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Issue no: 1045

• MAY 4 - 7, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

FOCUS ON RENOVATING Gov't plans to study and save 10 Tusheti citadels

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PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Opposition Criticizes Initiative on Changing Name of Rose Revolution Square NEWS PAGE 3

Could Russia Be Next for a Velvet Revolution? POLITICS PAGE 4

Image source: georgiastartshere

GD Majority Slams President's Annual Parliamentary Address

Adjara Group opens the new Stamba Hotel BUSINESS PAGE 6

BY THEA MORRISON

Gov't Creates Legal Entity to Enhance Access to Chronic Disease Medications

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he ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party harshly criticized President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s annual address in Parliament, delivered on May 2, claiming it lacked “in-depth analysis” and was mainly focused on hitting out at the government rather than on the progress achieved in many fields. It was Margvelashvili’s last annual address, as his term expires with the presidential elections scheduled for October. Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who attended the President’s speech along with some members of the Cabinet, stated he had had greater expectations from Margvelashvili. “I personally expected the President's last speech in this capacity to be more in-depth and analytical; better focused, with more problemanalysis and ways to solve issues being faced. He did speak about the country's social situation

BUSINESS PAGE 7

Kiwi Vegan Café: A Peek Into Tbilisi’s Animal & Environment Loving Food Scene and problems, which we do not deny. On the contrary, every branch of government is working toward advancing the country in this regard,” Kvirikashvili stated, adding that the President should have portrayed a broader picture of the problematic issues in the country, and should have underscored the unifying function of the presidency as an institution.

Archil Talakvadze, the leader of the parliamentary majority, said that the President’s speech was a short and “superficial” report. According to him, the speech lacked the country's defense capabilities, economic development, Archil Tatunashvili's case and other important issues. Continued on page 2

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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Agro-Food Project Gemovani Set for 2nd Local Market Exhibition

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emovani is to hold a second agro-food market showcasing products of Georgian origin under the trademark ‘Gemovani.’ Products from Georgia’s mountainous regions will also be on display. According to Otar Nachkebia, Director of the project, the Gemovani market will be held on May 9, from 10 AM to 4 PM, at Tbilisi Event Hall within the Tbilisi Con-

cert Hall on Melikishvili/Kostava streets. The aim of the event is to introduce the brand Gemovani and to popularize genetically endemic Georgian products among Georgian consumers. 80 farmers, family-run firms and entrepreneurs are set to participate in the exhibition-sale, coming from across the country to show off their own traditional products. “Visitors will be able to get Georgian, natural products of botanical and animal

origin: bread, dairy products, meat, vegetables, fruit, cereals and more,” Nachkebia said. From June 2018, the Gemovani brand plans to hold weekly markets in a number of locations, one of them near Lisi Lake. “We want to take advantage of the local market and, more importantly, to support the restoration of Georgian traditional methods of production as well as the popularization of genetically Geor-

gian products. Products produced under the ‘Gemovani’ label are unique and should be recognized worldwide. That is why, after the local market, the number one plan is to enter the international markets,” the Gemovani director said. In addition, as Otar Nachkebia explained, any farmer who can produce genetically Georgian products can participate in the project. "We want to stimulate the production of local origin

in Georgia. Farmers will know that genetically Georgian products are in big demand and that it is cost-worthy, "said Otar Nachkebia. The general sponsor of the market project is "The bread Mzetamze". The event is supported by "Wizard Event", "Livingstone", the movement of KAR.GE and Georgian wheat producers. Media Holders are Palitra, Radio Holding Fortuna, Business Media Georgia and Georgia Today.

Inventory & Study Work Begins in 10 Tusheti Citadels

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eorgian Prime Minister G i o rg i Kv i r i ka s hv i l i announced at Thursday's government meeting that inventory and study works are about to begin in 10 citadels in the Tusheti region. According to the Head of the Government, some of Tusheti’s most ancient buildings are either damaged or on the verge of destruction. “At the initial stage, monuments will be inventoried and documented, followed by the planning of their full rehabilitation,” he said. “We are launching a rehabilitation-related study in 10 castle villages of Tusheti. You all know how valuable for Georgia Tusheti is, with its historical and ethnographic heritage and uniqueness. Unfortunately, a number of

Tusheti’s ancient structures are damaged or on the verge of destruction.” He noted that the Tusheti “cultural monuments” have not been studied since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Works are to begin in: Dzveli Diklo, Dzveli Girevi, Chontio, Hegho, Ageurta, Tzaro, Kvavlo, Parsma, Dakiurta, and Indurta, among the most ancient villages in Georgia. “At the initial stage, we will allocate 400,000 GEL for this work. It is commendable that students will be involved in the project. Summer is around the corner, and this is when these works will be carried out,” the PM said. “Based on this study and, of course, using modern professional approaches, these most ancient and important monuments will be rehabilitated,” Kvirikashvili emphasized.

Image source: motleyplanet

GD Majority Slams President's Annual Parliamentary Address Continued from page 1

“The report missed out a number of very important issues. We heard nothing about Georgia's defense capabilities or our soldiers protecting Georgia's security in Georgia and international missions. He said nothing of his assessment of Georgia's strategic cooperation with the US and the EU, or the prospects for EU integration,” he added. The leader of the GD faction, Mamuka Mdinaradze, was more critical than the PM or Talakvadze, directly accusing Margvelashvili of pardoning too many convicts. “About 70-80% of the convicts pardoned by you had been convicted for

serious crimes… All Presidents of independent Estonia have pardoned ten times fewer than you did in 2017 alone,” he told the President. During his 23-minute speech, Margvelashvili focused on the work carried out by the ruling party, saying that GD had “failed to fulfill its main tasks” and had “deliberately” weakened state institutions and democracy. “We have achieved significant progress in many directions since coming to power in 2012. The state is no longer an aggressor, but unfortunately we have weakened institutions and failed to establish a more democratic system,” the President said. He also noted that journalists are hav-

ing to work in tense situations. “After 2012, the media environment indeed became free and journalists are not under attack any more, but some kind of non-violent difficulties are still created against them. Ask any representative of the media - they have to work in a tense situation and constantly expect obstacles," he added. Margvelashvili also focused on the economic situation in the country, saying business is free today but small and medium businesses are “over-shadowed” by big businesses. “I welcome the promotion of start-ups and innovations, but the goal of social equality has unfortunately not been achieved,” he stressed, adding that

unemployment is one of the most serious problems for Georgia. In his speech, the President stated that no steps have been taken to strengthen the political opposition. "The 2016 election was a deliberate attempt to destroy a political class, a deliberate attempt to weaken political parties as major players in the political space,” he said. After the address, Margvelashvili attended the legislators’ speeches but was not allowed to participate in the debates. The President then called on the MPs to allow him to respond to their questions, and said he would leave the chamber unless they did so. This was followed

by criticism from the Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, who said the President disrespected parliament and its regulations. After the parliamentary opposition parties also requested the President’s involvement in debates, the Speaker put the issue to a vote. Only 28 MPs voted for the changes, with 50 MPS against. After Parliament adopted a decision that no amendments would be made to the regulations to allow the President to be involved in the debate, Margvelashvili left the Parliament building. Opposition parties which voted in favor of the participation of the President in debates also left the session in protest.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 4 - 7, 2018

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Opposition Criticizes Initiative on Changing Name of Rose Revolution Square BY THEA MORRISON

