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Timeline – 2003
/ 31 Dec.'03 / 18:52

  » Timeline:  2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006

January February March April May June
July August September October November December

January

January 1 - In his, President Shevardnadze vowed to improve living standards of Georgian citizens in the year of 2003.

“I am ready to fight on and work along with you, sparing no efforts to ensure that the year 2003 is the year of the victory of the big choice and a brilliant success of the Georgian nation and every worthy citizen of the country,” Eduard Shevardnadze said.

January 7 - News broke on January 7 that the Georgian government signed a contract with a major US company Northrop Grumman Corp. (NGC), Los Angeles, to develop aerial surveillance systems for monitoring of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) export pipeline and adjacent areas.

January 8 - A landslide in Lasuriashi village of Tsageri region in northwest Georgia caused no casualties; however, the disaster rendered 60 families homeless.  It was estimated that the landslide in the mountain village caused damage of at least 7 million Lari (3,3 million USD), destroying houses, a bridge, roads and electric power lines, as well as the village's cemetery.
 
January 18 - At the Parliamentary special session today, which discusses the situation in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia, MPs demanded from the government to announce officially that Russian unilateral moves in Abkhazia is an open aggression and attempt of annexation.

Reopening of the railway with Abkhazia and granting Russian citizenship to the population living in Abkhazia caused Georgia’s protest. However, the railway still operates between Russia and breakaway Abkhazia.
 
January 20 - The Ministry of State Security disclosed classified materials of Pankisi gorge, including video tapes, which proved presence of Chechen and Arab militants and their training camps, various terrorist objects and persons, linked with Al-Qaeda in Pankisi gorge.

January 21 - The issue of opening FBI office in Tbilisi was discussed during the meeting of Georgian President Shevardnadze and representatives of the FBI. Georgian State Security Minister Valeri Khaburdzania, which also attended the meeting, told the reporters that the opening of the FBI office in Tbilisi would assist fight against terrorism and corruption in Georgia.

January 21 - In his letter to Georgia President Eduard Shevardnadze, the U.S. President George W. Bush called to secure “free and fair coming to the power of the new generation of leaders after 2003 [parliamentary] and 2005 [presidential] elections.”

January 24 - Supporters of the excommunicated orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili violently raided meeting of the Baptists in the capital city of Tbilisi. The group of Basil Mkalavishvili is known for violent attacks on non-orthodox Christian groups, especially against Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
January 29 -
Parliament deputies overwhelmingly approved the 2003 budget in its second reading and in its third reading at 1 a.m. on 30 January. The basic parameters for revenues and expenditures were left unchanged from the first reading at 1.239 billion Lari (USD 587.3 million) and 1.478 billion Lari, respectively.

February

February 3  - Georgia has officially supported the planned U.S. campaign against Iraq. President Eduard Shevardnadze said that he sent a letter to President George W. Bush, which reads, “the regime producing weapon of mass destruction should be punished.” 
February 3 - Up to 20-armed men raided office of the opposition New Rights party in Tbilisi and destroyed equipment. The opposition parties later called the authorities to curb the violence and to investigate the incident.

February 3 - Georgia proposed to create a joint Georgian-Abkhaz administration in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, which is mainly populated by the ethnic Georgians. The Abkhaz side rejected the proposal.

February 3 - Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing protest regarding dispatching of the Russian military hardware and weapon to Tskhinvali [capital of breakaway South Ossetia] region. Earlier the U.S. also expressed concern regarding the presence of the heavy weapons in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

February 4 - Rumors broke in Georgian political circles over alleged coup attempt. The opposition leaders accused State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze, Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili and other high officials of plotting a constitutional coup against President Shevardnadze.

February 10 - The United States and Georgia signed a non-extradition pact, promising not to turn over each other’s citizens to a third country or to an international tribunal.

February 10 - President Shevardnadze set up special commission to work out the proposals on new Election Code for the parliamentary elections, scheduled for November 2, 2003.

February 14 - At the government’s extended session, in the presence of President Shevardnadze, Chairman of Tbilisi City Council and leader of National Movement opposition party Mikheil Saakashvili called President Shevardnadze to resign. Saakashvili said that the only way to overcome economic problems and defeat corruption “is your [referring to Eduard Shevardnadze] resignation.”

February 18 - During the meeting with representatives of the religious minorities in Evangelical-Baptist Church on February 18, State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze presented apologies of the government on behalf of the President Eduard Shevardnadze for outbreak of violence against religious minorities in the country.

