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IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE
Putin Playing a Global Game … and Georgia
The “Slee ping “Sleeping Volcano” of Na gor no Nag orno Kar abakh Be gins ara Begins to R umb le after Rumb umble 21 Year s ears Who set off the confrontation, why, and what effect it will have on P.6 Georgia.
Wor ld Bank orld Resear ch R esults esearc Results on Geor gia: Georgia: Positi ve ositiv
Georgia Today analyzes the recent article of Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. P.2
From NY NY:: Garibashvili on the Sta ge Stag
Political Stability Accountability Government Efficiency
Dec her oint Decher hertt OnP OnPoint Ov er vie w: Over ervie view: “Pr oduce in “Produce P.13 Geor gia” Georgia” CUL TURE: CULTURE:
Georgia Today's New York correspondent gives us the latest on the Georgian Delegation's visit to the 70th UN General Assembly. P.2
London-Georgian Film Festival, Tbilisi Triennial, Astronomical Manuscripts and jazz star Frank McComb. P.19-23
OCTOBER 2 - 8
From NY: Garibashvili on the Stage By Vakhtang Tsereteli This year the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary of existence. The opening week of the General Assembly began with the presentation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. On September 26th, Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, welcomed the Agenda of the 2030 Sustainable Development and named it as a “Transformative and ambitious journey” and the “Pathway to the future,” stating that to achieve it, the world should “stand together”. In his speech, the PM discussed four primary goals that the Government of Georgia has been concerned with within the framework of the document: - Goal No. 3 – “Insurance of healthy life” - Goal No. 7 – “Accessibility of Georgian people to reliable and sustainable energy” - Goal No. 9 – “Building resilient infrastructure” - Goal No. 16 – “Promoting a peaceful and inclusive society” PM Garibashvili declared that the Government of Georgia, along with international partners, will continue to work towards achieving the goals on its
PM Garibashvili in New York.
own path of development. He argued that achieving success in the above-mentioned goals “must affect” people living in the two occupied territories of Georgia. Within the framework of the 70th General Assembly, PM Garibashvili also attended several High Ministerial Level meetings, participated in inter-
active dialogue on protecting earth and climate changes as well as a conference addressing women and gender equality. He expressed the country’s deep concern regarding the abovementioned issues, emphasizing the definite progress achieved and promised further improvements in the future.
Furthermore, PM Garibashvili took part in The Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremists hosted by President Obama, and joined world leaders in their fight against extremism and terror. On September 28th, during his speech on the UN summit of peacekeeping organized by President Obama, the Geor-
gian PM announced the readiness of Georgian soldiers to take part in UN Peacekeeping missions, which will supposedly raise the role of the country at the international level. The period of General Assembly is considered to be one of the most active and busy periods for global leaders to present their interests to the international community. The bilateral as well as multilateral meetings between the leaders are the venues for leaders to exchange their political motivations. The Georgian delegations have been active in arranging meetings with the leaders from every part of the world. It needs to be mentioned that the outcome of such dialogues has always been associated with progress- as in the past, it was a platform that allowed Georgia to gain support for Georgia’s resolutions on IDP’s from Caribbean and African countries, which had been previously held back. The Georgian delegation concluded its visit on October 1st, with the Prime Minister addressing the General Assembly, and using this venue once again to promote and discuss the needs of Georgia. Keep up-to-date with the latest news on this and other stories at www.georgiatoday.ge
Putin Pla ying a Global Game … and Geor gia Playing Georgia By Zviad Adzinbaia Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist, has released an article entitled “Putin’s Power Plays” discussing the dramatic events happening in Syria and some aspects of their correlation with Ukraine. The journalist cites it is always tempting, when writing about the Russian president, to lapse into geopolitical waffle. “Though the Cold War ended a
quarter century ago, we are still accustomed to thinking of Vladimir Putin as a global actor, a representative of eternal Russian interests, the inheritor of czarism/Lenin/Stalin, a man who inhabits a Kissingerian world of state actors who compete against other state actors for control over territory, all of them playing a gigantic game of Risk,” she states. Applebaum assesses Russia’s broad appearance on the international stage
Barak Obama and Vladimir Putin meeting in New York. www.telegraph.co.uk
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through the Syrian events an “amazingly well-timed decision” prior to the 2015 UN General Assembly session. According to the Washington Post, sending hundreds of Russian soldiers, 28 fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and artillery has been variously described as a bid to reenter the modern Great Game of the Middle East “to extend Russian influence to the Mediterranean and to shore up the Iranian government as well as to displace the United States as a regional leader.” The publication reviews some of the aspects of Putin’s political landscape in Russia saying “during the first 10 years he was president, Putin’s claim to legitimacy went, in effect, like this: I may not be a democrat, but I give you stability, a rise in economic growth, and pensions paid on time.” On the contrary, Applebaum believes, in an era of falling oil prices and economic sanctions and rampant corruption, Putin should change the scenario and tell Russians who get demonstrably poorer overtime, that “I may not be a democrat and the economy may be sinking, but Russia is regaining its place in the world — and, besides, the alternative to authoritarianism is not democracy but chaos.” It seems that Putin’s appearance at the UN for the first time in a decade in-
cluding his long interview with Charlie Rose (American TV channel CBS and PBS), might contribute to some possible switching of the U.S. and European focus to the Syrian events rather than on Ukraine, where Russia is waging a hybrid warfare against the sovereign state. At the same time, like other international opinion makers, Applebaum believes Putin, having watched what happened in East Germany in 1989 from his KGB office in Dresden, including the fate of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi in 2011, clearly worries about it quite often. “To stave off this fate, his state-controlled television rumbles on constantly about the fecklessness of Europe and the corruption of America,” says Applebaum. Analysis by Georgia Today’s Zviad Adzinbaia: In these diplomatic shootouts in New York throughout the 70th anniversary of the UN, Georgia - one-fifth of whose entire territory is occupied by Putin’s Russia - was only subtly mentioned by Prime Minister Garibashvili in his official speech at the UN. On the contrary, Ukraine’s president Poroshenko widely utilized the international stage to address the world and alarm them about
Ukraine’s humanitarian disaster, which would have some multiplying effect on the rest of the old continent. From this standpoint, it is lucid enough to observe that the official tone regarding Russia is no longer a principal but appeasing. In fact, the Georgian president, holding a number of high-level meetings in Washington DC and New York this week, shares the notion that Georgia has almost disappeared from US political radars. What is happening? What kind of pragmatic politics is Georgia in vital need of right now? It is widely believed that Georgia has a significant window of opportunity for ‘fishing in troubled waters’ as the country historically failed to do back in 1801 when she joined the Russian Empire. Along with Ukraine and the highly complicated international politics, the Georgian government should be as proactive as never before in raising the issue of Russia’s continued violation of Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity. Will it have a palpable aftermath? This is a strategic moment for Georgia as Russia is unable to engage its troops against Georgia along with Syria and Ukraine and, for Georgia, it is of crucial importance to buy time and considerably advance its stance in terms of deoccupation and NATO integration.
OCTOBER 2 - 8
The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, www.iset-pi.ge) is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.
On Innovation, Coffeeshops and Georgian Supras By Levan Bzhalava and Eric Livny According to Steve Johnson (a popular American science writer and media theorist, the author of Where Good Ideas Come From), coffee and coffeehouses were a significant contributor to Europe’s scientific and industrial revolution. The first coffeehouses opened in London in 1650, and quickly mushroomed all over Europe. The coffeehouse had two major positive effects. First, it provided a healthy alternative to water (heavily contaminated) and alcohol (heavily abused at the time). And, second, as more and more intellectuals switched to coffee, the coffeeshop offered a great space to enjoy sober (and, presumably also sober-minded) exchanges of ideas. Meetings between people from different social backgrounds and fields of expertise (e.g. artisans, travelers, merchants and scientists) provided strong stimuli for innovation, much of which, argues Johnson, is about connecting ideas from different and seemingly unrelated fields. For example, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press by using the wine press as an inspiration (even before the advent of coffeeshops!). Institutions such as coffeeshops (or modern day bars) are a very important element of innovation systems in any society. Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red describes how, back in 1623, coffeeshops were banned by the Ottoman rulers in Istanbul (where they flourished well before their European equivalents). This may well have been a factor – or a symptom – of the empire’s gradual decline. THE GEORGIAN SUPRA: AN EXPRESSION OF GLUTTONY OR A MECHANISM OF KNOWLEDGE DIFFUSION? How do Georgia’s institutions and cultural norms perform in terms of supporting knowledge diffusion and innovation? Do they make us smarter or not? An interesting case in point is Georgia’s unique feasting tradition, the supra. Certainly not alcohol-free, the supra played a central role in forging the country’s national identity, affecting the ways in which knowledge and ideas traveled across the Georgian society. Several aspects of the Georgian supra are worth highlighting. First of all, the manner in which the tamada (the head toastmaster) of the supra is selected and how he manages the supra has interesting managerial implications. One can safely bet that supras were effectively used as a “Georgia’s Got Talent” competition to discover (and train) future leaders. Second, the positive (flattering) nature of supra toastmaking may have played a role in overcoming frequent internal divides. Third, one should not neglect the educational (wisdom sharing) aspect of the classical supra toastmaking tradition.