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he Georgian parliamentary opposition has criticized the government and Tbilisi City Hall for their recent initiative to change the name of the Rose Revolution Square, given to the Soviet-era square after the 2003 Rose Revolution. The initiative of changing the name to ‘Democratic Republic Square,’ was discussed at the meeting of the Symbols Commission of the City Council (Sakrebulo) two days ago, and the sitting was left by opposition MPs in protest. The opposition claims the decision is politically motivated, adding the government wants to erase one of the most important events of modern Georgian history, the Rose Revolution, which “totally changed the lives of Georgians.” However, the government refutes the accusations and says the initiative is connected to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the First Democratic Republic of Georgia on May 26. The United National Movement (UNM), which in 2003 was the initiator of the Rose Revolution, says the government has no national motives in changing the name of the square. The UNM believes the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) wants to “re-write” history because they dislike the UNM and its founder, the 2003 revolution leader, Mikheil Saakashvili. “It was a day when Georgian people won over corruption, crime and nepotism in which the country found itself

Photo: Rose revolution Square, Tbilisi. Source: idaaf.com

during Shevardnadze's regime, so they do not have any national motives," UNM member Irakli Nadiradze said. Another UNM MP, Nikoloz Vacheishvili, stated that celebrating the 100th anniversary is good but it should not damage other historical events of Georgia. “The only motive for this initiative is to fight the people who organized the 2003 revolution,” he added.

Parliamentary minority European Georgia, which was once in the composition of the UNM, also criticizes the initiative. “This is a very cheap political move and it completely neglects the expression of people’s free will,” Giorgi Gabashvili, member of the party, stated. Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze welcomes the initiative. He stated that society will

also be involved in the process and expressed hope that they will support this idea. “Not only the name of the Rose Revolution Square but other locations and streets will also be renamed in connection to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the First Democratic Republic,” he noted. The final decision will be made at the

Sakrebulo session in 20 days. Rose Revolution Square in Tbilisi was once called Republic Square and has been the showcase of numerous regimes, conflicts and aspirations. Georgia's changing political orientation has been continuously reflected in the dynamics of its capital's former Republic Square: from military parades, to soviet relics and a vertical refugee camp, to sanitized commercial functions. The story goes back to the 1960s, when Soviet Georgia was one of the top tourist destinations of the USSR. One side of the square was designed with a podium, standing tall with seven arches, the so called Andropov´s Ears, while the other side of the space endlessly expanded into the horizon, overlooking the city and the River Mtkvari. In 1967, the construction of the tallest building in Tbilisi of the time was finished: Hotel Iveria, a 22-floor structure designed by the Georgian architect Otar Kalandarishvili in the very geographical center of Tbilisi and well visible from every point of the city. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Republic Square remained unchanged and continued to host state military parades just as before. However, it became one of the hot spots of the Georgian civil war in 1991-1992. In 1992, Hotel Iveria was made home to hundreds of refugee families from Abkhazia. After the Rose revolution in 2003, the new UNM government removed Andropov’s Ears. The renovation of Hotel Iveria was also launched and the famous Radisson Blu Iveria hotel was opened there in 2011.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

The Tug of War Continues OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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hile part of the political opposition was holding the “Last Supper” in Amsterdam, the rest decided to announce the names of their respective presidential candidates. The Labor Party unsurprisingly named Shalva Natelashvili, European Georgia hinted at Davit Bakradze, and Ana Dolidze from the Justice Committee also received an invitation for candidacy from the oppositional wing. It seems the idea of uniting around a single oppositional candidate doesn’t seem legit any more, and nor would a meeting with the third President of Georgia be a solution. But anyhow, what was the purpose of the meeting in Amsterdam? We can look for the answers not in Amsterdam, but in Tbilisi. The main political topic in the country is the return of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili to politics. We can presume Georgian Dream (GD) is suffering and quick action needed to be taken, before the rust set in. Ivanishvili made a horrible pre-election mistake once before, during the selection of his human resources, and it could turn out fatal if he fails to act on the current corrosion within his party, especially in light of the third President of Georgia talking openly about his preparations for a new revolution. The meeting in Amsterdam was clearly held to show Ivanishvili that Saakashvili is not alone in the alleged future revolution and that people who will be leaving the Georgian Dream might join those standing beside him now. Or else, that very small portion of two-man parties who gathered in Amsterdam clearly can’t have victory over Ivanishvili, and Saakashvili knows this very well. The Khoni and Vani elections should have played a major role in this “great deed,” where Gigi Ugulava, who left the National Movement for European Georgia, would win. Even the Khoni and Vani population was

amazed at how passive GD was there, but the “second coming” of Ivanishvili right before the elections made a radical change. The governmental resource “machine” switched on and Ugulava lost. Ivanishvili’s words about himself before coming to the government proved true: “I have the ability to rate the situation well and take urgent measures.” This is undoubtedly why Saakashvili called for his former co-party members to unite in a coalition and attack the Ivanishvili citadel jointly. “I would be happy if Gigi Ugulava had won in the elections of Vani and Khoni, but there wasn’t even a 1% chance of it,” the ex-president said. “You can’t sit at the same table with cheaters to play cards. Gigi and members of his party should join us in fighting the cheaters out of the government.” Although Ugulava has yet to take him up on this offer, coming out openly against Saakashvili’s plan for getting rid of Ivanishvili, we still don’t know how long this refusal will last, because everything still depends on the “rusting and recovery” processes which have already started

in the government. In this regard, the Armenian events could also serve as a warning signal. If things continue the way they are, and GD continues to “rust,” it might become solid ground for a revolution this upcoming October. Even despite the fact that the local expert cohort says that there is “no prerequisite” for a revolution in reality, nor was there a seem-

ingly obvious one in Yerevan. As for the meeting in Amsterdam, of course it wasn’t followed by much feedback or reaction, but whether we want it or not, Georgian politics will remain bipolar, with Saakashvili and Ivanishvili at the opposite sides. Hence, those who wish to stay in politics must make their choice now, because tomorrow it might be too late.

Could Russia Be Next for a Velvet Revolution?

Image source: pix.avaxnews.com

OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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“velvet revolution,” which by definition is a nonviolent transition of power, took place in Georgia 15 years ago. Armenia has lagged a little behind, but finally, it has managed one too. Ukraine also did it . . . almost! Now the question is if a peaceful change of regime is possible in Russia as well. It is funny that countries like former soviet republics suffer this common malady: the insurmountable desire of democratically elected leaders to be on top forever. They have even found the formula for its implementation in real life – turning themselves from presidents into prime ministers to prolong the fun. The current Russian “emperor” was first to set this uncanny example and other leaders of former soviet republics liked it so much that they decided to experiment with it on their own grounds. The hottest and the most recent cases of the experiment occurred in Georgia and Armenia, where the situation is politically more exciting than in Russia. Russian people have embraced the governmental ‘castling’ with imperial pleasure and intention, but the mechanical reproduction of this weird political model has not worked quite so well in the Caucasus. Incensed by flagrant unfairness in national political reality, the indignation of Georgians and Armenians went to the extent of toppling the ruling regimes, whose leaders had made up their minds to grasp the helm and stay in the cockpit until the end of the world. The average political scientist would confirm that Russia is favorable soil for a political weirdness of that content and magnitude. In principle, all those former soviet republics are more or less alike in terms of interpreting and using the features of the erstwhile soviet regime. Maybe the Baltic republics and Georgia are a little differ-

