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Parliament confirmed overnight on Wednesday with 86 votes to 28 Giorgi Kvirikashvili as new Prime Minister, replacing Irakli Garibashvili, who announced resignation a week earlier. Kvirikashvili, 48, who was Foreign Minister since September, has become Georgia’s third Prime Minister since the Georgian Dream coalition came into government in late October, 2012, preceded by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Irakli Garibashvili....  Kvirikashvili, who has spent most of his career in financial and banking sectors before becoming Economy Minister in late October 2012, was a member of Parliament in 1999-2004 with the New Rights Party; he was deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on economic policy. Kvirikashvili was director general of ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank in 2006-2011.
During the debates many lawmakers from the UNM and Free Democrats (FD) opposition parties were saying that replacing of Garibashvili by Kvirikashvili as PM will not change situation in the country as long as ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili remains “informal ruler.” ...
PM Irakli Garibashvili announced about resignation in a live televised statement on Wednesday evening.
In the five-minute address, Garibashvili, who held prime ministerial post since November 2013 after resignation of Bidzina Ivanishvili, spoke of “historic results” and significant reforms during his tenure, but did not give a specific reason behind the decision to step down.
“Holding an office – be it of interior minister or prime minister, and being in government in general has never been a goal in itself for me,” Garibashvili said. “For me this is a mean to serve my country.”
“We have young democracy therefore it is of huge importance what kind of example we will set for our children and future generations. Official posts are temporary, God and homeland are eternal. Therefore today I took a decision to leave the post of prime minister,” Garibashvili said.
Garibashvili, 33, who worked with Ivanishvili for eight years before going into politics together with Ivanishvili in late 2011, served as the Interior Minister for a year before becoming the PM in November, 2013.
The Georgian Dream ruling coalition has to name a new prime minister, who will then nominate cabinet members to face parliament’s confidence vote requiring support of at least 76 MPs.
Garibashvili will remain an acting prime minister before the new government is confirmed by the Parliament; other members of the current cabinet are also acting ministers.
The Georgian media first reported about Garibashvili’s intention to announce about resignation earlier on Wednesday; according to those same reports Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was economy minister and now holds foreign minister’s post, is expected to be named as next PM by the ruling GD coalition.
“Each person has a possibility to make a free choice,” Garibashvili said in his televised address. “Every step of mine was stemming from the responsibility imposed by this choice – be it when I was making a decision about starting a family, choosing a career or going to politics, when we all got united for saving of the country under the leadership of Bidzina Ivanishvili,” Garibashvili said.
 “Our struggle in 2012 was crowned with the victory of our people. I am really proud that I was honored to assume a huge responsibility before our country and nation, to continue together with our team the work launched for the welfare of our country,” he said. 
“Peace and stability, legality and humaneness were established during my prime ministerial tenure. We returned freedom and dignity to our citizens. Due to large scale reforms and unprecedented governmental programs implemented by us, we laid a firm foundation for economic and social welfare.”
“We also achieved historical results – we signed the Association Agreement with the European Union and launched free trade; we also received consent on visa-free travel rules for our citizens that made our country’s integration into the European family irreversible.”
 “Today, as never before, a real foundation is being laid for peaceful coexistence with our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers with human-oriented and pragmatic policy, and with our European perspective,” Garibashvili’s said.
 “We began working on restoration of our country’s historic function – Georgia has actively got involved in the international Silk Road project and [Georgia] is now genuinely becoming a link between Asia and Europe.”
 “After Bidzina Ivanishvili took, I would say, an unprecedented step, and at the zenith of his popularity and influence, quit his post of [the PM in November 2013] upon his own decision, he set an example of how a politician should make useful deeds for the country through timely taking of office, as well as through timely departure from the office,” Garibashvili said.
“Now, when internal and external directions of our country have been strengthened, I want to wish success to our future Prime Minister,” he said without indicating who might be named as the next PM. 
“First of all, I want to thank each citizen of our country, our dear people; I want to thank our devoted co-fighters for their cooperation and support, everyone,” he said and also thanked his wife and three sons.
 “My dream was, is and will always be strong and united Georgia with economically strong Georgian people. Today I resign, but I remain a dedicated soldier of my motherland. God bless our motherland and our proud and strong Georgian nation,” Garibashvili said.
When the Georgian news agencies started reporting by around noon on Wednesday that Garibashvili was going to announce about resignation, many of those Georgian Dream lawmakers and government officials who were asked by journalists about those reports, were either responding that they were not aware or denying it as a rumor. A senior GD MP Gia Volski was probably the only one who although said that the PM’s resignation was not yet decided, but discussions were ongoing over the issue.
An opposition lawmaker from Free Democrats party, Zurab Abashidze, said that he had an impression that “no one, but few people within the ruling coalition, knew about Garibashvili’s intention to resign.” He said that keeping ruling majority members unaware of such an important decision was yet another indication of Ivanishvili’s “informal rule.”
A senior lawmaker from the opposition UNM party, Giorgi Gabashvili, said that “nothing is changing in principle” with the resignation of Garibashvili.
“I would call it reshuffle of puppets; Garibashvili has never been an independent figure and leader. He has always been a very energetic executor of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s orders… and other government members are Ivanishvili’s clerks,” MP Gabashvili told Imedi TV.
Some opposition politicians, as well as political commentators, have suggested that the cabinet reshuffle about ten months before the parliamentary elections is possibly made in response to declined public support for the GD ruling coalition.
November poll, commissioned by NDI, showed most of the voters undecided; GD’s support among likely voters stood at 18%, which is up by 4 percentage points since August, but 6 percentage points lower than in April, 2015. UNM opposition party had 12% support among likely voters, compared to 15% and 16% in August and April, respectively; Free Democrats – had 7% support, compared to 5% in August and April.
Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said he expects new government led by new prime minister to be confirmed by the legislative body early next week.
PM Irakli Garibashvili announced resignation on Wednesday evening without naming any specific reason behind the decision. He remains an acting prime minister and other members of the cabinet also continue performing their duties before the new prime minister and the cabinet is confirmed by the Parliament.
The Georgian Dream parliamentary majority has to name a new prime minister, who will then nominate cabinet members to face parliament’s confidence vote requiring support of at least 76 MPs.
“The parliamentary majority, the [ruling] coalition, which is united and will remain such in this process, will discuss the issue [a prime ministerial candidacy] and take decision probably on Friday,” Usupashvili told journalists.
“As far as confidence vote for the new cabinet is concerned, I suppose that this process will be completed by the beginning of next week and before the New Year we will form the new government,” the Parliament Speaker said.
Usupashvili also said he was aware about Garibashvili “thinking” of resignation, but not about timing of announcing the decision.
He thanked Garibashvili for his service and said that “lot has been achieved” over the past few years.
Asked about possible prime ministerial candidates, who are being currently speculated in the Georgian media – foreign minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili; healthcare minister Davit Sergeenko; economy minister Dimitri Kumsishvili and head of the state-owned Georgian Railway Mamuka Bakhtadze – Usupashvili responded: “All four of them are very successful… We have lots of successful people in our team; we will decide [about prime ministerial candidate] on Friday.”
Journalists cannot attend the PM briefing - 23.12.2015, - with video-footage
Media cannot attend the PM briefing. The “Courier” correspondent reports from the Government Office. The Government Administration itself takes a video and will broadcast it at 08:00 pm. Despite the high public interest the journalists will not be able to ask questions to Irakli Garibashvili.

Russia Eases Visa Rules for Georgia 22.12.2015,
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday about easing visa requirements for the Georgian citizens starting from December 23.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that as a next step it does “not rule out” possibility of lifting visa requirements for Georgia.
“In the context of ongoing process of normalization of Russian-Georgian relations and in the view of stimulating positive trends between our countries, starting from December 23, 2015 business, work, study and humanitarian visas of any multiplicity, as well as private visas regardless of whether there is kinship or not between host and invited person… will be issued to the citizens of Georgia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. ...

Roman Gotsiridze, Chairman of the Center  for Economic Development, commented on NDI"s research and stated that the country is poorer compared to last year. " It is obvious that we are now poorer than they were a year ago. This is the result of GEL devaluation,"- said Roman Gotsiridze. ...

The new poll, commissioned by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI),  shows that number of those likely voters who have no preferred political party continues to outpace combined support of Georgia’s two major political forces. ...
32% of these likely voters said they did not know which political party they would vote if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, almost the same as in August poll.
5% said they would not vote for any of the party, which is a 5 percentage points decline compared to August, and 15% refused to answer.
Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition’s support was up 4 percentage points since August to 18% in the new poll, but it was 6 percentage points lower than in April, 2015.
The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party had 12% support among likely voters, compared to 15% and 16% in August and April, respectively.
Free Democrats opposition party, led by ex-Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, had 7% support, compared to 5% in August and April.
Labor Party and Burjanadze’s party had 4% support among likely voters each, followed by Alliance of Patriots with 3%. ...

... The opposition believes that the government has spent 600 000 GEL in attempts to deceit the society. UNM also consider that the PM named the projects that were started during the previous government as the achievements of his cabinet. Opposition members claim that Prime Minister"s statement is "cynical". "It is symbolic that this presentation coincided with NDI surveys, which give the opposite picture. Only 18 % of population agrees with the PM"s opinion that c the country is going in the right direction .
For example, the Prime Minister said that they have opened 269 new enterprises . Mr. Prime Minister stated that the pensions increased by 80 GEL. The economy is growing very slowly. Export and import reduced. The country is in crisis. His messages were cynical,"- said the PM. ...

"Unfortunately Georgian government has not done anything to oppose Russian propaganda and information war"- stated Khatuna Lagazidze while assessing the NDI surveys.
" Georgian government is responsible for this figure for the high percentage of supporters of Russia and Eurasian Union ,"- said the member of the Development Fund of Georgia.
Experts have hailed the fact that the number of supporters of the Euro-Atlantic course has increased. " They have openly pro-Russian deputies, when you have such MPs in the coalition, naturally the part of this coalition becomes pro-northern. And they don"t hide it,"- said Tornike Sharashenidze. ...

The opposition comments on the survey conducted by the National Democratic Institute . UNM members state that they can not understand that self-satisfaction of government. "Every day of Ivanishvili"s and his puppets governance is harmful for our country, both for the economy, as well as in terms of security and defense . We have no new jobs, no investments. People feel it and therefore the studies show that the country is headed in the wrong direction, " - he stated. UNM also focuses on the increase in the number of people who are dissatisfied with the government"s activities. "Every day the situation is getting worse and worse, our citizens" lives is getting more difficult, poverty increases in the country and on such background Georgian Dream has no plan,"- explains Akaki Minashvili. ...

Georgia’s President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker, as well as leaders of parliamentary opposition parties have welcomed European Commission’s report, which said that Georgia meets criteria for lifting visa requirements in the Schengen area.
“I welcome the European Commission’s report on visa liberalisation action plan, which fully reflects the progress achieved by Georgia over the past three years,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in a written statement shortly after the report was released on December 18. ...

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said at an annual press conference on Thursday that Moscow is “ready to cancel visa regime” for Georgian citizens. ...

Russian drone and helicopter flew over the Georgian police posts in the vicinity of administrative boundary line with breakaway South Ossetia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied helicopter overflight in the area.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle “violated the airspace controlled by the Georgian central authorities” from the Russian “occupied” region of South Ossetia and flew over the checkpoints of the Georgian Interior Ministry in the villages of Koshka and Gugutiantkari in the Gori municipality at about 6:48pm local time on December 9. ...

" Bosses of organized crime - so called thieves in law revive informal hierarchical system of prisons"- Zurab Chiaberashvili - 15.12.2015,
The opposition responded to the report, released by the  Council of Europe"s Committee for the Prevention of Torture. United National Movement focuses on a certain aspects of the report. According to the conclusion, the situation in prisons remains difficult. " Bosses of organized crime - so called thieves in law  revive informal hierarchical system of prisons. The former officials  are  in such conditions, which could be considered as inhuman and degrading treatment, "- said Zurab Chiaberashvili. ...

Gunshots were fired at a local office of opposition UNM party in the town of Dedoplistskaro in eastern region of Kakheti late last night.
No one was in the office at the time of attack. The building also houses office of UNM majoritarian MP Zaza Kedelashvili, who is elected in Dedoplistskaro single-mandate constituency.
TV footage showed office windows shattered by bullets. Reports say that over two dozen of bullets were fired at the office. ...

President Giorgi Margvelashvili signed a decree on December 4 terminating Georgian citizenship of his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine.
President’s office said that citizenship of Saakashvili and several other Georgian nationals were terminated with the December 4 decree because they became citizens of foreign countries.
 According to Georgian legislation, a Georgian national loses Georgian citizenship after acquiring citizenship of a foreign country. ... Although the Georgian constitution bans dual citizenship, it also allows the President to grant Georgian citizenship to a foreign national “who has a special merit before Georgia” or if granting of Georgian citizenship to a foreign national is in “state interests.” A foreign national has to apply for citizenship to the Georgian President. ...

NATO foreign ministers reaffirmed on December 2 that Georgia should go through a Membership Action Plan (MAP) phase, which the country has been denied since 2008, before it can join the Alliance. At a foreign ministerial meeting of the Alliance member states in Brussels, ... NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that this decision shows to the three other aspirant countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina; Georgia and Macedonia – that “hard work of reform pays off.” “What we have seen today is that NATO’s door is open; it remains open and we proved it by inviting Montenegro,” he said. “Georgia has made a lot of progress.” ...

Is Russia winning the information war? - The Clarion, Joseph Epstein - 27.10.2015,
Today marks the end of the Tbilisi-hosted South Caucasus Security Forum, convened by the Georgian Ministry of Defense, Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS).  The talks brought together policymakers, think-tankers and security professionals from around the world to discuss the most challenging issues in the region.
The Clarion`s Joseph Epstein listened in on two panels that dealt with related topics of information warfare and hybrid warfare. The panelists were of the unanimous opinion that the West needs to be doing more to combat Russia’s information operations and provocations. The most common suggestions included improving awareness, heightening cyber security and increasing intelligence. ...

