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facebook.com/ georgiatoday


Issue no: 841

• MAY 6 - 9, 2016



In this week’s issue... State Funding to Launch Program Supporting Start-Ups NEWS PAGE 2

Remembering the Lone Wolf of Ichkeria POLITICS PAGE 7

Scandalous Details from the London Trial of Vano Chkhartishvili PAGE 10



NATO discusses a new agreement for Georgia and Ukraine under the 28+2 format


Georgia Welcomed into EU’s Research and Innovation Society BY EKA KARSAULIDZE


esearchers and innovators from Georgia will now be able to participate in Horizon 2020, the EU’s framework program for research and innovation, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU Member States and other associated countries. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Tamar Sanikidze, Georgian Minister of Education and Science signed the associaton agreement between Georgia and Horizon 2020 on April 29. Continued on page 2

Nothing We Can’t Escape: The Easter Epistle SOCIETY PAGE 11

‘Late Love’ by the Greatest Russian Realist Playwright CULTURE PAGE 13

Chess Legend Nona Gaprindashvili’s Star Opens in Tbilisi




State Funding to Launch Program Supporting Start-Ups


MAY 6 - 9, 2016

Get Ready for Your Wedding with Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi Show BY EKA KARSAULIDZE



rime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, has announced a new start-up funding program which will be available for any citizen with an innovative, exciting business proposal needing funding. At the first stage, the program’s budget will consist of 11 million GEL, and is expected to increase to 35 million GEL. At a meeting with the government, PM Kvirikashvili noted that they have already started working on the creation of this new financial institution and its key features. In a month’s time, it will be officially presented and operation begun through the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency’s (GITA) Technological Park (Tech Park). “This is a very important reform which allows businesses, technology companies and institutions to launch their projects and obtain financing without any loans or credits,” said the PM. The financing of innovative ideas is something very new in Georgia, yet the Prime Minister believes that it will contribute to the development of the country’s innovative potential. “We have many examples where such projects were the turning point of a country’s economic development and, from our side, this is the just the first welcome step towards that goal,” PM Kvirikashvili explained. The Partnership Fund and GITA will coordinate the program with the involvement of international experts.


ince the day it opened (in summer 2015), Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi has hosted a large number of weddings. A comfortable and pleasant location, relaxed atmosphere and the whopping 800 square meters were clearly decisive factors for the future newlyweds. Having already gained considerable experience in the wedding hosting sphere, the Hotel decided to arrange the first Wedding Show in Georgia. “No Wedding Exhibition has been held in Georgia before,” said Nino Chechelashvili, Marketing Communication Manager of Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi. “But we decided to take the European example and create not just an exhibition, but also a show, because the entertainment program is one of the key moments in every wedding.” The first Wedding Show will be held on the territory of Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi on 14 May from 12 to 6 pm, while the entertainment program will be held from 2 to 4 pm. Chechelashvili explained that jazz bands, DJs, and Georgian folk dancers will perform in the framework of the entertainment program allowing you to get a taste of which kind of musical arrangement you most fancy for your future wedding. Well-known illusionist Gia Paradashvili will also attend the Show, as will several photographers with a rich wedding portfolio. 25 wedding-related companies will also display their products and services. Event agencies will advise you how to properly design and plan your wedding; you will have an opportunity to taste

cakes from Georgia’s leading pastry shops; meet florists making bridal bouquets and floral room decorations; and consult with beauticians from professional salons who will help you pick out the right hairstyle and makeup. As part of the entertainment program, limousines, wedding dresses and jewelry will be exhibited from leading companies in the field. Chechelashvili said that the Show is a unique opportunity for those who are planning a wedding. “There will be everything to help couples find both the right services and the best products- all within one and the same space. Moreover, we’ll be offering the chance to hold B2B meetings with representatives of the companies in order to immediately negotiate services and tariffs,” she said. Despite the fact that celebrating weddings in

hotels is not so popular, Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi by its own example is proving that it can be an interesting and in-demand venue. For this purpose, Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi will also present its own stand at the Show, where everyone can find out more about the Hotel’s services, taste its food, see a variety of wedding menus, as well as take part in personal info-tours to see the specially designed rooms that the Hotel offers for newlyweds. The highlight of the evening will be a real marriage ceremony. “The bride will be in an incredibly beautiful dress, jewelry, hold a bouquet and Tbilisi Wedding House’s staff will conduct the ceremony. Thus, at our Wedding Show guests will be the witnesses of the creation of a new family creation,” Chechelashvili said.

Georgia Welcomed into EU’s Research and Innovation Society Continued from page 1

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever. With nearly 77 billion Euros of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), it promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Horizon 2020 is seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs. The association agreement signed by Georgia covers the years 2016-2020 and opens up new opportunities for the country’s scientific community. Participation in Horizon 2020 programs is now available for all Georgian scientists, researchers and innovators, as well as Georgia-based legal entities (universities, research institutions, nongovernmental organizations, small and medium enterprises, business of companies, foundations, government agencies, and more). “I’m very pleased to welcome Georgia into Horizon 2020, the world’s largest public funding

program for research and innovation,” said Moedas. “EU research, science and innovation is open to the world for collaboration and we value working together with our partners to invest in knowledge and innovation for the future. Georgia’s association will bring a diversity of expertise and ideas, enriching our international research cooperation.” The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia claims that this agreement once again proves what a great role science has in the country’s development. “What we have achieved is that Georgia has become part of a single European research area. This is not only an important step for the country, but brings with it a myriad of interesting proposals and opportunities for our scientists,” said Tamar Sanikidze, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia. In the seventh framework program (2007-2013) preceding Horizon 2020, Georgian organizations participated in 49 signed projects. They have already participated in eight projects within the framework of Horizon 2020.




NATO Mulls New Association Partnership for Georgia and Ukraine BY NICHOLAS WALLER


s tensions between the West and Russia continue to escalate, the NATO military alliance may look to bolster its ranks by signing a special partnership agreement with Georgia and Ukraine. Alliance members are currently discussing the possibility of offering Tbilisi and Kiev a newly devised association status under a 28+2 format that would see Georgian and Ukrainian armed forces fully cooperate with NATO in the Black Sea region and along the two countries’ long militarized borders with Russia. Any such offer would be a significant move by the alliance as it would formally integrate the two former Soviet republics’ militaries into the NATO command structure without granting them full membership status. Both Georgia and Ukraine have publicly stated their intention to join NATO and the European Union in the coming years as part of their drive towards EuroAtlantic integration. Russia, however, has violently opposed any such move as it views NATO expansion as a threat to its national security and an inherently anti-Russian, US-led campaign to weaken Moscow’s influence in areas where the Kremlin has historically played the role of imperial master.

