Issue no: 859
• JULY 8 - 11, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue... Hualing Merges to Create Third-Largest Bank in Georgia NEWS PAGE 2
Future NATO – Restoring Power and Purpose POLITICS PAGE 4
FOCUS ON KERRY VISIT
Azeri Banker under Indefinite Arrest for Politically Motivated Charges Faces Illness Alone
US Secretary of State John Kerry in Georgia to talk key bilateral and regional issues
POLITICS PAGE 5
Abkhaz Opposition Storm Ministry Demanding Resignations, Referendum Delay BY TAMAR SVANIDZE AND NICHOLAS WALLER
ore than 1.500 opposition party supporters in Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia stormed the rebel republic’s interior ministry building on Tuesday, demanding the resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Leonid Dzapshba and the postponement of a planned referendum on early presidential elections scheduled for July 10. According to the news website, Caucasian Knot, the protesters broke down the gates surrounding the interior ministry building in the de facto capital Sukhumi on July 5 and clashed with police. At least four people were seriously injured in the violence, according to reports from news portal Ekhokavkaza. Continued on page 2
Tbilisi Airport Buses to Operate 24 Hours
BBC, Getty Images
SOCIETY PAGE 12
Nina Ananiashvili Rounds-Up 164th Ballet Season, Looks ahead to the Next CULTURE PAGE 16
Georgia Joins European Stadium Security Convention SPORTS PAGE 19
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Hualing Merges to Create ThirdLargest Bank in Georgia
BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
hina’s Hualing Group, which owns Basis Bank in Georgia, announced Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with the Societe Generale Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the acquisition of Societe Generale’s majority stake in Bank Republic. In its press release, Hualing said it would merge the two banking institutions to create the country’s third-largest bank that “would become a stalwart of the Georgian market”. Hualing will now own controlling stakes in the new bank and occupy a majority on its supervisory board. Societe Generale Group will retain approximately 8 per cent of the shares in the new combined entity and remain a member of the supervisory board.
The EBRD will also retain a minority 3.9 per cent stake in the new combined entity and remain a member of the Supervisory Board as well as a committed financing partner for the Georgian banking market, according to Hualing Group. “The merger…will not only strengthen Hualing Group’s banking operations and promote a more balanced competitive structure in Georgia’s banking sector, but also benefit the bilateral economic and trade relationship between China and Georgia,” Hualing Group said in a prepared statement. The new bank will provide a full range of quality financial services to inbound Chinese companies, as well as to local corporate and individual customers. Hualing Group is the largest foreign investor in Georgia and involved in major projects that include construction, real estate, logistics, hospitality, livestock husbandry and meat processing. The company also manages and rents the country’s largest trade and shopping centers, as well as its wholesale markets.
Abkhaz Opposition Storm Ministry Demanding Resignations, Referendum Delay Continued from page 1
Contact: www.edelbrand.ge Phone: 599 461908
Abkhaz President Raul Khajimba announced the temporary suspension of Dzapshba, but later labelled the protestors’ actions “a provocation aimed at destabilizing the political situation in Abkhazia.” Khajimba steadfastly refused to delay the referendum and castigated the opposition parties for demanding that he agree to their demands. “The situation has yet to be resolved, and the opposition has different requirements that are unacceptable. Negotiations will continue tomorrow, and we will see where they lead,” Khajimba told Russia’s TASS news agency. Khajimba did, however, say he would meet the opposition’s demand to allow people with expired passports to vote in the referendum. A referendum on early presidential elections was scheduled for July 10 on the initiative of Abkhazia’s opposition parties. Those opposed to Khajimba, the head of Abkhazia since 2014, claim he failed to fulfil his campaign promises, in particular, forming
a coalition government and carrying out substantial constitutional reforms. “The group of authorities who constantly violate the law, who came to power as a result of violations of the constitution and cannot simply comply with the law…are those with policies based on deception and lies. We declare that under these conditions we won’t go to a referendum and will call for a full boycott of the vote,” Henri Jergenia, a member of the opposition’s political council, said. Immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian-backed rebels in Abkhazia broke away from Georgia. Moscow occupied and effectively annexed the area, as well as Georgia’s other breakaway South Ossetia region. Moscow recognized South Ossetia and the other occupied Abkhazia region as independent states following the 2008 war. International law and the United Nations continue to state that the regions remain part of Georgia. More on this story on page 11
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Kerry Vows More US Support During Visit to Georgia BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA
S Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday arrived in Tbilisi for a two-day trip to discuss key bilateral and regional issues with top officials in the Georgian government. Kerry said US President Barack Obama is deeply committed to supporting Georgia’s sovereignty, security and EuroAtlantic aspirations at a time when “our cooperation is deepening.” While meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kerry noted “the daunting challenges that Georgia faces, and we are proud to be part of helping you define your future. The United States has contributed some $4.3 billion in aid and we are working very hard on bolstering the partnership when it comes to defense.” Kerry’s visit is a precursor to the NATO Warsaw Summit that begins Saturday, where Georgia expects to receive high praise for its European and Euro-Atlantic integration progress. “I’m happy to stop here right before I go to the NATO Warsaw Summit, because obviously, I know your membership is much on your mind and an important consideration,” Kerry told Kvirikashvili. Kerry also clearly underscored that significance of the upcoming parliamen-
tary elections scheduled for October 8, saying the US respected the reforms being implemented that would ensure a free and fair election. For his part, Kvirikashvili thanked the US government for firmly backing Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The day’s most notable event came when Kerry and Kvirikashvili signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the
defense and security spheres. Following the signing, Reuters reported that “Kerry told Georgia that the United States would help to bolster its army as he reassured a close ally just before the NATO summit is expected to focus on the threat from a resurgent Russia.” Kvirikashvili told reporters that the memorandum enables Georgia to purchase arms from the United States. Spe-
cifically, the agreement calls for greater military and security cooperation, enhanced information sharing, and help in building up Georgia’s defensive capacities, including its combat readiness. The US’ security support for Georgia is currently focused on training Georgian troops for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the press conference, Kerry
called on Russia to once again fulfill its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement requirements that calls for a withdrawal of its combat forces in the region. Kakha Gogolashvili, an expert on international relations, said Kerry’s visit is a signal to other NATO member countries “of Georgia’s significant participation in the Alliance.” Georgia’s former ambassador to the US, Batu Kutelia, commented that Kerry’s remarks on the forthcoming elections of October 8 was a simple message that Georgia was on the right path towards meeting internationally accepted democratic norms. The October elections are widely regarded by outside observers as a litmus test for Georgia’s democratic reforms. Kerry visits Ukraine on Thursday, before heading to Warsaw to join US President Barack Obama for the NATO summit. Georgia’s government is keeping a close eye on the Summit as it awaits more tangible commitments from NATO despite being told Georgia would not be offered a formal path towards membership. Georgia was originally promised eventual membership in NATO at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, and later received a “Substantive Package” agreement in 2014. Full integration into NATO, however, is likely not on the table as many of the 28 members fear Russia’s reaction if either Georgia or Ukraine joins the Alliance.
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
The More the Merrier OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
f you hate a political party or a person associated with that particular political power, would you feel frustrated and angry if that person – a compatriot of yours at the same time – achieves significant international success? The answer would probably be both Yes and No. Yes, because the person is of your own blood and No, because you hate his political past. After all, what reason might be sufficient enough to enjoy the triumph of your vested enemy, and to congratulate him with the achieved success, no matter how valuable his victory might be to your mutual motherland? I am talking about a longstanding Georgian parliamentarian, who, in addition to membership of the local parliament, has been functioning, in the last couple of years, as one of the vice-presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He was nominated by the European People’s Party to run for president of the Assembly, but the ruling party of Georgia had a problem with his candidature because he represented the opposition party in Georgia which was severely defeated in parliamentary elections four years ago and had been charged with faults and failures in handling of human rights issues in the country. This was a purely political struggle, and one could not expect the ruling party to gladly hold up the opposition party’s outstanding accomplishment. Consequently, the ruling party put in black-and-white its negative attitude towards electing the nominated candidate, and addressed it to the Assembly, hoping that the Assembly would consider their opinion. The logic of political struggle totally justified this act of denial. The grudge was obvious but understandable.