February 19 - Georgian Ministry of Education closed schools in capital city Tbilisi because of the flu virus. According to the Georgian Health Care Ministry, at least two people died as a result of the flu in Tbilisi.


February 18-19  - Russian and Georgian sides have failed again to narrow the gap on deadlines for closure of the two Russian military bases and transfer of five military facilities deployed in Georgia for the past three years.

The disagreement persists regarding the dates of liquidation of the Batumi (Adjarian Autonomous Republic) and Akhalkalaki (South Georgia) Russian military bases, although the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Treaty clearly prescribed the Russian and Georgia sides to reach agreement on the issue before 2001.

At the talks in Moscow, the Russian side argues that with current scarce financing it will need 11 years to close the bases down in Batumi and Akhalkalaki. Georgian side insists that 3 years will be quite sufficient for the process.

February 28  - Russian media sources report quoting Russian Defense Ministry official that the U.S. U-2S surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, flew over Georgia.

February 28 - Georgian Parliament has approved controversial proposal of the opposition United Democrats faction to increase the minimal salary to the subsistence level – 115 Lari (USD 52) per month. The proposal formed a linchpin of the United Democrats pre-election campaign. The government strongly opposed the decision, arguing it was not economically feasible.

March

March 3 - Georgian authorities officially announced the launch of the new phase of the anti-crime operation in Pankisi gorge. The aim of the operation, as the officials said, was to maintain stability and security in the gorge. The operation was a preventive measure to avoid return of the Chechen militants in the gorge.

March 4 - Jaba Ioseliani, leader of the former paramilitary group Mkhedrioni, which terrorized Georgia in early and mid-90, died at age 76. He was hospitalized after the stroke on February 26.

March 6-7 - Presidents of Georgia and Russia, Eduard Shevardnadze and Vladimir Putin agreed during the meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort Sochi that the joint commission would be created, which will work over the repatriation of internally displaced persons in breakaway Abkhazia, restoration of the railway route between Russia and Georgia via Abkhazia and rehabilitation of the energy facilities in Abkhazia.

March 6 - Up to 50 people, Georgian civil rights activists, pop stars and actors among them, gathered outside the Parliament to express protest against the U.S. war in Iraq.

March 13 - New Georgian TV channel Imedi (Hope) launched its full-scale broadcasting. Badri Patarkatsishvili, Tbilisi-based influential tycoon is the Deputy General Manager of the TV channel. Patarkatsishvili, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russian TV-6 channel and aide to Russia's financial tycoon Boris Berezovsky, is wanted by Russia for fraud allegations.

March 21 - Georgian Parliament ratified the U.S.-Georgian military agreement, thus allowing the U.S. government to occupy mutually agreed territories and buildings in Georgia for use by the U.S. administration’s civilian and military personnel, transport vehicles, vessels and aircrafts.

March 22 - Russian Defense Ministry reported the Russian air defense system identified U.S. U-2S spy plane overflying Georgia, 20-30 kilometers away from the Russian airspace. Russian Defense Ministry said it was the third case of overflight of the U.S. spy plane over Georgia.

March 24 - Up to 30 former servicemen of the Georgian National Guard that seized the military unit in Tbilisi late on March 23, surrendered to the Georgian police. After the talks with the former soldiers, top officials of the Georgian government convinced the former servicemen of the National Guard to surrender.

They explained that the reason of the mutiny was to attract attention to their difficult social conditions.

April

April 7 - The Citizens’ Union of Georgia, Socialists Party and the newly established political movement Great Silk Road, form the pro-presidential election bloc For New Georgia to run for November parliamentary elections. President Shevardnadze became the chairman of the bloc.

April 11 - National-Democratic Party (NDP), led by Irina Sarishvili Chanturia joined the pro-Presidential election bloc For New Georgia. The decision of the NDP came as a surprise, as in 2002 NDP allied with the leading opposition forces, such as the United Democrats, the National Movement and the New Rights, to sharply criticize the governmental policies. 

April 14 - Couple of hundred students held a protest rally, organized by the anti-governmental youth movement Kmara (Enough), demanding the President’s and government’s resignation.

Protesters slammed newly established pro-Presidential election alliance and burned pictures of President Shevardnadze and State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze, which were the leaders of this election bloc. This was the first rally of the Kmara movement. Students also said that this was a warning rally, and threatened further protests.

April 15 - Georgia terminated flight silence for Turkish Airlines and British Mediterranean Airways, which is a franchise partner of the British Airways. Georgian authorities explained decision with the legal irregularities and non-payment of taxes by the foreign air companies.