Yet, over the last couple of decades, the Georgian supra may have been losing some of its ‘systemic’ qualities, becoming, instead, an occasion for overindulgence in food and alcohol. As a result, modern day supras do not provide as much space for interesting conversations and ‘knowledge diffusion’. “Why is music so loud at Georgian supras?” asked Levan Gigineishivili, a professor at Ilia State University, on a recent TV show. “Maybe we have nothing to say to each other”, was his own answer. KNOWLEDGE DIFFUSION: FACE-TO-FACE OR THROUGH THE INTERNET? In today’s interconnected world, professional and personal exchanges can be greatly facilitated by social media and other means of distance communication. Though face-to-face meetings and physical proximity still matter for real friendship (and even its Facebook variety), some types of knowledge can be easily communicated and ‘diffused’ worldwide through the internet. Scientists and engineers can nowadays work on joint projects while sitting on different sides of the Atlantic (or Pacific, for the matter). This, in turn, has significantly accelerated the pace of technological change. Still, not all types of knowledge can be effectively exchanged through the Internet. It is relatively easy to share ‘codified’ knowledge that can be written down in the form of books, articles or manuals. All it takes is attaching a file and pushing the send button. In contrast, one cannot write down and transmit an intuitive understanding of how a system (organization or society) works. This type of ‘non-codified’ (or tacit) knowledge can only be acquired through personal contact and experience. The fact that physical proximity still matters for knowledge spillovers has been recently established by Laura Bottazzi and Giovanni Peri (Bocconi University and University of California-Davis, respectively). Bottazzi and Peri looked at data on patent applications and R&D expenditure (or employment) across Europe to establish the role of physical distance in knowledge diffusion. What they find is that positive knowledge spillovers are limited to regions located within 300km from each other. Given Georgia’s modest size and many opportunities to socialize at weddings and funerals, Bottazzi and Peri’s findings suggest that we, Georgians, should not be facing any bottlenecks in knowledge diffusion. Moreover, most of us (certainly those young and educated) are spending a lot of time on Facebook, potentially making use of the latest advances in communication technology to share and learn from each other. Yet, what is it that we are sharing and learning from each other? According to available data, the main discus-
sion topics on Georgian social networks are sports, religion, politics and gossip. Of course, people also post and discuss their own pictures, gadgets they bought, as well as places they visited and dined at. These exchanges hardly play any role in real ‘knowledge diffusion’. Hardly any of them translate into new ideas or technologies. AND WHAT ABOUT EDUCATION AND CRITICAL THINKING? In addition to an adequate asocial milieu and institutions, such as coffeeshops, where ideas could be exchanged, innovation requires a serious investment in education. And this is an area where Georgia has seen very little progress after an almost complete collapse of all state institutions in the early years of independence. Georgian youth remain uninterested in science, as is clearly illustrated by the low rates of enrolment in natural and exact sciences. Moreover, Georgia’s general education and private tutoring systems are designed to get (at least some) children over the hurdle of national university
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entrance tests, not properly educate them or stimulate their interest in science and technology. Neither do our schools do a good job at encouraging intellectual curiosity and critical thinking (see our Outsmarting Laziness: The Most Evil Giant of All Giants). We should also question the role of the most influential social institution in today’s Georgia, that of the Georgian church. Although Georgia Patriarch Ilia II often speaks on the merits of analytical thinking, for many rank-and-file priests the teaching of Christianity implies indoctrination. People are taught not to question or critically examine what they learn in church. While it is hard to imagine how one can become a good physicist without questioning the laws of physics, these simple-minded servants of God apparently believe that one can be a good Christian without ever questioning anything Jesus said. It is quite interesting how some other religions operate in the critical thinking and innovation department. For example, knowledge created by Buddhist monks is currently in great demand in many parts of Western Eu-
rope. There are numerous iPhone applications teaching people how to do yoga, how to engage in different types of mediation, or how to practice love and compassion. Furthermore, Buddhist monks cooperate with neuroscientists in an effort to advance our knowledge of the brain. Some results from this research have led to important changes in organizational practices. For instance, meditation has been introduced in many R&D institutions in order to encourage creativity and innovation performance. The Georgian church certainly has the potential to become an agent of social change, particularly when it comes to education. It commands enormous respect and enviable financial resources, yet for the moment these resources are not put to good use. Georgian Patriarch Ilia II often says that a scientist is a friend of God and an illiterate person is a slave of God. In order for the new Georgian generation to be friends rather than slaves of God, we need better education and R&D systems. And, perhaps, not as many new churches and monasteries.
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Georgians in Afghanistan Defending their Countr y By Zviad Adzinbaia Several days ago, Vasil Kulijanashvili, a Georgian soldier on an international mission in Afghanistan, was killed in the line of duty. He was part of the Resolute Support Mission from Georgia, the largest contributor to Afghanistan among all non-NATO member states. Georgia’s Defense Ministry offered its condolences to Kulijanashvili’s family and the government and president expressed their sorrow over the incident, naming Kulijanashvili a hero. He was honored both by the state and the public in the lowering of national flags and an escort accompanying the fallen hero from Afghanistan to his motherland. Georgian forces are participating in the Afghanistan Mission as part of a global anti-terrorist campaign. During the last couple of years, Georgia has lost around 30 patriots who were lead to believe they were defending Georgia’s sovereignty from overseas. WHY GEORGIA’S SOVEREIGNTY? Georgia’s post-Soviet independent life since 1991 turned out to be a continuous great sacrifice the territorially tiny nation made for her freedom. The country has experienced an array of painful moment, including the war in Abkhazia, Russian-provoked civil war and the August War in 2008, not to mention the on-going occupation of one-fifth of the country’s sovereign territory.
What was the core matter the country faced her existential threat for? Who were those who did not endeavor enough to help the newly freed country to survive? The answer is none. Georgia, during the last two centuries, lived a subordinated life under the Russian Empire, including the USSR, which cleaned the country from intellectual, patriot and ambitious society and created a conformist proletariat class in its stead. Notwithstanding gaining independence at the end of the previous century, there were no state institutions functioning, no police to provide security, no economy to keep the country viable and no military to defend it from external threat. The country was in a hybrid state. WHAT HAPPENED? From the beginning of the 21-st century, Georgia entered a new era. The country voted for real progress and prosperity as their European friends had long been enjoying. Since 2004, Georgia has been mentally ‘revolutionized,’ as the journal Economist would later call the process. Along with the massive reforms throughout the public sector, one of the main priorities had been given to creating a new Georgian army that would be capable to deter even a Russian army at the great loss of a potential adversary. Georgia’s lucid aspiration towards the NATO alliance was initially demonstrated when the country, with its limited number of soldiers, joined the peacekeeping operations carried out by the Alliance
Georgian armed forces in the international mission. Source: Facebook page of Ministry of Defense of Georgia.
on the ground of Kosovo in 1999. Additionally, the significantly increased contingent of the already new Georgian armed forces joined NATO troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as they began modernizing and contributing to global security: the fight against international terrorism. At present, for Georgia, standing alongside its international partners for international security and well-being, means that the country is, despite her occupied regions, economic hardships and daily threat from Russia, fighting
with her historical friends- the Europeans -for mutual defense and security. In 2008, in spite of many myths spread, the US stopped the Russian army entering the Georgian capital and toppling the legitimate government. This, unlike previous times as Georgia had already become part of European and American politics. The country was no longer alone to meet Russia’s military aggression. The second articulation of the fact were six European presidents arriving in the capital city of Tbilisi to support Georgia. The country had really
made a difference. Finally, Russian media sources in the country have long been disseminating propaganda making out Georgians are fighting and dying on foreign land for no reason. Quite the opposite, as Georgia, as a part of international society, is obliged to care for the security of others as other care for Georgia’s safety and prosperity. Why are Georgians dying in foreign lands? Because they are defending their families, their country and the sovereignty of that country.
The “Slee ping Volcano” of Na gor no “Sleeping Nag orno gins to R umb le after 21 Year s Kar abakh Be ara Begins Rumb umble ears Georgia Today’s Zaza Jgharkava asks why. While the Georgian Dream contemplates the appearance of the Prime Minister at the United Nations and is busy with its plan of destroying its political opponents, events of high importance are developing in the proximity of Georgia, the results of which will have a much bigger effect on the future of the country, and each of us, than putting the former Tbilisi mayor or even the entire United National Movement in prison. Starting from September 24, the situation around the Nagorno Karabakh has become unprecedentedly tense when Armenian and Azerbaijani formations confronted each other along the entire front line. For the first time in 21 years, the sides started using self-propelled cannons and salvo fire machine guns, i.e. the situation will be on the verge of a real war when the sides start bombing communication sites and commence large-scale attacks. It first became clear on September 26 that the military clashes on the Karabakh front smelled like war. Armenia’s Presidnet Serzh Sargsyan, surrounded by bishops, appeared on live television and threatened to teach Azerbaijan a lesson and declared Karabakh as part of Armenia without any pretense. “Karabakh is Armenia and an inseparable part of it!” With these words he addressed his compatriots. It is noteworthy that Official Yerevan has not recog-
nized the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. This is why appearance of the President of Armenia is a certain symptom of approaching changes in the region. Military clashes clearly showed that the military advantage of the Azerbaijanis is uncertain. The television appearance of President Sargsyan confirms that. He did not exclude a missile attack against the Azerbaijani military formations on the confrontation line. The “sleeping volcano” of Nagorno Karabakh, silent for 21 years, is waking up. It ‘went to sleep’ after Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and representatives of the Azerbaijani community of Karabakh, through mediation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, signed a ceasefire (but not end of the
war) agreement in 1994. This was a temporary ceasefire, i.e. a purely military agreement, which can last for three hours, two weeks or even 21 years. Its nature is unchanging. Note that Ossetian separatists often say: The ceasefire agreement with Georgians lasted from 1992 to 2008, i.e. 16 years. In the case of Karabakh, the so-called peace lasted longer. During this period, Moscow did everything to ensure military parity between the two sides. The armament of Armenia and Azerbaijan is more or less equal. This is why it is highly likely that the ‘awakened volcano’ of Karabakh is connected to a political maneuver by the Kremlin. After the shots around Karabakh escalated into bloody attacks, Russia demonstrated its power and started an
unexpected air bombing in Syria. Therefore, the rumor that the Azerbaijani authorities decided to ‘return Karabakh’ and plan to start a war is very doubtful: today the situation in the region (including Iran and Syria) is so tense that Ilham Aliyev just will not do it. Especially considering that on the Karabakh issue, US and Europe agree with Russia and, as usual, only want to maintain the status quo. Let everything stay as it is and continue negotiations, even if futile. This was the idea of the message from US State Secretary Hillary Clinton during her visit to Baku and Yerevan. Clinton’s heir John Kerry has not changed it since. The European Union will not support the start of a new large-scale war in Karabakh, i.e. Russia will have freedom to leave its blitzkrieg in Syria low profile. Choose between Syria, Ukraine or Karabakh – this is Putin’s message. Actually, Armenia has nothing to fight for either in
Karabakh or around it: it already achieved everything it wanted and needed. But when we discuss who most benefitted from starting the bloody attacks of September 24, the response is simple – the Kremlin. The question is only who the Kremlin was giving the warning sign to with this move. Protector countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan – Russia and Turkey - are at war in Syria. The apperance of Russian bombardiers in Syria was nothing more than a response to Ankara’s decision to deploy regular troops in Iraq. It is not excluded that confrontation of this front line will soon reach Georgia. In this situation, Georgia is threatened in the first case as a strategic ally of Turkey. The logic of military actions might bring Moscow to the necessity of crossing land routes from Turkey to Azerbaijan and it is only 450 meters from the central highway of Georgia to the so-called border of South Ossetia.
