Page 1

Issue no: 1053

• JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... EU, NATO Denounce Recognition of Georgian Breakaway Regions by Syria NEWS PAGE 2

Women are the Political Future POLITICS PAGE 4

FOCUS

Turkish Upcoming Elections: Regional Implications

ON JUSTICE Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor resigns amid court verdict protests PAGE

POLITICS PAGE 6

Nenskra Hydropower Plant is a Unique Project for Georgia

3

BUSINESS PAGE 8

World Health Organization Awards Georgian MP for Anti-Tobacco Law

#Togetherforeachother: Georgia Joins Inter’l Multiple Sclerosis Day

BY THEA MORRISON

The Eurasia Leadership Trek

SOCIETY PAGE 9

I

n connection with World No Tobacco Day 2018, celebrated on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) selected several organizations and people to receive a World No Tobacco Day Award. Among them is Akaki Zoidze, Chair of the Healthcare Committee in the Parliament of Georgia. The organization says that as Chair of the Healthcare and Social Issues Committee, Zoidze led the process of endorsing tobacco control legislation, which was adopted by the Parliament in May 2017 and entered into force on May 1. Continued on page 2

SOCIETY PAGE 10

The James Blunt Concert CULTURE PAGE 12

Chat with us

Memorandum of Understanding Signed between Georgian Football Federation, FC Locomotive Tbilisi & UNFPA SPORTS PAGE 15


2

NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

EU, NATO Denounce Recognition of Georgian Breakaway Regions by Syria BY THEA MORRISON

T

he European Union views the decision of Syria to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a violation of international law. A statement affirming their position was released by the spokeswoman for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Maja Kocijancic. “The decision of the Syrian regime to establish diplomatic relations with the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia violates international law and the principle of territorial integrity as defined by the United Nations Charter and relevant UN Security Council resolutions," the statement reads. According to Kocijancic, the European Union fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. "We remain committed to actively support conflict resolution efforts, including through the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, and the EU Monitoring Mission," the statement says. Moreover, NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu stated that occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia

are parts of Georgia. “NATO still calls on Russia to withdraw its military forces from Georgia. Syria’s decision cannot change the opinion of the international community,” she added.

On May 29, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Syria released an official statement saying they recognized Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) as independent countries.

“Expressing gratitude for the support during the terrorist aggression against Syria, the Syrian Arab Republic decided to establish diplomatic relations with the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Syrian foreign ministry said. Anatoly Bibilov, de facto president of occupied Tskhinvali, said he welcomed the step taken by Syria, saying the “recognition of independence of South Ossetia by Syria is a continuation of the irreversible process that began in 2008,” when the occupied regions fell under Russian occupation. "Mutual recognition of independence and establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of South Ossetia and the Syrian Arab Republic is a significant and historic phenomenon. Everybody needs new friends, especially those countries that appeared in a difficult situation, faced military aggression and terrorism,” the selfproclaimed president stated. Bibilov thanked Syrian President Bashar Assad and expressed readiness for close relations with the country. The de-facto foreign ministry of occupied Tskhinvali says the decision on establishment of “diplomatic ties between South Ossetia and Syria” entered into force the same day. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry responded immediately, saying Syria’s move was an “illegal decision and a violation of international norms.”

Georgian, Armenian Foreign Ministers Meet in Tbilisi BY THEA MORRISON

M

utual cooperation in various fields and regional developments were the key issues dicussed by Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and his Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. The ministers spoke about a broad spectrum of co-operation between Georgia and Armenia, reaffirming the need to further develop the friendly and good-neighborly relations between the two countries and to implement a series of agreements reached within the scope of their ministries. The sides spoke about sectoral and regional co-operation with a focus on prospects for deepening relations in the areas of transport, infrastructure and energy.

The importance of preparing to conduct a meeting of the Georgia-Armenia inter-governmental

commission was also highlighted. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan arrived in Georgia as part

of the visit of the Armenian delegation led by the newly-elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

World Health Organization Awards Georgian MP for AntiTobacco Law Continued from page 1

As a result, Georgia has a comprehensive tobacco control law which includes: •a prohibition on smoking in public places •a comprehensive ban on the display of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship •a requirement that pictorial health warnings cover 65% of tobacco product packaging •a requirement that tobacco products have plain packaging •regulation of e-cigarettes with nicotine as tobacco products. “Dr Zoidze led negotiations with the executive and legislative branches of the Georgian government, worked closely with the media, and coordinated work with international and civil society tobacco control organizations. Dr Zoidze was successful in overcoming the hesitation of Georgian decision-makers, and addressing the frustration of society after many unsuccessful attempts during previous years to change the legislation,” the WHO stated. The WHO underlines that Zoidze’s “critical contribution to substantially strengthening tobacco control in Georgia and exemplary dedication to placing health at the top of the political agenda is inspiring for policy-makers around the world."


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

3

Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Resigns BY THEA MORRISON

G

eorgia’s Chief Prosecutor, Irakli Shotadze resigned May 31 amid protests over a high-profile murder case involving teenagers. The protest started after Tbilisi City Court announced its verdict on the murder of two teenage boys in which two minors detained for the murder case were found guilty. The judge found one of the detainees guilty for premeditated murder of one of the victims- Levan Dadunashvili, while another detainee was found guilty for the attempted murder of another victimDavid Saralidze. But the court failed to say who had killed Saralidze. Two 16-year old schoolboys, Levan Dadunashvili and Davit Saralidze from Tbilisi Public School 51, were brutally stabbed to death during a street brawl in the city center on December 3, 2017. Davituliani died on the scene while Saralidze was taken to the hospital and died the next day. After the court announced its verdict, Saralidze’s father, Zaza, went to the Prosecutor’s Office and demanded the answer as to who had killed his son, stating openly that he does not trust the investigation carried out and noted that there were too many questions left regarding

the case. He claims there was "someone else" involved in the murder who is free but who must be held accountable. Saralidze’s supporters gathered at the Prosecutor’s Office asking for “justice” and “a fair investigation.” Shotadze said that the evidence submitted to the court by the Prosecutor’s Office would ensure a fair verdict on the case and all offenders would be punished, but he said that the case was two parts legalone part humane and that he had decided to leave his post due to the latter. “I have always stood beside you. As the Chief Prosecutor of the country and as a father, there is nothing more valuable me than your child’s life,” the now exChief Prosecutor told the parents of the victims. He explained that for him, the trust of each citizen towards state institutions is of utmost importance. "Fair justice is especially valuable for me when it refers to the murder of minors. The Prosecutor's Office submitted evidence to the court that in my opinion would ensure a fair verdict on the case. The first instance court did not fully accept the evidence and there was not a fair result in this very hard case. However, the process will continue in the higher instance court and I am confident that all offenders will be liable to the law,” Shotadze said. Mamuka Vasadze, First Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Georgia, will serve as act-

Protesters in front of the old Parliament building on Rustaveli avenue, 31st May, 22:10 pm. Photo by: Nika Kavtaradze

ing Chief Prosecutor in Irakli Shotadze's stead. He will hold this position until Parliament elects a new Chief Prosecutor. Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili spoke out in support of Shotadze’s resignation, claiming it part of the new “standard” set by his government. “I have

always believed that Irakli and his office were doing everything for all offenders to be held accountable before the law,” he said. “Irakli’s resignation is a completely new standard which was the main goal of the 2012 public revolution. I want to once again offer my condolences to the families of the victims and express

my conviction that justice will be executed," Ivanishvili’s statement reads. Large crowds gathered outside the old Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi, on the evening of May 31 to demand an overhaul of the entire justice system. For updates, go to georgiatoday.ge.

