January 3 – Frontrunner presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili paid a surprise visit to Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia and met with the local population in the streets of the town. Saakashvili also visited several Georgian villages located in the conflict zone.
During the meeting with the local population of the Georgian village of Tamarasheni, Saakashvili vowed that during the next presidential elections in 2009 the polling stations will be opened in Tskhinvali too.
January 4 – Snap presidential elections held in Georgia. Five presidential candidates were running for presidency – Mikheil Saakashvili, Temur Shashiashvili, Zaza Sikharulidze, Roin Liparteliani and Kartlos Gharibashvili.
Mikheil Saakashvili, who led Rose Revolution in November, 2003, won a landslide victory with almost 96% of votes. Around 450 observers from the OSCE, as well as local and CIS observers were monitoring the elections.
January 7 – Leader of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze re-imposed the sate of emergency in the Autonomous Republic. The state of emergency, which was declared in Adjara during the November Rose Revolution, was temporarily canceled on January 3 just day before the snap presidential elections in Georgia. The renewal of the state of emergency was followed by the crackdown of the Adjarian law enforcement agencies on the opposition Kmara movement.
January 8 – Talks between Georgian Foreign Minister Tedo Japaridze and First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Yuri Baluyevsky held in Moscow over pull out of Russian military bases from Georgia yielded no results. “The Russian side is categorically against the proposals of Georgia over pull out of military bases from Batumi [Adjarian capital] and Akhalkalaki [southern Georgia] within 3 years. This plan is unreal,” Yuri Baluyevsky said.
January 8 – The Tbilisi prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against one of the allies of ex-President Shevardnadze, former governor of the Kvemo Kartli region Levan Mamaladze, who is accused of misuse of power and state funds. Levan Mamaladze left Georgia after the November Rose Revolution and reportedly is still in Russia at the time of publication of Timeline-2004.
January 10 – Police released Tamaz Maghlakelidze, member of the board of trustees of the United Georgian Bank, as a result of a special operation near Tbilisi. Tamaz Maghlakelidze was kidnapped at gunpoint on December 5, 2003.
January – 12 – Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin arrived in Georgia. He also visited Adjara Autonomous Republic.
January 13 – U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lynn Pascoe arrived in Tbilisi to sign an agreement with the Georgian leadership on allocation of USD 3 millions by the U.S. Government, which was a salary support for Georgian troops trained by the U.S. military instructors in frames of Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP).
In December, 2003, following the Rose Revolution the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles signed an agreement with the Georgia government permitting the payment of up to USD 5 million for pensions.
January 13 – Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana paid one day official visit to Georgia.
January 14 – Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy arrived in Tbilisi on a two-day visit.
January 14 – The Parliament approved Irakli Okruashvili, former governor of Shida Kartli region, as the General Prosecutor.
January 14 – The Parliament approved on January 14 Irakli Rekhviashvili as the Economy Minister.
January 14 – The Parliament of Georgia approved today a new national flag. The proposed flag, previously used by Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement as a party banner, represents a white field with centered red cross and smaller four crosses in the corners.
January 14 – Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze left for Moscow to hold talks with the Russian officials.
January 15 – Georgia Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze left for Iraq to inspect 70-strong Georgian peacekeeping unit deployed in the town of Tikrit.
January 16 – Police arrested ex-chief of the state-run Georgian Railway Company and former ally of ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze Akaki Chkhaidze in Batumi, the capital of Adjara Autonomous Republic. The Interior Ministry filed the criminal charges against Akaki Chkhaidze on December 19, 2003 for tax evasion and misappropriation of $216,000.
January 16 – Richard Boucher, the Spokesman of the U.S. Department of State, announced that in the 2004 budget the U.S. will have $164 million of support for Georgia.
January 18 – Temur Inaishvili, head of the Emergency Situations Department of the Adjarian Interior Ministry, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in the center of Batumi.
January 19 – President-elect Mikheil Saakashvili left for Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.
January 19 – In a report to the UN Security Council the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that progress in resolving the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict remains “painfully slow.”
January 19 – Dozens were injured as a result of the clash between the protesters and the police in the southern Adjarian village of Gonio. The protesters demanded resignation of Aslan Abashidze, the head of Adjara Autonomous Republic.
