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August 7 - 13, 2015



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Pr esident Mar gv elashvili Vetoes President Margv gvelashvili

Contr over sial Bill on the Contro ersial


AtlasGlobal Geor gia Georgia Signs MoU with GNT A GNTA to De velop Tourism Dev



Margvelashvili: “I am the President elected by the Georgian people – the President, who took an oath of office not before Georgian Dream, but before the population of Georgia to serve not a political party, but to serve the country.” P.4

Tbilisi R ead y ffor or Super Cup Read eady Feast of Spanish F ootball Football One to tell the kids (and grandkids) about: Georgia gears up for next week’s once-in-alifetime match. P.23



All Planned in 2006: Wha ussia hatt does R Russia Ha ve in Stor e ffor or Hav Store Geor gia Ne xt? Georgia Next? With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg set to open the NATO training center in Georgia on August 26, political scientists are predicting what Russia plans to pull out of the hat after the counter-sanctions hit P.6 Georgia.



ISSUE No.778

ENP ARD Pr omotes ENPARD Promotes Colla bor ation Collabor bora betw een Geor gian between Georgian Businesses and Local F ar mer s Far armer mers


Possib le R ussian ossible Russian Embar go – Fiasco in Embarg Economic R ela tions Rela elations tions,, or P olitical Trade? Political Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Russian Relations, talks trade and politics. P.13 NEW!

Meet GeorgiaToday online with this week’s Top Picks P.8 from our website



AUGUST 7 - 13

Kazakhstan R atif ies Trea ty Ra tifies eaty of Accession of Kyr gyzstan to the EEU yrg

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, ratifies the treaty of accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EEU.

By Eka Karsaulidze On August 4 2015, Kazakhstan has become the last country to ratify the treaty of accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EEU. The document was earlier ratified by the authorities of Armenia, Belarus and Russia. Following the completion of all interstate procedures, the Kyrgyz government plans to hold a grand opening of the borders with the EEU. The opening ceremony is tentatively scheduled for the end of this week. The Treaty on the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EAEC was signed at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow in December last year. President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev signed the law on ratification of international agreements with the Eurasian Economic Union on May 22. The press service of the Eurasian

Economic Commission noted that Kyrgyzstan, as a new partner in the Eurasian Union, can expect a number of positive effects from the union, the key attractions named as: · an increase in turnover due to the removal of barriers and minimizing administrative costs; · an increase in the mobility of migrant workers due to the country’s accession to the single labor market and to obtaining preferences along with the citizens of the recipient countries. Kyrgyzstan’s entry into the EEU will also improve the sustainability of economic development by reducing the isolating effect of the economy, increasing the development of infrastructure projects, and upping the country’s participation in shaping the global economic agenda through the mechanisms of the Eurasian Economic Union. Kyrgyzstan decided to join the Customs Union in the spring of 2011.

Go ver nment Chang es: a Quic k Fix or Gov ernment Changes: Quick Something tha eal R ef or ms? thatt Leads to R Real Ref efor orms? By Steven Jones Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has reshuffled part of the governmental team presenting Giorgi Mgebrishvili as the Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) and Kakha Kakhishvili as the Minister of Corrections and Probation. Replacing Giorgi Mgebrishvili, Kakhishvili is believed to be an efficient leader of the executive body. He previously worked as the First Deputy Minister of the same structure. At the same time, Kakhishvili is a member of the Experts’ Club and the State Constitutional Commission as well as the Criminal System Reforms Interagency Coordination Council. Kakhishvili’s expert activism and popularity grew when the Georgian Dream coalition won the parliamentary elections of 2012. The GD-loyal expert was supported by the coalition, as he appeared to be one of the defenders of the GD politics in diverse aspects, including political issues. As for head of the Interior Ministry, the post had been unoccupied since Vakhtang Gomelauri, the former head of the structure was appointed as head of the newly created Security Service, which was officially separated from MIA from August 1, 2015. The new Minister, Giorgi Mgebrishvili, aged 45, is a graduate of Tbilisi State University’s law school. He started his career completing an internship at the Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department in 1997. At different times, Mgebrishvili has worked at the MIA, Finance Ministry and Revenue Service, until becoming a Minister of Corrections in 2014. While Prime Minister Garibashvili hopes that the newly appointed Mgebrishvili will be successful in his work, there is public opinion which suggests that neither Mgebrishvili nor Kakhishvili will be independent, but rather

Ivanishvili-governed candidacies in the government. Moreover, it is believed by expert and civil society that Ivanishvili, who is alleged to be ruling unofficially from the backstage, orchestrates most of the members of the government. Garibashvili says there were extremely important reforms carried out within the penitentiary system, whereas many evidence of mistreatment is still present. “We have implemented significant reforms at the Ministry of Corrections. The entire system was changed. Violations of human rights, torture and abusive treatment were completely eliminated at our penitentiary institutions; such things that were commonplace when Saakashvili was President,” the PM stated. He underlines that it is the first time in history that the country has spent millions on the treatment of inmates. Garibashvili claims Mghebrishvili has totally transformed the infrastructure and classified prisoners according to risk factor, adding that the ex-Minister is also involved in an innovative project that will use electronic bracelets to allow prisoners to be monitored while they are temporarily released to visit relatives.

ANALYSIS: The two structures, MIA and the penitentiary system, have been one of the most sensitive for the country over the last 20 years. There were quite hard times, when Mikheil Saakashvili’s government officially started fighting rganized crime and corruption with the tool of Zero Tolerance, which put plenty of individuals in prison. However, combating the criminal seems to have included some elements of power abuse, which ultimately forced the reformer government to end their 9-year rule in 2012. Notwithstanding some failures of the ex-government, the new one was expected to be much more efficient in this regard, successfully continuing the reforms started by their predecessors. Instead, there are no tangible, considerable aspects changed in the systems. Moreover, media and civil society continually reveal facts that the institution of ‘Thieves in Law’ is on the stage of empowering itself, through breaking the system from within, which clearly means that the two Ministries need to be much more proactive and reformsoriented to keep the systems healthy. Are these governmental changes again a short-term fix-up or something that leads to real reforms?

Baku-Tbilisi-Erzur um Under Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Reconstr uction After Explosion econstruction By Eka Karsaulidze A section of the Baku-TbilisiErzurum (South Caucasus ) gas pipeline was damaged in an explosion which passed through the Sarikamis district, a province of Kars in north-eastern Turkey, on August 4. The Turkish state pipeline company Botas started restoration of the damaged area the same day. The exact cause of the incident is not yet known, but the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, Taner


Yildiz, claims it was a terrorist attack. No-one was hurt during the explosion and the supply of gas through the pipeline has been stopped until reconstruction works are complete. According to the Trend News Agency, there was almost no gas in the pipeline during the explosion due to maintenance work being carried out on the platform in the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, also called the South Caucasus pipeline, is required for Azerbaijani gas export

from the Shah Deniz field. The pipeline originates at the terminal near Baku, goes through Georgia and ends in the Turkish city of Erzurum, where the gas distribution hub is located. The exploded gas pipeline is operated by Turkish company Botas, and as such the issue of its security is Ankara’s responsibility. Its technical operator from Baku to the Georgian-Turkey border is British Petroleum Company, commercial operator – SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan).



AUGUST 7 - 13

Pr esident Mar gv elashvili Vetoes Contr over sial President Margv gvelashvili Contro ersial Bill on the Na tional Bank of Geor gia (NBG) National Georgia Pr esident Mar gv elashvili Vetoed Contr over sial Bill on the NBG Sa ying President Margv gvelashvili Contro ersial Saying He Took an Oa th bef or e the Geor gian P opula tion, Not the GD P ar befor ore Georgian Popula opulation, Oath Par arty ty By Nino Japarashvili Giorgi Margvelashvili’s decision to veto the bill on the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) did not come as a surprise on July 31. The bill, initiated by two MPs: Tamaz Mechiauri, from the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GD) party and Nodar Ebanoidze, from the Republican Party, had become controversial immediately after its submission to the legislative body on May 21. The proposal envisaged setting up a Financial Supervisory Agency which would be in charge of monitoring and supervising the banking sector and other financial institutions, the functions which are currently carried out by departments of the central bank of Georgia. Different stakeholders, including international financial institutions, business associations, opposition parties, a group of civil society organizations and the NBG itself, have criticized the proposal. Most of the critics cited the bill as being motivated by political reasons rather than economic ones, as it was initiated amid attacks from GD senior politicians against NBG President Giorgi Kadagidze. The central bank chief, whose term in office expires in February 2016, had become a target of attacks from GD politicians after the depreciation of national currency, as by May 2015 the Georgian Lari, which averaged 1.75 from 1995 until 2014, had decreased to 2.26 against the US Dollar.

On May 25, in a joint statement, business associations in Georgia said that the draft bill posed a threat not only to the banking system, but also to the country’s business and investment climate. In a joint letter to PM Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, the International Monetary Fund (IMF); European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank also called for keeping banking supervision inside the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). Addressing the stakeholders’ worries, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament personally assured that the legislative body was not going to finalize its work on the proposed bill until all issues of concern were agreed. As Parliament passed the proposal with its third reading on July 17, GD lawmakers and government said that in order to put the bill in line with international financial organizations’ recommendations, the initial bill was amended before it got final approval from the parliament. Involved stakeholders remained unconvinced. Azim Sadikov, IMF resident representative to Georgia, noted that some issues still were unaddressed. The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) delegation, which came to visit to Georgia on July 26-27, also expressed further concern on the legislative amendments regarding the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) and its financial supervision powers,

reminding the Georgian government that “independence of the monetary policy from political influence should be safeguarded.” President Giorgi Margvelashvili, explaining his decision to veto the proposed bill last Friday, said the President’s Administration has been critical towards both the process through which the bill was adopted and its content. “Such hasty decisions may have an impact on the country’s macroeconomic stability and efficient implementation of monetary policy,” the President noted. Contrary to Parliament’s version, the alternative proposal of the President’s administration leaves the financial supervisory functions under the National Bank of Georgia. The President noted that this version is an optimal option for addressing the issue. Unsurprised by the President’s decision, the GD party members in their commentary focused on political factors. One of the initiators of the draft bill, head of the Budget and Finance Committee of Georgian Parliament, Tamaz Mechiauri, said President Margvelasvili was elected by Bidzina Ivanishvili and people voted for him because of Ivanishvili. Another GD party member, Vice-Speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze, further added that President Margvelashvili’s decision to veto the bill is in line with the agenda of the United National Movement (UNM), the former ruling party and current opposition in Georgian Parliament.

Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia.

“I am the President elected by the Georgian people – the President, who took an oath of office not before the Georgian Dream, but before the population of Georgia to serve not a political party, but to serve the country,” President Margvelashvili said in response to the GD politicians. He further explained that veto is not an institute for political confrontation, but is a constitutional mechanism in cases when it is possible to achieve effective legislation, and support the strengthening and developing of the state. According to Margvelashvili, any attempt to portray the President in alliance with the opposition dam-

ages the ruling party and empowers the opposition. During Giorgi Margvelashvili’s two years in office, this is the third presidential veto. The previous two were overridden by Parliament. The GD ruling coalition holds 86 seats in a 150 seat legislative body, where at least 76 votes are needed to overpower a President’s decision. It is most likely that the presidential veto on the NBG will also be overridden by the ruling coalition, as in the two previous cases. President Margvelashvili’s blocking of the bill, however, does give an opportunity for MPs to revise their decision.

Mar gv elashvili Ag ain R eluctant Margv gvelashvili Again Reluctant to F ollo w GD P olitics Follo ollow Politics

President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Photo from

By Steven Jones “I am the President elected by the population of Georgia who swore an oath to this nation and not to Georgian Dream,”stated President Giorgi

Margvelashvili in response to Prime Minister Garibashvili’s speech on the President’s ‘affiliation’ to the United National Movement. The president says the foundation of all his speeches, vetoes and political

views is Georgian Dream’s election program of 2012-2013. Margvelashvili emphasizes that he has never neglected the election program of GD, but notably refrained from commenting whether or not the whole coalition is following the same path. “When I see that a bill – any bill - is against the country’s fundamental interests, I will not be afraid or keep my mouth shut, because we are on the same team. I will speak the truth despite the fact that this action will inevitably be followed by political campaigns - because I believe it is right for Georgia,” the Georgian President noted. Looking back to the recent past, after the 2013 presidential elections, Giorgi Margvelashvili, who was widely

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supported by the Georgian Dream coalition and personally Bidzina Ivanishvili, soon became an aberrant political figure to his own team. The former university rector not only entered the GD-hated presidential palace, but also blocked a number of GD legislative proposals, including one about the media. Moreover, he accused Ivanishvili of ruling from the backstage after the former PM showed his dissatisfaction towards the president. It was Margvelashvili who, unlike some of his team members, openly named the Russian Federation an occupant country and called for pragmatic and rational politics while different high-ranking politicians played their appeasement politics with Russia.

There were many endeavors from the government to cut some real tools from the president’s institution, from which one was creating an alternative structure of Crisis Management Council besides the President-led National Security Council. Currently, the issues against the President concern the National Bank (NBG) and the pardoning of UNM Kako Bobokhidze’s brother from prison, for which Garibashvili called Margvelashvili a ‘truly national president’. Yet the decisions of the president were also supported by the public and civil society who believed that vetoing the proposal on the NBG was right and pardoning said prisoner met justice standards.

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AUGUST 7 - 13

All Planned in 2006: What does Russia Have in Store for Georgia Next? By Zaza Jgharkava Tbilisi is meeting the start of the August, seven years on from the 2008 War, with empty hands again. Until now, the crawling annexation and economic embargo remain as “peaceful” weapons that Russia uses instead of tanks and bombardiers. Seven years after the Russian intervention once more the Kremlin has decided it does not like Georgian wine and politics. Georgia is included in the list of the countries in which Russia plans to implement counter sanctions. It seems that the Tbilisi version of the “reconciliation” policy is not enough for Moscow and it demands more from us. Recently, Russia’s main sanitary Genady Onishchenko pointed out with regret that they had opened the Russian market to Georgian wines so widely that the majority of the wines “did not satisfy the standards.” According to the spokesman of President Putin, the President is ready to sign counter sanctions for seven more countries, including Georgia. Georgian analysts think that the economic sanctions of the Kremlin are only part of the punishment plan that the Kremlin has for Georgia. Blocking the central highway, occupying the Thruso Gorge, getting hold of the Enguri hydro power station and the entire power system of Georgia, continuation of the crawling annexation – this is what political scientists expect from the Russian side after the opening of the NATO-Georgia joint training center. And if Georgia moves any closer to the alliance, they do not exclude wide-scale actions and say Georgia will have to expect approximately the same as Ukraine has been witnessing for the past year and a half. For Russia, the results of the August

2008 war are part of the plan. It was revealed during President Putin’s visit to Armenia a couple of years back when, at the joint press conference of President Putin and his Armenian counterpart, a stubborn journalist asked President Putin (not for the first time) what his response was to the accusation of the military authorities against Medvedev. Putin had an incredible response: “Yes, I developed the plan during 2006-2007; our militants were training Ossetian formations upon my order and Medvedev only had to activate this plan. The question referred to the confrontation of thenPresident Medvedev and military generals three years before at which time militants accused President Medvedev of being late in starting military operations against Georgia. This “belated start” was followed by the military losses that Russian militants still cannot get over. According to the Russian Strategy and Technology Analysis Center, Georgians shot down six Russian military airplanes in the five-day war, including three Su-25, two Su-24 and one Tu-22M3. It was also established that after the conclusion of the conflict, an air collision took place and two planes crashed – an Mi-8MTKO and Mi-24. At the same time, three tanks were destroyed: T-72BM, T-72B, T-625. Nine BMP-1, three BMP-2, two BTR-80, one BMD-2, three BMDM-2 and one MTLB-6 were destroyed along with 20 units of auto machines. As for the live force, Russia as a rule does not count live force itself, as the famous phrase of Stalin goes: “I have not counted soldiers” is still very topical in the Kremlin. This is why any reliable data on lost soldiers is not known, apart from data from the Russian military prosecution. The most interesting fact in this

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin, Russian President.

whole story is, of course, Putin’s recognition that the Russian General Headquarters had developed a military action plan against Georgia back in 2006. This plan considered that the Russian army would enter Georgia not only from the side of Tskhinvali but from the side of Abkhazia. It considered air and missile attacks on Gori and Poti; information and technology (internet-hacker) diversions, and more. Everything was outlined and prepared in detail – including

the deployment of Iskandar missiles in Dagestan. In this whole epopee of the August war, the comment of the current Prime Minister of Russia, Medvedev, takes last place. When visiting the 58th army in Vladikavkaz, he said: “If we hadn’t backed off in 2008, the geopolitical picture would be different now and a number of countries that are artificially dragged to the North-Atlantic Alliance would most probably be there already.

It means that in our proximity emerge not military forces of our neighbor country but a military bloc… a bloc, which, for very clear reasons, raises certain concerns for us.” He made this statement in the context of the eastern expansion of NATO. Therefore, we will soon see how Putin’s 2006 plan will play out once NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Tbilisi on August 26 and opens the NATO training center in Georgia.


Sur vey on Dr ug Ad diction R eveals Opinions of Geor gian Citiz ens Surv Drug Addiction Re Georgian Citizens By Dimitri Dolaberidze The survey below was conducted by the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Center of Research for the Study of Georgian Complex Development Issues during the period July 20-29. 371 respondents from Tbilisi aged 18 and above took part in the survey. 2. Drug addiction is a disease which needs medical support.

1. In your opinion, how serious is the problem of drug addiction in Georgia?

4. Which of the following groups, in your opinion, has the most powerful influence on the formation of a person as a drug addict?

3. The Church can play an important role in the reduction of drug addiction.

2. In your opinion, which age range of the population of Georgia is most commonly addicted to drugs?

3. Are there drug addicts among your relatives or acquaintances?

5. It is believed that relatively “light” drugs are not harmful to the body, such as spirits which are thus bought and sold easily. Do you agree with this?

6. Please look at the following statements and indicate your level of agreement. 1. Drug addiction is a social problem and the public must take action to solve it.

4. Drug addicts are dangerous and must be isolated.

7. How do you personally receive information about drugs and addiction?


AUGUST 7 - 13


Not visited our new website yet? Along with all of the week’s brilliantly written political, social, cultural, sport and business newspaper stories, articles and features you can now find daily updates of the latest local and international news selected just for you by the Georgia Today journalists. Check out our top stories of the week below…and be sure to check out the latest on!

Three Fires in Georgia Caused by Extreme Heat

By Nina Ioseliani Early yesterday three fires raged in Georgia because of the extreme temperatures. The largest and most dangerous fire occurred in the Eliava warehouse at around 5PM yesterday afternoon. 14 Fire Rescue cars, patrols and ambulances were on the scene immediately. The rescue workers, along with 125 firefighters, attempted to quell the blaze, while a helicopter helped from above. At the same time a fire was spreading in Saburtalo, near Tbilisi’s Sport Palace and burned one hectare of land before fire crews managed to get it under control. Another fire blazed in Borjomi for the second time in a week.

It’s understood that two workers perished in the fire at the warehouse, with several others injured and in critical condition in the hospital. Among the injured is a firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation while fighting the blaze. Officials visited the warehouse immediately to see the situation. According to Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania the fire started in the warehouse. “There was a threat that the fire could spread to other warehouses but fortunately our rescuers and firefighters managed to stop this,” Narmania said. It is currently still forbidden for workers and media to visit the source of the fire. An investigation is underway to see how the fire started.