The alliance’s 28 current members have greeted Georgia’s and Ukraine’s plans to pursue formal membership with a mix of both enthusiasm and scepticism. Eastern European members, the United States and the United Kingdom have enthusiastically backed Tbilisi and Kiev while key members France and Germany have vehemently opposed the idea. Opposition from Berlin and Paris has drawn the ire of newer members Poland and the Baltic States, all former Eastern Bloc nations that border Russia. They accuse the Germans and French of undermining Georgia and Ukraine’s security to avoid antagonizing Moscow. Warsaw has openly criticized Germany and France for having supported closer cooperation and the possibility of NATO membership for traditionally neutral Sweden and Finland, accusing the two alliance pow-

ers of a double standard towards former Soviet republics. Georgia previously attempted to secure a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the 2008 Bucharest Summit but was met with a firm rejection from Germany and France. Russia responded to Georgia’s move by substantially bolstering its forces in the country’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. The resulting five-day war in August of that year was a major military defeat for Tbilisi and set its NATO ambitions back years, according to most analysts. Georgia had hoped to receive a MAP at this year’s Warsaw summit, but government officials now acknowledge that the current political realities in the region mean that the new associate partnership is a major step towards eventual NATO membership.

“We are currently in the third stage of the NATO integration process – which is an intensive dialogue, followed by Georgia’s implementation of the Partnership for Peace initiative. The fourth step will be granting Georgia a MAP,” said Vakhtang Maisaia, the former chair for Georgia-NATO relations. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use force to thwart any attempt by any former member of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact countries to integrate with NATO. Any attempt of rapprochement between NATO and the former Soviet republics, according to most analysts, will make Moscow nervous and probably even more unpredictable. Brussels recently established the association membership status as a consolation prize for Georgia and Ukraine instead of the promised MAP, according to Maisaia. NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow previously proposed the 28+2 format at an April security conference in Kiev. The association agreement with Georgia and Ukraine will be modelled on a similar arrangement that NATO currently has with Nordic powers Sweden and Finland, according to Vershbow. Vershbow said the agreement must be implemented as soon as possible as “Russia plans to station nuclear weapons in the Black Sea region, including on the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.

This is a move that will ultimately undermine and fundamentally change the regional balance of power.” Experts, however, argue that if Tbilisi and Kiev join the 28+2 format, this would mean Russia will be further isolated in the Black Sea region as Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey consolidate their naval forces into a newly formed NATO Black Sea Fleet. Georgia and Ukraine have already indicated that they plan to be active participants in the new maritime force. The decision to offer Tbilisi and Kiev closer cooperation with NATO’s other 28 members comes at a time when comments from incoming Supreme Allied Commander General Curtis Scaparrotti raised eyebrows after he said NATO must be ready to respond to Russian provocations with force if needed. “NATO is facing a resurgent Russia that is striving to project itself as a world power…to address these challenges, we must continue to maintain and enhance our levels of readiness and ability to fight tonight, if deterrence fails,” said Scaparrotti. Alliance members are already in the process of re-deploying significant numbers of rapid strike forces to Eastern Europe to bolster NATO’s defensive capabilities. US, UK and German forces will carry out a major combat-ready training exercise with Georgian units at the alliance’s training facility outside Tbilisi later this month.




MAY 6 - 9, 2016

Raising the Dead: The Voting List Conundrum OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


ow many voters are there in Georgia? Every four years this question becomes particularly important and especially before the parliamentary elections. This year is no exception, as this question has already been raised. And left unanswered. The data from the Ministry of Justice and that of the National Statistics Office do not coincide. And the difference is vast: as much as 600 thousand people. The data from the Ministry suggests that there are 3.5 million voters, while the Statistics Office says there are only 2.9 million. Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani held a special briefing last week at which she announced the new data. 3,539.949 is the number of voters that the Ministry has sent to the Central Electoral Committee. Tsulukiani said that this record shows 98 thousand fewer voters than recorded earlier and that this brings the probability of so-called ‘dead souls’ being listed, to the minimum. If we take into consideration the 5% election barrier the participating electoral subjects need to overcome, then 98 thousand votes is truly an impressive figure. However, what the Minister boasted to doing was regarded as an illegal action by opponents. The Chairman of the political party New Rights, Mamuka Katsitadze, declared Tsulukiani

guilty of initiating an apartheid law. “Those 98 thousand voters that were removed from the so-called registration address were not listed in this database. These are the voters who have sold their apartment for various reasons, bank loans mainly. These people do have IDs, but the government tells them: “You lost your apartment, now you lose your right to vote.” The voters from this category are the ones who protest the most, the ones who lost their apartment, and no

government wants them on the electoral list. The government got rid of them through Tsulukiani, exactly because of their negativity,” Katsitadze declared. Members of the parliamentary majority also commented on the lists. Gia Zhorzholiani thinks that the difference might come from the methodology used. “I believe that the lists presented by the Electoral Committee correspond to the rules with which these lists were to be defined,” he said. “Americans do not pay

attention to those details, the main thing is what the pre-electoral situation looks like. They recognize that there is a big improvement in this regard and that the pre-electoral situation is not ‘hysterical,’” said Guguli Magradze. The main surprise around this epic electoral list was not in the Ministry of Justice, but in the National Statistics Office. A few days before the briefing by the Minister, the Office published the results of General Census 2015, the data

of which suggests that 3.7 million people live in Georgia, out of which 78%, or 2.9 million, have the right to vote. After making these figures public, both state units explained the difference by having different methodologies for counting. The Statistics Office said that they tracked only those citizens who were in Georgia during the period of polls and not all those people who have been granted an ID from the Ministry of Justice. It is hard to argue with the statisticians, however, whether the census covered all Georgia or not is hard to say as the documentation proving this has yet to be published by the Office. If we take into consideration the results that Georgian Dream got in the last parliamentary elections, we will see that 1,181.862 votes were enough to gain them a win, while the National Movement got 867,432, coming in at second place. As the politicians claim, exactly this 600 thousand difference might become vital in the parliamentary elections of 2016 and might even trigger a revolutionary development to the events, similar to 2003. The electoral procedures have become more and more complicated from election to election. The case of listing has even produced a revolution: when in autumn 2003, at the end of the faulty government under President Eduard Shevardnadze, the lists were so messy that you couldn’t even differentiate the dead from the living. So, as things stand, it’s not totally unimaginable that we might witness another revolution this autumn.



Former NATO Ambassador Urges Alliance to Counter Russian Narrative BY NANA SAJAIA, VOICE OF AMERICA GEORGIAN SERVICE


ATO should actively counter the Kremlin’s claim that the Western military alliance is expanding with the aim of threatening Russia, says a former US ambassador to NATO. Russia’s new national security strategy, signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this year, identifies NATO expansion as the number one threat to Russia. It says that the alliance, led by the United States, is intensifying military activities in NATO member countries and “moving military infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders.” The Russian strategy paper also claims that, by implementing a “policy of containment of Russia” through “political, economic, military and informational pressure,” NATO is “attempting to maintain dominance in global affairs.” Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker says that the Kremlin is continually pressing its narrative against the West, claiming that NATO broke its promises to Russia. “Russia has this narrative that NATO promised to never expand and never to put military infrastructure on the territory of new members,” Volker told VOA’s Georgian service. “Russia feels that NATO is threatening Russia and it has the right to

Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker

defend itself and its citizens; it claims that there was a coup d’état in Ukraine and NATO was pushing Ukraine into NATO and Russia had to intervene in order to save Ukraine. All of this is completely wrong, completely false.” Volker says if NATO lets this narrative stand without a forceful Western response, it will give the impression that the Kremlin’s argument has merit. Continued on page 4





MAY 6 - 9, 2016

Former NATO Ambassador Urges Alliance to Counter Russian Narrative Continued from page 5

He is urging NATO to take a unified stance and develop a clear strategy toward Russia at its Warsaw meeting in July.