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Georgian President Meets with Heads of National Democratic Institute
“The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, met with the principles of the National Democratic Institute in
Washington” - the President’s Administration announced. According to the Administration, the
Chairperson of the National Democratic Institute, Madeleine Albright, hosted President Margvelashvili at a working dinner. High representatives of the governing body of the National Democratic Institute also attended the meeting. The Georgian President addressed his audience and spoke about Georgia’s ongoing democratic reforms, after which the meeting continued in a Q&A format. Reportedly, the sides discussed Georgia-US relations. The representatives of the National Democratic Institute were interested in the activities of political and civil organizations in Georgia. President Margvelashvili highlighted Georgia’s success and progress on its European and Euro-Atlantic integration, which “is largely conditioned by the unwavering support of American partners.” The President thanked the representatives of the Institute for their active and fruitful cooperation.
Vashlovani Receives European Conservation Award By Tatia Megeneishvili Vashlovani Protected Areas has joined 70 protected areas in Europe by receiving the five-year European Award for conservation. The Diploma was granted for its preservation of biological, geological and landscape diversity. Georgia applied for the European Diploma for Protected Areas in March 2014 and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers decided to award Vashlovani Protected Areas with the award in June 2015. According to the Minister of Environment Gigla Agulashvili, the award recognizes the Area’s outstanding scientific, cultural and aesthetic qualities. “This is a huge achievement for Vashlovani Protected Areas. This diploma signifies worldwide recognition and I want to highlight the perfect functionality of management system on the territory,” stated Agulashvili. Representative of the Council of the Europe, Eladio Fernandez Galiano, granted the Diploma to Agulashvili and assisted him to release pheasants within
Vashlovani Protected Areas which had been hatched and raised in a special facility as part of the ‘Kolkhetian Pheasant Restoration in their Natural Habitats’ project. Within the project, which was held during 2014 and 2015 thanks to financing from the Global Environment Foun-
dation (GEF) and support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a special incubator building was built where around 500 Kolkhetian pheasants were incubated and hatched in the safety of a laboratory. The majority of those 500 have now been released into protected areas.
3rd Anniversary of 1st Peaceful Democratic Transition of Power in Georgia
Ocotber first saw the third anniversary of the 2012 parliamentary elections in Georgia- the first peaceful transition of power between different political forces. The Georgian Dream coalition, led by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, gained victory over the then-ruling party, the United National Movement, who had been in power since the 2003 Rose
Revolution. The 2012 elections were followed by the 2013 presidential elections and the 2014 local elections, where the Georgian Dream coalition gained majority on all levels of government. The above-mentioned events are considered a serious step for Georgian politics in terms of democratic advancement and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Facing the Climate in Tbilisi By Meri Taliashvili In the framework of Sweden Environment Days, Europe House Georgia for the first time hosted an exhibition entitled “Facing the Climate,” dedicated to the challenges of climate change. The event is organized by the Sweden Embassy in Tbilisi in partnership with The Swedish Institute. The exhibition illustrates Sweden’s strong commitment to climate and environmental issues. Swedish cartoonists and caricaturists Love Antell, Magnus Bard, Riber Hansson, Helena Lindhom and Karin Sunvisson, together with their Georgian colleagues Levan Kvaratskhelia, Vaja Doghonadze, Nikoloz Dadiani, Varlam Jmukhadze and Tamar Giorgadze, took a joint effort to raise awareness of climate change. Besides the exhibition a series of events are planned during the Sweden Environment Days including clean-up days in Mtskheta, discussions on sustainable business, and activities for kids and adults. The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Gigla Agulashvili, noted that climate changes concern the whole world equally and each person plays an important role in protecting and caring for nature. “Climate change issues are the entire world’s problem. Therefore, today’s ex-
hibition aims to inform society about it in order to properly answer those challenges. It means that each of us has an enormous role in preventing pollution, illegal fishing, hunting and chopping of timber. Of course, in light of the weak economy, it is very difficult for anyone to think about it, but when they realize the problem they will understand that sustainable development and care of future means safeguards those resources for future generations by rationally using them today,” Minister Agulashvili told Georgia Today. The exhibition will last until October 14th.
New ADB Country Director to Enhance Support for Georgia The new Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Georgia, Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, assumed office this week and said she will strive to enhance ABD’s support for Georgia in order to foster inclusive and sustainable growth, and to strengthen regional connectivity. “ADB and the Government of Georgia have forged a strong partnership for enhancing infrastructure and service delivery to the people of Georgia through public-sector support and private sector development initiatives since 2007,” Elhan-Kayalar said in a statement, “I look forward to building on these achievements as the portfolio grows in collaboration with our key stakeholders in Georgia.” ADB’s website states that under its current Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with Georgia for 2014-18, they provide support for roads, energy, wa-
ter supplies and sanitation infrastructure and service delivery, public sector management, private sector management, financial sector deepening and financial inclusion, good governance, gender equality and knowledge solutions. Earlier this year, ADB approved a $75 million program to assist the government’s reforms on resource utilization, and issued the first Georgian laridenominated bonds, raising 100 million GEL to support the development of the Georgian capital market and small businesses. Georgia became a member of ADB in 2007, and their portfolio has grown rapidly since then, with $1.6 billion in loan approvals as of 31stDecember 2014. Financing for the current CPS is estimated at around $1 billion. Prior to her current appointment, Elhan-Kayalar led the public manage-
ment portfolio of ADB in 10 central and west Asian countries. She has over 25 years of work experience in development agencies, the private sector and academia in 27 countries. Elhan-Kayalar has a PhD in Economics from the University of California, and qualifications in Finance and Management from Havard University and Univeristy of Michigan. She has published in, and taught, economics and finance, and has led research on behavioral finance and competitiveness policy. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1996, it is owned by 67 members. In 2014, ADB assistance totalled $22.9 billion, including con-financing worth $9.2 billion.
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World Bank Research Results on Georgia: Positive By Steven Jones The World Bank has revealed a new study on Georgia comprising areas of political stability, laws rate and government efficiency. According to the study, Georgia’s rating in terms of political stability improved in 2014 compared to 2012. Georgia, with a percentage rate of 24.6% in 2012 increased to 35.9% in 2014, followed by its neighbors, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Secondly, the government says Georgia’s stance in terms of right of expression and accountability have also advanced. Precisely, the rate was measured 49.8% in 2012 while 55.7% in 2014. In terms of right of expression and accountability, Georgia is followed by Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan. Reportedly, in the newly released long-term governance study, more than 200 countries were evaluated according to six core indicators, in which Georgia is named a 2014 frontrunner with all increased indicators fixed. The study says the laws quality rate was 79.3% in 2014 up from 72.7% in 2012. Notably, Geor-
gia’s standing has improved by 13 steps, being ranked at 44th among 210 states. Significantly, countries such as Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, and others lag behind Georgia. The study cites the governmental efficiency rate has increased in an unprecedented manner during the last 18 years, having reached 71.6% for 2014. The same rate in 2012 was 69.9%. 149 countries, including Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Albania, Turkey, Russia, and others lag behind Georgia according to this rate. Author analysis: Undoubtedly, Georgia, with her successful public reforms, has been a pioneer among her neighbors and other partner countries, including some EU member states. Combating corruption and organized crime, encouraging competitiveness in state institutions, rapid economic growth and overall potential made the country ambitious enough to
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loudly state her EU and NATO aspirations. Moreover, significantly, those who had doubts towards Georgia’s democratic advancement, including Germany, have been met by democratic elec-
tions in the country, which considerably improved the overall political development in and Georgia’s international image in terms of Euro-Atlantic integration.
