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September 4 -10, 2015



Price: GEL 2.50

Georgia Today 20 p., Enterprise Georgia 4 p.


Number of Inter na tional Interna national Tourists Up P.9 Geor gian SHUMI Georgian Compan y Wins Priz es a Company Prizes att P.10 China’ s CWSA China’s

to Improve Rela tions with Ir an elations Iran

ISSUE No.782


Pavlo vian Priests vlovian and the Sor Sorrr y Sta te of L GBT State LGBT Rights in Geor gia Georgia A Pride Parade is yet unthinkable in Georgia. The first (and last) attempt in May 2013 was violently broken by a mob of “Christian” believers. P.6

Estonia to Build a Fence along Russia

Officials in Tbilisi are making visits to Iran more frequently. The political calendar is halfway through for the year and Georgian officials have visited Tehran three times. P.2

Geor gia’ s Bor der line Georgia’ gia’s Border derline Villa ge Nik ozi to illag Niko Host Anima tion Animation Film F esti val Festi estiv The beginners of the Nikozi Art School, filmmakers, locals and guests, all will have a chance to watch and enjoy by presented films of Nikozi Animation Film Festival 2015. P.15 FLIGHT SCHEDULE


The plans come amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West regarding the Ukraine conflict. Simultaneously, Europe is also struggling with an influx of migrants. P.4

Str ac han Insists Strac achan Geor gia Game is Georgia Not ‘Must-W in ‘Must-Win in’’ P.19




Violent Clashes Outside Ukraine’s Par liament Kill One and Injure 90 to back the decentralization bill of Ukraine, which was agreed by the February agreement of Minsk, 2015. According to the deal, more rights need to be conveyed to the rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the violence was “a stab in the back” while Svoboda accused the National Guard and police of attacking the protesters, saying this had triggered the clashes. Looking at the process of fulfillment of the truce, the last summer has been quite hot for both sides, as fighting between Ukrainian army forces and the rebels has escalated. The one-day real ceasefire has been agreed last week to halt the violence on 1 September, the day children in the region return to school. BBC’s reports: Almost 7,000 people have died since the conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted.

By Joseph Larsen Ukraine’s extreme nationalists are a small but dangerous force. On Monday a group of protesters – many of them supporters of Ukraine’s far-right Svoboda (“Freedom”) party – threw grenades at national guardsman outside the parliament building in Kiev. One guardsman was killed and roughly 90 were injured. The display of violence was sparked by the Ukrainian parliament’s passage of a legislative act that would grant autonomy to the breakaway regions in the country’s east. The bill is seen by many nationalists as a capitulation to separatist rebels and their Kremlin backers. Thirty people were arrested following the deadly demonstration. The slain guardsman was 25 years old. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov identified the man responsible as a member of Svoboda and blamed the party for stoking the violence. “Tell me, how does Svoboda differ from the bastards who shoot at our national guard at the front?” he wrote. Svoboda holds six seats in the country’s 450-seat parliament. Two hundred sixty-five deputies voted in favor in the first reading of the “decentralization” draft law, a bill supported by President Petro Poroshenko. The legislation would grant a package of self-governance rights to the breakaway regions surrounding the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. A second reading of the bill will need to pass with 300 votes for it to become law. If ultimately passed, regional governments will be allowed to use Russian as an official language and amnesty will be granted to individual separatists having taken part in military action against government forces.

The legislation was opposed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who fears that granting autonomy is unlikely to bring an end to fighting and will further erode the government’s authority in the east. “This is a diametrically opposed process which forces us to lose territory,” she said. “He [Putin] needs war in Ukraine. Our task in the vote is to get back to negotiations on the right road to bring peace, not the illusion of peace.” More than 6,800 people have been killed as a result of fighting between government forces and Kremlin-backed separatists that began in April 2014. ANALYSIS BY STEVEN JONES Last days in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev has been of dramatic nature. It has

become known that three members of the country’s National Guard has died from injuries after Monday’s violent protests outside the parliament. According to BBC, the clashes - involving nationalists - erupted after MPs gave initial backing to reforms granting more autonomy to rebel-held eastern Ukraine. It seems that the first death was reported after a grenade was thrown by a protester marching against a ceasefire agreed between Ukrainian government troops and the pro-Russian separatists is reported to be holding. Violence had escalated in the Eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in recent weeks, but the two sides agreed last week that from 1 September all violations of a February truce would cease. The government says it was boost-

ing security in the capital, deploying 2,000 police and national guards on the streets and an armored vehicle on 4 key routes in the city center. Reportedly, police have detained about 30 people suspected of involvement, including a Svoboda member who confessed to throwing a grenade. The protest was organized by the populist Radical Party and ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party – opposing to any concession to the separatists. The violence has involved about 140 people injured, more than half of them national guardsmen. In the meantime, the Radical Party has pulled out of the ruling coalition and joined the opposition MPs in parliament. The violence followed an unruly parliamentary debate, and a first-reading vote

GT analysis: Ukraine has been a battlefield for Russian regular military units along with the so-called rebels on the ground against Ukraine’s governmental forces, who stand to secure the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia, for escalating the situation in Eastern Ukraine and annexing Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea, has had an array of economic sanctions imposed by the West - led by the United States. The sanctions have unarguably weakened Russian economy, while Putin’s government is making some contrary statements as if ‘they were strong enough’ to endure all of the pressure exerted on them. Will the situation further escalate? How can the current level of European security be assessed?

Geor gia Attempts to Georgia Impr ove R ela tions with Ir an Impro Rela elations Iran By Zaza Jgharkava


Officials in Tbilisi are making visits to Iran more frequently. The political calendar is halfway through for the year and Georgian officials have visited Tehran three times. In January of this year Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili visited the Iranian capital. In May the then Minister of Economy and current Head of Foreign Affairs, Giorgi Kvirikashvili visited the Islamic Republic. A third visit was made in August, with the Parliamentary delegation led by Vice-Premier Gubaz Sanikidze. Some people believe these visits are being made so the Georgian Government can make up for cancelling the Visa-free regime with Iran two years ago. In July 2013, when the visa-free regime was cancelled on the Georgian side, a group of government experts blamed pressure from the United States and Israel for the cancellation. Some believed that the cancellation was in fact due to the new government dismantling the old diplomatic strategy from the exPresident Mikheil Saakashvili and that the US and Israeli governments played no part in it. After the establishment of the new government the number of Iranian citizens visiting Georgia plunged dramatically. In order to improve relations between Iran and Georgia there were negotiations about the future of the nuclear program in Iran. According to the official data the trade turnout between Georgia and Iran was estimated at around $200 million with the