KHARCHO: High Quality Georgian Restaurant in the Heart of the City restaurant’s name. The restaurant serves two kinds of Kharcho: beef and turkey. Kharcho boasts a distinguished and unique choice of wine thanks to Art House’s famous sommelier, Nika Agdgomelashvili. Here, guests can sip on special Reserve Wine not otherwise available in the shops. When the restaurant is busy and friends

R

estaurant Kharcho has one of the most distinguished and special interior designs in Tbilisi. Architects worked on the walls and furniture for Kharcho for eight months, burning in a detailed wooden texture to give a medieval-royal atmosphere. Every detail is unique and handmade.

Red embroidery, created in London just for Kharcho, is the main focus of the restaurant’s furniture. Kharcho is a place where guests can enjoy the feeling of Georgian traditional elements in both dishes and service. Another good point of Kharcho is the music: exquisite and harmonic. Dishes are carefully chosen and pre-

pared by professional Georgian chefs using ingredients grown and produced by Kharcho, including home-grown veggies, traditional jams and fine desserts. It is well known that the restaurant offers one of the best main dishes ever served in Tbilisi – Kharcho, very popular with guests and the reason behind

have gathered, the restaurant’s musical Trio comes to make their stay even more musical and festive. Restaurant Kharcho offers wine and gastronomic adventures: there is truly no other place like it in the capital. Come and be amazed alongside other tourists and locals. For your comfort, a parking lot is located under Art House.


4

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

On Georgia Joining NATO (without Sparking a War with Russia)

OP-ED BY SHAWN WAYNE

A

s NATO prepares for its Summit in July, the issue of enlarging the Alliance is sure to come up, and in particular, the case of Georgia whose territory is par. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Summit, at which NATO promised eventual membership to the South Caucasus country. With each succeeding summit, NATO has reaffirmed its commitment to Georgia and it regularly introduces measures to improve Georgia’s interoperability with the Alliance; in December 2016, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared that Georgia “has all the practical tools to become a member of NATO.” Even so, the country’s journey toward NATO membership has been long, at times frustrating, and is apparently far from over. US and European policymakers say one of the big-

gest concerns about admitting Georgia into the alliance is Russia’s occupation of the country’s Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Abkhazia regions. If Georgia joined NATO, the theory goes, the treaty’s Article 5 mutual security guarantee would immediately require members to go to war against Russia. No matter what is said publicly, many policymakers believe that as long as these regions are under Russian occupation, Georgia can never join NATO. Indeed, Moscow is of the same opinion, and views occupation as a de facto veto. However, there is a way around this problem. All of Georgia’s internationally recognized territory, which includes the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia, could be invited to join NATO. However, NATO could amend Article 6 of the 1949 treaty (which defines which territories fall under the Article 5 protection) to temporarily exclude only the Russian-occupied region from NATO’s Article 5 protection. So in summary, all of Georgia would join NATO, but only the regions of Georgia NOT under Russian occupation.

MZA CHITILI “Mza Chitili” produces vegetable and flower seedlings. "Mza Chitili" is the first company in Georgia, which is making both, normal and grafted seedlings. For grafting we are using the latest Italian technologies and robots. WG Techno "Mza Chitili" was founded by WG Techno. WG Techno is the first and largest supplier of contemporary irrigation systems in Georgia, company aslo produces polyethylene pipes in Tbilisi, which exports to the neighboring countries.

Our Branches Rafael Agladze St 37, Tbilisi, Georgia +995 322 30 98 90; Tskhinvali Highway 4, Gori, Georgia +995 599 63 60 30; Agmashenebeli Avenue 47, Tsnori, Georgia +995 555 41 87 06; Rustaveli st. 70, Marneuli, Georgia +995 322 18 08 40; www.mzachitili.ge info@mzachitili.com fb.com/mzachitili fb.com/wgtechno

WG Techno has ISO 9001:2015 certification for design, sales and installation of irrigation systems. Sale of components (pipes, pumps, fittings) for water supply system.

It is important to point out that this would only be a temporary measure, intended to last only until Georgia’s full, internationally recognized territory can be re-established by peaceful means. There is a precedent for amending Article 6. It was done in 1951 as part of the accession protocol for Turkey and Greece when they joined NATO. Twelve years later, the North Atlantic Council noted the original inclusion of the Algerian Departments of France in Article 6 was no longer applicable due to Algeria’s independence. In addition, there are countless examples of NATO members not having all of their territory under the protection of Article 5. Think the US and Guam or the UK and the Falkland Islands. Further, allowing Georgia to join NATO with an amended Article 6 is consistent with the country’s pledge to abstain from retaking the occupied regions by force. This is why this proposal could not work for Ukraine, for example, because Kyiv

has made no such pledge regarding the Donbas and Crimea. Admittedly, this proposal is not without its challenges. For it to work, real political leadership is needed in Washington DC and Tbilisi. The US will have to convince Europeans that it is successfully heading off an automatic war with Russia. The Georgian government will have to explain to its people that this does not mean abandoning the two occupied regions and that it is in line with the nonuse of force pledge. Right now, Russia knows that all it has to do to prevent a country from ever joining NATO is to invade and then partially occupy it. Temporarily amending Article 6 would deny Moscow this veto, starting with Georgia. The only question is whether leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have the required creativity and political will for it. We will have to wait for the Summit and see what it will bring for Georgia.

Women are the Political Future BY BENJAMIN MUSIC

F

or many foreign tourists and observers, one thing is striking when strolling through the country, namely the role of women. The Orthodox Church, led by the Patriarch, and the wider Georgian public, continue to embrace the typical gender divide which has been in place for centuries. Georgia and Georgians, as every other nation and its people, can decide for themselves how they want to conduct their private life. This is the beauty of democracy, but sometimes also its failure, especially when it comes to minorities hoping to break through these specific gender roles. Politics in Georgia is one field where male dominance is most visible. Despite recent improvements and more women holding public offices, active political engagement is considered to be a goal pursued more by men than by women. One might wonder what the public thinks, and indeed, 52% stated last year that Parliament does not have enough women representing the general population. Currently, around 23 of the 150 members of parliament are women, with numbers for city councils and municipalities often even lower than that. Yet, the numbers are not that clear and point rather to a confronting divide between two sides. Around 39% indicated that enough women are in parliament and 4% even expressed unhappiness about the 23 female MPs. When turning the tables and analyzing the situation from the other side, the country seems perfectly split, with 47% saying that too many men are in parliament and around 44% saying that there are enough men and nothing should be changed. 3% even have the opinion of too few men representing the public. So, overall, the situation isn’t really something one can write home about. Is there truly such a divergence between these two sides? What brings Georgia to such a confrontational course? Increased female participation is considered to be part of a wave of liberalism hitting the shores of Georgia. These liberal values are critically observed and viewed by the clergy and other nationalist groups, often being aligned with a pro-Russian ideology. Many see the West as trying to indoctrinate Georgia due to its need to build up close relations with NATO and the European Union to defend its sovereignty. This deep-rooted confrontation surfaces when specific legislation regarding gender equality emerges. Western observers shouldn’t be mistaken and see Georgian men as vicious individuals, who deny the rights of women. Their understanding and value of these rights just profoundly differ from the Western understanding. Discussions about these topics often turn into a debate of humanity vs. barbarism: Western women’s rights being equaled with progress and prosperity away from a primitive state. Yet, minds debating these issues may benefit from understanding the many advantages of Western women’s rights and the imperative urge for emancipation. The ablest fighters who battle on this ground are the many powerful women who already have a say when it comes to policy-making and spurring cul-