Neben den Ereignissen um den unabhängigen, regierungskritischen Nachrichtensender Rustavi 2 und der Anklageflut gegen Politiker der Ex-Regierung "arbeitet" die Ivanishvili-Regierung überall am alleinigen Machtanspruch:
Timeline: Rustavi 2 TV Row - 16.11.2015,
Ownership dispute over Georgia’s leading private television channel, Rustavi 2, dates from 2004, when series of change in broadcaster’s ownership started through controversial deals, which have repercussions, including political ones, more than a decade later. The recent crisis, which has receded to some extent at least for now after reinstatement of Rustavi 2 management, stems from a lawsuit which broadcaster’s one of the former owners Kibar Khalvashi lodged with the Tbilisi City Court in early August seeking to reclaim his shares in Rustavi 2.
Below is a timeline of key developments since Khalvashi’s lawsuit was filed. ...
Constitutional Court ordered on Friday evening to suspend application of those clauses in the civil procedure code based on which judge ordered appointment of temporary managers in Rustavi 2 TV a week ago.
This is Rustavi 2’s second constitutional complaint stemming from legal battle over broadcaster’s ownership dispute, unfolding in parallel in the common courts.
On November 5 judge of Tbilisi City Court, Tamaz Urtmelidze, ordered as an interim injunction in ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV to appoint temporary managers, named by the plaintiff Kibar Khalvashi, replacing broadcaster’s director general Nika Gvaramia and chief financial officer Kakha Damenia. ...
A screengrab from TV footage showing Rustavi 2 TV CEO Nika Gvaramia, wearing a t-shirt with broadcaster’s logo and inscription reading “defend freedom”, speaks to Tbilisi City Court judge Tamaz Urtmelidze on October 19, 2015.
Tbilisi City Court judge, Tamaz Urtmelidze, partly overturned on Thursday his earlier ruling from a week ago and reinstated Rustavi 2 TV’s top management, including its director general Nika Gvaramia and financial director Kakha Damenia. ...
Ivanishvili on Rustavi 2 TV Case - 11.11.2015,
A Tbilisi City Court judge’s decision to appoint temporary managers in Rustavi 2 TV and the way it was taken, without an oral hearing, “is politically absolutely damaging” for the government, ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said.
 “When they [opponents] say that the government and Ivanishvili are pulling strings in court… including [in respect of a decision] imposing [temporary] managers [in Rustavi 2] – politically of course it [such decision] is absolutely damaging for the government and personally for me, and if I am really behind this process I am clever enough not to have instructed [the judge] to take such a decision,” he told journalists on November 10.
Had he really had any influence over the judiciary, Ivanishvili said, he would not have given the opponents such a “trump card – appointing a manager without an oral hearing.” “Of course politically it was not favorable for us,” Ivanishvili said.
Rustavi 2 TV former owner Kibar Khalvashi’s lawsuit seeking to reclaim his shares in the broadcaster is seen by Rustavi 2 TV, many opposition parties and civil society activists as a politically motivated ploy by the government to silence the opposition-minded channel. ...
Majority shareholders of the Rustavi 2 TV have turned down a proposal from court-appointed temporary managers of the broadcaster and said that they “have nothing to talk about” with “government-appointed political censors.” ...
Temporary managers of Rustavi 2 TV, appointed by the court, have offered current owners of the broadcaster to name “any” person to whom interim managers would grant power of attorney with full authority to perform all the executive functions required for smooth day-to-day operation of the TV station. ...
Below is a round-up of international reactions on November 6 to a court order replacing top management in Rustavi 2 TV in ongoing ownership dispute over the broadcaster, which has been condemned by opposition parties, Public Defender’s Office, civil society groups and activists in Georgia.
Joint Statement by the U.S. Embassy; EU Delegation and Heads of Mission of the EU Member States in Georgia:
The Delegation of the European Union, in agreement with the Heads of Mission of the EU Member States in Georgia, and the Embassy of the United States of America express our concern related to the appointment of a new management to the Rustavi 2 TV company. ...
President Giorgi Margvelashvili said developments over Rustavi 2 TV, where court has ordered to replace management in ongoing dispute over broadcaster’s ownership, “damage the country’s democratic image and international reputation”.
 “Tensions surrounding Rustavi 2 TV two weeks ago were defused through active [efforts] of all the segments of the society,” the President said in a televised statement on November 6.
“But today we are again facing difficult circumstances that damage the country’s democratic image and international reputation – the public, non-governmental sector, diplomats, Public Defender, political parties, including part of the Georgian Dream ruling coalition, share this assessment,” he said.
  “I call on the ruling coalition representatives to refrain from making undiplomatic remarks and do not limit themselves only by formal statements when assessing the situation,” Margvelashvili said.
 “I call on the ruling coalition representatives not to close yourself off and to get to the bottom of the significance of political process; to take efficient steps towards protecting the country’s democratic image; to hold a dialogue with the society and diplomatic corps, which is an active supporter of our country’s democracy, European and Euro-Atlantic integration.” ... 
EU, U.S. Diplomatic Missions Release Joint Statement on Rustavi 2 TV - 06.11.2015,
In a joint statement the U.S. embassy and diplomatic missions of the EU-member states in Tbilisi expressed “concern” over the appointment of a temporary management in Rustavi 2 TV and said that this decision by the court on November 5 raises “serious questions about the independence of the judiciary” and “actual degree of freedom of the media” in Georgia.
“In light of the recent interim decision of the Constitutional Court and considering that the substantial judgment of the first instance court in the Rustavi 2 case does not envisage immediate enforcement, the preventive measures adopted on 5 November raise serious questions about the independence of the judiciary and the actual degree of freedom of the media in Georgia,” reads the statement. 
“As our respective Missions have publicly stated many times, freedom of media and independence of the judiciary are essential foundations of a democracy, and diverse opinions should be encouraged in democratic societies.” 
“We call on all political actors to refrain from any step or statement that could prevent the Georgian judiciary from ruling dispassionately on this case.” 
“The government and judicial institutions need to uphold the principles of media freedom and political pluralism that are an integral part of Georgia’s declared aspirations.” 
“We will continue to monitor developments closely and raise concerns with all relevant parties as appropriate,” reads the statement made jointly by the U.S. embassy and the Delegation of the EU in Georgia in agreement with the heads of missions of the EU member states in Tbilisi. 
This joint statement comes hours after U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, released written statement earlier on November 6 saying that the Embassy is “deeply concerned about developments late Thursday night related to Rustavi 2 management and ownership.” News about court’s decision to replace management of the broadcaster broke before midnight on Thursday. ...
U.S. Embassy ‘Deeply Concerned’ over Rustavi 2 TV Developments - 06.11.2015,
U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, has expressed deep concern over Rustavi 2 TV developments, which has seen its top management replaced through a court order in ongoing litigation over the broadcaster’s ownership dispute.
“The Embassy is deeply concerned about developments late Thursday night related to Rustavi 2 management and ownership,” Ambassador Kelly said in a written statement on Friday.
“Attempts to change the management of the station, in advance of the appeal process, have profound political implications. In a democratic society, critical opinions should be encouraged, not silenced.”
“We are committed to supporting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. We call on the government to uphold the principles of media freedom and political pluralism that are an integral part of those aspirations. At the same time, we urge all sides to refrain from violence and dedicate themselves to a peaceful resolution of the situation through dialogue,” the U.S. Ambassador said.
--- Decision allows plaintiff Khalvashi to take over Rustavi 2 management;
--- Gvaramia, Damenia replaced by Sakevarishvili, Dvali in Rustavi 2;
A judge of Tbilisi City Court has ordered as an interim injunction in ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV to appoint  temporary administrators replacing broadcaster’s current director general Nika Gvaramia and chief financial officer Kakha Damenia.
The decision means that Kibar Khalvashi, ex-owner of Rustavi 2 TV who tries to reclaim shares in the broadcaster, gains authorization from the court to take over management of the TV channel even though ownership remains under its current shareholders as litigation over ownership dispute has not yet exhausted all the avenues of appeal.
Condemning court’s decision as illegal, Nika Gvaramia said that he is not going to obey the ruling.
“I am not going to leave this building, come and expel me with use of force,” Gvaramia said in a live televised address from Rustavi 2 headquarters after midnight on Friday. “We are not going to leave this TV channel on our own will.” ...
The U.S. will continue to closely monitor appeals process in Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute in court, Department of State spokesperson, John Kirby, said.
He also said when asked at a daily briefing on November 4 about the Rustavi 2 TV case that the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the media freedom at the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission plenary session on November 2 in Washington, and added that the U.S. will continue bringing this issue up “repeatedly”.
A judge of Tbilisi City Court ruled on November 3 in favor of Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner of Rustavi 2 TV, who wants to reclaim his shares in the broadcaster. Lawyers representing current majority shareholders of Rustavi 2 TV will appeal the verdict.
“We’ve been closely observing the deliberations in this particular case,” Kirby said. “We will continue to monitor developments in any appeals process in the future following this initial ruling by the Tbilisi City Court.”
“Recognizing the considerable public interest in this case, the United States welcomes the calm and restraint of all parties’ reactions to the initial ruling,” he said.
“Freedom of the media and independence of the judiciary are essential foundations of any democracy, and in particular remain critical to Georgia’s successful Euro-Atlantic integration. And again, this was discussed at the plenary session Monday, and I think you can fully expect that it will continue to be something we raise repeatedly,” he added.
PM Irakli Garibashvili called for refraining from “dramatizing and politicizing” court dispute over Rustavi 2 TV ownership.
In remarks made after the Tbilisi City Court ruled in favor of Rustavi 2 TV ex-owner Kibar Khalvashi, who seeks to reclaim onwership of the broadcaster, the PM told Georgian TV reporters in Tallinn, Estonia, where he pays a two-day visit, that it is not interesting for him who will be the owner of Rustavi 2 TV. ...
A judge of Tbilisi City Court ruled on Tuesday in favor of Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner of Rustavi 2 TV, who sought reclaiming his shares in the broadcaster through a lawsuit filed in early August.
A lawyer representing respondents, current majority shareholders of Rustavi 2 TV, Zaza Bibilashvili, said that the verdict will be appealed.
It may take about four or six weeks before the ruling goes to the Court of Appeals, Bibilashvili said.
The appellate court’s decision can also be appealed, if the parties in the case decide so, and the final decision, before the verdict is enforced, will be up to the Supreme Court. 
--- Constitutional Court Suspends Clause on Immediate Enforcement of Verdicts in Civil Disputes 
The judge, Tamaz Urtmelidze, was still reading out his verdict when lawyers of Rustavi 2 TV walked out of the courtroom in protest against the ruling.
“What happened is exactly what we were predicting – dark dictatorship of [ex-PM] Bidzina Ivanishvili has been formalized. Tamaz Urtmelidze is not a judge, he will definitely be held responsible for he did today,” said lawyer Bibilashvili, who is also a member of the opposition UNM party’s political council; he was referring to allegation that Ivanishvili and the government want to seize Rustavi 2 TV through the lawsuit filed by Khalvashi.
In a written statement released after the verdict was delivered, Kibar Khalvashi said: “What happened today is what I believed in and what I have been fighting for over the past ten years. [Ex-president] Saakashvili, who is no longer the owner of Rustavi 2 TV, has been defeated in the court… Truth has prevailed over a huge evil.”
“The court’s decision is the start of the process of restoration of justice,” he said, adding that whatever the decision of higher courts might be “I am already a victor as I proved my truth through court.”
With his ruling the judge declared contracts through which Khalvashi sold his shares in Rustavi 2 TV in the course of 2005-2006 null and void, and ordered his ownership of the broadcaster to be restored.
Khalvashi, who owned the broadcaster in 2004-2006, filed the lawsuit seeking to reclaim his shares in August. As an interim measure, the court ordered a freeze on Rustavi 2 TV assets in August, which was followed less than two months later with an additional court injunction, which froze assets of Rustavi 2 TV’s shareholder company.
The lawsuit was condemned by Rustavi 2 TV and many opposition parties, with UNM being the most vocal among them, as the government’s attempt to seize the most-watched Georgian broadcaster and a fierce critic of the government’s policies.
--- Media Advocacy Coalition’s Statement on Rustavi 2 TV Ownership Dispute 
--- Rustavi 2 TV Accuses Govt of Blocking Its Funding Deal 
--- Civil Society Groups on Court’s Order to Freeze Rustavi 2 TV Assets 
--- Court Orders Rustavi 2 TV Asset Freeze 
--- One of Ex-Owners in Court Bid to Reclaim Rustavi 2 TV 
In his lawsuit, Khalvashi has claimed that he was coerced into selling the television channel by the then-leadership of the country in 2006.
As a piece of evidence, his lawyers presented a report on the valuation of Rustavi 2 TV shares in 2005-2006 through which the plaintiff claimed that the price for which he had to sell his shares were in fact far lower than actual value of the assets. Through this piece of evidence, Khalvashi tried to prove that he would not have sold the broadcaster for the stated price without having been pressured into it.
The valuation, commissioned by the plaintiff, was done by an expert from the Georgian State Forensics Bureau based on inconclusive financial data provided by the plaintiff.
The valuation was done through an asset-based approach as it was more relevant in the condition of scarce financial data, the expert, who was the only witness summoned for questioning during the proceedings, told the court on October 28.
The expert, who compiled the report in September in less than two days, also said that he had not verified authenticity of the provided data as it was not within his competence.
Lawyers representing Rustavi 2 TV and its current majority shareholders sought in vain to exclude the report as invalid evidence on the grounds that it was based on dubious and inconclusive financial data. They also argued that the report was not compiled based on the international valuation standards. The motion was rejected by the judge.
Paata Salia, a lawyer representing the plaintiff, said that the respondents failed to provide arguments to back their claims that the report was based on fake financial data and argued that the respondents also had the burden of proof to substantiate their claims.
Since the start of the court hearing in mid-September, respondents have filed multiple motions requesting judge Tamaz Urtmelidze’s recusal on the grounds of his “bias” in favor of the plaintiff and on the grounds of the government having levers to exert influence on him through criminal proceedings, which were launched against the judge’s mother in connection to a domestic incident that occurred more than a year and nine months ago.
All motions for recusal were rejected by the judge.
The judge was frequently accused by Rustavi 2 TV head, Nika Gvaramia, of being “corrupt” and a stooge of ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili. After the judge ordered one the court injunctions, Gvaramia said that “soil will burn under judge Urtmelidze’s feet” and “he will never find a safe haven in this country.” After one of the verbal exchanges with the judge, Gvaramia was ordered to leave the courtroom on October 19 and has not been allowed to attend the hearings since then.
“I have never had to deal with such an absurd case,” Zaza Bibilashvili, the lawyer representing the current majority shareholders of Rustavi 2 TV, told the judge in his closing arguments on November 3.
“There is nothing in this case except Khalvashi’s allegations and two pages printed out from his computer,” said Bibilashvili. “The verdict in favor of the plaintiff would be an unheard of illegality.”
Lawyers representing Rustavi 2 TV told the judge not to yield to government pressure and not to rule in favor of the plaintiff.
Paata Salia, a lawyer representing plaintiff Kibar Khalvashi, said that the respondents were trying to “politicize” the dispute throughout the court proceedings.
“This [lawsuit of Khalvashi] is not against Rustavi 2 TV, nor has it aimed at restricting media freedom or at obstructing Rustavi 2 TV operations,” Salia said. “Respondents’ arguments were politically-charged and I am not going to respond to their political statements… I don’t think the courtroom is the right place for this.”
91 percent of shares in Rustavi 2 TV, which now earns more in advertisement revenue than several of its main competitors combined, are currently owned both directly and indirectly by Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili – little-known figures to the wider public in Georgia who are believed to be close associates of former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Since 2004, Rustavi 2 TV has changed hands multiple times and most of those changes in its ownership structure were intertwined with politics, creating a complex web of controversial deals and a multitude of former owners of which Khalvashi is not the only one who now wants to reclaim the broadcaster. As the channel was passing from one owner to another, every new shareholder was either an ally of then president Mikheil Saakashvili or an offshore firm with beneficiary owners unknown.
Respondents also argue that the current owners of 91 percent shares of Rustavi 2 TV – Levan and Giorgi Karamanishvili, are bona fide holders of the broadcaster. Khalvashi claimed that Saakashvili controls the broadcaster through Giorgi and Levan Karamanishvili, who, he says, are nominal shareholders.
Khalvashi’s lawyer Paata Salia said that the respondents failed to present any evidence, except of printouts from publicly registry of ownership structure, to prove that the current owners are bona fide shareholders.
Rustavi 2 TV lawyers wanted to involve in the litigation as a third party previous shareholders of the Rustavi 2 from which current owners bought shares, but the motion was rejected by the judge.
In his lawsuit Khalvashi also claimed copyright ownership of Rustavi 2 TV logo and several shows the broadcaster was producing at the time when he owned the channel. He was demanding USD 500,000 in compensation for what he claimed was copyright infringements and in addition over USD 18.3 million in reimbursement of lost profit. These claims by Khalvashi were rejected by the judge. Khalvashi’s lawyer said that his client will decide whether to appeal or not this part of the verdict after they receive justification of court’s decision.
Leader of UNM minority group in the Parliament, MP Davit Bakradze, said that the opposition party will keep on its struggle for media freedom in Georgia, which, he said, is now under danger because the government wants to take over Rustavi 2 TV. ...
Head of Rustavi 2 TV, Nika Gvaramia, has called on viewers through a live televised address to rally outside the broadcaster’s headquarters on Thursday, when the Tbilisi City Court continues hearing of a lawsuit filed by Rustavi 2’s former co-owner, Kibar Khalvashi, who tries to reclaim his shares in the television channel. ...
Commenting on series of attacks on offices of opposition UNM party last week, PM Irakli Garibashvili called on Wednesday for “holding back emotions” and keeping “calm”.
A week ago he said that UNM is a “criminal organization”, which has “no right to remain in politics” and “aggression” against the party is “natural” after 2011 videos of sexual abuse of detainees by law enforcement officers were leaked in public domain. Remarks, which came following attacks on UNM offices by pro-government groups in up to twenty locations across the country last week, were condemned by the opposition and civil society groups as “violence-inciting” and “aggressive rhetoric.” Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on October 24 that he too “disliked” Garibashvili’s remarks, describing them as “excessively emotional”.
Speaking at a government session on October 28, the PM said: “Of course those videos cause outrage… but I want to appeal to the public and request to maximally maintain calm. Securing stability is in our interest, therefore I ask you to hold back emotions; I call on everyone for calm.”
“Our state is now stronger than it was three years ago, we will not allow any kind of provocation, but I call for maximum restraint and request the youths, involved in protests following the release of those videos, to show restraint and keep calm,” the PM said.
He then asked Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili if the investigation was underway “in connection to raids on offices” of UNM. The Interior Minister responded: “Not a single case was left without our reaction.”
The Interior Minister said that probe was launched under the code of administrative offenses in connection to 22 cases related to incidents at UNM offices and three people were detained, who were then released after being fined. The Interior Minister also said that criminal investigation was ongoing into three cases.
At the same government session the PM also spoke about Rustavi 2 TV case and again denied allegations that the government is trying to take over the broadcaster through Kibar Khalvashi, a former owner of the Rustavi 2 TV, whose lawsuit to reclaim shares in the television station is now being adjudicated in the Tbilisi City Court.
 “Of course I would not share criticism or notion that the government is somehow involved in the process related to Rustavi 2 TV,” Garibashvili said.
He said that it would be irrational for the government to do it. “It is possible to open a new television channel within 10 days… without any barriers,” the PM said.
“So neither Rustavi 2 TV nor UNM and anyone else within the country and outside should worry that we will create any kind of barriers to any television channel or that we will harm media environment,” Garibashvili said.
“Not a single normal, sensible person would see any rational basis for our government to have a desire [to take over Rustavi 2] in the condition when we simplified to such extent procedures for opening a television channel… If we assume theoretically that someone in our government wants to seize or shut down Rustavi 2, what’s the point in such move? ‘Rustavi 5’ can be simply opened tomorrow,” he said, suggesting that even if Rustavi 2 TV ownership is changed, the current owners can open a new TV channel under a similar name.
“We will help them, because it is in our interests to have as many television stations as possible,” he said.
“I want to state it firmly on behalf of our government, that we will do everything in order not to ever restrict functioning of media outlets… regardless of whether we agree or not, whether we like or not biased coverage by the television stations,” the PM said.
He said that for past three years, before going to court, Khalvashi, who now tries to reclaim Rustavi 2 TV, was “trying in vain to find justice and to restore his rights” by filing application to the prosecutor’s office demanding investigation into his claims that he was coerced into selling of the broadcaster in 2006 by then leadership of the country. Garibashvili said that the prosecutor’s office deliberately refused to investigate because the government has never wanted to interfere in “sensitive” cases related to media.
“I cannot accept criticism towards our government that we are involved in Rustavi 2 TV court proceedings. The court should be able to take impartial decision independently and everyone should obey this decision whether we like it or not,” he said.
“I want to call on everyone – politicians, president, government, parliament – to keep correctness in respect of the judiciary… Making calls in address of a judge about what kind of decision to take is inadmissible, that’s not our business,” the PM said.
He also said that the government “appreciates” statements made by Georgia’s western partners. “It is interesting for us to hear healthy criticism, but not undeserved criticism,” the PM said.
“We cannot accept undeserved criticism neither from our friends and partners nor especially from enemies. We are committed to improving what we have already achieved over the past three years, but it has to be appreciated and properly assessed,” Garibashvili said.
A group of civil society organizations have condemned PM Irakli Garibashvili’s October 22 statement which, they said, amounted to condoning violence amid series of attacks on offices of opposition UNM party in up to twenty towns across the country.
In a joint statement ten human rights monitoring, legal advocacy and think-tank organizations have called on the authorities “to immediately eradicate violent actions” and “refrain from aggressive rhetoric.”
Pro-government groups held this week series of rallies outside offices of UNM party in various towns during which, in some places, UNM offices’ doors were nailed or welded shut and in some locations offices were graffitied or red paints thrown at them and windows shattered.
Such incidents were reported from Kutaisi; Batumi; Rustavi; Zugdidi; Poti; Gori; Lanchkhuti; Ozurgeti; Chokhatauri; Akhaltsikhe; Aspindza; Keda; Shuakhevi; Tetritskaro; Sachkhere; Kharagauli; Tskaltubo; Telavi; Gurjaani. A red paint was also thrown at the Mikheil Saakashvili Presidential Library in Tbilisi.
These incidents took place after a graphic video of sexual abuse of two detainees by law enforcement officers that took place in 2011, when UNM was in power, was posted on October 17 on Ukraine-based video sharing website. The video was from the cache found by the current authorities in 2013 in Samegrelo region. 11 people were convicted, some in absentia, in connection to that case of torture of detainees. The video footage was leaked just after polls, showing sharp decline in support of GD ruling coalition, were released, prompting allegation by government opponents that the authorities leaked the video to distract public attention from unfavorable polls and to give ruling coalition politicians a reason to speak again about those crimes that were committed when UNM was in power. Pro-government groups organized outdoor screening of these graphic videos in downtown Tbilisi and Zugdidi on October 18, which was condemned by the Georgian Public Defender, civil society and rights groups. In Zugdidi the event was attended by city mayor Irakli Gogokhia of the GD ruling coalition.
PM Irakli Garibashvili, who is also the leader of the GD ruling coalition, said at a government session on October 22 that the UNM is a “criminal organization”, which has “no right to remain in politics” and “aggression” against the party is “natural” following the leak of videos of sexual abuse of detainees. Garibashvili said, referring to UNM: “They should be grateful for the fact that over the past three years people have not done to them the same what is depicted in these videos – my remarks might be rude, but they deserve it.”
“Against the backdrop of these events [attacks on UNM offices], statement made by PM [Irakli Garibashvili] on October 22 is even more alarming,” reads the statement by civil society organizations. “Such a statement from high ranking political office holder represents justification and incitement of violence, which may create threat to securing rule and order in the country.”
The statement also notes selective reaction of police on various incidents that took place recently. 
“There has not been a relevant legal response to illegal actions against the Georgian Constitutional Court members. There was either no reaction or minimal reaction to multiple cases of physical insult against UNM representatives. Meanwhile, participants of a rally in support of Rustavi 2 TV were arrested, criminal charges initiated and sent to pretrial detention,” reads the statement.
“Reaction [of law enforcement agencies] should not be selective,” it says, adding that such approach causes suspicion that the law enforcement agencies are being politicized and used for political party interests.
“Against the backdrop of tense political process, we deem it necessary the government to immediately eradicate violent actions, refrain from aggressive rhetoric and public statements that incite violence, as well as to provide for stable and calm conditions for all civil society and political groups. Public rhetoric of leadership of the law enforcement agencies and representatives of political circles should be directed towards supporting stable and pluralistic environment, where each and every violent act will be reacted appropriately,” reads the statement.
“Regrettably, sequence of recent events indicates to unified plan, which is clearly directed towards shrinking of diverse and critical public space, which is extremely alarming. It is directly fraught with the risk of civil confrontation and poses threat to multi-party democracy,” reads the statement, adding that it is the responsibility of the authorities to prevent such development.
The statement was signed by Transparency International Georgia; Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center; International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy; Georgia’s Reforms Associates; Open Society-Georgia Foundation; Civil Development Agency; Identoba; Article 42 of Constitution.
The U.S. is “concerned about any steps that might lead to the closure” of Rustavi 2 TV, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said and also added that in general the U.S. is “encouraged by Georgia’s open environment for media and civil society.”
Asked at a daily press briefing on October 22 about “a lot of pressure by the government” on Rustavi 2 TV, which is in a court battle over ownership dispute, Toner responded: “Of course, we wouldn’t comment on the legal merits of the case against Rustavi 2. We’ll let the legal process play itself out.”
“However, I would just say that the closure or potential closure of a major TV station would shrink the media space in Georgia significantly, and that’s a cause for concern. We take seriously any actions that would give the appearance of compromising media pluralism,” Toner said.
He said that the U.S. ambassador in Tbilisi, Ian Kelly, has discussed the issue with the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
“And we actually commend… [President] Margvelashvili’s call for a calm debate regarding this issue,” Toner said, apparently referring to President’s statement made on October 22 in which he criticized remarks by PM Garibashvili for adding tension to already difficult situation.
“We, the U.S. government, have frequently praised Georgia’s open media environment. It’s been recognized internationally as a model for the region, and we believe that one of a democratic government’s priorities should be the protection of citizens’ liberty, which depends on access to free and unfettered media,” he said.
 “So in general, I mean, we’re encouraged by Georgia’s open environment for media and civil society. The government has also enacted many reforms, particularly those that increase checks and balances. And we’re also encouraged by recent legislation regarding the independence and accountability for the prosecutor’s office as well. But as I said, we’re concerned about any steps that might lead to the closure of one of the primary media outlets in – broadcast media outlets in Georgia,” the State Department’s deputy spokesperson said.
U.S. ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, also reiterated on October 22 that the U.S. supports media pluralism in Georgia and “our big concern is:  we don’t want to see any restriction of the media space here.”
Asked about statements made by PM Garibashvili and then by President Margvelashvili, the U.S. ambassador told journalists: “I have seen some good comments today, too, calling for a dialogue and calling for calm. We have seen that from President Margvelashvili, we have seen that from other Georgian officials as well, such as the Speaker of Parliament – I think a very good call for a dialogue.”
“In general I think what our friends here in Georgia need is to have a dialogue,” Ambassador Kelly said in Batumi, where he attended a reception on the U.S. warship, USS Porter, which made a port visit to Georgia’s Black Sea port on October 20-23.
Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Giorgi Papuashvili, said that the law enforcement agencies are turning a blind eye on multiple cases of “unlawful conduct” against the Court, which poses threat to its proper functioning.
In a written appeal to President Giorgi Margvelashvili; PM Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, Papuashvili complains over failure of the law enforcement agencies to react on protest rallies held outside the Court and private residences of judges during which “intimidating statements and threats” against the Court members were voiced.
Constitutional Court Chair Speaks of ‘Pressure’
Venice Commission President on ‘Undue Pressure’ on Georgian Constitutional Court 
Last month pro-government groups held a series of rallies outside private residences of Constitutional Court chairman in Tbilisi and Batumi, condemning the Constitutional Court’s September 16 decision, which allowed ex-mayor of Tbilisi and UNM opposition party leader to be released from 14-month pre-trial detention. Protesters were calling Papuashvili a “friend” of UNM, some holding posters calling him UNM’s “slave” and accusing the Constitutional Court of taking an “anti-state” decision. Tomatoes and eggs were also thrown at Papuashvili’s home in Batumi.
In his appeal, which was released on October 21, Papuashvili also recalls several other similar rallies held outside the Constitutional Court in Batumi earlier this year and last year during which, Papuashvili said, intimidating and threatening statements were made towards him, his family members, and the Court.
“Such acts endanger the safety of judges of the Constitutional Court and their family members,” Papuashvili says in the letter, adding that such “unlawful activities” have recently become “even more organized, coordinated and permanent.”
Under the Georgian legislation, the holding of a protest outside the residency of a judge is an administrative offense. The Georgian code of administrative offenses says that the “blocking of entrance of a court, holding of manifestation or rally at the home of a judge or in common courts will result in an administrative imprisonment for up to 15 days.” Voicing threats against judges is a criminal offense punishable either with fine or with up to three years in jail, according to the Georgian criminal code.
The appeal also says that “the law enforcement authorities have not informed the Court about the results of their activity nor taken actual measures in this regard, which shows their utmost disrespect towards the Constitutional Court as well as a violation of their duty to act as prescribed by law to respond to the unlawful conducts towards the Court.”
“The indifference of the law enforcement authorities and no reaction from high state bodies towards the unlawful conducts against the Constitutional Court of Georgia makes the impression that the state violates its obligation, prescribed by the law, to secure protection of independence of judges, furthermore it prevents the functioning of the Constitutional Court of Georgia in a safe environment and jeopardizes implementation of constitutional justice in Georgia,” reads the Constitutional Court chairman’s appeal.
NGOs do not trust the process of the promotion of judges going on in the High Council of Justice .
Seven NGOs have issued a statement.
"The process is connected to appointment of judges in forcified manner without competition. The latest developments in the Council raise questions about the goals and motives of the decisions taken by its the members and creates lack of trust to these processes in the society . "- says the statement.
Civil society representatives said that the promotion of judges and appointment procedure should be clearly outlined and only then should enter into force.
A pro-government group in Lanchkhuti, town in Guria region in western Georgia, brought on Wednesday a small welding machine at the local office of opposition UNM party and welded its door shut.
 Local media outlet, Guriis Moambe, reported that the police was at the scene during the incident, but did not intervene and no one was detained.
It also reported that local municipality employees were among the protesters outside the opposition party’s office.
It was the latest in series of incidents that took place against UNM local offices in several towns this week, among them in Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Ozurgeti, Gurjaani, Telavi, Tetritskaro, Poti and Rustavi.
In what appeared to be coordinated rallies in different locations across the country on October 19-20, pro-government groups, among them employees of local self-governance bodies, marched at UNM’s local offices chanting slogans like “get out from Georgia” and leaving outside the offices posters like “Liquidated”.
In some towns, among them in Akhaltsikhe, Gori and others, doors of UNM offices were nailed shut. Minor scuffle was reported in Kutaisi where pro-government activists tried to break into the UNM’s local office and where the police intervened.  
These incidents took place after a graphic video of sexual abuse of two detainees by law enforcement officers that took place in 2011, when UNM was in power, was posted on October 17 on Ukraine-based video sharing website. The video was from the cache unearthed by the current authorities in 2013 in Samegrelo region. 11 people were convicted, some in absentia, in connection to torture of detainees.
The video footage was leaked just after polls, showing sharp decline in support of GD ruling coalition, were released, prompting allegation by government opponents that the authorities leaked the video to distract public attention from unfavorable polls and to give ruling coalition politicians a reason to speak again about those crimes that were committed when UNM was in power.
Pro-government groups organized outdoor screening of the graphic video of sexual abuse of detainees at public places in downtown Tbilisi and Zugdidi on October 18, which was condemned by the Georgian Public Defender, civil society and rights groups. In Zugdidi the event was attended by city mayor Irakli Gogokhia of the GD ruling coalition.
Noting that recent rallies at UNM offices, following the leaking of graphic video, were organized by government-affiliated groups, ten civil society organizations said in their joint statement on October 20 that “it is impossible to provide democratic development of the country through instilling additional aggression, hatred.”
The statement, joined among others by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Transparency International Georgia, and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, also says that the political parties should not be guided by “narrow party interests, which aim at short-term effect and serve only the purpose of strengthening own position ahead of elections.”
In a separate statement, another group of civil society organizations, said that public screening of “so-called torture footage, organized with active participation of public servants, and the subsequent onset, within a few hours, of targeted attacks against the UNM, with participation of Georgian Dream activists, prove that this is all part of a unified, premeditated process of the government, which serves to dislodge the main opposition force from the political playing field in the lead-up to the elections.” 
“Such violent acts against opposition parties and their supporters are unquestionably undemocratic and illegal and create the threat of irreparable damage to both Georgia’s internal and external stability,” reads the statement by five civil society organizations, among them Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI); Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS); Media Development Foundation (MDF).