ent: they have all inherited those features, economic, political, ideological and cultural, from the same predecessor and are not yet out of the woods. They lack political and personal freedom; they are all inclined to authoritarianism; their experience in capitalism, democracy, liberalism, equality, human rights and consent-based governance is terribly scanty; their standard of living is fumbling; their social mentality is still far from what we call “Western;” and their governing style is still autocratic. Yet the scent of democracy is in the air. Russia is a place where the majority of voters think that Russia is a good empire which should last. And still, the question about the possibility of a velvet revolution in Russia is legitimate because the world has drastically changed, having become more transparent, and as the Russian saying has it, bad habits are contagious. Therefore, Russia might also become the venue of the same change that the world has witnessed in Georgia and Armenia. I just wonder how many people in Russia would go for the velvet revolution on their imperialistic soil to let that change happen. Judging by what I see on Russian television and other news sources, the percentage of people in today’s Russia who would embrace the velvet revolution is almost negligible, but looking into the Russian internet blogging, there are a number of hot hearts and minds that might trigger certain ideological alterations in the average Russian mindset. When will it happen? Maybe when pigs fly, I don’t know, but I don’t think the Russian people will long resist the global influence of freedom of thought and speech on that truly great nation with huge human and natural resources for improving the life of the unsuspecting rank-and-file in Russia. Global thinking about Russia prompts the cherished change. What now remains to be guessed is how susceptible the Russian people might be today to what the healthier part of the world is suggesting? Well, my guess is as good as yours. Let’s keep watching.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Adjara Group opens the new Stamba Hotel

Location: 14 M. Kostava St. Tbilisi, Georgia 0108 +995 32 2021199

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djara Group has opened the new Stamba Hotel in the centre of Tbilisi. Following the international success of Rooms Hotels over the past 6 years, Adjara Group presents a new Georgian brand: Stamba Hotel. The new hotel is located in a former publishing house on Kostava St, and will open with 40 high standard rooms (52m2) and 2 suites (79m2). Once the hotel is completed, there will be 150 rooms to choose from. The hotel includes Café Stamba, which

offers Georgian and European cuisine prepared with locally sourced produce, as well as a Chocolaterie and Roastery with in-house roasted coffee and artisanal chocolate. Casino Aviator is also part of the Hotel Stamba. A unique variety of trees and greenery dominate the 5-storey high atrium, the ‘Jungle Lobby’ of the hotel. The inside space of the lobby is crowned with a glass bottomed rooftop swimming pool. Conceived by Adjara Group’s in-house team of architects and interior designers – Adjara Arch Group – the building pays

tribute to the brutalist style of the original structure. The rediscovered printing equipment, along with the building’s historic façade have been preserved and restored. The hotel opened on May 1st.

ADJARA GROUP Adjara Group is the largest and fastest growing company in hospitality, lifestyle development and agropreneurship. It gained worldwide recognition for its trend-setting establishments and entrepreneurial projects by founding and managing the lifestyle brands: Rooms

Hotels in Tbilisi and Kazbegi, the luxury Stamba hotel and the fashionable Fabrika Hostel. Restaurants created by the company combine the best of the world talent in gastronomy with fresh, locally sourced produce. As a pioneer in urban and rural devel-

opment, Adjara Group has reshaped the face of the capital by generating new ecosystems around the enterprises it builds. The company has the ability to turn even the most remote and underdeveloped regions across the country into sustainable destinations.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 4 - 7, 2018

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Gazprom Completes Construction of Turkish Stream Shelf Gov't Creates Legal Entity to Enhance Access to Chronic Disease Medications BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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azprom has announced the completion of construction of the first section of the sea part of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. "Near the Black Sea coast of Turkey, the deep-sea laying of the sea section of the first line of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was completed," the Russian gas holding said. It is also reported that the construction of the first line will be completed after the construction of a coastal terminal in the vicinity of the Turkish village of Kiyykey.

“In Turkey, a receiving terminal is being constructed near Kiyykey village. With the completion of the construction of the shore junction sections, the work on the first line will be fully completed,” Gazprom noted. Work on the deep-water area of the first shelf was carried out by the vessel Pioneering Spirit of Allseas, which will continue to lay the deep-water part of the second thread of the Turkish Stream in the second half of this year. “The implementation of the Turkish Stream project continues successfully,” said Head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller. “An important stage has been reached - the first line of the gas pipeline was built. The rate of construction is high.

Since May 7, 2017, when the pipelaying campaign began, in total two 1161 kilometers of the offshore gas pipeline have been built in two strings, which is 62% of its total length. The ‘Turkish flow’ will undoubtedly play a big role in strengthening the energy security of Turkey and Europe.” It is expected that the gas main will consist of two lines of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. The first string will supply "blue fuel" to consumers in Turkey. According to the plans, it should be put into operation in 2018. The second line is intended for the supply of Russian gas to the countries of south and southeastern Europe, to be put into operation in 2019.

Amendments Ahead for the Law on Vocational Education

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ocational Education is growing in popularity in Georgia, bringing it in line with Europe’s modern models, primarily those tried and tested in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. New amendments are to be introduced which are designed to create a new system of vocational education. In particular, the following changes will be carried out: •Firstly, the integration of the middle level general education into the vocational education: an opportunity will be provided to receive an academic certificate and advance from vocational

education to the level of higher education. •The amendments allow for validating vocational education credits at the level of higher education. •A form of dual education based on apprenticeship will be defined and prioritized. •The amendments also offer opportunities for implementing joint and exchange programs. •A system of vocational training and retraining will be established, and diverse educational programs will be carried out for both youth and adults, with the goal in the former case being to award qualification and, in the latter case, the develop-

ment of individual competences, enhancement of knowledge, retraining, etc. •Systemic approaches for inclusive education will be introduced. •State-run schools of vocational education will be authorized to implement economic activities, including sell products/services developed in the process of learning, which is also very important. •A system for teachers’ training and career advancement will be established. •Opportunities for the recognition of informal and formal education will be created, which is very important. The draft law is in full accordance with European standards, including the obligations under the Association Agreement.

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n the Government’s decision, a new non-entrepreneurial legal entity called Partnership for Access to Healthcare will be established, aiming to enhance access to medical services and medications for the population. As Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated during today’s Government meeting, this initiative will significantly simplify issues related to purchasing medications for chronic diseases. “In 2013, when the universal healthcare

program was introduced in Georgia, it proved a significant relief for the population. However, purchasing medications for chronic diseases remained a problem. It is very important that this format, at the initial stage of its implementation, will enable us as early as this year to allow pensioners to buy these pharmaceuticals they need on a daily basis at much cheaper prices. It is not a profit organization but a non-entrepreneurial legal entity that involves partnership between public and private institutions,” the Prime Minister stated.