tural transformation. The work undertaken by women across the political spectrum is proportionally more effective than the work by men, as data has shown. They basically do their homework better, resulting in a more efficient decision-making process. The field of female emancipation encounters wide ranging obstacles and myths put out by patriarchal hierarchies fearing the rise of strong, independent individuals. A UNDP study conducted by Giorgi Urchukhishvili assessed essential myths circulating among the Georgian public on why women shouldn’t access the political field. One of the most used arguments is that women are simply less competent than men; however, it clearly shows that women encounter many more obstacles to enter the political process, often fighting through maledominated party leadership. Thus, successful women obtaining a seat in parliament usually end up being extremely competent, outsmarting many male counterparts in policy draft sessions. Another major stereotype is the idea that women are innately “conflicted” and are unable to make unbiased and independent decisions. This argument, however, has no basis and is highly used by male commentators to isolate women from the decision-making process. This in turn ensures male power and that their privileges are maintained in the political process. The argument of “conflictuality” goes hand-in-hand with the idea that women don’t possess the capacity to achieve political success without the help of men. Again, this argument is absolutely unfounded. This demonization purely aims at portraying women as untrustworthy individuals unable to make their own decisions. The study even considers this argument to be a barrier for women. “In reality, this myth creates barriers for women's political participation, inasmuch as women's competences and their sense of responsibility are overlooked, and in the meantime the fact that a woman was 'brought' by men into a party is emphasized, therefore competent and educated women find themselves in the position of justifying themselves/proving that they are competent,” notes Urchukhishvili. The report goes on to bust numerous other myths, such as "Provincial women in parties are uncultured/uncivilized" or "Men in parties have principles and are brave". When analyzed, the debate whether women should undergo emancipation compared to sticking to traditional ideologies is, in fact, hijacked by powerful, male individuals to protect their personal status. The justification of following a mere Russian-based political ideology is as much invalid as the accusation of Western indoctrination harming the long-existing Georgian culture. A country nestled in the Caucasus mountains has the (wo)menpower to finally refute myths and stereotypes side-lining female voices to the margins of society. Men engaging in women’s rights debates and advocating higher female participation don’t shoot themselves in the foot but build an escalator for both genders to move up the ladder of a more prosperous and fairer society, together.


6

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

The Upcoming Turkish Elections: Regional ANALYSIS BY BENYAMIN POGHOSYAN, PHD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION OF ARMENIA

O

n June 24, 2018, Turkey will elect both President and Parliament. Elections were scheduled to be held in autumn 2019, but Turkish President Erdogan decided to organize snap elections. One of the key reasons for such a step was the continuing decline of the Turkish economy and depreciation of the Turkish Lira. According to the majority of experts, in the short term perspective, the situation would only worsen, thus making Erdogan’s re-election in 2019 less likely. Given the volatile nature of Turkish politics, it’s very difficult to make any assessments regarding the elections results. However, the most likely scenario is the victory of Erdogan either during the first or second round and the simultaneous defeat of its AK party which may lose the majority in Parliament. In this scenario, the AKP will forge an alliance with nationalistic MHP to form a government, while the CHP (Kemalists) and HDP (Kurds plus different leftist groups) will be in opposition. Given the likely worsening of the economic situ-

ation in Turkey after the June elections, Erdogan will face enormous domestic problems during his next term as President, though the quick collapse of the Turkish economy is less likely. Meanwhile, Turkish elections will also have regional implications. Currently, Turkey is playing an accurate balancing act between the West, in particular the US, and Russia. US-Turkish relations have been deteriorating since the beginning of President Obama’s second term, mainly due to the US position on Syria. The Obama Administration rejected Turkish calls to militarily intervene in Syria and topple President Assad, and after the creation of the Islamic State partnered with Syrian Kurds (PYD with its YPG military units) to fight against the self-proclaimed caliphate. The growing US-Kurdish cooperation in Syria was one of the irritating factors in US-Turkey relations. However, the situation substantially worsened after the July 2016 military coup attempt. Turkey accused the US-based cleric Gulen of organizing the coup and demanded the extradition of Gulen to Turkey, but with no success. The Gulen case, as well as the trial in the US of the Turkish businessman and banker accused of circumventing Iran sanctions with the direct involvement of Erdogan, makes the USTurkish relations trickier. Yet, Turkey continues to be fully anchored in the

Euro-Atlantic security system and no politician, including Erdogan, gives any hint of a possible strategic rift with the US or the desire to leave NATO. Membership in the Alliance is the cornerstone of the Turkish foreign and security policy and this will be unchanged after the June elections. Russia-Turkish relations are steadily improving. However, any talk regarding the establishment of a bilateral strategic alliance is a huge exaggeration. In many spheres, including Syria, Caucasus and the Black Sea, Turkey and Russia have contradicting interests. The main trigger for boosting relations is the economy. Turkey is a big consumer of Russian oil and gas, transferring annually billions of US dollars to the Russian state budget. The ‘Turkish Stream” pipeline and Akkuyu nuclear power plant project are more evidence of growing economic ties. Geopolitical rivalry remains, though, and neither Turkey nor Russia is protected from another crisis like the one that happened in November 2015. The mysterious assassination of a Russian Ambassador in Turkey in December 2016 was further proof that bilateral relations are far from being based on true partnership. Turkey’s growing involvement in Syria will most probably continue after the June elections. Turkey has changed its Syrian policy paradigm from ousting President Assad to combatting Syrian

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Image source: nbcnews.com

Kurds. Turkey needs cooperation with both the US and Russia to deal with the Kurdish issue. Russia controls the Syrian air space while US Special Forces are deployed in North Eastern Syria supporting Kurdish groups. Turkey managed to get Russian and Iranian tacit support for its military incursions in North Western Syria, simultaneously turning a blind eye to Moscow and Tehran supported Syrian advancements in Aleppo and Damascus. Turkey needs US approval to enter North Eastern Syria. The first step in that direction could be the US decision to pull out Kurdish forces from Manbij and have a joint US-Turkish patrols securing the town. However, negotiations with the US have not brought any tangible results on this issue. Russia actively uses Turkish activities in Northern Syria for driving a wedge between Kurds and Americans. Moscow is eager to show the Kurds that their plight is in Moscow’s hands and only the Kremlin is able to stop Turkish advancements towards North Eastern Syria. Thus, Syrian Kurds should make the right decision and stop their unilateral support to the US. Moscow hopes to become a broker between Turkey and Syrian Kurds in same way she makes efforts to mediate between Iran and Israel on Syria. One thing is clear, Turkey is not going to pull its forces out of Syrian territory

anytime soon and will continue its strategic bargain with both Russia and the US to advance its influence over the territories controlled by the Syrian Kurds. The recent events in Jerusalem and Gaza sparked another Turkey-Israel diplomatic rift. However, both states have converging strategic interests, including the thwarting of Iran’s regional ambitions which will restrain both sides from total severing of relations. Meanwhile, the recent Saudi-Israeli thaw may create additional difficulties for Turkey in its rivalry with Riyadh for a leadership role in the Sunni world. Regarding the South Caucasus, Turkey will continue to accept Russia’s growing influence in the South Caucasus while seeking to foster a Turkey – Azerbaijan – Georgia trilateral alliance as a key component of its policy in the region. Significant changes to Turkey’s position regarding its relations with Armenia are less likely. Most probably, Turkey will continue to connect the Armenia-Turkey normalization process with the Karabakh conflict settlement, simultaneously fully supporting Azerbaijan’s position in negotiations. Thus, in the case of Erdogan’s victory in the June 2018 snap elections, the Turkish regional policy will not face any substantial changes. Ankara will continue its strategic bargaining with Russia and the West to foment its regional influence.


