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Issue no: 893

• NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016



In this week’s issue... International Observers Positively Assess Run-Offs in Georgia NEWS PAGE 3

Russia Ready to Restore Parliamentary Cooperation with Georgia NEWS PAGE 3

Election Shock! POLITICS PAGE 7

FINCA Bank Introduces My School Book to Improve Financial Literacy




Local attention now turns from Georgia to the US elections, and Georgian politicians really don't look so bad, afterall...


ESPAD Research Reveals 43 % of Georgian Schoolchildren Smoke, 85 % Have Drunk BY THEA MORRISON


study by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) of the situation in the 35 ESPAD countries in 2015 revealed that the consumption by 14-15 year old Georgian schoolchildren of consume tobacco and alcohol are above rather than below the average rate. The ESPAD Report 2015 features information on students’ experience of, and perceptions about, a variety of substances including: tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, inhalants, pharmaceuticals and new psychoactive substances (NPS). The results of the survey were presented at the National Center of Disease Control (NCDC) in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Georgia joined the ESPAD project in 2015. The survey was conducted in Georgia in November 2015 and 168 public and 25 private schools were sampled and contacted. On the whole, 190 schools participated in the study. There were 2,477 completed questionnaires. The study showed that 43 percent of Georgian schoolchildren consume tobacco: girls (30%) smoke less than boys (54%). 21 percent of chil-

dren stated they had tried to smoke at the age of 13, while 4 percent said they started smoking at the age of 13 or earlier. 60 percent say it is very or quite easy to get cigarettes. As for alcohol, 85 percent of Georgian schoolchildren (85% - boys and 83% - girls) claimed they had tasted alcohol at least once. 43 percent of them said they had had alcohol within 30 days of the survey, while 22 percent of the schoolchildren admitted they had experienced drunkenness at or by the age of 13. The results revealed that wine is the most often consumed drink among 14-15 year old children, followed by beer. ESPAD says Georgian boys are more inclined to drink than girls. 11 percent of the student participants reported that they had used marijuana or hashish (cannabis) at least once during their lifetime. 8 percent of students had used marijuana or hashish (cannabis) within 12 months of the survey and 4 percent of students during the prior 30 days. Again, the prevalence in boys is much higher. The proportion of Georgian students who said

they had tried marijuana or hashish at the age of 13 or younger was 2%. The most prevalent drugs other than marijuana or hashish among Georgian students are tranquillizers or sedatives without a doctor’s prescription. According to ESPAD, the most popular daily activities of survey participants are communicating with others on the Internet (64%); followed by streaming/downloading music, videos, films etc. (48%) and reading, surfing, searching for information etc. (36%). However, 14 percent of students reported gambling during the 12 months prior to the survey. ESPAD is a collaborative effort of independent research teams in more than forty European countries and the largest cross-national research project on adolescent substance use in the world. The overall aim with the project is to repeatedly collect comparable data on substance use among 15-16 year old students in as many European countries as possible. The study was published in collaboration with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and is based on a 2015 survey in 35 European countries, including 24 EU Member States. In general, the latest survey showed that teenage drinking and smoking in surveyed countries is down, but concerns posed new drugs and new addictive behaviors.

INTERVIEW: Zurab Nijaradze, Painter CULTURE PAGE 15

British Author Launches 3rd Translated YA Book in Georgia CULTURE PAGE 16

Murrayfield Snub Will Motivate Ambitious Georgia, says Kiwi Coach Haig SPORTS PAGE 19




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

Foreign Officials Congratulate Georgia on Holding Democratic Elections

Parliamentary elections are over in Georgia. Source: Central Election Commission



he United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alan Duncan, congratulated Georgia on completion of its parliamentary elections, saying they were democratic and fairly contested. “I look forward to visiting and engaging the new government,” Duncan wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze thanked the State Minister for his support and invited him to Georgia. Moreover, United States (US) Congressman Tom Marino also congratulated Georgia, saying it had carried out free, fair and competitive elections.

“Through the continued use of fair, democratic elections, Georgia has respected both the development of its government and the views of its people. I want to offer my congratulations to Georgia on the success of this election and on their democratic leadership in the region,” Marino’s statement reads. The Congressman believes the accomplishment of elections is a hopeful sign for the future and is looking forward to strengthening ties between the two countries. Georgia’s parliamentary elections were held on October 8. The second round took place on October 30 in 50 districts, from which 18 were in the capital, Tbilisi, and 32 in other regions of Georgia. Georgia has a 150-seat parliament, with 73 MPs elected in majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies. The remaining 77 seats are awarded to MPs elected in proportional voting based on party lists.

Property Illegally Confiscated during Former Gov’t to Be Returned to Victims BY THEA MORRISON


he Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) stated on Wednesday that families whose properties were illegally confiscated during the rule of the previous government, will receive their immovable or movable property back. As a result of the work performed by the Department for the Investigation of Offences Committed in the Course of Legal Proceedings of the POG, 47 cases of illegal confiscation of property have been solved and 84 citizens have been recognized as victims. Up to 18 million Georgian GEL worth of movable and immovable property, including 71 vehicles, residential apartments, office and commercial premises, a wine factory, a swimming complex, land plots, etc. are to be returned to affected citizens. The family of the former Chairperson of the Chamber of Control of Georgia, Sulkhan Molashvili, was handed back their house in Tsavkisi on Wednesday, which was illegally appropriated by the former ruling authorities in 2004 when they arrested Molashvili. The current POG said that when Molashvili was arrested, then-prosecutors addressed his brother and, in exchange for Sulkhan Molashvili’s freedom, asked him to buy a house in Tsavkisi for 140.000 GEL and then demanded the property was handed over to the govern-

ment. The family bought the house and transferred it to the State. However, Molashvili was not released. Sulkhan Molashvili died from liver failure in Paris this June. He was recognized as a victim of Georgia’s previous United National Movement (UNM) government, having been aquitted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in 2014 after the UNM government was found to have abused the ex-official’s human rights. On April 23, 2004, shortly after the Rose Revolution which brought the UNM to power, Molashvili was found guilty of abuse of power, concealing a crime and misappropriation of public funds, and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He spent four years in jail and was released in 2008 due to the influence of Patriarch Ilia II. Molashvili said his rights were violated in prison, after which his health worsened. After the change of government in 2012, when Georgian Dream came to power, the current government addressed the ECtHR and requested permission to re-investigate the incident. Strasbourg Court then ordered the State to pay Molashvili EUR 20,000 in compensation within three months and to carry out and complete a new investigation within one year. Molashvili got his compensation but the investigation into his case is still in progress. The current POG also returned illegally appropriated properties to two other people on Wednesday. The POG said all victims of the former government will get their properties back after proper investigation.




International Observers Positively Assess Run-Offs in Georgia BY THEA MORRISON

Russia Ready to Restore Parliamentary Cooperation with Georgia


nternational observers assessed Georgia’s October 30 run-offs positively, saying that despite the lack of a legal framework, they were competitive and administered in a manner that respected the rights of the candidates and voters. The International Election Observation Mission for the second round consisted of observers from 27 countries, as well as long-term and short-term observers of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ ODIHR), OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the European Parliament (EP) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). According to Ignacio Sanchez Amor, the Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, full regulation of second round voting is lacking in the law, and attention should be paid to legal investigation and complaints procedures. “But I was pleased to see that Election Day was smooth and professionally run,” he added. The observers stressed that the Election Code does not regulate the second round. “Aiming to address a few procedural gaps, the Central Election Commission (CEC) issued decrees that were, how-

A voter casts her ballot in Georgia's second round of parliamentary elections in Mtskheta. Source: OSCE/ Lauren Baranowska

ever, adopted late in the process, interpreted the law in a contentious manner, and, at times, contradicted the Election Code,” the statement of the observers reads. However, generally, the observers said that media coverage was more balanced than for the first round and Election Day procedures were conducted in a smooth and professional manner. International observers assessed the voting process more positively than in the first round, saying station commissions were better prepared and adherence to procedures improved. “The second round reconfirmed that Georgia’s 2016 parliamentary elections enabled candidates to campaign freely and voters to make informed choices about their options,” Sanchez Amor added.

BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI Following the international observers’ assessments, the United States (US) congratulated the Georgians on the successful completion of the parliamentary elections, saying they affirm that Georgia is a leader of democratic reform in the region. However, the US side said they are concerned about isolated incidents of violence and intimidation and urged accountability as well as a thorough and balanced investigation in accordance with the rule of law. “We look forward to working with the new government and parliament to support Georgia’s democratic and economic development, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” the White House statement reads.


eonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of the Committee, says that the Russian State Duma’s Committee for the CIS, Eurasian Integration and Communications with Compatriots is ready to initiate restoration of parliamentary cooperation with Georgia. "The Committee is ready to do its best to promote restoration of cooperation - both parliamentary and general cooperation. We will hold hearings in the committee; we will analyze the results of the elections and address the Georgian side with a proposal. Let's see if they respond to it,“ Kalashnikov told Tass agency when commenting on Georgia’s 2016 parliamentary elections. Kalashnikov said that the policy of

confrontation with Russia and Mikheil Saakashvili’s hopes for returning to power have failed. "But, naturally, this does not mean that diplomatic ties will be automatically restored. I do not know whether Georgian Dream will develop friendly and good neighborly relations with Russia. There are still obstacles, but consultations continue," he said. Georgian-Russian relations have been strained ever since the August2008 RussoGeorgian War. Deputy Foreign Minister of the time, Grigol Vashadze, announced that Georgia was breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia, however when Georgian Dream came to power in February 2012, Georgia introduced a visa-free regime for Russians visiting Georgia for short visits. In December 2012, Russian and Georgian representatives had the first two-way discussions since the outbreak of the war.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

Calm before the Storm? Aftermath of 2016 Parliamentary Elections in Georgia OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


CARTOON by Brian Patrick Grady

lections turn a political party into a political power which, as a result, embarks on managing the nation’s affairs for a given period of time armed with the consent of the credulous governed. Now, if the lucky party, alias the new commanding power, is good enough to take the country to better ends, then progress is guaranteed, but if the contrary should occur, regress will be at hand, or a prolonged stalemate in the best case scenario. What could be in store for us this time? Judging by the landslide which the ruling party has managed to garner in this electoral season, the new old power has received every possible credit from Georgia’s halved but still enthusiastic electorate. What remains to do now is wise and undelayed handling of the monstrous package of previous, current and potential problems that are conspicuously sitting on the winner’s desk to be solved and then to be stuck right into the opponent’s big mouth to gag on – at least temporarily. But the opposition is not only widening the mouth, it is also diligently sharpening the remaining teeth, ready to wax much more determined and expeditious than ever before. They certainly have enough reason to be so furious and exacerbated – the heavy defeat they have suffered in the elections is unpalatable indeed, especially due to the forced-on-them recognition of the constitutional majority grabbed by the newly established and absolutely undisputed rulers of the republic. I have no idea what’s happening in the kitchens of either the euphoric winners or the sulking losers, but having listened to their post-election summary speeches, I am coming to believe that both sides are getting ready for a very tough battle (although their encounters on the floor will make less sense now than before because of the constitutional majority in the new parliament). I am saying this because all prognostications concerning the future composition of Georgia’s legislative body have flopped disastrously. There was only one person in the entire country who confidently predicted he’d get into parliament with no less than 100 mandates, and he did even better – 115! The ruling side sounds calm and confident in the success of their upcoming exploits and the opposition is reacting as if they had never boasted they’d come out winners. All is being taken for granted. And that’s very good! Such attitudes make our political system stronger, sturdier, and fitter. The only misgiving I have is the much talked about parliamentary majoritythose with the perfect instrument in their hands to let politics work only in favor of the people of Georgia, and which the losing side qualifies as a soviet-type one-party system, conducive to regrettable deterioration of the quality of democracy in the country. Political analysts are also divided on the issue: some of them are shrugging their shoulders, some are fuming with indignation and others are trying to calm society, feeding

us theoretical corroborations of expediency of the newly acquired operating style in the house of law. The happiest campers in the aftermath of the 2016 parliamentary elections in Georgia are the freshmen who sigh with relief and happily accept congratulations from their proud friends and relatives. On the other hand, the current blissful leisure is just a trouble-free instant in their political life. The harder times, following those halcyon days, are approaching fast – the time of test and sweat, which either elevates them to higher career levels or obliterates them from being members of Georgia’s ever-maturing political establishment. And finally, what will change as a consequence of the now bygone elections? I am not sure there is one unequivocal answer to this simple but insightful and penetrating question. But we want to hear the answer – that’s why our valuable votes were spent on the presumable providers of that answer.

What remains now is wise and timely handling of the monstrous package of previous, current and potential problems sitting on the winner’s desk, waiting to be solved and shoved in the opposition's mouth. But the opposition is not only widening its mouth, it is also diligently sharpening the remaining teeth, ready to wax much more determined and expeditious than ever before




Abkhaz Former MP Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Murder

Abkhaz children watch a military parade in Sukhumi, September 2013. Source: Vice



he Supreme Court of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has sentenced former parliamentarian Nodik Kvitsinia to 16 years in prison for the murder of a Russian businessman and his personal assistant. Four of Kvitsinia’s accomplices were also sentenced to terms ranging from 13 to 20 years in prison – all connected to the slaying of Sergey Klemantovich and Oksana Skarednovoy. The two victims were reportedly abducted and murdered in September 2012, following a dispute between Kvitsinia and the two victims.

At the time of his arrest, Abkhaz police found Klemantovich’s Mercedes at Kvitsinia’s residence. The bodies of both Klemantovich and Skarednovoy were not found until more than year after the disappearance. In October 2013, their decayed corpses were discovered in an abandoned well in the village of Adzyubzha, 30 kilometers south of the rebel capital Sukhumi. The Abkhaz court accused Kvitsinia of using his immunity as a sitting MP to obstruct the investigation and later stripped him of his seat in the Russianbacked separatist parliament. Kvitsinia and his accomplices’ conviction and subsequent sentencing has surprised many Abkhazia watchers. The case is a departure from the conventional wisdom that Russian citizens

doing business in Abkhazia enjoy the privileges of an elevated, patrician-class. Abkhazia’s dependence on Moscow’s political, military and economic support has generally guaranteed the safety of Russian citizens who either work or reside in the unrecognized breakaway region. Sukhumi’s continued existence as a Russian satellite is based on hard cash flowing in from Russian investors and the Kremlin itself. But the murder of the Klemantovich and Skarednovoy set off some alarm bells in Moscow that the situation for Russians in Abkhazia is less stable than is widely accepted in the halls of the Kremlin. Tensions over Abkhazia’s increasingly subservient relationship with Russia have been simmering in recent years as citizens and groups of veterans of the brutal 1990s war against Georgian government forces chafe at controversial decisions made by the region’s de facto President Raul Khajimba. Khajimba’s moves to fully integrate Abkhazia’s Armed Forces and security services into the Russian military and feared FSB spy service has angered many local residents who fear the current government is slowly forfeiting the region’s independent, though unrecognized, status in favor of full integration into the Russian Federation. Georgia fought a brutal 18-month war against Abkhazia’s Russian-backed separatist forces in 1992-1993. The war left tens of thousands dead and led to the ethnic cleansing of up to 200,000 Georgians. Abkhazia was recognized - along with Georgia’s other breakaway region South Ossetia - as an independent state by Russia following the 2008 Russian-Georgian War.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev

Kyrgyz President Signs Decree on Resignation of Government BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE


yrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev last week signed a decree on the resignation of the Kyrgyzstan government, reported the press service of the head of state. "Persons who have held the post of prime minister, first deputy prime minister, deputy prime ministers, cabinet members and heads of administrative departments, will continue their duties as members of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic until the day of the appointment of new Cabinet members," Atambayev stated in the decree. The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic was dismissed in connection with

the collapse of the coalition of the parliamentary majority. Kyrgyz Supreme Council Speaker, Chynybay Tursunbekov, had previously officially announced the breakup of the coalition of the parliamentary majority, saying he had received notice from the leader of the former coalition, Kanat Isaev. "His letter says that the coalition ceased to exist in connection with the output of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (PDAP)," Tursunbekov said. In accordance with Kyrgyz legislation, in case of a collapse of government, the coalition must step down. Then the country's president should instruct one of the parliamentary factions to create a new coalition to approve the composition and structure of the next cabinet.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

It’s Not So Bad, Chaps- Just Look at the Yanks: Ogden on Comparable Politics OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN


lectoral fever is dying down in Georgia as it ramps up in the United States. With both countries exhibiting the most eccentric display of characters vying for political power, there are more similarities between the two than many Americans might care to admit; an eccentric billionaire (Trump/ Bidzina), an old hanger-on whose personal integrity is frequently called into question (Clinton/Saakashvili) and someone who is basically competent with good ideas but never received the necessary support (Sanders/Usupashvili). Not exact parallels, perhaps, but close enough in their essentials; the one glaring difference is the lack of international observation missions in the United States. That Georgia is not perfect is well known; the fact that neither is anywhere else seems to be mostly ignored. As I recall writing on these pages not too long ago, Georgian politicians disgraced themselves on national television by engaging in shouting matches, pushing contests (‘fistfights’ would be an exaggeration) and hurling water at each other; their actions were especially disappointing since they suggested that the vaunted

Source: Odyssey

democratic progress Georgia had allegedly made might have been imaginary, and perhaps there had not been any significant change from the instability of years past when Georgian politicians brawled to settle disputes. Yet whether their actions are any worse than Donald Trump’s offensive remarks about women or Hillary Clinton’s proven

record of lying is entirely debatable. Although the behavior of Georgian politicians can be more overtly unpleasant, it is still less sinister, and at least those who embarrassed themselves in recent months were not the heads of any party. Hillary Clinton (a woman who describing arriving in Bosnia under ‘sniper fire’ despite a video of the event showing her

smiling and shaking hands with military dignitaries) or Donald Trump (a sexist celebrity businessman with the demeanor of a petulant child) will be the most powerful national leader on the planet. It is understandable, then, why Georgians might become skeptical of the West’s ability to take the moral and professional high ground and judge their

country and politicians. A Georgian would only have to look at the EU’s decision to let in an unprecedented number of refugees (which has resulted in a rise in terrorist incidents, sexual assaults and crime), the UK’s decision to leave the Union (which sent the British economy into turmoil) and the American presidential candidates themselves (a former First Lady whose lack of integrity Al Capone might even raise an eyebrow at, and a businessman with a mixed – at best – professional track record whose behavior towards women is in keeping with that of a potential rapist). Georgia’s growing Western apathy does indeed stem from the false promises of the EU and NATO, but the poor example being set by those allegedly fit to judge them are hardly going to help; with soundbites like Boris Johnson claiming that Brexit will be a ‘Titanic success’ and that Donald Trump ‘has the best words’… the idiocy of Georgian politicians seems almost mild in comparison. As a political experiment, I would very much like to see a group of Georgian observers sent to the United States to monitor the American political process. Providing they could voice their opinions without the risk of damaging a strategic partnership that the country depends on, their findings might make most Georgians feel rather better about their own politics.



NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016




he only thing I can tell you is that Tina Khidasheli is not going to leave me - former Speaker of Parliament David Usupashvili told journalists regarding who else was planning to leave the Republican Party. Former Minister of Defense, Tina Khidasheli, confirmed she would not leave her family or her husband, Usupashvili. We can boldly state that the above-said is the only thing we know for sure about the Georgian politics so far since the elections. Everything else, for example which political face is going where or who is leaving which party, is as ambiguous as ever. In short, Georgian politics is still suffering from election shock.

The victorious are also facing the dilemma of who they should keep in the new government and who not

Nobody imagined such triumph from the governmental party. The defeated are still figuring out what happened and how Georgian Dream, with its tasteless election slogan, was able to win these elections. That said, political life will go on with or without Mr. Usupashvili and its future will become clearer in the days to come. But before that the victorious are also facing the dilemma of who they should keep in the new government and who not. Who will replace Usupashvili and many other parliamentary nuances is yet to be decided. Georgian Dream will surely spend the upcoming months figuring out who will get which office or car. However, politics has its own rules and GD also have to think about forming the government. The exact date for the first parliamentary session has not been announced by the President yet, but it is already known he will designate Giorgi Kvirikashvili to continue as PM. Some ministers will hold the former positions, while some will change building. For example, Davit Sergeenko will continue ase Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Dimitry Kumsishvili will change building and move to the Ministry of Finance in Ortachala districthis former seat to be taken by Giorgi Gakharia. It is confirmed that Kvirikashvili’s new cabinet will now be without the Minister of Infrastructure Nodar Javakhishvili, MoF Nodar Khaduri, Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze and Minister of Interior Affairs Giorgi Mgebrishvili. All this means that we are waiting for changes. Kakhi Kaladze plans to return to the post of the Minister in the government,

The Georgian Lari, as the financial specialists say, still laments Misha Saakashvili

we only need to know in which Ministry – Energy as before or Interior Affairs. Kaladze’s “presidential ambitions” are not new to anyone. The former soccer player from FC Milan plans to become the President in future. Everything will depend on those constitutional amendments which are planned by the government. If they decide to further decrease the authority of that institution and

decree that the President should be elected by Parliament, then Kaladze will prefer being the Minister of Energy rather than merely hold a nominal post. However, if the power of the President will remain as it is and he will be chosen through elections, no doubt Kaladze will aim for the post of Minister of Interior Affairs. His decisions will depend on the abovementioned criteria.

In reality, Kaladze is an issue to PM Kvirikashvili, who at the moment does not have time to deal with him. The Georgian Lari, as the financial specialists say, still laments Misha Saakashvili. The National Currency continues falling drastically and it is clear that Kvirikashvili’s main challenge now is the country’s economy, however, he has a lot more to look after than that.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

War or Peace – Europe’s Media Elite Talks Geopolitics at M100 Sanssouci Colloquium Sabine Sasse has been responsible for the organizational matters of M100 for years



he M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, while perhaps not as well-known as it should be in the Caucasus region, is a massive annual media event that takes place in Potsdam, Germany, in the famed Sanssouci Palace that used to be the summer residence of Prussian royalty. It’s a place where all top media outlets from all over Europe gather each year to discuss the developments that are shaping today’s Europe and the role of media in it. I had the privilege to be invited there this year again after also

attending the event in 2015. When you first arrive at the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, it can be emphatic: the very crème of Europe’s press is there: The really old names, big guns, top people, you name it. As classy and prestigious as it gets without erring to the side of elitism (hey, not every media event gets attended by the Bundeskanzlerin herself – Frau Merkel was there to attend an award ceremony, more on that later). And when you are just a simple (not exactly humble) editor hailing from Georgia, with its proud but still relatively little-known media community, this kind of euphoria is easily explainable. Even if it’s your second coming here, there is much to learn – it’s not every day that

you listen to top intellectuals of European media muse about such intrinsic things as Russian propaganda or investigative journalism. War or Peace – The Return of Geopolitics was this year’s chosen theme and the speakers didn’t disappoint: from the effects of Brexit to the war in Ukraine and emergence of right wing parties, the discussion was top notch, as were the keynote speeches and expert contributions. Being Georgian, the topic of hybrid war waged by Russia and turmoil in Turkey was especially interesting. Regarding the first, it was somewhat symbolic to see the Western media gurus preaching about good journalism, while their Eastern European colleagues, some of

whom have to deal with Russian media propaganda on a daily basis, rolled their eyes and brought up delightful analogies. One of those has stuck with me: How do you compare a Hollywood action flick to a documentary, or the “making of”? Which one is more watchable and which one’s more real? Then how you combat the first with the second? On Turkey, it was an eye-opening experience to listen to Can Dundar, a former editor-in-chief of one of Turkey’s oldest pro-Western and secularist media outlets, the Cumhuriyet newspaper, who curtly summed the post coup situation in Turkey with a brief remark: “A successful coup would have brought us a dictatorship. Now we have a police state.” Hard to argue with that. Another benefit that the Colloquium confers is that of sharing experience and know-how. Each year, a week-long workshop precedes the event, where young journalists, mostly from Eastern Europe, get to train and hone their skills in a selected topic –this year it was investigative journalism techniques and challenges, what with all the buzz about the Panama papers. With our aspiring journalists under such thoughtful tutelage, the future prospects of Georgian media suddenly doesn’t look too bleak – both a crop of young (relatively, as the author of this piece is in his thirties himself) journalists that I had the privilege to meet in Potsdam were impressively qualified, talented and full of ideas. Yet another noteworthy aspect of the Colloquium is that it gives out annual awards for outstanding contribution to media. And while last year’s winners The Charlie Hebdo editor’s office haven’t

filled me personally with the greatest of inspirations (a matter of personal taste and morality, I guess), this year it was a different story - the brave and outstanding author Roberto Saviano, with his best-selling investigative book “Gomorrah” (later made into an equally brilliant movie and recently adapted to a TV series format), detailing the behindclosed-doors deals of Italian mafia, was every inch an aspiration and an example for any journalist. Saviano, who now has to endure life under the constant supervision of bodyguards, as the crime bosses show no inclination to cease their hunt for him, delivered a poignant and staggeringly emotional acceptance speech disputing the ancient Roman Emperor Vespasian’s famous notion that money doesn’t smell. To Saviano, money smells, and he insists it should smell for every decent person, too. Amen to that. Like in every well-oiled mechanism, the M100 Colloquium also has that one special part that makes all others click into motion. This piece wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the person who’s been putting in a tremendous shift to make things happen, and doing that in a subtle and gentle manner. Frau Sabine Sasse, who I’m proud to call my friend, has been responsible for the organizational matters of M100 for years now, and I think I will speak for every young journalist and experienced pro when I say a big Danke Schon to her for the splendid work she’s been doing. May she do that and more for years and years to come, as we witness media achieving the heights it should aspire to – a decent media in the hands and for decent people, as Mr. Saviano would probably say.

Goethe Institute Organizes Teaching Seminars One of its Best Projects BY MAKA LOMADZE


n October 24-30, the Goethe Institute organized teaching-methodological seminars for Georgian, Armenian, Ukrainian and Russian pedagogues in Borjomi, a resort town in south-central Georgia. Renowned expert Sabine Quenot met with teachers to discuss topics including environmental protection, green pedagogy and sustainable development. Each seminar lasted 6 hours and was held in the framework of the large-scale project of Goethe Institute named ‘Unite for a Sustainable Future,’ being carried out with the support of the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science and the Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection. The seminars, as well as the project itself introduce the implementation of the new method of teaching German language in German language schools of Georgia in the direction of sustainable development. Namely, it comprises the integration of environmental protection, green pedagogy and topics of sustainable development into the German language lessons, which is included in the

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) method. Sabine Quenot is actively involved in the international projects of Goethe Institute, holding seminars in Germany, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Russia. Therefore, there was great interest among the Georgian teaching populace. “It was a seminar for 22 persons and they came from 4 countries and nearly half could not speak German- but they worked

together to help each other understand,” she said. “CLIL comes from the American system now very popular in Germany. The teachers were very interested and had many ideas to work with students and make projects. For example, they had ideas to make costumes from video cassettes as a part of up-cycling. They also suggested walking more and using cars less often. Where normally we teach the names of objects, at CLIL we teach

what these objects are made of, where they come from, meaning the environment, how the colors are produced, etc. I can say that the communication was very good. The teachers here are very open, friendly and motivated. They understand very quickly what the matter is, too,” Quenot said. GEORGIA TODAY also spoke to Georgian teacher of German language, Lali Gabitashvili from Tbilisi school 52: “This

is an extremely interesting project. It shows that we also should have outdoor lessons, integrated into other subjects. I am eager to hold such lessons twice or thrice a semester. Pupils were very happy as it is very interactive and creative and no longer resembles a monologue- requiring more involvement, which means that they are learning to put what they have learnt into practice.” Eike Pockrandt, lesson expert in Georgia and Azerbaijan from Goethe Institute, said: “Goethe Institute promotes the CLIL method in many countries. This is a totally innovative thing for this region. Our expectations were more than fulfilled. This project has such a dynamic; we never expected it would connect so many people. There were a lot of local initiatives. We opened the view for teachers of different subjects to integrate their methods into German language lessons. Now we will focus on German again and we want to ensure that the quality of German is really good.” All participant teachers were presented a Teaching-Methodological Book created on the basis of CLIL, which was published on the initiative of Goethe Institute and with the support of the Vienna University of Agriculture and Environment.



NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016


Mavala Nail Care & Beauty Products at Ici Paris


igh quality, efficient and technically impeccable products, combined with more than 55 years of expertise in the nail care and beauty field plus a true passion for beauty, make Mavala of Switzerland a remarkable success story. Mavala was created in 1958 by Madelaine Van Landeghem and, with the introduction of Scientifique Nail Hardener, which remains one of our best selling products to date, over the years Mavala has become synonymous with quality thanks to its specific and effective professional standard products, with categories including nail, hand, foot, face and make-up, all created from rigorous research and manufactured in our Geneva factories to impeccable quality demands. Men, as well as women are attaching more importance to nail care and grooming. Long or short, nails should be impeccable; they are the final point of your beauty and their look reflects your personality. Mavala offers a range of care and beauty products for nails to make them as attractive and healthy as possible. As leaders in natural nail care, Mavala offers specific products that bring effective solutions to whatever nail problems you may have, along with an extensive nail color range free from harmful ingredients such as parabens, formaldehydes, toluene, camphore, cellophane, animal ingredients and heavy metal. The R&D Laboratories, as well as the manufacturing facilities and operational activities, are located at the Geneva headquarters, the brand’s historic birthplace which rightly stands for quality, rigor and reliability around the world

– values that the company hold dear and which have guided every creation since the original.

FOOT CARE Because we feel it's important to give your feet the same attention given to hands, Mavala also offers a range of effective complementary foot care products to keep your feet feeling and looking their best.

FACIAL CARE After many years of research and development, we created a line of face care and beauty, blending our scientific expertise and a natural ingredient commonly

found in Switzerland, the Mallow, which is present in all the care products of this line. Our range also includes impeccable make-up products, from long-lasting wear foundation, complexion enhancing blush, to easy-glide lipsticks in a large variety of shades.

HAND CARE As a natural extension to our nail care and beauty line of products, we offer a range of specific hand care products, collectively referred to as the MAVALA Hand Care Program. Specifically formulated to care for the hands with active ingredients revolutionary for their use in hand treatments.

EYE CARE The Mavala Eye-Lite range was introduced in 1967 with Double-Lash; a unique eyelash enhancer formulated to lengthen, cover and protect the lashes allowing them to become healthy, long and resistant. Today, the Eye-Lite range consists of an assortment of products from eye make-up removers, nourishing moisturizers specifically formulated for the delicate eye area to a selection of high quality make-up products.

is sure to be a Mavala nail care solution to suit you. Mavala also offers a vast array of over 150 nail colors in shades ranging from chic yet understated nudes to the bold and vibrant. Aside from its own distribution companies in France, England and USA, Mavala now reaches more than 110 markets throughout the world. In Georgia, Mavala’s production is exclusively presented at Ici Paris stores.

NAIL CARE Mavala specializes in the maintenance of beautiful looking nails and offers a complete range of products to alleviate all nail concerns, from uneven nail surfaces, splitting and flaking due to lack of hydration or nail discoloration. There

Rome Street to be Named after Tbilisi BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI


street in Rome is to be named after Tbilisi. The decision was made during a meeting held in Rome by the Deputy Mayor of Rome, Luca Bergamo, Deputy Mayor

of Tbilisi, Giga Nikoleishvili, and by the Head of Administration of Tbilisi City Hall, Irakli Khutsurauli. Khutsurauli and Nikoleishvili are currently attending the second edition of ‘Unity in Diversity’ in Italy, a summit being attended by around 60 official representatives of the country. This year the summit’s key topics are: climate change, cultural and natural her-

itage protection, and natural energy resources. The mayors will discuss these topics together with high profile international speakers at this year’s edition of the conference. Further, a special focus will be dedicated to endangered cultural and natural heritage in conflict areas. The summit is taking place in Florence from November 2-4 2016.

PASHA Bank Supports yet another Educational Project


n November 1, in Fabrika, the Women’s Information Center hosted an event ‘Youth – United for Peace’ supported by PASHA Bank and The US State Department. The event was held under the aegis of the project ‘Empowered Women for Peace and Development.’ Guests had an opportunity to attend the screening of short documentaries filmed by student journalists, and listen to writer Ana Kordzaia-Samadashvili presenting the public lecture – ‘Bob Dylan – Nobel prize laureate.’ The Women’s Information Center is a non-governmental organization that aims to improve women’s political, economic and social status by increasing the avail-

ability of information. On March 8, PASHA Bank made a donation to the Women’s Information Center on behalf of the Bank’s female clientele and partners that applied to organize campaigns aimed at raising awareness on women’s rights in Georgia. “Corporate Social Responsibility is very important to PASHA Bank. We have implemented several CSR activities in past years and we believe that by supporting such educational projects, we contribute to the learning and development of youth and building an equal society,” said Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing Department at PASHA Bank. ADVERTISING




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

FINCA Bank Introduces My School Book to Improve Financial Literacy Recreational Forest Replaces Dumpsite BY BAIA DZAGNIDZE



n World Savings Day on October 31, FINCA BANK Georgia introduced its newly launched interactive book for school children

aged 7 to 14. ‘My School Book’ is designed to help children develop their financial and business oriented skills from an early age. Covering such topics as what money is and why we save, offering quizzes and bringing successful stories of business practices, the book aims to be informative and encourage its young readers to form the right attitude to money, equipping them with the necessary knowledge of basic financial literacy. “These are skills that are very important, especially considering the fact that financial inclusion, financial capability and sustainable livelihoods are essential components of full economic citizenship,” said Mariam Esebua, Head of Marketing at FINCA Bank Georgia. The content and layout of ‘My School Book’ was made together with creative agency Windfor’s Communications, and is designed to be fun and memorable for children through its colorful illustrations and entertaining content. “It was a huge responsibility, since the fun content needed

to be created especially for children, while also informing them well on the important topic of finance,” said Vasil Chubinidze, representative of Windfor’s Communications. “With the new interactive book children will also be given the chance to share their opinions with us through email, and the most active and creative readers will be awarded with special prizes,” Esebua added. The newly released book is seen as a possibility to foster interaction between children and parents and, most importantly, between classmates through interesting projects with they are encouraged to do together. The book is going to be distributed to FINCA Bank employees so that more than 8000 children in almost all regions of the country will get to use the book, learn the basics of financial literacy

RENT YOUR DREAM APARTMENT IN TSKNETI Very cosy one bedroom 75 sq.m apartment in Tbilisi area with spectacular view over the mountains. Located in Tskneti, a prestigious, quiet, green and safe neighborhood 15 minutes drive from the city center. The bright and sunny apartment is newly furnished and comes with a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. Comfortable and stylish living-room, cozy bedroom with closet and king-sized bed. 20 sq.m terrace overlooking the mountains. Relax while enjoying the view and unwind with a glass of wine on the balcony as you watch the sun set. Parking & WiFi available. If you are looking for the perfect place to live, this is the apartment for you! Only long-term residents should apply. Ideally suited for a couple or single.

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and have fun. “We are very happy that FINCA Bank is a pioneer in the very important field of making this kind of interactive content for children,” said the Head of Marketing FINCA Bank Georgia.

eshumi resort’s illegal dumpsite, located in Khulo Municipality and operated between 2002–2012, was officially closed on October 23. The landfill, covering an area of 780 sq. meters, was cleared of a total of 453 tonnes of waste during the closing period. The dumpsite was closed according to international standards and the closure plan prepared by a USAID-funded program Waste Management Technologies in Regions (WMTR), which is implemented by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) together with CENN. Closure of the dumpsite was carried out in close collaboration with the municipality and Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) funded the Sustainable Forest Governance in Georgia (SFG) program implemented by CENN. In 2012, the wooden fence that sur-

rounded the dumpsite collapsed and the monitoring of the site ceased. The land was covered by a waste layer of 1 to 1.2 meters of waste; in some areas the depth was even 2.5 meters. Additionally, since the waste was placed in an open field for 10 years, constant rain and thick snow cover resulted in soil contamination. The removed waste was disposed of at the Akhaltsikhe landfill. At this stage, waste bins have been placed in Beshumi and waste collection and disposal at the landfill material is carried out seasonally. A recreational forest development project was prepared for the cleared area which aims to develop the resort’s infrastructure and services. The document will be presented to the Government of Adjara for implementation. Besides preventing new pollution of the unique forest surrounding the Beshumi resort, the project will create a successful example of sustainable management of recreational forests, which is important not only for Adjara, but for the whole country’s forestry sector.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

Clothes Donation for IDPs & Socially Vulnerable- Join Us!