OCTOBER 2 - 8
First Winners of Cross Border Projects By Eka Karsaulidze During the next year eight organizations from Georgia and Armenia will implement their project for social, economic and cultural development in border regions in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation (EaPTC) Program. The official announcement of awarded projects took place during a grand contracts signing ceremony in Dilijan, Armenia, on September 25. Organizations from Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe Javakheti regions of Georgia and Lori, Shirak and Tavush Marzes of Armenia established partnerships for developing joint solutions to common social and economic development challenges in their border regions. In total, 40 project proposals were submitted in response to the EU call for proposals in the framework of the Armenia Georgia Territorial Cooperation Program for grants offered in order to implement joint cross border projects. Giorgi Tsakadze, Head of the Department for Self-Governance and Regional Policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development, emphasized that the program has big potential, and the relations development with Armenia can be useful in several ways. One of them is improving sports, education and cultural relationships. Irma Zurabashvili, representative of Bolnisi Language House with her partner from Armenia Ashot Mirzoyan, plans to establish cultural relations amongst young people through legends. Throughout the year, children from Armenia and Georgia will tell each other tales of their nations, participate in
Key representatives of Armenian and Georgian central administration and EU Delegations at press conference before award ceremony /Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation.
various trainings and at the end of the year will meet in Bolnisi and Gyumri camps to create theatrical performances based on these cultural legends. “Our main goal is dialogue. We want to talk to and get to know each other through this project. And tales are a very effective element because they are part of each of us, so I think that the children will find it a fascinating journey,” said Ashot Mirzoyan, Armenian coordinator of the project. The ecological situation in both countries is in a rather serious condition. One of the winning organizations offered to look for alternative ways to stop deforestation. “We are going to improve living conditions via energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, proposing technologies that reduce the amount of firewood needed by local households. Then people will have no reason to cut down the forest, and they will stop doing it,” said Nugzar Tatashvili, the Head of the Society Development Center of Akhaltsikhe. Another important issue relevant to the Georgia-Armenia relationship is economic development. It seems that Armenian participation in the Eurasian
Economic Union and Georgia’s signing of the European Union Association Agreement will create many problems. Zviad Devdariani, Executive Director of CIDA, with the help of the Armenia Georgia Territorial Cooperation Program, will try to make it clear what real problems and benefits these processes create. “We will conduct studies, consult stakeholders, cooperate with the business sector and ministries, and give an opportunity to representatives of both countries to get to know each other’s economic situations better,” said Devdariani. “Unlike other winning organizations, we have already been cooperating with Armenian side for seven years. We were involved in this process but the Association Agreement and Eurasian Economic Union made certain changes, so we want to make this situation clear and provide the business sector with all the necessary information to develop economically in our countries,” he added. Prior to the award ceremony a two-day introductory training was delivered to the successful applicants in Dilijan. The trainees got practical tips on grant contracts and methods for
project implementation, financial and procurement rules, visibility and communication issues, reporting and monitoring requirements, as well as specific national requirements of the two countries. The training also provided grantees with individual consultations on grant management issues. “It is a very important program for us; we considered it as a big step and it could open doors for larger scale projects. We hope that more and more people choose this route and believe it will help to strengthen relations in the border regions,” said Tsakadze. The Armenia Georgia Territorial Cooperation Program is the first of four programs in the Eastern Partnership. The next, the Azerbaijan-Georgia Territorial Cooperation Program, is already running. The organizers will provide two info-days for interested parties in Telavi, Georgia on October 1 and in Rustavi, Georgia on October 2. Info-days will provide detailed information about specific features and technicalities of the Program, application forms, eligibility and selection criteria, specific requirements and other useful information.
Grant Thornton Named One of 50 ‘World’s Most Attractive Global Employers’ A survey of 240,000 business and engineering students from 12 of the world’s largest economies named Grant Thornton one of the 50 ‘World’s most attractive global employers’. Survey was conducted as part of the Universum Annual Student Survey. Nelson Petrosyan, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Georgia said: “Thanks to the students who voted. This is fantastic recognition and is testament to all of our people around the world. Grant Thornton member firms are based in 130 countries with over 40,000 people who make up the Grant Thornton global organisation. “At Grant Thornton Georgia we strive to develop and maintain a positive workplace culture for our people,” said Nelson Petrosyan. “Our firm strives to provide a workplace where our people can unlock their potential for growth, both at work, at home and in their community.” In 37 th position on the Universum list, Grant Thornton is “distinguished as an ideal employer in the profession-
al services sector.” The rankings are based on the opinions of business and engineering students from top universities in the world’s 12 largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and US. The research was conducted by Universum, a leading global research and employer branding consultancy. To be considered in the World’s Most Attractive Employer ranking, an
employer must be in the top 90% of the Universum Ideal Employer ranking in at least six of the twelve largest economies. The results are then weighted based on the gross domestic product of each market. About Grant Thornton Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock
their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward looking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 40,000 Grant Thornton people, across 130 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work.
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OCTOBER 2 - 8
Dechert OnPoint Overview: “Produce in Georgia” On 1 June 2014, the Government of Georgia the (“GoG”) launched the Program “Produce in Georgia” (the “Program”), supervised by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia (the “MoESD”) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia (the “MoAG”). The Program aims to foster competitive local production by encouraging production of Georgian products and guaranteeing high quality domestic production. The terms and conditions of the Program are set out in Decree #365 of the GoG dated 30 May 2014 (the “Decree”). This week’s OnPoint provides an overview of the Program, focusing on its two main components: the industrial and agricultural sectors. The article describes financing opportunities and other support vehicles available to Georgian businesses under Produce in Georgia. Industrial sector support will be addressed in Part I, while Part II focuses on the opportunities available to Agricultural sector players. I. INDUSTRIAL SECTOR The Program intends to support a wide range of industries, starting with food and fuel production extending to the energy sector and natural resources exploitation. A specific list of the industries supported is set out in Annex 1 of the Decree. The program envisages three types of support for the Industrial Sector: (a) financial support; (b) transfer of state-owned land plots; and (c) technical assistance. Applications for this part of the Program can be made before 15 December 2015. FINANCIAL SUPPORT Financial support can be granted for the establishment of new production facilities as well as for expanding existing production. The beneficiary of the Program (the “Beneficiary”) may benefit from only one of the following forms of financing (i) co-financing loans obtained by the Beneficiary from commercial banks; or (ii) co-financing leases of property used by the Beneficiary during production. CO- FINANCING OF LOANS The program co-finances the interest accruing on the loan received by the Beneficiary. The co-financing period may not exceed 24 months, while the co-financing share is: (i) 8% per annum
for a loan issued in USD (e.g. if the loan has an annual rate of 9%, the GoG will assume an annual rate of 8% while the lender will pay the remaining 1% per annum); or (ii) 10% per annum in cases of GEL denominated loans; or backs the loan of the Beneficiary by granting a second-ranking security not exceeding 50% of the principal amount of the loan, and in any case no more than USD 1,000,000/GEL 2,500,000 in value for a maximum period of 48 months from issuance of the loan. The eligible Beneficiaries are those which receive a loan for their business projects (the “Project”) from commercial banks in Georgia, in an amount between the minimum of USD 150,000/ GEL 250,000 and the maximum of USD 2,000,000/GEL 5,000,000, with the annual interest rate of the USD loans not exceeding 9-11% and 11-13% for GEL loans per annum. Once the Project and the loan is approved by the bank, the Beneficiary shall apply to the Agency of Entrepreneurial Development (the “Agency”), which operates under the auspices of the MoESD, and request the co-financing of the loan. The Agency, through the MoESD, submits the Project to the GoG for approval. Notably, there is no specific timeline set for approval of the Project by the GoG. CO-FINANCING OF LEASES The eligible Beneficiaries for lease co-financing shall conclude a loan agreement with the lessor to lease a property in an amount between USD 50,000 and USD 2,000,000. The Program requires that the annual interest rate accrued on the lease by the lessor shall be between 13-15% depending on the value of the leased property. The Program will co-finance 12% of said interest during a 24 month period. To receive co-financing the Beneficiary shall apply to the Agency and submit the lease agreement on the equipment to be used for production. The Agency, through the MoESD, submits the Beneficiary’s project to the GoG for approval. TRANSFER OF LAND The transfer of land component follows the following structure: (i) the direct sale of state-owned non-agricultural land plots with or without fixed premises to the Beneficiary for a symbolic price of GEL 1; and (ii) fulfillment of
be less than USD 600,000 while not exceeding USD 2,000,000. Moreover, the loans shall have a grace period of 24 months for current assets and 19 months for non-current assets, implying that no principal amount of the loan shall be subject to repayment during this period.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili presenting Produce in Georgia.
