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Issue no: 901

• DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016


FOCUS ON THE BIG WAIT The Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs asks the EU Parliament not to delay VLAP PAGE

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In this week’s issue... Georgia’s PM Holds First Faceto Face Meeting with European Parliament President NEWS PAGE 2

Reuters: Georgian President Sees Strong US Ties Maintained under Trump


Russia Stacking Both Decks in Armenia and Azerbaijan POLITICS PAGE 6

It’s All in the Selling and Buying MFA head Mikheil Janelidze with European Parliament Rapporteur on Visa Liberalization for Georgia, Mariya Gabriel


UNESCO Adds Georgian Alphabet to List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity BY THEA MORRISON


BI Auction for Georgian Artists


he United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the Georgian alphabet to the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of

Humanity. The decision came after the 11th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday. The nomination was submitted to UNESCO for consideration in 2015. The main goal was to underline the harmonic co-existence of three alphabets. The Georgian delegation included Georgia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO Ekaterine Siradze-Delone, Director of the International Cultural and Humanitarian Relations Department Ketevan Kandelaki, Director General of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation Nikoloz Antidze and respective experts. The UNESCO official webpage reads that the evolution of Georgia’s written language has pro-

Disaster Risk Reduction: The Early Warning System at Devdoraki Gorge


50th Anniversary of Iosseliani’s Falling Leaves CULTURE PAGE 19 duced three alphabets – Mrgvlovani, Nuskhuri and Mkhedruli – which all remain in use today. Mrgvlovani was the first alphabet from which Nuskhuri was derived, followed by Mkhedruli. The organization underlines that the alphabets coexist thanks to their different cultural and social functions, reflecting an aspect of Georgia’s diversity and identity, their ongoing use in a cultural sense also gives communities a feeling of continuity. Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri are practised and taught informally predominately by the community of the Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The Mkhedruli alphabet is taught in school and also transmitted informally

at home. The Mrgvlovani and Nuskhuri alphabets are taught in schools in Georgia but at a basic level. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry says that since the day of nomination in 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Georgia’s diplomatic representations abroad have been actively continuing to engage in efforts to promote the issue and obtain support, including by organizing specifically designed thematic exhibitions. “The living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet is the third nomination inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” the Foreign Ministry said.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili held his first meeting with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, on Wednesday

Georgia’s PM Holds First Faceto Face Meeting with European Parliament President BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, held his first face-to-face meeting with Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament on Wednesday. Georgia’s PM left for Belgium on November 30 to discuss the issues of Georgia's European integration, the 2017-2020 Association Agenda and Georgia’s visa liberalization with the European Union (EU) with European officials. The President of the European Parliament congratulated Giorgi Kvirikashvili on the successful parliamentary elections and commended Georgia's progress on its path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration. “At the meeting we discussed Georgia-EU cooperation and judiciary and anti-corruption reforms implemented in Georgia. We also discussed Georgia’s visa-liberalization issue and I hope that the European Parliament and the European Commission will soon agree on the issue,” he stated at the press-conference after the meeting. Moreover, Schulz claimed that the European Par-

liament fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Giorgi Kvirikashvili emphasized the importance of EU support in the implementation of Georgia's demanding reforms and added that the Government of Georgia is committed to continuing its political association and economic integration with the European Union. “Through huge support from the EU, Georgia has made significant progress in terms of democratic consolidation, rule of law and judicial independence,” the PM said. “Strengthening the rule of law and improving the institutional standards are among the main priorities of the Georgian government.” Georgia’s PM also pointed out the importance of visa-liberalization for the Georgian people, saying it would motivate the government to continue implementation of successful reforms in the future. “We hope that the internal processes in Brussels will bring the desired results, and the expectations of the Georgian people will bear fruit,” Kvirikashvili said. The Prime Minister of Georgia and the President of the European Parliament discussed issues and challenges pertaining to regional security and the situation in Georgia's occupied territories.

Rustaveli Meets Shakespeare in London



n November 28, the Embassy of Georgia to the UK presented the evening 'Shakespeare and Rustaveli meet in London' at the Royal Asiatic Society in London. The event was held in annual 'Rustaveli Day' format, in celebration of the 850th anniversary of the medieval Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli and 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death. It was organized in partnership with the British Council, British-Georgian Society, Georgian State Museum of Theater, Music, Cinema and Choreography (Art Palace) and the Royal Asiatic society. Ambassador of Georgia Tamar Beruchashvili delivered the welcome speech. The audience was also addressed with opening remarks by Mr. David Gigauri, member of the British Georgian Society and moderator of the event; Dr. Alison Ohta, Director of the Royal Asiatic Society and Dr. Graham Sheffield Director of Arts of the British Council. The event aimed at exploring the legacy of the

two iconic authors from different perspectives, including potential affinities between their works. Some notable British and Georgian scholars Professor Donald Rayfield, Professor Elguja Khintibidze and Dr. Nikoloz Aleksidze talked about the manuscripts of Rustaveli’s immortal poem ‘The Man in the Panther’s Skin’ preserved at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford; problems of translating Rustaveli into foreign languages; the possible influence of Rustaveli’s poem on Shakespeare and the immense impact of Shakespeare’s works on Georgia’s 19th and 20th century literature and theater. Director of the British Council in Georgia Zaza Purtseladze launched the book "Shakespeare in Georgian Theater" prepared and published by the Georgian Art Palace. He also elaborated on the project 'Shakespeare and Rustaveli meet in Georgia' which ran through the past several months in Georgia and featured various related exhibitions and talks with the involvement of students and civil society. The event ended with a reception of Georgian cuisine and wine hosted by the Embassy of Georgia.




Foreign Minister: Georgia’s Visa Liberalization Not about More Migration but Strengthened Partnerships BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, stated at the European Parliament that a visa free travel regime between Georgia and the European Union (EU) did not mean additional migration, but meant better people-to-people contacts, and strengthened cultural and business ties and partnerships. Janelidze delivered a speech at the Conference ‘Visa Liberalization as an EU Foreign Policy Tool’ in Brussels on Tuesday. Representatives of the European Parliament, European Commission and the European External Action Service attended the conference, which was held on the initiative of European Parliament Rapporteur on Visa Liberalization for Georgia, Mariya Gabriel. The Minister’s speech referred to the statement of the European Parliament, which said a day previously that Georgia’s visa-liberalization issue would not be considered until January 2017, when the mechanism for suspension of the visa-free regime was to be discussed by the legislative body. “We fully understand the difficulties the EU is facing today, from increased migration to the rise of populism and extremist ideologies. However, we should also look at the costs of unnecessary and hardly justified delays in making decisions to honor mutual commitments,” Janelidze stated. Moreover, he added that delays in Georgia’s visa-liberalization issue more

Janelidze delivered a speech at the Conference ‘Visa Liberalization as an EU Foreign Policy Tool’, held in Brussels on Tuesday

benefits those who want the EU to fail. He explained that after many years of demanding reforms and acknowledging progress, legitimate expectations are very high in Georgia. “It carries a tremendous symbolic, political and practical importance for us and serves as a strong message of the EU’s political support,” the minister stressed. Janelidze’s speech also focused on the progress Georgia has achieved over the last three years in all areas covered by the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP), which has been assessed by the partners as steady and effective. VLAP,

he says, has proved to be an important driving force for advancing reforms and enabling the establishment of a legislative, policy and institutional framework in compliance with the highest European and international standards. According to the VLAP benchmarks, overall, more than 60 legislative amendments; about 70 bylaws, instructions and regulations; 8 strategies have been adopted and 7 international conventions ratified. This transformation is certainly an outstanding demonstration of successful EU foreign policy in combination with successful Georgia’s internal policy of

strengthening its institutions,” the Minister said. He also mentioned the economic opportunities that had been created by implementing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU. “However, this agreement will not work in full capacity if Georgia does not let the businessmen, small farmers or entrepreneurs attend trade fairs, meet European business partners and explore business opportunities on the European markets. A visa free travel regime in relations between Georgia and the EU is by no means for additional migration,

but for better people-to-people contacts, and strengthened cultural and business ties and partnerships,” he said, adding that Georgia has faced delays associated with the EU’s and EU member states’ internal and external policy issues and said these steps did not reflect the spirit of good partnership. “Let us not frustrate our people. Let us keep them motivated to pursue these demanding reforms and let us continue moving towards a free, safe and at peaceful Europe. Let’s not benefit those who want Europe to fail,” he told European Parliament members.

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DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Georgian Institute of Politics: Georgia as a Bastion of Modern Democratic Reforms BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


he Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) is an independent research organization based in Tbilisi with a team of young researchers and experts working in both Georgian and English. It aims to address both a Georgian and international audience by explaining what happens in Georgia and its politics through research results. Within the research program GIP covers international politics, democratization, European and Euro-Atlantic integration and within the educational programs, it organizes workshops, seminars, and summer and autumn schools in cooperation with partners such as University of Nice, Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University the University of Utah, US, and Tbilisi State University. GEORGIA TODAY met Kornely Kakachia, Executive Director of the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) and Renata Skarziute-Kereselidze, GIP Program Manager, to find out more.

TELL US ABOUT GIP’S CURRENT PROJECTS Renata: One, due to begin shortly, is an attempt to explain international trends and processes for Georgia, what effects they have on Georgia, Georgian society and politics. We hope it will help to show the broader context that surrounds us and makes an impact. The project will cover Brexit and how it’s related to Georgia, why The Netherlands voted in a referendum against Ukraine, and how the European Parliament voted against propaganda by third parties in Europe.