Nika Gvaramia: Rustavi 2 TV CEO; Kibar Khalvashi: co-owner of the broadcaster Rustavi 2 in 2004-2006
Tamaz Urtmelidze: judge in the Rustavi 2-case; Ian Kelly: US Ambassador to Georgia
In a list of cases, discussed by the City Court are private debates connected with the private banks. According to the recordings of the court, some of these cases were discussed by the judges, who are creditors of these banks.
Tamaz Urtmelidze is one of these judges. According to the Civil Procedure Code the judge who is a party of the case or is interested in it must recuse the case.
According to Tamaz Urtmelidze"s declarations he has loans at the Bank of Georgia and Bank Republic, but he still examines the cases connected with these banks.
The Jurists do not exclude that the disciplinary liability of Tamaz Urtmelidze may be risen.
Journalists of Courier  condemn the methods chosen by the authorities against the independent media. It is said in a statement released by them.
Tamar Bagashvili unveiled the statement.
" It is a fact that they will not make Nika Gvaramia to refuse from battle for Rustavi2. His example is a kind of motivation for us, and no matter how far will go the government, whatever footages they will release, whatever rumors they will spread, we will protect freedom of speech at any cost and we fully support Nika Gvaramia,"- said Tamar Bagashvili.
A Director General of Rustavi2 made an announcement on blackmail against him, but Georgian government keeps silence and refuses to respond to journalists.
Rustavi2 correspondents tried to reach representatives of the Government’s Public Relations Department, but they don"t answer phone calls.
Eka Gagua, correspondent of Rustavi2 is waiting for the first comments in front of the Administration of the government.
The Prosecutor"s Office of Georgia has launched an invention on Rustavi 2 TV CEO Nika Gvaramia"s announcement. A Head of the Public and Media Relations Department confirmed an information inphone talk with Rustavi2.
According to  Natia Sukhiashvili, the prosecutor"s office will summon Nika Gvaramia as a witness in the shortest period and he will be questioned.
The representatives of the investigative body have already contacted Nika Gvaramia and informed him that the investigation has been launched. He was offered to arrive at the Prosecutor’s office and be testified. Nika Gvaramia asked to send him an official request.
A head of Georgia"s Reforms Associates  states that the actions of the President and the Chairman of Parliament  are insufficient.
Elene Khoshtaria calls on the  president, the chairman of parliament  and the diplomatic corps get involved in the process .
"Today, everyone must understand that our action will determine future of the country, "- said Khoshtaria. She asked the president to meet with the diplomatic corps and raise this issue. She also calls on Davit Usupashvili to get involved in the process and prevent blackmail and pressure on Rustavi2.
Rustavi2 received a scandalous document a few minutes ago. The document says that after selling Rustavi2"s shares Kibar Khalbashi bought shares of TV company "Maestro."
Kibar Khalvashi bought 50 % of Rustavi Media"s shares for 200 thousand USD from Erosi Kitsmarishvili in Paris in March of 2010.
After the deal neither Erosi Kitsmarishvili, nor Kibar Khalvashi were allowed to sell the shares.
According to the contract, Kibar Khalvashi had to invest in the company. His ownership coincides with the company"s problematic period.
Maestro had financial problems, the broadcasting was restricted.
Journalists of Rustavi2 study the documents and will release an additional information.
Kibar Khalvashi - co-owner of the broadcaster in 2004-2006 - addresses to Nika Gvaramia. " Do not dare to shut off Rustavi2,"- says Khalvashi in his announcement and underlines that the special news  bulletin of Courier was a TV-performance.
"I appeal personally to Gvaramia, who has just offered a TV-performance to the society. It is clear that you and  your political biased mates  do everything to leave the legal space and transform my legal dispute into political show, you want to give an opportunity to Mikheil Saakashvili to gain some political points.
I can not follow the imagination of Nika Gvaramia. I see a threat that Nika Gvaramia is ready to shut off Rustavi2 , dramatize the situation and   politicize the issue.
I appeal to Nika Gvaramia  - do not dare to  shut off Rustavi2! Speak whatever you want and as much as you want, I even encourage you to speak as much as possible, so the society will see ideas and desires of  which political  force you represent.  But don"t dare to shut off Rustavi2!"- is stated in an announcement.
Nika Gvaramia addresses the population and asks for help. He calls on the population to gather in front of Rustavi2 and the Court and don"t let to close Rustavi2 .
Nika Gvaramia also addresses the government and says that if his family members. co-workers, family members of his co-workers will have problems in this process, he will fight for them to defend the truth.
" Today I"m saying it because I don"t want to have a way back. Because I am the human and i don"t know what will happen to me. I"m saying it publically, I am ready for everything except of one thing-  If something will happen with my family member, or my co-worker, or a family member of my co-worker, I will  make you pay for it, wherever I reach you, without any judiciary.  Because you have chosen this standstill and you have pushed the country there.
Or you will step back and give up the media and let us to develop as professionals in a peaceful environment, or  this process will damage you and damage the country,"- said Nika Gvaramia.
Nika Gvaramia, a Director General of Rustavi2 makes a special statement. As Gvaramia says he is not going to leave the company despite blackmail and continues to fight for the independent speech.
" I think that the best way against  blackmail is to talk about it. Now we are dealing with something, that is much more important than my personal well-being  or even broadcasting of Rustavi2. Today the future of the country is at the stake. I address to the government- upload whatever  you want. I don"t care for it.  It is my personal life. If I am a victim of illegal , you will be responsible for that not in front of Urtmelidze, but in front of an independent  court .
I have not done anything in life, publication of which would be worse than my escape from Rustavi2, betrayal of my colleagues and those individuals  to whom I have responsibility, it will  be betrayl of our audience.  I will not do it despite the blackmail. 
 Whatever will be the court"s decision tomorrow, it will be illegal.   We are not going to execute it. We are going to continue broadcasting in the same format.  If someone will invade into the company violently we"ll protect ourselves by force,"-said Nika Gvaramia.
Nika Gvaramia, a Director General of Rustavi2 made a special announcement a few minutes ago. He spoke about threats against him.
" When I came to Rustavi2 there were  a lot of questions about me. I tried to answer all of them . The main question was  what I would do if the government would put pressure on the staff, I promised then  that I would defend the team  in any case . Rustavi2 is the only guarantor of democracy in the country. Unfortunately it seems that there is no longer place in the country for free media.
Today I had conversation with a person, who usually delivers the governmental messages to me. I would like to inform you on the content of this conversation.
I was informed that tomorrow the court will decide that Rustavi2 belongs to Kibar Khalvashi. Tomorrow or day after tomorrow will be released an order on immediate execution of the court"s decision. They demanded from me to move away. I told them that I will never do it.
I was told that I should not forget, that my family lives here and I was not able to sent them to the US, that they have  particular videos, which will be published, they have phone conversations, with Mikheil Saakashvili and others which will be published and I will be destroyed ,"- said Nika Gvaramia.
Thea Tsulukiani responded to the position of the US State Department. Minister Minister of Justice of Georgia claims that media is free in Georgia.
Thea Tsulukiani called upon the court to hold proceedings against Rustavi2 following transparent, reliable and timely judicial standards .
"Georgia"s government does not control the judiciary. Therefore, I would like to call on the judiciary to ensure the transparency of the process, and to complete the work as soon as possible," - the minister said.
EPP is concerned about the situation around Rustavi2 - 21.10.2015
The European Peoples Party expresses its concern regarding the situation around Rustavi 2. The major political party will discuss the draft resolution in a few days.
The press release distributed for journalists, which refers to urgent draft resolutions includes a draft resolution on Georgia titled "The backsliding of Democracy in Georgia." The initiative was pesented by the Lithuanian side.
From the outset, the text refers to the broadcasting company Rustavi 2.The European People"s Party is concerned about the recent developments around Rustavi 2 and calls upon the government to be concentrated on the country"s future.
"The EPP is gravely concerned over the reports of Government-backed campaign to change ownership and editorial policy of Georgia`s most popular TV channel Rustavi2 and as well as of freedom of media in the country, including shutdown of political talk shows in the election year.
The EPP is concerned over continuation of politically-motivated prosecution of opposition leadership and pre-trial detention of Rustavi 2 supporters. We call on the government to reverse these trends and concentrate on the country"s future, "- is said in the statement.
Out of 5 points of the resolution, two are related to the broadcasting company Rustavi 2.
The draft resolution also refers to re-arrest of the former mayor, Gigi Ugulava .
The draft resolution will be discussed at the Summit of the People"s Party, which will be held in Madrid.
The US State Department spokesman, John Kirby stated at the daily briefing of the State Department in Washington that the United States were closely watching events around Rustavi 2 and the US position with regard to the freedom of media had not changed. Later, the US State Department provided additional information to Rustavi 2 correspondent in Washington on the US administration`s position regarding the case.
According to the State Department officials, the US government has frequently praised the open media environment in Georgia, which is internationally recognized as a model in the region.
"The United States Government has often praised Georgia`s open media environment, which has been recognized internationally as a model for the region. We take very seriously any actions that give the appearance of constricting the media space or compromising media pluralism. We have expressed our concerns to the Georgian government, including through Ambassador Kelly in Tbilisi who has spoken very clearly on this issue. 
One of the government`s priorities should be the protection of citizens` liberty, which depends on access to free and unfettered media. Although it may be difficult to hear criticism from opposition media, all governments should encourage the pluralism of voices, and allow those voices to compete in a free market of ideas", - stated the representative of the US State Department.
The first comment was made by the government with respect to the US State Department statement on Rustavi-2. Finance Minister said that such statements are important.
He said that the relevant government agencies should provide comprehensive information to the State Department that the government does not interfere in media activities.
"The State Department statement is very importan We, of course, will study it , but the State Department will probably be informed by the appropriate agencies that there is intervention from the government does not take place. You are working and nobody is disturbing you and will not interfere in the future, because our government priority is free media. For solving private dispute there is independent judiciary in Georgia and let it take a decision. The state can not interfere in a dispute between individuals,"- said Khaduri.
Media today is free from government influence - this is the opinion of the ruling team. The majority again speaks about private dispute between two subjects with respect to Rustavi-2 to and at the same time claim that broadcasting of the TV station should not be hindered.
According to the Georgian Dream MP, Zviad Dzidziguri, there is no threat to Rustavi 2 broadcasting .
"Let`s leave alone the court and the judge himself, let`s wait for the court`s decision; otherwise, because of the fear of losing the case, political shows are staged about the dispute around Rustavi 2. Rustavi 2 TV shoud not stop broadcasting. Broadcasting should continue and the property can be assigned to whoever, it is a matter of a business dispute , "- Zviad Dzidziguri stated.
Deputy Prime Minister, Kakha Kaladze, responded to court proceedings against Rustavi 2 and assessed the developments around the TV station as demonstration of freedom of speech .
"Pressure on the media, fight against freedom of expression this was happened in 2007, whenImedi TV" was raided by Saakashvili`s ruthless regime. The ongoing process - it is a demonstration of freedom of speech, "- said Kaladze.
Deputy Prime Minister described the current situation as a dispute between the two entities.
"It can be said that the dispute is between Saakashvili and Kibar Khalvashi. Wait for the court decision, "- said Kaladze.
Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office said it opened an investigation into allegations voiced by head of the Rustavi 2 TV on October 21 about receiving a threat from the government to leak a video of his personal life if he refuses to “step aside” from the television station, which is in a court battle over ownership dispute.
“The investigation has been launched under the first part of article 150 of criminal code,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told “Nika Gvaramia will be summoned as a witness to testify.”
The article of the criminal code in question deals with cases of “physical or psychological coercion.”
According to the prosecutor’s office, Gvaramia is expected to appear before investigators on Thursday noon.
Rustavi 2 TV Head Accuses Govt of Blackmail 21.10.2015,    
Head of the Rustavi 2 TV, Nika Gvaramia, claimed on Wednesday that he received a threat from the government to leak a video of his personal life if he refuses to “step aside” from the television station, the most watched Georgian broadcaster, which is in a court battle over ownership dispute.
Speaking in a live broadcast from Rustavi 2 TV studio on Wednesday evening, Gvaramia said that he was told by a person who acts as a go-between for him and government that court verdict is expected on October 22, which will order handing over broadcaster from its current owners to one of its former owners, Kibar Khalvashi.
Khalvashi, who co-owned Rustavi 2 TV in 2004-2006, filed a lawsuit in August claiming that he was forced to give up his shares in the broadcaster about nine years ago and who now wants to reclaim his shares in Rustavi 2 TV. Rustavi 2 TV claims that Khalvashi is in fact acting on behalf of the government and upon instructions of the former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who wants to take over the most popular and opposition-minded television channel.
Gvaramia alleged that the government conveyed a message to him according to which he should not resist enforcement of the imminent court verdict, which will be against of current owners of the Rustavi 2 TV. Gvaramia said he is not going to obey “illegal” court verdict and will resist change of ownership and current editorial policy of the broadcaster. 
“The things are developing in a way that leaves no space for free media in this country,” Gvaramia said in his televised statement during a meeting with representatives of political opposition, civil society organizations and Tbilisi-based foreign diplomatic mission.
“Today I had a conversation with a person, who usually conveys to me messages from the government, and I want to tell you here publicly about the content of this conversation,” Gvaramia said.
“I learned from this conversation that tomorrow the court will deliver a verdict, which will give ownership of the [Rustavi 2 TV] company to Kibar Khalvashi; this verdict will either on the same day or next day will be followed by a decision on an immediate enforcement of the verdict and there was a demand towards me to step aside,” he said.
“Of course I responded that I am never going to do that. In response I was told that I should not forget that my family members live here as I could not send them to the United States; I was told that I should not forget that there are certain relationships, which are recorded on video and it will be released publicly, that I should not forget that I have negotiations via phone with some people, including [former President] Mikheil Saakashvili, and these recordings will also be released and I will be personally destroyed in the eyes of my colleagues and the country,” said Gvaramia, who held senior government posts when Saakashvili was the President.
“The best way to confront blackmail is to speak out about it. Secondly, much more important value is now at stake now then my personal comfort – the future of the country and its democracy is at stake,” he said.
“I am telling the authorities: upload whatever [video] you want. I don’t care at all. My personal life is mine and it concerns no one else,” he said.
Gvaramia declined to name a person who conveyed the message; he said that the meeting took place in the Rustavi 2 TV headquarters, but he had no evidence to substantiate his allegation.
“I am stating it openly that we will not let anyone to take over Rustavi 2 because tomorrow’s verdict is a priori illegal and we are not going to enforce it,” Gvaramia said. “If there is an attempt to forcibly break into the television station, we will defend ourselves likewise with force. We are not going to give up the television station, freedom of speech and country’s democratic perspective.”
He then addressing foreign diplomats and complained that they were not straightforward enough in voicing protest over Rustavi 2 TV developments.
“It is obvious for everyone what is going on in this country, but regrettably you voice is not loud enough,” he told diplomats.
“All talks of democracy development, its future perspective, all those unclear visa liberalisation or some kind of other regimes is hypocrisy from your part. Democracy of this country is in its deepest crisis and if the international community does not pay attention to this and if it does not speak out loudly about it, Georgia will be lost for the European and Euro-Atlantic space,” Gvaramia said and added that government’s scenario of taking over Rustavi 2 TV is replicating the one that Russia’s Vladimir Putin employed during his early years of presidency against Russian television stations.
“[Ex-PM]Bidzina Ivanishvili’s role model is Vladimir Putin and therefore everything happens here like it was happening in Russia and everything will end up here just like it was in Russia and you will get Russia’s new satellite from this country,” Gvaramia told diplomats.
Addressing political parties, Gvaramia said that they should understand “there will be no free elections without Rustavi 2 TV.”
He also called on the viewers to rally outside the Tbilisi City Court building in support of Rustavi 2 TV on October 22, when the court hearing is expected to continue.
Nanuka Jorjoliani recalled the details of the meeting in Kibar Khalvashi"s house and sais that Khalvashi collapsed the TV business and then exchanged it for other business .
For Zhorzholiani it in incomprehesible if the Khalvashi could not stand the pressure then , how he would stand up to it today.
The US State Department is closely watching the developments around the Rustavi-2. 
The statement was made by the US State Department spokesman, John Kirby . 
"We have discussed this topic and expressed our position on freedom of the media. This position has not changed. I say again, that we are closely following the process," - said Kirby.
Shalva Natelashvili reaffirms his support for Rustavi 2 and calls on the government to stop the fight against the free media.
"If Rustavi 2 is closed, people will come out in the street and, probably,the elections will be held at another time, in another mode, and other formats, which is not desirable . It is desirable that the authorities refuse to fight televisions , to stone their opponents and thus save their own skin.
Courier"s main news anchor and Deputy Director General of the channel, Zaal Udumashvili, recalled 2006 when Kibar Khalvashi came to Rustvi 2.
"Rustavi 2`s popularity was at its peak, and during that period the first and serious disruption began. Channel collapsed and had 3% rating . People hated the channel. It took years for the channel to recover . Today Rustavi 2`s the popularity is again at the peak and Khalvashi is coming here again. This is a very important signal. I am sure that those of us who are here will not allow that what happened in 2006 to happen again, "- said Zaal Udumashvili.
"This TV is very oppressed . It is a top-rated channel in Georgia and the Georgian government intends to shut it down," - so began the meeting with the US Congressmen the Labor Party leader, Shalva Natelashvili.
Shalva Natelashvili even ntroducedRustavi2 crew to Congressmen.
As Shalva Natelashvili says, he openly speaks at his meetings in America about the government`s intention to shut down Rustavi 2.
The US Ambassador to Georgia responded once again to the ongoing processes around Rustavi-2.
Ian Kelly said that any action, which would restrict the media environment will cause concern of the United States.
"Our vision on this issue is well-known and clear. Any action directed at restriction of the media environment will cause our concerns.
"The government knows about it, because we have discussed this topic.
"I hope that the events will develop in a way which will ensure media pluralism as well as  the dialogue between the political parties and the government," - said US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly.
President makes another statement on Rustavi 2 - 20.10.2015
"After returning to Georgia I will actively get involved in the consideration of events around Rustavi 2," - commented the President on the court proceedings against broadcasters from Israel.
The Public Defender also assessed the court"s decision today, saying that the seizure of Rustavi 2 property was pointless.
"Georgia is a democratic country and will become even a stronger democry when the diversity of the media is guaranteed. Whether it is Rustavi 2 or other media. The country is focused on building political system based on European values."
"In this light, the diversity of media is the most important in the pre-election period. After returning to Georgia, I will get involved in the consideration of events around Rustavi 2," - Margvelashvili said.
Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) members believe that Tamaz Urtmelidze should recuse the case of Rustavi2. As Ana Natsvlishvili stated, there is a logical suspicion that the judge is biased and the Office of Prosecutor pressures him.
Non-governmental organization representatives commented on the video of torture and sexual abuse. As they suggest, the footage was released because of government"s interests.
The Minister of Education responded to yesterday`s court proceedings against Rustavi 2.
Tamar Sanikidze believes that politicians`assessments would give wrong direction to this issue .
"Any assessments ,and especially made by politicians, could influence in the wrong direction all the processes that are going on in court. The most important thing that we could do at this point, is to stay outside and allow the court to manage the processes established by the law, "- said Tamar Sanikidze.
In regards to Rustavi 2 case, the ruling team categorically rules out the pressure on the judge"s decision and flatly states that this is a private dispute between two subjects.
The governing coalition stressed that the closure of Rustavi2 would not happen under any circumstances.
"It would be good if the court found out the identity of the owner and not the policy of the channel, etc. The channel will remain on air. Who will close the most popular television station? Whether we like it or not, is another matter, "- said Levan Berdzenishvili.
The Public Defender refrains from assessing yesterday"s trial against Rustavi 2 , but Ucha Nanuashvili said that the seizure of the company`s assets was a mistake.
The Public Defender said his office had immediately expressed his attitude towards the incident that occurred in August. Ucha Nanuashvili, highlighted the importance of transparency in the judicial process.
"It is important that any process that is going around Rustavi 2 be as transparent as possible and not create any danger for the freedom and the work of the media," - said Nanuashvili.
According to him, the Ombudsman"s Office is monitoring the developments and will react to any procedural violations.
According to Judge Tamaz Urtmelidze`s decision, the hearing on Rustavi 2 case will be renewed on October 22. The process is expected to resume on Thursday at 10 a.m. with the questioning of the only witness.
We are talking about the plaintiff"s expert, who established the market value of Kibar Khalvashi`s shares at the time of purchase. Rustavi 2"s lawyers did not rule out the possibility that the judgeI will declare the verdict on 22 October.
Kibar Khalvashi"s lawyer said that they had enough arguments to win the dispute . Rustavi 2"s lawyers said that the judge`s actions did not fit within any framework, and was beyond the legal space.
"Rustavi 2 and its current owners`s case is absolutely solid legally . We would have proved the truth. What the judge did does not fit within any framework. It was a formality, in which we were forced to take part. I have no doubt that the people who are committing a criminal offense today , shall be liable for it , and Rustavi 2 will maintain the freedom, "- said the attorney Zaza Bibilashvili.
Yesterday"s trial lasted for 7 hours. Rustavi 2"s lawyers applied with motions several times, but none of them was satisfied.
A screengrab from TV footage showing Rustavi 2 TV CEO Nika Gvaramia, wearing a t-shirt with broadcaster’s logo and inscription reading “defend freedom”, speaks to Tbilisi City Court judge Tamaz Urtmelidze on October 19, 2015.
A Tbilisi City Court judge refused on Monday to recuse himself from Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute case after respondents argued the judge was biased in favor of a plaintiff.
Meanwhile outside the Tbilisi City Court hundreds of people were gathered in support of the Rustavi 2 saying that the government wants to silence the opposition-minded broadcaster.
Motion for recusal of the judge Tamaz Urtmelidze was filed by Rustavi 2 TV lawyers and was opposed by legal representatives of the plaintiff Kibar Khalvashi, who co-owned the broadcaster in 2004-2006 and who is now trying to reclaim his shares in Rustavi 2 TV through his lawsuit.
The respondent’s motion for recusal of the judge was based mostly on two main arguments.
The one was a criminal case that was filed just recently against judge Tamaz Urtmelidze’s mother.
Another one was several negative comments posted by judge’s wife on her Facebook account about Rustavi 2 TV and its chief executive Nika Gvaramia, before and also after the court dispute over the ownership of the broadcaster was launched.
Rustavi 2 TV, which claims that Khalvashi is in fact acting on behalf of the government and upon instructions of the former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, alleges that the government can exert influence over the judge Urtmelidze over the criminal case that was filed against her mother.
On October 12 prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against mother of judge Urtmelidze in connection to a domestic incident that occurred a year and nine months ago. The timing of these criminal charges, involving inflicting minor bodily injuries to her son-in-law, prompted allegations that the authorities want to exert pressure on the judge using possible prosecution of his mother.
Prosecutor’s office denied allegation and said that initiating criminal charges in sensitive cases of domestic incidents more than a year later is a standard procedure as parties involved are given time for out-of-court settlement.
During hearing of the motion, Rustavi 2 TV chief executive, Nika Gvaramia, told the judge: “I do not respect you personally.”
“This company [Rustavi 2 TV] is in danger because of you,” Gvaramia told the judge, who responded by telling Rustavi 2 TV CEO to keep “corrections”.
“I regret that I supported your appointment as a judge,” Gvaramia continued, apparently referring to the fact that as UNM lawmaker in 2004-2007, he also served as a member of the High Council of Justice.
“My vote in favor of you was decisive. That’s one of the most ironic and cynical mistakes in my life,” Gvaramia told the judge.
Khalvashi’s lawyer, Paata Salia, told the judge that respondent’s motion for recusal was “groundless” and “absurd”, which, he said, was failing to substantiate that there was reasonable suspicion over judge’s impartiality.
 Announcing the decision, judge Urtmelidze said: “The motion asking for judge’s recusal is not accepted.”
On his wife’s negative Facebook posts on Rustavi 2 TV, judge Urtmelidze said that those were “private comments” in reaction to Gvaramia’s statements about him in which Rustavi 2 TV chief executive was accusing Urtmelidze of being “corrupt”, as well as reaction to Gvaramia’s threats in which he was saying that “soil will burn under judge Urtmelidze’s feet.”
“Those remarks [in Facebook posts by the wife] were not agreed with me and I do not share them,” judge Urtmelidze said. “The spouse is not a judge.”
On the second argument over criminal case against his mother, the judge said that formally his mother, Mdinara Giorgobiani, “is not considered to be my family member,” prompting laughter among Rustavi 2 TV supporters in the courtroom.
“I was distanced from this legal proceeding from the very beginning,” judge Urtmelidze continued. “I have not even been interested in this case.”
The judge suggested that there is an “attempted pressure” on him from the side of the respondents and his recusal would amount to yielding pressure.
“The ongoing campaign against the judge by the respondent [Rustavi 2 TV and its current owners] requires maximum patience and firmness from the judge, who has to deliver verdict into the case independently and impartially despite of possible unpleasant circumstances. Recusing the judge amid attempted pressure, which has a nature of campaign, will undermine public confidence towards the judiciary, because [recusal of the judge] in such circumstances will prompt any party to carry out further campaign against a judge for the purpose of recusal,” judge Urtmelidze said.
The court hearing continued by discussing other motions filed by the parties.
At one point during the hearing, Rustavi 2 TV CEO Gvaramia engaged in verbal exchange with the judge and the latter ordered him to leave the courtroom.
Commenting on Rustavi 2 TV’s intention to demand judge Urtmelidze’s recusal, vice speaker of the Parliament from GD ruling coalition, Manana Kobakhidze, said on October 14 that the judge should “withstand such attacks” and should not recuse himself. “If he fails to withstand, then he should recuse not only from this case, but should completely distance from the judiciary,” she said.
Rustavi 2 TV was providing live coverage of developments in the courtroom and outside the court building, where hundreds of people were gathered in support of the broadcaster, who say that they would defend Rustavi 2 TV.
Opposition politicians were also among the participants of the rally, including from UNM and Free Democrats parliamentary opposition parties.
Parliament voted down on October 16 a draft statement tabled by opposition UNM party, expressing “concern over government pressure” on Rustavi 2 TV.
Speaking on behalf of his party on October 17, a senior UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Gabashvili, said that “seizure” of Rustavi 2 TV by the government will result into “permanent protest rallies”, which will also include “picketing of government buildings.”
“If [ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili] decides to eventually destroy Rustavi 2 TV, we will force the authorities to retreat through protest,” UNM MP Gabashvili said on October 17.
Parliament voted down on Friday a draft statement tabled by opposition UNM party, expressing “concern over government pressure” on Tbilisi-based private broadcaster, Rustavi 2 TV, which is in a court battle over ownership dispute.
“Obviously coordinated actions by the executive and judicial branches of the government against Rustavi 2 TV pose threat to the existence of [the broadcaster], hugely damage media pluralism and freedom of expression and, consequently, country’s Euro-Atlantic integration,” reads the statement, which was rejected by the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group.
Parliamentary debates over the proposed text, which started on October 15 and continued for a second day on October 16, were aired live by the Rustavi 2 TV. Lawmakers from the Free Democrats opposition party were not present at the debates.
U.S. ‘Expresses Concerns to Georgian Govt’ Over Rustavi 2 TV Case 
President: Recent Developments in Georgian Media ‘Triggers Serious Questions’
Media Advocacy Coalition’s Statement on Rustavi 2 TV Ownership Dispute 
Rustavi 2 TV Accuses Govt of Blocking Its Funding Deal
One of Ex-Owners in Court Bid to Reclaim Rustavi 2 TV 
Court Orders Rustavi 2 TV Asset Freeze 
Civil Society Groups on Court’s Order to Freeze Rustavi 2 TV Assets
During the debates UNM lawmakers claimed that a lawsuit by Rustavi 2 TV’s one of the former co-owners, Kibar Khalvashi, who wants to reclaim his shares in the broadcaster, is in fact an attempt by ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and the current government to take over the opposition-minded television station. They were describing Khalvashi as Ivanishvili’s “puppet” and “stooge”. 
 UNM lawmakers say that “taking over” of Rustavi 2 TV by the government would “de-legitimize” parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, 2016.
“By refusing to adopt this statement the parliamentary majority assumes responsibility for developments that will take place if political process losses legitimacy in the lead up to next year’s parliamentary elections,” a senior UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Gabashvili said. “[Adoption] of this statement would have signaled that at least the parliament is not part of government-orchestrated attack on Rustavi 2 TV.”
UNM MP Giorgi Gviniashvili said during the debates: “I am confident that there are people within you [the GD parliamentary majority group], who understand the threat [Rustavi 2 TV is facing], but fail to confront Bidzina Ivanishvili, who wants to silence Rustavi 2 TV.”
The opposition lawmakers were also claiming that judge Tamaz Urtmelidze, who is adjudicating the court dispute, is under the government’s control.
On October 12 prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against mother of judge Urtmelidze in connection to a domestic incident that occurred a year and nine months ago.
Rustavi 2 TV and UNM claim that timing of initiating criminal charges, which comes after ownership dispute case was assigned to Urtmelidze, suggests that the authorities want to exert pressure on the judge using possible prosecution of his mother.
Prosecutor’s office denied allegation and said that initiating criminal charges in sensitive cases of domestic incidents more than a year later is a standard procedure as parties involved are given time for out-of-court settlement.
Echoing government’s position, during the debates, lawmakers from the GD ruling coalition were denying any involvement in the Rustavi 2 TV case, saying that the dispute is between the private entities; they were saying that Khalvashi, who owned the broadcaster in 2004-2006, had the right to file a lawsuit if he believes his property rights were infringed and it would be pressure on the judiciary if the Parliament adopts a statement about ongoing court dispute.
GD MP Pati Khalvashi, who is a sister of Kibar Khalvashi, said that his brother had to flee to Germany, where he was granted asylum, because he was “prosecuted for political reasons” and his businesses raided when UNM was in power. She said that UNM lawmakers were trying to mislead the public while claiming that her brother took legal actions to reclaim the broadcaster only recently, adding that Khalvashi first filed complaint with the prosecutor’s office about eight years ago, but his claims about being forced to give up Rustavi 2 TV shares have never been investigated.
During the debates the GD lawmakers were also criticizing Rustavi 2 TV as UNM’s “mouthpiece”, but were also saying that they would also come in defense of the broadcaster if it faces threat.
“The party of executioners, which raided Imedi TV [in November, 2007] is now speaking about media freedom,” GD MP Nukri Kantaria said of UNM.
“This farce that we are seeing here is like wolves speaking about the rights of sheep,” he said, adding that this fuss over Rustavi 2 TV aims at preparing ground for street protests as UNM has no chance of returning back into power through elections.
“The only option left for your bosses in Ukraine [referring to ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili who is now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine] is a sniper, a terrorist act to liquidate Bidzina Ivanishvili… to trigger a chaos in the country and use that chaos for taking power as you have no chance whatsoever [to come into power] through constitutional means,” he said.
“We [GD] gave back free choice to the people, which had been taken by you [referring to UNM], and no one will be able to take this free choice away from the people anymore; those who will go beyond constitutional order, no matter who they are, will suffer broken legs and hands, and their teeth will also be broken with the use of law, with the use of even the most lenient laws… You won’t be able to trigger turmoil,” MP Kantaria added.
In his speech, another GD MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili distanced himself from MP Kantaria’s remarks, saying that “no one has the right to threaten others in the name of law.”
UNM’s Gabashvili responded that GD and its government are “completely bankrupt and resort to open threats.”
Demonstration in solidarity of Rustavi2 - 15.10.2015
A demonstration under the slogan " Solidarity to Rustavi2" was held in Strasbourg.  Georgian immigrants have gathered in front of the building of the Council of Europe demanding to protect freedom of speech in Georgia.
The demonstrators also protested against the detainment of the former officials and demanded their release.
U.S. Department of State said that it takes seriously developments over Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV and actions that give the appearance of constricting media freedom is “disturbing.”
Rustavi 2 TV said on October 1 that a new court injunction in an ongoing ownership dispute, has effectively cut off a USD 6 million lifeline investment needed for sustaining broadcaster’s smooth operations. Rustavi 2 TV claims that a lawsuit by one of its former co-owners and consequent asset freeze – ordered by the court at first in respect of Rustavi 2 TV itself and then in respect of broadcaster’s majority shareholder company – is government orchestrated move aimed at taking over the opposition-minded television station.
 Responding a question from Rustavi 2 TV journalist about, as he put it, the Georgian government “openly attacking” the TV station, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said during a daily press briefing on October 6: “We’re closely following the developments that you mentioned. I think we urge that any legal proceedings involving a media outlet, regardless of where but certainly in Georgia, be conducted at the highest standards of judicial due process and with respect for freedom of expression.”
“More broadly, over the past several years, the United States government and the international community have praised Georgia’s free and pluralistic media environment which has been recognized internationally as a model for the region,” he said.
“So actions that give the appearance of constricting that environment, constricting media freedoms or compromising that media pluralism, are, frankly, disturbing, and especially in the lead-up to parliamentary elections. So we therefore, we do take it seriously and we’re watching it,” 
 Asked to specify if the case in question is “disturbing”, Toner responded: “Yes.”
About dozen of civil society and media organizations, united in Coalition for Media Advocacy, said in a joint statement that there are number of indications suggesting possible government meddling in ongoing ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV.
“Although dispute over Rustavi 2 TV shares is a private law case that formally excludes direct involvement of the state in it, there are a number of circumstances, which cause serious suspicion about government’s influence on the ongoing process, including multiple statements (in some cases even threats) made by senior officials about Rustavi 2 TV, intolerance and attempts by the authorities to suppress dissent, critical views, as well as recent developments in media (simultaneous, unexpected closure of political talk shows in suspicious circumstances on various national broadcasters),” reads the statement.
The coalition includes, among others, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Open Society Georgia Foundation; Civic Development Institute; Georgian Regional Media Association; Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics; Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters.
“It is a fact that an injective measure applied by court, creates serious financial difficulties for the TV company, which may soon face deep financial crisis – such a development will at least hamper its day-to-day operations and call the existence of dissent, critical opinions in media into question,” the statement reads. 
 “In this difficult situation the judiciary carries special role and responsibility, which should ensure independent and unbiased settlement of the dispute and at the same time take into consideration and protect high public interest that accompanies the ongoing legal dispute.”
 “We believe that the court should use all the legal means at its disposal that will help to adjudicate the ongoing dispute over Rustavi 2 TV shares in a way that will not cause suspension of the broadcaster’s operations and/or restriction of its editorial independence,” it says.
A screengrab from Rustavi 2 TV footage showing broadcasters’ staff outside its headquarters in Tbilisi, October 1, 2015.
Georgia’s most-watched broadcaster, Rustavi 2 TV, which is locked in a court battle over ownership dispute, said on October 1 that new “government-orchestrated” move against the station is cutting off a USD 6 million lifeline investment needed for sustaining its operations.
A new development in the ongoing ownership dispute has also embroiled the Justice Ministry’s National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR) in a controversy after the agency was accused of being involved in an alleged attempt by the government to take over the opposition-minded television station.
 “Do not be deceived by what you see now on TV screen. The fact that we are now broadcasting does not mean that the government is not doing everything in order to cease our broadcasts,” said Rustavi 2 TV CEO Nika Gvaramia in a televised address, standing alongside with dozens of company employees outside its headquarters in Tbilisi.
“Today we are as close to ceasing broadcasts as never before,” he said.
“I promise to the government that before Rustavi 2 TV is closed down, it will be you [the government] who will be shut down,” said Gvaramia, who held senior government posts till late 2009 in ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration. He has also appealed viewers to donate money to Rustavi 2 TV.
One of Ex-Owners in Court Bid to Reclaim Rustavi 2 TV 
Court Orders Rustavi 2 TV Asset Freeze 
Civil Society Groups on Court’s Order to Freeze Rustavi 2 TV Assets
The court dispute over ownership of Rustavi 2 TV, which has changed hands for multiple times since 2004, started in early August, when Kibar Khalvashi, co-owner of the broadcaster in 2004-2006, filed a civil lawsuit in the Tbilisi City Court seeking to claim back his shares.
As an interim measure before the verdict, court ordered asset freeze, banning, among other things, current shareholders from selling their stakes.
91% of shares in Rustavi 2 TV, which now earns more in advertisement revenue than several of its main competitors combined, are currently owned, directly and indirectly, by Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili. The rest is owned Nino Nizharadze, who inherited 9% of shares from her husband Gogi Gegeshidze, who died in March, 2014.
Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili, who are believed to be ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s associates, own 40% of Rustavi 2’s shares directly and 51% through a company called “TV Company Georgia”; technically this latter is the major shareholder of Rustavi 2 TV.
Earlier on Thursday, Kibar Khalvashi’s lawyer announced that upon his client’s request and as an additional injunction in ownership dispute, the Tbilisi City Court ordered on September 30 asset freeze of TV Company Georgia, which bans its owners – Levan Karamanishvili and Giorgi Karamanishvili – to sell their stakes in this company. Court rejected request to freeze bank accounts of TV Company Georgia, and other owners of the Rustavi 2 TV.
Khalvashi’s lawyer, Paata Salia, said that such motion was filed after his client learned about intention of Levan and Giorgi Karamanishvili to sell TV Company Georgia to Dimitri Chikovani, brother-in-law of Davit Kezerashvili, who served as Georgia’s Defense Minister in Saakashvili’s administration. For few days after the October, 2012 elections in which UNM was defeated by the GD ruling coalition, some of Rustavi 2 TV shares were held by Kezerashvili.
The deal would have made Chikovani 51% owner of Rustavi 2 TV through TV Company Georgia. Salia said that this deal would have further complicated complex ownership dispute and his client’s bid to reclaim Rustavi 2 TV.
Rustavi 2 TV has confirmed that this deal was agreed upon, which aimed at attracting a USD 6 million investment to ensure the broadcaster’s operation while its assets are frozen.
Rustavi 2 TV CEO Gvaramia said that although the broadcaster is self-sustained through ad revenues, the asset freeze, which also cut its access to bank loans needed for its smooth operation, made the owners to think about “attracting investments” and decided to sell TV Company Georgia.
Rustavi 2 TV had over GEL 21.5 million in advertising revenue in the first half of 2015, more than twice as much as its main competitor Imedi TV.
According to the deal the buyer was paying USD 400,000 for TV Company Georgia and in addition taking commitment to “invest in/allocate funds to” Rustavi 2 TV in an amount of USD 3 million before the end of this year and another USD 3 million no later than February, 2017 “if necessary” upon the broadcaster’s request.
But this deal has not been formally finalized.
In order for a contract to become valid it has to be registered by the Justice Ministry’s National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR).
NAPR, however, has not registered the contract, submitted on September 29, citing shortcoming in a wording of registration application. By delaying the process the agency bought time for Khalvashi and his lawyers to file a motion with the Tbilisi City Court to freeze assets of the TV Company Georgia, effectively blocking the deal.
Rustavi 2 TV and its lawyers claim that NAPR delayed the process deliberately, suggesting that the various branches of the authorities are acting in concert in an attempt to take over Rustavi 2 TV through Khalvashi’s groundless lawsuit.  NAPR has denied the allegation as “groundless.”
Rustavi 2 TV CEO Gvaramia also accused Tbilisi City Court judge Tamaz Urtmelidze, who is adjudicating the lawsuit, of acting upon ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s instructions, claiming that the judge has been bribed by the billionaire ex-PM.
“Soil will burn under judge Urtmelidze’s feet,” Gvaramia said. “He will never find a safe haven in this country.”
In a statement later on Thursday the Tbilisi City Court condemned “statements containing threat and pressure on the judge.”
Khalvashi’s lawyer, Paata Salia, said that Gvaramia’s “hysteria” about possible suspension of broadcasts by Rustavi 2 TV aims at giving the dispute “political context” and exerting “pressure” on the judiciary.
Lawmakers from the GD ruling coalition say that the lawsuit is a dispute between private entities in which the government has nothing to do – a similar position was voiced by PM Irakli Garibashvili when the lawsuit over ownership was first filed in August.
UNM’s Giga Bokeria said: “If Rustavi 2 TV is no longer able to provide the public with information, it will be a serious step towards de-legitimization of the incumbent government.”
Leader of the Free Democrats party Irakli Alasania said: “This campaign against Rustavi 2 TV – whether someone likes its editorial policy or not – is dangerous because it closes space which is essential for competitive environment ahead of [next year’s] parliamentary elections… All the healthy forces in the country should get together to confront this campaign.”
EPP alarmed at Georgia’s authoritarian course - Brussels, 28 September 2015,
The European People’s Party (EPP) is alarmed by the deterioration of democracy in Georgia following cases of incarceration of the opposition leaders and misuse of the justice system in favour of the current government. In view of the international appeal made by the Georgian opposition, including the EPP member party United National Movement (UNM), EPP President Joseph Daul said:
“Georgia has been rapidly backsliding into an authoritarian state since the current government came to power and under the influence of Bidzina Ivanishvili. The use of selective justice and the silencing and suppression of the opposition are seriously undermining Georgia’s democracy. This deteriorating situation is especially worrying given the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2016,” said the EPP President.
“It is imperative that the ruling party continues to reform the electoral system in order to allow a more fair and pluralistic representation in Georgia’s future parliament. Failing to implement these reforms will endanger the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. The EPP will keep a close eye on the future developments in the country and calls on the Georgian government to engage in a constructive dialogue with all the opposition parties in order to fulfil its obligations so that Georgia stays on the European path,” concluded EPP President Daul.
Note to editors: The EPP is the largest and most influential European-level political party of the centre-right, which currently includes 75 member-parties from 40 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, 10 EU and 6 non-EU heads of state and government, 14 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliament.  
Anmerkung: UNM-Partei ist Mitglied der EPP !

