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Issue no: 1217



In this week’s issue... PM Gakharia: Georgia Has its Eye on Developments in the Region NEWS PAGE 2

Ukrainian Boeing 737 Crashes in Iran NEWS PAGE 2


New Year Contemplations NEWS PAGE 3


The new year gets off to a shaky start as the gov't cancels its contract with the Anaklia Development Consortium

Iran's Middle East Strategy POLITICS PAGE 4


NWA Head: Georgian Wine Is Establishing Its Place in the Premium Segment BY TEA MARIAMIDZE


International Recognition: 35th Anniversary of Ecocenter for Environmental Protection BUSINESS PAGE 6


eorgian wine prices are on the up by the year, which means that Georgian wine is slowly establishing its place in the premium segment, claimed Levan Mekhuzla, Chairman of the National Wine Agency (NWA), in his interview with the Georgian National Public Broadcaster on Wednesday. Mekhuzla noted that Georgian wine export in 2019 amounted to 94 million bottles, which is a record high indicator in the history of independent Georgia. “In 2020, that figure is likely to reach 100 million bottles. Compared to 2018, wine exports increased by 8% last year, bringing revenue of up to $240 million into the country. The rise in the price of wine is even higher, 16-17%,” he noted. He went on to positively assess 2019 and state his belief that wine exports are already on the verge of a year-on-year increase. According to him, the figure of 94 million bottles itself is a record-breaking figure in the history of independent Georgia, and is a very positive trend.

PM on Water Supply Issues in Winter Resorts: This Shouldn't Have Happened

Giant Airport Development Projects to Be under Spotlight at GIAS 2020 BUSINESS PAGE 7

2 Hydro, 1 Oxy: Etseri, Svaneti SOCIETY PAGE 8 Image source: sfchronicle.com

“We think we have reached the point where very high percentages of growth are not expected and will remain within the range of about 5-10%. We need to exceed export of 100 million bottles in 2020, and another important factor is that the eight-percent increase observed at the end of

2019 is followed by a 16-17% increase in price. This means that the average price is rising and Georgian wine is slowly approaching and taking its place in the premium segment, which is our target market,” he explained. Continued on page 3

Ariadna Shengelaia's Star to Be Opened in front of Rustaveli Cinema CULTURE PAGE 11




JANUARY 10 - 13, 2020

PM Gakharia: Georgia Has its Eye on Developments in the Region BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


en days into the new decade, and 2020 has already brought unrest to the world population. Up until this Wednesday, when US President Trump announced a de-escalation of the conflict in the Middle East after no US troops were harmed during the Iranian missile strikes on bases in Iraq, World War III memes were trending on the different platforms of social media. Given Georgia’s geographical placement on the world map, the country has been holding its breath. PM Gakharia announced Thursday morning that the Georgian government is watching attentively the developments in the region and is working closely with its international partners to analyse the political climate. The Prime Minister’s statement came one day after he met with US Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood. The meeting was held to discuss the ongoing developments in the Middle East and the security issues that might follow the conflict. Additionally, the sides highlighted the achievements and future plans of USGeorgia bilateral cooperation. The meeting was attended by Liz Zentos, Head of the Political-Economic Department of the US Embassy, and Irakli Chikovani, the PM’s Advisor in Interna-

Image source: for.ge

tional Relations Affairs. On January 9, before the government meeting, the PM made a statement about the recent developments in the region,

reporting that the Georgian government is in synch with its international partners and together they are closely watching the current situation in the Middle East

and Caucasus. "In recent days, our attention has been focused on the tension that has been developing in the Middle East. We have

been in close contact with our international partners since the very first day, and we have been closely monitoring developments together with them,” said PM Gakharia. He went on to underline the importance of diplomatically dealing with threatening political conflicts, in doing so standing with other leaders who have called on the US and Iran to de-escalate. “Of course, we can say that peaceful negotiations and active diplomacy have no alternative, since any kind of tension is a huge problem for the region both in terms of security and economic development,” Gakharia said. The Prime Minister informed society that all relevant government agencies are in talks with international partners and are working closely to have the situation appropriately analysed. In his remarks, PM Gakharia also focused on the safety of the Georgian citizens who are near the conflict zone. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been instructed, through its representation, consulates and embassies, to provide full support to any Georgian citizen who may be in a tension zone today,” he announced. President Trump’s remarks to the media on January 8 brought some peace to the 2020 picture as the US leader announced that, for the moment, he had decided to take the off-ramp, and not make any more violent moves against Iran.

