Issue no: 885
• OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue... MIA Opens New Joint Operations Center NEWS PAGE 3
Car Bomb Rips Through Georgian Opposition Leader's Car POLITICS PAGE 4
2016 Elections Finds Georgia at a Crossroads POLITICS PAGE 7
FOCUS ON THE ELECTIONS The Parliamentary Elections will take place this Saturday. Georgia Today gives you the low down PAGE 5-8
European Council Backs Georgia’s Visa-Liberalization BY THEA MORRISON
he Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) has agreed to engage in final discussions about Georgia’s visa-free travel to the European
Union (EU). The decision came after members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) voted in favor of opening inter-institutional negotiations on Georgia’s visa waiver proposal– a legislative procedure in which the European Parliament enters into negotiations on a legislative proposal with other EU institutions, including the Council, whose approval is also required for the visaliberalization to enter into force. The Council approved the Commission’s proposal to allow Georgian citizens to travel in the Schengen Zone without visas for a stay of 90 days in any 180-day period. However, the European Council had the view that Georgia’s visa-liberalization should come into effect at the same time the "suspension mechanism” comes into force. The “suspension mechanism” makes it easier for member states to highlight circumstances which might lead to a suspension, by enabling the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative, and by tasking the Commission to send an annual report to the European Parliament and Council on the extent to which
Two Wounded during ExDefense Minister’s Campaign Rally POLITICS PAGE 8
Cartier Launches L'Envol, New Pure Woody Scent for Men BUSINESS PAGE 10
In the Land of SamtskheJavakheti, Where the Potatoes Grow SOCIETY PAGE 11
Tbilisi Jazz Festival to Bring Everlasting Love & People’s Favorite Candy Dulfer CULTURE PAGE 17 Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Republic of Slovakia - Presidency of The EU Council, Miroslav Lajcak and Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze
visa-exempt third countries continue to meet the necessary criteria. According to the statement of the European Council, the Slovak presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament. Once the new visa regime for Georgia is agreed with the Parliament and formally adopted, it will move the country from the list of countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area to the list of visa free countries. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Republic of Slovakia - Presidency of The EU Council, Miroslav Lajcak held a special press-conference regarding the issue in Brussels. Lajcak said Slovakia would help Georgia on its
path towards European integration and receiving visa-liberalization timely. “All 28 member states of the European Union gave a green light for visa-liberalization between EU and Georgia… I hope we will be able to bring this whole process to a successful end very soon,” Slovakia’s FM stated. Janelidze thanked Lajcak for his support and noted that granting visa-liberalization to Georgia would facilitate people–to-people contacts and deepen relations between Georgia and EU member states in business, tourism, cultural and other sectors. “We, the Georgian government, will do our best to make the visa-liberalization results available for all our citizens, including the people in Georgia’s occupied territories,” Janelidze said.
Georgia Unveils Plans for 20 New Football and Rugby Facilities SPORTS PAGE 19
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Georgia to Produce International Standard Locomotives
BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
n October 4, 2016, Georgian Railway and major Chinese Corporation CRRC signed an agreement for the purchase of 28 new locomotives. The agreement will also act as a prerequisite to building a joint Georgian-Chinese factory producing modern rail rolling stock products. CRRC ZELC are to build the factory in partnership with BMI Partners and AS Group 1990 with an investment cost of USD 20 mln. The factory, equipped with the latest technology, makes it possible to produce modern locomotives, metro wagons and other types of railway rolling stock. Georgian Railway will employ up to 600 people in the construction process.
On completion of construction, 400 qualified specialists will start working and retraining will be provided by CRRC ZELC. The project is expected to indirectly employ 3,750 people in all. “For large scale projects like this, it is essential to have strong strategic partners,” said Vakhtang Burkiashvili, Head of BMI Partners Supervisory Board. “Our partners include major international players in railway rolling stock production: the German Siemens, French Alstom, Canadian Bombardier, American GE and Chinese CRRC. Among these largest is CRRC, now our strategic partner.” As the project organizers say, the production of modern international standard locomotives in Georgia also forsees a railway stock repairs depot and modernization of vital infrastructure. This will result in a reduction in shipping costs and time.
Investment Agreement Signed For Georgia’s Anaklia Deep Sea Port Project BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he Anaklia Development Consortium and Georgian government on Monday signed an investment agreement that will turn the Black Sea port into the country’s main mari-
time center. Anaklia Deep Sea Port’s construction will enable Georgia to fulfil its commitments to the Chineseled Silk Road Economic initiative that will connect the Far East with Europe through a series of over-
land and sea-based trade routes. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has said the new port in Anaklia will become one of the main logistics centers in the region and a major component of the government’s four-step reform plan for the spatial rearrangement of Georgia’s economic hubs. The port construction will be take place in nine phases, with USD 586 million already allocated by the Consortium for the first phase. The Consortium will also invest in the construction of a hospital, kindergarten, sports facilities and business center that will be transferred to the State’s ownership following their completion.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Toyota Russia Recalls 220,000 Faulty Vehicles
MIA Opens New Joint Operations Center
BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
Georgia’s PM Kvirikashvili Introduces Tourism Development Fund BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
eorgian Prime Minister G i o r g i Kv i r i k a s hv i l i announced at an official presentation Tuesday that the country’s Co-Investment Fund will establish a USD 680 million Tourism Development Fund for eight large-scale projects in Tbilisi, Guria, Adjara and Samegrelo (Megrelia). Kvirikashvili said he hopes the Fund will mark a major turning point in the development of Georgia’s tourism sector. "Georgia has a great deal of potential when it comes to promoting the tourism industry. We can’t spare any effort in becoming a distinct destination on the global tourism map…Awareness and interest towards Georgia are growing
on a daily basis and setting up the Tourism Development Fund is a very timely step towards achieving this goal,” Kvirikashvili said. The PM also announced that multifunctional retail and tourism complexes would be constructed near Tbilisi’s central Freedom Square, Sololaki Ridge and Tabor Mountain. The Tabor complex will include a recreational zone and golf course that will employ up to 20,000 people. The Tourism Development Fund was established to help foster the rapid development of Georgia’s tourism and hospitality infrastructure. Its function also includes the administration of specific programs that help improve the quality of service provided by the hospitality industry. The Fund is also tasked with creating new tourism hubs in less economically developed regions of Georgia.
New Joint Operations Center opened in Tbilisi on October 4. Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs
oyota has decided to recall Russia's 219,811 Toyota vehicles, says Rosstandart, which claims to have heard from the car manufacturer directly. The recall involves the Toyota Auris, Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla and the Lexus CT 200h manufactured from February 2007 to September 2015. A list of VINcodes is available online. “These vehicles are equipped with a fuel vapor recovery system and carbon absorber, located in the fuel tank. Because of the outlet-coal absorber arrangement there is the possibility of cracking in the pipe. During prolonged operation of a vehicle with such a crack, a leakage of fuel vapors can occur and, in extreme cases (with a completely full fuel tank) there is the chance of fuel leakage,” Rosstandart reported. Toyota Motor will notify owners of cars that are on the withdrawn list or the owners themselves can head to their nearest Toyota dealership. “As part of the recall campaign, affected cars will have the above-mentioned parts replaced. All repair work will be carried out free of charge to owners,” said Rosstandart.
BY THEA MORRISON
BILISI- The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia opened a new Joint Operations Center in Tbilisi on Tuesday to better prevent and react to crime using modern approaches and technologies through a new police operations command center. The opening ceremony was led by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who noted the center was unique and has no global equivalent. “The center is multifunctional and covers monitoring, analytics, unified management and support for the police forces,” Mgebrishvili stated. “This innovation will increase the safety and security of the population as well as increasing police efficiency and the quality of investigations.” Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also delivered a speech at the ceremony and noted the project was one of the most large-scale in terms of technological progress. The PM named the center a startup in the area of technological reinforcement for the police, adding the State has thor-
oughly examined the experience of foreign countries and attempted to adapt the concept in line with the needs of Georgia. Kvirikashvili said the center would become a centralized hub of technologies which exist in the police sector, aiming to manage a joint monitoring system by uniting existing databases within the MIA system and ensuring timely analysis of relevant data to provide specific information to patrol-officers and investigators. “By opening the center, we launch our rapid reform plan based on high technologies that seeks to change the methodology of law-enforcing actions, enabling us to be ready for any challenge," the PM stated, adding that the center would lead to Georgia's inclusion in the global network and would allow it to become an international ally in combatting terrorism, drugs and human trafficking. Only a handful of developed foreign countries have such centers, offering a modern approach to identifying, eliminating and preventing crime. According to the MIA, the center will also reduce the number of road accidents through better regulation of traffic, as police will be able to respond more quickly to traffic incidences and violations.
The Georgian House restaurant has existed for three years and during this time all of its guests attest to the quality being consistently high and of European standards. The diversity of delicious dishes, sophisticated comfortable interior, adaptability to the varying tastes of consumers, oriented music program and the team of professional managers, waiters and cooks makes Georgian House a unity of details, loved by all who come. Our waiters serve guests with a smile and consideration. Beautifully decorated delicious dishes arrive quickly at the table. Even the table layout is thought out especially for the comfort of our guests. Behind this beautifully assembled business lies huge, daily hard work. Every day the managers have a detailed discussion of the next day's activities. There are daily trainings, the upbringing of new cadres and existing retraining in the Georgian House. Experienced and promoted managers spend these trainings with invited specialists. A person who comes to work in Georgian House knows that this is a job for life- with the chance of promotion readily available. The example of this is the group of managers who began to work in Georgian House in the lowest position and today lead the team! Detailed lectures and hands-on courses, and tests successfully passed, determine the status of the people working in Georgian House. We are constantly working on ourselves for the benefit of our customers. With daily labor we want Georgian House to become the favorite place for more people, who will be able to speak with admiration about our high-class service, and the centuries-old tradition of Georgian hospitality which our waiters and managers demonstrate in their daily work. Come and see for yourself at your restaurant, ‘Georgian House.’