It is important to analyze how international politics will affect us in the future. The project will consist of published articles, round-table discussions and blogs. We will also bring international experts. We’re currently running an analysis of the activities of Georgian parliament with the aim of publishing it to mark one hundred days of parliamentary work. We had expert polls prior to the recent elections, which was something new and interesting to try; an additional tool to demonstrate expectations for the future. We will also be writing a series of articles, blogs, policy briefs and op-eds to see how different political parties are strategizing their programs. We’re planning a big conference on the topic of democratization in Georgia this spring. GIP is also participating in a project initiated by the Open Society Georgia Foundation, monitoring the EU Association Agreement for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Our director Kornely Kakachia is coordinating the project with a comparative report to be published in spring. Kornely: We’re members of the OSCE think-tank and academic institution networks, so several times every year we contribute to the bigger OSCE reports on European security. We plan to attend an OSE ministerial in Hamburg, Germany, to present our visions on the country’s security issues.


a good governance model.


tries and move forward. This applies to Euro-Atlantic integration, too, and we have to concentrate on the Association Agreement and reforms. Georgia has to be prepared for that window of opportunity when it comes.

now not only for Georgia but for the whole world, with an unclear picture of how US foreign policy will evolve over the next four or five years. Of course, it will affect Georgia as well as the whole region. However, I think it would be very premature now to guess where it’s heading. One thing is clear: even though there may be controversies around Trump’s foreign policy objectives in general, we should not downplay the role of Congress- even if Trump’s foreign policy is not favorable for Eastern European countries and Georgia, congress can always make a balance. I don’t think there will be major challenges in US-Georgia relations or major breakthroughs. We need to strengthen institutional links between the two coun-

HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE THE POLITICAL PROCESS IN GEORGIA? IS IT A STEP FORWARD OR IS THERE A LACK OF POLITICAL CULTURE? I would say that the last elections in Georgia showed a step in the right direction. While there were some minor irregularities, the only thing I think Georgia has to concentrate on now, and this concerns the ruling party, is how it’ll cope being the majority in parliament. As we know from the experience of the last 25 years, political parties that had super majority in parliament couldn’t cope. Our society, media and business community now has a chance to balance if something goes wrong and the government moves in the wrong direction. It’s also an opportunity for the government to implement reforms and show there’s a clear vision of how to achieve

I think, following a continuous tradition, these elections showed that Georgian society is very polarized, pretty much as Georgian media is. We can see that the Georgian electorate wants the country to continue on its present course, but not too fast. I would say there’s a certain reform fatigue in our society, or a little bit of democracy fatigue, but that is normal; the country moved really fast with reforms in the last 10 years, and people want to take a break and analyze.

WHAT ARE THE KEY CHALLENGES FOR GEORGIA ON THE ROAD TO EURO INTEGRATION? Renata: We need to keep ourselves active and be more visible in the international arena, so that Georgia is not forgotten but included and rewarded for the progress it has made. Kornely: Georgia has done so much in the process towards integration that there’s no way back. I think at the moment there’s no question of the foreign policy trajectory for Georgia. The global political agenda will of course be very important in the coming 10-15 years, especially with regards to security issues. We should not forget the regional aspects, too, the geo-political landscape is changing very fast. We should consider new realities in Europe and the world. Georgia has to be at the forefront of democratic reforms- that’s the only way to attract the attention of the west. We have to strengthen our image as a bastion of modern democratic reforms.




Reuters: Georgian President Sees Strong US Ties Maintained under Trump

Georgia’s President gave an interview to Reuters on November 29. Source: Reuters

Chairman Elected for Adjara Supreme Council BY MARIKO NATSARISHVILI



eorgia expects relations with the United States under Donald Trump to remain strong despite his calls for improved ties with Russia, and Tbilisi will keep pressing for closer collaboration with NATO - Giorgi Margvelashvili, the President of Georgia, told Reuters on November 29 in Tbilisi. Margvelashvili said that Trump stirred concerns in central and Eastern Europe during the US election campaign with his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and also his suggestion that the United States may not defend allies deemed to spend too little on defense. “Georgia wants to join NATO, though

the Atlantic Alliance has played down its chances, and Russia, which fought a brief war with the south Caucasus nation in 2008, is firmly opposed,” he added. The President underlined that Georgia’s relations and communication with President Donald Trump, as well as with Georgia’s friends and allies in Congress from the Republican and Democratic sides, would be maintained through mutual interests and goals that were and had been shared for the last 25 years. Margvelashvili said he was disappointed that the visa issue was still "sitting in Brussels" even though Tbilisi has fulfilled all the necessary requirements. "The EU and NATO are going through a conservative phase of re-evaluating challenges. We think that this conservative phase should end at some point with a more active and more engaging agenda," he said.

The President noted that a fifth of Georgian territory remains under the control of pro-Russian separatists. However, he added that Russia, Georgia's Soviet-era overlord, remained a serious international player and that Tbilisi would pursue a constructive dialogue with Moscow despite tensions. "We think that Russia should be a factor that should be taken into consideration by its neighbors as well as by other international players," said Margvelashvili, 47, a philosopher by training. However, the President emphasized that good relations with Russia were only possible if it respected Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "Russia's occupation of Georgia is a historically unfair move. This will never be acceptedbyoursocietynorwillitbeaccepted by Georgia's political leadership," he said.


will do everything to justify your trust. We have a special responsibility towards our voters. We should prove that the Supreme Council is an institution where public opinion is represented most of all. We should fill legislative gaps as well as successfully monitor the executive power - said Davit Gabaidze following his election to the position of Chairman of Supreme Council, Adjara AR. Two thirds of the Supreme Council members expressed confidence in 36 year-old Gabaidze, and while the representatives of three parties voted against him, the newly elected chairman claims he expects to have a constructive relationship and close cooperation with the opposition. United National Movement (UNM) representative Petre Zambakhidze, one

of those who didn’t vote for Gabaidze recognizes that the new chairman will definitely differ from his predecessors “I hope that he will effectively chair the Council since he is a lawyer and the council needs lawyers,” Zambakhidze said. Gabaidze is the seventh Chairman, but the first lawyer, to head the legislative body in its 25 years of existence. He is a PhD student of Law at the I. Djavakhishvili University, is the mediator of the Chamber of Commerce Mediation Center; the arbitrator of Batumi Permanent Arbitration Ltd; and a member of the Georgian Bar Association. From 2012 he worked as a deputy and later as Head of the Legal and Human Resource Management Department within the Government of the Autonomous Republic Administration. On his last day of duty, the 2012-2016 Chairman, Avtandil Beridze, wished success to Gabaidze and successful dialogue with the opposition.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Russia Stacking Both Decks in Armenia and Azerbaijan BY JOSEPH LARSEN, GEORGIAN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS


he South Caucasus countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in conflict since 1988 when NagornoKarabakh, a majority-Armenian enclave in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, demanded to be transferred to Armenia. Ethnic tensions boiled over and mob violence was followed by fullscale war after both countries gained independence from the Soviet Union. By the time a ceasefire was signed in 1994, roughly 30,000 people had been killed and Nagorno-Karabakh was de facto independent. The conflict has been mostly “frozen” since, but war broke out again in April, 2016, resulting in more 200 deaths and Azerbaijan regaining a small amount of territory, and sending a stern message: that it isn’t afraid to flex its muscle in open war against Armenia. Russia, perhaps the conflict’s most important party, is neutral but very openly playing both sides. It is Armenia’s selfproclaimed ally. The two countries cooperate bilaterally and within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a grouping of post-Soviet states loosely comparable to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Russia sells Armenia large amounts of sophisticated weaponry at discount prices and has soldiers permanently stationed on Armenian territory. This year, Armenia became the only country other than Russia to possess Iskander ballistic missile systems; they have a range of up to 500 kilometers and could potentially strike targets deep in Azerbaijani territory. It’s no surprise the authorities in Yerevan and many Armenian citizens have come to view their

former imperial master as a protector. Russia is Armenia’s ally, but it carefully maintains a neutral stance on NagornoKarabakh, a region it still recognizes as sovereign Azerbaijani territory. Making the situation even more difficult to untangle, Russia is now the single-largest provider of arms to Azerbaijan. According to a 2015 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Azerbaijan received 85 percent of its arms imports from Russia from 2010 to 2014, a period when annual imports more than tripled. When war broke out earlier this year, Armenian soldiers were killed with helicopter gunships and rocket systems that their principal enemy, Azerbaijan, purchased from their principal ally, Russia. The Kremlin has defended what it sees as a policy of deterrence in NagornoKarabakh. By strictly controlling the flow of arms to both countries, the logic goes, full-scale war is made less likely. But things came dangerously close during four days of intense fighting this April. Azerbaijan’s military budget exceeds Armenia’s entire government budget, so extra arms for Azerbaijan don’t even the scales, they tip them in Baku’s favor. And with more people staring down gun barrels on both sides of the border, any fighting that does break out will be more deadly. It now appears the Kremlin has found a better way to have its cake and eat it too, to sell copious amounts of deadly weapons to both sides and still ensure that war remains a distant possibility. On November 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the creation of a joint Russian-Armenian military force. It will patrol Armenia’s entire land border, and it contains a mutual defense clause. Any attack on Armenia will be viewed as an attack on Russia, and vice versa. The agreement

