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31 Dec. '09 Premierminister Nika Gilauri sagt, dass für 2009 die ausländischen Direktinvestitionen 800 Mio. USD erreichen dürften
The government expects that foreign direct investment (FDI) figure will stand at more than USD 230 million in the fourth quarter of this year, PM Nika Gilauri said on December 30.
Total FDI for 2009 is expected to reach up to USD 800 million, he added. Georgia’s statistics office will publish final data on investments in next few months.
FDI fell by 60.44% to USD 505.1 million in January-September, 2009, against 1.27 billion in the same period of 2008, according to the Georgian statistics office.
FDI was USD 1.564 bln in 2008, down from 2.014 bln in 2007.
30 Dec. '09 21 Oppositionsparteien verfassen einen gemeinsamen Appell, dass die lokalen Wahlen unter der Ägide der UN abgehalten werden sollen
30 Dec. '09 Mukhrovani Trial: Angeklagte machen ihre Abschlusserklärungen
30 Dec. '09 Georgische Wirtschaft schrumpfte 2009 um 4%
Für 2010 wird ein Wachstum 2% erwartet.
30 Dec. '09 "Alliance for Georgia" gab sein "festes Nein" zu Vorwahlen zu einem einzigen Kandidaten der Opposition bekannt
30 Dec. '09 Russischer Staatsbürger georgischer Abstammung in Nordossetien wegen Spionage zu einer achtjährigen Gefängnisstrafe verurteilt
Court in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic found a 55-year-old Russian citizen of Georgian origin guilty of spying in favor of Tbilisi and sentenced him to eight years in prison, the Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday.
A local prosecutor in North Ossetia said that Badri Kurashvili, a construction worker at military facilities, was passing to the Georgian intelligence sensitive information about the military units in North Caucasus starting from October, 2007 till the end of 2008.
The official said that Kurashvili was sending the information via “encrypted SMS”.
This is the third case this year when a court in North Ossetia sentences Russian citizen for spying in favor of Georgia.
A serviceman of the Russian armed forces, Jemal Nakaidze, was sentenced to nine years in prison in October and in August a former deputy commander of one of the Russia’s military units of North Caucasus Military District, Mikhail Khachidze, was sentenced to six years in prison.
29 Dec. '09 Nach Imedi-TV will Nika Ivanishvili - bisher politisch unbekannt - eine Partei gründen und an den Bürgermeisterwahlen von Tbilisi teilnehmen
29 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili ernennt Lasha Makatsaria zum neuen Gouverneur von Imereti
29 Dec. '09 Georgian Airways: Direkt-Charter-Flüge nach Moskau sind für Januar geplant
28 Dec. '09 Parlament hat die Gesetzesänderungen zum Wahlmodus gebilligt
28 Dec. '09 Nino Burjanadze: Bewerbung an den lokalen Wahlen sei inakzeptabel
28 Dec. '09 Nach Giorgi Targamadze von der Partei "Christian-Democratic Movement" soll Giorgi Chanturia mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit der Kandidat für die Bürgermeisterwahlen sein
28 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili: Russlands Importblockade georgischer Produkte habe sich bereits selbst erschöpft und sei sinnlos
Georgien habe in diesem Jahr dreimal mehr an Länder der GUS exportiert als im Jahr zuvor, obwohl Russland auch auf Länder wie Weißrussland und Kasachstan Druck ausgeübt hatte.
Russia’s ban on import of Georgian products has “exhausted” itself and it “makes no sense,” President Saakashvili said while visiting a tangerine farmer in Adjara Autonomous Republic on December 28.
“We have exported this year to CIS countries three times more [tangerine] than in previous years,” he said. “Belarus and Kazakhstan and other countries signed customs agreement with Russia; and these countries were under huge pressure from Russia to close their markets for the Georgian products, but they did not close.”
“So Russia’s embargo has actually exhausted itself and it makes no sense; they themselves won’t be able to eat our tangerine; others will eat it instead – that’s it,” he added.
26 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili in einer Ansprache bei der Nationalgarde: ‘... jedes Haus sollte eine Festung sein, dem Feind zu widerstehen ...’
- sehr schmerzhafte Reformen in der Armee
- sehr korrekte Umgruppierung der Armee
    * ‘Very painful reforms in the army’
    * ‘Very correct regrouping of forces’
Each and every citizen of Georgia should be ready for defense and each family and house should “become a fortress of resistance” in case of enemy’s attack, President Saakashvili said on December 26.
Speaking at a meeting with National Guard personnel in Tbilisi in presence of Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and chief of staff of the armed forces, Devi Chankotadze, he said “war is ongoing against Georgia” and “daily threats are heard against our country.”
It will be “a tragic mistake” to ignore these threats, Saakashvili added.
“But the enemy should not have an illusion either,” he continued. “Any new wide-scale adventure will come across a fierce resistance of each Georgian soldier, officer and entire Georgian people.”
He said that protection of Georgia should not be only up to its regular armed forces.
“When this moment comes; if this moment comes – and we should do all our best avoid this moment, but every country should be ready for that, especially those which are in the situation similar to us – each Georgian man and woman will be fighter for Georgia; they should be ready to fight for Georgia,” Saakashvili said. 
“Each Georgian family, each of our street, region, village, city, each settlement and neighborhood, each house and family should become a bastion, a fortress of resistance,” he added.
Saakashvili also said that Georgia was preparing for peace and “we want peace as never before.”
“We are winning peace and that irritates our enemy – it threatens peace because we are winning it. Our enemy should know that although it is losing the peace, it will also lose the war and therefore it should not launch a war,” he said.
Saakashvili said that along with level of training and adduction, “the massiveness of our armed forces” was also an important aspect.
“100,000; 200,000; 300,000 and if needed half a million people should stand with arms in their hands. We have enough automatic rifles for that and we have ammunition more than enough,” he added. “Each person and each family, which can fight for Georgia, should be ready to struggle and defend their country. Without it nobody will serve us on a tray either long-term guarantees of freedom or economic development and success.”
In a concept paper presented in October by the National Guard, the building of a new system of Georgia’s reserve troops should be “oriented on quality, instead of its size”. The target on the first stage will be having of 3,000 well-trained reservists in four years, according to the document.
‘Painful Reforms’
In the speech Saakashvili also spoke briefly about “painful reforms”, which he said were carried out recently in the armed forces.
 “In recent months a very painful reforms, also involving army personnel, were carried out quietly,” he said.
“Serious assessments [of the personnel] have been conducted; level of readiness and training has increased seriously of each soldier; and new replenishment is coming in our armed forces,” Saakashvili added without giving further details.
The Georgian daily, Rezonansi, reported this week that about 150 officers were dismissed from the armed forces. According to the newspaper, the Ministry of Defense although declined to comment on reported dismissal of officers, but confirmed that the process of “optimization” was ongoing.
Saakashvili also said that “a very right regrouping of our armed forces” had been conducted recently.
The regrouping of the armed forces was carried out in late November, reportedly involving concentration of forces in Tbilisi and its surrounding, in particular, relocation of the 1st infantry brigade and the artillery brigade from the town of Gori.
26 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Lokale Wahlen sind ein gewaltiger Test’
  • "Nogaideli’s russische Einstellung ist eine Sünde"
  • "Ich bot Putin alles an."
  • Zerstörtes Denkmal des 2.Weltkrieg wurde politisiert

  • ‘Nogaideli’s Russian stance is a sin’
  • ‘I was offering Putin everything’
  • Demolished WWII memorial ‘politicized’

    Saakashvili showing two maps - one depicting Georgia in its internationally recognized borders and another “a Russian-made map” on which Georgia is depicted without Abkhazia and S.Ossetia.
    President Saakashvili said on December 25 that local elections, the first polls in the country after the Russia’s invasion, would be “a huge test for Georgia” and holding of fair elections would be the country’s victory.
    In a lengthy interview with Rustavi 2 TV’s weekly program, Position, Saakashvili said that in the upcoming elections “I will act like a non-party President”.
    During the 2006 local elections and 2008 parliamentary elections Saakashvili, who is a chairman of the ruling National Movement Party, was actively engaged in his party’s election campaign.
    He welcomed that “all the serious political force” took part in drafting amendments to the election code.
    Although some parties complain about the proposed draft, he said, it was only “a posture” of these parties to oppose it.
    “In fact they are accepting this system, as they take part in the elections,” he added.
    Alliance for Georgia, whose leader Irakli Alasania wants to run for Tbilisi mayoral race, is against of the proposed draft, which has yet to be passed by the Parliament for the third and final reading and which envisages setting of a 30% threshold for electing the capital city’s mayor.
    During the 100-minute long interview Saakashvili spoke on broad range of issues, including on the opposition’s protest rallies in spring, 2009.
    He said that after a failure to achieve any tangible results from those protests, “one part of the opposition became more realistic.”
    “The slogan - all or nothing – does not work in politics… Everyone has to compromise something in order for the country to progress,” Saakashvili said.
    He said that the authorities decided not “to intervene” in those rallies, but also warned that it did not mean that the government would always stand aside in such situations.
    Saakashvili alleged that those rallies and in particular so called ‘town of cells’ was “FSB scenario” – a reference to Russia’s Federal Security Service.
    Nogaideli’s Russia Stance is ‘Sin’
    While speaking about former PM Zurab Nogaideli, now a leader of opposition Movement for Fair Georgia, and his recent meeting with Russian PM Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Saakashvili said Georgia “always had traitors” in its history.
     Saakashvili said that the Kremlin’s policy had been “incredibly consistent” towards Georgia starting from early 90s. He said that in various times, Moscow was picking up someone from within Georgia on whom it tried to rely. He listed among such persons late tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili; ex-Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze; Alexander Ebralidze and others and ended the list by saying “and now Nogaideli.”
    He, however, at the same time downplayed Nogaideli’s role by saying that it should not be a positive sign for Russia “if it has nothing left other than to use Nogaideli.”
    “It’s hard to think that this man [referring to Nogaideli] could fall like this; one can’t fall below that point,” Saakashvili said.
    The leader of Movement for Fair Georgia served as PM for more than two years under President Saakashvili.
    “Going and meeting Georgia’s the most sworn enemy after Shah Abbas [Abbas I, the Shah of Persia notorious in Georgia for his invasion of Georgia's eastern region of Kakheti in the early 17th century] without any preconditions and without asking when he [referring to PM Putin] plans to return [Abkhazia and S.Ossetia], without asking when he plans to let our people back [to the breakaway regions], without asking when he plans to recognize Georgia as a state, amounts to a huge sin. I do not want to call it a crime,” Saakashvili said.
    During the interview he showed two maps - one depicting Georgia in its internationally recognized borders and another “a Russian-made map” on which Georgia was depicted without Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
    He threw away the map of Georgia without Abkhazia and South Ossetia and said, that Georgia “will throw away those politicians in history’s dustbin, like I have just thrown that map away.”
    “Georgia can not be in favor of having bad relations with Russia; we are not crazy,” he said.
    He said that after coming into power, he tried to be “flexible” with Russia. He also added: “I was offering Putin everything.”
    Demolished WWII Memorial
    Saakashvili said that the day, when an explosion to demolish the World War II memorial in Kutaisi killed a mother and her young daughter on December 19, was “one of the hardest in my life.”
    Although he released a statement on the matter through his spokesperson on the same day, it was the first time on December 25 when he spoke on the issues personally.
    He said that the tragic outcome of the demolition was a result of “incompetence, negligence and recklessness” of those who were in charge of the demolition. Several employees of a demolition company were arrested for violation of safety norms.
    Saakashvili then also spoke about the memorial itself, which he referred to as “so called memorial.” The authorities’ plans to demolish the 46-meter memorial were in itself a controversial. The plan was criticized by many opposition parties in Georgia and the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was demonstration of “disrespect” to WWII veterans.
    “The issue has been politicized, although I do not think it was a matter of politics; but Russia tries to find pretexts to argue with us,” Saakashvili said.
    He said it was “scornful” on the part of Russia to tell Georgia not to remove the monument, which, as he put it, was made to honor “the glory of the Soviet army.”
    “They [Russia] are successors of the Soviet Union and occupiers of our territories,” he added.
     ‘I Want Everything to Be Done Quickly’
    When speaking about the country’s tourism potential and infrastructure development, at one point he said that a new hotel would be open in Anaklia on the Black Sea Coast by August; when a TV anchor asked whether he meant August, 2010, Saakashvili responded: “Yes, of course 2010; I can’t be patient… I want everything [to be done] quickly.”
  • 25 Dec. '09 Abgeordnete bestätigen das "Referendum zur Steurerhöhung" als Teil des "Act of Economic Liberty"
    Parliament passed on December 25 with its first hearing with 111 to 2 votes a constitutional amendment binding the government to hold a referendum if it decides to increase taxes or introduce a new tax.
    The proposal is part of a package known as Act of Economic Liberty.
    President Saakashvili told the Parliament in October that the package would “restrict the executive branch of the government to turn away from the course of liberal economy” and had “an ambition to turn Georgia into a real flagship of the world liberal economic ideology.”
    A separate draft of legislative bill, in frames of this Act, specifies and defines, among other things, tax referendum details. This draft law on Economic Freedom, Opportunity and Dignity, which the Parliament has yet to discuss, envisages holding of a referendum if the government decides to increase income tax; profit tax; value added tax and customs tax. Property tax and excise tax does not fall under the category.
    The draft law, if approved, will set maximum ratio of budgetary expenditures to GDP at 30%; budget deficit – at maximum 3% of GDP; and maximum of 60% of debt-to-GDP ratio.
    The draft law also restricts the government’s right to introduce additional new licenses and permits.
    Lawmakers from the parliamentary minority said during the debates on December 25 that the proposed constitutional amendment was “a populist” move on the part of the authorities.
    MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of parliamentary minority, said that the authorities should instead take tangible steps for improving business climate in the country.
    “No one will be deceived with this [constitutional amendment]; everyone knows about burdens that the tax services create for the businesses,” MP Giorgi Targamadze said.
    25 Dec. '09 Öffentlicher Rundfunk bekommt das Recht, drei TV-Programme auszustrahlen anstatt zwei, und für 2010 ca. 22 Mio. GEL öffentliche Mittel
    The Georgian public broadcaster will have the right to operate three TV channels, instead of current two and will be financed from the state budget with sum “not less” than equivalent to 0.12% of the country’s GDP, according to the amendment to the law on broadcasting passed by the Parliament with its third and final reading on December 25.
    The amendment restores the previous scheme of financing, which existed till March, 2008 before it was scrapped as a result of the legislative amendment. But the difference is that previously the law envisaged financing of the public broadcaster with the sum equivalent to 0.15%.
    The reintroduced funding scheme will not apply to 2010. The law on 2010 state budget, already passed by the Parliament, envisages GEL 22 million funding for the public broadcaster for the next year.
    The restoration of the previous system is seen as some sort of financial guarantee for the broadcaster, as its funding will not depend on consideration of the government and the Parliament and instead would be linked to GDP.
    The amendment, passed on December 25, also allows the public broadcaster to operate the additional, third TV channel paving the way for the launch of a Russian-language First Caucasian Channel. The channel planned to be launched in January will initially run on the web and then go out on satellite and cable, according to public broadcaster’s head, Gia Chanturia.
    25 Dec. '09 Russische Abgeordnete verurteilen die Zerstörung des 2.Weltkriegs-Denkmal in Kutaisi
    25 Dec. '09 Parlament hat die Gesetzesänderungen zum Wahlmodus aufgeschoben
    25 Dec. '09 Ex-Premierminister Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia schließt sich dem Vorschlag für die Vorwahlen zu einem einzigen Oppositionskandidaten in der Tbilisi-Bürgermeisterwahl an
    25 Dec. '09 Tbilisi enthüllt ein 9-seitiges Dokument als Entwurf für die Strategie gegenüber den besetzten Regionen Abchasien und Südossetien, Arbeitstitel “State Strategy towards Occupied Territories”
    Das Dokument aus dem
    Staatsministerium für Reintegration muss noch von der Regierung bestätigt werden, bevor es zum offiziellen Dokument wird.
    Tbilisi is against of “isolation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia” and aims at fostering ties between the communities “separated by dividing lines,” according to a draft strategy paper laying out Georgia’s intended policies towards its two breakaway regions.
    The 9-page document, which has yet to be endorsed by the government before becoming an official paper, includes measures through which Tbilisi says it wants to foster engagement with the breakaway regions including through economic, education, healthcare and cultural projects, as well as through public diplomacy and people-to-people contacts.
    The document has a working title “State Strategy towards Occupied Territories” and a subtitle “Engagement through Cooperation”. During the series of discussions of the paper between the government officials and Georgian political analysts and scholars, it was recommended by some not to use the term “occupied territories” in the title of the document – the issue which still remains open for consideration.
    When referring to the authorities in breakaway regions, the document avoids using term “puppet regimes”, which, especially after the August war, has turned into a main term used by the Georgian officials and many Georgian median sources when speaking or reporting on authorities in the breakaway regions. In English-language official Georgian statements a term “proxy regimes” are used.
    The document instead refers to the authorities in the breakaway regions as those who are “in control of governance in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions”.
    “We can’t call them [Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders] ‘Presidents’; but we can not either call them - ‘you puppet’. We have to show correctness,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said at a parliamentary committee hearing on December 24.
    Iakobashvili, who is in charge of developing the strategy paper, told lawmakers that Georgia should not pin hopes solely on international community and should itself be more “practical” so that to deprive Russia its “exclusive relations” with the breakaway regions through supporting their “de-isolation.”
    According to the draft strategy, Georgia plans to achieve its goals only by peaceful and diplomatic efforts and “rules out conflict resolution by military means.”
    The document calls for reopening of railway connection with the breakaway regions and regular bus traffic across the administrative border. It also envisages creation of “special zones” on the both side of the administrative borders to foster trade and agriculture enterprises.
    In the context of public diplomacy, the document notes the need of having dialogue with the Abkhaz diaspora in Turkey - ancestors of those tens of thousands of Muslim Abkhazians, who had to move to the then Ottoman empire, as part of a larger Muslim migration process from the Caucasus in the nineteenth century.
    Iakobashvili told the lawmakers that the Abkhaz community in Turkey was mainly “negatively disposed towards Georgia.” “We will have to work seriously in this regard,” he added.
    According to the document, the Georgian authorities would seek cooperation with the Russian and de facto authorities in the breakaway regions to secure implementation of the strategy.
    It says that Georgia “will continue cooperating with the occupying force in frames of the Geneva process or in frames of other potential fora for securing successful implementation of the strategy and the action plan.”
    The document offers setting up of “a status-neutral” mechanisms to work with the breakaway regions’ authorities on implementation of the strategy.
    Temur Iakobashvili told the lawmakers that a detailed action plan of implementing the strategy would be developed within next six months and presented not later than June 31, 2010.
    24 Dec. '09 Russischer Außenminister Lavrov: Georgiens Führung sei eine Bedrohung für die regionale Sicherheit
    24 Dec. '09 Georgien und Russland verständigen sich auf eine vorläufige Wiedereröffnung des Grenzübergangs Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi im März 2010
    24 Dec. '09 US-Senator über die Notwendigkeit der Verteidigungshilfe für Georgien
    24 Dec. '09 Georgien startet russisch-sprachiges Kaukasus-TV-Programm im Januar
    23 Dec. '09 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli trifft Putin in Moskau
    23 Dec. '09 Ankläger fordert für Schlüsselfiguren im Mukhrovani-Prozess langandauernde Gefängnisstrafen
    23 Dec. '09 Bagapsh sagt, das es "aktive Kontake" mit Vertretern des Iran gebe
    23 Dec. '09 Kirche äußert sich mit starken Worten zur Verleumdungskampagne: "feindliche Kräfte" waren damit beschäftigt und warnte, dass "angemessene Schritte" unternommen werden, wenn die Kampagne weitergehe.
    In a strongly-worded statement the Georgian Orthodox Church said “hostile forces” were engaged in the campaign of “slander and insult” against the Church and warned it would have to take unspecified “appropriate steps” if the campaign continued.
    “It is unfortunate that media sources, which are under the authorities control, are also taking part in this process,” Holy Synod, the Church’s main governing body, said in a statement after a meeting on December 23.
    Recently the Georgian Orthodox Church has once already publicly criticized one of Georgia’s national television stations, Imedi, for spreading “groundless” information about the Church, but it is the first time when the Church uses the term “government-controlled media sources.”
    “Anti-church campaign harms first and foremost the state, because it is an attempt to split the society.”
    “If these processes further continue this way, we will have to undertake appropriate steps in order to protect dignity of our Church and the nation,” the statement says.
    “There are forces, which do not want the unity of the Church; which do not want protection of national and moral values. They call for seeding pseudo-liberalism, pseudo-culture and religious indifference and use all kind of deception and insult to make people lose love and trust towards the Church.”
    22 Dec. '09 Mukhrovani-Prozess geht in die Schlussphase
    22 Dec. '09 Russischer Premierminister Putin bietet an, das abgerissene Denkmal zum 2.Weltkrieg wiederaufzubauen
    22 Dec. '09 Manager Erosi Kitsmarishvili von Maestro TV sagt, die Behörden hielten 45.000 USD zurück, die zum Abmildern der finanziellen Probleme geplant waren
    22 Dec. '09 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Moskau
    22 Dec. '09 Zwei weitere Mitarbeiter der Abbruchfirma "SakPetkMretsvi" wegen der Sprengung des Denkmals in Kutaisi verhaftet
    22 Dec. '09 Russische Militärs kommentieren das Überlaufen des Soldaten Khripulin: er soll zuvor verhaftet gewesen sein.
    22 Dec. '09 Georgian Airways hat bei der russischen Flügbehörde bezüglich der Wiederaufnahme von Direktflügen Tbilisi-Moskau angefragt
    21 Dec. '09 Russischer Soldat Dmitry Khripulin in Südossetien desertiert und beantragt politisches Asyl in Georgien
    21 Dec. '09 Strategie-Papier zu Abchasien und Südossetien soll diesen endgültig festgelegt werden, heute Treffen mit Vertretern der politischen Parteien
    21 Dec. '09 Neuer Minister für Strafvollzug und Bewährung ernannt: Khatuna Kalmakhelidze
    21 Dec. '09 Staatsminiaster für Diaspora ersetzt, jetzt Papuna Davitaia
    21 Dec. '09 Russisches Außenministerium: Sprengung des Denkmals zum 2.Weltkrieg in Kutaisi sei ein "Akt des Staatsvandalismus"
    19 Dec. '09 Governeur Mikheil Chogovadze von Präsident Saakashvili entlassen, nachdem die Sprengung eines Denkmals zwei Personen tötete
    President Saakashvili dismissed governor of Imereti region, Mikheil Chogovadze, after a demolition of a World War II memorial in Kutaisi through explosion killed a mother and her 8-year-old daughter on December 19.
    Manana Mangaladze, a spokesperson for the President, said that the dismissal of Chogovadze, who held the post since April, 2008, was related to this “tragic incident”; but she did not give further details.
    19 Dec. '09 Zwei Personen bei der Sprengung eines Denkmals zum 2.Weltkrieg getötet
    Eine Mutter und ihre achtjährige Tochter waren die Opfer. Mehrere andere Personen wurden verletzt. Untersuchungen sind im Gange.
    An explosion to demolish a World War II memorial in Georgia’s second largest city of Kutaisi killed two people, officials said.
    A mother and her 8-year-old daughter were the victims. Several other people were injured.
    “According to the preliminary information safety measures were not met,” Murtaz Zodelava, the country’s chief prosecutor said and added that the investigation was ongoing.
    Removal of the 46-meter-high concrete and bronze memorial aimed at making the way for a construction of a new building of the Parliament.
    The authorities’ plan to demolish the memorial was strongly opposed by the opposition groups. Local activists from the various opposition parties in Kutaisi rallied at the memorial on December 18 saying that the decision to demolish the monument was made without taking into consideration the local population’s opinion as well as without consulting with the author of the memorial, sculptor Merab Berdzenishvili.
    The plan to demolish the WWII memorial also triggered the Russian Defense Ministry to announce in its statement that it was “concerned” about the decision and the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that the plan demonstrated the Georgian authorities “disrespect” towards the WWII veterans.
    Works to demolish the complex started earlier this week and according to reports circulating in the Georgian press the finalization of the process was expected on December 21 with explosion of the main part of the memorial.
    But a statement released on December 18 by the Georgian Foreign Ministry in response to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement did not indicate that there were plans to demolish the memorial; it said that “relocation” of the monument was intended and “rehabilitation works” were ongoing.
    “The monument was badly damaged in 90s – in the period, when developments inspired by Russia were happening in Georgia. As a result, the memorial requires rehabilitation works,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s statement reads. It also says that the Russian Foreign Ministry “has an immoral habit of permanently interfering in other countries’ internal affairs.”
    A spokesperson for the Georgian Foreign Ministry told Civil.Ge that “relocation” and “rehabilitation”, mentioned in the statement was referred to, as she put it, “main part” of the memorial complex – a monument of a horseman and not to the part of the complex which was demolished.
    19 Dec. '09 Abgeordnete der Regierungspartei äußern sich zu der Freilassung der Jugendlichen und zur Rolle von Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli
    19 Dec. '09 Tskhinvali läßt drei georgische Jugendliche frei
    19 Dec. '09 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli trifft Kokoity in Tskhinvali
    18 Dec. '09 Giorgi Tugushi, Ombudsmann, oberster Verteidiger der Bürgerrechte in Georgien, händigt seinen ersten halbjährlichen Menschenrechtsbericht aus, der bei der Regierungspartei auf nur milde Kritik stößt im Gegensatz zu den Berichten seines Vorgängers Sozar Subari
    New public defender Giorgi Tugushi delivered his first biannual human rights report to the Parliament on December 18 with the ruling majority reacting with mild criticism of the document in contrast to reports delivered by ex-ombudsman Sozar Subari.
    “If Public Defender is not politically motivated then we have to listen to his criticism and that’s natural from the Public Defender to criticize the authorities,” MP Giorgi Gabashvili of the ruling party said during the debates in the Parliament.
    “It, however, of course does not mean that we are happy with everything that is written in this report,” he added.
    Subari, who now is with the opposition Alliance for Georgia and is a running mate of Irakli Alasania eyeing for the Tbilisi City Council’s chairmanship (Alasania is running for mayoral office) was a frequent target of the ruling party’s criticism. Subari and his biannual human rights reports to the Parliament were slammed by the ruling majority as “being politicized”.
    MP Gabashvili said that he hoped the new Public Defender would not be guided in his activities with the goal to gain popularity – something, which he said was the case with the previous Public Defender.
    “Just see where Sozar Subari is now [referring to his membership into Alliance for Georgia] and it will become clear why he was so politically motivated while being the Public Defender,” MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of parliamentary majority, said during the debates.
    MP Davit Darchiashvili of the ruling party said that there was a clear difference between the recent report and the reports presented by Subari. He said in the recent document complaints filed by citizens to Public Defender’s Office (PDO) were not presented as “as facts” and “unlike the previous reports, in this recent one separate cases of human rights violations are not generalized for claiming that there are undemocratic trends in the country.”
    But the ruling party will likely continue the previous practice of reacting on the ombudsman’s report, involving passing resolutions saying that the Parliament “takes a note” of the report. The parliamentary minority was calling on the ruling party to instead pass a resolution calling on the government ministries and other state agencies to follow the recommendations laid out in the report.
    “Otherwise passing a resolution only saying that we ‘take a note’ of the report amounts to ignoring the report,” MP Giorgi Akhvlediani of the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), the leading party in parliamentary minority, said.
    The Parliament failed to pass any resolution following more than three-hour long hearings late on December 18 as there were not enough lawmakers in the chamber required for taking decision.
    Before moving to questions and answers, Giorgi Tugushi delivered a brief summary of the 340-page report, which covers the first half of 2009. Drafting of the report started before expiration of ex-public defender Sozar Subari’s term in office in mid-September and it was finalized under the supervision of his successor.
    Tugushi spoke of cases of excessive use of force by the police, including against participants of protest rallies in spring. Adhering to the line of his predecessor, Tugushi also said that the use of rubber bullets and other type of projectiles by the police against the protesters outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6 was at the time illegal.
    He told the lawmakers that although as usually the prosecutor’s office was formally launching investigation into reported cases of wrongdoings by the police, such cases were “unreasonably dragged out” and it was “a trend.”
    MP Giorgi Gabashvili responded that although there had been cases of excessive use of force by the police, “I would disagree with assumption that this is a trend.”
    Tugushi said that torture of detainees was no longer “a systemic problem,” but separate cases still persisted.
    A lawmaker from the ruling party, Eka Kherkheulidze, who is a deputy chairperson of the parliamentary human rights committee, strongly rejected it saying that she would be “intolerant to such statements, because I do not know any case of torture”.