January 20 – In the wake of Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze’s visit to Moscow, Russian foreign Ministry issued a statement on January 20 backing Abashidze’s policy and condemning his opposition as “extremist forces.”
January 21 – Georgian Prosecutor General Irakli Okruashvili and Security Minister Valerie Khaburdzania left for Moscow to discuss the issue of extradition of kidnapper suspect Shota Chichiashvili, who was arrested on July 24, 2003 in Moscow. Chichiashvili allegedly masterminded kidnappings of two Spanish businessmen in 2000, Georgian Parliamentarian Petre Tsiskarishvili and the British banker Peter Shaw in 2002. Chichiashvili was extradited to Georgia on the same day, January 21.
January 21 – Leader of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze left for Strasbourg to meet with Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer.
January 22 – In a joint news conference with Georgian president-elect Mikheil Saakashvili at the World Economic Forum on January 22, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and philanthropist George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, announced the creation of a new Capacity Building Fund to support governance reforms in Georgia.
This $2 million seed fund, provided by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the UNDP, will be used to support key administrative and legal reforms in Georgia. It was also agreed that increased salaries of the top-level Georgian officials will be financed from this fund.
January 23 – Interim President Nino Burjanadze left for Adjarian capital Batumi to hold talks with the leader of Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze.
January 23 – Levan Varshalomidze appointed as the chief of the state-owned Georgian Railway Company. Varshalomidze, 32, was one of the founders of the DVNK legal and financial consulting firm.
January 24 – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Georgian capital Tbilisi to attend the presidential inauguration of Mikheil Saakashvili on January 25.
January 24 – Georgian President-elect Mikheil Saakashvili took a spiritual oath on the Bible and received a blessing from Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II at the Gelati Cathedral in western Georgia.
January 25 – Mikheil Saakashvili arrived in Batumi and together with the Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze attended the military parade in the capital of Adjara Autonomous Republic, shortly before Saakashvili was sworn in as the President.
January 25 – Mikhail Saakashvili was inaugurated as Georgia’s new president. Saakashvili, 36, who is the youngest President in Europe, was elected with more than 96% of votes. Thousands of people, including foreign guests and official delegations, gathered in front of the Parliament building to attend the inauguration ceremony.
January 26 – President Mikhail Saakashvili signed a declaration on National Accord and Reconciliation. Under the declaration, about 30 supporters of Georgia’s first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was ousted as a result of military coup in early 1992, were pardoned. All of them were arrested during and after the civil war in early 90s.
January 26 – Entire government of Georgia filed resignation after the inauguration of the new President,
January 27 – President Saakashvili appointments his close ally Vano Merabishvili as the Secretary of the National Security Council.
January 28 – Two major political parties – President Saakashvili’s National Movement and State Minister Zurab Zhvania’s United Democrats announced that they will run jointly in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for March 28.
January 28 – The Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), in its recommendations to the Georgian government, expressed concern regarding “the current reshaping of Georgian political life and the risk of a disappearance of all parliamentary opposition after the forthcoming [March 28] elections and, in consequence, of any true institutional counterweight.”
January 29 – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili left for Germany from Strasbourg, where he has already addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on January 28.
January 29 – Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Kakha Ugulava said the Bureau announces about self-liquidation. “All the materials revealed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau will be delivered to the National Security Council for further inquiry,” Kakha Ugulava said on January 30.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau was set up in 2001 on initiative of ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze. Several high officials have been dismissed as a result of recommendation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
January 31 – Hundreds of street traders staged a protest rally in front of the State Chancellery, the President’s office in Tbilisi. The protesters’ action is in response to the Tbilisi City Council decision to ban outdoor markets in the capital city.
February 3 – Koba Davitashvili, the political secretary of the President Saakashvili’s party National Movement, announced that he quits the party, expressing protest regarding the anticipated constitutional changes.
“It is inadmissible when we change the constitution for Zurab Zhvania [State Minister], who wants to become a Prime Minister. The constitution can not be adjusted just for one particular person. We should make this statement duly to save parliamentarian system in the country,” Koba Davitashvili said.
February 3 – Acting Minister of Transport and Communications of Georgia Merab Adeishvili was detained for alleged misuse of power and misappropriation of state funds.