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Car Bomb Rips Through Georgian Opposition Leader's Car BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI, NICHOLAS WALLER AND THEA MORRISON
leading member of Georgia's main opposition party - former President Mikheil Saakashvili's United Na t i o n a l M ove m e n t (UNM) - appears to have been the target of a terrorist attack on Tuesday evening after his car was hit by what most experts believe was a massive car bomb that left five people injured. According to police reports, UNM lawmaker Givi Targamadze was seated in the front passenger seat of his car when the blast occurred. Targamadze and his driver both escaped injury, but five unidentified passersby were injured and later taken to hospital for treatment. The incident occurred on Collective Farm Square, near the UNM's headquarters on the outskirts of the Georgian capital Tbilisi, local news station Rustavi-2 reported Tuesday night. "This was not the result of a direct threat against me. It was a far darker act than that...My car runs on petrol, not gas, which means the explosion could only have been caused by a bomb," Targamadze said. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili issued a statement via the Government's official website wherein he called for calm and swift action by law enforcement officials and the State Security Services. "What happened tonight in Tbilisi is not just an act committed against the
State, but a provocation by Georgia’s enemies to sow instability in the country ahead of Saturday's elections. An investigation into this case has already been launched, and necessary measures have been taken to bring the perpetrators to justice...My message to the organizers of this crime: You will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Nothing will protect you. And we will once and for all put an end to the
practice of endangering people's lives for political gain," Kvirikashvili said in his address to the nation. The UNM has been quick to point the finger at the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) - a coalition party founded in 2011 by billionaire oligarch and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Tuesday's incident comes only days after two men were shot and wounded in the central Georgian city Gori during
a campaign rally for the independent candidate and former Saakashvili-era Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili. The October 2 shooting in Gori followed a violent clash the day before in western Georgia’s Zugdidi region between supporters of the Georgian Dream and United National Movement that left three people injured. UNM leader and former National Security Council Secretary Giorgi Bokeria
accused Georgia's Security Services of being responsible for the attack on Targamadze. Though he provided no evidence, Bokeria said the country's top spy agency acted on behalf of Ivanishvili and certain factions in the GD. Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili and Republican Party leader Khatuna Samnidze blamed the dangerous precedent set by the ruling Georgian Dream and its bitter political rival, the UNM, of using provocative actions to whip up public support only days before an election. “This is a logical continuation of the dangerous process established by the Georgian Dream and the former governing team of the UNM,” Samnidze said. The EU Ambassador to Georgia, Janosh Herman condemned the attack and called for calm ahead of Saturday’s vote. “We condemn any act of violence…It is very important that all of the political parties in Georgia respect the democratic principles acknowledged by the EU,” he noted. The US Embassy in Tbilisi said in a statement that the US government views any attempt to disrupt the democratic process in Georgia as an attack on the country’s citizens. “Together, with the international community, we have called on all parties to refrain from violence and respect the rule of law,” the US Embassy’s statement reads. International news agency Reuters reported that Targamadze appeared to be the target of an assassination attempt, while the BBC noted that Targamadze was charged in absentia in Russia for funding mass protests in the country in 2012-2013.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
3.5 Million Voters Registered for Georgia’s Upcoming Parliamentary Elections
Georgia's UNM Gathers Thousands in Tbilisi for Final Campaign Rally in Tbilisi BY ZYGIMANTAS KAPOCIUS
housands of supporters of Georgia’s main opposition United National Movement (UNM) party filled the capital’s Rose Revolution Square on Wednesday afternoon to take part in what the party claims was “the largest political rally held in recent years." Held only three days ahead of crucial elections on October 8, the UNM gathering comes amid mounting friction between the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. The key speech of the rally was delivered by the party’s founder, former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who addressed the crowd via a video link from Ukraine’s Odessa region where he serves as governor. “The country should not be the toy of a single feudal lord," Saakashvili said in reference to Georgian Dream’s founder and his bitter political rival, billionaire oligarch and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. In his speech, Saakashvili reaffirmed his previous statements about a possible return to the country, saying. “I will be back home in a few days to take an active part in this historic task ahead of us.” Saakashvili’s Dutch-born estranged wife Sandra Roelofs, who is also a UNM candidate in a singlemember constituency in Zugdidi, the capital of
Georgia’s western Megrelia region, backed her husband’s potential return “once the judiciary is free from political pressure." In August 2014, the Tbilisi City Court issued an arrest warrant for Saakashvili on charges of abuse of power. The UNM and its supporters dismiss the accusations saying they are part of a political witchhunt orchestrated by the current government. UNM parliamentary member and Saakashvili’s staunch ally Givi Targamadze also made an appearance at the rally, less than 24 hours after a car bomb destroyed his car in central Tbilisi in an apparent assassination attempt that injured five bystanders. Targamadze, who is wanted in Russia for his alleged role in the 2012 anti-government protests in Moscow, expressed his gratitude to the supporters and praised their bravery. The rally was covered in symbols that reflect the current political climate in Georgia. While UNM officials were giving passionate speeches denouncing the current government, a screen facing Rose Revolution Square displayed a digitized GD campaign ad that played in the background. With Beethoven’s Ode to Joy symphony - the official anthem of the European Union – playing as the rally concluded, a drone carrying a broom, a symbol used in the 2012 protests against abuses under Saakashvili's rule, flew above the crowd. Saakashvili later posted a message on his Twitter account calling the gathering “a second Rose Revolution.”
BY THEA MORRISON
eorgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced Monday that 3,513,884 Georgian citizens had been registered to vote in Saturday’s upcoming parliamentary elections. CEC spokesperson Ana Mikeladze said the finalized list would be sent to the election commission of each district in the country. Mikeladze also announced that 11 exceptional voting precincts in prisons and on military bases would operate during the elections, giving an additional 3,000 eligible voters the chance to cast their ballots. In total, 3,634 regular polling stations will operate in 73 constituencies across the country.
The government also announced that 56 polling stations would operate in various locations abroad, including two in Afghanistan for Georgian peacekeepers. The CEC announced that around 7 million ballots had been printed in preparation for the elections. The ballots will be available in Georgian, as well as the languages of Georgia’s main ethnic minorities. Specially adapted bulletins will also be made available for blind voters. Around 54 international organizations will join a 315-member OSCE delegation and 100 local NGOs to observe the elections. The United States’ National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) will also send a high-level international mission of politicians, civil sector leaders, elections experts and regional specialists to oversee the voting process.
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
The Elections BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
he election marathon is approaching the finish line. Just hours are left before the historical elections. Parties and politicians are bidding farewell to talk-show audiences, hoping that at 8 o’clock on October 8, the bulletins of their respective parties will turn out to be the majority. Despite such optimism from their side, the Constitution and election code do not give any ground for optimism at all. If the events on the day of the elections develop the way the social polls suggest, we can be sure that the elections won’t finish at 8 pm on October 8. On the contrary, a whole new process will begin, which might continue until the end of October, resulting even in the necessity of a second round of parliamentary elections. According to the Constitution, the deadline for the first parliamentary session is October 28, so within 20 days of the elections. This constitutional norm should be executed in the Kutaisi parliamentary building and a minimum of 100 newly elected MPs should participate. As they say, the devil is in the details. Which political power will have 76 of these 100 needed to approve the new prime minister and new government? To put it simply, if billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream wants to keep its power, on October 9th the names of their 76 MPs should be known, while the remaining 24 can be from, let’s say, the United National Movement or any other oppositional party. But is Georgian Dream or any other party capable of doing this today? The answer is a resounding no.
One very important factor has an effect on these upcoming elections, one which we have never witnessed before: Georgian Dream has agreed to the 50 percent barrier for the majoritarians. When in power, Saakashvili and his party were categorically opposed to this because they knew the result: if the proportional results of the governmental party are not notably high, and a second round of elections is scheduled in most of the regions, it will cause such a stir that nobody will be able to settle the consequent chaos. Apart from this, as strange as it may seem, as a rule, in the second round most of the electorate will vote according to the results shown in the proportional elections. So, if they see that Misha is “catching up” and “might win” – they will vote for his candidacy. Such is the psychology of Georgian voters. Especially when we know that the total number of GD supporters is less (and nobody disagrees) than the total number of those opposing that party. Expert Gia Khukhashvili pointed to these legislative nuances saying, well before the elections, that the GD majoritarians would not be able to pass the 50 percent barrier and that without these majoritarians, it would be impossible to approve the government. “According to the polls, the chances of a second round of elections are high. Georgian Dream might be leading with majoritarian MPs in most of the regions, though they still can’t reach the 50 percent barrier. Therefore, the “luxury” of announcing their victory on October 9th will be postponed for another two weeks, and after this it is possible that everything will turn on its head,” Khukhashvili told newspaper Resonance some two months ago. On October 8, the voters will elect 77 MPs according to the proportional sys-
tem from the party lists, while the remaining 73 will be elected according to the majoritarian system. The current government will try to compose the elected government before the second round of elections is held, which means that this should happen during the first round. Otherwise, chances are that it won’t be able to compose the government the way it wants and it will have to give up more to the other parties.