Life without Internet- Polish Documentary Shows a Remote Georgian Village A group of Polish youth have made a short documentary about a remote Georgian village which has so far had 200,000 views on 9GaG, also gaining popularity across social media. A small group of Polish tourists suggest that, other than Tbilisi, Batumi and Gori, travelers should aim to visit the southern part of Georgia, particularly a small village called Udabno (‘desert’). The mountainous village was a project of the USSR and just 300 people currently live there, mostly originating, and having been resettled, from the region of Svaneti. The residents of Udabno have many problems, such as limited water supply and lack of an Internet connection. Yet, we are shown, there are many other sources of happiness, too. “Some time ago we hit upon the idea that it would be cool to travel to a place

Georgia Enforces Law on the Development of Mountainous Regions On July 31st a newly adopted law on the Development of Mountainous Regions, which hopes to give people poverty reducing benefits if they live in the highlands in Georgia, as well as incentives for businesses and budget support to economic and social development, came into force. Tax exemptions for selected companies operating in mountainous areas, higher salaries for teachers and medical staff, improved social benefits for local residents and increased social assistance for pensioners are all a part of the new law. More opportunities and support for infrastructure and business development in the highlands are also under the law. “The new Law establishes objective criteria for classifying mountainous areas and settlements. It provides important and substantial social, economic and business benefits, together with a guarantee of annual funds from the national budget reserved for mountain development,” said Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister

of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. The selection of mountainous settlements that qualify for privileges and support will be undertaken by the National Council on Mountainous Regions, to be formed by the Prime Minister of Georgia. They will propose the list of settlements and present it to the Government for approval based on the criteria specified by the new law. The funds will be provided by the national budget through the specially designed Mountainous Areas Development Fund. Georgia’s PM, Irakli Gharibashvili, stated that the Government’s task is to keep people in the mountains. “We did not have any laws on mountains and mountainous regions were completely abandoned. Our government’s promise was an adoption of a law on the mountain. The new law includes a number of social benefits, including an increase of pensions and also allowances

for teachers. Doing business will be completely free. Our main task is to keep people in mountainous regions. This is our main wealth and capital, and we need to keep it” he said. The draft law was prepared by the Government of Georgia with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure leading. Support was provided by the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, Austrian Development Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Shombi Sharp, head of the UNDP in Georgia noted “Drawing on international experience, the new Law presents an important opportunity to help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in the mountainous areas through enhanced human and economic development.” Photo: David Moskowitz, three men from the village of Iprali work in concert cutting wild hay in a high elevation meadow in the Sveneti region of the Republic of Georgia.

Georgia’s Visa Free Regime with Chile Begins Georgia’s agreement with Chile on visa-free travel entered into force on August 1st. Any Georgians holding ordinary passports wanting to travel to Chile will be allowed to visit the country visafree for a short stay. Citizens of the South American country will also be able to enjoy the same travel arrangements while visiting Georgia. This agreement between the two countries was reached on June 25-26th during the Georgian Foreign Minister’s visit to South America. Tamar Beruchashvili

wanted to raise awareness about Georgia and to deepen economic, trade and

political relations. During the trip she also signed similar agreements with Argentina and Uruguay. “Latin American countries and the Caribbean Sea region is one of the priority directions of Georgia’s foreign policy,” Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Kereselidze said. The visa-free regime between Georgia and Chile entered into force a month after the governments of both countries undertook inter-state steps for the implementation of the agreement.

Animated Film Persepolis to Hit Big Screen on Sunday Film Night where there would definitely be no internet. During a meeting with my friends, I learned about a small Georgian village called Udabno,” film director Wlodek Markowicz said in the introduction to the video. Below, you can watch that beautiful video which has so far been enjoyed by 200,000 people (leaving 1,400 comments on YouTube) and at the same time learn a little more about the lifestyle enjoyed by residents of a remote Georgian village .

If you are hunting for a nice place to spend a weekend night out of the house, Kiwi-Cafe Tbilisi might be just the place for you. This Sunday, on August 9, Kiwi-Café Tbilisi will present to guests the FrenchIranian-American animated film Persepolis, from 2007. The movie is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. The film was written and directed by Satrapi with Vincent Paronnaud and follows a young girl as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. Attendance of the film screening is free of charge. The movie will be shown in Russian dubbed with English subtitles so that as many people as possible can enjoy it.

If you want to enjoy a Sunday dinner at Kiwi, make sure to arrive and order before 8.45 pm as the kitchen closes

during the film showing, though drinks will be available while enjoying the movie on the big screen.

Georgia Moves Forward in World Rugby Rankings By Tamar Svanidze The Georgian National Rugby team, which is considered a second tier rugby union nation in the world, from one of the world’s fastest growing rugby na-

tions, has stepped ahead in the weekly World Rugby Rankings, outstripping Japan and moving up to 13th place from 14th. The results achieved by the Georgian National Rugby team in the third

tour of the Pacific Cup led the rugby players to this success. Japan was defeated by Fiji 22:27, leading them to lose 0.73 points in the ranking. The Georgian team has 72,16 points now and has taken 13th place alongside New Zeeland, Ireland, England and others. The Georgian National Rugby team had the same position in 2004; the worst ranking positions for the national rugby team that occurred in the Rugby World Cup was 23th place in 2009. The Georgian National Rugby team will compete in the Rugby World Cup which kicks off on September 18 and end on October 31, in England. The team is in Pool C with New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Nambia. The first match the team will play will be against Tonga, on 19 September.



AUGUST 7 - 13

Dunkin Donuts Conquering Georgian Market

Soso Pkhakadze, Wissol Group President.

By Meri Taliashvili Wissol Group has opened a new Dunkin Donuts restaurant on Marjanishvili Square. The company has already opened ten restaurants in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia and plans to open 15 more by the end of 2015, thus providing employment for around 500 people. Soso Pkhakadze, Wissol Group President, spoke with pride about the company’s achievements. “It an honor for Wissol Group that after three years we have been able to negotiate with one of America’s largest and most legendary brands, Dunkin Donuts. First of all, we would like to give special thanks to our

loyal customers who have embraced Dunkin Donuts and visit our restaurants frequently. We are pleased that, together with Dunkin’s famous coffee, the brand’s sandwiches are also proving very popular- made using fresh ingredients and boasting a special taste,” Pkhakadze said. Dunkin Donuts is one of America’s most successful brands with almost 65 years of successful history around the world and present in 40 countries. In Dunkin Donuts, consumers can taste a wide range of delicious sandwiches, donuts, muffins and croissants, accompanied by high-quality espresso, cappuccino, latte, tea, hot chocolate, cool summer specials and more. Head down to your nearest branch today!



REAP-Georgia: “No-till” Technology for Soil Exploitation By Zviad Adzinbaia USAID-REAP introduced new technology at a demo plot of the USAID/ REAP funded Farm Service/Machinery Service Center in Dedoplistskaro District, the use of which can decrease the cost per hectare of fuel, labour and energy and increase fertility by 25%. ‘Total’ tillage, recognized as a tradition, is now known to have a negative impact on the fertility of soil as the frequent turnover and hoeing causes its degradation, mineralization of humus and the development of erosive processes in land parcels situated on slopes. Currently, in countries with developed agriculture, technologies are used for the purpose of decreasing erosion, restoring soil fertility and renewing common damaged ecologic balance. The so called “No-till” is one of the above-mentioned technologies. During the utilization of said technology the exploitation of soil is almost non-existent and the chemicals used for killing weeds have no negative impact on soil microflora. Due to economic and ecological efficiency of the above-mentioned technology, many countries have passed to no-tillage cultivation systems when growing crops. In the world agricultural sector, the “No-till” technology is currently used on more than 100 million hectares of area, mainly in countries with developed agriculture (such as USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia). Mulch layer is the main component of the “No-till” technology with surface cultures (mainly fast growing cultures) specially sown in order to obtain the mulch. 2-3 weeks before sowing of basic culture, the surface cultures are tamped and processed with herbicides in order to be dried. Plant residues form the mulch layer, preserving moisture, protecting the soil from drying out or suffering water and wind erosion and, in addition, with the activity of microorganisms, the mulch experiences decay resulting in an increase of fertility in the soil. Straw can be scattered across the field during the harvesting

process along with the above-mentioned technology. The main technical facility of “Notill” technology for production of cereal culture is the seeding combined machine, maintaining the following: preparation of cultivation slot, precise equal sowing, closure and tamping of slot and input of mineral fertilizers or chemical fertilizers in some cases. Thus, the abovementioned complex excludes the 5-6 ways otherwise utilized by other aggregates, thereby significantly decreasing soil tramping, evaporation of water from soil, development of erosive processes, and significantly increasing fertility. And, based on excluded mechanized operation, it results in economy of fuel and labour and hence in significant economy of cash assets. In addition, in comparison with ordinary sowing, the above-mentioned sowing method allows the possibility for accomplishment of sowing procedures in limited terms- vital in the mountainous regions of Georgia where vegetation periods are considerably shorter. The most important factor that effects yield of grain crops in Dedoplist-

karo is precipitation. Annual precipitation in this district does not exceed 500 millimetres. This is not enough to produce high yields of grain crops and any technology that can increase moisture in the soil is more than welcome if it can guarantee at least minimum yield during the dry seasons (2014 was very dry with most farmers losing their harvest). After introduction of the above-mentioned technology at a demo plot of the USAID/REAP funded Farm Service/ Machinery Service Centre, owned by I/ E Z. Tetvadze and located in Dedoplistskaro District, the amount of cash needed per hectare for fuel, labour and energy costs decreased by approximately 15-20% while fertility was increased by 25%. Moisture content was sufficient to get a high yield and there was no erosion of soil identified during the monitoring of the field. Envisaging the fact that 74% of the crops of Georgia includes grain and legume cultures, the development and introduction of “Notill” technology in Georgia has great significance for the economy and foodstuffs security of the state.

