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Issue no: 995

• NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017


In this week’s issue...


H&M to Open its First Georgian Branch

ON DOING BETTER BUSINESS Georgia celebrates its move to 9th place of 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business 2018 ranking




French Ambassador: We Stand Beside Georgia POLITICS PAGE 4

From Words to Action: The UN Sustainable Development Goals Forum BUSINESS PAGE 10

Georgian Prime Minister & President of Estonia Open Golf Complex in Tbilisi SOCIETY PAGE 14

9875 Georgians Violate Rules of Visa-free Regime with EU in 7 Months BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia’s Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration said that in the period of March 28 - October 20, 9875 Georgian citizens of a total 167,885 violated the rules of the visa-free regime with the European Union (EU) and did not come back to Georgia after the permitted maximum three-month stay in the Schengen Area. Georgia's official agencies are unaware how many of the 9875 citizens stayed in the Schengen Area and how many moved to a third country in accordance with the visa-free rules. The number of violators is around 6.1% of the total Georgians who visited the EU in the given period. 1278 citizens of Georgia above the age of 71 years and 4299 citizens under the age of 7 years enjoyed the visa-free regime in the Schengen Area in the past seven months. The Ministry said that 4299 citizens aged 0-7, 8909 citizens aged 8-17, 19,489 citizens aged 18-25, 17,752 citizens aged 26-30, 28,597 people aged

31-40, 18,052 people aged 41-50, 11,836 citizens aged 51-60 and 5,164 citizens aged 61-70 traveled to the Schengen Area in the abovementioned period. In addition, according to the data, 61,747 of the Georgian travelers to the EU were women and 53,587 were men. The data also says that 324 citizens of Georgia have been refused entry the Schengen Area since the activation of the visa-free regime, sent back from the border of Italy – 60 Georgians, followed

by Greece (56), Poland (53), Cyprus (49), Hungary (33 citizens), Germany (26), Lithuania (15), The Netherlands (12), Belgium (9), France (3), Sweden (3), Switzerland (2), Estonia (2) and Spain (1). According to the statistical data, most of the people who were sent back were men. Archil Talakvadze, the leader of the Georgian Dream (GD) parliamentary majority, says that nothing threatens Georgia’s visa-liberalization regime with the EU and that risk management mechanisms were agreed in advance. He called on the Georgians to observe the rules of visa-liberalization. “Now that we have such a level of support from Europe and we can travel there without visas, the responsibility of each our citizens should be even higher. It is important to respect this trust and observe the rules envisaged by the visa-free regime,” he stated. In case of violations such as staying in the EU longer than 90 days, the Georgian side will inform the relevant EU country, after which joint efforts will be made to return the offending citizens to Georgia. Along with deportation, people who violate the visa-free regime will have to pay a €3,000 fine and will be banned from entering the Schengen Area for 5 years.

The Power of a Duet: World Ballet Stars at Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Theater CULTURE PAGE 17

Georgia to Play Canada, Wales & USA This Month SPORTS PAGE 19




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

New Standards to Be Introduced in Georgian Kindergartens from 2018 BY THEA MORRISON

H&M to Open N its First Georgian Branch BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


&M, a well-known Swedish international retailer, will officially open its first ever store in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on November 18 at the new shopping center ‘Galleria Tbilisi’ on Liberty Square. It is set to span over three floors of approximately 3,000 square meters. The opening ceremony of the famous brands store is to be celebrated by a pre-opening countdown, with one of

top Georgian DJ’s performing. When the doors open at 12 noon, there will be special offers for customers, who will be able to get a 20% discount off purchases. The first three customers in the queue on the day of the opening will be awarded with 200 GEL, 100 GEL and 50 GEL giftcards, while the first 1,000 people in line will receive 30 GEL gift cards each. “We hope to exceed customers’ expectations with our varied range of inspiring fashion, that lets them explore and develop their personal style,” said Claudia Oszwald, Manager for H&M Austria, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

ew standards will be introduced in Georgian kindergartens from next year that envisage raising the qualification of teachers, improving the quality of pre-school institutions and raising the quality of children’s education. “With the development and implementation of new educational standards, in 2-4 years, we will have public and private kindergartens of international standards across the country,” Head of the Tbilisi Kindergarten Management Agency, Temur Tordinava, stated. The "Early Preschool and Education Law" adopted in 2011 includes a commitment to elaborate a number of technical regulations and standards. The new standards were approved by the Government of Georgia on October 27, 2017, in order to improve the quality of education in pre-school institutions. The Head of the Tbilisi Kindergarten Management Agency stated that from the next year, kindergarten teachers will have the status of educator-teacher in pre-school institutions. He explained that the status of the educator-teacher is higher than that of care-giver. Up to 2500 teachers are working in public kindergartens in Tbilisi at

Photo source: kids.org.ge

present and while he recognizes that not all of them will be able to gain the status of educator-teacher, all will undergo training. Tordinava underlined that from September 1, 2024, only those with higher education will be allowed to work in preschool education institutions. At present, it is not necessary to have higher education to work as a teacher in kindergarten. “Those employees who undergo the relevant trainings and receive enough points, will be granted the status of educator-teacher and will be allowed to continue teaching in kindergartens,” he added. Moreover, according to Tordinava, from 2018 both private and public kindergartens will need to be officially authorized. “When all kindergartens in the country

undergo the authorization process, we will have a real picture as to whether private and public gardens satisfy the proper conditions. After that, the relevant measures will be taken," he said, adding that kindergarten authorization may not begin until 2020. Reforms should also be implemented in the regions so that the children have the same services throughout the country. “The introduction and development of new standards requires considerable financial and human resources. The implementations of these standards will be mandatory in private and public kindergartens," Tordinava concluded. Today, 171 kindergartens are under the control of Tbilisi Kindergarten Management Agency. A total of 61,500 children go to pre-school institutions in the capital.

Estonian President Praises Reforms of Georgia BY THEA MORRISON

Georgian & Saudi Parliaments Discuss Stronger Cooperation BY THEA MORRISON


he Georgian Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, and the Speaker of Majlis Ash-Shura of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, agreed to intensify cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries at a meeting held in Tbilisi on November 1. The parties discussed bilateral relations and high rank exchange visits. According to Kobakhidze, Saudi Arabia is a strategically important country for Georgia, as both countries are allies. The Speakers discussed cooperation in various directions, including economic relations. According to the Arabian guest, Georgia, with its opportunities, is an interesting country for investors. They also underlined that cooperation shall further be developed in the tourism field as well. The parties touched upon the current situation in the region, as well as security challenges. Speaker of Saudi Arabia Majlis confirmed his support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

After the meeting, the Speakers made joint statements. According to Kobakhidze, the visit of his Arabian counterpart is another step towards enhancing friendship and cooperation between the countries, where the Parliamentary Friendship Groups play a key role. “Georgia considers trade and economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia as a priority. We have far better potential to enhance cooperation, and I hope that bilateral relations will further be intensified,” Kobakhidze stated. Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh agreed, saying that on a parliamentary level, much more can be done for the development of relations between the two countries. “We do our best to enhance relations, and we aim to learn what Georgia needs from us. We achieved a high level of economic relations. Firstly though, we will enhance cooperation in tourism,” he stated. The President of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, also hosted the Speaker of Saudi Arabia. Conversation at the meeting touched upon the intensification of bilateral and sectoral cooperation between Georgia and Saudi Arabia and advancing trade-economic cooperation.


he President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, stated that in terms of reforms, Georgia is the leader in the Eastern Partnership. Kaljulaid made the statement at a joint press conference with the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, while paying her first official visit to the Georgian capital Tbilisi on October 31. “Georgia's EU integration process is developing. Georgians can now travel to the EU without visas. This is a great achievement. It clearly shows that the reforms have very clear results and benefit each citizen,” the Estonian President said. “Georgia confirms that the Eastern Partnership is very valuable for the European Union. Estonia supports Georgia’s European aspirations and its membership with NATO,” she added. She also thanked Georgia for taking part in various peacekeeping missions to defend global security. “It is very important to continue reforms in the security and defense sector. We will support your cyber-defense and NATO compatibility in order to help you get closer to your NATO,” she added. The Estonian President also expressed concern over the developments in Georgia’s occupied territories. While in Georgia, she visited the occupation line to meet the locals who face occupation on a daily basis. President Kaljulaid underlined that Georgia is the priority partner for Estonia, adding that every year Estonia supports approximately €1 million worth projects in Georgia. At present, 27 pro-

jects are underway. “I hope that within this visit we will discover new ideas on how to use these projects to meet your needs. The development of democracy and civil society and promotion of your country is the main goal of our bilateral cooperation,” she told the Georgian people. Margvelashvili thanked Kaljulaid for supporting Georgia and for developing the mutual relationship. “Estonia is a very serious supporter of Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration and is a country that is very accurate in supporting Georgia's territorial integrity, our sovereignty, non-recognition of occupation and the safe return of IDPs,” Margvelashvili stated. He noted that this year the two countries are celebrating 25 years since establishing diplomatic ties and, next year, both will mark the 100th anniversary

since Georgia and Estonia gained their independence. Earlier on Tuesday, the two presidents held a face-to-face meeting and spoke about Georgia’s European and EuroAtlantic aspirations. Margvelashvili stressed that Kaljulaid actively raises the topic of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity while addressing all relevant forums. Afterwards, the presidents signed a joint declaration devoted to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Georgian-Estonian diplomatic relations. “We affirm our determination to further deepen and diversify our partnership to ensure democracy stability and prosperity in our respective countries and on the European continent,” the declaration reads. Estonian President concluded her visit to Georgia on November 2.