number expected to increase to between $2-3 billion. According to the Georgian media, the country is going to start exporting water to Iran soon, with Iran providing gas to Georgia in return. This would change the energy map for the region and would present a heavy competitor for the Russian market in the region. Last month Gubaz Sanikidze returned from Tehran and spoke on the exchange with Iran. He said “At the meeting we spoke about the issue of providing irrigation water from Georgia to Iran. We also discussed possibilities of increasing transportation from Tehran via Georgia.” In a press release on the Georgian Parliament website it states that there are also discussions with trading electricity and oil as well as water and gas. In a visit to Tehran in May the then Minister of Economy Girogi Kvirika-

shvili held discussions about the export of drinking water from Georgia to Iran. The Iranian Labour and Social Protection minister, Ali Rabie, the country hopes that it will be possible to export Georgian water to Iran. He said “Georgia has quite a big water resource that could fill in the deficit in the Urmia Lake.” The 36 billion cubic metre lake has recently receded to only 2 billion cubic metres with the rivers running into it unable to fill the lake. Georgian Ecologists however predict an ecological catastrophe in Eastern Europe if the project is implemented. It is unknown when the draining of water from Georgia to Lake Urmia will begin. Representatives from the Ministry of Economy have stated that this is currently only an idea and that no specific project has been decided yet.

Georgia and Iran signed Memorandum of Understanding in May this year.




Geor gia-N ATO Training F acility Opens a tsanisi Georgia-N gia-NA Facility att Kr Krtsanisi By Joseph Larsen Georgia and NATO are closer than ever before. August 27 saw the unveiling of the Georgia-NATO Joint Training and Evaluation Center (JTEC) at the Krtsanisi military base outside Tbilisi. The JTEC will be used to train troops from Georgia, NATO member states and the Alliance’s non-NATO partners. Exercises are scheduled to begin in 2016 and will initially be led by six NATO officers and eight officers from the Georgian military. The facility opens in Georgia as part of the “substantial package” offered at the Wales Summit in September 2014. Its significance is both tangible and symbolic. It will help upgrade the capabilities of Georgia’s armed forces while further affirming the country’s status as a key non-NATO ally. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg heralded the opening of the facility but, in typical NATO fashion, made no comments regarding Georgia’s prospects for joining the Alliance in the near future. “With the in-

auguration of the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre, our cooperation will grow deeper,” he said, adding that “NATO will be more present, in Georgia, and we will be more visible in Georgia.” Georgian leaders expressed major optimism about the JTEC. President Margvelashvili used lofty rhetoric at the unveiling ceremony, stating that the JTEC’s purpose is to train Georgian soldiers to “defend freedom and those values that make us united.” Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli placed the JTEC in context of Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations: “Georgia’s choice is more than clear – we aspire towards membership in the family of democratic, developed, stable and peaceful countries… Expansion of NATO expands freedom… NATO brings peace.” Both Georgian and NATO officials have stressed that the facility is not directed against Russia or any other country. Russian officials predictably responded to the JTEC’s opening with outrage, however. Russian Foreign Min-

Georgian soldiers take part in joint exercises with NATO troops at the Vaziani military base on July 21 2015.

istry spokesperson Maria Zakharova called it a “continuation of the Alliance’s provocative policy” and said that it “will

become a serious destabilizing factor for the security in the region.” Zakharova also accused the West of

Estonia to Build a F ence along R ussia Fence Russia By Steven Jones The Estonian government has declared its plans to build a fence along its Eastern border with Russia to increase security and protect the EU’s passportfree Schengen zone. According to the BBC, construction of the fence, planned to be about 110km (70 miles) long and 2.5m (8ft) high, is set to start in 2018. It is expected to cost about 71m Euros (£52m; $80m). Notably, the plans come amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West regarding the Ukraine conflict. Simultaneously, Europe is also struggling with an influx of migrants. “The aim of the construction is to cover the land border with 100%, around-the-clock technical surveillance to create ideal conditions for border guarding and to ensure the security of Estonia and the Schengen area,” interior ministry spokesman Toomas Viks told AFP news agency. According to Viks, information gathered could be used to investigate illegal border crossing, smuggling and human trafficking. As Estonian media reports, the fence would only cover just over a third of Estonia’s 294km (183 miles) border with Russia as much of it is covered by water. Estonia is part of the EU as well as a sharer of the Schengen area enabling passport-free access. To look back, Hungary, which has shared the Soviet past too, has already started building a 175km-long fence along its border with Serbia to try to keep migrants out as thousands of people are reported to be crossing into

the country every day and heading North into Europe, Germany in particular. However, Russian government representatives say that the fence building is directly aimed at limiting Russians in the area. Konstantin Kosachev, deputy head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, has condemned the plan for the fence. According to him, he said Estonia did not face the same migrants challenge as other EU countries and that the aim instead was ideological - to depict Russia as a threat to Europe. It is also supported idea that Estonia in the public, which joined NATO and the EU in 2004, tries to preempt Russia’s probable invasion or other sorts of hy-

brid warfare in the country, as it has already experienced such behaviors of its closest neighbor. Moreover, It is strategically believed that if the Russian government is not deterred in Ukraine, their next move will be to Georgia and subsequently, the Eastern European countries, which have lived their forced lives in the USSR. Some similar historical facts by BBC: - Israel began building a barrier in and around the occupied West Bank in 2002: 720km planned by completion. - India has fenced much of the 740km Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. - The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)

between North and South Korea created in 1953 heavily guarded on both sides: 250km long and about 4km wide. - Saudi Arabia is building a fence along its border with Yemen: 1,800km. - The Berlin Wall (20th Century) divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989: 155km. - Hadrian’s Wall (2nd Century), divided the Romans in England from Scotland: 117.5km. - The Great Wall of China (began in 5th Century BC), a series of walls protecting China’s northern border: 21,196km, built up over several centuries. Can Georgia share some of its partners’ experience regarding its security? Will the fence help Estonia increase its security?

“dragging Tbilisi into NATO” and said that it was largely to blame for the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.

Garibashvili Intr oduces Introduces Changes in the Ca binet Cabinet

Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili has announced next reshuffle in the cabinet. The changes have applied to the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development. The ex-Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kvirikashvili has replaced the (already former) Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili, whereas Tbilisi Vice Mayor Dimitri Kumsishvili has been appointed on the position of Kvirikashvili. Garibashvili says it is up to Giorgi Kvirikashvii to decide Beruchashvili’s next working position at the MFA. At the same time, the PM believes Kumsishvili will reinforce working of the ministry and will be a successful head of the structure.

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The ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI, is an independent think-tank associated with the International School of Economics at TSU (ISET). Our blog carries economic analysis of current events and policies in Georgia and the South Caucasus region ranging from agriculture, to economic growth, energy, labor markets and the nexus of economics, culture and religion. Thought-provoking and fun to read, our blog posts are written by international faculty teaching at ISET and recent graduates representing the new generation of Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian economists.