Ukrainian Boeing 737 Crashes in Iran BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


ran has been in special focus since the beginning of 2020. First, because of the American-Iranian escalating confrontation and second for a tragic plane crash. The Boeing 737 jet in question took off early Wednesday morning from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, but was never to reach its destination in Kyiv, Ukraine, crashing after just five minutes in the air and claiming the lives of all 176 (180 according to some reports) on board. Most of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in Tehran were citizens of Iran (82) and Canada (63). Those killed in the crash also include ten Swedes, four citizens of Afghanistan, three Germans, and three Brits. “Emergency crews were dispatched to the crash site but could not assist because the area was ablaze,” said Pirhossein Koulivand, Head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services. Koulivand told staterun media outlet IRINN that the crash site is between the cities of Parand and Shahriar. The Iranian side, the first to report the plane crash, blamed mechanical issues for the crash. While the Ukrainian officials at

first agreed, later they claimed that it was too soon to determine the cause of the tragedy. The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran has ruled out a terrorist attack for now, leaving it for the investigation to figure out the exact cause for the crash. “According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction. A terrorist attack or rocket attack is currently excluded,” read the statement on the embassy’s website. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post that the country's embassy in Iran was “working to clarify information on the circumstances of the tragedy and the list of deceased passengers.” “My sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all passengers and crew members,” Zelensky said. Georgian officials joined the rest of the world leaders in expressing their sorrow over the tragedy. The President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili went to Twitter to express condolences over the crash. “No words can relate to the crash of the Boeing of Ukrainian International Airlines, an unspeakable disaster. I send my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” she tweeted. The Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia’s tweet followed: “My heartfelt

Image source: CNN

condolences to the families of the tragically deceased aboard the Ukrainian airliner in Tehran,” the PM wrote on his Twitter. Ukraine International Airlines then announced that the 2016 Boeing 737 had a perfectly working engine, having passed its last technical check on January 6, 2020. “This was one of our best airplanes, it had a professional and wonderful staff,” said Evgeny Dykhne, the President of the airline at a press conference held in Kyiv on Thursday. Vice-President of the company Igor Sosnivky further noted that they are almost ruling out a mistake from the crew- two pilots, one instructor and six flight attendants. The airline’s statement left more room

for speculation and the Ukrainian President spoke up once more, warning society against it: “I ask everyone to keep from speculating and putting forth unconfirmed theories about the crash,” he wrote on Facebook, as he cut short a holiday in Oman and flew back to Ukraine. “This is not a topic for hype, likes in social networks, sensations and conspiracy theories. We need patience, endurance, and wisdom,” Zelensky said. President Zelensky released a video in which he talks about the plane crash, calling January 8 a ‘black page’ in history. He reported that Ukrainian specialists are already in Iran, ready to help investigate what went wrong and noted his hope that Iran will let the Ukrainian

experts participate in deciphering the ‘black box’ of the plane. Canada has also expressed a desire to actively participate in the investigation process of the crash, even though the country has no diplomatic relations with Tehran. Canada’s participation seems only reasonable – the Boeing 737 had 63 Canadian citizens on board. President Zelensky declared January 9 a day of mourning in Ukraine, honoring the over 170 lives lost during the crash, 11 of which were citizens of Ukraine. On Thursday, people in Kyiv’s airport who were supposed to greet their loved ones, mourned their tragic deaths instead. The ongoing investigation has yet to give them and the rest of the world the answers as to why it happened.




Gov’t Cancels Contract with Anaklia Development Consortium



he Government of Georgia has decided to cancel its contract with the Anaklia Development Consortium and to launch appropriate legal procedures. The issue was the first to be discussed at Thursday’s governmental meeting. The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC) was to fulfill its duties by December 31, after the government postponed the term for reaching an agreement with potential investors, and international banks (EBRD, OPIC, ADB, AIIB) for a loan of $400 million. The ADC was also expected to have signed a contract with construction contractors but the Georgian government says the Anaklia Development Consortium failed to meet its obligations.