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
2016 Elections Finds Georgia at a Crossroads OP-ED BY NICHOLAS WALLER
our years after Georgia’s first peaceful transfer of power since the tiny South Caucasus nation regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgian voters will once again go to the polls on October 8 amid widespread public apathy and a bitter disillusionment towards the country’s main political parties. This year’s elections will be Georgia’s eighth parliamentary poll since the exSoviet republic broke free from its imperial masters in Moscow in 1991. The elections appear as though they will be broadly competitive, but no less contentious than in previous years. Much of that has to do with a certain malaise and apathy that has afflicted the general public since the last election in 2012. While political parties abound, Georgia’s body politic continues to be dominated by the oversized personalities and personal will of the various party leaders. The political culture in Georgia continues to be plagued by a particularly corrosive brand of identity politics that pays little attention to a party platform or ideology. Georgia’s political parties continue to exhibit an almost comical level of immaturity that often takes the form of public bickering, juvenile backbiting and violent outbursts. The country’s political campaigns regularly feature televized punch-ups, car bombings, illicit wiretapping, incriminating videotapes and allegations of coup plots. This year’s elections have done little to change previous habits. Just in the last week, an opposition lawmaker from the United National Movement party emerged unscathed after his car exploded in the capital Tbilisi on Tuesday. Five passersby were injured in the attack. 48 hours before the assassination attempt, two men were shot and wounded at an open-air speech given by independent candidate and former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili during a campaign rally in the central Georgian town of Gori.
SAAKASHVILI, IVANISHVILI RENEW BITTER RIVALRY
This year’s election once again pits the ruling Georgian Dream party, led by oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili – Georgia’s richest man, against former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement, which lost the 2012 election after a decade in power. Neither Saakashvili, who is currently in exile in Ukraine’s Odessa region where he serves as an appointed governor for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, nor Ivanishvili are on the ballot this year. Ivanishvili stepped down as prime minister and officially retired from politics in 2013, but remains the Georgian Dream’s “Grey Cardinal,” calling the shots and dictating the party policy. Though he no longer holds Georgian citizenship after having it stripped in 2015 and is currently warranted on what he calls politically motivated charges, Saakashvili has vowed to return to Georgia should his United National Movement come out ahead in the polls. As Georgia’s original pro-Western standard-bearers, the United National Movement remain the staunchest proponent of Euro-Atlantic integration in the country. The party has only slightly tempered its wholehearted embrace of Westernstyle reforms and demand for a near dictatorial interpretation of the rule-oflaw. The UNM can certainly be credited with having carried out landmark achievements in the first few years after they came to power. Without question, the lack of significant economic progress and the numerous stalled or abandoned reforms of the Georgian Dream will work in UNM’s favor; the UNM is still marred by the reckless abandon that so characterized the Saakashvili-era government’s attempts to bury Georgia’s destructive and endemically corrupt post-Soviet past. With Saakashvili out of the country and no clear leader guiding the UNM in his place, it remains to be seen whether the former ruling party can garner enough votes outside of its core constituency to come out on top in Saturday’s elections. A close loss at the polls could see the UNM cry foul and take to the streets in an attempt to overturn the results. But public opinion is unlikely to back such a move as only die-hard UNM supporters still seem able to stomach Saakashvili’s blowhard and buffoonish calls for “a second Rose Revolution,” a reference to the 2003 uprising that overthrew the
wildly inept government of former President Eduard Shevardnadze and brought Saakashvili to power. The UNM’s bitter political rivals, the Georgian Dream, have continued to pay lip service to the pro-Western agenda of their predecessors in the United National Movement. The current government has continued down the path of implementing key reforms aimed at eventually joining the EU and NATO in the not-so-distant future. But the party has been dogged by dozens of resignations since it came to power four years ago. Former allies claim to resent the role Ivanishvili plays in micromanaging Georgia Dream’s affairs, while the general public has grown tired of the GD’s endless, and often unhinged, claims that the UNM is trying to overthrow the government. Public scepticism towards Georgian Dream has been fuelled by its poor handling of a struggling economy, while images of Ivanishvili’s lavish spending on eccentric construction projects flood the airwaves. Ivanishvili’s often patronizing tone and a messianic complex that is matched only by Saakashvili’s brand of self-importance has angered and alienated both voters and former political allies alike. His continued close association with Russian businessmen and latently proRussian sentiments has also alarmed many Georgians, as he guides the Georgian Dream down a more Moscowfriendly path after years of Saakashvili’s stridently pro-NATO agenda. Ivanishvili’s recent refusal to denounce those that continue to revere Georgianborn Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin also raised more than a few eyebrows.
OUTSIDE PARTIES LOOKING IN This year’s political field is the most crowded in Georgia’s history. None of the parties was polling over 20 percent in the days leading up to the election, which leaves a wide array of third parties who will attempt to cross the 5 percent threshold needed to enter parliament. Opera star-singer-turned-oppositionparty leader Paata Burchuladze’s State for the People coalition got off to much fanfare earlier in the year but has been mired in inter-party squabbles of late after it banished its collation party Girchi, accusing it of being financed and run by Ivanishvili.
Burchuladze has positioned himself as a populist, pro-Western politician who wants to break the cycle of GD and UNM governments, but has yet to translate his celebrity into a mass movement. Irakli Alasania, the young, charismatic former Defense Minister who was once thought a shoe-in to lead the country, has seen his Free Democrats plummet in the polls. Despite his popularity in certain circles and respect from Georgia’s NATO partners, Alasania’s personal star has waned in the last year as he has backed away from the spotlight. The Free Democrats and Parliamentary Speaker David Usupashvili’s Republican Party will likely vie for third largest representation in the next parliament. Despite a growing sense of scepticism towards the West and a certain nostalgia for the stability of the Soviet-era, Nino Bujanadze’s slavishly pro-Russian stance will not likely see a significant increase in her party’s representation in the next government. Burjanadze will most likely caucus with other pro-Russian parties as they attempt to capitalize on the increased presence that Moscow has established in Georgia over the last 2-3 years
PUBLIC APATHY WILL PLAY A ROLE The prospect of a new “political messiah,” as the Economist dubbed Georgia’s first four post-Soviet leaders, has been all but abandoned by the country’s citizens after more than two decades of misguided strategic initiatives, economic plans and broken promises. With the economy reeling following the sharp devaluation of the national currency and slow progress towards Georgia’s attempts to move closer to the West, the country’s largely undecided electorate find themselves at a crossroads.
Unlike previous elections, there is little potential for a national uprising or the sudden collapse of the ruling government, as was the case in 2003. The constant bickering between the UNM and GD bore no resemblance to the early 1990s when armed gangs and the inflammatory and incoherent ultranationalist ramblings of Georgia’s first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia plunged the country into a period of civil war, war-lordism, reprisal killings and organized crime. The reformist and modernizing achievements of successive Georgian governments have been impressive despite huge obstacles that include Russia’s continued occupation of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and a noticeable slowdown in private investment coming in from Europe. Moscow’s growing number of investments and its robust media presence under the current Georgian Dream-led government has become a point of deep concern to certain sectors of Georgian society. The rise of xenophobia and ultranationalism amongst Georgia’s young male population – often fuelled and condoned by radical reactionary members of the increasingly powerful Georgian Orthodox Church – is a further concern that could lead to a far deeper social crisis. The Georgian electorate must vote for a party that will continue with the critical reforms and Western orientation that the two previous governments pursued. Most importantly, those elected officials must represent their constituencies without resorting to the frequent abuses of power and politically motivated witchhunts that became the norm under both the United National Movement and Georgian Dream over the last decade and a half.
Congressman Connolly: We Will Continue to Defend Georgia’s Sovereignty BY ANNA KALANDADZE, VOICE OF AMERICA’S GEORGIAN BUREAU
eorgia and the US are growing ever closer. “Washington is increasingly concerned with the aggressive role of Russia in Ukraine and Georgia. US Congress will aim to deepen and develop bilateral relations for the protection of Georgia’s sovereignty,” claims Gerry Connolly, a Democrat Congressman, who is also a chairman of the Friends of Georgia group in US Congress. Mr. Connolly also commented on the upcoming Georgian elections: “All
democratic governments should facilitate and ensure the security of their citizens’ right to vote. Voter intimidation and violence have no place in a democracy. There should be a tradition of peaceful transfer of power established in Georgia, which represents the fundamental element in distinguishing democratic states from non-democratic ones. I am confident that Georgia will take the right path in development.” On Tuesday, Mr. Connolly made a speech at the departure ceremony of Georgian Ambassador in the US, Archil Gegeshidze, held at the Congress Library, in which he thanked Gegeshidze for his service and expressed hope of him continuing to contribute to the ongoing bilateral relations.
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Two Wounded during Ex-Defense Minister’s Campaign Rally BY THEA MORRISON
wo men were wounded on Sunday in a shooting incident during the outdoor campaign rally of Gori parliamentary candidate and Georgia’s ex-Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili. Okruashvili was not injured but is believed to have been the primary target when shots were fired. The two injured men were taken to a local hospital with minor wounds. The police
did not release the names of the individuals but said one is a supporter of Okruashvili and the other is his security guard. The Internal Affairs Ministry has launched an investigation into the incident. Okruashvili, who is from a village not far from Gori in central Georgia, named the suspected shooters as Eduard Nutsubidze and Alexander Induashvili, both of whom have connections to the brotherin-law of former Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze. Induashvili and Nutsubidze were identified by Okruashvili as activists for the
ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and claimed the two alleged suspects would try and flee the country via Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. Nutsubidze claims he was returning fire and being shot at while trying to get into a taxi. He was taken in for questioning by the local police but denies the charges. The Georgian Dream issued a statement regarding the incident, saying they deny any connection to the alleged suspects. The GD claims that Okruashvili is deliberately accusing the ruling party of having ordered the shooting in an attempt to discredit the coalition ahead
of Saturday’s parliamentary elections. “This incident had no political motive. As far as we know, there was a verbal confrontation that was followed by a random shooting incident. Okruashvili now wants to blame the whole episode on the Georgian Dream and claim that we have certain political motives,” the GD’s Executive Secretary, Irakli Kobakhidze said Monday. Georgia’s main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), says the government was responsible for the incident and called on the police to investigate the case outside of government interference.