RUSSIA CHANGES THE EQUATION Mamuka Tsereteli, director of the Central Asia and Caucasus Institute, a Washington-based think tank, says Russia’s strategy towards the West has changed significantly in the past decade. “Russia is trying to change the European security architecture,” he told VOA. “In this new environment, Russia would like to have a veto right on every country’s decision to join NATO or the European Union. This is a violation of those countries’ sovereign rights to choose their future. Russia is trying to get consent from the West on this approach.” In the NATO-Russia Founding Act, signed on May 27, 1997, the alliance agreed that “in the current and foreseeable security environment,” NATO will carry out its collective defense mission using existing military infrastructure “rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.” Since then, the security environment has changed dramatically. In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and recognized two of its regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – as independent states. In 2015, it annexed Crimea. The Kremlin has been supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine for more than two years. In addition, Russia has violated many of the agreements signed with the West, including the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the Vienna Document, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the Budapest Memorandum, and others. Volker says it is important to explain that NATO is a defensive alliance that is not threatening anyone, and that NATO enlargement is a long process in which free people in independent countries work together to build their own security – not a NATOled effort to acquire territories to encircle Russia. The West, he says, should continue to explain and

discuss these issues publicly. “Our leaders tend to duck away from these issues,” Volker said. “They do not want to provoke a confrontational atmosphere with Russia, whereas Russia is quite happy to have a confrontational atmosphere…By acceding Russia’s argument, or letting the Russian narrative stand, it gives an appearance of credence to that narrative. It is very important for Western leaders to push back very forcibly instead.” The Warsaw Summit is scheduled to take place July 8-9. A Georgian version of this story can be found at: http://www.amerikiskhma.com/a/ceec-russia-nato-eventat-senate/3297235.html




Remembering the Lone Wolf of Ichkeria BY NICHOLAS WALLER


wenty years after Dzhokhar Dudayev’s death, Chechnya’s first president remains a powerful symbol of a time when long-suppressed national cultures burst into the open from the ashes of the Soviet Union. After nearly two decades spent in various parts of the old Soviet Union, one of the most enduring lessons that I, as an outsider, quickly learned is that recent memory is relative in this region of the world. During the last week of April, two significant anniversaries passed. Both observed with wildly different degrees of fanfare as April 26 marked the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Most of the international community took the time to commemorate the event and honor the tens of thousands of courageous souls who braved the horrors of a thermonuclear fire to combat the world’s worst environmental disaster. Five days before the Chernobyl commemoration, the 20th anniversary of the death of Chechnya’s first president, Dzhokhar Dudayev, passed with little notice. Though no less important in the recent history of the region, Dudayev’s death and the subsequent failed attempt to carve out a functioning Chechen state, signalled the end of the post-Soviet period when wildly ambitious and often equally chaotic national liberation movements sought to find their place in the world. Twenty years on, most of the individuals who were key contributors to the early 1990s independence movements have all but been forgotten. And their romantic notions of independence for

the small nations that languished under Moscow’s rule have either died out or degenerated into intractable frozen conflicts and self-serving proxy wars. The Chechens’ inability to build the vital institutions that would have legitimized their drive to form a proper state doomed their cause and their attempts to gain international recognition after Dudayev’s death in April 1996. Dudayev’s emergence as a symbol of national liberation was unexpected. He was a charismatic and flamboyant leader with his Clark Gable pencil-thin moustache, perfectly pressed suits and long soliloquies on his nation’s historical destiny. Dudayev was the first Chechen in the Soviet Union’s history to become a general, commanding a strategic bomber wing at the young age of 36. The Chechens and other Muslim populations of the North Caucasus were historically mistrusted and discriminated against by their Russian masters. Dudayev’s ability to shatter the ethnic stereotype of Chechens was, in itself, no small feat. His rise to the top of the Soviet military hierarchy and eventually to the presidency of a tiny unrecognized Caucasus state was a meteoritic rise for a man who had been deported with the rest of the Chechen population in 1944, the year of his birth, to the barren steppes of Kazakhstan. Accused by Joseph Stalin of having collaborated with Nazi Germany, the deportation killed a quarter of the Chechen population and added a particularly dark chapter in the 300 years of enmity between the Chechens and their Russian colonizers. Dudayev’s boyhood experience as an exile - like many of those who would later join the Chechen independence movement - left an indelible mark. For most of his life, however, he was a thoroughly Soviet man who professed his

Dzhokhar Dudayev in the Grozny Presidential Palace,Dec. 1994. Source: Associated Press

love for Russian culture and language. Amused journalists who reported from Grozny at the start of the 1994-1996 First Chechen War noted his fondness for quoting literary giants Mikhail Lermontov and Alexander Pushkin while the Russian air force carpet-bombed his besieged capital city outside. Dudayev graduated from one of the Soviet Union’s most prestigious military schools - the Yuri Gagarin Air Force

Academy near Moscow - and later married a beautiful Russian poetess named Alla. He played scrupulously by the rules throughout his air force career and won admiration from senior commanders for his bombing tactics in Afghanistan. But his allegiance to the Soviet state began to waiver in the late 1980s while commanding a strategic nuclear bomber unit in Tartu, Estonia.

General Dudayev had learned Estonian and showed remarkable tolerance for the small Baltic State’s growing nationalism. Defying direct orders from Moscow, he allowed pro-independence Estonians to demonstrate near his base and refused to shut down Estonian television stations and the new national parliament comprised of democratically elected anti-Communist deputies. Continued on page 8




MAY 6 - 9, 2016

Remembering the Lone Wolf of Ichkeria Chechnya’s independence movement has died out or pushed to the fringes after many of its combatants resorted to desperate acts of cruel terrorism. Dudayev’s legacy as a tenacious, and at times ruthless, defender of his people’s struggle has found a new audience in Ukraine after Moscow invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula and militarily intervened in the country’s eastern Donbass region. Veteran Chechen fighters serve in a Ukrainian Army battalion bearing Dudayev’s name and led by British-educated Grozny native, Adam Osmayev.

Chechen fighter outside the Grozny’s destroyed Presidential Palace, Jan. 1995. Photo: Mikhail Evstafiev

The group continues to use Dudayev’s green Ichkerian flag, emblazoned with a lone wolf - a symbol that Dudayev himself chose - as the battalion’s colors. It is the same banner that flew over the presidential palace during the horrific Battle of Grozny in 1995. Osmayev and the dozens of other Chechens who fight on Kiev’s side in their on going war against Russia, hope to one day return to their homeland and resurrect Dudayev’s dream of an independent Chechnya.