Georgia in Top 10 of 'Doing Business 2018' BY THEA MORRISON


eorgia has significantly improved its position in World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 (DB 2018) report, coming in at 9th place of 190 countries, improving its position by 7 points. Previously, Georgia was in the 16th position. In DB 2018, Georgia's score improved by 2.12 points to reach 82.04 points. The DB 2018 Top 10 list is as follows: 1. New Zealand 2. Singapore 3. Denmark 4. Korea 5. Hong Kong, China 6. US 7. Great Britain 8. Norway 9. Georgia 10. Sweden In 2018, Georgia came ahead of countries such as Sweden, Macedonia, Estonia, Finland, Australia, Taiwan (China), and Latvia, compared to the previous year. According to DB 2018, Georgia's rating has improved in the following 5 indicators: 1. Starting Business - 4th place (8th place in 2017) 2. Getting electricity - 30th place (39th place in 2017) 3. Protecting minority investors - 2nd place (7th place in 2017)

4. Enforcing contracts - 7th place (16th place in 2017) 5. Solving insolvency - 57th place (106th place in 2017). Compared to the Doing Business 2013 report (which was published in 2012), this year Georgia has improved its position by 14 points and the rating has improved in the following six indicators: 1. Starting Business - 4th place (7th place in 2013) 2. Getting electricity - 30th place (50th place in 2013) 3. Protecting minority investors - 2nd place (19th place in 2013) 4. Enforcing contracts - 7th place (30th place in 2013) 5. Solving insolvency - 57th place (81st place in 2013). 6. Paying taxes – 22nd place (33rd place in 2013) Mercy Tembon, Regional Director of the World Bank in the South Caucasus, said that Georgia is the top reformer in the region of Europe and Central Asia, which contributes to accelerating its inclusive and sustainable development. The ‘Doing Business 2018 - Reforming to Create Jobs,’ a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 15th in a series of annual reports measuring the reg ulations that enhance business activity, and those that constrain it.

Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and over time. DB measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business:

starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. DB also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking. Data in Doing Business 2018 are current as of June 1, 2017.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

French Ambassador: We Stand Beside Georgia BY MAKA LOMADZE


n October 27, the French Embassy in Georgia and Georgia’s French Institute held a concert dedicated to the creativity of Olivier Messiaen to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Georgia. The Georgian ensemble of modern music, ‘Georgia Modern,’ and Rezo Kiknadze, Rector of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire, were the performers in the big hall of the aforementioned premises. The meeting was opened by the greeting speech of Ambassador of France to Georgia, H.E. Pascal Meunier, followed by those of the Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and the Tbilisi Conservatoire Rector. The Ambassador noted that there have always been special relations between the two countries. He mentioned Alexander Dumas, from whose texts about Georgia many other writers and travelers from France became interested in discovering this country, and who themselves went on to share numerous positive impressions as a result of their visits to Georgia. “Georgia has overcome many difficulties in its history, but it has never stopped fighting for freedom,” he said, adding that Georgia’s aspiration to the free and democratic world has always been obvious, and was awarded by the Associated Agreement in 2014 and visa-free regime

with the EU last spring. “There are a lot of common points between France and Georgia,” the French diplomat told GEORGIA TODAY. “The major common point is the fight for independence. The second is that France has always been beside Georgia in difficult moments - in 1921, when our country respectfully received the Socio-Democratic Government of Georgia which was obliged to go into exile, and in 2008, during the August conflict with Russia. Georgia [too], has always been beside France in difficult periods, such as the Afghanistan War and, recently, in Central Africa. France has a very strong commitment to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. This was shown yesterday by Florence Parly, Minister of Armed Forces of France, who met Mr. Izoria, [Georgian Defense Minister]. France does not want to isolate Russia from Europe, but we want a firm dialogue with Russia, which occupies its place in the global commonwealth. We are very demanding from Russia in terms of its international commitments. We are very proud that next year, Georgia will mark the 100th anniversary of creation of the First Republic. We are happy that Georgia has decided to pay tribute to France in 2018. We intend to have many visits from France in the political, economic and cultural fields. Our cooperation is very intense in a lot of fields. We want to open a FrancoGeorgian University, hopefully next year,” the Ambassador concluded. Speaking about the traditionally friendly

Pascal Meunier and Mikheil Janelidze; ‘Georgia Modern’

relations between the two countries, Mikheil Janelidze highlighted France’s role in recognizing the First Democratic Republic of Georgia. “One of the clearest examples of France’s 25-year partnership with Georgia is the return of the Le Ville estate to Georgia,” he said, going on to thank the French Government for its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for its European and Euro-Atlantic integration path. He highlighted the close co-operation between the two countries in the areas of economy, trade, investment, defense, education, culture and agriculture. “On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of restoration of friendly and diplomatic relations between Georgia and France, the Bordeaux Center for Wine

and Civilizations is hosting an exhibition titled ‘Georgia – Cradle of Wine,’ which has already been visited by over 33,000 visitors. Georgia is an honorary host of the Wine Civilization Museum, which is essentially important in terms of promoting not only Georgian wine internationally but also for the success of the country,” the Foreign Minister noted. Rezo Kiknadze, Rector, also thanked France for its support. “Our bilateral cooperation counts decades. I remember the most dramatic point when Sulkhan Saba Orbeliani, our writer, went to France on a special mission to make those relations even more intense. Our contribution is very important, as we know that culture is of paramount importance in politics as well as in the lives of humans,” Kiknadze said, whose work ‘Prelude a la Fin’ opened

the celebratory concert. Subsequent to that, Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ for violin, cello, piano and clarinet was performed, the piece that the composer wrote when he was a prisoner in the German jail during the Second World War. Then, ‘Georgia Modern’ performed ‘Crystal Liturgy’, ‘Vocalize, for the Angel who announces the end of time’, ‘Abyss of birds’ for solo clarinet, ‘Interlude’ for violin, Cello and clarinet, ‘Praise to the eternity of Jesus’ for cello and piano, ‘Dance and fury, for the seven trumpets’ for the full quartet, ‘Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time’ and ‘Praise to the immortality of Jesus,’ for violin and piano. The Georgian audience, which was also full of foreign diplomats, rewarded the musicians with a storm of applause.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

Celebrating Turkey’s 94th Birthday & the BTK Railway BY EMIL AVDALIANI


urkey celebrated its 94th birthday this week. The date was marked by a lavish ceremony in Tbilisi, with high-level politicians stressing how important Turkish-Georgian relations have been throughout the decades. In addition, the ceremony was also to bid an official farewell to the Turkish Ambassador Zeki Levent Gümrükçü who has completed his mission in Georgia. The Ambassador stated that the modern Turkish Republic was established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 192 3 by Ataturk. He further stressed that "this day is one of the happiest days for the Turkish people, important, too, for the entire region. Turkey is developing and going forward both economically and politically. It is an island of stability, development and democracy. We are happy to celebrate this day with our neighbors and friends

Turkey ranks the first biggest trade partner of Georgia with a bilateral trade volume of $1.33 billion in 2015-early 2016 - the Georgian people". Indeed, Georgia-Turkey relations could be described as exemplary in many ways. Turkey was one of the first to recognize the independence of Georgia (16 December 1991) after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries was signed on 21 May 1992. Since that time, the two countries have opened embassies in Tbilisi and Ankara. To date, Turkey has a Consulate General in Batumi, while Georgia has two Consulates General in Istanbul and Trabzon. Beyond that, Turkey and Georgia enjoy close cooperation on a wide range of areas from energy to trade and from economy to education and culture. Turkey ranks the first biggest trade partner of Georgia with a bilateral trade volume of USD 1.33 billion in 2015-early 2016.