Gori District Court is discussing the case of setting preventative measures for Alexandre Induashvili, who is accused for shooting the former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili. The Prosecutor’s Office demands imprisonment. The employees of Shida Kartli Police Department, arrested Alexander Induasvili for attempting murder under aggravating circumstances, and illegal purchase, possession and carrying of a weapon. Okruashvili served as Defense Minister in 2004-2006. He is one of three candidates running for a seat in Gori’s single-mandate constituency.
Pine Cones & Pipe Dreams: Ogden on the Election Apathy OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN
part from the United National Movement party’s rally yesterday, the aggressive enthusiasm Georgians expressed in prior elections has not been overly evident; the general behavior of the populace does not compare to the previous general election of 2012, which saw people riding around in cars, honking horns (although admittedly this is a staple part of everyday Georgian life; the difference was they had Georgian Dream flags streaming from their vehicles back then), arguing and even fighting with family and friends, and screaming ‘Bidzina!’ in the same way that Stanley Kowalski once called for Stella (or how Rocky shouted for Adrian, depending on your dramatic tastes). This general apathy assures me that Georgian democracy finally resembles politics almost everywhere else, in that the choice is between bad and worse: just look at the candidates for the upcoming US elections; since everything this year has gone wrong – Alan Rickman and David Bowie dying, Brexit, and Kell Brook getting knocked out by Gennady Golovkin – I say vote for Trump, and let’s all go out with a bang. The fanatical enthusiasm of the Georgian people has taken a few hard hits over the last four years. The United National Movement is not united, Georgian Dream’s promises of utopia have indeed been revealed to be just dreams, and Burchuladze’s State for People is detested by the people of the state it hopes to run. Girchi is a pinecone. Make of that what you will. The irony is, however, that now of all times, Georgians cannot afford to be apathetic. It doesn’t really matter if Theresa May or David Cameron is Prime Minister of the UK; nor, despite what people might think, will it make too much difference if Hillary Clinton replaces Barack Obama as President of the United States. Even when a government transitions, whether it be from Labor to Conservative or
Republican to Democrat, the changes – while important – remain intangible for most of the population (even Brexit, with all the doom-laden possibilities that came with it, has not changed much yet, and predictions indicate that for the UK, life will go on more or less as normal). Westerners are as apathetic towards politics as Georgians are fast becoming, but Europeans and Americans can afford to be; their countries are developed, their borders remain safe (except from terrorists). I am not suggesting that Georgians return to the fire-and-brimstone denunciations of one politician and the praise of another. What I want to see is accountability, flavored with just a little common sense. Whoever wins the elections, Georgia loses. If the UNM win, Saakashvili will return, and while I have the
utmost respect for his achievements in dragging Georgia into the 21st century, it would be both undemocratic and tragic if Georgia has to resort to a king figure to lead the country because nobody else managed to do a decent job. If Georgian Dream win again, the country will continue to be under the influence of a man who claims to have no active role in politics, but still tours the country encouraging the population to vote for the party which he started, and who attends party conferences as the keynote speaker. This is the same party who put a footballer into the post of Minister of Energy and replaced the Prime Minister three times in four years. The Free Democrats, while arguably one of the best of a bad bunch, have a leader who has always made sure he is
on the winning side and whose decisions have come as a result of pressure rather than initiative; I still maintain the FD party would get my vote if they could get rid of Irakli Alasania. If Burchuladze pulls off a miracle and wins, then Georgia will be governed by an opera singer with no political experience and with such poor grasp of finance that just yesterday his party was forcibly ejected from their offices for not paying the rent. As I recall writing a few weeks ago, the eyes of the world are on Georgia, but the world has been treated to spectacles of televized violence, a shooting in Gori, and a car-bomb in Tbilisi. Georgia stands on the cusp of visa liberalization with the EU, but its politicians continue to embarrass the country.
I’ve heard it said that every country has the government that it deserves. Somehow, no viable alternatives to the poor choices on offer this weekend have emerged over the last four years, and the apathy of the Georgian people is to blame. Bidzina still pulls the strings, Saakashvili still shouts from his new kingdom in Ukraine, and Alasania whines about the government without describing what he would do differently. I hope the next four years will change things. I hope that Georgian people will not blindly follow politicians as they once did, or treat every wild accusation as a proven truth, but I also hope they find something – or someone – with an ounce of sense who can exalt Georgian politics to where it needs to be. Cynicism is healthy; apathy is a cancer.
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Ramzan Kadyrov Sworn in as Chechen Head BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
he inauguration ceremony of the elected head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, took place on October 5 at the State Theater and Concert Hall in Grozny, reports Izvestiya. The text of the Oath spoken by the head of the Republic was given in both Russian and Chechen languages in the presence of over 800 guests from around
Chechnya, Russia and further afield. Among the guests were the leaders of the North Caucasus Federal District, politicians, public figures, Federation Council senators and members of the clergy. Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of Man and citizen, to respect the Constitution of the Russian Federation, protect the Constitution of the Chechen Republic and to faithfully serve the multi-national people. The elections were held in Chechnya
on September 18. Temporary acting head of Chechnya, Kadyrov took part in the elections for the first time. Kadyrov's candidacy received 97.94 percent of votes. Chairman of the Public Chamber of the Republic, Gairsolt Basayev, Idris Usmanov from the "Growth of the Party," and Sultan Denilhanov of "Fair Russia" also participated as candidates. Ramzan Kadyrov takes office on the day of his 40th birthday, and at the same time as the capital of the Chechen Republic, Grozny, celebrates its 198th anniversary.
Media Monitoring Reflects Growing Tensions During Pre-Election Period ciation Agreement with the European Union is fully in force. Elections are always a test and Georgia has a great opportunity to consolidate the democratic gains achieved during the previous years. EU-UNDP media monitoring is a valuable tool to measure and highlight the media's contribution to this process. I am happy to note that the results show more balanced and informative media than in 2012,” said Janos Herman, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia. Media monitoring reports covered the period from May 20 to September 25. Preliminary findings of the pre-election
BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
n October 6 Georgian Civil Organizations presented the results of election media monitoring examining media performance during the 2016 Parliamentary Elections in Georgia. The media monitoring itself was supported by the European Union and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). “The 2016 Parliamentary elections in Georgia are the first in which the Asso-
New Runway Opens in Ambrolauri Airport BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
n October 6, 2016, the Prime Minister of Georgia opened a new runway in Ambrolauri, mountainous western Georgia. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili was a passenger of the first aircraft to land on the 110 x 30-meter runway strip, which has the capacity to accommodate the 19-seat type L 410 aircraft. “The opening of the runway is the starting point of a new stage of RachaLechkhumi development,” the PM said, congratulating the local community on the event. "A month ago, when I visited the farmers here, it was an empty field. Today, an airdrome is here. It creates new possibilities for this region and its residents by introducing new flights and enabling tourists to visit Racha and return to the capital city in less than one hour throughout the year," Kvirikashvili said. He also noted that many tourists will visit the region in the near future as, alongside development of the airdrome infrastructure, new family-style hotels are to be established and winter resorts to be created. The construction of a completely new passenger terminal will be finalized by the end of the year. The investment cost of the project is over GEL 10 million. "This is just the first step. We have major plans regarding the development
of resorts, including the Shovi and Utsera areas. A road will be constructed, since the airport alone will not be enough for the region- the Gomi-Sachkhere-Racha highway. These are tangible plans, not just promises. A similar airdrome will be built in Akhalkalaki, Zugdidi, and many other regions. This airdrome symbolizes the beginning of a new stage of spatial development not only in RachaLechkhumi, but across all Georgia," Kvirikashvili stated. 125 persons were employed in the construction process, 75 of whom were local residents. Ambrolauri Airport will be equipped with modern technologies and special vehicles. Over 30 persons are currently employed there.
weeks, September 25 – October 5, reflect growing polarization and political bias in media coverage related to the increased political temperature before elections. “Specific examples and analysis included in the media monitoring reports assist the media in performing its duties during elections, paying more attention to the cases of unbalanced coverage and hate speech. One of the most important goals of media monitoring is to stir proactive public discussion and contribute to establishing accountable and responsible relations between the media and society,” said Niels Scott, Head of the UNDP in Georgia.
Operational Village Construction Starts at Nenskra Hess
Operational Village to be built at Nenskra Hess. Source: Partnership Fund
BY THEA MORRISON
onstruction works for an operationalvillageatNenskra Hess have been launched in Svaneti, Georgia’s western mountainous region. The village will be built for the workers employed at the construction of the Nenskra Hydro Power Plant. The operators’ permanent residential district will have five buildings of one, two and three-floors. A guesthouse, warehouse and office buildings will also be built on the territory. At present, 120 people are employed in the construction of the Hess. 80 percent of them are local residents.
The main construction works of the power plant will start in spring 2017, creating 400 more jobs for locals. The construction phase of the HPP is expected to end by 2021. However, the Nenskra HPP will start producing electricity from 2019. Around USD 1 billion was invested in the project which is expected to play a crucial role in Georgia’s energy stability. The implementation agreement package of the Nenskra HPP was signed in early September 2015 by Georgia’s Partnership Fund, the Georgian government, Korean company K-Water, Commercial Operator of Electro-Energetic Systems, and JSC Georgia Electric System. The HPP is expected to annually produce 1.2 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour. The Nenskra HPP construction
will be based on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) structure, according to which the investor is obliged to build the HPP, operate it for 35 years then transfer ownership of the HPP to the State. Georgia’s environmentalists and Svaneti residents were against the building of HPPs on the territory, saying the construction would seriously damage ecosystems and locals would have to leave their households. They also stated that the construction would result in the cutting of 400 hectares of forest and would change the natural landscape of the western Georgian region which is especially attractive for tourists. Then Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze refuted the claims, focusing on the need of the country as a whole for more energy and large HPPs.
