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Issue no: 969

• AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

FOCUS

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue...

ON THE US MESSAGE "We are with you, we continue our alliance, Georgia's future is connected to the West" PAGE

4

New Initiative Increases Tension between President & Ruling Party NEWS PAGE 3

Two Cities, Three Georgias POLITICS PAGE 6

US - Georgia Major Partnership: Signing an Agreement with SSA Marine BUSINESS PAGE 9

Swiss National Day Venice Commission to Mediate Celebrated in Tbilisi Dialogue between Georgian Ruling The Pleasure of Song Party & Opposition Friendly Baseball Match SOCIETY PAGE 10

CULTURE PAGE 13

BY THEA MORRISON

T

he Venice Commission is ready to organize a meeting in Strasburg on September 6, in order to facilitate dialogue between the Georgian ruling party and the opposition over the controversial amendments to the Constitution. The letter of the Venice Commission Head Gianni Buquicchio with the offer to meet in Strasburg was sent to the Parliament Speaker and opposition parties. It reads that the Commission is looking for consensus over the issue. The initiative of holding a meeting in Strasburg was raised by the nine non-parliamentary opposition parties of Georgia. The political union, Free Georgia, composed of these nine parties sent a letter to Buquicchio on July 25, which introduced the situation to the Venice Commission regarding the constitutional reform process and asked them to organize a meeting. Continued on page 2 Venice Commission Head, Gianni Buquicchio

SPORTS PAGE 15


2

NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

Georgia Hosts 1 Million International Travelers in July Chogovadze, Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration. “July was no exception. Just the opposite: around one million international travelers visited Georgia, which is a record figure. Generally speaking, 2017 will be a year of new records. Where in 2016, we surpassed 6 million tourists for the first time, in 2017, we will see over 7 million international travelers”. “The tourism season is in full swing,” Lika Devadze, representative of the Information-Analytical Department of the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Georgia, noted. “According to the data of the Information-Analytical Department of

BY MAKA LOMADZE

T

he Ministry of Interior Affairs has announced that, in July, almost a million international travelers visited Georgia (982,487), up from 2016 by 217,724 (+28.5%), a fact never before seen in Georgian history. The number of tourists overall has increased by 33%. “We are happy to see the unprecedented increase in the number of tourists is being maintained in Georgia,” said Giorgi Country

2016: July

2017: July

Difference

Difference in %

1

Russia

136,630

219,145

82,515

60.4%

2

Armenia

166,778

209,098

42,320

25.4%

3

Azerbaijan

167,536

190,621

23,085

13.8%

4

Turkey

140,409

141,270

861

0.6%

5

Iran

24,091

44,772

20,681

85.8%

6

Ukraine

22,496

26,171

3,675

16.3%

7

Israel

13,187

17,219

4,032

30.6%

8

Saudi Arabia

4,777

16,885

12,108

253.5%

9

Kazakhstan

9,849

11,272

1,423

14.4%

10

Belarus

6,763

9,704

2,941

43.5%

11

Poland

7,283

7,872

589

8.1%

12

USA

4,477

7,404

2,927

65.4%

13

Germany

5,383

7,155

1,772

32.9%

14

Oman

3,845

5,016

1,171

30.5%

15

India

3,778

3,815

37

1.0%

Mayoral Candidate Promises Abolition of Contract with C.T. Park Company BY THEA MORRISON

from Lebanon +579%, Jordan +373%, Saudi Arabia +254%, Kuwait +207%, Iran +86% and the USA +65%.

JANUARY-JULY 3,978,657 international travelers visited Georgia in January, which surpasses the same month of 2016 by 572,195 (up 16.8%). The number of tourists who spent 24 or more hours in Georgia January-July, has reached 1,829,331, which surpasses the same data of 2016 by 423,816 (+30.2%). To sum up the seven months, the leading countries with regards to incoming visitors are from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and Iran. From EU, the top countries in this respect are: Austria +52%, the Netherlands +39%, Germany +32%, the United Kingdom +29%, France +26%.

Particular growth was seen from Jordan +398%, Lebanon +318%, Saudi Arabia +218%, Kuwait +185%, Iran +170% and Uzbekistan +138%.

TOURISM AN IMPORTANT SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY According to the data of the first quarter of 2017, income from international tourism was $434.6 million (up 23.3%), which surpasses the analogous data of 2016 by $82 million. The share of tourism per GDP was 6.8% in the first quarter of 2017, a growth of +0.8% compared to the previous year. According to the data of January-July of 2017, operations made by international travelers using foreign cards totaled $951,335, up +33.5% compared to 2016.

National Food Agency: Georgian Ice-Cream Free of Pathogenic Microorganisms BY THEA MORRISON

I

ndependent mayoral candidate of Tbilisi, Alexander Elisashvili, has made a promise that if he wins the autumn mayoral race, he will abolish the contract with the parking regulatory company in the capital city – C.T. Park. The majority of Tbilisi residents say they are unhappy with C.T. Park’s services. The contract between the company and the Mayor’s Office was signed under the previous government in 2007, seeing the company receive exclusive rights to manage parking services in Tbilisi until 2022. However, the service costs and rules have raised various questions amongst the populace, who disapprove of the company, claiming it to have high fines and unfair conditions. The current Mayor, Davit Narmania, has stressed on numerous occasions that he is also unsatisfied with the work of C.T. Park but has explained that the agreement cannot be cancelled because, according to international auditing company Ernst & Young, the cancellation of

the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the growth in travelers is 32.9% compared to the analogous period of the previous year”. According to the data of July, the number of those travelers/tourists who spent 24 or more hours in Georgia is 519,349, which surpasses the data of the same month of 2016 by 128,651 (up 32.9%). The top origin countries were Russia (+60.4%), Armenia (+25.4%), Azerbaijan (+13.8%), Turkey (+0.6%) and Iran (+85.8%). The positive trend is also maintained from the direction of the EU: from The Netherlands with a growth of +43%, the United Kingdom (+34%), Germany (+33%) and France (+33%). A further growth in number was seen in visitors

T

he National Food Agency (NFA) has examined various types of Georgian ice cream on the consumer market and assessed that none of them

is contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. The Agency reports that laboratory research was conducted on 105 samples of 21 types of ice cream sold by various business operators in Georgia and the results revealed that they are not contaminated or harmful for health. The study does not appear to have covered ice cream sold by private individuals on

the street or beach. "Listeria monocytogenesis is a pathogenic microorganism that creates a significant threat to the lives and health of children and pregnant women. Salmonella is a group of bacteria that causes typhoid diseases and acute gastroenterocolitis,” the NFA says, adding that Georgian ice-cream does not contain any of these microorganisms.

Photo Source: RFERL

the agreement will cost the Mayor’s Office GEL 25 million in expenses, a huge sum for the Tbilisi budget. Elisashvili has claimed that it is better to pay GEL 25 million from the budget than put up with extremely high fines from C.T. Park. The politician believes that parking should be a municipal service, governed by City Hall until a new tender is announced. “If I become Mayor, my first act will be abolishing the contract with C.T. Park. After that, an international tender will be announced, which will have three conditions: pay the fine to C.T. Park, setting up adequate infrastructure, and initiate a parking system in the capital,” said Elisashvili.

