician in Georgia Tuesday described in more detail what he knows about an alleged paramilitary force recently established by President Saakashvili in the west of the country.
But he said documents about the illegal armed units will not be made public at this stage, because part of the country is occupied and this information could be used against Georgia. Instead, the documents have been delivered to Georgia’s Security Council with an appeal to react.
Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats, one of the opposition leaders, political partner of billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili and former ambassador of Georgia to UN said this at a March 20 briefing. 21.03.12 More
Israel recognizes Georgia’s ‘neutral’ passports
Israel has recognized Georgia’s so-called neutral travel documents, according to the ministry on reintegration issues. Neutral travel document and neutral ID are a system for issuing passports and identity documents to the population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, proposed by Georgia.
The stated goal is to give people an opportunity to use social services and to travel abroad. Most of the inhabitants in the two regions today have Russian passports and locally issued passports which are not recognized internationally. 24.08.12 More
Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing plans UK investment
Georgian state-owned Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TbilAviaMsheni or TAM) has teamed up with Ukrainian flight simulator producer, Market-Mats, to invest in the Hereford enterprise zone in the west of England, according to the UK government.
The U.S.-based business development consultancy Get It Group LLC, working with TAM, and Market-Mats have signed an exclusivity agreement to locate their advanced manufacturing campuses in the Hereford Enterprise Zone, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said last week. 20.08.12 More
Georgia and Israel signed new air service agreement
The agreement will gradually integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for industry, including airlines, and consumers.
A new air service agreement was signed on August 6 between Georgia and Israel in Tbilisi. The agreement was signed by Vera Kobalia the Minister of Economy and Sustainable development of Georgia and Israel Katz Israel Minister of Transport & Road Safety. 16.08.12 More
Georgian Defense Ministry to start implementing new concept in 2013
Ministry of Defence of Georgia has a new concept. The Action Document of the Defence Ministry is based on so called 3T principles and includes Total Care, Total Training and Total Defence.
One of the most important components of the Concept is Total Care which comes into force gradually until 2013. Total care includes the following components:
• Transport privileges;
• Banking privileges;
• Financial benefits and employment;
• Provision of residential property;
• Recreation. 07.08.12 More
Georgia sets date for parliamentary election
Georgia will hold parliamentary elections on Monday, October 1, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
According to the constitution elections should be held in October, but it was up to the President to set an exact date no later than two months before the voting day.
Setting of the election date marks formal launch of pre-election period, which means that whole set of legal obligations envisaged by the election code will now go into effect, among them restrictions on use of administrative resources, as well as ‘must-carry’ rules, obligating cable operators to transmit television channels with news programs before the election day. 02.08.12 More
Document security training held in Georgia
Twenty three representatives from the border guard, police and customs agencies from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine received training on the subject of document security in Tbilisi, Georgia, earlier this month. The training session, entitled ‘Concept of Document Security’, was part of the Eastern Partnership Integrated Border Management Programme, and was conducted by international experts from the Dutch Royal Marechaussee, Slovakia and a representative of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU’s member states (FRONTEX) representative.
During the three-day session, training on first line document security and identification of forged/falsified documents was delivered based on examples from EU member states. Topics such as technical and tactical profiling and printing techniques were discussed. 27.07.12 More
Georgian Government hires more U.S. lobbying firms
Georgian government has hired two more Washington lobbying firms, Prime Policy Group and Gephardt Government Affairs, which will provide outreach to and advocacy before the Congress and the U.S. administration over free trade and election-related issues.
The Georgian National Security Council (NSC) signed a six-month contract worth USD 150,000 with Prime Policy Group in June, according to filings submitted by the firm under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
Charles R. Black, who was the senior political advisor to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, is chairman of Prime Policy Group. The New York Times described Black as “super-lobbyist” who “is among those counseling” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 24.07.12 More
Commander of U.S. Army in Europe visits Tbilisi
Lieutenant General Mark P. Hertling, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe, holds series of meetings with senior Georgian government and military officials in Tbilisi on July 17, according to the U.S. embassy.
It said that the commander of the U.S. army in Europe would discuss ongoing military cooperation and training of Georgia troops and would “thank Georgia for its continued significant contributions to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.” 17.07.12 More
Less Georgians want NATO membership
There is a significant drop in support among Georgians for their country being integrated in NATO. In six months, the level of support has fallen from 70 to 62 percent.
Also the support for Georgia being integrated with the EU has dropped since February 2012: It is now at 70 percent, which is down four percentage points since February. These are some of the findings in a new survey done by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The survey also shows that 87 percent are unhappy with the current state of relations with Russia. But not more than 44 percent thinks Russia poses a real threat to Georgia. 29 thinks Russia does pose a threat, but that the threat has been exaggerated. 12 percent thinks there is no threat from Russia. 11.07.12 More
American election observers arriving in Georgia in July
The International Republican Institute (IRI) is sending a long-term observer mission to Georgia, which will arrive on July 18.
Resident Country Director Andrea Keerbs says the IRI will have both long-term and short-term observers from the U.S. and Europe. July 21, the long-term mission will be distributed to different regions of Georgia.
25-26 observers are expected to come, she said. The National Democratic Institute has also started gearing up for the election in Georgia and will tomorrow present its first report about the election campaign. 28.06.12 More
Georgian mining companies bought by Russian investors
Two of the largest mining companies in Georgia have been taken over by Russian owners.
The owner of Madneuli and Quartzite, GeoProMining, June 14 published a statement which says that the two companies have been sold for USD 120 million. But the statement didn’t specify who the new owners are. June 19 the two companies released another statement, which said that Capital Group Company bought them on June 14.Shareholders of the latter are Russian businessmen Dmitry Korzhev and Dimitry Troitsky.
