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Issue no: 1099

• NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018



In this week’s issue... Ex-PM Kvirikashvili Releases Statement


NGOs Accuse Saakashvili of Making Xenophobic Statements


ON THE OPERA World-renowned conductor Daniel Oren is set to lead Verdi and Beethoven at the Tbilisi Opera


British Council Funds 35 New Int’l Partnerships to Develop Creative Economies



Minister of Economy Visits Singapore, Talks Trade & Maritime Cooperation BY SAMANTHA GUTHRIE


oming off a wave of successful meetings in China on the opportunities for Georgia to export to the country, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kobulia visited Singapore this week. On Tuesday in the massively wealthy southeast Asian city-state, Kobulia attended the Bloomberg New Economy Forum. Founded by American billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the forum brands itself as “a new community for the new economy.” The forum aims to capitalize on the “pivotal moment in history” in which we are living, where “economic power is shifting dramatically from the West to new economies and “new markets and new leaders are exercising unprecedented influence over the course of economic change on a global scale.” The goal of the forum is to support “a new community of leaders thinking, innovating and working together to create the thriving, inclusive global economy of the future.” Kobulia attended an official reception hosted by the representatives of the state delegations by Michael Bloomberg and founders of the forum on its opening day and participated in a round-

Image source: Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development

table discussion dedicated to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Kobulia spoke about the possibilities for Georgia to play a significant role in the new Silk Road project and become a regional hub in the corridor connecting Europe and Asia. The Minister noted that Georgia is a small country for which

transit routes for goods and freight are profitable. "We are also trying to develop the infrastructure and logistics of railway and ports as much as possible. The most important thing is that the development of infrastructure contributes to Georgian companies getting into the world market,” he said. Continued on page 3

Guram Kashia & Locomotive Speak Out against Bullying SOCIETY PAGE 12




NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

Ici Paris New Perfume 'Girls Can Do Anything' Presented by Ici-Paris


ci Paris presents Zadig and Voltaire's new perfume 'Girls Can Do Anything.' 'Girls Can Do Anything' is the name of a signature scent, the perfect incarnation of new femininity: free, uninhibited and bold! A fern twisted around delicate pear with a Tonka-bean touch, exalted by musk-infused vanilla. Embody a radiant, uninhibited and bold new feminism!

Results of EU, CoE Projects in Georgia 2015 - 2018 Presented BY AMY JONES


ovember 6, the Council of Europe and the Delegation of the European Union presented results of their joint projects in Georgia from 2015 - 2018. The projects, funded by 4.1 million Euros from the EU (85%) and European Council (15%), helped Georgian authorities in applying the European Convention on Human Rights; civic integration of national minorities; supporting the Georgian Bar Association, improving health care in prisons; countering money laundering; promoting freedom, professionalism and pluralism of the media; protecting internet freedom, and assisted in the elections. The meeting, its fourth kind in Tbilisi, discussed the results of the first phase of the project, which aimed to harmonize the Georgian system to European standards.

Georgian PM Meets EBRD Managing Director BY THEA MORRISON

Photo: European Union Extended Action

Pilar Morales, Head of the Programming Department at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), mentioned how, although the joint venture was not always easy, useful lessons have been learned and good results were achieved. For example, the federal judges received training in the European Convention on Human Rights in association with the Georgian Bar Association, leading to a better quality of justice in Georgia. This has notably helped women who were victims of violence, she mentioned. The second part of the project will commence at the beginning of next year.


eorgia’s Prime Minister MamukaBakhtadzemetMatteoPatrone,ManagingDirector of the European Bank for ReconstructionandDevelopment (EBRD) for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on November 7 in Tbilisi. Projects of strategic importance being implemented in Georgia with the engagement of the EBRD were the key issue of the meeting. The Georgian PM’s Press Office reports that construction of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port was also discussed at the meeting, underlining the strategic importance of the project and engagement of the Government of Georgia in the referred

initiative. The sides underlined that the Anaklia Deep Sea Port is significant not only for Georgia, but for the entire region, adding it is expected to acquire a geo-political significance for the entire continent.

Approaching establishment of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Arbitration in Georgia was also referred to, along with its importance for the attraction of foreign investments to the country.




Ex-PM Kvirikashvili Releases Statement BY THEA MORRISON


ormer Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who resigned on June 13 after a disagreement with the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, has released a statement ahead of the second round of the October 28 Presidential Elections. In the statement, Kvirikashvili says he is not going to return to politics. “I decided to remain silent during the whole period and I am not going to be active in politics. However, I want to say that I support the values which were

protected by the Georgian people in 2012,” he stated, meaning the defeat of the previous ruling party United National Movement in the 2012 parliamentary elections by the GD coalition. “Taking everything into account, the values still need to be protected. I will never tire from protecting these values, like many in our country,” he added. Kvirikashvili was Prime Minister of Georgia from 30 December 2015 to 13 June 2018. Prior to that he was Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development from 25 October 2012 until 1 September 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1 September 2015 until 30 December 2015, and Deputy Prime Minister from 26 July 2013 until 30 December 2015.

Kvirikashvili has led initiatives to advance Euro-Atlantic and European integration and highlight Georgia as an attractive

location for foreign investment. On 20 June 2018, Mamuka Bakhtadze, who previously served as Kvirikashvili's

Minister of Finance, was approved by the Georgian Parliament as the PM of the country.

Minister of Economy Visits Singapore, Talks Trade & Maritime Cooperation Continued from page 1

The forum was attended by more than 400 government and business representatives from around the world, including high-impact leaders such as Gary Cohn, former Assistant to the US President for Economic Policy; Janet Yellen, former Chair of the US Federal

Reserve; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF; Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group; Henry Kissinger, and many others. On Wednesday, Kobulia met with Andrew Taun, Chief Executive Director of the Singapore Navy and Port Author-

ity to discuss possibilities of deepening trade relations between Georgia and Singapore. The focus was on the importance of signing a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on maritime trading. A draft agreement has already been written up by the Georgian Ministry of Economy and was presented to the Singaporean side this week.

It was also noted during the meeting that a new project is being considered in Georgia – maritime clusters, which would establish special tax benefits. Since Singapore has one of the most successful maritime clusters in the world, the Georgian side expressed its interest in cooperating in this regard and sharing experiences.

The sides also discussed cooperation between maritime education institutions to prepare students for exchange programs and collaborative learning opportunities, and the possibility of offering a special training course at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Academy for Georgian Maritime Authorities.




NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

Lincoln Mitchell Answers Accusations against Him L

incoln Mitchell spoke to GEORGIA TODAY and the Realpolitik show to clarify some of the circulating accusations against him and his viewpoints. This is part two of the definitive Lincoln Mitchell interview.

SALOME ZURABISHVILI, AS WELL AS PUTTING THE BLAME ON GEORGIA FOR THE AUGUST 2008 WAR, ALSO MENTIONED THE US PLAYED A ROLE Official American channels, the US Secretary of State and the US Ambassador to Georgia of the time, all made it clear to Saakashvili that he shouldn't get drawn into a war, but people around Saakashvili were constantly engaged in dialogue with people in other leadership positions in the foreign policy establishment who said, “we will support you if you do” So, basically, they called around until they got someone who said “yes, go for it,” and they went for it. I know it because I've talked to a lot of people in the American government who were there in 2008 and that's what they told me. I’m not going to name any names, but I will say there were a lot of people in and around the then-Vice President's Office.

THAT'S A VERY SERIOUS STATEMENT THAT HAS NOT BEEN PUBLICLY MENTIONED BEFORE. TELL US MORE If I said it in Washington in an academic setting, it would not be a controversial statement. The US Secretary of State told Saakashvili not to go to war and if the Secretary of State says don't do something and somebody much lower down the food chain says do it, then the message is clear: the message is don't. But what the Georgian government was doing was forum-shopping: going around until they got a yes, but most people said no. The Georgian government knew what it was doing. I don’t believe the US government policy was to mislead Georgia into this conflict with Russia. I was no fan of the Bush Administration, but I wouldn’t say they did this: it was not the official position.

BUT YOU SAY THERE WERE PEOPLE IN POLITICAL CIRCLES IN THE US WHO WERE TRYING TO GREENLIGHT THE NOTION THAT THE US WOULD STAND BY GEORGIA AGAINST RUSSIA. WHY? I'm not sure about the word “greenlight,” but I think that's a good enough phrase, so we'll stick with it. Why? Because they thought that if Georgia held out for a while, the American military would have no choice but to follow and support them more aggressively than we eventually

did. Why? Because these are ultra-hawks who wanted to push back against Russia and they thought this was a good way to do it.

DID THEY REALLY BELIEVE THE US WOULD GET INVOLVED IN A WAR EVEN IF THE TOP GOVERNMENT WAS SAYING NO? Now, I want to be clear we're speculating now. What I believe they thought was that if this happens, even though the official position is don't do it, once it's done we'll go back to the leadership, to the Secretary of State, and say now we have to do something, and that the views would change. That's not what happened.

SOME SAY NO SUCH THING TOOK PLACE AND POINT TO THE RUSSIANS. DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TRANSPIRED? [Such people] naturally want to be respectful of their allies, the US and others, but I'm pretty sure such processes took place.

DO YOU HAVE PROOF SO AS NOT TO HARM THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO STATES? I don't think it harms the relations between the two states: it’s something that happened ten years and two administrations ago. While I appreciate the concern from people who are not American that somehow I’m anti-American, if you’re a good American, it is your duty as a citizen to constantly question and criticize the decisions your government makes, and if you're not doing that you're not being a good American.

