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Issue no: 1081

• SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

PRICE: GEL 2.50

In this week’s issue... Georgia to Host EU Discussions on Black & Caspian Sea Environments

NEWS PAGE 3

MEP Fotyga: We Have to Remain Vigilant

FOCUS ON JAPAN-GEORGIA RELATIONS

The Japanese delegation introduces the new Japan Caucasus Initiative

PAGE 7, 8

POLITICS PAGE 4

Hilik Bar - the person who changed the vector of GeorgiaIsrael relations POLITICS PAGE 6

ADB Names TBC Bank Leading Partner in Georgia Trade Financing

Allies Reaffirm Full Support at NATOCitizens of 168 Countries Visit Georgia Commission Meeting Georgia in August BUSINESS PAGE 8

SOCIETY PAGE 11

BY THEA MORRISON

Echowaves Festival: Four Days of Electronic Music Paradise

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ATO Allies reaffirmed their full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and condemned Russia’s recognition of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Tskhinvali) regions of Georgia as independent, at the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 5 September. The meeting was set up to allow discussion of the situation on the ground in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and ongoing efforts to pursue peace. The meeting also coincided with the tenth anniversary of the NATO-Georgia Commission, which first met on 15 September 2008. During the meeting, NATO Allies exchanged views with the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, and Deputy Foreign Minister, David Dondua. They also praised Georgia’s efforts to pursue peaceful conflict resolution in the context of the Geneva International Discussions. Before the meeting, Tsikhelashvili and Dondua

CULTURE PAGE 12

Rising Tennis Star Basilashvili Gives Nadal a Good Fight in US Open

Photo source: NATO

met with NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, who reiterated NATO’s political and practical support to Georgia and welcomed Georgia’s substantial contributions to international security. According to Tsikhelashvili, at the meeting she raised the issue of the human rights situation in

the occupied regions of Georgia. "I talked about the current situation in the occupied territories, the humanitarian and security challenges that people have been facing under occupation for ten years, and about the tools that Russia is using to separate the war-torn communities,” she said. Continued on page 2

SPORTS PAGE 15


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Majority Criticizes Minority's Initiative on Restricting Russian Propaganda BY THEA MORRISON

P Latvian Foreign Minister Pushes EU to Bring Georgia Closer BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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atvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics made a statement this week urging the European Union to take Georgian, Ukrainian, and Moldovan membership aspirations seriously. “It is clear that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have willingly chosen the European path. They are trying to join the EU and the EU should respond to these aspirations. The EU should recognize the prospects of membership of these countries and announce a real deadline

for their membership,” said Rinkevics. Rinkevics visited Tbilisi on August 6-7 to mark 10 years since the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 as part of a delegation that included the Foreign Ministers of Lithuania and Poland and the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. The members of the delegation traveled to the occupation line near village Odzisi adjacent to Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, paid tribute to fallen soldiers and held meetings with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Parliamentary Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. The trip was deemed a sign of support and friendship by the Government of Georgia.

arliament Vice-Speaker and member of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Gia Volsky has criticized the parliamentary minority European Georgia’s initiative to introduce legislative measures on Russian propaganda. Volsky says the introduction of such measures is incorrect and at the same time impossible in an era of modern technologies. The talks on restricting Russia’s “soft power” started after the South Caucasus Media Forum, funded by the Russian President’s Foundation, held in Tbilisi on September 5-7 against a background of protest rallies from society and nongovernmental organizations. The Vice-Speaker stated that only Russia will benefit from such a fight, which will encourage the “the syndrome of the forbidden fruit.” He believes that there are many forums and journalists funded by Russia but they cannot affect Georgian society’s thinking. “It is nothing new that Russian journalists and politicians do not think as we do… We know their position without their coming to Tbilisi, and their conversations cannot change the attitude of

Photo source: politico.eu

the Government of Georgia, foreign policy or public awareness that the Russian aggression and occupation took place in Georgia,” he stated. European Georgia suggested adopting legislative changes to restrict Russian propaganda in the country. One of the leaders of the party, Sergi Kapanadze, says the party will elaborate a package of amendments and present it to Parliament for approval in the near future. He says other political parties also want to get involved in the process and hopes a package will be created that will “eliminate Russian income and Russian projects in Georgia.” He added that hosting the South Caucasus media forum in Tbilisi was “ridiculous” in the 21st century, 10 years after the August War when Russia occupied 20% of Georgian territories. “Russian power and propaganda has intensified in Georgia of late, not only in general but in the political field too…

We have some politicians who are connected to Russia and want to return our country to the old times,” the MP claimed. Ada Marshania, one of the leaders of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG), which is often affiliated with Russia for their regular visits to Moscow and calls to start negotiations with the occupant neighbor, says that Georgians need to be “careful and wise” in their attitude to Russia. "There will always be an attempt at soft power from all empires, especially one located in the neighborhood…We haven’t learnt our lesson. We have to realize that we have such a neighbor whether we like it or not… We must be cautious and wise, but I do not see it in Georgia,” Marshania stated. The media forum, funded by the Russian Presidential Grants Foundation and organized by two Russian NGOs – NorthSouth Center and Press Club Unity, together with the Tbilisi-based news agency Georgia and the World, was followed by protest rallies in Tbilisi. The organizers of the forum, titled “The Role of Media in Confidence-Building in the Region,” claim it has nothing to do with Georgia-Russia relations and only includes seminars and roundtable discussions on political and media developments in the region, with Russian journalists taking part as lead experts.

Allies Reaffirm Full Support at NATO-Georgia Commission Meeting Continued from page 1

The Minister added that they also discussed the peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, which aims at improving the living conditions of people on the occupied territories and to restore confidence between the people living on dif-

ferent sides of the occupation lines. “NATO delegates believe that the only correct and rational path is peaceful resolution of the conflict. We and our partners are unitedinthispeacefuleffort…Wealsoreceived clear support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia,” she added. According to the Deputy Foreign Min-

ister, the main topic of the discussions was the Georgia-Russia conflict and the developments in Russian-backed breakaway regions of Georgia. “In my speech, I talked about the ongoing Geneva International Discussions, its role and the challenges we face during these discussions," Dondua said.

He noted that during the meeting, which lasted two hours, there were a lot of questionsandsupportingstatementsforGeorgia. “We are doing everything possible to achieve progress within the frames of the Geneva International Talks, but it is not right to leave this problem in the Geneva format alone: it is important to

keep the issue of Georgia on the international agenda and raise it more actively in all formats,” said Dondua. The NATO-Georgia Commission was established in September 2008 and plays a central role in deepening political dialogue and enhancing practical cooperation between Georgia and NATO.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Georgia to Host EU Discussions on Black & Caspian Sea Environments

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extWednesday,September 12, Batumi will host the Second Steering Committee of the EU-supported “Maritime safety, security, and marine environmental protection in the Black and Caspian Sea Regions” (BCSEA) project. The event will be attended by transport and maritime authorities from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, the Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine, and representatives from the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) and for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE). At the meeting, attendees will discuss what the BCSEA project has achieved so far during the first year and a half of its implementation. The project was launched in 2017 and is scheduled to run until 2021. Representatives of participating countries will outline new areas where they hope to receive more technical assistance and support, focusing on their most urgent needs. Particular attention will be dedicated to encouraging the use of technical assistance aimed at increasing national capacity, including support for drafting national legislation and procedures. The event will present the tools and services offered by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) with the goal of encouraging BCSEA participating countries to take advantage of them. EMSA offers several support tools, including CleanSeaNet, the Maritime Knowledge Center, RuleCheck, in concert with technical support to build the capacity of countries as flag, port and coastal