GD = Georgian Dream = Regierungspartei des Multimilliardärs Ivanishvili
The recent poll shows increase in number of those likely voters who are either undecided or have no preferred political party to 41% amid decline in support for the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, putting the latter neck-and-neck with the opposition UNM party.
Political ratings, released on Saturday, was commissioned by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) and fielded by CRRC in a period between August 8 and September 10. It has a margin of error plus, minus 3%.
NDI Poll – Political Ratings, Foreign Policy, August, 2015 - pdf
31% of likely voters said they did not know which political party they would vote if parliamentary election were held tomorrow, up from 27% since April poll. 10% said they would not vote for any of the party, which is a 4 percentage points increase compared to April. 11% refused to answer.
The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party had 15% support among likely voters, almost the same as in April poll.
Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition’s support declined by 10 percentage points since April to 14% in the recent poll.
Free Democrats opposition party, led by ex-Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, and the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia have 5% each.
One of the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots, Irma Inashvili, is running for a majoritarian MP seat in Sagarejo sing-mandate constituency in by-electionscheduled for October 31; GD’s Tamar Khidasheli is another contender; most of the opposition parties are boycotting MP by-elections. 
According to the poll Labor Party has 4% support among likely voters, and Nino Burjanadze’s United Opposition – 3%.
Number of respondents who said they would vote if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow declined from 56% in April to 49% in the recent poll.
“As shown in our last poll, the electoral playing field is still wide open and no party is ahead in Georgia,” Laura Thornton, NDI”s senior country director in Georgia, said. “Georgians are completely undecided about their political preferences, presenting an opportunity for all parties to spend the next year leading up to the parliamentary elections earning citizens’ backing through responsive platforms and policies.”
Money transfers from abroad to Georgia in the first nine months of 2015 declined by more than 26.7% year-on-year to USD 802.9 million, according to figures released by the National Bank of Georgia on October 15.
There was 32.9% y/y decline in remittances in September after 35.1% and 31.8% drop in August and July, respectively.
Money transfers from Russia, the largest source of remittances for Georgia, were down by 41.7% y/y in January-September 2015 to USD 322.7 million.
Remittances from Greece, which for years was Georgia’s second largest source of remittances up until July 2015, declined by 41.4% y/y to USD 91.39 million in the first nine months of this year.
Money transfers from Italy in January-September 2015 stood at USD 79.9 million (down by 12.9% y/y), followed by the United States – USD 64.3 million; Turkey – USD 53.4 million; Israel – USD 22.9 million; Spain – USD 19.6 million; Germany – USD 19 million. 
Remittances were down by 2.45% y/y in 2014 to USD 1.44 billion, accounting for about 8.7% of country’s GDP.
Annual Inflation 5.2% in September - 02.10.2015,
Georgia’s annual inflation stood at 5.2% in September, after 5.4% in August, according to the state statistics office Geostat.
On a monthly basis consumer price rose 1.1% in September.
Annual inflation in alcoholic beverages and cigarettes was among the highest across all groups of goods and services in September at 13.4%; prices in household maintenance and equipment group rose 11.6% y/y and prices in healthcare were up by 9.8%.
Annual inflation for housing, water and energy rose 7.2% in September.
Food prices rose 4.2%. Prices in transport group were down by 1.8% y/y in September.
Georgia’s central bank raised late last month its key refinancing rate by one percentage point to 7%, citing “significant increase in the inflation expectations” amid depreciation of the national currency lari.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) raised its key refinancing rate by one percentage point to 7% on September 23, citing “significant increase in the inflation expectations” amid depreciation of the national currency lari.
Georgia’s annual inflation accelerated to its highest rate in four years at 5.4% in August, exceeding central bank’s target level of 5%.
NBG’s monetary policy committee said after its meeting on September 23, that it expects annual inflation to go down at the targeted level by the end of 2016.
The government said earlier on September 23 that the 2016 state budget will set inflation forecast at 4.5% next year, which, it said, would be within central bank’s target level.
The central bank started tightening monetary policy earlier this year, increasing refinancing rate from 4% to 4.5% in February and further raising it to 5% in May, to 5.5% in July, and to 6% in August. Last time when key refinancing rate was at 7% was in November, 2011.
Georgian currency, lari (GEL), firmed 1.68% against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after the central bank sold USD 26.96 million.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) intervened with its offer to sell USD 40 million, but only USD 26.96 million was sold, NBG said.
GEL strengthened to 2.4086 per U.S. dollar from previous 2.4499, according to central bank’s official exchange rate set for Wednesday.
GEL is 37.7% weaker from September, 2014.
On September 21, when GEL approached its all-time low, PM Irakli Garibashvili and his economic team met central bank chief Giorgi Kadagidze, who said that the NBG would intervene on the foreign exchange market “if necessary.”
The September 22 intervention was NBG’s first one since April and the sixth one this year.
The central bank sold total of USD 200 million in five previous interventions earlier this year.
Georgian central bank’s foreign currency reserves stood at USD 2.26 billion as of end-August.
The September 21 meeting between government’s economic team and the central bank chief also came after Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure, Nodar Javakhishvili, who was Georgia’s central bank chief in 1993-98, said in a newspaper interview published on September 21, that the Georgian economy “will not withstand” if lari hits 2.54 mark per dollar.
Such a scenario, he told the weekly Kviris Palitra, is fraught with the risk of public uproar in the country where up to 64% of total loans are denominated in foreign currency, mostly in U.S. dollar.
Archiv - archive - 01.01.-30.06.2015 >>
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Zahl der Toten nach Unwetter auf mindestens 19 gestiegen - 18.06.2015 21:21 - Kleine Zeitung
Polizisten in Tiflis töten ausgebrochenen Tiger - 18.06.2015 11:00 -
Nach Hochwasser in Tbilissi: Geflohener weisser Tiger tötet Mann - 17.06.2015 9:50 - NZZ Online
Nach Unwetter-Katastrophe: Armenien bietet Zootieren aus Tiflis Asyl - 16.06.2015 18:01 - Blick Online
Georgien trauert um Unwetter-Opfer in Tiflis - Zoo zerstört - 15.06.2015 17:12 - Frankfurter Neue Presse

After having a “meeting” with the police, head of the Tbilisi zoo Zurab Gurielidze said “it’s my fault” that the government announced wrong information about none of the animal remaining on the loose outside the zoo.
A white tiger, which escaped from the zoo following the flooding, attacked and killed a man in a warehouse located close to the Heroes’ Square in the center of Tbilisi on June 17. The tiger was shot by the police.
Gurielidze’s remarks came after PM Irakli Garibashvili apologized for “spreading inaccurate information”; he, however, also pointed finger at the zoo administration, saying that he was relying on the information provided by the zoo and its director. Prosecutor’s office said that the investigation was launched into possible “negligence of official duties”. ...
PM Apologizes for Wrong Information on Escaped Animals, But Points Finger at Zoo  - 17.06.2015,
Tiger Shot After Killing Man in Tbilisi Center  - 17.06.2015,
Wild Animal, on the Loose from Zoo, Kills Man in Tbilisi Center  - 17.06.2015,
EU Pledges EUR 3.4m for Tbilisi Flood Relief - 17.06.2015,
Tbilisi Flood Death Toll Rises to 19 - 16.06.2015,
PM: Flood Damage May Reach GEL 100m - 16.06.2015,
Georgia Says Signed Deal in France to Buy ‘Air Defense System’ - 16.06.2015,
Man Arrested for Allegedly Recruiting for IS Group 
Flood in Tbilisi in Pictures - 15.06.2015,
Flood Damage Cost ‘Much Higher’ Than Initially Estimated  - 15.06.2015,

Löwen, Tiger, Wölfe und Bären sind am Sonntag aus dem durch ein Unwetter zerstörten Zoo der georgischen Hauptstadt entkommen. ...
Tbilisi Flooding Causes Casualties - 14.06.2015,
At least eight people died and several are missing as a result of flooding in Tbilisi overnight on Sunday, officials say.
Heavy rainfall, which started before midnight, turned normally small stream, Vere, which runs in the Tbilisi center across Vake and Saburtalo districts, into a raging river.
A large and fast-moving stream of Vere flooded significant portions of a 4-km highway, linking Vake-Saburtalo road to Hero’s Square; it swept cars, at least one small house and flooded many others.
The river also flooded Tbilisi zoo. Animals, among them tigers, lions, bears and wolves escaped from the flooded zoo. Some of them were either captured or killed, but search of remaining escaped animals was still ongoing early on Sunday morning.
Two employees of the zoo are among the fatalities.
Parts of the right embankment of Riva Mtkvari has also been flooded.
“The damage is substantial,” said PM Irakli Garibashvili. He also called on the people to stay home as search of animals, which escaped from the flooded zoo, was still ongoing.
Mindia Janelidze, secretary of the state security and crisis management council, called on the people to refrain from driving on Sunday as several central thoroughfares will be closed down. 
Heavy rain also caused a landslide on the Tskneti-Betania road outside Tbilisi. 
Border police helicopter was used to evacuate 16 people from Akhaldaba, close to Tskneti, outside Tbilisi, where heavy rain damaged roads. 
President Giorgi Margvelashvili said he would allocate funds from president’s discretionary fund to assist families suffered from the flood. 
Five people were killed in a flooding in another part of Tbilisi three years ago.
Tbilisi Floods: 40 Families Left Without Homes - 14.06.2015,
According to Tbilisi City Hall, the flood has left over 40 families in the Vake district without homes. Many reports state the number will rise much higher once other districts are taken into account as well.
Natural disaster death toll reaches 7 -
Natural disaster death toll reaches 7 According to Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania, the heavy rain death toll has reached 7 in Tbilisi. One of the bodies has been found near the “Matrioshka” restaurant, Heroes Square.
“The works for finding and saving people have almost been finished, but we stlill continue to search for several ones. Some of the cases resulted in fatalities and I would like to offer my condolences to their families. Tbilisi City Hall will provide them with all kinds of aid. Reportedly, 7 people have been died as a result of the natural disaster,” Narmania said.
As he has said, two teams will function all day long. One will count an infrastructural loss and the second one will count population’s loss. He says he will be provided with full information till the end of the day.
Five have reportedly perished at Svanidze Street - four young girls among them Severe flood have left five people dead at Svanidze Street.
According to the local residents, four young girls have perished as a result of the flood. Two of them were 28 and 40-year-old sisters and their two relatives, reportedly, also sisters. The death of one man has also been reported.
According to unconfirmed information, three bodies have already been recovered from the flooded houses and the rest two cannot be brought out yet.
Rescue teams continue working at Svanidze Street.
As reported, 24 families have left without houses.
The Vake Governor visited the scene and promised the people to hire flats for them. 
Bodies of lions and tigers scattered near Tbilisi Zoo Bodies of lions and tigers killed by the special services employees have been scattered near the Tbilisi Zoo.
The lions and tigers left the zoo since its territory was flooded.
As the Zoo Social Relations Service reports, the predators have almost disappeared from the zoo. 20 wolves, 8 lions, white tigers, tigers, hyenas and jaguars have been lost or killed. Only three penguins have survived out of 17.
The animals living in the upper side of the zoo have survived the flood including snakes, elephants, deer, ponies, etc.
Reportedly, one more tiger and a lion have been killed. As the rescue team members declare, they failed to bring the animals under control.
Traffic restrictions imposed in Tbilisi Traffic restrictions have been imposed in Tbilisi due to the natural disaster that took place last night.
According to the MIA, traffic restrictions will be imposed on the following directions: the tunnel near Bakhtrioni Street has been closed and traffic towards Amirejibi highway (new road of Vera) will be banned, traffic is allowed on Bakhtrini, Pekini and Saburtalo streets; traffic is banned on the right embankment, as well as on Tamar Mepe street in the direction of Laguna Vere; traffic is allowed towards Tbilisi Central via Tamar Mepe and Aleksidze streets, movement is banned near Philharmonic Concert Hall in the direction of Heroes Square.
Vehicles will move in the direction of Elbakidze Street and Freedom Square from Philharmonic Concert Hall and from Elbakidze - towards Marjanishvili Street via Galaktioni Bridge.
Traffic is banned towards the right embankment from Elbakidze Street.
The road near the Old House restaurant has been closed. The traffic flow from Virsaladze Street will move towards House of Justice; vehicles will head to only the left embankment from Avlabari Square; from Krtsanisi Square traffic will be allowed only via Leselidze Street and Metekhi Bridge towards the left embankment and in case of occurring traffic jams, vehicles on Gulua Street will move via Ortachala power station. 
We cannot bring the deceased back to life and this is most terrible - Giorgi Margvelashvili President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has visited the natural disaster zone. He has offered his condolences to the deceased people’s families giving a promise to provide them with assistance.
“Everything can be solved; roads can be restored as well. We are very concerned about the death toll… All corresponding services continue working, we will also engage in the works and help the damaged people but we cannot bring the deceased back to life and this is most terrible,” Margvelashvili said. 
Three bodies found at Tbilisi Zoo Two bodies have been brought out of the Tbilisi Zoo, Head of the Zoo Social Relations Service Mzia Sharashidze has told InterPressnews.
According to Mzia Sharashidze, Zoo employee, Guliko Chitadze is among those deceased. She was attacked by a tiger two weeks ago and underwent a hand amputation surgery.
As Mzia Sharashidze has declared, works for bringing one more body out are underway. 
According to currently available information, natural disaster death toll hits 8 Heavy rain at night on June 13 caused serious problems in Tbilisi.
The natural disaster has basically damaged the River Vere Gorge as well as the Zoo territory and resulted in fatalities. As the statement released by the Security and Crisis Management Council says, according to currently available information, eight people have been killed as a result of the natural disaster.
The Vere River has flooded Zoo and the animals fled as a result. The Vake-Saburtalo highway has been seriously damaged, houses remain flooded. The heavy rain has caused avalanche at the Tskneti-Betania road.
The Prime Minister ordered to create a special stuff headed by the State Security and Crisis Management Council.
As the council has decided, several central roads will be closed today. The stuff calls on the Tbilisi residents to refrain from moving on the Heroes Square, Zoo and Vere gorge territory. The 112 hotline functions around the clock. All corresponding services have been involved in the struggle against the natural disaster results.
40 families left without houses in Vake district -
40 families left without houses in Vake district As per currently available information, approximately 40 families have left without houses in the Vake district, Deputy Tbilisi Mayor Irakli Lekvinadze has declared.
According to him, 25 families have lost houses at Svanidze Street and the rest - at Tskhneti Street.
As Lekvinadze has reported, four people have been killed due to heavy rain. Several still remain lost.
According to him, Tbilisi City Hall will cover expenses for the deceased’s burial.
He adds the loss is very serious and it has been counted. 
More than 30 predators fled Tbilisi Zoo - 14-06-2015,
More than 30 predators fled Tbilisi Zoo Rescue teams have had to kill several animals that fled Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia’s Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri has confirmed this information.
Heavy rain caused serious problems in Tbilisi, including the zoo, where the natural disaster damaged animals’ enclosures in the zoo and allowed the
animals to go out.
Water covered the zoo territory. Specialists have been trying to bring the animals in their enclosures.
Reportedly, about 30 predators have fled Tbilisi Zoo including six lions, six tigers, seven bears and thirteen wolves.
Several of them have already been killed by special squad members. A hippopotamus have already brought back to the zoo from Heroes Square.