Personally, I would be proud to see my fellow countryman – associate or adversary – somewhere in a politically conspicuous place, because time will pass and the history of Georgia will maintain that person’s name as a considerable piece of memory and a subject of national pride. Source: www.euractiv.com
Future NATO – Restoring Power and Purpose BY NANA SAJAIA, VOICE OF AMERICA GEORGIAN SERVICE
Apparently, if the man was voted into the OSCE parliamentary President’s Office, the ruling party would feel the bitterness of defeat on the level of European politics, not just in the national realm. The question was raised as to whether electing a Georgian politician to a high European office was good for Georgia or not, or in fact made no difference at all. Here, the sentiments and political reasoning were mixed. Some thought that he deserved the post; others said he should never be allowed to be elected. No politician in the world is liked by their entire country of origin. Politicians are loved and hated, and they are often rebuked for not being good enough for the good of the nation. Part of the nation accepts the politician as a positive power and another part takes him as a negative force. The final decision is in the people’s hands, but none of those politicians should be discarded as they can all serve as an asset to the country’s aggregate political power, each of them having their share of fifteen minutes of fame and action. So if the nominated Georgian choice did no specific harm to Georgia, then having him up there might be con-
sidered as something agreeable. The decision was made on July 7, 2016. In the end, the Georgian candidate was not elected president of the Assembly. As a result, the ruling party relaxed and felt saved from the inconvenience of a certain embarrassing nature. In generic terms, let’s say, this was not very good for Georgia! Personally, I would be proud to see my fellow countryman – associate or adversary – somewhere in a politically conspicuous place, because time will pass and the history of Georgia will keep that person’s name as a considerable piece of memory and a subject of national pride. History might also remember, to a certain extent, the struggle between the parties of a definite period, but the selfsame history will keep for good the name of that particular Georgian who managed to let the world know one more Georgian name. After all, there are not so many! And most of them are remembered as political monsters, with some exceptions of course. To count the famous Georgian names that have influenced the world we might not even need all five fingers on our right hand. Frankly, the more, the merrier, right?
s NATO leaders head to Warsaw, international security analysts say the Alliance faces its most complex challenges since the end of the Cold War. With the Brexit referendum, migration, and refugee crisis, “the Alliance faces the greatest threat to peace and security in Europe” reads the Atlantic Council’s report ‘Restoring the Power & Purpose of the NATO Alliance.’ We spoke with the authors of that report, Former US Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, and Former Commander of US European Command, General James Jones, on NATO’s future role, threats facing Europe’s Eastern Frontier and Brexit implications on Euro-Atlantic aspirant Georgia. In light of Britain’s historic Brexit vote, transatlantic leaders are discussing what allies must do to bolster NATO’s strength and solidarity. The study is premised on the belief that the Alliance is facing its greatest challenges and calls for renewed leadership by the United States and key allies to restore NATO’s power and purpose. “Transatlantic leaders must confront a jarring reality: the peace, security, and democratic stability of Europe can no longer be taken for granted,” reads the report, which goes on to outline four fundamental strategic challenges – “a revanchist Russia, eroding stability in the greater Middle East, a weakened
European Union, and uncertain American and European leadership.” When asked how Brexit might effect NATO, General James Jones says it is too early to tell, but “I think in a way it will help, it will focus people on NATO a little bit more, and, hopefully, if it focuses on the need for NATO and the EU to find a common ground politically, we can be more efficient, more rapid in the way we make decisions and execute them.” According to General Jones, Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union “should probably not have too much of an impact” on countries with EuroAtlantic aspirations like Georgia and Ukraine as “we have to wait on that a little more anyway.” For Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former US Envoy to NATO and Board Director at the Atlantic Council, Brexit showed how the Kremlin, in its propaganda campaign, is trying to divide Europe. “There is no doubt about it,” he says, quickly adding that he is optimistic about the future of Europe. “I sense that Germans are very formally attached to the European Union, the Dutch are attached, the Italians, the Spanish, the Belgians are attached; these are core countries that deeply believe in Europe, so I don’t think the sky is falling- we are not going to see a rush to exit.” Speaking about specific implications of Brexit, Burns said it will effect NATO if “countries will not be capable militarily.” That is why, he adds, it is important for European countries of NATO “to enhance their defense spending by a significant amount.” Continued on page 6
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Azeri Banker under Indefinite Arrest for Politically Motivated Charges Faces Illness Alone
Jahangir Hajiyev, ex-Chairman of International Bank of Azerbaijan
BY EUGEN ILADI
ne of Azerbaijan’s top bankers has been jailed indefinitely as part of what appears to be an attempt by the ruling family to take control of the bank he led for many years. Jahangir Hajiyev, 54, isn’t a household name outside Azerbaijan, but he is known as a respected and powerful executive there. Or rather he was until March 2015 when he abruptly quit as Chairman of International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), the largest in the country. He was arrested in December and charged with a dizzying array of crimes, including misappropriation, abuse of office, causing significant damage by fraud, embezzlement through abuse of office and bribery. Hajiyev’s detention pending trial has been extended three times for three months each time. He is still in prison even though a dozen other individuals associated with IBA were released and, remarkably, no investigation has been launched by the government against the bank itself. He also is said to be ill and in need of hospitalization. The long list of charges against Hajiyev, the repeated extensions of his detention and the sudden fall from grace of this prominent, well-connected banker may have something to do with IBA’s loan portfolio for large infrastructure projects that carry a whiff of crony capitalism. But it smacks more of political score settling in a country known for its concentration of power and authoritarian rule. It is common for former communist countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to have a mixed legislative and judicial system that criminalizes economic and business activities. Criminal charges are often leveled at political opponents or those who fall out of favor with the ruling elites. Hajiyev had a stellar track record and had been with IBA for 14 years. He served as Chairman of the Baku Stock Exchange and was seen as a contender for a prized governorship at Azerbaijan’s Central Bank. His star was on the rise. The year prior to his arrest, IBA acquired an oil company, Bahar Energy, and a construction conglomerate, Azinshaat. The bank also made significant investments abroad, particularly in Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Some of these forays went better than others and IBA’s loan portfolio took a big hit. A 34 percent drop in the local currency, the Manat, relative to the US dollar at the beginning of 2015 and low oil prices combined with the bank’s high exposure to foreign currency denominated loans triggered a
rise in the cost of the bank’s credit portfolio by about 20 percent. Foreign investors in the bank sensed an impending crisis and started to pull out, compounding its already weakened position. The State, which held a 50.2 percent stake in IBA, took full control and has poured about 2 billion Manat (USD 1.91 billion) into the bank to cover the losses caused by devaluation and nonperforming loans. Hundreds of jobs were axed and some bank managers and prominent local businessman were arrested in conjunction with these loans. High government officials were displeased with IBA’s performance and blamed Hajiyev for the ill fortunes. They used the financial crisis as an excuse to remove him as CEO of the bank in a manner that ensures that he will never return and challenge their positions of power. Various media reports indicate that sources in the Azeri banking industry are afraid to discuss the situation for fear of retaliation and the possibility of joining Hajiyev in jail. Some of them speculate quietly that the Finance Minister, Samir Sharifov, may be paving the way for a new financial institution, Azturk, to become the country’s main bank, replacing IBA at the top of the sector. To that end, the former head of Capital bank and a close ally of Sharifov’s, Elmar Mammadov, was appointed chairman of Azturk. Finance Minister Sharifov is also related by marriage to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, whose family and close advisers are already significant shareholders in at least eight major Azerbaijan banks, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. A close aide to Sharifov is now running IBA. Another possible connection that points to political interference in the case is the fact that Hajiyev’s brother-in-law, National Security Minister Eldar Mahmudov, was dismissed just two months prior to the banker’s arrest. In the meantime, according to his attorney, Agil Lajydžov, Hajiyev’s health is deteriorating. The banker was given first aid and is reportedly suffering from a heart condition, high blood pressure and a herniated disc. Repeated appeals to higher courts for his release were denied. The fact that IBA has hit a rough patch is unfortunate. That the decline occurred as the country’s economy also dipped surely made those problems worse. In most functional market economies, if management mistakes cause financial losses, top executives are often punished by losing their jobs and not arrested on politically trumped up charges. If a legitimate investigation is ever to take place, it should be conducted transparently and without holding anyone under indefinite arrest. That is not the case with Hajiyev in Azerbaijan today.