8

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

Forceful Russian Diplomacy vs. Georgia’s Nonrecognition Policy OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

R

ussia, as powerful as she is in general and extremely annoyed by Georgia’s western orientation, is doing her utmost to bring this tattered little nation to its knees, thus punishing it for longstanding disobedience. But Georgia is valiantly defying Russia’s unconcealed hostility and her unrestrained brutality. Russia, on her part, hates free and independent Georgia and craves it back into postmodern social, political and economic slavery. Georgia is a free land, liberated from the monstrous idea of communism and the gruesome dominance of Russia, but its current contentment is marred with its lost territories. On those territories two weird and unlawful geopolitical formations have taken shape with immediate Russian assistance against the will and wish of the Georgian people and its numerous democratically elected administrations in the last couple of decades. To the greatest chagrin of the Georgian people, Russia has numerous levers for taming their motherland, including the worldwide clout and money that either bribes certain decision-makers or deliberately forces other nations into the recognition of Georgia’s lost territories as sovereign states. Ludicrous because the nations that have recognized those parts of Georgia as independent states were hardly recognized by the international community themselves, so the damage was nominal. Then came Syria to the diplomatic podium, having decided to follow in the footsteps of those minor Russian serfs. Comments of differing content are made to this deplorable extent: some say the Syrian recognition has not enough political weight and diplomatic value to hurt Georgia’s geopolitical stand, but others emphasize that the recent Syrian sneaky cunning against Georgia might very well play a detrimental role in the future of this nation. Nobody on earth would have expected a political hoax of this content and magnitude against Georgia, especially in the wake of celebrating the cen-

tenary of Georgia’s independence. What a wicked Russian gift for the jubilee, presented by Syrians to Georgians! The scrawl is purely Russian, no doubt! We all know that! But, on the other hand, we should have known a little better, too. The impression is that we waxed overly euphoric in our nonrecognition policy against the background of the western benevolence and their words of praise in our address. Our western friends’ laudations are very complimentary and truly pleasant to hear but it seems the Russians have been working hard to watch Georgia swallow its humble pie. The Russians got a serious country like Syria – although at war with the West – to sign a document that completely kills the joy of jubilations in Georgia. Moreover, we hear comments from Russians

that this is just a beginning of it – the worst is still to come. This might mean that Russians are thinking of another vicious ruse against Georgia. I would not be surprised if they really are because Russia cannot enjoy a free, independent and successful Georgia. For complete happiness, she needs to see Georgia bending before the Russian glory and greatness, circulating hat in hand on the same miserable soviet orbit, and waiting for alms when the wind blows our way if it does at all. What can the embittered Georgians do in cases like this? We might go ahead and sever diplomatic relations with Syria; use harsh, although politically correct and diplomatically balanced vocabulary to describe Russians as the egregious violators of international law; continue looking wistfully into

those beautiful western eyes; see the current Georgian government and its opposition vehemently vilifying each other in the worst vituperative manner, and all of us watching the resulting political talk shows on TV. Who is Georgia’s friend after all? Who could say the final authoritative word in our favor? Is it Europe? Is it America? Maybe. But what is the extent to which they want to go in our defense against the strong Russian will and devastating weapons that are potentially usable if need be for them? And who is our enemy? Is it Russia and her anti-Georgian satellites? Perhaps. But what is the extent of their restraint when it comes to Georgia’s love and infatuation with the West? Those are the questions we need to answer when we get so painfully hurt in a sense called geopolitical.

BUSINESS

Nenskra Hydropower Plant is a Unique Project for Georgia

T

he Partnership Fund, Georgia’s largest state-owned investment fund, is constructing what will be Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) together with a Korean company, K-Water, in Svaneti, on a tributary of the Enguri River. Natia Turnava, Deputy Director of the Fund, talked with us about Nenskra HPP’s potential.

NATIA, WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AN INVESTOR LIKE K-WATER IN GEORGIA? The Partnership Fund takes special pride in hav-

ing partners like K-Water. It is a megacompany that is responsible for 60% of the supply of electric power throughout Korea. The company holds $20 billion worth of assets, and enjoys very high ratings internationally. However, it is not only that. Firstly, K-Water is a very old, tradition-based company that will soon turn 50 years old. The company has a long tradition of construction and management of waterworks. Since our first meeting in late 2013, a special emphasis has always been made on safety issues at the Nenskra development project, both technical and environmental safety.

http://www.rentmaster.ge/en/ E-mail: georentmaster@gmail.com Tel: ( +995 ) 591 930 303

RENTMASTER OFFERS: VIP Car Services (pick-up and drop/transfer) Daily Car Rentals Tours in Georgia

WHAT EXPERIENCE DID THE PARTNERSHIP FUND GAIN FROM DEALING WITH AN INVESTOR SUCH AS K-WATER? The Nenskra project itself is somewhat unique for Georgia and represents a huge source of experience and expertise. On top of the benefits that the project will bring to our country, it is a very interesting project as along with K-Water the project is supported by a stellar team of financial institutions represented in Georgia. So, the cooperation with K-Water has been vast experience for us.

WHAT IS PARTICULARLY UNIQUE IN THIS FORMAT FOR THE PROJECT? It is unique for Georgia’s energy system as Nenskra HPP is being implemented based on BOT (BuildOperate-Transfer). We have never used a BOT model in Georgia before. However, it is quite a common form across the world. This means that 36 years after its commissioning, the well-functioning hydropower plant will be transferred to the Georgian state for free. Our government can clearly see the possibility that our next generation will get electric power from Nenskra HPP like we do today from Inguri HPP. Therefore, our state will support the investor more confidently. In fact, benefits from the project are very clear, so our state is motivated. The region where Nenskra hydro power plant is being constructed is getting so many benefits. Such large infrastructure projects impact villages and settlements. We jointly tried to turn this into a positive impact. The project location selected is outside of the scope of the settlements. The local people are going to benefit and are already benefitting from the project. The project gives priority employment to the local population in Georgia. This is commercially beneficial as well. One of the most important outcomes of the implementation of the project is associated with security of our country as there is no development without security. By security here I mean energy security. Let me point out that our energy market today is steadily growing. it should be said that a number of small hydropower plants are presently being constructed

Source: www.bm.ge

in Georgia. There are plenty of investors as well. Small hydropower plants, however, can’t supply electric power substantially all across the country in winter. From this perspective, our present-day energy market particularly depends on just one hydropower plant, “Inguri,” for at least as much as two-thirds of the supply. Despite the rehabilitation that Inguri hydro power plant went through, and despite being well-functioning, it was, after all, built in the 1970s. In view of this, Inguri HPP is not in perfect condition. Unless in 5-7 years a hydropower plant such as Nenskra is able to support the Inguri hydropower plant, we will face certain energy issues and consequently we may become more vulnerable in terms of energy security and be largely dependent on energy imports. Nenskra hydropower plant is a harbinger and will actually promote other large-scale hydropower plants. Most probably, Nenskra HPP will be followed by “Khudony,” “Namakhvani,” and “Oni Cascade.” This means that eventually Georgia’s electric power sector will not be at risk.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