BUT AT THE COST OF SOME MAKING ACCUSATIONS THAT YOUR NARRATIVE SERVES RUSSIA’S INTERESTS, AS THEY DO OF ZURABISHVILI’S STATEMENTS? My narrative serves Russian interests? There was a time when I got upset when people in Georgia would call me proRussian, but now it's just funny. I get it: serving Russian interests means you don't like Saakashvili or the UNM. Look, if you want to serve Georgia's interests, stop talking about the Russian narrative: my family fled Russia 120 years ago and never looked back. I've as much reason as anybody to be anti-Russia. What is the evidence that I’m supporting Russia's interests by pushing back against a Georgian narrative about the war that is not believed at all outside of Georgia?


THAT YOUR ANALYSIS CANNOT BE CONSIDERED OBJECTIVE BECAUSE YOU PAID CONSULT TO IVANISHVILI BACK IN 2012 AND THAT'S WHERE YOUR ALLEGIANCES LAY You don't have to think my analysis is legitimate: not everyone has to agree with me. In American academic circles, a client from six years ago it's not viewed as your client today, but if someone in Georgia says, “Lincoln worked for Ivanishvili, Lincoln has always been a critic of Saakashvili,” I'm going to discount it. I’d hope people would read my writing on its own basis. A few years ago, I was in Georgia and caught up with Bidzina, and he said to me in a kind of stern tone of voice, “you know, I'm aware what you're writing” (because I've written some things that are critical of him), and I laughed and said, “if you're worried about what I'm writing, you don't know what's going on out there.” I mean, yeah, I've been critical of Bidzina, but I've hardly been his harshest critic. So, he's not happy with me either, but that's okay.


THE LOBBYIST COMPANIES THAT WORK FOR ABKHAZIA AND OSSETIA Stephen Ellis, who was a lobbyist for Abkhazia, contacted me on several occasions by email and phone and therefore they had to write that down; meaning my name appears as having been contacted by the lobbyists for Abkhazia. I didn't reach out to him, he reached out to me. So, if the question is did I ever take a phone call or an email from a lobbyist for Abkhazia, the answer is yes. Does that make me a lobbyist for Abkhazia? I think your mind would have to be pretty deep in conspiracy to think that.

SO, NO NEGOTIATIONS OR MEETINGS TOOK PLACE? I talked to the guy on the phone. He came to New York and we had coffee. He had a guy he wanted me to meet and we met with him, but I'm a researcher: like, I have to meet with these people. When we went to Abkhazia in 2010, I called him to ask how to get a visa, but I've never lobbied for Abkhazia, I've never advocated for Abkhazian independence: quite the opposite and you know my public statements on that. How bad am I supposed to feel that someone called me or emailed me? That seems crazy.

THERE IS ANOTHER ARGUMENT AGAINST YOU THAT YOU LOBBIED FOR IVANISHVILI AND YOU SHOULD HAVE REGISTERED ON THE FARA LIST, WHICH YOU APPARENTLY NEVER DID I consulted for Ivanishvili in Georgia; that's not considered lobbying. Lobbying means you go to Congress and say, “hey, you should support Ivanishvili over Saakashvili,” or vice versa, or you go to the American media and say, “here's a good story you should write about Saakashvili or Ivanishvili.” I didn't do that, I don't have those kinds of skills or connections, so I was not a lobbyist; that's why I didn't register as a lobbyist.

DON’T MEDIA ACTIVITIES INCLUDE LOBBYING? Not in Georgia. Here, what’s considered lobbyism is if, let's say, I call the New York Times and pitch a story: that's considered a lobby.

BUT YOU DID AUTHOR SEVERAL PIECES IN US OUTLETS AT THAT TIME I wrote pieces mostly on my own site, so I don't know whether that counts or not. I talked to three lawyers who said I didn't need to register in FARA.

UK Good Governance Grant Agreement Signed at British Embassy BY AMY JONES


ovember 7, a grant agreement signing ceremony of the project “Supporting Participatory and Inclusive Governance in Mountainous Guria and Adjara” between the British Embassy in Tbilisi and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation) took place at the British Embassy. The project, designed to support civic integration and regional development in Georgia, should also increase the

Photo: Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies Facebook

capacity building of the local community in decision-making processes. H.E Justin McKenzie Smith, British Ambassador to Georgia, and Ekaterine Metreveli, President of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) both signed the agreement. The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Head of the Good Governance Fund Unit in London, Tracey McLelland, along with representatives from the Pillar Projects of the Good Governance Fund Georgia. Pillar Project implementors include the United Nations Development Program, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the

National Democratic Institute, the British Council, GFSIS, and CDD. Covering a variety of civil service and civil society issues, the projects have already successfully implemented important changes in government bodies and religious groups, among others. They have conducted various training sessions, research, and activities on both regional and central levels. All programs also covered gender aspects. The UK Good Governance Fund has provided assistance in Georgia since 2015. The fund is of particular importance as civil service and society play a central role in building a strong Georgian future.




Sir Alan Duncan: Georgia Is a RoleModel in the Region Photo source: Foreign Policy

NGOs Accuse Saakashvili of Making Xenophobic Statements BY THEA MORRISON


he non-governmental sector of Georgia claims that the third President of the country Mikheil Saakashvili, is making xenophobic statements and uses hate speech towards some foreign nationals. The NGOs, united under the civil platform ‘No to Phobia’ criticized Saakashvili for making “anti-social” statements on November 4. The civil sector says Saakashvili used a negative word to describe Bangladeshi and Indian tourists in a video clip when he was speaking about the tourist potential of Georgia. “We need rich tourists from all over the world. We do not need these poor and lame tourists who bring their own food. We need people from Emirates, not Bangladesh. I do not have anything

against the people from Bangladesh… They are simple workers. Indians? They do not have enough income. We need sheikhs who alone will spend as much money as 200 people,” Saakashvili stated in his video address. He also added that Georgia needs all kinds of tourists, but underlined that it is preferable to have visitors from Germany, the UK and the US. “We need high-quality tourism, not quantity. Let the rich tourists from Russia, Ukraine or China come…But we have such quarters in Tbilisi where you cannot hear even one Georgian word. I am not happy about this, but I will be happy if Georgian families have more income from the tourism,” he added. The platform member organizations call on Saakashvili and other politicians to refrain from using hate speech and to further actively promote equality, tolerance and human rights-based political ideas in society. The NGOs say Saakashvili made sim-

ilar statements in July, August and September, when he stated that jobs in Georgia were being taken by “poor Iranians, Turks and other foreigners.” “Instead of rich investors, who should have given jobs to Georgians, we received migrants who can hardly employ themselves,” Saakashvili’s Facebook post read. The NGOs stress that anti-migrant rhetoric is part of the agenda of enhanced ultra-conservative political groups, adding it is unfortunate that such ideas have actively taken a place in the Georgian political sphere too. “In the pre-election period, politicians use xenophobic and racist sentiments for electoral mobilization which promotes social conflicts and obviously contradicts the idea of Georgia as a democratic and human-rights-oriented state,” the statement of the civil platform reads. The NGOs call on political parties not to use hate speech and to support the principle of equality.



ir Alan Duncan, the UK's Minister for Europe, is on a visit to Georgia to open the fifth Strategic Georgia-UK Dialogue on November 8. "This year, the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue takes place against a backdrop of two important milestones for Georgia, the 100th anniversary of Georgia’s independence and the 10th anniversary of the Georgia - Russia conflict," the statement of the British Embassy reads. The dialogue will allow Georgia and the UK to continue talks about strengthening economic ties, cooperation in defense issues and overall values. The Embassy also released Sir Alan Duncan’s comment on his visit. “This year’s Wardrop Strategic Dialogue will demonstrate very clearly that UK-

Georgia relations are going from strength to strength, and I look forward to discussing the many areas of shared interest and co-operation with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani,” the Minister stated. He also noted that in the 10 years since the war between Georgia and Russia, the UK has continued to stand with Georgia in support of its territorial integrity, sovereignty and security. “Georgia plays a pivotal role in the wider security of the region against ongoing Russian aggression… Georgia is a role-model in the region for reform, democracy and human rights. We applaud Georgia’s ambitious reform agenda. However, there is more to do to help Georgia deliver on the necessary reforms and reach its economic potential – that’s why the UK uses £4m of its Good Governance Fund to support reform projects in Georgia," Sir Alan Duncan’s comment reads.




NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

US Elections Results Unlikely to Change Washington’s Stance on Russia & China BY EMIL AVDALIANI


he US had its mid-term elections where the Democrats, after gaining control of the lower chamber of Congress, the House of Representatives, will likely to have a larger influence on both the foreign and domestic policy of the country. In the US political system, the executive branch - the White House - is dominant in the formulation and conduct of the US foreign policy. At the same time, it is important to remember that the Democrats' victory in the House of Representatives is counterbalanced by the Republicans' domination in the Senate. There is a possibility that this balance of power might create more confusion than any orderly foreign policy at a time when the US faces numerous challengers across the Eurasian landmass. That explains why the US elections were watched around the globe, with various analyses and forecasts made on the possible influence the results will have on relations with Russia, China and the European Union.

The Democrats are generally viewed as more moderate in their views on the necessity of active US involvement in the affairs of the Eurasian continent. Many will remember how Barack Obama’s foreign policy was less active following George Bush’s military campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, even then, Washington’s policy did not alter drastically: they just became less militarily-dependent. Nowadays, the US faces geopolitical competitors which are regarded by both Republicans and Democrats as real problems for Washington’s economic and military order in Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe. Indeed, even before the elections, when the two chambers of Congress were largely under Republican control, the Democrats were united on the question of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula and fomented separatism in eastern Ukraine. The Democrats and Republicans see that modern-day Eurasia is indeed more chaotic, and this unpredictability represents a marked break with what the US had to cope with in previous decades. In the more predictable Cold War era, geopolitics was important, but it was hidden under democratic and idealistic premises.