The Flight You Deserve BY AIR GEORGIA! Continued from page 7

This overt expression of nationalism triggered the nationalist in Dudayev’s character. As Moscow lost control of the Baltic States, Dudayev retired and went home to Chechnya and became the leader of the pro-independence National Congress of the Chechen People. Shortly after the abortive August 1991 coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Dudayev deposed the Communist leadership in Chechnya and was elected as president of the republic in November of that year. He quickly declared Chechnya independent from Russia and set the fledgling country on a collision course with Moscow. Dudayev proved to be a controversial leader in the three years between 1991-1994 when Chechnya enjoyed de facto independence from Moscow. Backed by a robust security service and heavily armed militias, Dudayev was able to suppress dissent and unrest in the republic and thwart Russia’s many attempts to overthrow him. He struggled to gain international recognition from the start. No other foreign leader, except Georgia’s controversial first post-Soviet president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, recognized Dudayev’s newly named Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Georgia and Chechnya often had a contentious and strained relationship in their early days of independence. With the outbreak of war in Georgia’s Abkhazia region, Dudayev sent his most able field commander, Shamil Basayev, to fight against Georgian government forces. Basayev’s troops played a key role in helping the Russians and Abkhaz rebel forces capture the region’s capital Sukhumi in 1993. Dudayev, however, honored Gamsakhurdia’s recognition by allowing the disgraced ex-poet to take refuge in Grozny after he was ousted from power in a coup in early 1992. After Gamsakhurdia was killed following his return to Georgia in December 1993, Dudayev had his body interred in Grozny, where it was later buried in rubble from constant

Russian bombardments. Gamsakhurdia’s remains were then returned to Georgia in 2007 and given a state funeral by former President Mikheil Saakashvili. By December 1994, Russia’s patience with Dudayev’s rebel republic had come to a head. Chechnya’s crime-ridden economy was in ruins and its open borders with neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan threatened Russia’s fragile financial stability. Moscow’s decision to invade Chechnya and militarily oust Dudayev from power was a fiasco that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Chechens and Russians. Their genocidal campaign to extinguish Chechnya’s independence movement reduced Grozny to a gruesome vision of hell on Earth. Holed up in Grozny’s presidential palace, Dudayev’s single-minded stubbornness kept the Chechen resistance alive as it was continuously pounded by waves of Russian armor and air force attacks, but all the while inflicting massive casualties on Moscow’s beleaguered forces. After two years of fighting and with his troops driven into the same isolated mountain passages that their forefathers had used as cover against the tsar’s armies a century before, Dudayev was killed by a missile strike in April 1996 when Russia’s FSB security services honed in on his mobile phone signal. Though his army would regroup and recapture Grozny later that summer, Dudayev’s death was the end of an era when the Soviet Union’s smaller nationalities dared openly to defy their former imperial masters in the Kremlin. Inspired by the era’s mantra of perestroika and glasnost, Dudayev’s rise to prominence came at a time when a whole host of charismatic and highly controversial national leaders emerged from behind the crowd of grey bureaucrats that made up most of the Soviet elite. That time has passed into the annals of history, largely forgotten in the West and erased from the consciousness of the people who were intended to be the beneficiaries of Dudayev’s and his contemporaries’ efforts.

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MAY 6 - 9, 2016

Shifting Conflict and Security Dynamics in the Caucasus

International experts during the GFSIS panel discussion. Photo: Meri Biniashvili



he Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) hosted a conference last Friday, April 29, to discuss Conflict and Security Dynamics in the Caucasus. The EU-financed assembly brought together leading analysts and scholars from Europe, Georgia and beyond as well as representatives of the international community, including Magdalena Grono, Europe and Central Asia Program Director of the International Crisis Group. In his introduction, Kakha Gogolashvili, a Senior Fellow and Director of EU Studies at GFSIS, touched upon the conflict situation in the Caucasus and spoke on some key factors of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the process of peace and stability in the region. Tom de Waal, Senior Associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, went on to describe the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the recent escalation of the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, underlining the importance of the Minsk Group, which is ‘less active and influential than it should be.’ “When a proposal is made within the Minsk Group meetings, it is relatively easy for one of the parties to reject it,” de Waal said, going on to describe the existing situation in the conflict transformation as ‘poverty in peace processes.’ Discussions regarding Georgia’s occupied regions and restoration of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) at meetings in the Gali region were said to be a positive sign. The decision to restore IPRM meetings in Gali was made in March at the 35th round of the Geneva International Discussions. However, Russia’s key role in protracting the conflicts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region was accentuated. Some experts noted major similarities between

The Minsk Group is less active and influential than it should be

Georgia-Ukraine and Azerbaijan conflicts as they are driven by the Russian side. The experts agreed that there is no low cost solution and international community language in the process, including that of the OSCE, should be less timid. In his speech, Michael Cecire, Associate Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. spoke of the enhanced cooperation between Georgia and the US in military and intelligence spheres. At the same time, the expert noted that while interesting, the Caspian oil and gas products are not a game-changing factor for the West and the overall concentration of western countries in the Caucasus region is declining. Panel speaker Nigar Goksel, Senior Analyst at Turkey’s International Crisis Group discussed Turkey’s engagement in the region, stating that, as the Syria crisis is the key difficulty for Turkey to deal with, the country is unable to show an active role in the Caucasus. Richard Giragosian, Director at Regional Studies Center added to this point by emphasizing that Turkey’s declining engagement in diplomatic and political processes in the Caucasus should be reconsidered in the future. The event was co-organized by the GFSIS (Rondeli Foundation) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

ANALYSIS BY GEORGIA TODAY’S ZVIAD ADZINBAIA The Caucasus region, with its chequered past, has often been a battlefield for diverse regional powers, currently representing Iran, Turkey and Russia. The three countries, former empires, sought to gain influence in the West and East, with Georgia representing a geographical crossroad for them. Hence, Georgia, ‘stuck’ between these giants, has experienced a myriad of interventions, assimilations, annexations or other kinds of existential threats. In this current era, as Georgia is relatively protected by International Law and her partners, such as the US and the EU, it has become a difficult task for a regional force to enter the country and occupy it in spite of strategic aspirations. However, these circumstances did little to contain Russia from occupying 20 percent of Georgia’s territory and further invading Georgia in August 2008. Moreover, Iran, following the western-lifted sanctions, is expected to reengage greatly in the region in the foreseeable future. Even if the historical sentiments of Iran, Turkey or Russia may have, as some think, been rehabilitated, the region of the Caucasus still remains in the midst of divergences between the current regional powers.


Scandalous Details from the London Trial of Vano Chkhartishvili BY MAIA MISHELADZE


he dispute of the Badri Patarkatsishvili family against businessman Vano Chkhartishvili is approaching its end with the family having won the court case in Great Britain. Chkhartishvili tried to appeal the lost case but the court prohibited his doing so. The losing side is now appealing the prohibition at a higher instance court in London. However, before that, let’s have a look at what happened at the London court. The trial took place in Great Britain and was on-going for 20 days, led by “lie detector” Judge Peter Smith, judge of the Royal Court of Justice, world famous for judging high profile cases. Judge Smith’s portfolio includes a variety of well-known “white collar” cases starting from the Qatar Royal Family and ending with the bestseller “Da Vinci Code.” Authors of the Patarkatsishvili suit at the London court were companies owned by the Patarkatsishvili family – ‘Blue Tropic Ltd’ and ‘Coppella Ventures Ltd.’ The defendant was a former business partner of Badri Patarkatsishvili, Ivane (Vano) Chkhartishvili who was interrogated by Judge Smith for four days.