“The Georgian government is looking for a new investor for the construction of the Anaklia deep-sea port," Maia Tskitishvili, Georgia's Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, said at a news conference after the governmental session, emphasizing that Georgia needs the deep-sea port by all means. “We have said many times that our country needs the deep-sea port of Anaklia for security, economic security and the full realization of the country's logistic potential. The Anaklia port project belongs to the State and not to any private investor. It was the State that initiated the implementation of this project; it was the State that expressed interest in implementing this project as early as 2014,” she said, noting that a financially stronger investor is needed. “Georgia needs this port, so we will search for a new partner who will be able to implement this project quickly and get the results that our country

needs," she said. She added that the Anaklia Consortium will have to pay a fine for failing to fulfill its contractual obligation but did not specify the amount. However, she said the State had already forgiven the Anaklia Development Consortium a $10 million fine. The ADC will also have to return the land received from the State for the deepsea port project. “All these procedures are set out in the contract and we will strictly follow the requirements of said contract,” she said. ADC’s founder Mamuka Khazaradze stated the case will be taken to the international courts. “We will take this dispute to the international court. We will not give up and will expose the actions of all the officials and politicians who deliberately fought the Anaklia project," said the founder of Anaklia Development Consortium, TBC Bank and the Lelo Movement.

He then claimed that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the Georgian Dream party, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and Minister of Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili were personally involved in the disruption of the Anaklia port project and that he has “documentation proving the fact.” “It is a lie that the Consortium did not fulfill its obligations. Even today there is an investor and I declare with full responsibility that all the requirements have been fulfilled under the contract. The State deceived the public by extending the deadline and continued taking destructive steps against the implementation of this project. There will be a serious dispute over this. Our government carried out an orchestrated attack on the Anaklia project," he said. The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure released a statement reading that the Government of Georgia considers that a further extension of a term for the implementation of duties will not bring the desired results. “As of December 31, 2019, the Anaklia Development Consortium, which had gained the right to build Anaklia's deepsea port, failed to comply with the obligations under a 7-point investment agreement. It failed to obtain $120 million capital, failed to submit a $400 million loan agreement with international banks, or contracts with the first phase terminal operator or the first phase construction contractor, thereby giving the Georgian Government full and unconditional right to cancel the contract. Although the State had shown unprecedented support to the investor for the project and extended the term for the implementation of basic and necessary obligations several times since 2017, after the above was requested by the Consortium, they failed to meet the deadline, did not make significant progress and failed to present a real action plan for the fulfillment of obligations,” reads the statement. The Ministry notes that since the delay

in contractual relations with the ADC could harm the port construction project, the government is launching procedures to cancel the contract with the Consortium, as well as for further development of the Anaklia port project. Natia Turnava, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, said after the government meeting that the decision to cancel the contract with the ADC was correct. “The decision to cancel the Anaklia Development Consortium contract is absolutely logical given that we have been providing unprecedented support to this project and its investors since 2017: financial, legal, organizational, political. According to the conditions that led to announcing a tender and revealing the winning company, we should have had a new port by 2020. Unfortunately, this could not be achieved, which is the responsibility of the investor. You can't name another project that the government has shown so much support for. This is the only commercial project mentioned in the Constitution of Georgia. "The decision to cancel the contract is the right one because we need a deep water port. We see the need for this project to continue, but we do not see the resources to continue this project with its current investor. Giving more chances and postponing the project deadline further is impossible and hurts state interests,” Turnava said. The Minister noted that the conditions for selecting a new investor will be changed and renewed. “There is yet another opportunity to revise and renew the requirements for an investor, to make them more adequate today since much has changed globally and regionally since 2017. All this will be taken into consideration and we are sure that with the new conditions we will start the process of finding a new investor, again in a transparent and competitive environment,” she said.