In modern Eurasia, though, there is a clear shift towards a new, more untenable world order. Take, for example, the new US national security document signed by President Trump. It has formally ushered in the end of ethical and moral grounds in international relations and heralded the return of geopolitics – a step rooted in the experience of past generations. The Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, understand how dangerous Russia’s actions have become in the former Soviet space and Eastern Europe. It is important to remember that first and most important, anti-Russian sanctions were introduced under Democrat Obama, with the Trump government merely continuing the trend. Beyond the immediate Russian security threat to its neighborhood, the US faces China, which aspires to change the existing political balance of power in their regions. China’s economic rise, coupled with its military development, has poised it to become a powerful world player in international politics. More importantly, its strategic imperatives clash with those of the US. Beijing needs to secure its procuring of vital oil and gas resources, which are currently available mostly through the

Image source: bbc.com

Malacca Strait. In the age of US naval dominance, the Chinese imperative is to redirect its economy’s dependence as well as shift supply routes away from Malacca. This is the reasoning behind the almost trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which is intended to reconnect the Asia-Pacific with Europe through Russia, the Middle East, and Central Asia. At the same time, Chinese naval ambitions are on the rise to thwart US dominance close to its shores. In addition, Iran’s growth of geopolitical capital through the chaos in Iraq and Syria makes it yet another competitor of Washington. The sanctions re-

imposed by the Trump administration will likely stay untouched under the Democratic House. Georgia, too, carefully watched the results of the US elections. In a time of high tensions with Russia, when the rhetoric in Georgia is overly anti-Russian, having Washington change its stance on Georgia would amount to a geopolitical weakening of Tbilisi’s position. But here, too, it is unlikely that any change would happen. Trump’s security advisor John Bolton’s recent visit to Tbilisi proved that it will be very difficult to change the existing pattern of American diplomatic and military support to Georgia.

The Manchurian Candidate?



ollowing United Opposition candidate Grigol (Gregory) Vashadze’s unexpectedly strong result in the first round of the Georgian presidential election on October 28, government-backed candidate Salome Zurabishvili held a very brief press conference in which she implied that a victory for Vashadze would be a victory for the Kremlin. Supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream party (GD) have amplified this message for months. In the pre-election period, Vashadze’s campaign posters were defaced with spray-paint reading “KGB;” today, Photoshopped images purporting to show Vashadze smiling beside Russian President Vladimir Putin are making the rounds on social media. In a viral social media campaign, GD

provocateurs filmed Ukrainian staffers, and Alexey Romanov, a blogger who is highly critical of Russia’s occupation of Georgia, speaking Russian in Vashadze’s HQ to imply that “Russian agents” work for the opposition. Such smears are not limited to rogue activists. On November 1, political analyst Ghia Abashidze implied in an interview on the government-friendly POSTV that Vashadze had “KGB connections.” Abashidze also referred to Vashadze’s campaign strategist Vitali Shkliarov, a Belarusian national who worked with Russian opposition and US presidential campaigns, as a “Russian spin doctor.” Zurabishvili’s daughter, Kethevane Gorjestani, has also accused Vashadze of being a KGB veteran and mirrored Abashidze’s inaccurate claim: that a “Russian PR firm” is leading Vashadze’s campaign, promoting “hate speech and fake news.” Ironically, Zurabishvili is the only can-

didate in the run-off who has actually used hate speech to mobilize voters. As for the Zurabishvili camp’s “fake news” allegations, the facts about Vashadze and Russia speak for themselves. Born in 1958, Vashadze was educated in Russia during the Soviet era, but this does not imply an abiding allegiance to Russia as Vashadze formally renounced his Russian citizenship nearly a decade ago. Amid competing narratives, Georgian voters should not lose sight of the most important evidence of Vashadze’s alliances: his track record of service to his country. As the Foreign Minister of Georgia from 2008 to 2012, Vashadze led diplomatic efforts in the aftermath of the Russian invasion to ensure the non-recognition of Russian-occupied territories in Georgia and won full international support for Georgia's territorial integrity. Vashadze also built closer defense and security ties with the West, signing a charter on a strategic partnership with the US that pledged deeper cooperation in defense, trade, and energy security. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commended the accord, confirming that it would advance Georgia's bid to become a NATO member. GD has criticized Vashadze for sending a letter to the Russian Ministry of Culture in November 2008, after the Russian invasion of Georgia. In the letter, Vashadze proposed a Georgian concert in Russia as a form of cultural diplomacy. After GD-aligned academic Gia Khukhashvili published the letter in 2013, Vashadze asked how Khukashvili (who had no official government position) could have received a classified document from the Russian government. Khukashvili refused to respond. As the saying goes, “Show me your friends, and I will show you who you are.” This maxim is especially relevant as the second-round campaign heats up. Over a dozen opposition parties, including European Georgia, Republicans, and

Girchi, which are not aligned with former President Mikheil Saakashvili, have endorsed Vashadze. Despite their disagreements, these parties coalesced around Vashadze because they share his commitment to advancing closer ties with the West and, perhaps more importantly, they view a Zurabishvili presidency as a dire threat to this objective. In total, over 60% of the electorate voted for an opposition candidate in the first round, and the majority share the United Opposition’s grave concerns about Zurabishvili. This is understandable: Since 2008, Zurabishvili has repeatedly blamed the Georgian side and occasionally the US, for Russia’s invasion and occupation of Georgian territory. Unsurprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin has quoted Zurabishvili’s position in support of Russia’s actions. Zurabishvili has repeated other Kremlin talking points; e.g., that NATO membership should not be a foreign policy priority

for Georgia. Meanwhile, who (besides the ruling party) has endorsed Zurabishvili? The overtly pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots Chairman urged supporters to vote for Zurabishvili, warning that a Vashadze victory would result in “bloodshed.” The Georgian March, a self-declared neoNazi group, has also voiced support for Zurabishvili, but did not ultimately endorse her, after GD refused the Marchists’ demand to change their position on legalizing the cultivation of marijuana. Most interestingly, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Duma’s Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, of Putin’s United Russia party, stated that Russia will “carefully observe” the Georgian presidential election and implied that a Vashadze victory would have “very unpleasant consequences.” Armed with the facts, Georgian voters must ask themselves: unpleasant for whom?






he Orthodox world is waiting for the Tomos to be issued, which will serve as the final point for the recognition of Ukraine’s autocephaly. After this, all 24 Orthodox Churches will have to decide whether they will pray for the Ukrainian Church and its Patriarch. If they do, it will be a public “no” to the Russian Church, which is categorically against the autocephaly of Ukraine and is threatening a big church controversy. The Georgian Church is also facing this dilemma and will need to make a decision very soon, choosing between siding with the Russian Orthodox Church or the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. It has been months since the Georgian Church started silently observing the controversy, the Church leaders responding with heterogeneous, shallow comments like: “we will once again review the historical and canonical sources.” At a time when the Ecumenical Patriarch is making such a decision, obviously he has taken into account the historical and canonical sources, especially considering the fact that he has access to much broader and more complete archives than the Orthodox Church of Georgia. It doesn’t need much analysis and discussion as to why the Georgian Church remains silent: obviously they fear that supporting this recognition will ignite deep conflict with the Russian Church which could result in Moscow issuing autocephaly of autonomy to the Churches in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.

This could be one of the reasons, but there are more: if the Georgian Church refuses to recognize the autocephaly of Ukraine, it could happen that the Ecumenical Patriarch himself will recognize that of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. In short, the Georgian Church has to choose the one that will have a less unfortunate outcome. Last week, it became known that the Ecumenical Patriarch had publicly announced his position on the Abkhazian and Tskhinvalian self-recognized churches: “I will visit Georgia if the Patriarch so wishes, and I will publicly announce from Tbilisi that the Abkhazian and Tskhinvalian self-recognized autocephalous Churches do not have the support of the World Patriarchate. I will announce that the only Bishop and Patriarch of Abkhazia is his holiness and beatitude Ilia, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, and that the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali are occupied.” This message was spread on the facebook page of Bishop Zenon, who wrote: “When I told His Holiness that the information existed that instead of calling you Patriarch of Georgia they mentioned you as their sanctifier, as if they are encouraged by Constantinople, he said that both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali are within the canonical borders of the Georgian Orthodox Church and that this will not be reviewed.” The Kremlin has indirectly responded to this announcement from the World Patriarch: the President’s Administration of Russia issued a change and Abkhaz national Inal Ardzimba was appointed as Head of the Public Committee of Youth Affairs between confessions at the Russian Patriarchate. Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of the IDP

Image source: thetablet.co.uk

Government of Abkhazia, historian Jemal Gamakharia PhD, says, “This is a definite implication and a warning from the Russian Church – be careful about the Ukrainian Church issues, or else…wasn’t there anyone apart from Ardzimba? Therefore, the Russian Church, like the government, is attacking us from all directions. I hope we can defend ourselves.” Inal Ardzimba also happens to be the person the Kremlin wants to replace Raul Khajimba with, the so-called President of Abkhazia. His surname has been heard during protest rallies held in

Sokhumi a number of times. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church expects to get a Tomos on autocephaly and is getting ready for the grand ceremony. Patriarch Filaret is asking the Georgian Church to openly speak about its position, because restoring the historic justice has no alternative. In his interview with Radio Freedom, the Patriarch implied that the Georgian Orthodox Church was in a similar position, having lost its autocephaly upon entering the Russian jurisdiction. “We want to remind them that there

was a time when the Russian state destroyed the autocephaly of the Georgian Church and appointed a Russian Exarch in Georgia. The Georgian Church should remember its history which can be likened to that of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” declared Patriarch Filaret. Truly, historical justice has no alternative, therefore, sooner or later, the Georgian Patriarchate will have to take the step, even more so as Russia does not have any canonical or legislative leverage to recognize the autocephaly of the Churches based in the occupied territories.