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Fallout Zone: Ogden on the Aftermath of Brexit OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN
hat Britain leaving the European Union would produce bad consequences was obvious to just about everyone, but the disastrous forecast for the future was mostly limited to British economics and international relations, as well as the implications for the EU to a more limited degree. The true impact of Brexit, however, was not anticipated by anyone. That Scotland would threaten to leave the Union was predicted, as was an immediate fall in the value of the pound, but nobody expected the divisive confusion that now grips the country. The Leave campaign did not even expect to win (indeed, one anonymous Leave insider admitted as much to Sky News), but had instead hoped for a narrow Remain majority to be victorious while Brexit supporters would have turned out in enough numbers to have their views taken seriously in Parliament. Likewise, most British voters were so convinced that Remain would win that they did not even vote at all; the subsequent shocking Leave victory has triggered widespread demand for a second referendum, which has been met with outrage by the victorious Brexiteers. The questions and arguments over what is to happen next, however, is arguably putting Britain under its greatest strain since the Second World War. Disenchanted Brexit voters have long abhorred government practices of hold-
ing multiple referendums until the ‘right’ answer is hit. It will (not unreasonably) be considered anti-democratic; the fact that the Remain campaign was weak and voters were complacent are not fair grounds for another referendum. Yet since most people in Britain have since decided that quitting the EU was a bigger mistake than the Somme, a democratic ruling that does not have the support of the majority is hardly democratic. It must also not be forgotten that the referendum was officially nothing more than a survey, in no way legally binding despite the government’s promise to go with whatever result might emerge. Seeing the public backlash against Brexit, it is possible that the government might ignore the result entirely and not trigger Article 50 (which starts the official exit process of the EU). The move would be legal, but would send Leave voters into a frenzy; civil strife and riots are not outside possibilities if Parliament has the gall to do it. Furthermore, a legal firm in London has claimed that any attempt to trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote would be unconstitutional. With the Remain campaign finally waking up and making noise and many Leave voters having publicly changed their minds since the referendum, Brexit would not likely win a parliamentary vote, but here we enter the murky waters of what is (and is not) constitutional, since Britain has no written constitution. The wider implications for the EU are just as serious. Exit campaigns in France, the Netherlands and Austria have treated Brexit as their own victory, and should
The questions and arguments over what is to happen next, however, is arguably putting Britain under its greatest strain since WWII. Photo: LEON NEAL, AFP/Getty Images
they gain momentum the future of the Union could be at stake. Internal division within the EU is also dangerous for Brussels; Paris advocates a punitive approach towards Britain (also serving as a deterrent to other nations), while Berlin is calling for a more moderate approach. No course of action has yet been decided on, and nor will it be until Article 50 is triggered. Article 50 itself can only be activated by the British Prime Minister, and though David Cameron has stepped down his successor will not take office until October. It also remains unclear as to who Cameron’s replacement will be, since popular Leave campaigner Boris Johnson shocked the nation by stating he does not intend to run for office. The other
contenders enjoy mixed ratings amongst the public. Brexit has been especially galling for Georgia. The Union that Tbilisi has long sought to join now appears to be in peril; others have questioned the wisdom of joining a political body that established and prosperous nations are seeking to leave. Yet Brexit is good news for Russia, which will be delighted to see its chief rival divided and bickering amongst itself; most notably, Poland and the Baltic states have called for unity in the face of inter-EU conflict. What will happen next in both Britain and the EU is unknown and next to impossible to predict; the only certainty is chaos.
Future NATO – Restoring Power and Purpose Continued from page 4
In the report which calls for renewed leadership by the United States and key allies to restore NATO’s power and purpose in the face of an entirely new security environment, the authors propose Alliance leaders agree much more ambitious measures to rebuild the Alliance. For which, the authors believe, NATO allies should build up NATO’s military presence in the Baltic States, Poland, and Black Sea region; commit to greater military spending among NATO allies; keep the pressure on Moscow; and restore strong American leadership. NATO members and allies will meet in Warsaw in a dramatically changed security landscape, the report authors claim. There, NATO allies should “reaffirm their commitment to maintaining sanctions on Russia over its egregious violations of Ukrainian sovereignty,” as well as transferring long-requested lethal defensive armaments. The Warsaw Summit is not an enlargement summit, though Montenegro has officially received invitation to join the Alliance. We asked Former Ambassador Burns what the chances are for Georgia, to which he replied: “It is very important that we not allow president Putin to veto any country from membership. He should not be able to veto Georgia; he should not be able to veto Ukraine. There is a long road to go for membership for those two countries, because of the problems within them. But they are partner countries and I think that will be the future.” Read the story in Georgian at http://www. amerikiskhma.com/a/future-nato/3399101. html
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Public Opinion Survey: What the Politicians are Missing BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE
he2016Parliamentary Election campaign has already begun. The 2016 parliamentary elections are of great significance and will find themselves in the foreign media spotlight as well as the local. Many experts around the globe see the up-coming elections as a serious test for Georgia and its society, having to prove as it does that the country will strictly continue the establishment of Human Rights Institutions following EU and NATO requirements. The following study was conducted at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University by the Center of Research for the Study of Georgian Complex Development Issues, on 10-27 June, 2016. The survey focused on 456 respondents aged from 18 to 55, all social media users and based in Tbilisi. The research director was Nikoloz Metreveli. During free elections, when political parties have different financial and administrative resources, European and American well-proven practice of using social media in the election campaign gains particular significance. As research has shown, the majority of respondents believe that the most important function of social media is entertainment (37%) and raising the cognitive level (26%) and, with Internet support, to organize civil activities (15%). We can therefore conclude that a significant majority of respondents have a realistic view of the major function of
social media in Georgia. Entertainment was also named the main function of Georgian social media according to a 2012 survey conducted by Georgian researchers with the support of Swiss academic network ASCN. Georgian politicians should be familiar with the results of this study, which would help them to make appropriate conclusions. The majority of respondents (32%) stated that an increased level of cognition in the population is the main success of social media development in Georgia. We believe, for researchers as well as for Georgian politicians, it is a noteworthy fact that respondents (27%) supported the condition of information abundance as a cause for democratic growth, and that (21%) claim social media represents a positive outcome for increased population involvement in civil activities. According to respondents, 30% consider it improper to replace true reality with virtual reality, while 22% of respondents consider the invasion of privacy through social media as a serious problem resulting from social media development. The majority of respondents believe that the activity of social media in the political space is effective (41%). However, large numbers of the represented population (30%) believe that social media activity in the political space is less effective. This is clearly something which could be considered by political campaigners. Most respondents believe that politician activity in social media is inefficient (43%). Once again, this is something which could be considered by political campaigners.
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
MAQRO Construction: Three Years of Valuable Trust-Building
AQRO Construction appeared on the Georgian market 3 years ago. However, it turned out to be enough to gain the trust on the Georgian market and become one of the largest investors. Georgia Today Business had an interview with the Chief of Project Development, PR, Sales and Marketing Officer – Mr. Oguz Kaan Karaer.
SINCE 2013 MAQRO CONSTRUCTION HAS MADE QUITE LARGE INVESTMENTS IN GEORGIA. WHAT MAKES GEORGIA SO ATTRACTIVE AN INVESTMENT FOR YOU? International company MAQRO Construction is one of the largest investors in Georgia. Since 2013 the company has brought together a variety of projects such as residential complexes with unique concepts - Green Diamond and Green Budapest, International 4-star Hotel Mercure Tbilisi Old Town, Furniture store chain Bellissa and restaurant Dinehall, unique for its culinary creations and marvellous interior. As in Georgia there is a healthy and stable investment environment, we recognized the need for quality construction on the Georgian market. Therefore, we decided to share our own experience and entered the market in 2013 and to this day have invested more than USD 70 million. The residential complexes Green Diamond and Green Budapest are the largest-scale investments of international company MAQRO Construction. The key to our success at MAQRO Construction is a responsive approach to business, quality control and the management team’s ability to recognize changes in the marketplace and adapt to them. MAQRO Construction continues to invest in the Georgian market and has ambitious plans for the near future.
DID GEORGIA MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT EXISTING IN GEORGIA? As I mention in Georgia there is a healthy business environment. The indicator of the annual return for the real estate investment is very high in Georgia, if you compare it to the other countries. This is the too important fact while purchasing a real estate. Investing in Green Diamond is a very profitable. First of all, unit planning and the concept of the complex is very attractive, starting price of the sq. meter is 750 USD, in case of full payment the price is only 637 USD. In May 2018 when the construction is finished the customer will have more than 50-60% profit within just 2 years. I think you agree that this is a very high
indicator. I will tell you the second example: let’s consider 3 rooms apartment with the price 43 000 USD. In Green Diamond residential complex, the customer can easily rent for 500 USD. That means that the inhabitant can recover the cash in only 7 years with the early 14% return. In a real estate business this rates are really high, compared to other countries, where the yearly return is just like 5-6%. Flexible and unprecedented payment conditions are one of the main reasons for selling the apartments at this pace.
The initial price for the fully renovated units with the kitchen furniture, built-in appliances and bath headset is from 25 000 USD. The clients are allowed to pay 2.500 USD for the first payment and 250 USD per month. Payment terms are extremely tailored to the customers:10% - first payment, 30% of the total amount is distributed for 30 months, so it means that customers are paying only 1% monthly. When the construction is completed (May, 2018) customers’ need to pay delivery payment - 60%. At this period, they can use bank credit, very
easily pay the credit from the part rent fee and use other part for own purposes.
WHAT IS GEORGIA’S POTENTIAL FOR ATTRACTING FOREIGN INVESTMENTS? Currently, the Georgian business environment is very attractive for foreign investors, the high return for investment and the low level of bureaucracy strengthens that fact. The government protects investors, as all the legal processes are developed rapidly and you don’t need to waste much time or freeze funds. In our case we are happy with the country, which is why we are developing so many projects and plan to develop much bigger investments. For instance, we started sales for Green Budapest in September 2014 and have already sold nearly 90%. In the case of Green Diamond, we sold 50% of the apartments at the first stage in just 1 month. This achievement motivates our company to start new projects. These are not just numbers for our company as we have a very sensitive approach to our customers and take into consideration their needs and interests. Our strategy is to develop Green projects, ecologically clean and healthy environments. Approximately 30% of the apartments are bought for investment and 70% for living purposes. People 35 to 55 years of age, with a busy lifestyle, who want to have a very stable investment, purchase an apartment in our building complexes, as they find it very beneficial to invest in real estate and especially in our complexes, as to them it has a very favourable location and concept. On the other hand, we have families who want to change their surroundings for a green area, healthy environment, comfortable setting, perfect location, and quality construction.