Pavlo vian Priests and the Sor te of L GBT Rights in Geor gia vlovian Sorrr y Sta State LGBT Georgia By Lasha Lanchava According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word gay refers to cheerful, lively and high spirited person. The LGBT Prague Pride Parade, which I was fortunate to observe on my recent visit to Prague, lived to the very definition of the word. What I saw was fabulous: unicorns and countless rainbow colored flags, balloons, and thousands of exalted people dancing and singing in the middle of Wenceslas Square. The parade was bristling with so much enthusiasm and happiness that I, quite instinctively, was sucked in and followed the procession. Prague is a place that is never lacking in joy, but the parade added an extra layer of opulence and extravagance. The local Roma community joined with their traditional folk dance and song. Later it was reported that a Roman Catholic nun, the Mayor of Prague, as well as local celebrities and politicians also took part. And everyone marched in unison all the way from Prague’s center to the Old Town and by the banks of river Vltava. The procession culminated in front of the famous Prague Metronome – a symbol of human freedom and the right to choose one’s own path, commemorating those Czechs and Slovaks who fought against totalitarian oppression. With all the cultural benefits Prague garnered by organizing the LGBT parade, it was also able to attract thousands of tourists from all over Europe who flocked to Prague to observe and participate – no small contribution to the Czech Republic’s already strong tourism industry. Having experienced the beauty of the city’s magnificent baroque architecture,

and the delight of Czech food and beer, many of these are likely to return in years to come (and even bring curious friends!). LGBT RIGHTS IN GEORGIA. WHAT RIGHTS? In order to make good on the terms of its Association Agreement with Europe (and secure an easing in EU’s visa restrictions), Georgian policymakers have been hard at work copy-pasting bureaucratic regulations, many of which make little sense in Georgia’s economic realities. Yet, a major gap remains in Georgia’s ability to adopt, even if formally, some of the fundamental norms at the core of European civilization. A Pride Parade is yet unthinkable in Georgia. The first (and last) attempt by a small group of pro-LGBT activists to organize an anti-homophobia rally in May 2013 was violently broken by a mob of “Christian” believers armed with crosses and sticks, and led by Orthodox priests. The mob was apparently encouraged by Georgian Patriarch Ilia II who insisted that the rally be banned and dubbed homosexuality an “anomaly and disease”. As a result, 17 people were injured; 12 of those were hospitalized. In 2015, well into the 21st century, members of the Georgian LGBT community and proLGBT activists fear for their lives and refrain from openly expressing their views. THE BRAVE OLD WORLD Given the totally peaceful and joyous nature of LGBT rallies, one cannot but wonder: why is the Georgian Orthodox Church (which is supposed to carry the Christian message of peace and love for all) so adamant about instilling hatred, para-

Freedom of expression in Prague and violence against antihomophobia activists in Tbilisi

noia and homophobia on such an epic scale? A clue may be provided by Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World in which Ivan Pavlov’s ideas of classical “conditioning” are used to create a vision of a dystopian society populated by programmed and easily controlled zombies. Just like in Pavlov’s experiments, people living in Huxley’s imaginary world are “conditioned” at an early age in the special Hatchery and Conditioning Centers where they are given electroshocks while being shown flowers and books. It seems that church authorities have unearthed the secrets of Pavlovian conditioning long before Pavlov himself made his discoveries. William Sargant makes this point in his 1957 book Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing, in which he argues that influential religious leaders have effectively used Pavlovian tech-

niques to spark religious zeal and fanaticism. Psychologically terrorizing their subjects by delivering extensive sermons on the woes of hellfire and then releasing them from stress by offering delights of heaven, church leaders made people receptive to religious messages and easy to control. As Sargant puts it “The most kind, generous and humane people have in fact been conditioned… to commit acts that appear horrifying in retrospect…. Many otherwise sensible people cling to strange and cruel views ….” THE USE AND ABUSE OF MORAL AUTHORITY The Georgian Orthodox Church is Georgia’s single most influential institution, seen by many as the ultimate moral authority on matters ranging from human rights to local governance to international politics. And great authority, of the kind enjoyed by the Georgian Patriarch, comes with great responsibility. On the one hand, a pastor or teacher’s authority could be used to instill values and motivate. Yet, on the other, it also has the potential to turn absolutely normal people into sadists, as was explicitly demonstrated by the Milgram Experiment. Conducting his experiments in 1963, shortly after the German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was brought to trial in Israel, Milgram showed that a person in a position of authority can persuade experimental subjects (performing the role of ‘teachers’) to willingly torture their ‘students’ by administering a series of painful electric shocks culminating with the deadly 450 volt treatment (!). The kind of hatred and phobia sown by many Georgian priests and the Patriarch towards the LGBT community – and the violence some of them preach – are not signs of responsible moral authority and leadership. While some church members may believe that keeping people focused on imaginary LGBT foes and their

deadly sins would be a great way for the church to cement its ‘infallible’ authority, it also has the effect of polarizing the society, creating an atmosphere of intolerance, and pushing moderate and liberalminded Georgians away from the Church. GAY-FRIENDLY TBILISI – A REFLECTION ON GEORGIA’S OWN PAST? According to a recent National Democratic Institute (NDI) poll 68% of the Georgian people support the country’s association agreement with the EU, which for the majority is not so much about immediate material benefits but symbols and values. This is no coincidence. Progressive ideas have never been alien to the Georgian psyche. Through the middle ages, while fires of inquisition have been raging all over Europe, Tbilisi was known as an oasis of tolerance where representatives of all three major Abrahamic faiths could pray on the same street. Furthermore, gender equality – a notion yet to be fully accepted in many 21st century Western democracies – has been sung in the remote past by the most famous Georgian poet, Rustaveli. Thus, to become a modern, civilized, European state, Georgia does not need to borrow ideas of tolerance and equality from other nations. What Georgia needs is to sincerely reflect on its own past and make uncontaminated judgment on how to move forward. Georgia nowadays faces a historic opportunity to embrace the inevitable and become the first country in the South Caucasus to declare LGBT equality and once again become an oasis of tolerance. As a genius filmmaker Steven Spielberg said “Life breaks free, it expands into new territories… life finds a way.” Human rights for all Georgians will find a way. It is inevitable and, yes, it even makes sense economically.