WHAT IS THE CASE ALL ABOUT AND WHO IS INVOLVED? The suit concerned real estate in Georgia and shares in companies registered in Georgia. According to the documentation, shares in the plaintiff companies are owned by the discretional ‘Nile Trust,’ among beneficiary owners of which was Arkadi (Badri) Patarkatsishvili, the Georgian billionaire who died in February 2008 leaving property to his widow and daughters. Ivane Chkhartishvili is a Georgian businessman and former state official who had business relations with Badri Patarkatsishvili.

The majority of deals about ownership rights or share management authority reinforcement were made quickly a short time following Badri Patarkatsishvili’s death


The verdict of Judge Peter Smith reads that the plaintiff gave power of attorney to Giorgi Kavtaradze, a Georgian lawyer who was known to Badri Patarkatsishvili and who started working for Vano Chkhartishvili. He was given the right to manage the property and activities of the plaintiffs. Chkhartishvili assigned Kavtaradze the task of using the power of attorney to transfer shares from plaintiffs to his own property or companies controlled by him. Plaintiffs say that he did not pay anything to transfer ownership of the shares and that the majority of the transfers were made within one month of Badri Patarkatsishvili’s death.

ACTIVITIES THAT WERE THE SUBJECT OF THE DISPUTE: Blue Tropic owned a 92.85% share of the Georgian company JSC Poti Mill, registered on the Georgian stock exchange. According to the plaintiffs, on March 5, 2008, Giorgi Kavtaradze, following the instructions of Vano Chkhartishvili, put the shares up for sale at 4.95 Gel each. On the same day the shares were bought by the company ‘Sonata Alliance Group Ltd’ registered in Georgia, which is owned by ‘Sonata Alliance Inc’ a company registered on the Seychelles Islands, in the beneficiary ownership of Vano Chkhartishvili and his family members. The ‘Coppella’ fraud: ‘Coppella’ had, in 2004, purchased a universal store building located in Tbilisi, at 2/4 Rustaveli Ave., from Zurab Alavidze and ‘GEDEONI LLC’ for USD 900 thousand. On 17 August 2007 Universal Store was sold to ‘Movat Georgia’ for USD 12 mln 275 thousand. ‘Movat Georgia’ transferred the money to the Georgian branch bank account of ‘Coppella,’ which was opened at TBC Bank. Thirteen days later, on August 2007, Giorgi Kavtaradze, following instructions of Vano Chkhartishvili, transferred USD 10 million from the amount received as a result of this sale, from the account of ‘Coppella’ to the account of ‘Sonata Alliance Inc.’ On January 17, 2007, ‘Kopela’ purchased a 100% share of ‘Georgian Tobacco Manufacturing LLC’ registered on the Virginia Islands of Britain from Avtandil Tsereteli. At the end of 2007, upon Vano Chkhartishvili’s instructions, Giorgi Kavtaradze, in the name of ‘Kopela,’ signed the purchase agreement of the shares, according to which, ‘Kopela’ sold its shares of the ‘Georgian Tobacco Production’ to ‘Sonata Alliance Georgia’ for GEL 107,170. On June 3, 2008, ‘Sonata Alliance Georgia’ sold shares of the ‘Georgian Tobacco Production’ to ‘Smart Group.’ At present, 100% share of Smart Group is owned by a Panama company called Pasquino Management Corp. At the time of sale-purchase it was owned by: 51% Natia Chkhartishvili (Vano’s daughter) and 49% Mikheil Chkhartishvili (Vano’s son). Before March 2008, ‘Coppella’ owned 66% of shares in ‘PrometCo’ as well as ‘JSCo.’ Each share was sold to ‘Sonata Alliance Georgia Ltd’ for GEL 66 thousand. The shares were sold at a significantly lower price and again, the amount was not paid.

During the entire interrogation process you have been trying to convince me that in Georgia robbing a deceased friend is a common tradition On December 30, 2004, with a real estate purchase agreement, ‘Coppella’ bought 3,577 sq.m. land in Lilo for 200 thousand USD from Zurab Alavidze and ‘GEDEONI LLC’ along with the 610.9 sq.m. buildings on this land and the 138 sq.m. land plot on Kolmeurneoba Square, Tbilisi, for USD 100 thousand . On August 16, 2006, Giorgi Kavtaradze in the name of ‘Kopela,’ signed a real estate purchase agreement, with which ‘Kopela’ alienated the abovementioned real estate to ‘Sonata Alliance Georgia Ltd’ and to the company ‘Management Consulting’ owned by Vano Chkhartishvili. The latter sold property to ‘Smart Group,’ in which at that time 51% of shares were owned by Vano Chkhartishvili and 49% by his son Mikheil Chkhartishvili. On March 6, 2008, Giorgi Kavtaradze signed another purchase agreement in the name of ‘Kopela’ with which ‘Kopela’ alienated the land in Lilo along with buildings on it to ‘Sonata Alliance Georgia Ltd’ for GEL 361 thousand. In this case again, the property was sold at a very low price and the amount was not paid. Chkhartishvili does not object that some of the mentioned deals truly took place but he puts under question the outcomes and demands put forward by the Badri Patarkatsishvili family. The conclusion of the judge reads: “The entire documentation proves that activities behind these companies in the end were subordinate to offshore trusts (company, which conducts mediatory functions and is based on trust relations), the eventual beneficiary owner of which was Badri Patarkatsishvili, which is proven by the following documentation. On October 24, 2007, Badri Patarkatsishvili was assigned by the Liechtenstein law (based on which ‘Miselva’ was registered) to indicate beneficiary owners of the plaintiff. He and Mr. Baker signed legal status declarations. Baker is a higher court lawyer of England and Wales and works as a professional attorney of the owner. Currently, he is the managing director of the specialized trust company of Liechtenstein, which was earlier called ‘Miselva Establishment.’ In his testimony, Baker explains: “I

have never seen any proof that any other person apart from Badri was the eventual owner of Nile Trust activities, including companies. Before the companies asked me to give testimony for this dispute, I had never heard the name of Vano Chkhartishvili and knew nothing about his existence.” The plaintiffs presented significant documentation to the London court, which undermined Chkhartishvili’s position. In the end, they presented documentation created for the Liechtenstein bodies and signed by Badri Patarkatsishvili. The main witness of Chkhartishvili was Joseph Key who has been prohibited from filing a suit to the British courts. Judge Peter Smith evaluated the testimonies and evidence of the defendant side in the following way: “In my opinion, witnesses called by Vano Chkhartishvili were inadequate and some obviously undermined Vano’s testimony, especially Joseph Key who was characterized in the final testimony of plaintiffs as a well-known swindler and as having been was in court at the expense of the Badri Patarkatsishvili family, in order to build self-PR. Vano Chkhartishvili called Mr. Key even though he knew that in various courts of the world there were condemnatory decisions against him. Based on all that, the conclusion is that Key in fact is not a trustworthy witness.” Judge Smith also outlines: “As for Chkhartishvili, Vano gave testimony for almost four days; he was counter interrogated by lawyer Smouha. He said that debts of Poti Tsiskvilkarkhana made up USD 5 million, the purchase was made quickly without checking the proper legal and financial situation. Creditors, once finding out that the owner of the control package of shares was billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, started bothering him and organizing protest rallies in front of his house. This is why there was an agreement that he would be responsible for the development of Poti Tsiskvilkarkhana and the profit would be shared 50/50…” Judge Peter Smith writes in his conclusion: “Based on Vano’s testimony I finally conclude that beneficiary owner of the Poti Tsiskvilkarkhana was Badri but he gave Vano the authority to manage the company and receive 50% of profit as a salary. Vano had not invested any money in the Poti Tsiskvilkarkhana and eventually became the beneficiary owner of it. I do not share his testimony. In my opinion, Vano made up the testimony to show that he took the responsibility and deals were changed. Before that, in the project, Badri invested the money and the work was done by Vano. This was an attempt to justify appropriation of all shares. In my opinion, deals related to the Poti Tsiskvilkarkhana were just as the plaintiffs described. In particular, Badri invested the initial amount of USD 1.5 million and this company was in his ownership through Nile Trust. Vano’s task was to receive half of the profit after paying the credit of Badri.” This is how Vano Chkhartishvili is evaluated in the final decision of the judge. Judge Peter Smith raised the question as to whether Vano’s conduct was legal