Fabrika at Global Architecture & Design Awards BY SHAWN WAYNE

BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

Image source: EMSA

states, including ensuring safe, secure and environmentally quality shipping. At the Steering Committee’s meeting, the partners plan to adopt a revised action plan of technical activities to be implemented. It has a €4 million budget, provided by the European Union. According to its website, BCSEA “aims to improve maritime safety and security, and to prevent marine pollution in the region. It does so by supporting the efforts of coastal states in implementing relevant international legislation, approximating their regulatory frameworks with EU legislation and improving the performance of their maritime activities.” They also focus on improving maritime safety and the living and working conditions on board ships, improving security for ships and at ports, reducing water pollution, and helping sailors to access more maritime training and qualifications. BCSEA includes workshops, seminars

and studies, operational support, highlevel seminars with parliamentary committees focusing on the relevant legal framework, and providing targeted bilateral assistance. The issues of maritime safety, security, and environmental protection in the Black and Caspian Sea regions are “common concerns of the EU member states and non-EU countries bordering the Black and Caspian Sea,” reads the EMSA website. In 2016, Smithsonian Magazine published an article titled “The Black Sea Is Dying, and War Might Push it Over the Edge,” detailing some of the horrible pollution in the Black Sea, and the challenge of international, multistate cooperation. Just this week, the nongovernmental organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent a letter to the leaders of Bulgaria and Georgia, expressing outrage at the mistreatment of live pigs on board a cargo ship going from Varna to Bulgaria.

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he Tbilisi multifunctional cultural center, Fabrika, took second place in the category "Urban Design (Building)" at the prestigious Global Architecture & Design Awards. 747 buildings from all over the world were nominated and competed in multiple categories. Fabrika, located in a former Soviet garment factory with an area of 8,000 square meters, was transformed into a modern art center on October 1, 2016. The people behind the idea were the architects of the company Multiverse Architecture - Davy Kituashvili and Gogita Sakvarelidze. The Georgian architects decided not to radically change the spirit of the Soviet era building, leaving the characteristic atmosphere of the past but setting it up with modern equipment and giving it a unique style.

Today there are restaurants, cafes-bars, a hostel, art studios and galleries. Seminars, exhibitions, presentations and many other cultural events are held there. Fabrika is considered not just an ideal location for the cultural and creative industries of Georgia, but also a platform for the exchange of experience, support and development of Georgian artists of contemporary art. "The factory has become a unique experience for Tbilisi in conceptual, architectural, urban and social perspectives. It’s the first attempt to create such a development locally, which immediately influenced the transformation of the building into a popular area for artists and hipsters," the Rethinking the Future website says. The Global Architecture & Design Awards in the field of architecture and design have been issued since 2014. The award was established as part of the Rethinking the Future project of the non-governmental organization Rethinking Internet Media, headquartered in Delhi.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

MEP Anna Fotyga. Image source: brusselsdiplomatic.com

MEP Fotyga: We Have to Remain Vigilant EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY VAZHA TAVBERIDZE

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or those who keep track of Georgia’s EU aspirations, Polish MEP Anna Fotyga needs little introduction: the ECR diplomat has been a vocal supporter of Georgia in the European Parliament and was instrumental in the penning and subsequent adoption of the EP Resolution on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 August War. Additionally, MEP Fotyga has taken on an admirable habit of giving young Georgian leaders a taste of the day-to-day running of the EP, with GEORGIA TODAY’s very own Zviad Adzinbaia one of the beneficiaries. Her latest foray into all matters Georgian took the form of a high-level discussion dedicated to the legacy of the 2008 War, the very question we posed to her in an interview for GEORGIA TODAY.

10 YEARS ON - WHAT DO YOU THINK THE LEGACY OF THE 2008 AUGUST WAR IS? I think there are two issues that should be raised. First and foremost, it’s good that we are able to remind politicians about the 10th anniversary of the Russian aggression on Georgia; good that we were able to debate it here in the European Parliament freely and to find consensus in the adoption of a common resolution that was quite strongly worded. After all the deliberation from the Russian side, I think the language was very proper and the diagnosis quite clear: the legacy is the acknowledgment of Russia's policies after the annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. It’s a pity we spent such a long time acknowledging this fact and that there is still this rather regrettable temptation to marginalize countries that are in slightly worse situations in terms of security. Luckily, here in the European Parliament I think that awareness is much higher.

POLAND IS MUCH MORE RELUCTANT TO CLEARLY STATE ITS POSITION, MUCH MORE SKEPTICAL, THAN THE EP. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? Even with the current difficulties, there is more “Poland” in the EU in terms of the perception of threats, particularly in Eastern Europe; within the region, the perception of threats in countries with a lot of Russian influence is consistent among the leadership. They see Russia’s attempts to destabilize and disinform large parts of societies [there]. We should remain vigilant. Of course, we would like to see Russia changing its attitude and Russian society empowered and pursuing our values, but I’m afraid it will take some time to achieve.

AND IN THE MEANTIME, GEORGIAN PEOPLE PAY THE PRICE. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MESSAGE TO THE GEORGIAN PEOPLE, AS A POLISH

I compliment Georgian society for bringing the values of the Western world into the country AND EUROPEAN DIPLOMAT?

To stay on track in the transatlantic and European aspirations. We in Poland keep the matter of the alliance with the United States very high on our political agenda and I think it is the same with the countries of South Caucasus, Georgia in particular. The leadership of the US, regardless of administration, is of key importance for the security of all of us; we have to rely on allies parallel to building our resilience in civilian areas and militarily. I believe that, with the exception of marginal forces, Georgian society is as well-prepared. I really compliment Georgian society, and in particular Georgian civil society, for bringing the values of the Western world into the country.

THE LEADERS OF THE OCCUPIED “SOUTH OSSETIA” AND ABKHAZIA REGIONS HAVE COMPLAINED THAT EUROPE IS NOT TALKING TO THEM. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE DEFACTO AUTHORITIES IF YOU HAD A CHANCE OF DIALOGUE WITH THEM? Such a dialogue is something I do not seek. There is a well-prepared plan outlined by the Georgian authorities how to improve the situation, in particular the people-to-people contacts, and also the economic standing of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian people. This plan is reasonable and has certain support from the EU, although naturally we stress that the territorial integrity of Georgia is of vital importance. We condemn any attempts to violate the borders of a sovereign country.

The leadership of the US, regardless of administration, is of key importance for the security of us all


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Lowering the Costs of Politics OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA

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efore we even get the upcoming presidential elections over with, the political class has started getting ready for the parliamentary elections of 2020, with the issue of majoritarian and proportional lists hyping up. It is also noteworthy, and we do not know if it is accidental or not, that the people who started talking about quotas and reducing the election barrier from 5% to 3% are those who are exceptionally close to the ruling party. Georgian politics is a weird phenomenon in general. The rules of the political game are perceived quite differently here. When the Patriotic Alliance’s inner party rights defender (in its Georgian definition) demanded a decrease in the number of MPs from 150 to 100, it fueled such a parliamentary intrigue that the recent presidential issues have all but disappeared into the shadows. Representing the initiative group, Mamuka Tuskadze has already applied with an official request to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia. Tuskadze also demanded a referendum be held together with the presidential

elections, and suggested asking one simple question: “Do you agree to decrease the number of MPs to 100?” The Patriotic Alliance and Tuskadze have already started collecting signatures to justify the need for the referendum and if they get 200 thousand, the CEC will have to print two ballot papers: one with a list of presidential candidates and the other with the above referendum question. The question as to why the issue of a referendum came to the minds of the Patriotic Alliance and its “rights

defender” Mamuka Tuskadze exactly now is easy to understand, as holding the referendum now will cost the government much less. However, it is as yet unknown what the “political expense” of this initiative will be. Today, the country of Georgia has 77 members elected by the proportional system and 73 members by the majority system. If this number is reduced to 100, 48 and 52 will be elected respectively. For the political party it should not matter much if they lead a campaign for 52 or 77 MPs,

but if we take into account the majoritarian system, it really saves a lot, as financing 73 members will cost much more than 48. And as they would have to increase the majoritarian districts, it could bring bigger financial and political dividends to the party. Most importantly, it will become easier to manage the MPs. Imagine how hard it is for the head of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, to control 115 MPsand it would have been even harder for him to control them through informal

governance via then-Prime Minister Kvirikashvili. Decreasing the number of MPs will be exactly what Ivanishvili needs to control them with fewer expenses. Great idea, isn’t it? Today the governmental party is divided into a few groups, the most powerful of those led by the Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze, former PM Kvirikashvili and Ivanishvili himself. Hence, it would reduce much of a headache for him in future. This step would also serve as a prevention to Kaladze’s political ambitions.