New Year Contemplations OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


f pursuit of happiness means anything at all as one of the most appreciated human freedoms, then Georgians are definitely among the peoples of the world who feel liberated enough to eagerly pursue and enjoy it. We are happy people by nature! This is why the ‘Happy New Year’ wish sounds very sincerely and absolutely naturally in this beautiful, although a little downsized, land. There are so many little unpleasant things in life that could curb the process of the pursuit, but we take it easy, elevating the New Year fancies and aspirations to the level of joyful excitements and anticipations. The regular New Year model of behavior of the average Georgian gives the impression of affluence and magnificence. As an instance of this, I would throw in the holiday-time Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi, illuminated more lavishly than Las Vegas itself. The entire country wants to sojourn here, or at least drive through the overcrowded avenue to get a glimpse of the totally outlandish lights dancing

all over the place and reflecting in the eyes of kids and grownups in the same delightfully sparkling way, like an earthly paradise of heavenly colors and celestial symbols. Only a few other streets in Tbilisi look as festive; others are as dark and trivial as they have always been – undecorated, gloomy and lonely. Well, to have all the streets of the capital lit as lavishly as the main thoroughfare of the country, the thirteen-billion national budget recently approved by Parliament would not suffice. On the other hand, the holiday bliss and luster is good but it is a real hell for those whose abodes happen to be in the area. The heavy traffic in the center of the city is like a fly in the ointment: if you are at home, you can’t get out, and if you’re out, you can’t get in. I have always wondered why all those celebrations, holiday bazaars, demonstrations, protests, processions, manifestations and the disgruntled folks’ tents have to be organized here in the heart of the town. There can’t be a bigger pain in the neck than bumper-to-bumper traffic 24/7 in the center of Tbilisi year in, year out, although the gas stations must be doubling their revenues as a result of it (and

the air pollution will be tripled as a consequence). The overly abundant use of pyrotechnic facilities is another concomitant passion of the New Year celebrations in our style. Moreover, the ubiquitous gunshooting, atavistically sounding all over the country, is deafening, and who knows how safe it is. But even more deafening is the news about the so called black lists in the New Year. I couldn’t believe my years, on hearing the news about the multi-party oppositional political force craving to blacklist certain judges, prosecutors and police officers who have allegedly violated the human rights of their fellow citizens, having brashly exceeded their official authority. It seems like black is the favorite color of the country’s political wannabes as, in addition to the black lists, the blackout right in the middle of colorful New Year lights would have been for them the best finale of the nationwide celebrations, but it did not happen to their greatest chagrin. Black PR, blackish mood, blackened future, black prognosis, blackmail and black-mindedness would also be part of those numerous blackly imagined and

Image source: Tbilisi City Hall

darkly presented vignettes of our life by those who think that they can make a much better government of the country than the one who is ruling the nation today. Meanwhile, life goes on, and we the people carry on, based on the dogs-barkbut-the-caravan-moves-on model of existence, which is perfectly all right in terms of continuing our pursuit of hap-

piness. Nothing matters more than happiness after all – regular, deserved, recognized, ongoing and firm. Down with those perennial confrontations! Down with endless misunderstandings! Down with mutually incriminating and unremittingly cantankerous politics! Down with anger, bile and ire! No more fears and confusions! Time to know who we are, where we are and why we are!

NWA Head: Georgian Wine Is Establishing Its Place in the Premium Segment Continued from page 1 Mekhuzla said the increase in the price was caused by the increase in demand for Georgian wine on the international market, which in turn is the result of years of deliberate awareness- raising work. In addition, he said the demand is increasing in markets where consumers are solvent and the quality of Georgian wine for the importer is not in doubt. The demand for Qvevri wine – a wine made in a special Georgian clay vessel- is also

increasing, being Georgia's unique offering on the global market. Yet, the NWA Head said Georgia, despite already being in the top five in the world, cannot compete with the leading countries that sell billions of bottles. “The limit on the export potential of Georgian wines is estimated to be 150200 million bottles, and it would be good if the field focused on developing family-owned wines and cooperatives that will help small-scale grape growers tackle their problems,” he said,

adding that one of the solutions is promoting small family-type cellars which work well in many countries and which have a stable quality and unique wines. Mekhuzla also said that the special Georgian amber wine will be granted the status of Special Technology Wine in 2020 or the latest 2021. “We are quite ahead in this [status application] process. The International Organization of Vine and Wine meets twice a year to discuss certain issues. It can take a few years to get a resolution. We are moving ahead and we

expect this year or next to see them reach an agreement,” he said. The NWA Head also announced that this year a stable carbon isotope analysis of wine will be introduced in Georgia, which is one of the main methods for determining the origin of grape products globally. “In general, wine-making is a sector that is constantly developing worldwide. We strive to establish in Georgia all the innovations and methods of analysis that are developed in leading institutions and used in the leading

countries. The study of stable carbon isotopes is one of the main achievements nowadays and tells us whether the product is of grape origin or not," he explained. To note, last month the Ministry of Agriculture stated that Georgia earned $220 million from wine exports, which is an increase of 20% compared to the same period of 2018. The ministry also said that the average price of one Georgian wine bottle is $6.8 in the United States, $6.7 in Japan, $5.8 in Great Britain and $5 in Poland.