LOOKING AT THINGS FROM A GEOPOLITICAL PERSPECTIVE The celebrations on the establishment of the Turkish Republic also coincided with another important

Turkey is an island of stability, development and democracy. We are happy to celebrate with our neighbors and friends the Georgian people

Turkey and Georgia enjoy close cooperation on a wide range of areas from energy to trade and from economy to education and culture event which was taking place on October 30th in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvrikashvili, at a ceremony to launch the first train on the newly built Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway stretching from the Caspian Sea port of Alat, south of the Azeri capital, Baku, to the city of Kars in eastern Turkey. The ceremony was also attended by the prime ministers of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The new project will play an important role in the geopolitics of the region as it will not only increase connectivity in the South Caucasus, but could potentially also embolden the land-locked Central Asian states to think about increasing their gas and oil exports to the European markets. The project opens a rail corridor connecting Central Asia with the European markets, through the South Caucasus region. This is also reflected in the inten-

tion behind the construction of the port at Alat in Azerbaijan, which is one of the largest in the Caspian Sea region, and which was specifically built to provide connections to Central Asia. An additional layer of geopolitical importance is added to the project when it is seen within the context of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The 826-kilometer railway will enable the delivery of cargo between China and Europe in approximately two weeks. Up to 8 million tons of cargo may be carried on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway by 2025. The opening of the railway is also a part of a big-

ger geopolitical process taking place in the region: the emergence of the Trilateral cooperation format between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan first launched in 2012. The three countries need one another amid volatile geopolitical problems in the entire region. Perhaps economic prosperity could serve as a basis for the much-troubled South Caucasus. As I have oft written in the past, the ongoing infrastructure projects spanning the entire South Caucasus will in fact produce a more stable region which has been traditionally characterized by separatist struggles and pressure from large foreign powers.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

Elections Are Over, Fear the Peace



lections are over, fear the peace. That’s about how we can describe the postelection period. Just two weeks have passed since the Georgian Dream’s victory and the old headache of the governmental party has been brought back: Georgian media started talking about Mikheil Saakashvili and his extradition from Ukraine. The years-long extradition ping-pong that started in Ukraine may well be approaching its logical end and soon we’ll be seeing the third President of Georgia in our homeland. The question, though, is where Saakashvili will reside: at home or in a prison cell? The Government under the Georgian Dream has addressed Ukraine with a letter asking for the extradition of Saakashvili for the fourth time. The first three were answered with a cold refusal. The Chief Prosecutor’s office of Georgia demanded Saakashvili’s extradition in February and April of 2015. The first refusal came from Official Kiev saying, “There is a risk of political persecution,” explaining it by the international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe, The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) adopted in 1950. At the time, President Poroshenko’s classmate held the status of the Advisor of the President of Ukraine and was responsible for creating a “team of reformers.” In May 2015, when the second letter from Official Tbilisi was sent, Saakashvili had Ukrainian citizenship and was Governor of Odessa. The third refusal was given just recently, this summer, when President Poroshenko was visiting Tbilisi. The Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine sent a refusal to their Georgian colleagues asking for more information on the evidence. Apparently, Tbilisi did sent the additional information just in line with the election “triumph” of the Georgian Dream. And so now, everything depends on President Poroshenko and his political taste. While arguing about the desires of the one who is about to be extradited might seem bizzare, political expert Gia Khukhashvili believes that today the political agenda in Tbilisi and Kiev still revolves around Saakashvili. “In the times of the current misunderstanding and dementia, which are well-planned by Saakashvili and to which his opponents can only react, it is still Saakashvili who creates the political agenda. Poroshenko is trying to hand over a minimum of

half the responsibility to the Georgian government, prevent the storm and lead the negative information flow towards the Georgian government. Saakashvili’s extradition is one big nightmare for the Georgian government,” Khukhashvili declared. Does Saakashvili want to be extradited to Georgia? At first, it sounds like a strange question, because obviously any normal person would prefer freedom to being imprisoned. Nevertheless, it all depends on the circumstances. So, to put it more correctly, in which case can it be politically profitable for Saakashvili to be sent to Georgia? This is the main rebus in this political equation. In light of the current political situation, Saakashvili’s extradition might equal to a complete political comeback for him! In the worst imaginable case though, even if he is sentenced to prison, found guilty of evading the justice system, all court processes will be turned into turbulent manifestos! Tbilisi City Court will be in the spotlight of CNN and BBC cameras, making it international news. Even more so as the discussions in court revolve around Saakashvili’s jackets and the so-called illegal dispersion of the demonstration some 10 years ago. Nor can we exclude the possibility that after extradition, the Georgian government might not be able to imprison Saakashvili and the latter might be visiting the courtroom from home. In any case, about 50 European MPs and 10 Senators from Washington could be found who by all means will speak for Saakashvili, therefore the risk that Saakashvili will find himself at home instead of the prison cell is quite high. “Imagine Saakashvili at the court hearing. Nobody knows what he’ll say and which hidden box from the period before 2012 he will open up. Even God almighty won’t be able to tell the truth from the lies,” said political expert Soso Tsintsadze. “Politically, this will be very unprofitable for our government. Especially in light of the growing distrust of the population towards State institutions. As little as about two ministers are left, who are not being asked to be brought to Parliament by the enraged opposition. This process with further shake that trust. It doesn’t matter whether the information is true or not, no one will be looking for the difference”. Where will the third president of Georgia find himself, in Kiev or Tbilisi? In his home under internal imprisonment or Matrosov’s prison cell? In any case, he will be that “revolutional bomb” to blow up the revolting masses, even if these are in a minority.

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Learning from the Past & Moving On



ew, if any, scholars can boast such vast, first-hand experience with the post-soviet space as Dr. Dennis Sammut, a foreign policy analyst with two decades experience working in the Caucasus Region under his belt. As a Director of LINKS (DialogueAnalysis-Research), Dr. Sammut visited Georgia yet again recently and found time to sit down with GEORGIA TODAY and Panorama TV Show to offer his perspective on Georgia’s geopolitical conundrum.

YOU’VE BEEN IN SOUTH CAUCASUS SINCE THE EARLY 90S I first came to Georgia in 1992, and I’ve come at least once a year since. Georgia has transformed. I remember being in this very hotel [Holiday Inn], in July 1994. It was a place where refugees had just arrived from the war in Abkhazia. And they kept 3 or 4 rooms for guests. On that occasion, I could see immediately the painful process of war and the impact refugees have made on Tbilisi, and on almost every community in Georgia. It’s been a long journey [for Georgia], it has been difficult, has had its tragic moments, has had its moments of glory; but now Georgia is on a different page. People need to learn lessons from past experiences, they should not be prisoners of the past. we really must ensure that both the debate within Georgia and between Georgia and the international community is a debate about the future. It’s a debate of how quality of life for the people can improve in the future. It is about how the democratic institutions of Georgia, that are still young and fragile, can be internalized in the system so we can be sure that what has been achieved cannot be lost by a single event or a single situation.

WHY DO YOU THINK THE GEORGIAN DREAM PARTY DOMINATED THE RECENT ELECTIONS? Since 2012, GD has dominated the political scene. In my view there are two important reasons that underpin it. One is that they offer a political system that is calm and aims not to allow surprises. I think the people of Georgia, after the 90s turbulence and the Rose revolution, entered into this phase of wanting calm, and they do not want to change this yet. The second is, it is very interesting how the GD has started to be a very wide political movement with people of very different ideological and political views. Although they lost part of the coalition alliance that they constructed in 2012, I think they maintain this broad image. Even I was surprised it lasted so long. But it has lasted. The main opposition remains a political movement that speared the Rose revolution in 2003. It is in two groups and I think neither of them have yet been able to articulate a new political agenda: they are still fighting yesterday’s one, and this is their problem. Some of the leaders, both in the UNM and European Georgia, understand this, and we see some attempts to move in this direction. But it needs to be faster if they really want to be ready for the next parliamentary elections.



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What we see in the world is a movement from ideological parties. But what has happened in Georgia is somewhat different. Firstly, you had laissez affaires under President Shevardnadze, and history

will perhaps judge him more kindly than the Georgian people have judged him up until now. He was here as the president at a very difficult time, and it was not easy for him to keep the country in some sort of organized way. President Saakashvili took over and needed to shake things up. In 2003, things were not going well. Of course, some people say he shook things up too much. At some point people got fed up. What happened in 2012 is that while there was a general consensus that there was a need to change the government, it was unknown exactly how to trigger a change of this kind, peacefully, not through rioting in the streets, but through the electoral process? This was incredibly difficult, thus what emerged in 2012 with GD, regarding Bidzina Ivanishvili, was a movement that, I would say, was a very genuine movement of people who wanted change but not through violence but electoral, constitutional processes. And this was achieved. I think to everybody’s credit - to Saakashvili, to Ivanishvili and everybody else in between. In 2012, the peaceful transfer of power was a defining moment for Georgia; and whatever happens, the moment Georgians said: ‘we are mature enough to do this in a proper way’, is going to be remembered forever.