will also allow Armenia to purchase Russian arms at domestic prices, further bolstering its military capabilities. The Russian government insists the mutual defense clause doesn’t apply to Nagorno-Karabakh--a region it still doesn’t recognize as independent. Still, the new security arrangement might give Baku’s government reason to pause. In case of attack, Armenia will be defended by Russia’s entire Southern Military District, which includes the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla. The move affirms Russia’s privileged support for Armenia despite its continued arms sales to Azerbaijan. Russia has found a way to strengthen its hand in the South Caucasus under a number of possible scenarios. If the logic

of deterrence holds up and the conflict stays “frozen”, the military-industrial complex benefits from arms sales to both sides and the Kremlin benefits from Armenia’s growing political dependence. Russia can also strengthen its political and economic ties with both countries. At a trilateral meeting in Baku this August, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced the desire for mutually beneficial cooperation, as did Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Russia appears committed to deterring conflict through strategic parity, but if funneling more weapons into the region leads to further outbreaks of violence, or, as Nona Mikhelidze of the Romebased Istituto Affari Internazionali sug-

gested in a recent commentary, the joint military force intensifies the security dilemma and makes an Azerbaijani invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh more likely, Russia can step in and ensure the next peace agreement suits its purposes first and foremost. As the Kremlin has learned all too well over the past 25 years, the best way to ensure victory is to play on both teams. The Georgian Institute of Politics was founded in 2011 to strengthen institutions and promote good governance and development through policy research and advocacy in Georgia. It publishes its blog with Georgia Today twice per month. Check out our website in English and Georgian at gip.ge for more blogs, data, and analyses.

Turkmenistan Accedes to International Agreements in Field of Transport BY TAMTA DARSALIA


ithin the framework of the Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, held in Ashgabat on November 26-27, Turkmenistan acceded to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway, the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network, the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports and the International Convention on the Harmonization of Control of Goods at the Border. The purpose of these agreements aims at the harmonization and simplification of intermodal transport in the Asia-Pacific region, the expansion of international trade, improving efficiency and reducing the cost of transportation and logistics services, and meeting the needs of countries that are not landlocked. The intergovernmental agreement on Dry Ports was signed on November 7, 2013 in Bangkok (Thailand), by representatives of several countries of the Economic and Cocial Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in order to simplify procedures for marine cargo transportation by land transport. The main objective of the Agreement was to enable Asian politics and Pacific countries to

develop a network of transport and logistics complexes: Dry Ports of international importance in the Asia-Pacific region,

along the road and rail routes included in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network and the

Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway. The purpose of the International Con-

vention on the Harmonization of Control of Goods expects to facilitate international transport through the national and international coordination of control and methods of application. The conference also saw the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding for cooperation in the field of transport, including cooperation between the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Armenia on the intentions for further cooperation in the field of transport, and the meeting protocol between delegations of aviation authorities of Turkmenistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Among the signed documents was also an agreement between the Academy of Public Service under the President of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the implementation of funded United Nations Population Fund Action Plans 2016-2020, approved in the framework of cooperation for the implementation of the country program for Turkmenistan; and Action Plans between the Academy of Public Service under the President of Turkmenistan and the UNFPA for 2016 and 2017.




A Criminal in Politics or Politics in a Criminal World OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


he new parliament started by revoking the bill about condoms and registering changes to be made to the Law of Georgia on Occupied Territories. The law known to the general public as “condoms with barbs” was adopted following the first reading by the previous parliament. Georgian Dream (GD) supported the prohibition with 76 votes to 14. The ruling party hasn’t been interested in this law since, but now, it once again remembered this issue and revoked the law it initiated four years ago. It seems that condoms are the luckier topic for the Georgian Dream, quite unlike the law about occupied territories

which was raised recently; it is still unknown how it will work for the party, especially when the initiative does not belong to GD but instead to Patriotic Alliance MP, Emzar Kvitsiani. Similar legislative changes were demanded by the previous parliament when GD MPs also raised the issue. At that time, making the legislative changes was interrupted by the elections but now the elections are over, Kvitsiani is back, demanding not only changes but complete abolition of the law on the occupied territories. “This law goes against the Georgian people. This law was adopted to prevent Georgians, who are citizens of Russia, from entering Abkhazia, buying land there and turning it into Georgia again. That is why Russians made Saakashvili adopt this law and it should be abolished,” Kvitsiani claims. The United National Movement says

that GD is partly ready to realize the ideas that Kvitsiani suggested and soon trying to cross the border into the territories of occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia will no longer be illegal but will incur just a 400 GEL fine. Georgian Dream says that the legislative changes are not based on Kvitsiani’s ambitions but are connected with the demands of international organizations. “A person who is unaware of the Georgian Law on Occupied Territories should not be punished under criminal law. Georgia has received reprimands from international organizations, and sanctions, because the law was not lifted, GD MP Eka Beselia stated. In general, the interests of Georgian Dream and MP Kvitsiani have crossed twice already in the new parliament as, alongside the above law, there followed a fuss about Kvitsiani being appointed

as Deputy Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee, with the new members of GD refusing to accept him as such. Subsequently, Kvitsiani accused GD of colluding with the UNM. Furthermore, his party, the Patriotic Alliance, has even sued GD for rigging the elections. This was probably the reason the government chose to remind Kvitsiani of his criminal past and the kidnappings during Shevardnadze’s time in power. “In the Kodori Gorge, Kvitsiani kidnapped and beat IDP representatives of government who had fled Abkhazia, and also German observers,” said the former Minister of Interior Affairs Kakha Targamadze. Kvitsiani has yet to respond to this comment. Surprisingly, Kvitsiani was convicted on exactly these charges for years and was also freed under the status of

political prisoner by denying them. The governmental methods in Georgia are truly astonishing: you never know what is or is not punishable. A criminal in politics or politics in a criminal world? MP Kvitsiani demands the creation of a Temporary Investigation Commission to conduct a detailed investigation into the events that took place in Kodori Gorge in 2006. The government hasn’t responded to his demands. However, it is obvious that by activating Kvitsiani, and warning him not to cross the red lines, the Georgian Dream government plans to start a new “Holy War” against the UNM. The red lines, though, are apparently drawn right on the official seat.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

INTERVIEW: Irakli Alasania T will also change our thinking on how we should protect our country. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-Russian, but I am defending my country; my country’s interests are first, and so I see the threat. I’m a believer in the future of RussiaGeorgian relationships and Russia-US relations, but I think it will only come if Russia sees Georgia and other neighbors as they wish to be, with the West strongly protecting them and their interests. I think US interests rolling back would have a tremendously damaging effect on prosperity and democracy in my region. The support of the US is also exemplary for Europeans. We understand there are domestic issues that need to be dealt with internally in the USA, like social depression, etc., but those things can be dealt with in parallel. This is why the US is a global power. I don’t like to call them ‘the policy of the world’ but then again they are the most powerful democratic country.

he following is an extract from a podcast interview by Lincoln Mitchell, transcribed by Natia Liparteliani and edited by Katie Ruth Davies. The interview was taken as part of Lincoln Mitchell’s Painting the Corners series titled ‘Episode 11- Joe Maddon and Terry Francona in the World Series, Georgia’s future with Trump’s America and the 26th Man.’ Former Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania discusses how he sees the Georgia-US relationship evolving during a Trump administration.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES GEORGIA IS FACING IN THIS RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD PARTICULARLY GIVEN THE CHANGES INSIDE EUROPE AND WITH THE UNEXPECTED WIN OF DONALD TRUMP IN THE US ELECTIONS? We are focused on how the new administration will continue or change the policies they have towards the region, a region that is aspiring to be part of NATO. We are sitting in a kind of ‘grey area’ where NATO can’t protect us so we’re putting a lot of emphasis on bilateral relations with the US. It has been a wonderful relationship for decades through party support from both Republicans and Democrats. Of course, Trump winning was unexpected, but we are now thinking about how the policies will develop. In general, from my 20 year experience working with the US, I think when the dust settles the policies will be the same, because it is in the best interests of the US to have strong democracy in a developing country like Georgia; it is in best interests of the US to have countries not threatened by Russian interests, as we have seen over the past 10 years, with more aggression and the occupation of territories. I understand that nobody will go to war with Russia for Georgia, but I want to make sure that the relationship and policies that we have will make us stronger militarily and economically.


BEEN ELECTED, I THINK THE GEORGIANS WOULD BE FEELING MORE COMFORTABLE; FEELING THAT “WE KNOW WHERE SHE STANDS,” WHICH YOU CAN’T SAY ABOUT TRUMP. PLUS JOHN MCCAIN AND LINDSEY GRAHAM ARE HEADING TO GEORGIA TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE COUNTRY I spoke to Mccain a few days ago at a security conference. He always aims to reassure Eastern European countries and countries fighting for freedom and democracy. He said while trump is in power, he doesn’t think the policies will change dramatically and pointed out Trump also knows Georgia. He was here 6-7 years ago, invited to build a Trump tower in Batumi. So he knows Georgia and he knows what we are worrying about and I hope that his national security team and he himself will pay attention now. We know that every new president wants to have a fresh start with Russia. It’s logical and we understand that. But in trying to do so they should be aware that the people of Russia’s neighboring countries are very concerned about the continued Russian oppression.