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Cartier Launches L'Envol, New Pure Woody Scent for Men
brands from finding new and interesting ways to attract fresh consumers with fragrance packaging. This summer, Cartier made a new entry into the field of bottle innovation with L'envol de Cartier. An exceptionally designed layout, a capsule enclosed inside a removable glass dome. Treasured and contemporary, the capsule, a fashionable container for valued honey tinted nectar with golden yellow glowing intensity, can be carried individually. A timeless yet modern item with dual functionality, therefore combining the technology expected for the masculine and mechanical movement for both interlocking and detaching the capsule. Purposely contemporary in its style and refillable, just like Maison's groundbreaking Must de Cartier and Santos de Cartier fragrances, the bottle maintains the creative and stylistic touch of Cartier tradition with its renowned guilloche motif on the bottle stopper. This is much more than a bottle, this is L'Envol de Cartier. Cartier L'Envol Eau de Parfum is now available in Georgia at Ici Paris stores.
'Envol de Cartier is the new fascinating fragrance for men. At the same time powerful and smoothly rounded, it ripples with freshness before becoming smooth, electrifying and positive to anyone who experiences it. L'Envol was developed by perfumer Mathilde Laurent. This honeyed aroma features Guaiac wood which adds divine and resinous characteristics to this longtasting scent, complemented by lively woody ambrosia, diffused with airy musk. Its trace is pure, scintillating and spacious. The latest Cartier fragrance for men screams luxury, confidence, intimacy and sophistication. L'Envol de Cartier is not for those who don’t want to make a statement with their scent: it is for men who want to stand out from those with none. Over the centuries, perfume bottles have been produced in nearly every shape and form, from carved pots in ancient Egypt and exquisite Lalique fantasies, to hyper-sexualized sculptural containers. Yet the ubiquity of efforts has not stopped
PASHA Bank Takes Natakhtari Fund to Assist 156 Adolescents in Part in SIBOS Acquiring a Profession
ASHA Bank participated in SIBOS (SWIFT International Banking Operations Seminar) for the seventh year in a row. This time the seminar took place in Geneva, Switzerland. PASHA Bank traditionally represented three countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The Bank provides regional corporate and investment banking services to large and medium-sized enterprise. Therefore it attracted high interest among the attendees for partnership through interbank financial instruments. SIBOS is an annual banking and financial seminar organized by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication in various cities around the world. Starting out as a SWIFT international banking operations seminar, it has grown into a premier business forum for the global financial community to debate and collaborate in the areas of payments, securities, cash management and trade. People who work in financial markets around the world participate as exhibitors and attendees and discuss issues relevant to the financial industry. During one week, SIBOS brings together some 7,000 decision-makers and topic
experts from financial institutions, market infrastructures, multinational corporations and technology partners. With half a dozen conference tracks, 100 speakers and as many conference sessions, nearly 200 exhibitors, and plenty of networking events, SIBOS is the place to do business and collectively shape the future of the financial industry. “PASHA Bank was traditionally presented at SIBOS with its own stand, among such banks as Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citi, Raiffeisen Switzerland and others. We are happy to be able to apply the experience we gained at SIBOS and to share it all with our clients through our services,” said Shahin Mammadov, CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors at PASHA Bank. “We have long-term relationships with our clients and we try to implement contemporary international finance tools to ensure that they can conduct their business comfortably in Georgia and abroad. Our strategic partnerships with major international banks help ensure our clients get the best service and support from strong financial institutions wherever they are doing business around the world,” Mammadov added.
he Natakhtari Fund has presented its report on completion of the fifth wave of fundraising in an event attended by the company management, media, project stakeholders and beneficiaries. GEL 160,000 and 156 beneficiaries were announced by Natakhtari Fund as the figures for 2016-2017. Cuneyt Arat, Managing Director of Natakhtari Company, and Manana Omarashvili, Head of Psychology Service of the Association ‘Our Home Georgia,’ provided detailed information to the audience about future plans of the Fund, its initiatives and the raised amount. “18 years is the age when the State ceases to care for adolescents deprived of parental care. Natakhtari Fund starts working with adolescents under state care from the age of 15 so that they have profession and employment perspective when reaching the age of 18. We try to assist them in starting a decent
life by acquiring the right education. We also focus on their psychological preparation and afterwards we ensure their adequate employment,” said Nikoloz Khundzakishvili, Corporate Director of Natakhtari Company. “We know that we will be working with 156 beneficiaries for one year,” Omarashvili said. “This figure is based on the estimate of how many adolescents live in small family-type homes and how many are left the system. Unfortunately, the Fund cannot afford to help those beneficiaries who live with host families. Ideally, we’d like to strengthen the Fund and start working in this area as well to help them. In addition, we focus on social advocacy so that self-governments also assume some responsibility.” “The Ministry of Health finances small family-type homes. Natakhtari Fund in turn show high corporate responsibility and is assisting adolescents who are over 18. This is very important and
should serve as a model for all large businesses,” said Nutsa Odisharia, a representative of the Social Security Department of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs. Natakhtari Company established The Natakhtari Fund in November 2011 and launched a new project Take Care of Future. Each year, over three months, within the charity campaign framework, from each sold bottle of Natakhtari Lemonade, 1, 3 and 5 Tetri are transferred to the Fund in accordance with the bottle volume. Over 5 years GEL 747,857 has been accumulated by the Fund and more than 300 adolescents were provided with various services in education and employment areas. The project is being implemented with the support of the Association ‘Our Home Georgia’ and with blessings of his Holiness and Beatitude the Patriarch of All Georgia. ADVERTISING
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Gurjaani Landfill Closes BY BAIA DZIGNADZE
he Solid Waste Management Company of Georgia (SWMC) has closed the Gurjaani landfill based on the Landfill Closure and Closure After-Care Plan developed in the frame of the program ‘Waste Management Technologies in Regions’ (WMTR). The landfill was located on swampland and had been operating since 2000. In accordance with international standards, the landfill’s surface was graded, while the remaining waste was covered with clay soil. The Gurjaani disposal area was located in the municipality of Gurjaani along the Gurjaani-Jabukiani-Lagodekhi road. The landfill, which was built during the Soviet era, did not comply with modern standards and represented a threat to human health and the environment. Giorgi Shukhoshvili, the Director of the SWMC explains that the waste disposal area of Gurjaani was disorganized and unfenced, attracting unwelcome animals to forage. As such, it had a negative impact on both the local pop-
ulation and animal health. Additionally, the surrounding territories of the area were used for agricultural purposes. To help the company properly close the landfill, USAID-funded program WMTR, which is implemented by the International City/Country Management Association (ICMA) and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), prepared a landfill closure and closure after-care plan where a hydrogeological survey and other types of studies were conducted on the area to evaluate the situation and develop relevant a plan. “The aim of the plan was to present the design basis and activities that were utilized to minimize the environmental impact of the disposal area. The closure of the landfill started in February of this year and lasted a few months,” said Shukhoshvili, adding that waste from Gurjaani Municipality is now disposed of at refurbished landfills in Telavi and Dedoplistskaro. It should be noted that the exact date when disposal operations began on the landfill are unknown and there is little information on the total quantity of solid waste delivered to the site during its operation. However, it is known that waste delivered here was regularly burned.
As Shukhoshvili explains, the closure works included drying swamp areas within the landfill, shaping the landfill surface, flattening waste by levelling and covering it with clay soil.
According to the new Waste Management Code, Georgia should close all old landfills that do not comply with international standards and create new, regional, sanitary landfills. Since 2015,
the SWMC has closed 14 municipal landfills and plans on closing Bakuriani, Manglisi, Martvil, Borjomi and Tsalka Municipal landfills by the end of 2016.
In the Land of Samtskhe-Javakheti, Where the Potatoes Grow BY INGA MUMLADZE
rom my experience, media tours usually tend to turn out as either dreadfully boring or very fun, in both cases missing the main point of the undertaking – providing media people with some hands-on knowledge on the matter they’ll be producing stories about. Make it too boring and facts & stats heavy and you get equally dull material, go all in into the fun part and well, as the popular meme goes, ain’t nobody got time for stories and that. Thankfully, the media tour organized by ENPARD (European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (my head aches every time I have to spell it out like this) in Georgia hit the solid, if somewhat unspectacular golden middle – being informative without being dull on a subject that could really use some serious media boost: agrotourism, cooperatives and all the European know-how we’ll have to learn and adopt to access the European market and make our agriculture at least somewhat sustainable. More on that later. But first, on the destination. SamtskheJavakheti is a rocky and hilly land, and while the stark beauty of its landscapes is breathtaking, there are very few cultivable fields. That is especially true for places like Tsalka and the towns of Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki. This limitation has prompted the local farmers and entrepreneurs to narrow down the list of possibilities and specialize, resulting in potato coming up highest in the production chain, becoming somewhat synonymous with the region as a whole. And indeed, it would be fair to say that our media tour had its fair share of sightseeing focused exactly on this particular vegetable. Our first stop was at ‘Khulgumo,’ a cooperative specializing in potato cultivation. The cooperative consists of 20 people (16 women, talk about gender equality!), which stands as a higher than usual number of workforce as far as these newly hatched cooperative enterprises
go, we were told. Unlike in Soviet times, when the “cooperative” approach was forcefully imposed upon people, in modern Georgia, incentives for creating a cooperative (or enrolling into one) are somewhat murky and less than sustainable, so most of these cooperatives are boosted by external funds from donors and government. The folks at Khulgumo jointly work on some 30 hectares of land and to help them in this undertaking, Mercy Corps, one of ENPARD’s implementing partners, has supplied them with a tractor and trailer, together with necessary machinery, all of which they proudly presented to us. The bolstered cooperative, we were told, registered a significant increase in production output, with an 8-10 ton margin of annual per hectare production skyrocketing to 30 to 45 tons. Potatoland, ahoy!
