Timeline - 2002
/ 5 Jan.'04 / 18:08
  » Timeline:  2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006

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1 January: President Eduard Shevardnadze promises that the coming year will be marked by "historic compromises" that will resolve the conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

15 January: Georgian police under the personal supervision of Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili implemented the first phase of an operation intended to establish the rule of law in the Pankisi gorge northeast of Tbilisi, were criminal gangs and Chechen fighters found shelter.

23 January: Addressing the UN Security Council, Kofi Annan appealed to the Georgian and Abkhaz leaderships to begin talks on the optimum division between them of constitutional competencies.


25 February: Georgian National Security Council secretary Nugzar Sajaia committed suicide in his office. Sajai, 60, was a long-time close associate of President Shevardnadze, who blamed his suicide on "moral terror".

27 February: Senior U.S. Pentagon officials release details of a new U.S. Train-and-Equip program to assist in strengthening Georgia's "internal security and stability" which will include the deployment of two hundred Special Operations forces.

27-28 February: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov during the meeting with the US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell expressed Russia's concern over U.S. military presence in Georgia. The foreign minister stated that Russia has "well-founded concerns" over the direct involvement of the U.S. military, and warns "Washington must take this INTO account." U.S. official have tried to ease Russian concerns by highlighting that U.S. troops will not be directly engaged in combat operations in Georgia.


2 March: Deputies to a new Abkhaz parliament were elected in at least 30 of the unrecognized republic's 35 constituencies in a ballot not recognized by the international community as legal.

5 March: President Shevardnadze said that he would appoint Tedo Japaridze, who was Georgia's ambassador to the U.S., to succeed Nugzar Sajaia as National Security Council Secretary.

14 March: Georgia's state-controlled Georgian International Oil Corporation signed in Tbilisi the key Host Government Agreement with the consortium created to build a pipeline to export gas FROM Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz deposit to Turkey.


2 April: An agreement is reached between Georgian and Abkhazian officials calling for the withdrawal of Georgian troops FROM Kodori gorge, the only part of the breakaway region controlled by the Georgian side.

8 April: President Eduard Shevardnadze reaffirms his decision to adhere to the Georgian constitution's prohibition preventing him FROM seeking a third presidential term. The 74-year old leader's term will expire in 2005 and he has dismissed any suggestion of amending the constitution to allow him to run again.

15 April: The second registration shows that the number of the Chechen refugees living in Pankisi gorge halved FROM up to 8,000 to 3,700.

25 April: An earthquake strikes Tbilisi. Quake with a magnitude measuring six on the Richter scale killed at least five and damaging large parts of the historic capital.

29 April: A GROUP of 18 U.S. military personnel arrived in Tbilisi, the first of some 150-200 U.S. Special Forces instructors who are to launch training programs for Georgian army, border and security services personnel.


19 May: GROUP of 70 US military specialists arrived FROM Germany to Georgia to train the Georgian troops within the US funded Train-and-Equip program. 50 of them were military instructors and other 20 are technical specialists.

27 May: The Train-and-Equip program was officially launched.



2 June: The second local self-governance election held in Georgia. Seven political parties cleared the 4 percent poll barrier to gain Tbilisi Council seats. The Labor Party, led by Shalva Natelashvili, received 26 percent of the vote, to lead all parties, followed by Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement, with 24 percent.

4 June: Tevzadze and Lieutenant General Unal Onsipahioglu, who is a senior member of the Turkish Army General Staff, attended the formal reopening of the Vaziani military base near Tbilisi FROM which Russia withdrew in 2002.

16 June: Adjarian State Council Chairman Aslan Abashidze's 26-year-old son, Giorgi, was elected mayor of Batumi with over 92 percent of the vote.

17 June: Zurab Zhvania's (Former speaker of Georgian Parliament) Team forms a new party the United Democrats. The leadership of the party was mainly composed with reformers’ wing of the Citizens’ Union of Georgia (CUG) party, which is now fully controlled by the pro-Presidential group.

18 June: A British citizen with the EU in Georgia was abducted in Tbilisi by armed men wearing police and military uniforms. Peter Shaw, 59, was planning to leave Tbilisi in the next few days after working there in various capacities for six years.

20 June: Responding to an appeal by the opposition National Movement party, a Tbilisi district court has instructed the Central Election Commission to recount the ballots cast in the Georgian capital during the 2 June local elections.

29 June: Delegates to a congress of the ruling Citizens’ Union of Georgia party unanimously elected Minister of State Avtandil Jorbenadze as party chairman. They also elected President Eduard Shevardnadze (former Chairman of the party) as honorary chairman, and virtually the entire government to the party's governing council.

28 June: Military contingents FROM nine NATO members states, including the United States, Turkey, and Canada, as well as FROM six countries that are members of NATO's Partnership for Peace program ended 10 days of maneuvers at the former Russian military base of Vaziani near Tbilisi. The maneuvers, codenamed "Cooperative Best Effort-2002," were held under the command of General Oktar Ataman, the Turkish head of NATO's Joint Command Southeast.


19 July: A joint statement of the leading opposition parties to oppose government's tolerance towards growing crime rates spurred support of the national non-governmental organizations. An unprecedented meeting of the NGOs and political party leaders was convened to discuss these agendas. One week earlier leaders of 8 parties gathered in the office of the National-Democratic party to protest pardoning of the two top operatives of the notorious Mkhedrioni paramilitary unit that terrorized Georgia in mid-1990s.