I FIND IT INTERESTING THAT, COMING FROM GEORGIA, YOU HAVE LESS CONCERN AND FEEL SO COMFORTABLE We are more security conscious and are looking at the elections from that prism, and I know some of the nominees in the new administration; I have talked to them numerous times about Georgia and what we are facing there. I think there’s going to be a tremendous shift for Democrats, Republicans and even from Trump himself, but this is good.

IF I WAS SITTING IN TBILISI, I WOULD ELECT MITT ROMNEYHE’S SMART, RATIONAL AND SUPPORTS A MAINSTREAM AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY WHICH INVOLVES SUPPORT OF GEORGIA. YOU CAN LIVE WITH HIM, BUT CAN YOU LIVE WITH MIKE FLYNN? I know Flynn well. We had very good discussions a couple of years ago about security and threats from Russia and he came across as a very rational and solid guy on such issues. At the end of day the institution and institutional memory are so strong in the US that it will stand any kind of deviation from policies. I’m opti-

mistic. We see that it’s different, don’t get me wrong, but this is the rule of the American people and we have to respect that and also to find ways to make sure that the leadership here gets the information that is needed to make sound judgments about the things that concern us.

THERE ARE SOME AMERICANS WHO WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO INVEST LESS IN EASTERN EUROPE AND MORE IN PROTECTING DETROIT OR CLEVELAND. HOW DOES THIS ALL LOOK TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDS THE AMERICAN UMBRELLA IN A DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY WAY? WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF GEORGIA IF THE USA IS ABSENT? Of course, this is the last thing we want to see because we’ve been very close to the US, security-wise and military-wise, throughout the last 20 years. We’ve been in Afghanistan, we’ve been Iraq, we’re the closest non-member ally to NATO and I know how much the USA invested in the Georgian military. Without US support, such progress militarily would not be possible. And if this changes, it

WHAT’S NEXT FOR GEORGIA? My thinking is that we need to prepare ourselves for a post-Putin period. It will come. Georgia can’t solve this problem like Ukraine- militarily. There is no military solution to this. We need to get stronger economically, institution-wise; to get as close as we can to the standards of Europe- to develop ourselves and wait for the window of opportunity to open. We need to start people-to people relations with Abkhazians and South Ossetians. I think if Trump sees that the Russian side is not sincere in negotiating, he’ll end the fruitless talks and use different tactics in diplomacy. I doubt he’ll sacrifice trade- I think every president tries to improve relationships. If it improves it will be good for Georgia as well, but it won’t happen based on sacrificing US interests. That said, this won’t be happening any time soon. We see that nationalistic sentiments are growing even in Central Europe and what is happening in the Middle East. I think in this context, education is key. And Georgia should also focus on that. The education system is outdated- in some regions there’s not even access to the internet.

Georgia’s Gov’t to Ban Online Loans BY THEA MORRISON


BILISI – Georgia’s government is preparing a consumers rights protection package according to which online loans will no longer be issued. The statement was made by Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the first meeting of new Cabinet on Wednesday. “Online loans will be banned, as requested by our citizens,” the PM said. Moreover, according to Kvirikashvili, the cost of running a gambling business will increase. He explained that the change will ensure the mobilization of additional resources into the budget that will be spent on infrastructural projects of vital importance to the country, as well as on strengthening Georgia’s transit function, healthcare and the implementation of social projects. “We will need some time to select the best model for online casinos but some steps in this direction will be taken shortly,” said Finance Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili, adding that active consultations are underway in relation to the issue and the government would need 6-8 months to regulate the field. "Online casinos are a social problem and we think it is especially important to protect young people. I had a lot of consultations with international consultants and we are taking steps to get it done,” Kumisishvili stated.



DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016


It’s All in the Selling and Buying OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


ren’t we living in an extremely commercialized world within which the human dependence on commerce is absolutely overwhelming? Undoubtedly, our reliance on commerce has always been paramount, since time immemorial. Yet nowadays every step of the way on the road to a better life is engulfed by it. In simpler words, this trickles down to the efforts of a person creating an object that can be sold and, having sold it, providing for the creator’s survival. This is the ABC of the survival process. Why such a wordy introduction to this most trivial segment of our life which is well known to all? Because I would like to put it very simply that Georgia’s often criticized economy and its monetary token the Lari will never get stable and reliable unless we manufacture things that are briskly sellable – by which I mean, sellable both here and beyond our borders. Sellable could be the objects of many different categories, items of everyday usage: food, drinks, art, inventions, ideas, services, and what not. What are we good at? What could the fastest money-maker in Georgia be that a man’s hand can create and sell? I hear all the time that our economic plans contain the production of goods with that endearing label ‘Made in Georgia.’ In reality, I am always buying things that are ‘Made in China, Turkey and India,’ or any other possible land that produces something that the world is interested in. Newspapers are packed full of information that I may never need to have

in order to be better equipped for survival, but I would love to someday open the paper and see a list of products in it that are made in Georgia and sell successfully around the world, bringing in the foreign currency that could prop up the faltering Lari and the economy attached to it. I wonder how many articles would be on that list. Is there any chance to grow the list so much that the country’s budget and our nearly empty pockets feel the power of commerce in this country? At present that list of goods is limited

We might be lacking flexibility in the art of trade, but I know for sure that we have sharp enough wits and skilled enough hands to embark on a serious exchange of a variety of products with the rest of the world

CARTOON: Brian Patrick Grady

in Georgia, and there is little hope of making it longer. How about listing the services, then? Is it just as hard to let it grow? What would you say about the artifacts we have always been famous for? Georgian singing and dancing could also be foreign currency magnets, couldn’t they? I have almost forgotten the inventions and industrial ideas that could easily be commercialized if we knew how to handle their introduction to the interested world. Intellect is appreciated everywhere, and who knows how promising the commercial power of our national intelligence is!? What I am talking about might seem a little bit far-fetched to some of us but I don’t think either my idea or attitude leave any room for doubt, because it is the classic understanding of economy and its financial viability that success lies in the art of selling and buying. We might be lacking flexibility in the art of trade, but I know for sure that we have sharp enough wits and skilled enough hands to embark on a serious exchange of a variety of products with the rest of the world. The only thing we need to take care of is enhancing the quality and content of the future sellable products in the name of Georgia. And also more confidence in the possibility of triggering the world’s interest towards the magic liable ‘Made in Georgia’ proudly shining on every manufactured good that travels the world in expectation of popularity. In a word – if you sell it, you do well, and to sell it, it needs to be attractive, very attractive to compete with the rest of humanity.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Disaster Risk Reduction: The Early Warning System at Devdoraki Gorge BY DANIEL TOBLER, STEFAN TOBLER, IRAKLI MEGRELIDZE


he Caucasus, like many mountain ranges worldwide, is being disproportionately affected by ongoi n g c l i m a te c h a n ge . Devastating debris flow events originating at the glaciers in the summit area of Mt. Kazbeg have in the past blocked the Terek River valley and heavily affected the main road to Russia, a gas pipeline, a hydro-powerplant and the border control. After the debris flow event in May 2014, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) decided to plan protection measures for the main infrastructure and its beneficiaries. Based on a detailed hazard assessment provided by the Swiss company GEOTEST Ltd., the Government of Georgia decided to implement an early warning system (EWS) to monitor glacial activities in the upper part of Mt. Kazbeg enabling them to warn and protect those living in the valley below who are at risk of harm from debris flows. The system was installed by GEOTEST in autumn 2016.


cient measure to close the road and warn people of the different elements at risk when an event occurs. It will not prevent the road from being blocked, but the risk of people dying due to a catastrophic event can be minimized significantly. The economic risk (road block) can only be eliminated by a technical solution (such as a tunnel). A profound knowledge of the ongoing processes is essential for the proper design of an EWS. The information gained from a detailed hazard assessment was necessary to elaborate realistic hazard scenarios and to determine major parameters for the design of the EWS. There was only one possible location for the installation of an EWS to sufficiently meet requirements and the dimensions of the gorge, as well as the rough climate during winter, were major challenges for the installers. At the location where the alarm station is installed, the gorge is about 50 m deep and 250 m wide.

THE DEVDORAKI EWS The system consists of two main stations: - A monitoring station to observe the glaciated summit area of Mt. Kazbeg; - An alarm station at Devdoraki Gorge which will detect debris flows and send a direct warning to the border police and SMS to persons in charge at the NEA.

Both stations are connected to a password-protected data portal where the NEA can check pictures, river flow heights, and temperatures, as well as the health-status of the stations. The stations work automatically and sending status reports around the clock.

MONITORING STATION AT 3,000 M A.S.L. The monitoring station for observation of glacial development on Mt. Kazbeg is situated on an exposed mountain ridge at 3000 m a. s. l.. Glacial movements are monitored by two solar-powered cameras. Pictures are transferred via GSM and radio connection to the main station in the valley. Local authorities are able to determine the glacial movement based on feature tracking within the images. The installation of the station was challenging because of logistics, rough weather conditions and short time frames to get the work done. All equipment, Swiss experts and specialists from the NEA were transported to the mountain ridge by helicopter.