April 21 - Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze slammed President Shevardnadze and warned that the government’s recent decision would “lead the country towards the dictatorship.” She called the government to avoid misuse of power and administrative leverages on the eve of the Parliamentary elections. She also called the opposition for unification.

April 22 - President of breakaway Abkhazia Vladislav Ardzinba appointed Raul Khajimba as the Prime Minister. Before the new appointment Khajimba was the Defense Minister and the acting Vice-Premier of the self-styled Abkhaz Republic. Vladislav Ardzinba dismissed the former Premier Genadi Gagulia and the entire cabinet on April 8 after the categorical demand of the opposition Amtsakhara public-political movement

April 27 - Delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly paid a fact-finding visit to Pankisi gorge. The 9-member delegation visited several checkpoints of the internal troops in the gorge and met with the local population and the Chechen refugees living in Pankisi. NATO parliamentarians hailed the Georgian law enforcers’ effort to increase security and control in the troubled gorge.

April 30 - Victory of the Georgian soccer team in EURO 2004 qualifier match against Russia 1:0 in Tbilisi turned into all night long celebration in the streets of the capital city. However, this victory did not held Georgian team to qualify in EURO 2004.

May

May 6 - The State Department of Statistics of Georgia announced results of census, conducted on January 17-24, 2002. According to the data, since the last census in 1989, population of Georgia has reduced by 1 million, to the level of 4,4 million.

May 14 - NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson visited Georgia. “We welcome Georgia’s ambition to further integrate in the Euro-Atlantic structure,” NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson said at the joint briefing with President Shevardnadze in Tbilisi on May 14.

May 16 - Following 7 months of the court procedures, the Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled to decline extradition of the three Chechens to Russia, causing Moscow’s further irritation.

May 23 - Construction of the Georgian sector of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline started.

May 23 - The opposition parliamentary factions staged a walkout from the parliamentary session on May 23 as the parties fail to reach the consensus on administration of the parliamentary elections scheduled for November. The debates were heating up over the rule of composition of the Central Election Commission.

May 28 - Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and Chairman of the Russian energy giant Gazprom Aleksey Miller achieved a handshake agreement in Tbilisi to sign a contract on strategic cooperation. The agreement caused the United States’ concern, as entering of Gazprom to the Georgian energy market was seen as a threat for implementation of the project on constructing the U.S.-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline.

June

June 2 - Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze “one of the international organizations of funding the anti-governmental forces,” hinting on the Soros Foundation. The organization “has done much for Georgia, but they are now interfering in Georgian politics, that is not their business,” Shevardnadze said.

June 3 - After the failed talks with the State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze over the composition of the Central Election Commission (CEC), the opposition parties held a mass protest rally in downtown Tbilisi outside the Parliament building. CEC Chairman Jumber Lominadze, as well as some other members of the CEC resigned, however the pro-presidential members of the commission refused to resign.

June 5 - Three employees of the UN Observers Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and one Georgian interpreter were abducted in Kodori gorge, while patrolling the troubled gorge, which is the only part of breakaway Abkhazia controlled by the Georgian side. UN observers and their interpreter were released unharmed on June 10.

According to the unofficial reports, kidnappers demanded USD 3 million for UN observers’ release; however, neither Georgian authorities, nor UNOMIG agreed to pay the ransom.

June 24 - Georgian law enforcers, in cooperation with the Russian counterparts detained alleged kidnapper kingpin Shota Chichiashvili in Moscow, which is suspected in high-profile kidnappings in Georgia in the recent years. Chichiashvili, 28, was wanted by the Georgian law enforcers since 1997. According to the Interior Ministry Chichiashvili led a group of criminals, which allegedly was behind the kidnapping of two Spanish businessmen, British banker Peter Shaw and Georgian MP Petre Tsiskarishvili.

June 27 - Armenian President Robert Kocharian arrived in Tbilisi for two-day official visit.

June 30 - Western ambassadors accredited in Georgia, as well as the representatives of the international organizations, including the OSCE, USAID meet Parliamentary Chairperson and the leaders of the political parties beyond the closed doors to discuss parliamentary elations, scheduled for November 2.

The western diplomats submitted to the Georgian politicians list of recommendations urging for fair and democratic elections. The appeal reads that in case of failure to secure fair elections Georgia would be deprived of not only support from the international community but also economic assistance.

July

July 1 - Georgian government and Russian energy giant Gazprom singed an agreement on strategic cooperation for 25 years. Georgia’s Energy Minister David Mirtskhulava signed an agreement which foresees supply of natural gas to the Georgian customers, rehabilitation of the gas pipelines, use of the Georgian infrastructure for transit purposes and use of gas for electricity production which would be jointly sold by Georgia and Gazprom.