1 August: The Abkhaz de facto parliament amended the unrecognized republic's constitution to allow its residents to acquire citizenship of another state without giving up their Abkhaz citizenship. Abkhaz Prime Minister Anri Jergenia disclosed on 11 July that some 60 percent of the region's population has acquired Russian passports.

3-5 August: Georgian border guards detained 13 armed men near the border with Chechnya. Two of them were Georgian citizens the rest of them – Chechens. They were charged for illegal crossing of the state border and carrying of automatic weapons and explosives. Russia immediately demanded their extradition.

19 August: President Eduard Shevardnadze announce that Georgian Interior Ministry and National Security Ministry forces will launch an "anti-crime and antiterrorist" operation to establish "peace and stability" in the Pankisi Gorge and expel criminal elements and Chechen fighters.

23 August: Russian fighter jets bombed Georgian territory killing one and injuring several civilians. On August 24 OSCE Observers officially confirmed the fact of bombing. According to the DATA of the OSCE Observers Mission to Georgia, the aircraft flew on high altitude and few minutes later explosion and flames were registered 30 kilometers away FROM the Russian-Georgian state border. Russian military authorities reject not only the fact of bombing but also flights of the military aircraft near the borderline on August 23.

25 August: In the wake of launch of the anti-crime operation in Pankisi gorge, Defense Minister Tevzadze and National Security Council Secretary Tedo Japaridze attended the opening of war games "Kakheti-2002", near Pankisi gorge in which some 2,000 military personnel participated.


11 September: Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaking in Sochi in commemoration of 9/11 attacks had practically set an ultimatum to Georgia identifying the country as a source of terrorist threat. Putin claimed Russia would use the Article 51 of the UN Charter giving Russia the right of self-defense against the external threat.

17 September: President of Azerbaijan Heidar Aliev held talks in Baku with his visiting Turkish and Georgian counterparts, Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Eduard Shevardnadze, and with U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.


4 October: On the eve of the meeting between Shevardnadze and Putin, Georgia extradited to Russia 5 alleged Chechen militants detained in Georgia in August, causing protest of the human rights activists. 

6 October: Shevardnadze met Putin in Chisinau, Moldova. Two Presidents agreed that Georgia would hand over to Russia all the Chechens, allegedly militants detained in Georgia. They also agreed on cooperation in patrolling of the Georgian-Russian border.

11 October: Eighty parliamentary deputies FROM five opposition factions (the National Movement, the New Rightists, the United Democrats, the Union of Traditionalists, and the New Abkhazia-Christian Democrats) walked out of the legislature to signify their rejection of the socioeconomic development program unveiled by President Eduard Shevardnadze in his annual address to the nation and Parliament.

14 October: Shevardnadze and Georgian Patriarch Ilia II signed a constitutional agreement between the state and the Georgian Orthodox Church at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. The document confirms the church's ownership of all churches and monasteries on Georgian territory except for those now privately owned, and acknowledges and pledges to recompense at least part of the material damage inflicted on the church since the loss of autocephaly in 1811.

17 October: At a meeting in Yerevan on the sidelines of the CIS border-guard commanders' meeting, the directors of the Russian and Georgian border-protection services, Colonel General Konstantin Totskii and Lieutenant General Valeri Chkheidze, signed a protocol on cooperation, including information sharing and conducting joint patrols of the two countries' common border.


6 November: Banking consultant Peter Shaw was released. Georgian security forces claim Shaw was released as a result of the special operation, while the British citizens said he could escape FROM his capturers. 

13 November: Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed an ethnic-Georgian as the new Russian ambassador to Georgia. The new ambassador, Vladimir Chkhikvishvili, was educated in Tbilisi and previously served as a chief of the North American division of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

22 November: In his address to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council session in Prague, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze made an official bid for NATO accession but acknowledged that it will take time for Georgia to meet NATO's standards.

22 November: President Eduard Shevardnadze met briefly in Prague on the sidelines of the NATO summit with U.S. President Bush. Georgian National Security Council Secretary Tedo Japaridze said the two presidents discussed the ongoing anticrime and antiterrorism operation in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge and the progress of the U.S.-funded $64 million Train and Equip program for the Georgian armed forces.

25 November: Socialist Party leader Vakhtang Rcheulishvili and Minister of State Avtandil Jorbenadze, chairman of the Citizens’ Union of Georgia party (CUG) announced announced they would cooperate for the duration of President Shevardnadze's term in ORDER to preserve political stability in Georgia and "prevent civil war".


1 December: Sadi Sharifov, 79, ethnic Azeri, father of the Vice-President of the Russian energy company LUKOil was abducted FROM his house in the village of Pantiani, southern Georgia. Unofficial reports said that the kidnappers demanded USD 400,000 ransom for his release. Sadi Sharifov was found dead in South Georgia on December 12.

3 December: Georgia ratified construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. USA Administration welcomed the decision.

6-7 December: Law enforcers carried out a round-up of so-called "suspicious persons", majority of which were ethnic Chechens in capital city Tbilisi, causing alarm of the local and international human rights advocacy organizations and the Georgian Public Defender. While the Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Georgian President for the operation and the assistance in fight against terrorism.

19 December: Kote Makharadze well known Georgian artist, sport commentator died after of illness.

25 December: The railway link resumed between Russia and Abkhazia, despite of Tbilisi’s categorical protests.

28 December:  Parliament rejected draft of the 2003 budget. At the Parliamentary special session 116 MPs voted for the adoption of the 2003 draft budget, while 118 votes were needed. All the opposition factions voted against the draft. State Minister Avtandil Jorbenadze stated after the voting that the draft budget “became the victim of the political games.”

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