9

#Togetherforeachother: Georgia Joins Inter’l Multiple Sclerosis Day

A

conference was held on May 30 for International Multiple Sclerosis Day, organized in the framework of the campaign “ Together for Each other” with the aim of involving the government and civil society. Marina Janelidze, Professor of the Clinical Neurology Department of Tbilisi State Medical University, and representatives of patients with multiple sclerosis, Maia Mgeladze, Giorgi Chikvanaia and Marika Kajaia, gave speeches. The meeting was also attended by Giorgi Biribachadze, the Head of Tbilisi Municipal Assembly and Social Issues Commission, doctors, goodwill ambassadors involved in the project, media partners and others. The global campaign "Bringing us closer" aims to increase public awareness about this disease, its timely diagnosis and access to adequate treatment. Today, society does not have enough information about multiple sclerosis and its complications, and in some cases people are not clear what it is. "I think this international day is very

important, because many people will learn about the disease and the problems caused by it," said Giorgi Birbichadze. “People should have accurate information what multiple sclerosis means and about early diagnosis of the disease. We need an active campaign to raise awareness about the disease. I am ready to cooperate actively with the Tbilisi Municipal Assembly representative. Such meetings like today are necessary for both the public and the state, in order to put the spotlight on patients.” Diseases caused by multiple sclerosis were discussed by the doctors. "Such days help increase awareness about the disease,” said Prof. Marina Janelidze. “Everyone should be well aware what this disease means and what is involved. Young people around 20-40 years suffering from multiple sclerosis here lack treatment, and many patients live with severe physical disability. Adequate and modern medicines can be used to prevent such severe cases.” “The International Day of Multiple Sclerosis was held all over the world. In Georgia, the Association of Patients with

Multiple Sclerosis responded to this and held a very interesting event that aims to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis in our society,” said Professor Alexander Tsiskaridze, Tbilisi State University. The press conference also announced the social movement in the framework of the campaign #Togetherforeachother, enabling the public to exchange information about the disease and share it in support of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. At the end of the press conference, a video presentation was given and the main participants were David Lortkipanidze, Ana Koshadze, Ia Sukhitashvili, Zura Balanchivadze (Zurius), Goga Chanadiri, Gia Jajanidze, Eka Togonidze, Teona Dolenjashvili, and Fridon Sulaberidze, joining the project as goodwill

10 Galaktion Street

ambassadors in order to encourage patients to increase their access to treatment to improve their quality of life and reduce the progress of their disability. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, progressive neurological disease and 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from this pathology. The first symptoms predominantly appear from brain nerve cells 20 to 40 years. Multiple sclerosis is the main cause of non-traumatic disability in young people. There are several forms of disease: The recurring-remission form - the most common (80-85%). Disease occurs periodically (recidivism), inflammation of infection occurs in different parts of the brain, and then inflammation and remission (free period). The remission can last from a few months to a few years. Secondly progressive form - Any reciprocal-remission form after a period of

time transfers to a progressive form, which means that the disease is constantly progressing. The patient is aggravated and becomes handicapped. The initially progressive form is found in 15% of patients, the disease progresses from the very beginning, remission does not appear and the patient is soon disabled. In all forms of the disease, inflammatory processes in the nervous system accompany the death of brain nervous cells, a process which may occur even if the patient does not have clinical symptoms. The main goal of multiple sclerosis treatments is to reduce the incidence of the disease at an early stage to prevent the development of disabilities. Nowadays, the treatment of multiple sclerosis is a modifying therapy that significantly reduces the progress of disability.

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge


10

SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

The Eurasia Leadership Trek BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

T

his week, Georgia hosted a group of young leaders from Harvard, MIT, and Tufts universities in the United States. They were part of the Eurasia Leadership Trek (ELT) 2018, under the auspices of the Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives. ELT is a socioeconomic and political study tour and public service program that covers five countries in the wider Black Sea region – Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Moldova. While in Georgia, Trekkers met with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Chairman of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, officials from the Foreign and Defense ministries, and members of the academic community. Participants also held discussions with senior country representatives of NATO, the EU and UNDP, including civil society and private sector leaders, such as the Rondeli Foundation (GFSIS), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and TBC Bank. Leadership Treks aim to provide firsthand insights through an experiential journey, in which participants directly explore political, economic, and societal issues through engagement with leaders and organizations in the field. The theme for this year’s ELT is ‘Understanding Geopolitical Dimensions and Regional Outlook.’ This includes the topics of democratic reforms, regional security, EU and NATO integration, and the economic development of the wider Black Sea region countries. The Center for Asia Leadership Initiatives, co-founded and headed by Samuel Hungsoo Kim, organizes several such

Photo: Eurasia Leadership Trek

Treks each year. The Center has worked in 76 cities in 34 countries, and aims to be active in all 51 countries in the United Nation’s Asia geoscheme. Previous Treks have mainly covered countries in the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia. This is the first year Georgia has been a Trek destination, yet Kim says he is already excited about possibilities for further cooperation in the country. At Kim’s right in hand is Zviad Adzinbaia, a recent graduate of the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, returning to his native Georgia as a Trekker, organizer, guide, and program facilitator. Adzinbaia says he is proud to bring such a program home after his time abroad, and to build connections between Georgian and international leaders. The Trekkers packed in as many learning opportunities as possible on their

short visit to Georgia, visiting the occupation line in Odzisi, and attending the Krynica Economic Forum. They met with students and faculty at Tbilisi State University to share insights and lessons on leadership and listen to students’ perception of Georgia’s future direction and their place in it. Participants also took advantage of the 100th anniversary of Georgia’s declaration of independence, arriving on May 26 and spending their first day soaking up the celebration. Another taste of Georgian culture came with a visit to Kakheti, where they were treated to a folk performance alongside meetings with government officials and local civil society organizations in Gurjaani, Telavi, and Sighnaghi. The participants came from top universities in the United States, but repre-

sent 12 nations, and with their unique backgrounds bring a diverse array of experiences and perceptions. Before the Trek, they invested significant time in training and mastering workshops, preparing to absorb every aspect of their immersive learning experience, and to conduct conferences and seminars while abroad. As a leadership program, participants benefit from meeting with high level officials and business leaders, both with the goal of learning from them, and identifying areas for potential partnerships with local leaders, and areas for growth and development on both sides. One of the most exciting aspects of the program is the element of service to local communities. Trekkers focus on capacity building through mentorship, inspirational stories, discussions on best

Play Daily, Win Daily at Casino Jewel For the first time in Georgia, Casino Jewel is giving its guests a unique opportunity to be winners every day! The “Play Daily – Win Daily” promotion kicks off today and will feature daily prizes like Iphone X, Samsung S9, Ipad, Gold and Silver coins, laptops and more. A new winner will be announced every hour! Come and enjoy the best food, entertainment and prizes!