February 5 – Parliament approved Kote Kemularia as a Georgia’s new ambassador to Russia, replacing Zurab Abashidze.
February 6 – The Parliament approved constitutional changes altering Georgia’s political power arrangement in favor of President Saakashvili.
February 7 – Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze left for Moscow.
February 9 – President Saakashvili appointed MP Irakli Chubinishvili as a chief of his administration.
February 10-11 – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili paid a two-day official visit to Moscow and met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
February 10 – The Abkhazian delegation led by de facto Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba arrived in Tbilisi to hold talks with the Georgian side regarding the security issues in the conflict zone.
February 10 – A group of opposition MPs set up a special commission to investigate the suspected facts of government’s pressure on Rustavi 2 and Mze independent television stations. These two leading television stations simultaneously stopped broadcasting of the popular political talks shows, which were on air every night except the weekends that sparked rumors over the possible pressure on the TV companies from the authorities.
February 11 – The Parliament approved draft of structural reforms of the executive government. The reforms considered reshuffle of the ministries and state departments, as well as outlined the rule of activity of the cabinet of ministers.
February 12 – The Parliament approved anti-corruption bill with 111 votes to 1. The bill implies confiscation of assets of those officials who fail to prove assets were acquired legally.
February 13 – The Vienna-based International Press Institute, which unites editors, media executives and leading journalists from over 120 countries, sent a letter to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili expressing deep concern “about the pressure applied by the Georgian authorities on mass media since the 2003 November Rose Revolution.
February 17 – Zurab Zhvania, nominee for the Prime Minister’s post said at the parliamentary session that the new cabinet of ministers would support adoption of law on lustration. Zhvania said that Zurab Adeishvili, nominee for the State Security Minister’s position would work over the law on lustration, which will make the security service legally bound to reveal any links with foreign special services of current senior officials or nominees to such a post. Despite this statement of Zhvania that draft has not been proposed by the new cabinet.
February 17 – The Parliament approved with 165 votes to 5 Zurab Zhvania as Prime Minister and the new cabinet, which consists of 15 Ministers and four State Ministers.
February 17 – Georgian Finance Minister Zurab Nogaideli and the Head of the OSCE Mission to Georgia Roy Reeve signed an agreement with which the OSCE made 1 million euros available to cover the administrative expenses of Georgia’s parliamentary elections scheduled for March 28.
February 18-21 – Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer paid an official visit to Georgia. He also traveled to Adjara Autonomous Republic and met with the Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze in Batumi.
February 18 – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili raised concern over “the Wahhabism threat” in the Pankisi Gorge, adding that Pankisi “cannot become a center of Wahhabism.”
February 18 – A group of Chechen refugees living in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge staged a demonstration to protest the disappearances of two Chechens, Bekkhan Mulkoev and Husein Alkhanov. These two Chechens were acquitted by a Tbilisi court on February 6 of having violated border regulations and entered Georgia illegally. The relatives of the two men acquitted fear they have been abducted and secretly handed over to Russia.
February 18 – Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze declined President Mikheil Saakashvili’s demand and said that he will not arrive in the capital city Tbilisi.
February 19 – The New Rights and the Industrialists opposition parties formed an election bloc – the Rightists Opposition – New Rights and Industrialists to jointly run for the March 28 parliamentary elections.
February 20 – Co-founder of MagtiCom mobile phone company Gia Jokhtaberidze, who is son-in-law of ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze was arrested aboard of scheduled Tbilisi-Paris flight this morning in Tbilisi airport.
February 20 – The opposition movement Our Adjara’s offices were raided in Adjarian capital Batumi, after the opposition staged a protest rally in Batumi. The clashes between the supporters and opposition of the Adjarian leader also took place in Batumi. Disorders coincided with the visit of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Walter Schwimmer in Batumi, who held talks with Aslan Abashidze.
February 22 – President Mikheil Saakashvili visited Norway en rout to the United States.
February 23 – President Mikheil Saakashvili arrived in the United States for five-day visit.
February 23 – The delegation of the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) pays a fact-finding visit to Georgia to studies the cases of 13 Chechens, who were arrested by Georgian border guards in August 2002.
