Issue no: 1097
• NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
In this week’s issue...
PM: Reforms in Georgia are Developing the Economy
ON THE VOTE
Free and Fair, int'l observers say
PRICE: GEL 2.50
NEWS PAGE 3
Justice Minister: Vashadze Wants Presidency to Pardon Saakashvili POLITICS PAGE 6
Public-Private Partnerships: an Effective Legal Tool for Attracting FDI BUSINESS PAGE 7
Image source: Reuters
Doing Business 2019: Georgia Ranked 6th among 190 Countries BY THEA MORRISON
eorgia significantly improved its position in the Doing Business (DB) 2019 report of the World Bank (WB), coming in at 6th place out of 190 countries, improving its position by 3 points. Previously, Georgia was in the 9th position. In DB 2019, Georgia's score improved by 1.24 points and reached 83.28 points. Previously, Georgia’s score was 82.04 points. Moreover, with its score, Georgia exceeds the average regional score - 72.3. DB measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business. Georgia’s scores in each field are as follows: 1.Starting a business - 2 2.Dealing with construction permits - 27 3.Getting electricity - 39 4.Registering property - 4 5.Getting credit - 12 6.Protecting minority investors - 2 7.Paying taxes - 16 8.Trading across borders - 43 9.Enforcing contracts - 8 10.Resolving insolvency – 60 DB 2019 reads that the most popular reform in
Minister of Justice, EU & UNICEF Celebrate 3,000 Youth who Benefitted from the Juvenile Justice Reform SOCIETY PAGE 9
FGB’s Scholarship Presentation & Gala Concert Held at Griboedov
Photo source: Bloomberg
Georgia is making it easier to start a business. “More than a quarter of economies did just that in 2017/18. It now takes an average of 20 days and costs 23% of income per capita to start a business, compared to 47 days and 76% of income per capita in 2006. Thirteen of the top 20 economies have at least one procedure that can be completed online in half a day,” it says. “Georgia –an early adopter of Doing Business and the second biggest reformer (after Rwanda) – has cut the amount of time to start a business to 2 days,” Sylvia Solf, head of the World Bank Group’s Reform Advisory Unit said. Doing Business presents quantitative indica-
tors on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The Ease of Doing Top 10 countries are: 1.New Zealand 2.Singapore 3.Denmark 4.Hong Kong SAR, China 5.Korea, REP 6.Georgia 7.Norway 8.United States 9.United Kingdom 10.Macedonia, FYR
CULTURE PAGE 15
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Georgian Food Celebrated in Germany
Presidential Elections Polling Stations Were ‘Free’ and ‘Fair’ BY AMY JONES
I Photo source: serious eats
BY AMY JONES
ctober 28, a Georgian food festival took place in Hamburg, Germany. Three times more guests than expected arrived to taste classic Georgian dishes such as Khinkali, Adjarian Kachapuri, and Churchkhela, among other dishes. A mix of nationalities, including Germans and Georgians, enjoyed 5 hours of feasting. However, some guests left dis-
appointed as the festival was not prepared for quite so many visitors. The festival shows how Georgian culture is becoming popular around the world. The five friends who organized the festival plan to open a Georgian restaurant in Hamburg. Georgian restaurants can be found in cities from London to New York, and Vicenza to Kyiv. A restaurant in Singapore even ran a Georgian menu this summer which was a great success. The Georgian Cuisine Festival will take place again next year. Nikusha Javakhishvili, co-organizer, said, “we think we will need a larger space in the future.”
nternational observers at the polling stations during the presidential elections on October 28 released their findings this week. Supported by local translators, a team of 26 observers from Silba, an initiative for dialogue and democracy, monitored 116 polling stations in Tbilisi and 26 in Rustavi. Ranking polling stations on a scale from very bad to very good, the observers found the voting procedures to be generally appropriate and in accordance with Georgian law. They rate 79% as very good, 20% as good and 1% as bad. No polling stations were described as being very bad. However, the observers did notice several instances when party observers present at the polling stations interfered in the voting process. On three separate occasions, party observers interfered and argued in order to allow voters, who were initially turned away from the polling station, to cast their vote. Furthermore, party observers even instructed people on who to vote for on two occasions. Party observers also checked voters’ IDs, documenting the information, several times. In one such instance, the party observer was reported to actively try to influence voters and ignoring demands from the chairman of the poll-
Image source: Reuters
ing station to be seated. Party-affiliated people were regularly observed to be present at polling stations. In at least 9 of the observed polls, the international observers reported seeing a group of people outside the entrance “taking notes”. Third parties mentioned that they would call voters who didn’t attend to try and persuade them to come and vote for a specific party, although Silba found no conclusive evidence of this. Polling stations could have been made more inclusive. Observers found that 42% of polling stations had challenging or no access for disabled people. When asked, a PSO explained that disabled people could apply to make sure they were assigned to an appropriate polling
station. In 79% of stations, election materials were not available in minority languages. Moreover, observers witness a homeless voter being denied the possibility to vote as he lacked an address. The report concludes that the presidential elections ‘were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.’ The most significant irregularity was partyaffiliated people taking notes. Although not strictly illegal, it may show the pressure applied to voters by certain parties. Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Natia Mezvrishvili reported that 15 individuals were charged with electionrelated violations. The presidential candidate will be decided in December in a second round of voting between Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze.
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Mercy Tembon: Georgia's Economy Is Leading in Europe & Central Asia PM: Reforms in Georgia are Developing the Economy
BY THEA MORRISON
ercy Tembon, Regional Director of the World Bank, says that Georgia is the most credible economy of Europe and Central Asia. Tembon made the statement during her visit to Tbilisi, while speaking about the country’s progress in the Doing Business 2019 report, where it takes the 6th place among 190 countries in terms of ease of doing business. “Key reforms helping in the improvement of ranking have been carried out and entrepreneurs no longer need to make a separate visit to the Revenue Service for value added tax registration upon company registration. Similarly, Georgia has improved the one-stopshop for business incorporation, allowing businesses to start a company through a single procedure. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government and the people of Georgia for this performance. I encourage you to keep up the reforms and spirit to move the ranking higher next year,” she stated at the joint press-conference with the Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze. Tembon added that Georgia has been consistently advancing in the rating over the years due to progressive reforms and programs that improve the business environment.
BY THEA MORRISON
G “Reforms implemented this year and planned for future will further advance Georgia's position. It has become easier to incorporate a business by cutting or simplifying the post-registration procedures, tax registration, social security registration or licensing. Payment of taxes has become simpler by introducing new or revised tax laws, by simplifying compliance processes and decreasing the number of tax filings or payments. At the same time, Georgia made it easy to enforce contracts by having electronic payments and automated assignment
of cases to judges, which end in published judgments. It reduced its relative gap in the regulatory performance of starting a business,” she added. In DB 2019, Georgia's score improved by 1.24 points and reached 83.28 points. Previously Georgia’s score was 82.04 points. Moreover, with its score, Georgia exceeds the average regional score 72.3. In the rating, Georgia is ahead of such developed countries as Norway, The United States and the United Kingdom.
eorgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the implemented reforms in the country are successful and they are developing the economy. “Our main goal is to make Georgia more effectively integrated in the world economy. It is essential to transform Georgia into a regional leader and economic hub. Otherwise, we will find it hard to overcome the economic challenges that we face,” the PM stated at the joint pressconference with Mercy Tembon, Regional Director of the World Bank. Bakhtadze said that Georgia’s progress in the Doing Business 2019 report, where it takes the 6th place among 190 countries in terms of the ease of doing business, means a tremendous step has been made forward towards integrating the country in the global economy. “It means that reforms implemented by the Government of Georgia are successfully serving the economic development of our country and it is indeed dually gratifying that most reputable organizations of the world grant preference to Georgia in such significant - and
I would say - most prestigious international ratings,” he added. The PM noted that government’s aim is to make Georgia more effectively integrated in the world economy and to transform Georgia into a regional leader and economic hub. “Annual improvement of country ratings and advancement of Georgia is a pre-requisite that our country will become an unconditional leader not only in the Caucasus, but in the greater region in terms of economic development and ease of doing business. Georgia is already one of the most reliable economies in the world and we plan to further improve our results. The vision of our government is that Georgia should be in the top 5 in all the international ratings,” he claimed. Bakhtadze thanked the economic team of the government for their work and contribution to the advancement of the country. “We have a lot of economic challenges in Georgia, though most important of all is the poverty. Ultimately, such success stories will help us in making Georgia stronger in economic terms and turning it into a regional economic hub. It is a pre-requisite for eradicating poverty in Georgia once and forever,” he added.
