Newspapers in Georgia
According to HISTORYAAH.COM, Georgia is a country located in Asia. In Georgia, about 120 newspapers and 40 magazines are published in Georgian, Russian and English. The most important newspapers in Georgian are Sakartvelo’s Respublika (‘Georgian Republic’, 9,000 copies, 1999) and Alia (25,000 copies), while Svobodnaja Gruzija (‘Free Georgia’, 2,500 copies) is the largest Russian-speaking. Georgia also publishes English-speaking Georgian Times (2,500 copies).
The state radio began broadcasting in 1927. There is a state broadcaster and eight independents. The official news agency Sakinformi (English Georgian Information Agency) was founded in 1989. In addition, there are seven non-governmental news agencies. There are 556 radio and 474 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).
During the “Golden Age” in the 12th and 13th centuries, Georgia experienced its cultural heyday. At that time, a unique architecture was created, influenced by Greek, Roman, Syrian and Persian architecture, among others. In the present, it is primarily film art that lets itself be talked about.
It also created a rich religious treasure of icons, crucifixes, mosaics and reliefs. Most important of all was the literature. The Georgian national post “The knight in tiger traps” was written at this time by court-martial Sjota Rustaveli.
Well-known writers of recent times are the 19th century writers Nikoloz Baratajvili and the social critic Ilia Tjavtjavadze who, together with the poet Akaki Tsereteli, led the movement for national liberation at the end of the century (see Older history). During the Stalin period (1929–1953), several authors were murdered, including Micheil Javachisjvili and Titsian Tabidze. Among modern authors are noted, among others, Tjabua Amiredjibi (1921–2013), whose novels “The Outlaw” and “The Last Escape” were translated into Swedish.
Several Georgians have gained international recognition in their time for their film and theater art. Names like Tengiz Abuladze, Otar Ioseliani as well as brothers Giorgi and Eldar Sjengelaia have made Georgian film famous in the rest of the world.
In 2019, the Swedish-Georgian film “And then we danced” got a lot of international attention, but also controversial. The film, directed and scripted by Levan Akin, has a gay theme and takes place in the Georgian dance world. In Georgia, screening of the film led to demonstrations.
Multi-song singing performed without accompaniment is a hallmark of Georgia and, despite early Georgian Christianity, is believed to be older than church music. Flutes, stringed instruments and bagpipes are frequently used in folk music.
In all three Caucasian countries, there are proud textile traditions. The more industrialized manufacturing that occurred during the Soviet era degraded the quality of both the material and the workmanship, but has made older rugs, saddlebags, saltbags and other utensils in very diverse techniques into internationally sought-after collectors and museum objects. Georgia has, thanks to its climate, been able to manufacture native silk. In Tbilisi there is a state silk museum.
The EU promises support to countries in the east
Representatives of the EU and six former Soviet republics meet in Brussels. The EU promises deeper cooperation with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The EU does not place a view on membership of the Union, on the other hand, help fight corruption, strengthen the rule of law and modernize the countries’ economy.
Five countries form a transport corridor
Georgia is one of five countries agreed to establish a transport corridor between Europe and Afghanistan. In addition to Georgia and Turkey, where Istanbul is the western end of the corridor, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are behind the settlement, which applies, inter alia, to customs regulations for transport by road, rail and ferry across the Caspian Sea.
Oldest wine made on grapes
Researchers from several countries that analyzed the finds of 8,000-year-old clay pots in today’s Georgia have found traces of wine making. It is considered to be the oldest known examples of wine production based on grapes. It is known that there was wine production in China even earlier, but there the raw material was rice. The findings are published in the journal of the American Academy of Sciences PNAS.
The government is being reformed
A government reform is announced. Among other things, 18 ministries will be merged to 14 in order to reduce bureaucracy and government spending. The entire reformed government will need to be approved in a vote of confidence in Parliament.
The OSCE approves local elections
Observers from the OSCE say that the municipal elections in Georgia are essentially correct. The candidates have been allowed to run campaigns without interruption and the voters’ freedom has been respected according to the OSCE, which, however, noted some problems with, among other things, the result summary. The preliminary results show success for the reigning Georgian dream, whose candidates are elected mayors already in the first round in, among others, Tbilisi, Batumi, Poti and Rustavi. This means that in the next few years the capital will be ruled by former football star Kacha Kaladze, who made a career in the Italian club of Milan. Since 2012 he has been Minister of Energy.
Reluctant president signs constitutional supplement
President Margvelashvili signs the amendments to the Constitution that Parliament voted twice, but he makes clear that he is doing so reluctantly. He describes the additions as a dictation from the Georgian dream and accuses the ruling party of wanting to consolidate its own power. The changes come into effect after the 2018 presidential election and mean that Georgia will transition to a purely proportional electoral system by 2024 with a 5 percent barrier. From 2025, the president will be elected by a special council composed of MPs. Among other things, the sale of agricultural land to foreign nationals is also prohibited.