ALARM STATION AT THE DEVDORAKI GORGE For the detection of catastrophic events, automated closure of the road and the alerting of local authorities, a large scale monitoring and alarm system was installed in the lower part of the debris channel approximately 3.5 km away from

the damage potential (road). The alarm system is equipped with: - two gauge radars suspended on cables spanned across the channel to measure flow height and debris flow magnitude. - two webcams with live-access and infrared floodlights allowing night alarm verification. - Trigger lines, which will raise the alarm when torn from the switch. In a spectacular one week installation mission, the EWS-components were fixed on the suspension cables by rope access. Well trained Swiss experts worked on the cables hanging more than 50 m over the Gorge.

CONCLUSIONS The EWS at Devdoraki Gorge is based on terrestrial stations. It is a reliable and efficient tool for local communities / authorities to reduce risks. With the early warning system installed, it will be possible to plan and build long-term protection measures. GEOTEST Ltd, Switzerland is one of the leading Swiss geological-geotechnical and engineering and con-

sulting companies with 140 employees specialized in environmental and natural disaster risk reduction. It investigates and assesses areas endangered by natural hazards, simulate process scenarios with numerical models and plan effective and efficient protection measures. It has over 50 years experiences in the field of natural hazards, landslide and debris flow mechanisms. Based in Switzerland, it has a number of natural hazard related projects in Europe (Germany, Austria, Greece), South America (Chile, Brasil), China, and Georgia. Daniel Tobler is a geologist and member of the Executive Board of GEOTEST Ltd. He is currently working as natural hazard expert in the Engineering Geology Department. Daniel’s primary work projects are linked to natural hazard assessments (i.e. rockfall, landslides, glacial lakes), planning of mitigation measures and risk management. For the last few years he has been involved in various projects related to climate change and its influence on high mountain areas around the globe.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Consolidating IDP Integration in Georgia: Final Conference Held BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


he Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in the South Caucasus held a conference to close the first phrase of the project 'Consolidating IDP Integration in Georgia' on November 29 in Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Tbilisi, funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration – US Department of State. The conference focused on the theme of challenges of IDP integration and its perspectives in Georgia, bringing government officials and NGO representatives together to discuss new initiatives and programs in the social policy sphere and the necessary mechanisms to make local/municipal services accessible for the IDP population. The DRC Consolidating IDP Integration in Georgia project aims to provide legislative support to IDPs and to strengthen their integration into local communities. The project was realized in 5 Georgian cities: Kutaisi, Tskhaltubo, Poti, Zugdidi and Senaki. 1,870 families were profiled in 11 IDP settlements within a project during which 44 informational meetings were organized with 595 IDPs attending. During the six thematic workshops, the needs for the protection of IDP rights, their inclusion in social and health programs and again access to the local and municipal services were highlighted. 10,000 leaflets were distributed with information on available services and providers in the region. “The protected isolation of IDP communities in Georgia has led to complex

social and economic challenges, thus IDPs remain in need of assistance even though significant time has passed since their displacement,” said Svend Monrad Graunboel, Country director, DRC Georgia and South Caucasus. “IDPs and vulnerable groups have an important role to play in any country’s development. As such at DRC we believe that empowering the sustainable self-reliance of IDPs through access to employment, documentation and property rights and participation should be seen as a central part of the general development strategy for Georgia” he said, adding that the Government of Georgia has made significant progress towards IDPs attaining durable solutions through their displacement. “The reforms initialized clearly address the needs of vulnerable groups but there is still much to be done,” Graunboel said.


According to official data, in 2015 the unemployment rate in Georgia hit 12 percent and although there is no official data available, the unemployment rate among IDPs is much higher than within the local population. According to the World Bank report 2013, 80 percent of IDPs consider themselves unemployed. The research undertaken by DRC shows that one of the major challenges for the solving long term problems endured by IDPs is a lack of employment opportunity perspectives and livelihood resources. In order to address the issue, one of the many recommendations given is to promote small and medium scale enterprises. Establishing funds that will provide low interest rate loans is also seen as a solution, alongside training programs that will focus on developing entrepreneurial and business management skills for IDPs. While the program

Produce in Georgia already exists, initiated by the Government of Georgia, it is still not tailored to the needs of IDP and vulnerable groups, and this is only one of the many challenges that need to be addressed, alongside issues related to offering land rent opportunities for IDPs, implementation of vocational training programs, and updating the existing data resources on available service providers and programs. “We’re open to discuss the best possible models for the IDP integration,” said Grigol Giorgadze, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. “It is very important to maximize engagement from all parties, be it state or public sector. We have to pay close attention to what is done towards the integration process, to make further steps to move from status to needs; we need to see to what extent IDPs have access to the services and social programs the state provides.” Presentations were then made by a number of guest speakers. Amiran Dateshidze, Head of the Social Affairs and Programs Division of the Social Protection Department within the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs of Georgia, on access of IDPs to municipal services, talked about social programs initiated by the government to assist families in need, families with children with disabilities, children with hearing disabilities and more. “A motherand-child shelter was opened where women have a chance to get help to find employment and, with another recent initiative, orphans have been moved to live in foster families, which is believed to help their integration into society.”

Murad Abotia, Head of the IDP Department, Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, talked about the role of municipalities in providing housing for IDPs. He mentioned that almost 70 percent of the IDP population is located in urban residential areas, where access to services, municipality programs and employment is easier. Abotia also said that Gori, Zugdidi, and Kutaisi municipalities are actively involved in supplying IDPs with housing. Khadra Elmi, Durable Solutions Project Coordinator of the Joint IDP Profiling Service, shared her observations gained while in Georgia, and suggested a detailed durable solutions analysis be made, “comprehensive with an established time-bound working group to guide a secondary data review process that would collect the indicators of durable solution analysis in Georgia, to later be contextualized.” This collective set of joint recommendations would prioritize policy and development interventions within Georgia. As Raimonds Pavlovkis, Regional Refugee Coordinator, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, US Department of State underlined, Georgia must take into account what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done. “Integration happens in stages, but transition between the stages is an evolutionary process,” he said, adding that the Government of Georgia has successfully laid the foundationforanintegrationpolicythrough services and programs. For the next stage of integration, the base is to ensure that all the programs and services provided by the government remain accessible to IDPs. “While work is still ongoing, it may be considered as a success.”

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id you ever wonder how horseshoes are made? The work is done almost entirely by hand, using heat and steel tools. I have a good friend in Alberta who in his day as a farrier won top prize in the intermediate level of a shoeing competition and, I have no doubt, would have continued this trend upward to first place overall had economic considerations not forced him to seek other lines of work. While my wife and I were visiting Ross Maxwell and his lovely family in rural Alberta, he demonstrated in his garage the method of turning a straight, singlegrooved steel bar into the required slightly asymmetrical, curved, taper-ended marvel, the front and back hoof versions of which are different, as is also necessary. There is a huge amount of theoretical knowledge and practice which goes into a procedure which looks simple only in the hands of a master. Hammers, tongs and the anvil are the instruments with which one forms the shoe, removing it several times from a furnace (in this case propane-powered) which, roaring away, heats the steel to a glowing orange in minutes. "It takes about ten years to learn how steel moves," says Ross, referring to the shaping processes by which different amounts of heat and hammer-blows affect the directing of parts of the softened metal into their proper places, such as the clips which protrude. Too hot, and the steel will soften too much, and also will flake off in layers. Too cold, too hard, and it's more and

more difficult to hammer into place. So there is a window of temperature range, and one of time, too, as the metal cools quite rapidly once removed from the furnace flames, dulling to red and then back to black. Beat, turn, twirl, always aware that the steel will burn right through your skin and deeper if you touch it, even if it's not glowing! Every detail of each shoe's form is critical to its function; there is nothing decorative or unnecessary here. The angle of the punched nail holes, for example, is not uniform. All but one of them on each side set of three allow the nails to protrude from the hoof when the nails are hammered in, and the farrier then clips the ends off. Compared to the slowly growing collection of thin semicircles of rusted iron which I have found and gathered in Svaneti, these are fine protection for the hooves of equus caballus. My stepmother, a champion show-jumper in her youth in Rhodesia, was suitably impressed with them. She tells me that they prevent the hoof from wearing down too fast.

Although hooves are made from keratin, the same basic material as hair and fingernails, and is thus nerveless, the living tissue inside it does feel pain, of course. To remind us of the importance of good shoes, we have this proverb, which has its first versions in the chivalrous European fourteenth century: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. 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 1350 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svanetilong trek



DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016


INTERVIEW: Tamara Beruchashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


mbassador Beruchashvili visited Georgia last week to attend the third annual Wardrop Dialogues. GEORGIA TODAY had the opportunity to meet her for an EXCLUSIVE interview regarding UK-Georgia relations in the business, culture and social spheres.

THE WARDROP DIALOGUE Both the visit of Minister Duncan last week and of Chancellor Hammond in March demonstrated our shared values and interests. We are alike not only because we contribute to global security, have our soldiers fighting shoulder to shoulder with other nationalities in Afghanistan, but also because we are contributing to EU energy security consolidation and expansion of democracy in the regionthrough the good support of the UK. Through the visits of these two prestigious gentlemen to Georgia, we were able to upgrade our level of partnership to ‘strategic’ and to show the success of our joint efforts. Such occasions also give our politicians a stronger voice to show that Georgia is a country that delivers; a reliable, solid partner, important for the region and the wider interests of the UK. Our visit to the BP Gardabani pipeline on the last day of the talks was beneficial in showing how important British investment is in Georgia in terms of generating jobs, putting Georgia on the map of energy projects, developing important knowledge of doing-business and introducing new technologies. Another example is the British Medical Journal which, funded by the US government, is upgrading the knowledge of Georgian medical professionals through an online program now open to 500 medical professionals, with ideas to expand it to cover around 3000.