    Tugushi said that number of complaints filed by citizens to PDO over violation of property rights had “significantly decreased” in the reporting period.
    He also said that “positive trend” was observed in respect of protection of national minorities’ rights, but also added that problem persisted with minorities’ limited skills in Georgian saying that the authorities’ efforts to offer them the possibility to learn Georgian were not adequate.
    He said that number of cases related with violation of religious minorities’ rights, involving both physical and verbal insults, increased in the reporting period with 21 such cases reported – 20 of them related with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tugushi also said that the police were inadequately responding to these cases of violation of religious minorities’ rights.
    Religious rights were the key topic which triggered most of the criticism of the Public Defender from some lawmakers from the parliamentary minority groups.
    A lawmaker from the parliamentary minority, Guram Chakhvadze of National-Democratic Party (NDP) criticized Public Defender for writing in his report the following phrase: “In the reporting period facts of intolerance towards religious minorities on the part of the society remained unchanged…”
    “I think this is an insult of the society to describe the entire society as intolerant just because 20 cases of violation of one religious group’s rights were reported,” MP Chakhvadze told the Public Defender and asked him based on what he was making this assumption.
    “This is at least a mistake; this is a false wording, which discredits Georgia and we can not in any way support such formulation,” he added.
    Giorgi Tugushi responded that number of public opinion surveys available for POD indicated that “society’s attitude in general towards the religious minorities was intolerant.
    But later during the debates Tugushi returned back on this topic and specified the issue saying that the phrase in the report was read by MP Chakhvadze out of context and he then read the full sentence: “In the reporting period facts of intolerance towards religious minorities on the part of the society remained unchanged, which was mainly reflected in harassment of persons [representing the religious minorities] and attacks on buildings having religious purposes, as well as in inadequate reaction by the law enforcement agencies on these cases.”
    “So the word ‘society’ here refers particularly to those persons who were committing these violations,” Tugushi said.
    Another opposition lawmaker, Jondi Bagaturia, leader of Georgian Troupe party, criticized Tugushi for not condemning and for not protecting those Orthodox Georgians who were insulted by videos mocking head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II.
    MP Levan Vepkhvadze of the Christian-Democratic Movement told the Public Defender that there was kind of, as he put it, “self-flagellation instinct” and “for some reason we do not consider insult of majority’s religious feelings as a violation of this majority’s rights.”
    Tugushi, however, responded that disseminating video footage, even though he deemed them “indecent”, was part of freedom of expression and that particular case was not the one requiring his reaction.
    In his closing remarks the Public Defender told lawmakers that ombudsman’s reports on human rights “should in no way be a political document.”
    “I will try to keep up with this principle with my future reports and not to politicize them,” Tugushi added.
    New public defender Giorgi Tugushi delivered his first biannual human rights report to the Parliament on December 18 with the ruling majority reacting with mild criticism of the document in contrast to reports delivered by ex-ombudsman Sozar Subari.
    “If Public Defender is not politically motivated then we have to listen to his criticism and that’s natural from the Public Defender to criticize the authorities,” MP Giorgi Gabashvili of the ruling party said during the debates in the Parliament.
    “It, however, of course does not mean that we are happy with everything that is written in this report,” he added.
    Subari, who now is with the opposition Alliance for Georgia and is a running mate of Irakli Alasania eyeing for the Tbilisi City Council’s chairmanship (Alasania is running for mayoral office) was a frequent target of the ruling party’s criticism. Subari and his biannual human rights reports to the Parliament were slammed by the ruling majority as “being politicized”.
    MP Gabashvili said that he hoped the new Public Defender would not be guided in his activities with the goal to gain popularity – something, which he said was the case with the previous Public Defender.
    “Just see where Sozar Subari is now [referring to his membership into Alliance for Georgia] and it will become clear why he was so politically motivated while being the Public Defender,” MP Petre Tsiskarishvili, the leader of parliamentary majority, said during the debates.
    MP Davit Darchiashvili of the ruling party said that there was a clear difference between the recent report and the reports presented by Subari. He said in the recent document complaints filed by citizens to Public Defender’s Office (PDO) were not presented as “as facts” and “unlike the previous reports, in this recent one separate cases of human rights violations are not generalized for claiming that there are undemocratic trends in the country.”
    But the ruling party will likely continue the previous practice of reacting on the ombudsman’s report, involving passing resolutions saying that the Parliament “takes a note” of the report. The parliamentary minority was calling on the ruling party to instead pass a resolution calling on the government ministries and other state agencies to follow the recommendations laid out in the report.
    “Otherwise passing a resolution only saying that we ‘take a note’ of the report amounts to ignoring the report,” MP Giorgi Akhvlediani of the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), the leading party in parliamentary minority, said.
    The Parliament failed to pass any resolution following more than three-hour long hearings late on December 18 as there were not enough lawmakers in the chamber required for taking decision.
    Before moving to questions and answers, Giorgi Tugushi delivered a brief summary of the 340-page report, which covers the first half of 2009. Drafting of the report started before expiration of ex-public defender Sozar Subari’s term in office in mid-September and it was finalized under the supervision of his successor.
    Tugushi spoke of cases of excessive use of force by the police, including against participants of protest rallies in spring. Adhering to the line of his predecessor, Tugushi also said that the use of rubber bullets and other type of projectiles by the police against the protesters outside the Tbilisi police headquarters on May 6 was at the time illegal.
    He told the lawmakers that although as usually the prosecutor’s office was formally launching investigation into reported cases of wrongdoings by the police, such cases were “unreasonably dragged out” and it was “a trend.”
    MP Giorgi Gabashvili responded that although there had been cases of excessive use of force by the police, “I would disagree with assumption that this is a trend.”
    Tugushi said that torture of detainees was no longer “a systemic problem,” but separate cases still persisted.
    A lawmaker from the ruling party, Eka Kherkheulidze, who is a deputy chairperson of the parliamentary human rights committee, strongly rejected it saying that she would be “intolerant to such statements, because I do not know any case of torture”.
    Tugushi said that number of complaints filed by citizens to PDO over violation of property rights had “significantly decreased” in the reporting period.
    He also said that “positive trend” was observed in respect of protection of national minorities’ rights, but also added that problem persisted with minorities’ limited skills in Georgian saying that the authorities’ efforts to offer them the possibility to learn Georgian were not adequate.
    He said that number of cases related with violation of religious minorities’ rights, involving both physical and verbal insults, increased in the reporting period with 21 such cases reported – 20 of them related with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tugushi also said that the police were inadequately responding to these cases of violation of religious minorities’ rights.
    Religious rights were the key topic which triggered most of the criticism of the Public Defender from some lawmakers from the parliamentary minority groups.
    A lawmaker from the parliamentary minority, Guram Chakhvadze of National-Democratic Party (NDP) criticized Public Defender for writing in his report the following phrase: “In the reporting period facts of intolerance towards religious minorities on the part of the society remained unchanged…”
    “I think this is an insult of the society to describe the entire society as intolerant just because 20 cases of violation of one religious group’s rights were reported,” MP Chakhvadze told the Public Defender and asked him based on what he was making this assumption.
    “This is at least a mistake; this is a false wording, which discredits Georgia and we can not in any way support such formulation,” he added.
    Giorgi Tugushi responded that number of public opinion surveys available for POD indicated that “society’s attitude in general towards the religious minorities was intolerant.
    But later during the debates Tugushi returned back on this topic and specified the issue saying that the phrase in the report was read by MP Chakhvadze out of context and he then read the full sentence: “In the reporting period facts of intolerance towards religious minorities on the part of the society remained unchanged, which was mainly reflected in harassment of persons [representing the religious minorities] and attacks on buildings having religious purposes, as well as in inadequate reaction by the law enforcement agencies on these cases.”
    “So the word ‘society’ here refers particularly to those persons who were committing these violations,” Tugushi said.
    Another opposition lawmaker, Jondi Bagaturia, leader of Georgian Troupe party, criticized Tugushi for not condemning and for not protecting those Orthodox Georgians who were insulted by videos mocking head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II.
    MP Levan Vepkhvadze of the Christian-Democratic Movement told the Public Defender that there was kind of, as he put it, “self-flagellation instinct” and “for some reason we do not consider insult of majority’s religious feelings as a violation of this majority’s rights.”
    Tugushi, however, responded that disseminating video footage, even though he deemed them “indecent”, was part of freedom of expression and that particular case was not the one requiring his reaction.
    In his closing remarks the Public Defender told lawmakers that ombudsman’s reports on human rights “should in no way be a political document.”
    “I will try to keep up with this principle with my future reports and not to politicize them,” Tugushi added.
    18 Dec. '09 Parlament wählt die Kandidaten für die sieben freien Sitze im Vorstand des öffentlichen Rundfunks
    Nino Danelia, Lia Chakhunashvili, Shorena Shaverdashvili, Giga Nasaridze, Nodar Sarjveladze, Avtandil Antidze, Emzar Goguadze.
    Seven vacant seats in the 15-member public broadcaster’s board of trustees were filled after the parliamentary vote on December 18.
    Three candidates, out of five, lobbied by Media Club, a group of media activists established this summer with activities focusing on the public TV, are among the candidates endorsed by the Parliament, including Nino Danelia, a media researcher with School of Journalism and Media Management at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA); Lia Chakhunashvili, a dean of the Caucasus School of Media at Caucasus University and Shorena Shaverdashvili, a co-founder and editor of the magazine Liberali.
    Candidates nominated by Media Club were supported by several non-parliamentary opposition parties as well.
    Other candidates approved by the Parliament are: Giga Nasaridze, who was a host of a satirical show at the Rustavi 2 TV; Nodar Sarjveladze, a chairman of the Christian-Democratic Institute, a think-tank set up by Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority; Avtandil Antidze, a Ministry of Defense employee and Emzar Goguadze.
    18 Dec. '09 Neuer Botschafter für Weißrussland ernannt: Giorgi Chkheidze, bisher im Außenministerium tätig
    18 Dec. '09 Parlament diskutiert die Kandidaten für den Vorstand des öffentlichen Rundfunks
    18 Dec. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats: Gespräche über die verhafteten Georgier gehen weiter
    17 Dec. '09 Kokoity sagt, er werde "bald" den Fall der verhafteten georgischen Jugendlichen entscheiden, ohne dabei ein genaues Datum zu nennen
    17 Dec. '09 Einige Regierungsbeamte und Abgeordnete der Regierungspartei kritisierten drei Personen wegen eines Treffens mit Kokoity heftig
    Paata Zakareishvili von der "Republican Party", den Enthüllungsjournalisten Vakhtang Komakhidze und Manana Mebuke von einer NGO, die an der Vertrauensbildung der beiden Seiten arbeitet.
    Some government officials and ruling party lawmakers criticized three Georgians, who traveled to Tskhinvali on December 16, for meeting with “criminal” leader of breakaway region, Eduard Kokoity.
    Paata Zakareishvili of opposition Republican Party, who is a frequent commentator on conflict issues and a critic of the Georgian authorities’ policies on ; Vakhtang Komakhidze, an investigative journalist, and Manana Mebuke, head of the Tbilisi-based non-governmental organization working on confidence-building between the communities on the opposite sides of administrative border, visited Tskhinvali on December 16.
    17 Dec. '09 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen in einem Interview:  "Wir drängen Russland, aus Georgien abzuziehen ... "
    NATO and Russia “still have differences”, including over Georgia, but these disagreements should not “paralyze” cooperation in other areas in which the alliance and Moscow have shared interests, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said.
    In an interview with Echo Moskvy radio station in Moscow on December 16, he said that Georgia was “an important” part of discussion between him and the Russian leadership.
    Rasmussen said that the alliance insists on “full respect” of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
    “We urge Russia to withdraw from Georgia… We do not think that Russia has fully implemented the ceasefire plans,” he said.
    Asked whether it was possible or not to get NATO and Moscow’s positions closer on Georgia as a result of his talks with the Russian leadership, Rasmussen responded: “I think we have agreed to disagree.”
    “We have also agreed that disagreements in some areas should not paralyze us; they should not overshadow that we have shared interests in other areas; so let’s focus on practical cooperation in fighting terrorism, on practical cooperation on Afghanistan, counter-proliferation of nuclear weapons, counter-piracy,” he said.
    Asked if NATO was “freezing” Georgia’s issue in its ties with Russia at the expense of cooperation in other areas, Rasmussen responded: “We are not freezing this question.”
    “I still think it should be resolved; I still think that Russia should live up to its international obligations and we insist on respect of Georgia’s territorial integrity,” he continued. “But I do believe that there is so much at stake for Russia and NATO that we should not let these disagreements paralyze cooperation” in other areas.
    On Georgia he was also asked if Tbilisi was preparing for “a revenge” to regain control over its breakaway regions and Rasmussen responded: “Not at all.”
    “And let me put it this way – I do not think that huge Russian Federation should feel threatened by small Georgia. And I would urge Russia to ensure peaceful cooperation with all neighbors,” he added.
    Rasmussen again reiterated the NATO Bucharest summit decision and said that Georgia and Ukraine would one day become NATO members when they meet membership criteria.
    “Every country has the right to decide for itself its alliance and affiliation,” he added.
    17 Dec. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, besucht Tskhinvali
    Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe (CoE) human rights commissioner, who arrived in Tbilisi late on December 16, left for Tskhinvali as part of his efforts to secure release of two Georgian minors from the village of Tirdznisi remaining held in Tskhinvali.
    As a result of Thomas Hammarberg’s mediation Tskhinvali released earlier this month two out of four Georgian teenagers and committed “to pardon” and release two others by the morning of December 13.
    South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said on December 16 that although “certain agreements” were reached with international mediators on the release of teenagers, “the situation became complicated” because of the Georgian leadership’s rhetoric on the matter.
    17 Dec. '09 USA rufen alle Länder auf, die territoriale Integrität Georgiens zu unterstützen und bezieht Stellung zum Verhalten des Inselstaates Nauru
    Ian Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State said on December 16, that recognition of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Nauru did absolutely nothing and he called on all countries to support Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
    “I would just say that the recognition by Nauru, in and of itself, does absolutely nothing in our eyes to help establish or underpin in some way the legitimacy of the de facto governments in both of those separatist regions,” he said.
    “We continue to support, as the absolute vast majority of countries around the world, the territorial integrity of Georgia, and that means that we consider these entities as parts of Georgia and not as separate entities. We call on all states to uphold their commitments under numerous UN Security Council resolutions and the French-brokered ceasefire agreement, and we call on all countries to support, as we do, Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Ian Kelly added.
    The tiny Pacific island of Nauru recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia by establishing diplomatic ties with Tskhinvali and Sokhumi. Nauru, which is the world's smallest island nation, is the forth country after Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to recognize Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence. Russian daily Kommersant reported recently that Moscow pledged financial assistance to Nauru in exchange of recognition of two breakaway regions. According to the same report Nauru requested USD 50 million aid.
    17 Dec. '09 Im Vergleich zum gleichen Zeitraum 2008 fielen 2009 die ausländischen Dirketinvestitionen um 60.4% von 1,2 auf 0,5 Mrd. USD
    16 Dec. '09 Kokoity äußert sich zu den verhafteten georgischen Jugendlichen
    16 Dec. '09 Die pazifische Insel Nauru erkennt Südossetien an
    Zuvor hatte Moskau nach einem Pressebericht Nauru finanzielle Unterstützung versprochen, im Austausch für die Anerkennung der zwei abtrünnigen Regionen. Nauru soll um
    50 Mio. USD angefragt haben.
    The tiny Pacific island of Nauru recognized South Ossetia by establishing diplomatic ties with Tskhinvali on December 16, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
    The agreement was signed between Nauru’s Foreign Minister Kieren Keke and the breakaway region’s ambassador to Russia, Dmitry Medoev, in Moscow.
    Nauru, which is the world's smallest island nation, signed the same agreement with Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia on December 15.
    “This step by our partners from the Pacific region further strengthens Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s international legal basis,” Andrei Nesterenko, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, said.
    “As far as skeptical comments, heard from Tbilisi [about this recognition], are concerned, it once again demonstrates Georgian senior officials’ negligence towards small nations and states,” he added.
    Russian daily Kommersant reported that before visiting the breakaway regions, Nauru’s Foreign Minster held talks in Moscow last week with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
    The newspaper reported that Moscow pledged financial assistance to Nauru in exchange of recognition of two breakaway regions. According to the same report Nauru requested USD 50 million aid.
    16 Dec. '09 Benita Maria Ferrero-Waldner, Kommissarin für Außenbeziehungen und europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik, umreißt die EU-Georgien Prioritäten
    lokale Wahlen als Test für das Engagement Georgiens, demonstrative strategische Geduld, aktive Vorbereitung für Gespräche zu einem Assoziationsvertrag
        * ‘Local elections test for Georgia’s commitments’
        * ‘Demonstrate strategic patience’
        * ‘Prepare actively for talks on association treaty’
    EU is “deeply committed” to further assist Georgia in tackling its multiple challenges, but to succeed with this assistance, Georgia also “must deliver more” with its commitments, an outgoing EU Neighborhood Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said on December 15.
    Speaking at the European Parliament on December 15, Ferrero-Waldner laid out those three priority areas in which, she said, Georgia had “to deliver more” – democratic reforms; demonstrating “strategic patience” towards its breakaway regions and preparation for new EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
    Democratic Reforms
    She told the European Parliamentarians that the first point was further democratic reforms, human rights and rule of law and in this respect she emphasized on local elections planned for May, 2010.
    She said that EU welcomed President Saakashvili announcement about “the new wave of democratic reforms”, as well as his statement that Georgia’s response to Russian aggression would be more democracy.
    “The local elections in May will be a test of these commitments,” Ferrero-Waldner said, adding that these elections would also be important because Tbilisi mayor would be directly elected for the first time.
    “This presents, I think a major opportunity for Georgia to restore its citizens’ trust in the electoral process and one that must be seized since the shortcomings of the electoral system remain a significant potential source of political instability in Georgia,” she added.
    ‘Strategic Patience’
    The second area where EU needs “Georgia to deliver”, Ferrero-Waldner said, was in “demonstrating strategic patience in the aftermath of the conflict.”
    Reiterating EU’s strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, Ferrero-Waldner also said that “isolation of the breakaway regions will not help efforts for conflict resolution.”
    “On the contrary – a smart policy of engagement with Abkhazia and South Ossetia is needed,” she said.
    She said that for that reason EU appreciated Georgia’s “stated policy of strategic patience, which increasingly recognizes the need to maintain links with the breakaway regions without restrictions in the interests of citizens.”
    In this context she also said that Georgia’s ongoing efforts to elaborate a strategy paper towards its two breakaway regions “deserve our support”.
    Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, who met with a group of Georgian scholars and analysts on December 15 to discuss the draft of the strategy, said that the document would be finalized by the end of this month.
    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, however, also said that EU remained concerned about Georgia’s law on occupied territories.
    “If too strictly implemented [the law] may unnecessarily increase frictions with the entities and complicate delivery of assistance. The danger is that it will impede economic relations,” Ferrero-Waldner.
    She said that EU was calling on Georgia to amend the law in line with Venice Commission’s (Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional issues) recommendations.
    Georgia developed amendments to the law on occupied territories and sent it for review to the Venice Commission. The latter said on December 14 that “the revised draft amendments to the Law on Occupied Territories address most of the main concerns previously expressed” by the Commission.
    Ferrero-Waldner also told the European Parliamentarians that EU-mediated six-point ceasefire plan “is not fully implemented” and “every time we work with Russians this is on our agenda.”
    ‘Prepare for Talks on Association Agreement’
    The Commissioner said that EU was sparing no efforts to help Georgia “to actively prepare” for negotiations on EU-Georgia Association Agreement in the context of Eastern Partnership.
    Preparations for establishing new legal framework for EU-Georgia relations are proceeding “quite well”, she said, with draft negotiation directives for EU-Georgia Association Agreement already prepared.
    She said that the draft includes future establishment of deep and comprehensive trade area with Georgia. She said that EU had already provided Georgia with key recommendations for steps to be taken before EU could judge whether the country was ready or not to embark on negotiations.
    “Georgia’s resolve to speed-up its preparation is wise and I think it is essential that it tackles the key recommendations very actively,” Ferrero-Waldner said.
    Negotiations on the working level on EU-Georgia visa facilitation and readmission agreements were completed in November. Ferrero-Waldner described those agreements, which have yet to be approved, as “milestone in our partnership.”
    “We are offering [Georgia] new opportunities… but Georgia also has to help itself. If it takes good decisions, we will then be there to help on every step of the way,” Ferrero-Waldner said.
    She said that EU could not “give everything to every county without them doing their part.”
    “We have to ask them to also do their part; it means that free trade agreement can only be there when of course right legislature is there.”
    16 Dec. '09 EU-Kommissar für Menschenrechte Thomas Hammarberg triftt den stellvertretenden russischen Außenminister Grigory Karasin in Moskau
    16 Dec. '09 Außenministerium sagt, dass 15 Georgier im abtrünnigen Südossetien illegal von den russischen Besatzungstruppen festgehalten werden
    All of them are held “by the Russian occupation forces and the Tskhinvali proxy regime” since the last year’s August war, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
    Among them are three teenagers – two detained in early November and one in July, 2009.
    “International community and especially the EU Monitoring Mission and the Council of Europe's High Commissioner on Human Rights [Thomas Hammarberg] should strengthen their efforts to achieve the release of the three youngsters, who are being detained in complete violation of international law,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
    15 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili in Bezug auf die verhafteten im abtrünnigen Südossetien: ‘Keine Tauschgeschäfte mit einem Besatzer-Regime’
    ... “The President believes that any trade-off with the occupying regime is inadmissible. Mikheil Saakashvili is grateful to European officials for their efforts and calls on them to keep away from trading of human beings, which is pushed for by the occupying regime,” Manana Manjgaladze, the Georgian President’s spokesperson, said. ...
    15 Dec. '09 Tbilisi vermutet den russischen Tycoon Alexander Ebralidze als Werkzeug Russlands hinter der möglichen Destabilisierung Georgiens
    15 Dec. '09 Drei weitere Todesfälle wegen Schweinegrippe - zwei in Tbilisi und einer in Batumi
    15 Dec. '09 Die winzige pazifische Insel Nauru führt diplomatische Beziehungen mit Abchasien ein
    15 Dec. '09 EU und USA erkennen die Präsidentschaftswahlen in Abchasien nicht an und wiederholen ihre Unterstützung für die Souveränität Georgiens
    The European Union and the United States do not recognize the presidential elections held in breakaway Abkhazia on December 12 and reiterate their support for Georgia’s sovereighty and territorial integrity, the EU and U.S. Department of State said in separate statements issued on December 14. 
    “The European Union has taken note of the “presidential elections” held in the Georgian territory of Abkhazia on 12 December. The European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place. The European Union continues to support Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, as recognised by international law,” the EU said in a statement.
    “The United States regrets the decision to hold “elections” in the Abkhazia region of Georgia on December 12 and recognizes neither the legality nor the results. The United States reiterates its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”
    Meanwhile, on December 14 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin congratulated Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh on his re-election as "President of independent Abkhazia".
    14 Dec. '09 Türkischer Öltanker MAG-1 durch Sturm bei Suchumi auf eine Sandbank getrieben
    14 Dec. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, besucht Georgien
    Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe (CoE) human rights commissioner, will arrive in Georgia as part of his efforts to secure release of two Georgian minors from the village of Tirdznisi remaining held in Tskhinvali.
    Hammarberg will arrive in Tbilisi later this week and probably will also travel to Tskhinvali, according to CoE Information Office in Tbilisi.
    Four Georgian teenagers from the village of Tirdznisi were detained by the breakaway region’s authorities on November 4.
    Hammarberg, who earlier this month mediated release of two teenagers and five Ossetians, said on December 3 that he had received “firm commitment” from the breakaway region’s leadership that two remaining teenagers would have been released “on the morning of December 13.”
    But despite the commitment, Levan Khmiadashvili and Viktor Buchukuri, 17 and 16 years old, respectively, still remain in detention.
    “At this stage we are waiting for Mr. Hammarberg’s visit and as it seems the other side – those who have minors in illegal detention – are also waiting for this visit; so let’s wait for this visit and for Mr. Hammarberg’s trip to Tskhinvali,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, told Rustavi 2 TV on December 14.
    Apart of these two teenagers, a third Georgian minor, Giorgi Archvadze, also remains held in Tskhinvali. Unlike the case of four teenagers from Tirdznisi, the case of Archvadze gained less media and public attention.
    Archvadze, whose family was forced to leave its house in the village of Beloti in breakaway South Ossetia as a result of the August war, went missing on July 5, 2009. At the time Archvadze was 15 years old. As it emerged later, Archvadze was detained by the breakaway region’s law enforcement agencies and charged for “illegal crossing of the South Ossetian state border.”
    Merab Chigoev, deputy envoy of the South Ossetian leader for post-conflict resolution issues, told the breakaway region’s lawmakers on December 9 that total of 16 Georgian citizens were held in detention in Tskhinvali for either “illegal crossing of border or illegal possession of firearms”. Most of them were arrested after the August war, but several of them, according to Chigoev, were detained before the war. He said that Tskhinvali was insisting on “all for all exchange”.
    In addition it emerged last week that a 61 year-old Georgian citizen, Jemal Midelashvili, was detained by the South Ossetian militia on November 22 in the town of Akhalgori, where he was visiting his parents. The case of Midelashvili became known after the Georgian Public Defender’s Office said on December 11 that Midelashvili’s wife appealed the ombudsman for assistance.
    Hansjörg Haber, head of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), said last week that the mission was “closely cooperating”  with CoE human rights commissioner “to obtain if possible the release of all detainees taken since the war last August.”
    He said that other “big problem” was related with case of three “disappeared Ossetians, whose fate is uncertain”.
    The three Ossetian men are missing since October 13, 2008 after coming across the Georgian-controlled territory. The South Ossetian side released a video footage, apparently shot by a mobile phone, showing these three men being shouted at and harassed by other men, claimed by Tskhinvali to be Georgian law enforcement officers. Tbilisi denies the claims. It was not clear how the South Ossetian side obtain the video footage.
    Haber said that lack of information about the case of the three men was cited by Tskhinvali as a reason of not participating in meetings of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism.
    Boris Chochiev, the South Ossetian leader’s special envoy for post-conflict resolution, said after meeting with OSCE chairmanship’s special envoy Charalampos Christopoulos in Tskhinvali on December 14, that Tskhinvali would take part in a meeting with Georgian officials in the village of Ergneti on December 17 to discuss the issue of missing persons.
    14 Dec. '09 Staatsminister Temur Iakobashvili über die Wiederwahl von Bagapsh
    14 Dec. '09 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli besucht Moskau
    13 Dec. '09 Abchasische Wahlkommission: Bagapsh wiedergewählt
    According to preliminary results of Saturday’s vote Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, was re-elected with 59.4% of votes, the breakaway region’s central election commission (CEC) said on Sunday.
    Bagapsh’s main rival, former vice-president Raul Khajimba received 15.4% of votes; head of state-owned Abkhaz Shipping Company Zaur Ardzinba – 10.6%; a businessman and a former lawmaker Beslan Butba – up to 8% and university professor Vitaly Bganba – 1.5%.
    An official Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported quoting the breakaway region’s CEC that voter turnout was 73%.
    Authorities in Tbilisi said election in breakaway Abkhazia was “immoral comedy” stage by the occupying force – Russia.
    But the Georgian officials also say that Tbilisi is watching developments in Abkhazia.
    “We are not indifferent towards developments in Abkhazia and we are not indifferent towards the matter of who will be those people from that side with whom we will have to talk on resolving some local issues related to wellbeing of the population,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said.
    The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on December 12 that “the occupant regime… in Abkhazia, is putting up another show titled ‘presidential elections.’” It also said that in this “farce” a candidate “selected by Moscow long ago, will be announced ‘president’ of the proxy regime.”
    12 Dec. '09 Abchasische Wahlkommission erklärt die Präsidentsschaftswahlen für gültig
    12 Dec. '09
    12 Dec. '09 Russland stellt zwei Küstenwacheboote in Abchasien auf
    11 Dec. '09 EU-Beobachter-Mission ruft Russland auf, aus dem Dorf Perevi an der Verwaltungsgrenze zum abtrünnigen Südossetien abzuziehen
    EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia called on Russia to honor its commitment under the six-point ceasefire agreement and to withdraw its forces from the village of Perevi at breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border.
    The village is located outside the breakaway region’s administrative border and administratively falls under the Sachkhere district. The village remains under the Russian control since the August war.
    On December 12, 2008, Russian troops briefly pulled back from the village, but re-entered and re-installed their checkpoints there only hours after the withdrawal.