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON SAAKASHVILI’S ONGOING LEGACY AND WHAT IS HIS FUTURE? Let me start from the last part of your question. It is a problem with politicians when they occupy the #1 position at a very young age. What do you do after that? You either move to an international institution or you do something completely different. I know no other person who chose the path that Saakashvili did – to change his citizenship and to be a politician in another country after being president of one country. So, it is odd. I have no idea what he’ll decide in the end. But certainly, if you have experience of being a head of state, you have to contribute something at least intellectually to humanity. If he decides that this Ukrainian initiative is not going to work, he may decide to spend his time contributing intellectually to the development of ideas around the world.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE RUSSIAN OPPOSITION? ON NAVALNY, SOBCHAK AND ON ALL THIS “ALTERNATIVE RUSSIA” IMAGE THAT THEY SEEM SO KEEN TO PROMOTE? Russia is always an important part of the story when you’re talking about Georgia or the Caucasus in general. You’re right in phrasing the question on Russia’s domestic politics. It is the most interesting part as it will impact on Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and on the whole region. What is going to happen next in Russian domestic politics? I’m not one of those who believes that Russia’s story of the last 10-15 years is solely according to Putin. Putin is only the tip of the iceberg, under Putin there is an iceberg and if we do not understand that, we will start with the assumption that once Putin is gone then the problem is gone and something else could happen that may be positive. I’m not sure about that. It is possible? I would say it is very difficult. These forces that are challenging Putin right now are heroic, not irrelevant and not insignificant. There is widespread support for them, especially among certain sections of Russian society. Whether this support is large enough to start really nibbling at the power base that Putin has set out on in the last 10-15 years, that is the big question. It will take time. There is a new generation of Russians that are questioning much more. Because in the end, despite all restrictions, Russia is a much more open society today when it was in the Soviet Union. Continued on page 9



Run-Offs to Be Held on November 12

Learning from the Past & Moving On Continued from page 8

FOR GEORGIANS, THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IS HOW THE YOUNG GENERATION WILL TREAT RELATIONS WITH ABKHAZIA AND SOUTH OSSETIA. IS THE NEW GENERATION OF RUSSIANS GOING TO RECONSIDER THE KREMLIN STANCE? They’ll not only have opinions on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, they’ll also have views on Russia’s imperial vision, and how they need to act in order to be safe. This is all about safety. Russia’s fear is that of its outside enemies, ready to intervene. Russia is the biggest country in the world, it’s a super power, it has nuclear weapons and so on and still has this fear. This is one of the most interesting factors in international relations.




he Central Election Commission (CEC) chair, Tamar Zhvania, stated on October 21 that local election run-offs will be held

on November 12. The second round will take place in one self-governing city - Kutaisi, and 5 self-governing communities: Martvili, Borjomi, Ozurgeti, Khashuri and Kazbegi. In all other mayoral races, except Tianeti, the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) won the elections. The opposition United National Move-

ment (UNM) party has refused to participate in the second round of the municipal elections. The decision was made at the meeting of the UNM political council in late October. The party claims that election environment was unfair, adding many violations were observed by them during the elections.


Yes. I always say that Russia is a key player, and needs to be involved in all matters. Russia needs to have a veto that Georgia and Ukraine can join NATO, and that they need a buffer zone around it. Of course, these are unacceptable things. But that Russia is a key international player and should be involved in the discussion of world problems, that I agree with. The young generation will question the future role of Russia in the world, and how we can be safe without independent nations trembling around it. So, that is a discussion I see coming up in the future. I’d like to make one point in regard to

Georgia’s population. Georgia needs to manage its relationship with Russia. Of course, a firm stand needs to be taken on certain issues, but there needs to be a process of engagement. Both on behalf of the government and the population in general. Georgians used to be fluent Russian speakers. This is a skill that’s been lost with the younger generation. And it is a big mistake.

SO, DO WE NEED MORE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE CLASSES? THAT’S NOT GOING TO SIT WELL WITH SOME OF OUR READERS Russia is always going to be Georgia’s biggest neighbor. It’s not going away. And you cannot put Georgia on wheels and take it to a different part of the world. So, managing relations with Russia is always going to be a challenge. And having people who can deal with Russians, who have language skills, who understand the culture, is useful. Georgians should not lose those skills because they will help in the process of developing a different basis for relations in the future. This may be a bit controversial because people see these things from the prism of the past, they were tools of oppression: the Russian language was pushed in some periods of Georgian history in the 20th century as a counter-balance to Georgian. Even as an alternative to the Georgian language. Of course, people will come to that conclusion, on what the Russian language symbolizes. We need to look at this from a 2017 point of view, and say, in this present moment, when Georgia needs to establish a new setup of engagement with Russia, it also needs people who are able to interact with Russia and Russians.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

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From Words to Action: The UN Sustainable Development Goals Forum BY MAKA LOMADZE


n October 31, representatives from 25 countries gathered in Tbilisi, for an international Forum ‘From Words to Action: Implementing SDG 16+ at the local and national level’ at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. From October 31 to November 2, the Forum discussed best policy and practice in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on SDG 16: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. “Georgia has been honored with the opportunity to host this important international event,� said Mikheil Janelidze, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. “This year marks the 25th anniversary of Georgia’s membership in the United Nations. Over this period, despite all difficulties, we have managed to transform our country from a UN humanitarian aid recipient to a model state that assumed the Open Government Partnership (OGP) chairmanship this year. Throughout the past decade, Georgia has achieved tangible progress in building strong state institutions and ensuring a free civil society, free media, free markets, social cohesion, and the rule of law. The global sustainable development agenda provides us with a great chance to consolidate our achievements, share our success and learn from each other’s experiences�. Head of the United Nations in Georgia, Niels Scott, stressed the role of international partnership and cooperation in achieving the SDGs. “The United Nations and UNDP globally lead in support to states to strengthen democratic governance and sustain peace towards achieving the SDGs. Our support helps build the capacity of governments to deliver, and provides them with essential tools for social engagement and effective delivery,� Scott said. The 16+ Forum Annual Showcase in Tbilisi

focused on a range of topics to ensure that the full breadth of Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies is featured during the discussions. Six plenary sessions, organized throughout the Forum, demonstrated the successes and challenges faced by the countries as they, in partnership with civil society, strive to improve governance, ensure rule of law, fight corruption, introduce innovation to public services, resolve conflict, and work towards sustaining peace. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was highlighted, as was opening civic spaces for accelerating national development. The participants discussed the experience of Georgia, the current OGP chair country, noting how the sustainable development agenda comes together with Open Government priorities. Forum participants also visited the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, Public Service Hall and customs clearance zone, and met with representatives of the Georgian media and civil society. “On behalf of the 16+ Forum, we are incredibly grateful to all our partners and particularly to Georgia, as our host and as a global leader in advancing the SDG 16+,� said Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of WFUNA. The Showcase was hosted by the Government of Georgia, the Administration of the Government of Georgia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice, in partnership with WFUNA and coorganisers and supporters: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Government of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), GIZ, Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Tetra Tech ARD and civil society partners: the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG). The 16+ Forum was launched in New York, USA in 2016.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

British Medical Journal Helping Georgian Doctors EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY ROBERT EDGAR, LONDON


e spoke to two representatives from the British Medical Journal (BMJ): Clinical Director of BMJ Learning and BMJ Best Practice, Dr Kieran Walsh, and Head of Strategic Partnerships for Global Health and Global Health Security, Mitali Wroczynski, both of whom discussed BMJ’s Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative to improve the detection, diagnosis and management of infectious diseases and dangerous pathogens, which supports efforts to prevent and contain future outbreaks in Georgia and across the region.