MAQRO CONSTRUCTION RECENTLY LAUNCHED A NEW, LARGE SCALE INVESTMENT – RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX GREEN DIAMOND… The new residential complex of MAQRO Construction, GREEN DIAMOND launched on 28th of May. Construction of Green Diamond consists of three stages, the first stage of which includes 731 units. This unique residential complex is being built in an ecologically clean district of Tbilisi, near to the Olympic facilities. Next to the residential complex Green Diamond a mega project – the Technological University, will be established, which will be unique in Eastern Europe. The area of the residential complex will be almost 70,000 m2, with 23,143 m2 internal green territory. It will offer a unique, brand-new and affordable life in Tbilisi. In the residential complex you can find 23 living blocks and 1772 units. You will be able to satisfy all your needs, including with the 3 swimming pools, 4 basketball areas, 4 outdoor fitness areas, 4 children’s playgrounds, 7 pergolas, indoor sport facilities, walking and running tracks, commercial areas, social terraces, kindergarten and school. As Green Budapest is the first residential complex, it became the business card of MAQRO Constructions’ quality. In Green Budapest we are going through the handover period of the units, so people can be assured of the high quality, as in Green Diamond the construction and renovation materials will be exactly the same as it is in Green Budapest. MAQRO Construction has gained the trust of the people, as the construction of Green Budapest was completed even earlier than the promised time, with the best quality. Interested people can visit the sales office, where 5 showrooms are presented- units with the renovation materials in Green Diamond will be exactly the same as it is in the showrooms.
Creating a proper product, optimal planning, affordable prices and flexible payment conditions have resulted in the success of Green Diamond. So people are using this opportunity very actively and this makes us happy also.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS IN TBILISI? ARE YOU PLANNING NEW PROJECTS IN OTHER CITIES OF GEORGIA? MAQRO Construction has huge plans for the future. We are very proud of our projects and we are not going to stop. The environment shows us the need and demand of the market. So we are thinking to construct a village of villas in an ecologically clean area of Tbilisi, and high rise buildings for the high income segment in the city centre. On the airport highway we have a plot of land and we are planning to construct a hypermarket of home items and décor. As for outside the capital city, we are taking into consideration construction of a residential district in Batumi, where we already have a plot of land. At this moment I cannot give you more detailed information. Let’s leave it as a surprise. MAQRO Construction’s main goal is to become a leader in providing valueadded services to our customers by creating a successful partnership with leading companies. Our pledge is to establish lasting relationships with our customers by exceeding their expectations and gaining their trust through exceptional performance. Company MAQRO Construction carries out the daily work based on international best practice. Here, the implemented quality system is a guarantee for comfort and high quality services. Our main objective is to become a premier construction company in Georgia.
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF TBILISI? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO YOUR FELLOW INVESTORS ABOUT GEORGIA? I have been living in Tbilisi since 2014. I like the atmosphere in the country, it’s very safe, and the people are friendly and hospitable. Georgia is a very beautiful and interesting country, everything that you see around you is centuries-old glory and wealth. The nature is marvellous; in this small country you can find alpine zones, sea, protected areas and so on. My suggestion to fellow investors is to offer a high quality product with the optimal time management, to offer a unique product and, what is most important, to take a niche - these are the main components for success. MAQRO Construction has a high responsibility approach towards its obligations and its activity is carried out of a prior consideration of customers’ interests. MAQRO Construction builds not only high quality buildings on the Georgian market, but provides trust and reliability to the Georgian people.
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Business Café Meeting Held in Tbilisi
n June 29 ROOMS Hotel Tbilisi hosted the fifth meeting of Business Café - a project initiated by Insource, Executive Search & Consulting Company and exclusively supported by PASHA Bank. The session hosted the representatives of top management of leading companies with special guest, former President of the National Bank of Georgia, Giorgi Kadagidze, who presented the topic for discussion “Innovation Management.” The first meeting of Business Café was held in October, 2015 and has since grown significantly in popularity as a format that covers topics of high relevance to the business community. Insource and PASHA Bank plan to organize three more meetings by the end of the year. It is the first time such meetings have been held in Georgia and they serve as a place for discussions on the current processes and news from different fields of business. The meetings host up to 20 participants and are moderated by
a special guest who engages the attendees into experience-sharing. Among the moderators of the Business Café meetings were: David Gogichaishvili, Alexander Jejelava (currently Minister of Education of Georgia), Andro Dgebuadze and Papuna Toliashvili. Topics discussed at Business Café meetings are diverse: Management of Human Resources, Organizational Corporate Culture, Management 3.0 or MBA Books in the Mirror and Circular Organizational Structures. “We believe that the rising interest in Business Café among the top management of leading Georgian companies is due to the carefully selected topics and the prominence of invited special moderators. Listening to Giorgi Kadagidze deliver an interactive presentation on Innovation Management was extremely interesting and duly appreciated by our guests. I also need to emphasize that partnership with Insource on this project is outstandingly productive,” said Anano Korkia, Head of PR and Marketing Department at PASHA Bank.
PASHA Bank Joins US Independence Day Celebration
ASHA Bank, a Baku-based financial institution providing corporate and investment banking services in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, participated in the celebration of the independence day of the United States of America together with American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia. For the second year in a row, the Bank sponsored the traditional picnic that was held at the Embassy of the USA in Georgia. This special event hosted American, Georgian and international families to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the US Declaration of Independence. US Ambassador to Georgia,
Ian Kelly, and AmCham Georgia VicePresident, Michael Cowgill, welcomed nearly 1,200 guests. PASHA Bank is an active member of AmCham. The Chamber was founded in 1998 and is the largest business association in Georgia, representing about 200 Georgian and American companies. The primary mission of AmCham is to strengthen US - Georgia business and economic relations and to give valuable input towards the improvement of the business climate in Georgia. PASHA Bank is also a member of EUGeorgia Business Council (EUGBC), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as well as Georgian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (GCCI). “Considering the fact that PASHA Bank provides solely corporate and investment banking services, we always try to actively partner with the business associations and chambers that operate in Georgia,” said Shahin Mammadov, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors at PASHA Bank. “AmCham is one of our very distinguished partners and we are glad to have the opportunity to contribute to the celebration of the independence day of the USA. This traditional picnic is very popular in Azerbaijan as well and PASHA Bank has been a proud sponsor of this event on several occasions in Baku.”
Welcome to Indian Restaurant
Sanjha Chulha Indian Restaurant
Website www.sanjhachulha.ge Mail firstname.lastname@example.org Agmashenebeli Avenue, 130 Tbilisi 0112 Georgia
Mobile + 995-596-03-1313 + 995-956-56-1313 Phone +995-322-95-96-14 Skype: SANJHA.CHULHA Facebook: sanjha chulha
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Game of Mandarin Thrones
“I can’t dismiss myself. The only thing I can do is to resign, but I will not violate the law. What kind of President would I be then?” de facto Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba told his opponents. Source: president.tatarstan.ru
OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
he hassle continues in the occupied Abkhazia. This time protestors demanded a change to the date of the referendum planned for July 10th, the resignation of the so-called Minister of the Interior Affairs and also
the right to vote with the so-called expired passports. The de facto President partly satisfied the demands, though the date of the referendum has remained unchanged. “I can’t dismiss myself. The only thing I can do is to resign, but I will not violate the law. What kind of President would I be then?” Khajimba told his opponents. Khajimba dismissed the de facto Minister of Interior Affairs on July 5th and recognized expired passports
as effective. It will soon be made clear whether the population of the occupied territory trusts de facto President Raul Khajimba or not at the referendum. Although observers should have no questions regarding the referendum, they say in Sokhumi that together with this upcoming one, the ghost of yet another referendum lurks in Abkhazia, directly connected with Russia, and that these protests are in fact towards the latter. The Opposition fears that after winning this referendum, Khajimba will automatically begin privatization of real estate, everything will be handed over to foreign citizens and the process will become irreversible. The Opposition does not exclude the fact that after the referendum, Russia might ask Abkhazians to hold a referendum about joining Russia, like South Ossetia. There is no smoke without fire and this issue has been leaked not only on the social networks, but in official Abkhazian and pro-Abkhazian Russian language media as well. The Kremlin is keeping a close eye on it all, hoping that the existing problems will be resolved through constitutional means. According to Russian media, the Press Secretary of the President of Russia, Dmitry Peskov,
declared: “The Kremlin is paying close attention to the events taking place in Abkhazia. We want to see Abkhazia, which borders the Russian Federation, as a stable and developing state.” Moscow rules out the possibility of events developing according to the Ossetian scenario in Abkhazia, saying that this lie is spread and fueled by street press, Khajimba’s opposition and foreign agents. Russian political analyst, Dmitry Kulikov is confident that for many the strategic partnership between Moscow and Sokhumi is inconvenient and that they are using every method possible to radically change these relations, blaming especially Turkey in this political game, as, after downing the Russian bomber, it has led a more active policy towards Abkhazia. “Shallow and obscure publications from unknown authors can be seen all over the internet talking about Abkhazia playing games with Turkey behind Russia’s back, and Russia in turn striving to swallow Abkhazia and planning to use the referendum to this end,” Kulikov said in an interview with the agency Sputnik Abkhazia. Official Tbilisi has not commented on the ongoing turmoil so far and is playing the card of disinterest in these issues.
