Georgia has imposed a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, in what many have interpreted as an end run around a church that is refusing to properly protect its services against the spread of the novel coronavirus, setting off an unprecedented rebellion against its previously sacrosanct church.
Azerbaijan has freed a journalist who was the victim of an alleged conspiracy with the Georgian government to silence an outspoken reporter.
An end to Georgia’s political unrest appears to be in sight following a landmark agreement to reform the country’s election system. With the new system, the country could be entering an era of coalition governance and ending the current dominance of disproportionately powerful ruling parties.
Georgia’s top doctor has instructed people to refrain from kissing following the arrival of coronavirus in the country. The prescription might be hard to follow, though, as kissing is something of a national pastime in Georgia.
One of the perks of being an authoritarian ruler is that you never say anything wrong. Or rather, if you do there is an entire state apparatus ready to auto-correct you.
When Azerbaijan’s fourth-term president, Ilham Aliyev, made a slip of the tongue about his nation’s most vital security interest, the main state news agency simply edited the video recording to pretend that he had said nothing wrong.
Soccer is among the arenas where international tensions are taking a toll on Iran. Under a temporary ban from hosting international matches, Tehran might need a home away from home for games scheduled in Iran. Its neighbor to the north, Azerbaijan, appears ready to step into the breach.
An extravagant rally in Tbilisi on December 14 was ostensibly a celebration of Georgia’s debut as the chair of Europe’s top human rights body and the new, continental role it brought the country. But all politics is local, and on closer look the massively attended rally was an effort by the ruling Georgian Dream party to show that it can outman its domestic opposition.
The very idea of mother is losing its meaning around the world, Georgian billionaire and political overlord Bidzina Ivanishvili has lamented in a recent interview, resulting in a growing global dependence on anti-depressants.
Once a Soviet response to Baden-Baden, the Georgian spa town of Tskaltubo, where ailing comrades used to bathe in warm mineral springs, is today a post-apocalyptic sight. The palatial sanatoria are now gutted, taken over by moss and ivy. Crumbling mosaics celebrating health and communism offer rare flashes of color amid clusters of grey, grand structures.