Venice Commission to Mediate Dialogue between Georgian Ruling Party & Opposition Continued from page 1

The Chair of Free Georgia, Kakha Kukava, says that the Venice Commission's proposal is a serious chance to exert pressure on the government to suspend the review of the constitutional amendments adopted in the second reading. The parliamentary opposition parties, the United National Movement (UNM) and European Georgia, are going to take

part in the meeting in Strasburg. “If the ruling party adopts this version of constitution, this will be a oneparty document and a step backwards for the democratic development of Georgia,” Zaza Bibilashvili from the UNM stated. European Georgia member Irakli Abesadze says that the meeting in Strasburg will be fruitful if the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party decides that the wish of Georgian society has to be reflected

in the main document of the country. GD says they will join the meeting, however, they do not specify if they will compromise their position or not. “We compromised on many issues. Consensus with the opposition can be reached at this meeting,” Archil Talakvadze, parliamentary majority leader, said. Georgian Dream adopted the proposed changes to the country’s main law, the Constitution, with its second reading

in late June. Parliament will return to discussing the draft law after three months, as three readings are mandatory for the final adoption of a law in Parliament. The amendments, among many important changes, include a delay to the full move to a proportional election system, as well as indirect presidential elections until 2018. GD promised a move to a proportional system prior to the 2012 parliamentary

elections. The majority stated after consultations with the opposition parties, NGOs and the Venice Commission that the changes would take place before the 2020 parliamentary elections. However, according to the adopted changes, this will now happen no earlier than 2024. Georgia has a mixed electoral system, with 77 lawmakers elected through proportional elections and the remaining 73 via a majoritarian race.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

New Initiative Increases Tension between President & Ruling Party BY THEA MORRISON

A

new initiative from the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, raised at the meeting with the United States Vice President Mike Pence a few days ago, about the appointment of a special representative of the US to Georgia, has increased tension between the Presidential Administration and the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. The presidential initiative was voiced on August 1, when Mike Pence and Margvelashvili visited the multinational NATO-backed Noble Partner 2017 military drills near Tbilisi. The President of Georgia thanked the Vice-President for the clear supportive messages delivered during the visit and stated that the appointment of a special representative for Georgia will facilitate rapid and efficient implementation of cooperation between Georgia and the US. However, soon after the initiative, the ruling party criticized the president for his action, claiming there is no need for additional mechanisms in relations between the two countries. Vice-Speaker of Parliament and member of GD, Gia Volsky, said the president’s initiative was “incompetent”. He also expressed regret that the issue was not agreed on with the government

and the US side in advance. Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, says that today Georgia and the US have unprecedentedly close and successful relations and there is no need to appoint a special representative. The State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Viktor Dolidze, also shares the position of the ruling party. “I see no need to add a new element to this relationship. However, as the initiative belongs to the President, it can be discussed,” he stated. The opposition parties approve of the new initiative and criticize the GD for always criticizing the steps Margvelashvili makes. Tinatin Bokuchava, member of the United National Movement, says that the ruling party does not think about the interests of the country. “Instead of focusing on Georgia’s strategic interests, GD is once again getting

involved in a dispute against the President and his Administration,” she stressed. Lasha Tugushi from the European Georgia party believes that no matter what idea the president proposes, the majority always negatively assesses his actions. “It is very important to make Georgia’s issues more active,” he added. Analysts like the initiative, but point out that this step has once again underlined that there is tension between the Presidential Administration and the ruling party. They believe the government should have asked for the appointment of a US Special Representative to Georgia a long time ago, when such a representative was appointed for Ukraine. “The initiative is very interesting and timely but, as usual, it is followed by negative reactions from the government,” Nodar Kharshiladze, the establisher of the Georgian Strategic Analysis Center stated.

3

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Does Not Exclude Extradition of Saakashvili to Georgia BY THEA MORRISON

Y

uri Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, has not excluded the extradition of Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili to Georgia, when he arrives back in Ukraine. The information was released by news agency ‘Ukrainian Apostrophe,’ which says that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General held a meeting with bloggers and said that "he will be forced to extradite Saakashvili to Georgia should he come back to Ukraine." However, Lutsenko added that it will happen only if there is a new request from Georgia. Saakashvili was stripped of his Ukrain-

ian citizenship around a week ago. If he returns to Ukraine, he will be deported to Georgia and held responsible for various charges officially raised against him in 2014. Georgia’s Justice Minister, Thea Tsulukiani, said a few days ago that the Georgian Prosecutor's Office addressed Ukraine twice, in both 2014 and 2015, to extradite the ex-president of Georgia. However, the Ukrainian side did not comply with the request because they were unable to rule out any discriminatory aspects. She added that that the Ukrainian side has changed their position of late; but as Saakashvili is not currently in Ukraine, they cannot extradite him now. “As soon as Saakashvili arrives in Ukraine, they can hand him over on the basis of our request sent to Ukraine two years ago,” Tsulukiani said.


4

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

Messages from Pence BY THEA MORRISON & NINO GUGUNISHVILI

W

e appreciate Georgian-American relations, which have been developing throughout the last 25 years. Georgia is our most important strategic partner. We respect its territorial integrity and aspiration to join NATO, - Mike Pence, the Vice-President of the United States, said during his two-day visit to Georgia on August 1. The PM’s Press Office reports that during the VP’s visit with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, both sides discussed key issues of the Georgia-US strategic partnership. The meeting was focused on defense and security and the United States' role in developing the Georgian Armed Forces and enhancing Georgia's defense capabilities. The importance of NATO-backed military drills in Georgia, Noble Partner, underway in Georgia until August 12, and its role in the strengthening of security, stability and peace in the region was also acknowledged. “You stand shoulder in shoulder with our security, you stand together for the liberty of our people, this is why you are noble and your partnership is vital for our common welfare,� President Margvelashvili said in his speech to participants of the multinational military exercise the same day. “Freedom is of the highest value for Georgians and for Americans, their dedication to liberty unifies both nations. Our countries are strategic partners, sharing common values and goals,� he noted, underlining that the US Government's assistance to Georgia is crucial. “Not too far away, wire fences exist, depriving the citizens of Georgia the right

of free movement. 20 percent of the country is occupied by Russia because Georgia decided to be a free and independent nation�. “My country, as a European nation, creates great opportunities for further strengthening ties between both East and West, but to do so our freedom has to be secured, therefore, today, we need a firm call to tear down those walls,� Margvelashvili said. Mike Pence in turn said it was an honor for him to address the men and women of exercise Nobel Partner.

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Three mobile conference halls are available with a total capacity of about 100 persons. (XURSHDQFXLVLQHFDQEHHQMR\HGLQWKHJURXQGĂ€RRUFDIp and a grill-bar menu in the roof top restaurant with panoramic views over the city. The International Hotels Management Company “T3 Hospitality Management,â€? providing the hotel management, has 20 years’ experience in hotel management in different countries globally.

“I bring greetings from the leader of the free world, President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. The President sent me here, to this place and at this time, simply to thank you all for serving your nations,â€? he said, adding that the US and Georgia are bound together by an abiding friendship and by a shared commitment to defend freedom. "Georgia has been a strategic partner of the United States for years. Thousands of Georgian servicemen served with dignity together with the Americans in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. Georgia has sent more military personnel per capita than any other country worldwide,â€? the Vice-President stated, recalling the 31 Georgian soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the struggle for freedom. Kvirikashvili later stated that, with the help of the US, today Georgia has moved on from its Soviet past. “Today, we are a European democracy associated with the EU, and we are proud to stand by the Americans in the fight for global security, and make our contribution to regional stability,â€? he stated, adding that Georgia is ready for high-level trade and investment relations with the United States, based on bilateral economic benefits. “The US companies’ cooperation with the Anaklia Deep Sea port once again confirms the growing interest in American business as well as the great potential for transforming our country into a regional hub,â€? he added. Mike Pence thanked Georgia for its hospitality and warm welcome, and noted that he is impressed with Georgian traditions, cuisine and folklore. “Georgia is at the crossroads of civilizations and nations. For millennia, this country has created richer traditions, has its own language, originality‌The US is ready to deepen relations with Georgia,â€? he confirmed. “I would like to once again emphasize Donald Trump's words: we are with you, we continue our alliance, Georgia's future is connected to the West,â€? he reiterated. According to Pence, Donald Trump's adminis-