investment obligations by the Beneficiary and development of the industrial project on the transferred land plot. The list of state-owned land plots available under the Program is available in the online database of the National Agency of State Property (the “Property Agency”). Alternatively, if the land plot subject to the Beneficiary’s interest is not included in that list, the Beneficiary shall apply to the Agency requesting the inclusion of the particular property. The Beneficiary shall submit a special application to the Property Agency together with the business plan and an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee of 30 months duration in the amount of 10% of the market price of the land plot to be transferred. The review period is thirty days. If the Agency approves the application, the GoG shall issue the act (the “Act”) on direct sale of the land plot at a symbolic price. Production shall commence within two years from the issuance of the Act and the Beneficiary shall invest: (i) six times the market price of the land plot if the land plot is located in Tbilisi; or (ii) four times the market price of the land plot if it is located in other regions of Georgia. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE The Beneficiaries also have opportunities to utilize technical assistance in the fields of marketing, business planning and product sales. A hotline and service center set up at the MoESD will provide the Beneficiary with information and relevant trainings on export markets, local and foreign technologies and innovations, as well as production quality standards. Technical assistance
for each Beneficiary shall not exceed GEL 10,000 in value. II. AGRICULTURAL SECTOR The Agriculture Project Management Agency (the “Agriculture Agency”), under the auspices of the MoAG, is in charge of the implementation of this component of the Program. The agricultural component operates by offering cofinancing of the loan received by the Beneficiary for an agricultural project (the “Agricultural Project”) or by cofinancing the lease for production assets used within an Agricultural Project. The application shall be submitted to the Agriculture Agency, which through the MoAG submits the application to the GoG for final approval. The Program (i) co-finances the interest accruing on the loan received by the Beneficiary with an interest rate of no more than 11-12% per annum for USD loans; (ii) co-finances interest accrued under the lease arrangement with an interest rate of no more than 13% per annum for USD loans; or (iii) provides the security for the loan of the Beneficiary, with maximum duration of 54 months from issuance of the loan in an amount not exceeding 50% of the interest of the principal of the loan, and not more than USD 600,000 in value. Both co-financing of the interest accrued to the loan and to the lease arrangement are limited to a period of no more than 24 months, and the co-financing share is 10% per annum for the loan, while 12% per annum is covered for a lease arrangement. Additionally, in order to be eligible the amount of the loan or value of the leased property shall not
III. CONCLUSIONS Many other specific obligations apply as to the performance of the Beneficiaries once they join the Program, depending on the type of the support they receive. In general, default of the Beneficiary under the lease or loan agreement will trigger the right of the Agency or Agriculture Agency, respectively, to terminate support. Similarly, the refinancing or restructuring of a loan or lease granted to the Beneficiary in violation of the agreed terms of the Program will also trigger termination of co-financing. In case of enforcement of a Programbacked security granted by the state, the Agency will have recourse against the Beneficiary regarding compensation for damages incurred as a result of the enforcement of the security. In addition to the existing vehicles, from 15 March 2015 the Program launched another financing vehicle – specific to micro and small businesses – with a budget of GEL 20,000,000 and for a period of 26 months. This branch of the Program aims to aid the development of regional small and micro businesses by assisting them financially and by helping them attain business skills and other necessary trainings. In sum, through Produce in Georgia, entrepreneurs can potentially utilize a variety of tools to foster business development in Georgia’s industrial and agricultural sectors. Detailed information and statistics of the results of the Program to date are provided on the webpage: http://www.qartuli.ge/ which lists current Beneficiaries for each component of the Program along with a description of their projects. *** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business. For more information, please visit www.dechert.com or contact Nicola Mariani at email@example.com.
Passenger Trains for Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway to Launch 2016 around $600 million. The Turkish segment will be 76km compared to the Georgian segment which will only be 29km long. It is hoped that the railway line will improve trade and economic relations between Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran when connecting with Europe. The construction of the new 105km branch of the railroad was inaugurated by the presidents of the three regions in Marabda, South Georgia on 21st November 2007. However on 8th August 2009 construction on the railway line was suspended due to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, as well as other environmental issues. In February 2014 Azerbaijan’s Trans-
portation Minister, Ziya Mammadov, stated that the project would not be completed before the second half of 2015, with the new sleeping coaches not entering service until 2016-17. The presidents of Azerbaijan. Georgia and Turkey signed the declaration for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connection on 25th May 2005. The key reason for the agreement was the rejection of assistance by the EU and the US as the link bypassed Armenia. It is believed that the BTK railroad will transport a million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in its initial stage. By 2030 it is expected to carry an estimated 17 million tons of cargo and approximately three million passengers.
FOR SALE Azerbaijan has ordered 30 new passenger trains for its newly opened $600million railway route, which directly connects Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Swiss Stadler Rail Group has started production on the passenger cars for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway, the Azerbaijani News Agency, Azernews reported. According to the news agency the decision was made during the Azer-
baijani delegation’s recent visit to Switzerland. Trains will be fitted to four different categories; standard, comfort, business and the on-board restaurant. The new 10, 20 and 32-seat passenger cars will have in-built Wi-Fi and other novelties, the agency reports. Azerbaijani Railways will be getting the first batch of trains for the BTK route in the summer of 2016, with the first 10 cars will be put into operation in July
and August 2015 according to the day.az. Ahmed Sultan Bin Sulayem, the chairman of Dubai Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation stated that the BTK railway will be able to deliver goods from China to Europe faster, by bypassing the port of Batumi. The BTK railway line is a regional railway link that will directly connect Kars in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan. The total estimated cost of the project is thought to be
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OCTOBER 2 - 8
Georgia Wastes Money with its Lack of Recycling Infrastr ucture Prepared by USAID’S Waste Management Technologies in the Regions Project Producing energy, reducing pollution, saving money and manufacturing goods with less waste is essential for the development of the economy. With only about 20 household waste recycling companies, Georgia lacks the possibilities to reduce its waste, energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is a crucial factor of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” waste hierarchy. All the waste that is put into Georgian landfills is a discarded resource, which could be practically reused, while we throw it away and use additional resources like land or import those goods that can be remade from waste. Rational use of such waste necessitates a building of a recycling sector so organized that it generates minimum waste. The exact amount of Georgia’s annual household waste is unknown. However, according to the report conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in 2007, an estimated 800,000 tons of household waste is produced in Georgia. The report also noted that the annual household waste per capita ranges from 100 to 280 kg. The recycling process includes separation, collection and recreation of waste products into new materials and helps expand the value of something already
used via manufacturing something useable. Generally, batteries, biodegradable waste, glass, metal, paper and plastic are the most recyclable products. Waste recycling infrastructure in Georgia is developing at a slow pace; so far, few companies have attained an Environmental Impact Permit and Georgia currently recycles paper, cardboard, glass, tire, cellophane and other goods but sees less benefit compared to other more developed countries. For instance, the Eurostat 2012 report notes that the top five most recycling countries of the EU are Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Holland, who recycle most of their municipal waste. According to Being wise with waste: the EU’s approach to waste management catalog published by the EU in 2010, the methane formed by a standard municipal landfill site, if transformed into energy, could offer electricity to about 20,000 households for a year. “It is estimated that the materials sent to landfills could have an annual commercial value of around ˆ5.25 billion,” reads the report, adding that “The EU waste policy aims to ensure that waste is used wherever possible as raw material to make new products. Recycling also saves energy: recycling an aluminum can, for example, saves around 95% of the energy needed to make a new one from raw material.” As the National Recycling Coalition, a non-profit organization in the USA states, paper recycling is a very profit-
entrepreneurs to have more recycling companies, which will lead to lower prices. “Additionally, the state needs to put tax on imported materials and introduce market regulations,” he continued.
able and environmentally friendly business as recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 26,497 liters of water, 1,438 liters of oil, 2.5 cubic meters of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, it creates jobs and, in Georgia’s case, could fight the 13.7% rate of unemployment. Georgia currently has one paper collection company, one which recycles paper and one which manufactures cardboard boxes. Irakli Gvalia, the Director of LTD Georgian Recycling, a paper collecting point and a subcontractor of paper recycling company Kagaldi+ (Pa-
per+), collects at least 2-3 thousand tons of paper from individuals, organizations and state institutions each month, which amounts to at least 4-5 thousand tons annually. “Each day we recycle 12 tons of paper to make primary and secondary cardboard. The company has the potential to recycle 20 tons daily, however, because of the unregulated market, we cannot,” explains Gvalia, adding that the company exports its goods to Armenia. Unfortunately, his company does not yet comply with EU standards as it needs new equipment and an investment of around $700,000. Moreover, he believes that the government should encourage
Mina, the only glass recycling company in Georgia, was created via Turkish investment and competes with Armenia, Azerbaijan and southern Russia. Inorganic substances are used to create glass bottles, while it also recycles the glass in order to manufacture new goods. According to Tamaz Tchintcharauli, the Marketing and Sales Director, the company exports its products to Azerbaijan, Turkey and Italy. From the day of establishment the company has invested $60 million in its production. “At the moment, the difficult economic situation in the region determines the complex situation on the market - the demand has decreased. Therefore, we expect a financial loss due to the constant change of exchange rate for this and the upcoming year,” he explained. Consistent with the EU Association Agreement, within six years Georgia should make steps towards EU standards in order to solve waste management problems like collection, disposal, recycling, as well as the closure of old landfills. And in order to fulfill those requirements, Georgia needs to allocate more funds from the state budget to waste management issues and attracting investors.