TELL US ABOUT THE INITIATIVE. HOW DID IT START? HOW IS IT IMPLEMENTED? MITALI WROCZYNSKI: The Initiative fits within the context of new and emerging diseases which are a big risk, not only in Georgia and the region, but g l o b a l l y. We ’ v e recently seen the emergence of Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and pandemic influenza and this program is all about making sure we can detect new infectious diseases as quickly as possible to prevent their spread, not only within the country; but outside of the country too. It began a couple of years ago with a training workshop we delivered jointly with the NCDC [National Center for Disease Control and Public Health in Georgia] to 20 to 30 healthcare professionals who work across public health

and infectious diseases. We introduced them to two of our products: BMJ Best Practice and BMJ Learning. BMJ Best Practice is a clinical decision support tool which helps doctors at the front-line when they’re assessing, diagnosing, and managing patients. Doctors can use it to check their clinical practice and decisions, or to answer any questions they may have while they’re seeing a patient. It’s a second opinion for doctors. The other resource we made available was BMJ Learning which contains about 800 online learning modules. Together, they cover about 95% of the most commonly presented conditions in primary and secondary care in Georgia. Our focus has been primarily on helping doctors and other healthcare professionals to better manage infectious diseases and dangerous pathogens that are capable of causing epidemics and pandemics. However, because of the breadth of our content, BMJ Best Practice and BMJ Learning will also help doctors across Georgia with non-communicable diseases. More broadly, they help people practise evidence-based medicine, and they support continuing medical education and professional development. KIERAN WALSH: Through the BMJ’s Clinical Decision Support Training Initiative, doctors can stay continually updated in their practice so they’re in line with the latest international guidelines. The BMJ offers practical help as well as evidence-based help: the content is based on the most recent scientific literature. Our focus is helping doctors to recognise, report, and refer patients with infectious diseases; from diseases that are common like hepatitis C and tuberculosis, to other diseases that can cause epidemics like influenza and anthrax. MW: This is a three’-year program and

it launched just over a year ago. Over the last year we’ve been focusing on engaging with healthcare professionals across Georgia to recruit as many people as possible onto the program. We have also been translating the content into Georgian and Russian.

VERY DIFFICULT, WE IMAGINE… MW: Yes. It’s very hard and Georgian is a beautiful but complex language, particularly the medical language: we’ve had to establish an English-Georgian medical glossary and dictionary. We will have translated about half of our content by the time we finish, which equates to about 5 to 6 million words.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT IT? MW: We’ve been working with a translation company and we have translation expertise in-house, but we’ve also been working with local clinicians whom we have trained as quality assurance editors to make sure the translation is of the highest possible quality.

secondary care and find out what they’ve been doing with them: how they’ve improved their practice; how they’ve spread the word to members of their team; how they’ve instituted quality improvement initiatives to help embed better practices within their institutions. We plan to do more and more of that in the future.

IT’S EARLY DAYS, BUT WHAT RESULTS HAVE YOU SEEN THUS FAR? MW: We have had feedback that people have improved the way that they diagnose respiratory diseases: that they’ve improved investigations into diseases like TB. We’ve had feedback that practice is improving, particularly relating to doctors following international guidelines. The first year is always focused on raising awareness: building up the number of people engaged in the program, and from there I think we can get more detailed impact evaluations.



KW: In terms of impact, we’re keen to provide more than just the resources on their own. We’re keen to follow up with individual doctors who are in primary or

MW: We were very privileged to have been invited to the Dialogue by the Ambassador of Georgia to the UK, Her Excellency Tamar Beruchashvili. We

participated in the people-to-people dialogue and for the first time, I believe, health was on the agenda. We gave an overview of the program and talked about the value that it can add not just to clinical practice, but also to medical education. Due to the fact that we will have the ability to show users the English-language and Georgian-language content side-by-side, one of the things it’s also doing is improving the English language skills of doctors in the country. This is a key priority of the British Council and was a topic of discussion at the Wardrop Dialogue; it is also a priority for the First Deputy Minister for Health of Georgia. Our program has received political support at the highest levels in the US, UK and Georgia; we hope that we can engage with more partners within Georgia, and really embed what we’re doing to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program; this will be our key focus going forwards

WHAT’S NEXT? Our priority is to make sure that the program is as sustainable as possible, so we want to find ways to integrate what we’re doing within the infrastructure of Georgia across medical education and clinical practice, and to find partners who will help us make it financially sustainable to continue the program beyond the initial three years. We’re actively looking for partnerships from anyone who has an interest in healthcare. Whether organizations are from the public or private sector, we’re interested to hear from people who share our goals for supporting healthcare professionals and improved clinical outcomes in Georgia: so please do get in touch.

CONTACT DETAILS: Mitali Wroczynski: mwroczynski@bmj. com Dr Kieran Walsh: kmwalsh@bmj.com

Iraq Announces Plans for Large-Scale Expansion of Oil Production BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


raq has announced plans for a large-scale expansion of oil production in the south of the country. According to Abdul Jabbar, Director General of the Basra Oil Company (BOC), by 2020, the company intends to raise production to 6 million barrels per day. BOC is a national Iraqi company responsible for oil in the south of Iraq. It is situated in Basra and is one of the major fundamental formations of the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC). It was the first nucleus and the basis of national direct investment projects in the 1970s, where the BOC was subsidiary to the national company. At the moment, around 4.5 million barrels per day are produced throughout Iraq, with production opportunities limited to the Vienna OPEC + deal. However, the total capacity of Iraqi oil production does not exceed 4.8 million barrels, of which about 4 million barrels fall to the southern fields. As such, within two years, BOC expects to increase production by 2 million barrels per day, though it is not clear just how the company is going to achieve

such impressive growth. After all, two years ago, analysts of the banking holding Morgan Stanley predicted not an increase, but a gradual decline in production in Iraq. In particular, according to the forecasts of expert Haizem Rasheed, the total Iraqi production in 2017 was to be 4.18 million barrels per day, in 2018 - 4.13 million barrels, and by 2020 to fall to 4.12 million barrels per day. Of course, the analysis of Morgan Stanley was based on the then crisis realities, and the production in the country today of more than 300 thousand barrels exceeds the long-term forecast of the bank. However, in general, Morgan Stanley adequately assessed the production capacity of Iraq. Even before the beginning of the price crisis, when the country had enough investment and the budget did not go to war with the ISIS group (banned in the Russian Federation), the bank predicted that in 2020 the production in Iraq would be 4.6 million barrels per day. If, then, analysts at Morgan Stanley did not see the prerequisites for an increase in production in the southern fields to 6 million barrels, why did BOC decide that it would be able to do so under the current conditions? After all, despite a slight increase in oil prices, investments in Iraqi extraction by no means flowed.




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

Georgian Prime Minister & President of Estonia Open Golf Complex in Tbilisi BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


resident of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, and Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, opened a new Golf Complex in Tbilisi this week. The premium class golf club 'The Tbilisi Hills' was created from a $20million investment from Estonian companies Skinest Rail, Kaamos Group and Go Group. “This demonstrates the successful cooperation between Georgian and Estonian businesses” Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said at the opening ceremony of the Golf Club. “It will be another demonstration of the excellent business climate in Georgia, and we’re very happy that this is an international project,” he noted, adding that the Golf Club was designed by Lassi Pekka Tilander, an acclaimed Finnish architect. “Our Estonian friends have already invested over $20 million in this project, and over the next five to seven years they plan to invest an additional $250 million on large scale infrastructure, including roads, energy and irrigation systems around the golf club, which will cover

more than 57 hectares of land,” the PM said, stressing that this will create new jobs as well as attract golf enthusiasts to Georgia from around the world. “It’s wonderful to be here on this important day. This goes to show that your country has a really positive economic environment,” said President Kaljulaid. “If this works well, it will act as a guarantee for other Estonian investors that this is the place to be, this is a place to come, this is a place to earn money,” she added. “It’s an international venture that is also symbolic; we’re all contributing, we also want to bring European partners with us to contribute to Georgia’s development, and this project works in that direction”. “I believe in the Georgian economic future, in Georgian civil society,IbelieveinGeorgia’s NATO aspirations. We wish you every success; Georgian businesses, Estonian businesses, and Georgia as a country,” Kaljulaid concluded.

The Talk of the Town: Sexual Harassment OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


he worldwide issue of sexual harassment has hit Georgia too, thankfully! The discussion of the problem was accidentally instigated here by the currently disputed case of one Hollywood luminary who was recently diagnosed with this pernicious malady of human society. The overall democratic environment; freedom of media, level of the feminist movement and protecting human rights in Georgia are certainly allowing for a hot discussion of any contemporary global issue, including sexual harassment. By the most commonplace definition, sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Let us put it this way: sexual harassment is bad, it hurts people, it needs to be fought and it has to be curbed. Having said this, let us also underline that what we hear via our media is not inclusive, to say the least. Probably, and hopefully, the conversational completeness of the issue is still on its way

to finally reach our newspaper pages and television screens. The problem is multisided with numerous angles and vectors, and it cannot be solved by one momentary wave of a magic wand. It is heartbreaking to admit that regardless of our efforts to humanize the world, it still remains relentlessly cruel and unforgiving; no matter how much and how persistently we try to equalize the members of human soci-

ety, it continues to defy egalitarianism; despite our endeavor to feminize the humankind, the world still wants to maintain its patriarchal rules of existence; and notwithstanding the severity of the law and the acquired veneer of civility, men and women around us are still prone to perpetuate their perverted ways and means. With the growth of human intellectual ability and the global enhancement