After presenting its new corporate identity with the slogan ‘A World Beyond Dreams’, and in line with its international growth objectives, Atlasglobal Airlines has launched ticket sales for no less than five new international routes: Paris, Amsterdam, Dьsseldorf, Cologne, and Bishkek.
Atlasglobal caused a stir in the aviation world with a recent overhaul of its corporate identity, and now the airline has launched ticket sales for no less than four new international flight destinations. Atlasglobal’s new destinations are the European cities of Paris, Amsterdam, Dьsseldorf and Cologne, as well as the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. Atlasglobal’s new routes will run from Istanbul Atatьrk Airport, and details of the flights can be found below:
Paris: Opening on 10 July, flights on this route will run every day of the week, leaving Istanbul at 13:25 and leaving Paris at 17:10. All-inclusive ticket prices on the Istanbul-Paris route start from Ђ120 one-way.
Amsterdam: Opening on 18 June, flights on this route will run every day of the week, leaving Istanbul at 10.00, and leaving Amsterdam at 13.30. All-inclusive ticket prices on the Tbilisi- Amsterdam route start from Ђ134 one-way.
Dьsseldorf: Opening on 11 June, flights on this route will run every day of the week, leaving Istanbul at 09.30, and leaving Dьsseldorf at 12.50. All-inclusive ticket prices on the Tbilisi- Dьsseldorf route start from Ђ134 one-way.
Cologne: Opening on 11 June, flights on this route will run leaving Istanbul at 13.25, and leaving Cologne at 17.20. All-inclusive ticket prices on the Tbilisi-Cologne route start from Ђ122 one-way.
Bishkek: Opening on 11 June, flights on this route will run five days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday), leaving Istanbul at 18.55, and leaving Bishkek at 04.10 to arrive in Istanbul at 06.55. All-inclusive ticket prices on the Tbilisi-Bishkek route start at $184 one-way.
From other domestic and international locations, the passengers can easily travel on to Atlasglobal’s new destinations with reasonable transfer times in Istanbul.
Speaking of the launch of ticket sales on Atlasglobal’s new routes, the airline’s chairman Murat Ersoy said, “We previously announced that we would soon be establishing new international projects as part of our global project. We are continuing to expand our flight network from East to West. You cannot expect to achieve strategic success in the growth process simply by opening new routes; what is important is to ensure the continuity of the same high quality standards at all the points you serve. What is important for us is to provide our passengers with a comfortable flight experience from beginning to end. As the Flying Chef service that we launched last year on our London and Kuwait flights received such high levels of interest, we decided to offer this service on our Paris, Amsterdam, Dьsseldorf, Cologne and Bishkek flights too.”
‘Flying Chef’ service
Atlasglobal offers ‘Flying Chef’ service to routes of three hours or more in duration from Istanbul, including the Paris, Amsterdam, Dьsseldorf, Cologne and Bishkek destinations. The chef prepares special daily dishes, adding a personal touch to both Turkish and international cuisine. The Chef personally prepares some signature dishes on board for both EkonomiPlus and Business Class passengers, such as the Chef’s dessert.
Not a ‘low cost’ airline
AtlasGlobal offers its passengers high quality and comfort on board. With its high standards of service, which are superior to major European national carriers, AtlasGlobal provides its passengers many privileges within the framework of the EkonomiPlus concept. AtlasGlobal offers passengers travelling in EkonomiPlus a comfortable journey in leather seats with 77 cm legroom. They also benefit from a 25-kilogram baggage allowance, a wide range of complimentary food, beverages and snacks and free seat allocation.
Even more privileges with Business Class
AtlasGlobal passengers can also choose a real Business Class experience in order to enjoy additional benefits during their trip. Passengers in Business Class travel in wide seats which are designed purely for Business Class with 100 cm of legroom and benefit from a large range of hot meal and beverage offers, as well as special services including a 35-kilogram baggage allowance, priority baggage, priority check-in, use of the Lounge and VIP plane transfer at Istanbul Atatьrk Airport.
Tickets are available from the Atlasglobal Georgia office on 26 Abashidze str. Tbilisi/Georgia, via authorized travel agencies and on the airline’s web site


Recently emerged photos of centuries-old historical Georgian monuments and sites disfigured by gas pipes, air conditioners, lamp posts and other completely unacceptable additions have caused a massive outrage on social media and beyond. As you can plainly see, such "modernization" ruins the exterior of the priceless buildings and is considered by many to be pure, callous vandalism. 

Georgier auf Diebestour  11.06.2015,


Georgien/Nina Sublatti: "Warrior" - Video vom Auftritt,
Nina Sulaberidze
... In ihrer Heimat wurde die 1995 als Nina Sulaberidze in Moskau geborene Sängerin und Komponistin 2013 bekannt, als sie die zweite Staffel des georgischen Ablegers der Castingshow "Pop Idol" gewann. ...
Ann Sophie mit "Black Smoke"    - Video vom Auftritt,
Ann Sophie
Ann Sophie Dürmeyer wird am 1. September 1990 in London geboren und wächst hauptsächlich in Hamburg auf. ...

Die Gruppe steht für Indie-Pop-Rock-Grunge. ... Der georgische TV-Sender GPB hatte bereits nach interner Auswahl im Dezember bekannt gegeben, dass Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz nach Schweden fahren - nur der Song musste noch ausgewählt werden. ...

Nino Haratischwili las vor voll besetztem Saal aus ihrem neuesten Roman und fand viel Beifall beim aufmerksamen Karlsruher Publikum.    >>Seite über georgische Bücher auf Deutsch 
Nino Haratischwili liest aus „Das achte Leben (Für Brilka)“
Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "Für den Spiegel war Das achte Leben (Für Brilka) der Roman des Jahres 2014. Auch die Literaturkritiker der FAZ, der Süddeutschen Zeitung, der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung oder der Welt lobten den gefühlsstarken, geschichtentrunkenen und souverän geschriebenen „Riesenroman“ (1.280 Seiten) von Nino Haratischwili. Die junge Autorin, die mit 12 Jahren aus Georgien nach Deutschland kam und auf Deutsch schreibt, schildert in ihrem Epos die Geschichte einer georgischen Familie über das gesamte zwanzigste Jahrhundert. Dabei erzählt sie von Liebe und Hass, von persönlichem Leid, Intrigen, Hoffnungen und Liebe aus sechs Generationen, von Aufstieg und Fall des Kommunismus – und von einem Geheimrezept für Kakao, das nur die Frauen in der Familie kennen. Ein Meisterwerk!
Nino Haratischwili, geboren 1983 in Tbilissi (Georgien), ist preisgekrönte Theaterautorin und -regisseurin (mit bislang 17 Uraufführungen). 2010 wurde ihr der Adelbert-von-Chamisso-Förderpreis verliehen. Ihr Romandebüt Juja (2010) war auf der Longlist des Deutschen Buchpreises sowie auf der Shortlist des ZDF-aspekte-Literaturpreises und gewann 2011 den Debütpreis des Buddenbrookhauses Lübeck. Im selben Jahr wurde sie für ihren zweiten Roman Mein sanfter Zwilling (2011) mit dem Preis der Hotlist der unabhängigen Verlage ausgezeichnet. Das achte Leben (Für Brilka) ist ihr dritter Roman. Die Autorin lebt in Hamburg.
Prinz Max Palais, Karlstr. 10, 76133 Karlsruhe, Veranstalter: Literarische Gesellschaft Karlsruhe e.V. 
Eintritt 8,- / 6,- , Mitglieder 4,- €"
Mein sanfter Zwilling von Nino Haratischwili - Roman 2011, Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt
Rezension - 22.09.2011,
Nino Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "Wir haben hier eine neue Heldin der zeitgenössischen deutschen Literatur. (…) Den Namen Haratischwili sollte man sich merken. Sie traut sich etwas und geht in die Vollen. Sie schreibt über das Schicksal von Familien, über Gewalt in Beziehungen, über die Verheerungen der Kriege. Und ihr Roman wirkt bei alldem an keiner Stelle überladen. Er schlägt die großen Bögen. Er ist ein Epos mit klassischer Wucht, mit hoher Emotionalität und stellt vieles in den Schatten, was in diesem Herbst auf dem deutschen Buchmarkt erscheinen wird."
Die Nächte in Tiflis - 14.08.2008, Berliner Zeitung
Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle:"Ein Kriegstagebuch aus der georgischen Hauptstadt, von Nino Haratischwili
Als ich in Tiflis in den Innenhof zu meiner Wohnung biege - es ist kurz nach elf und schon dunkel, ich war Zigarettenholen: unsichtbar, still, mit sich genauso still und unsichtbar bewegenden Menschen -, höre ich ein merkwürdiges Flüstern. Eine Schar von Frauen und Männern sitzt auf den Bänken und unterhält sich, aber in Georgien unterhalten sich Menschen normalerweise laut und gestikulierend, man hört sie aus zehn Metern Entfernung. Jetzt sitzen sie geduckt und flüstern. Man hört einzelne Wörter, in denen es immer wieder um das Gleiche geht: um Fassungslosigkeit, Ungewissheit. Die letzten fünf Tage haben die Gesten und den Tonfall verändert, ganz zu schweigen von der Verfassung der Menschen. ..."

Tamta Melaschwili – Abzählen - 2012,
Roman - Aus dem Georgischen von Natia Mikeladse-Bachsoliani, erschienen 2012
Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "Ein aufsehenerregendes Debut: drei Tage in der Konfliktzone
Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag – drei aufregende Tage für Ninzo und Ketewan, genannt Zknapi. Drei Tage, an denen die 13-jährigen Freundinnen nicht nur die üblichen Freuden und Leiden des Mädchenseins erleben, sondern auch erfahren, was es heißt, in einer gottverlassenen Konfliktzone zu leben, in der sonst bloß noch Kinder, Alte und Krüppel verblieben sind. Gewitzt muss man sein, sich was einfallen lassen. Sonst kommt man nirgendwohin, nicht an Kleider, nicht an Monatsbinden, nicht an Zigaretten und auch nicht an Milch für das Brüderchen. Was zu Friedenszeiten Recht und schicklich war, gilt nun schon lang nicht mehr. Krieg ist mehr als reine Männersache, und doch muss man bei aller mädchenhaften Gerissenheit manchmal ganz, ganz tapfer sein.
Der jungen georgischen Erzählerin Tamta Melaschwili ist ein aufsehenerregendes Debüt von emotionaler Wucht gelungen.
120 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-293-00439-9, € 16.95 / sFR. 24.90, Unionsverlag"
Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2013 für "Abzählen" -
Preisträger 2013, Kategorie: Jugendbuch 
Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "Jurybegründung: Abzählen ist ein Roman über den Krieg, in dem kein einziger Schuss fällt, und doch offenbaren sich die Schrecken in schmerzhafter Deutlichkeit, denn es geht um die so genannte Zivilbevölkerung, also die Kinder, Frauen und die Alten. Obwohl der russisch-georgische Krieg erkennbar den Erfahrungshintergrund bildet, bleibt die erzählte Welt in geografischer und historischer Hinsicht unbestimmt. In einem atemlosen, bisweilen geradezu stakkatohaften Rhythmus schildert der Roman drei Tage im Leben zweier 13-jähriger Mädchen, und lässt sie als Erzählstimmen zu Wort kommen.
Die Aufregungen der Pubertät und die Schrecken des Krieges liegen in diesem Text nah beieinander. Während Mütter um ihre gefallenen Söhne trauern, flirten die Mädchen mit Wachposten und probieren die ersten Zigaretten. Materielle Not treibt die Freundinnen zu immer gefährlicheren Abenteuern, bis sie irgendwann Drogen in Pilzkörben schmuggeln.
Der Roman wird im Präsens erzählt und vorwiegend in wörtlicher Rede, ohne Anführungszeichen und durch extrem verknappte Inquitformeln eingeleitet („sagt Ninzo:“; „sage ich:“). Dass die eigentliche Erzählinstanz, das „Ich“ des Textes, den Erzählzeitraum nicht überlebt hat, erfährt der Leser erst am Ende.
Vom Ende der Erzählung her wird auch die zeitliche Abfolge des Geschehens verständlich. Es ist eine Geschichte, die auf ein schreckliches Ereignis hin erzählt wird. Die Kapitel bilden kein zeitliches Kontinuum, sie sind eher wie Motivketten strukturiert, lassen Szenen Gestalt annehmen, so wie sie in der Erinnerung oder einem Traum aufblitzen könnten, isoliert und erst nachträglich in eine zeitliche Ordnung gebracht.
Diese Erzählweise ist weit davon entfernt, den Leser oder die Leserin emotional zu überrumpeln. Vielmehr ermöglicht sie Teilhabe an der Rekonstruktion von Vorkommnissen, die konventionelle Sprache und konventionelles Erzählen gar nicht abbilden könnten. Sie entwirft ein Gegenmodell zum allabendlichen Abstumpfungsritual der Fernsehberichterstattung.
Ein Romandebüt von großer emotionaler Wucht und verstörender Authentizität, dem man, obwohl es nicht ausdrücklich an junge Leser adressiert ist, eine intensive Rezeption im jugendliterarischen Kontext wünschen möchte."
Romandebüt "Abzählen": Drogen im Pilzkorb - 02.04.2012,, Carmen Eller
Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "An der Front fallen die Männer, zu Hause schlagen sich die Mädchen allein durch: In ihrem preisgekrönten Debütroman "Abzählen" beschreibt die Georgierin Tamta Melaschwili, wie Teenager den Krieg erleben. ... Verlassene Häuser, verminte Wälder - die jungen Heldinnen streifen durch eine düstere Kulisse. Die Namen der Figuren sind georgisch, doch die Geschichte ist geografisch nicht verortet. Auf knapp hundert Seiten verdichtet Melaschwili das Leben in einer Konfliktregion, die es überall so geben könnte. ..."

Zitat aus v.g.IQuelle: "In Berlin wurden heute, am 27. Februar, die Verträge für den Ehrengastauftritt Georgiens auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018 unterzeichnet. Neben dem 'jungen' Buchmarkt, mache die Energie im gesamten Kulturbereich wie Film und Musik das Land interessant, begründet die Frankfurter Buchmesse die Auswahl."
10. - 14. Oktober 2018, Ehrengast Georgien

Tag für Tag: Minderheit im orthodoxen Tiflis - Sendung im DLF am 20.04.2015
Der deutsche Theologe Hans-Joachim Kiderlen ist der Bischof der kleinen Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche Georgiens ...
Verehrte Besucherin, verehrter Besucher unserer Homepage, wir freuen uns über Ihr Interesse an der Ev.-Luth. Kirche in Georgien. Die kleine, lebendige, wachsende Diasporakirche stellt sich mit ihren Gemeinden und einem kurzen Abriss ihrer fast 200-jährigen Geschichte unter der Überschrift "Unsere Kirche" vor. Auch die Seiten der "Diakonie", dem von Christiane Hummel geleiteten wichtigen und notwendigen Arbeitsfeld, lohnt es sich, anzuschauen. ... Mitteilungsblatt - Bischof Gert Hummel +
Zur Förderung eines Meinungs- und Erfahrungsaustausches lud die KAS gemeinsam mit dem Patriarchat der georgisch-orthodoxen Kirche zu einem ökumenischen Dialog ein.
Erstmalig wurde in Georgien auf Initiative der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung ein ökumenischer Dialog zur christlichen Soziallehre veranstaltet. Das Symposium, das am 18. und. 19. November stattfand, wurde gemeinschaftlich von KAS, dem Patriarchat der georgisch-orthodoxen Kirche und der Römisch-Katholischen Kirche in Georgien organisiert und ermöglichte einen interkonfessionellen Gedankenaustausch zu Fragen der sozialen Gerechtigkeit und der gesellschaftlichen Verantwortung der Kirchen. ...
Einfache, bis an die Belastungsgrenze gefüllte Holzkähne fuhren die Donau hinab. Von Ulm bis nach Wien, von dort über die Balkanhalbinsel ans Delta im heutigen Rumänien, dann gelangte man über das Land nach Odessa, umwanderte das Schwarzmeerufer und erreichte schließlich nach Monaten das ferne Ziel im Osten: Den Kaukasus.
Diese lange, beschwerliche Reise nahmen viele Schwaben aus Württemberg in den Jahren 1817-1818 auf sich. Nach Zeiten des Hungers und der Verwüstung während der napoleonischen Kriege sehnten sich die schwäbischen Auswanderer nach freiem, unbewirtschafteten Land. Doch neben wirtschaftlichen Gründen waren es vor allem religiöse Beweggründe gewesen, die diese tiefgläubigen Menschen dazu veranlasste, sich in „Harmonien“ zum gemeinsamen Aufbruch ins gelobte Land zu versammeln, denn im Jahre 1836 erwarteten diese schwäbischen Kinder des Pietismus die Wiederkunft Christi in Jerusalem. ...