February 24 – Badri Bitsadze, who is a husband of Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze, was appointed as Deputy Interior Minister and Commander of the Border Guard Department.
February 24 – Erosi Kitsmarishvili, owner of the Rustavi 2 television, was elected as a President of the Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
February 24 – A British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT), consisting of a major and 4 senior non commissioned officers arrived in Tbilisi to conduct a 5 week training program for 40 Georgian military personnel in peace support operations.
February 24 – The Parliament approved proposal to create a Financial Police to fight the economic and financial crimes. The new agency is under the subordination of Finance Ministry.
February 25 – The Georgian Parliament suspended its resolution of December 5, 2002, which stipulated Georgian government to veto Russia’s accession into World Trade Organization (WTO). Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze proposed to suspend the resolution “at least temporarily,” amid recent attempts of Tbilisi to defuse tensions with Moscow.
February 25 – Controversial political figure Petre Tsiskarishvili, who is President Saakashvili’s ally, has been appointed as governor of eastern Georgian region of Kakheti.
February 25 – Matyas Eorsi, who leads the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) pre-election delegation to Georgia, said he is concerned over the political imbalance in the composition of the election administration at all levels. Matyas Eorsi said the PACE hoped that the new leadership would have changed the composition of the Central Election Commission and lower level election administrations in order secure political balance in the commissions.
February 26 – Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said she is not satisfied with drafting of the party-list of MP candidates, which will run for proportional parliamentary elections on March 28.
March 2 – OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Rolf Ekeus arrived in Georgian.
March 3 – Head of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze visits Moscow.
March 3 – Deputy Security Minister Gigi Ugulava said several officials of the Samegrelo regional security service were arrested after they tried to obstruct appointment of the new chief of the regional security service.
March 4 – Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili left for Azerbaijani capital Baku for two-day visit.
March 4 – USD 150.000 was stolen from the Krtsanisi military training field near Tbilisi, which was used by the U.S. military instructors to train Georgia troops within the U.S.-funded Georgia Train-and-Equip Program (GTEP). Officials said thieves stole a 100-kg safe containing USD 150.000 and other personal valuables belonging to U.S. military instructors.
March 5 – The police carried out special operation in Georgia’s second largest city of Kutaisi and arrested 15 so called alleged ‘criminal bosses.’ Bondo Shalikiani, an influential oil monopolist in Kutaisi, who was elected as MP in Tkibuli single-mandate constituency near Kutaisi in last November parliamentary elections, was also arrested with illegal procession of arms allegations.
March 5 – Vakhtang Komakhidze, journalist working for the Rustavi 2 television, was severely beaten up in the Khelvachauri district of the Adjara Autonomous Republic by the police.
March 5 – President Saakashvili demanded from Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze to abolish Autonomous Republic’s Security Ministry. But Abashidze refused to do so.
March 6 – Russian Acting Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told French newspaper Le Figaro that foreign mercenaries and terrorists infiltrate Russia via Georgia.
March 8 – President Mikhail Saakashvili left for France for a two-day visit.
March 12 – President Saakashvili visited Armenia.
March 12 – Defrocked Orthodox priest Basil Mkalavishvili, who has been wanted by police since last June for numerous attacks against the religious minorities, was arrested.
March 12 – Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze left for Moscow.
March 14 – Armed groups blocked the administrative border between Adjara and the rest of the Georgia and prevented Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and other members of the government to travel to the Autonomous Republic.
March 14 – In his televised address to the nation President Mikheil Saakashvili described Adjarian leadership’s activity as “a mutiny attempt against the Georgian State.”
March 14 – OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy arrived in Georgia.
March 14 – Anti-Crisis Center was set up to coordinate the Georgian government’s activities in resolving the confrontation with the Adjarian leadership. Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was appointed as the chairman of the center.
March 15 – President Saakashvili announced that Georgia’s central authorities imposed “partial” economic sanctions against its defiant Adjarian Autonomy in a bid “to exhaust Adjarian regime’s resources.”
March 16 – Mayor of Russian capital Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, who has close links with Adjarian leader Aslan Abashidze, arrived in Batumi.
March 16 – Zurab Chankotadze, former Chairman of the Georgian Civil Aviation Administration was arrested for alleged misuse of power.
March 16 – The Tbilisi-based Supre