At The Biltmore Hotel 29 Rustaveli Ave, 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia

practices, and capacity building workshops. As part of an ongoing series, the Trek will culminate with a publication titled Rethinking Eurasia, chronicling the experiences, learned best practices, reflections, and insights of participants. Kim has a bold vision for the Center for Asia Leadership, and has established an expansive integrated regional network with leaders and organizations across 58 cities in 22 countries. The Center’s Asian headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but as the program expands westward, the possibility of a Eurasian office in Tbilisi is being floated. Attracted by the politically neutral location and exciting, fast-paced economic development, Kim likens Georgia’s growth potential to his home country of South Korea, which rose from abject poverty after the Korean War to a developed, high-income economy in just one generation. He urges Georgia to embrace its place in Asia, and to seek more partnerships with Asian companies and governments. Words of advice for Georgian leaders – “don’t be overwhelmed by the challenge in front of you,” don’t let opportunities for impact pass you by, do whatever piece you can. Kim brings a unique optimism and energy to his projects and sees himself as an enabler. In his leadership philosophy, strong leaders need mentors and sponsors on their way up the ladder. He says he found sponsors as he grew from humble beginnings in a missionary family to the United Nations, Harvard, and beyond, and now he wants to sponsor other young leaders. On these Treks, Kim is looking for people with shared values and passion. His ultimate goal, he says, is to “improve the human condition,” and Georgia is an important destination on that journey.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

11

Last Bell Again: Becho, Svaneti lisi’s art academies with no entry exam necessary on the strength of these pieces; I can believe that this is true and asked him for a drawing for myself for later, which he promised. He might go far. I’ve been at a number of these end-ofyear festivities during my time co-teaching English in Svaneti’s villages, and they are always milestone times. Ushguli, Mestia, Etseri, Becho, since 2007… but this one from 2018 stands out, and not just because it’s the freshest in my mind. The genuine pride in the students, the warmth and high hopes that they will go on really successfully, all expressed openly, gave me, too, hope that it will all come true. They deserve a good future, having worked and studied hard for years to get to this point. Really, their adult lives are just beginning now, as they are released to find their way (not unaided, of course) in the big wide world of Tbi-

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

A

lthough I only co-taught English in Becho for 2 years, and ended that a year ago, I returned to my school there this month to witness the departures of grades 1 and 12. The schoolyard is still the best I’ve seen in Svaneti, if not in all Georgia: huge, green and treed too; the spirit inside the building still flourishing. First thing to happen was the ringing

of the bell for the last time by all the grade 12s one after another in turn. Then we all filed into the waiting decorated classroom, festooned most amusingly with balloons which read “It’s a boy!” The MCs at our event were two grade 1 boys, who took turns using the batterypowered microphone with its useful built-in speaker as if they were old pros, impressing us all. How much practice must have gone into such readiness! Then came dances local and modern; speeches by several teachers, including me being asked to contribute; poetry, skits and jokes. Almost every grade had

something to contribute to saying farewell to the graduating handful. The school director proclaimed that she had seldom seen so much success and potential in one of these classes, and expected even more great things from them in future. I deliberately gave my speech in English and one of them interpreted for me, and I hope that his ability was not lost on his listeners. That one was also the best art student, some of his work, chiefly pencil portraits of some Game of Thrones TV characters, adorning one of the walls. Apparently, he is to be received in one of Tbi-

lisi’s post-secondary educational options. I hope that they can take the best of village life there with them, not let the worst of city life ruin or spoil them; discover what they want and need, and continue to make us all proud. And maybe, as I told them, some of them might even return and do something great for their home village, if they don’t end up running the country. Either case would be quite fitting. We will stay in touch, wait and listen. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 1900 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: w.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


12

SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

Georgian Fashion Industry on a Roll BY BENJAMIN MUSIC

T

he Georgian fashion industry is taking over the fashion world, and however odd that sounds, it’s true! The process is slow but constant and unstoppable, it seems. For years, young Georgian fashion designers have been redefining what it means to create something from scratch. After independence, everything in Georgia was rare, including fabrics. It’s not easy to convince your family that you want to cut up a potential blanket to make something new of it. After the situation improved, it was easier to convince others to engage in the fashion sector and the revolutionaries of the early days were joined by creative minds hoping to impact the rising industry. Now in 2018, Demna Gavasalia is the number one name that comes to mind when thinking about Georgian fashion abroad. He conquered the European fashion weeks and instituted odd catwalks in ordinary French markets to bring across his street/post-Soviet style. Away from fanciness, he embraces something that is common in Tbilisi: a new art of design, a design away from the luxury hotels of Paris and Milan making clothes out of daily life encounters. This even led to normal-looking, yellow shirts with imprints of DHL (the German parcel courier), which, currently sold out, have a price tag of around 400-500 Euro. The international fashion industry couldn’t help itself but to dully notice this new emerging designer city, and Demna’s fame allowed many others to follow in his footsteps. Last week it was

Photo: Vaska by Vasili Tabatadze

announced that the Tbilisi designer scene has achieved another major milestone, as the very exclusive Florence fashion fair opens their doors for Tbilisi-produced clothing. Pitti Uomo, the world’s busiest and among the most exclusive trade show, is showcasing six Georgian designers and their creations. In fact, Georgia was even named the guest nation at this year’s edition, bursting through the glass ceiling that hindered its fame worldwide. The six individuals representing Georgia will show the fashion critics that Tbilisi is home to much more than just Demna Gavasalia. And this is extremely important and a huge milestone as it is the first time media has focused on the industry and not on the individual. Even GQ magazine warned other designers to “buckle up for the newcomers,” which

will bring the Georgian fashion industry into an entirely new spotlight. These designers, such as Gold Damian, bring a totally new ideology to the fashion world, as he was compared to the fashion guru of “A Clockwork Orange” style. Vasili Tabatadze, on the other hand, rather rolls with the color black, yet each season peppers up the creations with one additional color. Such oddities really generate the momentum which the country and its industry are famous for in Tbilisi, and finally, the moment arrived to show it to the world. Georgia’s fashion industry will surely change the world’s perception and those of us here in Tbilisi should get ready to find these designers in the haute couture magazines, such as Vogue and Elle in the not-so-distant future.

Banning Harry Potter OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

T

he breeze of revolution is blowing again. Members of the parliamentary majority Eka Beselia and Levan Gogichaishvili have prepared amendments to the “Law on Culture” which will grant the court the right to ban a creative work. The two argue that their aims are modest and have nothing to do with a revolution, let alone a cultural one. However, they cannot say how it will be determined what should be considered as a violation of law in a literary, musical or fine arts piece. The authors of the said legislative initiative argue that the amendment will simplify the “Law on Culture” and that only the judge will have the right to ban a certain creative work if the latter violates the rights and legal interests of another person; if it triggers national, ethnic or racial hostility, calls for war and violence, promotes pornography and so on. Prohibition of a creative work is mentioned in the “Law on Culture” adopted in 1997, however, as there was no mechanism of execution, and it has yet to be used. Beselia-Gogichaishvili’s initiative, hailed by them as harmless, is aimed exactly at the said “flaw”. And even

though none of the former governments has ever thought of enlivening this lethargic legislative record, apparently, the authors believe that now is the time. Constitutionalist Vakhtang Zabiradze believes that adopting the amendment can be qualified as something as harsh as legalizing censorship. “There is a big threat the government will use it against creative people whenever it wants to,” he said. Former MP Levan Berdzenishvili has made a list of creative works that could become victim to Beselia-Gogichaishvili’s legislative amendment. He thinks that Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik as well as The Knight in the Panther’s Skin could be appealed in the first place, as the first offends the religious feelings of Mazdeans, while the latter fully contradicts Orthodox Christianity. Next on the list of being under threat would be Harry Potter and The Brothers Karamazov...and there’s no doubt Picasso and Goya will also fall on the radar. We can continue this list forever, though it all depends on the taste of the governmental party, and who or what they consider as being offensive to someone’s religious feelings or violation of their rights. Meanwhile, the main ally of the Georgian Dream in the parliamentary minority, the Alliance of Patriots, also came up with a new legislative initiative which

suggests that insulting someone’s religious feelings should become punishable and could result in imprisonment for up to one year, with up to two years for those who harass religious buildings and Holinesses. However, it is not explained in the legislation what they mean by “harassment,” so it could mean anything from a misinterpreted look to a word. “In those dark and gloomy times," as the Georgian Dream describes the period of the former government, nobody even thought of touching the creative freedom of people. But apparently, now the times have changed and big politics requires a bigger sacrifice than it did nine years ago.