Gazprom Ready to Build Nord Stream-3

BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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azprom can build a Nord Stream-3 gas pipeline if the EU countries actively seek out Russian gas, - Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Head of the Russian gas holding, noted last week in an interview with Rossiya 24. “We have always said that we will supply Europe with as much gas as necessary. We have proven reserves, we have transport, we are building new transport routes. If Europe declares its needs, and is ready to sign the necessary contracts, I do not rule out that new gas transportation projects will be needed - Nord Stream-3, for example,” said Medvedev, who previously noted that Gazprom is closely monitoring the situation regarding reduction of gas production at the largest in Europe field, Groningen. Earlier, it was reported that the production of “blue fuel” in the Dutch field of Groningen would be reduced, as would extraction of this type of fuel in general within the European Union. Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, stated that “By 2022, we are going to cut the annual gas production

in this field to 12 billion cubic meters, and gas production will be stopped completely by 2030.” “If we talk about our share in imports, it is over 60%. This level reflects the level of interdependence that we have reached with our European consumers,” Medvedev noted. “We do not set targets for the share, but we will not reduce it.” As Gazprom's Deputy Chairman noted, at present the demand for "blue fuel" in Europe is growing not only among the new customers of the company, but also among traditional partners of the Russian gas holding company; Austria, for example. According to Medvedev, Gazprom's annual export deliveries to foreign countries by 2020 will surpass 200 billion cubic meters. This will happen once the new Russian gas transmission lines begin to operate in Europe and China. “As athletes say, the higher you jump, the harder it is to break the record. Before that, we set impressive records for two years ... and now we are on a new record schedule. But we are not in sports to pursue beautiful figures. I am sure that the export volume of 200 billion will be surpassed, and we will definitely surpass it in 2020, as gas supplies to China and Europe will begin in 2019,” he said.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Vicente Wolf on Tbilisi Gardens

BY NIA PATARAIA

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bilisi Gardens is a premium class multifunctional residential complex located in the city center (Mikheil Asatiani St. # 6) on an expansive four hectares of land. Offering distinguished service and a peaceful living space, the design of the 29-floor building has to play a crucial role in creating a cozy and calming environment, which is why developers made sure the interior design was in the hands of the best: American interior designer, Vicente Wolf. House Beautiful named Wolf among the top ten most fashionable American designers, and Interior Design Magazine recognized him as one of the world's best designers. His company has been working in the Manhattan design industry for 35 years and its signature is recognized around the globe. Tbilisi Gardens is one

of his unique works. Vicente Wolf paid a visit to Georgia last weekend to see the finished project. In an interview with GEORGIA TODAY, the famous interior designer talked about his experience, his world-renowned signature style and Tbilisi Gardens itself. “If you look closely at what I’ve done with Tbilisi Gardens, you’ll see that eve-

rything is a blend of texture, natural materials, straight lines,” he told us. “One of the most unique parts is the ethnic elements that I intermingled with those natural features: sometimes African or Chinese, sometimes textured wood. My design goes along with styles that offer both modern comfort and familiarity in the past.” He noted that his designs are not minimalistic, but rather “clean.” “I prefer less ‘overloaded’ spaces, and in Tbilisi Gardens, you can see and feel this in every part of the building,” he said. “People should bring a third element to their living environment, in space. The world is moving forward in time while discovering numerous novelties and this is why the Tbilisi Gardens project shows Tbilisi as a city with a global point of view.” Balconies bring the outdoors in, in Wolf’s words, “a true comfort which Georgian people appreciate.” “This project at the same time introduces a different, slightly new way of viewing things, but with the comfort of what people want. I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to bring my experience here,” he said, adding that the over-

all finished project is “amazing, even though there are some differences between what I drew and what has been built.” We asked for an example and he pointed out the sales office, whose renderings are vertical instead of his planned horizontal. “This is a small difference and I think it looks very stylish- something special. What I’m seeing here is exactly what I envisioned it would be,” he said. The Tbilisi Gardens project aims to be a place in a busy city where people have the chance to enjoy life. The skyscraper is based on New York construction standards and American Interior Design and is fully compatible with American NFPA fire safety standards. International construction company MYS Architects (Israel) is supervising the construction process. The residential complex combines swimming pool, exercise room, business

lounge, lobby, children's entertainment space and park. The project investment value at the first stage is $30 million. The Tbilisi Gardens project is run by Quadrum Property Group Georgia which operates by name of its subsidiary company BD PROPERTY. Real Estate Investment Fund Quadrum Property Group manages a $1.3 billion capital distributed between real estate and investment funds. The head office is located in London, and it has other offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Moscow, Kiev and in Tbilisi. Quadrum Property Group also owns another project in Georgia, "East Point" - a shopping and entertainment city, whose investment is more than $110 million. Quadrum Property Group owns $900 million-worth of property in America, Asia and various post-Soviet countries.

Public Lecture: ‘Ecosystem Feedback on Climate Change, from the Arctic to the South Pacific’

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n May 2, SDSU Georgia hosted the public lecture by Interim Dean of College of Sciences, distinguished Professor of Biology, Dr. Walter Oechel: “Ecosystem feedbacks on climate change: From the Arctic to the South Pacific.” The event was organized at the Auditorium of the National Museum of Georgia. Professor Oechel provided highlights of current and recent research in Arctic Alaska, the California Chaparral, Indonesia, and coastal waters of California and American Samoa. He highlighted how climate change and human activity can affect greenhouse gas fluxes from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and thereby impact atmospheric feedback on warming. Professor Walter Oechel is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on global change impacts, which has focused on the field manipulations of [CO2], water, and temperature and on the measurement of the effects of climate change on ecosystem energy, water and carbon fluxes in Arctic, chaparral, tropics, and peatland ecosystems. Dr. Oechel has received numerous awards for research and education, including the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and Scholarship 2005 (one of eight nationally), Thomas Reuters: “Most Influential Scientific Minds2014” and Best Practices in Education.

Best Practices Showcase San Diego, 2002. He is an ISI Highly Cited Author. Professor Oechel is currently Interim Dean of the College of Sciences, Distinguished Professor of Biology, Codirector of the Center of Climate and Sustainability Studies, and Director of the Global Change Research Group at San Diego State University. He was the first to show that Arctic ecosystems, a long-term sink and repository of atmospheric CO2, could become a source to the atmosphere. In fact, the North Slope of Alaska, which had been a sink of carbon for atmospheric CO2 through the Holocene, became a source of CO2 to the atmosphere from the mid-1970s. Through his research, Professor Oechel was able to provide the first documented case not only of climate change impact on ecosystem metabolism, but the first clear case of a positive feedback by an ecosystem on global warming. As part of this work, he has pioneered a complex field manipulations of [CO2] and climate, boat-based and airborne methods of remote sensing and flux measurement, and is a recognized world expert in these areas. The seminar provided an opportunity to hear first-hand about Professor Oechel’s current innovative research and the range of ecosystems and for guests to obtain improved understanding of both temporal and spatial feedback from ecosystems on climate.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 4 - 7, 2018

9

France: Rising Social Discontent A GLIMPSE ABROAD BY ANTOINE DEWAEST

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fter a nearly a year as President of France, Emmanuel Macron is going through his first social crisis. Since February, the government has been facing sharp discontent from pensioners, students, railway workers, postmen, signalmen and pilots. The origin: a series of disruptive reforms.

PENSIONERS AGAINST THE CSG The main dispute is focused on the Generalized Social Contribution (CSG). On January 1, 2018, the government increased this levy by 1.7 % for any people earning EUR 1,200 per month ($1,455). On the receiving end, the pensioners spoke out against a reduction of their purchasing power. In September last year, between 39,000 and 68,000 pensioners took to the streets according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). Yet, the government enforced the law and the discontent went unanswered.