    “A year ago we were welcoming Russian Forces as they dismantled their checkpoint at Perevi after discussions with the EU, confirming by their actions our long held view that the checkpoint was indeed in Tbilisi administered territory,” EUMM said in a statement on Friday. “Unfortunately, very shortly afterwards Russian Forces returned and still remain in the original spot. This is a clear breach of the Six Point Agreement. I very much hope that the Russian authorities will feel able to meet their commitments.”
    Last December Russia cited a prompt deployment of the Georgian Interior Ministry forces in Perevi as a reason behind the decision to retake control over the village.
    “EUMM has agreed, and communicated to the Russian side, arrangements with the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs for a smooth transition in the area in the event of a Russian withdrawal,” EUMM said.
    11 Dec. '09 Abgeordnete Regierungspartei über die Direktwahl des Bürgermeisters von Tbilisi
    Mikheil Machavariani: "Wir haben in Tbilisi einen falschen Weg gewählt. ... ". Akaki Bobokhidze: ""Es war getan nicht, weil wir es für korrekt halten, sondern um der Sache des politischen Einvernehmens und Konsens."  
    Although decision to have direct election of Tbilisi mayor was “wrong”, the authorities agreed on such move as part of a political compromise, ruling party lawmakers said on December 11.
    “We have chosen a wrong way in Tbilisi,” said Mikheil Machavariani, vice speaker of the Parliament from the ruling party.
    He said that with this decision to have direct election of Tbilisi mayor the National Movement ruling party’s “task became tougher.”
    “While we have to win the mayoral race – we will certainly win it – simultaneously we also have to win the majority of seats in the Tbilisi City Council [Sakrebulo] so that to ensure that the elected Mayor faces no problems in the City Council in endorsing key decisions,” MP Machavariani said.
    His remarks were made when lawmakers were debating on the calls from MPs from the parliamentary minority to allow direct election of mayors in four other major cities as well – Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti. The debates took place while lawmakers were considering package of legislative amendments related to local self-governance.
    “Be satisfied with this political agreement [on direct election of mayor in Tbilisi],” MP Akaki Bobokhidze of the ruling party told the parliamentary minority lawmakers. “It was done not because we consider it to be correct, but for the sake of political agreement and consensus.”
    The direct election of mayor will only apply to the capital city, despite a pledge by President Saakashvili, made in his speech at the UN General Assembly in September, that “all mayors.”
    MP Levan Vepkhvadze, vice-speaker of the Parliament from Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority, also called on the ruling party to change the current rule of composition of the city councils in Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti.
    Currently, these four cities have 15-member city councils – ten elected through party-list, proportional system and five in majoritarian single-mandate constituencies.
    MP Vepkhvadze’s proposal was to increase number of seats to 30, wherein 20 would be elected through proportional system and 10 in majoritarian constituencies.
    MP Mikheil Machavariani of the ruling party said the ruling party was ready for “a reasonable compromise” on the matter.
    11 Dec. '09 Tbilisi nennt die Wahl in Abchasien eine "unmoralische Komödie", aufgeführt vom Kremel
    Presidential election in breakaway Abkhazia, planned for December 12, is a “comedy” staged by the Kremlin, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson said.
    “As far as so called elections in Abkhazia are concerned, which does not even have separatist regime any more and which has simply turned into an occupied territory, the Georgian President thinks that the Kremlin has totally vanished elements of the Abkhaz autonomy and it is immoral on the Russian side to stage this comedy,” Manana Manjgaladze, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson, said on December 10.
    Five candidates, including incumbent Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh, are running in Saturday’s vote.
    Other four candidates are: Raul Khajimba, former vice-president of the breakaway region; a businessman and a former lawmaker Beslan Butba, who is leader of Party of Economic Development; head of state-owned Abkhaz Shipping Company Zaur Ardzinba and a scholar Vitaly Bganba.
    An official Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on December 10 that total of 131,000 voters were eligible for vote.
    10 Dec. '09 Beamte der EU und Georgiens treffen sich nächste Woche in Brüssel zu einer zweiten Sitzung bezüglich eines Menschenrechtsdialogs
    10 Dec. '09 Georgien sagt, dass es "nur Russland begrüße", wenn Russland die Sanktionen zurücknehme
    Georgia will “only welcome” if Russia removes trade and travel restrictions with Georgia, a spokesperson for the Georgian President said on December 10.
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on December 9, that he would not have any contacts with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili and “with some others in leadership”; but also added that it was not a reason for putting off other decisions, including on reopening of border and resumption of direct flights.
    “The Georgian side expresses its readiness to resume direct flights and to reopen Zemo Larsi border crossing point,” Manana Manjgaladze, the Georgian President’s spokesperson, said.
    “As far as the sanctions are concerned their majority was imposed by Russia unilaterally... Russian products are not blocked in Georgia and they do not face any embargo. Russian citizens, except of those linked with Russian special services, can enter Georgia through simplified [visa] rules,” she said.
    10 Dec. '09 Parlamentsausschuss zu Menschenrechten diskutiert den Bericht des Ombudsmann
    9 Dec. '09 Vorschlag zur Änderung der Finanzierung des öffentlichen Rundfunks im Parlament vorgelegt
    9 Dec. '09 Russischer Präsident Medvedev äußert sich zu den Beziehungen mit Georgien
    Er wiederholte, dass er keine Kontakt mit seinem georgischen Gegenüber Mikheil Saakashvili und "mit einigen anderen aus der Führung" haben wolle, dass dies aber kein Grund sei, andere Entscheidungen zu treffen, einschließlich einer Wiedereröffnung der Grenze und Wiederaufnahme von Direktflügen.

    Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, reiterated on December 9, that he would not have any contacts with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili and “with some others in leadership”; but also added that it was not a reason for putting off other decisions, including on reopening of border and resumption of direct flights.
    “I have numerously said that I am not going to have contacts with the current President and some others in [the Georgian] leadership; our ways have parted and our assessments of developments are absolutely different; I think that President Saakashvili bears direct legal responsibility for the committed crime, but it does not mean that we should postpone all other relations for a later time,” Medvedev told European and Asian Media Forum in Moscow.
    “The possibility of conducting direct flights, and opening the Upper Larsi checkpoint – it is a normal topic for discussion and solution. In general I cannot see any specific obstacles here, because it, first of all, concerns the interests of simple people, who always kept and are still keeping ties with each other despite… severe confrontation between our states over some issues on the international arena,”
    Land traffic between the two countries was closed with the closure of Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point by Russia in July, 2006; two other border crossing points are located in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but they are considered by Georgia to be operating illegally and entry into Abkhazia and South Ossetia from those points is banned by the Georgian laws.
    Russia cut direct air flights with Georgia in October, 2006, following spy row between the two countries. The flights were restored for several months in 2008 and cut again after the August war.
    Speaking at the same Media Forum, Medvedev also said that “there should not be any problems” in respect of import of Georgian products in Russia.
    “Products imported to the territory of Russia legally – should be received and sold like other products. The question is how to assist this process. Try to do it through legal methods,” Medvedev said.
    Russia banned import of Georgian wines, spirits and mineral waters early 2006, citing health safety concerns.
    “They [Russia] can start normalization from any issue they want, but the process should definitely end with de-occupation of our territories,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said while commenting on Medvedev’s remarks.
    9 Dec. '09 Außenminister Vashadze besucht den Vatikan und die Schweiz
    Die Schweiz vertritt seit dem Augustkrieg 2008 die Interessen von Russland und Georgien in den diplomatischen Beziehungen.
    Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze will visit Vatican and Switzerland on December 9-14, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported.
    During the visit to Vatican Vashadze will meet with Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta Jean-Pierre Mazery, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See Monsignor Dominique Mamberti and other officials.
    In frames of his visit to Berne, the Georgian Foreign Minister will meet with his Swiss counterpart, Micheline Calmy-Rey and Economy Minister Doris Leuthard.
    Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties after the August war
    8 Dec. '09 Irakli Alasania von der "Alliance for Georgia" sagte, er sei ‘skeptisch’ bezüglich der Vorwahlen zu einem Oppositionskandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi
    8 Dec. '09 Südkoreanisches Energiestaatsunternehmen "Korea Electric Power Corp." (KEPCO) unterzeichnete eine Absichtserklärung zum Bau von drei Wasserkraftwerken in Westgeorgien
    Nach dem georgischen Energieminister
    Alexandre Khetaguri wird die Finazierung später geklärt. Die drei Kraftwerke sollen zusammen 450 Megawatt leisten und ab Mitte 2011 in sechs Jahren Bauzeit errichtet werden.
    A consortium led by the South Korean state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Georgian government on December 8 to build three hydro power plants in western Georgia, the Georgian Energy Ministry and KEPCO said.
    Under the USD 1 billion project KEPCO teamed up in a consortium with another South Korean SK Engineering & Construction Co. and Turkey’s Nurol Energy Generation & Marketing Co., a daughter company of Nurol Holding, to construct three hydro power plants at Namakhvani on the river of Rioni in the Tsageri district.
    The three plants, construction of which will start in second half of 2011, will produce a combined 450 megawatts, according to the Georgian Energy Ministry. It also said that construction would take six years.
    KEPCO said in a statement that the consortium and the Georgian Energy Ministry would agree on financing and other details on later stage.
    Georgian Energy Minister, Alexandre Khetaguri, said that “the financing issue is clarified to a certain extent.”
    “The consortium is currently in talks with the Korea EximBank and EBRD [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development],” Khetaguri said.
    President Saakashvili described the planned project as “a historic for Georgia”.
    “For the first time since Georgia’s independence a huge project is being implemented… This is the project which exceeds [in scales] any other project implemented so far in Georgia, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [oil pipeline] project,” Saakashvili said in televised remarks before the signing ceremony.
    He also said “20,000 people will be employed in this project.”
    But the Energy Ministry said in its statement that 4,000 people will be employed.
    8 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili sagt, dass die Einschätzung von "Transparency International" (TI) bezüglich Korruption in Georgien "nicht objektiv" sei und nicht die Fortschritte vollständig berücksichtige, die Georgien in der Korruptionsbekämpfung gemacht habe
    President Saakashvili said that Transparency International’s (TI) estimations on level of corruption in Georgia were not objective enough, as it failed to fully reflect the progress Georgia had done in fight against corruption.
    Speaking at a televised meeting with a group of people engaged in road infrastructure rehabilitation, Saakashvili said that despite aggression against Georgia and despite “internal destabilization in which, unfortunately, external force was also actively involved and is involved,” Georgia managed to be listed 11th in the World Bank’s recent survey on ease of doing business and “we managed to become the world’s number one in fight against corruption.”
    “This is not Saakashvili’s PR, as some hot-headed and hot-brained persons think; this is a reality; this is Transparency International’s [estimation],” Saakashvili said.
    “I think that their [Transparency International’s] estimation is still unobjective, because [Georgia] made much more progress than they portrayed it; but even they [Transparency International] acknowledge that we are number one in the world in fighting against corruption,” Saakashvili said. ...
    8 Dec. '09 Kandidaten für die sieben freien Sitze im Vorstand des öffentlichen Rundfunks benannt durch Präsident Saakashvili benannt
    Merab Basilaia, Nodar Sarjveladze, Levan Popkhadze, Badri Gvaramia, Giorgi Meladze, Lia Chakhunashvili, Mikheil Aidinov.
    President Saakashvili nominated candidates for the seven vacant seats in the 15-member Georgian public broadcaster’s board of trustees.
    Proposed 21 candidates, as envisaged by the law, are grouped into three for each vacant seat. The parliament will have to vote for each of the three candidates nominated for one seat and the one who garners most of the votes will become the board member.
    Following candidates are nominated for the first vacant seat: Merab Basilaia, media programs director at Tbilisi-based non-governmental organization ALPE; Malkhaz Narindoshvili, a program coordinator with Tbilisi-based non-governmental organization UN Association of Georgia, who previously was with a think-tank Liberty Institute and Giga Nasaridze, who was a host of a satirical show at the Rustavi 2 TV.
    Second vacant seat: Nodar Sarjveladze, a chairman of the Christian-Democratic Institute, a think-tank set up by Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority; Joni Kalandadze, currently unemployed, as referred in the list of candidates and Iago Kachkachishvili, a pollster and a sociologist. The latter is among the candidates, which were nominated by a group of media activists known as Media Club.
    Third: Levan Popkhadze, Imedi TV employee, whose candidacy reportedly is lobbied by MP Jondi Bagaturia of Georgian Troupe party; Inga Bolotauri, “an invited specialists at the Parliament” – as referred in the list of candidates and Emzar Goguadze, currently unemployed.
    Fourth: Badri Gvaramia, executive director of the Tbilisi municipality’s emergency ambulance service; Avtandil Antidze, a Ministry of Defense employee and Nana Gogochashvili, currently unemployed.
    Fifth: Giorgi Meladze of Liberty Institute; Lela Gaprindashvili of the association Women's Initiative for Equality and Nino Danelia, a media researcher with School of Journalism and Media Management at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). Both Danelia and Gaprindashvili are candidates nominated by Media Club.
    Sixth: Lia Chakhunashvili, dean of the Caucasus School of Media at Caucasus University (Media Club candidate); Mzia Gogniashvili, a journalist and Maia Misheladze, a journalist.
    Seventh: Mikheil Aidinov, head of the Association of Russian-Speaking Journalists of Georgia; Shorena Shaverdashvili, an editor of the magazine Liberali (Media Club candidate); Tamaz Bibiluri, an editor of a small newspaper Skhivi.
    The Parliament will vote on the proposed list of candidates this month.
    According to a comprehensive research by Caucasus Research Resource Centers about the Georgian media, made public in November, the public TV is not the first choice of receiving information for many Georgians with only 25% of surveyed respondents saying they usually turn to public TV for news and shows related to current events. According to the same survey only 26% said they fully or somewhat trust public TV and 18% said they fully or somewhat distrust it. The survey also showed lack of public knowledge about the source of financing of the broadcaster.
    7 Dec. '09 Dimitri Shashkin wird neuer Bildungsminister und ersetzt Nika Gvaramia
    PM Nika Gilauri said the replacement was related with ex-education minister’s intention to leave abroad for education purposes.
    7 Dec. '09 US-Luftwaffenkommandeur in Europa, General Roger A. Brady, besucht Georgien
    Er sprach mit dem Verteidigungsminister
    Bacho Akhalaia über die georgische Beteiligung am Afghanistaneinsatz sowie über die Vertiefung der Beziehungen. Er traf auch auf Präsident Saakashvili: "... Sie ( Georgier ) sind ein Beispiel für andere, ganz offen gesagt. Ich glaube, dass es zeigt, dass sie eine Nation sind, die zweimal gibt, da sie ohne Vorbehalt geben und sie sind eine Nation, deren Beitrag deutlich über ihrem eigenen Gewicht liegt. ... "
    Gen. Roger A. Brady, commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, held talks with the Georgian leadership on December 7, to discuss Georgia’s participation in the Afghan operation, as well as ways to “deepen and broaden relationship” with Georgia.
    Speaking after meeting with Georgian Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, Gen. Brady said the U.S. was “appreciative of the incredible support” Georgia was providing in Afghanistan.
    Georgia sent a company-size unit to Afghanistan and in addition it plans to send a battalion-size force next year.
     “It shows a very clear understanding of what is at stake and a commitment to values that we all share,” Gen. Brady, who also met with President Saakashvili, said. “You are an example for others, quite frankly. I think it demonstrates that you are nation that give twice, because you give without caveats and you are a nation that clearing is punching well above your weight.”
    Speaking at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council meeting on the foreign ministerial level in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said that the alliance was grateful for Georgia’s “extraordinary” contribution to the NATO operations in Afghanistan.
    “I’m not sure, but I think it is accurate to say that Georgia may be the largest per capita contributor to the NATO ISAF mission,” she said. “We very much stand with the people of Georgia, and we’re very grateful for Georgia’s contributions to this important mission in Afghanistan.”
    7 Dec. '09 Sokhumi sagt, dass 146,000 abchasische Pässe ausgestellt wurden
    Authorities in breakaway Abkhazia said 146,121 residents of breakaway Abkhazia, which they say is 90% of the region’s population, were holders of the Abkhaz passports, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on December 7.
    Valery Malia, head of the breakaway region’s interior ministry’s passport and visa service, said the Abkhaz passports had been issued to 73,622 ethnic Abkhazians; 32,363 - Armenians; 17,795 - Russians and 12,156 Georgians living in the region.
    According to UN refugee agency, UNHCR, approximately 45,000 ethnic Georgians reside in the Gali district of Abkhazia.
    The breakaway region’s law on citizenship allows for dual citizenship, but only with the Russian Federation.
    7 Dec. '09 Lettischer Präsident Valdis Zatlers besucht Georgien
    5 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili: Die 50%-Hürde bei der Bürgermeisterwahl für Tbilisi könnte einem Kandidaten helfen, die Position mit "Haßstimmen" zu gewinnen
    5 Dec. '09 Parlament nimmt in der ersten Lesung die gesetzesänderungen zu den Wahlregeln an
    The Parliament has approved with its first hearing the amendments to the election code, which, among other issues, sets rules for electing self-governance bodies in the capital city.
    The draft, which has yet to be approved with second and third readings this month, sets the rule of electing Tbilisi mayor, which is strongly opposed by number of non-parliamentary opposition groups, in particular by Alliance for Georgia, whose leader Irakli Alasania eyes running for Tbilisi mayoral office.
    Mayor/City Council
    A candidate, who wins more votes than others, but not less than 30% will be declared an outright winner. If not a single candidate receives the necessary amount of votes, the second round will be held with the participation of two candidates with the best results. A candidate winning most votes in the second round will be declared a winner. Alliance for Georgia was insisting on setting a 50%, or at least 45% threshold instead of 30%.
    Only a political party or a bloc of parties will have the right to nominate a mayoral candidate.
     The amendment also sets the rule of electing the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo), which will have 50 members, instead of current 37 from which 25 are members elected in majoritarian constituencies and 12 elected through party-list, proportional system.
    In the new City Council 25 seats will distributed among candidates elected through proportional, party-list system and the threshold, which the parties will have to clear for endorsing their candidates, will be 4%.
    The rest 25 seats will be again distributed among candidates who will win contest in majoritarian constituencies. Majoritarian candidate winning more votes than others (without having any threshold) will be declared an outright winner.
    Majoritarian constituencies will be created on the basis of 10 electoral districts of Tbilisi. According to the draft amendments, the Central Election Commission will provide division of 10 districts into 25 single-mandate sub-districts. However, as MP Pavle Kublashvili of the ruling party said on December 4, this provision may be revised during the second hearing of the draft.
    According to the draft amendment, a sitting member of the Parliament has the right to run for the City Council membership without giving up his MP credentials. The rule, however, may be revised in the process of second reading.
    Central Election Commission
    The draft amendment changes the rule of electing chairman of the 13-member Central Election Commission (CEC).
    The President, according to the draft amendment, will nominate three candidates for the post of CEC chairman and it will be up to the opposition members of CEC to select one. If none of three candidates receive majority votes of opposition CEC members then it will be up to the Parliament to elect one among three candidates.
    Rule of filling other twelve seats remains the same, according to which five members will be nominated by the President and approved by the Parliament – hence these seats will be taken by pro-ruling party candidates.
    Remaining seven seats will be filled by representatives of those political parties, which garnered at least 4% of votes during the last parliamentary elections in 2008 or at least 3% during the previous local elections in 2006. The ruling party is one of them and the rest six seats will be distributed among the opposition parties.
    As soon as the new rules enter into force, the authority of sitting members of CEC will be suspended and in January the commission will be composed anew, according to the draft amendment.
    The ruling party rejected the opposition’s proposal final vote tallies to be approved by 2/3 of commission members.
    In the precinct election commissions the opposition members will have the right to appoint the commission secretaries.
    5 Dec. '09 Lavrov: ‘Georgiens Aufrüstung sei ein ernsthaftes Problem’
    5 Dec. '09 Präsident Saakashvili äußert sich zur georgischen Afghanistan-Mission: Diese sei direkt mit der Sicherheit Georgiens verbunden.
    Je früher die Situation in Afghanistan gelöst und der Krieg im Irak vorbei ist, umso mehr wird Georgien geschützt sein, da unsere Verbündeten in diesen noch engagiert sind.
    President Saakashvili said Georgia’s participation in the Afghan operation was directly linked to Georgia’s security.
    “While our allies – in this case the United States and Europe – are switched on other issues [referring to Afghanistan and Iraq], our enemy is getting active. Sooner the Afghan situation is resolved and sooner the war is over in Iraq, Georgia will be more protected,” he said.
    Saakashvili was speaking while addressing soldiers from the artillery brigade, which received a new base in Vaziani, outside Tbilisi; before the brigade was based in the town of Gori.
    Saakashvili underlined that Georgia contributed one infantry company and planned to send additional battalion next year to Afghanistan without any caveats attached.
    “Unlike some of the European states, our contingent [in Afghanistan] has no restrictions in respect of engagement in combat operations,” Saakashvili said.
    “This is a unique chance for our soldiers to receive a real combat baptism. We do not need the army only for showing it on military parades.”
    Speaking at a news conference after the NATO-Russia Council meeting on the foreign ministerial level in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said that the alliance was grateful for Georgia’s “extraordinary” contribution to the NATO operations in Afghanistan.
    “I’m not sure, but I think it is accurate to say that Georgia may be the largest per capita contributor to the NATO ISAF mission,” she said. “We very much stand with the people of Georgia, and we’re very grateful for Georgia’s contributions to this important mission in Afghanistan.”
    4 Dec. '09 2010 State Budget Approved
    4 Dec. '09 MPs Approve 2009 Budget Cut
    4 Dec. '09 Int’l Press Group Raises Journalist Blackmail Claims
    4 Dec. '09 Deputy FM Speaks of ‘Not Enough’ Int’l Pressure on Russia
    4 Dec. '09 Statement after NATO-Georgia Commission Meeting
    4 Dec. '09 NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen erklärte, dass "die Allianz die Fortschritte begrüßt, die Georgien in etlichen Gebieten bei der Umsetzung seines Annual National Programme (ANP) vorweisen kann"
    NATO attaches “great importance to the conduct of free and fair local elections in Georgia in spring 2010” and encourages Georgia “to deepen reforms” related to media freedom and the rule of law, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance’s secretary general said.
    NATO-Georgia Commission on the foreign ministerial level met in Brussels on December 3 to review reform process in Georgia and implementation of Annual National Programme – a document, laying out the country’s reform targets, which is not public.
    In a statement released after the meeting NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who chaired the commission session, said that the alliance welcomed “the progress Georgia showed in a number of areas in implementing its Annual National Programme (ANP) goals.”
    In his opening remarks at the session Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said that the first assessment of Annual National Program was positive.
    “The ANP is instrumental, absolutely instrumental in reinforcing Georgia's integration, a process that I would like to note that 2009 assessment reflects the substantial progress in implementing Georgia's ANP goals,” he said.
    In the statement the NATO Secretary General said that the ministers from the alliance welcomed “the initiation of dialogue regarding electoral and constitutional reforms in Georgia.”
    “At the same time, they [ministers] noted that much work remains to be done to implement reforms, and that the Georgian Government, as well as opposition forces, must demonstrate political will in implementing democratic reforms,” the statement reads.
    Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, told Georgian reporters after the meeting that “it was a request by NATO to speed up reforms in Georgia”, including in defense, rule of law and judiciary.
    In the statement the NATO Secretary General said that the ministers welcomed Georgia’s decision to make “a broad review” of the country’s security sector, “but noted the need for more effective defence planning and financial and human resource management.”
    “The successful start” of the professional development program for civilian personnel of MoD and other security institutions, managed by NATO, was also welcomed.
    Noting Georgia’s “full compliance” with EU-mediated cease-fire agreement, NATO also urged Russia “to fulfill all of its commitments” under the agreement.
    Grigol Vashadze told the Georgian reporters in Brussels on December 3 that the alliance would raise Georgia as a priority issue when NATO foreign ministers meet their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Brussels on December 4.
    “NATO Ministers reaffirmed their strict policy of non-recognition of the “independence” of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia, and called once again on Russia to reverse its decision in this regard,” the statement reads.
    Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in his opening remarks at the meeting that NATO was committed to assisting Georgia with its reforms, “but it is the Georgians who ultimately have to deliver.”
    He also noted Georgia’s “substantial” contribution to the Afghanistan operation.
    Georgia has already sent a company-size infantry unit to Afghanistan under the French command and in addition it plans to send a battalion next year under the U.S. command.
    “It is in a challenging area. And it [deployment] is without restrictions. That is a powerful signal that Georgia is willing to do what it takes to be a security provider,” Rasmussen said.
    4 Dec. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, im Zusammenhang mit den Fällen, von Tskhinvali verhafteten Personen: Er forderte eine international überwachte Untersuchung der Fälle von vermißten Personen
    “Hostage-taking” should be unacceptable and internationally-supervised investigation into the cases of missing persons should be conducted, Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe’s (CoE) human rights commissioner said on December 3 in Tbilisi.
    He was speaking at a news conference after days of talks in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali, which led to release of total of seven persons from the both side, including two Georgian teenagers and five Ossetian men. ...
    3 Dec. '09 Regierungspartei teilt der Opposition mit, die sieben Kandidaten zu unterstützen, mit denen auch die Opposition übereinstimmt.
    3 Dec. '09 Europarat ruft zur Freilassung der zwei immer noch festgehaltenen Jugendlichen auf
    3 Dec. '09 Zwei russischen Wissenschaftlern wurde ein Einreisevisum verweigert, da sie nach georgischen Informationen mit dem russischen Gebeimdienst zusammenarbeiten und aktiv die Okkupation georgischen Territoriumsd unterstützen
    Ein Gruppe von fünf Wissenschaftlern war am 01.12. in Tbilisi eingetroffen, darunter
    Nikolai Silayev, eine kaukasusanalyst vom "Moscow State Institute of International Relations" und Sergey Mironenko, Direktor des "Russian State Archive". Präsident Saakashvili’s Sprecher sagte, "Georgien sei offen für russische Touristen und die russische Wirtschaft, aber nicht für russische Spione."
    Georgia is open for Russian tourists and business, but not for Russian spies, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson said while commenting on Georgia’s refusal to give entry visas to two Russian scholars.
    A delegation of five Russian scholars arrived in Tbilisi on December 1 to participate in series of meetings with Georgian colleagues to discuss Russian-Georgian relations. Two of them – Nikolai Silayev, a Caucasus analyst with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Sergey Mironenko, director of the Russian State Archives – were denied entry visas in the Tbilisi airport. Others refused to entered in support of Silayev and Mironenko.
    “The President notes that entry of spies sent by the occupation forces and Russian security services is unacceptable for him,” Manana Manjgaladze, President’s spokesperson, said on December 2.
    “According to our information, these persons are in close cooperation with the Russian special services and are actively supporting occupation of Georgian territories… Georgia open for Russian tourists, Russian businessmen, arts, sportsmen and ordinary citizens,” she added.
    The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that refusal to allow two scholars to enter into Georgia was “regrettable”.
    “This action finally confirmed the current Georgian regime’s drive to cut all the links through which Russians and Georgians still keep ties,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Action of this kind by official Tbilisi confirms panic fear towards open and unbiased polemic on difficult issues.”
    2 Dec. '09 Tskhinvali läßt zwei Jugendliche frei - Giorgi Romelashvili und Aleko Tsabadze, zwei andere werden weiter festgehalten
    Two Georgian teenagers held in Tskhinvali for about a month were freed on December 2, but two others remain in detention.
    Authorities in breakaway South Ossetia said, court in Tskhinvali gave Giorgi Romelashvili and Aleko Tsabadze, both 14 years old, one year conditional sentence and were freed from the courtroom. But two others – Levan Khmiadashvili and Viktor Buchukuri, 17 and 16 years old, respectively - were sentenced to one year prison term.
    All four teenagers were arrested in vicinity of Tskhinvali on November 4 and charged with “illegal crossing the South Ossetian border and possession of explosives.”
    Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, accompanied released two Georgian teenagers over the breakaway region’s administrative border late on Wednesday evening.
    Hammarberg told reporters in Ergneti at the breakaway region’s administrative border that the case of two teenagers would be held in supreme court in ten days and he hoped they would also be released, RFE/RL reported.
    “Two boys are here; they go home tonight to their families. Two boys will be kept another ten days and then they will be released; that is the situation,” he said.
    He also said that problems remain as “there are people still detained on the both sides” and added that efforts would continue to resolve this issue.
    The release of two teenagers comes after the Georgian side freed five Ossetians early on December 2.