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

The James Blunt Concert

BY SHAWN WAYNE

T

he long-awaited night for many Georgians finally arrived, and although the weather wasn’t particularly in the mood to play along at the May 26th James Blunt concert, the show was a huge success. Fans arrived at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi ready with their umbrellas and rain jackets in anticipation of the concert featuring a stellar line-up of local (LOUDSpeakers, Young Georgian Lolitaz) and international (The Parlotones) talent, with the main event being James Blunt’s performance.

PRE-CONCERT: JAMES BLUNT MEETS THE PRESS The pre-concert press conference last Saturday started off with organizers Black Pearl Live praising the partnership they have with Georgia and stating their pride to be organizing such an event. The first question put to James Blunt was regarding his recent album.

THE MUSIC SOUNDS A BIT MORE PERSONAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS CHANGED WITH YOUR SONG WRITING, WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION? “I’m just a little bit older, simple as that,” Mr Blunt answered. “People think the songs are romantic but that’s a bit of confusion: I just write songs about what it is to be human and what it is like being alive and having toured the world so many times.” “I guess I just wanted this album to be more relevant to people no matter where they come from,” he adds. “What music does is it brings people together and this album is a bit more open in that way.”

HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR ARTISTS OF YOUR STATURE AND SCALE TO BRING ISSUES LIKE THE SYRIAN CONFLICT AND POLITICAL DIVIDE BETWEEN PEOPLE TO THE FORE? “I don’t think it’s important for singers or musicians in particular: I think it’s important for all of

us. I think information given to us by our politicians is more there to divide us. We see this strongly in America and all across Europe, where they tell us we should be afraid of people who are different from us. What I know from touring the world is that in the audience, the color of your skin might change but you still connect to the song emotionally just like anyone else.”

THE CONCERT The concert kicked off with Georgian rock band LOUDspeakers. Fans found shelter from the rain under the eaves, remaining quite subdued until the group played World in my Eyes, at which point the audience went wild, all cheering loudly and running out into the rain to dance and sing along to the hypnotic melody. Next up was the Young Georgian Lolitaz who represented Georgia at the 2016 Eurovision contest with their song Midnight Gold, met in the stadium by eager fans now not even aware of the soaking they were getting. South African rock band The Parlotones also received a very warm welcome, with lead-singer Khan addressing the crowds, saying: “When life gives you rain, you got to dance.” Despite the rain, they gave an energetic performance and played many of their older hits, including Colorful and Giant Mistake. The golden circle in front of the stage was getting packed as the Blunt fans began to arrive. What really set the crowds going was The Parlotones' hit song I’ll Be There, confirming they were well-received despite being relatively unknown in Georgia. The crowning moment, of course, was when English singer-songwriter James Blunt came on stage, with crowds cheering after he greeted them in Georgian with ‘Gamarjoba’. With lots of energy and excitement, they clapped along when he performed Bonfire Heart, and all chimed in and lovingly sang along to the classic You’re Beautiful. Blunt was very active on stage, alternating between playing keyboard and guitar, and of course, dancing while performing. The concert was part of James Blunt’s Afterlove world tour and promotion of his 5th studio album. The event was organized by Black Pearl Live, International Promotional Company whose aim is to introduce more international performers to Georgia.

13


14

CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI CHILDREN'S DAY EVENTS:

June 1 INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN DAY EVENTS: CONCERT, PUPPET SHOW, FUN GAMES, CONTACT ZOO, SOAP SHOW, EXHIBITIONS, & MORE. Time: 11:00 – 20:30 Venue: Vake Park THE NATA BUACHIDZE STUDIO CHILDREN’S EXHIBITION Venue: Shalikashvili Theater, 25 Rustaveli Ave. SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN Time: 13:00 – 19:00 Venue: Tbilisi Zoo CHILDREN’S DAY AT FAUNALAND Nitrogen Show, games and fun for children Venue: Contact zoo FaunaLand, 3 Vekua Str. FIRE SAFETY TRAINING FOR KIDS The training will be held in Georgian and Russian. Children will be able to learn to recognize different emergency signs and ways of behaving in an emergency situation. There will be competitions, sales and an exhibition, too! Time: 11:00 – 15:00 Venue: Tbilisi Mall May 31- June 1 LEVAN TSUTSKIRIDZE STUDIO CHILDREN’S EXHIBITION AND MUSIC SCHOOL CHILDREN’S CONCERT Start time: May 31- 19:00 Venue: Djansug Kakhidze Art Center, 123/125 D. Aghmashenebeli Ave THEATER

MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 598 19 29 36 June 1 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Movement Theater Band: El banda del "მუდო”Kakha Bakuradze, Sandro Nikoladze, Simon Bitadze, DaTo Kakulia, Irakli Menagarishvili Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 10 GEL

GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 June 1, 2, 6 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL June 3, 5 An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL June 7 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 1-7 SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Directed by Ron Howard Cast: Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Alden Ehrenreich Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 22:10 Language: Russian Start time: 16:15, 19:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL TERMINAL Directed by Vaughn Stein Cast: Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller Language: English Start time: 20:00 Language: Russian Start time: 21:15 Ticket: 15 GEL DEADPOOL 2 Directed by David Leitch Cast: Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, Bill Skarsgård, Ryan Reynolds Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Cast: Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Letitia Wright, Chris Evans Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 15 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL June 1-7 SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL June 1-7 TERMINAL (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 21:45 Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 19:30 Ticket: 15 GEL DEADPOOL 2 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 19:45 Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:15, 17:00, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket: 10-19 GEL SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 19:45 Language: Russian Start time: 13:30, 16:30, 19:30, 20:20 Ticket: 11-19 GEL AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 16-19 GEL

GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS April 26 – September 1 UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN May 26 – September 30 The Georgian National Museum and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, Korneli Kekelidze Georgian National Center of Manuscripts and National Archives of Georgia, presents the exhibition THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 100 YEARS IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 May 19-June 20 THE EXHIBITION OF KETI KAPANADZE'S ARTWORKS 8 MINUTES MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. GALLERY

MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge May 15 – August 5 For International Museum Day, GNM presents the Georgian

National Museum festival, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Exhibition TITIAN - MASTER OF COLOR: THE VIRGIN AND CHILD KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 2018 May 5 - June 3 Address: Tbilisi History Museum (Karvasla), 8 Sioni Str. THOMAS DAHMEN I Have Seen the Light MEINRAD SCHADE Unresolved JAN GRARUP And Then There Was Silence VANESSA WINSHIP She Dances on Jackson EXPOGEORGIA Address: 118 Tsereteli Ave. www.gpba.ge May 31-June 3 TBILISI INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR Time: 11:00-20:00 MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 June 1 EMIN Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-300 GEL June 7 STEPHANE’S RENEWED AND VARIED CONCERT PROGRAM Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-70 GEL TBILISI SEA CLUB Address: Tbilisi Sea Territory June 2, 3 TBILISI SEA FESTIVAL 2018 Pre-Opening BACHO, AUTUMN TREE, TOKE, SUMI, L8, METRONOME SOUNDSYSTEM, COSMIC LOVE ROTATION Time: From 10:00 BASSIANI Address: 2 A. Tsereteli Ave. June 1 BASSIANI / HOROOM HVL, ZITTO, NDRX, A&R KVANCHI, KOTE JAPARIDZE, OBJECTOR TRAX B2B LILITH. Start time: 23:55 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL FABRIKA Address: 8 Ninoshvili Str. June 1 CES DJ SETS AT DIVE X FABRIKA DJ Ma at Discoaster No Land bees0n Start time: 22:00 June 7 VELVET SESSION: KID JESUS Levan Shanshiashvili - Guitar, Vocal; Giorgi Marr - Guitar; Goga Kakulia - Bass; Giga Chikhradze - Drum. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL MELOGRANO Address: 10 Lesia Ukrainka Str. June 1 PAPUNA SHARIKADZE TRIO FROM NEW-YORK Start time: 20:00 Tickets: 20 GEL EXPOGEORGIA Address: 118 A. Tsereteli Ave June 3 BASTI BUBU’S CONCERT Start time: 13:00