Hilik Bar - the Person Who Changed the Vector of Georgia-Israel Relations BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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ice-Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and the head of the parliamentary group of Israel-Georgia Friendship, Hilik Bar, is this week on an official visit to Georgia, his visit coming in response to an invitation from the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze. During his visit, he is expected to participate in several events taking place in Batumi and Tbilisi. At the beginning of his visit, on 7-8 September, Bar will attend the conference of the international organization Progressive Alliance on the topic of ‘Future of Labor in the Digital Era’ in Tbilisi. The above-mentioned conference is hosted by the Parliament of Georgia, and Hilik Bar is set to be one of the keynote speakers. On September 9, the Knesset ViceSpeaker will take part in a Israeli House - organized event dedicated to the European Days of Jewish Culture in the National Parliamentary Library of Geor-

gia. He will address the audience and on the same day hold a meeting in the Israeli House.

Hilik Bar will also travel to Batumi where on September 12, he will meet the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Auton-

omous Republic of Adjara, David Gabaidze. He will also attend the concert of the prominentGeorgianPianistElisoBolkvadze.

During the visit, the Vice-Speaker will meet with Chairman Kobakhidze and First Deputy Chairperson, Head of the Israel-Georgia Friendship Parliamentary Group, Tamar Chugoshvili. The meeting will see discussion of deepening cooperation between the countries and the upcoming visit of Hilik Bar to Tbilisi in December, where the parties will hold the final evaluation meeting of the year. According to the Vice-Speaker, Israel and Georgia are friends and have great potential in their relations and both parties have the will for multilateral ties. The Israel-Georgia Friendship Parliamentary Group headed by BE, cooperates closely with its Georgian colleagues. Active communication of both sides has been successful, with tourism being especially noteworthy as the number of tourists coming from Israel every year is on the up. Hilik Bar said he welcomes the transition to a new stage of relations between the two countries and welcomes the active inclusion of the Israeli House in these relations, together with the governments, parliaments and the diplomatic missions of both countries.

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GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

POLITICS

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Japan’s Caucasus Initiative: On Japan-Georgia Relations BY ANNA ZHVANIA

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n September 4, the Deputy Press Secretary of Japan, Mitsuko Shino, met with Georgian media to discuss Japan’s Caucasus Initiative and Japan-Georgia relations. Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Taro Kono, visited Georgia for the first time this week and met with his Georgian counterpart David Zalkaliani. Kono also signed the EN loan for Phase 2 of the East-West highway. As Shino mentioned during the media-meet, “The Foreign Minister is quite happy to visit Georgia, as we find Georgia to be a partner who shares common values of human rights, democracy, rule of law and freedom. And this is quite an important factor for a partner, hence our decision to launch Japan’s Caucasus Initiative.” Japan’s Caucasus Initiative is segregated into three parts. The basic principle sees Japan supporting self-sustained development in the Caucasus region and raising awareness of the issues which can be of common interest across the region (for example, water and disaster reduction). The first pillar consists of assistance for the development of architects for state building, which will include several parts: Firstly, the Rule of Law will include inviting young lawyers to Japan, which will be a part of MOFA’s invitation pro-

gram and will further provide opportunity for training in Japan. The second part will consist of Environment and Disaster Reduction through the JICA Training Program, which will include nature conservation, rescue techniques, water related disaster management, soil and water disaster, disaster management on infrastructure, disaster risk reduction, irrigation water management and management of land and water resources. Furthermore, the JICA Training Program will support economic and social infrastructure through transportation, natural resources and energy, economic policy, private sector development, agricultural/rural development, urban/ regional development and governance, health and social security programs. Finally, the initiative will introduce Japanese culture and assist Japanese language education in cooperation with the Japan foundation. The second pillar of the initiative will help to pave the way to an “Appealing Caucasus.” This will include the introduction of multiple visas, an investment treaty and ISDS Seminar, Connectivity and Transportation Infrastructures (the East-West Highway Improvement Project Phase 2), provision of hybrid cars and electric cars (96 cars in total) to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the installation of solar panels at Tbilisi International Airport and Ilia State University. The final part of the second pillar will include Bilateral Investment Treaty principles and agreements.


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Georgia Interested in Starting Free Trade Regime Negotiations with Japan

BY THEA MORRISON

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eorgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze met the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Taro Kono. During the meeting he stated that Georgia is interested in launching negotiations over free trade with Japan. The PM stated discussion of this issue will advance the relations between the two countries to a new level and will help Georgia's more effective integration into the global economy. The parties also focused on ongoing negotiations on a bilateral investment

agreement between Japan and Georgia, which is at the final stage. As Bakhtadze said, the agreement will create an opportunity to attract more investments from Japan. “In the foreseeable future, negotiations on the bilateral investment agreement will be finalized that will enable us to attract more high-tech investments from Japan. In addition, negotiations on visa liberalization with Japan have already begun which will advance Georgia-Japan relations onto a qualitatively new level. I would like to express my immense gratitude to the Government of Japan for allocating finances for the implementation of the East-West Highway Project,” the PM stated.

ADB Names TBC Bank Leading Partner in Georgia Trade Financing

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BC Bank has been named as the leading partner bank for trading in Georgia for the fourth time in a row by theAsianDevelopmentBank

(ADB). The awards ceremony was held in Singapore and attended by around 200 representatives of banks andfinancial institutions of 15 countries. The Asian Development Bank identified 23 best partner banks with

which it cooperates most actively. "We have financial indicators for the last 12 months which we naturally could not have reached without our partner banks. This ceremony is a great opportunity to reward them once again for their partnership and for the work done. In cooperation with the winning banks, we make a very important contribution to economic growth and job creation,” said Stephen Beck, Head of the Asian Devel-

opment Bank's Trade Financing Program. ADB was founded in 1966 with the purpose of reducing poverty through economic growth and regional integration in the Asian and Oceanic countries. Since 2009, the ADB Trade Financing Program has provided over 12,000 small and medium enterprises with financial support. In 2017, the ADB financed a number of sectors in various countries with $32.2 billion dollars.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

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Ukraine's Transit Ambitions: Energy Review BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE

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ccording to Ukrtransgaz, operator of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, natural gas reserves in Ukrainian underground gas storage facilities (UGS) as of the beginning of August were 12.893 billion cubic meters. Thus, natural gas reserves in the UGS have increased by 592 million cubic meters since July 21, that is, the injection rates on these days averaged 54 million cubic meters per day. Before the start of the next heating season, the government intends to accumulate 17 billion cubic meters in underground gas storage facilities - as it did last year. However, the pace of download is slightly lagging. For example, on July 29, there were 12.7 billion cubic meters of fuel in the UGS, which is 300-400 million cubic meters less than the same time one year ago. In January-July this year, Ukraine reduced gas imports to 5.578 billion cubic meters (2.56 billion cubic meters less in comparison with the previous year). An unexpected blow to Ukraine's transit ambitions came from Moldovan President Igor Dodon, who said he feared the unpredictability of the Ukrainian route and would prefer to buy gas bypassing Ukraine. Ukrtransgaz, a subsidiary of Naftogaz, which is responsible for transit, posted

record losses for the first half of 2018 by 17.7 billion. The Government of Ukraine is to put up for auction 44 land plots for the extraction of natural gas, with a total volume of reserves of 150 billion cubic meters. The initial starting price of all plots is about UAH 3 billion ($106,243,590.00), but the terms of the auctions have yet to be determined. In January-June, production fell to 10.206 billion cubic meters (-0.5% against the same period last year). And this despite the fact that Naftogaz for the third time over the summer increased the cost of gas purchases in the domestic market, from 7629 to 8088 UAH ($286.43) per thousand cubic meters. This could serve as a benchmark for the level of the price of imports which the government and the IMF will agree on, because the price of imports certainly cannot be less than the price of the domestic market. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is offering Naftogaz of Ukraine a $100 million loan for gas purchases. It is curious that a little earlier the company's management issued a premium of almost half this ($46.5 million) following the consideration of the claim of the company to Gazprom in the arbitration court of Stockholm.

ELECTRICITY The current tariff for electricity for household consumers will be stable for

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another 11 months and will be revised upwards in July 2019. According to the calculations of officials, the breakeven point today is no lower than 2.6 UAH ($0.092) per kWh. The terms of payment for consumed electricity have been tightened. According to the new decree of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Utilities (NKREC), bills must be paid within 10 days by household consumers and within 5 days by others. In the Shirokovskiy district of the Dnepropetrovsk region, French and Ukrainian entrepreneurs are planning to begin construction of a solar power station with a capacity of 7 MW this fall. The volume of investments is EUR 8.6 million. 30% of this amount is being invested by a French company, and the rest provided by the EBRD. Two more solar power plants began operating in the Odessa region with a capacity of 4,152 MW and 350 kW. At present, according to the State Energy Efficiency Service, about 4,660 Ukrain-

ian farms cover their electricity needs through solar energy. 1107 of them moved to it in Q2 2018 - twice as many as in the first quarter.

COAL In the first half of the year, the Kyiv thermal power plant increased coal consumption to 13,045 million tons (+ 2.13 million tons in comparison with the same period last year). In part explaining why there is less coal in warehouses than a year ago. As of August 2, total coal reserves in the warehouses of TPPs and CHPP fell to 1.67 million tons (-64 thousand tons since July 23). This is almost 700 thousand tons less than a year ago. Sociological group "Rating" asked Ukrainians a question - where should Ukraine buy coal? According to the results of the survey, the majority of respondents (46%) believe that the government should let go its pride and negotiate deliveries with the leadership of the Donbass republics. Around a third

spoke in favor of buying coal abroad, while 21% were undecided. On the issue of gas purchase, the opinion was divided equally: 40% were in favor of direct purchases from Gazprom, 20% could not choose any of the options.

OIL The company "Ukrnafta" in its report on activities for the first half of the year, did not disclose the volumes of sales of oil and oil products. However, it is known that the net profit reached UAH 2,061 billion ($72,989,346,330.00). The company has said it plans to increase production, offering investors a partnership in investing in new wells. "Cooperation will be built on the basis of service contracts with the distribution of risk. The investor will provide financial resources and technical expertise, and the reward will be a part of the additional profit received due to the increase in hydrocarbon production volumes as a result of the investor's works,� the company explained.

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SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Neo-Nazi Group Leader Facing Prison BY SHAWN WAYNE

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iorgi Chelidze, the leader of Neo-Nazi group National Unity of Georgia, was arrested last Saturday by Georgian police for the illegal purchase, storage and carrying of firearms. He faces up to six years in prison and is currently being held in pre-trial detention. After his residence was searched by police, they found several illegal firearms as well as 28 rounds of ammunition. Prosecutor’s claimed on Monday that Chelidze had removed a sink in the bathroom of his house and attempted to dispose of evidence by dropping the bullets down the drain, but was caught in the act by police. Tbilisi City Court remanded Chelidze in custody on Monday afternoon pending his trial. His attorneys have demanded his release on bail at 1000 GEL (around $400) “It’s been like this since I founded the organization and started spreading my ideas: this is an attempt to silence me. The investigation proves there is none of my DNA on the ammunition,” said Chelidze after the hearing.

Authorities launched an investigation into the National Unity of Georgia after they published a series of videos on August 31, showing Chelidze and a group of men wearing the group’s armbands and firing an assault rifle at an unknown outdoor location. Prior to his arrest, however, Chelidze posted on Facebook assuring people he was not keeping any illegal weapons at home and therefore would not face any legal issues. Monday in court, Chelidze claimed

that his only crime was his love for the country, nation, and state. His lawyer downplayed the accusations that Chelidze was a fascist, a term Chelidze frequently self-identifies with, and claims that it is a Latin word meaning ‘unity’. He also claimed that the armbands members of the group wear were borrowed from Georgian ethnography. The armbands were also worn at court on Monday. The National Unity of Georgia has gained visibility in recent years, mostly

due to their threats of violence and videos posted online of members posing with guns. In April, the group published a video on Facebook in which two members called for support for those who defend their territory, referring to a violent incident on April 8 between a group of Nigerian students and other local residents in Tbilisi. The April video also led to a police investigation after public outcry, however, it ended after authorities claimed the pistols which were visible in front of the speakers in the video were pneumatic. Another investigation into the group in May, after threatening statements were made against participants of the rally protesting the police raid on nightclubs, also resulted in no charges. During counter-protests on 12–13 May co-organized by the group, they vowed to form detachments against drug dealers and LGBT propagandists while chanting death to the enemy and giving Nazi salutes. On International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, several leaders of the National Unity of Georgia were questioned for several hours at a police station over alleged threats they had made towards queer rights activists. “We have black shirt groups for such

cases. It is a prepared squad that can be involved in such confrontation in accordance with the law. We, who are now here, are true Georgians. We are starting to form troops and we are ready to protect our country from drug dealers and LGBT propagandists who will not be able to form an agenda in Georgia. The agenda belongs to us. Death to the enemy,” Chelidze said during the counter protest. The group marched through Tbilisi that day under a heavy police presence, giving Nazi salutes despite being warned by the State Security Service not to use Nazi symbols in public. According to the Liberty Charter adopted in 2011, it is illegal to publicly display communist or fascist symbols. Following these events in May, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia acknowledged there were shortcomings in the current legislation, describing it as “not very effective” against aggressive and fascistleaning groups, however, no legal changes have since been publicly announced. Many Georgian rights groups have criticized the government for not handling these situations with radical groups properly, insisting that the authorities should act more harshly when they continuously make direct threats towards others and incite violence.