tration will always give a strict response to those countries that try to undermine Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. He also stated that the US and Georgia will intensify their economic relations. “We will work in the business field and strengthen our business relationships. The ongoing reforms in Georgia clearly demonstrate [Georgia’s] commitment to the strengthening of business relations with the West,� he added. During his visit, VP Pence also met with members of the political opposition. “We talked about the processes that are currently ongoing in our country, the constitutional and election reform, issues related to the freedom of speech and Rustavi 2,� David Bakradze, leader of the European Georgia party, said. “Our position and the position of our American partners coincides fully: that a democratic Georgia is a country which can expect maximum support, that will find itself in the Euro-Atlantic area and NATO, and which will be able to defend itself from Russian aggression,� he noted. Shalva Shavgulidze, leader of the Free Democrats, spoke about the informal governance threats and the problems of democratic development in the country. “It was a very interesting meeting, more productive than I expected,� Nika Melia, Leader of the UNM, said. “The US Vice President’s visit to Georgia demonstrates that both the US administration and the Vice President himself support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Georgia. We discussed numerous topics during the meeting: the necessary constitutional changes and political, social and economic security, which is the cornerstone of the country’s development,� Melia said. He also mentioned that he spoke about Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili, but stated that he didn’t want to disclose any details. VP Mike Pence also met the Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II in Sioni Cathedral, after which he and his delegation left Georgia for Montenegro.


6

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

Two Cities, Three Georgias OP-ED BY LINCOLN MITCHELL

O

n a recent trip to Georgia, I spent about week in Batumi and slightly more than that in Tbilisi. I first visited Batumi in 2003 when I got the full Alsan Abashidze treatment complete with tours of the city, long meals, lectures about the history of the Abashidze family in Adjara that lasted for hours and even a performances at the opera house. I have made several visits there in the intervening 14 years so have seen the extraordinary development and growth of that city. I have, of course, spent a great deal of time in Tbilisi over the last fifteen years, so have a pretty good sense of both cities. Tbilisi and Batumi are both interesting cities with their own charms and attractions. At first glance, the differences are also obvious. Tbilisi is much bigger. Batumi is a beach town, while Tbilisi is in the middle of the country and has a much larger and more diverse economy. Tbilisi feels more urban, while Batumi feels more like a very fast growing small town that is somewhat removed from the central government in the capital. There is another difference that may be more significant and that becomes apparent very quickly when visiting both cities. In Tbilisi, English is the unofficial second language, particularly in hotels, good restaurants and in the old city. It is also heard in the government offices that are based in the capital. However, in hotels and restaurants in Batumi one more frequently hears Russian, Turkish, Arabic or Persian. Even the Hebrew one hears in Batumi is more likely to be Russian accented than that coming from the Israeli tourists and businesspeople who go to Tbilisi. In general, there are many European and North American business people, tourists, long term residents and visitors in Tbilisi, while the European and North American footprint in Batumi is much lighter. The point here is not simply one of linguistic difference, nor is it a Tom Friedmanesque attempt to explain Georgia by hanging out in hotel lobbies in Tbilisi and Batumi. Rather, there are some bigger differences between the two cities, that represent competing visions of Georgia’s future, of which these observations are illustrative. In Tbilisi, Georgia’s European inclination and aspirations are very evident. Not only does the city feel more European, but it is much more connected to Europe through business, politics and people. If you spend time in Tbilisi, par-

ticularly if you stay in the center and in the more cosmopolitan neighborhoods, it is not hard to see Georgia as European. The cafes dotting the old city, the mix of centuries old churches next to hip restaurants serving interesting fusion cuisines, the melange of European languages one hears at these places and the growing imprint of western youth culture all give Tbilisi a very European feel. Batumi, on the other hand, is, by any measure, considerably less European. Parts of the city are beautiful, but much less European feeling than parts of Tbilisi. There are a handful of cafes and restaurants that have a true Western vibe, but they are much less part of the fabric of Batumi than is the case in Tbilisi. Moreover, the huge presence of tourists from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, the Middle East and elsewhere makes Batumi a fascinating, but not entirely European-seeming town. Batumi is nonetheless flourishing and represents a different relationship between Georgia and the rest of the world. Batumi’s growth and success as a beach town and tourist destination rests not directly on Georgia’s European orientation as there are relatively few European tourists there. Instead, Batumi benefits from Georgia’s location at a crossroads of many different countries, reputation as a safe and tolerant place and residual nostalgia from the Soviet period. In some respects, these two cities represent different possible futures for Georgia. The Tbilisi future is one where Georgia accelerates its integration into Europe and becomes something of a European outpost in the South Caucasus, on the geographical fringe of what most people would view as Europe. The Batumi future is one where Georgia becomes a genuine crossroads of the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, Asia and Europe. In this vision, it is not just tourists, but investors and trade that comes to Georgia from these parts of the world. It should not be overlooked that while these two cities represent two different possible futures for Georgia, there is a third possible future for Georgia. That is the one represented by large parts of the country outside these two relatively dynamic cities and is much less positive. The underemployment, relative economic stagnation and lack of opportunity that has proven to be enduring in much of rural Georgia represents a very depressing vision for Georgia’s future. Thus, one way to think about the major question for Georgia is which vision, Tbilisi or Batumi, is best suited to address the ills plaguing

most of the rest of Georgia. Ideally, Georgia could synergize these two visions, becoming both European and a crossroads of the Middle East, former Soviet Union, Europe and Asia, but that will not be easy. Achieving either of these goals requires smart policymaking, political stability and a clear vision. Achieving both would be much more difficult, necessitating a nuanced policy approach that threads a needle between these two sometimes clashing visions. The dialectic between Tbilisi and Batumi is not, however, exactly a policy question. The government cannot simply decide to move the country in one direction or another. Additionally, continuing to think about Georgia’s future largely in terms of orientation and direction, rather than concrete policy actions is not the most productive approach to governance. However, policy-makers, as well as civil society advocates, media and others in the broader policy arena, would be well served to recognize that both of these cities represent important and distinct visions for Georgia’s future. Equally importantly, they are reflections of important trends in Georgia now. Tbilisi and Batumi represent two possible development and policy directions for Georgia, but they also represent two Georgian identities. The notion that Georgia is European and that Georgia’s future lies with greater ties to Europe has been axiomatic among broad swaths of the political elite for years. It is frequently reinforced by framing the alternative to Europe as Russia and all the negatives, from occupation to lack of freedom, that are associated with that country in the minds of Georgians and

their Western allies. Given those options, the choice is easy, but Batumi implicitly presents an alternative, one that recognizes that Georgia’s European identity may not be as deeply entrenched, or as natural, as the elite consensus suggests, while also presenting an alternative that is not Russia. The identity suggested by Batumi is complex and not easy, but it may also be more natural for Georgia. While Georgia has strong European elements, the fit has always been difficult, not least because of simple realities of geography and much of the history that grew out of that geography over the centuries. Georgia’s historical ties, not just to Russia and to other countries that were once part of the Soviet empire, but also to Iran, the Middle East and Israel, for example, are different, and in many cases closer than those of most European countries. For years, Georgia’s European orientation has been as much, or more, about Georgia’s self-perception, as about security, economics or politics. For Georgia, aspiring to be part of Europe is a way to reinforce its vision of itself as being part of the advanced, affluent West and to differentiate itself from its less affluent, less successful neighbors. This desire has spurred Georgia towards reform and been one of the key engines of its democratic development, so it has contributed much to Georgia. However, the desire to differentiate itself from its neighbors may have also created unnecessary barriers to economic development. Because Batumi is so dependent on tourism, it is a good example of this. A big part of the success of Batumi is precisely because it has not pursued the European market, but instead focused on markets