July 5 - Dispatched by the U.S. President former Secretary of State James Baker delivered to the opposition and President Shevardnadze U.S.-suggested guidelines for holding free and fair Parliamentary elections, scheduled for November 2. The visit aimed at making breakthrough in the deadlock between the opposition and the government over the election code.

July 8 - Opposition leaders met President Shevardnadze and agreed to reform the election system in accordance to the U.S.-suggested guidelines proposed by James Baker.

July 9 - Georgian authorities gave a one-hour test flight to the NATO’s AWACs surveillance plane in the Georgian airspace, causing Russia’s protest.  The statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the appearance of the AWACs plane in Georgia concerns “Russia's national security,” as AWACs technology “could provide surveillance over a large portion of Russian territory without ever entering the country.”

July 9 - The court sentenced Grigol Khurtsilava, who was charged of murder of leading Georgian TV journalist Giorgi Sanaia, to 13 years imprisonment. Giorgi Sanaia, popular TV anchor was shot dead in his apartment in Tbilisi on July 26, 2001. 

During the trial Khurtsilava plead guilty and said that the sexual abuse from Giorgi Sanaia was the reason of the murder. However, the family of Giorgi Sanaia cast doubts regarding the investigation, insisting on political motives of the assassination.

July 10 - A Georgian company Kazbegi started to export beer and cold drink products to Iraq.

July 16 - Georgian Parliament ratified Rome Statute on International Criminal Court (ICC). The Tbilisi-based Abkhaz government-in-exile has been urging for joining Rome Statute “to allow for a case on genocide of ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia.”

July 16 - Georgian Parliament ratified military agreement between Georgia and Kuwait. The ratification of the agreement was a legal foundation for sending Georgian platoon-sized military unit to participate in Iraq peacekeeping operation. The agreement with Kuwait is concluded as with a transit country to Iraq.
 
Under the agreement, transport vehicles, vessels and aircraft used by the Georgian Armed Forces are not subject to licensing and registration. The militaries can also use the Kuwaiti airfields and bring the necessary equipment without paying customs dues.

July 16 - 7 members of the Parliament’s National Democratic faction went on hunger strike demanding from government funding of budgetary backlog on pensions.

In June the court ruled positively on the National Movement’s appeal considering the distribution of pensions, frozen by the government due to the budgetary shortfall. The hunger strikers demanded from the Justice Ministry to execute the court’s ruling. After ten-day hunger strike of the opposition MPs, President Eduard Shevardnadze had to sign an order on July 26 over funding the budgetary backlog on pensions.

July 17 - The U.S. started construction of the new embassy complex in the suburb of Georgian capital Tbilisi. The construction, which costs USD 114 million, will be finished in 2006.

July 26 - The first tourist boat in the last ten years set off from Sukhumi, the capital of breakaway Abkhazia, to a Russian city of Sochi, causing Tbilisi’s protest.

The Parliament rejected today by second hearing rule of composition of the Central Election Commission, as pro-Presidential factions, as well as Revival and Industrialists voted against, causing opposition’s protest. The proposal was based on the recommendations of the US administration. The document, which already approved by the first hearing on July 24, includes all main provisions delivered to Georgia by the former US Secretary of State James Baker in early July. 

July 31 - The Parliament rejected to compose the Central Election Commission on party bases – one seat to each opposition party, as it was considered by the U.S.-suggested election guidelines. The Revival and Industrialists parties received three and two seats in the commission with the support of the pro-presidential parliamentary factions. The decision caused major opposition parties’ protests. 

July 31 - The U.S. power company AES confirmed it plans to sell its 75% shares of the electricity distribution company in Tbilisi to the Russian power giant Unified Energy Systems of Russia (UES). The U.S. embassy in Georgia explained the AES’ decision with “unfavorable investment climate in Georgia.”

The entry of the Russian energy giants in Georgian energy market – the Gazprom and UES, triggered speculations over the shifts in the Shevardnadze’s foreign policy in Russia’s favor.

August

August 3 - Georgia sent a platoon-sized peacekeeper detachment to Iraq, which was deployed in the city of Tikrit, as a Georgia’s contribution to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

August 6 - At least two members of the Kmara (Enough) youth anti-governmental movement were injured, as the police beat up the movement’s activists, which tried to hold a protest rally in front of the Energy Ministry. The peaceful demonstration, protesting against the entry of the Russian state-owned power giant Unified Energy Systems (UES) in Georgia, was met with the police cordon near the Energy Ministry building and prevented the protesters to rally in front of the Ministry.