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JUNE 1 - 4, 2018

15

Georgian Pianist Dedicates Concert to 100th Anniversary of Georgia’s Independence in Israel EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

O

n May 26, a special concert dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of Georgia’s First Democratic Republic was held in Tel Aviv, Israel. The concert was initiated by young Georgian pianist, Alexander Julakidze, who himself performed at the concert. The pianist presented famous classics by Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Franz Liszt along with his tutor Professor Vadim Monastirsky. The representatives of Georgia’s Embassy to Jerusalem as well as a Georgian and Jewish audience attended the concert. “I am honored to represent my country and celebrate such an important day in the history of Georgia in this way,” the pianist said prior to the show. Alexander is currently based in Israel pursuing an MA at the Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy and simultaneously working at the Embassy of Georgia to Israel, something, he says, which he enjoys immensely. The two-part concert, titled ‘Teacher & Student’ lasted two hours was was dedicated to the Independence Day of Georgia. The Georgian pianist performed in the first part: R. Schumann - Toccata (op. 7) F. Chopin - Fantasia (op. 49), J. Brahms Ballade N. 4 (op. 10), and F. Liszt - Spanish Rhapsody. Professor Vadim Monastyrski appeared in the second part to present: F. Schubert - Six Moments Musicaux (D780), F. Liszt - Sonet del Petrarca 104, F. Liszt - Sonet del Petrarca 123, and F. Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody N. 12. The pianist talked with GEORGIA TODAY about the concert and his career. “The concert was a success. The audience was really satisfied; you could tell it by the looks on their faces. This concert was extremely important to me, since I performed in front of the Jewish audience for the first time. The concert was ded-

icated to the establishment of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia and was the second time I performed at a concert marking the Independence Day. The first time was when I took part in the concert organized by the Georgian Embassy in Bern. I had concerts in Switzerland and Italy at that time and it happened that I was there on that day and got to play for Georgia.” We asked him about his latest concert. “Performing at such an important occasion is a big honor for me and I would like to establish it as a tradition and hold a concert every May 26, no matter which country I’m in. Last week’s concert took place in Hod HaSharon, in the central district of Israel. It had double importance for me because I got to play on the stage with my mentor, whom I can also refer to as my elder friend. He teaches at the academy where I study and we have really good relations. Maestro Vadim Monastirsky organized a very modern program and we were both happy when listening to each other’s performances,” Julakidze told us. The pianist graduated from Tbilisi State Conservatoire, a place he recalls with love and warmth, saying the Tbilisi Conservatoire gave him a basis that shaped him as a professional pianist. “I consider the Tbilisi Conservatoire my second home, since I was pretty much raised there. Since both my parents are musicians, I spent a lot of time there as a child and attended classes. I want to express my gratitude and thank my tutors at the Conservatoire who contributed to my development when I studied there as a student. The years spent at the Conservatoire were precious. I was appointed the President of Self-Governance in the last year before moving to Israel, yet the most important thing apart from the studies and other activities, was when my friends and I could spend hours and nights listening to and discussing various pieces of music. I think this was a turning point that shaped our vision and understanding of music,” he said. He noted that music entered his life at an early age as did his comfort on the stage. “I’ve been performing or singing on stage since

my early childhood. My parents have a choir and I used to sing there as a kid. I also graduated from the 10 Classes Music School which has produced generations of renowned musicians. I had my first performance abroad in Switzerland; I took part in Master Classes Schaffhausen at the age of 15. From the very first masterclass, I was offered my own solo concert, and when I turned 16, on my birthday, I held a solo concert in two cities in Switzerland.” Although Alexander plays classical music and currently pursues his MA in this direction, he also plans to advance himself in electronic music, something which he also cherishes. “Over the last eight months, I’ve been steadily practicing in DJing and making electronic music.

Since I arrived in Jerusalem, I’ve bought many electronic music instruments to practice on. I’m pleased that many new Georgian DJs and artists are emerging on the EM scene. I’ve already done a few closed events and after I master it, I’ll definitely play my music in front of a wider audience. I enjoy making electronic music; it’s a kind of music which gives artists unlimited opportunities to experiment and one can do anything that comes to mind. When I get back home, I’ll continue my career in this direction in parallel to playing classical music. I’m captivated by this music to such extent, I think I’ll be working on it till the end of my life. I envision myself performing electronic music the way I see myself playing piano on the stage: until my dying day!”

SPORTS

Memorandum of Understanding Signed between Georgian Football Federation, FC Locomotive Tbilisi & UNFPA

O

n May 30 the headquarters of the Georgian Football Federation was host to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Georgian Football Federation (GFF), the FC Locomotive Tbilisi and the United Nations Reproductive Health and Rights Agency (UNFPA). The Memorandum was signed by Levan Kobiashvili, President of the Georgian Football Federation, Giorgi Kipiani, Technical Director of the FC Locomotive Tbilisi and Karl Kulessa, UNFPA Representative in Turkey and Country Director for Georgia. The partnership framework encompasses collaboration in two main areas: promoting men’s engagement for advancing gender equality and promoting Girls’ Football to strengthen empowerment of adolescent girls. Georgian football players will contribute to achieving the above stated goals and to promoting the

MenCare Georgia campaign, as well as youth awareness-raising on a healthy lifestyle and human rights issues. In order to uphold the creation of equal opportunities for girls and boys in sports, the partners will jointly support the promotion of Girls’ Football, and conduct special awarenessraising activities on Gender Equality issues for coaches, referees and football players. The collaboration between the Georgian Football Federation, FC Locomotive Tbilisi and the UNFPA started in 2017 with the Fathers’ Cup, a joint initiative promoting men’s engagement as caring fathers and partners. In 2018, Georgian National Football League players joined the MenCare campaign, which is supported by the UNFPA Georgia CO in partnership with the NGO We Care within the framework of the UN Joint Program for Gender Equality funded by Sweden.

PUBLISHER & GM

George Sharashidze COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT

Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Anuka Poladishvili

GEORGIA TODAY

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

Website Manager/Editor: Tamzin Whitewood Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

ADDRESS

1 Melikishvili Str. Tbilisi, 0179, Georgia Tel.: +995 32 229 59 19 E: info@georgiatoday.ge F: GeorgiaToday ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION

+995 577 14 14 87 E-mail: marketing@georgiatoday.ge

Reproducing material, photos and advertisements without prior editorial permission is strictly forbidden. The author is responsible for all material. Rights of authors are preserved. The newspaper is registered in Mtatsminda district court. Reg. # 06/4-309


Issue #1053  

June 1 - 4, 2018

Issue #1053  

June 1 - 4, 2018

Advertisement