RAILWAYMEN AGAINST PRIVATIZATION For years, the SNCF (French National Company) has been in trouble, the public company suffering from a huge debt of $54 billion. In order to save money, the Minister of Transport, Elisabeth Borne, proposed a reform. Within, it is planned to open the public service to competition and end railway workers’ benefits, including early retirement. Any reforms in any way connected to privatization are a bone of contention in France, all the more when it deals with such a public service as the SNCF. Public opinion is divided on the question, and some protest both privatization and globalization. ‘Should we take a leaf

out of the British book?’ asks a 30-yearold user. Railway workers, fearing the end of their perks, began a huge strike on April 3, voting for a 48-hour strike every five days until late June. The consequence is nationwide disruption.

POSTMEN AGAINST THE RESTRUCTURES For three months, postmen have been taking to the streets in a number of regions (Britanny, Gironde, Paris). The cause is a service restructure which extends the working day from 7 AM – 2 PM to 7 AM -3.15 PM. In reality, though, the work time is almost the same when taking into account the addition of a 45-minute lunch break. Currently, the delivery of mail in these regions is delayed.

SIGNALMEN AND PILOTS FOR A SALARY INCREASE For three months, workers from AirFrance have been in conflict with management. They ask for a general salary increase of 5.1%. However, the company heads refuse to push up wages by more than 0.5, justifying their position by asserting that AirFrance is facing financial problems. In response, the unions have pointed to the company’s rising profits in 2017. The workers decided to go on strike. As a result, air traffic is delayed and the losses so far are estimated at EUR 300 million ($350 million).

THE ZAD CONUNDRUM In 1967, the government decided to build an airport on fields near Nantes. The project never saw the light of the day, as people from all over the country came and took over the land, turning the area into a defensive zone (ZAD). Since the occupation began, alternative systems have been gaining ground. Developing local production, abolishing private

property, encouraging human values and fleeing the capitalist and materialistic system were the key words of the Nantes ZAD. This year, President Macron dropped the airport project to put an end to the illegal occupation. Yet, a number of occupants stayed, and the government sent security forces. This event generated a divide in public opinion. Social movements in the biggest cities spoke out in support of the occupants.

STUDENTS AGAINST SELECTION PROMOTED BY THE LOI VIDAL Since February 2018, student movements have been blocking their universities in opposition to the Loi Vidal (aka Loi

ORE). This law puts an end to the random draw to enter university and promotes, in certain circumstances, selection based on academic records. In France, the educational system falls into two parts: either you choose a selective school (business school, engineering school or political sciences school) which are for the majority except the last which is private, or you choose a non-selective course (university). A significant number of students oppose the law. Student unions claim that the Loi Vidal is a hidden social selection. For them, this call for competition is a change for the worse and will strengthen selection based on social origin. Indeed, Pierre Bourdieu, a french sociologist, in

‘The Inheritors: French Students and their Relation to Culture,’ showed how social origins influenced academic success. On April 10, 1,200 students in Paris alone came out to criticize the law and support the railway workers. Now, the government is facing a convergence of struggles. In spite of negotiation, the contestation is not disminishing and the government has said that it will not reconsider its decisions. According to an Ipsos survey, 40% of citizens support the President. At the end of the day, a divide between the French is gaining ground. Macron wanted to ‘unite the French,’ but undoubtedly this was not what he had in mind.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Kiwi Vegan Café: A Peek Into Tbilisi’s Animal & Environment Loving Food Scene EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY MÁTÉ FÖLDI

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iwi Vegan Café is ideal for backpackers, those on a budget and those, as the name suggests, who love vegan food. It's a simplyfurnished affair with hand-painted walls and a mishmash of furniture. The smell when you walk in is that of a typical Georgian grandma's house- musk and dry tea leaves. As Tbilisi’s food revolution continues, with innovative restaurants popping up here, there and everywhere, GEORGIA TODAY decided to have a chat with Soroush Negahdari, co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café, to get an idea behind the story and raison d’être of this unique establishment.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND STARTING KIWI VEGAN CAFÉ I moved to Georgia about four years ago. I was and I still am vegan and animal rights supporter and that was the inspiration behind opening the café. However, opening Kiwi Vegan Café was not only my idea- a group of vegans who cared about animals and the environment got together and started the café as a non-profit. We were a community of vegans from Georgia and other countries who lived here at the time. We got together and with our personal money and belongings, and with the help of friends and a larger community of supporters and volunteers, we managed to open the café on July 4, 2015.

WHY THE VEGAN ELEMENT? First of all, everyone behind this was vegan and that is what we all wanted to have; a cozy vegan place for people to enjoy vegan meals and share ideas and love. We thought that it was something that Tbilisi was missing at the time. There were some vegans and a lot of vegetarians living here and the need for a vegan café could be felt. Tourists who came here were also looking for vegan places. We also believed that we could raise awareness not only about animal rights, but also about envi-

ronmental issues and health and diet problems which are present in the country and we believe we have made some changes already. There is more awareness about animal rights and environmental problems and we believe that we can get credit for at least part of it.

VEGANS OFTEN GET BAD PRESS. WHAT KINDS OF CHALLENGES, IF ANY, HAVE YOU FACED BECAUSE OF THIS? Well, I’m not sure vegans always get press. Just like other communities, there are different types of people in the vegan community and I believe once in a while someone might do something that draws a lot of attention and the mainstream media tends to be more interested in such news, as there will be more people interested in reading about it. We haven’t faced any serious problems except for one incident that happened about two years ago. A group of ultranationalists came to the café and interrupted a movie screening event that we had. It ended in a fight that involved even the neighbors. This was all over the local and international news at the time, so I don’t want to waste your readers’ time with details as they might already know about it. That one incident, and a couple of times that we had some young, drunk teenagers who didn't like us being kind to minorities, are the only major challenges we’ve had. Most people tend to be curious and interested. There are some people who are not familiar with the whole concept of veganism and animal rights and it can seem a bit weird for them and also a bit difficult for us to explain to them who we are and what we do; but that is not a big challenge. We know that this is something new for Georgia and Tbilisi and we didn't expect things to be easy for us.

WHAT MAKES KIWI UNIQUE? I think apart from our menu and our interior, which are two important and interesting factors for people, there are other things that make us a bit different from most cafés in Tbilisi. We offer a free platform for people to have meetings and events without asking them to order food or pay a fee for using our space. We also have a free work/study room where people can read or write, work online or meet each other and

stay as long as they want without having to order any food or drink. We are also openly supportive of all minorities that might have a difficult time visiting other cafés and restaurants in Tbilisi, which is something we are proud of.

FROM A CULINARY PERSPECTIVE, WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES? DO YOU DRAW ANY INSPIRATION FROM TRADITIONAL GEORGIAN RECIPES? In the beginning, we had some Georgian dishes which are vegan by origin but we decided to take them off the menu. I personally believe that Georgian food is made with great quality and good prices in local Georgian restaurants and we should let people enjoy it in those restaurants. Our menu has dishes from various countries and cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican and Asian. There are also some dishes that we came up with that are basically different versions of the foods that are already popular here, like our “Tofu Shawarma” and “Buckwheat with Tofu.” We also offer a range of vegan smoothies and fresh drinks which were new but interesting for our guests.