August 14 - Parliament approved late on August 14 amendments to the election code, considering broad anti-fraud measures, including voter marking procedures for the parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2.

August 16 - The United Democrats opposition party, led by Zurab Zhvania and Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze formed an election alliance – the Burjanadze-Democrats to run for November 2 parliamentary elections.

August 21 - Four Georgian peacekeepers were injured while conducting mine-clearing operations in the Northern Iraqi city of Tikrit.

September

September 1 - President Shevardnadze appointed Nana Devdariani, Public Defender of Georgia to the post of Chairperson of the Central Election Commission. Nana Devdariani vowed to be impartial.

Nana Devdariani was among three candidates submitted to the President for approval by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe (CoE). MP Vakhtang Khmaladze and legal expert Davit Usupashvili were the other two candidates for the CEC chairmanship post.

September 5 - Explosion rocked the office of governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti region in the town of Akhaltsikhe. Two persons were injured.

September 9 - One unit of a special-purpose detachment of the Interior Ministry was dispatched to Svaneti to crackdown on criminals hiding in this northwestern high mountainous region of Georgia.

September 10 - 129 convicts, described by the authorities as “dangerous,” escaped from the Rustavi top security prison near Tbilisi, killing one prison guard; another was badly injured. Justice Minister Roland Giligashvili resigned in the wake of the largest jailbreak in the Georgian.

September 15 - Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul arrived in Georgia for a two-day official visit.

September 17 - The Turkish Airlines resumed regular flights between Tbilisi and Istanbul, after seven months of suspension.

September 19 - President Shevardnadze yielded demand of the Georgian Orthodox Church and mass protest rally in Tbilisi and refused to sign agreement with the Vatican.

The agreement, setting down relations with the Vatican, was expected to be signed on September 20. The Vatican’s Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran arrived in Tbilisi on September 18 to sign the agreement; however, he left Georgia empty-handed.

September 24 - Thomas C. Adams, Acting Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, met with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. After the talks, he said the U.S. would reduce financial aid for Georgia from 2004, because of Georgia’s failure to implement economic projects and reforms.
 
September 26 - Dozens were injured as a result of a clash between the supporters of the opposition National Movement party and the local authorities in the Bolnisi district of the Kvemo Kartli region in southern Georgia.

September 27 - Breakaway Abkhazia staged a military parade in capital Sukhumi today, marking the 10th anniversary of its de facto independence.

September 30 - The Russian delegation led by the Minister for Chechen Affairs Stanislav Iliasov visited Pankisi Gorge on September 30 and tried in vain to convince Chechen refugees living in the gorge to voluntarily return to Chechnya.

Chechen refugees refused to return to Chechnya, quoting the lack of security. The Russian delegation brought 20 tons of the humanitarian aid consisting of warm clothes and food. However, the refugees refused the Russian aid.

October

October 5 - U.S. Senator John McCain arrived in Tbilisi to assess pre-election situation in the country. He said that the November 2 parliamentary elections are of crucial importance for Georgia.

October 7 - According to the Transparency International’s (TI) annual report, issued on October 7 Georgia is among the most corrupt countries. In the latest report, Georgia was ranked 127th out of 133 countries listed.

October 14 - Georgian Defense Minister paid official visit to the United States on October 14-20. During the visit, the sides agreed to extend the U.S. funded Georgia Train-and-equip Program, after the spring of 2004.

October 15 - The opposition National Movement party, led by Mikheil Saakashvili, warned the government that it would stage mass protest rallies in case the authorities try to rig the November 2 parliamentary elections. Inaccurate voter lists heated up debates during this period. Thousands of eligible voters were not included on the voter lists.

October 23 - The local authorities of the Adjarian Autonomous Republic foiled today protest rally of the National Movement opposition party, causing clash between the police and the protesters. One of the leaders of the National Movement MP Koba Davitashvili was beaten up as a result of the clash. Next day another member of the National Movement Davit Berdzenishvili was also beaten up in Adjara.

October 28 - Julian Peel Yates, head of the OSCE Election Observation Mission in Georgia said that up to 450 observers would monitor November 2 parliamentary elections. 

November

November 2 - Parliamentary elections are held in Georgian to elect new 235-seat Parliament. Simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, referendum on reduction of parliamentary seats from 235 to 150 was held.

