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Issue no: 1165

• JULY 5 - 8, 2019 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Goncharenko on Russia's Re-Entry to PACE NEWS PAGE 3

Georgia Congratulates US on Independence Day

FOCUS ON US-GEORGIAN RELATIONS

Georgia celebrates US Independence Day in Tbilisi

Eastern Partnership Releases Public Opinion Survey POLITICS PAGE 5

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Tbilisi Blames Russia for “Destructive Attitude” at Geneva Int’l Discussions

Seedstars World Tour Georgia: Winners Announced POLITICS PAGE 6

TBC Bank Group Becomes the Principal Shareholder of TKT.GE Platform BUSINESS PAGE 8

BY THEA MORRISON

Holiday Inn Telavi Officially Opens Its Doors to the Public

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fficial Tbilisi says Russia and de facto authorities of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia again acted “irresponsibly” at the 48th round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) held on July 2-3 in Geneva, Switzerland. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stressed that participants from Moscow, occupied Sokhumi and Tskhinvali demonstrated a “destructive attitude” as usual and left the negotiating room while discussing the issues on the safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions. The Georgian side stressed that Russia exercises power in breakaway regions and is to be held responsible for the gross violation of human rights there. However, Moscow says it is not the side of the conflict. The discussions, which represent the only format of an ongoing international dialogue between Georgia and Russia, are usually held with the co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and with the participation of Georgia, the Russian

POLITICS PAGE 4

SOCIETY PAGE 9

BBC World Service Records in Tbilisi

Photo source: 1 TV

Federation and the USA. The representatives of Georgia’s breakaway regions, the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes, also attend the working group sessions. The talks are usually held within a two meeting-group format. At one meeting, the sides discuss security and stability issues in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, while the second meeting concerns the digni-

fied and safe return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes in the occupied regions. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) says the Co-Chairs of the talks “regretted the disruption of the round and called on participants to constructively engage on all agenda items.” Continued on page 6

CULTURE PAGE 11


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

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Goncharenko on Russia's Re-Entry to PACE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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n June 26 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted to welcome Russia back into the fold after a three-year exodus, re-ratifying the credentials of the Russian delegation, while imposing no restrictions regardless of the violations of the Council of Europe principles. The decision didn’t sit well with many, especially with the delegations of countries that suffer from Russia’s policy of threat and aggression. Aleksey Goncharenko, member of the Ukrainian Rada, delivered a fiery and highly critical speech at PACE that soon went viral in both Ukrainian and Georgian media. GEORGIA TODAY spoke with Mr. Goncharenko in Kiev and asked him to elaborate on his sentiments regarding PACE’s controversial decision and its possible impact for our region. “There are several reasons [Russia was welcomed back]: first being the work done by Russian propaganda, big money, influence and so on. Russia was working on coming back without sanctions for several years. Sadly, this year their attempt was successful. The second reason is that Old Europe is tired of all the Russian aggression stories. Many of them want 'business as usual' and they want to earn money with Russians. They are tired and they want to change the situation. Third, if we speak about Ukraine, the Pesident of Ukraine changed two months ago. Right now, new president is inexperienced in international relations. They also want to use this moment, this possibility, to change the situation."

MANY ARGUED THAT RUSSIA’S YEARLY PAYMENT TO THE COE WAS ALSO A DETERMINING FACTOR, BUT THEN COULD NOT ONE OF THE EUROPEAN POWERS HAVE TAKEN ON THIS BURDEN AND KEEP THE COE ON MORAL HIGH GROUND? I don’t think that the question of 77 million Euros is so crucial for such an organization as the Council of Europe. Really, it’s not big money. I think for some people it was the reason but for others, it was rather an excuse - that they need to do this because they need this money. But, I think the Council of Europe is about values and is not about money. In another case, it looks like indulgence in the middle ages when you could just buy indulgence and do whatever you want. That’s absolutely wrong. In my speech in the CoE it looks like, that with 77 million Euros, democracy was sold for 25 million, the rule of law was sold for 25 and human rights for 25 million Euros.

DID ANY OF THE WESTERN NON-POLITICIANS ACTUALLY SUPPORT RUSSIA RETURNING TO THE COE AFTER YOUR SPEECH? I spoke with some of them after the debates and they came to me with the words, you understand us incorrectly: we want dialogue, we want to see the Council of Europe as a platform for dialogue, that’s why we need Russians here, and so on. The same argument was it’s better to have Russia inside the CoE. Following this logic, we need to call all dictators who are in this world beginning from North Korea and with Syria Assad to Council of Europe because it’s better to have them inside than outside. Many of these people feel that they did wrong, that they made

a mistake and I am sure that in several months they will regret what they did.

YOU MENTIONED THAT OLD EUROPE IS TIRED OF HEARING THE STORIES FROM UKRAINE. PROOF CAN BE SEEN IN THE RECENT FT INTERVIEW WITH PUTIN, WHICH IS 24 PAGES LONG WITH NOT A SINGLE MENTION OF UKRAINE OR GEORGIA. HOW DO WE GET BACK ON THE AGENDA, BOTH YOUR AND MY COUNTRY? All this story in the CoE showed once again that we need to be strong ourselves. It’s common sense and it’s absolutely clear but I think sometimes we forget that we more rely on our allies than on ourselves. It should be the opposite. We should rely on ourselves and in that case there will be more allies. Certainly, we need to be very active in the diplomatic relationships on such platforms like the Council of Europe and be quite tough. I think it’s a very good story that our delegation, with the Georgian delegation, with Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians came out and said that we will not tolerate such happenings. The people in Georgia did not tolerate the behavior of the Russian MP in the Parliament of Georgia and it was right that the people reacted to it. I think it’s a failure. It’s a failure for everybody: for the CoE, for Ukraine, for Georgia, for the whole civilized world. Certainly, there’s a part of failure of our diplomacy. But diplomacy can't always achieve the goal. It’s clear that sometimes you can and sometimes you can't. This time it was extremely hard to change something because it was like a big decision from Germany and France and it was very hard to change the situation. But in any case, we should be tough because we should show them that it will

not be easy and next time they will think not even twice before doing something like that. That’s why we should be tough. I think that maybe even the President of Ukraine or President of Georgia should go to Strasbourg to ask the world, to ask for the possibility to speak and to try to convince the delegates from all over Europe not to do this. It needs to be an urgent action.