from the Georgian criminal law perspective- money laundering and corruption, which is a punishable action and is subject to imprisonment. This conclusion was made by the judge after interrogation about the episodes of the Tbilisi universal store purchase and its alienation by Chkhartishvili, Chkhartishvili claimed of the building purchased by Patarkatsishvili for USD 900 thousand that he paid part of it - USD 450 thousand with the amount that he kept in a safe and another half taken as a loan from the bank. At that time an MP, Chkhartishvili has not indicated this amount in his property declaration. This is what Judge Smith writes in his conclusion: “As a political figure, there was an expectation that Vano would submit the property declaration. In the declaration of 2004 or 2005, he would reflect the purchased real estate and declare cash, which he did not do. He either violated Georgian law or lied to me.” The majority of deals about ownership rights or share management authority reinforcement were made quickly a short time following Badri Patarkatsishvili’s death. At a London court, Vano Chkhartishvili explained that he did this in order to save the property. However, after hearing tens of witnesses, and reviewing much evidence, Judge Peter Smith concluded:

Some [witnesses] undermined Vano’s testimony, especially Joseph Key who was characterized in the final testimony of plaintiffs as a well-known swindler “Vano appropriated illegally. According to English law, this is illegal appropriation but there has been no material demand in this dispute, which is a ground of suit considered by British law. It should be confirmed that Vano’s action is illegal and suits on possible illegal actions like this are not limited with the aging constraints in Georgia.” Judge Peter Smith gave a hard verdict to Chkhartishvili – he is required to reimburse all costs of the court trial in London, which might total several million USD. However, no less hard was the moral verdict of the judge: “During the entire interrogation process you have been trying to convince me that in Georgia robbing a deceased friend is a common tradition.”



MAY 6 - 9, 2016


Nothing We Can’t Escape: The Easter Epistle The Epistle openly emphasizes the importance of employment and says with no reservation that all will be good with us if people have access to jobs that can support them and their families. One of the points of major concern in the Epistle is the problem with kids living on the streets and who should not be left to the discretion of street rules and lifestyle. My interpretation of this part of the Patriarch’s Easter appeal to His wide parish, comprising the entire nation, is that part of the country’s potential might be in the children who are today left to the mercy of the street but tomorrow might present themselves to our society as honest taxpayers and movers of the nation forward. Including those wayward kids into useful

The Georgian Orthodox Patriarch delivers his Easter Epistle



ood things are well appreciated in this culture and bad ones are taken with fear and apprehension. We are emotionally motivated and impulsively operating folks, and this is either good or bad – I don’t really know. What I know for sure is that we are oversensitive in our reactions to somebody else’s words and behavior and blunder-prone in judgments, especially in quick ones. We are Christians –Orthodox – who diligently go to church and listen to sermons and epistles as they occur, but I am not sure how well we are learning from those inspirational precepts. The other day, I watched and listened – on the television– to the Patriarch’s Easter Epistle and I came under the impression that the ideas sounded in it were very much part of our contemporary secular life and absolutely fit into the model of rational human behavior which we lack here in Georgia. It occurred to me that standing in church for hours faithfully holding long burn-

ing candles on Easter or Christmas night is not enough to be a good Christian. Unless the faith – no matter how strong it might be – is supported by wits to understand and willingness to listen to sermons and epistles, the efforts of a spiritual leader are doomed to be in vain and will never trickle down to an acceptable human behavior in favor of society in general and a churchgoer in particular. One of the Patriarch’s valuable messages was that sin has not only a pernicious but also a destructive influence on us. We need to hear this on an everyday basis, because even if we are aware of the destructive nature our sins, we are still headed for it either consciously or unconsciously because this is a regular and hardly avoidable human proclivity. Who would know better than us how sinful we have been or are presently? And although it is said that the sin confessed is a sin redressed, its effect may not be remedied that easily. Somebody has to be instilling the sin’s consequences in our minds on a regular basis. This is exactly what the Patriarch is doing by emphasizing the destructive character of our sins. It is obvious that not sinning is a far better idea than first sinning and then confessing it, although

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the act of repentance has its particular manning in our existence. Another precept which I heard in the Epistle: we have to get closer to God! This should partly mean, as I understood, that we are not capable of getting rid of our sinister disposition, being the slaves of our unbridled passions. We need to learn how to observe our own conduct in general and how to practice analytical thinking, discerning clearly between good and evil. His Holiness said that living righteously means successfully merging in ourselves our physical, mental and spiritual lives. It is also noted in the Epistle that we should not get used to a blurry and confused way of thinking and must not use vulgar language to express ourselves. How timely and relevant a remark! Our society is unwittingly, if not deliberately, destroying the Georgian language – its strength and flexibility, its richness and loftiness, its inner depth and the potential to serve the nation in every possible respect, and make us feel proud because we are one of those nations of the world who use their own tongue and writing. We hear and read vulgarisms in the street, on the television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, which do us no credit or honor.

activity is one of the greatest obligations our people have, says the Patriarch. Indeed it is! This must be a purely governmental sphere of obligation and society might only have a correct attitude towards what the State is doing. Men and women in the street could certainly afford alms for those kids, but nobody is sure about the moral side of this kind of charity – would this be a right thing to do or not? Let the dead bury their own dead, as the Bible says, which, to my mind, means that our needs have to be taken care of accordingly, but not neglecting our spiritual calling in the meantime. And the final accord of the Easter Epistle: there is no situation you can’t escape – simple but truly encouraging!