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HRS: Bringing Wor ld R eno wned Inter na tional orld Reno enowned Interna national Standar ds to Geor gian Hospitality Sector Standards Georgian

By Dimitri Dolaberidze Hospitality & Retail Systems (HRS) is the official authorized distributor of Oracle (ex-MICROS) Software in Central Europe, the CIS, Baltic States, Georgia and Mongolia. It is currently represented in 18 countries including: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia and etc. As the global leader in hospitality solutions, HRS products can be found installed in over 23,000 hotels and in more than 150,000 restaurants and entertainment complexes worldwide. Oracle Hospitality offers point of sale and enterprise information system software for the retail and hospitality industries and has been doing so for more than 20 years. Today, it is the market leader in information technology, providing complete information management solutions to top hotels, restaurants and retailers around the globe. In Georgia, HRS works with the Radisson Blu hotels in Tbilisi and Batumi, Holiday Inn hotel, Tbilisi Marriot and Courtyard Marriot, independent hotels Ambasadori and Kopala, as well as Oazis Hotel in Chaqvi, Sairme Hotel in Sairme, Gudauri Ski Resort Hotel in Gudauri and Georgia Palace Hotel in Kobuleti, amongst others. They also work with various tourism sector training centers which give young professionals experience working with the Oracle-MICROS Software systeminvaluable experience they take with them they graduate and find jobs in hotels or restaurants. Georgia Today sat down with Joanne Vaughan, the CEO of the HRS Group, and Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, HRS Managing Director, to discuss the past, present and future of HRS in Georgia. Joanne Vaughan, the CEO of the HRS Group of Companies: I was born in Britain. I’m ex Royal Navy and first came to the Soviet space in 1988. We had a contract- our first big contract- with the Black Sea Shipping Company in Odessa whereby we were tasked with installing [our system] in all the ships. So we can say HRS started in 1990 with that contract. Around the same time I paid a visit to Georgia. For me it’s the most beautiful country in the region. In fact, I have Georgian citizenship and represent Georgia abroad on many occasions.

GeorgiaToday: Tell us about your company strategies for success. Joanne Vaughan: We believe that through our solutions clients can protect their investments. That is our aim- to be able to offer international standards in our products that enable clients to feel their investments are protected. Our products are the industry standard worldwide. Wherever you see a Marriott or Radisson Blu, any big major hotel- it will almost certainly be using our products. But that’s not to say we only co-operate with 5-star establishments- we also install for independent local hotels in Georgia. Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov: Our staff is also one of our success factors. We consider it vitally important, from the very beginning, to pay particular attention to our employees. We have a very strong team of over 200 employees worldwide. They are a professional, skilled and loyal team with a background in hospitality and possessing deep technical know-how. Our staff, our team, allows us to be number one on the market. Georgia Today: What is your competitive advantage?

Joanne Vaughan: Well, as Vyacheslav said, having the best people working for us certainly contributes to keeping us ahead of the competition. Our highly qualified team is able to communicate with clients on the right level about implementing systems and helping to improve relations internally within their hotels. We also boast the best products- used as the international standard. I focused on the hotels previously, but we also count restaurants among our client Burger King, Pizza Hut, Gloria Jeans the big names all use the solutions we provide, which they choose only after a lengthy evaluation process. Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov: Our strategy is to maintain close ties and relations with our customers. We offer our hospitality products while following all local legal requirements as set out by the authorities. This is one of HRS’ main benefits- being close to our clients on the ground. Georgia Today: Tell us more about your presence in Georgia. Georgia is fast developing region and currently HRS has up to 60 clients here. Not a small number! As market leader, we are constantly looking to expand our

operations and open new offices in areas in which we feel they can be sustained and which present a bustling hospitality sector. It is easy to see that Georgia has plenty of hospitality going on! The whole industry is growing, not just in Tbilisi but throughout the country. It is very exciting for us to be a part of. Georgia Today: What is the future for HRS? Joanne Vaughan: (Smiles) Staying number one! The whole company is built around customer service. We all know good service equals profits and growth, and HRS works on that basis. Each member of our internal staff is trained in this manner- customer service first. This is something we intend to stick to. Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov: Technology

is developing incredibly quickly and it is our job to stay ahead of the game. We introduce new updated versions of our products annually, allowing customers to be sure they are using the latest technological advances. Joanne Vaughan: We are always ahead of our competitors in the technological regard, largely thanks to the fact that our main supplier puts a lot of money into R&D [research and development]. Where in the past this investment in product development doubled or tripled year-by-year, with Oracle now in charge this is set to grow ten- or even twenty-fold. We can expect to see some fantastic products coming onto our hospitality line. Georgia Today: Work aside, what do you think of Georgia? Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov: Actually, our employees abroad are queuing for the chance to come here and get a taste of the famous Georgian hospitality, enjoy the wine and cuisine and to see the sights. Joanne Vaughan: I love it. If anyone ever asks me which is the best Eastern European country to visit, I recommend Georgia first. From the mountains to the sea, it’s got everything!

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Georgian SHUMI Company Wins Prizes at China’s CWSA P.10

Dechert OnPoint: Recent Developments in Relation to Georgia-EU Free Trade P.11

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Number of International Tourists Up By Meri Taliashvili George Chogovadze, Head of the National Tourism Administration under the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has summed up the statistical data for August and the summer tourist season, revealing positive results. In August 2015, Georgia was visited by 852 377 international tourists a number which has increased by 10% compared to the same period last year. The number of foreign travelers who spent more than 24 hours in Georgia has increased by 2% compared to August of the previous year. This year, during the summer season- June, July and August – 2,086.831 international visitors traveled to Georgia and that has

increased by 10% compared to the same period last year. “We are pleased that in the summer, each month saw an increase in the number of tourists recorded,” said Chogovadze. “The majority of the tourists arrived from the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Russia. Our neighboring countries Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and Ukraine have remained unchanged in numbers. We have growth in terms of the hotels as much in Batumi as in Tbilisi.” A positive trend has been maintained during the last eight months from EU countries, namely, Lithuania (+21%), Czech Republic (+ 20%), Latvia (+ 14%),Germany (+ 12%), Italy (+ 10%), United Kingdom (+ 10%) and Netherlands (+ 10%).From other

countries in terms of growth, The United Arab Emirates (+ 76%), Saudi Arabia (+ 75%),Belarus (+ 54%), Kazakhstan (+ 36%) and Moldova (+ 35%) are noteworthy. August was marked by the growth of the United Arab Emirates(+ 76%), Israel (+ 42%), Belarus (+ 69%), Kazakhstan (+ 50%), Oman (+ 36%) and Spain (+ 87%). For advertising and marketing campaigns of summer 2015, about 8 million GEL was spent. Estimated revenue that resulted by the growth of number of the tourist of the same period of last year (April-July) made up 96 634 009 GEL. As for economic indicators, the volume of foreign card payments was + 47% in April, + 43% May, + 24% June and + 32% July.