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
NDI International Observation Mission Assesses Georgia’s Presidential Elections 2018
n October 28, Georgians proceeded to the polls to directly elect their president for the last time. Georgian voters and poll workers demonstrated their commitment to democracy by participating peacefully. With over 99 percent of the votes counted, Georgia heads to a second round between the top two candidates, Georgian-dream supported candidate Salome Zourabichvili, who received 39 percent of the vote, and Grigol Vashadze, represented by the United National Movement (UNM) from the elevenparty “Power is in Unity” coalition, who received 38 percent. These results appear to be confirmed by International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) independent parallel vote tabulation. Given the close result, as Georgia moves to second round campaigning, the rhetoric and tensions are likely to intensify. The pre-election period was marked by both positive and negative features. The Central Election Commission (CEC) carried out its preparations efficiently and met its deadlines, although was confronted with concerns about the neutrality of its officials. Voters had electoral choices and the campaign was lively and dynamic, although filled with vitriol and personal attacks. The media environment, although polarized, offered citizens a variety of viewpoints. In addition to financial pressures on the sector as a whole, some outlets came under political and legal pressure. Most striking about this election were the aggressive, personalized, and unprecedented attacks by senior state officials against the country’s most respected civil
society organizations (CSOs) and their leaders. While CSOs are not above criticism, these attacks represent a distinct departure from the otherwise constructive, if not occasionally tense, relationship between government and civil society in Georgia. “With one-party dominance throughout all levers of government, and weakened presidential powers, CSOs and media represent the remaining democratic checks and balances in the country,” the delegation said. “The attacks on both by senior government leaders have implications beyond these elections and could impact the country’s democratic development. It is essential that leaders respect, not undermine, the country’s independent watchdogs, and set an example for society.” In recent elections, voters have expressed trust in the election administration and electoral conduct. However, long standing problems of an uneven playing field and abuse of administrative resources remain. Zourabichvili benefited significantly from her support by GD, and official records show she received over four times more in donations than the next two candidates combined. The delegation is concerned by CSO reports of pressure on state officials to mobilize support for the GD-supported candidate. These problems have plagued elections across different governments and will, without action, continue to be passed onto future elections. “While government leaders advised state officials on appropriate conduct, it is clear this is not enough. To demonstrate their seriousness about changing embedded political practices, significant effort is needed at all levels of government,
including establishment of stringent oversight and enforcement mechanisms,” - the delegation stated. On election day, domestic monitoring organizations and NDI observed the widespread presence of candidate activists, mainly GD, outside polling stations. Although not illegal, CSOs saw this as an attempt to influence the will of the voters. The practice is troubling given the widely reported practice during the pre-election period of state officials being instructed to support Zourabichvili and to provide lists of family members for the purpose of mobilization. In its statement, in addition to long term recommendations, this delegation offered a number of recommendations that can be addressed ahead of the runoff, including: •Government leaders and state officials should cease the attacks on civic organizations and support an enabling environment for CSOs in line with international obligations. •The international community should more forcefully and publicly condemn attacks on, and demonstrate support for, Georgian CSOs. Funding for monitoring organizations for the second round is also needed. •The government should consider another directive aimed at state employees and their conduct ahead of the runoffs and add strict penalties and a monitoring mechanism to ensure enforcement. •Parties should sign a code of conduct in which they pledge to refrain from all forms of intimidation and abuse of administrative resources or face internal sanctions. •Campaigns and media should refrain from threat-
ening rhetoric and personal attacks focusing instead on candidates’ platforms and visions for the presidency. The delegation recognizes that, ultimately, it will be the people of Georgia who will determine the credibility of their elections and the country’s democratic development. The delegation therefore offers this statement in the spirit of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and processes in Georgia. The NDI delegation leadership included Per Eklund, former EU ambassador to Georgia; Dame Audrey Glover, former director of OSCE/ODIHR; Laurie Fulton, former US Ambassador to Denmark; and Ken Yallowitz, former US Ambassador to Georgia. The NDI mission was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. NDI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. The Institute has been working in the country since 1994 to support the development of the parliament, political parties and civil society.
Zurabishvili Says She Will Fight for Victory
BY THEA MORRISON
uling Georgian Dream (GD) partybacked presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili says she will not give up and will fight to the end in the runoff to be held on December 2. In the October 28 presidential elections, Zurabishvili got 38.64% of votes, followed by the candidate of the United Opposition, Grigol Vashadze with 37.74%. At the press-conference held on Tuesday evening, Zurabishvili thanked everyone who participated in the elections, especially her supporters. “What happened on October 28 was a victory. Some may question that victory. The first place in the first round, despite the dirty campaign which is of Russian making,” she stated, referring to the
opposition-minded Rustavi 2 TV. “Rustavi 2 thinks and persuades people that I will withdraw my candidacy. Can I give up this country to Vashadze and Russia? No! I am ready for the second round. I am ready for the fight,” she stressed. Zurabishvili said people should make a choice not only between two candidates or two parties, but between two Georgias. She noted that Europe and Georgia’s modern future stand on her side. “I am ready for the second round. I am ready for the struggle, because I believe in you. I believe in your choice. I believe you understand it well that today, there is a choice between two Georgias…This is the second round and we must do it together. I am going to the fight, we are going together, because we know that the truth, Europe and Georgia’s modern future, stand on our side. Together for Georgia!” she addressed the voters.
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
The Taming of Politics OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
he 2018 presidential election in Georgia is not over yet! A monstrous question mark now ominously hangs over the political structure of the Republic ahead of a second round of voting and the parties are getting ready to play off an additional electoral game. The local media is bursting with a broad range of election campaign messages, varying so widely that confusion has overwhelmed the entire electoral corps. The moment has arrived when the importance of an election campaign is finally appreciated and taken seriously. The impression is that the maturation of democracy has truly started in Georgia. The constituency has the feelers out to find out if this is the moment when a political struggle stops smelling like regular bread-and-butter and enters the phase of genuine passion and political romanticism. Times have changed! The rise and fall of leaders as a consequence of electoral efforts is acquiring a trivial coloring, no longer capable of unleashing the inflated national excitement as it once did in our post-socialist past. Political assumptions, key concepts and predictions are turning from accidental or stubborn inferences into logically balanced deductions. Experts and plain opinion pushers want to sound as intelligent and educated as possible – they have grasped well that a word spoken is past recalling. The overall news coverage of the election campaign is as professional as never before. There is almost no difference – if only technical – between how media, especially the broadcast one,
operates here and in Europe or America. We have come to understand that an election campaign may serve not only its immediate purpose and meaning, which is the election of a person to a certain post, but also a number of valuable functions, like the advent of fullgrown democracy, guaranteed domestic tranquility, well-observed constitutionality, the opportunity for further development and a chance to figure as a deserving player of a Western game. Watching the current electoral campaign, one could easily notice that the loud acclaims, vehement attacks and peevish defenses were all in place, which certainly looked unattractive, but the world has in the recent past seen filthier electoral campaigns in other countries. As a compensation to those drawbacks, we have come to believe that the electoral policy as well as the candidate’s personality, image, character, style, vocabulary, manner and messages have a direct effect on the campaign process, especially in the final phase. Campaigns that do not carry meaningful persuasive power and are devoid of farsighted considerations may create problems that might be almost impossible to rectify later. What is the importance of campaigns and why do nations spend so much money and energy holding them up? Answering this question might take volumes to write in theoretical deliberation, but using a simpler language, it is an opportunity for the exchange and collection of enough information to allow for a well-versed choice to be made. The accumulation and swapping of information should be the best prerequisite for knowledgeable participation in the process. This said, a comment is asking to
A lion tamer and a lion, 1977. By Werner Rzehaczek, Germany
be made that our electoral campaigns lack that indispensable component. It is generically thought that the perfection of electoral campaigns is conducive to democratization, and that democratization works as the key to promoting freedom and prosperity in still-developing nations like Georgia. The nature and the qualitative variables of the electoral campaign give us leaders accountable to their citizens and with enough qualifications and sense of responsibility for
good governance, so removing the institutional barriers to economic development. It is also taken for granted that democratic countries tend to perform better than autocracies because in democracies like Georgia, free and fair elections, universal adult suffrage, freedom of speech, association and press are no longer strangers, where elected officials will never be unjustifiably influenced by unelected groups such as the military or religious leaders.
Hopefully, none of these conditions is going to be routinely violated in this country. Otherwise, it will be doomed to plunge into undemocratic expansion. In the still-ongoing presidential election, including voters and managers, volunteers and promoters, ruling and oppositional powers, all as part of the whole, are inadvertently, although with certain anger and grudge, working in Georgia towards that positive democratic outcome.