MAY 6 - 9, 2016

A Likely Gamble: Mestia, Svaneti BY TONY HANMER


don’t go to Mestia much at the moment, as my car’s in need of some repairs and most of our shopping is best done lower down, where things are quite a bit cheaper. But when I do find myself there, if I have time I always try to catch up with old friends from my years in Svaneti and especially from the school year my wife and I spent there before moving to Etseri. Our main hosts there were Vitia Chartolani and his wife Roza Shukvani, who run Roza’s guest house. I have written about them here several times before, about how wonderful our months with them were and the lasting friendship we have made with their very kind family. This last visit was a few weeks ago, my first opportunity to see how their new venture is coming

along. Roza and Vitia have decided to expand, in a big way, by building their own hotel in Mestia. The guest house has done well, growing in popularity and success year after year, and this is a logical next step. It’s one which must put quite a lot of stress their way, I would think, judging by the scale of it: a three story building with more than twenty bedrooms, most with ensuite bathrooms, as well as a restaurant and a separate sauna. Nice piece of land, with good views of the town and surrounding mountains, no possibility of the immediate views being blocked. Some fruit trees going in too, for shade, and patio seating as well as some really nice large windows from the restaurant via which to sample those landscapes. I have also written about a certain well-renovated large hotel in the town, which though beautifully done was a major disappointment on more than one occasion in terms of service. I complained, not in angry tones but to say, You need to know

that this type of thing will only hurt your PR, so please improve it. I don’t expect that Roza and her people will have similar issues with their venture, as they were unfailingly superb in serving us and making us feel at home. This, I think, has been a huge reason for their rise to the top in Mestia’s fiercely competitive hospitality business of the last few years since Saakashvili first rolled in for business. This article isn’t just a plug for some of my favorite people in Mestia. It’s to say that they believe that what they are doing can be not only successful but also meaningful. It can affect the mood and atmosphere of the whole place, inspiring others to dare, hiring quite a number of other people in construction, finishing, service, interpretation, guiding, and so on. My wife and I felt the same about our little shop experiment in Etseri; about which more soon.

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Now, when Mestia is without the attention of Saakashvili and his frequent, highly energetic visits and renovation projects, when many people are indeed wondering what will happen next- parilamentary elections in the fall, big ramifications- Roza and Vitia are saying, We will push forward with our dreams. Not that we need to become millionaires, but we’ve found something we’re good at and have a passion for. I can only agree with them and wish them every success, because I expect that their flourishing will indeed have a positive effect on the whole of Mestia. Go for it! Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1300 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




International Jazz Day – Easter Gift from the Ministry of Culture

Photo by Gela Bedianashvili



hey say there are very few countries where so many youngsters go to jazz concerts as they do in Georgia. This is the victory of Georgian jazzmen who risked their lives and positions, who did not fear the Soviet years and held jazz concerts from the late 1970s. The tradition is continued by the latest generation. In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people from all corners of the globe. In Georgia, International Jazz Day was also marked. The event to celebrate International Jazz Day, a concert featuring ‘Volcan,’ was supported by the US Embassy in Georgia, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Tbilisi City Hall. The world-famous band ‘Volcan’ unites Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Grammyaward winning Afro-Cuban Pianist, Joze Armando Gola on guitar, and Horacio ‘El Negro’ Hernandez on drums- Cuban

musicians following in the footsteps of their countrymen Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Ignacio Berroa, and others, creating a multicolored and rich musical heritage within the last 5 years, included in around 150 albums. As a prologue to the main show, at the Event Hall, the Orchestra of the National Plural Guards under the Armed Forces performed such popular jazz hits as: ‘In the Mood’ by Joe Garland, ‘Blue Rondo a La Turke’ by Dave Brubeck, and ‘Cantaloupe Island’ by Herbie Hancock. “We all want to live in a jazz world where we all work together, improvise together, and are not afraid of taking chances and expressing ourselves,” says Herbie Hancock, jazz guru, co-founder of the International Jazz Day, and Ambassador of Goodwill of UNESCO. Entrance to the gig was free. “Since 2014, the Ministry has been an organizer and initiator of the Day,” Giorgi Aptsiauri, Head of the Culture Popularization Division under the Ministry of Culture told us. “This year, there was a record in terms of the number of countries which marked the Day – 196 in total. We invited representatives of the central authorities, diplomats, central and regional musicians to the Tbilisi con-

cert,” he said, going on to reveal a fantastic piece of news: “We have received e-mails from UNESCO informing us that Tbilisi is being discussed in the first category of potential venues for the next International Jazz Day. If not in 2017, hopefully, this will happen in 2018.” ”It is already a ritual to celebrate International Jazz Day annually. This is our victory,” said Gaioz Kandelaki, ‘godfather’ of jazz in Georgia. “Where before I was coming to jazz concerts with my friends, now one of them has brought his granddaughter with him. Even back in 1989, when we had a festival in Tbilisi, we saw great interest from the Georgian youth, however, due to the subsequent wars, it fell out of the schedule. Now, we have two great festivals (Tbilisi and Black Sea) that are included in the lists of many civilized countries.” GEORGIA TODAY also spoke to Dini Virsaladze, famous female jazz pianist: “Rubalcaba is one of my favorite performers. He was here quite recently and gave a great concert and a master-class. I’m very happy that this time he is with a band who are stars in their own right.” This was the 5th anniversary since Irina Bokova and Herbie Hancock founded the International Jazz Day. The hub of the event was Washington DC and namely the White House, where President Obama and the First Lady of the United States hosted outstanding global stars: Herbie Hancock, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Hugh Masekela, and others. From this list, almost all have been to Tbilisi. The first International Jazz Day was held in 2012 in Paris, New York and New Orleans, annually shifting its central place in different cities of the world, hosting galas ample with legendary jazz musicians, singing about peace, tolerance and freedom. Last year, the Japanese city Osaka hosted the main occasion dedicated to the International Jazz Day. Which city will be the next – Tbilisi?

‘Late Love’ by the Greatest Russian Realist Playwright BY MAKA LOMADZE


he Tbilisi Alexander Griboyedov State Russian Drama Theater will play host to a premiere of ‘Late Love’ by famous Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky on May 6, 7 and 18. Alexander Ostrovsky is the most frequently read and staged dramatist in Russia, considered as the greatest representative of Russian realism. Nevertheless, unlike those of his contemporaries Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Turgenev, Ostrovsky’s works are little known outside of Russian-speaking countries. The two that are fairly well-known in the West got there mostly because they were adapted for operas: ‘Katya Kabanova’ (based on ‘The Storm’), and ‘The Snow Maiden’ by Rimsky-Korsakov. Ostrovsky wrote mostly of the conservative ‘old Russia’, the traditional Russian society— of the everyday life of merchants and poor city dwellers— in short, the subjects that seemed to attract little interest in the West. Ostrovsky, who lived in the 19th century during the Russian Empire

and who almost single-handedly created the Russian stage repertoire, is the author of 47 plays. He was also considered to be a driving force for the new, authentic Russian literature. The so-called “Ostrovsky circle” united many of his non-literary friends, among them actor Prov Sadovsky, musician and folklorist Terty Filippov, mer-

chant Ivan Shanin, and shoe-maker Sergey Volkov, all attracted by the idea of Russian national revival (narodnost). It was then that Ostrovsky, initially a Westernizer, started to drift towards Slavophiles. It was in the Rostopchina Salon that he first met the young Ivan Turgenev. This weekend’s melodrama, staged by Nugzar Lortkipanidze, is in two acts. The stage painter is Jeiran Pachuashvili while the musical decoration belongs to Giorgi Kakuberi. The actors are: Oleg Mchedhlishvili, Natalia Voriniuk, Irina Kvijhinadze, Vasil Gabashvili, Dmitri Sporishev, Irina Meghvinetukhutsesi, Zurab Chipashvili, Nana Darchiashvili, Mikheil Gavasheli, Davit Kotov, Demetre Nakopia, and Vladimir Novosardov. “I have tried to make the performance look graphic and very simple, but at the same time supreme and romantic,” says the director Nugzar Lortkipanidze. “What is the difference if the love is late or early? Those in love are always young. However, with Ostrovsky, love is not late because the heroes are older, but because they realized it later.” Start times: 18:00 Address: Rustaveli 2 Ticket price: 5 Gel