RUSSIA IS UNLIKELY TO SETTLE WITH WHAT IT HAS JUST ACHIEVED. ARE THE EU ECONOMIC SANCTIONS THEIR NEXT TARGET? Definitely. Russia sees this come back to the Council of Europe as the first step and the second step they want will be for the EU sanctions to be killed off because that’s a real problem for them. They hope to do this after killing political sanctions in the Council of Europe. That’s some point at which we should be very tough, we need to keep these economic sanctions.

I KNOW YOU ARE A VERY OUTSPOKEN POLITICIAN INSIDE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOU DEBATE WITH PEOPLE WHO DO NOT SHARE YOUR MORE PRO-WESTERN VALUES. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TELL THEM NEXT TIME THEY POINT THE FINGER TO THE COE DECISION AND TELL YOU THAT’S HOW EUROPE OPERATES?

It’s a very good question. The path is absolutely clear. It’s like in the case of democracy. It’s probably not the best way of leading people but all the rest are much worse. The same story is here. Europe is not ideal and there are many problems there, there are many people who can sell the values for money but we don’t have any other choice. For Ukraine, for Georgia we have two ways: either we can be part of Russian world, which is killing people, poisoning people, in which there’s no democracy, no human rights, no rule of law, or we can go to European world where there’s democracy, human rights, rule of law, absolutely other standards of life. Really, we don’t have any choice. Europe is our choice. We should go there. We should do everything to become better ourselves and to make a better Europe. The article was prepared as part of the fellowship funded by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) within the Project “Giving Voice, Driving Change - from the Borderland to the Steppes.” The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

Georgia Congratulates US on Independence Day BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated: “God bless the United States and God bless Georgia,” at the event marking the Independence of the US held at the US Embassy

in Tbilisi. The PM underlined that the relations between the US and Georgia are at the highest level, hoping they would continue to strengthen in the future. Bakhtadze congratulated Americans on their Independence Day and noted that July 4 is a special day for all nations for whom freedom, independence and the rule of law is of utmost importance. The Prime Minister thanked the US for standing next to Georgia in the most difficult moments from the day of its independence and noted that the Georgian nation will never forget this. “We celebrated our 10th anniversary of our strategic partnership in Washington this year. These are 10 years of success - the period when relations between Georgia and the United States have become more productive and strategic,” he said. Bakhtadze emphasized the importance of the joint declaration on the 10th anniversary of the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership, which includes the topics and priorities that will further strengthen the strategic partnership over the next few years. "I am confident that these priorities will bring our relationship to a new level and will further strengthen our strategic partnership. Our international aspiration is that Georgia should become a member of NATO and EU and we have full support from the United States,” he said. The PM said Georgia-US economic cooperation has great potential and Georgia would like to see more American investors do business in Georgia. Bakhtadze emphasized the US supports the education reform in Georgia and thanked the Millennium Challenge Corporation for their contribution. The PM added those values, which combine nations that seek liberty, face many challenges. “Today as never before, we need consolidation and joint efforts and Georgia is ready to take bold steps in this direction," the Prime Minister said.

THE HISTORY OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS The United States recognized Georgia’s independence on December 25, 1991. Georgia previously had been a constituent republic of the USSR. Diplomatic relations between the two states were established on March 24, 1992. After this, the American Embassy in Tbilisi was established on April 23, 1992. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with the newly independent Georgia, the US has provided immense political, military, financial and humanitarian assistance to Georgia. The US has become one of the main international guarantors of Georgia's sovereignty and reiterated strong support of the territorial integrity of Georgia and its Euro Atlantic integration. On January 9, 2009 the Charter on Strategic Partnership between Georgia and the United States was signed in Washington DC. The US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission comprises four bilateral working groups on priority areas identified in the Charter: democracy; defense and security; economic, trade, and energy issues; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In addition to holding a high-level plenary session of the Commission each year, senior-level US and Georgian policymakers lead yearly meetings of each working group to review commitments, update activities, and establish future objectives. Furthermore, Georgia and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Georgia is also an observer to the Organization of American States and a participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Partnership for Peace program.

COOPERATION IN DEFENSE AND SECURITY FIELDS The US initiated Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) in 2002 which was followed by the Sustainment and Stability Operations Program (SSOP) in 2005. Three Georgian brigades trained under the GTEP and SSOP have been deployed in Iraq under the US leadership in 2005-2008. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry informs that since March 2010 under the US Marine Corps Forces Command, Georgian infantry battalions have been participating in ISAF Operation in Afghanistan.

Photo source: Georgian Journal

More than 11,000 Georgian troops have been trained since 2010 under the auspices of GDP-ISAF program. Moreover, one of the important directions of USGeorgia security cooperation is the Biological Threat Reduction Program, which is the priority area of cooperation in the sphere of non-proliferation of WMD. Within the framework of the program Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) has been established. In 2012, the US announced about enhancing defense cooperation with Georgia. Later on, the main directions of Enhanced Defense Cooperation were identified during meetings of both countries’ defense officials. The aim of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation is to modernize Georgia’s defense system, accelerate defense reforms, increase the level of NATO interoperability and improve self-defense capabilities. In August 2013, as a result of the meeting between the Minister of Defense of Georgia and US Secretary of Defense, two new areas were added to the list of Enhanced Defense Cooperation. Last month the US Department of State announced that the US recognizes that a strong and resilient Georgia is best able to stand against the aggressive actions of Russia and defend its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. “We intend to continue enhancing Georgia’s defense readiness so Georgia can maintain a NATOinteroperable military capable of territorial defense, deterring aggression, and supporting global security,” the statement reads. The United States and Georgia remain committed to the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and implementation of the August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, including the withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-2008 war positions.