Inspiring Irish Climber Tackles His Highest Mountain Yet - Elbrus BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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ergal Hingerty lives in a small Irish town. He had a career in credit control and an active, athletic lifestyle in Dublin, until one day his legs began causing him trouble. In 2001, he was diagnosed with a severe case of chronic sciatica, which continued to worsen to the point that standing for more than two minutes at a time was nearly impossible. His spine was deteriorating. He moved out of Dublin when it became too difficult to walk through crowded city streets, which required constantly shifting his weight to avoid cars, people and potholes. After countless medical consultations, therapies, and treatments, a doctor finally proposed surgery. The operation presented a 20% risk of landing him in a wheelchair, but compared to the near 100% chance of being wheelchair-bound within a year without the surgery, Hingerty took the risk. The operation was a rousing success. Recovery was a painful struggle in and of itself. Hingerty calls it “some sort of miracle” that he is now not only walking, but climbing mountains. “The rehab, the weights, the swimming, the stretches...it was physically, mentally, and emotionally tough,” he recalled. After his operation in March 2011, he began taking long walks around the canals in his town to strengthen his muscles. Just four months after the surgery, a friend invited him to go hiking with her in the mountains, and his doctor gave him the green light. “I never had an interest in climbing before,” he explained, but “I had a choice. I could walk around the park 1,000 times or I could take on a challenge.” Hingerty rarely hikes the same hill twice. “I enjoy the planning and analyzing of a route, the challenge of figuring out how to get up and down, using maps and compasses… it’s much harder to [hike without a GPS], but much more satisfying when you do it,” he enthused. He is fascinated with the idea of navigating based on nature – the sky, the sun, the wind, observing

where ivy and moss grows. Hingerty became the first person to climb all the county tops (the highest point in each county) in Ireland and Wales, and is working on Scotland, but he cut his high-altitude teeth in Georgia, hiking for several days in Svaneti with technical equipment in 2015, and summitting Mt. Kazbek last fall. He does feel “a bit” of pressure to be inspiring, to be a role models for others. “Mountain climbing helps release me from the material world,” he said, bringing him more in touch with the universal truths of life. He does interviews and writes articles about his climbing in the hope that he can reach people who might be heartened by his story. If his message of never giving up touches someone, “you can only feel good about that... there’s a sense of fulfillment,” he said. His philosophy is that “It’s not really about leaving behind a legacy. I’ve always emphasized there are people far worse off than me who have overcome more than me…I’ve been given a second chance, therefore it’s incumbent upon me to do something...you can’t be selfish.” Hingerty’s most recent target was also his highest – Mt. Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe. He went with a trekking company called Mountain Freaks, a Polish outfit based out of Kazbegi, Georgia. They left Tbilisi Saturday morning to drive to base camp. After a few small climbs to acclimate, they made a summit push on August 31, and succeeded on their first attempt. How does Hingerty feel about climbing in Russia? He says the political borders around the peaks are just “a complicated coincidence.” He isn’t hiking for the culture or history of a place, but for the geography itself. Elbrus may be his highest, he told me before the climb. He pulled out a postcard with a picture of one of Georgia’s most intimidating peaks, Ushba in Svaneti, deadly for its complexity and steepness rather than its height. “I’m not going to climb that one,” he laughed. Elbrus is a dangerous mountain as well. On average, the mountain takes 15-30 lives per year. Hingerty dismissed any fear, though, saying they were probably “drunk idiots, skiers, poor guys…” he

trails off. He attributes his confidence to his faith in Mountain Freaks’ experience and professionalism, and his focus on safety and preparation – “just because you love the mountains doesn’t mean the mountains love you.” “If I don’t summit this year, I’ll go back next year...I would feel disappointed. I wouldn’t say devasted. The number one issue on mountains is safety,” he repeats, “it is pointless to try to climb by pushing it too far. Every single climber has tried to push too far and has learned a lesson from it.” He recognizes that every climb has a key decision point – to keep going or turn back. Hingerty has plenty of practice making those tough decisions hiking in the volatile climates of Ireland and Britain. “At the time, you might be annoyed if you have to come down for some reason, but you’ll look back and understand it was the right thing,” he insists. Hingerty and his team summitted Mt. Elbrus successfully on August 31. “I never had a doubt about getting to the top,” he said afterwards, despite battling nausea, the extreme altitude, and the biting cold. He asserts that the most important element of the group’s success was their preparation. It was so “important [that] we prepared properly, thanks to the professionalism of [guide] Ewa and Mountain Freaks...still,” Hingerty said, “some of the group suffered...This is a very cold, high, and dangerous mountain. Do not gamble with your life – climb it properly and only with professionals.” Hingerty is not shy about sharing his thoughts on the negative side of Georgia’s mountains. In his 2015 commentary on Svaneti, published in GEORGIA TODAY, he wrote “there exist two issues which have to be tackled. Firstly, the litter which appears along parts of the hiking routes used both by locals and some hikers, which could turn into a big problem unless dealt with soon. However, by far the biggest problem is the insane driving culture whereby white lines do not exist... And…the added problem of wandering livestock everywhere.” In an interview with GEORGIA TODAY before climbing Mt. Kazbek he mused, “If you can carry a full bottle of water up the mountain, surely you can carry an empty bottle down.”

Fergal Hingerty

In our conversation before his trek to Elbrus, Hingerty criticized what he views as Georgia’s over-commercialization. He worries that Georgia is selling its soul to the tourism industry. It’s the eternal question – what is authenticity, and how to maintain the balance between the charm tourists demand, carefully curated to look untouched, and the economic development and prosperity of local people? Hingerty insists that Georgia must be both cleaned up and left wild, the edges polished, but not too much...a tricky proposition. On his fifth trip to

the country, however, he is still full of love for the warm hospitality he has repeatedly received and, of course, Georgian wine. “I have come back because I found Svaneti exhilarating, I found Tusheti absolutely incredible, Kazbek itself was incredible – the people, the relaxed vibe,” are constant draws. When asked if he had the urge to keep climbing, and to go even higher, Hingerty said “at the moment, no, like last year [after I climbed Mt. Kazbek], but by Christmas that old itch will come back, I’m sure.”


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Torchlight Trails: Etseri- Lake Meziri

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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ell, I’m home alone for a week or so while my wife attends to family and other concerns in Tbilisi and Kakheti; she’ll return just before school starts in mid-September. Time to take the 4x4 on a little test-run and then walk the rest of the way up. My target: once again, Lake Meziri, tiny, but reflecting Ushba when The Mountain cooperates. First time going for a sunset shot, which means I’ll have to walk back to the car in darkness, unaided by moonlight, using my phone light. On the way, I debate staying long enough to get some good starlight photos as well, but we’ll see whether cloud or anything else will change my plans and possibilities. Once I’m out above Etseri, the road devolves into rather a nightmare, with deep gullies coming and going along its center. I’m forced to straddle these with the car’s tires for as long as I can, and cross a few of them when they veer off the road and get shallow enough to drive over. Too stressful to go right up to the cluster of cowherders’ huts right at the top; I risk damaging the thing, or getting it stuck and having to beg for help to pull it out. I find a place wide enough to turn around, do so, and abandon the vehicle. My small backpack contains my cam-

era, three lenses, a bottle of water and an extra layer of clothing as it’s likely to cool down fast at these altitudes as evening sets in. Plus, separate, the tripod in its custom shoulder-sling soft case made for be by a friend in St Petersburg a quarter-century ago. Just in case I need to make some long exposures. As last week, so again, as soon as I get my first glimpse of Ushba, it’s just about to shroud its peak in cloud. This time I’m fast enough to fire off a couple of shots before losing the peak. I must press on, and hope for the best at the lake, about another half hour away. The path is clear. I walk down quickly, and yes, The Mountain does give me a couple of glimpses of its peak at the lakeside, as the sun’s last light is hitting it and the nearly preventing clouds: Golden Hour in a few seconds. The water is a bit more stirred up by wind than I would like, but beggars can’t be choosers! I shoot again, wait to see what will change, realize that the sun is now off the mountain and its peak gone for a while, and decide not to wait, but to return. I’m tired, shoulders sore from my burdens, and alone, plus not really warm enough to wait a couple of hours more for good stars. The phone’s light becomes necessary after less than half an hour of the return trip. Fortunately, this is an easy path and there are few places to get lost; it’s just one foot in front of the other, the odd short break for water, then trudge on. There are ups and downs, cows’ eyes in the torch-

light, but nothing howls at me; hardly a sound aside from the gentle rustles of evening wildlife settling down or escaping my attention. Soon it’s dark enough that when I turn the light off, I can hardly see the path at all, and know that I could not go safely go on without it and expect my ankles to survive the descent intact. My knees, mildly rheumatic since I was 18, do bother me a bit, but I was expecting this and can live with it. Eventually the galaxy’s arm does come into full glorious view in our thin atmosphere, but The Mountain behind me is stubbornly veiled, so I concentrate on getting back to the car. Will the perilous drive back down be worse at night than during the day? It turns out that hi-beams are more than sufficient to light my way, down is easier than up, and I make the drive without incident. My shoulders ache now, but I have my few images safe and can cross “Ushba in Lake Meziri, sunset” off my list for now. “Ushba & Galaxy” remains, but that’s for another night, from much closer to home. Enough for now. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1900 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: w.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