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Justice Minister: Vashadze Wants Presidency to Pardon Saakashvili BY THEA MORRISON
eorgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani claims the presidential candidate of the United Opposition, Grigol Vashadze, who is a member of the former ruling party United National Movement (UNM), wants to become president to later pardon ex-President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. “Vashadze is fighting not for the presidency itself but in order to pardon Saakashvili,” Tsulukiani stressed, adding that the runoff to be held on December 2, is of utmost importance as it decides the future of the country. The Minister called on society to unite and vote for the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) supported candidate Salome Zurabishvili. “Our political aim is to portray the reality. The reality is that those who do not want to return to the past should unite and not vote for Vashadze,” she said. Saakashvili, who is in exile now due to various charges against him in Georgia, established the UNM in 2001. In 2003-2012 it was in power, until the current GD coalition won the parliamentary elections.
The ex-President has said, however, that he will not seek a pardon from Vashadze. “I do not need anyone’s pardon; I did not apply to Margvelashvili for pardon and nor will I apply to Vashadze … I have not committed any crimes against Georgia besides the fact that I built the Georgian state,” he said prior to Tsulukiani’s statements. He stressed he intends to uphold his rights through legal means, “when there is a normal judiciary system in Georgia.” Saakashvili also commented on the statement of Vashadze about pardoning the other former officials serving jail time in Georgia, saying if Vashadze becomes President, he has to hear the position of the Prosecutor’s Office before making his pardoning decisions. Vashadze’s statement about the amnesty of former officials was also responded to by ex-Interior and Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, who is serving a sentence for various crimes. The last charges against him were upheld by the court in April 2018, when he was sentenced to nine years in jail for a high-profile torture case involving Colonel Sergo Tetradze in 2011. Akhalaia released an open letter from prison, saying he has been serving a “completely unfair” sentence for 7 years already. “I'm not going to ask Grigol Vashadze
Photo source: Imedi
to pardon me. Regardless of my respect of him, I do not think that I need to be pardoned at the end of this unfair pun-
ishment…The political battles underway in the country today are so epic that I cannot let anyone manipulate my issue.
I have already spent 7 years out of an unfair 9 years in prison and I can stand 2-3 years more,” he stated.
Kaladze’s Weekly Priorities: New Transport Links, “Take Care of the City” Campaign BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE
ach week, the municipal government of Tbilisi holds a meeting at City Hall. Preceding this week’s meetings, Mayor Kakha Kaladze remarked on several topics of interest. The next step in the new above-ground metro plans, which will serve more than 150,000 passengers, was officially begun. Kaladze said that the tender for the development of the plan will be announced by the end of the month. The plan, first announced last week, will extend the Tbilisi metro by adding an above-ground station at Samgori and a track, with seven stations, all the way to Lilo Mall. Kaladze expects the new public transportation option to “reduce vehicle movement, traffic congestion, and air pollution…a serious problem in the city.” The line is projected to be built
Image source: Tbilisi City Hall
in the next three-four years. Kaladze also noted another massive public transportation project: a train linking Tbilisi and Rustavi. He ordered a technical-economic survey on the potential of the project. The TbilisiRustavi link is scheduled for development after the Samgori-Lilo above-ground metro. City Hall has prepared a draft law which aims to tighten sanctions on air pollu-
tion. "We are talking with a lot of people about improving the existing ecological situation and what steps should be taken to correct it. One of the main problems is air pollution…One of the reasons for this is the absence of specific regulations for transportation, placing, processing and developing large-scale construction projects, construction sites, and cargo transport within Tbilisi,” explained Kaladze. The new legislation is designed
to prevent the dispertion of solid particles into the air. The legislative package proposes tighter regulations, and stricter fines, for several construction site practices that are harmful to the environment. “Of course, construction is not the only problem. Another serious problem is [vehicle] emissions and public transport,” and, by the end of 2019, Kaladze promised, there will be a completely new plan for public transportation. He also mentioned the extensive planting of trees, flowers, and shrubbery being conducted throughout the city and the construction and rehabilitation of city parks. Kaladze also mentioned a new social campaign that City Hall will soon launch, called “Take Care of the City.” The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness, raise citizens’ feelings of social responsibility, and develop more of a culture of stewardship in the city. Justifying the campaign, Kaladze said, “There are frequent cases of deliberate damage to renovated squares and streets.
There are many such instances of vandalism, and we have video footage which we will definitely show the population.” “The campaign will allow all citizens to engage in the process of taking care of the city and of the existing infrastructure, green areas, and maintaining cleanliness. I am sure that many people will be involved in this project and it will have many supporters, because what we are working on is our own city,” said Kaladze. Finally, Kaladze recognized the risky process underway at the Tbilisi Zoo, where on Wednesday, South African veterinary surgeons worked to remove part of an elephant’s tusk. The elephant, named Grand, was brought to Tbilisi Zoo from Yerevan Zoo in 2014. The complicated operation was completed successfully. A film crew from the BBC was there to capture the process, there to make a documentary film about the Tbilisi Zoo. Kaladze wished good luck to the elephant, the surgeons, and the BBC filmmakers alike.
Georgian FM Participates in Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia Meeting BY THEA MORRISON
eorgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani participated in the trilateral Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia meeting held in Istanbul on October 30. The ministers noted that the trilateral format transformed into a “unique, comprehensive and regional co-operation mechanism” allowing the parties to discuss various issues relating to trilateral co-operation. Zalkaliani stated that Azerbaijan and Turkey are Georgia’s trusted partners and allies.
“I am confident that our joint efforts will contribute to the improvement of strategic partnership. Our co-operation is of tremendous importance against the background of increasing threats to peace and stability in the region,” he said at the joint press-conference. The Minister noted Georgia's interest in strengthening peace, stability and security in the region, as well as in developing co-operation with Azerbaijan and Turkey in the areas of economy, transport, energy, tourism, culture and other areas. He added that Georgia attaches great importance to the implementation of common energy and transport projects, highlighting that the three countries are located at the energy and transport
crossroads and play a key role in supplying hydrocarbons from the Caspian Sea to the European market. “We have successfully implemented
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum energy projects. Moreover, we are prepared to renew our strong and consolidated efforts for the implementa-
tion of the South Corridor and the BakuTbilisi-Kars Railway Projects, which create a very competitive route providing connection between Europe and Asia,” the minister stated. Zalkaliani underlined that Georgia, due to its strategic location between Europe and Asia, continues to serve as a link between the historical civilizations. He also highlighted the Georgian Prime Minister’s initiative on the Tbilisi Forum, which aims to transform the Black Sea Region and the Caucasus from a zone of confrontation into an area of peace, co-operation and development. The Georgian Minister congratulated the Turkish Government and people on the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the republic.
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Public-Private Partnerships: an Effective Legal Tool for Attracting FDI
a PPP. For example, BOT agreements were considered to be similar to the notion of ‘right to build’ as set out in Georgia’s Civil Code—but the latter notion, according to which the state owns the land upon which the private party has the right to build, is obviously rather distinct from PPP, and such qualification led to contrasting legal and fiscal results. Foreign investors and international financial institutions such as the EBRD and ADB underlined the urgency of the need for Georgia to develop modern concessions and a PPP legal framework in order to create a more stable and predictable business environment. Back in 2015, the EBRD (one of the initiators of the newly adopted PPP Law, providing technical and financial assistance in the process) noted that Georgian legislation only partly complied with international PPP standards, and that the purpose of developing relevant policy and legal frameworks was to incentivise private sector participation in infrastructure projects. The same was mentioned in the explanatory note to the draft PPP Law initiated by the government of Georgia in October 2017.
n May 2018, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a Law on Public-Private Partnerships (‘PPP Law’) that provides a legal framework for co-operation between the public and private sectors when developing public infrastructure or providing municipal services. The PPP Law was, however, only enacted in late August, when the government adopted a series of bylaws providing detailed rules and procedures for designing and carrying out PPP projects, including the process of selecting private partners. To find out more, GEORGIA TODAY spoke with Sandro Samadbegishvili, a lawyer with the firm of Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri (MKD) who took part in the drafting of the PPP Law and is currently researching a doctoral thesis on various PPP models. MKD has been at the forefront of the Georgian legal market for over two decades, during which it has become a strong, highly competitive and wellrespected Georgian law firm capable of providing a wide range of legal services to its clients. MKD has advised foreign investors involved in several PPP projects that have already been implemented in Georgia, and has contributed to leading international legal publications on Georgia’s PPP legal framework.