Our next stop was at ‘Five Stars 2010’ cooperative, which specializes in… potato cultivation. Well, I warned you. But jokes aside, this was a neat place and the welfare of more than 20 families depend on how well the cooperative is doing, so my best wishes to them. Five Stars was also not without problems: shortage of high-quality seeds and fertilizers meant they were scoring not so high on production charts. The arrival of ENPARD and Mercy Corps changed that, with the farmers getting their hands on E-class potato seeds and fertilizers, which in turn enabled them to considerably increase the level and quality of their production. Cooperative ‘Moskhi,’ next in line and first of its name, was established through the combined efforts of four people living in the village of Tsnisi. The cooperative is engaged in the production of [dramatic music, drums]: potato! But
not only that- it also produces onion, carrot and beetroot. This was a cooperative that hadn’t yet received assistance from the ENPARD & Mercy Corps duo, though the blessing spell has already been cast: The cooperative stands to receive an assortment of agricultural aggregates – sowing combiner, base creator, spray equipment and onion harvester. The amount of the grant is just short of USD 15,000. Farmer’s service center ‘Serioja Ezoyan’ proved to be the most interesting of stops for me, and that’s not just because of fairly hilarious name that it shares with its owner (Ezoyan means the owner of a yard in Georgian, so the cooperative’s name stands as Serioja, the owner of yard. Ha ha. Well, it seemed pretty funny at the time). After visiting the first three cooperatives, I really wanted to see a place that would serve as sort of logistics hub for farmers. Well, the entrepreneur
here owns its office, retail and storage facilities and provides pretty much all necessary assistance to the farmersstarting with seeds and medical supplies ending with plant protection products and fertilizers. So, a place of strategic importance both for farmers and their buyers. If I could offer my five cents, I’d say in the longer run that Akhalkalaki would benefit from two of those to increase the competitive aspect of the process. ENPARD and Mercy Corps supplied Mr. Ezoyan and co. with a vehicle to transport their goods, making their products accessible to about 4,000 farmers. Another good deliverable is that the center also offers information and consultation, as well as trainings in different fields. One could argue that the government should be doing that, which they do, but a helping hand from a private entrepreneur is not to be shunned. That wraps up my account of day one, with day two consisting of a somewhat mundane presentation of what ENPARD and the government do in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. The speaker, Mr. Misheladze, was from the government sector and I had the feeling that his presentation was designed with donors and stakeholders in mind rather than journalists. Well, it’s the government, what can you do? At least they try to do good things instead of bickering with opponents on TV... The saga ends with us visiting an agriculture exhibition presented by Mercy Corps, who rightfully deserve all the credit they are getting for implementing the ENPARD project. The scope of work they carried out is visible even to an untrained eye, and the fervor and enthusiasm they spoke with is certainly a thing of luxury these days. The exhibition was interesting, with, as we were told, more than 200 cooperatives presenting their trade (mostly potatoes, sorry!), and tens of service-providing companies offering their skills and competences to farmers and other actors involved. In the end, this was genuinely one of the most productive media tours I’ve been on and I’ve seen my fair share of those. Not boring, not fun, but productive.
That Season Again: Etseri, Svaneti BY TONY HANMER
our years' living in this village, owning a cow who has multiplied, and learning the local farming seasons and rhythms and their variations, allows one to begin comparing times of the year with previous versions. It's not that long, but it's a start. What has changed? What has stayed more or less the same? One constant so far is the cattle and their foraging habits. We only have two who go out each morning and (usually) return in the evening, but they're part of a herd of eleven or so. Sometimes this is convenient, sometimes not. Sometimes they belong together, others they need to be separate. Now is one of those times, because our two don't have "foraging rights" to one of the fields of the other nine's owner, which he'll soon finish scyth-
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
ing of its precious hay and open to just them. So we make sure that our two don't try to follow the other nine to forbidden locations. Once I've milked them in the morning, I stagger their exit from the barn so it doesn't coincide with the neighbor's nine, and herd them in other directions. This field, that, as they are cleared of haystacks and opened up. However, even though some of these fields are fenced only partially and open elsewhere onto vast areas of grassland and shrubs, the thirty or forty animals or so all competing for graze soon get "fed up" and begin roving. At this point, chaos can ensue. They get out, even if a gate is closed behind them (breaking it), and go on a quiet but detectable rampage through the village, usually aided by one or more huge, cunning plow-steers. Breaking out, they may break in, wherever greener pastures beckon: your potato field, your corn, your hayfield, even your vegetable plot, your orchard next to the house. Anything goes. Then you'll hear shout-
ing and cursing! We've only had one personal break-in so far, into the 2400 square meter area our house is on, and a neighbor quickly alerted us to the event, so we lost little. But I now have to replace a short section of fence, temporarily protected by barbed wire, in a tricky area with not much space to maneuver. Could be worse. At least cows are too stupid to stay quiet for long, and one way or another, even without the alarm raised by someone else, you realize that they've arrived with only food on their simple minds. Who can blame them? The bell our main cow was makes a big difference in locating her of an evening. In earlier years, I was too stubborn and often refused to go looking for her and her predictably tagalong daughter: they always had a good meal of kitchen scraps and mash to come home to, and I hated the thought of them getting into the habit of needing to be driven home! Every night! Now, however, I just want to get the evening milking over while it's
still light enough to do it without a flashlight. So I do humble myself a bit, seek and follow the melodious sound of that unique tinkle, seldom far away now, and patiently insist on their returning. Every bell is different, so I'm not going to go on a wild goose chase, so to speak. Once the snow comes to stay (NOT that we're in a hurry for that), they'll be restricted to a couple of hours' daily escape from the barns, to congregate and gossip near a water source while we muck out the barns. Then, back in, to hay, foraging done for the year until next spring. And it starts all over again. 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 1300 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti
Georgia to Host Pro Bono Creative Workshop BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia, in cooperation with the Georgian Pro Bono Network, plans to organize a creative consulting workshop on October 29 - October 30. The planned event will be a professional consulting marathon that will see representatives of seven advertising and communication agencies work with seven social enterprises for 12 hours, offering their expertise in preparing marketing and PR plans. The main purpose of the event is to encourage more private companies to engage in an increased number of pro bono activities in the country. Organized as part of International Pro Bono Week, the creative workshop will be hosted by the Technology and Innovation Agency of Georgia. Pro bono public, from Latin meaning “for the public good,” is a phrase used to denote professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
China Celebrates 67th Anniversary BY MAKA LOMADZE
Photos by Gia Javelidze
n September 29, at Hotels & Preference Hualing Tbilisi, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China organized the 67th anniversary of the foundation of Chinese republic. The reception was as sparkling and saturated with Chinese hospitality and generosity as ever, seeing various government representatives in attendance, headed by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as well as those from the diplomatic corps, business sector, and media. Ji Yanchi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China, made a welcoming speech, extending a greeting to all: “Sixty-seven years ago, the Chinese people waged an arduous struggle, fought hard in bloody battles to defeat the Japanese fascist aggressors and domestic reactionaries. In 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong declared the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. During the first 30 years, the Chinese people gradually established industrial and national economic systems, which laid a solid foundation for China’s modernization. In 1978, Mr. Deng Xiaoping determined the basic national policy of reform and China created “the Chinese Miracle” in the history of economic development. Today, China stands at a new historical starting point.” The Chinese diplomat went on to high-
light that under the leadership of Communist Party, with Secretary General Xi Jinping at its core, the Chinese people are following the program of the 13th Five-Year Plan that is to continue deepening the overall reforms, implement an innovation-driven development strategy,
Georgia Signs Free Trade Memorandum with China BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
three round, seven month negotiation process between the Government of Georgia and the People’s Republic of China ended with a free trade memorandum signed between the parties this week. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce of China, noted the importance of the memorandum signing day in the history of Georgian and Chinese trade relations, marking the existing high level of cooperation between the two countries. “The effective work and efforts that both the governments have undertaken resulted in a memorandum that signifies a succesful end to the negotiation pro-
cess for free trade between Georgia and China,” said Dimitry Kumsishvili, the First Vice President of Georgia. “I would like to thank the government of the People’s Republic of China for their continuous support.” Georgia is the first country in the region to enter the world’s largest trade market. The negotiantions on free trade between the two countries started in December 2015, as a consequence of which Georgia now has the chance to send not only Georgian goods to China, but also to open tourism agencies in the country and organize tours to Georgia. 94 percent of exported Georgian products will be tax free in China; the country according to Kumsishvili, being in the 4th place in turnover among Georgia’s largest partner countries.
promote green development and fair sharing, expand opening up, and strive for the realization of the "two 100-year" goals and the “Chinese dream” of a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Ambassador Yanchi described China as a growing global economic hub, recall-
ing the successful G20 Hangzhou Summit at which the leaders of G20 member countries and eight guest countries, as well as the representatives of international organizations, adopted 28 specific action documents, together forming the “Hangzhou Consensus.”
“China is willing to expand the point of interest with other countries, promote a new model of international relations based on mutual beneficial cooperation, and promote the formation of an international community of common interests and shared future for Mankind,” the ambassador said. Later on, referring to the Silk Road and the long history of bilateral friendship, he said, “China sees Georgia as an important partner for the “one belt, one road” initiative in the South Caucasus region. During recent years, the relations between China and Georgia have been developing rapidly.” The free trade agreement negotiations between China and Georgia are concluded, with Chinese companies already having begun fruitful cooperation in the areas of transportation, energy, communications, finance, processing, mining, agriculture, and free industrial zones. China is recognized as one of the most important investors in Georgia and one of the largest importers of Georgian wine. Prime Minister Kvirikashvili also commented on the long history of successful relations, stating that “the People’s Republic of China is a trusted partner for Georgia.” Georgia is the first country in the South Caucasus to complete free trade negotiations with China. “This historic agreement will facilitate business and trade turnover in both our countries and will benefit our citizens,” the PM said.