OCTOBER 2 - 8
Sustainable Cities for All Ages Statement on the International Day of Older Persons Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director 1 October 2015 Population ageing and urbanization are major global issues of the 21st century. While cities are growing, their share of residents aged 60 years and over is also rising. Rapid urbanization is challenging both national and local governments in developing inclusive and integrated cities. Today, as we observe the International Day of Older Persons, we must ensure that cities respond to the needs of persons of all ages and that older persons are as much a part of urban life as their younger counterparts. This year’s theme of Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment fits in perfectly with the objectives of the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: leave no one behind! Together, we must ensure that older persons are fully integrated in cities’ economic, social, political and cultural life. What can we do to make our cities more inclusive? We can start by ensuring that both younger and older generations are included in the urban planning process and their issues, needs and concerns are equally taken into account. We need an approach to urban planning that focuses on well-being through-
out the life cycle. We should invest in young people today by promoting healthy habits, ensuring education and jobs, and providing access to health services and social security coverage for all workers. This is the best investment to improve the lives of young people, help stem the increasing tide of out-migration, and improve the lives of future generations of older persons. At the same time, we must provide affordable and accessible health-care services, lifelong learning and retraining opportunities, and flexible employment for older persons to improve their well-being and facilitate their integration into the fabric of communities. Strengthening human capital by ensuring empowerment, education and employment of all citizens will yield a high return on investment and will help countries reap a demographic dividend that can lift millions out of poverty. Creating hope and opportunity for young people to develop their full potential can drive progress in the years to come and, ultimately, result in a second demographic dividend of healthier, wealthier and more productive older persons. Today, we call on policymakers and urban planners to work together to ensure an inclusive urban environment for all ages. This means paying particular attention to the important pillars of urban living, such as housing, transportation, basic social services, and health
care, to make them age-friendly. It means creating an ageless society, characterized by an urban physical environment that facilitates personal mobility, safety and security. It means creating an urban social environment that encourages respect, social inclusion, and participation. And it means protecting natural resources, preparing for natural disasters, and reducing risk so that current and future generations look forward to a sustainable future. Today, we call on urban leaders to ensure the protection of the human rights of all urban residents, including the elderly who are more vulnerable, and to enforce zero tolerance of discrimination, neglect, violence and abuse of older persons. Ensuring sustainability and age inclusiveness in the urban environment means creating a society for all ages where the voices of all generations are heard and where the needs of both young and old are met. It means empowering young and old to fully participate in the economic, social and political life of their communities. It means gathering data on city residents and their needs and working to ensure that they are adequately met. It also means sharing experiences about what makes a city a great place to live in for both young and old. Age-friendly cities are not just elderly-friendly. They are better for everyone.
Hepatitis C is Curable, Stigma is the Real Killer By Irma Kakhurashvili “An often overlooked and painful component of HCV is stigma. Although invisible, stigma is a harsh reality. For some, the stigma of HCV hurts more than HCV itself. Stigmas hurt all of us. We may not all have HCV, but we all live with it.” Lucinda K.Porter. From the book Free from Hepatitis C. The contours of goodness of this truly unique elimination program of Hepatitis C are becoming visible. Apart from successful medical results, this illness is becoming less and less associated purely with intravenous drug abuse or other socially unacceptable actions for the Georgian population. The virus is mainly transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person, which might happen at the dentist, during a blood transfusion procedure, or tattooing. The vacuum around Hepatitis C is breached by informational campaigns, through which ordinary citizens become aware of what Hepatitis C is truly about and what the scale of its spread is. Above all, there is hope that treatment is no longer inaccessible, and that is already a reality. Doctor of Biology Temur Radiani is not sure exactly when he became infected with Hepatitis C. In the late 90s he cut his foot on some glass and had a couple of operations. Apparently, the reason the virus got into his blood was a poorly sterilized medical instrument. As in most cases, Temur found out about his virus accidentally in 2007, when complaining to his doctor about a gallbladder problem. His Hepatitis results turned out positive. Temur lives in the center of Tbilisi. He takes the prescribed medical preparation Sofosbuvir once every two weeks in the Hospital of Infectious Diseases in
the capital. These pills must save his life. The treatment is successful. Temur Radiani is one of the first patients to switch to the state elimination program and declared it openly on television. “Some two years ago nobody could imagine that somebody would talk about the virus openly. Everyone held back from coming out. And it was even more unbelievable to get treatment free of charge as the course costs tens of thousands of dollars. Nonetheless, an unprecedented thing happened: with the support of company Gilead and the U.S. National Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the government took responsibility for treating those infected. Today, in a country where the world index of Hepatitis C spread is terrible, people have a real chance of getting cured from this awful disease.” The joint research conducted in 2002 by the John Hopkins University and the Center of Aids and Clinical Immunology of Georgia revealed 200 thousand infected people. The results of the new study on C and B Hepatitis will become public in the near future. According to
the elimination plan, the state will take care of treating Hepatitis C until the patient is cured. In the first stage of the elimination program, 3200 patients have already begun treatment. Keep in mind that 130 to 170 million people are infected with Hepatitis C worldwide. And 350 thousand people die from the virus annually. Our respondent cannot hide his emotions. “When I first heard about the virus, I was shocked. I always led a healthy lifestyle; I loved walking in nature and couldn’t understand how I got infected... At first, just thinking about it made me feel uneasy. I didn’t want to see the results, as I knew that the costs of the treatment would prevent me from starting treatment- until 2007 treatment was totally inaccessible and after 2007, due to the high cost, treatment was accessible but only to the few. The second unpleasant thing was that in this country, where everyone is everyone’s friend and relative, Hepatitis was associated with drug abuse,” recalls Temur Radiani, adding that the patients currently undergoing treatment should not limit themselves to
taking the highly effective preparation Sofosbuvir, but should be actively involved in the elimination process as well. While Temur’s wife treated us to sweets, we observed their family photos hanging on the wall - the coryphaeus of Georgian literature, Temur is the son of famous specialist and critic of Georgian literature - Shalva Radiani. “They say the elimination program was introduced just in time, as a lot of us had no perspective at all; we were predestined. But now I see that if you strictly follow all recommendations of your doctor the illness is curable. The stigma around this illness is being broken down, too, which helps people and families as they regain hope. We should all openly talk about Hepatitis C- there is nothing to hide.” The Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Davit Sergeenko, confirms that the problem of Hepatitis C, which is no longer regarded as a problem of individual countries and, due to its extended scale, is considered as one of the important global challenges
of health care, can be overcome. But this requires three factors to happen simultaneously: treatment (effective and accessible for the patient), prevention (reduction of new cases to a minimum) and raising information awareness. To our question on what results have been achieved since the elimination program began (on 21 April), Davit Sergeenko answers: “Before the start of the elimination program we wanted to find a couple of patients who would start talking about their illness openly and give an example to other patients. We searched for a long time, but everyone refused – they were heavily stigmatized because of it. This had its own reasons: first of all – Hepatitis C was associated with specific risk groups, and the social attitude towards it was negative. Secondly, the treatment was practically inaccessible for the population, which thought that because there was no cure, it made no sense revealing the illness. Currently, more than 3 000 patients are undergoing treatment and, apart from the high index of their recovery, we are also witnessing an important social change whereby the stigma is being overcome: dozens of people have begun sharing their experience with others, which is highly welcomed and very important for the successful realization of the project.” “On the behalf of dozens of people I can only be thankful to those who made the treatment of Hepatitis C accessible; to the doctors – who often work selflessly, and to the patients as well, who show patience throughout the difficult process of treatment,” said Temur Radiani before we left. And we promised to see him in a month, by which time his virus should have been defeated.
4th London-Geor gian London-Georgian Film F esti val Kic ks Of Festi estiv Kicks Offf By Tatia Megeneishvili The 2015 London-Georgian Film Festival was launched in London on October 1 aiming to cover the last hundred years of Georgian filmography. The program will feature 19 films from the 1930s to the modern era. Master classes and talks by Georgian and international film directors are also on the agenda. The Festival, which will last through October 7, is being held for the fourth time in London. This year’s London-Georgian Film Festival will involve screenings at London venues Regent Street Cinema, Frontline Club London and Dash Café at Rich Mix.
Audiences will have the chance to watch modern movies like ‘Invisible Spaces’ by Dea Kulumbegashvili, ‘Tangerines’ by Zaza Urushadze, ‘In Bloom’ by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, and many more. What’s more, movies from the past century such as ‘First Swallows’ by Nana Mchedlidze, ‘Ten Minutes in the Morning’ by Aleksandre Jaliashvili, ‘Collective Farmer’s Hygiene’ by Vakhtang Shvelidze will also be shown. The London-Georgian Film Festival was first held in London in 2005 and was organized by the British Georgian Society (BGS). After the initial event the Festival was put on hold for five years to be re-established in 2010.
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Tbilisi Triennial Calls SOS
Representatives of Tbilisi Triennial, Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and Tbilisi City Hall.
By Eka Karsaulidze Self-organized System (SOS) is the main topic of the second Tbilisi Triennial. Artists from around the world will talk about, perform and show their works around this important social theme. The Triennial, one of the main contemporary art event in Tbilisi, starts on October 1 and lasts until the end of the month. The Tbilisi Center of Contemporary Art (CCA) organized the first Tbilisi Triennial in 2012 with the topic of education. It aroused not only the interest and attention of local experts, but also foreign ones. In this way, the second Tbilisi Triennial is back with the status of Member of the International Biennial Association (IBA), which it gained in July 2014. According to Wato Tsereteli, founder and curator of the Tbilisi Triennial, it is a big honor for them as just two Russian biennials are in this Association among all Post-Soviet countries.
“Now we are members of IBA and it is a bigger responsibility for us,” said Tsereteli. “We choose the Self-Organized System topic because I think it is a very actual theme for our country. Self-organization is a pledge of democracy; we need to take the initiative and together reach our goals. In fact, we had the same system in the Soviet period and it was very successful. So now we just need to rediscover it with the help of foreign and local artists,” he explained. Tbilisi Triennial 2015 will host 109 artists from 14 countries. Throughout the month, top artists in the field of selforganization will offer workshops, lectures, exhibitions and presentations in different locations around Tbilisi: The Center of Contemporary Art, Tbilisi National Scientific Library, Europe House, Writers’ House, Rooms Hotel as well as in Rustavi City. “We have tried to select the best performers in this area; those who have al-
ready worked on this subject, who know and understand what is going on in Georgia. You will see many examples of how people come together for a common goal. All the artist perform in their own style and system. Our Triennial will be like reference book where you can discover all these systems,” said Tsereteli. Martinka Bobrikova from Slovakia and Oscar De Carmen from Spain will present their project “More Than Supra,” which will be a merging of the food and art fields around the issues of social changes though an interdisciplinary experimental approach. Art professionals from Azerbaijan and Great Britain with ALOV project will focus on the selforganized and independent systems in the South Caucasus. Georgian artists will also be participating. More information about the program and participants can be found on Tbilisi Triennial’s official Facebook page: facebook.com/tbilisi.triennial.