INTERVIEW: Cristian URSE, Head of the CoE Tbilisi BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI Photo: Jacob Borden, BBC



eorgian government forces fought three wars against Russian-backed separatist forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from 1991 to 2008. According to the latest statistics of the Georgian Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, there are currently 263,598 registered IDPs in Georgia as a result. At the end of summer, BBC photographer Jacob Borden and journalist Tbel Abuseridze compiled a photo reportage that was passed around social media detailing the plight of two groups of IDPS and socially vulnerable families living in conditions of extreme poverty in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. On seeing the reportage, I decided to visit the mentioned buildings. One was an old hospital near the Bazroba market, whose residents were made up mainly of IDPS. IDPs have seen greater recognition and support from the government in recent years and so their accommodation had been “touched up” with new PVC windows. Many had started their own home improvements on their illegal living quarters, evidence that a number of them had found employment. Some 10 families in the same settlement, however, classed as “socially vulnerable,” had received no such support and are struggling to find work. One woman, Ia Ochiauri, 42, has two young children plus two children over 18. State family support keeps them fed, but clothing,

Many are stuck in a rut, lacking education and social support, lacking the love and respect of society

toys, educational materials and comfortable living standards are seriously lacking. At the ex-military hospital tucked behind the new Carrefour in Isani district- a behemoth of concrete, rubble and overwhelming abandonment -the situation was even worse. Glass-less or boarded up windows, the electricity supply home-made (and often cut off by the authorities), and the same for the water pipes (scavenged supplies bring water to one point in each corridor for communal use)…Gas for cooking comes in the form of small camping tanks, while heating is through small wood-burners powered by the logs the government dumps in the front yard once each winter. There are 170 children living on the territory. I tried to engage the mothers of these children to give us their names and sizes so that a very kind donor I know could buy each child a winter coat. They refused, claiming that two organizations had taken their information before us, promising help which then never came. They are, as the BBC report so adequately put it, the “Forgotten Ones.” Many in the Isani area did not know of their existence, though they first occupied the building some seven years ago. Some family members work, but “on the black,” not daring to live in better conditions for fear of losing state benefits. Many, though, are genuinely poor- stuck in a rut, lacking education and social support, lacking the love and respect of society. Even my own society in the UK shuns “scroungers” and “squatters,” but I still recognise that they are people. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure they are living in safety and comfort, that they are educated and trained to be more productive and a boost to the economy rather than a drain on it. It is our job, as fellow citizens, to show we care. As such, on Saturday November 5, from 3 - 5pm at Fabrika, I am inviting readers and their colleagues to donate their old clothes and shoes (men's, women's, children’s), books and toys which I will then take to the two settlements the same day. A little bit of happiness and recognition goes a long way. Come along to the donation event and enjoy a special offer from Tone restaurant- 5 GEL all-you-can-eat buffet and a glass of wine to all donators! WHERE: 8 Egnate Ninoshvili Str. WHEN 3 – 5 pm


he Council of Europe (CoE) is an international Strasbourg-based organization that promotes democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in its 47 member states. CoE has an Office in Tbilisi, where staff members work on a large range of cooperation programs in order to help Georgia act in accordance with the Council of Europe standards in the areas of human rights, rule of law and democracy. In order to join efforts in Eastern Partnership countries, the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe have developed a ‘Programmatic Cooperation Framework’ (PCF), which enables cooperation activities with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus, in order to implement domestic reforms in those countries and bring them closer to European standards. To find out more about CoE activities, GEORGIA TODAY met with Mr. Cristian URSE, Head of the CoE Office in Georgia.

GEORGIA JOINED THE COE IN 1999. WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE MAJOR STEP IN TERMS OF FULFILLING COE OBJECTIVES DURING THE 17 YEARS SINCE? Georgia, as a member of the CoE, has been taking an active part in CoE activities, for example in new standard-setting measures and in new conventions that have been developed and negotiated within the organization- products of interaction and the interests of CoE member states. Georgia is and has been part of that process and I think that is one very important aspect, as Georgia, once committing to human rights and rule of law, has not only taken on the responsibility limited to its domestic territory but has also contributed to the development and upholding of standards in the other member states. In that regard I‘d say Georgia should be proud of the steps it has taken. Georgia’s current path and foreign policy orientation reflect Georgia’s effort to get closer and closer to the EU and this process is very much linked to the conventions and standards that CoE has developed. When you look at the benchmarks established within the EU - Georgia Association Agreement, you see that there are a number of elements related to the judiciary and human rights - all aspects Georgia is committed to implement as a member of CoE.

WHAT ARE GEORGIA’S PRIORITY AREAS WHERE DOMESTIC REFORMS ARE TO BE CARRIED OUT WITHIN THE PCF PROJECT? I would first say that the CoE working instrument with Georgia is a multi-annual Action Plan which was defined between CoE and the Georgian authorities, and which highlights the areas where cooperation is necessary in order to improve the performance of institutions. That action plans follows four main themes: protecting and promoting human rights, strengthening the judiciary, democratic governance (including elections), and combating threats to the rule of law such as corruption or money-laundering. There is also a fifth component which deals with confidence-building and specifically relates to the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The PCF is an instrument between the EU and CoE enabling us to combine our resources and expertise to deliver the kind of cooperation these countries need. PCF for Georgia comes under the roof of the action plan, so basically PCF is an instrument to promote the activities within the four lines I mentioned above. For example, in PCF we have a project harmonizing national practices of human rights with those of the Court in Strasburg. We are able to interact with and train judges, prosecutors, and lawyers on the Convention of human rights. We provided assistance to the Tbilisi City Court in relation to human rights aspects and s a result the judges were able to be guided by our expert on the main elements related to the convention. And we do see after such assistance more active use of the case law in Strasbourg when it comes to deciding matters for human rights domestically. Other PCF priority activities relate to administration of elections, the situation of human righst and healthcare in prisons, freedom of media and internet governance, reform of judiciary, as well as national minorities.

HOW WOULD YOU GENERALLY ASSESS THE COOPERATION OF THE COE WITH THE GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT? IS IT FLEXIBLE AND SUPPORTIVE ENOUGH? We are not only working with governmental institutions. We just rounded-up a project which supports the Georgian Bar Association to better represent their clients on human rights matters. I should say that the Georgian Government and Georgian authorities in general are very enthusiastic partners when it comes to working together and implementing projects- there is no reluctance to engage and they are open to discuss

the shortcomings. In that regard we have had a very positive experience. When defining the lines for our action plan for Georgia, the Georgian government and authorities were very much engaged and very eager to work with the CoE.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TARGET EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTIES WITH THE SAME PROGRAM (THE PCF) RATHER THAN DEVELOPING COUNTRY SPECIFIC PROGRAMS FOR EACH? It is not necessarily targeting a pool of countries. It is more like providing a handy solution to make resources and expertise of both the EU and CoE available to the authorities in these countries. The EU developed the instrument of Eastern Partnership and from that point of view the EU was willing to extend this kind of cooperation with the Council of Europe to have a Programmatic Cooperation Framework related to those counties. For us, it was a welcome solution to engage more with each of these countries. It is not about treating them all as one, but about having more resources available to go deeper into the detailed needs of each. For instance, we work with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on combating money laundering- this is actually a very good example of taking advantage of CoE expertise. The project was designed based on the recommendations for Georgia drafted by the CoE expert committee that deals with money laundering in all member states. For every country they issue a list of recommendations. For the case of Georgia, within the PCF, we were able to translate these recommendations into concrete actions by engaging with the MoF in developing legislation to bolster its capacity to tackle issues related to money laundering.

ONE OF YOUR OBJECTIVES IS TO ENSURE THAT ELECTORAL PRACTICE COMPLIES WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF THE COE. HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE 2016 GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS? Speaking of the first round of the 2016 parliamentary elections, monitoring missions say that the overall process was well-administered and well-organized. However, there were a number of irregularities and although they didn’t affect the outcome of elections, this type of information is important to us from a practical point of view, because we know what to target in order to improve in the future the administration of the electoral process.



NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016


INTERVIEW: Salome Tsotsoria, PR & Marketing Manager of Radisson Blu Tbilisi RESPONSIBILITY FOR RADISSON BLU AS AN ORGANIZATION?


Cancer. In this program, in the month of October, 290 hotels were involved in the campaign worldwide. The campaign aims to increase the awareness of the disease and ways to prevent it. We decided to offer our guests a special pink room, which was decorated with pink details, accessories, and informational brochures. 10% of room sales are to be transferred to the international Breast Cancer Foundation. Additional to that, we prepared a pink breakfast corner. The breakfast included products which are recommended by doctors to combat the disease. Hotel staff also collected money to help the patients on their own initiative. The general manager, Jordi Kuijthas, then doubled that amount.

“Be Blu, Love Pink” is a global program launched by Radisson Blu in order to support the global fight against Breast





n October, the Radisson Blu hotels in Tbilisi and Batumi offered guests one “ pink” room available throughout the month, a portion of the proceeds from which were donated to a regional Breast Cancer Awareness and Research charity organization. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Salome Tsotsoria, PR & Marketing Manager of Radisson Blu, to find out more about this social campaign.