I CAN SEE THE APPEAL OF THIS RESTAURANT TO WESTERNERS, BUT HOW POPULAR ARE YOU WITH LOCALS - ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT, DESPITE THE ABUNDANCE OF VEGETARIAN DISHES, DAIRY IS EVERYWHERE? In the beginning, almost all our guests were tourists and expats and I was not personally very happy about it. We wanted Georgian people to know about this concept and this type of cuisine, as is one of the reasons we decided to open the café in the first place. My good coworkers and I made some important

changes in our advertisements, hosting, and our menu since last year, which has changed the situation already. We are glad that, these days, about half our guests are Georgian and are giving good feedback. It’s interesting that sometimes even Georgian families come to Kiwi with their kids to enjoy a healthy and tasty dinner, which is something new for us.

WITH REGARDS TO THE FOOD YOU SERVE, DO YOU PRODUCE ANY OF THE INGREDIENTS? We have friends who make soymilk and tofu from local ingredients and also some organic greens sometimes. Apart from this, we do not produce any other ingredients yet, but we are looking forward to doing so and we might start with some ingredients this summer with the help of local farmers in the villages around Tbilisi. We always try to buy local products from Georgian producers and distributors if they are available and affordable. We always promote shopping locally for environmental and economic reasons to support Georgia and the Georgian market. Unfortunately, there are products that we cannot buy from Georgian producers as they are either not produced here or are too expensive to buy considering the prices we have for our dishes on the menu.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS? Well, we're glad that we're here, and that we help people know more about being kinder and more respectful to animals and the environment. Serving a minimum average of 60 meals per day at our café, and using data on people’s diets internationally, we have a rough calculation that shows we’ve saved about 2,500 to 4,000 thousand animal lives

per year. This also means a positive effect on the environment and air pollution and saving millions of liters of clean drinking water. I believe that is our biggest and most important accomplishment. In addition, and as previously mentioned, partly because of our existence and our efforts, there has been a big increase in the number of vegans and people who care about animals and the environment in Tbilisi and Georgia. There are also meetings, gatherings, presentations and social events which are made possible as we let and also encourage people to use our café for free in order to spread their ideas and discuss their issues with other people. There might be some other accomplishments, but I believe that what we need to focus on is how to improve and have a greater impact instead of being too proud of what we have achieved so far.

WHAT ARE YOU GOALS FOR THE FUTURE? I believe that the best goal is to grow day by day. We’re looking forward to having our own vegan shop selling healthy food products. There might also be a second Kiwi in the near future in another location in Tbilisi if we get enough interest and demand from people. We’re going to get involved in some organic farming in Georgia and also support and promote those who are already involved. We’ve had meetings about it already and we hope we can start it as soon as possible. We already help people who are active in animal rights and environmental issues, but we are planning to do it on a larger scale.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR LEGACY TO BE? Having fewer animals killed and abused; healthier, kinder and better-aware people in Georgia and a better preserved environment is the best we can aim for.

World’s Best Circus: Cancun, Mexico BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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t’s 34 years old and hails from Quebec, Canada. Without animal acts, it has become the most successful circus in the world, ever, reinventing the genre entirely. My wife and I were lucky enough to discover that Cirque du Soleil has a permanent presence just outside Cancun, and we decided to splurge and see it. “We didn't reinvent the circus. We repackaged it in a much more modern way.” - Guy Laliberte, co-founder. We bought a pair of next-to-cheapest tickets online and took public transport to the venue and were indeed transported into a different world. The water-reflected, night-lit buildings and landscape themselves let you know that you are Somewhere Else, a place of magic where anything is possible. The main hall seats only 600, with two evening shows at $80-200 per seat. So the feeling is somewhat more intimate than perhaps at a

larger venue. Having checked online about photography rules, I left my camera at home—only to discover that I would have been able to use it here! So I had to use what I had, which was my wife’s cell phone, better than nothing in the situation, but not much. “Our approach was very simple. It was about creating a universal language. A

show that will be attractive for every person coming from all over the world. And that was a big thing.” - Guy Laliberte, co-founder. From a slow, struggling start, for some years nearly not making it, the show has burst onto the scene all over the world and changed forever the way circuses are done. No more allegations of animal

exploitation or cruelty; a single story which runs through the entire show of an hour or more; use of the entire audience space as well as the stage; excellence on every level, from the decorations to the costumes to the live music and vocals to every act, carefully auditioned from the world’s best, and tough-lovingly fitted together into the seamless whole. “Inside every adult there's still a child that lingers. We're happiness merchants - giving people the opportunity to dream like children.” - Guy Laliberte, co-founder. We were dazzled from beginning to end, with all the ingenuities, the humor, the pathos, the care and devotion evident all around. We let ourselves be drawn in and played with, played for all we were worth. The outside world and its worries fell away. “The sun stands for energy and youth, which is what I thought the circus should be about.” - Guy Laliberte, co-founder. The acrobatics and contortions, the gymnastics and strength, were all beautiful, nothing grotesque, though plenty was startling. How do they DO that? was

the question at every turn. “I am blessed for what I have, but I believed in it from the beginning. Today, the dream is the same: I still want to travel, I still want to entertain, and I most certainly still want to have fun.” - Guy Laliberte, co-founder. The experience is unforgettable, and I recommend it to everyone. If you have the chance, save up some money if necessary, and just go, treat yourself to the show of a lifetime. “I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible — I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical.” - Stephen Colbert. 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 1800 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


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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Springtime Jazz in Tbilisi

Miles Electric Band

REVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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he Tbilisi Jazz festival, 21st of its name, king of all jazz festivals in the whole Caucasus region (granted it’s not saying much, but still), was held on April 28. It used to be in autumn, but this year, the organizers moved it forward to coincide with the International Day of Jazz on April 30. And in retrospect, if you ask me, it was a good decision – it sure felt like we were celebrating the brilliance of Jazz together with the whole world, and that’s a magnificent feeling to experience. The festival opened in the Tbilisi Open Hall. First on the program was the Bad Plus band, but before they could grace us with their presence, the audience was entertained by the Georgian Sandro Bibich Trio. Both they and the Bad Plus played solid, if slightly unspectacular, jazz and while I wouldn’t complain, it still felt that bigger and better things were yet to come – with hindsight being a wonderful thing, of course. Oh and a nice bit of retro reminiscence here - I met several Georgian actors the second day, who had been invited to attend by the organizers, and asked them what they thought about first day acts. First thing they said (unsurprisingly) was that Jazz in their days was way better and of higher quality and that some of the crazier Jazz aficionados in the 70s even ignored the Iron Curtain to get a chance to listen to their favorite performers worldwide. As for the Bad Plus, their conclusion was that it was as good as any other, and I wholeheartedly agree. The second day was hosted by Club Republica. Naturally 7 was the standout performer, although not entirely for the all the right reasons. You don’t really see jazz and a-cappella blended together that often, let alone in such an unorthodox manner: they call it “vocal play” and well, it’s essentially elaborate dub step meets choir meets jazz with a dish of rapping. Certainly interesting, certainly

takes a lot to master and most certainly not my cup of tea. Call me Mr. Old-fashioned, but I still think vocal is well, for singing, and instruments are there to be played on and that is the right order of things. But that’s just me and most of the public absolutely loved it, jumping around and whistling and cheering and dancing. If you’re a fan of unconventional jazz, this band is definitely one to check out. Oh and while I’m speaking about the audience, I think it’s worth mentioning that the usual crème de la crème, the aloof elite that has no understanding of jazz whatsoever and attends only to underline their own social status, were also well-represented. Some of them even seemed perturbed by the loud music and with the audience’s active engagement – when supra meets jazz, one of them has to suffer. The evening was rounded out by the man in charge of the DJ set, Derrick Mackenzie of Jamiroquai fame. He was very, very good and easy to relate to, not dissimilar to Jamiroquai’s sound. The best thing happened on 30th, International day of Jazz and my, was that jazz to remember. Miles Electric Band, together with Ravi Coltrane. This was