Instagram Bloggers Tour Georgia BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
he Georgia Instagram Tour continues with 10 popular bloggers from Europe and Russia traveling around Georgia, visiting Tbilisi, Mtskheta, and the Adjara, Svaneti, Kakheti and Samegrelo regions of the country. According to the organizers of the tour, the Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA), these bloggers have a huge number of followers on Instagram both in Russia and in Europe. In an effort to promote Georgia’s touristic potential, the GNTA has invited 486 journalists and 256 tour operators to Georgia throughout the year, who went on to feature Georgia in more than 300 articles, blogs, television programs and documentaries.
Joel Golovensky, the shareholder of Basel LLC (I/N 204469707), the company owning the former Krtsanisi Governmental Residence, is selling his 11 % share in the company at market price. Basel LLC owns the real estate, in particular: land plot of the former Krtsanisi Governmental Residence and historical buildings thereon. Interested persons may contact representatives of Joel Golovensky in Georgia: Vazha Phshavela Avenue 71, office 24, Tbilisi, +995 32 255 38 80. Vice Premier Kumsishvili and Minister of Commerce of China
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Reinstated Georgian Property in France, History & Prospect OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
overnments are not loved in general. In fact, they go mostly hated. The same here in Georgia! But there come some sacred moments when you think that even a government deserves love and respect. And we have recently witnessed such a moment in Georgia: the governmental service in handling the affairs of Georgian diaspora in the world, headed by State Minister for those affairs, Gela Dumbadze, academician Roin Metreveli, and the Minister of Justice of the country, Tea Tsulukiani, achieving the longcherished goal of successfully finalizing negotiations and signing an agreement concerning the return of the four-hectare French property, the Leuville Estate, to its homeland. Why do we say that the property was ‘returned’, not ‘transferred’ by one party to another? Because the land was once acquired with the money of the Georgian People, due to the vicious vicissitudes of life, by a group of historically embittered Georgian political emigrants immediately after the soviet takeover of Georgia in 1921. Yes, it is the Georgian nation who has always owned it, and it is now legally back in our possession. Do we need a 40-thousand square meter piece of land somewhere in France, about thirty kilometers away from Paris, with still-standing mediocre structures on it? After all,
any property requires money for its upkeep, and this is no easy task for an unprosperous country such as Georgia.
But, yes, we do need this property, and we need it badly because right there, from now on and in the long run, too,
Georgian culture will have a unique chance to demonstrate itself to the world right from the heart of Europe.
Why is this so important? Because the world does not know us well enough to take our merits into consideration when we appear on the international stage for negotiations on various issues tightly concerning our present life and the future of the Georgian people. We can now better prove that we are worthy of their thorough contemplation, due care and sharp attention. This is one of the ways to endear Georgia to the world in which we are struggling to find our deserved place. They say the French-Georgian Academy of Science might start functioning on the territory of the won-back manor and parkland; a French-Georgian joint cultural center is also part of the plan; a museum, library, educational hub and dormitory are imaginable, too, so that the visiting scholars and students have good enough conditions to work and relax in. Hopefully, the rich and the powerful of the nation will have no access to the new domain with their desire to build ostentatious private palaces, as is the nature of those who have a proclivity to make maximum use of such occasional windfalls. The Leuville return is taken by the Georgian people as the restoration of historical justice, and it is considered to have political significance and adds much to this nation’s international prestige. I don’t think that Minister Dumbadze and other good Georgians like him could have done anything more important and valuable for their native country than this. In their entire lifetime, even!
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
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FILM REVIEW: Corn Island Tbilisi Charity Ballet Gala to TIFLIS 7.5x6cm ING.indd 1
Benefit Car Crash Victims
BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
young girl clutches her tattered handmade doll tight to her chest as her grandfather rows her to the island of fertile soil which has appeared in the middle of the Enguri river- a stretch of water dividing the warring Georgian and Abkhazian troops. Together they build a wooden hutheavy and painstaking work. Then the man tills the earth and, with his granddaughter’s help, sows the corn kernels, their island occasionally passed by soldiers of both sides. The grandfather remains carefully neutral until he finds a Georgian soldier, wounded, hiding in his corn. He reluctantly hides the man
in his shed; clothes, feeds and nurses him back to health. It is more of a moral obligation than love of the task. But when he sees the soldier flirting with his granddaughter, it is made clear that his welcome is at an end. As the corn grows that season, so does the girl- her doll, like her innocence, abandoned as she becomes aware of her body, her sexuality and the cruelty of the world around her. The girl and her grandfather speak but a few lines throughout the whole film, leaving the audience to read body-language, emotion and environment in a way which makes the experience of watching extremely personal. After the film GEORGIA TODAY spoke with the director, Giorgi Ovashvili, and the young shy actress Mariam Buturishvili, who told us how he spent months seeking Mariam out- the perfect face for
CineClub-CineDoc to Screen ‘The English Teacher’
n Monday 10th October, CineClub, in partnership with the CineDoc Festival, is to screen The English Teacher at Amriani Cinema. The 2012 drama “English Teacher,” directed by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili and featuring music by the renowned Gia Khancheli, follows South African Bradley Nelson, one of thousands of English teachers invited to Georgia to carry out a "Linguistic revolution" as initiated by the former president. Within the program, Bradley is sent to a small village in Samegrelo where time stands
still and signs of the promised revolutionary changes are nowhere to be seen as the villagers there face completely different challenges. To find out what those challenges are and how the South-African adapts, head along to Amirani next Monday. The directors will be present at the end of the film to answer any questions or feedback you have. WHERE: Amirani Cinema, Kostava Street WHEN: October 10th, 7pm TICKET: 3 GEL, plus 2 GEL donation to cover costs of invited speakers
his leading role. Mariam herself had no desire to act until Giorgi came along and showed her the world of film production- and now she is ambitious to do more. Another titbit the director revealed was the challenge of building an island in the middle of a river. In fact, there were no suitable shooting locations on the Enguri River itself, though the legend of the corn islands is no myth, and so the film-maker was forced to use a reservoir in which the water level could be controlled- the island was built by one man in four months, to be washed away in a dramatic epilogue in much less time. Corn Island reflected life and the cycle of nature, where nature always dictates the course of the flow, regardess how Man tries to fight it. Some adapt to that flow, others fight it and they, ultimately, fall.
n October 11, 7 pm, worldrenowned Prima Ballerina Nina Ananiashvili and the State Ballet of Georgia will hold a special Charity Ballet Gala to benefit Georgian rugby player Giorgi Lominadze and his wife Nutsa Guntsadze, both severely injured in a car accident this summer. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the couple's medical treatment. Tickets are available at the box office of the Tbilisi Opera House (#25 Rustaveli Avenue) and online at tkt.ge PROGRAM: Act I Sebastian Plano and Olafur Arnalds The Secret Garden Choreography, Costume and Scenography: Sasha Evtimova Video Animation: Predrag Milosevic Act II Jules Massenet Thais Pas De Deux Ekaterine Surmava, David Ananeli
Léo Delibes Coppélia Pas De Deux Machi Muto, Frank Van Tongeren Vasiliy Soloviev-Sedoi Gopak from Taras Bulba Solieh Samudio Edvard Helsted and Holger Simon Paulli Pas De Deux from Flower Festival in Genzano Nino Makhashvili, Karin Washio Daniel François Auber Grand Classical Pas de Deux Nutsa Chekurashvili, Yonen Takano Camille Saint-Saëns The Dying Swan Nina Ananiashvili Act III Based on Georgian folk melodies, music by Ioseb Kechakmadze, Revaz Lagidze, Giorgi Tsabadze and Merab Merabishvili Sagalobeli Choreography by: Yuri Possokhov Costume Designer: Anna Kalatozishvili Lighting Designer: Amiran Ananiashvili WHERE: Tbilisi Opera House (#25 Rustaveli Avenue) WHEN: Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm
OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Natia Mkheidze’s Sedative Dynamics Expressed in Water-Color father, a sculptor, invited me here. It turned out a pleasant surprise first of all because these works are saturated with great love. She lives in Germany and I am happy that she held this exhibition in Georgia. Watercolor in itself is a technique that does not love much suffering. She has a subtle and reserved taste.” “The debut is always interesting as one of our main aims is to discover talented painters and this process is always connected with the debut,” Vanda Mujiri, organizer, founder of Vanda Gallery told GEORGIA TODAY. “Natia is a self-taught artist. I believe that she needs no diplomashe has very well mastered the technique of watercolor and offers thrilling compositions. I was astonished to discover that she has no academic background… For me personally, watercolor is one of my favorite techniques. It is not so pop-
BY MAKA LOMADZE
n October 1, Natia Mkheidze’s solo exhibition was opened at Vanda Gallery under the title ‘Landscapes in Watercolor.’ Flowers, boats, reflections on water, roofs of houses in various cities; each picture so brimming with love, warmth and exquisite beauty that one can forget for a time that there is aggression and severity in the world. This is a wonderland. Does it really matter how innovative, or dare I say it directly, insane and anarchic and thus, “original” the pictures are? Is not it better to just relax and enjoy a moment of “art therapy”? Why should we always protest the ugliness, when we can sometimes glory in the splendor? Natia Mkheidze seems to have found an island in an otherwise chaotic world. Each and every brush stroke is as tender as love, peace, freedom, with pastel colors that at times pacify and others offer eclecticism, which itself requires a par-
ticular taste. The artist is married to a German doctor and lives in Germany, but has now come to Georgia with her family and given this marvelous gift to her Georgian audience. It is not surprising to learn she comes from an artistic family. “At
ular now, sadly, but Georgia has very good watercolorists and I think that Natia is among them.” WHERE: Vanda Gallery, Chonkadze Str. 14 WHEN: Until October 8, noon-7pm TICKET: FREE
first, I was afraid of my family and living up to their professional standards. But when they permitted me to carry on, I found courage,” the artist tells us. Givi Toidze, a renowned painter, took a moment to talk to GEORGIA TODAY at the opening of the exhibition, “Natia’s
Tbilisi Jazz Festival to Bring Everlasting Love & People’s Favorite Candy Dulfer BY MAKA LOMADZE
he Tbilisi Jazz Festival, already holding a considerable niche on the world jazz schedule, is approaching fast, with four concerts scheduled to take place November 10-13. British singer, songwriter and pianist, Jamie Cullum is signed on for the opening performance. Famous for ‘Everlasting love,’ the soundtrack from Bridget Jones’ Diary, the 36-year-old is well-known for his showmanship. “He recently had a concert with the London Symphonic and BBC Orchestras,” Giorgi Kereselidze, Director of Eastern Promotions, the company in charge of the festival, told GEORGIA TODAY. “He is an extraordinary character and a very smart clipmaker, distinguished for his original live concerts. Jamie is a very well accepted artist among high class British society and enjoys being one of the Queen’s favorites.” Day two of the Tbilisi Jazz Festival will see the Event Hall (ground floor of Tbilisi Concert Hall) hosting Nicholas Payton, a trumpeter and keyboardist from the US and the author of numerous soundtracks. The third performer, to present smooth jazz and funk, is saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Now in her 40s, she is a wellloved figure from the soviet past whose songs were shown on TV here often. “This attractive Dutch lady first acquired popularity thanks to her looks,” Kereselidze told us. “However, she is recognized as an exquisite performer who has even had solo performances on the albums of
Prince, proving her popularity with the American school, too. Dulfer is a worldtraveler, loved by all producers and welcomed at many a festival.” November 13 will belong to Gregory Porter, American singer, songwriter and
actor, playing jazz blues, soul and gospel. In 2014, he received a Grammy Award for the Best Jazz Vocal Album. Tickets are available online at tkt.ge and at the Tbilisi Concert Hall box-office on Melikishvili Street.