Radisson Blu hotels are deeply involved in social responsibility activities. Throughout the year we have a variety of such activities, such as the "Think Planet" in which we take care of the environment by saving energy and water, and raising awareness while doing so and “Think People” where 80% of rooms are kept non-smoking, we offer 10 accessible rooms, and an organic menu in restaurants. Our “Think Together” program involves supporting world childhood foundation, the local Red Cross society and “parent’s house” (a house for families of children suffering with leukaemia). This, of course, is not the full list.

Of course! Our campaign “Blu for Pink” is not limited only to October. According to 2015 statistics, in Georgia up to 900 people died from breast cancer this year, an alarming indicator considering the population ratio. We decided not to wait until October to work on this issue and started activities far in advance so we could think of more effective ways to help patients. From that preparation process, we launched the "#BluForPink challenge" in social media.


SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS? In Georgia social media is the most effective way to communicate products and to reach a lot of customers. That is why we launched our #BluForPink social media campaign which made it super easy to become involved in charity workit was enough to upload the video or photo with a hashtag #bluforpink and challenge your friends to donate to the charity. Different broadcasts covered the campaign so there was also a mixture of new and traditional media. Without the joint activities of companies and the media, it would be very difficult to reach the large segment of the population we did.

BREAST CANCER IS A SENSITIVE ISSUE. WHAT IS THE BEST COMMUNICATION STRATEGY FOR A SOCIAL CAMPAIGN IN THIS CASE? We always avoid negative messages in our social campaigns, or during our

media presence on radio or TV. It is, of course, essential to know the statistics so that people feel more motivated find out about preventative measures. 80% of our campaign messages are positive. Pink decoration, roses, pink breakfast, motivational stories told by patients; all evoke positive feelings, rather than fear and a need to hide from the truth.

HAS THERE BEEN THE DESIRED LEVEL OF INTEREST FROM THE TARGET AUDIENCE OF THE CAMPAIGN SO FAR? The private sector, charitable foundations, and the government are engaged in many activities to maximize awareness in society so that everyone realizes there are ways to timely diagnose, prevent and cure cancer. We have tried to ensure that there is maximum public awareness. Radisson Blu has received the desired feedback from our actions, which makes us both proud and extremely happy.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

Sky Mountains: Lagodekhi, Kakheti



nce again the long trek, 600 km across Georgia to my wife's relatives in the east. Her brother in law had died recently, suddenly, and we needed to see how her sister and niece were doing. The new car, first automatic transmission in my life of five vehicles so far, makes all driving a breeze compared to what it used to be with the constant

gear-changing. Plus, it's warm, strong, fast and quiet, and quite new into the bargain. I could make the 12-hour journey in a day, but we broke it up with an overnight at friends' in Kutaisi anyway. That 12 hours, too, will decrease further and further as they continue to extend the new highway from Tbilisi to Batumi. Then Georgia will for the first time have a decent high-speed, high-volume main artery for its considerable cross-country transport. And then we'll all be in selfdriving electric flyers anyway, right? The bulk of the journey was uneventful, easy; pleasant. But this all changed, for

Books on Wheels




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the better not the worse, as we approached Gurjaani, near our destination of Lagodekhi. There are several villages one passes through before turning right and descending into Gurjaani, and the view on that high stretch dazzled me. You can a glimpse of half a horizon of unbroken mountains between the houses and streets from your altitude as you go along, and I knew this. But I have never seen so strongly the effect which presented itself to me this time. The clouds above and below that long mountain chain were exactly the same color. What was left? Just this 180 degrees of panorama, silently, massively floating on those clouds. I began to seek a clear enough vantage point from which to see, and photograph, the whole thing. This was frustrating, because we were still driving though the villages towards Gurjaani, and there wasn't a wide enough clear stretch. Patience, patience, that view isn't going anywhere soon... We had to begin our descent into Gurjaani, and I despaired, but my wife, more experienced in the landscapes of her homeland, said that what I sought would appear, not from these heights but lower down, where we were headed anyway. I trusted her, and wasn't disappointed. There... among the fields, openings appeared. I stopped the car, pulled out my camera already on its tripod, switched to the long lens, and began shooting. 26 overlapping frames later, I had my panorama's raw materials, from which the computer could produce one gigantic, very long and thin image, seamlessly tone-matched. I didn't hurry away, though, because I needed a bit of time to absorb this surreal view unencumbered by a camera, take it in; remember it instead of just sampling it electronically. It deserved that. You can see what I have so far here, as it doesn't fit well on a newspaper page: http://bit.ly/FloatGe

We saw our people, were taken into Lagodekhi Park for mushrooming and more photos, this time of vines on tree trunks and streams blurred to white by several-second exposures. The fungi are for me a taste which needed adulthood to appreciate, and I found them delicious, wondering what my younger fussy-eater self would have made of these wild versions of the tinned ones we knew. The family seem alright, but we'll try to monitor things from afar, as there's not much more we can do aside from taking care of a few practical things like firewood and a washing machine. (The fridge can wait until it's hot again, next spring). The sheer luxury of being able

to make this long journey by one's own transport instead of relying on public versions, hurrying or stopping wherever we choose, seeing anyone we need to, makes all the difference.


ber of internally displaced people (IDP) from South Ossetia following the 2008 conflict. The program, implemented by the US embassy since 2013, aims at reaching out to the IDP communities, providing access to English language books, otherwise unavailable, and to broaden the kids’ educational horizon. The bookmobile is not only a library, but rather an educational center on wheels, also providing a variety of courses and activities. Most books are in the English language, focusing on American topics - from American literature, to governance systems, history and culture. The library on wheels provides free internet, audio and video material and it organizes film screenings and discussions on different

topics. It also runs clubs like video and photography courses. The bookmobile often holds different events, joins several international campaigns and celebrates international days, including the annual celebration of International Day of Peace. This year, volunteer painters and IDP children painted the bridge to the settlement together. This article was originally published on Chai Khana. Winner of the 2015 EU Prize for Journalism for most informative online media, and the International ADAMI Prize for Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe, is a multi-media platform seeking to revitalize the development of independent media in the South Caucasus for a more informed and engaged citizenry.


s it possible for books to travel? Three years ago, a school bus converted into a mobile library started providing opportunities for the IDP settlements of Georgia to host a number of community activities. The bookmobile is not only a library, but an inspirational educational center on wheels. When readers cannot go to libraries, libraries acquire wheels and go to readers. A school bus has been modified to become a mobile library, traveling among Tserovani, Tsilkani, Prezeti, and Galavani - settlements that host a large num-

Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1350 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svanetilong trek

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NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016


INTERVIEW: Zurab Nijaradze, Painter FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model Date of issue 1936

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ogether with the BI Auction for Art, GEORGIA TODAY continues its monthly feature presenting famous Georgian painters to our

readers. This issue, Zurab Nijaradze is in the spotlight. Now in his eighties, he’s known for transforming the Georgian art of painting, twice expelled from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts for formalism, later appointed rector of the same for the term 1982 to 1987. His works are kept in the major museums and private collections in Georgia and Germany, the US, Brazil and Russia. A conversation with Zurab Nijharadze is like time travel, transcending into a history of art, philosophy, and culture, accumulated in his art, inspired by and prolonged in the expressive world of his paintings.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BE A PAINTER? I don’t think there was anything special in my choice. Every child has a creative impulse, the process of creating something makes children happy. They are happy to see the result, too, and that moment of joy when you see the final result of your creation is very important for the area we artists work in. When children grow older their interests change; they often forget those impulses and interests. I didn’t: I followed that path. There were no specific preconditions for me becoming a painter, for me it was quite organic. Slowly you come up with the challenges that you have to overcome, that’s what brings reason to it, and base. Harmony is very important and nature already has the necessary aesthetics in itself. Every human being is in search of harmony

and beauty. These notions take different forms and the bases of aesthetics are slowly formed. Again, if we look at little children, when you bring crayons to them, they are happy. But why? Because they create something or because they like the material with which they draw? You can make a very interesting conclusion on the nature of creativity and the nature of art from that.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ART AND WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MATERIAL USED FOR IT IN THE ACTUAL PROCESS? I remember, once a young woman asked me about one of my paintings, what I wanted to express with it, and I answered that I just wanted to paint. I use color and material to tell a certain story.

WHAT DOES THE CREATION PROCESS CONSIST OF FOR YOU? It’s changeable- it’s a process that is constantly enriching and very different. The goal is to bring new quality and new life to the colors and materials we use. Imagine a brick. A brick building is built on the principle of weight; it must reflect the quality of the material. Brooklyn Bridge has different aesthetics and architectonics. It has a principle of stretching; new materials bring new aesthetics. It’s important to know and realize where you stand artistically, what your starting point is. The work must be visible. As Stanislavsky said, you must come from the nature of things. The specifics of each art form are born when you can’t swap it for anything else. You can’t swap a theater for music or a poem for a novel. As a painter you should use your own ways of expression and the “language”that is authentic to painting. What is the art of paint-

ing for? Eugene Delacroix even created a theory of warm and cold colors. It’s the unity of them that makes an unforgettable impression on the viewer, later developed by Impressionists who left interiors and went out into nature to explore its light and colors. Colors should be real, vivid; they must not be dead. Material is essential. You can’t find anything if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s like before you fall in love, you may not know what love is, but love exists nevertheless; it’s there, and, subconsciously, you know and feel it. All of it is connected and related and it’s hard to say where it comes from. The creative impulse is about making your work evident and visual for others. It’s a cognitive process. An artist should always work on the maximum verge of his limit. Truth lays in getting as closer to that limit of expression as you can. German philosopher Heidegger says that a man can only see the truth while dying, but I don’t believe in that.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU REGRET NOT DOING IN YOUR WORK? Yes. Even when I’m working, I already regret the things I’m not doing or haven’t done. It’s always like that. Probably the dramatism of our lives is in the fact that we think we’re not the ones we want to be.