    The five men were handed over by the Georgian authorities to CoE human rights commissioner, who brought former detainees to Tskhinvali. The Georgian officials so far decline to comment on release of five Ossetians.
    CoE human rights chief is in Georgia holding intensive talks both in Tbilisi and Tskhinvali on release of detainees since November 27.
    President Saakashvili's spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said the President welcomed release of two Georgian minors, but was concerned with "inhuman decision of the occupying forces" to keep two other teenagers held in Tskhinvali. She also said that the President was greatful to CoE huamn rights commissioner and head of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia for thier contribution to release of two teens.
    2 Dec. '09 NATO-Georgien-Kommission trifft sich in Brüssel
    NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen sagte, dass bei dem Treffen der Reformprozess, den die NATO weiterhin unterstützt, diskutiert wird, und er dankte Georgien für das "sehr substantielle Kontingent ", das nach Afghanistan gesendet wurde.
    NATO-Georgia Commission will meet on a foreign ministerial level in Brussels on December 3 on a sideline of NATO foreign ministers’ summit.
    Speaking at a news conference in Brussels on December 2, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, reiterated the commitment the alliance made in Bucharest summit and said: “They [Georgia and Ukraine] will become NATO members, when they meet the standards and if they so desire.”
    He said “progress in reform, which NATO will continue to support” will be discussed during the commission meeting. Rasmussen also thanked Georgia for “the very substantial contingent it is sending to Afghanistan.”
    Georgia sent a comany from the II brigade’s 23rd battalion to Afghanistan in November and plans to increase its presence to up to 800 soldiers next year.
    Afghanistan will top the agenda of NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on December 3-4. NATO-Russia Council meeting on the foreign ministerial level is also planned and NATO foreign ministers are also expected to decide on Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s request for Membership Action Plan (MAP).
    2 Dec. '09 Tskhinvali berichtet von der Freigalassung der fünf Osseten Ibragim Laliev; Lavrenti Kaziev; Vladimir Eloev; Iakob Tekhov and Pavlik Tekhov durch Tbilisi
    Die Männer waren im Oktober 2008 und Frühjahr 2009 verhaftet worden.
    ... Five Ossetians, who Tskhinvali says were released by the Georgian side, are Ibragim Laliev; Lavrenti Kaziev; Vladimir Eloev; Iakob Tekhov and Pavlik Tekhov – most of them detained in October 2008 and one in spring, 2009.
    In an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian-language program, Ekho Kavkaza, Shota Utiashvili said in November that in summer, 2009 the Georgian side intended to swap the five men on Georgians held in detention in Tskhinvali, but the exchange failed and since then the five men remain under the police supervision in a private house in the town of Gori.
    2 Dec. '09 Polizei untersucht die Anschuldigungen des erpressten Journalisten in Batumi
    1 Dec. '09 Parlament stimmte gegen einen Untersuchungsausschuss für mehrere Mordfälle
    1 Dec. '09 Lokale Wahlen sollen vor dem 1.Juni abgehalten werden
    1 Dec. '09 Neuer Bewerber in der Tbilisi-Bürgermeisterwahl: Davit Iakobidze für die "Democratic Party of Georgia"
    1 Dec. '09 Georgischer Busfahrer, verhaftet in Perevi von russischen Soldaten, wurde freigelassen
    1 Dec. '09 TV-Nachrichtensprecher Irakli Maisuradze wird Leiter des Präsidialsekretariats
    30 Nov. '09 Außenministerium: Russland will Spannungen durch Kidnappings’ auslösen
    30 Nov. '09 Die in Batumi ansäßige Zeitung "Batumelebi" appelliert an internationale Organisationen um Unterstützung, da nach ihrer Ansicht ein Journalist von Gesetzeshütern erpreßt worden sei
    30 Nov. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, besucht Tskhinvali
    30 Nov. '09 Georgischer Busfahrer im Dorf Perevi nahe der abtrünnigen Region Südossetien von russischen Soldaten verhaftet
    28 Nov. '09 "Alliance for Georgia" zu den lokalen Wahlen: Nächste Woche wird eine Entscheidigung bekanntgegeben, ob sie Allianz teinehmen und ob Irakli Alansia Kandidat sein soll
    27 Nov. '09 Innenministerium: Der Mordfall von Tamaz Ninua und seiner Frau "sei gelöst"; ein verdächtiger Mann sei verhaftet.
    Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said the murder case of Tamaz Ninua, who for few months served as security minister under late President Gamsakhurdia, and his wife “has been solved.”
    It said in a brief statement without going into details that the police arrested a man suspected in the murder.
    Ninua and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in their home in Tbilisi on November 13.
    Ninua served in the security and interior ministry structures, including on some senior positions, throughout 90s and retired in early 2000s.
    27 Nov. '09 "Conservative Party" bringt einen detaillierten Entwurf zu einem Vorwahlsystem für den alleinigen Oppositionskandidaten zur Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi hervor
    The Conservative Party put forth a detailed outline of system of holding “preliminary elections” among the opposition parties to select a single candidate to challenge an incumbent Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava, in local elections planned for May, 2010.
    The proposal, which lays out voting, vote tabulation and other procedural issues, envisages holding of “primaries” on March 31, 2010.
    The Conservative Party said opposition parties willing to take part in the primaries should sign proposed outline of procedures by December 1.
    Irakli Alasania, the leader of three-party opposition Alliance for Georgia; Koba Davitashvili, leader of People’s Party and Zviad Dzidziguri, co-leader of the Conservative Party, announced about intention to run for the Tbilisi mayor. Christian-Democratic Movement said it would also join the race, but it has yet to nominate a candidate. Only Davitashvili and Dzidziguri have so far expressed intention to participate in the primaries.
    27 Nov. '09 Verteidiginsminister Minister Bacho Akhalaia tifft seinen polnischen Kollegen Bogdan Klich in Tbilisi
    27 Nov. '09 Thomas Hammarberg, Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, besucht Georgien
    27 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili begrüßt die "ausgedehnte Übereinkunft" zur den Wahlregeln
    26 Nov. '09 Die in Batumi ansäßige Zeitung "Batumelebi" behauptet, ein Journalist sei von Gesetzeshütern erpreßt worden
    The Batumi-based weekly newspaper, Batumelebi, said law enforcement officers attempted to “blackmail” and “intimidate” its journalist, including through use of “stigma persisting in Georgia” towards homosexuality.
    It said in a statement on Thursday, that on November 25 head of the newspaper’s journalistic investigations unit, Tedo Jorbenadze, was summoned by Interior Ministry’s Special Operations Department’s (SOD) local division in Adjara Autonomous Republic to talk about “some personal matters” and “about his sexual partner.”
    Before going to the SOD’s Adjara headquarters in Batumi, Jorbenadze informed about the summoning newspaper’s director and editor-in-chief, Mzia Amaglobeli and Eter Turadze, respectively, who decided to accompany colleague at a meeting with the law enforcement officers. However, according to the statement, the editor and director were not allowed to attend a conversation between Jorbenadze and the officers.
    The Batumelebi said that during the meeting Tedo Jorbenadze was shown what seemed to be cropped black-and-white photos of near-naked men also featuring the journalist himself.
    “Tedo Japaridze was told [by law enforcement officers] that there was an interest towards the Batumelebi newspaper by special services of foreign countries, in particular Turkey and Russia and they needed his assistance and cooperation,” the Batumelebi said. “After receiving a refusal [from the journalist], Jorbenadze was warned that these photos would have been sent to his ailing father, as well as to his colleagues and disseminated through internet. But Jorbenadze told [the law enforcement officers] that they would not intimidate him with cropped photos and left.”
    The newspaper said it intended to request the prosecutor’s office to open investigation into the case, which it described as “Soviet KGB-style method of recruitment.”
    26 Nov. '09 Außenminister Vashadze: Tbilisi ist besorgt über ein mögliches Waffengeschäft um das Helikopterträgerschiff "Mistral" zwischen Frankreich und Russland
    Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said Georgia was “tremendously worried” about possible purchase of French helicopter carrier amphibious assault warships, Mistral, by Russia.
    “The only destination of this kind of ship is the Black Sea,” The Associated Press reported quoting Vashadze as saying in his address to an audience at French International Relations Institute (IFRI) in Paris.
     “The consequences might be devastating ... We are tremendously worried," he said, adding that Georgia “simply would like to understand why Russia would need such an assault vessel.”
    Meanwhile in Tbilisi, the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority said it was “extremely concerned” that NATO-member country, France, might sell warships to Russia, “especially against the background of Russia’s failure to follow its commitment undertaken under the ceasefire accords signed with mediation of the French President.”
    “We demand from the Georgian authorities to take affective diplomatic steps for prevention of this deal and call on France to drop plans on selling Mistral class warships to the Russian Federation,” CDM said in a statement on November 26.
    Russia’s navy chief, Vladimir Vysotsky, has said in September that a ship like Mistral would have allowed the Russian navy to carry out more efficient operation in the Black Sea during last year’s August war with Georgia. He also said such warship would take just 40 minutes to do the task that the Russian Black Sea Fleet ships did in 26 hours.
    26 Nov. '09 Gesetzesentwurf zur Veränderung der Wahlregeln soll nächste Woche begonnen werden
    26 Nov. '09 Nach dem Wall Street Journal wollen britische Beamte den Fall um eine in Rustavi angesiedelte Stahlhütte mit Premierminister Nika Gilauri in London besprechen
    26 Nov. '09 Ombudsman: Die Verhaftung der drei Demonstranten war eine Verletzung des Rechtes zur Versammlungsfreiheit
    25 Nov. '09 Temur Janashia wurde zum Chef des Präsidialamtes ernannt
    Er war zuvor Sicherheitschef des Präsidenten.
    25 Nov. '09 "Georgian Young Lawyers Association" (GYLA)verurteilt die Verhaftung der drei Demonstranten
    25 Nov. '09 Tbilisi verurteilt die Ermordung eines Georgiers in Moskau, der vermutlich von einem Polizisten zu Tode geprügelt wurde
    Ein Polizist wurde verhaftet und des Mißbrauchs von Gewalt angeklagt, die zu Körperverletzungen und zum Tode führte - nach Angabe russicher Agenturen. Das Opfer ist ein Flüchtling aus Abchasien,
    Eduard Gurtskaia.
    The Georgian Foreign Ministry said murder of a Georgian citizen in Moscow, who was beating to death, was “a vivid confirmation” of xenophobia.
    A Russian policeman was arrested and charged with misuse of power and with inflicting bodily injuries to a refugee from Abkhazia, Eduard Gurtskaia, which led to the latter’s death, the Russian news agencies reported on November 25.
    “This killing is a vivid confirmation that xenophobia is a common phenomenon in Russia and crimes on the ethnic ground against representatives of national minorities and Caucasians are committed both by skinheads and Russian militia, who resemble the skinheads by their methods,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
    “Victim of the crime [Eduard] Ghurtskaia was refugee from Abkhazia. Russia first deprived him of homeland and then deprived of life,” the Foreign Ministry said.
    25 Nov. '09 Premierminister Nika Gilauri besucht Großbritannien und wird in London ein Forum "Invest in Georgia" eröffnen
    Ein ähnliches Forum ist auch in den USA geplant, wo
    Gilauri am 29.November ankommen wird.
    Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri left for Great Britain on November 25, the PM’s press office reported.
    During the visit PM Gilauri will meet with Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, Shadow Minister of State for Europe Mark Francois, Shadow Defence Minister Liam Fox.
    Gilauri will also hold talks with Thomas Mirow, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In London he will open a forum “Invest in Georgia.”   
    Similar forum is also planned in the United States, where Gilauri will arrive on November 29.
    25 Nov. '09 EUMM begrüßt die Freilassung der drei russischen Bürger durch Georgien
    25 Nov. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze besucht Frankreich; es ist die Unterzeichnung eines Abkommens zur Zusammenarbeit in Sicherheitsaspekten geplant
    Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze will pay a working visit to France on November 25-28, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported.
    During the visit FM Vashadze will meet with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, Secretary of State for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly of France Axel Poniatowski and other officials.
    A ceremony of signing the Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Security between the Governments of Georgia and France is also planned, according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
    25 Nov. '09 Russischer stellvertretender Außenminister Karasin trifft Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli in Moskau
    24 Nov. '09 Vorschläge der Arbeitsgruppe zur Wahlreform gehen nun über ins Parlament zur Diskussion
    24 Nov. '09 Internationale Telekommunikationsgesellschaft Linxtelecom mit Sitz Amsterdam kauft die "Railway Telecom" für 14.3 Mio. USD
    Die "Georgian Railway Telecom LLC" betreibt das Glasfaserkabelnetzwerk entlang der Eisenbahn.
    24 Nov. '09 Georgien läßt ohne weitere Bedingungen drei russische Arbeiter frei und übergibt sie an der Verwaltungsgrenze zu Südossetien
    Die Arbeiter waren am 23.11. wegen illegalen Betretens von georgischem Staatsgebiet verhaftet worden nahe dem Dorf Nikozi.
    Georgia handed over three Russian citizens arrested at the South Ossetian administrative border to the Russian side on November 24.
    Three Russians construction workers were arrested close to the village of Nikozi on the Georgian side of the administrative border on November 23 for illegally entering the Georgian territory from Russia into South Ossetia.
    “We have released them without any preconditions,” Shota Utiashvili, head of the Interior Ministry’s department for information and analysis, said after the three men were handed over to the Russian side with mediation of EU monitors.
    Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said on November 24, that the release of the Russian citizens was as an expression of Tbilisi’s “goodwill, although we have all the legal grounds to arrest everyone who illegally crosses the Georgian border.”
    Georgia’s law on occupied territories bans entry into breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia from any other directions except from the Georgian-controlled territory, otherwise the entry is considered as illegal crossing of the Georgian state border.
    23 Nov. '09 Polizei läßt drei jugendliche Demonstranten, die wegen Verstosses gegen das Demonstrationsrecht verhaftet worden waren, wieder frei, nachdem ihnen eine Geldstrafe auferlegt wurde
    23 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili anläßlich des 6.Jahrestages der "Rose Revolution": Die Revolution geht weiter
    On the sixth anniversary of the Rose Revolution, President Saakashvili said Georgia’s achievements since 2003 were “refutation of the Kremlin propaganda” and for that reason Russia “can not bear us.”
    “The real revolution in our country has not ended on November 23, 2003; it started [six years ago] and it continues today with more momentum then ever before,” he said at a meeting with a group of students, also attended by visiting former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar.
    Saakashvili said that the Rose Revolution “marked the launch of one of the most important parts of our history,” which, he said, was “a triumph of Georgians’ European values.”
    “Liberal democratic revolutions are not simply waving of flags, as some may think… We have seen it once during the Rose Revolution and then we have seen for many times a miserable attempt to imitate it [the Rose Revolution] by various political parties,” he said.
    “Georgia has demonstrated to the entire region that freedom does not mean chaos; that it is not needed to kill journalists in order to increase efficiency of government, as it happens often in many countries in our neighborhood.”
    “We have demonstrated that it is possible to have freedom and order simultaneously,” he added.
    He said that what Georgia had achieved was “a refutation of the Kremlin propaganda.”
    “And that is why Moscow can not bear us. And for that reason we should succeed at any cost,” Saakashvili said.
    Saakashvili then recalled Russian PM Vladimir Putin’s recent remarks about him saying that Putin “dedicated most of his press conference while visiting Ukraine, speaking about my tie and speaking about some of my actions that I had undertaken in respect of my tie.”
    Asked at a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, in Yalta on November 20 about Saakashvili’s visit to Kiev, where the latter had a meeting with President Yushchenko on the same day, PM Putin said: “If the two presidents decide having a dinner together, they’d better not to wear ties. Ties are expensive these days... Well, you know what I mean.”
    Putin was alluding to a video footage of Saakashvili chewing his tie as he waited to be interviewed during the last year’s August war.
    Then Ukrainian PM Tymoshenko, standing next to Putin at the same news conference, said, while laughing: “I definitely can hold dinners without ties.”
    Saakashvili said that he could understand when Tbilisi-based “Maestro TV makes such things; well, it’s Maestro and let them do that.”
    “But when the Kind of such a huge country… with its million of problems, whose economy, unlike of ours, is collapsing, has nothing to talk about but of a tie of [the President] of a neighboring, small state, whose territory’s 20% it [Russia] has occupied, it already means that we have succeeded,” Saakashvili said.
    “I am now calm, because previously he [Putin] was speaking with President Sarkozy about other parts of the body, threatening other parts of the body and I will be calmer as he moves upper,” Saakashvili said referring to Putin’s remarks, he reportedly said while meeting Sarkozy last August, that he would hang Saakashvili “by the balls.”
    He also said that he could not understand those western leaders who “who can calmly shake hand with the head of the state, which detains 13 years old children” – he was again referring to Russia, which is blamed by Tbilisi for holding four Georgian teenagers in Tskhinvali since November 4.
    “It would have been hard for me to have any business with a person like that [referring to Putin],” Saakashvili added.
    23 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili anläßlich des Baus der neuen Ost-West-Autobahn: ‘Okkupanten werden aus Georgien herauskommen’
    President Saakashvili said that the east-west highway, which is currently under construction, “will lead us to Sokhumi.”
    “We will definitely arrive in Sokhumi… and the occupants will definitely get out from the Georgian territory – I am absolutely sure about it. We will arrive regardless of whatever resistance we may meet,” Saakashvili said.
    He was speaking with reporters from a Formula 3 racing car, which he drove on a newly constructed section of the highway.
    23 Nov. '09 TV-Journalistin Manana Manjgaladze wird Sprecherin von Präsident Saakashvili
    Manana Manjgaladze, an anchor of the Imedi TV’s evening news program Kronika, was appointed as President Saakashvili spokesperson.
    “Manana is one of the most interesting journalists. It is my honor that she agreed to take this post… This is tough job. From now on if Manana is speaking it means that the President is speaking,” Saakashvili said on November 23.
    Although President Saakashvili at various times in the past had several spokespersons, the position has not been well-established. The most recent time, the post was held by Gela Charkviani from March 2005 to March 2006.
    22 Nov. '09 Bericht von "Transparency International Georgia" hebt die undurchsichtigen Besitzverhältnisse der Fernsehgesellschaften hervor
    Georgia's current regulation of the broadcasting sector has proven insufficient to ensure a transparent media ownership and to promote a competitive, pluralistic television market, Transparency International Georgia said in a report released on November 20.
    The report, which is an attempt to shed some light on ownership of Georgia’s broadcasters, also provides an assessment of country’s TV market environment and television landscape.
    It says that those who are aiming to anonymously control private TV stations have taken advantage of liberal regulation, allowing foreign ownership of television outlets, and established off-shore post boxes in tax havens.
    Degson Limited, a dominant co-owner of the national TV station, Rustavi 2, and of Mze, another national channel, is registered the British Virgin Islands.
    TI Georgia says in the report that “another mysterious entity” called Denal Union, which controls 100% of Sakartvelo TV station, seems to be closely linked to the Georgian Ministry of Defense. The legal structure of Rakeen and its subsidiary, RAAK Georgia Holding, which owns 90% of Imedi, “is not transparent and fuels allegations about the involvement of Georgian individuals in this enterprise,” according to the report.
    The report also includes list of about four dozen of television stations operating in Georgia, including information about their official owners, obtained from the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).
    “Several other regional stations are officially owned by people who are closely connected to members of national or regional administrative bodies and high-ranking party officials,” the report says.
    It also notes that GNCC, which “is not perceived as a truly independent regulatory body,” lacks the mandate to establish who the actual owners of television stations are and to investigate who is behind the legal entities that directly own the license holder.
    “This problem could be addressed by an amendment of the broadcasting law, in order to ensure that sufficient information about the shareholder structure of license holders and their indirect owners is reported to the GNCC and also made accessible to the general public,” TI Georgia says.
    21 Nov. '09 Mukhrovani-Prozess: 7 Angeklagte schließen eine Vereinbarung im Strafprozess (Giorgi Amiridze; Davit Jguniashvili; Irakli Odikadze; Akaki Aptsiauri; Davit Okruashvili; Sandro Veshaguri and Zura Mosulishvili)
    21 Nov. '09 Regierungspartei erwartet nun die Zustimmung der "Alliance for Georgia" zur 30%-Hürde bei der Bürgermeisterschaftswahl in Tbilisi, nachdem sie in etlichen Schlüsselfragen Kompromisse einging
    20 Nov. '09 Abgeordneter Akaki Minashvili von der Regierungspartei kritisiert Thomas Hammarberg, den Kommissar für Menschenrechte des Europarats, wegen der vier georgischen Jugendlichen, die in Tskhinvali festgehalten werden
    MP Akaki Minashvili of the ruling party criticized Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, for "being inactive" in respect of four Georgian teenagers, who remain held in Tskhinvali since November 4.
    “This person [Hammarberg] is doing nothing; he is totally inactive. Such action, first of all, harms the Council of Europe and questions its reliability,” MP Minashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee for foreign affairs, said at the parliament’s session on November 20. “Urgent reaction is needed to ensure that either this person [referring to Hammarberg] takes reaction or he should be replaced.”
    He said that in all those cases, which regard Russia, “this person always prefers to take abstaining position.”
    Parliamentary Chairman David Bakradze said that Thomas Hammarberg’s inaction naturally triggers “negative assessments.”     
    “It should not be seen as if Georgia is interested in confrontation with the Council of Europe or Commissioner for Human Rights, but we should understand that it is a test – if the Council of Europe, Mr. Hammarberg  or his colleagues want to have a trust… this case really is a test, wherein everybody should spare no efforts,” Bakradze said.
    MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of parliamentary minority and Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), called on the European Union “to intensify its activities” to help secure release of four Georgian teenagers. He also said the CoE human rights commissioner “should be stricter about the situation involving the minors.”
    Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Samuel Žbogar said in a joint statement issued on November 16 that the Council of Europe expressed its deep concern over “prolonged detention” of Georgian teenagers and called for their immediate release.
    Similar statement was made by Mátyás Eörsi and Luc Van den Brande, co-rapporteurs of PACE for the war between Georgia and Russia, on November 18. “The arrest and prolonged detention of these young people will only increase the tensions and bad blood between the people in this bitterly divided region,” they said.
    20 Nov. '09 US-Vizepräsident Joe Biden ruft zur Erfüllung der Versprechen der "Rose Revolution" auf
    19 Nov. '09 EUMM wird die Truppenbewegungen der georgischen Streitkräfte, die aufgrund eines Umstrukturierungsprogramms ausgeführt werden, beobachten
    EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said on Thursday it had been informed by the Georgian authorities that there would be “significant movement of the Georgian armed forces due to a restructuring programme.”
    According to a memorandum signed between EUMM and the Georgian Ministry of Defense in January, the latter has to inform European monitors in advance about all the planned movement of the troops and military exercises, involving troops greater than the battalion size.
    EUMM said that the planned movements, which will take place in a period between November 19 and November 25 and will occur throughout Georgia, but will be mainly focused around Tbilisi, Gori and Bazaleti.
    “EUMM will monitor these movements in accordance with its usual procedures,” the mission said in a statement. “This information has been circulated through the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism hotline. EUMM is satisfied that the Georgian authorities are in compliance with their commitments under the Memorandum of Understanding.”
    19 Nov. '09 Tskhinvali hält vier Jugendliche in zweimonatiger Untersuchungshaft fest
    19 Nov. '09 Außenministerium: Präsident Saakashvili spricht mit US-Vizepräsident Joe Biden über die "strategische Partnerschaft" und die abtrünnigen Regionen in einer Telefonkonferenz
    19 Nov. '09 Oppositionelle "Alliance for Georgia" ruft die Regierungspartei auf, die Gespräche zu Wahlreformen wieder aufzunehmen
    19 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili trifft bei einem zweitägigen Besuch in der Ukraine Präsident Victor Yushchenko Kiev
    19 Nov. '09 "Conservative Party" nominiert Zviad Dzidziguri als Kandidat für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi
    19 Nov. '09 Zwischenparteiliche Arbeitsgruppe zur Reformierung der Bürgermeisterahl in Tbilisi erreichte keine Übereinstimmung - dead lock
    18 Nov. '09 Vizepremier Giorgi Baramidze trifft NATO-Generalsekretär Andres Fogh Rasmussen in Brüssel
    Die Allianz gab eine "eindeutig positive Beurteilung" zur Durchführung des jährlichen Programms mit der NATO.
    State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Vice-Premier, Giorgi Baramidze, met with NATO Secretary General Andres Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels on November 18.
    The Georgian delegation also included Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria and Deputy Defense Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze. A meeting of NATO-Georgia Commission at ambassadorial level was also held in Brussels.
    Deputy Foreign Minister Bokeria said the alliance gave “unequivocally positive assessment” to Georgia’s implementation of its annual national program with NATO.
    18 Nov. '09 Weißrussische Abgeordnete besuchen Tbilisi, Sokhumi, Tskhinvali
    18 Nov. '09 Pavle Kublashvili von der Regierungspartei sagt, dass die Bürgermeisterwahl nur in Tbilisi uals Direktwahl stattfinden soll, nicht in den anderen Großstädten Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi und Poti
    18 Nov. '09 EU-Außenminister begrüßen die EUMM-Zusammenarbeit mit dem EU-Statellitenzentrum EUSC, welches auch Bilder von den abtrünnigen Regionen an die EUMM liefert
    At a meeting in Brussels on November 17, EU foreign ministers welcomed EU Satellite Centre’s (EUSC) “increasing role in support” of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia.
    Head of EU Monitoring Mission, Hansjörg Haber, said on November 13 that the mission already had an access to satellite imagery over Georgia’s breakaway regions through cooperation with EUSC. He, however, also said “satellite pictures can not tell you everything; it can not entirely replace monitoring on the ground.”
    EU external relations council’s conclusions released after the foreign ministers meeting on November 17 reiterates the EU’s support to the full implementation of EUMM’s “country-wide mandate, including access to the de-facto entities.”
    “While expressing its continued commitment to Georgia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as to the principal of non-use of force, the Council emphasised the importance of measures to further build confidence among the parties, including through taking advantage of the agreed Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRM),” it says.
    18 Nov. '09 Abgeordneter Gia Tortladze stellt Gesetzentwurf zu "Anti-Terror-Maßnahmen" vor
    18 Nov. '09 Michael H. Posner vom US-Außenministerium ruft zur sofortigen Freilassung der entführten, georgischen Jugendlichen auf
    18 Nov. '09 Im Rahmen der strategischen Partnerschaft fanden in Tbilisi Gespräche zwischen Georgien und USA über demokratische Reformen statt
    17 Nov. '09 Parlament ernennt Ivane Noniashvili zum neuen Botschafter für Azerbaijan
    Parliament approved on November 17 Ivane Noniashvili, head of president’s press office, as Georgia’s new ambassador to Azerbaijan.
    This position has been vacant since former ambassador Nikoloz Natlibadze was appointed as Georgia’s ambassador to Spain in September.  
    17 Nov. '09 Michael H. Posner vom US-Außenministerium trifft Oppositionsführeer zu Gesprächen
    17 Nov. '09 Transparency International bewertet im neuen Bericht den Korruptionsindex für Georgien leicht besser als im letzten Jahr
    The level of corruption in Georgia has slightly fallen, according to Transparency International’s (TI) 2009 Corruption Perception Index released on November 17.
    The index ranked Georgia 66th out of 180 countries, and gave a score of 4.1, against 3.9 last year. The index scores countries on a scale from 0 - perceived to be highly corrupt to 10 - perceived to have low levels of corruption.
    17 Nov. '09 Europarat ruft zur sofortigen Freilassung der entführten, georgischen Jugendlichen auf
    The Council of Europe expressed its deep concern over “prolonged detention” of Georgian teenagers, who remain held in Tskhinvali since November 4.
    “Nowhere in Europe should teenagers be detained as a result of political and security issues,” Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Samuel Žbogar said in a joint statement issued on November 16.
    “As Secretary General and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, we call for their immediate release,” the statement reads.
    The Georgian Justice Ministry said on Novemeber 17 that it had sent a complaint about the detention of the four teenagers to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.
    Georgian Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani said that Georgia requests ECHR “to oblige the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally release four Georgian teenagers, who remain held for already two weeks.”
    16 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili trifft Abgeordnete der Regierungspartei zu den Themen lokale Wahlen, Georgiens Beziehungen zur NATO und EU und Situation in den abtrünnigen Regionen
    Local elections were among the issues discussed during the meeting, according to the President’s administration. In July, President Saakashvili offered to hold local elections on May 30, 2010, instead of autumn, 2010, but the date has yet to be formally set.
    Other topics, according to the President administration, were Georgia’s relations with NATO and EU, as well as measures “to further foster liberal” economic environment and situation in occupied territories.