November 3 - International, as well as local observers condemned mass irregularities and chaos during November 2 parliamentary elections in Georgia. The OSCE observers condemned irregularities in the election process in the regions, particularly in Kutaisi and Rustavi, in the Adjara Autonomous Republic and Kvemo Kartli.

Observers from the OSCE and European Parliament stressed, that although the voters were willing to participate in the elections, a great deal of them failed to express their will due to disorganized work of polling stations, lack of training of the members of precinct election commissions and mass inaccuracies in the voter lists.

November 3 - The parallel vote tabulation results, conducted by the election watchdog NGO International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), as well as the exit polls surveyed the U.S. polling firm, suggest that the National Movement opposition alliance, led by Mikheil Saakashvili won the November 2 parliamentary elections. However, the preliminary results by the Central Election Commission suggested that the Shevardnadze’s bloc For New Georgia led the polls.

November 4 - The leaders of the opposition parties – the National Movement, the Burjanadze-Democrats and the Unity met to discuss joint measures to prevent the authorities from manipulating the November 2 parliamentary election results.

November 4 - Opposition staged a mass protest rally against the ballot fraud. Opposition set an ultimatum to Shevardnadze. “Either the President should recognize the victory of the opposition in the November 2 parliamentary elections, or he should resign,” leader of the opposition National Movement Mikheil Saakashvili said at a protest rally in front of the Tbilisi Municipality.

President Shevardnadze condemned the rally, saying the “use of pressure against the government is inadmissible.”

November 5 - The U.S. Embassy to Georgia raises concern over the Central Election Commission’s delay in providing a full and accurate vote count.

November 7 - Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson and the leader of Burjanadze-Democrats opposition alliance said she would boycott November 2 parliamentary election results. “We will not recognize results of the elections,” she said

“The elections were held with mass ballot fraud, results were totally falsified by the authorities and we are not going to cooperate with the people in the Parliament, who rigged the votes. We are not going to be the members of the Parliament, which is not elected by the Georgian people,” Nino Burjanadze said.

November 7 - A group of armed men opened fire in the center of Zugdidi, western Georgian city, where Mikheil Saakashvili intended to hold a protest rally. Three supporters of the opposition were wounded. Saakashvili blamed the local police for the incident.

November 7 - President Shevardnadze said in his live broadcast in the State TV Channel that the Soros Foundation funds opposition parties in Georgia and interferes in Georgia’s internal affairs.

November 8 - The opposition renewed street protest in Tbilisi. More than 20 thousand protesters, gathered in front of the Georgian Parliament demanding from the authorities to recognize opposition’s victory in the November 2 parliamentary elections. They called for President Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation if he fails to do so.

November 9 - President Eduard Shevardnadze held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss post-election developments in Georgia.

November 9 - President Shevardnadze held talks with the opposition leaders – Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania, aiming at making the breakthrough in the political crisis. However, no agreement had been reached.

November 10 - President Shevardnadze visited Adjarian capital Batumi and held talks with Aslan Abashidze, the head of Adjara Autonomous Republic. Shevardnadze secured Abashidze’s support in the crisis, which occurred in the country after the November 2 elections. 

November 11-13 - In the wake of meeting with President Shevardnadze on November 10, head of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze visited Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.

November 14 - Mass protest rally held in Tbilisi. Tens of thousands of protesters, led by the opposition leaders – Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania, joined hands to form the live chain surrounding the President’s office, demanding Eduard Shevardnadze’s resignation. Mikheil Saakashvili called for civil disobedience to force Shevardnadze to resign.

November 15 - President Shevardnadze held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. This was already the third conversation between the Georgian and Russian Presidents within a week to discuss post-election situation in Georgia.

November 17 - While President Shevardnadze was reiterating in his Monday radiobroadcast that he “will not resign,” thousands of Tbilisites stopped their cars at 11 am on November 17 and blew their horns, as a sign of protest against the Shevardnadze’s regime and the signal to launch nation-wide civil disobedience campaign.

November 18 - Lynn Pascoe, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, arrived in Tbilisi and held talks with the opposition leaders, as well as with State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze.

November 18 - Pro-Shevardnadze rally replaced opposition outside the Parliament. While the opposition was preparing for peaceful march on the capital city from the regions, several thousand supporters of President Shevardnadze and Aslan Abashidze, the Adjarian leader, staged a rally. Several thousands of supporters of the Revival Union, led by Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze, arrived in Tbilisi from Adjara Autonomous Republic to participate in the rally.

November 19 - President Shevardnadze’s surprise move to criticize the state-owned First TV Channel, triggered anger of the state TV chief and journalists. Chief of the State Television Zaza Shengelia resigned, accusing the authorities in mounting pressure on the television. The State TV chief’s resignation was a blow for the Shevardnadze’s government.