ENPARD Promotes Collaboration between Georgian Businesses and Local Farmers The European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) which assists farmers in promoting their products and establishing a strong network with businesses has made a deal with Georgian online platform to increase awareness of products produced by Georgian farmers.

in 2014 and receives 210,000 unique monthly visitors. Its customer base has shown interest in Georgian products and it has already fostered strong relations with supermarket chains across the country. “Its appeal, however, is not limited only to Georgia, as the platform has also developed extensive relations with for-

“Its appeal is not limited only to Georgia, as the platform has also developed extensive relations with foreign investors who are interested in Georgian agricultural products.” - Tariel Zivzivadze, Managing Director of Under the agreement with, the online platform will feature agriculture products from Georgian cooperatives every Tuesday and Friday. The partnership will also focus on improving Georgian farmers’ relationships with businesses, supermarket chains, hotels and restaurants to raise awareness and increase the sales of Georgian products, contributing to the sustainable development of the Georgian economy. The online platform was established

eign investors who are interested in Georgian agricultural products,” managing director of Tariel Zivzivadze said. “We have a request from Holland to export Georgian dry fruit and we are in negotiations with local farmers to help facilitate the trade,” he added. The ENPARD claim the cooperation was inspired by the recent promotion of two products through the online platform and which achieved very positive results. The first was the fresh mountain trout produced by the farmers’ co-

operative ‘Samegobro 2014‘ in the Chokhatauri region, while the second was the Georgian cheese produced by ‘Lelo 2014‘ in the Khoni region (Western Georgia). Another recent success of ENPARD involved facilitating meetings between Georgian mobile operator, Geocell, and

farmers from the Imereti region. High quality dry fruits covered in chocolate going by the name of “Chirkoladi” are produced there and Geocell supported farmers to brand the product more effectively. Geocell also purchased `Chirkoladi` as gifts for their valued customers.

ENPARD is a five-year program which started in March 2013 and will end in March 2018, with the aim of reinvigorating the agricultural sector in Georgia with a thorough cooperation of government, civil society, and farmers. Georgia is at present benefitting from ˆ52 million to support its agriculture.

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AtlasGlobal Georgia Signs MoU with GNTA to Develop Tourism By Meri Taliashvili On August 4, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development’s National Tourism Administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the airline company Atlasglobal Georgia. The MoU was signed by the head of the National Tourism Administration George Chogovadze and commercial director of the Georgian Representation of the Airline, Tamar Tandashvili. The memorandum aims to develop tourism in Georgia through carrying out

joint projects and to bring the country’s tourism potential to international level. “Throughout the next year intensive trainings will be held in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia at the invitation of different countries’ tour operators. They will meet local representatives, share their experience and will offer tour packages. Getting acquainted with Georgia in the direction of tourism will foster business development in the country and raise awareness at the international level,” said Tandashvili. After signing the document, Ismet Gunaydin, Turkish tour operator “Ets-

George Chogovadze, Head of the National Tourism Administration and Tamar Tandashvili, Commercial Director of AtlasGlobal Georgia sign an MoU.

tur” representative, held a training for tourism operators on incoming tourist package creation and operating management in Georgia. The training was held on the initiative of National Tourism Administration and “Atlasglobal Georgia”. Atlasglobal Georgia has been represented on the airline market since October 2013 and has operated regular flights from Tbilisi to Istanbul. Since 2015, Atlasglobal has expanded its networks and started close collaboration with travel agencies and tour operators in Georgia and abroad.



AUGUST 7 - 13

Retail Property Market Overview By Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown By Eka Karsaulidze

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Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown is a leader Real Estate consultancy company in Georgia. Georgia Today met with Leah Rusia Beselidze, Head of Consultancy Services of the company about the retail property market. Q: Please give us a general overview of the retail property market in Georgia. A: On behalf of Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown I can say that to assess the retail market of the country we normally look at two factors, allowing us to form a general overview of this real estate sector. Firstly, occupier demand, which has been relatively healthy in the first half of 2015 resulting in an improving tenant mix within the prime shopping centers and high street destinations. Apart from the local newly established DIY (do it yourself) brand, DOMINO, which has agreed to occupy 11,700 m2 in East Point Shopping Center, international retailers have been the main drivers of demand, with the F&B (food and beverage) and value to mid-range fashion sectors being the most active. Ahead of the summer season, the market has witnessed positive activity with a number of new lettings and new entrants: the entry of Turkish fashion brand “DEFACTO” renting 600 m2 in Tbilisi Mall and 1,085 m2 in East Point; Weekend Max Mara opened a 150 m2 high street store on Chavchavadze Avenue; and Wissol Group continues its aggressive expansion plan with five Dunkin Donuts and four Wendy’s restaurants already operational. The second factor that we normally assess is the supply of quality real estate on the market and the rental values. In this respect we still see some prime units available in the best performing retail projects and high street locations, presenting good opportunities for new retail occupiers looking to establish a presence on the market. Prime rental values saw downward pressure in the second quarter compared to the beginning of the year, with many retailers re-negotiating lease terms based on the currency devaluation. Supply is still limited with no new openings in the first half of 2015, which, for the time being, has ensured that vacancy rates remain stable in shopping centers, and increased slightly on the high street. However, construction activity is quite high, with East Point Shopping Center,

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comprising 72,000 m2 GLA, due to open by the end of the year. Pre-leasing in the project has been largely successful, although flooding the market with such a large quantity of retail space may turn out to have a further negative impact on rental values in the city. Q: How does the economic situation in Georgia affect the retail real estate market of the country? A: The geopolitical unrest in the region, combined with falling oil prices and the subsequent economic shocks, have had a negative impact on the retail sector. The currency instability and ongoing devaluation of the Georgian Lari is putting significant pressure on retailers that sell international brands, as it erodes profit margins and heightens uncertainty. According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia the total retail turnover still registered a growth of 8% in 2014 compared to 2013, however, is significantly lower compared to the average over the last 5 years of 26%. The first quarter of 2015 has also been showing healthy signs of retail trade increasing by 13% year-on-year. That said, retailers are generally pessimistic about their sales performance for the last quarter, Q2 2015. Q: How does the lack of eco-

nomic growth affect the retail market demand? A: Although generally still relatively healthy, conditions are deteriorating slightly, with rents even in top locations starting to come under downward pressure. The main reason behind this, given current supply, is the Georgian Lari devaluation against the US $, which is still the primary currency in real estate transactions. Similar downward pressure is also evident in respect of retailers’ turnovers and as a result there is a decline in occupier demand. Prime locations, where traditionally there have been several candidates competing for one property, are now seeing fewer interested parties and as a consequence fewer transactions are taking place. Q: Is it reflected in the level of investment as well? A: The investment market remained quiet in the first quarter of the year, with the Georgian Co-investment Fund being the only party pushing investment towards retail centers. No actual transactions took place. According to “Niba Delisi’s” developer the due diligence process for the mixed-use project has been completed and is in the pipeline for investment. The acquisition of the former “Tbilisi Univermaghi” building on Freedom Square by the same

Georgian Co-investment Fund in Q2 2015 marked the return of investment to the retail market. The deal ensures total investment of $70m in the reconstruction of the 22,000 m2 shopping center, which has been on hold for years. This shows that the only parties still active in the retail development market in Tbilisi are local investment funds and developers. However, according to the Agency team of CW|VB there are some more deals in the pipeline, but the negotiation period is longer and none of these are expected to be finalized until Q4, 2015. Q: What are your projections for the end of the year? A: Despite tentative signs of retail sales growth, the high street market remains under pressure and prime rents may decline slightly in the second half of the year, although they are likely to hold firm for shopping centers and retail parks. With the development pipeline healthy, occupier demand will continue to be driven by large retail chains and the F&B sector. Distressed schemes, however, and those with potential for extension will remain the main target for investors. Hence, the activity in the investment market is expected to improve by the end of the year on the back of large transactions in the pipeline.

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Possible Russian Embargo – Fiasco in Economic Relations, or Political Trade? By Zviad Adzinbaia Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Russian Relations, says Russia’s possible trade embargo is allegedly related to the decision made by Georgia last year referring to Georgia supporting the EU sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea and occupying the eastern part of Ukraine. “We have already commented on Georgia joining the EU sanctions against Russia… The sanctions’ duration and

It became known the last week that Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor (Consumer Rights Protection Service) has accused Georgian wine producers of constantly violating safety regulations and claims that the country’s monitoring agencies are not properly controlling production (see Page 15 of this week’s Georgia Today). According to the agency, which is most of the times utilized as a politicsbased system by Russia, 45 Georgian producers sent a total of 6.7 million liters of alcohol to Russia in 2015. They

"The sanctions’ duration and our participation in them renewed automatically upon expiration, without Georgia taking any new actions in this direction” - Zurab Abashidze. our participation in them renewed automatically upon expiration, without Georgia taking any new actions in this direction,” Abashidze said. “It seems the Russian side is going to impose an embargo because of the decision made by Georgia last year. From my point of view, it would be the wrong thing to do. One of the tangible results of restoration of Georgia-Russia dialogue is the resumption of our trade-economic relations,” the Special Envoy emphasized.

[the agency] say ten batches of the product (mainly “Old Kakheti” cognac, as well as “Kolkhida” and “Saperavi” wines) were declared as unable to meet the agency’s requirements and therefore denied entry into the Russian Market. ANALYSIS BY GEORGIA TODAY’S ZVIAD ADZINBAIA Have Georgia’s dreams been fulfilled by exporting Georgian fruit and veg to Russia in exchange for risking Georgia’s sovereignty? It seems that Georgians

have not yet learnt their (quite expensive) lessons from previous relations with Russia, as the country’s northern neighbor is well experienced in imposing political embargos on Georgia, as clearly revealed back in 2006. What comes next? Is this yet another demonstration of the failure of the AbashidzeKarasin format and GD’s Russian normalization politics? In the 2012 and 2013 parliamentary and presidential elections Georgian Dream promised the public that they

would restore and normalize relations with Russia, starting with some tradeeconomic aspects and leading to real issues, such as de-occupation. Instead, a number of negative expectations from the GD-opposed sides have occured. Now it is lucid that the Russian market will once again be closed to Georgian producers. Former Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Nika Rurua, claims that Zurab Abashidze is a Soviet diplomat who does not believe in

Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic Future. Can some conclusions be drawn from this point? What should Georgia opt for instead? Would it not be more pragmatic for the government to raise some crucial issues, such as occupation, in international relations along with Ukraine? It seems that this obscurity of the government will lead the country most likely to abyss instead of the European Union and NATO, which they insist they are aspiring to.