No guesswork needed to predict that Tbilisi will declare the referendum of 10th July as illegitimate. Therefore, it seems that Khajimba’s fate does not matter. However, in reality, the battle for power in occupied Abkhazia is approaching a crucial phase and whether proRussian Khajimba or one of his more neutral opponents will be in charge of the de facto government should by no means be of no interest to Georgia. The former Minister of Justice of the autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Paata Davitaia says that the ongoing protests were predictable and no surprise. “Former President Alexander Anquab is trying to regain power by supporting the Amtskhara party, an attempt to repeat what Khajimba did to Anquab. The fight against Anquab was based on the economy, while that against Khajimba is based on the frustration about him handling all control to Russia. Whether the upcoming referendum will become the root for yet another Mandarin Revolution will be clear in a few days, but before that Russian tourists are leaving occupied Abkhazia, which for ordinary Abkhazians means a failed tourist season and being stuck without income until next year.”
America’s Angry Voting Bloc BY GSR
here are four months to go until America elects its next President. It is generally believed at this time that Hilary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump, primarily due to her governmental experience. Mr. Trump is perceived by many as being a loose cannon, whose blunt manner is unsuitable for the nation’s highest office. Late June polls show Ms. Clinton leading by an average of five points, but as pollsters cautiously note, the 2016 presidential campaign is full of unforeseen surprises. The meteoric rise of Mr. Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders has caught the political experts off guard. How a Real Estate tycoon and professed Democratic Socialist became the leaders of a major political insurgency reflects a restive citizenry that is unhappy with the current state of affairs. This discontent is noticeably evident among America’s middle class, whose share of the economic pie has decreased since the beginning of this century. Several factors explain why this has occurred: America’s transition from a labor-intensive industrial to a specialized, information based society; foreign trade agreements which enable American manufacturers to move their operations to less expensive overseas locations; the growing list of Federal, state and local regulations that US companies have to maneuver without incurring financial penalties. The labor force participation
TBILISI - ISTANBUL ATATURK AIRPORT
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rate (a measure determining how many people are employed nationwide) currently stands at 62.6 percent, its lowest rate in nearly forty years. These transformations have especially impacted the male population. Their workforce participation rate is at a record low, with a significant percentage pessimistic about their future prospects and subsequently dropping out of the job market. Suffice to say, these circumstances pose a challenging environment to middle class families. There has been minimal income growth for this segment of society amid steadily rising health, insurance and consumer expenses. While parents struggle to make ends meet, their children face burdensome educational costs and an uncertain job market upon graduation. Their political representatives – Democrat and Republican alike – seem tone deaf to their concerns, espousing respective party doctrines with no perceptible impact. Frustration ensues, bringing about an alienated constituency. Trump and Sanders have tapped into this undercurrent of discontent with the status quo, albeit from different sides of the political spectrum. Projecting themselves as “outsiders” who weren’t beholden to backroom politics and special interest groups (even though Trump’s commercial and Sander’s legislative backgrounds suggest otherwise), their respective messages resonate throughout middle class communities. Mr. Trump’s motto “Make America Great Again” evokes a renewed sense of patriotism that contrasts with the globalist tendencies of the Obama administration. Senator Sanders nowsuspended campaign advocated “A Future
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to Believe In” for those who had been marginalized by their changing environments. Compare these slogans with Hillary Clinton’s “I’m With Her”. Whereas Trump and Sanders express their goals and ideals to the general public, the Clinton campaign conveys the notion that its sentiments are already known and don’t bear specifying. Many Americans are rankled by this attitude since it denotes that the Clinton name is reason enough for being elected to the presidency. The same rationale troubled Jeb Bush’s short-lived candidacy. A family’s political legacy can be a detriment in the current environment. The Bush and Clinton’s devotion to public service has an elitist “insider” aspect to it, a sense that they know what’s best for America. Much of the nation believes otherwise, discarding what they perceive as patronizing dynasties with shopworn remedies. A region that may become pivotal to the election’s outcome is the Upper Mid West. This area is generally referred to as the “Rust Belt,” due to the numerous industrial towns and cities scattered throughout the region. The population is predominantly working middle class, blue collar communities that have seen better economic days. The Rust Belt has been severely impacted by “globalism” and the “new economy”. Numerous factories have either shut down or moved elsewhere because of such circumstances, leaving huge social and economic voids in their wake. As for remaining plants, they confront a widening array of labor and environmental regulations, whose net effect often results in workforce reductions or part-time employees.
10 Galaktion Street
It is generally believed that Hilary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump, primarily due to her governmental experience. Trump is perceived by many as a loose cannon, whose blunt manner is unsuitable for the nation’s highest office. Source: 2020americabook. com / Bill-Muckler
These environs have supported the Democratic Party’s nominee in recent presidential elections, but there are indications this might be changing. Political analysts are noting the re-emergence of what’s known as the Reagan Democrats. As the term implies, these are people who will cross party lines when they feel the nation needs a major overhaul. This noticeably occurred in 1980, when many registered Democrats decided to cast their ballots for Ronald Reagan, who was the Republican Party’s candidate. A similar situation is emerging within Rust Belt surroundings, where a significant number of Reagan Democrats reside. They have been a largely dormant factor since the Reagan years, either returning to the Democratic fold or simply not voting, dissatisfied with whom the choices were. Trump’s emergence has grabbed their curiosity, his outlook and persona somewhat reminiscent of Reagan’s. He directly addresses the
region’s fear and concerns, especially its rapidly dwindling industrial base. The continuous haranguing against “professional politicians” and their sincerity is a further draw, vulnerable aspects per Ms. Clinton’s campaign. Recent polls taken in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio indicate that the Rust Belt will be a closely contested region. The Clinton campaign is slightly ahead by an average 2.7 points, half of her nationwide lead. Ohio is a very critical gauge – no president has made it to the White House without winning this state in recent history. The polls also show approximately 20% of both states’ voters are undecided as to whom they’ll support come November. Reagan Democrats might once again be the determining factor in a general election. GSR is a policy analyst who has worked with democratic development projects in Turkey and the Caucasus. Copyright GSR, 2016
Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: email@example.com
Tbilisi Airport Buses to Operate 24 Hours
bilisi Transport Company, which operates public bus services between the Georgian capital’s center and its international airport 18km away, announced Monday that a new 24-hour operating schedule would begin effective immediately. Public Bus 37, which operated the regular airport line, will now run an overnight service from 00:00 am to 7:00 am with buses making the trip every 35 minutes for 50 Tetri (USD 0.20). Nearly all flights arrive at the airport after midnight or early in the morning due to ongoing repairs on the airport’s runway that force the airport to close during the prime daylight hours. The poorly-timed repair works have become a logistical nightmare for the
airport as visitors are forced to manage their arrival and departure times based on a condensed schedule. Most visitors arriving in Tbilisi frequently complain about the capital’s poor public transport infrastructure both to and from the airport. Due to the repair works, visitors had been forced to use a private taxi, as city bus services end prior to midnight and do not begin until 7:00am. This has allowed taxi companies and private drivers who service the airport to exploit the current situation by driving up prices for foreigners to as high as 50 Euros for a 20-minute drive to the city center. The maximum official price for a taxi to or from the airport and central core of the city is 25 GEL.
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Live Chain to Support Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
embers of the Union of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis organized a campaign ‘Everything is in Our Hands,’ aiming to reach every member of the community with an important message. They are requesting funding for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for adult citizens. With signatures collected through an online petition in hand, the campaign participants applied to the Ministry of Health and the Tbilisi City Council. The main objective of the campaign is to increase public awareness about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) as a severe disease, in order to diagnose it promptly and ensure access to adequate treatment. All volunteers are welcome take part in the campaign and support patients by joining the live chain: ‘Healthy Joints – this can be achieved.’ “RA patients can hardly move due to unbearable pain, their joints become deformed and lose their function and finally fully restrict movement. Our goal is to increase public awareness about this disease, since the support of each and every one of you increases the chance of sufferers having access to adequate treatment,” said Marina Sagharadze, one of the founders of the Union of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. “Real desires and physical abilities never coincide with each other,” said Rusudan Ebanoidze, one of the members of the Union. “It’s very stressful. I am at the IV stage of the disease. As well as suffering from extreme pain, my limbs have begun to deform. Unless the biological medicines are used promptly, the outcome can be life-threatening. These are the medicines that bring miraculous changes; they in fact halt the illness.”