what jazz is about: intricate, melodic and downright mesmeric. Coltrane was superb, but one man stole the stage, the show, and my breath – whoever played those little bongos was a magician. Jazz solo on a drumming instrument. Let that sentence sink in a while. This was the performance that the 21st Jazz festival will forever be associated with in my mind, such was the power of sound and the mastery of the performer. Not to slight the other performers, but these few minutes were head and shoulders above everything else we were treated to during these three days. And I can only ponder what a man who can conjure such sounds, a man who is able to entice so, must feel himself when he’s playing. Leonard Feather, the legendary pianist and jazz journalist once said that “jazz ecstasy” is the closest thing to a trance you can get without using substances and this is probably what he had in mind. To all things, an end, eventually and the 21st Tbilisi Jazz Festival also bade us farewell, its helping with a much-needed dose of jazz in our daily diet much appreciated. Till the next year then, or see you in Batumi, perhaps?


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 4 - 7, 2018

Life Through Cinema Festival Opens BY ROBERT EDGAR IN LONDON

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ife Through Cinema, the fifth Georgian film festival in London, was officially launched on 1 May at Terroirs wine bar near Trafalgar Square. This year, its remit comes from the centenary of the shortlived First Georgian Republic and there are a number of films, documentaries, and talks centered around this important milestone in Georgian history. The festival, which runs from 1 – 8 May, aims for a more holistic celebration of Georgian culture than film screenings on their own could provide: there are events focused on Georgian Polyphony, wine, and food courtesy of top chefs from Tbilisi restaurants Azarphesha and Poliphonia and vintners like John Wurdeman. On display during the launch was a collection of Georgian cinema posters which have been curated by Nino Dzandzava from the Georgian National Archive. It comprises some 30 posters ranging from the years 1926 to 2000 that give a flavor of the history of the country’s film making from Soviet times to the tail end of Shevardnadze’s rule. There are 15 films being screened at the festival, 10 of which are UK premieres. The program provides a similar comment on the past hundred years

of Georgia’s history. ‘The Independence Chronicles 1918-1921’ shows newsreel footage to piece together a visual history of that turbulent but inspiring period and there are classics from perestroika like ‘Blue Mountains, or Unbelievable Story’ by veteran director Eldar Shengelaia, and ‘My English Grandfather’ by Nana Jordjadze. That sense of struggle for independence is also reflected in the pick of more recent films like ‘My Happy Family,’ ‘I Am Truly a Drop of Sun on Earth,’ and ‘Gospel of Anasyrma’ which focus on issues of female emancipation and LGBT rights. All in all, the program promises to paint a vivid portrait of Georgian culture. Its fiercely independent spirit from history to the present day will be showcased and celebrated, but it also brings to the fore contemporary issues like the dissonance between the conservative old guard and the liberal youth as the country tries to adjust to changing social and political mores and getting the balance right between more social liberalization without an unacceptable loss of tradition. If you’re in London before 8 May, pop into the Regent Street Cinema. I’m sure it will be worth it. Life through cinema runs from 1 – 8 May at the Regent Street Cinema in London. It is supported by – among others – The British Georgian Society, The Embassy of Georgia to the United Kingdom, and Terroirs Wine Bar.

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

MAY 4 - 7, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 00 44 66 May 5 OPERA CROWN- 1ST TBILISI INTERNATIONAL VOICE COMPETITION Awards & Closing Ceremonies The Finalists will be accompanied by the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater Orchestra Conductor: Zaza Azmaiparashvili Start time: 18:00 TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge May 8 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 60-80 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 598 19 29 36 May 5 THE STORY OF A MURDERER Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-15 GEL May 6 LABYRINTH Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10 GEL May 7 SIMBIOSIS One-act choreographic sketch Director and Choreographer: George Ghonghadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10-15 GEL

GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 4, 5, 10 Premiere An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze. Start time: 20:00 May 6, 8, 9 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL SHALIKASHVILI PANTOMIME THEATER Address: 37 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 595 50 02 03 May 4 KRIMANCHULI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL May 5 HOST AND GUEST Based on Vazha Pshavela’s poem Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL CINEMA

CINEDOC TBILISI Venue: Amirani Cinema May 4 UNSETTLING, IMPREZA- THE CELEBRATION, TARZAN’S TESTICLES, THE ROAD MOVIE, PUNK VOYAGE Start time: 20:00, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00, 22:00 Ticket: 5 GEL May 5 AGAIN TOMORROW, IMPULS, MUM'S HAIR, GOD, THANK YOU FOR TEA!, GOLDEN DAWN GIRLS, UNSETTLING, NAMRUD: TROUBLEMAKER, BUCHAREST, WHERE ARE YOU?, SUNNY NIGHT, INFINITE FOOTBALL, THE LONG SEASON, INSIDE THE DISTANCE, HALF EATEN COW, APOLLO JAVAKHETI, MUM'S HAIR, GOD, THANK YOU FOR TEA! SILVANA Start time: 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00, 22:00 Ticket: 5 GEL

May 6 69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS, LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY AND A CASTLE, TARZAN’S TESTICLES, THOSE FROM THE SHORE, A WOMAN CAPTURED, INFINITE FOOTBALL, IMPREZA- THE CELEBRATION, EXTINCTION, OVER THE LIMIT, INSIDE THE DISTANCE, BOBBI JENE, THE FAMILY Start time: 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00, 19:00, 20:00, 21:00, 21:00, 22:00 Ticket: 5 GEL May 7 THE ROAD MOVIE, SOLVING MY MOTHER, MPULS, COAL HEAP KIDS, 69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS, THOSE FROM THE SHORE, CONVICTIONS, THE LONG SEASON, A WOMAN CAPTURED, TRANSPARENT WORLD, EXOTICA, EROTICA, ETC. Start time: 16:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00 Ticket: 5 GEL May 8 WILD HEART, THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS, THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING, LICU - A ROMANIAN STORY, THE WHITE WORLD ACCORDING TO DALIBOREK, AVEC L'AMOUR, PUNK VOYAGE, SO HELP ME GOD, CITY OF THE SUN Start time: 16:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 18:00, 19:00, 20:00, 20:00, 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL May 4-10 ISLE OF DOGS Directed by Wes Anderson Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 12:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Cast: Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Letitia Wright, Chris Evans Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 12:30, 15:45, 19:00, 21:55

Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 16:15, 19:30, 22:30 Ticket: 10-19 GEL TAXI 5 Directed by Franck Gastambide Cast: Salvatore Esposito, Sand Van Roy, Franck Gastambide Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 16-19 GEL TRUTH OR DARE Directed by Jeff Wadlow Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 14:30, 17:15, 19:45 Ticket: 11-19 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. SIGHNAGHI MUSEUM Address: 8 Rustaveli Alley, Sighnaghi Telephone: 223 24 48 April 21 – May 31 EXHIBITION