AUGUST 7 - 13


De gusta tion Visit to ‘T he Shado w of Metekhi’ Degusta gustation ‘The Shadow By Acho Zambakhidze and Keti Papava Such a location! Even if you are a foreigner, we’re pretty sure that the whole history of Tbilisi would appear in front of your eyes in a second. Especially when the treasures of Georgian cuisine are laid before you and all the aromas make you dizzy. Yes, we visited The Shadow of Metekhi and headed straight to the balcony. It’s safe to say that we have never before seen such a view of the Mtkvaririver! As if the restaurant was built according to a perspective specially chosen by an artist... Unsurprisingly, while sitting entranced in this Avlabari district of Old Tbilisi, on the balcony hanging over the Mtkvari, you start nodding to all the suggestions your waiter offers. The same happened to us and so we nodded in acceptance to ordering three dishes – “Boneless roast chicken with blackberry sauce”, “Beef tongue on Ketsi (stone cooking dish) and seasonal “Summer salad” – we didn’t even think of opposing or finding an alternative. We thanked our lives for this wonderful day with white wine offered by our waiter and enjoyed the stunning view of Mtkvari in silence... We would have continued staring for longer if not the fragrance brought by the harmonious tandem of boneless chicken and blackberry sauce that woke us up instantly! You could tell that the chicken meat

Restoratori Magazine Degustators, Acho Zambakhidze and Keti Papava, in The Shadow of Metekhi.

was fresh, not pre-frozen ( a rarity in restaurants these days), and the blackberry sauce suited it perfectly. For sure you will enjoy the fact that the meat was boneless; it was like a fillet, though not similar to a frozen chicken breast, the typical association you get when think-

ing of fillet. No, it had a soft, unaffected texture. We felt the difference straightaway! The seasonal summer salad didn’t take long to join us. It wasn’t enriched with any type of dressing; however thousands of vitamins took ample care of its

richness. The salad leaves, various vegetables, feta cheese and other gathered details were like a painting of summer on this little dish! That ketsi which was then brought to us was filled with chopped beef tongue and mushrooms, the ambitious

aroma-characterizing tarragon could be clearly detected and all this was a simple ‘message’ from the chef – ‘Sorry, excitement ahead of you!” Mmm, it was really good! You’ve probably heard a lot about the exemplary friendship of mushroom and tongue, because a lot has been written and said about it, however, we’ve never heard of their third friend – tarragon, and from now one we can bravely call them – The Magnificent Three (not taking into account the rest of the ingredients)! The Shadow of Metekhi has added an interesting thing to its distinguished service. Has anyone ever sung a song while serving you? Surprised, aren’t you? Yes, exactly! When, for example, the waiter brings braised veal to you, surprisingly and amazingly, he starts singing a beautiful Georgian song together with other waiters for you, and all this happens parallel to serving! Your meal won’t be late- on the contrary, you’ll be waiting impatiently for it in order for the amazing singing to reach your table in time! Old Tbilisi views, a balcony hanging opened-hearted over the Mtkvari, waiters singing pleasantly, a menu that’s full of the treasures of the Georgian Supra (ancient Georgian meals) and Fusion (modernized Georgian meals)... When you become familiar with and get a taste of all of this, believe us, dear reader, you’ll find thousands of excuses not to leave the place...


Georgian Wine Ranked in Top 13 Orange Wines By Nina Ioseliani According to the Independent UK, Georgian wine is in the top 13 of the best orange wines in the world. Georgia is the oldest wine region in the world and the best region to produce wine is in Kakheti. Orange wines- named for their colour rather than content- are white wines made using the same methods and principles as red. The skins of the grapes are left on, producing tannins and leaving the wine spicier, herbier and drier than most other wines. Made by small, dedicated producers, most of them don’t come cheap, but they are becoming more well-known. The name of the wine in the top 13 is called Tbilvino. The independent article wrote: “Tbilvino Qvevris 2011: £9, marksands-

By Nino Japarashvili - M&S has entered the market with a medium-priced Georgian wine produced by fermenting the grape juice and skins in large clay jars known as Qvevri. Dry, spicy and a good match for a seafood platter, the price tag also

makes it a good one to start with.” The rest of the wines shown are: Cos Pithos Bianco 2012 (a Sicilian wine), 2. Serragghia Bianco Zibibbo (an Italian wine), Weingut Sepp & Maria Muster Erde 2012 (an Austrian wine) and others.

Masha ble .com: Geor gian Cuisine Mashab Georgian Top R egional Under do g Re Underdo dog

Georgian cuisine has been named the most underrated regional cuisine by In its piece about six “delightful regional cuisines that don’t get enough love,” Georgian cuisine, with the spotlight on khachapuri (cheese

Russia’ s R ospotr ebnadz or ussia’s Rospotr ospotre bnadzor Accuses Geor gian Wine Georgian Pr oducer s of Constantl y Producer oducers Constantly egula tions Viola ting Saf ety R iolating Safety Re gulations

bread), was ranked number one – higher than Belgian, Sephardic, Tex-Mex, Indian-Chinese and Native American. “Tapas, classical French cuisine and rustic Italian places are constantly heralded as “can’t miss” and have lines out

the door … Next time, give the underdog a chance and try a little known or less trendy cuisine that may just become your new obsession.”- the advised. “The food from this Eurasian country has been overshadowed by its Russian and Turkish neighbors for far too long,” said “The main event for any Georgian food virgin is khachapuri, which is freshly baked cheese bread. If you’re lucky, the restaurant serves a version called acharuli khachapuri, which comes as a bread boat filled with even more cheese, up to a stick of butter and a barely cooked egg to increase the richness.” With 9.1 k shares since published the list on July 29, 2015, Georgia can perhaps expect a flood of ‘Foodies’ heading its way in the near future.

The RIA Novosty information agency, based onRussia’s Consumer Rights Protection Service Rospotrebnadzor, reported that Georgian wine producers constantly violate safety regulations and the country’s monitoring agencies do not control the production properly. “Quality analysis confirms violations and insufficient control of the production process by Georgia’s producers and responsible agencies” the representatives of Russia’s Consumer Rights Protection Service’s press-service claimed. Georgia’s Ministry of Agriculture said it is studying recent accusations from Rospotrebnadzor in great detail and noted that Georgian wine quality is strictly controlled by corresponding agencies as well as laboratories.

“Wine is one of Georgia’s most significant export products and therefore, the state as well as producers and exporters are deeply interested in wine quality meeting all safety standards,”the Ministry’s statement reads. According to the agency, 45 Georgian producers sent a total of 6.7 million liters of alcohol to Russia in 2015. Ten batches of the product (mainly “Old Kakheti” cognac, as well as “Kolkhida” and “Saperavi” wines) were declared as unable to meet the agency’s requirements and therefore denied entry into Russia. Georgia’s trade problems with the Russian Federation were severed in 2006 when Georgian wine was banned by Moscow, ostensibly because of low quality. Russia opened its market for Georgian wine and mineral water in 2012, after the new Georgian government, led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, came to power.


AUGUST 7 - 13


UK Thea ter Students Inspir ed b y Geor gia’ s heater Inspired by Georgia’ gia’s Unique P ol yphonic Histor y and Cultur Pol olyphonic History Culture e Br uf or d Colle ge Students Visit Geor gia and Shar e their Impr essions Bruf ufor ord Colleg Georgia Share Impressions

By Maka Lomadze Culture is perhaps one of the precious commodities one country can exchange with another, something not lost on the British Council which helped to arrange a recent visit by theater students from the UK to Georgia. Coming to Georgia was the idea of Gabriel Gawin, who acted in the Piesn Kozla Polish Theatre Company at Tbilisi International Theater Festival held in 2014 and performed in “Songs of Lear”. He is the program director of Rose Bruford College, a famous international drama college in London. The students, from eight different countries, stayed in Telavi, Tusheti and Tbilisi during a memorable two-week tour. Niamh Dowling, Head of School of Theatre at Rose Bruford College, tells us how the Georgia trip materialized: “Two and a half years ago, the British Council brought the Deputy Minister of Culture from Georgia to visit Rose Bruford College. So, it was something that was in our thinking. We decided to come specifically because of the culture

– the songs, dances and mountains, the countryside here. It is an international group of eight different nationalities and runs for 13 months. They train for 9 months, then they came here and will do some research of their own. This is the beginning of their research work – how to look for new music songs, other cultures. We will not be visiting other countries, just Georgia because it’s really special. It’s very beautiful in Tusheti and when you are there, in that small world, it feels like you are so far away from the rest of the world. There is nothing: no electricity, no means of communication. It is remote and wild. There is a lot of indigenous culture. It’s worth mentioning I think that these students came originally as actors and their eyes have been opened to new cultures that they better understand themselves now. That makes them question their own culture, history etc. It’s really valuable and useful.” Gawin added: “Last September, with my theatre company Piesn Kozla, we forged a strong relationship with the [Georgian] people who came to see our performance. So, we found a very strong

affinity with Georgia within our work. It gave us an inspiration to come again. In Tusheti where we’ve been, music is a part of their living. It’s not about listening to songs. Of course, an actor has to have material, but it’s the quality of that material that exists within the human beings and the value of that material. It seems that these communities in the Georgian mountains understand who they are and where they come from. They understand the history and the differences between the male and female. This sense of togetherness and a common understanding, which is still made of individuals, is important for us as a company. My theatre company has previously been to Siberia, Spain, Romania and Greece. We have done expeditions and the theatre company also trains these students as a part of our duty.” Expeditions involve daily periods of physical and vocal training, research, living and experiencing other cultures, rituals and landscapes. Robin Paley Yorke, a British student, shared his impressions of the trip: “We learned Kakhetian songs. We have a big emphasis on learning polyphonic mu-