The number of online petitioners was announced and the published results were sent to the Ministry of Health and Tbilisi City Council with the request to increase the availability of biological medicines for RA patients in Georgia. As representatives of the Ministry noted, they were already familiar with the problem and expressed hope that new services would be added to the Universal Health
Insurance. However, in the meantime, RA patients will be able to apply to the Ministry with a request that will be reviewed by the respective Commission and a respective decision will be made on expediency of funding allocation. The outreach campaign was provided by the Gepra Company. ADVERTISING
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Transforming the Educational Approach from Youth to Lifelong Experience On June 5th, the Sheraton Metechi Palace team travelled to Gremi, Kvareli region, to donate a number of items to the Temi Charitable Union
Sheraton Metechi Palace BY MERI TALIASHVILI Participants at the Festival of Adult Education 2016
BY MAKA LOMADZE
n July 1-2, Rooms Tbilisi Hotel hosted the Festival of Adult Education 2016, organized by German Association International Cooperation Institute, DVV International. Its aim was to raise awareness and help society realize the main conception of the occasion – “Learning throughout Life.” Georgia’s aspiration to integration into the united European Educational space presents a number of new challenges to the educational politics of the
country, highlighting the importance of raising the level of education while we are alive. “If in the past, we were accustomed to the fact that education is only associated with youth, now, we have to realize that it is a lifelong process,” said Alexander Jejelava, Georgian Minister of Education. “Moreover, adults are much more motivated, having well realized what they lacked and thirsty to keep up-to-date with new skills now to get employed. ” The Minister went on to express his belief in adult education, remembering his long service in the training system, saying that adult education can give very prompt results. Continued on page 17
ocial responsibility has been the cornerstone of Sheraton Metechi Palace during its 25 years of existence. Although the Hotel has been undergoing major renovation works for year and a half and is currently closed, it remains focused on its work and aims to support those in need. On June 5th, the Sheraton Metechi Palace team travelled to Gremi, Kvareli region, to donate a number of hotel items – room accessories, bed matresses, pillows, full sets of linen, furniture, pottery, and household appliances to the Temi Charitable Union. “We are proud to grant such a variety of items, likes furniture, bedding, crockery, and clothing to Temi. Over two decades, Temi has been doing a priceless job with the support of international organizations, and we wanted to do our part and also to encourage others, including international and Georgian companies, to help Temi,” Tamuna Guledani, Sheraton Palace Sales and Marketing Department Head told GEROGIA TODAY. Currently, Temi shelters more than seventy people of various ages and capacities aiming to give them better life conditions, providing them care and creating an environment where all treat each other as equals. That was one of the reasons Sheraton decided to help. “Temi carries the belief very deeply that all are equal, a concept we agree with wholeheartedly. This donation of ours is not one off project. We regularly help those in need in whatever way we can,” said Andreas Heidingsfelder, General Manager of Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel. As part of Starwood Hotel & Resorts, since 1997 Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel has carried out numerous projects assisting the socially vulnerable. Delivering food and beverage products to the homeless retired, providing August 2008 IDPs housed temporarily in a nearby school with household items, repairing the heating system and bedrooms of children in the House of the Future, giving Christmas charity dinners for elderly people, the Hotel is also actively involved in environmental protection activities, planting and watering plants around the city. Sheraton globally leads the worldwide initiative to support UNICEF’S immunization and malaria programs for vulnerable children in developing countries of the Check Out for Children organization. “We are thankful for the charitable donation of furniture, kitchen and household items from Sher-
aton Metechi Palace,” said Tatiana Trofimchuk, Project Coordinator at Temi. “These donations will help better the lives of disabled and socially vulnerable residents in our community. We would like to thank the Sheraton Metechi Palace team for coming to our community and for their kindness, support and friendship.” Temi has been actively supporting people with different physical and intellectual abilities and the socially vulnerable for more than 25 years, with the aim to improve their living conditions, increase their quality of life, and provide opportunities for personal growth and development. Temi residents include people with impaired motor/movement abilities, hearing and visual impairments or short limbs; people with a combination of physical and intellectual disabilities; with different stages of autism, cerebral palsy, and anxiety; people with slight physical and intellectual disabilities experiencing discrimination and exclusion from society; abandoned elderly people; single mothers; orphans; and children born to parents with disabilities. Temi’s school-age children attend the local public school in Gremi village, while young people who grew up in Temi now attend technical colleges, universities, work in their chosen professions or work in social enterprises at Temi. To support the social integration, healthy development, active lifestyles of community residents, Temi organizes a variety of activities, including music therapy, physical therapy, and lessons in handicraft, playing music instruments, singing, dancing, art activities, literature and languages lessons and other activities that respond to the interests of community residents. Further, community residents with different abilities participate in recreational events, such as football games, scavenger hunts, excursions to local lakes and parks. Educational and recreational activities help with social skills, group relationship skills, and self-development of community members. Social enterprise activities promote the independence and teamwork skills of disabled and vulnerable community residents and also help the community become self-sustaining. Ongoing projects include vegetable gardens, greenhouse, vineyards, wine production, bread making, community carpentry, agricultural tourism, chickens, pigs, beehives and others. Temi believes in the necessity of a healthy and inclusive working and living environment, that teaches stewardship of the earth. Community members work together with local artisans, farmers and also foreign volunteers.
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
The Eagle Drone has Landed Ascended: Svaneti
BY TONY HANMER
ontinuing the adventures of the transcaucasiantrail.org team in Svaneti! And their interactions with one highly bemused transplanted foreigner-resident. Our heroes (and one heroine too) recently attempted to find the best crossing of one of Etseri’s rivers, the one between us and Pari, in this highwater season. This proved to be difficult, and a bridge will need to be constructed near the Photreri hamlet of Etseri to facilitate crossing. At low-water times, the procedure is much easier, but we’d like to cross whenever we feel like it, right, serendipitous hikers? So, bridge. Put it on the to-do list, please. Today Jeff dropped in with a shiny new toy, his quad-copter drone. This is a historic day for me: being a lifelong science fiction enthusiast, and having heard and read about drones for more than a year now, it was the first time I came into personal contact with one of the little flying camera machines. He can link to it via radio from the ground up to 5 km away, and can also program it to make zigzag grid patterns of photographs and then integrate these seamlessly into one gigantic image. The slick little white thing powered up its four propellers with a loud buzz like an angry hornet, and then just... lifted smoothly into the air. Ascended fast to 120 meters, moved to its mission starting point and began taking photos, sending a confirmation beep for each one along with its location on the grid. The future, in short, had arrived. I was dazzled. Hi Mom, here I am waving at you from the ground in real time, if you like! Hearing about these things, reading all the gossip about them being shot down by angry Texan neighbors or being used to deliver parcels or as weapons platforms, is one thing. Actually having the machine take off from my front yard, before my wide eyes, is another entirely. On the iPad I could see a little video inset window of its actual progress into the sky and then beginning the grid pattern. It will keep itself steady thanks to those four propellers (if the wind stays normal), and later the stitching software will automatically align and overlap those hundreds of images into one. Now, today, before your eyes. I was like a kid in a Ray Bradbury novel, every third sentence ending in an exclamation point! The rush of joy was just like that. I’ll never be the same again, and this day will remain in my memory as a life-changer. I can’t downplay it; the anticipation was high, knowing that Jeff would be by sooner or later with the Drone, and suddenly here he was, and me thrilled, never disappointed. Allow me to gush a bit, if you will. Want a DAILY version of exactly that same map we just made? Done, to show weather and seasonal changes through a whole year, from precisely the
same time each day even. Add layers of detail and information, as I wrote here earlier? Up to your imagination. 3D? Go for it! A video tour of your village from the sky? Whatever. These things won’t ever replace you coming here and seeing the place for yourself, I dearly hope; instead, let them only entice you to come experience the reality for yourself, not virtually through some helmet from the safety and comfort of your armchair, but real, tactile, olfactory, audio-video, people-relational real. You know, REAL real. Really. Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1300 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti
Georgian Architect’s Project Receives International Prize
JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Nina Ananiashvili RoundsUp 164th Ballet Season, Looks ahead to the Next BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES
The yet-to-be-built Shekvetili wellness resort in Guria, western Georgia. Source:architizer.com
BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
eorgian architect Giorgi Khmaladze, famous for designing the futuristic building currently housing the Batumi McDonald’s, was awarded once again, this time for his new wellness center project, to be located in Shekvetili resort in Guria region, western Georgia. The architect took the jury’s Special Mention prize at the Architizer A+ Awards 2016, the largest architecture awards in the world. Two years ago, Khmaladze took first place for the Batumi McDonald’s project in the competition. Following the victory, the Georgian architect quickly became famous in architectural circles and began to receive orders from different countries. “The victory is very important in order to raise awareness,” Khmaladze told Business Contact. “The McDonald’s project is well known inside the country, but after the competition, it went beyond the borders. As a result, we saw a lot of interest from different foreign projects, and were invited to closed competitions in Abu Dhabi, where we received orders from Baku, for example.” The new Shekvetili resort is a local project and was mentioned in the Architizer A+Awards’ Unbuilt Projects section. The future wellness center and hotel will be located in a pine forest on the Black Sea coast. The existing rich vegetation, topography and orientation towards the adjacent sea shore are the
key drivers of the design. It was highlighted that the building will be placed in a location already free of trees and intense vegetation. The three main components forming the 90 guestroom hotel will be the main building, the forest suites and the garden suites, with diverse spatial conditions. According to the project, the main building is divided into two main levels, one on the ground level, sunk into artificial hills, and the other elevated above the treetops. The ground level is to house the main lobby, wellness center and all supporting spaces, connected to the rest of the building by three structural cores which both support the level above and serve as vertical circulation shafts – for stairs, guest elevators and service lifts. The upper level is 18 meters above ground to provide hotel suites with a direct sea view and leaving an open space below for sheltered decks. The forest suites will be placed on small hills farther from the sea shore, from where the sea view and horizon will still be visible. The garden suites are to be placed on the flattest and lowest location. The Architizer A+ Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products, this year taking place for the fourth time. Its mission is to nurture appreciation of meaningful architecture throughout the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life. The jury is composed of more than 300 prominent representatives of different sectors – architects, designers, modelers, publishers and real estate agents.