ECONOMIC COOPERATION The US assistance in various spheres has increased since the Rose Revolution in November 2003. The sides have signed a bilateral investment treaty and a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement. Georgia can export many products duty-free to the US under the Generalized System of Preferences program. Through a high-level trade and investment dialogue, the two countries have discussed a range of options to improve economic cooperation and bilateral trade, including the possibility of a free trade agreement. They have also discussed ways to improve Georgia’s business climate to attract more investment, underscoring the importance of continued improvements in rule of law, respect for labor rights, and protecting intellectual property rights. Georgia was one of the first countries to sign a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation over a five-year period in September 2005. This compact totaling $395.3 million is focused on different projects for rehabilitating regional infrastructure and promoting private sector development. On June 11, 2013 the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors approved a five-year, $140 million second compact with Georgia to increase the quality of human capital by investing in science and technology, education and workforce development. In addition to this, the US is deeply interested in diversification of the world energy markets and continuously supports projects in this regard. Georgia is viewed as a favorable transit country for the Caspian oil and gas resources. On February 25, 2010 the Assistance Agreement was signed between Georgia and the USA. According to the agreement, $122,500,000 as part of the $1 billion pledge will be invested in the development of the Georgian energy sector and infrastructure. The US Department of State said in June 2019 that they intend to increase bilateral trade and investment, foster internationally accepted business practices, and support Georgia’s aspirations to increase regional connectivity, enhance energy security, and become a transit and logistics hub.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

Eastern Partnership Releases Public Opinion Survey BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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ach year, the European Union’s EU Neighbours East project conducts a public opinion survey among Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The survey, conducted by ACT LLC, aims to understand the opinions and levels of awareness of Eastern Partnership (EaP) citizens towards the European Union, European integration, and related subjects. The survey asks about general perceptions about the European Union, understanding of values associated with the European Union, an assessment of European Union relations with their country, awareness of financial support provided by the European Union and an assessment of its effectiveness, primary sources of information, and general country evaluations and future expectations. The results of the 2019 survey reveal that 52% of EaP countries’ citizens see the European Union in a positive light – a 7% increase since the survey’s initiation in 2016. Just 50% of Georgians have a positive image of the European Union, although only 4% see it as negative. 56% of Ukrainians have a positive view of the European Union, 62% of Armenians, 55% of Moldovans, 46% of Azerbaijanis, and just 36% of Belarusians – 56% are neutral.

Source: European Union

Overall, 67% of EaP citizens say relations between the European Union and their country are ‘good.’ Georgia and Armenia are on the high end of the spectrum, with 80% and 92% of citizens, respectively perceiving relations as ‘good.’ While, on the low end, just 63% of Ukrainians and 62% of Belarusians see relations as ‘good.’ 54% of EaP citizens know about the European Union’s financial support to the EaP, but just 50% of them see that support as effective – a 7% increase compared to 2016. In terms of trust in institutions, the European Union was evaluated as the most trusted international institution, and the only one trusted by the majority (58%) of EaP citizens. Among Georgians, 71% trust the European Union. 63% of Ukrainians trust the European Union, an impressive number compared to only 22% who trust the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Ukraine has had perhaps more direct conversations and conflict

surrounding the EEU than any other EaP country in recent years. Trust in the EEU among Ukrainians is down 7% from 2018 – the lowest in the whole of the EaP. Of those EaP citizens who are aware of the European Union’s financial support to their country, 53% could name at least one specific program financed by the European Union. This number is 18% higher than in 2017, reflecting the European Union’s increased publicity and visibility efforts. However, low awareness is still a problem, particularly among Azerbaijanis, of whom only 28% were aware of the European Union’s financial support to the country. Although, among those who were aware, 70% consider it effective. While 57% of Ukrainians are aware of the European Union’s financial support, only 46% believe it is effective. 74% of Georgians (a 16% increase from 2017) are aware of the European Union’s financial support to the country, and 62% consider the support to be effective. While 85% of Moldovans are aware of the European Union’s financial support, only 53% think it is effective. Just 37% of Belarusians recognize European Union support to their country, which is, in fact, a 7% decrease from 2018. Just 41% of Belarusians see the support as effective, down 5% from last year, “possibly due to the slow progress on the consolidation of strategic relations and partnership with the EU,” posits the report.

Embassy of the USA to Georgia Celebrates Independence Day

Image source: Parliament of Georgia

BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA

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n July 3, the Embassy of the United States of America to Georgia hosted a large-scale reception, devoted to the occasion of the 243rd Independence Day of the USA. The celebration brought together representatives of the public and private sectors, politicians, diplomatic corps, civil society, as well as media. Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, the President of the country and Archil Talakvadze, the Parliament Speaker were also among the attendees. All the guests were welcomed by the official delegation of the USA, led by Elizabeth Rood Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Due to this reason, the

official ceremony was opened with the Georgian folk song Chakrulo, performed by the Rustavi Ensemble, which was sent in space in 1977. Chakrulo was followed by the playing of the Georgian and US national anthems. Chargé d'Affaires, Elizabeth Rood delivered the welcoming speech, which she started with an appeal to join her in the minute of silence to recognize the loss of the Smith family, who were killed in Georgia a year ago. She also accentuated the significance of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, when a man stepped on the moon for the first time, saying: “This anniversary reminds us of the incredible things that nations can do when they are free and democratic and work together.” In her address, the Chargé d'Affaires focused on the progress of Georgian in terms of democratization. “Today Georgia faces difficult challenges,” stated Rood. “But it chooses to

face them bravely. Georgia chooses a Western Path. Georgia chooses to pursue democracy, build a prosperous economy and defend its sovereignty. And America, as Georgia’s steadfast partner supports and it. We consider it as a shared mission.” The US Chargé d'Affaires concluded her speech with the following words: “My colleagues at the American Embassy and I are all proud to spend our summer in Georgia,” thus joining the major social campaign that calls on thousands of individuals all around the globe to travel to Georgia for the summer holidays. Prime Minister Bakhtadze also took to the stage, sending best wishes to the USA and the US nation on their Independence Day. The Head of the Georgian Government accentuated the strategic partnership between Georgia and the USA and expressed gratitude to the USA for the support. President Zurabisvhili and Parliament Speaker Talakvadze also congratulated the USA on this important date, noting that Georgia and the USA share many values. The Georgian President stated that she spent 12 years in the US, which played an important role in her future life. “Along with my personal ties to the USA, but of course our connection is based our common values that unite us,” stated Zurabishvili, adding “the fact that the human dignity, human freedom is pivotal and above all.” Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States of America, celebrated on July 4 in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence by the USA in 1776.