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OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER
GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 October 7 THE WORLD Directed by Davit Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL October 8 DREAM AND REALITY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 October 7 FROZEN IMAGES Kristian Smeds Directed by Jari Juutinen Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL October 8 THUNDERSTORM A. Ostrovsky Directed by Vakhtang Nikolava Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL October 9 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL TBILISI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER Address: 25 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 200 44 66 October 11 SLIGHT NOISE Nino Ananiashvili and State Ballet of Georgia Gala Performance The money raised will be donated to the medical treatment of car crash victims Georgian rugby player Giorgi Lominadze and his wife Nutsa Guntsadze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 - 50 GEL
MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260
RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge
October 7 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry
Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL October 7-13
October 8, 9 Premiere THE TEMPEST Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MARJANISHVILI THEATRE Address: 5 Marjanishvli St. Telephone: 2 95 59 66 October 7, 8 BEGALUT - IN EXILE Performance without text Story based on several fragments from Shalom Aleichem’s and Guram Batiashvili’s novels Directed by Levan Tsuladze Main Stage Start time: October 7 - 18:00, October 8 – 21:00 Ticket: 6, 10, 12, 14, 16 GEL CINEMA
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari October 7-13 SNOWDEN Directed by Oliver Stone Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo Genre: Action, Biography, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN Directed by Tim Burton Cast: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL
MISS PEREGRINES HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Info Above) Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Directed by Antoine Fuqua Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke Genre: Action, Western Language: Russian Start time: 17:30 Ticket: 11-12 GEL DEEPWATER HORIZON Directed by Peter Berg Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 17:30, 22:15 Ticket: 11-14 GEL MASTERMINDS Directed by Jared Hess Cast: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Language: Russian Start time: 12:15 Ticket: 8-9 GEL MORGAN Directed by Luke Scott Cast: Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rose Leslie Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 20:00, 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL BLAIR WITCH Directed by Adam Wingard Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket: 8-14 GEL
Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) EXHIBITION "MEDIEVAL TREASURY" June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” September 27 – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION "STONE AGE GEORGIA" The exhibition displays Stone Age of Georgia (1.77 million - 8 thousand years) as well as anthropological material discovered in other parts of the world, presenting the paleoenvironments and evolution of the land fauna from the late Miocene (8-5 million years), and evidence of the dispersal of the early hominins to Southern Caucasian territories. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can 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. GALLERY
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave.
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION
Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE” Both paintings were in the ownership of Ilya and Kirill Zdanevich until 1930 when Dimitri Shevardnadze bought part of their collection (39 paintings) including the "Yard Cleaner" and "Eagle Seizing a Hare". Today, both paintings are among the collection of the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts. September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM Kept by the TsitsishviliGedevanishvili family from 1949 until 2011, the painting has never been exhibited to the public before. In 2011, the artwork left Georgia and was sold at Sotheby's auction. It appeared at the same auction again in 2016 where it was bought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Fund and donated to the Georgian National Museum. October 5-26 THE CONTEMPORARY CERAMIC ARTISTS' EXHIBITION "CLAY WALL PIECE" The exhibition is participated by: Lia Bagrationi, Nato Eristavi, Otar Vepkhvadze, Aleksandre Kakabadze, Gigisha Pachkoria, Merab Gugunashvili, Malkhaz Shvelidze and the Author of the conception and Project Art Curator - Lali Kutateladze. October 7-23 THE EXHIBITION “TO SEE A WORLD IN A GRAIN OF SAND” BY IRAKLI BUGIANI The title of the exhibition - “To See a World in a Grain of Sand” - is inspired by the poetry of William Blake. Irakli Bugiani’s abstract paintings containing hints of representation reveal artist’s attempts to accentuate unknown, mystical aspects of the universe. Curator of the exhibition is multimedia artist Levan Mindiashvili. NECTAR GALLERY Address: 88 Bochorishvili Str. October 11 – November 5 SHINDISI SCREENS KETUTA ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI IN COLLABORATION WITH LEVAN CHOGOSHVILI FABRIKA Address: 8 Ninoshvili Str. October 7-9 DREAMINGSTAN Artist: Chertov Music: sexy bicycle (Nika Elia) MUSIC
MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 October 11, 13 JAM SESSION Leaders: Reso Kiknadze (sax) Nika Gabadze (guitar) Misha Japaridze (bass) Irakli Choladze / Gio Kapanadze (drums) Start time: 21:00 October 12 TANGO EVENING MILONGA LA KUMPARSITA Ticket: 5 Gel
GEORGIA TODAY OCTOBER 7 - 10, 2016
Promising Young Georgian Artist on Display at Nili Gallery BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI
eorgian artist Irakli Nakudaidze’s digital fusion exhibition ‘Surreal Mind’ is currently on display at a new conceptual art gallery in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. The T.G. Nili Art Space Gallery is a relatively new venue that works mainly with art prints. “In general, prints are a limited reproduction of an artistic work. We see our mission as being able to make high art accessible to customers and especially younger people,” the gallery’s director, Alexander Diasamidze, said. “We have about 15 artists collaborating with the gallery now, but what distinguishes us from all of the others in Tbilisi is that we focus on one exhibition per artist for a fixed period,” he added. Nakudaidze, a graduate of the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, works on digital fusion with photographic images reproduced on different types of fabric. Surreal Mind is his first individual exhibition. GEORGIA TODAY met the young artist to find out more.
IRAKLI, TELL US HOW YOU STARTED AND WHY YOU OPTED TO COMBINE PHOTOGRAPHY AND PRINT? I started making prints while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tbilisi. It’s been three years now. The Academy showed me in which direction to move….
Prints and collages are new to Georgia, but they are very popular abroad. Working with prints helps me express myself… to say what bothers and worries me. As a medium, it gives me the ability to create a picture of the atmosphere around me as it is or as I would like it to be.
lonely, and I made a selfie with a coffee cup full of dry chamomile. It somehow helped me. It had a therapeutic effect so I decided to do another photo, and then did more. My emotions and feelings and the environment around me- all of it was inspirational.
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR THIS EXHIBITION COME ABOUT?
WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE TO PROMOTE GEORGIAN ARTISTS BETTER ABROAD?
T.G. Nili Gallery found me on Facebook. The gallery’s entire concept is directly connected to me since they are interested in artists who work in digital mediums. We later met and decided to go ahead with an exhibition. I couldn’t have done it without their support.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND SURREAL MIND? To a large extent, it was personal- I’m an individual living in an imaginative, surreal world. One day, I was feeling
I think that we (Georgians) have to focus on our novelty and be more open-minded in the way we approach art. We have to try to create something new. But it’s all very individual, and every artist has their way of doing things. Personally, I would love to obtain a Masters Degree from a foreign university. It is important to discover new places and have new experiences that will inspire my work in the future.
Georgia Unveils Plans for 20 New Football and Rugby Facilities BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI
eorgia’s preparations to host UEFA Under-19 European Football Championship and the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2017 got a boost last week when government officials announced that 20 new international standard football pitches and rugby fields would be built in Tbilisi, Rustavi and Kutaisi. The new facilities will be used as training grounds for teams participating in the two tournaments. A delegation from UEFA, led by Aleksander Ceferin, visited the Georgian capital Tbilisi on September 29 to assess the development progress of the EUR 9.4 million project. Caferin attended the unveiling ceremony with Georgia’s Sports Minister Tariel Khechikashvili and the President
of the Georgian Football Federation Levan Kobiashvili. The Under-19 European Football Cham-
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