BREXIT In the wake of Brexit, the UK will be forging new partnerships globally, and Georgia is willing, ready and committed to developing a deeper and wider partnership, as we very clearly stated during the Wardrop Dialogue. I believe Georgia could be one of the first to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the new post-Brexit UK. Britain is a creative country and it needs to be so now more than ever in order to successfully navigate the complexities and challenges ahead.

PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE CONTACTS People-to-people contacts are a new priority direc-

tion highlighted in the latest Wardrop Dialogue. We already have initiatives going regarding defence and security, trade and economics, and the cultural and social spheres. We’re hoping to expand the activities of the British Council and to get more out of the Chevening Scholarships; investing in the development of human resources. We decided to do more, jointly, on Twinning cities. 2018 will be the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Tbilisi-Bristol, and I have been back and forth to meet business persons and university representatives to explore the different dimensions of Twinnings, which includes trade and commerce. The new Mayor of Bristol is very business-minded, and together we are already organizing to bring the local Trades Guild to Georgia next year in preparation for the 30th anniversary events- our embassy will be very much involved. I’m looking into organizing a Memorandum of Understanding between Ilia, TSU and Bristol universities for exchanges and joint research projects. I’m particularly interested in working with the innovation-oriented University of West England in Bristol which is very attractive in terms of its developing Tech Parks. On that theme, the Georgian Innovation Technology Agency (GITA) will soon be holding a meeting with Innovate UK, which works with people, companies and partner organizations to find and drive science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. We aim to present the activities of our embassy and to gain something from the vast UK experience in terms of developing an appropriate legal framework to promote and support innovation; to utilize the UK know-how to benefit the ongoing process in Georgia. 2018 will see the 25 year anniversary of GeorgiaUK diplomatic relations and we are busy trying to organize various promotional visits and exchanges. The President of Georgia will be going to London next year with the aim of mobilizing both governments and investors. We wish to activate the chambers of commerce and the business community, especially those already on the London Stock Exchange, to work on these intensified relations with the UK and to present themselves as success stories of Georgia. The Mayor of London is set to come to Georgia next July as an Ambassador of Business, exploring opportunities for British businesses within a regional tour which includes Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan- with Georgia as the logical regional hub between the EU and Asia.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES We are also building a busy cultural calendar. In January we’ll be celebrating the jubilee of famed

Ambassador Beruchashvili with Professors, experts in Rustaveli and Shakespeare, at the recent joint celebration in London (see p.2)

Georgian conductor Kancheli with a concert by the London Philharmonic. Katie Melua and the Gori choir have sell-out concerts in December. We want to get involved with the Fringe Festival which is celebrating 70 years- Georgia was involved in the 90s and we want to put Georgia in the spotlight there. The embassy has established regular contact with the London Georgian Church- it is a meeting place for the diaspora. This year a Tbilisoba event there gathered Georgians and foreign guests in true Georgian spirit. The church runs a Georgian school and we try to support it, with Gela Dumbadze, former Georgian Minister of Diaspora, having helped in the past by providing books. There has been around a 10% increase in UK tourists coming to Georgia and in the past seven months we have seen a 50% increase in trade over last year and a 44% increase in wine export to the UK- this alone promotes Georgia as a country for wine tourism. The embassy holds monthly Wine Tables (round table talks over locally made Khachapuri and Georgian wine) to discuss issues, initiatives and developments, and promote our wine. Wine is also to be promoted at a number of upcoming events, as are Georgian handicrafts.

LOOKING TO THE EU The Georgians, by supporting those parties in the parliamentary elections which have a clear proEuropean stance, have demonstrated their unwavering desire to move in a European direction- not because they want to please Brussels, but because these are the reforms and developments we want.

I believe the Georgian people have a good understanding of that, and we know that no magic wand exists to make it happen any faster. That said, I do believe the visa liberalization (VLAP) needs to happen as soon as possible. There is a new generation that is benefitting from having been wholly or partly educated abroad, returning to their homeland as more efficient and open-minded people- there’s a generational mental shift and a growing need for more interaction and engagement through exchange opportunities and joint projects. Visa liberalization with Europe would enable Georgian youth to expand their horizons. The UK visa is the most expensive and difficult to get and the Georgian Prime Minister is on the case, having suggested a mechanism be formed to avoid, for example, cases where a Georgian student gets UK funding but still has visa issues.

A BRIGHT FUTURE, A VISION SHARED The Georgian government needs to be more serviceoriented, offering business services to legal entities and not only individuals. Georgia is on par with the UK in its priorities- in the Action Plan recently announced by Chancellor Hammond, the UK has a focus on productivity, innovation, infrastructure development, and attaining new knowledge for employment opportunities. These are the trends in Georgia at the moment. My dream is to get HRH Prince Charles over to Georgia. He has an understandably tight schedule but I know he was gifted a calendar of the Georgian mountains recently so he will undoubtedly be inspired- it’s one of many projects I will persist optimistically on with!

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CENN Introduces Innovation and Green Technologies


iming to raise awareness of environmental issues throughout Georgia, an NGO, CENN, together with its partners have introduced green technologies and innovative approaches the organization has launched this year and presented to the public on November 29. The organization believes that using modern technologies makes it easier to spread information about environmental challenges and increases community participation in bringing about positive changes. CENN presented its three new products: the first ever environmental knowledge portal for the Caucasus, a mobile application called GreenWatch, and an educational e-game Sort and Recycle. The Caucasus Environmental Knowledge Portal (environment.cenn.org) is a platform that provides updated information to stakeholders on all kinds of environmental issues. The platform encourages public participation in environmental decisionmaking by providing readily accessible and relevant information to arouse public interest in environmental issues.

GreenWatch is a mobile application which allows us to care for nature together. The app lets users highlight specific threats to the environment by sending information to CENN and other relevant actors, using easy taps and gestures. Taking advantage of faster, more modern means of communication, the app will bridge the gap between the public and government, helping them to work together to take care of the environment. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. Educational e-game Sort and Recycle was created for the purpose of raising public awareness on waste separation and recycling, targeting children aged 6 and above. The goal of the game is to help the younger generation understand that not all waste is garbage, that it’s possible to produce useful items by sorting waste and recycling and saving natural resources. The presentation event featured children from the organization’s targeted regions who shared their stories on how they use various modern technologies and innovative approaches in promoting environmental issues in their communities.

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DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Rafael Aguirre in Tbilisi: Unexpected Things in a Predictable World BY MARÍA JOSÉ RIQUELME DEL VALLE


t was the most important classical guitar concert in Georgia in decades. But Aguirre’s virtuosity was not only seen in his creating an impossible range of sounds with his guitar; it was in keeping a note dying for the exact amount of time, making the audience hold their breath just so. Aguirre made his listeners an essential part of a memorable concert. It was of mathematical beauty, the lapse of time a single note would be left reverberating in the air: any other second would be annoyingly long, one less, unforgivably short. And Aguirre knew, as he knew how to make the audience a part of his music, as if he were an orchestral director, and we the musicians: “The audience is to a large extent responsible for how a performance goes. A concert is an act of mutual communication between the artist and the public, and music is in the middle, creating the perfect bond,” he says. Aguirre started developing the capacity to feel

his audience at the age of eight, when he began giving concerts: “I feel the way people listen and from that one can learn how a country listens. Here in Tbilisi I felt that the people attending the concert were very curious at the beginning, and then at the end it seemed like they were delighted, and the mix of their reaction with the beauty of the Rustaveli Theater was just amazing”. The Spanish virtuoso was there indeed, and at the same time he wasn’t. Seeing him playing, sometimes with his eyes closed, one could feel that he was very far away: “Music has the power to bring you to another place. Like, for example, when I play music by composer Erik Satie I am in a quiet world, with just a few sounds- I imagine myself in Paris or perhaps in an imaginary world.” Aguirre spoke to GEORGIA TODAY just hours before the start of the concert. The theater is empty, as is the stage. Behind the wings, some props from past performances, an old cardboard horse among them. That night, when the concert starts, Aguirre’s strumming seems to echo the horse’s trot on his way to that imaginary world. “Music makes unexpected things happen in a

predictable world. Music is abstraction. Music goes beyond objective parameters, beyond what can be measured and counted”. This is the magic world Aguirre has inhabited since the age of 6. “I did not chose the guitar, it chose me” he declares. “I was studying in the Conservatory and had to choose between piano or guitar, and even the night before I still hadn’t decided. We are so obsessed with planning our lives, we don’t realise that it is life that plans us.” “Then one day I was at home, I was about 8. I was sitting in the sofa, my feet not yet able to reach the floor, listening to an album featuring several musicians, Narciso Yepes among them. I was bewitched. I could barely pull a few sounds from my guitar and that man could produce millions… I felt something I had never felt, it’s difficult to explain but it was like a spiritual revelation, I deeply came to know that that would be my world”. Aguirre goes on to tell us how back then he thought he would never be able to imitate Yepes’ virtuosity. Time proved him wrong. 13 first prizes at international competitions and recitals in leading concert halls such as the Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow are the proof. Sitting in one of the maroon velvet chairs in the empty theater, Aguirre, talkative, funny and wise, makes no mention of these achievements, and



instead talks about what real success means to him: “My aim is for people to experience some sort of transformation through the music, to leave the theater different to the person they were at the beginning of the concert.” For him, this goes beyond mere pleasure, and in our time is rather a need: “We live in a society based on the visual, starting from mobiles and the internet. But it is through the ear that we reach the most spiritual, the deepest connection to the world. This is why concerts are so necessary.” At the end of the concert, the compositions of Enrique Granados and Vicente Amigo take us from a rainy fall to open summer parties and paper chains of light. Notes reverberate like the aftertaste of wine and laughter, awakening strange corners of ourselves. The verses of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca gain life through Aguirre’s fingers: “the weeping of the guitar (…) how southern sands yell for white camellias.” Flowers that, in Aguirre’s world, blend with the scents of fruit and incense that he links to Georgia. “Notes die in a different way in every place; there is something distinctive in the way music penetrates people in each part of the world.” To Aguirre’s world of camellias, fruit and incense perhaps even that cardboard horse is heading. Free but enslaved, because, in the virtuoso’s words: “When music is played properly it hooks you and you can’t escape.”