    16 Nov. '09 Beginn von Gesprächen zum Thema demokratische Reformen zwischen Georgien und USA
    16 Nov. '09 Georgien schickt Truppen nach Afghanistan
    15 Nov. '09 Abchasien stellt auf die russische Telefonvorwahl um
    14 Nov. '09 Regeln zur Wahl des Bürgermeisters von Tbilisi ausgehandelt: 30%-Hürde festgelegt
    The ruling National Movement Party and parties in the parliamentary minority agree on setting a 30% threshold for electing Tbilisi mayor, but Alliance for Georgia, whose leader Irakli Alasania will run for the mayoral office, says the proposed threshold is too low.
    It was one of the key issues discussed by an inter-party working group on electoral reform on November 12. The working group was established initially by eight parties (the Labor Party withdrew from the group) in February with the facilitation of U.S. National Democratic Institute. The Alliance for Georgia, which unites New Rights, Republican and Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) parties, joined the group in September.
    The proposal on which the ruling party and most of the other parties within the group agree stipulates that a mayoral candidate winning more than others and more than 30% of the vote would be declared the outright winner in the first round without the need for a runoff.
    The ruling party’s starting position was to have no threshold at all, while the Alliance for Georgia was pushing for rule similar to the one applied to the presidential elections when a runoff is required if non of the candidates garner more than 50% of votes in the first round.
    Politicians from the Alliance for Georgia said their proposal would secure “high legitimacy” of a directly elected capital city mayor. Otherwise, Zurab Abashidze of OGFD said, legitimacy of a mayor, who might be elected with votes less than 50% would always be questionable. “And this situation will not help to defuse political crisis,” he said.
    50% threshold is part of proposals, which the Alliance for Georgia tabled when it joined the inter-party working group and which was agreed with four other non-parliamentary opposition parties, which refuse to participate in the working group.
    Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), which is the leading party in the parliamentary minority group and which also plans to nominate its candidate for the mayoral office, came up with a proposal to have a 33% threshold and after the talks on November 12 within the inter-party working group the most of the parties, except of the Alliance for Georgia, eventually agreed to have 30% threshold.
    No final decision has yet been made on this proposal and the Alliance for Georgia hopes it still will be possible to further increase the threshold.
    Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, signaled on November 13 that the Alliance for Georgia was ready to agree on 45% threshold. The inter-party working group’s next meeting is scheduled for November 16, but it is less likely that the ruling party would agree on increase of threshold beyond 30%.
    Usupashvili also said on November 13 while speaking at Rustavi 2 TV’s talk show, Position, that the Alliance for Georgia was also offering an alternative option – the similar to the one used in election of London mayor, known as supplementary vote, when a voter is given a right to rank candidates in order of first and second preference.
    The proposal of having the 30% threshold is similar to the one applied during the election of majoritarian MPs in the May, 2008 parliamentary elections and from which the ruling party candidates benefited, particularly in Tbilisi. The ruling party candidates were better positioned under this rule, because they were competing with several opposition candidates, wherein the overall opposition vote was split.
    In last year’s parliamentary elections the ruling party candidates won the majoritarian MP seats with over 50% of votes in only four out of ten constituencies of Tbilisi. In four constituencies the ruling party candidates won the majoritarian seats by receiving, although more votes then their competitors, but less than 50% and the opposition candidates won in only two remaining constituencies.
    On other issues, the inter-party working group is close to an agreement involving the composition of the Tbilisi City Council, known as Sakrebulo. The tentative agreement envisages that there will be 50 seats in Sakrebulo; 25 will be distributed proportionally between the parties in accordance to votes they garner in the proportional, party-list system and another 25 seats will be taken by Sakrebulo members who will win in majoritarian contest. But the rule of electing majoritarian Sakrebulo members has yet to be agreed. The same issue of threshold is likely to arise in this respect as well.
    Speaking at an extended session of the National Security Council, which was also attended by some opposition leaders, President Saakashvili welcomed the progress, which, he said, was possible to achieve within the inter-party working group.
    “I want to welcome the fact that an agreement in principle between the main entities [referring to political parties] has been achieved on main issues. To say the truth I was even surprised how many compromises were made, including by our friends. On number of issues we went far beyond than it was initially possible to imagine,” Saakashvili said.
    “We should reach the point where decisions are made by compromises, instead of trying to shape law, constitution and election commission based on [political parties’] own interests; no one will be able to do that; the authorities have no ambition to do that and I hope other political parties won’t have that too,” he added.
    14 Nov. '09 Verteidigungsminister Bacho Akhalaia: Georgien verstärkt seine Verteidigungsfähigkeit
    Bacho Akhalaia, the Georgian defense minister, said the country’s defense capabilities are now better than it was a year ago and it is further improving.
    “Today the armed forces are more ready for defense than they were six months or a year ago. This is an ongoing process, which continues and I can assure you that after a month or after six months there will be more progress,” Akhalaia said while speaking at Rustavi 2 TV’s talk show, Position, late on November 13.
    He said that working on increasing defense capabilities was an everyday process and “the strong army will be our one of our key priorities unless the last occupant leaves our territories.”
    14 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili begrüßt die EU-Erklärung zu den verhafteten Jugendlichen
    14 Nov. '09 Nationaler Sicherheitsrat diskutiert die Wiedereröffnung der Grenze zu Russland in Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi
    President Saakashvili, government members and representatives from some opposition parties discussed possible reopening of Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point with Russia at an extended session of National Security Council (NSC) on November 13.
    “We had talks in Yerevan – Georgian-Armenian talks with participation of Russians on reopening of this border crossing point,” Saakashvili said in his televised opening remarks at the session. “Some fears have been expressed [by some lawmakers from the parliamentary minority] about possible reopening; we will brief you about the information available to us and you then make your conclusions.” ...
    13 Nov. '09 Ex-Sicherheitschef Tamaz Ninua und seine Frau wurden in ihrer Wohnung erschossen aufgefunden
    Tamaz Ninua war unter Präsident Gamsakhurdia für wenige Monate im Amt, diente in den 90ern weiter in den Strukturen des Sicherheitsdienstes und Innenministeriums und ging in den frühen 2000ern in den Ruhestand. (Hinweis: Am 20.10. wurde eine parlamentarische Kommission zur Untersuchung des Todes von Präsident Gamsakhurdia eingesetzt und am 6.11. Konstantine Gamsakhurdia zum Vorsitzenden ernannt.)
    Tamaz Ninua, who for few months served as Georgia’s security minister under late President Gamsakhurdia, and his wife were found dead with gunshot wounds in their home in Tbilisi on November 13, the Georgian media reported.
    He continued serving in the security and interior ministry structures in 90s and retired in early 2000s.
    13 Nov. '09 EU-Botschafter Olof Skoog: " wir wiederholen, nicht zuletzt gegenüber Russland, dass die Mission nur ihre Arbeit vollständig ausführen kann, wenn sie in ganz Georgien operieren kann. Wir lassen dazu keine Gelegenheit aus ..."
    EU will keep raising with Russia the need for allowing European monitors to access breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ambassador Olof Skoog of the EU’s Political and Security Committee said in Tbilisi on November 13.
    “We need to do what we’ve done so far – we have to reiterate with those who have influence, not least the Russian Federation, that the mission is not able to do its work fully unless it is able to operate in the entire territory of Georgia. We do not miss any opportunity to raise this with the Russian Federation, so I think that’s the way we will continue,” he said at a joint news conference with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze. ...
    13 Nov. '09 Untersuchungsergebnisse zu georgischen Medien und Zuschauerverhalten in Tbilisi vorgestellt
    Die Georgier haben einen großen Appetit auf Nachrichten und seien auch keine unkritischen Nachrichtenkonsumenten.
    Georgians have a tremendous appetite for news with 84% of respondents watching TV news every day and most viewers do not seem to be uncritical news consumers, according to the comprehensive research of the Georgian media.
    The research made by Caucasus Research Resource Centers with the assistance of the European Union, was made public this week at a European Commission-organized conference on media freedom in Tbilisi.
    The research is based on the public opinion survey of 1,768 respondents in Georgia conducted in October, as well as on interviews in focus groups; media monitoring component of main television stations conducted in April-May and September-October and interviews with journalists, media managers and academics specializing in media. ...
    13 Nov. '09 EU drückt ihre "tiefe Besorgnis" über die verhaftung von vier georgischen Jugendlichen aus und drängt auf ihre schnelle Freilassung
    The European Union expressed its “deep concern” with detention of four Georgian teenagers, who remain held in Tskhinvali since November 4, and “urges for a rapid release of all detained persons.”
    “The European Union underlines the need to take into account the specific rights of underage detainees in accordance with international standards, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” EU’s Swedish presidency said in a statement on November 12.
    It also calls on all sides to address this kind of incidents within Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism – a body set up for regular contacts between the parties.
    “The European Union calls on all parties to use their influence to prevent incidents of this kind from taking place and reiterates its full respect for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders,” the statement says.
    12 Nov. '09 Management von Maestro TV von Erosi Kitsmarishvili übernommen, dem ehemaligen Mitbesitzer von Rustavi 2 TV und Georgien’s Ex-Botschafter in Russland
    12 Nov. '09 Diskussion um die Regeln für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi
    12 Nov. '09 Bagapsh nimmt Premierminister Alexander Ankvab als Vizekandidaten im Wahlkampf um die Präsidentschaft in der abtrünnigen Region Abchasien
    12 Nov. '09 Georgien sagt, dass es in der achten Runde der Genfer Gespräche keine Fortschritte gegeben hätte
    Negotiators from Georgia and Russia, as well as breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia met for the eighth round of internationally-mediated talks in Geneva on November 11.
    “Progress was reached on the agreement when to hold the next meeting [January 28, 2010]; unfortunately no progress was made on other issues,” Sergi Kapanadze, head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s department for international organizations, told RFE/RL Georgian service via phone from Geneva.
    Elements of a potential non-use of treaty and international security arrangements were among the issues discussed at the eighth round of talks.
    Kapanadze said that what Russia wanted “is a simple treaty” on non-use of force between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi and Sokhumi and Tbilisi. Georgia is ready to sign non-use of force treaty, but only with Moscow and if the treaty also includes international security mechanisms within the occupied territories as well.
    “Russia does not want international engagement in this process; they do not want international community to act as a guarantor of renewed non-use of force commitment,” Kapanadze said.
    Co-chairs of the talks, representatives from EU, OSCE and UN, said in a joint statement after the meeting that the participants of the talks discussed basic elements of a framework for an agreement related to the non-use of force and international security arrangements.
    “The discussion was based on elements prepared by the Co-Chairs, following consultations with and including contributions provided by participants since the previous round of Geneva Discussions. Participants agreed that the elements form a good basis for further discussion. The Co-Chairs will continue to work on these elements ahead of the next round,” international mediators said.
    OSCE’s Greek chairmanship’s special representative, Charalampos Christopoulos, said that the participants “engaged in pragmatic discussions” on the elements of a potential agreement on the non-use of force and international security arrangements.
    International mediators assessed situation on the ground as “relatively stable.”
    Russian Deputy Foreign Ministry, Grigory Karasin, said he disagreed with this assessment of the international mediators. He claimed that Georgia renewed flights of its unmanned aerial surveillance drones over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
    International monitors expressed concern about a number of cases of detentions of the Georgian citizens in the vicinity of the breakaway regions’ administrative borders.
    In one of the recent cases four Georgian teenagers were detained on November 4 and are still held in Tskhinvali. The issue was raised at the talks by the Georgian side.
    According to international mediators, during the meeting the participants “exchanged views” on the report by the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, headed by Heidi Tagliavini, on the causes of the August war.
    “Participants agreed the report contained useful lessons to draw on in contributing to building a more stable future,” EU, OSCE and UN representatives said.
    12 Nov. '09 EU-Diplomaten besuchen Georgien zu Gesprächen mit der Regierung
    11 Nov. '09
    Nino Burjanadze zu den Anstrengungen der Behörden, die Opposition in "Vermittler" und "Unversöhnliche" zu teilen: "Wir setzen unseren täglichen Kampf fort, die Gruppe der Unversöhnlichen zu stärken."
    Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said with the authorities’ efforts the opposition became divided into “negotiators”, inclining towards engaging in a dialogue with the authorities and “irreconcilables”.
    She said on November 11, that her party’s “road passes through the irreconcilable front.”
    “We continue our daily struggle to strengthen group of irreconcilables,” she said.
    “I am sure that Saakashvili will not change electoral environment; he will not give up monopoly over information and will not set media free. Any elections held under the Saakashvili’s tenure will only further strengthen the regime… Elections should be held in Georgia without Saakashvili,” Burjanadze said.
    11 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili sagt in einer Regierungssitzung, dass man der Wirtschaft mehr Anreize zur Stimulierung von Investitionen bieten wolle
        * Immediate refund of GEL 35 mln VAT;
        * Business to join tax dispute council;
        * Finance Minister to decide on sealing companies;
    President Saakashvili said that Georgia had overcome “the sharpest phase of economic crisis” and now the private sector should overcome “fear, which still follows some of them by inertia” and launch investing.
    Speaking at a live televised government’s session in a resort of Lopota in Kakheti region, Saakashvili said the government would give more incentives to the business to stimulate investments.
    He said that amendment should be made to the 2009 state budget, envisaging an immediate refund of total of GEL 35 million of value added tax (VAT) to the companies. He said that normally this process would have taken from six to eight months, “but now we are returning these funds immediately.”
    “So we are giving you back this money, which you have paid as VAT so you can reinvest this sum in business,” he said.
    Saakashvili said that the measure was a response to businesses’ complaints that they have not enough funds for reinvestment.
    He also offered to allow representatives from the Federation of Georgian Businessmen and Chamber of Commerce and Industry to take a seat in a council dealing with tax disputes between entrepreneurs and the state. He said the measure would help to make adjudication of tax disputes transparent.
    Saakashvili said that his third initiate was to ban sealing of companies for more than 48 hours by decisions of lower level tax officials; he said a decision of Finance Minister should be required for that measure.
    11 Nov. '09 Russischer General und Armeechef Nikolai Makarov sagt, dass Georgien sich wiederbewaffne: "Das militärische Potential ist heute viel größer als letzten August."
    “Its military potential is much higher today than last August,” Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted Makarov as saying.
    He, however, noted that the United States were not directly supplying weapons to Georgia.
    “If there are supplies, it will occur through somebody else’s hands,” he said. ...
    11 Nov. '09 Außenministerium: Russische Okkupanten verhaften fünf Fischer in georgischen Gewässern nahe Anaklia und klagen sie wegen "illegalen Fischens" an
    Russian occupants kidnapped five Georgian citizens on November 10, while the latter were fishing in the Georgian territorial waters close to Anaklia and accused them of illegal fishing, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
    “Russia continues its chain of extremely dangerous and sordid provocations which has recently acquired the form of hunt for people," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said. "The Kremlin employs such methods in order to extremely escalate the situation on the territories adjacent to Georgia's occupied regions and provide all preconditions for pushing the conflict into a hot stage."
    The Georgian Foreign Ministry demanded immediate release of Georgian citizens and called on the international community "to take respective measures.”
    10 Nov. '09 Deutscher Hersteller von Babynahrung Hipp startet einen Produktionsbetrieb in Agara in der Shida Kartli Region
    German organic baby food manufacturer HiPP GmbH & Co. Vertrieb KG launched production of fruit concentrate at a plant in Agara, Shida Kartli region.
     The company purchased the factory after it was auctioned by the Georgian government in April, 2009. Previously it was owned by a businessman Gocha Dzasokhov, who left for Russia after coming at odds with the Georgian authorities.
    “This factory has been stalled for several years, although the state did its best by giving it money, credit, but all this was wasted and the factory was stalled,” President Saakashvili who attended the opening of the factory, said.
    Owner and chief executive of HiPP GmbH & Co. Vertrieb KG, Claus Hipp, was also present. Saakashvili recalled that in March when he was meeting with Hipp in one of the restaurants in Tbilisi discussing investment opportunities, a group of protesters started rallying just outside the restaurant.
    “For 45 minutes they were shouting via loudspeakers, obstructing our conversation,” Saakashvili said. “If this man [referring to Hipp] were more European – and an ordinary European would have be afraid [of that protest rally] – this factory would not have existed here and he [Hipp] would have ran away from here and that’s exactly what they [protesters] wanted… But this man did not run away, because he promptly figured out what was happening.”
    10 Nov. '09 Achte Runde der Genfer Gespräche geplant: es soll ein Dokument zur zukünftigen Sicherheitsarchitektur diskutiert werden
    10 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili sagt, dass er "lautere" Reaktionen von der EU erwarte: "Heute hörten wir EU-Erklärungen, die nicht ausreichend waren. ..."
    President Saakashvili complained on November 9 that there was not enough reaction from EU against detention of four Georgian teenagers by the authorities in breakaway South Ossetia.
    Saakashvili said he would have a phone conversation with U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, on November 10 and wanted talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to raise the issue of four Georgian under aged citizens, who were arrested in the vicinity of Tskhinvali on November 4.
    “Tomorrow I have a conversation with the U.S. Vice President. I have ordered this conversation particularly to talk on this matter [detention of teenagers],” he said.
    He was speaking at a meeting with MP Giorgi Targmadze and MP Levan Vepkhvadze, the leaders of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of the parliamentary minority group. CDM leaders were in the village of Tirdznisi earlier on November 9 to meet with relatives of detained teenagers.
    “We have summoned the French ambassador today in the Foreign Ministry and demanded to arrange a conversation with [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, who is a guarantor of ceasefire treaty, which Russia tore over the head of not only Georgia, but of the entire international community,” Saakashvili said.
    “And over European Union first of all,” Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, who was also attending the meeting, intervened at that point.
    “And over European Union of course,” Saakashvili repeated and continued: “So I want to raise this issue, these provocations [with western leaders], which they [Russia] are staging everyday and by doing so they are testing their [western] reaction.”
    “In general we want louder reactions,” he said. “Today we saw EU’s statement, which is not enough.”
    He also complained about presence of Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
    “What does it mean – welcoming the Russian President in Berlin as if being a huge democrat to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall, while Erich Honecker [the last leader of German Democratic Republic] was not doing even tenth of what [Russia] is doing now here; Honecker was eventually apprehended by Europeans… And now they [Europeans] have him [Medvedev] sitting smiling next to them; it won’t work – shaking one hand with them [Europeans] and capturing children with another hand.”
    “This is something which requires reaction – the reaction from those people, who all this period have been guarantors for implementation of these [ceasefire] treaties,” Saakashvili said.
    He also said that Russia wanted Georgia “to go into its trap” and at the same time to test whether or not the west would react on these provocations.
    “Russians are testing reactions of others, what others will do in response to Russia’s provocations. What will happen next depend on such cases. I will talk with Americans, French and others tomorrow and let’s see what their reaction will be,” Saakashvili said.
    He thanked CDM leaders for “showing attention towards this issue” of detention of the four teenagers.
    “I have heard your criticism towards the authorities and I can share most of your criticism and accept it, because the matter concerns our children,” Saakashvili said.
    MP Giorgi Targamadze told him that “lack of communication” by local authorities with the relatives of detained teenagers, as well as “flawed” crisis management capabilities were among the problems.
    9 Nov. '09 Russischer Präsident Medvedev unterzeichnet Gesetz zum Einsatz der russischen Armee im Ausland
    Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, signed into law amendments expending legal ground for the use of the Russian armed forces abroad, the Kremlin said on November 9.
    According to the Kremlin, the law on defense envisages use of the Russian armed forces anywhere in the world to protect Russian citizens from armed attack; also in case of armed attack on Russian military units located outside Russia; when a foreign country is attacked and this country requests for Russia’s help and also for anti-piracy measures.
    Medvedev said on November 5 that Russia would use its armed forces abroad only in exceptional circumstances.
    “Such decisions are absolutely extraordinary and will be made only in case of extreme emergency,” he was quoted by the Russian media sources. “Our citizens should be protected in any part of the globe and feel that the state protects them.”
    9 Nov. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze: die Jugendlichen werden bald freigelassen
    ... “Abduction of these juveniles has showed once again whom we have deal with,” he said. “Forcing under aged [detainees] to enter plea of guilt and linking them with TNT and hand-grenades is simply disgraceful; it goes well beyond immorality.”
    Four teenagers, between 14 and 17 years old, were accused by the authorities in breakaway South Ossetia of “illegal crossing the border and possession of explosives.” ...
    9 Nov. '09 EUMM ist sehr besorgt über die Verhaftung von vier Jugendlichen und ruft die südossetischen Behörden auf, die Situation schnell zu lösen
    The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia expressed “profound concern” over the detention of four Georgian teenagers and called on South Ossetian authorities to find common ground with relevant Georgian structures to promptly resolve the situation.
    EUMM sai four teenagers, between 14 and 17 years old, were detained "in the vicinity of Tskhinvali" on November 4. All of them still remain held in the breakaway region.
    “While EUMM declares its readiness to assist in any appropriate way, the Mission also vigorously appeals to the de facto authorities in South Ossetian to find common ground with the relevant Georgian structures in order to bring the present situation in a prompt manner to a satisfactory resolve,” the EUMM said on November 8.
    The mission also said that it was in contact through the hotline with all the parties and in particular with the breakaway region’s authorities.
    “EUMM reminds that in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the appropriate treatment of under aged detainees must be ensured at all times. Among others, children taken into custody during pre-trial detention must not be placed in penitentiary facilities used by ordinary criminals; the Social Service department or its equivalent is the only authority in charge of holding under aged people in detention; under aged detainees have the right of immediate access to legal council assistance; the right to receive a visit of parents or a next of kin; and, the de facto authorities are obliged to inform parents or legal guardians of under aged detainees on the charges,” EUMM said.
    8 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili sagt anläßlich der Übergabezeremonie von 100 Häusern an Flüchtlinge, dass Europa nicht ruhig schlafen können wird, solange Abchasien und Südossetien abgetrennt bleiben vom Rest Georgiens durch von Russen errrichtete Stacheldrähte
    "... Ich möchte, dass sich alle europäischen Politiker - die Mehrheit von ihnen stand natürlich an unserer Seite - an ihre Mauer und diese Stacheldrähte erinnern, wenn sie über gutnachbarliche Beziehungen mit Russland oder über die Entwicklung der Beziehungen zu dem Okkupanten dieses Landes sprechen."
    Europe will not be able “to sleep calmly,” as long as Abkhazia and South Ossetia remain divided from rest of Georgia with Russian-built barbed wires, President Saakashvili said on November 8.
    Saakashvili compared Russian troops stationed in Georgia’s breakaway regions to “dinosaurs” and said “these dinosaurs, with their dinosaurian imagination and dinosaurian small brains” were building barbed wires across the administrative borders hindering thousands of IDP families to return back to their houses.
    “Today, when Europe celebrates 20th anniversary of collapse of the Berlin Wall… barbed wire is now stretching here in Georgia,” he said.
    “Here we have a border between liberty and non-liberty; it is neither administrative nor other type of border; here is an occupation line; I never refer to it as an administrative or a political border – this is an occupation line... This is a line between humanity and inhumanity, which is capable to detain children; this is border between past and future and the future belongs to Georgia and to liberty.”
    “I want all the European politicians – majority of whom of course stood by us – to remember about their Wall and to remember these barbed wires, any time when speaking about good neighborly relations [with Russia] or about developing relations with the occupant of this land,” he said.
    Saakashvili was speaking at a ceremony of handing over houses to 100 families displaced from their villages in South Ossetia as a result of the August war. The houses were constructed with the funding of Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA). Visiting Turkish State Minister, Faruk Çelik, was also present at the ceremony. ...
    7 Nov. '09 Kundgebung zum Jahrestag der Beendigung der Demonstrationen von 2007, organisiert durch Saakashvili-kritische Gruppen
    ...
    Several non-governmental groups, which are fierce critics of President Saakashvili’s administration, took the lead in organizing Saturday’s rally (including Georgian Academy; Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights and several pro-opposition youth groups); although many opposition politicians were present, they have not even addressed the demonstrators with speeches outside the Parliament.
    During the rally, which lasted less than an hour outside the legislative body, organizers read out appeals to western governments warning that President Saakashvili’s “authoritarian regime will lead the country to a large-scale destabilization;” they called on the European Union to make its aid to Georgia conditional to democratic reforms and to set deadlines to the Georgian authorities for implementing specific democratic reforms.
    Organizers also demanded from the authorities to release “all the political prisoners;” to return Imedi TV to the family of its founder, later tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili and to secure proper electoral environment for holding free and fair elections.
    Before rallying outside the Parliament, several hundred of protesters gathered outside the public broadcaster’s office to demand fair and unbiased coverage of political events in the country.
    Also on November 7, a group of non-parliamentary opposition parties gathered at a conference called by former foreign minister Salome Zourabichvili’s Georgia’s Way party dedicated to assessment of President Saakashvili’s years in power.
    Representatives from the Conservative Party; Movement for United Georgia; Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Party of People; Movement for Fair Georgia; Greens Party; Industrialists; Party of Women participated in the meeting; Levan Gachechiladze founder of pubic movement Defend Georgia was also present. National Forum and Alliance for Georgia were not present.
    Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, who on this day two years ago was parliamentary speaker, said it was possible to avert November 7 events. She said that the authorities deliberately used force against protesters in order “demonstratively punish those who dared to speak out against the authorities.”
    She also said that after the January, 2008 snap presidential elections “we all made a choice in favor of stability, turning a blind eye on democracy”; Burjanadze, who at that time was an acting president, was referring to assumption that by not pushing for repeat elections, the opposition averted confrontation, but instead had to in fact accept results of the fraudulent elections. 
    “August 7 has showed that it is impossible to make a choice between stability and democracy. In case of Georgia it is impossible to be a stable country, if it is not a democratic one,” Burjanadze said.
    Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia’s Way party, said at the conference, that throughout the recent two years, the opposition used “all the methods of political struggle” but failed to influence on Saakashvili’s administration, which, she said, “is heading towards totalitarianism and which we are failing to stop.”
    In his remarks made at a meeting with a group of students on Friday, President Saakashvili defended the authorities’ decision to break up the protest rally two years ago as “a necessity”.
    “Two years ago there was a clash between the police forces and the large demonstration,” he said. “I want everyone to understand it clearly what do I regret about and what I do not regret.”
    “The fact that police protected public order so that no one died is something that would have happened in many country if a country is civilized one; this is the obligation of the state and the right of the state.”
    He said that “foreign forces also were” behind those protest rallies, but also added that participation of those “foreign forces” was not “decisive” factor.
    “We used those methods [to break up the rally]. It was a necessity and it was our obligation,” he said.
    He said that the problem was not the break up of the rally itself. “Things should not have come to that point” when the break up became necessary, he said.
    “The government and the opposition were radically differing on almost each and every issue and it is now a big lesson for everyone – the lesson for the government that more explanations, more patience and more listening is required and also a lesson that extremism is disastrous. Every time when we attack each other it amounts to sending an invitation to our enemy to attack us.”
    6 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili über die ‘Eckpfeiler des modernen Georgiens’
    Vor den Studenten der
    Ilia Chavchavadze Universität in Tbilisi sprach er von zwei Dreiecken als Eckpfeilern: erstens die Geschichte eines multiethnischen Georgiens - die georgische Sprache - militärisch-patriotische Ausbildung; zweitens Computerfachkenntnisse - Mathematik - Fremdsprachen.
    “Military-patriotic education” is among the elements of those two “key triangles and cornerstones” based on which “modern Georgia” should be built, President Saakashvili said on November 6.
    Saakashvili was explaining his vision on the matter at a televised meeting with a group of students from the Tbilisi-based Ilia Chavchavadze University.
    Drawing on a chart board, Saakashvili told the students: “We should understand what those two triangles are on which success is based in modern life.”
    He listed “history of multiethnic Georgia”, as well as Georgian language and “military-patriotic education” as elements of the first triangle, which he drew on the chart board.
    On military-patriotic education he said that Georgia planned to reestablish a school of cadets, where it will be able to launch military education starting from the age of 14.
    “The second triangle, without which modern, competitive Georgian cannot exist – it is, of course, computer skills, mathematics and knowledge of foreign languages,” Saakashvili said.
    “These two triangles – computers, mathematics, foreign languages and on the other hand, history, language and military-patriotic education with taking into account the necessity of integration of our national minorities - are those major cornerstones, those cornerstones on which modern Georgia stands and through which we will achieve success and defeat egoistic and particularistic mentality,” he said.
    6 Nov. '09 Abgeordneter Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Sohn des Ex-Präsidenten Zviad Gamsakhurdia, sitzt dem parlamentarischen Ausschuss zur Untersuchung des Todes des Ex-Präsidenten vor
    MP Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, son of late President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and leader of Freedom Party, was approved on November 6 as chairman of the parliamentary commission to study circumstances of the late President’s death sixteen years ago.