November 20 - The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced final results of the November 2 parliamentary elections. Shevardnadze’s election bloc For New Georgia was in the top of the polls, followed by Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze’s party Revival Union. Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement was only on the third place, while in the exit polls and parallel vote tabulation results the National Movement was in the top. The United States has condemned final vote tally of November 2 parliamentary elections as fraudulent, which does not “accurately reflects the will of the Georgian people.”

November 21 - Couple of kilometer-long convoy of hundreds of cars, buses and minibuses of protesters advanced on Tbilisi on November 21, honking horns and chanting anti-Shevardnadze slogans. 

November 22 - President Shevardnadze convened the new Parliament elected in November 2 fraudulent parliamentary elections. Shevardnadze attends the session; however while addressing the MPs group of protesters led by Mikheil Saakashvili, who carried a rose, broke into the Parliament chamber. Shevardnadze was forced to leave the building.

Outside the Parliament, he appealed his supporters, said that he will not resign, and left the area. Soon after Shevardnadze’s departure from the Parliament, his supporters also left the area outside the Parliament and tens of thousands of opposition supporters occupied the territory outside the Parliament. Later the protesters also took over the State Chancellery, the President office.

November 23 - Russian President Vladimir Putin dispatched Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Tbilisi to mediate between Eduard Shevardnadze and the opposition leaders.

November 23 - Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze announced the state of emergency in the Autonomous Republic.

November 23 - In the evening opposition leaders, Mikheil Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania met with Eduard Shevardnadze in the Krtsanisi governmental residence. After the talks, Eduard Shevardnadze announced his resignation. Tens of thousands of people started celebration of the bloodless revolution in the streets of Tbilisi. Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze became the Interim President.

November 24 - The U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in the phone conversation with Nino Burjanadze, acting President of Georgia, supported and encouraged her and her colleagues.

November 25 - The acting Parliament, elected in 1999, approved to hold snap presidential elections for January 4, 2004.

November 26 - The leaders of the bloodless revolution, which led Shevardnadze out of office, announced Mikheil Saakashvili as their single candidate to run for presidency.

November 26 - Interim President Nino Burjanadze today held a phone conversation with U.S. President George Bush regarding the recent situation in the country. The U.S. President expressed content with peaceful settlement of the political crisis and promised to render assistance in maintaining peace and stability in the country.

November 27 - One of the opposition leaders Zurab Zhvania becomes the State Minister. On the same day, the Parliament also approved the opposition leaders’ supporters for the Finance Minister and Interior Minister’s positions.

November 28 - Chairperson of the Central Elections Commission Nana Devdariani filed resignation. Nana Devdariani, along with the former President and the government, was criticized for fraudulent November 2 parliamentary elections.

November 29 - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met today with Abkhaz de facto Prime Minister Raul Khajimba in Moscow, following the talks with leader of Georgia’s another breakaway region South Ossetia Eduard Kokoev. Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze was also visiting Moscow.

November 30 - The Parliament approved Zurab Chiaberashvili as the Central Election Commission’s Chairman. Zurab Chiaberashvili previously was a director of the election watchdog NGO International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), which conducted parallel vote tabulation (PVT) during the November 2 parliamentary elections. The Parliament approved Tedo Japaridze as a Foreign Minister on the same day.

December

December 1 - Foreign ministers from OSCE participating States have pledged to provide more than five million euros in immediate assistance to Georgia to help the country organize presidential and parliamentary elections.

December 1 - Leader of the Traditionalists party Akaki Asatiani refused to support Mikheil Saakashvili in January 4 presidential elections. Asatiani was beside the opposition leaders during the street protests against Shevardnadze. He explained that he does not agree with Saakashvili’s election platform.

December 2 - Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State said, while addressing the OSCE Ministerial Council on December 2, “the international community should do everything possible to support Georgia's territorial integrity throughout and beyond the elections.”

“No support should be given to breakaway elements seeking to weaken the territorial integrity of Georgia,” Colin Powell added.

December 3 - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Lynn Pascoe led an interagency team to meet with officials of Georgia’s Interim Government to review specific assistance proposals for Georgia’s upcoming elections and support for Georgia’s political and economic reform.

December 3 - Tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who is wanted by Russia for fraud allegations, paid a mysterious, five-hour long visit to Tbilisi at midnight. He met with his former aide and Tbilisi-based media-tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, who is also wanted by Russia for fraud allegations.
 