The President rejects constitutional change
President Margvelashvili vetoed the constitutional amendments approved by Parliament on 26 September. He says that he is above all opposed to the president being appointed by Parliament and that the votes cast on parties that do not enter parliament should be transferred to the victorious party. The Georgian dream of the ruling party says it is possible to compromise on the issue of “bonus votes” to the winner and the question whether parties should be allowed to form alliance alliances. The bill now goes back to Parliament where the Georgian dream has a sufficient majority to vote down the president.
Parliament approves constitutional amendments
After nine months of fierce debate, a majority of the MEPs are adopting a series of proposals to amend the constitution. The most important change is that the party that wins a parliamentary election should be granted a number of extra seats. Other changes are that the president should be elected by Parliament, not directly by the people, and that Parliament should have the decisive political power. Agricultural land should be sold to foreign individuals or companies. The changes are driven entirely by the Georgian Dream Party. The opposition parties either vote against or boycott the vote. The opposition is appealing to President Margvelashvili to veto the legislative proposals, which they believe are only for strengthening the government’s position.
Georgia requests Saakashvili to be extradited
The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has asked former President Saakashvili to be extradited from Ukraine, to which he has said he plans to return later in September. Saakashvili is prosecuted in his former homeland for, among other things, abuse of power.
Ex-president requested to be extradited
The Georgia State Prosecutor’s Office has submitted a request to Ukraine to extradite former Georgia President Saakashvili. He is charged in his former homeland for violence against protesters and a police raid against a private television station. Saakashvili was deprived of his Georgian citizenship when he gained Ukrainian citizenship in 2015. After breaking with the Ukrainian government, he was also deprived of that citizenship in July 2017. Saakashvili is in Poland but says he plans to travel back to Ukraine in September. The Ukrainian authorities say that he will be rejected at the border and that his passport should be taken away from him.
Putin’s visit is upset
The Georgia government strongly criticizes Russian President Putin for visiting Abkhazia on the 9th anniversary of the start of the war in 2008. The visit is described as “cynical” and “provocative”.
Saakashvili without citizenship
Former Georgian President Micheil Saakashvili is deprived of the Ukrainian citizenship he was granted in 2015, when he was appointed governor of Odessa. Since he was deprived of his Georgian citizenship when he became a Ukrainian, Saakashvili is now stateless. In his former homeland, he is wanted for abuse of power during his nine years as president there, in Ukraine he is now accused of having provided incorrect information when applying for citizenship.
The Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine agree that their countries will work together to get closer to NATO and the EU. They justify this with the countries’ “independence and democracy facing the same threat”, that is, they have been torn apart by conflicts with Russian-backed separatists.
Power change in South Ossetia
Anatoly Bibilov, President of the South Ossetian Parliament, is declared victorious in the April 9 presidential election. He provisionally gets around 58 percent of the vote, compared to 30 percent for incumbent President Leonid Tibilov. A KGB officer gets 11 percent. About 78 percent of voters are said to have agreed to change the name of the breakaway state from the Republic of South Ossetia to the Republic of South Ossetia-Alania. The Georgia government dismisses the election and the referendum as illegal and says the change of name aims to “pave the way for Russia’s illegal annexation” of the area.
Free to Schengen
Georgian citizens’ right to travel to the countries within the Schengen cooperation will come into force. Georgians are allowed to stay in the area for up to 90 days for a 180-day period without a visa. However, this does not apply to work.
South Ossetia is becoming increasingly Russian
14th of March
Russian President Putin orders that the Russian military in South Ossetia prepare to incorporate the local defense force into its organization. This will take another step towards annexing the Georgian outbreak state in practice. As expected, the Georgian government condemns the Russian plans in sharp terms.
Controversial plan for the state etheric media
State Television and Radio Company’s new CEO Vasil Maghlaperidze presents a three-year plan for modernization and development of the business to reach more viewers and listeners. Of Georgia’s seven TV channels with coverage across the country, the two state channels have the least number of viewers. But to get advice on implementing the reforms, Maghlaperidze suggests that an unspecified number of employees be terminated and that all program operations, except news broadcasts, be stopped for eleven months. Critics question whether the company would thereby live up to its commitment to provide objective and in-depth information about society, especially as there is a public debate on planned constitutional reforms and local elections should be held towards the end of the year.
Visa-free to Schengen
The European Parliament votes to allow Georgian citizens to enter the Schengen Union countries without a visa. The decision is expected to take effect in March or April, after some formalities have been completed.
The last government party is cracking
Leading members of the former ruling party The National Movement says they will form a new party. Several of them accuse the exiled ex-President Saakashvili of having failed in leadership and that the opposition to the ruling Georgian dream needs to be renewed. Among the jumpers are former Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze and Tbilisi’s former Mayor Gigi Ugulava. 21 of the National Movement’s 27 MPs say they are moving on to the new party.