where Georgia already has a significant comparative advantage. There is a lesson there for other regions and economic sectors in Georgia. The quest to be part of Europe also has its limitations for Georgia. By identifying so heavily as part of Europe, Georgia misses an opportunity to exploit one of its strategic advantages: its location and strong geographic and indeed cultural ties to several different regions. For example, the Georgian government has indicated that it sees positioning Georgia as a transit corridor between Asia and the West an important component of economic development. There is no guarantee that the strategy will be successful, but it recognizes Georgia’s potential strategic advantage. The vision of Georgia’s future represented in Batumi reflects that advantage as well. This is not just an economic question as it also speaks to what kind of country Georgians want. At first glance, it seems that if they want a European one, that the model presented in Tbilisi is best, but that is something of an oversimplification because it addresses the political, but not the economic. If Georgia’s commitment to democracy and other European values is strong enough, then the Batumi model will not undermine that commitment. Moreover, if the commitment is not strong enough, then simply restating its European orientation and aspiration will not be enough to ensure Georgia moves meaningfully in that direction anyway. Lincoln Mitchell is a political development, research and strategic consultant who has worked extensively in the post-Soviet region. See more on lincoln@lincolnmitchell.com.

Ruhadze on Westernizing Georgia OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

T

his is a serious statement coming from me, not borne of anger but based on pure logic and bitter experience. Georgia’s “westernization” will take centuries to come, and here’s why: western culture, character and model of behavior cannot be learned overnight, and it cannot be achieved by means of our miserable political and quasi-diplomatic efforts. The ‘West’ must be hammered into our impenetrable heads by mastering Western rules and laws, and through prolonged and perseverant emulation of the Western way of life. We will never become members of NATO and the EU unless we learn how to drive and park our cars, or clean the mess our pets make in the streets or stop littering our environment. This is but a few details of

everyday life. I’m not even talking about the more serious issues that a keen Western eye would notice every second and every step of the way in this culture and country. That keen western eye will first behold and then be embarrassed by and finally be angered at the badly parked cars in front of their gates, or right in front of their cars in public parking lots, or right in the middle of a street with their two idiot drivers sticking their stupid heads out of their car windows to chat as if they own the road. And such is happening in a country of ancient civilization and in a land of people who are terribly, terribly proud of their history and their great culture. Why? Why are we this way, folks? What’s wrong with us? Can’t we at least pretend to be civilized? Just pretend, nothing else, to allow the impression that we make on the West drag us somehow into our dream of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union!


8

POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

US & Russia: Exploring Potential Cooperation OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI

Source: russiancouncil.ru

W

hen last week Russia introduced countersanctions against the US by ordering 755 American diplomats out of the country, it was propagated inside Russia as a veritable sign of Russia’s anger. In reality though, the move should rather be considered as a belated countermeasure against those actions which were taken by the former US president Barrack Obama in late 2016. The reality is that Moscow cannot afford to impose serious countersanctions against Washington as they would harm the problem-stricken Russian economy more than that of the US. For instance, power engines manufactured in Russia for NASA in the US bring a lot of money for Russia and ceasing their export will cost the Russian economy as much as $1 bln within a few years. Some analysts could see that as a sign of Russia trying to leave even a small chance for the improvement of relations between the countries. But it is more plausible to think that Moscow simply cannot respond proportionately to the new US-imposed sanctions. And Moscow should be worried about the existing international situation. The very fact that Washington imposed sanctions on Russia together with North Korea and Iran makes it clear how the White House currently views Russian actions in terms of the instability they create for their neighbors in Eurasia. The relations between Moscow and Washington may even worsen. The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said this Tuesday that "as I indicated on my first trip to Moscow, following meetings at the Kremlin with President Putin, the relationship was at a historic low since

the end of the Cold War, and it could get worse". Moscow sees that the pressure from the US has significantly increased over the past several months. The US military and security build-up in Eastern Europe, along with open statements from American high officials on how supportive Washington will be in case of a conflict with Russia, are clear signs of the US resolve. US Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Estonia and Georgia was a good reflection of this policy. Moreover, the largest ever-inGeorgia military exercises are now being held on Georgian soil with the participation of the US and other allies. A further sign of the complicated situation the Kremlin is finding itself in, is the announcement that Putin will be visiting Abkhazia on August 8 – the anniversary of the short Russo-Georgian

war of 2008. The Russians even announced that the upcoming visit specifically comes against Pence’s visit in Tbilisi. Thus, the relations are indeed complicated, with no sign of abating as the US has made it repeatedly clear that any improvement is contingent on Russia making concessions in her current stance on Ukraine, Georgia and elsewhere. Putin‘s grand strategy of tying up the Syrian crisis with the Ukrainian one in order to gain leverage in negotiations with the West did not work. Further, hopes that under Trump the relations would improve were also dashed and we are now seeing the beginning of a protracted confrontation.

HOPES OF COOPERATION, HOWEVER LIMITED However, despite this, the lowest point

in bilateral relations since the end of the Cold War, the two powers may still find some common ground for cooperation. Syria is a primary example, when the ceasefire in the south-western part of the country was reached in early July during the meeting of the two presidents in Hamburg. Indeed, both countries share a vision of defeating the Islamic State. Afghanistan could be another theater of cooperation as Russia fears the spillover of militancy across the Afghan border into central Asia. Moscow, at least in theory, should not be entirely against the US in Afghanistan since, despite Moscow’s military presence in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, its military forces might not be effective against trans-border attacks from the Taliban and the Islamic State fighters. The third geographic area of likely

cooperation is the Korean peninsula where both countries oppose North Korea’s nuclear program and fear that this could be a final blow to the nonproliferation policy which is already under certain pressure from both Moscow and Washington. However, despite the shared vision, Tillerson recently criticized Russia along with China for not doing enough to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program. These are the theaters across the globe where Russia and the US could cooperate, but the question is how this potential cooperation could spill over onto the former Soviet space. As we have seen there is very little understanding between the two powers on Ukraine, Georgia and wider eastern European security. This leaves dim prospects for any change in the coming months and possibly even years.

Purely American Values… and Us OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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ost of the values that Americans want to consider as their own are universally recognized human ideals, shared by most nations, including Georgia. So, it might be fun to compare our two cultures. After all, we are Strategic Partners, aren’t we? Well, this sounds a little like an overstatement, but it is a loveable overstatement, especially at the moment when we have so much ‘America’ in Georgia. Let us start with HONESTY, INTEGRITY and TRUTHFULNESS – they still matter in America as valuable human features and are appreciated in Georgia, too, but with a veneer of dubiousness and suspicion to it. How about LIBERTY? This purely fundamental American value is elevated to the rank of national ideal in Georgia in conjunction with INDEPENDENCE, exactly as it is in America. EQUALITY – this constitutional value should be working in America, but in Georgia, it still needs to be nursed. SELFGOVERNMENT – this is one of the pillars of the American political establishment, but here in Georgia, it is not always honored. OBJECTIVITY characterizes the American to a certain extent, but for

us Georgians, subjectivity is more valued. Americans appreciate SERIOUSNESS but Georgians seem to be more susceptible to levity. RIGHTEOUSNESS is truly what the American spiritual existence is defined by; we used to be the same way historically, but this feature of our national character is gradually fading away. FAIRNESS has become a problem in our times in general, but Americans are still trying to maintain this value; in Georgia, it triumphs only sporadically. ACCURACY and SELF-