The Forum that Transforms Real Estate to Real Opportunities Interview Steve Brown - Managing Partner at Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown Q: Why Should I attend the investment forum Batumi 2015? A: If you are a businessman or investor who is interested in investment opportunities in the region, then the Investment Forum “Batumi 2015” is the mustattend event of the year. The Forum presents a great platform to meet a broad range of local and foreign investors, regional and central government representatives and business organizations who will be introduced to a variety of investment projects, investment climate characteristics and the conditions for the commercial real estate and hotel development sectors. The Adjara region, and more specifically Batumi, is fast becoming the best business destination for investors, moreover, Georgia, with its simplified company registration procedures, liberalized manufacturing regulations, tax and legislative benefits and positive approach to foreign investors is a great place to consider investment opportunities. This is why Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown (CW|VB), together with the Georgian National Investment Agency and the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, have decided to hold the Investment Forum “Batumi 2015” on September 18th at the Hilton Hotel in Batumi, Georgia. Q: As far as we know, a similar investment forum was held in London. Should it be considered that the event will be held annually? A: Yes, a similar Forum was organized in London in May this year by CW|VB and the Georgian National Investment Agency with great results; we presented Georgia as a new investment opportunity and hopefully gained further international recognition for the country as being a safe place to invest.

Q: What is the Agenda for the Forum? A: The full details of the Forum are available on the Forum website. We have the welcoming speeches from the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili; Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Dimitri Kumsishvili; Chairmen of Government of Adjara A.R., Archil Khabadze; and Minister of Finance and Economy of Adjara A.R., David Baladze. There will be presentations about various investment opportunities and the general business climate in the country from Georgian Government officials, and presentations regarding access to finance from EBRD and The Georgian Co-investment Fund and The Partnership Fund. Additionally, a number of leading firms will speak about their local success stories, while on the second day of the Forum participants will be invited to tour the proposed investment projects.

Q: Who should attend the event? A: Investors and developers looking for an opportunity to invest away from the mainstream markets and who have a solid appetite for risk. Investors shall participate in this highly focused deal-discovery session, hearing from government officials and financial institutions, as well as real estate consultancy executives, on the risks and opportunities, with assigned dedicated discussion time to determine the viability of those opportunities. Q: What are the investor’s looking for? A: First and foremost, investors are looking for a return on capital. This means they seek a stable business environment, market growth, currency stability and a stable government amongst other things. Batumi 2015 shall form a platform for attendees to discover the latest market-changing developments, meet institutional investor peers and share their experience and

insight, learn how to leverage regional growth to enhance investment returns, and, of course, harness the knowledge of the fellow investment professionals. Q: Why Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown? A: We were the first fully international commercial real estate company in the Georgian market and have a long established history in the regional markets, so we know how the local markets, developers and investors “do business”. We are partnered with Cushman & Wakefield who are industry leaders on a global scale. We have access to industry professionals, in-house expertise and a global platform to operate high quality services. Q: What are you currently working on and what are your goals? A: In Georgia we are primarily working with investors in the hospitality office sectors, supporting retail brands expand across the country and assisting developers with retail projects. We have two well-established offices in Kazakhstan and have access to investors looking to invest in Georgia and the region. On a broader scale we are looking at a number of other countries in which to open offices; we are working with Cushman & Wakefield on an expansion strategy and are currently considering nine further countries. Cushman & Wakefield recently agreed to merge with DTZ, which will trade under the CW brand and a deal that will make Cushman & Wakefield the world’s second largest commercial real estate firm with expected revenues of around $5.5b, with 43,000 professionals. Our goal is to help our partners establish a solid platform in the region for their growing client base and deliver the quality of services that the brand demands.

Georgian SHUMI Company Wins Prizes at China’s CWSA By Nino Ioseliani The CWSA (China Wine and Spirits Awards) which is one of the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirit competitions in China, published three Georgian wines that have won prizes in the 2015 competition. All the winning wines are from the Georgian producer Shumi Wine Company. The Shumi Company is one of the leaders among Georgian wines. In ancient Georgia “SHMI” meant “genuine.” In 2001 Shumi began to produce and bottle its produce. According to the CWSA, Shumi has won three prizes at the competition. These were: Double Gold Medal to Shumi Saperavi 2014, Gold medal to Shumi Tsinandali and another Gold medal to Shumi Mukuzani Georgica 2013. “Chinese consumers are thirsty for Georgian wine,” read a recent news release by the CWSA, covering the participa-

tion of Georgian wines in the competition. 11 Georgian wines also won prizes at China’s “Best Value” Competition in February, with Shumi taking Double Gold med-

als there as well. Other winners included: Mukuzani, which took a Double Gold along with Tamada Kindzmarauli, Saperavi, Napareuli and others. For the CWSA Best Value competition

wines and spirits are tasted at price levels. Medals are awarded to represent ‘Best Value.’ Wines and spirits from 35 countries are ‘blind tested’ for the competition.

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Dechert OnPoint: Recent Developments in Relation to Georgia-EU Free Trade GENERAL OVERVIEW Over the course of the past ten years liberal trade regimes have helped foster growth in the Georgian economy. Following this trend the Agreement on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (the “DCFTA”) – as part of the Association Agreement signed between the European Union and Georgia (the “AA”) signed on 27 June 2014 – has the potential to increase bilateral trade turnover in a significant fashion. In the first six months following the signing of the DCFTA, Georgian exports to the EU increased by 12% and the export of certain Georgian products doubled or even tripled. This week’s edition of Dechert OnPoint provides an overview of the DCFTA and its implications for Georgian businesses. The DCFTA introduced a preferential trade regime granting bilateral parties special advantages above those enjoyed by other trade partners. The Free Trade Area (the “FTA”) is expected to decrease trade barriers for Georgian products and augment their competitiveness in the EU market. In contrast to other free trade agreements, the DCFTA envisages liberalization not only of the market for goods but also of the market for services. The DCFTA includes a wide range of spheres (competition policy, intellectual property, financial services and others) and allows Georgia to take advantage of three of the four freedoms of the EU single market: free movement of goods, services and capital (the free movement of persons being excluded but there is a plan for a liberalized visa regime currently being developed). TARIFF BARRIERS The DCFTA removes all customs duties on the import and export of goods. Goods originating in Georgia will enter the EU market with a zero customs duty provided that specified non-tariff requirements are met. The DCFTA envisages limitations on certain types of products: · Twenty-eight species of agricultural

qualify for the favorable free trade regime with the EU they shall be granted a certificate issued by the competent Georgian authorities (the “Certificate of Origin”) to receive the status of a Georgia-originated product. Protocol 1 of the AA (the “EU Origin Rules”) sets out the relevant provisions concerning the granting of the certificate of origin. According to the EU Origin Rules the

The DCFTA removes all customs duties on the import and export of goods. Goods originating in Georgia will enter the EU market with a zero customs duty provided that specified non-tariff requirements are met. products will remain subject to import duties (the so called “Entry Price”; examples of goods subject to the Entry Price include tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet oranges, tangerines, table grapes and apples, among others) with the exception of the ad valorem component. The exporter will only be responsible to pay the entry price if the invoice price of the exported goods exceeds the price determined by the EU; · The anti-circumvention mechanism is another restriction set out by the DCFTA for 237 Georgian products (examples include frozen lamb, frozen boneless turkey cuts, egg yolks, meslin flour and maple sugar, among others). The DCFTA provides a fixed quantity of certain products to be exported. The anti-circumvention mechanism is not a quota but a limitation which can be extended based on the Government of Georgia’s prior request; and · The duty-free tariff rate quota is fully lifted under the DCFTA with the exception of the import of garlic from the EU to Georgia. PRODUCT ORIGIN The DCFTA offers Georgian products free trade access to the markets of EU Member States. In order for products to

following products are considered to originate in Georgia under the DCFTA: · Products wholly obtained in Georgia – products obtained in Georgia mean vegetables and fruits harvested in Georgia, live animals born and raised in Georgia and natural minerals mined in Georgia. Any product produced from the above mentioned will be considered to have originated in Georgia. · Products obtained in Georgia but

· Criterion of necessary conditions, manufacture and technological operations – technological operations have to be carried out during the process of reproduction. In order for the Certificate of Origin to be granted the fulfillment of several criteria might be requested. The Certificate of Origin is issued by the customs department of the Georgian Revenue Service.