British Council Funds 35 New Int'l Partnerships to Develop Creative Economies BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


new British Council program, ‘Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Program,’ will fund 35 new international partnerships between higher education and creative institutions in the UK and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The winning partnerships, including Georgian cultural institutions, are: Creative Georgia and the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, to partner with Advantage Creative; Georgian Technical University to partner with Keele University; Creative Georgia with the University of East Anglia, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and V.Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire with the University of Essex Change School and Ilia State uni-

versity with University of the West of England in Bristol. This initiative has been developed in response to an underdeveloped creative sector and a demand for entrepreneurship training in these countries. The UN has previously recognized the creative economy as one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy. Creative Spark aims to give the next generation opportunities to develop skills required to compete in a global job market. Each partnership will be granted a maximum of £50,000. Representatives from the UK and all program countries involved will meet in Georgia for the first time on 20-21 November to kick off their plans. The partnerships will focus on giving young people improved access to international networks, markets and resources. Over the course of this year, partners will work together and deliver enterprise skills training packages to students and crea-

tive entrepreneurs. Topics covered will range from pitching ideas and starting a business, to protecting intellectual property and securing financial support. Skills will be developed further through a ‘video pitch’ competition, open to 100,000s of students across the program countries next summer. Prizes will be UK-based professional development courses. The British Council will deliver an English Learning Program with a range of new digital language learning content. This will include online learning packs on the English Channel platform, online courses and new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) focused on English for entrepreneurship. Richard Everitt, Director Education and Society, Wider Europe, British Council comments: “We received over 100 applications, so will be offering a package of support for those who wish to keep engaged with the Creative Spark and did not receive grant this year.”

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NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

Biodiesel - the World's Most Eco-Friendly Fuel Already in Georgia! fuel was born at Frego a few years ago. Then we came up with the idea to start manufacturing locally instead of bringing the fuel from abroad. Manufacturing in Georgia is better as it helps local manufacturers to utilize used oil, which is itself quite important in this process. There were no utilization rules before, and the used oil was sent to drainage, soil, or chicken farms, which pollutes the environment. Gastronomers such as McDonald's and Wendy's employ utilization. So far, we have signed a contract with McDonald's and there is a selection of small restaurants set to deliver used oil to us. It will be very important for Georgia’s economy and for the environment, too. Biodiesel will protect the environment from harmful effects. The product is already available at Frego petrol stations in Tbilisi and in various regions throughout Georgia.




s a result of successful Austrian-Georgian cooperation, the first biodiesel enterprise has opened in Georgia. Martin Mitelbak, PHD Doctor of Chemistry; Murman Pataraia, the founder of Biodiesel Georgia; Rusudan Ramazashvili, General Director of Frego; and Kakha Karchkhadze, renowned researcher of Renewable Energy at Ilia State University, managed to implement a large-scale plan and contribute to the development of Georgia's bright, and cleaner, future. Since July 6, every driver in Georgia who has a diesel car has been able to buy B10 biodiesel at Frego petrol stations- a Georgian product, and choose not to pollute the air and to become a participant of the important process of ecological restoration.

HOW DID YOU START WORKING ON THE PROJECT AND HOW DID YOU IMPLEMENT IT IN GEORGIA? (Martin): We started working on the chemical creation of diesel at our university a long time ago. The first attempts were conducted in the 1980s. We wanted to test the product practically in order to take it out of the laboratory. The main objective was to use biodiesel fuel in agricultural machinery. Later, the idea was developed to cover all segments of transport. Georgia is a pioneer in the field of biodiesel production in the region and I am very glad that to be a participant of this process. (Kakha): Over the last two decades, while millions of tons of biodiesel was

being produced worldwide, we in Georgia were "sleeping peacefully" and complaining about the rise in oil prices. In the end, we found ourselves “in the claws of a big monster” and in a poor condition, totally dependent on imported fuel. Fuel consumption and car restriction is so unrealistic that this process is not even implemented. There is a severe ecological condition in the city, mainly caused by transport. The danger of carcinogenic diseases in Tbilisi today is high. That's why it was so important for Georgians to find alternative and ecofriendly ways of producing fuel. The answer to all these problems and the effective solution is the production of biodiesel. Biodiesel is not a new product to the world and now it’s Georgia’s turn. The US produces 12 million tons of biodiesel annually, Europe – 10. These countries produce alternative and renewable fuel and use it in their urban environments. I came up with the idea of producing biodiesel in Georgia while working at US universities. We introduced the technology, created the first samples of biodiesel, and for the first time in the history of Georgia, the first cars were run not on oil products, but on fuel obtained from plants. This successful project was followed by cooperation between science and business. Oil Company Frego contacted Ilia University and we decided to commercialize this project. We worked intensively for one year, improved the techn o l o g y, s e l e c te d a s pa ce fo r manufacturing, brought the equipment, built a biodiesel factory and started manufacturing. We have already released the first products of biodiesel, which were snapped up by Frego. (Rusudan) The idea of selling the B10

(Kakha) Biodiesel is a high-quality fuel. Biodiesel has a number of indicators, such as lubrication coefficient, etc. that are higher than oil, meaning that the engine will work better and longer. Most importantly, biodiesel has a great advantage in terms of ecology. While using biodiesel, sulfur dioxide is not spread and the population does not get poisoned. Straight diesel fuel pollutes the air, while biodiesel is the more ecofriendly option. (Rusudan) B10 Fuel is a combination of Europian standard diesel and biodiesel. The biodiesel portion in it is up to 10%, and the exact amount of biodiesel is explained in our regulations, according to which the amount of biodiesel changes. It might be less in winter, but this information will be avaliable to our customers. The amount of Sulfur in our fuel is so low that the harmful substances do not spread while using it. This is a prior condition of taking care of the environment. According to European experience and our practices, the most suitable for cars is the 10% fuel combination. If we compare it to the 10 best European BPMs, the B10 is distinguished by containing a bit more oil, less sulfur and other harmful mixtures. In Georgia, diesels containing a high amount of sulfur are sold, while biodiesel is much safer for the environment. It costs 2.42 GEL at this stage and if we compare it to high-quality diesels of other brands, the price is quite acceptable.

IN GEORGIA, WE’VE BEEN FACING PROBLEMS REGARDING THE HARMFUL EMISSIONS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN RECENT YEARS. DO YOU THINK THE EXISTING FUELS USED FOR MUNICIPAL TRANSPORT WILL BE REPLACED BY BIODIESEL, JUST LIKE IN AUSTRIA? (Kakha): In this case, Tbilisi would set everyone an example of how minimal financial expenses and improvement of the city's ecological situation can be possible in a short period of time. Public transport in Austria works entirely on biodiesel. And now we’ve opened the enterprise, biodiesel became available in Tbilisi too. It is possible that the yellow buses and mini-buses will gradually switch to the biodiesel and the level of air pollution emitted by municipal trans-

port will be significiantly reduced, perhaps by the end of the year in Tbilisi. If there is the right attitude and political will to solve the ecological problems, Tbilisi can become the first capital city not only in Transcaucasia but in the whole of Eastern Europe where municipal transport works entirely on ecofriendly fuel. (Rusudani): If we see the State’s interest and initiative, we will be happy to satisfy the problem of municipal transport pollution.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS IN GEORGIA? WILL WE SEE BIODIESEL AT OTHER COMPANIES' PETROL STATIONS? (Martin): Based on Austrian experience, they could act more quickly. We will use this fuel for heavy-load vehicles at the outset. Control is the main thing in biodiesel production and we have this aspect at the highest level. At first, we produced a few dozen tonnes, but now we need more in industrial production and therefore, alongside increasing the quantity, we plan to develop quality control mechanisms and introduce new techniques. (Murman): I have an important statement for your readers: first, restaurants should employ the proper utilization of used cooking oil. Using it for a second time is absolutely unacceptable, as it harms human health. I call on everyone to use used oil as biodiesel fuel. Used oil should not be sent to drainages and should not be poured away. The use of oil in biodiesel production is a serious opportunity to get rid of waste in terms of environmental pollution. (Rusudan) The idea of selling B10 was to reduce emissions in the city. Nowadays, the air in the capital city is so pol-

luted that living here is becoming impossible. This issue is a problem for everyone. Consequently, if biodiesel is used by the majority of cars, the situation will improve significantly. As soon as the production of "Biodiesel Georgia" is increased so that it meets our demands, we will sell the product to any company.

TELL US ABOUT THE FUTURE PLANS (Kakha) We are going to work in several directions: developing the technology and increasing production. At this stage, we produce 12 tons per month. We hope that this number will be significiantly increased by the end of the year. Now, our product is B10 biodiesel. We think that B20 biodiesel will be added to it soon. There are already individuals, corporate clients and institutions who have shown serious interest in using our biodiesel. They realize that it is time for Georgia to switch to European and American standards, which has been working successfully in the West for a long time. Since ‘Biodiesel Georgia’ started implementing this work and the company Frego brought it into its branches, Georgia already has the pleasure of using alternative, clean fuel. (Murman) The most important factor is that we start simultaneously working on more large-scale projects, which means that in the next three years, we will construct a larger enterprise equipped with the latest technologies, where we will mobilize an investment of 10 million Euros, while the number of employees will increase to 150. At this stage, biodiesel is avaliable only in the Frego network in Georgia, but in case of increased production, we will offer the product to other networks as well.