Stur ua’ sJ ulius Caesar to P erf or ma Sturua’ ua’s Julius Perf erfor orm att Gdansk Shak espear e F esti val Shakespear espeare Festi estiv A play staged by Georgian maestro Robert Strurua is to be performed at the prestigious Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk, the Baltic coastal city of Poland. On August 9, for the second time, Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar staged by Robert Sturua will be presented alongside plays from Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and England at the 19th edition of the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival. “This is one more Shakespeare

staged by Robert Sturua who is considered to be one of the most original interpreters of Shakespeare’s plays. The story of Caesar’s rise to power and the plot against him was moved into modern times. Robert Sturua added a political appeal to this performance,” Art critic Lela Ochiauri said. The play was premiered on the stage of the Shota Rustaveli State Drama Theatre on June 1st, 2015. The Shakespeare Festival is the largest, cyclical, international theatre event,

organized each year in the first week of August in Gdañsk, Sopot and Gdynia. It is an international event combining performances and presentations with artistic events, workshops, and meetings with theatre creators. This year the festival is taking place from July 31 to August 9 and presents the most interesting Shakespearean theatrical productions from Poland and abroad. The festival is organized by the Gdañsk Shakespeare Theatre and Theatrum Gedanense Foundation.

sic. We also had a couple of dance classes with Telavi State Dance Company. After our 5 days in Telavi, we went to Tusheti where we learned a great deal.” Among the songs they had learnt prior to coming to Georgia, were the very famous Shen khar venakhi (You are a vineyard) and Tsintskharo. “We are drama actors, but song has had a heavy influence on our training. Our theater has a strong Polish Theater heritage coming from Staniewski. There is such a strong polyphonic history and culture, and that is why we chose to come to Georgia. In Tusheti the community really worked together, and how they helped each other and they help the people. It’s something so human. It’s really nice to assimilate this in relation to our ensemble, how we are a community, and they are really linked. I feel in your songs that people know the history and the Georgian grief is constantly present in your songs. But there is a joy too in some love songs. You also have warriors’ chants that are so full of hope,” added Yorke. Finnish student Anna Korolainen noted: “We came to Georgia mainly to

sing and find out about the music. We met a shepherd who was singing in Tushetiand learned something in every village. As a group, it is our first foreign place to visit. My project what I will do afterwards as a final research, is not related to Georgia, but I was really interested in traditional songs, especially, female songs. You have a lot of songs of mothers losing their daughters and sons, women’s grieving. For me, that was really interesting. I’m studying feminist research, so for me, that is something to take with me,” said the Finn. Regardless of their backgrounds and previous experiences, Georgia has clearly touched the group, with inspirations drawn from its people and culture. The group will be going to Gdansk International Shakespeare Festival. As a culmination of their training, they devised a performance taking inspiration from the famous play “Hamlet”, lullabies and also Irish dancing. They also sang two Georgian songs, a fitting tribute to their worthwhile excursion. Georgia Today wishes them great success in their theatrical endeavors.

The Guar dian: Geor gia’ s Stalin Museum Gi ves the Guardian: Georgia’ gia’s Giv So viet Ver sion of the Dicta tor’ s Lif e ersion Dictator’ tor’s Life Soviet By Nino Japarashvili This week the British Guardian newspaper published an article on the Stalin museum in Gori. The article notices that the house in the central Georgian town where the Soviet dictator was born in 1878 is now “one of the main attractions of Gori’s Stalin Museum – a place where visitors can still experience the Soviet version of his life story, without any mention of the millions of people that he killed”. The author mentions two tourists who commented on the matter. “We looked everywhere for mention of Katyn,” Przemek, a Polish student said, referring to the Stalin-ordered massacre of 22,000 Polish officers and officials in 1940. “The guide said nothing about Stalin’s crimes,” added Gaby Schulder, a German tourist. “It’s impossible to imagine anything like this in Germany for Hitler.” Zurab Shalamberidze, a Georgian whose family is originally from Georgia, said quite the contrary, however: “Maybe he [Stalin] made some mistakes… but every coin has two sides and we respect him as a strong leader who created a great empire and won the Second World War.” In the Guardian article, Lasha Bakradze, a Georgian historian who has long campaigned for an alternative exhibition about Stalinism to be built

alongside the sanitized version, says “it is an embarrassment”. He adds that past efforts to show the other side of Stalin – including his deliberate starvation of Ukraine and the great purges of the 1930s – have crumbled because of resistance from admirers of the dictator on the Gori town council. Bakradze now is advising officials as the Georgian government attempts once again to update the nearly 60-year-old museum. The Guardian article on Stalin’s museum in Gori concludes that in the meantime, thousands of tourists are likely to visit the Stalin Museum each year to see displays which have barely changed since 1979. The full article by the Guardian can be found at: http:// aug/04/georgia-stalin-museum-sovietversion-dictators-life-story


Fir st Wor kshop of Inter agenc y First orkshop Intera ency Gr oup on Cultur e Str ate gy Held Group Culture Stra teg By Meri Taliashvili On July 31st, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia hosted the first workshop of the Interagency Group on Georgian Cultural Strategy 2025. During the working meeting the first two phases of the report of cultural strategy were presented together with the structure project of the cultural strategy document. The meeting was opened by the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Mikheil Giorgadze and attended by the EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman, international expert Ragnar Siil, and other public figures. At the meeting the participants discussed the economic potential of culture, priorities developed by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the problems emerging in the cultural field throughout Georgia, and cooperation plans with various government agencies. The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia is working on Culture 2025 at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, the EU delegation and the EU Eastern Partnership Culture Program. The Georgian government will approve the document at the end of 2015 for which the active work of interagency groups during the process is very important. Minister Giorgadze underlined the importance of a long term strategy. “Our country is obliged to develop a long-term cultural strategy. This country with the oldest, most exceptional and

Mikheil Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and Janos Herman, the EU Ambassador to Georgia.

diverse culture can’t not have a coherent vision of how to develop this sector,” Minister Giorgadze noted. EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman expressed his hope that the Cultural Strategy will impact positively on Georgia’s further development. “We appreciate that the Culture Ministry undertook this task. We think that the Cultural Strategy was worked out in an inclusive, comprehensive manner through the government and across

all the state holders’ promises that it will become an important tool,” stated Ambassador Herman. During the Cultural Strategy working process two documents will be developed: 1) Long-term Culture Strategy until 2025 2) Culture Strategy action plan for the years 2016-2017 Both documents have already been approved by the Georgian government.

Language: English Start time: 19:35 Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 20:00, 22:40 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari


AUGUST 7 - 13


VMA Nomina tions: Taylor Nominations: Swift Leads euds with Minaj Leads,, F Feuds By Beqa Kirtava MTV’s Video Music Awards ceremonies are pretty well known for sparking some controversy, but this year the show became the most talked about topic before even airing on television. On July 21, the nominees for the 2015 edition of the event were announced, with Taylor Swift getting the most (9) nominations, including Video of the Year. Beyonce’s 7/11, Kendrick Lamar’s Alright, Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk (ft. Bruno Mars), and Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud all managed to land a place in the aforementioned category as well, while Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, which broke the YouTube record for most views in 24 hours, was overlooked. The singer responded with a series of angry tweets, with one of them saying: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” The event’s leading lady, Taylor Swift was quick to respond, accusing the rapper of pitting women against each other. While this uneasy conversation didn’t last for long, it did manage to encourage numerous other musicians to

join in and either accuse or defend MTV’s choice of nominees. The debate ended with Swift apologizing, saying that the reason why she responded was because she thought she was being called out. However, numerous reputable publications issued huge articles about the debate, some accusing MTV (and the music industry in general) of racism, arguing that black musicians aren’t celebrated as much as their white colleagues. While it’s very hard to determine whether this is true, many people applauded Minaj for taking a stand, while others called her claims baseless, saying that numerous black artists, including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys had received many awards for their work. The award show will be held on August 30, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater at L.A., live in Los Angeles, California, and will be hosted by Miley Cyrus, who delivered arguably the most controversial VMA performance of all time at the 2013 ceremony. Georgia Today will, as always, give you a full recap of the winners and the night’s best and worst performances.

WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI CINEMA SAAKASHVILI PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY Address: 10 Saakadze St. August 7 SHOTA MALASHKHIA’S DOCUMENTARY * Premiere “Against the Empire” The first movie – “Presidents” Project “We Caucasians” Start time: 17:00 AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION Directed by Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: English Start time: 19:40 Language: Russian Start time: 13:00, 16:30, 19:40, 22:20 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari PIXELS 3D Directed by Chris Columbus Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 11:50 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENISYS Directed by Alan Taylor Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 14:15 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari SOUTHPAW Directed by Antoine Fuqua Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence Genre: Action, Drama, Sport

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 11:50, 14:00, 17:00, 19:50, 22:40 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari PIXELS 3D (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 14:40, 17:15 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENISYS (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 14:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 9.50 Lari ANT-MAN Directed by Peyton Reed Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll Genre: Action, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 17:05, 19:40, 22:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 12.50 Lari PAPER TOWNS Directed by Jake Schreier Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance Language: Russian Start time: 20:00, 22:20 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari MUSEUM MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 1 Rustaveli ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22

SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE Examples of work by early Georgian goldsmiths were discovered during archeological excavations, and are currently reserved in the archeological treasury. The exhibition presents three periods development in the history of Georgian goldwork, from the 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE: KURGAN CULTURE (3-2 BCE), “GOLDEN FLEECE COLKHETI” (8- 3 BCE), KINGDOM OF KARTLI-IBERIA (3RD CENTURY BCE-4TH CENTURY CE). June 27 – October 31 “GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II” IS AN EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 SERGO PARAJANOVI – “21ST CENTURY DREAM” GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PIROSMANI’S 150TH The National Gallery is hosting

pictures of David Kakabadze (18891952) and Lado Gudiashvili (18961980) together with sculptures of Iakob Nikoladze (1876-1951) and photographs from the National Archives of Georgia and Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum depicting the sculptor’s life and creative work. June 17 – August 23 THE EXHIBITION “THE CAUCASUS FRONT THROUGH NINO JORJADZE’S CAMERA LENS” THAT IS DEDICATED TO THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WWI. GALLERY NECTAR Address: 16 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 295 00 21 July 21 - August 22 CATRIN BOLT GIORGI OKROPIRIDZE PRINZGAU/PODGORSCHEK MUSIC PIRIMZE BAR Address: 18 Atoneli st. August 7 MEBO NUTSUBIDZE @ PIRIMZE BAR Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari Free admission for every third person. MTATSMINDA PARK August 9 LA BELLE MEDICAL AND MTATSMINDA PARK PRESENT: ZUMBA FITNESS PARTY Start time: 18:30 ROOMS HOTEL TBILISI GARDEN Address: 14 M. Kostava st. August 12 BEKA GOCHIASHVILI, MIKE MITCHELL & MAXIMILIAN GERL CHARITY CONCERT IN SUPPORT OF 13 JUNE VICTIMS Start time: 20:30

HEAT BATUMI 2015 Venue: Batumi Columns August 6 “NAI-NAI” / “SALAGHOBO” Start time: 17:00 “KHORUMI” / “VAKHTANGURI” Start time: 19:00 August 7 “BERMUKHA” Start time: 17:00 “ODOIA” / “CHELA” / “PERITSVALEBA” Start time: 19:00 August 8 “KOBULETI” / “SAUNJE” / “SHEVARDENI” Start time: 17:00 SONG & DANCE STATE COMPANY OF KUTAISI Start time: 17:00 August 9 “ATDZALI” / “KOLKHETI” / “KOLKHA” Start time: 17:00 “PERITSVALEBA” Start time: 19:00 August 10 “ELESA” / “BETLEMI” / “IAGUNDI” Start time: 17:00 Venue: Basiani Summer Theatre August 11 “GURIA” Start time: 17:00 ADJARIAN SONG & DANCE STATE COMPANY Start time: 19:00 Venue: Summer Theatre August 12 “SHUAKHEVI” / WOMEN’S FOLK ENSEMBLE/ “CHVANA” / “MARETI” / ZE-KARTAN NEARBY Start time: 17:00 “RUSTAVI” Start time: 19:00 Venue: Summer Theatre


AUGUST 7 - 13


Rockies Road Trip

By Tony Hanmer A country as huge as Canada, second in size only to Russia, would be expected to have a huge variety of landscapes to offer an explorer (whereas such variation in a small place like Georgia comes as much more of a surprise). There’s something to fit the temperament and aesthetics of each personality. The province of Alberta, in which my immediate family has been based since 1981, is between the straight-horizon flatness of the Prairies and the very three-dimensional awe of the Rocky Mountains, part of the same chain which runs from Alaska to Patagonia, top to bottom of the Americas. Edmonton was near enough the starting point of a trip

my wife and I were able to make south and west into the Rockies recently, thanks to the generosity of friends who lent us a trouble-free van to trek and sleep in. Instead of going more or less due west to Jasper, we took a route recommended as much more beautiful: southwest via Ricky Mountain House and the David Thompson Highway. This got us into the mountains sooner, which was the whole point of the trip. Soon, forests hiding the views from the roadsides gave way to the peaks themselves, stretching out before us. Having spent so much time recently either visiting or simply living among the mountains of the Greater Caucasus in Svaneti, I could not help but make

comparisons between these two famous ranges. The Rockies are a much tamer drive, with smooth, multi-lane roads, many picnic or camping spots and convenience abound. The Caucasus makes you feel like you’re hugging the sides of mountains in your car, which for much of the way you in fact are, with a cliff up and another one down on either side of the narrow road; rock-falls from one side, river screaming by on the other. Choose your danger! At least Svaneti’s main road has been renovated recently enough to make it a much more pleasant experience, less bone-jarring. But on the scale of the individual, walking around and through the mountains, the magnificence and dangers are equal. Weather up here can change suddenly; nights cool near to freezing even in mid-summer, and you can die just as easily of exposure in the “tamer” locations as you can in the “wilder” ones. Nature is pitiless of your stupidity, if you test Her. We looked around Banff town, spent some time soaking in the Hot Springs, gave the $40 per person Banff Gondola ride a miss, saw a caribou in someone’s backyard. On to exquisite Lake Louise, glacially colored green waters backdropped by mountains and glaciers rearing up to the sky. The Louise Chateau, currently priced from $600 to $1600 per night for a room, boasted equally beau-

tiful and expensive art and fossils. Also, designer garments made from musk ox wool (so, collected from the wild), of which the cheapest was a simple headband for $95, and the most expensive were jackets of $1000 and more. So soft you could hardly feel them, and they must be so warm you would feel dressed in feathers. Louise Overflow is nothing more than a parking lot for people who couldn’t reserve a “proper” campsite for their tent, tent trailer or bus-length RV, the numbers of which stunned my wife speechless. At $10 per night, however, it was fine for us, sleeping on a blowup mattress in the back of the van as we were. In the end, no one came around to collect our money, so we left the next

morning after nine having had a peaceful, free night. We only saw a tiny part of the Rockies in our sixty-odd hour, 1200-km trip, but it was enough to remind us both how such surroundings have the power to humble and simultaneously exalt the soul. I suppose I would call the next province west, British Columbia, the Abkhazia of Canada for having the best of all worlds: mountains, good subtropical fruit growing regions, and the ocean. If I was to settle back in Canada (unlikely at this point), I would choose to go there. Alberta’s winters, down to minus 40 C or F, are too harsh for me. But our mountains in this province are spectacular enough to impress. Mission accomplished.

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1000 members, at . He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:


Red Bull Finds its King of the (Geor gian) R oc k 2015 (Georgian) Roc ock

By Tatia Megeneishvili The best one-on-one streetballer of Georgia was decided on 2 August on Metekhi Bridge in Tbilisi. The event is annual and was held for the fourth time in Georgia. 26-year old professional basketball player Vakhtang Kadaria came out as winner of the Red Bull King of the Rock (Georgia) for third time in a row, winning 9:0 against Irakli Jankhoteli in the final. Both winners were awarded with Aspria sport hall’s unlimited season tickets and vouchers from Sports Medicine Clinic. The winner also got a ticket to Istanbul to compete against the world’s toughest basketball players at the Red Bull King of the Rock World Final. “It is going to be my third World Final,” Kadaria said. “The reason I lost last year is that I underestimated my competitors. This year I did my best to prepare well. I really wanted to win. My dream is to bring the World Final 2016 to Georgia. I will prepare physically and mentally. I will do my gym trainings regularly and play as much streetball as possible.” The epic battle to crown the 2015 Red Bull King and Queen of the Rock will be held in Turkey’s historical capital city on August 29, during which time the world’s toughest basketball players will meet and battle until only one is left standing for the title. The World Finals are always held in the country of origin of the previous year’s winner. This year 2014 champion Kivanç Dinler bought championship to his motherland. After 54 qualifying events taking place around the world, Istanbul will bring together 32 Red Bull King of the Rock finalists from 23 countries to face off on the rooftop of the historic Beykoz

Leather and Shoe Factory with an amazing view over the Bosporus. What’s more, the world’s eight toughest Red Bull Queen of the Rock will participate in the epic battle for the Queen’s crown on August 29. The battle will follow a straightforward concept where players will battle head-to-head in raw outdoor basketball, using a single-elimination tournament bracket. Games will last five minutes and are subject to regulation hoops rules and scoring (two and three pointers). Players will have to be tough to make it to the finals, but will also have to play smart – five fouls equal an automatic loss. After each game, the loser will walk away, and the winner will face his next opponent. “It‘s a challenging and very tough competition. One-on-one basketball is based 30% on talent and 70% on strength. Therefore, I’m looking forward to meeting the world’s toughest basketball players in my home country,” said 2014 champion, Dinler. The 32 Red Bull King of the Rock finalists will include players from Angola, Argentina, Belarus, France, Italy, Kazakhstan Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, Tunisia, USA, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Georgia, Japan, and Jordan. The 8 female finalists will consist of players from Taiwan, Angola, Russia, Lebanon, Hong Kong and Turkey. Past years Kings of Rock are: 2010 Isaiah” Clutch “Bowman; 2011-2012 “Baby Shaq”; 2013 - Tarron “The Beast” Williams; 2014 - Kivanç Dinler. The Red Bull King of the Rock Georgia was supported by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, the Georgian Basketball Federation, the National Federation of the Sport for All and the Mayor’s Office of Tbilisi.