In order to fully lift non-tariff barriers Georgia must bring its domestic legislation in line with that of the EU. As a result of convergence in regulatory standards the Georgian authorities will ultimately be responsible for authorizing export to the EU. The DCFTA and Georgia’s continued adoption of EU regulatory standards provide more reason to be optimistic about the country’s import and export industries.

NON-TARIFF BARRIERS The elimination of non-tariff barriers is also an important component of the DCFTA. Examples of non-tariff barriers include the following: technical regulations; standards; conformity assessment procedures; and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, etc. Under the DCFTA, the parties undertake to avoid unnecessary divergence of technical barriers to trade. Sanitary and phytosanitary measures aim to facilitate bilateral trade in animals and plants as well as products of animal and plant origin, while ensuring that standards for health protection are maintained. Implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures will allow Georgia to improve its animal welfare situation as well as protect the country from unhealthy organisms and increase the quality of Georgian

*** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business.

Implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures will allow Georgia to improve its animal welfare situation. incorporating materials which have not been wholly obtained in Georgia, provided that such materials have undergone sufficient work or processing. The following criteria are taken into account when determining the product origin: · Change of Harmonized System Code - processing carried out on the territory of Georgia which changes the first-four digits of the Harmonized System Code compared to the initial product; · Criterion of ad valorem share - determines the share of imported goods in the final product; and

products on the European market. Products imported from Georgia to the EU shall undergo a conformity assessment. The conformity assessment is conducted by specially-accredited agencies in Georgia. The Unified National Body of Accreditation – Accreditation Center carries out accreditation in accordance with the Code on Safety and Free Movement of Products. The product shall fulfill all of the requirements stipulated under the relevant legislation before it enters the market, in particular with regard to the health and safety of consumers.

Dechert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ruslan Akhalaia and Irakli Sokolovski, as well as Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper

to provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia. Dechert’s Tbilisi office combines local service and full corporate, tax and finance support with the global knowledge that comes with being part of a worldwide legal practice. Dechert Georgia is the Tbilisi branch of Dechert LLP, an international law firm that focuses on core transactional and litigation practices, providing world-class services to major corporations, financial institutions and private funds worldwide. With more than 900 Lawyers in our global practice groups working in 27 offices across Europe, the CIS, Asia, the Middle East and the United States, Dechert has the resources to deliver seamless, high quality legal services to clients worldwide. For more information, please visit or contact Nicola Mariani at


Lyra Foundation Organizes rd 3 Batumi Music Fest



Sukhishvile bi Sukhishvilebi Retur ns to eturns USA

By Beqa Kirtava On September 10-15, 2015 beautiful classical harmonies will fill the streets of Batumi City, as world-famous Georgian pianist Elisso Bolkvadze’s charitable music foundation Lyra brings back the annual Batumi Music Fest for the third time. This year numerous well-known musicians from all over the globe are set to take to the stage at the event, including Laurent Petitgirard (conductor, France), Victoria Hirschhuber (pianist, Austria), Dmitry Yablonsky (conductor, USA), Ilya Konovalov (violinist, Israel), Michi Sugiura (violinist, Japan) and many more. The grand finale, which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNESCO, will take place on September 15 at the Batumi Piazza, where Elisso Bolkvadze herself will play. The concluding event is also set to include famous Georgian tenor, Zurab Sotkilava and the Tbilisi Opera State Symphony Orchestra. To add diversity and surprise the audience, the organizers have decided to add Georgian folk music group “Kartuli Khmebi” (Georgian Voices) to the line-up. The ensemble will perform various traditional folk songs at finale as well. Elisso Bolkvadze was named UNESCO Artist for Peace on January 22, 2015, thus enabling her to conduct numerous events under the auspices of the organization. The money raised from the concert will be transferred to the UNESCO-led welfare program fund that

finances the educational programs for war-affected children in Syria. Batumi Music Fest is now the official member of the European Festival Association (EFA), alongside the BBC Prom, Edinburgh Festival and numerous other events from over 40 countries. And apart from having a charitable cause, it will also serve an educational purpose, as many master classes are going to be conducted within the framework of the event, and on September 14, young musical talents will perform at a gala concert during which special prizes will be awarded to the audience favorites. The 2015 Batumi Music Fest is held in association with the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, the French Institute in Georgia and the French, Turkish and Azerbaijani Embassies. The event will conclude the “Heat Batumi Program” which was conducted by the Ministry of Culture for three months during the summer season.

“Sukishvili returns to New York” the international concert poster reads. According to “INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS” the Georgian National Ballet, known as Sukhishvilebi, announced its 70th anniversary concert in the US on its Facebook page. The national ballet was founded by Iliko Sukishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945 and is still one of the most attractive Georgian folk dances in the world. Over the years the name “Sukhishvilebi” has become the brand name of Georgian folk dance all over the world. Today the company’s director is Nino Sukishvili, the granddaughter of Nino Ramishvili and Iliko Sukishvili. Several concerts are planned in the US. On 3rd October the concert will begin at 8PM in the Lower Moreland Auditorium, Philadelphia. On 4th October the concert will begin at 5:30PM at the Lincoln Centre, New York. The final two dates are for the 5th and 6th of October in Baltimore and Washington respectively. Schedules for the concerts are available on INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS is a corporation which serves diverse cultural communities and presents some of the world’s finest artists on the world stage.