    The Parliament also approved other ten members of the commission, which was established for the period of three months.
    The members of the commission are lawmakers from the ruling party: Lasha Tordia, Rati Samkurashvili, Temur Tsurtsumia, Bezhan Khurtsidze, Naul Janashia; MPs from the Christian-Democratic Movement Levan Vepkhvadze and Rati Maisuradze; as well as two independent lawmakers Nugzar Ergemlidze and Roman Marsagishvili; and Jondi Bagaturia, leader of Georgian Troupe party.
    Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, who retook his MP seat this week, has said for number of times previously that he was sure his father was killed and he did not commit suicide.
    6 Nov. '09 Parlament bestätigt Gabriela von Habsburg als neue Botschafterin für Deutschland; Frau von Habsburg hat auch eine georgische Staatsbürgerschaft
    Parliament approved on November 6 German sculptor, Gabriela von Habsburg, as Georgia’s new ambassador to Germany.
    Gabriela von Habsburg, who also holds Georgian citizenship, has been teaching in the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi since 2001.
    She replaced Levan Duchidze on this new position.
    6 Nov. '09 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze kommentiert die Verhaftung von vier georgischen Teenagern
    "Wir haben alle Gründe anzunehmen, dass es von Russland ausgeht und Russlands Versuch dahintersteht, einen Vorwand zu schaffen für eine weitere aggressive Aktion. Deshalb sollten wir ihnen einen solchen Vorwand nicht liefern und sehr energisch handeln. ... Wir sollten Russland nicht erlauben, solche Zwischenfälle zu verwenden als einen Vorwand und Vorbedingung für ihre eigenen aggressiven Absichten."
    6 Nov. '09 Finanzminister Kakha Baindurashvili stellt den entgültigen Entwurf für den Staatshaushalt 2010 vor
    Geplante Einnahmen 5.1 Mrd. GEL, geplante Ausgaben 5.4 Mrd. GEL.
    Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, presented on November 6 to lawmakers a final draft of 2010 state budget, which has been revised from its initial version submitted to the Parliament last month.
    Planned budgetary revenues and expenditures are increased slighted from its initial draft and now are set at GEL 5.107 billion and GEL 5.398 billion, respectively.
    Only two ministries – for healthcare and education – will receive increased funding next year against 2009. Funding for other ministries (Ministry for Penitentiary and Probation will have the same funding as in 2009) will be cut in 2010, according to the draft.
    Breakdown of funding per ministry is as follows in the proposed revised draft, which may again be amended before it is approved by the Parliament:
        * Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Protection – GEL 1.592 billion (GEL 1.534 billion in 2009);
        * Defense Ministry – GEL 750 million (GEL 897 million in 2009; GEL 1.547 billion in 2008);
        * Interior Ministry – GEL 548 million (GEL 568 million in 2009; GEL 739 million in 2008);
        * Finance Ministry – GEL 267 million (GEL 342 million in 2009);
        * Economy Ministry – GEL 22 million (GEL 66.5 million in 2009);
        * Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 847 million (GEL 869 million in 2009);
        * Energy Ministry – GEL 17.9 million (GEL 57 million in 2009);
        * Justice Ministry – GEL 44 million (GEL 64 million in 2009);
        * Ministry for Penitentiary System and Probation – GEL 119 million (GEL 119 million in 2009);
        * Foreign Ministry – GEL 66.5 million (GEL 70.6 million in 2009);
        * Ministry of Education and Science – GEL 557.7 million (GEL 519 million);
        * Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monument and Sports - GEL 74.7 million (GEL 86 million in 2009);
        * Ministry of Agriculture – GEL 53.3 million (GEL 113 million in 2009);
        * Ministry of Environment Protection - GEL 29 million (GEL 41 million in 2009);
        * Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation – GEL 27 million (GEL 62.9 million in 2009);
        * Office of the State Minister for Reintegration Issues – GEL 1.1 million (GEL 1.3 million in 2009);
        * Office of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures – GEL 1 million (GEL 1.1 million in 2009);
        * Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues – GEL 800 thousand (GEL 906 thousand in 2009).
    6 Nov. '09 Parlamentarier in Weißrussland setzen Arbeitsgruppe ein, die eine Position zu Georgien’s abtrünnigen Regionen finden soll, auch bei Besuchen in Georgien und Moskau
    Belarusian lawmakers decided on November 5 to set up a working group that will develop a position on possible recognition of breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
    The group of Belarusian lawmakers will travel to Georgia and its breakaway regions on November 17-20 and also hold consultations with their counterparts from the Russian State Duma in Moscow, RFE/RL’s Belarus Service reported.
    According to the same report, Sergey Matskevich, the chairman of the parliamentary international affairs commission, said that after the visit the commission will decide if it is necessary to hold a debate in parliament over the possible recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
    President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said in September that his country’s parliament would consider the issue of recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He also said that any foreign pressure on the matter, “even from our brotherly country” – an apparent reference to Russia – would be unacceptable for Minsk.
    5 Nov. '09 Russland gewährt Alik Bzhania, der in der georgischen Küstenwache gedient hatte, Flüchtlingsstatus
    5 Nov. '09 Russlands militärischer Sicherheitschef Alexander Shliakhturov warnt vor einem neuen Krieg: "... georgische Regierung weigert sich, die unabhängigen Regionen anzuerkennen ..."
    “The situation with Georgia remains tense because the current Georgian authorities do not only refuse to recognize the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but are sparing no efforts to return these countries, which have already become independent, to their jurisdiction,” he told Itar-Tass news agency.
    “We need to add to this the unpredictability of policy pursued by the Georgian authorities led by Saakashvili, which may succumb to temptation to use force in order to tame obstinate republics as it happened last August,” Shliakhturov said. “We do not rule out such a development.”
    5 Nov. '09 Tskhinvali verhaftet vier georgische Teenager
    The South Ossetian side detained four Georgian teenagers in Tskhinvali at 11pm on November 4, the breakaway region’s official website reported.
    According to the same report, South Ossetian law enforcement officers seized four “hand-grenades and explosives” from the Georgian teenagers.
    All the four Georgians are residents of Tirdznisi, a village in the Gori district located roughly five kilometers away from Tskhinvali.
    The Georgian Interior Ministry said that four teenagers disappeared from the Gori district at noon on November 4. The Ministry demanded “immediate and unconditional release of teenagers.”
    5 Nov. '09 Shalva Natelashvili, Führer der Labor Party, besucht die USA und plant Treffen im Kongress
    4 Nov. '09 Fünf Bewerber für die Präsidentschaft in Abchasien
    Sergey Bagapsh, Raul Khajimba, Beslan Butba, Zaur Ardzinba und Vitaly Bganba.
    Incumbent Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, will compete for re-election with Raul Khajimba, former vice-president of the breakaway region; a former lawmaker and businessman Beslan Butba, who is leader of Party of Economic Development; head of state-owned Abkhaz Shipping Company Zaur Ardzinba and a scholar Vitaly Bganba.
    Deadline for nominating candidates has already expired and the breakaway region’s central election commission will have to formally register contenders before November 12.
    4 Nov. '09 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Qatar
    4 Nov. '09 Außenminister Vashadze verzichtet auf seine russische Staatsbürgerschaft; er hatte eine doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft
    “I appealed the President of Russian Federation yesterday; I put my [Russian] passport in the envelope [to send it]; hence I have terminated my responsibilities as a Russian citizen,” Vashadze told journalists on November 4.
    “I am not a citizen of Russia any more,” he added.
    The announcement comes after a Russian lawmaker Semyon Bagdasarov called for depriving Vashadze of his Russian citizenship, citing Vashadze’s as he put it anti-Russian position. The Russian State Duma, however, refused to consider the proposal on the grounds that such procedure of depriving citizenship was not envisaged by the Russian constitution.
    4 Nov. '09 Mukhrovani Prozess: Shmagi Telia, Kommandeur der Landstreitkräfte, in der Befragung
    3 Nov. '09 Wiedereingeführte Finanzpolizei innerhalb des Finanzministeriums mit halbautonomer Struktur in letzter Hörung angenommen
    The Parliament approved with its final hearing the draft law envisaging re-establishing a semi-autonomous structure within the Financial Ministry to take “effective” measures against the economic crimes.
    The new structure, under the name Investigative Service of the Finance Ministry, will start functioning from December 1, 2009, after the draft is law is approved with its second and third readings.
    3 Nov. '09 Oppositioneller Politiker Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Führer der "Freedom Party", tritt wieder seinen Abgeordnetensitz an
    3 Nov. '09 Ombudsman hat beim Innenministerium angefragt, auf welcher rechtlichen Grundlage die Untersuchung im Fall des Videos, das den Patriarchen verhöhnt, initiiert wurde
    2 Nov. '09 Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) plant, einen eigenen Kandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi zu nominieren
    2 Nov. '09 Lack of Clarity over Patriarch Mocking Video Probe
    2 Nov. '09 Georgien erwägt eine drittes Programm in russischer Sprache für die Kaukasusregion
    2 Nov. '09 Georgien streitet Gespräche mit Russland zur Wiedereröffnung der Grenze ab
    1 Nov. '09 Polizei hat nach eigenen Angaben die Urheber des Videos, das den Patriarchen verhöhnt, identifiziert - ein Schüler und ein Student
    31 Oct. '09 Giorgi Tugushi, Ombudsmann, legt seinen ersten Menschenrechtsbericht dem Parlament: Aufnahme von Fällen in der Berichtszeit sei "erheblich"
    Giorgi Tugushi, new public defender, sent biannual human rights report, covering the first half of 2009, to the Parliament, saying the human rights record in the country for the reporting period was “grave.” ...
    31 Oct. '09 EUMM begrüßt die Freilassung der 21 Georgier
    30 Oct. '09 USA liefert mit einem Frachtflugzeug Hilfe im Wert von 7.2 Mio. USD aus
    C-17 military cargo plane, loaded with USD 7.2 million worth of U.S. aid, involving medicines and supplies, arrived in Tbilisi on October 30.
    Medical supplies include blood-pressure medication, ophthalmologic drugs, antibiotics, pain relievers, multi-vitamins, first-aid supplies, and vital diagnostic instruments, according to the U.S. embassy in Georgia.
    Dan Rosenblum, the U.S. state department coordinator for U.S. assistance to Europe and Eurasia leads the delegation onboard the C-17.
    30 Oct. '09 Tskhinvali läßt 16 Georgier frei
    30 Oct. '09 Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, Sohn von Präsident Gamsakhurdia, für zwei Monate in Untersuchungshaft; die Anklage lautet Mordversuch und unerlaubter Waffenbesitz
    Laut Polizei soll Tsotne Gamsakhurdia auf seinen Nachbarn geschossen und ihn verwundet haben.
    Court sent Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, a son of late President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, to a two-month pre-trial detention on October 30.
    Gamsakhurdia was arrested on October 28 and charged with a murder attempt and illegal possession of firearm. Police said Gamsakhurdia shot and wounded his neighbor.
    Gamsakhurdia’s attorney lawyer said her client denies the accusation; she also said that unknown person hit Gamsakhurdia into his head on the night when the crime was committed close to his house in Tbilisi, as a result of which he lost consciousness and does not remember what happened afterwards.
    Tsotne Gamsakhurdia was arrested in September and charged with espionage in favor of Russia and for alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government; he was then released on GEL 20,000 bail, but these charges have not been dropped since then.
    30 Oct. '09 Finanzministerium sagt zu, die Steuerschuld des in Batumi ansäßigen TV-Programms "Channel 25" zu senken
    30 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili nimmt am Gipfel der European People’s Party (EPP) in Brüssel  teil
    30 Oct. '09 Tskhinvali läßt fünf Georgier frei
    29 Oct. '09 Neue administrative Aufteilung von Tbilisi in 30 Bezirke, um mehr Bürgernähe zu erlangen
    29 Oct. '09 "Fact-Finding-Besuch" in dem Pankisi-Tal durch ausländische Diplomaten und Medien fand am 29.10. statt
    Der Abgeordnete Giorgi Targamadze: "Für die Georgier ist es klar, das die russischen Anschuldigungen gegenstandslos sind. ... Aber wir wollten, das Ausländer mit eigenen Augen die Situation vor Ort sehen. ..."
    A group of representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in Georgia and media visited villages located in Pankisi gorge on October 29 to, as organizers said, ascertain that Russia’s allegations in respect of the gorge were groundless.
    MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of parliamentary minority and of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), whose party led this campaign of fact-finding trip, said the move was a counter-measure to Russia’s allegations that Georgia was helping militants to infiltrate into Russia from its territory.
    “For Georgians it is clear that the Russian allegations are groundless… But we should let foreigners see with their own eyes situation on the ground. We should counter Russia’s disinformation campaign with true information and the truth, which is on the ground,” MP Giorgi Targamadze said.
    29 Oct. '09 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze begrüßt die Rückkehr des oppositionellen Politikers Konstantine Gamsakhurdia ins Parliament
    29 Oct. '09 EUMM über die Inspektion der Örtlichkeiten, wo die 16 Männer verhaftet wurden
    Nach EUMM akzeptierten alle Beteiligten bei des Treffens, dass einige der Männer die Verwaltungsgrenze weniger als 100 Meter, wahrscheinlich nur 30-50m überschritten.
    ... During the meeting in which EUMM representatives also participated, all the participants accepted that it was likely that some of the 16 men crossed the administrative boundary line by less than 100 meters and in all probability between 30 to 50 meters.
    “Although different versions of the event were voiced, it was universally agreed that there was no malicious intent to cross the Administrative Boundary Line on the part of the woodcutters,” EUMM said.
    ... “EUMM considers that the detainees should be released at the earliest possible opportunity and that this incident should be used as an occasion to elaborate a broader framework to facilitate cross-boundary activities for the local population.” ...
    29 Oct. '09 Europäischer Gerichtshof nennt den Prozess vor acht Jahren nicht fair, der gegen Gujar Kurashvili, Archil Panjikidze und Kakhaber Kantaria wegen Anschlag gegen die Behörden geführt wurde
    European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said trial against three men, who were sentenced for plotting against the authorities eight years ago, was not fair.
    In its ruling on October 27, the Strasbourg-based court awarded Gujar Kurashvili, formerly a commander of the Georgian land forces; as well as Archil Panjikidze and Kakhaber Kantaria with EUR 2,000 each for non-pecuniary damage.
    The three men, along with some others, were arrested in May, 1999 and accused of preparing plot and assassination of senior Georgian officials, including then-president Eduard Shevardnadze. Authorities claimed at that time that former security minister, Igor Giorgadze, was behind the plot.
    Criminal Bench of the Supreme Court, composed of one professional judge and two lay judges, found the three men in November, 2001 guilty of plotting against the constitutional order and sentenced each of them to three years in prison.
    ECHR ruled in favor of the three applicants who claimed that trial against them was unfair because the Criminal Bench of the Supreme Court, which had tried them, was not a “tribunal established by law”, since it included two lay judges who were not legally competent to exercise the functions of a judge.
    Institution of lay judges was abolished in Georgia in 2005. The institution was a holdover from the Soviet judiciary system, wherein individuals from other professions were invited to take part in a trial as lay judges, acting as representatives of the people.
    28 Oct. '09 Russische Truppen in Südossetien verhaften weitere fünf Georgier
    Die fünf Männer, Einwohner des Kareli-Distrikts, wurden nahe dem Dorf Balta verhaftet.
    28 Oct. '09 Gela Bezhuashvili, Chef des Nachrichtendienstes: Risiko von Provokationen an den Grenzgebieten zu Russland
    "... Wir haben Informationen über verschiedene Arten von Provokationen; wir werden daran arbeiten, sie zu verhindern. ..."
    “There is risk of provocations,” Gela Bezhuashvili, the head of Georgian intelligence service, said. “We believe that the entire border area with Russia represents a threat, as [these areas] will be used for various provocations; maritime border section also is part of this zone of risk. We have information that there may be various types of provocations; we will work to prevent [the provocations].”
    28 Oct. '09 Tbilisi fordert die Freilassung der 16 Georgier
    Durch die Schweizer Botschaft wurde eine Protestnote an das russische Außenministerium geleitet.
    The Georgian Foreign Ministry passed a protest note to the Russian Foreign Ministry through the Swiss embassy. Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties after the August war.

    “The detainees are still kept illegally in custody at the so-called prosecutor’s office of the occupied district of Akhalgori,” the note reads. “The Georgian side assesses the aforesaid fact as yet another crime committed by the occupation forces and a provocation carried out by Russia on the sovereign territory of Georgia.” ...
    28 Oct. '09 Russischer stellvertretender Außenminister trifft Ex-PM Nogaideli
    27 Oct. '09 Aufrufe zu einem "Fact-Finding-Besuch" in dem Pankisi-Tal durch ausländische Pilomaten, Medien und Analytiker, um mit vorbeugenden Schritten den Vorwürfen Russlands zu begegnen, die Infiltration von Militanten in den Norkaukausus unterstützt zu haben
    Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, said on October 27, that a group consisting of representatives from foreign diplomatic missions, media and analysts would likely pay a fact-finding visit to Pankisi gorge this week.
    MP Nika Laliashvili of CDM said such visit was required in order to disavow recent groundless allegations by Russia that Georgia was assisting militants to infiltrate into Russia’s North Caucasus republics.
    Chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, claimed on October 13, that the Georgian secret services were assisting “Al Qaeda emissaries” in arranging sending of fighters and arms in Chechnya and Dagestan. The allegation was strongly denied by officials and political leaders in Tbilisi and described as Russia’s attempt to prepare a ground for possible provocations against Georgia.
    Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia, called on the authorities last week “to immediately undertake pre-emptive steps” and organize trip of foreign diplomats and journalists to Pankisi gorge. “Let this group also meet with local population and law enforcement officers, who will brief [the fact-finding group] about situation on the ground. It should be done as soon as possible,” Alasania said in an interview with the Georgian weekly, Kviris Palitra, published on October 19.
    Pankisi gorge in north-eastern Georgian mountainous region, close to the Russian border, was a major irritant in Russo-Georgian relations for several years starting from late 2001. Over 7,000 Chechen refugees settled in Pankisi gorge shortly after the second war was launched in Chechnya in 1999. Their number dwindled since then and currently there are about 1,000 Chechen refugees in Pankisi gorge.
    In January 2002 the Georgian authorities admitted that Pankisi gorge was a safe haven for militants and criminal gangs, engaged in kidnappings and drug trafficking. As a result the Georgian Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Security launched a joint anti-criminal operation. One local resident was killed after, as Tbilisi claimed, Russian jet dropped a bomb in Pankisi gorge in August, 2002. In 2003 the Georgian authorities announced that the anti-criminal operation was over and the gorge was no longer a safe haven for militants and criminals. The issue of Pankisi gorge, accompanied by Russia’s allegations of harboring militants, was reemerging only sporadically since then.
    MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of CDM and of parliamentary minority, also called a meeting of the Parliamentary commission, known as Group of Confidence. The group is in charge of monitoring defense spending, including related to top secret projects, as well as discussing sensitive security issues.
    “We believe that these [allegations by Russia] are aimed at justifying of provocations. Hence risk of military escalation against Georgia is increasing,” MP Giorgi Targamadze said.
    27 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Polen
    27 Oct. '09 Jährlicher Bericht des US-Außenministeriums zur religiösen Freiheit in Georgien vorgelegt
    Respect for religious freedom by the Georgian government continued to improve, according to the U.S. State Department’s recent annual report on International Religious Freedom, which covers the period from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.
    27 Oct. '09 Treffen des Kooperationsrates EU-Georgien in Brüssel
    Fortschritte in Demokratie, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Menschenrechten ist eine wichtige Bedingung für die Vertiefung der Beziehungen von der EU und Georgien, sagte die EU nach dem Treffen, Thema war auch die verstärkte Rolle der EU in Form der EUMM zur Konfliktbewältigung, die EU-Beteiligung bei den Genfer Gesprächen und die angehobene finanzielle EU-Hilfe nach dem Augustkrieg.
    Progress in democracy, rule of law and human rights is an important condition for the deepening of EU-Georgia cooperation, EU said after a meeting of EU-Georgia Cooperation Council on October 26.
    The meeting in Brussels, which was chaired by Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, was tenth in frames of EU-Georgia Cooperation Council. Vice-Premier and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, was also representing the Georgian side. EU delegation was led by Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister, whose country holds the EU presidency; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy; Juan José Rubio de Urquia, Deputy Director General for Eastern European Affairs, who represented the incoming Spanish Presidency and Peter Semneby, the EU special envoy for South Caucasus, participated in the meeting.
    In a press release issued after the meeting, the Council of the European Union said the meeting provided “a timely opportunity to take stock of political developments in Georgia, as well as the advancement of political and economic reforms, in particular ‘the second wave of democratic reforms’ announced in September 2008 by President Saakashvili.” ...
    27 Oct. '09 EUMM besorgt bezüglich der Verhaftung von 16 Georgiern in der abrünnigen Region Südossetien
    “The arrest of the 16 residents of Gremiskhevi seriously affects the daily life of this village,” EUMM said. “The incident reflects the wider problem of activities along the ABL [administrative boundary line] which are likely to increase due preparations for the winter season.”
    26 Oct. '09 Georgien ernennt Gabriela von Habsburg zur neuen Botschafterin in Berlin
    German sculptor, Gabriela von Habsburg, who also holds Georgian citizenship, was named by President Saakashvili as Georgia’s new ambassador to Germany, replacing Levan Duchidze.
    “She is a great friend of Georgia, who has been actively engaged on an informal level in defending Georgia’s interests in the European states throughout recent years,” said MP Akaki Minashvili of the ruling party, who chairs parliamentary committee for foreign affairs. “We are sure that her appointment will bring to relations between Georgia and Germany to a new level.”
    Gabriela von Habsburg, who has yet to be approved on the post by the Parliament, has been teaching in the Academy of Arts in Tbilisi since 2001.
    26 Oct. '09 Zurab Nogaideli, Ex-Premierminister und Führer der Partei "Movement for Fair Georgia", ist in Moskau zu "öffentlicher Diplomatie" und will Vertreter der georgischen, abchasischen und südossetischen Gemeinschaft in Russland treffen
    Zurab Nogaideli, ex-PM and now leader of opposition Movement for Fair Georgia party, is in Moscow to, as he said, hold meetings with representatives of Georgian, Abkhaz and Ossetian communities in Russia.
    In an interview with Moscow-based Echo Moskvy radio station on October 26, Nogaideli said the visit was part of his attempt to launch “public diplomacy” and a priority was confidence-building in order to prevent reoccurrence of the August war. He also said that his goal was to build contacts and prepare ground for implementing of his party vision in respect of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the event his party came into power.
    “If Saakashvili had a dialogue with Abkhazians and Ossetians, I would not have come here at all. It is clear that wall between Georgians and Abkhazians and Ossetians is being built not only by those [Russian] military bases, which are stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but also, unfortunately, by Saakashvili and his circle,” he said. ...
    26 Oct. '09 Russische Grenzposten in Südossetien verhaften sechzehn Mäner nahe dem Dorf Salbieri wegen Verletzung der südossetischen Grenze"
    Nach Angaben südossetischer und georgischer Berichte waren die Männer zum Holzsammeln im Wald unterwegs.
    According to EU Monitoring Mission, when the issue was discussed in August, there was “a common spirit” to treat these cases pragmatically and instead of detention, to turn back those people, who allegedly were crossing administrative boundary line.
    25 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili: Wendepunkt für die georgische Wirtschaft erreicht; Georgien ist ein bedeutendes Transitland für sechs zentralasiatische Staaten
    He was speaking in an outdoor ceremony of opening a new terminal in port of Poti. In his speech Saakashvili spoke much about Georgia’s importance as a transit route. Standing in front of a large-scale map of Eurasian continent he was explaining importance of Georgia’s geographical location.
    “Georgia is the only route to Europe for six landlocked states in Central and Caspian region and the shortest route from north China to most of the European destination,” Saakashvili said.
    “One can not bypass Georgia. Cargo should either go via Russia, but this route is risky, full of corruption and full of political risks; or the second option is a direct route via Georgia. And if someone wants to know why this port was bombed last year and if someone wants to know why [Russia] troops are stationed here [referring to breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia], one should look at this [map],” he said.
    He also said in his speech that Georgia “should not be an ordinary eastern European country.”
    “We do not have time and luxury to simply follow this ordinary route,” Saakashvili said. “Georgia has more than those countries [in Eastern Europe]. We have very wealthy neighbors – they have gas, oil… But we have what other countries of the region do not have – we have lowest taxes.”
    24 Oct. '09 USA und Georgien beginnen zweiwöchige Militärübungen, die speziell als Vorbereitung für gemeinsame Einsätze in Afghanistan ausgerichtet sind
    23 Oct. '09 Neuer Kandidat für die Wahlen in Abchasien nominiert: der Geschäftsmann und Besitzer von "Abaza TV" Beslan Butba
    He owns the only independent television station in Abkhazia, Abaza TV, and the newspaper Echo of Abkhazia.
    23 Oct. '09 Verteidigungsminister Davit Sikharulidze nimmt in Bratislava an einem informellen NATO-Treffen der an Afghanistan-Operationen beteiligten Nichtmitgliedsstaaten teil
    23 Oct. '09 Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Anführer der "Freedom Party", erklärt, dass er seinen Abgeordnetensitz wieder annimmt
    23 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili über Georgien’s internationales Ansehen
    Der Augustkrieg im letzten Jahr veränderte den gesamten post-sowjetischen Raum, wobei Georgien ein Ansehen wie nie zuvor erreichte, weil die Regierung es fertig brachte, die Invasion einer "brutalen Macht" zu überleben.
    President Saakashvili said on October 23, that the last year’s August war “changed” the entire post-Soviet space with Georgia gaining a reputation not seen before because its government managed to survive invasion of “a brutal force.”

    “Commonwealth of Independent States, which Georgia has already quit, is actually disintegrated. They [apparently referring to the Russian authorities] hardly manage to gather only three or four leaders on CIS summits; no one wants to attend those summits anymore,” Saakashvili said.
    22 Oct. '09 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze trifft den nationalen Sicherheitsberater der USA James Jones
    22 Oct. '09 Stellvertretende Assistentin des US-Außenministeriums Tina S. Kaidanow besucht Georgien
    21 Oct. '09 Kontroverse über die Videos, die den Patriarch Ilia II. mit unterlegten Texten zeigen
    21 Oct. '09 Treffen der Arbeitsgruppe Wahlreform mit dem Hauptthema Bürgermeisterwahlen in Tbilisi
    21 Oct. '09 Georgien im Index zur Presssefreiheit der "Reporter ohne Grenzen" um 39 Plätze verbessert jetzt auf Rang 81
    21 Oct. '09 Innenministerium: Anschlag mit einem Sprengsatz läßt Güterzug in Westgeorgien entgleisen
    Der Anschlag ereignete sich nahe dem Dorf Teklati bei Senaki in der Samegrelo-Region. Dies ist der 5. Anschlag auf Züge in Westgeorgien seit Juni 2009.
    20 Oct. '09 Parlamentarische Kommission zur Untersuchung des Todes von Präsident Gamsakhurdia eingesetzt
    The Parliament endorsed on October 20 a proposal to set up an interim parliamentary commission to study circumstances of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s death sixteen years ago.
    MP Jondi Bagaturia, who has formally initiated the proposal, said the commission, which has yet to be composed, would also give “a legal and political assessment” to a military coup in late 1992 as a result of which late President was ousted from the office.
    Zviad Gamsakhurdia was ousted in a military coup in January, 1992, less than eight months after he had been elected President. The deposed president initially fled to Armenia and then to Chechnya, which at that time was controlled by rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev.
    The following year Gamsakhurdia returned to Georgia in a failed attempt to regain power. He died in December 1993 in a remote village in the western Georgian region of Samegrelo in circumstances, which still remain a source of controversy with many of his supporters doubting version of suicide.
    The Georgian media sources have long been speculating that Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, son of the late President and leader of Freedom Party, may agree to retake his MP seat following Parliament’s decision to establish such a commission. Some media sources were also reporting that if he agrees to join the Parliament, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia might even be named as the chair of this commission. Gamsakhurdia has yet to comment.
    In September, the Parliament endorsed constitutional amendment allowing ten opposition politicians, including Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, to regain their MP credentials, which were rejected by them in protest against ballot fraud, which they said took place in the May 21, 2008 parliamentary elections. Nine of them have refused to retake their MP seats and Gamsakhurdia has not spoken publicly on the matter yet.