Contemporary Art Address: 51 D. Uznadze Str. Museum of History of Georgian Medicine Opening: 19:00
September 10 – October 9 VAKHO BUGADZE’S PERSONAL EXHIBITION “SUBURB” The exhibition showcases up to 70 works created in 2013-2015.
October 2 MINNA HENRIKSSON (FI) AND THE NEW COLLECTIVE (GE) Address: Tbilisi National Scientific Library, ¼ M. Aleksidze Str. Opening: 15:00
GALLERI NECTAR Address: 16 Aghmashenebli St. Telephone: 295 00 21 www.gallerynectar.ge
WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93
Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Author: Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 21:30 Ticket price: From 15 Lari
October 2 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari
GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36
October 3, 8 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari October 4 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15, 20 Lari ALEXANDER GRIBOEDOV STATE RUSSIAN DRAMA THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 11 06 www.griboedovtheatre.ge October 8 THE CHERRY ORCHARD Anton Chekhov Directed by Andro Enukidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 6 FAN DO’S MAGORY * Premiere One Act Tale
October 29 THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR * Premiere Nikolay Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari TBILISI INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THEATRE Address: 8 Marjanishvili st. Telephone: 5 322955966 www.tbilisiinternational.com INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM October 2, 3 GODS ARE FALLEN AND ALL SAFETY GONE Directed by Selma Dimitrievichi Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: From 20 Lari Address: Marjanishvili Theatre October 2 KAASH Directed by Akram Khani Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 10 Lari Address: Griboedov Theatre October 5 HAMLET Directed by Dominik Dromguli and Bil Bakharsti Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 55 Lari Address: Mushtaeti Park October 5 THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Directed by Tomas Ostermaieri Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari Address: Griboedov Theatre
MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE June 27 – October 31 GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II EXHIBITION DEDICATED THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. MOMA TBILISI ZURAB TSERETELI Address: 27 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 298 60 30 October 2-18 GUCHA KVARATSKHELIA’S EXHIBITION Our Black and White and Coloured Earthly life LITERATURE MUSEUM Address: 8 Chanturia Str. September 19 – October 10 EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO WELL-KNOWN GEORGIAN WRITER AKAKI TSERETELI’S 175 YEAR ANNIVERSARY AND 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SINCE HIS DEATH. EUROPE HOUSE Address: Europe House, No.1 Freedom Square 30 September - 14 October SWEDEN ENVIRONMENT DAYS IN GEORGIA Exhibition: Facing the Climate Change The critical view of Swedish and Georgian painters and caricaturists 2ND TBILISI TRIENNIAL S.O.S October 1 SELF-ORGANIZED SYSTEMS International Exhibition of
Luka Tsetskhladze (GE) Curator: Irena Popiashvili (GE) Goslab: Nino Chubinshvili AKA Chubika, Tea Djordjadze, Maya Sumbadze, Salome Machaidze, Natalia TBA Beridze, Gogi Dzodzuashvili, Zaza Rusadze, Tamuna Karumidze, Levan Nutsubidze, Gio Sumbadze AKA gioslavia Curator: Lika Chkuaseli (GE) Address: Europe House, 2 Sh. Dadiani Str. Opening: 17:00 Tina Bepperling (AT)/Irene Hohenbüchler (AT)/Christine Hohenbüchler (AT)/ALOV/Asmer Abdullayeva (AZ) / Anne Baumann (GB) / Dadash Mammedov(AZ)/ Sabina Shikhlinskaya (AZ)/Sarah Knill-Jones (GB)/Johanna Binder (AT)/Patric Sandri (CH)/ Klaus Stefan (AT) Address: Giorgi Leonidze State Literature Museum, 8 G. Chanturia Str. Opening: 19:00 Fraces Belser (CH) and Eva Wandeler (CH) Address: Rooms Hotel Tbilisi 14 M. Kostava Str. Opening: 20:00 GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge
September 10 – October 10 UNTITLED (IN THE MOOD) Nic Bezemer ART AVENUE Address: 5 Marjanishvili Str. October 4-5 EXHIBITION-SALE Manana Tsitsishvili, Gela Bandzeladze, Giga Arveladze, Koka Tskhvediani, Dodo Takaishvili, Shorena Bolkvadze, Salva Kalagon, Goga Tandashvili, Nino Lomadze, Teo Kokhodze, Maia Kankava MUSIC INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL “AUTUMN TBILSI” – 2015 Address: Dj. Kakhidze Tbilisi Center for Music and Culture, 125 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 296 12 43 October 3 TBILISI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Soloist: OLIVER POOLE (piano, Great Britain) Conductor: ZVONIMIR HACKO (Croatia/USA) GERSHWIN - Concerto for piano and orchestra, SHOSTAKOVICH – Symphony No.5 Ticket price: 4-20 Lari October 7 Concert of Georgian Folk Music Folk ensemble “BASIANI” GEORGIAN FOLK SONGS Ticket price: 10-30 Lari
SOCIETY By Tony Hanmer Although this mountain seems omnipresent in Svaneti, visible from anywhere, it’s ironic that from my house you can’t see it. People see a peak between two closer mountains and think that this must be the one; but you actually have to walk down our road a couple of minutes, then five minutes or so up another road, before you see how mistaken you are, and the gigantic mass of the South Peak looms into view. It’s this peak the ascent time of which has just met a new speed record, performed by Zura Kvesitadze and Lasha Kvekveskiri on September 18, in 9 hours 56 minutes. The full story of that momentous achievement has been covered elsewhere, so here I will only offer my utmost congratulations to the climbers and concentrate on some other details of this mountain. Ushba’s twin peaks differ in height by approximately one meter. The mountain’s height is 4710 m. But these are somewhat dry facts... not accounting for the mountain’s location in Svaneti, and its sheer, colossal, multifaceted presence. Is this the “geological feature” which has motivated the Svans to be animists, worshipers of nature, from long before the ancient arrival of Orthodox Christianity here? You see, from Etseri, my village, the South Peak dominates, which is impressive enough, believe me. There’s a small lake about seven hours’ walk above us in which the mountain is gloriously reflected—at least, when it’s not playing
coy and covering itself with clouds, a frustratingly common occurrence. Drive about twenty minutes, into Becho, and you get a spectacular enough view that the main hotel there is named the Grand Hotel Ushba. Another twenty, into Latali and off a side road across the Enguri into one of its outlying hamlets, and you finally get an angle which is about 45 degrees, showing both peaks but not side by side. It seems like another mountain altogether, though. Continue, and above Mestia you do get the view about 90 degrees around
from my view, with those two peaks next to each other. Again, such a different view that you might not be aware that you were looking at the same mountain. It peers over the closer mountains, and the higher you go, up the Hatsvali ski lift for example, the more of it you see, crushingly revealed. Go on into or past Mulakhi, and this view remains, even as far as K’ala, nearly to Ushguli. You’ll lose it there, and will have to climb up some hours above Europe’s highest village before the twin Peaks reemerge. I have a Caucasus picture by Vittorio
Le gendar y Toyota Cor olla and Leg endary Corolla RA V4 ffor or Unpr ecedented Prices RAV4 Unprecedented The Toyota’s Official representation in Georgia has launched a campaign of unprecedented autumn discounts for legendary Toyota Corolla and RAV4 models. Toyota’s both official dealers in Georgia enable customers to enjoy this wonderful opportunity and get hands on a new vehicle. “Highest quality, durability and reliability are the main criteria in the vehicle purchasing process. The best harmonization of all these aspects draw much interest towards Toyota vehicles in both Georgia and worldwide. Current campaign enables our customers to buy Toyota’s highest quality vehicles at surprisingly low prices”, the Toyota Caucasus Office noted. A legendary sedan of Toyota Corolla is drivers’ favorite model worldwide. Record sales of these vehicles prove this statement. Toyota has already sold more than 40 million vehicles of this model. Moreover, the Guinness Book of World Records names this model as the bestselling vehicle. For about 50 years, Toyota Co-
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rolla has been constantly evolving by producing 11 generations up to the current appearance. The latest generation is bolder and even more self-confident. Attractive lower front panel and aerodynamic forms emphasize its strong characteristics. Corolla is a legendary and, at the same time, modern and an elegant sedan. Driving Corolla’s new model makes you feel comfortable and restful thanks to special materials and refined style of the interior. The evenly balanced saloon creates comfortable environment on backseats. “Moreover, an introduction of the renovated autumn discount campaign for RAV4 models will also please crossover fans. Comfortable and universal new RAV4 includes five seats for passengers and a wide boot. The saloon is enriched with storage compartments. The level of the boot’s fixation and power door enable to more conveniently and practically place the luggage into the vehicle. The new RAV4 ensures safe driving.