IN ONE OF YOUR INTERVIEWS YOU SAY THAT AT THE END THE ONLY THING LEFT WILL BE SOMETHING THAT IS ABOVE TIME. WHAT IS THAT FOR YOU? Everything metaphysical is timelessevents obey the time, but the potential from which they are formed and born is above time… there is no discontinuity… the world is continuum!




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016

British Author Launches 3rd Translated YA Book in Georgia She is also working on a paranormal YA fantasy set in Georgia. At the presentation, she invited her fans to think up a title for the new book. “I like to get my fans involved in the process. In fact, the cover of Book 3 was designed in a competition I ran. The winner was 16 year-old Natalia Nozadze from Opiza school. IT designer Beqa Giorgadze then took the design from paper sketch to digital form.” “Everyone should read this book,” said Mancho Sikharulishvili, 17. “It contains so much emotion...Blood Omen teaches us that we must always fight even if things go wrong... Even when people think there’s no hope, this book teaches us that we must believe! We feel everything that Dea [main character] feels. It will make you cry, laugh, make you believe everything is possible...I finished it in a day and now I can't wait for the next one!” To support the writer or find out more, go to www.fb.com/bloodomensaga. The books are available in English on amazon.com



he past weekend saw teens and adults around Tbilisi celebrating Halloween in various ways- with teens happily experimenting with make-up, costumes and venues to better taste the western culture of traditional Halloween fun and frights, now becoming ever more accepted in this small Orthodox country. Katie Ruth Davies, author of a five book vampire saga for Young Adults (YA) decided to grab the moment to launch the third of her books to be translated into Georgian - Blood Omen 3: Fulfilment (in Georgian, vampiruli omebi). The event was held in Biblus Gallery, Vake, and saw around 50 fans aged 10-19 packed into the presentation area, which Katie had decorated with a generous collection of horror-house props. “It was the best presentation,” said Khato Geliashvili, 16, a sentiment echoed by another of Katie’s long-term fans, Salita Chankvetadze, 15. Both have been avid readers of Katie’s saga since it was first published in Georgian (translator: Ana Chichinadze) two years ago. “This presentation was the best!” Salita said. “Everything was well planned. The author’s creativity is unlimited. She’s an incredible person and always ready to talk to her fans on facebook when we contact her.” The presentation saw the guests divided into two teams, depending on which of

the two main love-interests of the story they most supported (the bad guy or the good- the result was more or less 50-50). The author then presented a brief history of her writing and publishing before hitting the group with a 13-question quiz, which the winning team received special Halloween prizes for. Then came time for the cake, designed by MadArt Conditery to display the cover of the 3rd book, and special “Dracula Donuts” and chewy fangs. “It was a very special evening for me,”

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Katie said. “Brilliant fun- building on last year’s presentation of Book 2, there was more excitement and definitely more fans! I’d like to thank the publishers, Georgia Today Group, for their encouragement and support and, of course, to thank the fans who came and who are still in touch with me every week. I know a lot more wanted to come to the presentation but were unable- I’ve promised them I’ll do a book tour around Georgia in the near future. In the meantime, I keep up communication on my facebook page. It’s really something incredible to see young people reading my books so enthusiastically and drawing on the ideas and emotions within- to find them believing in the messages and the characters. I love all my fans- I have over 3000 Georgian followers on facebook now!” The author is in the process of final proof-reading her fifth book of the saga.



NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016


Wonderland Retold in Paintings Made of Seeds and Stones

Guests enjoying the exhibits at the Tina Bakhtadze anniversary exhibition


Georgian National Museum in Focus of Instagram


n October 28, at Georgian National Museum Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, the opening of the Anniversary Solo exhibition of Tina Bakhtadze took place. The author of this picturesque compilation is sadly no longer alive and as such the exposition is dedicated to her 100 years anniversary. Bakhtadze was a very interesting and talented female painter and artist of decorative art. The exhibition showcases artworks created by her between 1970-2000. Tina Bakhtadze developed the unique technology of micro-mosaic and implemented it into her art, creating a variety of works using peach, apricot, cherry, melon and watermelon pips and stones, grains of barley, rice, corn, rye and wheat, pine cones and reed plant branches, seeds and petals of flowers, pebbles and shells, and many other natural materials. Like a goddess of nature, Bakhtadze manages to underline the most impressive parts of the earth, emphasizing its beauty and colors. Beads, turquoise and other materials are also used in several of her works. This is a magic world that inspires one to stand for hours, gazing and unable to help but feel astonished how endless human fantasy can be. This woman was clearly absorbed by her art- living inside it without ceasing to grasp the marvels of nature and express it with her hands. The exquisite feminine approach, tender but very vivid colors and rich spectrum of her works, can brush aside all manner of gloomy mood- practical but decorative jars, drinking vessels for wine, vases, decorative plates, as well as religious themes expressed in crosses all takes one’s breath away. The colors are flamboyant, the forms refined, and the manner of self-expression is very individual. Giga Batiashvili, experienced and wellknown Georgian architect, stated: “This is a real festival for society. I thank the Georgian National Museum as well as the members of Tina Bakhtadze’s family



for making this exposition happen. Today we are witnessing a happy marriage of great talent and great love that the author bore inside her.” Marina Sagharadze, actress, said: “There is a really remarkable atmosphere here tonight, created by great talent and experience. I want to thank Tina Bakhtadze’s daughter and the Museum for arranging such a nice exposition. I am very happy that one of these artworks will stay on the premisesoftheGeorgianNationalMuseum. I advise everyone to come and see.” Here are landscapes, flowers, people, copies of great painters like Paul Gau-

guin, and more. It is obvious that the author was fond of animals, nature, flowers, all the living creatures… She was creative and, as the members of her family characterized her, an extremely kind person. What can be better than a combination of great talent and good heart? Where: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia. 3, Rustaveli Ave. When: Until November 5 Ticket: GEL 3-5 for adults, 1 GEL for students, 50 Tetris for children and pensioners

The exquisite feminine approach, tender but vivid colors can brush aside all manner of gloomy mood

he Georgian National Museum has just celebrated its first year on Instagram! On October 27, the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia hosted a photo exhibition which showcased the photos of details taken by amateur photographers anywhere within the Georgian National Museum. Along with the exhibition, a variety of activities was held in the museum's courtyard. Visitors had the possibility to see the National Treasury – archaeological, numismatic and medieval and Stone Age Georgia exhibitions. National Geographic Georgia and Santa Esperanza were present with their own corner stands and guests were afforded the opportunity to join the ‘Museum Friends’ society. The event was accompanied by musician Sandro Tediashvili (Macrowelt). The friends of Georgian National Museum on Instagram are: Windfor’s Communication, National Geographic Georgia, GIFme, wine Tamada and Sandro Tediashvili. In his opening speech, Davit Lordkipanidze, Director General of the Georgian National Museum, expressed his joy at seeing so many new faces. “This is not only one week within which you have come and taken snapshots- it is the cre-

ation of a common space. The Georgian National Museum belongs to not only its employees but to each of you. We have a great wish to make this liveliness that your co-participation gives us, constant. I hope this attitude, made with inspiration, humor and creativeness, will go on.” The award-giving ceremony followed, seeing all top entrants awarded equally for their contributions: Mindia Gabadze, Nino Kankava, Nuka Kopaleishvili and Rezi Gvritishvili. The special prize was revealed by Levan Butkhuzi, Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Georgia: “We are happy that the Georgian National Museum, our major partner, has given us the right to reveal the special prize winner. We think that all the winners were worthy, and we have awards for each – the past 49 editions of National Geographic, but we still have to name the best of the best from our point of view. This is Tata Matskhonashvili, who will receive not only the past but also the next year’s subscription to our magazine.” GEORGIA TODAY spoke to the lucky winner, who is just 16 years old. “I love taking photos. I had the idea to take this particular photo some time ago. I took Davit Kakabadze’s [editor’s note: great Georgian painter] mirror reflecting all the other pictures around it. I was pretty confident I’d win, as I have a professional camera, and my photo has both the necessary detail and creativity,” Tata told us.




