The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Thursday, October 29
Georgia’s parliament speaker skeptical to coup allegations

The Speaker of the Georgian parliament views material published on a website in Ukraine indicating a coup plan against the government in Georgia with suspicion.

Speaker Davit Usupashvili claimed that if a criminal probe is conducted solely based on information provided by the Ukrainian blog, it will be problematic for law enforcement agencies.

Two days ago, the Ukrainian language blog published a transcript allegedly of a conversation between ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and his ally Giga Bokeria supposedly planning a coup. Despite the dubious authenticity of the transcript, which is not backed up by an audio recording, Georgia’s State Security Service launched an investigation for an alleged state coup attempt and the next day summoned Giga Bokeria, a prominent figure in the United National Movement party, for questioning.

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said on Monday that if investigators have other grounds, it would be made clear soon. “Now it is vital that the investigation be transparent and not violate anyone’s rights,” he said.

Members of the former ruling party, the United National Movement, expressed their views about the investigation at a bureau session of the legislative assembly. Gigi Tsereteli, a party MP, asked the Speaker to familiarize himself with the case and find out what authorities are investigating.

“I’d refrain from inquiring what is being investigated and why,” Davit Usupashvili responded. ”I don’t think it is my, or your, prerogative to make inquiries into a specific criminal investigation.”

The Chair of Parliament’s Defence and Security committee, Irakli Sesiashvili, told journalists that he disagrees with the Speaker, as investigative bodies have certain duties and obligations.

“In order to avoid risks when the case concerns very dangerous issues, law enforcement bodies must act,” Sesiashvili said. “On the other hand, we have to thank them for reacting.”

At a briefing on October 24, the Deputy Head of the State Security Service said that an investigation has been launched based on information published in the media, but also “operative search activities” carried out by the intelligence department. He did not offer further details.

The website has about 30 posts with pro-Russian content and a number of the posts are about Saakashvili, who currently serves as the Governor of Odessa in Ukraine. The website was registered in Russia four months ago via Two days ago, Rustavi 2 TV quoted a representative of the Russian company, confirming that they operate (DF watch)

Local EU statement on current political tension in Georgia

The Delegation of the European Union has issued a statement on the media environment in Georgia, in agreement with the Heads of Mission of the EU Member States.

“The EU is closely following developments concerning the media environment in Georgia. As we implement the Association Agreement, we have increased our support to Georgia, but also our scrutiny. At this stage, it is important to build on the reforms achieved so far and ensure fully functioning democratic institutions. A pluralistic political and media landscape is an essential component of Georgia's democracy and its European choice.

While we wish to refrain from commenting on the merits of individual court cases, we have concerns to be addressed and we expect that the principles of rule of law, independence of judiciary and media freedom are applied in practice in Georgia at this important moment. The limitation or the disruption of an important media outlet would have the potential to weaken the democratic process, including the conduct of the elections scheduled for October 2016.

The EU shares and supports the stated goal of the government to continue with reforms and to achieve free and orderly elections. We trust that the government will treat this as an absolute priority throughout the forthcoming year. Proper access of all democratic political forces to the media is an essential precondition for democratic elections.

We call upon all state institutions and political actors to refrain from any further steps or statements that could increase tensions and foster polarization,” says the statement. (IPN)

Rugby: Georgian player signs contract with top British team

A Georgian rugby player has been signed with one of Great Britain’s top rugby teams.

Hooker Jaba Bregvadze, who played in the Georgian national rugby team, will soon join the English Premiership side Worcester Warriors.

The powerhouse forward will join his new teammates ahead of this Saturday’s clash with Gloucester Rugby.

Bregvadze has represented his country 32 times and has featured at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

The 28-year-old played an instrumental role in Georgia’ recent Rugby World Cup campaign and helped the team win against Tonga and Namibia. His performance in the game against Argentina was also impressive, and his efforts contributed to Georgia’s success at finishing third in their pool, booking them a place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Georgian has spent the last three seasons playing in France's Top 14 for Toulouse, helping them to finish in the top four in the last three years.

"Both myself and my family are very excited about the move to Worcester,” he said.

"Having played in the Top 14 for a number of years, I'm keen to test and prove myself in the Aviva Premiership against some of the very best teams in Europe.”

"Dean Ryan and the rest of the Warriors coaching staff are really building something here and I can't wait to get started and play a big part in it."

Warrior’s Director of Rugby Dean Ryan said: "Jaba is an experienced international who will add strength and depth to our front row. We've been really impressed by his performances at the Rugby World Cup and are excited to be able add him to our squad.”

"He will add more competition for the number two shirt while being able to drive standards of some of our younger players in what is a key area."

Worcester started the season with a 13-12 win over Northampton before losing 27-13 at Sale ( )