A unique integrated dynamic driving system makes the driving process more emphatic and maintains the surface friction. This modern technology ensures smooth and stable driving on highways in any climate conditions. Now every drive fills us with great pleasure. As part of the campaign, Toyota’s official dealers in Georgia Toyota Center Tbilisi and Toyota Center Tegeta offer the following discount rates for Toyota RAV4 and Corolla models: Toyota Corolla Active $13 100 instead of $16 322 Toyota Corolla Elegance + $16 700 instead of $20 102 Toyota RAV4 2WD Urban $22 550 instead of $24 911 Toyota RAV4 4WD Prestige $28 960 instead of $32 681 Toyota’s autumn campaign gives unique opportunity for buying Toyota’s highest quality vehicles at best prices.
Sella on a wall upstairs. Yes, I know, these are a dime a dozen, many available online, out of copyright (he was active in Svaneti more than a century ago). But this one is a large foldout panorama, one of three which came with a book I bought in the man’s home vil-
lage of Biella, Italy, some years ago. I have never seen its like before, so it might be the only such print in Georgia. A four-plate stretch shows the Central Caucasus, dominated by, you guessed it. My local friends think it was taken from the Russian side of the Caucasus, though, which is quite possible and I’m not expert enough to judge. To get such photographs in the late 19th century meant lugging your precious 8 by 10 inch glass plates, coating and developing chemicals, big box camera and tripod, and all supplies high up precarious footpaths by horse or donkey teams, along with plenty of helpers, I suppose. Somewhat removed from today’s Google Earth or drone-captured snaps. Ushba was first (as far as we know) climbed by Douglas Freshfield’s team in 1868; it remains the most difficult, though far from the highest, climb in the whole of the Caucasus. And it does inspire awe from any angle. Again, “gilotsavt” (congratulations) to the record breakers, and stay safe. This one’s also known to be a killer. My best photo (so far) of the Mountain is from near Becho, when I was driving home from Mestia a few years ago. Sunset and clouds rewarded me. There will be more pictures, even better ones I hope.
Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1250 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti
Geor gian Mo vie Moir a Georgian Movie Moira Honor ed a bastian Honored att San Se Sebastian Inter na tional Film F esti val Interna national Festi estiv By Tatia Megeneishvili Levan Tutberidze’s movie Moira has won its very first international prize at the 63th San Sebastian International Film Festival (SIGNIS), earning it international recognition Moira, a production by Georgia’s Cinetech Film, also the country’s pick for The Oscars 2016, premiered at the Festival on September 23 and was shown in three different cinemas for two days. SIGNIS is a non-governmental organization that includes members from 140 countries. Like the ‘World Catholic Association for Communication’, it brings together radio, television, cinema, video, media education, internet and new technology professionals. The organization was presented by the special jury at the festival. “Moira” tells the story of a family living in a seaside town. Mamuka, one of the main characters who has just been
freed from prison, tries to help his family rise out of poverty. His mother works abroad, his father is handicapped and his brother has contacts within the criminal world. Mamuka borrows money, buys a small fishing boat and names it “Moira”, after one of the goddesses of fate. Tutberidze noted the similarity between the film’s plot and social conditions in Georgia during his youth. Before stepping up to The Oscars, Moira still needs to face further review by Academy judges before it is accepted as a contest nominee.
Ancient Astr onomical Man uscripts Astronomical Manuscripts to be Pub lished in Geor gia Published Georgia By Tatia Megeneishvili The Georgian National Center of Manuscripts has published ancient documents showing the Georgian, Persian and Arabic methods of studying space, in both print and digital formats. The project presentation was held at the National Center of Manuscripts on September 29 and revealed materials studied and published by the center with the collaboration of Ilia State University and funded by the Shota Rustaveli National Scientific Foundation. According to the Center, the publication consists of over 300 materials found in both local and international historic archives. “We prepared and published an interactive database ‘Astronomical Manuscripts in Georgia’. The database contains rich textual and graphical information, catalogues, tables, and more. Georgian
astronomical manuscripts make up the main part of the database and have the index GAM – Georgian Astronomical Manuscripts. We also prepared a second catalogue of astronomical manuscripts which consists of Persian and Arabian astronomical material. This catalogue is also presented in the database. These manuscripts received the catalogue index AM – Astronomical Manuscripts,” reads the statement released by the Center. Project insiders hope that their work will give impetus to further research on astronomical manuscript material preserved in archives in Georgia.
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Georgian Water Polo Makes European Championship By Tatia Megeneisvhili The Georgian National Water Polo team is to play at The European Water Polo Championship which will take place in the Serbian capital city Belgrad from January 10-23, 2016. The Georgian national team succeeded at the qualifying level in Israel and gained its place among 16 strongest teams in Europe for the second time, taking second place in Group E after defeating Israel with 17-6 and Lithuania with 18-6. The only game the Georgian team tied was against group favorites,
The Netherlands. Georgian player Kote Gegelashvili said that the team had achieved its aim. “We gained 7 points and are pleased with the result. To be honest, we wanted to win all three games. However, we anyways made it to the championship,” stated Gegelashvili. The main coach of the team, Jovan Popovich, said that the Georgian team is in good condition. “We have good chances at the upcoming championship. I think that we’ll have better results than we had last time,” Popovich said.
Frank McComb: Keep Lovin’ What You Do By Katie Ruth Davies Frank McComb (born July 15, 1970, is a soul singer and keyboardist. Often compared to Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder, McComb has collaborated with many renowned recording artists including Prince, Chaka Khan, Teddy Pendergrass, Gerald Levert, and Teena Marie. After failed contracts with MoTown and Columbia, and following reports that his early material at MoJazz was being sold for exorbitant amounts on the black market, McComb went independent to deliver ‘Straight from the Vault’ in 2005. The 12-track collection of vocal and instrumental compositions was entirely self-written and self-produced and earnt McComb the SoulTracks Readers Choice Awards for Best Album (2005). His first entirely solo venture into instrumental music came with ‘A Tribute to the Masters,’ with each song a tribute to such jazz greats as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Ramsey Lewis, Russell Ferrante, and Joe Sample. In 2007, Frank McComb released the concert recording ‘Live in Atlanta,’ available only through his official website. Georgia Today met Frank at the Kvareli Eden Wine and Jazz festival organized by Bravo Records in Kvareli on September 19th. Q: It’s your second time in Georgia. You’re in demand around the globe. What’s the secret of your success? A: It’s no secret to be honest. Just determination. When people told me I couldn’t make it, I was out to prove them wrong. I already knew at the age of three I wanted to sing. But I didn’t see piano
coming til I was 12. After I became an artist it took a record company to tell me I could never sell my own music before I went independent. You tell me no, I’m gonna tell me yes! Q: What inspires you? A: We Cancers are pretty moody depends on the moment - I could be happy, or be looking at my kids and I become inspired; something negative might happen to me or business related. I book own concerts, manage myself, record own records, mix, master, and release ‘em to the public directly. So, literally I’m doing everything myself. I’m here because of the strength of Frank McComb. Q: Tell us about some of the biggest moments in your career to date. A: Meeting Stevie Wonder on my birthday of July 15th 1993. I was signed to MoTown Records and I’d go down to the record company in Los Angeles and head up to the President’s - Steve McKeever’s -office where he had a piano facing out the window. You could see the Hollywood sign and the beautiful mountains. I was singing this tunea Donny Hathaway cut called ‘Love, Love, Love’ and in the chorus the harmony part comes in. When I got to that part, sitting with my back to door, I hear another voice come in. I took my hands from the keys, turn around, and see Stevie sitting on floor with his legs crossed. I said: “Woah! You’re Stevie Wonder!” He lifted his head and said “I know.” We both started laughing. Tell me about a man with a sense of humour! He’s the coolest guy. He got up, walks to piano, sits, and says: “Frank, I got this song I want you to do, a beautiful song.” He starts singing and I’m standing there next to him on the verge of tears and
Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. See answers in the next issue
Answers to previous puzzles
Frank McComb recording at the Bravo Records Studio, Tbilisi.
screaming like a little girl, thinking: ‘Stevie Wonder is singing a song to me!’ We didn’t meet for another 20 years. That’s our joke- the song we never cut. I’m trying to get him on my new album now- called ‘Soul Mate, Another Love Story.’ There’s an arrangement called ‘Superstition’ I’m working on, a tribute to Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder. I want Stevie to sing and play harmonica. He’s a hard guy to get hold of, though! Another big moment was playing on live TV with Prince at the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) 36th Annual. They were honouring Prince with a Vanguard Award. He featured me on the 12 minute performance. That was something special. Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’d like to partner my label with the right big label. They can get me into places I can’t get by myself and take my career to another level. Most artists don’t know how to discuss their own business or don’t know their own value, and some not capable of negotiating and need that middle man. For the past 11 years I’ve been doing it all myself. Some people find that intimidating, others try to take me for granted and presume I don’t know how to run my own business. At the moment I don’t have to deal with anyone telling me I’m not doing the job right- I just roll up my sleeves and do it myself. But I’m about ready to hand over part of that to someone I can trust. I want more time for my music. Q: What are you working on now? A: Well, I was sat up til 8am this morning mixing at the computer- I have a keyboard, speakers, and computer in
my room- a whole sound studio. Helena Zetova, the recent winner of the Greek version of American Idol, asked me to produce her album so I’m working on a mix for her next single which will be out next month. Q: What advice would you give budding young jazz musicians? Don’t be lazy. We’re livin’ in an independent world. Don’t take this business too seriously; it’s a game and you need to learn how to play the game and play it well. Learn as many parts of the game as possible. There are no rules to protect you and the more you play, the better you get. Learn how to count your own money and don’t depend on too many people. If you have a smaller more knowledgeable team, the better you’ll be able to control your career. Lastly, enjoy your work- you never wanna lose the joy of what you love to do.
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Oct. 1 - 8, 2015