DISCIPLINE – these values still characterize the American everyday life, but in Georgia, forget it! COMPASSION – in this, we are no worse, if not a little better, than Americans. MODESTY and HUMILITY – in America, it is very trendy to wax modest anywhere and anytime, but in Georgia, modesty and humility do not help us to look attractive and dignified. REASON is one of the foremost features of the American character, but for a regular Georgian, it is a burden – rather, emotion is what makes us feel

more complete. When it comes to CHARITY, America can truly be proud – it really is a classic country of charity, but Georgia is only now learning how to be a charitable society. PERSEVERENCE, PROFESSIONALISM and CONCENTRATION characterize Americans, but I cannot call my fellow Georgians terribly perseverant and concentrated professionals as laziness and superficiality are stuck in our bones, somehow. Americans can be counted on for their RELIABILITY and ACOUNTABILITY, something which I cannot ascribe to most of my countrymen. America is a country of OPPORTUNITY, but Georgia has to go another mile until it becomes one. FORGIVENESS, LOYALTY, GOODWILL, DEVOTION and DEDICATION are strikingly American moral values, taking root in its Christian past, whereas in Georgia, of even older Christian tradition, a sense of vengeance, reckoning, retaliation, retribution and punishment is more prevalent. Americans are famed for their SMILE worldwide, it is valued as their best stock in trade; Georgians are a smiling nation, too, but smiling at a stranger is still taken here as a strange gesture. AQUISITIVENESS and MATERIALISM is one of the best descriptions of the American national character, and this is exactly where the Georgians never lag behind. Proclivity for CHANGE is

also known as one of the American values; we like change just as much, especially in our political life. PERSONAL CONTROLOVERTHEENVIRONMENT is what Americans have in their blood while in Georgia this feature of human character is hardly effective as yet. TIME AND ITS CONTROL is the feature which runs life in America and in the West in general, but here in Georgia, time has not yet become something of a great value. RELIGIOUSNESS, SPIRITUALISM, FAITH, TRADITION and IDEALISM are the most common values that unite America and Georgia – we are both very much into these. OPENNESS is also characteristic for both nations. A sense of COMPETITION has made America, but Georgia is still awaiting its rebirth in such environment. SELF-HELP? Yes, Americans have acquired this valuable feature of character through the frontier’s hardships; in Georgia, self-pity is trendier. Americans have high-level WORK ORIENTATION, ACTION, INITIATIVE and EFFICIENCY; we, conversely, enjoy leisure, inertness and passivity, acquired in the years of socialist labor. And finally, PRIVACY! Americans need it as they do air and water. In Georgia, stop dreaming about privacy right now. This is how much alike and different we are!


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

9

US - Georgia Major Partnership: Signing an Agreement with SSA Marine BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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SA Marine, a company regarded as having a strong future focus and possessing a long history of international trade and highly efficient logistics, is now officially appointed as Terminal Operator for the Anaklia Deep Sea Port. Hailed as the start of “a journey into the future,” the agreement signing ceremony between the Anaklia Development Consortium and the leading US terminal operator, SSA Marine, was held on August 1. The signing of the agreement took place within the framework of the US Vice President Mike Pence’s two-day visit to Georgia, bringing even more significance to the event. “The Anaklia Deep Sea Port shows the potential of stronger bilateral relations between our nations,” Pence said. “Amer-

American companies are investing, alongside their Georgian counterparts, in this multi-billion dollar project as we look to the future of our two nations- having untold opportunities to contribute even more to each other’s prosperity" - VP Pence

Anaklia is being positioned as the main trade gateway to the Caucasus and beyond, providing a vital link for economic development across the entire region ican companies are investing, alongside their Georgian counterparts, in this multi-billion dollar project as we look to the future of our two nations- having untold opportunities to contribute even more to each other’s prosperity”. Anaklia is being positioned as the main trade gateway to the Caucasus and beyond, providing a vital link for economic development across the entire region, “a place of great significance to the future of regional and global commerce”. The agreement grants SSA Marine with

the operating rights to the Anaklia Deep Sea Port’s container terminal for the next twenty years. The Anaklia Deep Sea project is expected to further strengthen economic growth both nationally and regionally, while establishing a maritime corridor between China and Europe. Alongside yet another leading US infrastructure and capital projects developer, Conti International, a company which is a part of the Anaklia Development Consortium, while Conti Group is the investor of the project, SSA Marine is said to have been chosen as the port’s terminal operator for its vast experience in overseeing over 250 operations across the five continents, managing terminals in nine countries and servicing 27.2 million containers (TEU). The company also handles more than 75 million tons of dry bulk globally, manages cruise ship operations in US and Mexico, and oper-

ates over 30 intermodal rail ramps for US Class I railroads. The construction of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port is to be launched later this year while Operational Phase 1 is scheduled to start in 2020-2021 Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia; Anaklia Development Consortium founder, Mamuka Khazaradze; Kurt Conti, Co- Founder of ADC, Senior Vice President of SSA Marine, Robert Watters, and members of the Georgian government attended the August 1 signing. Underlining the importance of the agreement, the PM said, “We are committed to bringing more economic substance to our strategic, bilateral cooperation and this is high proof of the fact”. He also noted that the goal is to create the best platform for US business interests in the region, and the involvement

of US companies in large regional infrastructural projects is “very important”. ”Along with our American partners, we have been given the opportunity to open Georgia’s gateway to the sea and to mark Anaklia’s place on the world map and convert it into a most crucial logistics hub. The fact that such a powerful American company as SSA Marine is investing in Georgia is itself a strategic and important precedent for our country,” Khazaradze said prior to the official signing ceremony. The agreement was signed by Levan Akhvlediani, CEO, Anaklia Development Consortium, and Robert Watters, Senior Vice President of SSA Marine.

We have been given the opportunity to open Georgia’s gateway to the sea and to mark Anaklia’s place on the world map and convert it into a most crucial logistics hub

10 Galaktion Street

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


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

Swiss National Day Celebrated in Tbilisi

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ambassador Lukas Beglinger and his spouse, Barbara Kohler-Beglinger

BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

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wiss National Day was celebrated with an official reception held at Otium restaurant, Tbilisi, on August 1. The day also marked the 25th anniversary of Swiss-Georgian diplomatic relations and saw foreign diplomats, Georgian government off icials and representatives of international organizations gathered at the event. “Today, we celebrate the 726th birthday of the Swiss Confederation. But this is also an occasion to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Georgia: 25 years of close and successful partnership, marked by mutual sympathy, respect and trust,” Lukas Beglinger, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia said in his welcoming speech at the reception, expressing his gratitude to the Georgian authorities, fellow citizens and international partners who, as he noted, “contributed in the past two and a half decades to developing SwissGeorgian relations and supporting Georgia’s way forward in its quest for democratic nation-building, rule of law, peace and prosperity”. The Ambassador went on to note that Georgia can continue to count on Switzerland’s sympathy and active support, as the two countries maintain strong bilateral relations across various fields and “have a lot to share”. He underlined the fact that the Swiss Cooperation program in Georgia is aimed at maintaining tangible results in promoting agricultural production and public services locally. The active contribution from Swiss companies and investors to Georgia’s development in creating work places, establishing quality standards and providing trainings, as well as international outreach and innovation, was also underlined by Ambassador Beglinger. “Switzerland is committed to contributing to conflict transformation, reconciliation and peace-