TK 387 TK 385 TK 383 TK 386 TK 384 TK 382





05.50 11.45 18.10 01.40 07.30 13.55

07.25 13.25 20.00 04.55 10.50 17.15





17.50 13.55

19.10 16.55

TK 381 EVERYDAY TK 380 TK 393 TK 392




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Georgian Artist Rusiko Chikvaidze’s New Artworks



ith her paintings kept in museums and many private collections all over the world in US, Canada, China, Russia, Japan, Netherlands, Austria, UK, United Arab Emirates, and others, Georgian Artist Rusiko Chikvaidze, also a laureate of UINESCO golden and bronze medals for her contribution to culture, is no stranger to the spotlight. Yet she has chosen her homeland in which to introduce her new collection of art works, inspired by her travels to Vienna and Venice, at Christmas and New Year. “Art makes the world more interesting and loyal,” she says. “I love the creative process of painting: it’s immensely pleasurable for me to make a new world on a white canvas.” She prefers to be alone when working, although generally she loves spending time with her friends and meeting interesting people. “I don’t paint aggression. There’s a lot of it in the world already. Even the problems I see I try to transform positively in my works. Every individual has freedom of expression, particularly an artist. I’m trying to paint what brings joy and

pleasure to me- things that I love,” the artist says, going on to explain that her paintings are often about philosophy, life, human relations, and ecology, to which she even dedicated a special series of art works called ‘Civilization - More ecology.’ In it the message that while the world has still to develop, more attention must be paid to ecological issues. The new winter series was inspired by spending Christmas and New Year in Paris and Vienna. It appears both autumn and winter offer a certain coziness for Chikvaidze: sitting in a café and drinking a hot cinnamon cacao, chocolate or coffee brings different sensations and feelings. “It’s a time for getting more into your inner-self and enjoying more in-depth thinking and working,” the artist says. “My family and friends always encourage and support me, and I hope that all the positive energy I put in my works returns to them. If my works help others to get positive vibes and emotions, if they interact and engage with the world I create in my paintings, if they feel more joyful and happy, I think my mission as an artist is accomplished and it makes me even happier,” she says. See Rusiko’s artworks at: rusiko-chikvaidze.com. She owns the Art Academy Gallery in Tbilisi and her works can be seen in the Ambassador Hotel Tbilisi and Radisson BLU Batumi.





DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016

Iakob Nikoladze: From Rodin to Georgia BY MAKA LOMADZE


he Georgian National Museum Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery is holding an exhibition dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Iakob Nikoladze. The opening event took place on November 29. Iakob Nikoladze is the founder of modern Georgian sculpture. His art came to light in the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th, when Georgia was returning to the bosom of European culture and sculpture was increasing in popularity once again. In 1906-1908, over 15 months, Nikoladze worked with the greatest sculptor of modernity - Auguste Rodin. Despite a number of suggestions to work in Europe and America, Nikoladze decided to bring the experience gained with Rodin back to Georgia and to set up a school of sculpture in his home country. Nikoladze, founder of Georgian realistic sculpture, was one of the founders of the Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts. Guram Nikoladze is his grandson from his mother’s side. Bearing his honorable grandfather’s surname, Guram is also a sculptor, as well as the director of the Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum. “Even though I don’t remember my grandpa, as he died in 1951 and I was born in 1954, I was always surrounded by his works at home. I was planning on entering the faculty of painting but my mother, Iakob’s daughter, advised me to choose her father’s path,” Guram told GEORGIA TODAY. Davit Lortkipanidze, Director General of the Georgian National Museum, opened the recent exhibition. “If we ask who was number one for sculpture in Georgia, there is no question about the answer: Iakob Nikoladze,” Lortkipanidze enthused. “Such a large exhibition of Nikoladze’s works has never taken place in the history of independ-

ent Georgia. It aims to make us realize together that we need to be familiar with those who wrote Georgian history. Nikoladze showed that Georgians can be successful in all spheres, including sculpture, which was not naturally welldeveloped in those days. Let’s continue this tradition and get our museum exhibits out of their bags and give society a chance to see and enjoy them.” “Iakob Nikoladze was a person who created the history of Georgia even while he was still alive,” said Mikheil Giorgadze, returnee to the post of Minister of Culture and Monument Protection. “He was the founder of Georgian realistic sculpture. For people of my generation and younger, this is the first time we’ve had a chance to see these sculptors ‘live.’ I’m sure that the exhibition will raise great interest in Georgian society. We are also presenting an album detailing the life and creative work of Nikoladze with the support of our ministry and that of the Tbilisi City Hall Center of Cultural Events.” “We are celebrating the jubilee of an artist whose importance is irreplaceable in the history of Georgian culture,” Eka Kiknadze, curator of this rare and memorably exposition, said briefly. “I am sure that more and more spectators will come to see these works.” On display are a series of busts of Shota Rustaveli, Petre Melikishvili and Galaktion Tabidze; imposing, made in marble, stone and gypsum. And an exquisite series of women: ‘Dancer,’ ‘Parisian Woman,’ and ‘Naiada.’ While studying in France, Nikoladze took part in fulfilling the orders of Rodin, among which is the portrait of D’Oreville, which Rodin liked so much that he decided to make not one change to the face. ‘The Wind’ is one of Nikoladze’s most impressive works, expressed in the form of a woman standing in windy weather, demonstrating plasticity, as do ‘Salome,’ ‘Dancer’ and ‘A Girl from the North.’ Following the establishment of the

10 Galaktion Street

Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Nikoladze led the Faculty of Sculpture and worked with students until the end of his days. As the students remember, he constantly repeated the words which he was told by Rodin: Work as you sing, but more loudly! The exhibition ‘Iakob Nikoladze 140’ showcases artworks, photos, documentary and memorial material from the various establishments: the Georgian National Museum Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts, the Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum, the National Archives of Georgia, the Georgian State Museum of Theater, Music, Cinema and Choreography, the Giorgi Leonidze State Museum of Georgian Literature as well from numerous private collections. WHERE: Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery, 11 Rustaveli Ave. Tbilisi WHEN: Until February 28, 2017

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



DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016


BI Auction for Georgian Artists BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


t was Bengu Akcardak Kucuk and Ika Bokuchava’s idea to organize the BI Auction for Arts last year to feature some of Georgia’s bestknown artists. Following that first successful attempt, they decided to do it again in 2016 with a massive exhibition prior to the art auction itself. The exhibition will showcase works by Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani, Merab Abramishvili, Sergo Kobuladze, Zurab Nijaradze, Temo Gotsadze, Irakli Parjiani. GEORGIA TODAY met with the organizers to talk about how they came up with the idea of the auction and more generally on the art market in Georgia. Bengu: My husband and I are both lovers and collectors of art. So, we were very excited with the opportunity to live and work in Tbilisi! We had heard that Tbilisi was a city of art but when we came here we didn’t particularly feel that way. Although there was an artistic spirit to the city, visible in its culture, history and architecture, there was a great lack of information on Georgian artists especially for foreigners. We couldn’t find reliable pricing, or any organization that could provide that information for us. That’s when the idea of creating an art auction came to me. Initially, it was regarded as something very difficult and even crazy to do, but I didn’t hold back. I prepared a project and made a presentation, but lots of people thought the timing to realize it wasn’t good because the market wasn’t ready. The thing is, all my life I’ve been

surrounded by works of art. My family had a collection from Turkey and abroad, and throughout my career, while working at Turkey’s biggest companies in the sector (Sabancı Group, Manajans JWT) I also had the chance to be connected with artworks. I had my first auction experience 20 years ago abroad, then I followed all the major art auctions in Istanbul and it was a great opportunity to learn how it all works. I met with Ika (Ika Bokuchava) last year in Tbilisi and shared my wish to make an art auction of Georgian Artists and that’s how our cooperation was born. Ika has a wonderful understanding and knowledge of Georgian art and the art market; she is a great collectioner and she owns an art gallery, so she is really very active in the field. I felt we had to do something for Georgian art and artists.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ART AUCTION? Ika: The auction is beneficial both for artists and buyers and we give buyers the freedom to make a choice. We want to show the best collection of Georgian paintings from classics to contemporary. At our first auction we had such big names as Ketevan Magalashvili, Lado Gudiashvili, Elene Akhvlediani, Mose Toidze, and Levan Tsutskiridze. We are thankful to the galleries and artists for their support. I think Bengu and I make a good tandem, learning from each other’s opinions, sometimes arguing, discussing- but all as a very healthy process. Bengu is so motivated, so engaged, she already knows so much about Georgia and her life is connected to arts; that’s what made me agree to do our auction project.