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

Seedstars World Tour Georgia: Winners Announced BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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his past weekend, the Seedstars World Tour was held in Georgia. It was the competition’s fifth year in the country. Seedstars, a Switzerland-based private initiative, aims to impact emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. They currently work in emerging ecosystems in 75 countries in five regions and have been operating the Seedstars World Tour since 2013. Through the international competition, Seedstars aims to educate entrepreneurs and identify the best talents and fresh ideas. The organization’s newfound emphasis on education this year included the ‘How to Get Investment Ready’ bootcamp for selected startups on Saturday, June 29. Approximately 30 of Georgia’s most promising young startups attended the bootcamp, which was designed to better prepare them to attract and grow investments. The bootcamp was led by mentors and entrepreneurs who shared their experiences with their younger peers, organized around several key topics, and divided by sector. On Sunday, June 30, the 10 strongest startups, selected as finalists after the bootcamp, traveled to Borjomi to pitch their businesses and vision to potential investors within the World Tour competition. All 10 finalists who pitched in Borjomi received access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness program – one to three months of free access to an online program that allows startups to plug into a network of peers and investors and watch

Photo: Seedstars

a library of helpful webinars on hard skills for entrepreneurs. Startups eligible for participation must have shown a minimum viable product, that they have raised less than 500,000 USD in funding, and that they can demonstrate the potential for regional and global scalability. The competition was open to startups in any field. The major of contestants worldwide during the Seedstars World Tour are in the technology sector, including financial, agricultural, educational, healthcare, and energyrelated technologies. The first place winner of this year’s competition is LingWing, an interactive online platform for language learning. Seedstars called the company’s idea

“innovative” and “sustainable.” Second place went to Echolize (Influence Georgia), for its fully automatized influencer marketing platform for searching, negotiating and contracting influencers, while CARU took the third spot for its innovative solution for car repair services that is 100X faster, 100% less stressful and up to 70% cheaper than traditional garages. The other finalists were: Cargon, betobe, Construct Ge, Gymstinct, LiveCaller, Systemjet, and WELY. The 10 startups pitched their business ideas to a jury of Georgia’s business elite, including Aieti Kukava, CEO of JSC Alliance Group Holding, Giorgi Danelia, Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, R. Michael Cowgill, Pres-

ident of the American Chamber of Commerce, Malkhaz Dzadzua Investment Committee Member, Young Entrepreneurs School, and Giorgi Tuskia Commercial Director of Orient Logic. LingWing’s prize, along with three months of access to the Investment Readiness program, is a trip to Kazakhstan in December to attend the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Seedstars regional competition. The five-day event will be primarily focused on learning, including subject-focused boot camps and working with mentors. The startups who are then deemed ready, from each of Seedstars’ five global regions, will go on to the global summit in Switzerland where they will pitch in front of inves-

tors to win a grand prize of $500,000 in equity investment, among other awards. Even the startups who are not invited to the global summit will have the opportunity to meet with investors at the regional competition. Seedstars’ partners in Georgia this year include Alliance Group Capital, USAID, the Business Information Agency, the Georgian Venture Capital Association, Borjomi Likani, the Partnership Fund, Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency, and Startup Georgia. The judges for this year’s pitch competition in Borjomi will be: Agahuseyn Ahmadov, Giorgi Danelia, Deputy Executive Director of the Partnership Fund, R. Michael Cowgill, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, and Aieti Kukava, CEO of JSC Alliance Group Holding. The competition also featured Lasha Gorgoshidze, Co-Founder of STYX, last year’s winner, and Sandro Kandelaki, Manager of the public business accelerator Spark, who spoke on ways to develop an innovative startup ecosystem in Georgia. The local Ambassador of Seedstars World, Aieti Kukava, organized the event with Seedstars World’s local partner Alliance Group Holding. Additional support was provided by USAID, G4G, Partnership Fund, GVCA, BIA, StartUp Georgia and media partners. The Seedstars World Tour is continuing on now to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Agahuseyn Ahmadov, Regional Manager for CEE at Seedstars, said, “We are extremely happy that we met that many promising startups in Georgia and can’t wait to hear their success stories in the near future. We are very excited to come back to Tbilisi next year!”

Tbilisi Blames Russia for “Destructive Attitude” at Geneva Int’l Discussions Continued from page 1 They also regretted the crossing restrictions imposed on 27 June at the Abkhaz administrative boundary line. They called for these restrictions to be lifted without delay. OSCE says these measures have negatively affected freedom of movement, especially of persons in need of medical assistance and students traveling to take exams. The MFA says the Russian Federation grossly violates the EU ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and urged Moscow to fully fulfil its international obligations, including the withdrawal of occupation forces from the Georgian territory.

Among the top issues of the talks were the killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili in breakaway South Ossetia who received 100 injuries prior to his death in 2018, of Giga Otkhozoria in May 2016, of Davit Basharuli murdered in unclear circumstances in breakaway Tskhinvali in 2015 and Irakli Kvaratskhelia in 2019, who died in unclear circumstances at the Russian military base in breakaway Abkhazia. The Georgian side requested from Russia all the information regarding the last case. The GID stated that the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings in Gali and Ergneti, which have not been successful of late, need to be continued.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia, the 48th round of Geneva International Talks ended without any results. “As you know, the format of the Geneva negotiations focuses on the implementation of a 6-point agreement. Unfortunately, we do not have progress regarding any point," Darsalia said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin believes there is no other alternative than GID. “There is no other format. We should either gather in Geneva or increase the armed forces and start a war. I am saying this roughly, but the Geneva discussions are a good way against neurosis and negativity in the South Caucasus,"

he told the reporters after the talks. The next round of Geneva Interna-

tional Discussions will take place on October 8-9.

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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

After Thirty Years of Hassle FISH & MEAT RESTAURANT II FLOOR

Two Different Restaurants in one Space

Photo Source - Georgia About

GEORGIAN RESTAURANT

OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

A

fter thirty long years of search and exertion, Georgia has undoubtedly learnt something. However, the country is still living in a position of unmitigated political exaltation, on the one hand, and in the economic quiescence, on the other. It all started a little before the clamorous and riotous soviet demise, with the entire nation out in the streets, and continues well into the 21st century – the epoch of outstanding technological progress and scientific breakthroughs. Generations are coming and going and we are still there – in a boisterous consideration and reconsideration of political values that, ideally, should serve the nation to the best of its advantage: freedom vs. servitude, independence vs. colonialism, democracy vs. dictatorship, capitalism vs. socialism, globalization vs. individualism, western vs. eastern, national vs. international, patriotic vs. cosmopolitan, traditional vs. current, etc. The zealously obsessive discussion of those controversial issues still persist. This might not be the worst thing in the world, but solely a debate – and interminable at that – will not solve our problems. The endless disputes do not resolve but only make trouble, never turning words into deeds. We are a fiery people with a mouthful of angry passionate words and a huge zest for public speaking, but we cannot always afford to be as quicktempered and loquacious as we often are. We explode socially and politically in seconds, and then, it takes us years to calm down to embark again on our sustainable development and stable way of life. Saying this, I am hurting terribly because I am not the enemy of Georgia but am dedicated to my country. We all know that Georgia is weighed down with an annoying mixture of problems and a killing amount of issues that have been hanging over our heads for decades. But, those problems do not disappear or, at least, decrease in number. Quite the opposite, they are growing in number as we live. As the saying would have it, the arguments come on horseback to Georgia but go away on foot, those maladies not even being curbed by anyone who possesses and wants to use a cure. Understandably,