WHAT ARE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS? TO WHAT FIELDS OF BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY DO THEY APPLY? The definition of what constitutes a PPP varies from one jurisdiction to another, but generally speaking the concept involves a range of possible co-operative agreements between public and private entities that are usually applied to infrastructure and to the provision of municipal services. The public partners are government agencies such as ministries, local authorities or state-owned enterprises, while the private partners can be local or international investors with technical and financial expertise relevant to the project. Well-designed PPPs typically divide tasks, obligations and risks among the public and private partners, allocating them in the most optimal manner by recognizing that the public and private sectors enjoy certain advantages relative to each other in terms of performing specific roles and functions. The government’s contribution to a PPP may take the form of a transfer of assets or ‘in-kind’ contributions that support the partnership or other commitments (e.g. building a road to the PPP project site). The government also provides social responsibility, environmental awareness, local knowledge and an ability to mobilize political support around the project. The private sector’s role in the
DOES THE PPP LAW EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS ALL THESE CHALLENGES? partnership is usually to employ its expertise of a particular field, its commercial knowledge, its management skills and its capacity for innovation in order to run the project as efficiently as possible. In most cases, the private partner also contributes to the project’s partial or total financing by attracting investment capital. The structure of public-private partnerships is designed to allow risks to be allocated in the most optimal way possible: risks are attributed to the partner who is best able to manage them and is thus capable of minimizing costs while improving performance. Worldwide, PPPs have been completed in sectors as diverse as power generation and distribution, public infrastructure (e.g. highways, railways, ports, airports), healthcare (e.g. hospitals) and municipal services, including public transport, water supply, solid waste and waste-water management, and even sports infrastructure.
WHY WAS GEORGIA’S ADOPTION OF A PPP LAW AN IMPORTANT STEP? Despite being a country focused on attracting FDI, until recently Georgia had no clear or comprehensive legal framework in place to regulate partnerships bet ween the government and foreign investors. In the absence of such
a framework, the Georgian government would simply co-operate with companies on a purely contractual basis. As examples, we can cite the ‘build, operate and transfer’ (BOT) agreement between ‘United Airports of Georgia’ and ‘TAV Urban Georgia’ relating to Tbilisi’s international airport (which was amended in 2015 after 10 years of operation), or the crucial construction and development of Georgia’s future deep-water port at Anaklia on the Black Sea. According to the request for expressions of interest that was issued in 2014, ‘the government intends to select an investor to develop the port on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis, pursuant to an agreement to be entered into with the selected investor.’ But such practice presents substantial disadvantages: both the way in which the project was identified as well as the criteria and procedure for selecting partners were only vaguely defined; some of the major terms were agreed on a case-by-case basis instead of by statute; and certain conditions, which should have been governed by law, remained beyond the scope of any regulation. For all these reasons, the parties were compelled to give a legal qualification to their contractual relations according to the legal concepts that existed at that time, and which were still very different from the concept of
As the Law was enacted only two months ago, it would be premature at this stage to judge its effectiveness, but despite the lack of practice it can now be firmly stated that Georgia’s regulatory framework is in full compliance with international standards and is quite similar to equivalent legislation in many European states. This has already been confirmed by the EBRD’s very recent ‘Publ i c - P r iva t e Pa r t n e r s h i p s L aws Assessment’, according to which ‘Georgia’s new PPP Law… should significantly improve its PPP framework and make it more compliant with internationally accepted standards and best practices.’ Let us briefly examine the Law’s various elements and illustrate the novelties it introduces. Firstly, the new PPP Law permits both concessional and non-concessional partnerships, meaning that a private partner can either collect funds directly
or indirectly from the end consumers of the public (municipal) services it is providing. Alternately, a private partner can be compensated by its public partner for these services or the public infrastructure it has created. Secondly, the law defines an explicit series of criteria for PPP projects. These should be signed for at least five years and be worth at least two million dollars, and shall involve the provision of public (municipal) services by a private partner or the operation and/or creation and maintenance of public infrastructure. In order to ensure that risks and obligations are allocated optimally, PPPs shall be fully or partially financed by private partners. Importantly, the PPP Law and its bylaws provide clear guidance on the rules related to project identification, initiation and preparation, as well as detailed procedures for the selection of private partners, the stages of project implementation, monitoring and even postimplementation relations. Interestingly enough, projects may be initiated not only by the government but also by potential private investors. This rule mainly concerns the energy sector, which the Law recognizes as one of the most strategically important. In this context, the Law also envisages the possibility of granting investors long-term guaranteed purchase agreements. The energy sector also enjoys some exemptions from general rules, e.g. only PPP projects in the energy sector can be negotiated directly with a single private partner, thereby skipping the public tendering and evaluation procedure. At the same time, for energy projects larger than 100MW, the initiation process shall include a feasibility study to be carried out by an independent company. In conclusion, the PPP Law incorporates all the elements needed for the comprehensive and effective regulation of relations between the state and investors. Accordingly, the newly created legal framework adequately addresses all the requirements of all major stakeholders (the government, the private sector and financial institutions) and will promote investment in Georgia’s infrastructure and better public services.
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NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Representatives of Diplomatic Corps Visit Large-scale Construction Works of Anaklia Port BY ANA DUMBADZE
n October 30, the representatives of the diplomatic corps of different countries visited the ongoing works at Anaklia
Port. Ambassadors and embassies operating in Georgia, including representatives of the Netherlands, Romania, Japan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Poland, as well as representatives of UN Women in Georgia, visited the construction works of the Anaklia Port and large-scale works of dredging 5 million m3 of sand from the seabed. Mamuka Khazaradze, the founder of the project, and the port managers hosted the ambassadors at Anaklia Port. After visiting the construction works and the cutter-suction dredger ship, the Athena, Anaklia Port managers introduced the project implementation process and future plans to the representatives of diplomatic corps. “This is my first visit to Anaklia and I’m happy to get detailed information about this unique and important project for Georgia,” said Japan's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia, Tadaharu Uehara. “The Anaklia Deep Sea Port is important not only for Georgia but also for the international community, including Japan. I believe that the trade relations between us will be deepened and Japan will be more actively involved in this project." “I am visiting the area of Anaklia Port for the fifth time and the progress of construction works is very impressive,” noted Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Georgia, Johannes Douma. “I feel proud because this ship (Van Oord’s cutter suction dredger ship, the Athena) belongs to us. I’m glad we can take part in the development of Georgia's economy. I hope that more countries will get involved in this process. In future, our country also stands to benefit from Anaklia Port - we have the largest port and we will be worthy competitors. Additionally, we will work together for logistics development.”
“I'm happy to be here today and visit the construction works of Anaklia Port for the second time,” said Romanian Ambassador to Georgia, Radu Liviu Horumba. “The process of its development, the technologies used for it and the concept of the project are quite interesting. I’m glad that Georgia's first deep sea port will start operating in a few years.” The marine works of Anaklia Port are being carried out continuously 24/7. One of the world's largest dredging vessels, Athena, has dredged about 4 million m3 of sand from the Anaklia Deep Sea Port. In the current works, along with the specialists of the leading Dutch company Van Oord, the local population is also involved. Alongside dredging and reclamation works, the installation of modern standards, the latest technology drainage systems with a total length of 2436510 meters provided by Van Oord, is also almost complete. The large-scale marine works of Anaklia Deep Sea Port launched on September 16. The opening of the first phase of the port and the start of receiving the ships is planned from the end of 2020.
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Minister of Justice, EU & UNICEF Celebrate 3,000 Youth who Benefitted from the Juvenile Justice Reform send 10-13-year-old children to prison for making a mistake, and if they are older than 14, imprisonment should be the last solution and priority should be given to alternative methods undertaken by specialized police officers and judges. I would directly say that thanks to this new system, 3000 kids have survived and are now on the right path of development,” Tsulukiani told journalists. Thanks to EU support, specialized professions received training to enable them to provide more child-friendly treatment. This included 40 specialized prosecutors, 35 lawyers, 30 judges and 30 police officers being trained on international juvenile justice standards, domestic legislation and practice, psychological issues concerning children in the justice system and interviewing of child victims and witnesses of crime. Ghassan Khalili, UNICEF representative in Georgia, stated that the adoption of the Juvenile Justice Code was a genuine achievement in bringing the juvenile justice system closer to international standards. “UNICEF has been partnering with the government and EU to implement the juvenile justice reform which includes specialization of all professionals working with children, creation of a childfriendly environment in all appropriate agencies and strengthening child rights monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms. We are committed to continuing this partnership and giving more young people a second chance in life,” Khalili noted. As for the challenges and difficulties existing in this direction, the UNICEF representative stated that continuing on the same level and with a similarly active collaboration with various agencies is the main challenge.