Civil Activists Help to Improve Living Conditions of Vulnerable Animals BY ANA DUMBADZE


n November 4, the Kiwi Vegan Café on 6 Machabeli Street hosted a special meeting for animal-lovers. Within the framework of the meeting, citizens collected food, warm blankets and medicines for cats and dogs to send to specific people in Tbilisi and the regions who are caring for dozens of animals in their homes. Within the framework of the ‘Feed the Vulnerable Animals’ event, citizens also donated money to contribute to the cost of the medication Bravecto, the latest generation of drugs that successfully treat tick and flea infestations and various skin diseases. Treatment with a single dose of Bravecto has a visible effect within 10 days. One of the main purposes of the meeting was to collect as much of the abovementioned medicine as possible and treat suffering dogs throughout Georgia. The price of this medication varies from 75 to 80 GEL. At the event, veterinary clinic ‘Lucky Fou’ veterinarians talked about the most problematic diseases found among homeless animals in Georgia and ways to combat them. The meeting was organized by a group of young people who have been working to help unprotected and vulnerable animals for five years already. They do not represent an organization, but a group of kind people who care about our four-footed friends without any financial benefits. At the end of the meeting, a discussion between animal-lovers was held about the issues of homeless animals and ways to solve these problems. The organizers of the meeting introduced their activities and future plans to the audience. As they told GEORGIA TODAY, the discussion was yet another opportunity to exchange experience and find new ways to save vulnerable animals throughout the country and assist the local population who unselfishly care for them.

According to the organizers of ‘Feed the Vulnerable Animals,’ they are going to continue their kind initiative through various campaigns and activities in future to help the gentlest, friendliest and at the same time, most unprotected creatures around us. “Thank you for your help. You are amazing people. This week, we will carry out our activities in the various cities of Georgia with your help, namely in Gori, Kaspi, Samtredia, Batumi, Brotseula, and Tbilisi. We have no words to express our gratitude and we are very proud,” the organizers of the event wrote on the Facebook page ‘ცხოველთა გადარჩენის სახალხო ფრონტი’. One of the organizers of the event, social activist Tiko Kvaliashvili, elaborated on their activities and expressed her gratitude to the people who unselfishly helped stray animals within the framework of the event. “I have been trying my best to help unprotected

MRDI to Build New Housing for 780 IDP Families

Photo: Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure



he Municipal Development Fund (MDF) of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI) conducted an Open Day for real estate developers on the topic of constructing residential buildings for IDPs and presented the bidding announcement to the companies in attendance. There are plans to construct nine buildings that will house 780 IDP families in Zugdidi, Samegrelo and Tskaltubo, Imereti. The meeting held with the developers was attended by Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili and Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Davit Sergeenko. “We are proceeding with the meetings within the Open Day format and the concerned parties and developers at those meetings will be able to familiarize themselves with the particular projects. Since

2012 we have provided 16 thousand households with housing, however it is only part of the need that we are facing nowadays. Today we have talked about the construction of 9 buildings in the towns of Tskaltubo and Zugdidi and it represents only a minor part of plans that we are to implement by means of the MDF. Next year we intend to spend GEL 50-60 million in this direction and respectively, we will hold such meetings in future too,” said Tskitishvili. Each new apartment will have gas, hot water and room heaters, the buildings will have outdoor infrastructure, access roads to residential houses, and parking lots. “The governmental changes that took place several months ago resulted in dividing activities that we had been performing for IDP housing, however, the work process was not weakened. I do consider that by the end of the year we will be able to present an increased budget in this direction. As for today’s meeting and its format, it will be useful for developers as they will have a clear awareness of the quantity of work that we are to commence in the forthcoming months, that will be completed in two years," said Sergeenko.

animals and bring animal-lovers together for five years already. Exactly 5 years ago. I created the Facebookpage‘ცხოველთაგადარჩენისსახალხოფრონტი,’ which now has approximately 44,000 followers. Thanks to this page, we have already saved many animals and found shelter for them. As for the campaign itself, we have been conducting the ‘Feed the Vulnerable Animals’ event for two years. Last year’s event was also held at Kiwi Café. Previously, we held the event outside, near Rustaveli Metro, but as the winter is coming and it is getting cold on the streets, Kiwi Vegan Café kindly gave us its space and we are very thankful for it. I want to express my deep gratitude towards the people who came here today and brought food, warm blankets, medicines and money to buy the essential medication for stray dogs. Thanks to the kind people who participated in today’s event, we will collect money, buy Bravecto and cure homeless animals who are suffering from various skin

diseases,” Tiko elaborated. According to one of the organizers of the event, Levan Lomtadze, the main purpose and motivation of his activities is to do a kind deed and contribute to improving vulnerable animals’ lives. Levan also noted that there is a much more complicated situation in the regions of Georgia in terms of caring for stray animals, and one of the main purposes of their activities is to raise public awareness about this problem there. “I wanted to improve the living conditions of stray animals, so I contacted Tiko and we started working on this issue together. Within the framework of today’s event, we will collect food, blankets, and medicines for homeless animals. During the next days, we will visit the regions of Georgia and deliver them to the people who care for unprotected animals. There, the situation is much more difficult than in Tbilisi, and we need to raise public awareness of the issue there. It is our civic duty. For instance, some people shelter about 40-50 cats and dogs in their home, and find themselves severely criticized by the neighbors who complain that it might lead to the spreading of various diseases. Some of them say that it is a big discomfort for them. Due to the bad economic conditions, people are irritated and express their aggression towards the innocent animals. This is why we work to visit the regions countrywide and raise awareness about this problem,” he said. Levan also stressed the importance of exchanging ideas and experience between animal-lovers. He said one of the main purposes of the meeting was to bring together people who care about animals and discuss new ways to help them. “Today’s event brought together people who care about animals. We will share our experience with each other and find new ways and opportunities to help our four-footed friends. We are not an organization, we are a group of ordinary citizens, and it is our civic responsibility to take the initiative and try to solve the existing problems throughout the country,” he added.




NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

Germany Cracks Down on Georgian Asylum Seekers BY AMY JONES


he number of Georgian asylum seekers in Germany has increased significantly since the EU granted Georgian citizens the right to visa-free travel. Does this rise spell the end of visa-free travel for Georgians? How are Germany and Georgia tackling the issue? Living behind austere barbed wire fences and the bleak walls of the initial reception facility in the Dresden district of Friedrichstadt are 500 people seeking new lives in Germany. Most have fled from war-torn regions like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Yet, many also hail from a democratic and peaceful country: one-fifth of the inhabitants are Georgian. In March 2017, the European Union declared that Georgian citizens could visit visa-free for up to 90 days. Many Georgian’s celebrated the collective sense that Georgia was beginning to move closer towards European membership. However, Georgia may risk losing this privilege due to the large increase in citizens not just visiting Europe, but also seeking asylum. Since the ruling that Georgian citizens no longer need visas, the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany tripled. According to figures from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), 2,976 Georgians applied for asylum in Germany between January and July this year. Many applicants seek asylum on grounds of political persecution. Yet, only 2% of applications are accepted as German authorities fail to find evidence. Eter Hachmann, a Georgian who has legally

worked in Germany for eight years, told the Deutsche Welle German news outlet that she believes Georgians are attracted to Germany as it offers higher wages and a much better standard of living. Indeed, the German state provides asylum seekers with accommodation and 400 Euros per month, which is much higher than the average salary in Georgia. However, the press spokesman of the Saxon Refugee Council, Mark Gaertner, described the authorities’ actions as “ruthless”. He does not regard Georgian refugees as “economic migrants.” According to him, many children with disabilities are being sent back to Georgia, where they cannot receive the qualified medical care they require. This could pose a threat to life, which can be regarded as legitimate grounds for asylum. Nonetheless, many believe that some asylum seekers are taking advantage of the system. German politician Stephan Meyer told Die Welt newspaper that it is “brazen and unacceptable” to abuse visa-freedom “in order to apply for asylum that will not be granted just to receive welfare payments and take advantage of our healthcare system.” Georgian’s seeking asylum in Germany are putting additional strain on the immigration system in Germany, which has struggled to keep up with the number of migrants arriving since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2015. The crisis is fuelling right-wing politics. Migration is a painful issue which plays an important element in electoral politics across Europe, especially in Germany. The far-right party ‘Alternative for Germany’ uses anti-immigrant rhetoric to gain voters, which has proved relatively successful. They became the third-largest party in Germany after the 2017 federal election, winning 94 seats

Image source: Deutsch Welle

in the Bundestag, significant for a party which had previously never won seats. The crime rate of refugees in Germany contributes to the argument of far-right parties. In 2016, prior to the visa liberalization, Georgian nationals contributed to 1.1 percent of the total number of migrants who are criminal suspects, the highest figure among ex-Soviet countries aside from Russia. Deporting Georgians is a costly undertaking. According to the Saxon Refugee Council, each charter flight used to send Georgians back to Tbilisi costs roughly 95,000 Euros. Two charter planes carrying about 100 Georgians each flew from Leipzig in September and October. According to the Saxon Ministry of the Interior, there are currently 511 Georgian

citizens in Saxon whose applications were rejected, meaning they will also be flown back. German and Georgian governments are working to tackle the problem. Germany is considering following in the footsteps of France, once a favorite among Georgian asylum seekers, to list Georgia as a safe country. This would make it easier to reject applications. Since France added Georgia to its list of safe countries, asylum denials have become more common. Moreover, the German government has warned that Georgia may lose its travel privileges should the trend continue. If the rate of increase nears the 50 percent threshold set by the EU, then member states may apply the so-called Suspen-

sion Mechanism designed to ensure that visa-free travel is not abused. The Ambassador to Germany, Elguja Khokrishvili, wrote in a statement to Deutsche Welle that measures have been implemented in Georgia such as an “intensive and extensive information campaign, amendments to the law on criminal prosecution for aiding and abetting illegal migration and tighter controls on departure.” Applications have indeed fallen. “The figures from September show a 77.7 percent decrease compared to January 2018.” The decrease gives reason to believe that the measures are relatively effective. The question remains as to whether the numbers will continue to fall in the coming months.