Georgia’s Border line Village Nikozi to Host Animation Film Festival 14:00 - Olivier Caterin (France) 16:00 - Irina Kodiukova (Belarussia) Studio “Animouse” (Russia) 17:30 - Shadow Theatre “Budrugana – Gagra” 3 September 11:00 - Annecy Festival (France) 14:00 - Dok Leipzig Festival (Germany) Dresden Festival (Germany) “Suzdal’s Echo” (Russia) 16:00 - village Tserovani. DEFA – Animation For Kids 4 September 11:00 - Florence Miailhe (France) 14:00 - Pierre Hebert (Canada)

16:00 - Andrzej Orzechowski (Poland) 17:30 - Tbilisi – Contemporary Music Evenings. Tamar Zhvania Piano 5 September 11:00 - PerformanceDigital Scratch (Rolling Over Blinkity Blank). Pierre Hebert, Andrea Martignoni 12:30 - Andrea Martignoni (Italy) 16:00 - Tbilisi – Contemporary Music Evenings “My Grandmother” Nutsa Kasradze, Nino Zhvania, Teimuraz Bakuradze 6 September 11:00 - Julie RoyNFB (Canada) Festival Closing.

GALLERI NECTAR Address: 16 Aghmashenebli St. Telephone: 295 00 21

Dedicated to the Day of Batumi City, with world renowned mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and the Georgian Philarmonic Orchestra. Artistic Director & Principal Conductor - Nikoloz Rachveli. Soloists: David Aladashvili, piano Giorgi Zagareli, viola Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari

An animation film “A little Tramp” will open the festival, made by local children of Nikozi Art school.

By Nino Ioseliani Animation film festival Nikozi celebrates its fifth international annual Film Festival which will be held at the Episcopal palace of the Nikozi Monastery, in Nikozi village near the Russian and Georgia's Breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetian) military forces' check-point. An animation film “A little Tramp” will open the festival, made by local children of Nikozi Art school. A lot of interesting movies will be presented, one of which is made by Mariam Kandelaki with Metropolitan of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Isaiah, who is a founder of the Nikozi Festival and a painter as well.

“I have dedicated seven years of my life to animation arts as a cartoonist. Then my life took a different direction and I returned to animation only after I arrived to minister at Nikozi. There I’ve organized a small animation studio at the monastery. Unfortunately, it was destroyed together with the other buildings during the war of 2008," Metropolitan of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Isaiah said in his welcoming speech. “Later we’ve restored the studio. Over time we developed an idea to organize an International Animation Film Festival in our village. In 2011 we held the first festival and named it International Animation Film Festival “Nikozi”. We welcome you whole-heartedly to our

festival!" he added. This year at the festival there will be presented Norman McLaren’s works, who was a Canadian animator and producer. People also will be able to find other famous animation filmmakers from all over the world. The beginners of the Nikozi Art School, filmmakers, locals and guests, all will have a chance to watch and enjoy by presented films of Nikozi Animation Film Festival 2015. The Festival will close on 6 September. NIKOZI International animation film programe 2 September 11:00 - Norman McLaren. NFB (Canada)

September 4-10 THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 17:10, 19:55, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari


WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 September 4-10 THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Directed by Guy Ritchie Cast: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 17:50 Language: Russian Start time: 17:15, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari IRRATIONAL MAN Directed by Woody Allen Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey Genre: Drama, Mystery Language: Russian Start time: 12:40, 20:25, 22:40 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION Directed by Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 15:00 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari VACATION Directed by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo Genre: Adventure, Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 17:30, 20:10, 22:40 Ticket price: 8.50 – 12.50 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 19:45, 22:40 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari VACATION (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 14:45, 17:15, 20:00, 22:30 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari THE VATICAN TAPES Directed by Mark Neveldine Cast: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Peña, Dougray Scott Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:10 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari PIXELS 3D Directed by Chris Columbus Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: 7.50 – 8.50 Lari ANT-MAN Directed by Peyton Reed Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:00 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22

June 27 – October 31 “GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II” IS AN EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 September 3-9 3RD INTERNATIONAL ART FESTIVAL ANIMA MUNDI The Festival represents a major event, symbolizing friendship and cultural dialogue between two countries, which takes place in two countries - Lithuania and Georgia - from August 24th to September 9th. Two cities - Tbilisi and Siauliai will unite artists from all over the world. ART PALACE Address: 6 Kargareteli st. Telephone: 295 35 63 September 5-20 ART PALACE AND BAIA GALLERY PRESENT THE EXHIBITION OF Irakli Parjiani’s 65th Jubilee Year The Gospels of St. Mark and St. John First show GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PIROSMANI’S 150TH BAIA GALLERY Address: 10 Chardin Str Telephone: 2 75 45 10 GEORGIAN ART XX-XXI CENTURY

September 10 – October 10 UNTITLED (IN THE MOOD) Nic Bezemer Opening: 19:00 MUSIC HEAVEN Address: 1 V. Petriashvili St. September 4 GET CLOSER HVL Start time: 20:00 September 5 GET CLOSER TBA Start time: 20:00 MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 September 5 HEAVY MENTAL Kuku Choladze, Guram Matchavariani, Sandro Kvachadze Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 1 Beer VIP Tickets: 1 Whisky Balcony: Free LISI LAKE Septemebr 5 MZESUMZIRA’S EZO VOL.4 (BIRTHDAY PARTY), GIA KHADURI, RATI, BERO, COBERT, SOKOOL (BERLIN), DAVID DORAD (BERLIN), KHVICHA From 14:00 Ticket price: 10-20 Lari BATUMI MUSIC CENTER September 6 GALA CONCERT AT THE BATUMI MUSIC CENTER

BATUMI MUSICFEST September 10-15 THE FESTIVAL WILL PRESENT INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED SOLOISTS AND ALSO SEVERAL GIFTED YOUNG MUSICAL PRODIGIES. Master classes in Batumi Music Camp will be held in order to inspire and motivate young musicians from around Georgia. September 10 GALA OPENING CONCERT Conductor - Laurent Petitgirard Soloist - Elisso Bolkvadze piano Tbilisi State Opera Start time: 19:00 Venue: Batumi State Musical Center RED BULL BC ONE September 5 RED BULL BREAK-DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP The Top 16 B-Boys and B-Girl of the region will battle for the crown at the Red Bull BC One Eastern Europe Final 2015. Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari Venue: Tbilisi Circus MTKVARZE Address: 2 Agladze st. September 5 MAIN ROOM: KOZMANA LIVE, MATSEHORA (UA), VINCENT, VISUALS BY GIORGI MOZGOVOI SMALL ROOM: DALI Start time: 23:00