WHAT PROBLEMS CAN YOU HIGHLIGHT WITH REGARDS TO THE ARTS MARKET IN GEORGIA? Ika: The market has to grow and the demand will increase accordingly… There must be more galleries and artists collaborating with each other. Bengu: I think people should be more oriented towards the future. Participating in an art auction gives the opportunity for the buyers to find good art pieces by learning and comparing- and it’s good for artists’ careers, for their promotion.

Artists shouldn’t spend their time and energy on finding ways to sell their works; they must use their talent to create better and better pieces. We put enormous effort into finding pieces to offer. We select portfolios very carefully. We’re not in a rush… we want to do it step by step. I’m deeply impressed by how much Georgians know about art, because they grew with it around them, at home… many paintings are kept in private collections. We’re trying to attract Georgian art collectors, presenting them the best

pieces we can show. Our goal is to develop and expand a reliable art market in Georgia and we also want to attract a new generation of buyers not only from Georgia but from abroad. We want to get Georgian artists into the spotlight and to support them. Owning a piece of art is a fantastic and an amazing journey; it brings value to our life. A good piece of art is a good investment which you can not only pass to the next generations, but also evaluate. Art, music…culture brings color to life.




DECEMBER 2 - 5, 2016


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 44 66 December 3, 4 THE FIREBIRD Choreographer: Mikhail Fokine Les Sylphides, Firebird and Le Spectre de la Rose Three one-act ballets Music by Igor Stravinsky Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge December 4 DIVORCE Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 8 GEL GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 December 2 SONNETS William Shakespeare Directed by Davit Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL December 3 LUARSABI Ilia Chavchavadze Directed by Luka Chkhaidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 December 2 THE FROZEN IMAGES Kristian Smeds Directed by Jari Juutinen Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL December 3 THE PLAYERS N. Gogol

Directed by Giorgi Margvelashvili Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL

Garfield, Luke Bracey Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 19:15, 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

December 4 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Directed by David Yates Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Ron Perlman Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 13:15, 16:15, 19:15, 22:15 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 December 2 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL December 3 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL December 4, 8 AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 December 2 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Admission CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari December 2-8 HACKSAW RIDGE Directed by Mel Gibson Cast: Teresa Palmer, Andrew

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS Directed by Anna Foerster Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Bradley James Genre: Action, Horror Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:05 Ticket: 10-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL December 1-8 MOANA Directed by Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams Cast: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES Directed by Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot Genre: Action, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 22:25 Ticket: 13-14 GEL ARRIVAL Directed by Denis Villeneuve Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 11:45 Ticket: 8-9 GEL HACKSAW RIDGE (Info Above) Start time: 14:20, 17:15, 22:20 Ticket: 11-12 GEL

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS (Info Above) Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Info Above) Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases money circulation on the territory of Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY" The exhibition showcases preChristian and Georgian medieval art June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” Held in the frame of the international conference “On Salt, Copper, and Gold: The Origins of Early Mining and Metallurgy in the Caucasus” September 27 – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION "STONE AGE GEORGIA" November 28 – December 4 EXHIBITION A WEEK WITHIN OTAR IOSELIANI'S WORLD The exhibition showcases 50 drawings from the Ioseliani’s private archives that have never been exhibited to the public before. At the exhibition also displayed is the storyboard of the film "Falling Leaves" ("Giorgobistve") handillustrated by the director himself. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia.

AND "EAGLE SEIZING A HARE" ON DISPLAY Both paintings were in the ownership of Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich until 1930 when Dimitri Shevardnadze bought part of their collection (39 paintings) including the above. September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM Kept by the TsitsishviliGedevanishvili family from 1949 until 2011, the painting has never been exhibited to the public before. In 2011, the artwork left Georgia and was sold at Sotheby's auction. It appeared at the same auction again in 2016 where it was bought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Fund and donated to the Georgian National Museum. November 29 - January 28 (2017) EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 140TH ANNIVERSARY OF IAKOB NIKOLADZE In 1906-1908 Nikoladze worked with the greatest sculptor of modernity, Auguste Rodin. Despite a number of suggestions to work in Europe and America, Nikoladze brought his experience gained with Rodin to Georgia and founded the school of sculpture in his home country. FABRIKA Address: 8 E. Ninoshvili Str. November 18 – December 18 BRIAN GRIFFIN EXHIBITION 'MOTHER GEORGIA' FOR COMME DES GARCONS ESTIA Address: 60 Tsinamzgvrishvili Str. December 7 ANETA BASISHVILI’S EXHIBITION GALLERY VERNISSAGE Address: 7 Br. Zubalashvilebi St. Telephone: 2 99 88 08 November 25 – December 5 TAMUNA MELIKISHVILI’S EXHIBITION FRAGMENTS MUSIC

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 December 6 ENSEMBLE IALONI "Ialoni" a Georgian traditional woman's choir, introducing Georgian folk, chant and urban music Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 5-12 GEL J. KAKHIDZE CENTER


THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Works by distinguished 20th century Georgian artists- Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 PIROSMANI’S "YARD CLEANER"

December 4 VAKHTANG KAKHIDZE AND GIORGI MIKADZE The orchestra will perform Igor Stravinsky’s suite from the ballet “Firebird”, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for piano and orchestra and suite from the opera “Porgy and Bess” and The piano concerto of Vakhtang Kakhidze. Start time: 19:30 Ticket: From 10 GEL




50th Anniversary of Iosseliani’s Falling Leaves



n November 28, the Georgian National Museum Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia hosted the opening of the exhibition ‘A Week within Otar Iosseliani's World.’ The exhibition showcases 50 of Iosseliani's drawings from his private archives, never before exhibited to the public. Also on display is the storyboard of the film ‘Falling Leaves’ (Giorgobistve) hand-illustrated by the director himself. The exhibition is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the film. “Today, no one else works as I do,” Iosseliani laments. “A storyboard of shots, a sketch of the camera movement – everything is significant. In order to avoid spending too much time thinking how and what to shoot, I prepare everything beforehand.” The exhibition is organized by the International film festival ‘Kinovino.’ “By holding this exhibition, which coincides with the anniversary of ‘Falling Leaves,’ our film festival has demonstrated its respect towards Otar Iosseliani and to good cinema in general,” Nino Kacharava, Art-Director of International Film Festival Kinovino, told GEORGIA TODAY. “This is a miraculous journey into his world. And we will by all means pay tribute to other films as well in our festival ‘Kinovino,’ which is something

of a retrospective.” We spoke to Baadur Tsuladze, a director and actor who participated in the film Falling Leaves. He remembered the working process of the genius: “Otar and I studied together. One day, he suggested I take part in this movie and I ageed. He was highly organized and was particularly quick with the working process. And he never stopped because he knew exactly what he was shooting. He had very strict discipline!” “The beginning of 1960s was a period in the history of Georgian cinematography which saw a new era and generation of directors emerging who said no to that aggression that was so accepted and legalized during Soviet rule,” said Merab Kokochashvili, top Georgian film director and artist. “Considering this, Otar Iosseliani represents one of those Georgian film directors who found his own way to illustrate the whole Soviet system. His principle was to tell the whole truth, enriched with irony and sarcasm. This exhibition depicts his preparatory working process through sketches and it offers very interesting material for young people to learn from.” Iosseliani graduated the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and went on to study mathematics, but eventually ended up as one of the most prominent film directors of the globe. ‘Giorgobistve’ was the first feature film of the Georgian-French film-maker. The film is about wine making. There is no room for principles, however, young



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mako Burduli



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

idealist Nico does not think so… He, together with his quite different friend Otar, begins working at the wine factory. There is a concrete schedule and the workers have to stick to it. However, Nico’s honest nature does not permit him to pour such low-quality wine in bottles in order to make the annual quota. He still mixes the gelatin with wine to make it better, even though he has been warned that it takes time and they are lagging behind. However, in spite of the Soviet pressure, Nico is loved by everyone in the factory. The film is structured in terms of different days of the week. Because of his disobedience, it is likely that Nico will be fired. Yet, the director of the factory instead fires everyone but he who did not betray his homeland – like Nico’s friend Otar did for the benefit of his own career inspirations. The excellent direction and acting (starring deceased Ramaz Giorgobiani as Nico and Gogi Kharabadze as Otar) made the film one of Iosseliani’s masterpieces of world cinema. In 1968, the picture won the George Sadoul Prize and in 1976, won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Otar Iosseliani, who is 82, shot his last movie ‘Winter Song’ in 2015, in which his indelible aesthetical strength is present, resembling music and poetry. It was screened during last year’s Tbilisi International Film Festival ‘Prometheus.’ Get online and check it out! WHERE: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, 3 Rustaveli Ave.

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison, Natia Liparteliani

Photographer: Giorgi Pridonishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #901  

December 2 - 5, 2016

Issue #901  

December 2 - 5, 2016