NOVEMBER 4 - 7, 2016


GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS GIFT IN TBILISI October 15 – November 25 November 10 MR. ZOMMER Franz Kafka Directed by Ioseb Bakuradze Borjomi Puppet Theater Start time: 15:00 Address: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater, 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 November 5 ABESALOM AND ETERI Starring: Giorgi Chelidze (Trainee), Armaz Darashvili, Irina Aleksidze,Nino Chachua, Khatuna Chokhonelidze, Sulkhan Gvelesiani, Nutsa Zakaidze (Trainee), Filipe Gachava, Gia Makharadze, Giorgi Mchedlishvili (Trainee). Chorus, Ballet and Orchestra of the State Opera House of Georgia Conductor: Papuna Gvaberidze Directed by Gizo Jordania Set and Costume designer: Giorgi Aleksi-Meskhishvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 - 60 GEL November 9, 10 SWAN LAKE State Ballet of Georgia presents P. Tchaikovsky’s two-act ballet Choreographic version and staging by Alexei Fadeechev Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 - 50 GEL GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 November 5, 10 KRIMANCHULI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge November 5, 6 DIVORCE Giorgi Eristavi Directed by Davit Doiashvili Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket: From 8 GEL

GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 November 5 FROZEN IMAGES Kristian Smeds Directed by Jari Juutinen Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL November 6 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 November 4 STALINGRAD Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL November 5 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 5, 6 PERFORMANCE LABYRINTH Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL November 7 HULEMENT Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL CINEMA

GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS GIFT IN TBILISI November 7 ITALIAN FOCUS LA BELLE AT THE MOVIES Documentary Film By Cecilia Zoppelletto Screening to be followed by a Q&A session Start time: 18:00 Address: Amirani Cinema, 36/1 M. Kostava Str.

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari November 4-10 THE ACCOUNTANT Directed by Gavin O'Connor Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Language: English Start time: 19:15 Language: Russian Start time: 14:15, 22:15 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY"

Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 20 GEL Venue: 36 Kostava Ave.


RUSTAVELI THEATRE Address: 17 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 72 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge


DOCTOR STRANGE Directed by Scott Derrickson Cast: Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL JUSTE LA FIN DU MONDE Directed by Xavier Dolan Cast: Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard Genre: Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 4-10

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 PIROSMANI’S "YARD CLEANER" AND "EAGLE SEIZING A HARE" ON DISPLAY September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM November 3-23 THE ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION BY GOGI ALEXIMESKHISHVILI ZURAB TSERETELI MOMA TBILISI

THE ACCOUNTANT (Info Above) Start time: 14:30, 17:00, 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 9-14 GEL

BRIAN GRIFFIN EXHIBITION 'MOTHER GEORGIA' FOR COMME DES GARCONS (1989) The collection displays 12 photographs and a VHS video.

DOCTOR STRANGE (Info Above) Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 13-14 GEL




November 4 19:00 – KILL THE BUDDHA! International group exhibition Opening of the Artisterium 9 / 2016 Tbilisi History Museum “Karvasla”, 8 Sioni Str. November 5 14:00 - LETTERING OR NOT? CONTEMPORARY LETTERING AND DESIGN Workshop, Ekin Kilic, Ankara Bilknent University Tapestry Museum, 19 Chardin Str. 17:00 - I AM AN IDIOT, MOM! Art Area exhibition hall, 10 D. Abashidze Str. 19:00 - LIVING ROOM II International group exhibition with artists from Georgia, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and the USA Leonidze State Museum of Georgian Literature, 8 Chanturia Str. November 6 17:00 – TOMORROW WILL BE YESTERDAY Tato Akhalkatsishvili, installation Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, 3 Rustaveli Ave. November 7 18:00 – THE SIXTH ELEMENT International group exhibition (Georgia, France) Container Gallery, 10 Radiani Str. November 9 18:00 – INNERFERRERA Vakho Bugadze, personal exhibition Sound: Dima Dadiani Dry Bridge, 27 Atoneli Str.

November 9 RAFAEL AGUIRRE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 35-40 GEL TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 November 10 TBILISI JAZZ FESTIVAL JAMIE CULLUM High class British showman, jazz and pop star Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 40-280 GEL November 15 THE LIGHT YEAR AND NIKOLOZ RACHVELI Generation XXI with a rock cantata Lyrics by Terenti Graneli and Otar Chiladze The Light Year rock band and Eugine Mikeladze National Symphonic Orchestra will be performing in support of Iavnana Charity Foundation Conductor: Nikoloz Rachveli Artistic Director: Gigi Gegelashvili (composer, singer) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: From 10 GEL TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL November 10 CORNELIA VON KERSSENBROCK Georgian Sinfonietta holds the Tbilisi Baroque Festival with the support of The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia Start time: 19:30 Ticket: From 15 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 8, 10 JAM SESSION Leaders: Reso Kiknadze (sax), Nika Gabadze (guitar), Misha Japaridze (bass), Irakli Choladze / Gio Kapanadze (drums) Start time: 21:00 November 9 TANGO EVENING Milonga La Kumparsita Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATRE Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 04 56 November 7 ZVIAD BOLKVADZE AND GEORGIAN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL KAKHIDZE CENTER Address: 123/125 Agmashenebli Ave. Telephone: 2 95 01 19



November 5 SYMPHONIC MUSIC CONCERT Soloist: Susanne Rigvava Dumas Conductor: David Mukeria Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 5 GEL




Murrayfield Snub Will Motivate Ambitious Georgia, says Kiwi Coach Haig



eorgia head coach Milton Haig has claimed that the SRU’s decision to stage the forthcoming autumn test at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park, rather than Murrayfield, will motivate his players to prove they are worthy of a bigger stage. “To some degree, it’s disrespectful”, said Haig, who had hoped to take on close friend Vern Cotter’s Scotland at the Scottish rugby’s traditional home in Edinburgh on November 26. The SRU’s rationale for staging the tie in Ayrshire was twofold. First, the visit of Georgia was not likely to attract a crowd of anywhere near Murrayfield’s 67,000 capacity and, second, the authorities sought to take an international fixture to a venue outside the capital as they have done several times in recent years. In July, when Kilmarnock was announced as the venue for the Georgia clash, an official statement read: “Scottish Rugby continues to take international rugby across the country in a bid to grow the sport and we hope taking our national team to Ayrshire will inspire a new audience as a means to increasing interest and participation in grassroots rugby.” Regardless of the factors behind the venue choice, Haig claimed “it could be a decision that comes back to bite them.” “I was a bit miffed as Vern and I would both have loved to play at Murrayfield. Having lived here before, and having Scottish heritage, and having watched the All Blacks play there growing up, it would have been something special to play there,” stated the Georgia head coach who worked as a teacher in East Lothian for a year in the early 1990s. Indeed, the New Zealander would have stayed in Scotland longer had he not

been denied a work permit despite having been selected by Jim Telfer for a development position with the SRU in 1994. Haig recalls: “I was up against former Scotland internationals and Jim (Telfer) had told me that only a Scot would get that job, but he changed his mind after the interview. It was upsetting at the time when the Home Office didn’t grant me the permit. Jim sent me a wonderful note afterwards though and I hope he’ll be at the match at Kilmarnock.” Georgia, ranked 11th in the world, could break into the top ten before the year is out and Haig believes this November “could be the most important window we’ve ever had.” Playing in Europe’s second tier competition, the newly renamed Rugby Europe International Championships, Georgia have emerged unquestionably as Europe’s best team outside the Six Nations, winning the tournament in each of the last six years and have already qualified for the 2019 World Cup. They harbor ambitions of being welcomed into the Six Nations one day as well, but genuine encouragement from the organizers has been in short supply. Faced with some indifference in Europe, Georgia have had to test themselves elsewhere and this summer they emerged from a tour of the South Pacific with an impressive unbeaten record, defeating Fiji and Tonga while drawing with Samoa. “The World Cup last year and the success we achieved on tour in the Pacific earlier this year were great, but going into the top ten would be us breaking barriers. At the start of this year, one of the goals we set was to reach the top ten so we’ll do all we can to make that a reality,” adds the Kiwi who lives in the Georgian capital Tbilisi permanently with his wife, a head teacher at an international school, and two daughters, both of whom speak Georgian fluently. “After the World Cup (where Georgia



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won two games for the first time in their history), we had to ask ourselves what comes next. It was vital that we strived for continuous improvement and that’s been visible with the record winning margin over Romania in March and the unbeaten tour in the Pacific,” noted Haig. Accordingly, Haig sees the Scotland clash as a chance to turn a few heads in the northern hemisphere: “Putting in solid performances against the top teams can change the perceptions of both the rugby public and the decision makers. It is a chance for us to prove something, a great opportunity but it’s what we do with that opportunity that matters.” While Cotter will be his adversary for 80 minutes in Ayrshire, Haig is looking forward to having his fellow countryman on his side when next summer he moves to French club Montpellier where several of the Georgian squad play. “I am not sure if Vern leaving Scotland was a mutual decision. In any case, the south of France is not a bad place to be going, and he’ll have six of our lads in his squad so Georgia will benefit from having several of the team getting top class coaching at club level.” The relationship between them is one that Haig describes as brotherly, with Cotter the elder of the two. Only once before have they coached against each other, in a friendly in New Zealand in which Cotter’s side prevailed, a score Haig is keen to settle. “They are a perennial top ten side so to play Scotland in Scotland is historic for us, and it will be a massive occasion. They were one referee’s decision away from the semi-finals of the World Cup and they had some good performances in this year’s Six Nations. We have to embrace the occasion.” For the New Zealander leading Georgia to uncharted heights in world rugby, the sources of motivation to overcome the Scots in their backyard this autumn are abundant.

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

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #893  

November 4 - 7, 2016

Issue #893  

November 4 - 7, 2016