The country is still living in a position of unmitigated political exaltation, on the one hand, and in the economic quiescence, on the other

The zealously obsessive discussion of those controversial issues still persist. This might not be the worst thing in the world, but solely a debate – and interminable at that – will not solve our problems nobody has a panacea to prescribe and save the day for us, but there is a more than five-thousandyear-old recorded history of human experience which might be harboring the remedy for us to get back the country and a good life in it, into the bargain. Inviting the utmost rationalism at this time, based on thorough historical analyses might help as it seems, coming up with recommendations on what is right and what is wrong to do. For instance, would it be rational or irrational to: a) utterly give up on Russia and learn how to live without the old friend and the current enemy b) succumb to the Empire in a déjà vu style and relax in Mother-Russia’s lap, although ridden with holes and thoroughly patched c) stay in the current impartiality with her, nonchalantly keeping up the losing game in hope that she changes the stance or collapses in the end d) decidedly and irreversibly embrace the West, dreaming of NATO and EU membership so that we have a patron who would fight for us against incensed Russia if we are faced once again with her military power in the image of slowly but confidently advancing tanks with a deafening clatter on our highways built by the world bank e) declare nonaligned status, firmly pursuing our own way of survival and further development, for the world to hear that neither Russia nor America are the decision-makers any longer in this beautiful and truly independent land f) forget about everything and remain calm, cheerful and content, letting happen whatever is in store for us until our naturally accelerated demographic termination as a finale of our millennia-old past. Out of these five options, presumably, only one is possible to stick to if the choice is ever made. Two at a time is utterly excluded! Well, the option is rich enough, but the question now is if we are capable of making the best possible choice upon that option. Probably, not in the talking mood and mode – under open skies – instead of setting down some cogent plans, and rules thereof!

I FLOOR T: (+995) 591 914 416 / Ardagani Lake 6000, Batumi F: Grand Grill Restaurant / F: Ardagani Terrasa

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8

BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

TBC Bank Group Becomes the Principal Shareholder of TKT.GE Platform BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA

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he TBC Bank Group PLC has increased its shares in TKT.GE, a platform for online ticket purchasing, from 26% to 55%, thus becoming its principal shareholder. The initial 26% of the platform were bought by the Group a year ago. On July 1, representatives of the TBC Bank Group and TKT.GE hosted media representatives at the TBC Headquarters and briefed them about the case. The CEO of TBC Bank was first to address the audience. “We have launched the presentation of a number of important applications over the past few months,” stated Vakhtang Butskhrikidze. “This is one of the strategic directions for the TBC Group, which is focusing on the simplification of life for clientele, making it easier to do business for entrepreneurs.” The CEO also spoke about the goals of the bank to enter two new markets – Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan and to have 10 million customers by 2022. “We aim to test the given application in Georgia first and then move it beyond the borders of the country,” noted Butskhrikidze. “We want to direct our cooperation in the more strategic direction and share our knowledge as an institution to our partners,” he added. Tornike Gogichaishvili, Deputy CEO of TBC Bank, also took to the stage. “Our strategic partnership has been catalyzed by our mutual paths to simplify the life of our customers, and along with financial and banking services offer them

facilities that would be useful and comfortable in their everyday life,” said Gogichaishvili. Levan Kiladze, the founder of the TKT. GE platform also spoke about the case. “We have very ambitious plans and totally share interests with the TBC Group. Therefore, we believe that this cooperation will help us to carry out

many more successful projects,” stated Kiladze. Kiladze noted that TKT.GE has successfully gone through the validation process in Georgia and wants to adapt to foreign markets as well. He also underlined that there is a great synergy with the TBC Group in this case. The online platform TKT.GE was

launched in 2015 with 14,000 GEL in capital. Three years later, it caters to over 400,000 loyal customers. By focusing on permanent development and a motivated team of experienced professionals, the platform has changed the game in its sector. Currently, 80% of tickets are sold via the online platform, while several years

ago the figure barely exceeded 30%. In addition, TKT.GE has successfully held nearly 3,000 events already. The platform TKT.GE was launched by the Lemondo Company, which remains the managing partner in Online Tickets and will work alongside TBC Bank Group to ensure the implementation of the company’s future strategies.

Trump: HUAWEI will Be Able to Use American Products Again TRANSLATED BY KETEVAN KVARATSKHELIYA

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resident Donald Trump said he’ll allow Huawei Technologies Co. to buy products from U.S. suppliers, in a concession to China after talks with the country’s President Xi Jinping, „American companies are again allowed to sell their products to HUAWEI“ Trump said at a news conference following the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. „There is not any major problem of national importance. Many top companies operate in the USA, which launch the leading technological equipment each year. Therefore, we will let them cooperate with HUAWEI and the restrictions will be lifted“, reads the statement. However, the American President does not specify the names of the companies yet. Their list is expected to be published soon. Ren Zhengfei, the Founder and Executive Director of HUAWEI, has commented on Trump’s statement. „The statement of President Trump are good for American companies. HUAWEi is also willing to continue to buy products from American companies“, Mr Ren said in a statement to the Financial Times. „But we don’t see much impact on what we are currently doing. We will still focus on doing our own job right“. In the first quarter of 2019, HUAWEI increased the volume of sales and even exceeded the sales of the world-leading Apple Company. Based on the given data,