Citizens of 168 Countries Visit Georgia in August BY THEA MORRISON

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n August 2018, the citizens of 168 countries visited Georgia, six countries more compared to August 2017. The information was released by the National Tourism Administration based on the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Most of the international travelers who visited Georgia in August were from Russia (227,114 visits), Azerbaijan (200,454 visits) and Armenia (183,500 visits). Georgia had one traveler only from the following states: Andorra, Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Haiti, French Guiana, Bhutan, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Botswana and Lesotho.

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GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

Patara Gallery in Tbilisi Underground Hosts Exhibition of Croatian Visual Artist BY LIKA CHIGLADZE

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n September 4, Patara Gallery and Propaganda.network presented Tea Stražicic’s exhibition named "At the Mercy of Your Saliva." The gallery was opened in November 2017 in the underground walkway near Rose Revolution Square in Tbilisi and since then it has been actively operating and hosting various exhibitions, presentations and events. The gallery is called Patara (small) because of its size, yet it does not pose an obstacle for the curators and artists to bring their ideas to life and deliver inspiring displays. GEORGIA TODAY attended the opening of the exhibition and talked to the curator and artist. Co-founder of Patara gallery and curator Gvantsa Jishkariani talked to us about the exhibition, the gallery and their plans. “Patara gallery was opened in November 2017, and since then we have held around 15 exhibitions,” she told us. “At least two events are held every month in our gallery. Except for the very first exhibition, all the artists presented in our venue are selected through an opencall competition, something which is unprecedented in Georgia. Our gallery’s primary principle is not to put restrictions on the artists, and we give them the freedom to present their works the way they want and develop from the experience. Most of our displays have been solo exhibitions, but we’ve also hosted presentations and music evenings. We also cooperate with Propaganda. network, which finances all the exhibitions in this venue. In exchange, they receive one piece of artwork from the artists for their contemporary art archive,” Jishkariani said. The venue is both interesting and appealing, since it is located in an underground walkway and attracts one’s attention when passing by. It is the first exhi-

bition space in Georgia to be located in a pedestrian walkway. “Originally, this walkway had bad associations- some people were afraid to use it, or could not stand the awful smell. So it was a big risk to set up a venue here, but it worked out well and now it has become a more functional and pleasant public place. The most important thing is how the people who work in the underground walkway perceive this venue and how it influences them. Many of them express curiosity and say they enjoy passing by and checking out what is inside. So it really means a lot to us. Another important feature is that it’s not only a gallery, but a window shop as well, so even if it’s closed, passersby can still see what’s inside,” she said. The exhibition named "At the Mercy of Your Saliva” exposes a creature filled with sadness. The spectator not only sees the character, who resembles a character from a video game, but can feel the pain that lingers in the space. Stražicic’s work is atmospheric, making spectators a part of her installation, who feel it through smell, temperature and special illumination. Tea Stražicic is a visual artist and graphic designer from Croatia who usually works in digital art and creates animations. This time she decided to experiment and bring to life a video game creature. An animation director at Adriatic Animation studio and artist at SwS collective, she actively works in the digital medium. Under the alias @flufflord, she posts a variety of strange hybrid content between fashion and fantasy RPG, while her illustration blog @beefycakegastronaut is more focused on graphic storytelling. “I think she is really a great artist, that’s why I contacted her and offered her the chance to apply to exhibit here,” the curator said, going on to emphasize the importance of organizing such exhibitions and having such artists invited to Georgia who work on different themes and use different tools.

“This year, Patara Gallery will be part of the Frankfurt Book Fair, so we will be organizing a parallel exhibition there similar to this one, but in a different form. Part of the show will be video documentation and part will be artworks. The exhibition in Tbilisi will last until September 24 and right away it will be followed by another artist, who is Georgian. From the first day of opening, the gallery has hosted back-to-back exhibitions and we have scheduled exhibitions right up until year-end. That said, the space is also open for one-day events, presentations and expositions, so anyone is welcome to propose their ideas,” she explained. We asked the artist for her impressions about the country and to give us some insight into her work.

“Even though it’s my first time in Georgia, the environment is really familiar to me, it feels almost like a home,” Stražicic told us. “I’ve been to many places but this city is really fascinating: I’ve rarely seen such beautiful architecture. I am impressed by the Georgian script too, it is so beautiful, it’s like an art. I traveled a lot and moved a lot. Now I’m based in Zagreb but am planning to move to Berlin. I do film and digital art, music industry videos, detailed photo realistic digital art and experiment in different mediums. Over the past two years, I’ve been working to bring back the fantasy world we liked when we were teenagers and to extract some memories from what was popular in the media as well as from different music genres, like black metal. All my past exhibitions were titled Black Metal

but with this exhibition I decided to experiment and create something cute but also terrifying. This character releases its sadness in the form of slime that resembles tears. I wanted to combine the huge amount of feelings I had in my imagination as a teenager when picturing this monster. I’m really happy with the result. I first created the sketch in digital form and when I arrived here I used industrial foam and other materials to complete the sculpture. I also brought some stones from the town on the coast where I’m from and painted them. I did the wall drawings on location over two days. I’ve been interested in this gallery since its first exhibition, so I was happy to propose my project to the team. I would love to come back to Georgia for another project as well as to travel,” she said.

Echowaves Festival: Four Days of Electronic Music Paradise REVIEW BY ANNA ZHVANIA

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chowaves Festival opened on August 23 for its very first debut on the coast of sunny Anaklia. Up to 40,000 guests from 35 countries gathered for the awaited dose of positive energy. As the sun set on day 1, thousands of people started arriving on the festival scene in time for their favorite DJs. Starting off with Juan Atkins, Dzijan Emin & Alter Orchestra at 11pm, everyone could feel the Echwaves crowd getting into the vibe that was to last all weekend. On the Khidi Stage, Claro Intelecto played a live set, giving its signature touch to each track. Moving to the Eye Stage, Lehar and Musameci prepared for a B2B (backto-back) set of banging beats. And as dawn approached, the crowd gathered around the incredible bamboo Taiyo

Stage, where DJs took over to lead through to the afternoon. The excitement of the crowd could be heard from miles away.