Georgians Schengen Visa Applications Declined by 70% in 2017 EXCLUSIVE TO GEORGIA TODAY


chengen Visa Info, one of the largest, fastest, independent Schengen Visa-related information and news publishing websites in the world, has published the latest results on Georgian Schengen visa applications. Let’s have a look how it stands from their research. Three-fourths fewer Georgians are said to have applied for a Schengen visa in 2017 than in the previous year, as shown by the official Schengen visa statistics released by SchengenVisaInfo.com. Georgians have been able to travel to the Schengen zone without needing to get a visa ahead of time since the EU removed the visa requirements in March 2017. The effect of this move came fast, seeing the number of Schengen visa applications take a huge down-turn. In 2016, 106,024 Georgians applied for a Schengen uniform visa while in the past year, this number dropped to just 23,354 applications. Among all the consulates, the Embassy of The Netherlands rejected the largest portion of applications, though it was in second place in the list of countries whose embassies received the largest number of applications in Georgia. In 2017, SchengenVisaInfo.com claims the German consulate in the capital of Tbilisi received 4,444 Schengen uniform visa applications. The total number of uniform visas granted by them was 4,063.

•70% fewer Schengen visa applications by Georgian citizens in 2017 • The German Embassy granted the highest number of Schengen visas to Georgians • The Netherlands rejected the highest number of Schengen visa applicants in Georgia

29.7% of these, or 1,208, were Multiple Entry (MEV) visas. 371 (8.3%) of uniform visa applications were rejected. Ten successful applicants received a Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) visa. The Netherlands Embassy had also a large number of applicants in 2017, but far fewer than it had the previous year. 4,348 Georgians made a Schengen uniform visa application during the past year but, in contrast to the German Embassy, The Netherlands consulate was highly reluctant to issue Schengen visas, granting just 3,095 uniform visas. MEVs made up more than half of these (55.6% or 1,721 MEV visas granted). Yet, in comparison with every other listed consulate, the Dutch

embassy rejected the highest number of visa applications in Tbilisi. 1,179 Georgians that applied to this consulate received a negative response, maintaining a portion of 27.1% of the total uniform visa applications. Italy was the third country with the highest number of Schengen uniform visa applications in Georgia. 2,910 applications were sent to the Italian Embassy and 2,543 of these were awarded a uniform visa. 722 (28.4%) of these successful applicants were granted an MEV visa. The Italian Embassy rejected 367 uniform visa applications, 12.6% of the total uniform visa applications. Only three embassies received less than a thousand Schengen uniform visa appli-

cations: Poland, Estonia and Switzerland. At the Swiss consulate, 650 Georgians submitted a visa application and 581 of them were granted one. With 147 of the total issued visas, MEV visa holders shared a quarter of the total grants (25.3%). 66 uniform visa applicants failed to get their visa, meaning a 10.2% rate of refusal. SchengenVisaInfo.com is one of the largest, fastest, independent Schengen Visa related information and news publishing websites in the world. For over 5 years, it has been following and reporting on policy changes about the Schengen zone and is now the leading source of information with over 18 million annual readers who rely on it to get information.



British Expert Tim Wheeler Holds Consultancy Meetings & Training Sessions in Support of Inclusive Art in Tbilisi BY KATIE RUTH DAVIES


he British Council, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, invited Tim Wheeler, inclusive art and festival expert, to Tbilisi. The visit comprises two components: On 5-6 November, the expert will hold consultancy meetings with the representatives of the Ministry, disabled performers/artists and persons involved in the arts sector. On 8-10 November, Wheeler will deliver a training on project proposal writing, planning, delivery, and evaluation. Tim Wheeler is a freelance arts consultant, teacher and performance maker. He is a former artistic director and cofounder of Mind the Gap theater company, Bradford, with 30+ years’ experience devising, managing and leading 18 national touring and site-specific productions and 100+ arts projects and educational programs. Within the consultancy meetings Wheeler will elaborate recommendations for Georgia to achieve a high level of engagement of disabled people in the inclusive arts. He will suggest ideas as to how to improve the quality of their work and promote easy access to arts products and arts spaces for disabled people. The British Expert will meet representatives of cultural institutions and individuals interested in inclusive arts and most importantly the representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. On 8-10 November, a three-day train-

ing component will be devoted to project proposal writing, planning, delivery and evaluation for the disability arts sector. This training will help managers and individuals engaged in Inclusive/Integrated Arts to develop their professional skills in project writing, planning, delivery and evaluation. Training participants will • Discuss sample project proposal and evaluation • Set up clear project ideas • Learn about the importance of advanced planning and timeframe • Get familiar with the distribution of roles and responsibilities • Discuss budget components and calculations • Find out the importance of marketing planning and promotion

• Discuss the Risk Assessment • Discuss Importance evaluating feedback received from project participants, sponsors and general audience. Tim Wheeler’s visit is part of the British Council’s ‘Unlimited: Making the Right Steps’ Program. The aim of the program is to support the promotion and development of inclusive arts by sharing the UK experience involving people with disabilities in the arts and in the creation of an accessible environment for them. Its activities help disabled and non-disabled artists to gain the necessary skills, cooperate in an integrated environment and develop new relations. Both components of Tim Wheeler’s visit are expected to significantly support the inclusive arts sector in Georgia to develop the sector and improve skills.

UNICEF Welcomes Gov't Decision to Up Support for Socially Vulnerable Children



NICEF has welcomed the Georgian government’s decision on a fivefold increase of support for socially vulnerable children under the age of 16. The statement was made by the UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Shanelle Hall, at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, in Shanghai. “We respect the Georgian government's decision, and we are excited about it. A study was done on the children that are most vulnerable and there is evidence that really established the importance of changing the policy, and

the Government was bold enough to do so. We are really looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on the most vulnerable children in Georgia,” the UNICEF Deputy Executive Director stated, adding that the cooperation between UNICEF and the Georgian government is “really incredible.” “We really appreciate that cooperation. We appreciate that we are able to do our work on advocating for children and getting evidence what is needed for them, and that the government is strong and critiques that evidence, and also makes its own policy decisions on what is good for children. It is a wonderful cooperation,” she noted. Hall went on to underline that UNICEF is also excited and proud of the Georgian government's decision on the

implementation of the World Bank's Human Capital Project. “Congratulations to the Government of Georgia for taking the decision to be one of the early adopters of the World Bank's Human Capital Project. UNICEF could not be more excited about that. We are keen to see children put in the center of it, and we could not be more supportive of the importance of people as part of economic development and we are very proud that the Georgian Government has taken such a bold decision,” she added. Bakhtadze announced the increase of support for socially vulnerable children under 16 last week, saying that instead of the current 10 GEL, families will get 50 GEL per child under 16 years. He stated the initiative will apply to almost 140,000 children in the country.





NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018

Guram Kashia & Locomotive Speak Out against Bullying

Image source: Sportall.ge



n Tuesday, Georgian football (soccer, in US parlance) player Guram Kashia and players for the Tbilisi Locomotive football team visited the British-Georgian Academy in the capital to talk with students about bullying. They were also accompanied by the deputy minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport.

The football players were promoting the campaign “ძლიერები არ ძალადობენ” (dzlierebi ar dzaladoben - the strong do not bully). Kashia spoke with the young students earnestly, sharing painful memories from his childhood when he himself was a victim of school-yard bullies. Some of his peers had a sort of criminal mentality, he explained. At the time, sports were not cool and Kashia’s love for football was dismissed and ridiculed. The cool kids, who followed a ‘kai bichi’ lifestyle (a youth criminal subculture, popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, associated

with the Georgian mafia), would stand at the cafeteria doors and force other students to pay them money to enter. Kashia admitted that he was not popular, had few friends and was afraid to stand up to the bullies. He would tell his parents he was sick so he could stay home from school and avoid them. When he was in school in the 1990s, said Kashia, there were no conversations about bullying, and both parents and children saw bullying and physical fights as normal and even healthy for young boys. He never told his parents, or his younger

brother, the truth about the bullies, worried that they would not take his fears seriously, and tell him to simply resist them. Kashia told students that he regrets that approach and wished that he would have shared the burden with his brother, that they could have stood up to the bullies together. Importantly, Kashia also spoke directly to the boys in the room, telling them that it is okay to show emotions, that it is okay to cry. He often cried when he was bullied as a child, he explained, and a boy should not feel ashamed to show his tears. The football star’s final piece of advice to the kids was to be open – to talk with someone about their feelings, to tell an adult if they are being bullied, to seek advice from peers. He even offered to talk with the students through his personal Instagram account if they do not feel comfortable talking to other adults about bullying. After talking with the students, Kashia and the players from Locomotive went out to the school yard to play football with the kids. Kashia said he is glad to see sports becoming increasingly popular among young people and replacing the criminal and violent mentalities that dominated when he was in school. Today, Kashia is the vice-captain of the Georgian national football team and currently plays for the San Jose Earthquakes in California, USA. He joined the Earthquakes in June this year, alongside fellow Georgian Vako Qazaishvili. Kashia played

for Dutch club Vitesse from 2010-2018, making nearly 300 appearances and scoring over 20 goals. The defender was named Georgian Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and was awarded the Eredivisie Player of the Month Award for August 2015. In August, Kashia was awarded UEFA’s inaugural #EqualGame Award for his support of the LGBT community on the football field. The award is given to a player who has acted as a role model in promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in European football. “Kashia won the award for taking a courageous public stand for equality. Whilst playing for Dutch top-division outfit SBV Vitesse last season, the 31-year-old central defender joined other team captains at domestic matches in the Netherlands in wearing a rainbow armband, signifying support for the LGBT community. “Kashia’s gesture was greeted with an extremely negative and hostile response in certain quarters in his native Georgia. There were even calls for him to renounce playing for the national team. Nevertheless, he was defiant in the face of the abuse and threats he received, insisting he had no regrets about wearing the armband and underlining his full support for diversity and inclusion.” – UEFA. After winning the award, Kashia said “I believe in equality for everyone, no matter what you believe in, who you love or who you are...I will always keep defending equality and equal rights for everyone, wherever I play."