HUAWEI is driven and expected to also overtake Samsung in this respect by 2020. However, restrictions imposed by the US Administration, which came into force on May 16, contributed to the minor changes in the company’s plans. Negotiations between the USA Admin-

istration and the representation of HUAWEI are consideration currently, with the hope that HUAWEI smartphones will be able to regain the permit for receiving the Android system updates. HUAWEI products and services are available in more than 170 countries and

are used by a third of the world's population. There are 16 research and development centers operating worldwide in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Russia, India and China. HUAWEI Consumer BG is one of three business units of HUAWEI, mainly focusing on the production of

smartphones, personal computers, tablets and cloud services. The HUAWEI Global Network is based on 20 years of experience in the telecommunications business and serves the production of innovative technologies to customers around the world.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

9

Holiday Inn Telavi Officially Opens Its Doors to the Public Holiday Inn hotels are full-service hotels renowned globally for comfort, value, and dependability. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, is the parent company of the Holiday Inn brand. The hotel is owned by LLC Hotel Telavi and managed by Hotel Collection International (formerly known as T3 Hospitality Management), under a license agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group. IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,200 hotels and nearly 780,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with more than 1,500 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages the IHG® Rewards Club, a global loyalty program which has more than 100 mil-

O

n July 1, the opening of the new Holiday Inn Telavi hotel was off icially announced. The 85-room property is located in a 19th-century historical building in the center of Telavi, the capital of the famous wine region Kakheti in the eastern part of Georgia. This is the first international brand hotel in the city center. The hotel’s public areas include the innovative Open Lobby Bar Concept of the Holiday Inn brand, equipped with board games and large screen TVs, making a perfect cozy space for guest entertainment and business center all in a stylish comfortable lounge environment.

lion enrolled members. InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 350,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally. Hotel Collection International is an international hotel management company, with the head office in Luxembourg, managing over 20 hotels in Europe and Africa. “We wanted to create a hotel that would answer the needs of the Georgian tourism industry – a hotel which would be equally comfortable for families and for business travelers,” says Levan Eristavi, the co-owner of Holiday Inn Telavi. “The goal was to create modern interiors with

local authenticity. The project was also greatly supported by Enterprise Georgia agency and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, under the strategy of development of touristic infrastructure and creation of international-level workspaces in the regions of Georgia. “I am very happy to see the result, which we have achieved together with the Holiday Inn brand and I look forward to becoming the favorite destination of local and international guests.” For more information about the hotel and for reservations, please contact them on +995 32 261 11 11 or visit our website https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/ us/en/telavi/tbste/hoteldetail

The hotel features the Restaurant & Tapas Bar "Iberico," located on the top floor with breath-taking views of the Alazani Valley and Caucasus Mountain Range. Other guest services the hotel boasts are a rooftop swimming pool, a wellness area with sauna and steam room and a modern gym. The hotel offers a conference room for up to 50 delegates. Interiors have been decorated to reflect the modernity of the brand and at the same time the historical location of the property. The hotel team will take care of your comfort and make your stay unforgettable, whether you are on a leisure or a business trip.

Real Changes Supports People with Disabilities in Mestia BY TONY HANMER

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quote: “Together for Real Changes (TRC), is a Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) and peerto-peer model bringing services to people with disabilities and their families in the most isolated regions of Georgia. The TRC team involves the local community and municipality from the outset and encourages family involvement in all aspects of the program.” That, from their own document, sums up this remarkable organization better than I could. It has existed in Georgia since March 2013, and I especially appreciate its focus on the far-flung parts of this country instead of Tbilisi, which gets the lion’s share. A few days ago, TRC had a training week for local people with disabilities and their families at its new location in Mestia. This was an ideal opportunity for me to visit and see what was going on. Ruta Casabianca from America, originally a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia, met me and showed me around. Perhaps it was not too surprising to find some familiar faces at TRC’s center, as well as some new ones, given the year that my wife and I lived in the town soon after we were married. A Polish physio-therapist, with the help of a Georgian-Polish interpreter found at the 11th hour to replace one who had to drop out, was teaching her skills to local parents and medical staff. Children were on hand, one with cystic fibrosis, another with autism, receiving care in the facil-

ity’s brightly colored rooms. Here they can even stay with family for a week at a time for intensive training and help. In the residential building, an enthusiastic group of local women were being tested after training in psychology. Flashback to about two decades ago, soon after I arrived. Special needs children were being kept out of sight in orphanages in Georgia, where some died of malnutrition; others were rescued, either in time or not. The ones with

purely physical disabilities were denied any education. It could not stay hidden forever, though, and things have slowly improved. The fight for rights for such people and children goes on, as does the battle against the stigma of disabilities. Not to mention the huge lack of access for them to many places… I’m talking to YOU, Hanmer Guest House. TRC also has operations in Borjomi and Sighnaghi, further demonstrating its commitment to the regions, where

little if any such help is available. Racha might come next. As always, fundraising can be a real challenge, but Ruta and her people are forging ahead, doing all they can. I was really inspired by their dedication. Some foreign embassies and governments, notably those of Japan, Bulgaria and Poland, are getting on board. Hurrah for the former Iron Curtain countries which are now helping one another and others too! The Kakha Paliani Rehabilitation/

Habilitation Complex and Home-Care Service, as it is known, is up and running, with its official opening to be this autumn. Located a bit past Mestia’s airport, its two buildings were given construction help by a local electrical company, but the utility bills are high; no breaks for NGOs, which seemingly are expected to be rich, even when clearly they are not. Another quote, this one from a TRC fact sheet: In Georgia, UNICEF reported that 77,000 children live in extreme poverty below the threshold of 2 GEL/ day. The level of poverty amongst the families who have children with disabilities is striking: 44% of families interviewed as opposed to 13% nationally, according to the Geo-Wel Baseline Study completed in July 2014 for World Vision Georgia's Caucasus Sub-Regional Social Inclusion of Children with Disabilities, so far, the only such study in Georgia. “The research confirmed [World Vision's] suspicion, attitude is the biggest barrier...” There is a long way to go, and this subject is only given a brief introduction here, but one can see the progress and hope. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti


10

CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 July 6 Season Closing Zakaria Paliashvili's opera ABESALOM AND ETERI Conductor- Zaza Azmaiparashvili, Director- Gizo Jordania, Set, Costume and Lighting Designer- George AlexiMeskhishvili, Choreographer- Iliko Sukhishvili. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-200 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 13 Shavtelis St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 65 93 July 5 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30, 40 GEL July 6, 7 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30, 40 GEL July 9 Animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 12:30 Ticket: 15 GEL July 10, 11 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30, 40 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES

NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS

movement of Georgia and to the victims of the Soviet political repression throughout this period.