Photo by EU in Geogia press office
BY ANA DUMBADZE
ver 3,000 juveniles have benefited from juvenile justice reforms which have been carried out in Georgia through the joint efforts of the Georgian Justice Ministry, the EU and UNICEF since 2010. On October 31, the Minister of Justice and representatives of the EU and UNICEF launched a campaign celebrating the success of their co-operation on juvenile justice reforms in Georgia. The weeklong media campaign will highlight two key achievements: • Over 3000 juvenile offenders, aged 16-21, have benefited from deviation and mediation activities, allowing them to atone for their crimes while avoiding the possible negative aspects of criminal prosecution; • Introduction of child friendly spaces and procedures to the Georgian Justice system, including the opening of first child-friendly room in Rustavi City Court. The above-mentioned achievements come as part of the adoption of a modern Juvenile Justice Code in Georgia in 2015. The keynote speakers of the event included Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia; Tea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice of Georgia; Ghassan Khalili, UNICEF representative in Georgia; and Justice Renate Winter, Team Leader of the EU4Justice project and Chairperson of the UN Child Rights Committee. Within the framework of the event, the screening of UNICEF video: Re-creation of the Story of Dato, a diverted child, was also held. The video is based on real facts and depicts the story of a young boy who was diverted from the criminal justice system and given the chance to work instead of going to prison. Lado Javakhishvili, Head of the Diversion and Mediation Department, LEPL Center for Crime Prevention, and Teona Kuchava, Child Protection Officer, Juvenile Justice, UNICEF, gave presentations of two main areas of the campaign: the diversion and meditation program, which represents an alternative approach to criminal prosecution, and child-friendly environments. The follow-up of the event was the official opening of a newly furnished child-friendly room in Rustavi City Court by representatives of the Min-
istry, EU and UNICEF. Child-friendly environments involve the creation of a physical environment that enables an interview to be conducted in a space that is friendlier for children. Through this process, child-based procedures and methods are used. The child-friendly environment serves on one hand as a protection of the best interests of a child, specifically making sure that during the proceedings any further child abuse cases does not occur. At the same time, the environment adapted to the child serves the interests of justice as well, because the information obtained by a specialized professional in a child-friendly methodology is more reliable. Speaking at the event, Ambassador Hartzell stated that since 2010, the EU has been working closely with the Government of Georgia in reforming its justice system and an important part of this has been to meet the needs of juveniles. According to him, through joint efforts, all children will be better treated in any interaction with the justice system, whether as a victim, offender or witness. “We are very happy to see that we now have a Juvenile Justice Code that is holding up to the highest standards worldwide and that we are able to work together in this direction. To implement the rules of the game, we have been focusing very much on two important aspects. One of them is about creating a more efficient and child-friendly approach to juvenile offenders based on rehabilitation rather than punishment only. We believe that it is right for children and for the entire society in terms of getting their children a second chance to find their place in life and be productive. The other issue that has been our focus is creating a more child-friendly environment in the courts, which is implemented for the benefit of children as witnesses,” he said. According to Minister Tsulukiani, through the close collaboration between the EU, UNICEF and the government, the Georgian juvenile justice system in has been significantly improved. “The juvenile justice reforms turned out to be very successful and effective. Through the new reforms implemented in recent years, 3000 kids are back on track and have a second chance at finding their place in life. I would say to children that of course, bad behaviour cannot be accepted or justified. However, sometimes foolish things and mistakes made in childhood turn out to be a crime. It is the government’s obligation to divert a child from the justice system via alternative ways such as community works or educational activities in cases of mild crimes. The government must not
“Continuing with the same momentum and close partnership with the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies is the most important thing. UNICEF is committed to maintaining this strong partnership. The juvenile justice system is a very good tool to provide a better future for children who pass through difficulties. Accordingly, this partnership should continue in order to provide a model which will be an example for the other countries to learn from this successful experience. I appreciate the efforts of Rustavi City Court to have a child-friendly room, and this model must be implemented in the regions of Georgia as well,” he told reporters. The reforms of the juvenile justice system have been one of the biggest success stories of EUGeorgia co-operation in the justice sector in recent years. The reforms produced tangible results for children in the criminal justice system from the very start. Examples of positive achievements include: • The number of convinced juveniles decreased from 1,116 (2008) to 381 (2014) • The use of custodial sentencing fell from 40% (2007) to 27% (2014) • The use of pre-trial detention also declined from 40% (2010) to 18% (2014) • The diversion and mediation program, piloted in six major cities, was extended to 15 locations • Over 888 children were diverted from the criminal justice system (2010-2015) The EU continues to support the juvenile justice reforms in co-operation with UNICEF, as well as through different projects with the ministries of justice, internal affairs, prosecutors, police, lawyers, legal aid providers, social workers and NGOs.
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Minister of Education Gets Personal BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE
his week, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports published an interview with Minister Mikheil Batiashvili. Questioned by education reporter Nato Ingorokva, Batiashvili got personal. When Batiashvili was first appointed to the post in July by Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze as part of a massive cabinet reshuffle, critics accused him of lacking a solid plan to lead the newly combined ministry (formerly the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage Protection). Particularly on social media, people criticized him for making statements seen as overly vague and for using doublespeak. Not long after, however, he revealed
When you don’t like something and you have a chance to improve it, you shouldn’t wait for someone else to take responsibility for it
himself to be a zealous reformer. Batiashvili says he is inspired everyday by an encounter he had several years ago. One morning, on the way to work, he shared the elevator with his neighbor's young son. “I asked if he was happy to go to school,” Batiashvili explained, “whether he liked school. He responded with childish honesty: ‘Do you think any kid is happy to go to school?’ These words are still in my mind and I'm constantly reminding myself of that interaction.” When asked why he accepted the position, he pointed to his experience in education, which includes working as an associate professor and the establishment of ‘Silicon Valley Tbilisi’ and founding and leading the University of Business and Technology. Batiashvili said that, “Problems and challenges in the system were not really foreign to me. When you can look at a situation close to your heart from the outside, you can see the shortcomings more clearly. I have talked over these issues with my colleagues, Georgian and foreign, many times, and when I was offered a ministerial position, I thought that I really wanted to take part in the reforms needed for the education system. Generally, when you don’t like something, and you have a chance to improve it, you shouldn’t wait for someone else to take responsibility for it.” In mid-September, the Prime Minister announced a new strategy for the education system, alongside Batiashvili. To counter problems facing Georgia such as occupied territories, poverty and social problems, “Modernizing the system of education, the development and introduction of a strong fundamental educational system, is the main precondition,” Bakhtadze said while presenting the new strategy. A common refrain from both Bakhtadze and Batiashvili is that “education is the priority of the country.” Explaining what
Image source: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports
that means to him, Batiashvili said “the state recognizes the unconditional significance [of education], supports reforms, empowers financial and human resources – and not only... The priority is to help the public see that education will give you a decent life, to believe that knowledge and skills that are acquired at school or university will help you for future self-realization and provide for your well-being.” He also noted that there are urgent problems, including textbooks full of mistakes, which he promised will be remedied in the near future. Batiashvili touched on school safety, a key issue of concern among the public after the after-school Khorava Street Murders in December last year. “A parent should believe their child is in a safe environment [at school]. In order to create such an environment, it is necessary to consider the role of the School
Resource Officer, school psychologist, and, most importantly, parents and school leadership,” said Batiashvili. He emphasized the importance of all parties being actively involved and cooperative. The Minister addressed one of the most striking problems in the Georgian education system – teachers. The “profession [of teaching] should not be chosen only because [a person] cannot find any other job. When you love what you do, you will pass this joy to others. Teaching is a very difficult profession, so the choice should be thoroughly thought out. Naturally, this hard work should be appreciated properly – in terms of salary and teachers’ social status. We said that by 2022, the minimum teacher's salary should be 1500 GEL. It is very important to attract new people to the profession.” Currently, the average teacher’s salary is around 500 GEL ($185) a month. He also emphasized that “no school
environment, no modern technologies can produce the desired result if the educational system has been deprived of values. The teacher must be the one who, along with academic knowledge, teaches students values by personal example or through the development of different skills...otherwise a better society cannot develop.” In 2019, a new model of learning, combining international best practices with the Georgian environment, along with Georgian scientific and pedagogical experience, will be launched in 50 public schools. By 2030, the new model will be fully adopted by more than 2,000 schools. Phase 2 of the reforms will be implemented in 2020-2023. Joint programs with international universities will be introduced and the number of foreign students in Georgia will increase by 50,000.