Gold Harvest: Etseri, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER


inter has decided to delay its arrival up in our mountains, and we’re not sorry. Only the surrounding peaks have had one of those sprinklings which is seen only when low clouds dissipate, revealing what they were working on in secret. The white stuff hasn’t appeared in the village at all yet. We’ve even had a few straggling guests, on foot and bike, enjoying the late easy access before certain roads, like the rough but magnificent one down from Ushguli to Lentekhi, are snow-closed for up to half the year. Instead, it’s all autumn reds, yellows and evergreens together in a fantastic display which only now is losing its splendor as the leaves fall, briefly making bizarre shadows under the trees that are the same hues as the leaves were, before they dry up to brown. The annual harvest festival at school was even held outdoors recently, a first in many years. Warm autumn sun let the classes deck their tables with all the trimmings of autumn bounty in the sports stadium. Corn, potatoes, apples, pears, pumpkins, squashes, hay, all the leaves you could want as decoration and made into crowns. Someone was even making churchkhela, the ubiquitous national sweet, strings of shelled walnuts or hazels dipped into thickened grape juice, and handing them out! The different grades made verbal presentations of memorized material, poetry and prose about the season rattled off while I hoped that some of it would stick in their heads. Parents, teachers and classmates looked on and

applauded their efforts. The grade 10s danced too, to canned music, and although not in national costume, they looked suitably festive and acrobatic.

How different this was from having snow thick on the ground already, minus temperatures, howling winds, cloudy skies. It may not bode well in the global

warming scheme of things, but we know how much proper winter we typically have to “look forward to,” and lessening this by a month or so can make a

big difference to people’s moods. See, it’s not so bad after all, we can get through this and spring will return as well, you’ll see! Perhaps only the winter sports enthusiasts, and there are plenty of them here too, are longing for more snow than we’ve had so far. They’re itching to get up on the slopes of Tetnuldi and Hatsvali resorts near Mestia, with their European-class lifts and world-class runs, and go wild on skis or snowboards, either of which can be rented if you don’t own your own. But this period will come soon enough, and at its higher elevations typically will last longer than Bakuriani’s or Gudauri’s, if you can spare the extra travel time and stay long enough to make it worth your while. Until then, we mellow in the colored glows, stack up our firewood, let our animals graze outside as long as possible, winterize water supplies and pipes, dig out the cold-weather clothing and put away our shorts and sandals, and enjoy this respite for what it is. Autumn isn’t going away just yet, so let’s not wish it to, but be content with this extra sun and warmth before the heat-reflective white transforms everything and nature really starts to hibernate. Up in Svaneti, winter is a serious thing, not to be taken lightly: an annual test of fortitude and relationships. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1900 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/ SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti




Legendary Conductor Daniel Oren to Lead 2 Productions at Tbilisi Opera & Ballet Theater guest-conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House (New York), Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and the major opera houses of San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Moscow. He has also conducted worldwide acclaimed ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and the Munich Radio Philharmonic. Oren is best known for his interpretations of the works of Verdi and Puccini. He has worked with some of the most famous singers in opera, including Alfredo Kraus, Josè Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Raina Kabaivanska, Ghena Dimitrova, Fiorenza Cedolins, Marcelo Álvarez, Ruggero Raimondi, Leo Nucci, and countless others. He has recorded for RCA, Decca, Arthaus Musik, TDK, and other major labels. “I feel so honored to be part of this concert and I’m happy to perform in company with one of the world’s greatest conductors. This will be yet another big experience in my career,” Armaz Darashvili, Georgian tenor, told GEORGIA TODAY. “Daniel Oren is a natural-born talent,” said exceptional Georgian Soprano, Iano Alibegashvili. “I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to perform together with him for the second time already. He is captivated by a love of the Georgian audience. I remember after he conducted Aida in Tbilisi Opera, he came and told us that he hadn’t wanted the performance to end,” he recalled. Unforgettable concerts await opera enthusiasts in the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater on November 10 and 14, so don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy the world’s greatest productions performed by bright stars and led by internationally recognized and progressive conductor of our time, Daniel Oren.



n November 10 and 14, the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater is set to present two concerts, conducted and led by great Maestro Daniel Oren, currently the Musical Director of the Tbilisi Opera. "Ready for a week of great music and of great emotions with such a wonderful public in Georgia!" the conductor tweeted of his upcoming performances in Tbilisi. On November 10, the Tbilisi Opera will present Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi, a concert to feature distinguished Georgian artists and bright stars like Iano Alibegashvili, Nino Surguladze, Otar JorJikia and George Andghuladze. Verdi's Requiem offers a drama of opera and the thrill of wonderful symphonic writing combined with stellar, virtuosic solo moments. Requiem was composed in memory of Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist whom Verdi admired. The first performance, at the San Marco church in Milan on 22 May 1874 marked the first anniversary of Manzoni's death. Since then, the mesmerizing piece has been performed in the world’s top operas and theaters. It is known as probably the most frequently performed major choral work composed since the compilation of Mozart's Requiem. Verdi’s well-known production is to be followed by yet another eternal classic in Tbilisi: Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven will come to life on the stage of the Tbilisi Opera on November 14. The cast includes Iano Alibegashvili, Nino Surguladze, George Andghuladze and Armaz Darashvili as well as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater choir and orchestra as key elements in the concert. Ludwig van Beethoven’s work, remarkable not only for its grandness of scale but especially for its final movement, which includes a full chorus and vocal soloists who sing a setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”), premiered on May 7, 1824, in Vienna. Symphony No. 9 has withstood the test of time and, indeed, has made its mark and now the well-known piece will be voiced in Tbilisi Opera by world-famous Georgian artists. In 1972, the prelude to "Ode to Joy", the 4th movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony, was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe and subsequently by the

European Union in 1985. Now the anthem serves as a symbol for the whole of Europe. “I have been collaborating with Daniel Oren since 2003. He was one of my first maestros,” Nino Surguladze, world-famous Mezzo Soprano told GEORGIA TODAY. “We have recorded three DVDs of Nabucco by Verdi together. One of them was recorded in Piacenza, where I used to perform with Paata Burchuladze and the others at the Arena di Verona. The latter at Arena di Verona was made together with George Gagnidze, a Georgian baritone. Daniel has had close ties and friendly relations with Georgian artists that possibly also fostered him becoming Musical Director of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater. I’m extremely happy to perform together with my friends and Maestro Oren on my beloved Opera Theater stage,” Surguladze noted. “I performed together with the Maestro for the first time in 2011. Since then, I was fortunate enough to work with him and sing on a number of stages worldwide. We have very close ties and friendly relations. He has an amazing talent for transforming the same piece and interpreting it for each concert. I think he has greatest musical instinct among the world’s leading conductors,” said worldfamous Georgian bass George Andguladze. As a 20-year-old student of conducting in Germany, Oren claimed first prize at the Berlin-based Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in 1975. In 1978, he began conducting in the US and also established his career in Italy. Oren served as a conductor at such prestigious theaters as Trieste, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. He was appointed Artist Director at the Verdi Opera House in Salerno in 2007. In 2018, he took on the role of Musical Director of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater. The famed artist had his debut as Musical Director on January 16 and 18 when he conducted Opera Fantasy, a program involving overtures and pieces from opera classics. “It is a great honor and responsibility to work with such an eminent maestro as Daniel Oren,” said Otar Jorjikia, Georgian tenor. “Through working with him, you learn many things and grow professionally. I’m excited, since I’ll be performing an amazing piece by Verdi for the first time in Georgia together with my colleagues. I wish all the participants good luck with this amazing performance at the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theater,” he added. Daniel Oren has been actively performing as a




NOVEMBER 9 - 12, 2018


GIFT - GEORGIAN INT’L FESTIVAL OF ARTS IN TBILISI November 11 PLASTER JUDA Directed by Marina Salukvadze Music: Zaza Marjanishvili Media opera in one act Cast: Sopo Khalvashi Start time: 20:00 Venue: Rustaveli Theater November 12, 13 SIMULACRUM Winter guests and Alan Lucien Øyen Director and Choreographer: Alan Lucien Øyen Kabuki choreo, Music, ‘Natsue’: Kanjuro Fujima Language: German Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-40 GEL Venue: Marjanishvili Theater November 14, 15 STATE Ingri Fiksdal Company Norway/Denmark Georgian, English Subtitles Start time: November 14- 20:00, November 15- 18:00 Ticket: 20 GEL Venue: Royal District Theater November 15 SHOW Hofesh Shechter Company The entrance. Clowns. Exit Choreography and Music by Hofesh Shechter Performed by Shechter II Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-50 GEL Venue: Rustaveli Theater TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 04 56 November 10 REQUIEM Giuseppe Verdi Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-120 November 14 SYMPHONY No. 9 Ludwig van Beethoven Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-120 GEL GRIBOEDOVI THEATER 2 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 93 43 36 November 10 SAINT PETERSBURG CULTURAL NIGHTS IN TBILISI DON QUIXOTE

Directed by Zherom Kaplan Choreographer: Iohan Kobborg Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 40-100 GEL MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 234 80 90 November 13 WELCOME TO GEORGIA A musical, theatrical play and romantic comedy telling a story about Georgia and its people by combining song, dance, culture, traditions, history, national costumes and local cuisine. Musical Language: English, some Georgian (with English subtitles) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 50-80 GEL SHALIKASHVILI THEATER 27 Rustaveli Ave. November 9 HOST AND GUEST BY VAZHA PSHAVELA Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 15 GEL November 9 LULLABY Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL November 10 LIKE THIS Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. TEL (+995 32) 298 65 93 November 9 MARSHAL DE FANTE’S DIAMOND Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 10 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 11 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL November 14, 15 Animated documentary film REZO