AUGUST 7 - 13


The Eur opean Youth Ol ympic F esti val – Looking Bac k European Olympic Festi estiv Back By Eka Karsaulidze The 13th European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) is over. Mayor of Tbilisi, David Narmania declared that he is proud that this outstanding sports event has become a real holiday, which will undoubtedly occupy a worthy place in the history of the Olympic movement. Tbilisi hosted 2,334 athletes from 50 countries. Volleyball players, handball players, judoka, basketball players, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts, cyclists and athletes all competed for Olympic medals over 6 days. At the EYOF Tbilisi 2015 many talented sportsmen and women excelled themselves; the gymnasts – Giarnni Lorenzo Regini-Moran and Daria Skrypnik, the basketball player - Dzanan Musa, the swimmers – Alexei Sancov and Ajna Evelin Kesely – these athletes achieved excellent results at the Festival and have the potential to inscribe their names in the history of sport. This festival was outstanding for the Georgian sportsmen as well. Georgia came in tenth in the general ranking of medals. Mostly, this is thanks to the judokas. Nine out of the ten medals were earned by judokas with one bronze medal earned by Dmitri Govorov in gymnastics. In EYOF Tbilisi 2015, the Georgian judokas had the best results in the entire judo competition, earning 9 (4-0-5) medals in total. As was expected, the Russian delegation earned the most medals (including gold) at the EYOF; they won 17 gold, 9 silver and 11 bronze medals in total; it is not surprising that the most of these medals for Russia were for the artistic gymnastics with Darya Skrypnik, who gained four gold and one silver for her country. Ultimately, Italy with 24 medals was the most successful in terms of medal count after Russia, earning the most medals in judo. Carolina Visca of Italy beat the EYOF record in girls’ javelin

throw, with a distance of 60.09m and earned the gold medal easily. In athletics, Russia’s Elizaveta Bondarenko broke another EYOF record in the pole vault, clearing a 4.20 meter-high barrier. France did not break any records, but was the most successful in athletics. The young athletes earned 12 (6–3–3) medals in the various disciplines and played the largest role in helping France to come third in the group ranking. In EYOF Tbilisi 2015, France’s boys’ handball team was peerless, and fully deserving of the gold medal. The girls’ handball final was one of the festival’s most exciting, with Russia beating Denmark by an extremely close score of 21–20. In group sport, Poland seemed to have the dominant position in its boys’ volleyball team. Throughout the tournament, Poland went ahead without losing a single set, leaving no chance of victory to Bulgaria’s boys’ team in the finals. Turkey was the best in girls’ competition, defeating Serbia in a very close contest in the finals. The Czech girls’ basketball team had an excellent showing, beating Belgium in the finals after a successful group qualification and play-off rounds. Spain’s boys’ basketball team was a major favorite in the tournaments and age group, and losing to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s team was an upset in the finals. Dzanan Musa and company defeated Spain by 89:79 and thus deserved the gold. Janan Musa was a clear MVP of the basketball tournament and was the highest scoring player in the finals with 26 points. Giorgi Bitadze of Georgia demonstrated his talent despite Georgia’s overall disappointing performance in basketball. Bitadze, if nurtured properly, will play in the national team in years to come. Tennis player Lucie Kankova of the Czech Republic took the gold medal in the girls’ singles, while the boys’ singles was won by Adrian Andreev from Bulgaria. The latter made a small sensation

The Volunteers that made EYOF happen.

in the finals when he defeated the first seeded Israeli, Yshai Oliel, in a close match 4:6 6:4 6:1. Next Summer the European Youth Olympic Festival will take place in the city of Gyor in Hungary. The future host country also showed excellent results. The delegation won 23 (9–3–11) medals and took the fourth place, 16 of which (8–3–5) were earned by swimmers, and the greatest contribution was made by 14-year-old Ajna Evelin Kesely, who was peerless in 4 disciplines and only fell to second place in 100m freestyle. Janez Kocijancic, the President of European Olympic Committee, declared that the EYOF was an important event for the future careers of the young athletes. “The young athletes have shown excellence and that they have a great sense of fair play, friendship, and respect. The

athletes of this Festival have begun their Olympic careers. I hope they will treasure this experience and use it as a springboard to achieve ever greater things in the years to come. They have performed to the highest levels and no doubt will perform with distinction at future Olympic Games. They are a great credit to their countries.” The 13th Youth Olympic Festival finished with the Closing Ceremony, which was held in the Olympic Village on August 1. The ceremony included a parade with the flags of the 50 participating European countries; an address by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia; and a statement from Kocijancic on the official closing of EYOF Tbilisi 2015. “During this week I was a witness of sportsmen’s hard work and outstanding skills, professionalism, team work and fair competition. I know that I express

the feelings that bring together tens of thousands of viewers in Tbilisi and around the world; I am really proud to watch our young athletes. Your success and your spirit is our inspiration. I would like to thank everyone who was part of this event and made it real,” said Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili. Meanwhile, Jozef Liba, COCOM Chairman, underlined that Georgia delivered on its promise by organizing an excellent Olympic Festival. “Georgia promoted its sport, its capital city and its country as a whole in the eyes of the world. Working with these people is a huge personal experience for me. I think that we have re-written the history of Georgian sport. Georgia is left with a splendid sports infrastructure after the festival. New arenas will help Georgia sport to reach new heights,” said Liba. Seven of eleven sports arenas were built especially for this Festival, including the new Athletics Stadium, Gymnastic Venue, Handball and Volleyball Venues, New Tbilisi Swimming Pool, as well as the Olympic Village. PM Garibashvili had announced that displaced families from the conflict regions of Georgia will receive apartments in the Olympic Village after the close of the European Youth Olympic Festival. The village is situated on 50,000 square meters of land in the Tbilisi Sea area. The complex combines nine residential buildings, one five-star hotel, a fitness center, restaurant and recreational area. Eight residential buildings will be handed over to the refugees, an act of no small significance as, at last count, Georgia is home to 263,000.598 internally displaced persons. After the Closing, the Mayor of Tbilisi, David Narmania, handed the European Olympic Committee’s flag over to David Pekete, the representative of the city of Gyor which will be the host of the 14th summer Youth Olympic Festival in 2017.

Tbilisi R ead y ffor or Super Cup F east of Spanish F ootball Read eady Feast Football By Alastair Watt Many queued overnight in a park for a ticket, some queued for two nights, and now the biggest club football event to take place in Georgia in decades is upon us – Barcelona v Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup at Dinamo Arena on August 11. Having undergone a glitzy $8 million makeover, the stadium has a fresh appearance with the tired looking multicolored seating replaced by a collage of blue and white and the streets leading to it are already bedecked with official banners. Around the city the excitement is palpable. For many of Barcelona’s Spanish contingent this will not be a maiden voyage to the Georgian capital as the likes of Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta featured in Spain’s late 1-0 victory here nearly three years ago. However, their terrifying South American strike force of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will be playing in Tbilisi for the first and probably only time in their careers. For this reason alone it becomes clearer as to why the demand for tickets reached euphoric proportions. For parents and grandparents, this match will carry some serious “I was there” clout at the dinner table in supras (feasts) of the future. After all the aforementioned forward trio is perhaps the best attacking ensemble to have ever been assembled in the history of the game. Neymar and Suarez were both on target in the Champions League final in Berlin in June, the club’s fourth triumph in Europe’s elite competition in the space of nine years

and their fifth overall. Messi, who this week allayed any fears that he may not play in the Super Cup by revealing the game was his sole focus for now, is a player many argue to be the greatest of all time. In the Dinamo press center there is a vast collection of framed photos of famous players to have either played in Georgia or against Georgians. Brazilian legend Pele stands out among them and after August 11 he’ll have some modern Argentinian company on that wall. But there is more to Luis Enrique’s Spanish champions than their embarrassment of goal scoring riches. Midfielders Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and the Croatian Ivan Rakitic, formerly of Super Cup opponents Sevilla, complete a fearsome trio in the center of the park. In defense too there is no shortage of world class talent with marauding Bra-

Dinamo Stadium, Tbilisi.

zilian right-back Dani Alves alongside Pique and Argentine warhorse Javier Mascherano. In goal, previously perceived as the team’s one weak spot, the occasionally criticized Victor Valdes has been upgraded with German stopper MarcAndre ter Stegen. Engraved on the Super Cup trophy you’ll see the names of European football’s most celebrated teams – the AC Milan side of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the likes of Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Aberdeen are also permanently etched here in football history. Barcelona are hunting a recordequaling fifth Super Cup crown and they are clear favorites to achieve that honor with the local Georgian fans almost universally behind the Catalan club. Indeed, such has been the clamor for

Barcelona, you could be forgiven for thinking there was only one team coming to Tbilisi. But they will have an opponent, and a mighty attractive one at that. Sevilla have enjoyed similar levels of dominance in Europe’s second competition, the Europa League, with their thrilling 3-2 win over Jaba Kankava’s Dnipro in May clinching a fourth triumph in nine years in the competition. And while the odds are stacked against the Andalusians, history is on their side as the only previous Super Cup meeting between the sides saw Sevilla emerge with a memorable 3-0 success in Monaco in 2006 courtesy of goals from Renato, Freddie Kanoute and Enzo Maresca. Dani Alves, on the victorious Sevilla side that night, is one of three players in the current Barca side to have featured nine years ago, Messi and Iniesta the others. Sevilla’s inability to make the step up to Champions League challengers is largely down to economics as the club has been unable to keep hold of some truly world class talent. Alves and Rakitic are cases in point here, and the summer acquisition of Alexix Vidal increasing the population of Sevilla recruits at the Nou Camp. Similarly, Colombian striker Carlos Bacca, goal hero in May’s Europa League final, joined AC Milan this summer as the Andalusians’ exit door revolved once again. His replacement, Ciro Immobile, the Italian striker, arrives eager to rebuild a reputation that somewhat stalled in his debut season at Borussia Dortmund with whom he is still attached as he is at

Sevilla only on loan. Their most striking capture of the summer though is Ukrainian playmaker Yevhen Konoplyanka, signed from Dnipro despite some serious interest from England’s Premier League. A strong contender for the best current player from the post-Soviet space, Konoplyanka’s presence will ensure that the crafty and silky soccer won’t be the sole preserve of Barcelona. Another to look out for from Eastern Europe is Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak who Georgian fans may remember scoring in a 4-0 rout last November. That remains the defensive midfielder’s only international goal so he will be hoping for a similarly memorable visit this time. If you’re looking for even more tenuous connections to Georgia, Sevilla head coach Unai Emery once coached Georgian football’s Peter Pan, Jano Ananidze, during a dismal spell at Spartak Moscow. His stock has since recovered from that forgettable Moscow malaise, which is more than can be said of the no longer young Jano. Four Georgians graced Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in 1982, playing for the USSR in a 2-1 defeat to the revered Brazil side of the time. A match of similar standard would satisfy an expectant Tbilisi crowd who want a match to remember for a lifetime, a match that lives up to the hype and a match that justified that overnight camping for a ticket. For that to happen, Sevilla will need to play their part and there is little doubt that they are equipped to at the very least do that.

GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

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

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #778  

Aug. 7-13, 2015

Issue #778  

Aug. 7-13, 2015