On day 2, everyone looked comfortable, familiar with the food and music venues, as well where to go for extra entertain-

ment away from the stage. Guests could try ziplining, frisbee, basketball, football, color fest, crafting, ‘magic of astrology,’ yoga, mehndi and more. And as the shadows lengthened, you could see the thrill in each and every participant as they got ready for another night of surprises. Aqua Stage, located in Anaklia’s Aqua Park, came alive with five local and international DJs performing while visitors sipped cocktails and enjoyed the sun and waterslides. At sunset, the legendary Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann began their first B2B set of the Echowaves weekend. They immediately got the crowd sucked into a state of trance and lasers, taking everybody’s breath away. After they completed the set, both moved to Khidi Stage to play individually for the crowd. The next day brought even more excitement with the arrival of the king of techno Solomun on the Wave Stage. Dancing behind the decks, laughing

with the crowd and showing his love for music with every beat, Solomun gave a spectacular show, and once he was done, the crowd followed him to the afterparty at Eye Stage, where he and DJ Tennis played a B2B for several hours. As DJ Tennis ended his part around 12pm, Solomun took over the until 7pm, giving the crowd a full 13 hours of music to remember. As the final day closed, everyone’s favorite Die Antwoord gave the crowd chills with their new, well-known melodies. Even with a mixed crowd, it was fun to watch everybody having a blast. Echowaves Festival was a huge success. Visitors had the opportunity to take a dip at the Aqua Park and in the beautiful Black Sea, enjoy the food and bar trucks and stock up on merchandise. Echowaves fans had the time of their lives, dancing a full four days straight and creating memories that will definitely last for years.


GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

CULTURE

Eastern Promotions & TBC Status Present the Legendary Chemical Brothers BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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n September 1, The Chemical Brothers, four-times Grammy award-winning artists, presented the Georgian audience with a mindblowing performance which saw the British duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons offering a trademark unforgettable show packed full of visuals. On September 1, ticket-holders were transported free of charge by buses from the capital to the Rustavi International Motorpark 40-minutes away. Doors opened at 5pm to the sounds of Electronaut 2015 I.b. performing their Open Mirror project A.K.A Berika and Machaidze. Warm-up artist James Holroyd then took to the stage before Georgian pioneer DJ Jorjick rounded off the event prior to the main act. The Chemical Brothers are best known for their performances and visuals and came to Georgia as part of their final tour. The set list included hits from 1995 to present from their studio albums. The Chemical Brothers is a follower of the legendary British electronic wave and was a pioneer of the electronic dance genre, having since made eight studio albums. The British duo is into its third decade of performing and making electronic music. They are best known for their hits: Block Rockin Beats, Hey Boy Hey Girl, Galvanize, The Salmon Dance, Do It Again, and Swoon.

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GEORGIA TODAY

SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER

GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 September 7, 8, 13 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL September 9, 11, 12 An animated documentary film REZO Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. September 7 THE KNIGHT IN THE PANTHER'S SKIN Based on Shota Rustaveli’s poem Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL September 8 KRIMANCHULI Georgian Folklore Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 25 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL September 7-13 MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN Directed by Ol Parker Cast: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Dominic Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard Genre: Comedy, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE EQUALIZER 2 Directed by Antoine Fuqua Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Language: English Start time: 17:15 Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

DON'T WORRY, HE WON'T GET FAR ON FOOT Directed by Gus Van Sant Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 15 GEL CAVEA GALLERY Address: 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL September 7-13 THE EQUALIZER 2 (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 11:50, 22:15 Ticket: 10-19 GEL DESTINATION WEDDING Directed by Victor Levin Cast: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Dj Dallenbach Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Language: English Start time: 18:00 Language: Russian Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 14-19 GEL A.X.L. Directed by Oliver Daly Genre: Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 12:10 Ticket: 10-15 GEL ALPHA Directed by Albert Hughes Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Varela Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 13:55 Ticket: 11-15 GEL MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (Info Above) Language: English Start time: 16:45 Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 22:30 Ticket: 11-19 GEL THE MEG Directed by Jon Turteltaub Cast: Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 16:30 Ticket: 13-16 GEL

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT Directed by Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 21:45 Ticket: 16-19 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY Exhibition showcasing a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS UNKNOWN COLLECTIONS OF THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM– INDIA, CHINA, JAPAN The exhibition showcases up to 500 artworks - paintings, sculptures and samples of applied art, the chronological range of which is wide. May 26 – September 30 THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - 100 YEARS The Georgian National Museum and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, Korneli Kekelidze Georgian National Center of Manuscripts and National Archives of Georgia, presents the exhibition MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia.

ETHNOGRAPHIC OPEN AIR MUSEUM Address: 1 Turtle Lake Telephone: 223 09 60, 222 63 02 www.museum.ge The museum hosts houses and household buildings brought from around Georgia and represents 14 ethnographic zones: Kartli, Samegrelo, Adjara, Abkhazia, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Kakheti, Meskheti, Javakheti, Guria, Imereti, Racha, Lechkhumi and Ossetia. SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY Address: 7 A. Ioseliani Str., Mestia, Georgia. August 25 – October 14 Georgian National Museum and Project ArtBeat Present Maia Naveriani's exhibition "Gone Here Today Tomorrow - მეჩდე ამჩუ ლადი მ'ხაარ" at Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography. /Gone - illusion is gone Here - in my consciousness Today - I step Tomorrow - I change/ SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI MUSEUM Address: Rabati Fortress, 1 P. Kharistchirashvili Str.1, Akhaltsikhe The Georgian National Museum presents the renovated exhibition spaces at the Samtskhe-Javakheti Museum, which see the addition of recently discovered exhibits, and technical updates according to modern museum standards. GALLERY

LADO GUDIASHVILI ART GALLERY Address: Gudiashvili Atr. Telephone: 293 23 05 Tickets: General - 5 GEL, Ages 6-18 - 3 Gel, Students and Pensioners - 3 GEL, Free admission for orphan groups and children under 6 EXHIBITION OF PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN ART PIECES CREATED BY LEGENDARY ARTIST LADO GUDIASHVILI: 1 + 70 UNKNOWN MUSIC

Dandy Jack (Live), Ako Von Unten, Vasil. Caffe Stage: David Dorad, Avangardt Tabldot, Ako Von Unten, Gabunia, Rati. Start time: 17:00 Tickets: From 50 GEL September 8 EZO FESTIVAL BIRTHDAY AND CLOSING PARTY eZo stage: Kornél Kovács, Nick Hoppne, Ash Scholem, Sumo, Zurkin. Caffe Stage: Wareika, Audio, Space, Bero, Dj Tomwildculture, Gio Shengelia, Micro Bax. Start time: 17:00 Tickets: From 50 GEL DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC AND CULTURE Address: 123/125 Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 296 12 43 INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL- AUTUMN TBILISI September 7 THE OPENING CONCERT of the 26th International Music Festival Dedicated to the anniversary of the Georgian Sinfonietta Conducted by world famous Spanish musician- Jordi Savall Special guests will be outstanding musicians from various countries. Start time: 19:30 Tickets: 10-30 GEL September 12 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ENSEMBLE ‘RUSTAVI’ Start time: 19:30 Tickets: 10-30 GEL ELEKTROWERK Address: 2 Monk Gabriel Salosi I Turn Telephone: 577 60 00 08 September 8 Line Up: DETERAL, PANIKA, VODKA VTRAIOM, EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY, SCRATCH THE FLOOR Start time: 19:00 Tickets: 10 GEL BATUMI MUSIC FEST Address: Batumi State Musical Center, 1 O. Dimitriadis Str. Telephone: 0422 22 15 06

SOUNDS OF GEORGIA September 7 Regular mini-concerts of traditional Georgian live music in Old Town will make you get to know and fall in love with Georgian character and culture. Start time: 17:00 Tickets: 23 GEL Venue: New Tiflis, 9 Agmashenebeli Ave., Wine bar ‘Wine Station’ September 12 Start time: 17:00 Tickets: 23 GEL Venue: 2 Ivan Turgenev Atr., Tbilisi deep yard September 13 Start time: 17:00 Tickets: 23 GEL Venue: Europe Sq., 2 D. Megreli Str., Hotel "Nata", Terrace MTATSMINDA HILL September 7 EZO FESTIVAL BIRTHDAY AND CLOSING PARTY eZo stage: Franck Roger, Mathew Jonson &