>> Seite zu Sakdrissi
Brief von Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Ruhr Uni Bochum - Archäologie) an Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) zur historischen, kulturellen Bedeutung des ältesten untertägigen Goldbergwerks der Welt: Seite 1 - Seite 2 -
The last undamaged part of Sakdrisi was blown up, United National Movement (Anmerkung: UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) made an announcement. Sergo Ratiani has reported that an explosion took place today at about 16 am. Parliamentary minority requires visit of experts on the ground. 
" This is a barbaric act. The world"s leading scientists have confirmed that Sakdrisi is the world"s oldest gold mine. This is shame for the country and therefore it is necessary to set up a commission to investigate ongoing events"- Sergi Ratiani stated. Gia Volski responded to UNM members. He underlines that archaeological activities aren`t dangerous according to the report of commission.
The briefing by Sergo Ratiani - 01.04.2015,  
Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (Anmerkung: UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) spoke about necessity to set up the Interim Investigation Commission on Sakdrisi Ore. He introduced the letter by the Head of the Institute of Ancient History of the Institute of Archeological Sciences of the Bochum University (Germany) (Anmerkung: namentlich Thomas Stöllner), providing that Sakdrisi is one of the most important archaeological monument of Georgia, which is the oldest mining for gold obtainment in the world. It is important that each MP shall well understand importance of Sakdrisi and necessity to save it and support the Commission.
The Committee on Sakdrisi Ore Salvation held the photo exhibition in Kutaisi Parliament, exposing the photos of the IV cent. A.D., photos of Sakdrisi history, mining works, gold obtainment methods experiments, literature and maps.
"საყდრისი ოქროს სამთო წესით მოპოვების უძველეს მტკიცებულებას წარმოადგენს მსოფლიო მასშტაბით" - 02.04.2015,
"ერთიანი ნაციონალური მოძრაობა" გერმანელი მეცნიერის, ბოხუმის უნივერსიტეტის პროფესორის, თომას შტიოლნერის წერილს ავრცელებს, სადაც საუბარი საყდრისს შეეხება.
როგორც წერილიდან ირკვევა შტიოლნერი საქართველოს განათლების, მეცნიერებისა და კულტურის საპარლამენტო კომიტეტის თავმჯდომარის მოადგილეს, სერგო რატიანსა და პარლამენტის წევრებს მიმართავს.
"მე მოგმართავთ ჩემს მშობლიურ ენაზე და მინდა შევეცადო, აგიხსნათ თქვენ საყდრისის მნიშვნელობა, მოკლედ წარმოგიდგინოთ ჩვენი კვლევითი პროექტის შედეგები 2004 წლიდან დღემდე და ასევე წარმოგიდგინოთ შექმნილი დილემის გადაჭრის შესაძლებლობები. ...
უკვე რამდენიმე თვეა, რაც საზოგადოება და მედია  „საყდრისის გადარჩენის კომიტეტის“ წევრების მხრიდან კომპანია „არემჯის“ მისამართით გავრცელებულ  უსაფუძვლო, ცილისმწამებლური და კომპანიის იმიჯის შემლახველი განცხადებების კასკადს ისმენს. დაახლოებით ერთი თვის წინ, კომიტეტის წევრებმა ბრალი დასდეს „არემჯის“, თითქოს ყაჩაღიანის უბანზე მიმდინარე სამუშაოებისას ადგილზე ამოიყარა მნიშვნელოვანი არტეფაქტები, რომლებიც „სადღაც გადამალეს“. ... Gegendarstellung von Fa. RMG ... Aber Rettungs-Komitee sagt: Neue archäologische Funde sollen durch Fa. RMG zurückgehalten werden ...
Despite Parliament’s endorsement two months ago of a probe into controversy over Sakdrisi gold mine, the legislative body failed on March 4 to adhere to its own decision after most, but not all, of the lawmakers from the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition refused to vote for composition of the investigative commission, effectively blocking the probe.
A vote on March 4 on endorsing proposed members of the ad hoc parliamentary investigative commission was a second stage of two-step procedure required for setting up of the commission.
The first one was the vote on whether to support or not the investigation in principle to look into circumstances surrounding issuing of a permit to a gold and copper mining company, RMG, allowing it to carry out mining activities at Sakdrisi, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
In late December the decision in favor of launching the probe was endorsed with 58 votes to 14. 
 Unlike many of their colleagues from GD ruling coalition, Republican Party and National Forum lawmakers voted in favor together with opposition MPs from UNM and Free Democrats parties.
But while 58 votes were enough to endorse the parliamentary probe, composition of the actual commission needed a higher threshold of support – at least 76 MPs of 150-seat Parliament.
55 MPs voted in favor, 21 short of required.
It means that although the Parliament deemed it “appropriate” in late December to investigate circumstance surrounding Sakdrisi gold mine, no commission will be established for now to launch the probe.
The issue of composition of the commission was discussed by the Parliament on February 20, but at the time lawmakers were not able to put the issue on vote due to lack of quorum.
During those discussions, MP Nukri Kantaria of Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, the largest faction with the GD ruling coalition, said that Sakdrisi “turned into the issue of political speculation” and although he had nothing against of proposed members of the commission, he was not anyway going to vote in favor because he was against of parliamentary probe.
MP Nino Goguadze of FD opposition party, which initiated launch of the parliamentary probe, said at the parliamentary session on February 20 that such a position of GDDG lawmakers was causing “bewilderment” as technically the vote was about proposed members of the commission and not about whether to launch or not the probe as this latter issue had already been decided positively in late December.
She also called on the lawmakers from the ruling coalition “not to become accomplices of an alleged crime” surrounding Sakdrisi gold mine by blocking the parliamentary probe.
Parliament backed on Thursday with 58 votes to 14 a proposal to establish an ad hoc investigative commission of lawmakers to look into recent developments over Sakdrisi, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
Launch of gold mining activities at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, by gold and copper mining company, RMG, after it received go-ahead from Ministry of Culture, caused outcry from preservationists and opposition parties; it also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church and has been disapproved by President Giorgi Margvelashvili as well.
Proposal to launch a parliamentary investigative commission was tabled by opposition Free Democrats (FD) party and was also supported by the UNM parliamentary minority group.
Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition was divided on the issue with lawmakers from the Republican Party and the National Forum in favor of the parliamentary probe.
Senior lawmakers from the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, as well as some other lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group, spoke against of setting up of such commission.
But as the vote results late on Thursday evening showed, they failed to convince many of their colleagues from GD to vote against of the proposal, and FD’s initiative was endorsed.
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi
PM Slams Sakdrisi Campaigners
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi 
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until December 13 to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. The decision was endorsed by Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze on the same day and next morning, on December 13, the company carried out couple of blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
Since then PM Irakli Garibashvili defended twice the decision of the Culture Ministry and spoke strongly against of Sakdrisi campaigners. His main argument is that halt of operations at Sakdrisi would leave about 3,000 employees of RMG without livelihood. He also argued that economic benefits from gold mining at Sakdrisi should not fall victim to, as the PM put it, “sterile archeological site.”
Sakdrisi campaigners hold regular protest rally since mining activities were launched. RMG employees also rallied outside the government building in Tbilisi on December 23 to back mining operations at Sakdrisi.
 Parliamentary opposition parties Free Democrats, led by ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania, and United National Movement (UNM) proposed separately to set up a parliamentary investigative commission. UNM’s proposal also includes draft of a resolution, calling on the government to order suspension of mining activities at Sakdrisi.
On December 25 Parliament discussed FD’s proposal.
FD MP Nino Goguadze, who presented the proposal to lawmakers, said that non-transparent and hurriedly taken decision by the authorities to allow the company carry out mining activities at the heritage site was a “crime” and “violence committed against the society and history.”
Chairman of parliamentary committee for culture and education, GD MP Vano Kiguradze, said that setting up of investigative commission was premature at this point; he said that his committee summoned the Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze at a hearing planned for December 29.
“Let’s at first hold such a committee hearing and it will help to find out whether the investigative commission is needed,” said MP Kiguradze, who is from the Georgian-Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party.
GD MP Zurab Tkemaladze from the Industrialists party voiced the similar position in favor of holding a committee hearing on this issue at first; Industrialists faction also had a proposal to set up a group of rapporteurs to look into the issue.
But FD MP Zurab Abashidze responded that holding of a committee hearing in an attempt to address the problem was too little too late.
“It is obvious that there are signs of crime and it has to be investigated… to find out who was behind it and why it happened,” he said. “The committee should have reacted much earlier. I do not think the committee will be able to resolve the issue.”
Many lawmakers from the UNM parliamentary minority group, who spoke during the debate, were saying that going hastily through all the bureaucratic procedures in a course of one day to give go-ahead to RMG would not have been possible without instructions from ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who, according to UNM, might have business interests in gold mining. UNM MPs were also saying that parliamentary probe may substantiate this allegation.
MP Gia Volski, who chairs GDDG’s parliamentary faction, said during the debate that investigative commission should not be established because opponents, referring to UNM, wanted to use it only for the political motives for the purpose of “discrediting” the authorities and also for “destabilizing” situation in the country.
“Our opponents are now directly telling us that Ivanishvili has business interests in this [gold and copper mining] company. It [calls for parliamentary probe] has nothing to do with the desire to actually find out what is the situation [with Sakdrisi],” MP Volski said, adding that he was not referring to Free Democrats. “We should not let setting up of a group, which will aim at discrediting and destabilization.”
In his speech during the debate, a senior UNM lawmaker Giorgi Gabashvili, who was Minister of Culture in 2006 when Sakdrisi became protected under the heritage laws, spoke less on politics and focused mostly about the site’s importance for the country from its archeological and historical point of view. He, however, also said that GD should not get infuriated if in political debates opponents express suspicion about main decision-maker in the country, referring to Ivanishvili, having links to Sakdrisi-related issues.
MP Tamar Kordzaia of GDDG, who is no stranger of voicing views different from those of her party mates, spoke in favor of setting up of the parliamentary investigative commission.
“Parliament should get involved and provide for more transparency and it should guarantee observance of the law through setting up of this commission,” she said during the debate.
Republican Party, which is voicing views dissenting from those of its partners from the GD ruling coalition more and more frequently recently over various issues, also spoke in favor of the investigative commission.
GD MP Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum said that his faction was also joining supporters of the commission. MP Sanikidze, however, also said that he was skeptical that such a commission would yield any result, but would vote for its creation because he does not want anyone to call him supporter of “blasting” Sakdrisi.
113 lawmakers registered in the chamber before the voting started.
Proposal to set up investigative commission required support of majority of MPs present in the chamber, but not less than 50.
Just before the start of voting, a lawmaker from GDDG faction, Gia Zhorzholiani, offered to postpone the vote on FD’s proposal and to hold it after the Parliament discussed UNM’s similar proposal on the same issue following day. The proposal to delay the vote was perceived as an attempt by those against of the investigative commission to buy time to try convincing undecided GD members to vote against. FD, which as a sponsor of the proposal had a final say, insisted on an immediate vote.
Now the Parliament has to compose the commission, which will be established for a three-month term, with a separate decision.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said that stir over gold mine Sakdrisi has been caused only by a small interest group, which, he claimed, tries to benefit from “grants” for archeological research; he dismissed allegations against government about disregarding cultural heritage as “very irresponsible and groundless.”
 Launch of gold mining activates at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine, caused outcry from preservationists, opposition parties; it also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church and has been disapproved by President Giorgi Margvelashvili as well.
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi 
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi 
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi
PM Garibashvili suggested that livelihood of about 3,000 employees of gold and mining company RMG should not fall victim to, as the PM put it, “sterile archeological site.”
“I do not remember anyone mentioning Sakdrisi-Kachagiani in course of this year; it was an interest triggered by some kind of narrow group, which had obtained a grant of 1 million Euro. And as far as I know, as I was told, they are also waiting for an additional grant to continue archeological digs,” PM Garibashvili told journalists on December 20 while visiting Samtredia in western Georgia.
 “It’s all good – archaeology is good; cultural monument is also very good, but there is livelihood of 3,000 families and their well-being on the one side, and on the other there is a sterile archeological site,” Garibashvili said.
“I want to ask the public – which one do we prefer? Saving 3,000 families and the entire Bolnisi municipality, which is completely tied to this company, or preserving of something, this archeological site, which will be of no use?” Garibashvili said.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation, in 2004. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision, further endorsed on the same day by Culture Minister, allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. Next morning, on December 13, the company carried out couple of blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who met campaigners for Sakdrisi on December 19, said in a statement that carrying out mining activity at the site, while court proceedings were still underway, was “inadmissible.”
President Weighs in on Sakdrisi - 19.12.2014,
President Margvelashvili said in a statement on December 19 that carrying out mining activities at the Sakdrisi gold mine, while court proceedings are still underway, are “inadmissible.”
Russian-owned RMG gold and copper mining company launched works at Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, which some archeologists believe is the world’s one of the oldest gold mine, on December 13.
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi 
Georgian National Museum ‘Extremely Concerned’ over Sakdrisi
Sakdrisi has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But on December 12, after hastily going through otherwise lengthy bureaucratic procedures, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture took a decision, further endorsed on the same day by Culture Minister, allowing RMG to launch activities at the Sakdrisi mine. Next morning, on December 13, the company carried out blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site, prompting protest from activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi. Campaigners said that they were deliberately kept in dark about the Culture Ministry’s intention to issue a new permission.
“First of all, it should be noted that it is a duty of any civilized country to take care of its cultural heritage. The Sakdrisi gold mine is one of the oldest among Georgia’s cultural heritage sites,” President Margvelashvili said in a written statement.
“Court proceedings are still underway over Sakdrisi. Everyone has to wait for the conclusion of the court proceedings and then to follow court’s final verdict,” the President said. “Until then, it is inadmissible to carry out large scale works on the site.” 
“I also believe that the government should act in accordance with the law and ensure transparent process with the participation of all the stakeholders,” he added.
The President released his statement after he met on December 19 with a group of activists, who are campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi and who are pushing for further archeological research at the site.
Activists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on December 15, 2014 to protest against decision giving go-ahead to the gold and mining company, RMG, to carry out mining activities at Sakdrisi hillock in southern Georgian, which some archeologists believe is one of the world’s oldest gold mine. Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/
The Georgian National Museum said it’s “extremely concerned” by developments over Sakdrisi archeological site, where gold and mining company, RMG, launched digging gold after receiving a go-ahead from the Ministry of Culture, causing outcry from preservationists, opposition parties and also drawing condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The Georgian National Museum released a statement on Monday evening saying that Sakdrisi represents an “archeological site of international importance.”
The museum, whose researchers have been involved in study of the site for years, also said that there were attempts to misinterpret its role in the dispute. Some comments of Culture Ministry officials and executives from the mining company have been perceived as having national museum’s consent on the decision to proceed with mining activities at Sakdrisi and in exchange for the mining company to build a new museum in Bolnisi to house artifacts found at the site. 
 “The Georgian National Museum is extremely concerned over recent developments around Sakdrisi-Kachagiani. Activities and competences of the Georgian National Museum have been often misinterpreted recently, which damages the national museum’s scientific reputation, which in turn causes misleading of the public; therefore we want to reiterate once again our position that research, carried out by us together with the German side and other partners in full compliance of all the international standards, [demonstrates that] Sakdrisi represents an archeological site of international importance,” the Georgian National Museum said in the statement.
Archeologists from the Georgian National Museum have been studying the site together with colleagues from the German Mining Museum (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation, since 2004. Artifacts found there, researchers claim, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
The site was granted a special status and became protected under the heritage laws in 2006, but in 2013 the Georgian Ministry of Culture revoked this status.
A screengrab from a video showing a bulldozer on Sakdrisi hillock on December 13, 2014 after gold and mining company, RMG, launched preparing ground for open-cast mine at the site.
The Georgian National Museum said that current “poor condition” of the archeological site was a result of that decision by the Ministry of Culture.
“This decision was made based on a conclusion compiled by an 11-member commission without participation of those Georgian and foreign scientists, who had been studying the site for almost ten years,” the Georgian National Museum said, adding that in 2013 this international team of scientists was actually “isolated” from the Sakdrisi site and a separate team of archeologists were granted access to the site for archeological research.
In March, 2014 the Culture Ministry gave go-ahead to RMG to launch open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, but the decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any mining operations at Sakdrisi.
Yielding to demands from the campaigners and preservationists, the Ministry of Culture and RMG agreed in summer, 2014 to engage with the team of international archeologists, who have been originally carrying out the research.
As a result, the Georgian National Museum said, a plan for continuation of archeological examination of the site was prepared.
But on December 13 RMG announced about the launch of mining activities at Sakdrisi, carrying out couple of blasts and sending heavy equipment to the site. The Russian-owned company was able to launch the activities after the Ministry of Culture issued new permission on December 12.
This sudden twist caught campaigners by surprise. GYLA said that after December 12 decision of the Culture Ministry, which the public was not aware of, and by its rapid execution by the mining company campaigners were left without even the possibility to file a lawsuit against the ministry’s decision. Technically the case can still be taken to court, but in substance it will change nothing as mining activities are already underway and the site is already damaged, said head of GYLA Kakha Kozhoridze.
The Georgian National Museum, however, said that it is “ready to consider possibility of resumption of scientific research” of the site in case there are proper conditions on the ground.
Photo: Eana Korbezashvili/
Meanwhile a group of activists, who have been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on Monday evening and held a protest rally, which they dubbed as “rolling stone from Sakdrisi” – campaigners brought stones at the ministry to symbolize that, as they put it, “criminal decisions” taken over Sakdrisi would haunt officials’ future careers.
“Blast of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani is not the end,” campaigners said in a statement. “A movement is being launched to achieve a fundamental change of country’s cultural policy and policy of environment protection.”
Outcry as RMG Launches Gold Mining at Sakdrisi - 15.12.2014,
Launch of gold mining operations at a site, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine, caused outcry from preservationists, opposition parties and also drew condemnation from the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The site in question is Sakdrisi, a hillock in Bolnisi municipality of Kvemo Kartli region, where Russian-owned RMG holds license to carry out mining operations.
The company carried out blasts at and sent heavy equipment to the site on December 13, a day after the Ministry of Culture issued permission for the company to carry out works.
The site has been in the center of dispute since 2013 when the Ministry of Culture removed it from the list of protected heritage sites, which was then followed by the ministry’s decision in March, 2014 to give permission to RMG to launch open-cast mining at the area. But facing resistance from a group of preservationists, backed by some civil society organizations, including through a court case, RMG was not able up until now to carry out works.
The Culture Ministry’s March 13, 2014 decision was challenged in court by Tbilisi-based legal advocacy Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) and as an interim measure, pending final verdict, court ordered in early June not to carry out any operations at the disputed site.
But groups, campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, were caught by surprise when RMG announced on December 13 that it was given by the ministry a new permission to carry out works. The groups, among them GYLA, said the public was deliberately kept in dark about the ministry having plans to issue new permission; they also say that this decision runs counter to court’s earlier interim ruling.
Minister of Culture, Mikheil Giorgadze, said the decision was fully in line with legal requirements.
Head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Ministry of Culture, Nikoloz Antidze, said that the decision, allowing RMG to carry out works, was taken because part of the site was already fully examined for archeological purposes; he also said that it would have been impossible to carry out any archeological excavations on the remaining portion of the site because of safety reasons as there was threat of collapse.
A group of activists, which has been campaigning against open-cast mine at Sakdrisi, say that although newly launched mining activities have caused irreversible damage to the site, it will not stop them from campaigning, which will now focus on shaming those officials, who have been behind the decision allowing RMG to dig gold at Sakdrisi, as well as on pushing for new cultural policy that would help prevent similar cases in the future.
“Blast of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani is not the end,” campaigners, who plan a protest rally outside the Culture Ministry on December 15, said in a statement. “A movement is being launched to achieve a fundamental change of country’s cultural policy and policy of environment protection.”
Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II joined condemnation by saying in his Sunday sermon: “Blasts were carried out at the ancient gold mine. We condemn it and those people, who have done these blasts. We ask the authorities to investigate it and to punish appropriately those people.”
The Georgian Orthodox Church also released a written statement on December 14, saying: “It is incomprehensible how could the Ministry of Culture issue a permit to destroy the site when scientists, large part of specialists, civil society, were all against of it.”
The move also drew criticism from opposition parties.
Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, chairman of the UNM party, said in a statement on his Facebook page that “barbaric explosion” of Sakdrisi is “a heavy blow for the Georgian culture, as well as for the world heritage.” When in 2013 the Ministry of Culture removed Sakdrisi from the list of protected heritage sites, the decision was also endorsed by relevant changes in a presidential order, which was signed by then president Saakashvili.
Free Democrats opposition party, led by ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania, also condemned launch of mining operations at Sakdrisi as a “barbaric” act.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site in 2004 with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
RMG said that it would fund construction of an archeological museum in Bolnisi, which would house all the artifacts found as a result of the archeological excavations at Sakdrisi.
The company argued that although Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site makes only a small portion of its licensed territory, it is so rich with gold deposit that without Sakdrisi it would be financially unviable for the company to continue operations in the country. RMG said that because of delays to launch mining at Sakdrisi it already had to downsize operations, which was causing financial losses.
Export of raw or semi-processed gold in 2013 declined 16.6% y/y to USD 73.3 million. Gold worth of USD 27.97 million was exported in the first nine months of 2014.
The government was backing the company. PM Irakli Garibashvili said in March that it was not possible to prove that Sakdrisi represented the world’s oldest gold mine; he also said at the time that RMG invested USD 300 million in Georgia and halting of company’s operations would leave 3,000 employees without job.
A small group of activists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture on March 14 to protest against giving permission to gold and copper mining company, RMG, to dig gold at Sakdrisi site. Activists hold a banner reading: “Protect Sakdrisi”. Photo: InterPressNews
Georgian Ministry of Culture gave green light to gold and mining company, RMG, to extract gold from Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site, which some archeologists believe is the world’s oldest gold mine.
While announcing the decision on March 14, Deputy Culture Minister, Alexander Margishvili, said that the claim about Sakdrisi being the world’s oldest gold mine is a “myth.”
“Presence of the world’s oldest gold mine on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site is not being substantiated. We cannot afford to create material problems to 3,000 families and leave them without livelihood based on myths,” Margishvili said referring to RMG’s claims that it would be forced to halt operation and leave its 3,000 employees without job if it is not allowed to launch an open-cast mine at Sakdrisi.
Strike-Hit Gold Mine Spills Polluted Water into River
The announcement came just a day after PM Irakli Garibashvili said, echoing position of RMG, that it was not possible to prove that the site represents the world’s oldest gold mine; when speaking on the issue during a meeting with a group of students on March 13, Garibashvili mainly focused on economic aspects saying that RMG invested USD 300 million in Georgia and halting of company’s operations would leave 3,000 employees without job.
Sensing that PM’s remarks signaled government’s decision to give go-ahead to RMG, a group of archeologists and preservationists, who have been campaigning actively against open-cast mine on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site, convened a press conference earlier on March 14 before the Ministry of Culture announced its decision.
“We, the organizations and individuals working in the sphere of culture disagree with Prime Minister’s comments about the cultural heritage, in particular Sakdrisi-Kachagiani archeological site. It is a huge injustice to ignore results of nine-year old scientific research and broad public interest on the issue of Sakdrisi-Kachagiani,” their statement reads.
A group of Georgian and German scientists started research of the site in 2004 with the funding from Germany’s largest private science funder, Volkswagen Foundation. Artifacts found there, archeologists say, show that the mine dates back to the early third millennium BC and some samples even point to the second half of the fourth millennium BC, making Sakdrisi one of world’s oldest known gold mines.
In a letter to the Georgian government President of the German Association of Archaeology wrote last year that in case of open-cast mine on Sakdrisi, “not just Georgia, also Europe, will lose one of its most important prehistoric mining sites forever.”
Former first deputy minister of culture, Marine Mizandari, said destruction of the Sakdrisi archeological site would amount to “crime”. Mizandari was sacked by PM Garibashvili upon Culture Minister Guram Odisharia’s request on February 10 on the grounds of “violating official duties”; Mizandari said that she was dismissed mainly because of dispute over Sakdrisi. Two weeks after Mizandari was sacked, the head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation was also replaced.
New head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation, Nikoloz Antidze, said on March 14, that since his appointment on the post the agency reviewed once again all the available documents on Sakdrisi and concluded that the site does not represent the oldest gold mine.
Deputy Culture Minister, Alexander Margishvili, said that the permission to launch mining on Sakdrisi-Kachagiani site was issued on the condition that the process will be carried out under the “monitoring” of international experts.
Culture Minister, Guram Odisharia, was not present at the announcement of the decision as he is on a month-long leave.

Brief von Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Ruhr Uni Bochum - Archäologie) an Prof. Dr. S. Ratiani (UNM-Abgeordneter, UNM = ehemalige Regierungspartei) zur historischen, kulturellen Bedeutung des ältesten untertägigen Goldbergwerks der Welt: Seite 1 - Seite 2 -
Die Goldfahnder - Auf der Suche nach dem Goldenen Vlies - 17.03.2015, TV-Sendung auf PHOENIX,
Gold war schon in der Antike heiß begehrt. Es war und ist ein Machtfaktor, ein Statussymbol, und es hat auch in Tausenden von Jahren nichts an Nimbus und Wert eingebüßt. Schon die alten Griechen waren ganz versessen auf das Edelmetall, was die Geschichte vom Raub des Goldenen Vlieses beweist. Die deutschen Wissenschaftler Andreas Hauptmann und Thomas Stöllner sind Spezialisten im Aufspüren antiken Goldes. Um dem Ursprung vom Mythos Gold auf den Grund zu gehen, verfolgen sie zwei getrennte Spuren. ...
Auf der Webseite ist eine Petition zur Erhaltung von Sakdrissi aufrufbar !
Gemeinsam mit georgischen Archäologen erforscht das Deutsche Bergbau-Museum Bochum (DBM) seit 2004 das Goldbergwerk von Sakdrissi. Es liegt ca. 50 Kilometer südwestlich der georgischen Hauptstadt Tiflis, in einem Hügel mit dem Namen Katschagiani (in dem Gebiet Sakdrissi). Unsere Untersuchungen haben ergeben, dass dieses Bergwerk gut 5.000 Jahre alt ist. Somit ist es das älteste untertägige Goldbergwerk der Welt. Dieses herausragende kulturhistorische Denkmal soll einem Tagebau zur Goldgewinnung zum Opfer fallen. ...
Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, I am writing you to ask your help!
As you perhaps know Sakdrissi Gold mine is in great danger to be exploited and destroyed in near future. Then one of the most important prehistoric mining sites will be destroyed forever. Georgia will lose one of its most important cultural heritage sites while archaeology and science will have never access again to this outstanding document. ...
Salz, Kupfer, Gold: Früher Bergbau im Kaukasus - Infos und Fotos,
Ansprechpartner: Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner & Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann
Der Kaukasus war eines der bedeutendsten „Erzgebirge“ der Alten Welt, speziell des Alten Orients. Als Land des „Goldenen Vlies“ umfasst den Westteil Georgiens, die Kolchis, ein Synonym für den Goldreichtum in der Antike.
Eines der ältesten bekannten Goldbergwerken der Menschheit
Als erster „Metallurge“ wurde Prometheus, der Gigant, von den Göttern an die Felsen des Kaukasus geschmiedet und bis heute ist der Archäologe überwältigt vom Metallreichtum der prähistorischen Fundkomplexe in dieser Region. Zu den Besonderheiten der Region gehören neben den reichen polymetallischen Lagerstätten vor allem auch der Goldreichtum der Antike. Aber schon am Beginn der Frühbronzezeit besaß das Edelmetall große ökonomische und gesellschaftliche Bedeutung. ...
Salt, copper, gold: Early mining in the Caucasus -
The Caucasus was one of the most important ore-containing mountain ranges of the ancient world, or more specifically of the ancient Orient. As the country of the “Golden Fleece”, it includes the western part of Georgia, Colchis, a name synonymous, in ancient times, with an abundance of gold. The giant Prometheus, the first ever “metallurgist”, was chained to the rocks of the Caucasus by the gods, and even today archaeologists are overwhelmed by the abundance of metals in the prehistoric find complexes in this region. The special features of the region include rich polymetallic deposits, and of course the abundance of gold found in antiquity. But even at the beginning of the Bronze Age, the precious metal had great economic and social significance. ...
Älteste Goldmine wird nach dubiosem Gutachten einer modernen Minengesellschaft preisgegeben - 22.08.2013,, Eingestellt von Rainer Schreg
... Auf Anweisung des georgischen Ministeriums für Kultur und Denkmalpflege vom 5. Juli 2013 wurde der Schutz aufgehoben. Bis zum 15. September müssen zudem die archäologischen Forschungen dort beendet werden.
Die Entscheidung beruft sich auf eine Formfehler bei der Unterschutzstellung sowie auf ein Gutachten, an dem keiner der einschlägigen Experten, wohl aber Vertreter der Bergbaugesellschaft RMG Gold Ltd beteiligt waren. Diese hat die Abbaurechte erhalten und möchte ab September 2013 im Tagebau eine Goldmine betreiben, der auch das Areal der prähistorischen Bergbaus betrifft. ...
Prof. Thomas Stöllner von der Ruhr-Universität Bochum schildert die Situation in einem offenen Brief v. 3.8.2013, der sich bei Hier sind auch die zugehörigen Dokumente als pdf abzurufen: 
kommentiertes Gutachten: Resolution of the committee of Minister of Georgian Culture Heritage studying the subjects referred to the ancient Sakdrissi mining site in Municipality of Bolnissi
Projektbericht: The Gold Mine of Sakdrissi: Results and analyses and a calculation of the prehistoric gold-exploitation
Die georgischen Kollegen haben eine Petition gestartet, die die Kommission 
und ihr Gutachten in Frage stellt:
Tvalcheridze, el miembro de la comisión, comento sobre la importancia arqueológica del sitio Sakdrisi, rechazando las afirmaciones de que el oro se extraía allí hace 5.400 años como un “disparate científico.” El conocimiento de la extracción de oro a partir de minerales locales no existía en el momento y no hay evidencia que pruebe que el oro se extrajo en el sitio, dijo. ...
by Paul Rimple Georgia EurasiaNet's Weekly Digest Archeology Georgian Culture Georgian Economy
Bone tools used in the extraction of ore were found at the site. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
A researcher pushes up a bucket of excavated soil from inside the mine. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
The excavation site is 50 kilometers southwest of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. (Photo: German Mining Museum)
German and Georgian scientists have been excavating and studying the Sakrisi-Kachagiani ancient gold mining site in southern Georgia since 2004. The nine-hectare site, whose caves have revealed caves and mining tools believed to date to the third millennium BC, is now caught in a legal battle that pits preservation against new commercial mining. (Photos: German Mining Museum) ...
Gold ist das erste Metall, das man allein wegen seines Prestigecharakters gewann und verarbeitete, in der Entwicklung der Kulturepochen spielte es eine herausragende Rolle. 2004 machte ein Forscherteam aus georgischen und deutschen Archäologen, darunter der federführende Wissenschaftler Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann (Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) und RUB-Archäologe Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner (Lehrstuhl für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum) bei einer Lehrausgrabung in Georgien einen sensationellen Fund: Ein frühbronzezeitliches Goldbergwerk bei Sakdrissi aus der Zeit von 3.000 v. Chr. In diesem Sommer beginnt ein dreieinhalb Jahre dauerndes Projekt, bei dem das Team das Bergwerk weiter ausgräbt und erforscht. Die Volkswagen-Stiftung fördert das Projekt, das auch die Förderung von georgischen Nachwuchsforschern vorsieht. Das Projekt wird in Zusammenarbei mit dem Georgischen Nationalmuseum, Otar Lordkipanidze Zentrum für Archäologie (Frau Dr. Irina Gambaschidze) durchgeführt. ...
Vorgeschichte: Im Sommer 2003 bewilligte die Stiftung dem Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum eine Förderung des Projekts „Auf- und Ausbau interdisziplinärer Konzepte in Forschung und Lehre im Bereich der Montantanarchäologie und Archäometallurgie in Georgien“. Die Forschungs- und Lehrkapazitäten konnten in den Bereichen erweitert und die Zusammenarbeit mit Natur- und Ingenieurwissenschaftlern in der Archäologie gestärkt werden. In Georgien fanden Lehrausgrabungen statt, wobei das Goldbergwerk ans Licht kam. In Folge dessen fand ein Symposium „Von Maikop nach Trialeti – Gewinnung und Verbreitung von Metallen und Obsidian in Kaukasien im 4.-2. Jahrtausend v. Chr.“ statt. 

UNM Member of Parliament Givi Targamadze was questioned by prosecutors in Saturday. A police employee was fired last week for leaking information to Targamadze.
MP Givi Targamadze was Saturday questioned for nine hours in a case related to the leaking of information from the Interior Ministry. More than a week ago, a Georgian Interior Ministry employee was fired for allegedly handing over secret information to Targamadze, a prominent member of parliament for ex-President Saakashvili’s party, the National Movement. On Thursday, Targamadze appeared at the Prosecutor General’s Office to be questioned as a witness. As a parliamentarian, he was not strictly speaking required to show up for questioning. As he left, Targamadze said the questions were ‘lame’ but that he provided investigators with all the information they needed.
Energy minister’s mafia links
He also told prosecutors about some things they didn’t ask him about. “I also provided investigators with information about multiple violations by high ranking officials, police heads collaborating with the mafia world,” he said, and urged investigators to start looking into his claims. Then he went on to specify who he was accusing of conspiring with the Georgian mafia: The head of the Prime Minister’s security, the former head of the Interior Minister’s security, and the former head of Adjara police department and his deputies. “And Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze, who actively participates in all of this,” he added, accusing all of them of being involved in ‘forming a mafia state police system.’ Kaladze is a former professional footballer, who now serves as energy minister as well as vice prime minister. Targamadze is wanted in Russia, accused of supporting the opposition and participating in organizing a revolution. He is accused of funding the activism of Sergey Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front, his assistant Leonid Razvizhayev and the activist Konstantin Lebedev, who was convicted to two and a half years in prison in 2013.