building in the South Caucasus region, in addition to protecting power mandates on behalf of Georgia and of the Russian Federation”. The evening then continued with the address of Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia. “Our partnership is growing stronger in all dimensions; covering political, economic, and cultural, and all other fields,” the PM said, adding that Georgia is to host Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation, in December this year and on September 1, the Free Trade Agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will come into force. “While trade, business and investments are very important to Georgia, as are Swiss relations, the cooperation between the two countries extends well beyond that,” he said. “Georgia, like Switzerland, has a huge heritage in its mountains, in fact, we can safely say our mountainous regions are a real treasure trove of Georgian culture and traditions, and I’m delighted that Georgia is closely cooperating with experts from Switzerland and will soon be able to benefit from Switzerland’s extensive experience to keep our mountain region heritage sustainable,” the Prime Minister said, going on to point to the fact that Switzerland, with only 8 million citizens, is one of the most developed and richest countries, boasting some of the world’s largest financial capitals, Zurich and Geneva, a global hub for doing business and in many ways a role model for Georgia. “Like Switzerland, we would like to transform our country into a regional hub for doing business and attract global investments. I’m pleased to say that Georgia is already safely set on this track,” Kvirikashvili said, adding that Switzerland has been “instrumental in promoting peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia”. In an exclusive comment to GEORGIA TODAY, Mr. Max Blauenstein, a businessman from Switzerland who estab-

lished a modern, Swiss-quality farm in the Racha region together with his Georgian buisness partner Irakli Kervalishvili back in 2008, which isnow a successful venture producing fresh meat and meat products, said, “Our cultures and mentalities are very alike. Together with my friend, who himself comes from Racha, we decided to do something for farmers there and came up with the idea of setting up the farm. We are very satisfied with the results and we’re still investing: the quality is very high, the people working for us have high skills now and it’s a pleasure to work with them.” The future plans, he says, involve founding schools for butcher-farmers and cheese-makers in Georgia, as well as retraining paravets. “Georgia is a typical agricultural country and it needs development to be able to produce good quality and healthy products,” Blauenstein said. “It takes a lot of work for the people in the countryside and makes the countryside more viable to live in. In Racha, only a few people were living there year-round: now there are hundreds. Add to that the fact that tourism is developing really well- more and more people are coming to Georgia: I even had a hard time finding a hotel room as everything was booked up!” Since 1991, following recognition of Georgia’s independence, Switzerland has maintained successful diplomatic relations with it as an active partner, cooperating in economic, educational, cultural, research and innovation areas. In 2016, Switzerland was Georgia’s nineteenth commercial partner, worth $124 million in trade, making up 1.32 percent of Georgia’s total trade, while Swiss exports to Georgia amounted to $42 million, and exports from Georgia to Switzerland made $82 million, according to the latest figures. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has been present and active in Georgia throughout the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Switzerland has stood as the appointed mediator in regulating the conflict between Georgia and Russia since 2009.


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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

The Svaneti Festival: Mestia

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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ne of the meanings of Georgian words ending in “oba” is a day dedicated to the bit which comes before that ending: these are typically festivals for people or places. So, Tbilisoba; Mtskhetaoba; Maryamoba; and so on. A new one for me was this year’s Svanetoba, though it was actually founded (entirely unknown to me) last year, when my wife and I were in Canada. Svanetoba seems to be patterned somewhat after the huge annual autumn Tbilisoba, which features the best of fall produce from all over the country on stalls in the capital, as well as visual and performing arts displays and events. My wife and I drove to Mestia, regional capital, on midday of July 29 (the day after the much older, better known Kvirikoba church festival), did some necessary shopping, and went to check out the stalls. Every village or recognized group of villages was represented by a separate table, with its own sign, unique foods and drinks, and handicrafts. Although the set of dishes known particularly to be Svan is quite limited, here were displayed many variations. Sculptures made of cheese. Different cheeses special to their locations. Changes on khachapuri, Georgian cheese bread; on k’ubdari, the local meat pie. Whole roast piglets. Sausages and corn breads; delicious vegetable pates; araqi, the local moonshine. We were allowed to sample everything as of 3pm, and this turned out to be a much more civilized occasion than the mad rush I was fearing. The large crowds behaved themselves. More. Carved wooden items: I here first had the idea of turning the miniature Svan tower ornament into a set of earrings, either of wood or the minutely detailed, ancient enamel at which Georgians are expert. Everything right up to whole sets of furniture, carved all over with

abstract or scenic details in relief. Felt pictures, made using different colors of the material to make landscapes, especially mountains and towers. The traditional men’s skull cap, from wearable sizes down to dolls’ versions. Needlepoint, drawing, painting. This was all just the stalls. A large stage was also set up, and here, mid-afternoon, the internationally famous Riho men’s choir opened proceedings with several well know songs in Svan. They were followed by local song, dance and music groups from all over the region, crowned by the national Erisioni and Sukhishvili folk singing and dancing groups, also very popular around the world. It went on well into the night, past when we could stay. Apparently, Idliani won the stalls competition, a less well-known village, one to which I have never even been. I was delighted that the prize went to such a place, demonstrating that the field was wide open to all. The event was a great display of how varied life and culture are in Svaneti from place to place; there are even four distinct dialects of Svan spoken here, with eighteen vowels among them, compared just five vowels for Georgian itself. There has very occasionally been an Ushguloba festival too, celebrating all things especially of Ushguli; but not in the nearly two decades I have been in Georgia. However, 2018 sees the 60th anniversary of the opening of the school in that village, which is certainly a reason to celebrate, and one really hopes that this will be done. I taught English in that school in the winters of 2007-8 and 2008-9, at the villagers’ request, and will never forget those months. The 50th anniversary came and went without event, so this time we really must make the effort! 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 nearly 1500 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

13

The Pleasure of Song INTERVIEW BY GIORGI IASHVILI

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ino Katamadze is a bonafide star: just give a quick glance at the vast army of fans the singer has amassed over her career. Armed with a vast array of questions in advance of her upcoming Black Sea Arena concert, GEORGIA TODAY went to meet her.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO SING? It’s not something you can decide; it’s a rather intimate, innate process. I for one think that I still have miles to go before I get this inner confidence that allows you to step on the stage without fear. Music is all about making mundane things magical. Each morning, each person you meet, everything should be looked on through this magical prism because you cannot bring mundane into music.

WHAT SONG BRINGS YOU THE HAPPIEST MEMORIES AND WHY? With me, it’s more about certain phrases, tunes and scenes, than memories. I usually get attached to specific phrases or tunes. For example, my current favorite is a bit from our new album, the song is called “Never Like This”, and at the beginning, you have this angelic chorus sung by the Patriarchy chorus and it’s just breathtaking. To be honest, oftentimes when I sing I might look quite funny as I have to leave my everyday self behind and it’s just another Nino who goes in and faces the music and tunes and embraces them. And I remember

how I felt recording each and every one of my songs, starting from the very first album ending with every concert. And these feeling are what I really cherish.

of love and, truth be told, it would take a much fancier talker than me to describe all the myriads of feelings that these songs can invoke.

HOW LONG DO YOU NEED TO TUNE UP AND CREATE A NEW SONG?

YOU’VE TOURED ABROAD EXTENSIVELY. WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE AUDIENCE?

The main component of my musical life is my band – Insight. We started together, and are still together, nobody left, nobody come in. As for time, well, once again, it’s not about time, it’s how and what do you feel. You can “give birth” to three compositions in one day, but that would have to be a really special day. We wouldn’t call ourselves composers, we take more after painters, if that’s a thing in music. And let me tell you, its hugely emotional. When you create music, when you unite this dissonance into something harmonious, melodic, it’s a real miracle. The emotions are… pure would be the right word, I suppose. And you have to cherish and take care of that wholeness, too, because it can go away.