September 7 GALA-CONCERT Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 10-20 GEL Venue: Chokhatauri Cultural Center September 9 BARBARE TATARADZE & ILIA LOMTATIDZE Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 GEL Venue: Z. Paliashvili Music School, Batumi, 20 D. Tavdadebuli Str. September 10 VIKTORIA HIRSHUBER Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 5 GEL Venue: Z. Paliashvili Music School, Batumi, 20 D. Tavdadebuli Str. September 11 KHVICHA MAGHLAKELIDZE Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-20 GEL September 12 ELISO BOLKVADZE Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-20 GEL


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 7 - 10, 2018

15

Miss Fashion TV in Rixos Sungate BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI

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ixos Sungate Hotel hosted the Miss Fashion TV award ceremony which was held by the biggest fashion organization in the world, Fashion TV, August 26 - 31. First place from 30 candidates was taken by Gabriela Slivca from Moldova, second place was won by representative of Venezuela, Patricia Acosta, and the crown of the third place was awarded to representative of Israel, Romi Nest. Miss Fashion TV once again held the annual world-famous beauty pageant in the Rixos Sungate hotel, which appears the leader among entertainment hotels in Europe. The 30 most beautiful girls from 30 different countries took part in a six-day camp, with Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, the UK, France, Sweden, Austria, Greece, Israel, and Argentina among them. All the girls were prepared for the competition and were eager to win, participating in numerous entertainment and sporting events.

After participation in the various events, on August 31 the girls took their place on the podium for the awards ceremony. In addition to the abovementioned results, the Turkish participant, Rengin Kurt, was chosen as a Miss Photo Model. The models that entered the top ten were given the opportunity to take part directly in the World contest Fashion TV Model, which will be held in Cyprus on October 7.

AN HONORARY GUEST: JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME Invited as an honored guest and jury member, the unforgettable star of a plethora of martial arts films and Belgian athlete Jean Claude Van Damme surprised guests at the hotel with his being there. Aside from his duties as jurist, Van Damme spent a productive amount of time on social media promoting the event through photos and videos. Alongside the famous actor, other jury members of the Fashion TV beauty contest were the owner of Fashion TV Michael Adam, prominent model Demet Sener, the General Manager of Rixos Sungate Hotel Derya Billur and the President of the Women Milan Agency, Dejan Markovic.

SPORTS

The Zezela Swimming Champion OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

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his fact deserves attention because it is interesting and extraordinary, if not downright outstanding. Zezela swimming means moving through the water in an upright position while using only the feet and keeping both hands above the water. And Georgia has a world champion in it! His name is Beglar Elbakidze. The 58-year-old Georgian “sea-walking” athlete, who is also a musician, became the third-time winner of the title: setting a new record in the Zezela old-Georgian martialtraining swimming style, swimming 21 km all the while holding in his right hand the Georgian flag and in his left, the Batumi City emblem. This curious but little-known sporting event took place on Sunday, September 2, inside the marine belt of Georgia, within the framework of the Golden Fleece Sporting Program and traditional festival of Batumoba. Beglar’s third sea-record marathon has

no analog in the history of Mankind. Moving in the water only with the help of his legs and feet and using no flippers or special swimsuit or any other swimming aids, he covered 14 Olympic distances (14x1500=21000 meters): a total of 21 kilometers in 13 hours and 35 minutes. The marathon began at the Batumi Lighthouse at 08:45 a.m. and finished in the Kobuleti coastal waters at 10:00 p.m. The principal organizers of the marathon swim were the Georgian Union for Support of World Achievements and Travels (GIORGI), the Phasisi Georgian Geographical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. The sponsors of the event who made the whole thing possible were Adjaran NGOs, the Union of Veteran Sportsmen, the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Adjara Autonomous Republic, the Khashuri and Kobuleti municipalities and the Batumi Navigation Training University. From start to finish, the weather was fine: warm and sunny with an air temperature of +30° and sea water temperature of +26-27°. And still, the marathon swimmer had to bravely handle frequent

alterations of wind direction and water currents and, because of this, the distance covered by zigzag exceeded the planned one. In spite of these unexpected circumstances, Elbakidze displayed amazing courage, stamina and great spiritual and physical effort. He overcame all obstacles and successfully fin-

ished the set-out program. The marathon swimmer was all the way accompanied by a lifeboat BRIG300 with a crew including navigator Lasha Robchin, rescue diver Koba Mzhavanadze, Commissioner of Special Referees, acting under the statute of the World Records Movement, ocean-going

captain professor Dursun Tsintsadze, world and Olympic champion in wrestling, marathon pilot Vakhtang Blagidze, correspondent of the Associated Press, operator Givi Peikrishvili, and the marathon organizer and coordinator Gvanji Mania. The second group of the Commission moved by land and managed organizational matters. As unique human achievements go, the world has already recognized the Georgian script, polyphonic singing, Qvevri (clay amphora), wine, and national-style wrestling. It is probably high time for Zezela Swimming to also be recognized, being a sporting event which could also be a powerful rescue measure and a form of martial arts. There is also another swimming style called ‘Menchurua’ dating back to the time of the Kolchis, involving swimming with tethered hands and feet. Fans of the style are hoping that at some point in future it might become an Olympic swimming event. But for now, Georgia is happy to celebrate the record of Beglar Elbakidze, which will doubtless soon attract the attention of the wider public here and abroad.

Rising Tennis Star Basilashvili Gives Nadal a Good Fight in US Open He has played Nadal once before, though. In a June 2017 match at the French Open, then ranked number 63 in the world, Basilashvili lost to Nadal in straight sets in just 90 minutes. "The score is quite embarrassing, but I have to accept it," Basilashvili said after that match, "also it gives me a lot of motivation for the future to keep working hard. As I said, I have a lot of things to improve. And I'm very happy as it is going now with the improvement. So I'm always progressing, this year, every year." Basilashvili is currently ranked 37th, and held his own against the world number one on Sunday. Nadal started the match strong with a two-set lead in just over an hour, but the Georgian pushed back. BBC Sport writes, "Basilashvili's approach was all or nothing... although unforced errors outstripped

BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE

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eorgia's most illustrious tennis player, Nikoloz Basilashvili, ended his run at the US Open yesterday with a hard fought loss to Rafael Nadal. Nadal's win pushed him forward to the quarter-finals. The Spanish player won the US Open's men's singles in 2010, 2013 and 2017. His appearance in the quarter-finals at the US Open means he has reached at least that stage in all four Grand Slam tournaments this year, for the first time since 2011. The first quarter-final matches will be played tomorrow. Basilashvili's appearance this late in the tournament was a surprise to many. The Georgian athlete was unseeded.

Photo: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

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winners in the opening two sets before he began to find his range in the third. Twenty-three winners from his racquet forced Nadal to face some uncomfortable moments. Despite fatigue appearing to kick in before the breaker, Basilashvili found some energy reserves to outfight his illustrious opponent and take the match further." Finally, Basilashvili's strength waned and in the fourth set, the Spaniard broke out into a 4-3 lead to end the match victorious. After the match, Nadal reflected, "He was hitting the ball very strong, it felt like I wasn't controlling the points." Basilashvili has had a strong showing in the tournament. The NY Times wrote that he has "given Georgians something to cheer about." Responding to the positive energy, Basilashvili said, “A lot of people were supporting me, so it feels really good.”

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1081  

September 7 - 10, 2018

Issue #1081  

September 7 - 10, 2018

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