    20 Oct. '09 Sicherheitsgespräche zwischen USA und Georgien
     U.S. long-term committment to Georgia’s defense reforms;
     In short-term focus made on training, education, doctrine;
     ’Concerns over Russia’s lack of compliance with ceasefire terms’
     No consultations on BMD with non-NATO members;

    20 Oct. '09 Russische Nachrichtenagentur: Tbilisi, nicht Moscow, sendet Signale für Gespräche aus
    20 Oct. '09 Die Gruppe "Media Club" benennt ihre sieben Kandiaten für den Vorstand des öffentlichen Rundfunks
    ... The group, known as Media Club, held a meeting, facilitated by Open Society Georgia Foundation, with few dozen of civil society representatives in an attempt to secure broader endorsement of their potential candidates, which are: a media researcher Nino Danelia; editor of bi-weekly magazine Liberali Shorena Shaverdashvili (both are also members of Media Club); Tamar Gurchiani of Young Lawyers’ Association of Georgia (GYLA); Tamar Kordzania of GYLA; Tamar Karosanidze, executive director of Transparency International Georgia and Iago Kachkachishvili, a pollster and a sociologist. ...
    19 Oct. '09 Film zum Augustkrieg - Andy Garcia in der Rolle von Präsident Saakashvili nimmt Dreharbeiten in Tbilisi auf
    19 Oct. '09 Nach einer Gesetzesvorlage wird das Maximum der Truppenstärke für 2010 auf 37.000 erhöht
    Nach Angaben des Verteidigungsministeriums beträgt derzeit die Truppenstärke 23.500.
    19 Oct. '09 Alexander Vershbow, stellvertretender Assistent für internationale Sicherheit im US-Verteidigungsministerium, besucht Tbilisi
    17 Oct. '09 Ein russisches Militärgericht befindet den russischen Soldaten Jemal Nakaidze für schuldig, für Georgien spioniert zu haben, und verurteilt ihn zu neun Jahren Gefängnis
    A Russian military court found a serviceman of the Russian armed forces, Jemal Nakaidze, guilty of spying in favor of Georgia and sentenced him to nine years in prison, RIA Novosti news agency reported on October 16.
    According to the same report, the North Caucasus District Military Court found that Nakaidze was recruited by the Georgian side in February, 2008 and was gathering and passing sensitive information to the Georgian special services till November, 2008, in exchange of financial award; he was also promised to receive a house in Georgia’s black sea town of Batumi.
    In August the same military court found a former deputy commander of one of the Russia’s military units of North Caucasus Military District, Lt.-Col Mikhail Khachidze, guilty of spying in favor of Georgia and sentenced him to six years in prison.
    16 Oct. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze: Es gebe Signale, dass Moskau mit Tbilisi Gespräche beginnen möchte, aber das sei unter den gegenwärtigen Bedingungen, dass Russland 20% des georgschen Territoriums besetzte, unmöglich.
    There are “signals” indicating that Russia wants to start talks with Georgia, but it is impossible under the current condition when Moscow continues occupying 20% of the country’s territory, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said on October 16.
    “Signals are coming that they [Russian authorities] want to start talking with us; but they want to do that just for one reason – in order to then run to Brussels or Washington to say: ‘we are already direct talks with them [Georgians], it is not a problem any more, forget about it’,” Vashadze told Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk show, Position.
    He said Russia’s tactic was imposing, what Moscow calls, “new reality” that emerged after the August war and “starting talks with rest of 80% of Georgia from empty page.”
    “No matter who comes into power in Georgia, no one will start talks with Russia unless de-occupation of our territories,” Vashadze said.
    “Let them start direct talks with Moscow now, who have a treason on their mind,” he said. “I will immediately resign if someone does that.”
    16 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili gegenüber CNN zur Medienfreiheit in Georgien: "Wir haben 27 unabhängige Fernsehkanäle; wir haben jeden Tag dutzende politische Talk Shows. ..."
    ... about media freedom in Georgia: “We have twenty seven independent channels in Georgia; we have dozens of political talk shows everyday.”
    “I think we are politicized society to the extent you won’t find in most of the eastern and central European countries and we welcome it,” he said.
    In the same interview Saakashvili said when asked why Tbilisi decided to attack South Ossetia, that Georgia had to respond to Russia’s invading troops. He said the country faced two options: either to capitulate and stop existing or to resist.
    “You don’t send flowers to invading troops… We had to react, we had to respond; we were shelled by Russia’s proxies for weeks and weeks, they were first ones to fire and then the Russian troops came in. We refused to surrender,” he said.
    16 Oct. '09 Abchasien nutzt ab sofort russische Telefon-Vorwahl; die georgische internationale Vorwahl bleibt nur bis 01.01.2010
    Authorities in breakaway Abkhazia said on Friday the region would adopt Russia’s +7 international dialing code starting from November 15, the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported.
    Russia’s dialing code would apply to both fixed (840) and cellular (940) operators, Kristian Bzhania, the Abkhaz leader’s spokesman said.
    He also said that Georgia’s international dialing code, which is currently used by Abkhazia, would remain active, in parallel to the Russian one, only till January 1, 2010.
    Russia, which recognized Abkhazia’s independence following the August war, signed cooperation memorandum with Sokhumi in the field of communication in September, 2009.
    The Georgian Foreign Ministry said following signing of that agreement on September 30 that Russia’s decision to share its dialing code with breakaway Abkhazia contravened standards developed by International Telecommunication Union, one of the UN’s specialized agencies.
    “The Georgian side urges respective UN authorities to prevent the aforesaid illegal actions of the Russian Federation,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said last month.
    16 Oct. '09 Neuer US-Botschafter John R. Bass ersetzt John Tefft
    15 Oct. '09 In Batumi angesiedelter unabhängiger Fernsehsender "Channel 25" klagt die Behörden an, mit der Erhebnung "ungerechtfertigter Steuern" den Sendern zum Schweigen bringen zu wollen
    15 Oct. '09 Der Abgeordnete Gia Tortladze sagt, dass Georgien ein Gesetz wie den "US-Patriot Act" benötige, um Gefahren wie ausländische und terroriste Bedrohungen vorzubeugen
    “There are cases of explosions in the areas adjacent to occupied territories and there are Russia’s threats and allegations as if terrorists are being prepared in Georgia. It indicates that something serious is being prepared by Russia against Georgia. So I think Patriot Act is needed; this will be kind of anti-terrorist measures,” he said.
    MP Tortladze, who is a founder of Democratic Party of Georgia, is formally a member of the parliamentary minority group. But his colleagues from the same parliamentary minority group spoke against of the proposal on October 15.
    “We are concerned with MP Tortladze’s initiative,” MP Levan Vepkhvadze, vice-speaker of the parliament from Christian-Democratic Movement, said. “This document may be used for legalization of politicizing of law enforcement agencies. The fact that law enforcement agencies are now illegally eavesdropping political opponents, will be legalized if the proposal is approved.”
    On October 15 MP Tortladze tried to allay criticism by saying that his proposal would no way imply infringe of civil liberties; he also said that his proposal would not involve those controversial elements which were part of the U.S. Patriot Act.
    MP Pavle Kublashvili of the ruling party, who chairs the parliamentary committee for legal affairs, told Imedi TV on October 15: “This is very important issue, as far as security is concerned; but how necessary such radical measures are we have to see only after we will be able to study an actual draft.”
    Some non-parliamentary opposition politicians have alleged that the reemergence of talk on so called patriot act was triggered by the authorities themselves through its loyal lawmaker, referring to MP Tortladze.
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_PATRIOT_Act
    15 Oct. '09 US-Außenministerin Clinton äußert sich zur Sitution in Georgien und zu Gesprächen mit Lavrov über Abchasien und Südossetien
    "... das erste und wichtigste ist sicherzustellen, dass es keinen weiteren Konflikt gibt. ... Probleme sollten in der diplomatisch politischen Arena gelöst und weitere militärische Aktionen vermieden
    werden. ... deshalb sei eine konstante Präsenz von Beobachten und Friedenstruppen wichtig ... durch die UN, durch die OSZE ..."
    “It is a very difficult set of relationships at work in Georgia. But the first and most important goal must be to make sure there’s no more conflict. If there are problems to be resolved, they should be put within the diplomatic political arena and to avoid any further military action whatsoever.”
    “Therefore, we believe that it’s important to have a constant presence of observers and peacekeepers so that there is no basis or no room for something that would lead to further bloodshed to occur,” she said.
    “In my meetings with Minister Lavrov [on October 13], we have discussed how we can perhaps go back to the drawing boards to create a status-neutral approach to create that kind of buffer zone, that kind of observer position through Geneva, through the UN, through the OSCE,” Clinton added.
    She also said that was the issue which the two countries saw “differently”, but it was important to keep on talks on the matter.
    Clinton also said that when she became the Secretary of State, the relations between NATO and Russia were suspended, following the August war.
    “The NATO-Russia Council had stopped meeting because of the very strong feelings that many people had about what happened in Georgia. And my position was you may disagree with – about what happened in Georgia, but we shouldn’t stop talking. We have to keep talking. So we have reinstated the NATO-Russia Council so that we can have a forum so that the United States and Russia will constantly be in communication when something happens that could be a serious challenge to our relationship,” she said.
    15 Oct. '09 Genfer Gespräche, ein Jahr später: Welcher Frieden für Georgien?
    Pierre Morel, EU-Sondergesandter und Ko-Mediator der int. Gesprächen in Genf, veröffentlicht einen Artikel in Civil.Ge zum Stand der "Genfer Gespräche":
    - ein regulärer Dialog wurde zu allen wichtigen Fragen nach dem Konflikt aufgebaut trotz der unüberbrückbaren Differenzen bezüglich der Anerkennung
    Südossetiens und Abchasiens durch Russland
    - zwei Arbeitsgruppen: Sicherheit und Stabilität sowie Vertriebene und Flüchtlinge
    - Aufbau des "gemeinsamen Mechanismus zur Verhinderung von Zwischenfällen" für Südossetien und Abchasien
    - Gespräche gehen nun
    über in eine zweite Phase mit dem Ziel eines höher entwickelten regionalen Sicherheitssystems und humanitären Schutzsystems; Gespräche zu einem Abkommen "Nichtanwendung von Gewalt" im Gange
    - die nicht vollständig umgesetzten Abmachungen des Sechs-Punkte-Plans bestehen, werden aber in den Gruppen im Detail von allen Parteien angesprochen
    - der klare Gebrauch der Verfahren des Dialogs ist
    die beste Art, friedliche Bedingungen wieder aufzubauen
    - der Tagliavini Report dient als Erinnerung an die Folgen, wenn die Instrumente des Dialogs zusammenbrechen und die Provokationen anwachsen


    Civil.Ge publishes an article by Pierre Morel, EU special representative for the crisis in Georgia and co-chair of Geneva discussions, launched a year ago following the August war.
    On 15 October 2008, in accordance with the 12 August ceasefire agreement brokered by the French presidency of the EU that had ended the five-day war in Georgia, “international discussions” were launched in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. On the eve of this event, the highest representatives of the UN, OSCE and EU gathered in Geneva in order to reaffirm the full commitment of their respective institutions to act as Co-chairs of these discussions.
    A framework was formally adopted during this first session that was attended by Georgia, Russia and the United States. This allowed for the formation of two working groups: one dealing with security and stability and the other charged with questions related to displaced persons and refugees. Talks within these working groups began also on 15 October and included Abkhaz and South Ossetian participants.
    Over the course of the subsequent year, seven sessions of the Geneva discussions have taken place.  But where are we now?
    A regular dialogue has been established on all important post-conflict issues despite irreconcilable differences regarding the Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that took place on 26 August – two weeks after the end of hostilities.
    The work of the two groups has evolved despite these persistent disagreements – disagreements that led ultimately to the very regrettable closure of the OSCE’s mission in Georgia (22 December 2008) as well as of the UN Mission’s activities (15 June 2009).
    The main concrete result of the Geneva Discussions has been – until now – the 18 February 2009 decision to put in place a double “Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism” that allows for regular meetings in the respective Abkhaz and South Ossetian theatres between all the local actors responsible for security issues and the maintenance of peace and security.  This framework is complemented by the establishment of a ‘hotline’ creating a permanent channel of communication between all parties. The two mechanisms have recently completed their fifth and sixth rounds. The exchanges have been sometimes difficult but they have, nevertheless, proven to act as a useful forum with all sides discovering their own interests in the ongoing discussions.
    Concerning humanitarian issues, the needs remain huge. Freedom of access for aid, as established by international law, remains the main priority.  It is of great regret to me that it has as yet not been possible to reach an accord on the granting of simultaneous double access – both from the North and South – to deliver humanitarian assistance to South Ossetia. A coherent action plan is currently being developed to be implemented from this autumn on.
    The repeated field visits of the three Co-Chairs, in particular those to Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, have led to a constant re-evaluation of possible ways to increase overall security and improve the humanitarian situation.
    This concrete framework of dialogue, of facilitation and of fastest possible return to a normal life is certainly both fragile and insufficient. However, it is a process that is simultaneously in place, recognised and used by all participating parties. Given the high emotions wrought by last year’s war, that is no small achievement.
    The Geneva discussions are now entering a second phase, whose purpose is to attain a more developed security regime and humanitarian protection framework, designed to increase regional security.  This is the clear goal of the ongoing discussions regarding the ‘basic elements for a framework agreement on the non-use of force” that will be examined during the 8th Session of the Geneva Discussions on 11 November 2009.   
    Once stable security and humanitarian arrangements have been established, more sensitive subjects will necessarily have to be addressed: how to manage more direct relations between former belligerents despite a fundamental discord that will not easily be erased; how to proceed with the complex question surrounding the legal status of individuals in the various entities; how to facilitate of the necessary contacts to enable a better daily life? Contemporary history offers numerous examples of pragmatic ways forward on all these issues that have, in time, contributed to significant breakthroughs, even if each international situation remains specific onto itself.  
    A political process has been launched. A method has been defined and accepted with the contribution of all sides; step by step, from the bottom up, item after item. Several lessons have already been learned.
    Geneva is today the only international forum in which all parties remain engaged. 
    A permanent link must be maintained between the parties. This is the major concern of the Co-Chairmanship, but the continued commitment of all parties concerned remains indispensable. If confidence has not yet been re-established between the former warring parties, each one of them has nonetheless – and without exception – contributed to the advancement of our common work in Geneva and has, thereby, taken a first step towards the establishment of rational dialogue and, through that, of lasting security.
    The agreements of 12 August and 8 September have not been entirely fulfilled. Several disquieting developments require vigilance: a military build-up, warnings and threats, as well as constant and unjustifiable obstacles barring humanitarian assistance.  At the same time, however, these challenges are discussed in detail among all the parties.   
    The clear use of the procedures of dialogue, of consultation mechanisms, as well as security measures serve as the best way to reconstruct peaceful conditions.  The Tagliavini Report serves as a reminder of the consequences when these tools break down and provocations increase, leading to the conflict of last August – a sequence of events that could have been prevented.
    While they have not disappeared completely, incidents on-the-ground have happily diminished, in particular thanks to the remarkable efficiency of the European Union Monitoring Mission. At the same time, it remains necessary to increase preventive actions in order to resolve old problems and to meet the expectations of the population.   
    Passions are still alive and this must be taken into consideration.  Nothing can be imposed.  But life is stronger and the economic crisis has served as a reminder for the necessity of compromise. Only focused work, prepared with patience and determination, can allow the objective need of going forward to emerge.
    One year after the war, it is time to take a step back. Throughout its rich and long history, the South Caucasus has dealt with many trials: it remains a sensitive region that plays an important role in the development of relations between civilisations and continents.  In particular, its evolution exerts a direct influence on the entire European continent.  In Geneva, as with the other ongoing negotiations, no effort should be spared in order to, once again, take the region back to its natural role as a place for crossings and exchanges.
    15 Oct. '09 Führer der außerparlamentarischen Opposition treffen sich, um Taktiken zu besprechen
    A group of leading non-parliamentary opposition leaders gathered on October 14 to exchange views and to lay out their vision on their future tactics.
    After the meeting, which was organized by a public movement, Defend Georgia, led by Levan Gachechiladze, politicians were saying that mainly two differing positions had been identified at the meeting with one group of parties pushing for the need to run in the local elections and another one being against of that.
    “Mainly two ways have been put forth - one more radical, involving street protests and another way implying going through elections and improving electoral environment,” Levan Gachechiladze said.
    But Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum Party said later on the same day that he had an impression that many opposition parties attending the meeting “had no position at all.”
    Labor Party was not present at the meeting. Its leader Shalva Natelashvili said: “Despite my respect to those parties, the Labor Party has few things in common with them.”
    Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, reiterated at the meeting her position that the opposition should unit and push for the early presidential elections, instead of running in the local elections. Remarks by Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia (party founded by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili) echoed Burjanadze’s position.
    “We should run in May [local elections] and win in the capital city,” said at the meeting Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, united his Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, New Rights and Republican parties.
    “If we win in the capital city, it will be an indication that change is possible and that the transition is starting in the country,” he said in remarks aired by the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, which was the only television crew allowed by organizers to film the meeting.
    Alasania plans to run for Tbilisi mayoral office and the Alliance for Georgia nominated ex-public defender Sozar Subari for the Tbilisi City Council’s chairmanship in the local elections, which President Saakashvili offered to hold on May 30, 2010, but no date has yet been formally set.
    Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People, also spoke in favor of running in the local elections.
    Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told the participants that his party wanted to know whether they would run in the elections even if the electoral environment did not improve.
    “We need an answer on that question. Sozar Subari was saying yesterday that it is worth of going into elections even under the current electoral system, citing that the opposition won elections in Tbilisi during the presidential elections in January, 2008,” Sanikidze said.
    “We have made our decision [to run in the elections]; we came here and offered it to you... Instead of asking each other rhetorical or hypothetical questions, one would better table a concrete plan; we have put ours,” Irakli Alasania responded.
    Later, after the meeting, Gubaz Sanikidze said that the National Forum was had a plan, the same one, which he said, his party was pushing for in late May, during the street protest rallies, but was not shared by other parties. He said that the plan involves mobilization of supporters in the provinces through an intensive campaign and preparing ground for a nation-wide disobedience.
    “I deem it fruitless and waste of time to negotiate with Saakashvili, because it’s impossible to make him compromise through a dialogue,” Sanikidze said.
    Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of Georgia’s Way party, who did not attend the meeting as she is not in Georgia right now, said few days ago that she did not deem these two views about the tactic within the opposition incompatible to each other. She said that she would support Alasania’s mayoral ambitious, but would also be with other group of opposition parties, who are pushing for more radical steps, including street protest rallies.
    14 Oct. '09 Innenministerium: Anschlag gegen vier Starkstrommasten mit TNT-Sprengstoff nahe der abtrünnigen Region Südossetien beim Dorf Tsagvali
    Four towers of high-voltage power line Kartli 2 were damaged by remote-control explosive devices close to the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on October 14.
    It said that the blasts occurred at 2am on October 14 at the village of Tsagvli. The village is located few kilometers away from the breakaway region’s administrative border in north-west from Tskhinvali.
    “Explosive in which TNT explosive was used was installed on the power line towers,” the Interior Ministry said and qualified the explosion as “terrorist act.”
    Energy Minister, Alexandre Khetaguri, said: “Of course it was the act of sabotage.”
    He said that despite of the incident electricity supply was not interrupted as alternative sources of supply were used.
    14 Oct. '09 US-Außenministerin Clinton zu der militärischen US-Unterstützung Georgiens
    Wir werden fortfahren, die georgische Armee für Afghanistan zu trainieren; Lavrov fragte mich nicht nach der Wiederbewaffnung Georgiens.
    14 Oct. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze nennt Russlands Anschuldigungen, Georgien unterstütze Al Qaeda, "völlig unrichtig" und "ein Fall zu ernsthafter Bersorgnis"
    13 Oct. '09 US-Außenministerin Clinton äußert sich zu den Differenzen mit Russland über Georgien
    Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said in Moscow on October 13 that despite disagreements, including over Georgia, the United States and Russia “are going to continue to work in every other area where we do agree.”
    “We will continue to have disagreements,” she said at a joint news conference with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
    “But we are planting those disagreements in a much broader field of cooperation, and hopefully, we are enriching the earth in which this cooperation can take root.”
    “We will not see eye-to-eye on Georgia, for example. We just have a difference of opinion. We have made it clear that we will not recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” Clinton added.
    13 Oct. '09
    Nach einem Konzeptpapier der Nationalgarde soll ein neues System der Reservetruppen aufgebaut werden, 3000 gut ausgebildete Reservisten
    13 Oct. '09 Nur die parliamentarische Minderheit aus dem Oppositionsspektrum beteiligt sich an den Beratungen zur Besetzung des Vorstandes des öffentlichen Rundfunks
    13 Oct. '09 Europarat-Bericht über nationale Minderheiten in Georgien
    Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) published on October 12 its first report on Georgia, saying that protection of linguistic rights of national minorities “is a major challenge.”
    The report is enclosed with the Georgian government’s comments, which contains 40 pages of the government’s responses to some of the opinions laid out in the report.
    The report says that FCNM welcomes the fact that the ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Georgia in 2005 triggered “a debate on the introduction of a more comprehensive legal framework for protecting national minorities.”
    The Advisory Committee “notes with satisfaction” that the Georgian government has stressed the need to promote tolerance and integration, and expresses hopes that Concept on Tolerance and Civil Integration will be “effectively implemented.”
    “Protecting the linguistic rights of persons belonging to national minorities is a major challenge. Many of them have limited skills in Georgian – which is the official language - and the efforts of the authorities to offer them the possibility to learn it are far from adequate,” the report says.
    It also said that additional measures were needed to promote equal access to education for persons belonging to national minorities, including higher education.
    Georgian Education Minister, Nika Gvaramia, announced on October 9 about the plans to simplify entry exams to higher education for would-be-students belonging to national minority groups.
    The report also says that participation of persons belonging to national minorities in the country's political, cultural, social and economic life “remains limited” and expresses concern about “increased religious tensions, which are particularly affecting persons belonging to national minorities.”
    “The authorities should make every effort to combat this phenomenon and, in general, all forms of intolerance based on ethnic or religious affiliation,” the report reads.
    According to the report one of the main concerns of national minorities in respect of religion is the legal status and registration of religious organisations. It says that while the Georgian Orthodox Church is recognised and protected as both a Church and a public entity, other religious groups can only register as nongovernmental organisations or non-profit-making private-law associations, “so they cannot enjoy the same conditions in respect of the exercise of their religious activities.”
    “Furthermore, various sources reported an often hostile approach by the Georgian Orthodox Church hierarchy, which, it seems, seeks by various means to consolidate its dominant position to the detriment of the other denominations,” the report reads.
    In the comments, enclosed to the report, the Georgian government says that public-private division between the status of the Georgian Orthodox Church and other registered religious groups is “largely symbolic.”
    “[Other registered religious groups] receive the same legal protection and respect for their religious activities as the GOC [Georgian Orthodox Church]. The only slight difference concerns the tax breaks. This practice corresponds to the European experience exemplified by Great Britain, Spain and etc. The Government of Georgia considers that any attempt to grant specific status to religious groups will only result in unnecessary controversy over the definition and would make little practical difference,” the Georgian government says.
    International Crisis Group Reports on Armenian, Azeri Minorities - 2006
    Official Boasts of Civil Integration Policy on Tolerance Day - 2006
    13 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Kuwait
    13 Oct. '09 Russlands Sicherheitsdienst sagt, Georgien helfe ‘Al Qaeda Abgesandte’
    12 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili's Äußerungen im Treffen mit Oppositionsführern
    President Saakashvili told a group of opposition politicians attending an extended session of National Security Council (NSC) that the authorities “have no secrets from you.”
    In his live televised remarks made before the launch of the meeting on October 12, Saakashvili said “not a single sensitive information” discussed during the previous similar meeting with the opposition leaders in August was leaked in the press.
    Along with representatives from the parliamentary opposition, only two representatives from the non-parliamentary opposition were attending the meeting, unlike the previous one in August, which also included Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia. Alasania said few hours before the meeting started on October 12, that he would not participate and called on the authorities to move on to concrete steps instead of “talking.”
    Saakashvili said that he invited opposition representatives at NSC session “to identify key directions of the state strategy towards the Georgia’s occupied territories” and also to report about the Georgian delegation’s participation in the UN General Assembly last month.
    Below are extracts from his opening remarks at the session:
     “I want to say that we have no secrets from you at these meetings. You are the representatives of Georgian political parties – both parliamentary and non-parliamentary groups, who play an active role in everyday public life.
    During the previous meeting we talked about many sensitive issues regarding the state interests. We were talking after that [August] meeting with the Parliamentary Chairman, Prime Minister, Interior Minister that we have shared with you a lot of confidential information about the issues regarding state interests – about our self-defense capacities, foreign political contacts. I want to express appreciation about the fact that not a single of this sensitive information has been leaked in media. Of course, during this period of time we were criticizing much each other, but the most important what we have achieved is that where there are state interests and not simply political struggle, all the participants of this wide range of political spectrum showed the state-oriented thinking which is has been unusual up to now for Georgia. Now, we all should establish such thinking as a rule. I want to thank everybody for it.
    Of course, there are various priorities. Here are the people, who slam us, who criticize us very harshly but what is the most important, we should find a common framework on major issues. You also know that we are cooperating in frames of the election commission.
    Of course, there always are people, who want to repeat and replicate propaganda of Georgia’s enemy, as they think that this is the road towards their political success. It is their choice. I will never tell any politician bad words whatever their behavior may be, because I believe that we all are Georgians and we should take care of each other. We should better refrain from making sharp statements, especially it concerns the government.
     Of course, there are people, who think that radicalism and fixating to their own position is the only way towards success. I want to say that whenever the government tried to do so and - I want also to say this about myself – we have always lost and frankly speaking, the same has happened in respect of most of you.
    One thing is quite clear that shooting at each other and radical slogans has brought nothing good. On the other hand, in the recent months our people showed as very well that regardless of how radical we may be, nobody will let violence and nobody will let crossing of red line.
    It was the order of our people towards the government to show openness, flexibility, compromises and to listen to even the most radical political opponents.
    We cannot hold public [NSC] sessions because we have some secrets, which cannot be shared to our enemies, and our enemy is very strong and cruel, the occupant is very strong and cruel and is waiting to snatch some information; this is the session of NSC and its working part will be behind the closed doors.
    12 Oct. '09 Alasania nimmt nicht am Trffen mit Präsident Saakashvili im NSC teil
    ... “Time is up for talking; to take concrete steps is now required,” said Alasania, who participated in the first meeting of this type with the President in August.
    He said that the Alliance for Georgia, which along with his party Our Georgia-Free Democrats also units Republican and New Rights parties, was ready to engaged in talks with the authorities on the issue of vital importance for the country, but Alasania also added that this dialogue should be issue-based and result-oriented.
    As part of this approach, Alasania said, the Alliance for Georgia would continue its participation in an inter-party working group on electoral reform.
    “Now we are waiting for the authorities to show political will [to make a progress],” Alasania said.
    “We do not plan and do not deem it appropriate to participate in the today’s session of the National Security Council; but we do not rule out that if certain progress is made in the country to improve media freedom as well as - what is most important - to qualitatively change the electoral environment, naturally, we will continue dialogue with the authorities,” he added. ...
    12 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili bespricht im nationalen Sicherheitsrat (NSC) mit der Opposition die Strategie für die besetzten Gebiete
    12 Oct. '09 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze äußert sich zu der US-Unterstützung für Georgien anläßlich des bevorstehenden Besuches von Hillary Clinton in Moskau; dort soll über ein Nachfolgeabkommen des START-Vertrages diskutiert werden
    The United States supports Georgia not only because Georgia is its “friend,” but because by doing so the U.S. upholds “international law, principles of international relations as well as the interests of its own national security,” Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze said on October 12.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Moscow on October 12 to meet with senior Russian officials and discuss progress on a successor agreement to START, cooperation on nonproliferation and counterterrorism, and next steps for the Clinton-Lavrov commission, according to the U.S. Department of State.  
    “I do not expect that Mrs. Clinton will reject all these [principles] because of some deals. No such threat exists,” Bakradze told Rustavi 2 TV. “The new administration has proved many times that it is ready to work at any level to protect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
    11 Oct. '09 Nach Berichten wird Präsident Saakashvili einige Oppositionsführer aus dem Parlament und außerparlamentarische bei einer erweiterten Runde des nationalen Sicherheitsrates treffen
    Ein ähnliches Treffen gab es bereits am 6.8.09 unter Teilnahme von u.a.
    Irakli Alasania, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, Zurab Tkemaladze, Akaki Asatiani.
    President Saakashvili will meet with opposition lawmakers and some non-parliamentary opposition leaders at an extended session of National Security Council on October 12, the Georgian media sources reported on Sunday.