December 3 -
Explosion rocked the building of the State TV and Radio Corporation, causing no injuries. 

December 5 - U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Georgia and reiterated the United State’s “strong support for stability, territorial integrity of Georgia.”

December 5 - Tamaz Maghlakelidze, a member of supervisory council of the United Georgia Bank, was kidnapped. 

December 5 - The General Prosecutor’s Office announced that Levan Mamaladze, one of the close allies of ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze and former governor of Kvemo Kartli region, is wanted by the Georgian law enforcers, as officials say, “in order to be interrogated on fraud allegations.”

December 6 - Presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili condemned the statements made by leader of Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze, who threatened with boycotting the elections.

December 6 - Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with Georgian Interim President Nino Burjanadze.

December 7 - Election observer from the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) Giorgi Mshvenieradze, who was arrested by the Adjarian authorities, was released. Giorgi Mshvenieradze, 21, was detained by the Adjara Autonomous Republic’s police on November 2, while he was monitoring the parliamentary elections in Kobuleti.

He was accused of deliberate attempts to impede elections at one of the precincts of Kobuleti. However, according to the human rights advocacy NGOs Giorgi Mshvenieradze was arrested when he noticed a case of ballot stuffing.

December 9 - Russia imposed simplified visa regime for the population of Georgia living in the Adjara Autonomous Republic. Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned Russia’s unilateral decision as “violation of Georgia’s sovereignty.”

December 10 - No agreement has been reached after six-hour long burdensome talks between Interim President Nino Burjanadze and Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze. Abashidze still threatened to boycott January 4 presidential elections and not to open the polling stations in the region.

December 13 - The 111th Light Infantry Battalion of the Georgian Defense Ministry officially graduated the U.S.-funded Train-and-Equip Program (GTEP). It was the fourth Georgian battalion, which underwent the GTEP.

December 13 - The Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected to register Igor Giorgadze, Georgia’s ex-security chief wanted by Georgia for terrorists attack against Shevardnadze in 1995, as a presidential candidate. According to the Interior Ministry Giorgadze has not lived in Georgia for last two years, necessary for registration as presidential candidate.

December 13 - The court sentenced Merab Zhordania, the President of the Georgian Football Federation to three-month pre-trial detention. Zhordania was arrested on December 12 and is charged with the misappropriation of 750,000 Lari (up to USD 340,000).

December 16 - The Traditionalists and National-Democratic parties announced that they created a bloc to form a rightist movement, which will contest the current authorities in the parliamentary elections.

December 18 - Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze left for Strasbourg to hold talks with Walter Schwimmer, the Secretary General of Council of Europe.

December 19 - The Interior Ministry filed the criminal charges against Akaki Chkhaidze, former chief of the state-owned Georgian Railway company, for tax evasion. Akaki Chkhaidze also was an ally of Eduard Shevardnadze.

December 20 - State Minister Zurab Zhvania and head of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze held 4-hour long talks in Batumi, however no particular agreement has been reached over the holding of the presidential elections in the Autonomous Republic.

December 23 - U.S. ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles left for Adjarian capital Batumi to hold talks with Aslan Abashidze, the head of Adjara Autonomous capital and tried to convince him not to boycott the elections. This was the third visit of Richard Miles to Batumi in December.

December 25 - Georgian Interim President Nino Burjanadze said after the two-hour long talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 25, that her visit to Russia was “a breakthrough in Russo-Georgian relations.” However, the visit revealed once again that bilateral ties are still far from normalization.

December 25 - More than 1,7 million voters have undergone voter registration, necessary for making the voter lists for the January 4 snap presidential elections.

December 26 - The new public movement Our Adjara was established, which aims at promotion of the democracy in the Autonomous Republic. The Interior Minister of Adjara waned the movement’s leaders to avoid setting up the branches in Adjara and to hold the protest rallies in the region.

December 27 – State Minister Zurab Zhvania paid a one-day official visit to Azerbaijan.

December 28 – Aslan Abashidze said in his televised speech broadcasted by the Adjara TV that the polling stations will be opened in the Autonomous Republic on January 4 snap presidential elections.

December 29 – Unknown person fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Rustavi 2 television office in Tbilisi, damaged building, but caused no casualties.

December 29 - Georgian State Minister Zurab Zhvania paid one-day official visit to Armenia.

December 30 - After the meeting with State Minister Zurab Zhvania, Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze reiterated that the polling stations will be opened in the Autonomous Republic on January  4 presidential elections, however Abashidze added that his party Revival Union will boycott the elections.

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