Forbes has listed Dmitry Korzhev on 1 140th place among billionaires worldwide and on 94th place in Russia. Dmitry Troitsky shares the same place with Korzhev in Forbes’ lists. Russian Forbes lists Korzhev on 123th place among richest Russian businessmen in 2012. He’s a a board member of O’Key, one of Russia’s largest supermarket chain. His property amounts to about USD 800 million. 21.06.12 More
OSCE election observers arrive in Georgia
A group of experts from the OSCE has arrived in Georgia to study the situation before the election.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Nino Kalandadze says the experts, who come from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), will stay until June 16. They are in Georgia after an official invitation. The delegation will have meetings with the government, the opposition and various groups.
Parliamentary elections are to be conducted in October, but the exact date is not yet set.
In the beginning of 2012, representatives of civil society in Georgia asked the government to invite long-term international observer missions to Georgia, to monitor the situation during the whole election year, not just the last six weeks before the election, which is the usual duration of long term observer mission. 11.06.12 More
New 210 MW hydro power station to be built in Georgia
President Mikheil Saakashvili Monday marked the start of construction work for a new hydro power station in a mountainous region in Western Georgia.
The Nenskra power station in the village Chuberi will deliver 210 megawatt when finished.
According to Georgia’s Energy Ministry, the Chinese Company ShinoHydro will build Nenskra HPP. USD 630 million will be invested. Constructions will be managed by Georgian Railway’s subsidiary Company Nenskra. 25.04.12 More
Russia protests Georgia’s withdrawal from treaty
Russia considers Georgia’s decision to terminate its obligations under the Open Skies treaty with respect to Russia a flagrant violation of the treaty.
“The Treaty does not provide any discriminatory restrictions on the rights of any state party. The actions of the Georgian side lead to a violation of the rights of the Russian Federation under the treaty and set a dangerous precedent, which, coupled with the difficult situation in recent years in the Advisory Committee on Open Skies (OSCC), may lead to the collapse of the treaty,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday. 17.04.12 More
Georgia calls Russian travel warning a made up danger
Russia warns its citizens of going to Georgia, while Georgia responds that the dangers are made up.
Russian travel advice for those of its citizens who plan to vacation in Georgia is not the usual notes about vaccines and visas; it warns that Georgian special services may “systematically repress and detain” the visitor.
Now Georgia responds to the unusual travel warning. 13.04.12 More
Georgia tests new domestically produced drone
President Mikheil Saakashvili announced the test flight in a speech April 9.
The date is symbolically significant as a peaceful demonstration for independence was attacked by Soviet troops here in Tbilisi in 1989.
Saakashvili made reference to that incident in his speech, as he awarded medals to twose who developed a new attack vehicle called Lazika and an armored vehicle called Didgori, both unveiled earlier this year. Colonel Giorgi Kalandadze and Levan Charbadze, director of the research center Delta, which produces the vehicles were awarded medals. A distinction was also awarded Gela Chanturidze, deputy director of Delta. 10.04.12 More
Georgia denies that existence of paramilitaries
Georgia’s Interior Ministry said March 21 that all armed groups are under the control of the government. “There are no other armed units, cannot be and won’t be,” said Shota Utiashvilil, head of the Interior Ministry’s press and analytical department. However, video footage was released on March 20 which shows the existence of illegal paramillitary groups.
The MIA’s statement was a respons to something said by the leader of the Free Democrats Irakli Alasania’s March 15 accusing the government of setting up illegal armed units. On March 20 Alasania said the Free Democrats had detailed information about the location of these units, and about how they are illegally armed and financed. They got this information from people who care about their country and its future. 22.03.12 More
Georgia Detains Russian Cargo Ship
Georgian border police coast guards detained a Russian-flagged dry cargo vessel near Sarpi (Adjara) on Monday, Novosti-Gruzia news agency reported quoting the police press service.
The Pur-Navolok was detained for violation of navigation rules, the police said. Sarpi is next to the Turkish border with Georgia. 19.03.12 More
More secrecy in Georgia’s government
A bill in Georgia will entitle the president to issue secret acts if the country’s defense and security is at stake.
Not only the president will have this right, but also the ministries of fefense, internal affairs, justice, finance and energy and natural resource when strategic interests in terms of defense and security are at issue.
Information about plans and measures to implement by Georgian ministries on the occupied territories may also become secret.
This will be the result after a proposed change in the law about state secrets. 15.03.12 More
Georgia simplifies the definition of terrorism
The former Soviet republic of Georgia has simplified the definition of what an act of terrorism is.
Previously, an act of terrorism was defined in the Criminal Code as causing explosion, fire, or use of weapon, in a way that is a danger to human life, significant property damage or other severe danger, but only if there is an encroachment on public safety, or the strategy of or political or economic interests of the state.
But now parliament has done away with the last requirement, about encroachment on public safety, strategy, or the strategy of or political or economic interests of the state. 02.03.12 More
Georgia to Lift Visa Rules for Russian Citizens
President Saakashvili said during his annual state of the nation address in the Parliament on February 28, that Georgia would unilaterally remove visa requirements for citizens of the Russian Federation “to give more chance to the peace.”
In October, 2010 Georgia allowed 90-day visa-free travel for Russian citizens registered as residents of Russia’s republics in the North Caucasus, while other Russian citizens are able to obtain the visa upon arrival in Georgia. 28.02.12 More
Georgia moves to data-sharing, more secrecy
The former Soviet republic of Georgia is to establish a new data-sharing and information protection model.
A new law sets out the rules that will apply to both private and public bodies, the only requirement being that it is a ‘subject of critical infrastructure’ whose information systems it is important to maintain a continuous operation of, for reasons of defense, economic security, and for retaining state government and social life. 24.02.12 More