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MAY 6 - 9, 2016


GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 7 RAMONA Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari May 12 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRING Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 May 6, 7 LATE LOVE A. Ostrovsky Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari May 8 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari May 8 VAUDEVILLE, VAUDEVILLE Directed by Vakhtang Nikolava Musical Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari TUMANISHVILI THEATRE Address: 164 D. Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 28 99; 2 35 70 13 www.tumanishvilitheatre.ge May 6, 7, 8 * Premiere ZORN Nino Kharatishvili Directed by Nino Kharatishvili Language: German Georgian Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari

MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 6, 7 INTRO Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari May 8 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 May 6 ST. GEORGE Revaz Mishveladze Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari May 10 TERENTI GRANELI Revaz Mishveladze Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 6-12 CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson Language: English Start time: 18:45 Language: Russian Start time: 16:00, 18:45, 19:00, 22:15 Ticket price: 10-14 Lari THE CORRESPONDENCE Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore

Genre: Drama, Romance Cast: Olga Kurylenko, Jeremy Irons, Shauna Macdonald Language: Russian Start time: 16:10, 22:15 Ticket price: 11-16 Lari MOTHER’S DAY Directed by Garry Marshall Genre: Comedy, Drama Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts Language: Russian Start time: 15:30 Ticket price: 9, 10 Lari THE MODEL Directed by Mads Matthiesen Genre: Drama Cast: Anders Frithiof August, Mads Matthiesen Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket price: 11-12 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 5-12 CRIMINAL Directed by Ariel Vromen Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Cast: Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot Language: Russian Start time: 17:15 Ticket price: 11-12 Lari BEFORE I WAKE Directed by Mike Flanagan Genre: Horror, Thriller Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane Language: Russian Start time: 20:15, 22:30 Ticket price: 13-14 Lari MOTHER’S DAY (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:15, 22:00 Ticket price: 8-14 Lari CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Info Above)

Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 13:00, 16:1, 19:30, 22:35 Ticket price: 8-14 Lari MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can enjoy the State’s personal files of “subversive” Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors where visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 May 5-12 PHOTO EXHIBITION BY PROMINENT GEORGIAN AND DAGESTAN ARTIST MANABA MAGOMEDOVA The exhibition will feature about 70 photos shot in Dagestan and Georgia in 1950-1970.

ART PALACE Address: 6 Kargareteli Str. Telephone: 295 35 63 April 8 – May 8 Exhibition THE TREASURES FROM GEORGIAN NOBLE FAMILIES May 10- May 17 ANDRIS AND MARIA LIEPA’S EXHIBITION GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze April 21 – May 10 F63.9 EXHIBITION BY CONTEMPORARY ARTIST ZURAB ARABIDZE April 26 – May 11 EXHIBITION “REVIVED HISTORY” Georgian National Museum’s restored Jewish collections Supported by Rothschild Grant CHUBINASHVILI NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER Address: 9 Atoneli Str. Telephone: 2 93 15 38 May 5-18 TAMAZ KHUTSISHVILI’S PERSONAL EXHIBITION DIDI GALLERY Address: 36 Kostava Str. May 5-12 SANDRO ANTADZE’S SOLO EXHIBITION THE HIGH FLIGHT AND MUSIC EVENT BY ETHNIC WARRIORS MUSIC

TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 May 10 A STUDIO Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 80-150 May 12 CONCERT SUPPORTING SINGER JABA BOJGUA Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10-20 TBILISI ART HALL Address: 26 Ts. Dadiani Ave. Telephone: 551 60 08 44 May 7 GOGOCHURI SISTERS SOLO CONCERT Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 10, 12 JAM SESSION WITH RESO KIKNADZE QUINTET Start time: 21:00 Free entry May 11 TANGO MILONGA Start time: 21:00 Tango Lesson: 5 Lari




Chess Legend Nona Gaprindashvili’s Star Opens in Tbilisi BY EKA KARSAULIDZE


ive-time world chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili was awarded her name on a Star in the yard of Tbilisi’s Chess Palace, which is also named after her. The ceremony coincided with her 75th birthday on May 3. Despite her age, she still continues to gain victories for Georgia in international tournaments. “Nona Gaprindashvili, for all Georgians and for many people in the world, is a symbol of two things: victory of intelligence and a fighting spirit. For me, she is a person who should be honored,” said Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the award ceremony. Born in the western Georgian city of Zugdidi in 1941, Gaprindashvili became the world’s first five-time chess cham-

pion from 1962 to 1978. Thanks to her universal style of play, she could fight on equal terms with men at international tournaments and holds the unique status of being the first female chess player awarded the title of Chess Grandmaster among male competitors. She stands alongside Maia Chiburdanidze, Nana Alexandria, and Nana Ioseliani as a famous Georgian woman chess player, all of them gaining the greatest victories in the international arena. Gaprindashvili was honored as Chess Champion of the Soviet Union five times between 1964 and 1985 and won 11 chess Olympiad tournaments from 1963 to 1992. She was officially recognized as the greatest Georgian female sportsperson of the 20th Century in 1999 and has served as Honorary President of Georgia’s National Olympic Committee since 1996. She has been highly recognized in Georgia, and not only had Tbilisi’s Chess Palace named after her in 2001 but was

Nona Gaprindashvili, the world’s first five-time chess champion and the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili

granted the Order of Excellence of Georgia in 2015. “Nona Gaprindashvili has made an invaluable contribution to the development of sport and social activities in

our country. Over the years, she has consistently strived to create a worthy heritage and popularization of Georgia around the world,” said President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Gaprindashvili continues to gain victories – she is the winner of four Women’s World Senior Championships in 1995, 2009, 2014 and most recently in November 2015.

UEFA European Championship in Gudauri Marco Polo


xcitement, entertainment and live broadcasting in the alpine mountains 2000 meters above sea level! On 10th June, Hotel Gudauri Marco Polo will be organizing the Grand Opening of UEFA Euro 2016 and inviting along a number of Georgian football celebrities. For the whole month throughout the championship, people from various spheres will be invited, including Rugby players, journalists, bankers, doctors, artists and foreign tourists. Media will actively cover these events and a large screen for live broadcasts will be installed on the hotel terrace. Hotel Gudauri Marco Polo and Hotel

Alpina will offer special prices during Euro 2016. Partner companies booking one room can get a second room free of charge. We will be offering free beer to our special guests and everybody who joins. An online gambling company will give an opportunity to place bets in the hotel for those lovers of games of chance. In case of partnership your company will have an opportunity to: • hold promotional activities • create its own fan club • distribute advertising material • be mentioned as a partner on our Facebook page • get support for arranging other advertising projects



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mako Burduli



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Photographer: Zviad Nikolaishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava


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

+995 595 279997 E-mail: marketing@ georgiatoday.ge

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

Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #841  

May 06 - 09, 2016

Issue #841  

May 06 - 09, 2016