Apart from Georgia, you mean? Well, we go where we’re wanted. Where we can warm other people’s hearts, do some good, get them to see a better tomorrow. That’s why we often go to places where it’s difficult to sing, but then again, the real bravery is to face whatever reality you are in, to sing when you’re in war. Half of Earth’s population is our listener, so it’s really hard to pick favorites. Wherever there is sea, that means the audience is more relaxed, more easy-going, so you need a different kind of repertoire. But then again, if I’m pressed to say, I’m totally in love with Art-Gen. There was this one time I was singing Turpa, at 3am. We weren’t allowed to leave and I was basically laying on the floor singing and I open my eyes and see 12 other people also laying on the floor beside me.

DO YOU LIKE ALL YOUR SONGS? Like, not like… it’s not like that. There are times when I find it difficult to sing. For example, in the aftermath of the 2008 August War, we recorded the “Red” album. We toured two years with it, but it’s was such a strain emotionally that we had to “save ourselves” and record the “Green” album. That’s the kind of remedy we usually resort to. There are also times when a song has already said what it wanted to say, to express and tell the listener and then it enters a kind of hibernation and you are wary to wake it up again. There are songs that make you hurt and there are songs that make you happy, there are songs that remind you

TELL US ABOUT YOUR AUGUST 21 CONCERT AT THE BLACK SEA ARENA The mood is fantastic. I love singing on my birthdays – sitting at the supra and listening to toasts for five hours straight can never ever beat singing. You know what made me especially happy? 21st of August is a Monday, it’s a working day and I personally know scores of people who postponed their busy schedule to be there with me on that very Monday. That counts for a lot, really. As for the Black Sea Arena itself, it’s just fantastic, with loads of opportunities and we’re really putting in a shift to

be on top of everything. We’re inviting the Sameba Cathedral Choir, which consists of 33 people, so you’re in for a musical feast, trust me. There will be a bit of everything: Georgian songs, hip songs, we’ve got DJ Trouble, who’s been doing “Real Music” for decades now and we’re really excited to be collaborating with him. We’ve got the Sixtet “Quintesence”, which… Actually, I won’t describe them – you’ve just got to listen to it. Well, perhaps one sentence – it’s music that warms your soul. Nikoloz Rachveli will also be performing, of course Insight will be there, the orchestra, everything. It’s a huge space and we’re determined to fill it to the brim. The preparations are going apace and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. It’s kind of a test – me and my team will be wrestling with all that our country has to offer and trust me, it’s plenty.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE MUSIC AND FAMILY LIFE? You must be kidding. There is no such balance, music demands everything, devours every second of your time and attention. This June, I took my child to Batumi and ended up seeing him twice in two days. So I’m rather grateful that I live in this age of technical progress,

where there are loads of gadgets to help me see him, talk to him and so on. It’s a painful topic. Really. And then you imagine how those mothers feel, mothers who are abroad to sustain their families… it gives you motivation to put all you’ve got into what you’re doing, because you’re doing it for them; you dedicate it to them. If you don’t then I don’t know what art of activity can be worth the time you’re taking from your partner, your child. It’s difficult.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO BUT STRUGGLE TO? I would rather like to travel and visit my friends, who need my attention, my friendship and I’m unable to do that as much as I would like right now. I sometimes don’t have time to buy gifts that would make other people happy but there is no time to simply go the store and do that. So there’s plenty I’d like to do. There are some things I might not agree on with some people, but there is music between us and this is much more than personal differences sometimes. Music is a remedy for your mind and for your soul, it… kindles it, I suppose, making you a better person. And to be able to do that, I have to say no to myself about a lot of things.


14

CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL August 4-10 THE DARK TOWER Directed by Nikolaj Arcel Cast: Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Adventure, Fa Language: Russian Start time: 19:00, 22:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE BEGUILED Directed by Sofia Coppola Cast: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning Genre: Drama Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL DUNKIRK Directed by Christopher Nolan Cast: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh Genre: Action, Drama, History Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket: 10-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL August 4-10 ALL EYEZ ON ME Directed by Benny Boom Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE DARK TOWER (Info Above) Start time: 19:00, 22:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE BEGUILED (Info Above) Start time: 17:00, 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL

MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO THE 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases money circulation on the territory of Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. THE TESTAMENT OF DAVID THE BUILDER AND NEW EXHIBITS OF THE MEDIEVAL TREASURY September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 18- November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. Telephone: 299 99 09 March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION The exhibition includes works by Bernardo Daddi, Lucas Cranach (Elder), Guido Reni, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinski; Masterpieces by Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 5 - September 11 EXHIBITION OF DAVID SULAKAURI'S ARTWORKS

The exhibition features up to 100 works by David Sulakauri and a catalog of his artworks. This is the first wide-scale exhibition of the author dedicated to his 65th anniversary. July 11 – August 20 EXHIBITION FIELD OF FLOWERS The name "Field of Flowers" came from the eponymous poem Campo di Fiori by Czesław Miłosz, an honorary citizen of Kedainiai. He wrote it in 1943 in Warsaw during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The exhibition showcases artworks by 14 artists from different countries: Sergey Bratkov (Ukraine), Valery Orlov, The Blue Noses Group, Yury Vassiliev, Alexandra Mitlyanskaya Oleg Kostyuk, Evgeny Umansky (Russia), Hubert Czerepok (Poland), Elisha Flotser (Israel), Mikhail Gulin (Belorussia), Carl Michael von Hausswoldd (Sweden), Ana Riaboshenko (Georgia), Jacob Kirkegaard (Denmark), Ram Katzir (Israel, Netherlands). 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. SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY Address: 7 A. Ioseliani Str., Mestia July 30 – September 10 Georgian National Museum and Project ArtBeat present HERE A solo exhibition of New York based Georgian artist LEVAN MINDIASHVILI GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge Telephone: 215 73 00

June 8 – September 11 EXHIBITION CONSTELLATION Artworks by Chinese contemporary artists- Ai Weiwei, Hu Xiaoyuan, Li Shurui, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Lu Shanchuan, Ma Qiusha, Wang Guangle, Wang Sishun, Wang Yuyang, Xie Molin, Xu Qu, Xu Zhen, Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhang Zhenyu, Zhao Yao and Zhao Zhao. MUSIC

GEM FEST 2017 July 14 – August 14 https://gemfestival.com Start time: 9:00 – 12:00 Tickets: Opening Pass: 60 GEL, 3-Day Pass: 120 GEL, Week Multi Pass: 170 GEL, Multi Pass: 500 GEL, VIP Pass 2000 GEL. GEM Fest is a month-long electronic music festival. Blazing a new trail within sight of the Black Sea, some of the world's biggest house, techno and trance DJs make this a stand-out summer party. Now into its third year, GEM Fest 2017 offers more than 500 artists will perform on 9 stages alongside over 100 fun, sports and entertainment activities. Venue: Anaklia August 4 AXWELL AND INGROSSO Line Up: SJRM, AXWELL INGROSSO, LISI WOOD RESIDENT, VOVA KLK Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 5 WORAKLS Line Up: STEREOCLIP, WORAKLS, N'TO, JOACHIM PASTOR, SPACE Resident DJs, GESCU, PRIKU, BARAC, HERODOT Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 6 Line Up: ANUSHKA, Aref (Noble), AXAILES, BACHO, BAIKAL, PULSE, Behdad, BEKA, CASTO, Chanturia, COBERT, DTRM, ENVELOPE CODE, FROST, GELASHA, GESCUGO2SKY, HERODOT, HIGHCATS, HOMBAO Live, Jazzerimo, K. KANDAUROV, K.KANDAUROV & ARSENIY TROFIM (live), LASHA