Directed by Leo Gabriadze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Aghmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995) 598 19 29 36 November 10 INTRO Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL November 11 THE STORY OF A MURDERER Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL November 15 DON JUAN Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-15 GEL TBILISI CIRCUS 1 Heroes’ Sq. November 10, 11 AUTUMN SHOW Start time: November 10- 17:00, November 11- 13:00, 17:00 Ticket: 10-25 GEL CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA 36 Kostava Str. TEL (+995 32) 299 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 9-15 THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB Directed by Fede Alvarez Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 22:00 Ticket: 12-15 GEL BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Directed by Bryan Singer Cast: Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 13-14 GEL VENOM Directed by Ruben Fleischer Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 15 GEL

CLIMAX Directed by Gaspar Noé Cast: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub Genre: Drama, Horror, Musical Language: Russian Start time: 16:45 Ticket: 14 GEL CAVEA GALLERY 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 200 70 07 Every Wednesday ticket: 8 GEL November 9-15 OVERLORD Directed by Julius Avery Cast: Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk Genre: Action, Horror, Mystery Language: English Start time: 22:15 Language: Russian Start time: 15:00, 17:30, 20:00 Ticket: 11-19 GEL HUNTER KILLER Directed by Donovan Marsh Cast: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common Genre: Action, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 20:15 Ticket: 11-19 GEL THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB Directed by Fede Alvarez Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller Language: English Start time: 17:30 Language: Russian Start time: 14:30, 22:00 Ticket: 11-19 GEL BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Directed by Bryan Singer Cast: Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: English Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 16-19 GEL SMALLFOOT Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig Cast: Zendaya, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy Language: English Start time: 12:15 Ticket: 10-15 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS November 1-15 THE UNIQUE ARCHIVE OF THE ZUBALASHVILI BROTHERS, GEORGIAN INDUSTRIALISTS AND PHILANTHROPISTS MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION November 6-30 The Georgian National Museum, in cooperation with the Katyn Museum, the division of the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw and the

Polish Institute in Tbilisi, present the exhibition KATYN - IT HAS BEEN AN UNUSUAL MORNING GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 September 11 – November 25 EXHIBITION BERNINI'S SCHOOL AND THE ROMAN BAROQUE October 9 – January 17 (2019) NIKO PIROSMANI’S RENEWED EXHIBITION TBC ART GALLERY 7 Marjanishvili Str. October 31- November 17 EXHIBITION ELGUJA AMASHUKELI 90 MUSIC

RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 272 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge November 9 ANNIVERSARY CONCERT TBILISI BAROQUE FESTIVAL I. Documentary Film ‘GEORGIAN SINFONIETTA 10’ Directed by N. Akhvlediani II. EARLY DANCES Jean-Philippe Rameau- Entrée and Gavotte from the opera ‘Les Boréades’ I and II, Tambourin from the opera-ballet ‘Les Indes Galantes’, Henry Purcell- aria ‘Dido’s Lament’ from the opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’, Marin MaraisChaconne from the opera ‘Alcyone’, Tarquinio Merula- Chaconne, Georg Philipp TelemannSarabande from the suite ‘La Bizarre’, Marin Marais- Prelude, Tempeste and March from the opera ‘Alcyone’, Girolamo Frescobaldi- Passacaglia, Jean-Baptiste Lully- Turkish March, 2 Airs and Canarie from the ballet ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’, Henry Purcell- Prelude and Monkey Dance from the opera ‘The Fairy Queen’, Jean-Philippe Rameau- 2 Rigaudons and Orage from the opera ‘Platée’, Henry Purcell (16591695) - Aria ‘Cold Song’ from the opera ‘King Arthur’, Jean-Philippe Rameau - Menuet and Contradance from the opera ‘Les Boréades’, ‘Georgian Sinfonietta’, Mikheil abramishvili (countertenor), Anna Kurdovanidze (harpsichord/ positive organ), Kakhi Chargeishvili (Salamuri), Merab Sanodze (drums) Small Stage Start time: 19:30 Ticket: 10-40 GEL DJANSUG KAKHIDZE TBILISI CENTER FOR MUSIC & CULTURE 125 Aghmashenebeli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 296 12 43 November 9 CONCERT OF PIANO MUSIC Giorgi Gigashvili and David Khrikuli Will perform piano works by Haydn, Liszt, Chopin, Rossini, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Ravel. Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL CLUB 10/11 6 Saakadze Downhill November 10 ANRI JOKHADZE'S EVENING Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-30 GEL KELLER BAR 36 M. Kostava Ave. November 9 SUMO, LEBOVSKI Start time: 23:00 Ticket: 10 GEL




Wardrop Inheritance: A Journey through Translation from Georgia Dr Gillian Evison, Head of Bodleian libraries’ Oriental Section and Indian Institute Librarian and Chair of the Marjory Wardrop Fund presented a talk about the importance of the Wardrop heritage and priorities of the Marjory Wardrop Fund, including teaching of the Georgian language and supporting translation from Georgian. Lia Chokoshvili, who has been teaching the Georgian language at the Oxford University Language Center for more than 20 years, spoke on the entire ‘journey through translation’ right from creation of the idea all the way to its publishing. Translators Clifford Marcus and Walker Thompson shared their experience on the peculiarities of translating from Georgian, while Emily Tamkin, Geoffrey Gosby and Oliver Matthews ‘joined’ the event through their recorded video-messages as they were not able to attend the book launch itself. Later, guests had the chance to purchase the book. Discussions about the book and Georgian literature in general continued during the wine reception, also hosted by the Embassy of Georgia. The Royal Asiatic Society has an important historic significance for translation of Georgian literature. In 1912, the translation of Shota Rustaveli’s “Knight in the Panther’s Skin” by Marjory Wardrop was published there for the first time.



n November 6, a book launch ‘Unlocking the Door: Writing from Georgia’ was presented jointly by the Embassy of Georgia to the UK and the Royal Asiatic Society. The book, published by Cezanne Printing House, contains pieces of translation from Georgian by students of the University of Oxford, supervized and edited by Lia Chokoshvili, a Georgian language tutor at the Oxford University Language Center. The book brings together short stories and plays by Erlom Akhvlediani, Guram Rcheulishvili, Lasha Tabukashvili,GoderdziChokheliandAkaMorchiladze. Dr Alison Ohta, Director of the Royal Asiatic Society, and Neli Shiolashvili, Senior Counsellor of the Embassy of Georgia, addressed the audience with welcome remarks. Donald Rayfield, Professor of Georgian and Russian Studies at the Queen Mary University of London, who rendered editorial assistance to the translators of ‘Unlocking the Door’, talked about the successes and challenges of translating from the Georgian language.

Georgia’s Got Talent BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


his is something comparable to the Italian school of operatic singing – the supplier of vocal stars to the world. Yet, it so happened in life that the Georgian classic singers have also conquered the world’s most illustrious stages and this is no longer news for anybody, having been the case for the last hundred years, starting with the legend of operatic singing, Tenor Vano Sarajishvili, the famous Georgian Nightingale, and ending with Georgian soprano Nino Lezhava, currently the Artistic Director of the Renata Tebaldi & Mario Del Monaco International Singing Academy of Pesaro in Italy. Georgian operatic male and female stars are singing all over the planet and each of them absolutely deserve an individual contribution in this wonderful weekly edition of ours. This particular journalistic instance is totally bestowed to Nino Lezhava. Thanks to her initiative and organizational efforts, in close and longstanding cooperation with the Georgian Embassy in Rome, our opera performers successfully participated in musical events dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the great Italian composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini, born in 1792 in Pesaro, one of the Papal States of Italy. The first concert was held on November 4 at the Teatro Comunale di Cagli and the second on November 6 at the Teatro della Fortuna di Fano. The outstanding group of the Batumi Musical Center, complete with conductor Davit Mukeria and soloists, tenor Irakli Kakhidze, Soprano Nino Lezhava, Mezzo-soprano Inga Jakhutashvili, and Base Sulkhan Jaiani, staged the most perfect presentation of the well-known Stabat Mater by Rossini. Speaking historically, Rossini’s masterpiece has sounded through centuries in almost every country of the globe. The latest concert was a direct

product of mutual cooperation between the Pesaro Academy and the Batumi Center. Last November, the Days of Culture of Pesaro were held in Batumi, which was the great mutual success of the Pesaro Municipality and the Georgian Embassy in Italy. Following it was the Days of Georgian Culture in Pesaro last April, which was organized by the Embassy and the Leadership of the city of Pesaro, headed by the Pesaro Vice-Mayor Daniele Vimini as well as under the patronage of the Marche Region of Italy. It has to be specially noted that Daniele Vimini is truly a devoted patron and untiring leader of all those Italian-Georgian musical exchanges, attracting the most amazing attention of the public in both countries, especially those which have been performed in honor of the universally beloved Italian composer. The musical festival was also dedicated to the anniversary of the beginning of UNESCO activities in Pesaro. The well-known Georgian Soprano Nino Lezhava, who is currently working in Italy at the Pesaro Singing Academy, gave a solo concert at the Batumi Music Center on October 25, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Batumi State Symphony Orchestra. Nino performed in the accompaniment of the Orchestra and the Choir. The concert was conducted by the director of the Belgrade State Opera Savic, who was visiting Batumi as a special guest of honor. On October 26, Lezhava conducted a master class at the Paliashvili Music Concert Hall. Following that, she selected young listeners for the master class of Jose Carreras, the outstanding Spanish opera singer, which is going to take place between January 19 and 26 at the Rossini Opera Theater in the city of Pesaro in Italy. Notably, she chose one young singer to attend the class for free. The musical cooperation between Georgia and Italy continues with great vigor and professionalism, all included – friendship, culture, politics and celebrations of the talent of both nations.



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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1099  

November 9 - 12, 2018

Issue #1099  

November 9 - 12, 2018