Pew Research Center: Religion & Georgia BY THEA MORRISON
he Pew Research Center report about religion, minorities and key social issues, shows that the views of Eastern and Western Europeans differ over some very important issues. The Pew Research Center conducted surveys between 2015 and 2017 among nearly 56,000 adults (aged 18+) in 34 Western, Central and Eastern European countries, including Georgia. The research shows that 99% of Georgians believe in God, which is the highest indicator in Europe. 73% stated they believe in God and are absolutely certain about it, while 24% have the belief but are uncertain. Only 1% of Georgians responded that they do not believe in God. In this list, Georgia is followed by Armenia, Moldova and Romania each at 95%. As for the branches of the Christianity in Europe, according to the study, Orthodoxy is the dominant faith in the East, including in Greece, Russia, the former Soviet republics of Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus and other former Eastern bloc countries such as Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Catholicmajority countries are prevalent in the central and southwestern parts of Europe, cutting a swath from Lithuania through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, and then
Photo source: orthochristian.com
extending westward across Croatia, Austria, Italy and France to the Iberian Peninsula. Protestantism is the dominant Christian tradition in much of Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia. 89% of the interviewed Georgians stated they are Orthodox, while 1% are
Catholics, 1% -Protestants and 9% representatives of other religious groups. Fully half or more adults in Georgia, Greece, Bosnia, Armenia and Romania say religion is very important in their lives, compared with about one-in-ten in France, Germany, the United Kingdom
and several other Western European countries. Similarly, roughly three-in-ten Slovaks, Greeks and Ukrainians say they pray daily, compared with 8% in Austria and Switzerland. Western Europeans also are more likely than their neighbors in the East to say they never pray.
50% of Georgians claimed that religion is very important in their lives and 39% out of them stated they attend the services at least once in a month. Meanwhile, 38% of the interviewed Georgians said they pray every single day. In addition to belief in God, Central and Eastern Europeans are more likely than Western Europeans to express belief in fate (that the course of life is largely or wholly preordained), as well as in some phenomena not typically linked with Christianity, including the “evil eye”. 73% of Georgians say they believe in fate, while 52% believe in the “evil eye” and 11% in reincarnation. Moreover, Europeans across the continent are largely united in support of a separation between religion and government. More than half of adults in most countries say religion should be kept separate from government policies, rather than the opposing view that government policies should support religious values and beliefs. In seven Central and Eastern European countries, however, the view that church and state should be separate falls short of a majority position. This includes Armenia and Georgia – where the balance of opinion favors government support for religious values and beliefs – as well as Russia, where 42% of adults say the government should promote religion. 44% of Georgians say religion should be kept separate from the government policies, while 52% say the government should support religious beliefs and values.
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Out of the Rubble: Etseri, Svaneti
BLOG BY TONY HANMER
f there was a local architectural restoration project which I would like to see carried out, it would be this one. I suppose that it would need quite a bit of money, quite some attention, which based on observation has been somewhat lacking in Svaneti since Misha’s departure. (Yes, they’re continuing what he started, extending the road renovation upward from Mestia towards Ushguli; ditto the work on the spectacular new Tetnuldi ski resort. But road repairs? Only where dire; merely “hugely inconvenient” isn’t enough, apparently.) A few days ago, I visited a neighbor in our village for her 79th birthday, and after that joyous event another neighbor took me to see the remains of the closest local church, which might also be one of the oldest in all Svaneti, although again architectural expertise alone could shed some light on this. What I remember seeing on past occasions was far smaller than what has now been unearthed, by four men over about 10
Although Etseri does have 7 - 8 other churches, this little one overlooking Ladreri hamlet is said to be the oldest
days’ work. It had literally been a chapel in which you could touch both side walls simultaneously by stretching out your arms. And the walls were lower than headheight, anyway, with no roof. But its setting in the forest, with nave looking to the east as is traditional here, was splendidly natural. The open skies above also reminded me of Kutaisi’s Bagrati Cathedral, similarly roofless for three centuries since the tender attentions of the Ottomans, and to my mind a wonderful metaphor for a direct connection to heaven. But thus unprotected, especially in the harsher climate of Svaneti with freeze and thaw alternating, no stone structure should be expected to survive for long without being blasted apart bit by bit under the onslaught. So, a roof it should have. The recent work had uncovered a considerably larger structure around the walls which I had known, along with many stone blocks from the original church scattered around, and… an ossuary containing bones at the west end, which the workers re-covered out of reverence and to preserve the remains for more expert analysis. My friend told me that architect-specialists should be able to restore the building to its former glory, each stone in its original place. Also, that without some sort of covering for the winter, weather’s relentless effects would undo or further harm the recently uncovered walls. So there is some urgency here. The actual rebuilding can wait, as long as what is there is shielded from more damage. I do remember from about 2001 that, according to my carefully dated photographic records, extensive restoration was carried out on the village’s main church, the Archangels’ Church in Pkhotreri, said to be dated from Queen Tamar’s tour of Svaneti. Although Etseri does have seven or eight other churches, this little one overlooking Ladreri hamlet is said to be the oldest. Even the splendid carved wooden door of Pkhotreri Church, perfectly copied in a modern
If there are doubts or questions about age and so on, they deserve to be answered as conclusively as possible version in Mestia museum, apparently comes from this small church, perhaps 15 centuries ago. If there are doubts or questions about age and so on, they deserve to be answered as conclusively as possible. With enough hands, a single spring-to-autumn season might be enough to complete the restoration and return the fame, and spiritual usefulness, of this wonderful chapel, which would make it the main place of worship for Ladreri, a sorely needed thing in the absence of other such. As Georgia goes to vote, a patron to accomplish what I am describing may be the furthest thing from people’s minds; I, too, would not call it something of the first importance. But surely not the last thing on the to-do list, either, in this little country so packed full of archeological remains awaiting their turn. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1900 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
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
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‘Feed the Vulnerable Animals’ Event to be Held at Kiwi Vegan Café BY ANA DUMBADZE
inter is a difficult period for homeless animals and for the people who unselfishly care for them. Luckily, there are many animal-lovers in Tbilisi and throughout Georgia, and their joint forces are necessary to save the gentlest, friendliest and at the same time, most unprotected creatures around us. On Sunday, November 4, from 14:00 to 18:00, the Kiwi Vegan Café located at 6 Machabeli Street will host a special meeting for animal-lovers. The meeting is being organized by a group of young people who work to help unprotected and vulnerable animals. The purpose of the meeting is to collect food, warm blankets and medicines for cats and dogs to send to specific people in Tbilisi and the regions who are caring for dozens of animals in their homes; doing so often at the cost of their own personal comfort. At the event, veterinary clinic "Lucky Fou" veterinarians Irakli Narchemashvili and Masha Shubladze will talk about the most problematic diseases found in homeless animals in Georgia and ways to combat them. At 18:00, a discussion will be held about the issues of homeless animals and the ways to solve these problems. The organizers of the meeting will provide information about their activities and tell the attendees about those heroes who live throughout Georgia helping homeless animals - the very people who will greatly
appreciate the donations of goods or money. Those willing can buy or contribute something to the cost of the essential medication Bravecto. For those who don’t know about Bravecto, it is the latest generation of drugs that successfully treat tick and flea infestations and can cure various dermatological diseases as well as subcutaneous tumors. Treatment with a single dose of Bravecto has a visible effect within 10 days. The goal of the young animal-lovers is to collect as much of this medicine as possible and treat dogs throughout Georgia. The price of this medication varies from 75 to 80 GEL. Whatever amount one can donate will contribute to giving a normal life back to numerous sick dogs in Georgia. Over the past five years, the group of young animal-lovers has saved weak and found a new family for, over 200 animals who suffered from violence, hunger, and aggression from animal haters. For three years they have conducted successful activities to collect food and medicines and to unite animal-lovers under the title "Feed the Vulnerable". Through these charitable actions, they have been able to provide food and medicines for a certain period of time throughout Georgia each year. The main goal of these young people is to help vulnerable and sick animals as well as those who want to look after them. “We are not an organization: we are animal lovers, just like you,” they say. “Animals do not have a voice and cannot save themselves, so it is up to us to be their advocates and fight for their rights. We want more animal-lovers to