10 Galaktion Street

of standard of living, the dirt has not diminished – it has augmented as a matter of fact. The dirt is not going away. This is the way we the humans are. Sexual harassment is one of the persisting filthy sides of our life, but it does not seem to be plain one-way traffic, as it is often perceived. Biologically speaking, we are a bisectional society with a duo character, within which joint male-female exertion provides for procreation and the corollaries thereto. They say that the incidence of male aggression is higher in numbers than the female one against the opposite sex, but this does not change the nature of the issue: sexual harassment is a two-way street and it has to be discussed only from that viewpoint. Otherwise, we are going to be faced with the unfairness of the entire discourse and its presumable blunders too. Sexual harassment is an old topic in America, which has now overwhelmed the States. The wide popular discussion of the issue and its elevation to the level of law enforcement has done its job: it has definitely changed the human behavioral model, but it has not eliminated the male-female tendency to harass each other sexually; it has

only wrapped the harassment propensity in latency. People have simply learned how to behave to remain safe before the law and stay invulnerable when judged by society. The human nature and instincts remain untouched. We are simply learning new rules of interaction, and that’s not bad at all. Certainly, it is time for Georgia to be exactly like the rest of the world, which makes us readier for international coexistence and cooperation. We cannot be very different from others. And in case of sexual harassment, our attempt to eliminate the difference is something very timely and welcome. On the other hand, it would also make sense to eschew the overdoing and exaggerations we’ve seen in the Unites States. Get online and have a look at the headlines: ‘First-Grader Labeled a Sexual Harasser’ and read further: ‘In schools across the country, kids as young as three and four are now facing charges of sexual harassment that will stay with them permanently on their school records’. Proper legislative steps are probably inevitable to solve the problem of sexual harassment in Georgia, but staying away from sounding as weird as that might also be helpful to a certain extent.

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




British Author Launches Book 4 of Vampire Saga, Discusses Latest Book Set in Georgia BY TAMZIN WHITEWOOD


t has now become an annual tradition for author Katie Ruth Davies to launch a book in Georgia at Halloween, an event her growing fan base looks forward to from the moment they get to the last page of the previous book. “There are five books in the Blood Omen vampire saga,” Katie told us on the night of the launch this Halloween weekend, as she stood surrounded by fans clamoring for autographs. The event involved spooky decorations and live music by new jazz duet Daro and Tiko. “I was happy to see so many fans here tonight, and I know so many more wanted to come. It’s a hazard of having a teenage audience, because their parents still dictate their lives so much!” [laughs] “We had a lot of fun: a quiz, Halloween make-up, cake and music. It was nice to have a chance to meet my fans face-toface, though we’re often in touch on Facebook, talking about their favorite characters and the story”. We asked Katie about her series, and why it appeals so much to teen fans in Georgia. “It was one of the first vampire sagas to be translated into Georgian, even before The Vampire Diaries. Translator Ana Chichinadze has done a great job bringing the stories over from English. What fans love most is that the story pulls them in right from the start: they feel like they’re part of the plot and can relate to and sympathize with the characters.” “This is a fantasy series, and one I’ve been obsessed with since it first came

out,” said Giorgi Muzashvili, 17, fan of the saga and editor of Blood Omen 4. “The fourth is the best in the series so far. I started reading in May, when I should’ve been busy preparing for my exams. I wanted to read and edit it gradually, but as soon as I opened it, I got lost in the story. When I finished two days later, I was sitting speechless for ages,” he told GEORGIA TODAY. “Of course, the previous books were just as incredible, but this one was more than a book: the twists in the story totally changed my attitude towards the characters. The Blood Omen Saga is made up of many genres; mythology, fantasy, romance… and in the fourth book we also see some

elements of sci-fi”. Katie started writing the Blood Omen Saga when she lived in Barcelona 12 years ago, though the plot happens in the UK. Ten years since moving to Georgia, however, she found inspiration in her new home. “The fifth and last book of the Blood Omen Saga will come out in Georgian next year. In the meantime, I’m working on a two-book series dedicated to my established and new Georgian fans. Dark Wings is set in Georgia and sees a typical Tbilisi teen, whose mother is English and father Georgian, having to confront the supernatural world of angels and demons, but, like the Blood Omen vam-

pires, the characters are so believable that it hardly seems like fantasy at all,” Katie tells us. The first of the Dark Wings series, ‘Angel’, is already being distributed in the UK by MTA Publications and Central Books. Katie says she plans a big launch in the UK next spring, particularly among the Georgian Diaspora there. “I want to use the UK-Georgian connections as a base-point,” she says. “Teens can learn a lot about Georgia from the Dark Wings books- food, dance, language, landscape, but in the kind of urban fantasy setting that young adults around the world can relate to. I want to give something back to this beautiful country and

to my fans here and, as writing is my passion, this is one way I can do it”. The author continues to promote her vampire books in Georgia, presenting in schools and staying active on social media, the “best way to reach teens here”. She occasionally meets uncertainty from school directors when pupils ask them for permission to invite her to their schools. This is usually for religious reasons or because, as Katie says, “they have the mistaken belief that children should be encouraged to read nothing but classics and academia”. Katie herself is clear on her position in that regard: “My kids will be allowed and encouraged to read a balance of material, as long as they ARE reading. Inspiration is a great tool for the mind and is something that I’m hoping the Georgian education system will increasingly encourage in its pupils. My eldest daughter’s school didn’t even have a library. I called on my friends and acquaintances and collected over 700 books in six weeks. It’s something every community can do for their local school. Though, then the teachers need to actively encourage the children to use the library effectively and the children themselves to get reading!” Katie’s presentation of her new book was met with delight from her large array of fans. Aptly named ‘the hottest new author to look out for’, we have little doubt that Katie’s books will continue to increase in popularity with the teen population not just in Georgia, but in the UK too. You can find the Blood Omen Saga in English on amazon.com and the Georgian version (ვამპირული ომები) in most good Georgian bookshops. Dark Wings can be bought online from mtapublications.co.uk




NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017

Powerless: Svaneti



h good, now that those pesky local council elections are over, we can get back to normal life. The electricity cut off in my village seven times today. And it’s not even

winter yet! Do you know what that’s like? You have no idea when it’s coming back, though of course you can call the electricity guy or the village mayor to see if they know anything or can do anything. But usually you just wait: stoke the wood stove to keep warm, dim the laptop screen to save battery time, cook either on the stove or on a gas burner (bottled, of course, not piped). Try to run a guest house in these conditions, though. Best to do what some NGO friends of mine did in Tbilisi’s bad, dark Shevardnadze years. They had a separate small building for the house generator, which was always kept full of fuel, and kicked in quickly enough in a power outage that even one’s desktop computer (remember those?) would not miss a beat. There must have been a house-scale voltage stabilizer as well, of course, to keep that electricity not only on, but smooth! It’s been off very frequently these last weeks, embarrassingly so, elections or no, I have to say. AND it’s not even winter yet! Often enough, when it comes back, you’re not even that glad, because cynically you think, how long until it goes again? If anything will erode one’s will to stay in these beautiful but faraway mountains, this will do it (assuming that the lawlessness itself doesn’t return). Yes, the electricity in Upper Svaneti has been free from before I arrived here nearly two decades ago! But when it’s unstable in level, or cuts in and out so often, you’re told not to complain. Because replacing the aging local transformers will be expensive enough that your new, regular power will no long be free. So, you shut up, grit your teeth, and dream about a fundraising campaign to replace the old stuff while keeping the juice free. Stock up on candles, or those new solar-powered lanterns which my enterprising wife found recently in Lilo

bazaar and imported into our shop, first ones I’ve ever seen. You make do, but you do indeed feel powerless, not being the millionaire who can make it all go right. Hmm, feels like a long one this time, so shut the laptop lid altogether. When I lived in Ushguli ten years ago and this happened, and they all missed their Latino TV soaps, I “invented” Scrabble in Georgian for us to play, with proper letter frequencies based in analysis of a sample text. We cut out the two-inch tiles from paper, and played great games on the nicely gridded dining tablecloth, which they were made to fit. You can’t do the same thing in Korean at all, some friends from Seoul told me; their written language, while using letters, clusters them rather than stringing them in any straight line! So, no crosswords in Korean. It would be interesting to discover which other languages don’t work for Scrabble, and for which reasons. All which have letters in straight lines should work. Such are one’s musings by kerosene lamp (as Ushguli in 2007 offered). If we’d never had or used electricity, the outages would not happen, of course; it’s losing what we’ve been given that hurts, when we’re so used to it. I do also remember, living in a B&B in Mere, Wiltshire, UK, in 1990, giving back to the landlady the TV which she had kindly had installed in my room. There was simply nothing worth watching on the four available channels. Four hundred now? Not much different, we often find. So, it’s not a TV addiction thing with me. Just… trying for a regular life, as well as serving the guests. Do they want us to leave this province, not just the foreigner and his wife from Kakheti, but all of us? Because the demoralization of powerlessness will go a long way towards the diaspora restarting. 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 1700 members, at www.facebook. com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti



The Power of a Duet: World Ballet Stars at Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Theater


in a way erases the existing boundaries globally: it’s more about the atmosphere which is so pleasurable and unique.



orld ballet stars Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov performed in a new choreographic version of Laurencia, staged by Nina Ananiashvili on October 28 at the Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet Theater. Laurencia as a ballet was originally choreographed and staged by famous Georgian ballet dancer and choreographer, Vakhtang Chabukiani, first in 1939, in Kirov Theater, Russia, and later in 1948 in the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater, with himself and renowned Georgian ballerina Vera Tsignadze performing the leading parts. In Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, Chabukiani danced the part with famous Maya Plisetskaya. Laurencia is based on Lope de Vega’s play ‘Fuente Ovejuna,’ with music by Russian composer Alexander Krein. Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili, Artistic Director of the State Ballet of Georgia, staged the new choreographic redaction of Laurencia back in 2014 at the Minsk National Academic Grand Opera and Ballet Theater in Belarus, which then premiered in Tbilisi in the summer of 2017. It is said that this version of the ballet libretto is closest to Vakhtang Chabukiani’s. GEORGIA TODAY met with Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov, both in the midst of their stellar careers, performing on the world’s leading theater stages in Russia and abroad.

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF TBILISI? Vladislav: It’s my second time here and although we haven’t yet had a chance to see much, I love it. I like the atmosphere of the old town that you can so vividly feel, and those beautiful Tbilisi yards; the way that oldness is preserved in those stunning buildings. I’m very happy to have a chance to be here again, and to stay here even for a few days. Maria: I was raised with a huge respect for and appreciation of your country and culture and of course I always love to come to Georgia. There’s a great authenticity here, which is unfortunately rare nowadays. You come to Georgia and it’s not about just ballet, since ballet itself

Maria: We agreed to the project instantly, and were working on it for around six months. The most difficult part is to make the performance the best it can be. Vladislav: It’s interesting… any performance, no matter how easy it seems, can be difficult. Laurencia is so vivid, so colorful and I’m very much looking forward to our performance.

MARIA, IN ONE OF YOUR INTERVIEWS, YOU SAY THAT BALLET IS ALL ABOUT LOVE… Maria: Ballet speaks about love, and any other theme it takes on turns into love. That’s why the interaction of the characters, the existence of a duet in the performance, is the most important thing. As a viewer, you have to receive that impulse of love; love that may be difficult, romantic, passionate, one that may not exist in reality but can only be felt in ballet.

VLADISLAV, YOU SAY THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CONTEMPORARY DANCE IS “RATHER CALM.” WHY IS THAT? Vladislav: I feel very comfortable in the contemporary style, creating something new, but the basis for me is classical dance and classical performances.

WHICH CHOREOGRAPHER(S) WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO WORK WITH? Maria: I have some ideas for a future project with a certain choreographer but it’s early days and I don’t want to share it right now. Vladislav: I know it will never happen, but I would have loved to work with Roland Petit; it would be amazing to live in his performances. [Roland Petit, an acclaimed French choreographer and dancer, passed away in 2011].


performing in the ballets before me, especially in the Bolshoi Theater repertoire, but as time passed, I learned not to think about it, otherwise you can torture yourself with it. I’ve learned to watch the tapes of their performances and try to take from them what was needed for me in the moment. Maria: In classical ballet, that way of thinking might leave you out of a profession. If you constantly compare yourself to others it might be better to pack your things and leave. We’re entering the stage after Pavlova, Spesivtseva, and it’s not us who created that heritage. We keep those traditions; the performances are renewed, as is the audience, while time passes. There are rules that you have to obey, but at the same time there’s a huge part of you, your personality, going into it. I read somewhere that tradition is about passing the fire on and not about torturing oneself over the ashes. We have to put our souls into those performances to live, otherwise it’ll become a raw classic. You mustn’t compete with the great dancers; you have to find yourself in art: that’s the main objective of a person in art: finding oneself, one’s individuality, opening your abilities and finding out what you can do.

MARIA, DO YOU EVER REGRET LEAVING THE BOLSHOI? Maria: Theater is a difficult place; it can give you a lot, but it can also take so many things from you. Not the theater itself, but people and artists are those whose careers are largely dependent on whether you’re loved or not. There are situations where your attitude changes towards yourself, towards time and the goals you set for yourself as an artist. Vladislav: I thought about leaving the theater about a year ago, but, I decided that as long as I can hold that creative fire inside me, I have to work. I, as an artist, can build my life as I see fit.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER TBILISI? Vladislav: We’re going back to Moscow, I have a premiere in November, Maria is going to London, and then we’ll dance in Spartak together in the Bolshoi. In terms of regrets, I think that Bolshoi lost an amazing ballerina, and a unique duet, which I can honestly say has no analogue today. It doesn’t matter where we dance, what matters is that we dance together.





NOVEMBER 3 - 6, 2017


GIFT- GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS www.giftfestival.ge November 4 SYNDROME, OR ‘LITTLE BIRD, WHO’S GONNA BE CHEERED UP WITH YOUR SONG?’ (A famous Georgian children’s song) Based on Slawomir Mrozek’s Play Musical Therapy in One Act Batumi Drama Theater Scenic adaptation and direction: Andro Enukidze Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 10 GEL Venue: Theater on Atoneli. 31 Atoneli Str.

November 4 SIMBIOSIS Director and Choreographer: George Ghonghadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15 GEL November 9 INTRO Director by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL November 3-9

November 7, 8 B POLAR ‘Ayit’ Ensemble, Israel Beer Sheva Fringe Theater After Gogol’s Diary of a Madman Director, playwright: Yoav Michaeli Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL Venue: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater, 164 Agmashenebeli Ave.

THOR: RAGNAROK Directed by Taika Waititi Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 18:45 Language: Russian Start time: 16:20, 21:30 Ticket: 9-10 GEL

SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03

JIGSAW Directed by Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig Cast: Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery Language: Russian Start time: 14:15 Ticket: 9-10 GEL

November 3, 4 LIKE THIS Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Comedy genre novels based on Georgian national motives Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 2 LABYRINTH Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL November 3 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Kakha Bakuradze, Sandro Nikoladze, Irakli Menagarishvili, Simon Bitadze, Dato Kakulia, El banda del “მუდო” Start time: 21:30 Ticket: 10 GEL

LAMANT DOUBLE Directed by François Ozon Cast: Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 9-10 GEL

GEOSTORM Directed by Dean Devlin Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Ed Harris, Andy García Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 21:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL JIGSAW (Info Above) Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 13-14 GEL GANGSTERDAM Directed by Romain Lévy Cast: Kev Adams, Manon Azem, Côme Levin Genre: Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 10-11 GEL MUSEUM


RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge

September 25 – November 8 Georgian National Museum and Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Georgia invite you at LAST FOLIO - A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY BY YURI DOJC AND KATYA KRAUSOVA

Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 3-9

ART PALACE Address: 6 Kargareteli Str.

THOR: RAGNAROK (Info Above) Start time: 14:30, 16:30, 19:30, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

November 5 The first time in GeorgiaSIMON (SIMONIKA) DADIANI’S EXHIBITION



THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 15 73 00 www.museum.ge

TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24

October 5 – November 30 Dimitri Shevardnadze National Gallery is to host two Italian exhibitions: UNIVERSAL VALUES: BOTTICELLI, THE BEAUTY AND CARAVAGGIO, THE LIGHT, DISPLAYING MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN PAINTING

November 6 OPERA STUDIO 65TH ANNIVERSARY Gaetano Donizetti ‘L’ELISIR D’AMORE’ Opera in 2 Acts Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-10 GEL

GAMREKELI GALLERY Address: 4 Chonkadze Str. November 5-18 OLEG TIMCHENKO’S EXHIBITION TERRITORY OF LOVE ARTISTERIUM 2017 November 4 19:00– Opening exhibitions: ‘Art Craft Design’, ‘Living Room III’, ‘Ravel/Unravel: Hidden Process’ The State Silk Museum’s Intervention in the Tbilisi History Museum (Georgia, USA, UK, S.Korea, Germany, Finland, Greece, Japan) Venue: Tbilisi History Museum ‘Karvasla’, 8 Sioni Str. November 5 18:00- Frozen, Nic Bezemer (Switzerland) Venue: Gallery Nectar, 88/10 Bochorishvili Str. November 6 19:00- Passport Photo, group exhibition (Georgia) Venue: Container Gallery, 10 G. Radiani Str. November 7 18:00- Industrial Design Examples from Poland, Photo exhibition 19:00- Face to Face International artists’ exhibitions (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia) Venue: 8 G. Chanturia Str. November 8 18:00- Second Nature, Elene Rakviashvili, Interactive performance (Georgia) Venue: Tapestry and Art Textile Museum, 19 Shardin Str.