Until September 10 Under the joint initiative of Georgian National Museum and Georgian Post, Exhibition: STORY TOLD BY POSTAGE STAMPS Dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the first Georgian stamp.

Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave enough to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in a Mirror Room, be free in the Infinity room, resist the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms, and discover optical illusions.

Until August 31 Multimedia technology exhibitionIMMAGICA. A JOURNEY INTO BEAUTY An impressive journey within time, introducing us to Italian paintings of the XIV-XIX centuries; a combination of voice, lighting, immersive visual and multimedia. Giotto– ‘Ognissanti Madonna’ and the ‘Scrovegni Chapel,’ Leonardo da Vinci– ‘Annunciation,’ Botticelli– ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Spring,’ Raffaello– ‘The Madonna of the Goldfinch, Bellotto– ‘Piazza San Marco,’ ‘Castello Sforzesco,’ Canaletto– “The Chapel of Eton College”, Canova– ‘Amor e Psyche’ and ‘The Graces’. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA 8 Sioni St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 22 81 June 27 – September 10 The Georgian National Museum within the project "Contemporary Art Gallery" presents Vakho Bugadze's exhibition: ‘Three, Four" Together with Vakho Bughadze are artists Gogi Okropiridze and Katrin Bolt. Within the framework of the exhibition, documentary film about Vakho Bugadze will be presented. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. The exhibition also includes one of the train carriages in which the participants of the national uprising of 1924 were executed. It is also dedicated to the history of the antioccupational, national-liberation

MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str.

MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS 10 Betlemi Str. THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS The unique collection of the museum aims to provoke feelings of understanding among individuals and serve as some kind of therapy for those who have experience break-ups. GALLERY

atmosphere of Old Tbilisi, a mix of traditional Georgian music of different genres: folklore, a capella, guitar, and Georgian pop and city songs. Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 24 GEL Venue: July 5- 10 Erekle II Sq., Tekla Palace Hotel, July 6- New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’, July 10- Corner of 2 Turgenev Str., and 37 Javakhishvili Str. July 11- Europe Square, 2 D. Megreli Str., Hotel “Nata” TURTLE LAKE July 5 DECODER: NU TADE AUTUMN TREE Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 30 GEL LISI WONDERLAND Near Lisi Lake July 6 A Midsummer Day’s Dream A festival-picnic with Soft Eject Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 30 GEL Kids under 12 FREE

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00

ART GENE FESTIVAL Tbilisi Museum of Ethnography

Until February 26 (2020) GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY

July 7 20:00-21:30- Folklore Concert: Acoustics 22:00- Final Concert: Dato Evgenidze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 29 GEL

SIGHNAGHI MUSEUM 8 Sh. Rustaveli Blind-alley, Sighnaghi Until July 11 Georgian National Museum and Embassy of Japan in Georgia present Japanese Calligraphy Master Koshu's (Akemi Lucas) exhibition "Echo" TBILISI BOTANICAL GARDEN July 5, 6 The Light Festival Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5, 8 GEL MUSIC

SOUNDS OF GEORGIA July 5, 6, 10, 11 SING AND DRINK Mini concerts in the cozy

July 8 20:00-21:30- Folklore Concert: Samtskhe-Javakheti 22:00- Final Concert: ASEA SOOL Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL July 9 20:00-21:30- Folklore Concert: Guria, Qvemo Qartli 22:00- Final Concert: REGGAEON Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL July 10 20:00-21:30 Folklore Concert: Kakheti, Tusheti, Svaneti 22:00 Final Concert: CHVENEBUREBI AND LELA NAKEURI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL July 11 20:00-21:30- Folklore Concert: Imereti 22:00- Final Concert: FRANI Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20 GEL EZO FESTIVAL Mtatsminda Park July 13 EZO FESTIVAL 2019 SEASON CLOSING Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 50 GEL

S. Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto N 2, Op. 16, c minor; Shorena Tsintsabadze S. Prokofiev– Piano Concerto N 2, op.16, g minor; MISA soloists: Giorgi Revishvili W. A. Mozart– Piano Concerto N 14, K 449, e flat major; Ekaterine Nikoladze E. Grieg– Piano Concerto a minor, Op. 16 2nd & 3rd movements; Georgian Young Symphony Orchestra Conductor– Giorgi Jordania Head/Artistic Director– Shorena Tsintsabadze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL RIKE Touristic center "Gamarjoba", Next to Bridge of Peace July 9, 10 "Tiflis Yard" The Musical Musical about 19th centuries ethnic life of Tiflis (Tbilisi), about its marvelous heroes, their adventures, emotions, traditions and culture of Georgia. Georgian cuisine and wine will be served for guests during the intermission. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 80 GEL FOLKLORE CONCERTS FOR TOURISTS Sanapiro Str. Bldg 2. Every Sunday July 7 Folklore Evenings of ensemble EGARI Ensemble offers folklore events in order to popularize Georgian folk music creation for tourists. The concerts will present songs, trisagions, instrumental music, dance, urban folklore from different parts of Georgia and ethno-jazz music. The guest will listen live polyphony, diversity of instruments (Salamuri, Panduri, Chonguri, Chiboni, Doli). Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50 GEL GEORGIAN FOLK SHOW 10 Rustaveli Ave. Every Tuesday, Friday, Sunday July 5, 7, 9 The first full and systematic folk show for tourists. Visit Georgia’s regions in one hour through its world renowned folklore. Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 40 GEL PARADISE LOUNGE Seafront Promenade, Batumi July 5 Paradise beach opening eventMegi Gogitidze with band Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 20 GEL

MOVEMENT THEATER June 28 JAM SESSION Musical art director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 20:30 Free Entrance TBILISI STATE CONSERVATOIRE 8 Griboedov Str. July 8 MISA Soloists: Andrei Korobeinikov

MEDIATHEKA VAKE Vake Park July 11 GCA - Georgian Copyright Association hosts art venue: '20 years for Art' 18:00- Meeting with Sandro Kancheli, Nika Machaidze and Tusia Beridze. 20:00- 20 Georgian artists album'Red Repressions' presentation, 21:00- Live Set of Nikakoi & Tusia Beridze Free Admission


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY JULY 5 - 8, 2019

11

Art of Brush Writing – Sighnaghi Hosts Japanese Artist’s Exhibition Echo BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