DOLLS OF JAPAN The exposition showcases traditional Japanese dolls - among them Hina Ningyo (girls' festival dolls) and Gogatsu Ningyo (boys' festival dolls) originating from ancient Japanese traditions and customs. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge May 1- 20 ZURAB NIZHARADZE'S RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION ‘ZURAB NIZHARADZE 90’ ERTI GALLERY Address: 19 P. Ingorokva Str. BLACK I SEA LEVAN SONGULASHVILI & CHRISTIAN AWE KOLGA TBILISI PHOTO 2018 Program: May 5 - June 3 Address: Tbilisi History Museum (Karvasla), 8 Sioni Str. THOMAS DAHMEN I Have Seen the Light MEINRAD SCHADE Unresolved JAN GRARUP And Then There Was Silence VANESSA WINSHIP She Dances on Jackson MUSIC

SPACEHALL Address: 2 A. Tsereteli Ave. May 5 DECODER: KOLLEKTIV TURMSTRASSE / AUTUMN TREE [LEON] / TADE Start time: 23:55 Ticket: 40 GEL TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE Address: 8 Griboedov St. Telephone: 2 93 46 24 May 7 3rd International Festival FROM EASTER TO ASCENSION World-famous opera soloist Iano (Tamar) Alibegashvili and Sextet “Del Arte” (Germany) present the concert ‘Baroque Music’- the first performance of the ensemble ‘Del Arte’ in Georgia. Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5-20 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili Ave. Telephone: 99 00 99 MAY 4 Ivan Abramov will perform a SOLO STAND-UP SHOW Start time: 20:30 Ticket: 7.50- 75 GEL May 6 SUKHISHVILI Charity concert Start time: 20:30 Ticket: 15-50 GEL HARD ROCK CAFE Address: 1 Petriashvili Str. May 4 LED ZEPPELIN TRIBUTE BY BAND B-17 Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 10 GEL REPUBLIC Address: Rose Revolution Sq. May 5 SUKHISHVILEBI “DANCE GEORGIAN” “TRANSFORMATION” WITH THE MUSICAL PREMIERE DJ SET BY NIKOLOZ AMIREJIBI Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 50-300 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY MAY 4 - 7, 2018

15

Meet the First Georgian Female Electronaut to Rock Berghain Dance Floor YOU ARE ACQUAINTED WITH WORLD-FAMOUS DJ-PRODUCER BEN KLOCK WHO RELEASED YOUR TRACK ON HIS LABEL AS WELL AS PERFORMED IT. TELL US MORE Ben Klock is a very friendly and active person. He is a true lover of music and he is always open to novelties. I met him in Tbilisi and I started sharing my new musical pieces with him. In the beginning, he would give feedback or outright criticism. It helped me to develop and perfect my music and then, unexpectedly, Ben decided to release my track ‘Dance of the Warrior’ on his techno label Klockworks. I really didn’t expect it and I was very pleased.

YOU PERFORMED IN BERLIN’S BERGHAIN IN NOVEMBER LAST YEAR. HOW WAS IT? I received an invitation with the following question: “Are you ready for Berghain?” To be honest, I wasn’t even ready to receive such a question and was nervous for the six months leading up to my performance in Berlin. But as soon as I got out on stage and started playing, the fear was gone. I had friends and acquaintances right near the stage, some having come all the way from Sweden,

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

I

n the era of technology, internet and electronic music, it is far more difficult to preserve one’s individuality and simultaneously create something precious using modern high-tech tools. Ana Kublashvili, known by her stage name Newa, did it successfully and even managed to position herself among the most acclaimed artists in the world of techno. Ana is a young Georgian female DJ and musician who rocks not only the local techno scene but has shaken up the international EDM Society around the globe. Moreover, on April 29, 2018, Newa was named the winner and title holder of Electronauts 2017 at the Electronauts annual awards for electronic music, arts and innovative pop culture in Georgia, already in its 10th year. Through gaining this prestigious title, Ana became the first female Electronaut, something, she says, which is an immense achievement. Her track ‘Smash it’ was named Best Track of 2017 at the same Electronaut competition. “Ana is a classically trained musician from Tbilisi on the forefront of the rapidly emerging Georgian electronic music scene,” reads the review about Newa on Resident Advisor, an online music magazine dedicated to showcasing electronic music and artists around the world. As the artist recalls, her grandma made her sing in a jazz band when she was a kid, which fueled her interest in music and eventually got her up on the stage of Berghain in Berlin, the most popular and best known club in Europe. Apart from being invited to perform on Europe’s top dancefloor (so popular that even those who have queued for hours sometimes have to be turned away!), Newa’s music has been appraised and released by one of the most in-demand DJproducers of the current generation: Ben Klock. Through the classical music background coupled with ambient sounds and melodic techno beats, Newa produces amazing pieces that take you on a long journey into space. ‘Dance of the Warrior’ and ‘Simshvide’ (Peace) are her signature works,

IN WHICH CLUBS DO YOU PERFORM IN GEORGIA AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE GEORGIAN UNDERGROUND SCENE? I perform in all four clubs of Tbilisi and I’m very glad to have such an opportunity, even though every month I play abroad too. I play in Kutaisi’s newly opened club Reflector, one of my favorite places. Tbilisi’s underground scene has already reached such a level that it has surpassed many European clubs. I want to reach out to everyone, not only the regular Georgian clubbers, and say that I have performed in many European cities, yet nothing can be compared to Tbilisi; the spirit that raises you up here is totally different and unique. I’ve been cooperating with Radiate Booking agency since 2017 and I have my own agent who works on getting me in different European clubs every month. I just got back from Israel and Toulouse and next week I’m heading off to Turkey and then Brussels. I’ve scheduled all my trips over the course of this year in advance.

representing masterpieces of Georgian techno that in future might be coined as the classic of the 21st century. Newa (Ana Kublashvili) gave GEORGIA TODAY a peek into her career and childhood memories.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COMPOSING YOUR OWN TRACKS? I first started making my own music eight years ago. I first got interested in electronic music when I was at school, somewhere around 2003-2004, when a female classmate of mine, known as ‘DJ Spring,’ was already trying DJing. She introduced me to my very first electronic music piece. I also discovered the website 21stcentury.net with plenty of electronic music genres showcasing mixes by various DJs. Although this website no longer exists, I used to visit it often and download mixes and tracks, even with the extremely low-speed internet that was available at that time.

WE RARELY COME ACROSS FEMALE DJS IN GEORGIA. WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION? DO YOU KNOW OTHER FEMALE DJS IN GEORGIA? My family’s attitude toward my job is absolutely positive and 100% supportive. Over recent years, more girls have started emerging in this field, yet it’s still a low number: Ttrakovski; Natalie Beridze, who is well-known not only in Georgia but beyond its borders too; and the second half of Body Thrills, Nicole (Nicole Popkhvadze who makes electronic music and has been released by IconTrax, a Tbilisi-based music label). Fortunately, there are no fixed quotas in this field, so Georgian female artists are more than welcome to join, but of course their interest should be powered naturally. In my case, my passion for music started at an early age, when I was a little kid. I was constantly surrounded by music, my grandmother Eter Zanguridze teaches piano and is a concertmaster. So, thanks to her, I sang, played the piano, the guitar a bit, and drums. I also graduated the ‘7 Classes Music School.’

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Amsterdam and Tbilisi to listen to my performance in Berghain. It was one of the most unforgettable three hours of my life.

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Issue #1045  

May 4 - 7, 2018

Issue #1045  

May 4 - 7, 2018

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