Künstler in Tiflis fürchten russische Invasion 22.03.2015,, Von Tatjana Montik
Georgien war im August 2008 bereits Ziel eines russischen Blitzkriegs. Deshalb engagieren sich zurzeit viele georgische Künstler für die Ukraine: Auch weil sie sich für die Hilfe bedanken wollen, die sie vor sieben Jahren von ihren ukrainischen Freunden erhielten. ... 
Dieser georgisch-russische Blitzkrieg hat auch Kikabidze stark getroffen und geprägt: "Als ich die russischen Panzer unweit von Tiflis sah, habe ich mich in einem Zimmer eingesperrt und bitter geweint. Man hat uns 20 Prozent unseres Gebietes einfach weggenommen! Das nenne ich Invasion! Gerade in jenen Tagen hatte ich aus dem Kreml ein Telegramm bekommen, mit der Mitteilung, dass man mir den Orden der Völkerfreundschaft verleiht. Ich habe abgelehnt und gesagt, dass ich nie mehr nach Russland fahren werde." ... 
Kritik an russischem Imperialismus
Der georgische Schriftsteller Lascha Bakradze glaubt, einmal in seiner Geschichte habe Georgien einen großen Fehler gemacht: Als es Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts den russischen Zaren um den Schutz vor seinen muslimischen Nachbarn bat und über Russland eine Annäherung an Europa suchte: "Ich habe so oft wiederholt, dass Russland kein Europa ist, es war und es bleibt ein Second-Hand-Europa. Und dieses Second-Hand-Europa hat einen unglaublich starken asiatisch-mongolischen Anschlag. Und wir sehen es heute deutlich, wie die russische Politik ist, gerade in der Ukraine. Das ist nicht die Politik des 21. Jahrhunderts, sondern bestenfalls des 19. Jahrhunderts, ein imperialistisches Denken."
Beunruhigt über Russlands wachsenden Einfluss
Viele georgische Künstler sind angesichts des wachsenden Einflusses Russlands in Georgien beunruhigt. Und die neue Regierung wird von vielen als eine pro-russische wahrgenommen. ... Ein äußerst besorgniserregendes Zeichen sei, sagt Popiaschwili, der wachsende Einfluss der russischen Medien, die unter der früheren Regierung von Michail Saakaschwili in Georgien nicht ausstrahlen durften. "Die russische Propaganda funktioniert einwandfrei, weil der Großteil der georgischen Öffentlichkeit immer noch am stärksten durch das Fernsehen beeinflusst wird. Die russische Propaganda tut unserem Land nicht gut. Natürlich soll es Pressefreiheit geben, doch wenn es um eine offene Propaganda geht, muss sie von der Regierung kontrolliert werden." ...

In der georgischen Hauptstadt Tiflis sind Zehntausende gegen die Regierung von Premierminister Irakli Garibaschwili auf die Straße gegangen. Sie soll für die schlechte Wirtschaftslage des Landes verantwortlich sein. ... Zu der Kundgebung hatte die Partei des ehemaligen Präsidenten Michail Saakaschwili aufgerufen, ... 
Desolate Wirtschaftslage ... Die Währung der ehemaligen Sowjetrepublik hat in den vergangenen zwei Jahren ein Drittel ihres Werts verloren, die Menschen leiden unter Inflation und der steigenden Arbeitslosigkeit. ... Saakaschwili lebt derzeit in Kiew, wo er seit Februar für den ukrainischen Präsident Petro Poroschenko als Berater tätig ist.
PM condemns planned rally as an attempt by “destructive forces” to “hamper” development.
Commenting on a protest rally planned in Tbilisi center for late Saturday afternoon by opposition United National Movement (UNM) party to demand government’s resignation, Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili said that struggle is moving into “a decisive phase.”
“I am sure that today’s rally will be held peacefully; our society will express its firm position in its usual civilized and honorable way with full compliance of the law,” Saakashvili, who formally remains chairman of UNM party, wrote on his Facebook page. “One thing is clear – we are moving into a decisive phase of struggle.”
UNM, which has been campaigning actively in the lead up of the rally, including in the regions and also through TV ads, was initially planning to hold the main demonstration outside the Parliament building, but said on Friday that it decided to change the venue to Freedom Square, few hundred meters from the Parliament building, citing that it expects turnout at the rally to be larger than initially thought.
In his separate remarks Saakashvili said that it would not be just UNM’s rally. “I think everyone in Georgia understands, regardless of party affiliation, that our country is not on the right track,” Saakashvili told journalists in Brussels where he attended EPP summit on March 19.
 “This [rally] is much broader than just about party interests. These are not election [campaign] rallies; this is much broader struggle for saving of the country and for getting the country back on the right track,” Saakashvili said.
Commenting on UNM’s planned rally, ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili told journalists on March 20: “What does this government harm you? Why should it resign?” He also said that unlike the previous government, the current one provides its opponents with the right to demonstrate and express their views, including “their lies”, freely. 
Traffic on Freedom Square, Rose Revolution Square and Rustaveli Avenue, as well as on the streets adjacent to this latter will be closed on Saturday, according to the Interior Ministry, whose officials met with senior UNM representatives on March 19 over the planned rally.
PM Irakli Garibashvili condemned UNM’s planned rally and said that it was an attempt by “destructive forces” to “hamper” Georgia’s development. He made the remarks on March 21 in a speech in Marneuli, where he congratulated locals on Nowruz festivities.
“Today several thousand people are gathering in Tbilisi by force and money; they cry for past; they cry for evil; cry for non-development. We have gathered today to celebrate love, to prove respect and love to each other, to think about tomorrow, about future. This is Georgia of future rather than the one when some destructive forces try to artificially hamper the development of our country,” Garibashvili said.
“But we will not allow any force to hamper the development of country in any form. We believe in better future, we believe in strong Georgia and strong region,” the PM added.

A group of civil society organizations have launched an online petition calling on the Georgian Dream ruling coalition to “react adequately” on anti-western rhetoric, voiced recently by the leadership of one of the coalition partners, Industrialists Party. ... But in series of recent multiple media interviews Topadze intensified his anti-western rhetoric by criticizing Georgia’s NATO aspirations on the one hand and on the other calling for the need of Russia-style NGO laws to impose tight control over the civil society groups. ... 

In 2009 then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Georgia to pursue policy of “strategic patience” in respect of its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Six years after the policy has been coined, asked several foreign policy analysts if the “strategic patience” remains an option for Georgia and what does it mean in the current context?
Neil Melvin, CASCADE Expert
... The crisis in Ukraine has transformed European security. Russia has clearly asserted that it intends to have the leading role in the post-Soviet space and that it will do what it takes to block the Transatlantic community – including threatening the use of nuclear weapons. ... But strategic patience is not enough with an unpredictable Russia, perhaps better advice today is “speak soft but carry a big stick”.
Michael Hikari Cecire – Black Sea regional analyst and the co-editor of “Georgian Foreign Policy: The Quest for Sustainable Security” (2014)
... If anything, Moscow’s domination of those regions have become even more comprehensive, while Russian expansionism has shifted Westward into Ukraine – taking Western attentions with it. Georgia’s outstanding territorial issues look to be on the remotest of back-burners. ... For Euro-Atlantic integration, that means speaking softly but carrying a big stick, making Georgia as unpalatable a meal for Russian adventurism as possible while, conversely, being as attractive a partner to the West as possible. 
Kevork Oskanian, CASCADE Expert
For small states like Georgia, “strategic patience” is not just an option – it is an absolute necessity. ... Tbilisi would have to be patient for a change to occur, either through a redefinition by Russia of its interests (away from the current geopolitical paradigm), a weakening of Russia, or, conversely, the sudden willingness of the West to intervene more pro-actively and forcefully in the former Soviet Union. ...

Leader of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov (left) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (right), March 18, 2015. Photo: Kremlin
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and leader of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov signed a treaty on “alliance and integration” in Moscow on March 18.
In a statement released shortly after the signature, the treaty has been condemned by the Georgian Foreign Ministry as an “actual annexation of occupied Tskhinvali region” by Russia.
Putin said after the meeting with Tibilov that implementation of the treaty “is backed by serious financial resources.”
“Additional of about 1 billion rubles will be allocated in 2016 for the purpose of implementation of goals” laid out in the treaty, Putin said and added that Russia’s financial assistance to Tskhinvali amounted to over 43 billion rubles in 2008-2014.
He said that over 9 billion rubles will be allocated in 2015-2017 in frames of “investment project for social-economic development of South Ossetia.”
“Over 9 billion rubles will be directed towards realization of 36 projects in the areas such housing projects, construction of cultural and educational facilities, transport infrastructure; construction of a modern republican healthcare center is also planned in Tskhinvali,” Putin said. ...
NATO said treaty on “alliance and integration” ... “is yet another move by the Russian Federation that hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.” “NATO said it does not recognize the so-called treaty on alliance and integration,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on March 18. “It violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradicts the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments.” ...
“ it ... will be yet another step that goes against ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement on March 17. “Furthermore, the signature of this document on the very day of the 31st round of Geneva International Discussions creates circumstances that do not foster a constructive climate for efforts to improve the security and humanitarian situation on the ground,” reads the statement. “Like previous agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the two Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, this ‘treaty’ – which includes references to a transfer of powers in some areas – clearly violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, principles of international law and the international commitments taken by the Russian Federation, including the 12 August 2008 Agreement and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008 and has no legal standing,” the EU foreign policy chief said.
The U.S. Department of State said it “does not recognize the legitimacy of any so-called ‘treaty’” on alliance and integration between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, which is scheduled to be signed on March 18.
“We are concerned by reports that the signing of this so-called agreement may coincide with the current round of Geneva discussions on the conflict in Georgia,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on March 17. ...

Former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, launched a TV talk-show on Sunday, prepared by his organization, called “2030”, to, as he put it, provide public with “qualified analysis” and to help the society “see developments correctly” in a media landscape, which, he said, opposition UNM party’s “propaganda and lie machine” Rustavi 2 TV is still setting the agenda. The talk-show is aired by GDS (Georgian Dream Studio), Tbilisi-based television channel owned by Ivanishvili’s son Bera. ...
“The goal of the project is to [provide] qualified analysis of developments in Georgia – mainly of political events and economy; at the same time we will also discuss and make correct accents on issues related to country’s development strategy,” he said while speaking in the talk-show in which two other representatives of the 2030 were also participating. ... Ivanishvili said that the society should not have over-exaggerated expectations and added that the society should know what to demand and when from the government. He said that people should know real situation well in order not to ask the government to fulfill unrealistic demands, which cannot be delivered in a short period of time. (Anmerkung: Ivanishvili stellt nun die Welt auf den Kopf. Bidzina Ivanishvili hatte im Wahlkampf sehr viele ökonomische Versprechungen gemacht, die nicht realistisch waren und bis heute nicht eingelöst wurden. Die damalige UNM-Regierungspartei hatte diese Versprechungen als unrealistisch kritisiert, nur realitische ökonomische Positionen vertreten und ist beim Wahlbürger gescheitert.) ... When asked about the major problems, Ivanishvili said that while in terms of democracy Georgia can be compared to any European state, Georgia is falling 15-20 times behind them in terms of economic development. ... Commenting on his remarks made in December, 2012 – one month after becoming the prime minister, when he pledged that each of the following year of GD government’s term in office before 2016 elections would have seen significant economic progress, Ivanishvili said that this progress was made more in terms of democratic development rather than in economy. ... The anchor of the talk show, Archil Gamzardia, concluded the program, which lasted for more than an hour, by saying: “I think the real data and information that we discussed today give us a reason to be more optimistic and this [TV] project will help the society to get more precise information in order to better understand what views to have towards various processes.”

BPB und Georgien - Suchergebinisse - Artikel, Schriftwerke als PDF oder Buch
17 Schriftenreihe (Bd. 1447) - MAJDAN!
Was geschah auf dem Majdan-Platz? Die in diesem Buch vorgelegten, teils sehr persönlichen Texte ukrainischer und internationaler Zeitzeugen sind im Winter 2013/14 entstanden. Als ...
Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 13/2009) - Kaukasus - PDF-Version (2.009 KB)
Die Region zwischen Schwarzem und Kaspischem Meer wird in Westeuropa vor allem als Krisenherd wahrgenommen. Zuletzt erschütterte der Augustkrieg 2008 zwischen Georgien und Russland die Weltöffentlichkeit.
Ukraine-Analysen 101 (13.03.2012) - Analyse: Die Ukraine und Georgien. Ein Überblick über die Beziehungen in den letzten Jahren
Russland und Georgien. Er sprach in Tbilisi dem "befreundeten georgischen Volk“ seinen Gruß aus, betonte ... Entwicklungen direkt nach der Erlangung der Unabhängigkeit der Ukraine und Georgiens im Jahr 1991. Nachdem im ... Republik Georgien“ von den Präsidenten Leonid Kutschma und Eduard Schewardnadse unterzeichnet. Erst zehn ..
Konfliktporträts - Georgien
Aktuelle Situation Seit dem Regierungswechsel in Georgien im Zuge der Parlamentswahlen im Oktober ... 2012 ist Bewegung in den Konflikt zwischenGeorgien und den abtrünnigen Regionen Abchasien und ... zwischen Georgienund Russland selbst hat sich seit dem Regierungswechsel in Tbilisi zwar leicht entspannt ...
Russland-Analysen 221 (03.06.2011) - Analyse: Stolperstein Georgien: Die Auswirkungen des georgisch-russischen Konflikts auf Russlands WTO-Beitritt
bleibt die Position des WTO-Mitglieds Georgien, das sich in einem tief verwurzelten Konflikt mit Russland ... Konzessionen Moskaus abhängig und könnte so einen Beitritt blockieren. Für Georgiens Politik bieten die ... auf dem verbliebenen Weg zur Aufnahme droht allerdings das WTO-Mitglied Georgien zu werden, das die ...
Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 13/2009) - Die Georgienkrise als weltpolitisches Thema
Georgians" erklang. Die USA in der Georgienkrise Georgien betrachtet die USA als engsten ... -Unterstützung betrieben. Washington förderte den baldigen NATO-Beitritt Georgiens. Im Gegenzug stellteGeorgien ... militärischen Konflikts im Umfeld Europas. Georgienkrise und europäische OstpolitikGeorgien liegt an einer ...

The government`s plans to overcome the economic crisis have not been specified yet.
Member of the "Georgian Dream - Entrepreneurs" Zurab Tkemaladze said that at this stage the economic growth rate process was being looked into.
Up to now, it is only known that the Goverment intends to start the privatization process, reduce administrative costs and encourage businesses.
However, specified details have not yet been made public,including the  corrections of  the 2015 budget. 
The "National Movement" criticises of the government with regard to economic situation. Zurab Melikishvili said that the result of the Goverment`s activity was poor citizens, lari depriciation, increased prices.
As for the current exchange rate of the lari, according to the National Bank, the lari was slightly strengthened. The new rate is 2.14 GEL for 1 dollar.

Addressing UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 2, Georgian Foreign Minister, Tamar Beruchashvili, called on Russia “to stop its aggressive policies against sovereign states” and said that Moscow’s “aggression” against Ukraine is not an isolated case.
“Today we face the situation when the universally recognized principles and norms of international law are abused by one of the HRC [Human Rights Council] member states and a permanent member of the UN Security Council,” she said referring to Russia. ...
“Ukraine is not an isolated case, but rather part of Russia’s attempt to expand the zones of influence by hampering the sovereign right of nations to determine their future,” the Georgian Foreign Minister said. 
“A clear example of such policy is Russia’s military aggression against Georgia in 2008 and the subsequent occupation of 20 percent of sovereign territory of my country,” she said, adding that Russia “remains in flagrant violation” of the August, 2008 ceasefire agreement. ...

United National Movement (UNM) opposition party said on Saturday it will hold a protest rally in Tbilisi on March 21 to demand resignation of the government.
The announcement was made after Parliament failed to hold a special session due to lack of quorum as lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group boycotted it. UNM wanted special session of the parliament to debate on economic situation, amid depreciated national currency lari.
“The government and [GD] parliamentary majority acted completely irresponsibly and did not show up,” MP Zurab Japaridze, executive secretary of UNM, said, while announcing about the planned protest rally.
Standing alongside with other UNM lawmakers in the Parliament in Kutaisi, MP Japaridze said that the Georgian economy “is on the verge of collapse” and “depreciation of lari damaged each family.”
“The government is inactive; it has no clear-cut plan on how to get the country out of this crisis, moreover it is refusing to even discuss our anti-crisis plan,” he said, referring to UNM’s proposal, which, among others, also includes call for cut of tax rates.
“The government no longer listens to the people, so our duty as of the opposition is to make the government hear people’s voice. As far as it did not happen here [in the Parliament chamber] today, it will happen in the capital city Tbilisi on the Rustaveli Avenue,” he said.
“We call on every citizen of Georgia, who feels insulted and deceived by this government, who thinks that this government is incapable of doing something, to gather on Rustaveli Avenue on March 21 and to demand resignation of Georgia’s incapable government. We are waiting for you in Tbilisi on Rustaveli Avenue on March 21,” he said.

Von Benjamin Bidder, Moskau
Wer erschoss Kreml-Gegner Boris Nemzow? Die Behörden verdächtigen Islamisten, die Opposition und den Westen. Putin-treue Medien nähren Gerüchte über Täter aus der Ukraine. Auf Twitter ziehen Bot-Armeen in die Propaganda-Schlacht. - In Russland sind Verschwörungstheorien ein beliebtes Mittel, um Politik zu machen - oder zu verschleiern. ... Ziel des Mordes sei eine "Provokation zur Destabilisierung der politischen Lage im Land". In diesem Falle, so Chef-Ermittler Bastrykin, sei Nemzow "zu einer Art sakralem Opfer geworden für jene, die vor nichts Halt machen, um ihre politischen Ziele zu erreichen". ...
Regierungskritiker wie Boris Nemzow leben in Russland gefährlich. Der Auftragsmord an Oppositionellen hat dort Tradition – ebenso wie die öffentliche Bloßstellung. ...
Tbilisi Condemns Murder of Nemtsov - 28.02.2015,
The Georgian Foreign Ministry “condemned appalling” murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in Moscow center close to the Kremlin late on Friday night.
“Investigation should be carried out promptly, transparently and perpetrators should be brought to justice,” Georgian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Davit Kereselidze, said.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili said he’s “shocked” by murder of Nemtsov, “who tirelessly fought for protection of freedom.”
PM Irakli Garibashvili “strongly condemned” murder of “one of the prominent Russian politicians” and said in a statement that he’s “shocked by this appalling tragedy.”
Georgian parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said in a statement: “Boris Nemtsov was a politician, whose efforts at all stages of his life were directed towards better, democratic Russia.”
Usupashvili also said that Nemtsov’s death is “a loss for the Russian people and their better future, for his family, friends and colleagues and for the entire democratic world.”
“I hope that this appalling murder will be investigated promptly and objectively and perpetrators brought to justice,” Usupashvili said.
 Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is an adviser to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, told CNN that he had a lunch with Nemtsov last week in Kiev. He said that Nemtsov wanted to meet him because he was preparing a report on Ukraine as he was trying “to reach out to the Russian public and tell them the truth about what’s happening in Ukraine.” 
 “I am not surprised at all that he was killed; I am surprised that he was not killed until now, because you are dealing here with mafia state,” Saakashvili said. “The whole climate existing there makes it almost impossible for people like Nemtsov to walk around freely and to walk around alive unfortunately.”
“Putin came with violence, rules with violence and will end in violence,” Saakashvili said.

Als georgischer Präsident führte Michail Saakaschwili Krieg gegen Russland. Jetzt berät er Petro Poroschenko und erklärt, wie die Ukraine auf Putin reagieren sollte. ...
ZEIT ONLINE: Hat Putin einen Plan?
Saakaschwili: Ich hatte mehrere Gespräche mit Putin. Bei einem unserer ersten Treffen im Februar 2004, damals waren wir sehr nett zueinander und es herrschte noch gute Atmosphäre, sagte er bereits: Erstens: Wenn Georgien weiter Richtung EU strebt, werde er seine Armee einsetzen. Zweitens: Die Ukraine ist kein richtiges, eigenständiges Land. Und drittens: Die baltischen Staaten können von der Nato nicht verteidigt werden. ...
ZEIT ONLINE: Ist es in der Ukraine möglich, Reformen durchzuführen, wenn ein Krieg im Land tobt?
Saakaschwili: Das ist genau der Zeitpunkt, zu dem es getan werden muss. Der wahre Kampf wird nicht um Geländegewinne geführt, sondern um eine florierende Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft. Die Ukraine muss das neue Westdeutschland werden. So wie sich Deutschland nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg entwickelt hat, so eifrig müssen jetzt Reformen hier angestoßen werden. ...

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has called on Georgia “to advance substantially” its reforms, including in rule of law, judiciary and prosecutor’s office, and to foster “political climate of respect.”
Speaking after the meeting with Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili in Brussels on February 26, Tusk said: “Georgia is one of the frontrunners of the Eastern Partnership. This is not a compliment, but a fact.”
He said that implementation of the Association Agreement was one of the main topics of discussion with the Georgian PM. Tusk said that it was “an important decision” by Georgia to sign this agreement, which also includes deep and comprehensive free trade treaty, with the EU last June.  
“The time has come for Georgia to advance substantially its reform agenda in vital areas such as the rule of law and the judiciary, including the creation of an independent prosecutor’s office,” President of the European Council said.
“Fostering a political climate of respect and cross-party dialogue is another area where I have encouraged progress,” he added.
“Implementing this Agreement will also help build a credible track record for the country in light of its European aspirations,” Tusk said.
Georgian PM Garibashvili, who paid one-day visit to Brussels on February 26, said after the meeting with Tusk that process of Georgia’s “European and Euro-Atlantic integration is irreversible.”
 “It is the primary objective of my government to demonstrate to our citizens that the European agenda delivers; so we are committed to the continued effective implementation of the Association Agreement,” the Georgian PM said.
In Brussels Garibashvili also met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker; EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, as well as European Parliament President Martin Schulz and chairman of European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs Elmar Brok. The Georgian PM also met his Moldovan counterpart Chiril Gaburici, who was also in Brussels for talks with the EU officials.
European Council President Donald Tusk reiterated EU’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“I encouraged the Prime Minister to reach out to the entities [breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia] and pursue a two-track approach of both non-recognition and engagement,” Tusk said.
He also said that the EU continues to “follow closely implications” of Russia’s “alliance” treaties with the breakaway regions.
“This agreement violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also contradicts the principles of international law and Russia’s international commitments,” Tusk said.
PM Garibashvili said that Russia’s decision to sign these treaties with breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia confirms Moscow’s “intention to actually step-by-step annex these parts of Georgia.”
 Visa liberalisation dialogue between Georgia and the EU was also discussed.
PM Garibashvili said Georgia is committed to fulfill all the requirements under the visa liberalisation action plan with the EU and expects the European Commission to recommend visa waiver by the time of Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in late May.
On visa liberalisation, Tusk said: “We are making good progress on this… And I hope that at our next meeting in Riga, we can be successful in this context.”

In a written statement on February 26, ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said blaming government for depreciation of the Georgian currency lari (GEL) is groundless and accused the central bank and its president Giorgi Kadagidze’s “inaction and wrong actions” for, as he put it, “crisis.”... “In an attempt to ease affect of external factors, the Georgian government cut budget deficit in 2014 from 3.9% to 2.9%,” reads the statement, referring to this year’s budget, which sets deficit to no more than 3% of GDP.
“By the end of last year and in January of 2015 lari stabilized to a rate more or less relevant to factors caused by external circumstances,” Ivanishvili said.
GEL, which started depreciation from early November, gained a bit by the end of December, but again continued to depreciate starting from January.
Late on Thursday afternoon GEL strengthened 0.6% to 2.2494 per U.S. dollar.
Since early November, when GEL started depreciation, the Georgian currency lost 28.2% of its value against U.S. dollar and 15.8% against euro.
Ivanishvili said that developments of recent days – apparently referring to falling of GEL on February 24 sharper than in previous days, when it lost 3% against dollar, the largest single-day drop in almost a decade – obviously indicate on presence of “wrong expectations, speculative dealings and stir, which the United National Movement [opposition party] representatives and their ‘experts’ are eagerly attempting to cause.”
“They are pointing the finger at the government without any analysis and justification, but under the constitution country’s monetary policy is determined by the National Bank,” reads Ivanishvili’s statement.
“It was within the competence of the National Bank and its direct responsibility to manage the situation correctly in order to prevent incorrect development. But we have seen opposite of that, and the President of the National Bank Giorgi Kadagidze, who was appointed by the United National Movement [in 2009], led us to the crisis of the national currency with his inaction and wrong actions,” Ivanishvili said.
“In order to prevent sharp fall of national currencies, central banks of other countries of the region sold significant part of their reserves (Armenia – 34%; Moldova – 30%), which caused stability of their currencies as of today,” reads Ivanishvili’s statement.
Armenian dram lost 16.5% of its value against dollar and Moldovan leu – 22.3% since early November.
“The National Bank of Georgia spent only up to 5% (USD 120 million) of its reserves, which failed to yield any results,” Ivanishvili said.
The central bank sold USD 40 million on three separate occasions in February, most recently on Tuesday.
“The National Bank has relevant levers to secure stability of the currency in the condition of floating exchange rate. Exchange of rate of lari should not be more than 2 [per U.S. dollar],” the ex-PM said.
“I call on the President of the National bank to fulfill his constitutional duties and to take appropriate steps,” he said.
The central bank has not yet commented.
UNM opposition party said that Ivanishvili is personally responsible for the existing economic woes.
“The oligarch [referring to Ivanishvili] is in hysteria,” UNM MP Zurab Japaridze said. “He understands very well that he is personally responsible for depreciation of lari and for extremely difficult economic situation and he won’t be able to escape this responsibility.”
Georgian currency lari (GEL) lost up to 3% of its value against U.S. dollar late on Tuesday afternoon, the biggest single-day fall since September, 2004.
GEL fell to 2.2619 per U.S. dollar from 2.1971.
The Georgian central bank said it sold USD 40 million at a foreign currency auction on Tuesday. It sold the same amount of dollar twice this year – on February 11 and then again on February 19.
Since early November, when GEL started depreciation, the Georgian currency lost up to 29% of its value against U.S. dollar and 16% against euro.
Earlier on Tuesday opposition UNM party appealed President Giorgi Margvelashvili to convene a special session of the Parliament for February 27, where PM Irakli Garibashvili would be summoned to discuss “ways out of this crisis situation.” The President has yet to respond.
GD parliamentary majority leader, MP Davit Saganelidze, said that with the parliamentary debates, UNM wants to “stage a show”. “There is no time for that,” he said.
GEL Slide Continues Despite C.Bank Dollar Sale - 19.02.2015,
Despite a central bank intervention on Thursday, the Georgian national currency lari (GEL) fell to 2.1472 to the U.S. dollar, its lowest level since January, 2004.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) said it sold USD 40 million at a foreign currency auction on Thursday – its second intervention this year after the central bank sold the same amount of dollar on February 11 and also raised its key rate by 50 basis points at 4.5%. At the time the measures helped to halt GEL slide, but only briefly, and it then again continued depreciation.
Since early November, when GEL started depreciation, the Georgian national currency lost 22.4% of its value against U.S. dollar and 10.9% against euro.
Commenting on the issue, Economy Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, told journalists on February 19 that the government intends to ask IMF for “additional funds for capital spending that will be used for infrastructure projects.”
 Georgian exports continued downward trend in January, declining 30% year-on-year. The government has attributed decline mainly to decreasing exports to Russia and Ukraine. Remittances also continued declining in January to USD 75.5 million, down by 23.3% compared to the same period of last year, caused by falling transfers from Russia.
As lari falls, the government is under increasing criticism of the opposition with UNM parliamentary minority group blaming economic policies of the government as the latter tends to blame mostly external factors for GEL depreciation. UNM has been calling on the government to give up imposing additional regulations and to cut income and value added taxes, as well as to scrap excise tax on fuel to stimulate economic growth in a longer term.