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f you were already planning to go to Georgia’s eastern beautiful city of Sighnaghi then you have one more reason to visit this cobblestone city. If you were not, here is the reason why you should. Between July 4-11 the historic and mesmerizing city is hosting an exhibition of Japanese calligraphy artist Koshu (Akemi Lucas). The solo exhibition named “Echo” is jointly organized by the National Museum of Georgia and the Embassy of Japan in Georgia. The artist Akemi Lucas, known by her nickname Koshu, was born and raised in Japan. She began studying calligraphy at the age of 8. Her style is based on Japanese handwriting tradition which embodies the synthesis of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, before and after. The artist regularly organizes exhibitions, workshops, performances and works on different projects. This very exhibition takes a close look at the original gestural movement marked in each work—the applied pressure, speed, and rhythm that are said to reflect the artist's state of mind. It showcases masterworks of brush-inscribed Japanese texts, serving as independent works of art. As Koshu says, her first visit to Sighnaghi filled her with love and inspired her to create few more artworks. The calligraphy master hopes: “that my love for Georgia poured into my artwork, is reflected and resonates in people’s hearts, rippling out and leaving an echo for the

future.” Earlier in 2018, Koshu was part of the cycle of events “Tokugawa and Masters”, hosted by National Museum of Georgia. Within the framework of the event series of lectures and public talks that were organized in the museum in Tbilisi. The UK based Japanese artist is currently working on two major projects; The Rugby World Cup and Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. These commissions are extremely prestigious and Koshu feels honored to work on them. Both projects are very high profile, which will bring her work and an appreciation of Japanese art, to a wider international audience. “50 artworks performed by me will be presented at the Sighnaghi Museum from July 4-11. Along with the exposition, seminars and calligraphy screenings are planned to be held in Tbilisi, MIrzaani and Rustavi,” she says. The masterpieces will be on view in Sighnaghi Museum, 8, Shota Rustaveli Blind-alley. The exhibition is supported by Sighnaghi Municipality and “Georgian Express”. After exploring the art of brush writing, you can walk around the museum and have a close look at the permanent masterpieces kept at the venue reflecting Georgia’s past and culture. The Sighnaghi Museum, located in the regional capital of Kakheti, was founded in 1947. The first exhibition opened on December 31, 1950, comprising of seven hundred artefacts. The Painting Gallery was founded at the museum in 1967, furnished with donations from well-known and beginner artists. Today, the ethnographic collection features five thousand artefacts, including textiles, copper and

wooden domestic items, agricultural instruments, materials corresponding to viniculture, goldsmith works, different types of working instruments, and musical instruments. The museum also contains a rich numismatic collection of about two thousand coins, among them ancient Sasanid Persian coins, and coins minted by Georgian monarchs Tamar, Lasha-Giorgi, and Erekle. Photo and documentary collections numbering around five thousand, and archaeological exhibits are also represented in the museum reserves. The Kakheti Archeological Research Base, co-existing with the Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History, Archaeology, and Ethnography was founded in 1973. Its expeditions enriched the archaeological collection of the museum. The Sighnaghi Museum joined the Georgian National Museum complex in 2007. The museum building was reconstructed, security systems were installed, new exhibitions were held, museum funds were supplemented, and the number of artefacts reached sixty thousand. On the second floor, visitors can enjoy the exhibition great Georgian self-taught artist of the late 19th-early 20th century, Niko Pirosmanashvili, more known simply as Pirosmani. The second floor also hosts numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year. This hall hosted a Picasso exhibition in 2009 and a Western European exhibition in 2010. In contemporary Georgian history, the Sighnaghi Museum is the first museum to perfectly meet the international museum standards. Today, the museum represents a top-tier cultural, educational, and scientific institution.

Photo Source - Akemi Lucas

BBC World Service Records in Tbilisi BY AMY JONES

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n July 2, the BBC World Service recorded an episode of the Arts Hour on Tour in Tbilisi. Presenter Nikki Bedi discussed arts, culture and politics with writer David Gabunia, artist Mariam Natroshvili, filmmaker Rusudan Chkonia, musician Tato from MokuMoku and hip-hop artist Dilla from Kayakata. The artists spoke about many aspects of life and arts in Georgia, focusing on Tbilisi’s vibrant scene and turbulent past. They shared their experiences of the Soviet Union and its impact on Georgian culture and discussed the current role of Russia in Georgia, especially the 2008 war with Abkhazia and the recent protests. Dilla, from Georgia’s most prominent hip hop group Kayakata, spoke about his personal experience fleeing from Abkhazia in 2008: “I saw people die in front of me,” he told the audience. Georgia’s turbulent past is often dissected by artists. For example, artist Mariam Natroshvili writes phrases on former Soviet buildings, to repurpose

Photo Source - Levan Maisuradze

them and give them a title, therefore closing the book on the era. Natroshvili also created a mobile

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contemporary art museum which she takes into people’s homes. Rapper Dilla has a piece in her exhibition of

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Samantha Guthrie, Amy Jones, Thea Morrison, Ana Dumbadze, Ketevan Kvaratskheliya Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

a sheep which reacts in real time to the movement of the Black Sea. It is partly a biographical piece, as Dilla’s

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family fled Abkhazia with their sheep. The mobile contemporary art museum also underlines the lack of a contemporary art museum in Georgia and the issue of arts funding. Funding is a challenge for all art sectors in Georgia. Filmmaker Rusudan Chkonia, known for her 2012 black comedy-drama, Keep Smiling, said that the lack of funding is a big reason why many filmmakers leave the profession. Without funding from abroad, many projects would not be possible. As part of the show, Tato from MokuMoku took presenter Nikki Bedi on a tour of Tbilisi. The pair visited many graffiti in the city and discussed youth culture in a country which is standing at a crossroad. His group, MokuMoku are one of the biggest hip-hop acts in a scene which is rapidly growing. MokuMoku and Kayakata both performed during the recording. The Arts Hour on Tour is a monthly arts show which explores culture in cities around the world. Members of the public were invited to attend the live recording at Liberty Theater, to involve locals in the recording. The program will air on BBC World Service on Saturday 27 July and will be available to listen to on the BBC World Service Website after it has aired.

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BATUMI VIEW

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1165  

July 5 - 8, 2019

Issue #1165  

July 5 - 8, 2019

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