MARUASHVILI, Mavix, MISIGII, NOXIRON, PASHA, Patrick Belfort, RezaM, RUTA, Samiyar, Shahrooz, SURREALBOY (live), TADE, TOMMA, VLAD K, WOODLOOK Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 7 Line Up: ANRILOV, ANUSHKA, BAIKAL PULSE, CASTO, DANIELL, DARIA ZET, DOCUMENTAL, GACHA BAKRADZE, GELASHA, GUGA, LASHA MARUASHVILI, LEÖ ANÎRAM, MALI, ÖZH PASHA, PAVEL GRO, PROMESCU, RUTA, SANCHO, SUPACOOKS, TAPEFEED, TOMAS, TROTSKY, VLAD K, X:AM, YANKO, ZAPA Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 8 Line Up: ALLERGIC, ANRILOV, BEKA, BERIKA, DASTIA, ENDORPHINS, GABUNIA, GELASHA, K. KANDAUROV, KAÍ aka güevo, MATSEHORA, NUJI, OLIA CRICOVA, OSSA DI MARE, RATIm, TOMAS, ZAPA, ZU2 Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 9 Line Up: DASSANA, EFIM KERBUT, EKNOR, ENDORPHINS, GACHA BAKRADZE, HIGHCATS, K. KANDAUROV, KLAUS, MATSEHORA, MUCHO, ØRIM, PASCAL ROTH, PAUL GUESS, RADAR, SURREAL BOY (live), VAKO TVLADILEN, WAYU, ZAPA Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Tsikhisdziri, Adjara August 5 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia presents Legendary Georgian Voices concert: 30 YEARS ON THE STAGE Participants: Georgian Voices, Nato Metonidze, Dato Evgenidze, Group Irio and Tbilisi Big Band. Special guest: Sevens of Ozurgeti Directed by Basa Potskhishvili Artist-decorator- Tamriko Potskhishvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 10 GEL August 9 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia presents CONCERT OF IRMA NYORADZE and World Ballet StarsDEDICATED TO VAKHTANG CHABUKIANI Participants- Ekaterina Borchenko, Ivan Zaitcev, Adamzhan Baktiyar, Madina Basbayeva, Sergio Bernal, Ilze Liepa, Alena Kovaleva, Jacopo Tissi, Ekaterina Pervushina, Mikhail Lobukhin, Maria Yakovleva, Jakob Feyferlik, Yonah Acosta, Laurretta Summerscales With the special invitation of the Georgian National BalletSukhishvilebi Directed by Andris Liepa Artistic Director- Irma Nioradze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 10 GEL August 10 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia presents CONCERT OF ERIC BENÉT and five times Grammy winner CEELO GREEN SOUL NIGHT Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 20 GEL MUSIC FESTIVAL SAIRME 2017 Address: Resort Sairme August 5 ENSEMBLE DIDGORI Start time: 17:00 Ticket: From 80 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY AUGUST 4 - 7, 2017

15

SPORTS

Friendly Baseball Match

Georgian Youth National Team vs US Marines Team ‘Warriors’

Chill out this Summer at a A Sophisticated Salon-Restaurant

BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

OFFERING AUDIENCES THIS SUMMER?

INTERVIEW BY MAKA LOMADZE

T

alented artist Zaza Marjanishvili studied at the Faculty of Metallurgy as, in Soviet times, being an artist was not prestigious at all. He has pleasant memories of his student years, especially a grand-piano standing in the neighboring room on which he played a lot. Once, he was even arrested for playing jazz. He went on to enjoy 17 years of success living in the USA, but the pull of his homeland brought him back to Georgia. Times are different now and the marvelous personality and talented musician was able to open a caférestaurant. GEORGIA TODAY met the now-famous composer and pianist to find out more about that venture.

WHAT NICHE DOES YOUR CAFÉRESTAURANT FILL? HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME? It is a salon-restaurant with daily live music from 9pm. While I was living in the US, I had to work on a lot of musical albums. In 2010, I recorded the album ‘Zazanova’. The title came from the style and my choice of a somewhat humorous combination of words: my name and ‘nova,’ which is Latin for ‘new’.

WHAT MUSICAL PROGRAM ARE YOU

As throughout the rest of the year, there’ll be ample daily live music. Zura Kiknadze, a remarkable guitarist and singer who mixes his program with authorized music and famous compositions, plays on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, we have a classical music soiree of guitars with the participation of the stunning classical player Giorgi Pkhaladze. On Thursdays, we host Achiko Beridze, whilst on Fridays we offer a romantic guitar evening. This upcoming Saturday, our guest is Dato Karchava. We have different music every night. We shift musicians, and correspondingly, musical styles. On Sundays, we usually have ‘Guest Musicians,’ who hold concerts, make presentations of new albums and programs, etc. We often hold charity concerts, as well as exhibition-fairs of Georgian artists. We also host the creative soirees of writers and poets.

ARE FOREIGNERS TO BE FOUND AMONG YOUR AUDIENCE? Zazanova is registered as an American restaurant and so foreigners can often be seen enjoying our food and drink, listening to the music, purchasing paintings and books. All of these activities serve the two reasons why ‘Zazanova’ was opened: first, for the cultural rehabilitation of the city and secondly, the popularization of the names and creativity of Georgian artists overseas. Where: Revaz Laghidze 2 When: Daily from 9pm

PUBLISHER & GM

George Sharashidze COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT

Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mariam Giorgadze

GEORGIA TODAY

lready a well-rooted tradition in Georgia, the inception of which goes back seven years, the Georgian National Baseball Team and the United States Marines Team, called WARRIORS, enjoy regular annual sporting encounters in Tbilisi. On July 23, the Mikheil Meskhi stadium in Vake hosted a friendly match between the two in an event jointly organized by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia and the Georgian National Baseball and Softball Federation. After an eight-year break, Baseball and Softball have been returned to the ranks of Olympic Sports and the Georgian Youth National Team is starting its athletic struggle on the European arena by travelling in a week’s time to participate in the European Championship in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The recent baseball match played an important role in giving the Georgian team some experience. It also contributed to better informing the public about the ‘Wounded Georgian Soldiers Program’. Many soldiers from the United States fought shoulder to shoulder in the same battlefields as the Georgian military peacekeepers and Georgian soldiers need the valuable support of our public. The match, attended by officials from the Georgian government and diplomatic corps, was held

in a very friendly atmosphere with club marches and other entertainment offered during the breaks. The match was accompanied by live commentary. 15 Georgian soldiers injured in peacekeeping missions were present at the stadium and were given special gifts from companies like OSHEE, Adidas, Reebok and Red Bull. The result of friendly matches in general is not too important, as what matters most is the spirit itself; however, the Georgian baseball team won the match. During the match, beer, soft drinks and spring water were offered by sponsoring companies Natakhtari and Borjomi. A very special role is being played by Casino Shangri La in the development of Georgian baseball. This company, along with the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, is sponsoring the Georgian Youth Baseball National Team U-23 at the European Championship of 2017. And the truth is that any sport, including baseball, has zero chance of development without the financial assistance of those who are kindly ready to volunteer it. The recent match was supported by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, Georgian Post, the Georgian Football Federation and Friends of Georgian Baseball & Softball Foundation. Your obedient servant, the author of these words, has played his traditional role of Master of Ceremonies. Hopefully, this baseball tradition will continue for many years to come. After all, this is what makes the two nations of ours closer and, certainly, happier.

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT:

Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

Website Manager: Tamzin Whitewood Website Copy-Editor: Gabrielle Guerrier Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

ADDRESS

1 Melikishvili Str. Tbilisi, 0179, Georgia Tel.: +995 32 229 59 19 E: info@georgiatoday.ge F: GeorgiaToday ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION

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Reproducing material, photos and advertisements without prior editorial permission is strictly forbidden. The author is responsible for all material. Rights of authors are preserved. The newspaper is registered in Mtatsminda district court. Reg. # 06/4-309


Issue #969  

August 4 - 7, 2017

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