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 November 4 20th Tbilisi Jazz-Festival JOE LOVANO CLASSIC QUARTET Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 60 GEL Venue: Event Hall November 5 20th Tbilisi Jazz-Festival P.SHARIKADZE FEAT. E.GOMEZSTANLEY CLARKE BAND Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 60 GEL Venue: Event Hall November 6 STARS OF ARMENIA Mihran Tsarukyan, Arpi Gabrielyan, Erik Karapetyan, Mavr Mkrtchyan, Vache Amaryan, Gor Hakobyan, Armen Petrosyan. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-60 GEL November 8 KEIKO MATSUI SOLO present a concert of Japanese musician and composer legendary Keiko Matsui and her band Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 70 -200 GEL Venue: Event Hall TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 November 3 SOU festival and ROOMS HOTELS present Concert by the legendary Icelandic musician BJÖRK Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 200-570 GEL MAGTI CLUB Address: 22 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 18 22 22 November 4 MANANA MENABDE EVENING TBILISI TIME Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 40 GEL BUSINESS

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM Address: 7 Bamba Str. TEL 242 02 01, 577 777 331 www.ibf.ge November 3 9:00- VIP Session 10:30- Gil Petersil The power of business networking: How to sell without selling 12:30- Vakhtang Kordzaia How to hire Sales People 14:30- Ania Jakubowski It’s in the HOW 15:30- Gautam Ganglani International Sales 16:30- David Chikvaidze Sales, Engagement, Family November 4 9:00- VIP Session 10:00- Evgeny Kotov Sales Management 13:00- Pierandrea Quarta How to build your brand in the digital world and sell more 15:00- Tornike Guruli The Way Customers Think, Neiromarketing in Sales 17:00- Haseeb T Hassan How to motivate/manage sales people in Georgia




Life & Death: Butoh World- Georgia On Your Leading Troupe Triumphs Mind: NY Daily in Tbilisi News Article on




n October 29, the legendary Butoh dance group titled ‘Sankai Juku’ under the leadership of Ushio Amagatsu, performed in Georgia for the first time. ‘The Kumquat Seed’ premiered at the Shota Rustaveli Drama Theater, as part of the Mikheil Tumanishvili International Arts Festival ‘GIFT’ and featured a dialogue between humans and gravity. Based on the years he spent in the West and a thorough study of the western dance history, Amagatsu has managed to create a perfect matching of sharp stylizing, characterized to the western culture, as well as modern lighting and sound, with unique Japanese roots. The movements leave space for a diverse range of interpretation from the audience, which is Amagatsu’s aim, he being one of the first artists in the world to focus on inspiration more than on concrete plots. “We go to many countries. We are very happy to be here at last,” said Semimaru, Interim Artistic Director, representing the troupe in Georgia. “A lot of people think about life and death, but Amagatsu applies extremely interesting creative methods to express the concept. He created his own individual world. I’ve been with Amagatsu for 43 years and it has enriched and totally remade my life”. “Body language can be very articulate, because words always come later than the body. Ushio Amagatsu does not like to be interpreted in just one way. The audience can interpret his works in many ways,” Semimaru added. “Butoh helps you to become an animal, even an insect. The images are very rich”. Pierre Barnier, Producer, has been in the post for the last 24 years. He recalled: “In 1981, ‘Sankai Juku’ was in Paris, performing open air. When I saw the four people falling, I said: ‘these guys are great! One day I’d love to work with them!’ Ten years later, I was the General Manager of the Carolyn Carlson Company. My office was in Theatre De la Ville, in Paris. ‘Sankai Juku’ had a man-


I Photo source: Ilia Baburashvili

ager in the next office and he resigned. Amagatsu knew that I was in the next office. He told me: ‘Do you want to take care of ‘Sankai Juku’?’ I went crazy. I started with them in 1993. I’m just retiring now”. ‘Sankai Juku’ was formed in 1975. Their first tour abroad occurred in 1980. For Amagatsu, it was the very first visit overseas. The performance ‘The Kumquat Seed’ is based on Japanese influences and, according to Amagatsu, it is even an autobiographic piece of art. Amagatsu does not like to watch other performances in order not to fall under influence. As a great reader, he prefers to be influenced by philosophers. “I think that it will be one of the most amazing performances of the ‘GIFT’ festival 2017,” said Keti Dolidze, Artistic Director of ‘GIFT,’ prior to the performance. “If we had had more support from the Ministry of Culture, we would have invited this theater for two nights instead of just one. Thanks to the Embassy of Japan and ACA, it was possible to have this unique theater ‘Sankai Juku’ in Tbilisi. ‘GIFT’ festival is generally oriented to bringing the most exquisite and exceptional works of art. We never accept any occasional performances,” she said. ‘The Kumquat Seed’ that was born following the Second World War, is naturally a kind of protest against conflicts and wars as well as conflicting national-

ism, dictatorship and separatism. The red circle, which is constantly present at the background of the stage, is simultaneously the national flag of Japan, as well as an association with the mature disposition of a young reservist to go and defend his homeland immediately after he is summoned. Repeating movements, which are from time to time intentionally slowed down against a background of electronic themes and special sound effects, emerge from silence into noise, from hidden to real, from obscurity to light. The third final novella is called ‘Peacock’. Amagatsu sees peacock as a fake thing because of its perfect beauty. Dai Maisuoka’s character holds it, who is full of love, hate and irritation. He caresses the bird, but all of a sudden, is ample with hatred and jealousy: he wants to be like a peacock and therefore, wants to kill it. The imaginary silence of summer night is broken by the sound of this large bird. It is the only creature that livens the motionless, mute scene of dancers in-a-trance. This atmosphere of silence, meditation and placidity was a kind of the lesson, and the Georgian audience passed it successfully, staying still for 1.5 hours with hardly a movement from their seats. http://giftfestival.ge https://www.facebook.com/pages/GIFTGeorgian-International-Festival-of-Arts-in-Tbilisi/295227333942305

sat down to an outdoor, unpretentious table brimming with a local Georgian supra (feast) amongst the picturesque landscape of the Caucasus Mountains,- says the first line in the New York Daily News article entitled 'Hungry for Travels: Georgia (Should Be) On Your Mind". The article is one of many recently published by both European and American news sources, highlighting the tourist potential of Georgia. This specific article is a traveler’s experience in Georgia, specifically the Svaneti and Kakheti regions of the country, where she sampled local cuisine and, of course, wine. "Alongside my khinkali and khachapuri was a simple yet vibrant garden salad consisting of vine-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, parsley, and a drizzle of a regional nutty tasting oil. With my first bite of the salad I was speech-

less. Never in my life have I encountered anything like it. The intensely red large tomatoes possessed more flavor than any tomato I have ever consumed, and the cucumber tasted as though the essence of ten cucumbers had been condensed into one" the author, Blakely Trettenero, says of Georgian salad. Interestingly enough, many of the articles that contain travel blogs are normally from first-time travelers to Georgia, who previously had little-to-no idea about Georgia in general, let alone its cuisine. "Georgian cuisine, while still very much unfamiliar to most of the world, will not be unknown for very long and for good reason," Trettenero says. At the end of the article, Trettenero sums up her Georgian experience in Kakheti. "I sipped on a glass of Saperavi at an outdoor café in Sighnaghi, in a scene that looked like it could be out of a fairy tale. Grape vines and small but colorful flowers made a canopy above me as I overlooked the incredibly picturesque buildings, vineyards, and Caucasus Mountains".


Georgia to Play Canada, Wales & USA This Month BY TOM DAY


eorgia’s November test matches will be against Canada, Wales and the USA. Following the first game against Canada on the 11th, the test window will run for



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three weekends. Wales are set to be played on their home ground at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, while Canada and the USA will be taken on in Tbilisi’s Dinamo Arena and Vake Stadium respectively. Two out of three of the nations are currently below Georgia, 12th, on the official World Rugby Rankings board. Canada are 12 places below at 24, USA

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at 17 and Wales are highest at 7. Georgia won their last meeting with Canada back in June this year with a final score of 15-0. In the same month, the USA conceded defeat against Georgia with a final score of 17-21. It is the first time that Wales will meet Georgia in a test match, the two sides are also set to face each other during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #995  

November 3 - 6, 2017

Issue #995  

November 3 - 6, 2017