Rubbish Redux: Svaneti By Tony Hanmer Well do I remember the first time an article of mine got the front page photograph of GT. It was one of the earlier ones, and my subject was the disgraceful state of garbage processing (or lack thereof) in Svaneti. I called it “Trashing Svaneti” and went for shock value with an unmistakable shot of Mestia’s watchtowers in the background, while in the foreground a stream choked with refuse tried its best to flow. There are now small dumpsters in Mestia, of the kind used widely elsewhere in Georgia; and even a truck specially fitted to pick them up, tip them up and drive their contents to the dump site. I confess that I don’t know where this is yet, but I do hope to find out. Meanwhile, in Etseri, along with many other local villages and perhaps hundreds of others across the nation... Not much has changed. I can see that garbage processing is likely not the top priority here, when poverty, joblessness and more pressing infrastructural rebuilding are needing much budgetary and temporal focus. I get that, believe me. Also, I have begun investigating how other places do small-scale garbage removal and handling, for villages or small towns, because these are the populations which concern me locally. I’ve found a

long pdf from Botswana, in southern Africa on the subject and am trying to educate myself now. Because some Canadian friends of mine who have visited, and some local friends, and I too, all think that it’s time. Eliminate sites in or outside the community where garbage can’t be sent, for reasons of proximity to the population, wrong slope and/or drainage, danger to water supplies, and so on. What’s left is the places from which to choose the best for the dump site. Does the garbage need to be sorted, so that that which can’t be dumped at all, especially dangerous or ground-polluting liquids or bio-hazardous materials, is removed from local consideration? Can the site be protected from access by animals? (Much, but not all, invitingly-smelling garbage, the kitchen scraps, ends up as livestock food.) Dogs shouldn’t be rummaging through the dump and dragging off favourite items... Can people be persuaded to put out their garbage for collection? Can a vehicle and driver be found and funded, and then persuaded, to do the collection as a necessary part of village life? I remember, back in 1992, living in Austria and being impressed with the eight or nine categories of garbage one had to sort, or it wouldn’t be taken at all! Can we also clean up the piles of dia-

pers, plastic and glass bottles, metal scraps, the odd destroyed car and other delights which grace our streams and fields and roads? Can there be the carrot of garbage removal and the stick of fines declared and imposed for future illegal dumping? I’ve more than once collected a bag of candy wrappers which made a trail from our house/shop to the school, and ceremoniously dumped them on the school steps. Then I waited for the scandalous news to make its way to the Director, and boldly declared what I’d done, to be as confrontational and outrageous as possible. She got the point and didn’t fire me. But even if the children can learn not to dump the smallest scrap as a default action, where will the dumpster contents be dumped? I actually have hope. I need to meet the village mayor and talk to him, get more local people on board, make this ours and not just mine, the crazy foreigner’s; help us own it and be responsible for it, hopefully get a volunteer team over from among my friends to help with the initial collection. The tourists are sick enough of gorgeous Svaneti’s ruination by its people’s garbage. They still come, but leave with very mixed feelings. It’s time to show them that we don’t need to wait for outside help to clear this thing up; we (I’m one of “us”) can take it on and Just Do It. We don’t need to pass the buck!

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1200 members, at . He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:

Geor gian Langua ge Georgian Languag Banned fr om Gali Sc hools from Schools Classes in Georgian language have been officially excluded from the schools of Gali district, the occupied territory of Abkhazia, reports say. According to the information, since September 1st, this year, no Georgians living in the area have access to Georgian education, which plays a vital role in the process of reintegration. The schools seem to be guided by the Moscow resolution, which envisages Georgian language to be taught as a foreign language, only one hour per week. Local populace says the decision has been made without their participation accusing Georgian authori-

ties of disregard. “Decisions such as this one are made without us. We do not have rights, since we are under the occupants’ influence. The Georgian authorities must resolve this issue. They must inform the international organizations of it”. [They] believe Georgian language is something that had been preserved for 22 years of occupation, however was destroyed by the occupants today. “The government met this fact with silence. We call on them to protest against it. However, we do not have a government that wants to get Abkhazia back,” – they emphasize.


Strachan Game is

By Alastair Watt In his pre-match press conference, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan declared that his side’s match with Georgia at Dinamo Arena on September 4 should not be categorized as ‘must-win’. When asked by the BBCs Chris McLaughlin whether the Scots could afford not to take three points from Tbilisi, his response was a short and sweet “no”. The Aberdeen and Leeds United legend, who won over 50 caps for his country, elaborated on what he expected from the match. “It will be a very, very competitive match, we know that. When we played

them last October we had to be at our very best to win. I was proud of how Scotland played that day and Georgia ought to have been proud of themselves too,” said Strachan who oversaw Scotland earn a 1-0 victory over the Georgians in Glasgow last October. Strachan appeared relaxed during the conference, taking time to ask translator George Mirashvili about the various framed photos of famous players to have played in Georgia or with Georgians. However, he then revealed that this was something of a façade as he, like the 2,000 or so Scottish fans who have made the journey to the Georgian capital, was full of nervous excitement. “It’s the same for them as it is for

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. See answers in the next issue

Answers to previous puzzles



Insists Georgia Not ‘Must-W in’

me. I’ve always had this feeling of nervous excitement in my career before any game, especially big games and this is one of them,” said the Scotland coach. Scotland sit third in the group with four games remaining and although Strachan said otherwise, and that this “could be a game of no consequence”, anything but victory for the Scots would mean they would almost certainly need to get something from their match with world champions Germany on September 7 in order to obtain an automatic berth. Scottish captain, Celtic’s Scott Brown, also spoke to media and appeared upbeat and confident about Scotland’s chances.

“Every game is important and we want to win them all, of course. We know they have a new manager and maybe a new approach compared to when we last played them so we’ll see how they line up tomorrow,” said Brown. Scotland’s fortunes have improved quite significantly since Strachan replaced Craig Levein at the start of 2013, and Brown spoke of a strength in depth in the Scottish squad that had not been seen for some years. “In every position we have two or three quality players competing, many of whom are playing in the English Premier League which is a good position to be in”, added the visiting skipper. There has been speculation about who will start at center forward for Scotland with Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher and Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths the two main candidates. Brown, a current teammate of the latter and an ex-teammate of the former would not be drawn on his preferred choice but did describe what he per-

ceives as the main strengths of each player. “Leigh (Griffiths) likes to go in behind and that left foot is a wand, while Steven (Fletcher) is playing in the Premier League for a reason, he is a quality player who can hold the ball up and bring others in,” said Brown. A crowd of around 25,000 is expected for the match with Georgian fans hoping for a repeat of 2007 when they overcame the Scots 2-0 thanks to goals from Levan Mchedlidze and David Siradze. Mchedlidze is one of a handful of Georgian players to survive in the squad from that night, while the Scottish squad contains three starters from that fateful evening – Craig Gordon, Darren Fletcher and Shaun Maloney. Nevertheless, when Strachan was asked by a Georgian journalist whether history might repeat itself, he gave a characteristically dry response. “A lot’s changed since then. Who would’ve thought you’d have iWatches by now?”

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Alastair Watt, Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Joseph Alexander Smith, Zviad Adzinbaia, Joseph Larsen, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Baia Dzagnidze, Zaza Jgharkava, Teona Surmava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Nino Gegidze, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze, George Abashvili PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #782  

Sep. 3 - 10, 2015

Issue #782  

Sep. 3 - 10, 2015