his weekend the 164th Georgian ballet season will draw to a close with a performance of Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand on July 9th. The Friends of the Georgian Ballet (FGB) met with Prima Ballerina and Artistic Director of the Georgian State Ballet, Nina Ananiashvili, and a selection of her multi-national soloists, to hear a roundup of the season and find out what’s on the calendar for next year. The FGB is an enthusiast group of mostly expats who support the Ballet Company by offering donations, arranging charity performances and spreading the word of the Company’s talent. They also support the new generations of young Georgian dancers by offering student scholarships at the Chabukiani State Ballet School. On March 29 the FGB helped to organize the Japanese-Georgian “Sleeping Beauty” ballet gala at the Rustaveli Theater, there raising enough money to buy 80 rolls of much-needed specialized non-slip tape to seal down the lino in the dance studios at the School. The American Friends of Georgia, represented by Lena Kiladze, gave a one-year scholarship to a student of the School. Andreas Heidingsfelder, General Manager of the Sheraton Hotel Tbilisi, held a private party at which he asked guests to donate cash to the Friends of the Georgian Ballet. Altogether he raised over 1300 GEL. The FGB recently said a fond farewell to two of its most energetic and inspiring board members of the past years, Pirjo Turk and Caroline Wilkes, and now welcomes three new board members: Aleid Douma, Francesca Huemer Kelly and Enid Burki, who will work alongside existing members Orsolya Sarossy and Luba Protsiva At the meeting, which took place in the Blue Hall of the Opera House, Nina told us how she is particularly pleased with the development of her soloists this year. The dancers have excelled themselves, having enjoyed the second half of the season back “home” in the newly renovated Tbilisi State Opera House. “The new Opera House has really broad-
Friends of the Georgian Ballet met with Prima Ballerina and Artistic Director of the Georgian State Ballet, Nina Ananiashvili, and a selection of her multi-national soloists
ened the possibilities of what we can achieve in a performance- the lights, technical aspects; everything is possible,” Nina said. Finances, as always, are the limitation for the Company which, with a greater budget, would happily put into effect a number of initiatives to boost interest in the ballet and improve the material effects of the Company, such as costumes. One gripe Nina rightly has is the difficulty fans of Georgian ballet have in seeing the performances of their “Home team” abroad. “In the ten years we’ve been representing Georgia abroad there have been consistent problems for Georgians to get visas to come with us. Football fans can go abroad to support their teams, but the Arts suffer a disadvantage in this regard. We want our Georgian enthusiasts to be able to come with us on our tours to Japan, the US, Italy; to see for themselves how successful we are in the world beyond these walls!” Soon, the Company will be travelling to the US to take part in the United States International Ballet Competition (USA IBC) 2016 Grand Prix Reunion Gala. Nina will be returning to dance the stage where she won the first City of Jackson Grand Prix Award in the 1986 USA IBC. Two years ago, on a visit, she promised the organizers to bring and show off her Company, which she is now able to do. GEORGIA TODAY asked her about her plans for the 165th season of Georgian Ballet. “At the end of September we’ll be
dancing Giselle, followed by a remake of the Balanchine program- Maria Calegari and Bart Cook will come to train and refresh the dancers. We’ll have a revival of Kylian, which my boys danced so beautifully this past season, and Don Quixote. It’s also my dream to have us stage Chabukiani’s Laurencia.” Nina hopes to begin an annual Ballet Festival in Tbilisi and invite other companies to dance here, though this, of course, depends on the budget. The Company has tours planned in Spain, Japan, Estonia and possibly Finland. The daily classes and rehearsals go on. To relax, aside from eating (which they all claim to be big fans of!) and spending time with their families, many of the dancers work on other artistic pursuits. “We have quite a few talented painters in the Company,” Nina says proudly. The idea of holding a sales-exhibition to raise funds is then suggested and members of the FGB board take eager note and start to brainstorm. Some of the soloists have no time to relax at the end of the season- taking Nina’s lead in over-flowing energy by organizing their own events. Soloists Frank van Tongeren (the Netherlands) and Machi Muto (Japan), who came over to Georgia together after meeting Nina in Japan, will be holding a Ballet festival at the end of this month in Fukuoka, with members of the Georgian Company in attendance. More on that in next week’s GEORGIA TODAY.
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Don Quixote on a Shoe String, World-Famous Hidalgo Hits Tumanishvili Stage BY MAKA LOMADZE
heTumanishviliFilmActors’ Theater recently staged the premiere of the immortal Don Quixote. The actors? Puppets! Alonso Quixana is an elderly gentleman who lives in La Mancha, in the Spanish countryside. He has read many books of chivalry. He loses his wits and decides to roam the country as a knighterrant named Don Quixote de La Mancha. Neither his niece nor his housekeeper can stop him from riding his old horse, Rocinante, out into the country. Sancho Panza, a common peasant, his faithful servant, joins him on the journey, quickly realizing that his master is mad, but hoping that Quixote will make good on his promise to name Sancho the Governor of an island. Quixote attacks a windmill, believing it to be a giant, destroying his lance in the process. Indeed, Quixote gets involved in several altercations and violent disputes while on the road. The Tumanishvili puppet version of
the classic performance is fascinating in both form and management. Among the ‘actors,’ are just two puppet theater professional actors, while the rest of eightperson team comprises a diplomat, a drama theater actor, a psychologist, and others, all united around one and the same idea of the epochal book. Unlike in other puppet theaters, the actors here are visible to the audience, performing together with the marionettes. At the beginning of this performance, well-known introductory music can be heard- a tribute to the old Georgian staging of ‘Don Quixote,’ a revolution in its time in Georgia’s theatrical space and starring the late great Otar Meghvinetukhutsesi. The magic of painter Nino Kitia made it possible to fit the giant classical masterpiece into the tiny modern theatrical space and the puppets alone are worth seeing- and even if you don’t speak Georgian, the music and painting will offer you enough story-telling, even more so that the plot is well-known to most. “A woman is a man’s heart,” is heard, an idea that at first seems like old-fashioned romanticism but what else can
fashion do with eternal values? Don Quixote, commonly considered as insane, seems to be much saner than the cold world in which violence, fear, poverty and torture reign. “If humans can find a small piece of light against the hopelessness and wickedness, then life would not be a mere endurance,” the main hero repeats again and again. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to young director Giorgi Apkhazava after the performance. “Sadly, live Don Quixotes are lacking nowadays, which is why I decided to stage this classic with puppets,” he said. “I’m sure that in all epochs there were such blank spaces, empty of idealists. There were many cases when Georgia had very clever ‘uncles’, full of common sense, but there has been a long absence of such kinds of crazy people who desperately struggle for kindness. It took hard work and one-and-a-half years to turn the two-volume novel into a short theatrical performance but we did it and the results can well be seen today!” From September, the new season will be launched and Don Quixote is set to remain an inseparable part of the Tumanishvili Theater repertoire.