join us in our endeavors, and to become examples of unity and solidarity in our country as we help the most vulnerable among us – the animals. We look forward to seeing you at Kiwi Café. Take care of animals. Love them and don’t abandon
them. Change is possible. Solidarity to all vulnerable animals,” the organizers wrote on their Facebook page ‘ცხოველთა გადარჩენის სახალხო ფრონტი’. Those wishing to donate who cannot attend the event can deposit money in
the following ways: TBC Bank: GE77TB7515045063600015 Liberty Bank: GE78LB0711189641122000 Bank of Georgia: GE95BG0000000103934600
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
Argentinian Tango Meets the Caucasus: ‘Ojos Negros Tango Weekend 2018’ in Kazbegi
Gift Festival Week 2 Summary BY HOLLY TAYLOR
his week at the festival we welcomed the renowned Russian director Dmitry Krymov, who bought his production of the classic Russian play Bezpridannitsa (Without a Dowry) to the Rustaveli theatre, performed by students of the Moscow Theater “School of Dramatic Arts”. Apparently, this is a play that every Russian kid has to study at school, but coming from England, I had never heard of it, so wasn’t sure what to expect. If I’m completely honest I was not looking forward to watching a play in a language I don’t understand for nearly three hours, even though I had heard it had won a lot of awards. But I was pleasantly surprised. Thankfully language was just one of the many elements that made up this incredible production. It was a beautiful example of theatrical parataxis, or as Hans-Thies Lehmann describes it, “the de-hierarchization of theatrical means”. As a non-Russian speaker, I was very grateful for this! Krymov used video projection, music, song, costume, and a welltimed wind machine to tell the story as well as words. And as you would expect from a Russian laboratory theatre, the actor's physicality and expression were flawless. Overall, I enjoyed the show, even though I didn’t have a grasp on the story. As I can’t speak Russian, I wouldn’t have made a very good guide for the Russian artists, so my role this week has involved ironing costumes for the production, and just being a general dogsbody, or as they say in German ‘springer’ (jumper). I think I prefer the German phrase. On Monday I was also put to the test of watching theatre in a foreign language, but this time in Georgian. Keely and Du, written by American playwright Jane Martin in the 80s, was translated into Georgian and directed by Gift’s own Artistic Director Keti Dolidze. Performed in the Liberty Theater, the piece concerned itself with the contentious issues of rape, abortion, religion and suicide. Though it may not sound like the cheeriest way to spend a Monday evening, the piece skillfully negotiated the emotional topics. It’s sad and frustrating that, though
written thirty years ago in America, this play is still relevant today, in any country. It was certainly a brave choice to programme the play here in Georgia and at this time, and I think the audience appreciated that Basically, this week at the festival reflects most of my time in Georgia, in that I have no idea what is going on, but at the same time, I’m very happy. I have to say this coming week is more my forté, and it’s going to be a super busy one. On Friday we open the festival’s Italian Focus, with Sardinian Culture Days. The opening session, Rispondi Al Futuro, will be a discussion on contemporary Italian Theater, held at the Rustaveli Theater at 2pm on Friday 2nd. Then we are welcoming Sardegna Teatro all the way from Sardinia, to the Rustaveli Theater. On Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd, they will perform Macbettu, their version of Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth with a twist: it’s performed in Sardinian, with Italian and Georgian subtitles. For audience members who don’t speak any of those languages, I think our universal knowledge of the story line will help us through (but maybe google the synopsis beforehand to be sure). Alongside all this, I’m going to be attending as much as I can of the International Symposium on Polyphony, at the State Conservatoire, running until Saturday 3rd. I’m so excited to be surrounded by singers from all over the world, and reunited with friends who will sing Georgian polyphony with me! Look out for the closing concert on the 3rd, which includes Tenore Murales, singing polyphony from Sardinia. And just in case there wasn’t enough singing this week, on Sunday 4th, the Gift Festival is hosting a folk party at Vineria (our festival club) from 12pm6pm. There’s going to be some absolute gems of singing there, including Tenore Murales from Sardinia, Ialoni and Adilei from Georgia, and maybe even yours truly with some of my singing mates! And if you STILL haven’t had enough, we’re screening an Italian film in the evening of 4th, called La Stoffa Dei Sogni (The Cloth of Dreams) at the Amirani Cinema. Hope to see you at any/all of these wonderful events! For a full schedule of the month’s events, pick up a programme in Prospero’s bookstore, or visit the GIFT Festival Facebook page.
BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
or the first time ‘Ojos Negros Tango Weekend’ – an Argentinian tango marathon, took place in Kazbegi, the Rooms Hotel, from October 5 - 7. Participants and Tango DJs from thirteen different countries got together in the Caucasus mountains to share tango with each other and at the same time enjoy the beautiful nature, culture and hospitality of Georgia. The event organizers, Waldemar Kipphan from Germany, and Berlin-based Anna Kiknadze from Georgia, made a sensitive mixture of Argentinian tango with Georgian elements. The venue at the Rooms Hotel gave a perfect opportunity for this combination to happen. Classical Tango music from 12am to 12pm, great tango dancers from all over the world, an exhibition of Paris-based artist Nini Kiknadze, delicious Georgian and European cuisine, breathtaking nature and much more. On the one hand, the tango marathon aimed to popularize Argentinian social tango culture in
Georgia, which has been actively present on the ground through Georgian tango schools. Moreover, interest from Georgian society has been slightly increased, as can be seen from the growing number of local tango enthusiasts. On the other hand, due to its international character, the weekend intended to raise awareness of Georgia, its culture and nature among the tango society worldwide. In fact, participants of the Tango Marathon traveled all the way from Singapore, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Palestine, London, Armenia and Germany to be part of the ‘Ojos Negros Weekend’ in Kazbegi. Specially invited Tango DJs were: Marcin Brzezinski from Poland; Mik Avramenko from Ukraine; Ramo & GoGo from Turkey; Waldemar Kipphan from Germany; and Levan Gomelauri from Georgia. These all made the atmosphere more joyful and unforgettable. The weekend ended with wine-tasting by Gigi Sujashvili from the Natural Vineyard ‘Gelovani’. Due to a successful completion of this tango marathon, the second edition of ‘Ojos Negros Tango Weekend’ 2019 will be announced soon!
NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER
GIFT - GEORGIAN INT’L FESTIVAL OF ARTS IN TBILISI November 2, 3 MACBETTU Based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ Directed by Alessandro Serra Language: Sardinian Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-40 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 04 56 November 3, 4, 7 KETO AND KOTE * Premiere Victor Dolidze's opera Musical Director- Revaz Takidze Director- Ioane Khutsishvili Set, Costume and Lighting Designer- Giorgi Alexi-Meskhishvili Choreographer- Iliko Sukhishvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-120 GEL MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 234 80 90 November 6 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 27 Rustaveli Ave November 3 KRIMANCHULI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL
November 3 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 4 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 7, 8 Animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 598 19 29 36 November 3 TEMPEST Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL November 4 DON JUAN Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL TBILISI CIRCUS 1 Heroes’ Sq. November 3, 4 AUTUMN SHOW Start time: November 3- 17:00, November 4- 13:00, 17:00 Ticket: 10-25 GEL CINEMA
AMIRANI CINEMA 36 Kostava St. TEL (+995 32) 299 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 3-9
GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. TEL (+995 32) 298 65 93
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Directed by Bryan Singer Cast: Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
November 9 MARSHAL DE FANTE’S DIAMOND Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL
VENOM Directed by Ruben Fleischer Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 15 GEL
November 9 LULLABY Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL
CLIMAX Directed by Gaspar Noé Cast: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub Genre: Drama, Horror, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 15 GEL A STAR IS BORN Directed by Bradley Cooper Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott Genre: Drama, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket: 11 GEL CAVEA GALLERY 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL November 3-9 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Directed by Bryan Singer Cast: Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: English Start time: 13:45, 19:45 Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 29:15, 22:30 Ticket: 13-19 GEL SMALLFOOT Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig Cast: Zendaya, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 14:30 Ticket: 11-15 GEL REPLICAS Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff Cast: Alice Eve, Keanu Reeves, Emily Alyn Lind Genre: Crime, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 16-19 GEL VENOM (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 22:00 Ticket: 10-19 GEL MUSEUM
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY STONE AGE GEORGIA
ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN The exhibition showcases up to 500 artworks - paintings, sculptures and samples of applied art, the chronological range of which is wide. GALLERY
THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 September 11 – November 25 EXHIBITION BERNINI'S SCHOOL AND THE ROMAN BAROQUE After the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Titian and other great Italian artists, the Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition October 9 – January 17 (2019) NIKO PIROSMANI’S RENEWED EXHIBITION October 10 – October 5 (2019) THE EXHIBITION MASTERS OF GEORGIAN ART Displaying paintings of Kirill Zdanevich, Shalva Kikodze, Ketevan Magalashvili and Elene Akhvlediani together with Lado Gudiashvili's and David Kakabadze's artworks, showing the comprehensive picture of diversity and aesthetics of Georgian Art. ARTAREA GALLERY 10 D. Abashidze Str. October 29- November 4 Rocko Iremashvili’s Exhibition LAMA SABACHTHANI Curated by Nino Gujabidze TBC ART GALLERY 7 Marjanishvili Str. October 31- November 17 EXHIBITION ELGUJA AMASHUKELI 90 MUSIC
TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE 8 Griboedov St. TEL (+995 32) 293 46 24 November 3 GALA CONCERT OF TRADITIONAL POLYPHONY Ensembles: ‘Alilo’, ‘Iame’, ‘Ialoni’, ‘Samni’, ‘Kalakuri’, ‘Kalakuri Trio’, ‘Ksovrelebi’, ‘Shiri’, ‘Haiartuni’ Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 GEL November 4 TBILISI CHAMBER MUSIC XIII FESTIVAL Veriko Tchumburidze- Violin (Georgia, Turkey, Germany), Mamikon Nakhapetov- Piano (Georgia, Germany), Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra ‘Georgian Sinfonietta’ Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 8-20 GEL November 7 TBILISI CHAMBER MUSIC XIII FESTIVAL Participants: Giorgi Khaindrava- I Violin, Tamaz Batiashvili- II Violin, Nodar Jvania- Viola, Otar ChubinishviliViolincello, Tamar Litcheli- Piano, Irakli Japaridze- Viola. Tbilisi Sulkhan Tsintsadze State String Quartet Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-15 GEL November 8 TBILISI CHAMBER MUSIC XIII FESTIVAL Ketevan Kartvelishvili (Soprano), Irakli Tkhvatsiria (I Tenor), Tornike Merabishvili (II Tenor), Solomon Gogilashvili (III Tenor), Zviad Mitchilashvili (Baritone), Vano Dvalishvili (Bass), Vocal Group The Georgian Six Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 8-20 GEL
RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 272 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge November 9 ANNIVERSARY CONCERT TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL I. Documentary Film ‘GEORGIAN SINFONIETTA 10’ Directed by N. Akhvlediani II. EARLY DANCES Jean-Philippe Rameau- Entrée and Gavotte from the opera ‘Les Boréades’ I and II, Tambourin from the opera-ballet ‘Les Indes Galantes’, Henry Purcell- aria ‘Dido’s Lament’ from the opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’, Marin MaraisChaconne from the opera ‘Alcyone’, Tarquinio Merula- Chaconne, Georg Philipp TelemannSarabande from the suite ‘La Bizarre’, Marin Marais- Prelude, Tempeste and March from the opera ‘Alcyone’, Girolamo Frescobaldi- Passacaglia, Jean-Baptiste Lully- Turkish March, 2 Airs and Canarie from the ballet ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’, Henry Purcell- Prelude and Monkey Dance from the opera ‘The Fairy – Queen’, Jean-Philippe Rameau- 2 Rigaudons and Orage from the opera ‘Platée’, Henry Purcell (1659-1695) - Aria ‘Cold Song’ from the opera ‘King Arthur’, Jean-Philippe Rameau Menuet and Contradance from the opera ‘Les Boréades’, ‘Georgian Sinfonietta’, Mikheil abramishvili (countertenor), Anna Kurdovanidze (harpsichord/positive organ), Kakhi Chargeishvili (Salamuri), Merab Sanodze (drums) Small Stage Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC & CULTURE 125 Aghmashenebeli ave. TEL (+995 32) 296 12 43 November 9 CONCERT OF PIANO MUSIC Giorgi Gigashvili and David Khrikuli Will perform piano works by Haydn, Liszt, Chopin, Rossini, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Ravel. Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL UNDER WHEEL Mtatsminda Hill November 3 UTSNOBI Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30 GEL ELITE LAKE AND RESORT HOTEL Tetritskaro highway, Bogvi November 4 BREAK OUT PARTY 2018 The event will be hosted by SF-X, Dj Yasamani and Exited, Uprising, Luka Gogiberidze Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 30 GEL KELLER BAR 36 M. Kostava Ave. November 3 TAZTHROB, BENE Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 10 GEL MOXY TBILISI Saarbrucken Sq. November 2 Halloween at Moxy The most creative costume and make-up will be awarded a special prize and you'll be entertained by spooky sounds from their Resident DJ alongside ghoulish punch drinks and beers from 5 GEL. Start time: 20:00 BASSIANI 2 A. Tsereteli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 277 92 77 November 3 Halloween at Bassiani’s Horoom. The Horoom party is thrown once a month at Bassiani in conjunction with an LGBTQ civil rights group in Georgia, open to those of the LGBTQ community and its supporters. This time the theme is Halloween. Start time: 23:55
GEORGIA TODAY NOVEMBER 2 - 5, 2018
FGB’s Scholarship Presentation & Gala Concert Held at Griboedov me, performing on the Griboedev Theater stage is very important as it makes me especially happy and proud. We have been well-trained by our choreographers for future success. It is thanks to their great contribution that today we are successful in Georgia and abroad as well. Mrs. Nina always helps and motivates us, we love her so much and appreciate her work,” Tsintsadze told reporters. The Friends of Georgian Ballet, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2006 with the aim to support the initiatives of the State Ballet of Georgia and contribute to the development of the Georgian ballet under the artistic directorship of Nina Ananiashvili. The membership fees of the Friends of the Georgian Ballet provide funding for scholarships for promising young ballet students at the V. Chabukiani Choreographic School and participation by specially selected members of the Ballet Company in prestigious ballet competitions and master classes held in various countries worldwide.
BY ANA DUMBADZE
n October 25, the Friends of the Georgian Ballet’s scholarship presentation and performance by the Vakhtang Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School was held at the Griboedev Theater. The reception was held in the bar of the theater and included both the presentation of a fundraising gift by Andreas Heidingsfelder, GM of Sheraton Hotel, and the scholarship presentation itself. The representatives of the Friends of Georgian Ballet and Georgian Prima-ballerina Nina Ananiashvili herself, awarded the successful young students of the V. Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School with certificates and scholarships. The award ceremony was followed by the joint gala concert of the Chabukiani School and Tokyo International Ballet School. The students of V. Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School have recently claimed yet another international success and made the fans of Georgian ballet happy: from October 4 to October 8, 2018, they participated in an international ballet competition held in Sibiu, Romania. Student Nita Lomidze (VI class) claimed first place in contemporary dances; students Sesili Guguchia, Mariam Lekishvili, Nino Qartvelishvili, Sofio Kandelaki, and Anastasia Coconava (VI class), took first place in group dances; student Mari Lomjaria (VIII class) took second place in classical variation, and student Sopo Nachkebia (VIII class) took fourth place. Since 2007, the Friends of Georgian Ballet (FGB) and Nina Ananiashvili have annually awarded the talented and successful students of the Vakhtang Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School with certificates and scholarships. Additionally, they allocate scholarships for the socially vulnerable students of the choreographic school. FGB and Ananiashvili award the students of the school with pointe shoes, dance costumes and accessories. According to the Head of Training Practice of V. Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School, Ketevan Motsonelidze, the collaboration between Japanese and Georgian ballet schools significantly contributes to the development of Georgian ballet: “Today’s performance sees both Japanese and Georgian ballet school students. We often have exchange programs, with the students of our school performing in Japan, and the Japanese
ballet school students coming to Georgia and holding concerts. This relationship itself significantly contributes to the development of Georgian ballet,” she said. “The Friends of Georgian Ballet, consisting of Georgian and foreign fans of ballet, awards our young and promising students with certificates and scholarships,” said Nina Ananiashvili. “It is thanks to our friends’ great contribution that we have an opportunity to send our students abroad to participate in various ballet competitions held in countries all over the world. They perform at these foreign festivals and claim gold medals, grand prizes and more. They are successful in all kinds of competitions, be it an individual performance or group dances. It significantly contributes to raising awareness about Georgian ballet internationally, and we are very grateful to them. Every year, our students go to Japan and participate in various competitions and performances together with their Japanese fellows. This year, 26 students of the Chabukiani School visited Japan. Today, we have Japanese guests here, within the frames of our exchange programs, and they will perform on the stage of Griboedov Theater together with Georgian students. It is especially important that our students perform on the big stages and professionally improve themselves, and it is very pleasant for spectators to watch talented and promising children’s performances as well, a result of the hard work conducted by our choreographers and young students.” Yonen Takano, Japanese Principal Dancer, expressed his delight in working with Nina Ananiashvili and noted that collaboration with the Georgian ballet dancers is both pleasant and fruitful for the Japanese side. In 2015, Takano danced the leading part with Nina Ananiashvili in the ballet Le Spectre de la Rose by Mikhail Fokine. “The Japanese audience is strongly impressed by Nina’s performance, as she is a truly amazing dancer. Now we have an exchange program with Georgia, and our Japanese students are performing here. They have been working with Nina, a big achievement and a great opportunity and honor for the young generation, for the future ballerons and ballerinas,” Takano noted. Young ballerina of the Vakhtang Chabukiani Tbilisi Ballet Art State School, Sopho Tsintsadze, participated in the joint performance together with her Japanese fellows. “We are holding this gala concert for our Japanese guests. Every year, we visit each other’s countries and hold various performances. For
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November 2 - 5, 2018