Minsker Abkommen soll weiter gelten 19.02.2015,
Russland, die Ukraine, Deutschland und Frankreich wollen das Minsker Friedensabkommen trotz des Bruchs der Waffenruhe im ukrainischen Debalzewe nicht für gescheitert erklären. Einer internationalen Friedensmission werden dagegen nur wenig Chancen eingeräumt.
Die USA halten das Minsker Abkommen zur Waffenruhe in der Ukraine auch nach der Einnahme der Stadt Debalzewo durch prorussische Separatisten nicht für gescheitert. Eine Außenamtssprecherin sagte in Washington, man konzentriere sich weiter auf die Umsetzung der Einigung. ...
Die in Minsk vereinbarte Waffenruhe ist in der Ostukraine nie flächendeckend in Kraft getreten. Der diplomatische Versuch ist nach den Kämpfen um Debalzewe gescheitert. ...
"Nur ein Fetzen Papier"  13.02.2015,
Andrij Melnyk,ukrainische Botschafter in Berlin, im Gespräch mit Christoph Heinemann
Dem Abkommen von Minsk gibt Andrij Melnyk kaum eine Chance. "Es ist nur ein Fetzen Papier", sagte er im DLF. Aber ein schlechter Frieden sei allemal besser als Krieg. Er glaube nicht, dass Russland von seinen Zielen in der Ostukraine abrücken werde. ... Heinemann: Rechnen Sie damit, dass Russland diese Ziele (Unruhe im Osten zu stiften) aufgibt? Melnyk: Nein. Wir sind realistisch. Wir glauben, dass das wahrscheinlich nicht der Fall sein wird. Aber wir glauben auch daran, dass zusammen mit unseren westlichen Partnern, mit Deutschland es möglich sein wird, auch weiterhin den Druck auf Moskau auszuüben, damit man doch noch zu einer Einigung kommt oder damit das Minsk-II-Abkommen tatsächlich in die Tat umgesetzt wird. ... 
Osteuropa-Experte Hans-Henning Schröder im Interview: Die Durchsetzung der in Minsk vereinbarten Waffenruhe hänge davon ab, ob die Separatisten sich an den Kompromiss halten, sagte Hans-Henning Schröder, Herausgeber der "Russland-Analysen", im DLF. Dabei wiederum komme es stark auf die Durchsetzungskraft des russischen Präsidenten an. ... Abschließend: Also ich gehe davon aus: Das, was die russische Führung gern hätte, wäre, dass die Ukraine im Einflussbereich, in der Interessensphäre Russlands ist. Das wäre gut gelungen mit Janukowitsch. Nach dem Sturz von Janukowitsch ist das ausgeschlossen. Und jetzt hat man sich mit der Krim und der Ostukraine Möglichkeiten verschafft, auf Kiew einzuwirken. Und von daher wäre es eine Logik, dass man dort diesen Frozen Conflict, diesen eingefrorenen Konflikt erhält und ihn immer wieder benutzt, um die Kiewer Führung unter Druck zu setzen. ...
"Kein Grund zur Euphorie" - 13.02.2015,
Sebastian Kurz im Gespräch mit Christoph Heinemann, österreichischer Außenminister:
Das zweite Minsker Ukraine-Abkommen ist nach Ansicht von Sebastian Kurz lediglich "ein Strohhalm", um die Lage in der Ost-Ukraine zu verbessern. Es sei allein "sehr positiv, dass es diese Gespräche gegeben hat", sagte Kurz im Deutschlandfunk. Er warnte Russland vor neuen Sanktionen. ... Wie hegt man eine aggressive Macht ein, die sich um die in Europa geltende Friedensordnung nicht weiter schert? Kurz: Vor allem, neben der Notwendigkeit, mit Sanktionen darauf zu reagieren, mit Verhandlungen und weiteren Gesprächen. Ich glaube, dass ganz klar sein muss, dass es hier nur eine Lösung am Verhandlungstisch geben kann. Und insofern halte ich alle Liebäugeleien mit einem NATO-Beitritt, der Forderung von Waffenlieferungen, das halte ich alles für Schritte und Diskussionen, die eigentlich zu einer weiteren Eskalation führen würden. Denn ich glaube, wir müssen uns bewusst sein, egal wie viele Waffen geliefert werden würden, Russland würde sich als Atommacht davon sicherlich nicht beeindrucken lassen. Und insofern haben wir keine Alternative, auch wenn das manchmal dramatisch klingt und auch, wenn das oft keine Freude macht. Aber wir haben keine andere Alternative als immer wieder einen Anlauf zu starten, eine friedliche Lösung am Verhandlungstisch zustande zu bringen. Im Moment sind wir dieser wieder ein Stück weit näher, als es noch vor einer Woche der Fall war, und das ist gut so. ...
"Grenze des Erträglichen erreicht" 13.02.2015,
Osteuropahistoriker Wilfried Jilge, Universität Leipzig, im Gespräch mit Tobias Armbrüster: 
Mit dem Minsk-II-Abkommen habe sich der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin weiteren Handlungsspielraum verschafft, sagt der Wilfried Jilge im DLF. ... Was das Minsker Abkommen für ein Ende der Gewalt in der Ost-Ukraine wert ist: Jilge äußert sich äußerst pessimistisch. Er spricht von "sehr fragilen Punkten" und "prekären Bruchstellen" - und einer bitteren Erkenntnis ... , dass ein aggressiver Staat mit informellen Vorposten mittels roher Gewalt Fakten schaffen kann, denn von dem komplexen politischen Prozess, der in der Vereinbarung vorgesehen ist, bis hin zu den Voraussetzungen für einen dauerhaften Frieden - Stichwort Kontrolle der Grenze - ist die Ukraine jetzt auf Gespräche mit den Separatisten angewiesen im Rahmen der Kontaktgruppe, die keinerlei verfassungsmäßige oder demokratische Legitimation haben. Das sollte man sich ganz genau merken, denn die Grenze des Erträglichen ist aus der Sicht eines souveränen Staates wie der Ukraine im Grunde genommen mit dieser Vereinbarung erreicht. ...
"Zug um Zug ist jetzt die Strategie" 13.02.2015,
Grünen-Politikerin Marieluise Beck im Gespräch mit Jasper Barenberg
Als "fragilen Waffenstillstand" hat die Grünen-Politikerin Marieluise Beck die Ergebnisse des Ukraine-Gipfels bezeichnet. Russlands Präsident Putin müsse nun zeigen, dass er die Vereinbarungen ernst nimmt, sagte sie im DLF. Aber auch Deutschland sei nun in der Pflicht. ... Und ansonsten wird man sehen, ob Präsident Putin nun wirklich diese Vereinbarungen ernst nimmt. Er hat mit am Tisch gesessen, und wir wissen, dass er derjenige ist, der den sogenannten Separatisten sagen kann, was zu tun ist. Und das würde bedeuten, die Waffen müssen endlich schweigen. ...
"Da baut sich eine Militärmacht auf" - 12.02.2015,
Ralf Fücks, Vorstand der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, im Gespräch mit Peter Kapern
Ralf Fücks traut dem Frieden auf dem Minsker Ukraine-Gipfel nicht. Er sagte im Deutschlandfunk, seit dem letzten in Minsk vereinbarten Waffenstillstand habe Russland im Osten der Ukraine systematisch aufgerüstet. Frieden bringe nur ein wirklicher Kurswechsel in Moskau. ... Russland hat ja in den letzten Wochen – und zwar, seit dem in Minsk vereinbarten Waffenstillstand – systematisch aufgerüstet mit frischen Truppen, mit neuen Kämpfern, aber auch mit schwerem Gerät, zum Beispiel Raketenwerfern, die inzwischen über 50 Kilometer auf das ukrainische Territorium schießen können wie gestern in Kramatorsk. Also, da baut sich eine Militärmacht auf, die für eine weitere Eskalation der Kämpfe gut ist, deshalb muss man natürlich ein Interesse haben, dass es zumindest zu einer belastbaren Feuerpause kommt. Aber von einer politischen Lösung sehe ich uns noch weit entfernt, solange es keinen wirklichen Kurswechsel in Moskau gibt, also nicht akzeptiert wird die politische Souveränität der Ukraine einschließlich ihrer Bündnisfreiheit. ...
Schüssel rät, Putin ernst zu nehmen - 11.02.2015,
Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)Österreichs früherer Bundeskanzler, im Gespräch mit Dirk Müller
Ein intensiver Gedankenaustausch mit Wladimir Putin, so wie Angela Merkel es versuche, sei der einzige Weg aus der Krise, sagte Wolfgang Schüssel im DLF. Man müsse unbedingt versuchen, "das Rationale in Putin" anzusprechen. ...
"Russland agiert irrational" 10.02.2015,
Cem Özdemir, Co-Vorsitzender von Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, im Gesräch mit Silvia Engels
Grünen-Chef Cem Özdemir hat sich gegen Waffenlieferungen an die Ukraine ausgesprochen. Im Konflikt mit der Atommacht Russland könne es keine militärische Lösung geben, sagte Özdemir im DLF. Nur durch weitere Sanktionen könne man Putin klar machen, "dass es so nicht weitergehen kann". ...
WAFFENLIEFERUNGEN UKRAINE - "Amerika hätte von einem Krieg in Europa nichts" 
US-Politologe Christer Garrett im Gespräch mit Jürgen Liminski
"Das wäre eine Katastrophe", sagte Christer Garrett zu einer möglichen Ausweitung des Krieges in der Ostukraine. Die umstrittenen Waffenlieferungen sind nur eine Option zur Konfliktlösung. ... zu Wirtschaftssanktionen:  müssen kritisch überdacht werden: Die Schmerzen für die Binnenwirtschaft Russlands steigen, das sehen wir. Wie lange die das aushalten können, ist schwierig. Bei der Pressekonferenz haben Kanzlerin Merkel und Präsident Obama Iran in diesem Kontext erwähnt. Die Sanktionen gegenüber Iran greifen seit Jahren. Und was hat das gebracht? - Na ja, das kann man natürlich diskutieren. Es ist immer die Frage, was würde passieren ohne diese Modalitäten, um den politischen Druck zu erhöhen. Wirtschaftliche Sanktionen sind in diesem Sinne eine nicht militärische Option. Die sind ein Werkzeug, aber die sind keine Garantie. Das hat die Kanzlerin auch immer wieder betont und auch der Präsident. ...
"Keine Möglichkeit für politische Lösung" 09.02.2015,
Andrew Denison, Publizist und Politologe aus den USA, im Gespräch mit Christine Heuer
Andrew B. Denison ist Direktor der Denkfabrik "Transatlantic Networks".
Andrew Denison warnt Deutschland vor "falscher Hellsichtigkeit" in der Frage von Waffenlieferungen an die Ukraine. Man könne nicht wissen, ob Waffen zu einer Eskalation im Konflikt führen würden, sagte er im DLF. Zumindest würden sie Putin signalisieren, dass weitere Vorstöße nicht akzeptiert würden. ...
"Wichtig, dass wir geschlossen bleiben" - 09.02.2015,
Friedrich Merz, ehemaliger Unionsfraktionsvorsitzender und Vorsitzender des Vereins Atlantik-Brücke, im Gespräch mit Friedbert Meurer
Kann die Ukraine-Krise die EU und die USA spalten? Friedrich Merz, Vorsitzender des Vereins Atlantik-Brücke, warnte davor im DLF. Auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz habe er aber bei europäischen und amerikanischen Gesprächspartnern ein Bemühen erkannt, die Krise geschlossen anzugehen. ... Ich glaube, dass die Bundesregierung und auch die Bundeskanzlerin vollkommen Recht haben, wenn sie sagen, dass dieser Konflikt militärisch nicht zu lösen ist. Das hat im Übrigen auch John Kerry, der amerikanische Außenminister, deutlich gesagt. Wir müssen allerdings auch sehen: Es wird eine militärische Lösung von der russischen Seite aus forciert. Russland führt Krieg gegen die Ukraine. Ich glaube, das kann niemand mehr ernsthaft bestreiten. Die Frage ist, wie schafft der Westen es, die erste gewaltsame Grenzverschiebung in Europa seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg - und um eine solche handelt es sich - zu stoppen und wenn möglich auch wieder zu korrigieren. ...
Nach einem nächtlichen Verhandlungsmarathon in Minsk haben sich die Konfliktparteien auf einen 13-Punkte-Plan für einen Frieden in der Ostukraine verständigt. FAZ.NET dokumentiert die Punkte. ...

Tauschen sie in Gedanken die Worte Ukraine und Georgien ... - Anmerkung von

Die Glaubwürdigkeit Putins 2008: 
ARD-Interview mit Putin - 29.08.08 (unzensiert) - google-blog    >>Seite 
... Roth: D.h. Sie werden ihre Truppen auf jeden Fall zurückziehen. Putin: Natürlich. ...

MSC    MSC -
Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz (englisch Munich Security Conference, MSC; auch Internationale Sicherheitskonferenz)
Pressestimmen und Analysen zur 51. Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz 10. Februar 2015, von MSC
Reden zur 51. Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz -
Wolfgang Ischinger, Vorsitzende der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz: "Der Westen muss gegenüber Russland auf eine neue Doppelstrategie setzen ... Mit dem Tabubruch, Grenzen nicht gewaltsam zu verändern, hat Moskau der Idee einer euro-atlantischen Sicherheitsgemeinschaft schweren Schaden zugefügt. Strategische Geduld ist nun gefragt. Der Westen sollte das Ziel aber nicht aufgeben und im Umgang mit Russland auf Eindämmung und Einbindung setzen. Ansatzpunkte dafür gibt es." - aus Essay für die Fachzeitschrift "Internationale Politik"
... Ich halte es für richtig, dass diese Debatte angestoßen wird. Denn das, was wir von der Ukraine im Moment erwarten, erinnert mich an den Herzpatienten, dem man sagt, man behandelt seinen Herzinfarkt erst dann, wenn er zwischendurch einen Marathon gelaufen ist. Wir erwarten von der Ukraine, dass sie ihre Finanzen in Ordnung bringt, dass sie umfassend Reformen durchführt, dass sie die Korruption bekämpft und, dass sie eine militärische Herausforderung in ihrem Osten in den Griff bekommt. Wie soll das gehen, wenn das Land nicht umfassende finanzielle Hilfe und auch das notwendige an militärischer Unterstützung bekommt, um zu verhindern, dass das Land entweder finanziell oder militärisch im Bankrott endet?
Ich halte es für ganz falsch, wenn viele in der deutschen politischen Landschaft die Frage nach möglichen westlichen Waffenlieferungen von vorneherein abwürgen wollen. Nicht-Handeln führt auch zu Verantwortung. Und wenn wir wegschauen und die Ukraine - um es salopp auszudrücken - vor die Hunde geht, werden die politischen, militärischen und sicherlich auch die finanziellen Kosten wahrscheinlich noch viel größer sein, als wenn wir uns jetzt ernsthaft die Frage stellen, wie wir den Verhandlungstisch für alle Beteiligten wieder attraktiv machen können. Solange die Separatisten Geländegewinne machen, wie in den vergangenen Tagen und Wochen, verweigern sie sich dem Verhandlungstisch. Da kann die Bundesregierung lange rufen. Der Vormarsch der Rebellen muss gestoppt werden. Und hier stellt sich in der Tat die Frage: Kann das die ukrainische Armee alleine? ...
Auf der Sicherheitskonferenz wirbt die Kanzlerin für die deutsche Strategie gegenüber Russland: Druck ausüben und verhandeln. ... Weil sie der festen Überzeugung sei, dass der Konflikt militärisch nicht gelöst werde, gelte es, alle Anstrengungen auf die Diplomatie zu richten. Gleichzeitig müsse der Westen mit Sanktionen den Druck aufrecht erhalten.  ... Vor allem den Amerikanern ist das zu wenig. ... Der republikanische US-Senator Lindsey Graham, der von einem wachsenden Konsens für Waffenlieferungen im Kongress berichtet, an die Adresse der Kanzlerin: "Ich denke, Sie machen einen schweren Fehler. Sie können nach Moskau gehen, bis Sie blau im Gesicht sind. Stellen Sie sich dem entgegen, was klar eine Lüge und eine Gefahr ist." ... 
Die Kanzlerin spricht nach dem Treffen mit Putin auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz: Ein Erfolg der Friedensinitiative im Ukraine-Konflikt sei ungewiss, eine militärische Lösung aber undenkbar. ..
MSC ZUR UKRAINE-KRISE - Waffen – ja oder nein? - 07.02.2015,
Bundeskanzlerin Merkel ist auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz um optimistische Töne bemüht. Die USA und Großbritannien fordern dagegen Waffenlieferungen, Russlands Außenminister Lawrow attackiert den Westen scharf. ... Mit scharfen Attacken gegen den Westen hat der russische Außenminister Sergej Lawrow bei der Konferenz auf Vorwürfe gegen sein Land reagiert. An den derzeitigen Spannungen zwischen beiden Seiten seien nicht die Ereignisse in der Ukraine im vergangenen Jahr verantwortlich, sondern Entwicklungen während der vergangenen 25 Jahre. Die Nato ignoriere gleichberechtigte Sicherheitsinteressen. ... Die deutsche Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen hatte am Freitag Waffenlieferungen bereits als Brandbeschleuniger bezeichnet. Eine Reaktion, die bei den anwesenden VerDer deutsche Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier sieht Europa an einem Scheideweg und rief zum Dialog auf: „Wenn jetzt der falsche Weg gewählt wird, (...) dann könnte es passieren, dass wir nicht nur Jahre, sondern Jahrzehnte brauchen, um die Scherben dieser falschen Politik, dieses falschen Weges wieder aufzukehren“ ... EU-Parlamentspräsident Martin Schulz (SPD): „Die russische Außenpolitik ist sehr viel schneller, sie schaffen Fakten“ ... Am Sonntag wollen Hollande, Merkel, Putin und diesmal auch Poroschenko noch einmal miteinander telefonieren. Am Montag will Merkel dann nach Washington reisen, um mit US-Präsident Barack Obama zu beraten. ...tretern der amerikanischen Delegation auf Unverständnis gestoßen war. ... 
... Nach seinem Gespräch mit Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel und Frankreichs Präsident François Hollande am Freitag in Moskau versicherte Putin, sein Land wolle keinen Krieg. Russland habe „nicht vor, gegen irgendjemanden Krieg zu führen“, sagte Putin am Samstag nach Angaben der Nachrichtenagentur Interfax.  ... Außenminister Lawrow: „Es stellt sich die Frage, ob Sie (der Westen) eine Sicherheitsarchitektur mit, ohne oder gegen Russland errichten wollen.“ Die Ukraine nannte Lawrow „eine rassistische und in Blut getränkte Gemeinschaft“. Es habe dort ethnische Säuberungen gegeben mit dem Ziel, „Juden und Russen zu vernichten“, behauptete er. „In den westlichen Hauptstädten“ habe das aber „zu keinen Reaktionen geführt“. Russland sei dagegen „dem Frieden verpflichtet“, so Lawrow. ...
Ukraine-Konflikt - Für Lawrow steht der Schuldige fest - Stand: 07.02.2015,
... Lawrow warf den USA und der EU vor, den Konflikt in der Ukraine anzuheizen. Zu jedem Zeitpunkt der Auseinandersetzung hätten die Vereinigten Staaten und die EU Schritte unternommen, um die Krise weiter zu eskalieren. So hätten sie etwa direkt den "verfassungsfeindlichen Staatsstreich" gegen den damaligen Präsidenten Viktor Janukowitsch unterstützt. Die jetzige Opposition würde dagegen ignoriert und an den Rand gedrängt, argumentierte der russische Außenminister. ...

Deutschland - Georgien 8 : 64 - -
Einen härteren Auftaktgegner hätte die Deutsche Auswahl nicht haben können. Die DRV XV traf als Aufsteiger am ersten Spieltag auf Titelverteidiger Georgien und ging als klarer Aussenseiter in die Partie. In den Reihen der Gäste standen zahlreiche Profis aus der französischen Top 14 und der englischen Premiership, was die Aufgabe für die DRV XV umso schwieriger machen dürfte.
Im Vorfeld des Spiels präsentierte der europäische Verband Rugby Europe den EM-Pokal.
Georgia coach Milton Haig has appointed 30-year old Shalva Sutiashvili of Massy club, in the French ProD2 division ; captain for the match against Fermany tomorrow. Sutiashvili, who made 43 international appearances for his country, two as captain, replaces the long term captain Irakli Makhchaneli who retired last November.    Germany have also made changes, as expected. Captain Robert Mohr, failed a fitness test this morning and was replaced by Falk Duwe of Berlin RK, with the captaincy taken over by Clement von Grumbkow, of Haidelberg RK. Regular Germany captain Sean Armstrong is on the bech, with Tim Menzel, of Perpignan Espoirs starting at scrum-half Should the match between Georgia the highest placed in the World Rankings (15) of the six Rugby Europe Championship contenders, and the lowest, the newly-promoted Germany (25) be a forgone conclusion? Or will Germany find the resources and the inner belief to challenge the mighty Lelos?  A great match in the offing! ...

"According to the decision of Tbilisi City Court, the appointment of Kakha Kaladze"s brother-in-law , George Abashidze in August last year to the position of deputy head of the City hall department for Social Services was illegal". According to Khabeishvili, who was dismissed from this position for a lack of competence, the City Court also considered his dismissal as illegal. Levan Khabeishvili demands an apology from Mayor of Tbilisi  and his reinstatement to the position.

Lari devaluation continues - 23.01.2015,
Commercial banks and currency exchange booths now sell 1 USD for more than 2.00 GEL. 
In particular, at Bank of Georgia 1 USD is available for 2.04 GEL, at Bank Republic – for 2.03, at TBC Bank – for 2.01, while at Liberty Bank 1 USD can be bought for 2.02 GEL.
As for exchange booths, they also sell dollars for more than 2.00 GEL.
GEL started to devaluate in November of last year. On November 1, 2013, the GEL exchange rate against dollar was 1.67. On December the exchange rate reached 1.86.
After the New Year the GEL started to devaluate again. 
According to the exchange rate set by the National Bank, today 1 dollar can be bought for 1.98 GEL. The official exchange rate was adjusted by 0.0308 GEL in one day.
23.01.2015, f
... Nach Einschätzung des Chefvolkswirts der Commerzbank, Jörg Krämer, könnte das zu einem gefährlichen Währungskrieg führen. „Wenn die EZB ungelöste wirtschaftliche Probleme durch eine Euro-Abwertung lösen möchte, dann schafft sie Konflikte mit anderen Ländern. Die USA halten derzeit nur deshalb still, weil es ihnen wirtschaftlich recht gut geht“, sagte Krämer dem „Handelsblatt“ (Online-Ausgabe). ...
Ein Jahr nach seiner Einführung war der Euro schon einmal einen US-Dollar wert - das könnte bald wieder so sein, dank der EZB-Politik. Das ist eigentlich gut für den Export, doch nicht jeder sieht das so. ... Der Euro wird zunehmend unattraktiv ...  22. Januar 2015: Mit der Ankündigung eines umfangreichen Kaufprogramms für Staatsanleihen drückt die EZB den Euro auf 1,1440 Dollar. Damit ist die Gemeinschaftswährung wieder auf dem Niveau vom November 2003 angelangt. Analysten rechnen mit einem baldigen Test der 1:1-Parität zum Dollar.
Anleihekäufe: Die EZB macht ernst - 22.01.2015,
Das Anleihe-Kaufprogramm der EZB findet in Deutschland nur wenig Zustimmung. Man befürchtet zu wenig Wirkung und zu hohe Risiken. Zudem könne der Reformdruck für die Krisenländer sinken. ...

PM’s New Year Address - 01.01.2015, Civil Georgia
Addressing nation in a televised New Year message, Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili said that 2014 was “historic” for Georgia as it made step towards European integration, which will be further pursued.
He stressed the need for “unity” within the society to make Georgia “strong European state” and also named economic growth among government’s main priorities for next year. ...
President’s New Year Address - 01.01.2015, Civil Georgia
President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in his televised New Year address to the nation that 2014 was of “great significance” for Georgia and the country will continue next year on the path of building free society.
“2014 was of great significance for our country and even though we don’t live in delight yet, we have taken very important steps this year,” the President said. “We took a step forward to the dream of our ancestors – to live in a free and independent society built upon prosperity.” ...