Transforming the Educational Approach from Youth to Lifelong Experience Continued from page 14
Matthias Klingenberg, Regional Director of Caucasus, Turkey and SouthEastern Europe, stated: “Sometimes I ask myself why it is so important to advocate life-long learning and adult education and is not it more important to teach children sufficiently at school? These questions can be heard in the EU, Georgia, and elsewhere. There is a cluster of answers. I think that now is problematic for the EU. Therefore, adult education is even more important. When I think of answers, the recent terror attacks in Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, and Brexit come to my mind. The exit of Great Britain from the EU as a result of the referendum is a nice example of what adult education could have changed. The Brits did not really understand what the consequences of the Leave would be, because they just trusted social media. That showed that civic education is lacking in Europe. It taught us how politics can be manipulated by different kinds of media. Therefore, this festival is very important to say once again that it is never late to learn. I am convinced that these festivals are important not only for Georgia and this region,
but for the EU itself.” The organizers believe that if the abovementioned concept is applied, such serious local problems as high level of employment, incompliance between qualification and market demand, and low self-consciousness rate of citizens, can be resolved. After the festival, Lali Santeladze, Country Director of DVV International, told GEORGIA TODAY, “We already have 9 adult education centers in different regions of Georgia. We choose those places that are particularly remote from civilization. Annually, these centers have 8000 beneficiaries. In September, a new center will be opened in Racha. Next year, we also plan to cover Imereti region. We act on the basis of local surveys that reveal the real demands of this or that profession, rather than on our own agenda. However, we provide courses of English and computer to all regions.“ The Georgian Adult Education Network is a member organization of the European Association for Education of Adults (EAEA), one of the biggest organizations in Europe working in the sphere of Adult Education. It unites more than 200 European and non-European Adult Education providers or organizations
who are strongly lobbying the principles of Adult Education. “Georgia had a great opportunity when it was engaged in the recent general assembly of the EAEA. The main message was the validation of non-formal and informal education, as they should be recognized by market and other,” Khatia Tsuramua, Director of the Georgian Adult Education Network, told GEORGIA TODAY. “Around 15-20% of our beneficiaries, who are aged 6 to 89, have been employed, including the local population and the community of IDPs from Abkhazia,” Maia Chanturia, Director of the Adult Education Center located in Jvari town, Tsalenjikha Municipality, told us. “They even come from Gali region to get some skills. We have many self-employed people as a result of the center’s activities.” On July 2, the official opening was followed by outdoor activities and an exhibition of hand-made products by the non-formal adult education providers. The festival has existed since 2002 and is held annually in Tbilisi as well as in the regions. This time, it was held with the support of the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science and Tbilisi City Hall.
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GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATER
GABRIADZE THEATER Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 July 9 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-30 GEL July 10, 11 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-30 GEL July 12 RAMONA Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-30 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 July 8 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry July 9, 10 PERFORMANCE “SILENCE, REHEARSAL” Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15 GEL CINEMA
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari July 8-14 ME BEFORE YOU Directed by Thea Sharrock Genre: Drama, Romance Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer
Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket: 10-14 GEL INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Directed by Roland Emmerich Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Maika Monroe, Joey King, Jeff Goldblum Language: Russian Start time: 17:15 Ticket: 11-12 GEL DEMOLITION Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée Genre: Comedy, Drama Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE LEGEND OF TARZAN Directed by David Yates Genre: Action, Adventure Cast: Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Ella Purnell Language: Russian Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MUSEUM
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017)
Georgian National Museum and Korneli Kekelidze National Center of Manuscripts present THE EXHIBITION “MEDIEVAL TREASURY” The exhibition showcases preChristian and Georgian medieval art which reflects the continuity of the cultural traditions that were the basis for the formation of Georgian statehood and national identity. June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY” The exhibition will be held in the frame of the international conference On Salt, Copper, and Gold: The Origins of Early Mining and Metallurgy in the Caucasus” 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 Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors on which visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION “QUARTER OF THE DAY” BY TAMAR MELIKISHVILI The exhibition showcases 70 paintings depicting people united by emotions: passion, melancholy, alienation, and mystery. SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge May 18 – July 18 AVANT-GARDE 1900-1937 The exhibition is opened within the Georgian National Museum week
dedicated to International Museum Day. June 22 – July 15 SOLO EXHIBITION “RETURNING FROM JOURNEY’S AFAR” BY ALEXANDER PAVLOV The exposition showcases 21 paintings by the Ukrainian artist and writer whose works are characterized by the aesthetics of abstract expressionism. Presented artworks reflect the artist’s thoughts on the current state of culture and society. GALLERY
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”
FOLKLORE REGION: SHIDA KARTLI, SVANETI Start time: 19:00-22:00 FINAL CONCERT “GAMOUVALI MDGOMAREOBA” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 15 GEL July 12 FOLK CRAFTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS Start time: 12:00 -19:00 FOLKLORE REGION: GURIA, MTSKHETA MTIANETI Start time: 19:00-22:00 FINAL CONCERT “SHAVPAROSNEBI” “CHVENEBUREBI” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 15 GEL July 13 FOLK CRAFTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS Start time: 12:00 -19:00 FOLKLORE REGION: KVEMO KARTLI, LECHKHOUMI Start time: 19:00-22:00 FINAL CONCERT “REGGAEON” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: From 14 GEL
ART GENE FESTIVAL Address: Ethnographic Museum Season ticket: 70 GEL July10 FOLK CRAFTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS Start time: 12:00 -18:00 FOLKLORE REGION: SAMTSKHEJAVAKHETI, SAMEGRELO Start time: 18:00-21:30 GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATER VAZHA-PSHAVELA POEM “HOST AND GUEST” Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 20:30 FINAL CONCERT “SUKHISHVILEBI” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: From 21 GEL July 11 FOLK CRAFTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS Start time: 12:00 -19:00
July 14 FOLK CRAFTS AND CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITIONS Start time: 12:00 -19:00 FOLKLORE REGION: IMERETI Start time: 19:00-22:00 FINAL CONCERT: ROBI KUKHIANIDZE “OUTSIDER” Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 12 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 July 12, 14 JAM SESSION WITH THE RESO KIKNADZE QUINTET Start time: 21:00 Free entry July 13 TANGO MILONGA Start time: 20:00 Tango Lesson: 5 GEL BATUMI
FOLK CONCERT July 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 FOLK CONCERT Start time: 19:00 Address: Batumi Boulevard Colonnades BATUMI ART CENTER Address: 1 O. Dimitriadis Str., Batumi July 8 DAYS OF CHINESE CULTURE Free Entry July 11 ANNIVERSARY CONCERT OF SINGING AND DANCING Free Entry MUSIC FESTIVAL ‘ORANGE KOBULETI’ July 9, 12 MUSIC FESTIVAL ‘ORANGE KOBULETI’ Start time:19:00 Address: Kobuleti Amphitheatre, Seaside Park, Kobuleti BATUMI TENNIS COURTS July 13 KETA TOPURIA AND STUDIO CONCERT Start time: 19:00
GEORGIA TODAY JULY 8 - 11, 2016
Georgia Joins European Free Theater Marks Stadium Security 15th Anniversary Convention CULTURE
BY MAKA LOMADZE
bilisi has a plethora of theaters, good taste and a rich artistic school. However, without exaggeration, Free Theater is among the best. Its building takes the form of a ship, as if the Troupe within has been lucky enough to escape the cruelty of the rest of the world to dwell in that most wonderful and peaceful island called theatrical art. Saturated with solar energy, as here the main form of relation is love and respect, adorned with a cluster of talented young actors, and headed by a very original director who is open to novelties (but never ever using modern technologies), the theater truly justifies its name. “This day means everything as we have been able to exist for 15 years without any help,” Avto Varsimashvili, main director of the theater, told GEORGIA TODAY. “Just the contrary, all the governments fought us, but we stuck to the principles of our theatrical life and went on staging performances. Our greatest achievement throughout these years is our audience. I am proud of 15 years of non-stop sell-outs!” “This is a very important date, as during 15 years, this theater has made its name and found its niche in the rich
Georgian theatrical palette,” Jaba Kiladze, one of the Free Theater’s leading actors, noted. “I’m happy that I’ve been with this theater from day one. From season to season, the theater has evolved and its members increased. A lot of actors and actresses became very famous through us. I’m sure a lot of generations will step on its stage in future, too!” No official speeches were made at the anniversary event, nor were any officials invited. Here, everybody was united without hypocrisy or pose. The main surprises of the opening ceremony, which was as original as the performances themselves, were the openings of new statues of Niko Gomelauri, deceased leading actor of the Troupe, and Slava Natenadze from the most popular performance ‘Comedians,’ just in front of the theater building. Another statue was unveiled from the performance ‘Waltz before Going to Bed’ in which only actresses participate, showing a remarkable reincarnation from a young age into old women. At the end of the anniversary, there was a short screening to commemorate all the important performances, many of which are no longer in the repertoire due to the death of Niko Gomelauri. Avto Varsimashvili thanked all the staff, from those manning the box office to the actors and directors who have worked in the theater. We look forward to the new season after the summer.
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BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
eorgia, on Sunday, signed on to the Council of Europe’s Convention on integrated safety, security and service measures at football matches and other sports events. The signing ceremony was held at the Stade de France prior to Sunday’s UEFA 2016 quarterfinal match between France and Iceland. The convention was signed by representatives from Bulgaria, France, Greece, Lithuania, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Macedonia and Ukraine. “Our task is to make all games safe so fans can enjoy world-class football. We have a great atmosphere for football here, but we have to stop the moments
Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze
of aggression. They always remind us that even a small number of hooligans could spoil a great celebration,” said the Council of Europe’s Secretary-General, Thorbjorn Jagland. The convention aims to streamline safety measures for spectators both inside and outside stadiums, improve dialogue between police, local authorities and football clubs as well, as and to prevent and punish hooliganism through effec-
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tive unified measures. The convention will ban stadium visits and limit travel abroad during international matches for those found guilty of hooliganism. The document should also improve the interaction of law enforcement bodies and facilitate the exchange of information as well as personal data during international football matches. The convention will come into force after its ratification by three signatory states.
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July 8 - 11, 2016