    The first similar meeting was held on August 6.
    Saakashvili offered the opposition to attend NSC sessions to exchange views on the country’s foreign policy and security issues on July 20.
    Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of Party of Freedom; Zurab Tkemaladze, leader of Industrialists Party and Akaki Asatiani, leader of Traditionalists party were among those non-parliamentary opposition leaders who attended the first meeting with the President in frames of NSC in August.
    10 Oct. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze besucht Großbritannien und trifft dort den britischen Außenminister David Miliband
    10 Oct. '09 Burjanadze sagt in Rustavi2, dass sich die außerparlamentarische Opposition nicht auf die lokalen Wahlen konzentrentieren solle, sondern sich Kräften anschließe, um den Druck auf die Regierung zu erhöhen und vorzeitige Wahlen zum Präsidentenamt zu erreichen
    An Irakli Alasania von der Allianz für Georgien gerichtet, der bei den Tbilisi-Bürgermeisterwahlen kandidieren möchte: "Alle oppositionellen Politiker sollten Ambitionen zu Führungsämtern bei Seite legen, solange
    Saakashvili der Präsident ist. Wir sollten vorzeitige Präsidentenwahlen durchsetzen."
    Speaking at Rustavi 2 TV’s late-night political talk show, Position, Burjanadze said she disagreed with the Alliance for Georgia’s decision to run in the local elections, which President Saakashvili has offered to hold on May 30, 2010.
    “All the opposition politicians should put aside leadership ambitions unless Saakashvili is the President,” Burjanadze said. “We should achieve early presidential elections.”
    “I do not agree with the way, which Alliance for Georgia has chosen,” she continued. “There is no ground to speak and to trigger suspicions that Alliance for Georgia made a deal with the authorities and that they are playing the authorities’ game; and for that reason I am absolutely sure that after some time the Alliance will see there is no reason for talks [with the authorities] and for running in [the local] elections and the Alliance will chose the way of pressure on the authorities through vigorous actions.”
     “Irakli Okruashvili [ex-defense minister, who was granted with asylum in France] reacted so promptly [and positively] to this call of establishing coalition of irreconcilable opposition parties, because he, like me, knows Saakashvili very well and because he has no illusion that Saakashvili will take any democratic step and create proper environment for holding of fair [local] elections,” Burjanadze added.
    On October 5 Burjanadze called on “all the opposition parties, irreconcilable to the current regime” to establish “democratic front” in order “to put an end” to the present authorities.
    9 Oct. '09
    Außerparlamentarische Opposition sagt, dass Georgien mehr als 60 politische Gefangene hat
    Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, said at a meeting with a group of human rights activists and lawyers that his party was pushing for a joint memorandum of the opposition parties, which would lay out “mechanisms” for achieving release of these “political prisoners.” He said that memorandum would probably be signed in two weeks.
    9 Oct. '09 Miliband über den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg
    Der Bericht seii eine Mahnung zur Wichtigkeit der Konfliktpräverntion.
    UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said that the report by EU-funded fact-finding mission into the August war was “a reminder of the importance of conflict prevention.”
    “The international community should ensure international mechanisms (such as the Geneva process) contribute to solutions, that all parties meet their obligations and, crucially, that those who have committed human rights abuses are brought to justice,” Miliband wrote on the Foreign Office blog on October 8.
      “But there are still many issues that need to be resolved. Russia needs to use its influence to allow access for humanitarian organisations and international observers to South Ossetia and Abkhazia – EU monitors are still being barred. And internally displaced persons must be allowed to return home – over 30,000 are still unable to,” he added.
    9 Oct. '09 Teams aus Georgien, Großbritannien und Russland führten gemeinsam zwei Beobachtungsflüge durch, basierend auf dem Militärabkommen "Treaty on Open Skies" von 2002
    Georgia and Russia, together with a team from UK, carried out two joint surveillance flights on each others territories last month, it emerged on October 8 after UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, called the mission “a success”.
    The observation flights were carried out in frames of the Treaty on Open Skies, the document which entered into force in 2002 and which is a military treaty unrelated to commercial Open Skies arrangement.
    It establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the entire territory of its 34 participants, also including Georgia and Russia. The treaty aims at enhancing mutual understanding and confidence by giving its participants a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.
    “These flights showed that progress can be made on arms control treaties even amidst the most trying circumstances. It is testament to the professionalism not just of British forces, but of their Georgian and Russian counterparts, that the missions went so smoothly,” Foreign Secretary Miliband wrote on the Foreign Office blog on October 8.
    The first observation flight took off from Moscow in early September with teams from Georgia, Russia and UK on board of a Swedish military aircraft, hired for this purpose, according to the British embassy in Tbilisi.
    8 Oct. '09 German Embassy Demands Georgian Media to Retract False Report
    8 Oct. '09 Budget-Entwurf für 2010 im Parlament vorgelegt
    Die Einnahmen
    sind mit 4,8 Mrd. GEL, die Ausgaben mit 5,2 Mrd. GEL angesetzt.
    A 2010 draft budget, which has been submitted to the parliament for consideration, sets revenue at GEL 4.865 billion (GEL 5.137 billion in 2009) and expenditure at GEL 5.28 billion (GEL 5.527 billion in 2009).
    The draft budget forecasts 2% GDP growth, reaching GEL 19 billion and projects 3% inflation next year. According to the document “no significant changes are expected” in the current Lari exchange rate –  1 USD = 1.67 GEL.
    Most of the ministries, except of the Ministry of Education, will face funding cut next year against the previous years. Breakdown of funding per ministry is as follows in the proposed initial draft, which may be revised before it is approved by the Parliament:
    •Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Protection – GEL 1.529 billion (GEL 1.534 billion in 2009);
    •Defense Ministry – GEL 750 million (GEL 897 million in 2009; GEL 1.547 billion in 2008);
    •Interior Ministry – GEL 500 million (GEL 568 million in 2009; GEL 739 million in 2008);
    •Finance Ministry – GEL 267 million (GEL 342 million in 2009);
    •Economy Ministry – GEL 22 million (GEL 66.5 million in 2009);
    •Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – GEL 775 million (GEL 869 million in 2009);
    •Energy Ministry – GEL 15.8 million (GEL 57 million in 2009);
    •Justice Ministry – GEL 44 million (GEL 64 million in 2009);
    •Ministry for Penitentiary System and Probation – GEL 100 million (GEL 119 million in 2009);
    •Foreign Ministry – GEL 57 million (GEL 70.6 million in 2009);
    •Ministry of Education and Science – GEL 527 million (GEL 519 million);
    •Ministry of Culture, Protection of Monument and Sports - GEL 65 million (GEL 86 million in 2009);
    •Ministry of Agriculture – GEL 45 million (GEL 113 million in 2009);
    •Ministry of Environment Protection - GEL 29 million (GEL 41 million in 2009);
    •Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation – GEL 27 million (GEL 62.9 million in 2009);
    •Office of the State Minister for Reintegration Issues – GEL 1.1 million (GEL 1.3 million in 2009);
    •Office of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures – GEL 1 million (GEL 1.1 million in 2009);
    •Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues – GEL 800 thousand (GEL 906 thousand in 2009).
    Instead of GEL 39.9 million this year, the parliament will receive GEL 43 million in 2010, according to the draft.
    Funding of the Central Election Commission will increase up to GEL 36.3 million because of the local self-governance elections planned in 2010. GEL 6.3 million, out of this sum, is envisaged for funding of political parties.
    The Georgian Public Broadcaster will receive GEL 22 million next year, instead of GEL 25.5 million in 2009.
    The draft budget for 2010 envisages GEL 1.9 million for the Public Defender’s Office (GEL 2 million in 2009).
    In 2010 the president’s and government’s reserve funds will receive GEL 25 million each (instead of GEL 50 million in 2009 for each), while the funding of the president’s administration will be reduced to GEL 11.7 million and the government’s administration – to GEL 8 million.
    The funding of South Ossetia’s Provisional Administration, led by Dimitri Sanakoev, will be halved next year to GEL 5 million.
    The funding of the Georgian Orthodox Church next year will remain unchanged – GEL 25 million.
    No increase of pensions and social allowances are envisaged by the next year’s draft budget.
    8 Oct. '09 Der Sondergesandte des NATO-Generalsekretärs in Sachen Kaukasus und Zentralasien Robert Simmons besucht Georgien
    8 Oct. '09 Alexander Vershbow, stellvertretender Assistent für internationale Sicherheit im US-Verteidigungsministerium, besucht Georgien am 19.Oktober
    Vershbow wird ein US-Team leiten, um die erste Runde von Treffen im Rahmen der strategischen Partnerschaft zu starten.
    8 Oct. '09 Nach einem TV-Bericht soll ein Experte aus der Kommission, der deutsche Prof. Otto Luchterhandt, von GAZPROM einen bedeutenden Geldbetrag auf sein Konto in Bonn erhalten haben
    ... Reporter: Russian experts say that this is a well-tried method of the Kremlin, as a special budget exists in the Kremlin through which this kind of politicians [referring to Otto Luchterhandt], who are lobbying for the Russian interests, are financed.
    Bank account of one of the Tagliavini commission members, Otto Luchterhandt, may be probed by the law enforcement agencies. Compromising materials about him was released this morning by news agency Expressnews [a little-known Georgian news agency, which was established in January, 2009]; according to the agency’s source from Moscow, Gazprom transferred significant amount of money in Bonn on the expert’s bank account. The source suggests that it is a fee for those statements, which the member of the Tagliavini commission made in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Der Standard in which Otto Luchterhandt says that it is possible to defuse the current situation through recognition of Abkhazia’s independence. ...
    Reporter: Otto Luchterhandt has not yet made any official explanation on the matter.
    7 Oct. '09 NATO-Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen über den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg
    "Nach dem Bericht gab es in diesem Konflikt Fehler auf beiden Seiten. ..." Zu Georgiens Streben in die NATO: "... der Bericht wird keine Auswirkung auf die Entscheidungen haben, welche bereits in der NATO getroffen wurden." In Bezug aufs Bukarest: Georgien und Ukraine würden eines Tages NATO-Mitglieder werden, wenn sie NATO-Standards erfüllen.
    NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said when asked if the findings of the EU-commissioned report on the August war would influence on Georgia’s aspiration to join the alliance, that the report “will not have any impact on the decisions already made in NATO.”
    Recalling the 2008 NATO Bucharest summit decision, Rasmussen said at a news conference on October 7, that Georgia and Ukraine would one day become the alliance members providing that they meet NATO standards.
    On the report itself NATO Secretary General said: “According to the report there have been mistakes on the both sides in this conflict. However, I think that the most important thing now is to focus on the future.”
    “I would encourage all parties in this conflict to show restraint and refrain from any step that could increase tensions in the region,” he added.
    He also reiterated that NATO allies “insist on respect for sovereignty of Georgia and Georgia’s territorial integrity.”
    7 Oct. '09 USA stellen weitere 50 Mio. USD Unterstützung für Georgien bereit
    The United States will allocate further USD 50 million as part of its USD 1 billion assistance pledge made for Georgia after the August war, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said on Wednesday.
    USD 16.55 million from this recent installment will be allocated for municipal infrastructure development program; USD 12.3 million will be envisaged for the second phase of Shida Kartli region recovery programs, involving support in reestablishing agricultural production.
    USD 9.22 million of this USD 50 million installment will go for renovation of about fifty schools in ethnic minority and geographically remote areas and also in locations where internally displaced persons were housed after the August war. USD 7.35 million for - employment and vocational training; USD 2.14 million for - survey and clearance of landmines; USD 1.55 million for - reintegration assistance for persons displaced from their homes after the August war.
    USD 872,000 will be allocated for the Georgian Coast Guard to replace equipment at the Anaklia radar station and the Poti Coast Guard base that was “damaged or stolen in the conflict,” USAID said.
    According to USAID over the next two years, the U.S. will continue to provide assistance to Georgia in fulfillment of the USD 1 billion pledge.
    7 Oct. '09 Sokhumi setzt Termin für die Präsidentenwahlen auf den 12.12.09 an
    7 Oct. '09 Opposition diskutiert das Schicksal eines veurteilten Aktivisten mit einem Offiziellen des Europarats
    6 Oct. '09 Dänischer Außenminister Per Stig Moeller besucht Sokhumi - nach Gesprächen mit der georgischen Führung
    6 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili legt ‘Act on Economic Freedom’ im Parlament dar, ein Paket von Vorschlägen zur Liberalisierung der Wirtschaft und Beschränkung der Exekutive
        * Referendum on tax increase;
        * Ban of setting new regulatory agencies;
        * No more new licenses or permits; 
        * Expenditures-to-GDP ratio - 30%;
        * Debt-to-GDP ratio - 60%;
        * Budget deficit no more than 3% of GDP;
        * ‘Georgia should be flagship of world liberal economy’
    6 Oct. '09 Alexander Vershbow, stellvertretender Assistent für internationale Sicherheit im US-Verteidigungsministerium, besucht Georgien
    5 Oct. '09 Innerhalb der Regierungspartei fehlende Klarheit in der Frage der Direktwahl aller Bürgermeister
    5 Oct. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze: Georgien wird eines Tages Gespräche mit einem "demokratischen und freien Russland" beginnen
    “Sooner or later we will need to talk with Russia, with democratic and free Russia, which has a responsibility before the international law, its neighbors and the international community. So we welcome the readiness of all countries, especially of our brotherly Ukraine to act as mediator if Russia is ever ready to seriously consider problems persisting between the two countries,” Vashadze said while speaking at a news conference after meeting with visiting Danish counterpart, Per Stig Møller, in Tbilisi.
    Remarks were made in response to the question about the statement of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in which it said Kiev was “ready to make its contribution to the cause” to intensify international efforts directed towards “return of the sides into the conflict at the negotiating table and to help them to achieve agreements in line with the UN Charter and Helsinki Final Act of OSCE.”
    5 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili wird vor dem Parlament sprechen über die "neue Vision in Bezug auf ökonomische Erneuerung"
    5 Oct. '09 Burjanadze ruft die Opposition zur Einigkeit auf
    “We believe that futile compromise, negotiations and dialogue with this criminal regime is useless and possibly disastrous,” Burjanadze said on October 5. “We call on all the opposition forces, irreconcilable to the current regime to establish democratic front, where mutually agreed actions would prevail over competition between separate leaders.”
    5 Oct. '09 Irakli Alasania ist für Vorwahlen innerhalb der Oppositionsparteien, um einen einzigen Kandidaten für die Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi auszuwählen
    4 Oct. '09 Human Rights Watch: Georgien und Russland sollten gedrängt werden, Kriegsverbrechen im Augustkrieg zu untersuchen
    3 Oct. '09 Salome Zourabichvili legt ihre Vision des Vorgehens nach dem den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg dar
    3 Oct. '09 Lavrov nent den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg "ziemlich objektiv"
    2 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili kommentiert nochmals den Bericht zum Augustkrieg in seiner Rede auf einer Feier für den litauischen Außenminister Vygaudas Usackas
    ... Dieser Bericht bestätigte, dass alles, was wir zu den Ereignissen des letzten Jahres gesagt hatten, wahr war. ...
    ... Die Aggression durch Russland ist nun tatsächlich bewiesen; "tatsächlich" - würde man dem seine vollständige Erklärung geben, würde es bedeuten, dass das gesamte Europa aufstehen müßte, aber wir haben keine Hoffanung darüber, dass dies in ein oder zwei Tagen geschehen wird, da sie viele bittere Erfahrungen in dieser Hinsicht haben.
    Ich möchte wieder mit voller Verantwortlichkeit sagen - es war eine heilige Pflicht von mir und allen von uns, mit jeder Art Widerstand zu antworten, wenn eine ausländische Armee in unser Land eindringt.
    Wir taten dies und ich bedauere es nicht im Geringsten.
    I want to say again with full responsibility – it was a holy duty of mine and all of us to respond with all type of resistance, when a foreign country’s army enters into your country. ...
    Das Schicksal aller freiheitsliebenden Nationen, einschließlich Litauens, heute in Georgien gelöst wird. Wir haben keine Illusion darüber, dass Rusland uns allein lassen wird, aber wir werden nicht Nein sagen zu unserer Entwicklung, um einen demokratischen und freien Staat zu schaffen.

    Extract from Saakashvili’s remarks made at awarding ceremony of Vytautas Landsbergis:
    “I want to return back to this topic again and again, because this is very important issue.
    This report has confirmed that everything what we have been saying about the last year’s events was true.
    We have been saying that Russia entered and was arming separatists and was provoking – and it turned out to be true. We have been saying that passportization [process by Russia of the residents of the breakaway regions] was ongoing and it has been confirmed. We have been saying that they [Russia] had no citizens in Georgia to protect and it has been confirmed. We have been saying and I have been saying – putting my reputation on stake – that the Russian regular forces entered into Georgia before August 7 – hence the military aggression took place and it has also been confirmed by this [EU-funded fact-finding] commission. The most difficult was to confirm it, because it [reference to presence of Russian regular forces] was done covertly, but our teams and our friends worked very well and it was confirmed.
    Of course after having all these confirmed, it already a prepared accusatory conclusion; for the first time in the history permanent member of the UN Security Council has been directly accused of war crimes; it has been directly accused of ethnic cleansing – hence crimes against humanity – and of aggression.
    It was a fact-finding mission; the commission’s task was not to make conclusions. But the mission anyway made conclusions and eventually said: yes, it was all this way, but although the Russian forces were already present in Georgia, but it was Georgia who fired the first shot, which is a violation of certain norms.
    I might have better law professors in the international law, than some of the European experts, who made this conclusion, are. But professors are not at all required, as well as much knowledge – any first-grade student can tell you, that when a foreign country’s army – the army of the country, which openly threatens you with war for many years, which in fact is conducting war – and the commission said that this conflict did not start yesterday; and when its paratroopers’ units enter into Georgia – it is called a directed military aggression by a foreign country.
    But saying this, it means that it [apparently referring to Europe] must handcuff and arrest them [apparently referring to the Russian leadership]; but they are not able to do that.
    Some of our compatriots have no self-respect to acknowledge that this is so.
    Our truth has been proved and we should be happy about it and struggle to achieve our country’s de-occupation. The truth will find its road.
    The aggression by Russia is now actually proved; ‘actually’ - because giving a full explanation of that would mean that the entire Europe should stand up, but we have no illusion that it will happen in a day or two, because they have lot of bitter experience in this regard.
    I want to say again with full responsibility – it was a holy duty of mine and all of us to respond with all type of resistance, when a foreign country’s army enters into your country.
    We did it and I do not regret it a bit.
    I am proud and it was proved that not a single woman and child have been killed – to say nothing about genocide – as a result of our operation.
    Our peaceful struggle for de-occupation will continue until this struggle is finally over.
    I want to ask those people, who do not want to face the reality – how would France have acted in this situation? how would Germany have acted?
    As we know from history, the Spanish Armada entered to the British coast and the British were the first shoot at Armada; so was it Britain to have started the war or was it Spain? Maybe, everything what is correct for Europe is not correct for Georgia?
    I think that everything what is done by civilized nations is exactly applicable for our country as well. So what if we are a small country? We are a small country but we have history and civilization, as well as bravery greater than many other countries.
    The fate of all freedom-loving nations, including Lithuania is being solved in Georgia today. We have no illusion that they [Russia] will leave us alone, but we will not say no to our progress in order to create democratic and free state.”
    2 Oct. '09 Reaktionen der Opposition auf den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg
    Die Kommentare der parlamentarischen Minderheitsparteien waren meistens auf der Linie, wie sie von den Vertretern der Regierungspartei abgegeben wurden.
    Stimmen der außerparlamentarischen Opposition:
    Alliance for Georgia:
    Entscheidung Saakashvilis, das Feuer Richtung Tskhinvali zu eröffnen, hat den Staat in Gefahr gebracht; Krieg war nicht unvermeidbar, sondern eine Folge gedankenloser politischer Entscheidungen in den letzten Jahren.
    Nino Burjanadze: Regierung muss friedlich gewechselt werden; Präsident Saakashvili’s unverantortliche und illegime Aktionen beschädigten die vitalen Interessen des Landes.
    Conservative Party: Der Bericht wird ein Werkzeug für Russland sein, noch mehr Druck auf Georgien aufzubauen.
    Labor Party: Bericht wird weitere Isolierung Georgiens auslösen; der Bericht habe Georgien zum Aggressor erklärt, der den Krieg entfesselt habe.

    Some of the opposition parties stepped up President Saakashvili’s criticism amid report from the EU-funded fact-finding mission probing into the last year’s August war.
    “We believe politically irresponsible and indiscreet decision of President Saakashvili to open fire towards Tskhinvali has jeopardized Georgian statehood and its development as a free state,” Alliance for Georgia, led by Irakli Alasania, said in a statement on October 1.
    The alliance, uniting Alasania’s Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Republican and New Rights parties, also said that this decision by President Saakashvili “not only prevented Russian occupation but marked [Russia’s] massive intrusion into Georgian territory.”
    “Russian Federation committed undisputable act of aggression against sovereign Georgia and occupied its territories,” Alliance for Georgia said. “This war was not unavoidable; it was a consequence of thoughtless political decisions over the years.”
    It also said that the EU-commissioned report “has not changed internal political agenda.”
    “Government has to be changed peacefully and constitutionally through free and fair elections in immediate future,” it added.
    Nino Burjanadze, former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party said that President Saakashvili should be held responsible for his decisions and called on the opposition parties to launch consultations on how “to set Georgia free of Saakashvili’s regime, so that the people can elect a truly national, accountable and state-minded leadership.”
    “Considering the disastrous consequences of the August war, the Government led by the President Saakashvili must bear responsibility before the Georgian people.  It is to be liable and will be,” Burjanadze said. “President Saakashvili’s irresponsible and illegitimate actions have damaged the country’s vital interests and contributed to accomplishing those of Russian [interests], not only here in Georgia but in rest of the region as well.”
    “There is no doubt that such kind of a leader has no legitimacy to remain in power,” she said.
    Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, suggested that the report would become “a tool for Russia to mount more pressure on Georgia.”
    “And I wonder what strategy the Georgian authorities have and how they will counter those attempts by Russia,” Kukava said. He also added that
    According to Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili’s interpretation, the report would trigger “further isolation of Georgia.”
    “The EU special commission has unambiguously declared Georgia as an aggressor in unleashing the war. It means further international isolation of our country, irreversibility of its further disintegration, acceleration of the process of further international recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and self-destructing civil confrontation in our country at a final stage,” Natelashvili said on October 1.
    Comments by lawmakers from the parliamentary minority were mostly in line with those made by the ruling party lawmakers and government representatives.
    1 Oct. '09 Präsident Saakashvili über den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg
    "Es ist ein großer diplomatischer Sieg Georgiens. ... Zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte der internationalen Beziehungen sagte eine internationale Kommission mit Autorität, dass ein ständiges Mitglied des UN-Sicherheitsrates, ein Mitglied der G8, der größte Staat der Welt, militärische Verbrechen beging und ethnische Säuberungen ausführte. ..."
    President Saakashvili said on October 1, that the EU-funded fact-finding mission into the causes of the August war “said even more truth than I could ever imagine.”
    “It is a great diplomatic victory of Georgia,” he said in live televised remarks at an outdoor meeting with the Tbilisi municipality officials and local residents of one of the capital city’s neighborhoods.
    Below are extracts from Saakashvili’s remarks:
    “You know that the European Union set up a commission – it was not the EU commission, it was a separate commission - which should have probed into the reasons of the last year war. I want to say that this commission has been set up at our insistent demand, but I did not have many illusions about it, because I understand that all European countries need Russia, they need gas, they need contracts and sale of the cars - nobody would like to have a headache for small Georgia. But I know one thing – despite it, the Europeans cannot close their eyes on the truth.
    So, this commission was set up. And what particular results did we receive? Do you remember what Russia was saying last year? They were saying that Russia entered into Georgia because Georgia attacked [Russian] peacekeepers; Russia said it had citizens there [in South Ossetia]; Russia said Georgia killed 2,000 Ossetian children and women and therefore, it had a legitimate reason to enter into Georgia.
    Yesterday, the [EU-funded] commission, whom Russia pinned great hopes on, said that there is not a single fact that Georgia attacked Russian peacekeepers – this is a lie number one.
    A lie number two – ‘we had citizens there’; the commission said that they had no citizens there; they were citizens of Georgia [in South Ossetia].
    A lie number three – ‘Georgia carried out genocide against Ossetians’. I announce with full responsibility and now it is already documented; I could not have spelt at night if it were otherwise – during the heroic resistance of our guys last year not a single child and woman has been killed in the places, which were not controlled by us and where our troops entered – we have never made it secret that of course, we carried out an operation there. Unfortunately, children and women have been killed in the areas where Georgian positions were shelled.
    So, this most devilish lie, which Russia said [reference to genocide allegations], appeared to be a farce too.
    Lies are short-lived and it has been confirmed by a reliable international commission yesterday.
    But this commission has a second aspect, which is more important than revealing of the Russian lies; everybody knows well that historically it was very seldom when the Russian state was telling the truth.
    For the first time in the history of international relations, an authoritative international commission said that a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a permanent member of G8, the largest state of the world committed military crimes and carried out ethnic cleansing. This is the first case in the history of international relations.
    When in 1921 Russia attacked us and occupied us no international commission was set up then. When they imposed a civil war on us in 1992 and 1993 here no international commission was set up. When acts of sabotage were carried out in 2004, no international commission was set up. We achieved, first of all, setting up an international commission even on their conditions, as they composed the commission with the experts, which were acceptable for them, who had already blamed Georgia in advance. We closed eyes on it and agreed because we believed that they were Europeans and they would not lie.
    They said even more truth than I could ever imagine. It is a great diplomatic victory of Georgia.
    Some may say what is a conclusion – they say that Georgia did not observe everything and violated something. But it does not matter, because these are conclusions - this commission should have ascertained the facts, which would have been written in history.
    Hundreds of thousands of our citizens were expelled from Abkhazia in 1992, and the European Union or more serious organizations have never said that it was ethnic cleansing. Now it is written [in the report] that there was ethnic cleansing.
    We had no illusion that Europe - which is preparing for a cold winter and which needs Russian gas – would have said that ‘yes Russia carried out ethnic cleansing, it committed war crimes and Vladimir Putin is to be blamed for it’ – what would have happened in that case? Would they have arrested Putin when he had arrived in Brussels? I think that nobody had such illusion.”
    1 Oct. '09 Mukhrovani-Prozess: Zehn Angeklagte ziehen das Schuldbenntnis zurück
    1 Oct. '09 Litauischer Außenminister Vygaudas Usackas besucht Georgien
    Vor dem Besuches sagte er im zusammenhang mit dem EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg, dass er die Einsetzung der Kommission nicht unterstützt hätte, wenn er zu dieser Zeit im EU-Rat gewesen wäre. In einem Interview: "Wenn die internationale Gemeinschaft früher eingeschritten wäre und Integrationsaussichten für Georgien angeboten hätte, hätte der Krieg verhindert werden können."
    “I don’t think it’s useful from a pragmatic point of view, just one year after the conflict, to engage in a not very helpful debate about who should be blamed,” he said in an interview with the Brussels-based EUobserver.com on September 30.
    “If the international community had stepped in earlier and provided integration prospects for Georgia the war could have been avoided.”
    He also said that his trip to Tbilisi was designed to show “solidarity” to the Georgian people.

    1 Oct. '09 Parlamentarischen Versammlung des Europarates (PACE) lehnt einen Antrag von 78 Ratsmitglieder ab, der den Entzug des Stimmrechts von Russlands vorsieht
    “Notwithstanding the lack of compliance by Russia with most of its demands, the Assembly decides to confirm the ratification of the credentials of the Russian delegation, on the understanding that this will enable the Russian authorities to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with a view to addressing all the issues mentioned in the Assembly resolutions on the consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia,” the Assembly said in a resolution passed on October 1 with 88 votes to 35.
    Doc. 12045 - 29 September 2009 - Reconsideration on substantive grounds of previously ratified credentials of the Russian delegation (Rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly)
    1 Oct. '09 USA über den EU-geförderten Bericht zum Augustkrieg
    "... alle Seiten machten Fehler ... Aber unser Fokus ist auf die Zukunft gerichtet und wir hoffen, dass Georgien und Russland - wir erwarten, dass beide sich an die Vereinbarungen halten, die sie unter dem Waffenstillstandsabkommen im August und September letzten Jahres getroffen haben, und wir erwarten, dass sie den Vereinbarungen gerecht werden. ..."
    1 Oct. '09 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze sagt, dass der EU-geförderte Bericht zum Augustkrieg nützlich für Tbilisi sei