JANUARY 10 - 13, 2020

Iran's Middle East Strategy OP-ED BY EMIL AVDALIANI


look at the map of the Middle East reveals three major geographic regions: the Anatolian Peninsula (Turkey), the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia) and the Iranian Plateau (Iran). All three regions are partially protected by seas, deserts and mountain ranges. All three represent major geographic units and great population centers, of which Turkey and Iran are far bigger than the Saudi monarchy. All three are also happen to merge on the SyriaIraq territory, the historic ‘Fertile Crescent,’ making this a highly contested and therefore unstable territory in the Middle East. No wonder wars have been waged for decades there. Beyond geography, all three states have a wide network of small and large regional allies. However, it is Iran which stands out as the country which possesses a clear strategic vision of what it wants the Middle East to be, ambitions rooted in the country’s history, the above mentioned geography and, to a certain extent, in the revolutionary zeal (tied into religious intentions) following 1979. Turkey, too, has wider geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East, but they are more in the process of evolution. Turkey, with its great economic and military potential, is only now opening up to the wider region and gradually working on establishing a long-term vision of a 'Turkish Middle East'. The Saudis lack the geopolitical tools needed to cover the entire Middle East region and so it is only Iran which has so far managed to establish a clear, near grand strategic vision of its place in the Middle East. One of the components of this vision has traditionally been to have direct land access to the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, various Iranian dynasties vied to reach this economically and militarily important sea. No wonder that Iran, after the revolution of 1979, worked prodigiously to reach this strategic goal. Indeed, when we mention the killing of Qasem Suleimani, which took place in Baghdad in early

Image source: mei.edu

January, it should be remembered that we are talking about a major Iranian strategist who meticulously worked on extending Iranian military and economic influence right to the Mediterranean shore. Suleimani was the first Iranian to be able to do this after Sasanian Shah, Khusro II, who in the 610s-620s invaded and controlled the eastern Mediterranean. This deeper historic vision, more than simple contacts with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, explains why Iran has been keen to be involved in the wars and internal politics of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. This, of course, means that the loss of Suleimani is an important strategic defeat in Iran's wider strategic vision of the Middle East. Moreover, Suleimani was at the top of a wider network of

personal contacts covering numerous semi-official as well as overly clandestine groupings across the entire Middle East. In this region, personal links always play a greater role. This makes the death of Suleimani a problematic issue for them as his network, built throughout decades on personal authority, could begin to split. One of the major goals of the current decision-makers in Iran will likely be to preserve the existing network which covers Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and large parts of Iraq. Yet this wider vision of Iran's place in the Middle East would threaten US interests, which have always involved keeping the Eurasian landmass as divided as possible. Quite naturally, these opposing geopolitical per-

spectives will inevitably clash. Then comes Iranian animosity towards the US presence in Iraq, as well as Washington's moves to limit the Iranian influence. Competition between the two is bound to continue, ranging from firing rockets and carrying out clandestine operations, to undermining one another’s geopolitical assets across the Middle East. Nevertheless, the Iran-US confrontation will likely remain short of an open military clash. For decades, one of the pillars of Iran’s strategic vision has been to avoid direct military confrontation with the much more powerful US: any moves which might lead to a military clash would threaten the very foundation of Teheran’s vision and its regional network.

PM on Water Supply Issues in Winter Resorts: This Shouldn't Have Happened



15 M. Kostava str. (+995) 322 30 03 05

he problem of water supply should have been resolved in Bakuriani and Gudauri. It should not have happened, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at the cabinet meeting Thursday. Mountain resorts of Georgia, Gudauri and Bakuriani, have faced water supply problems recently, seeing holidaymakers in Bakuriani claiming the water distribution has been delayed for several days, causing discontent among locals and tourists. In addition, due to the water supply problem, central heating systems also failed. The PM recognized today that the government should have taken more preventive measures in this regard, and noted that 2020 should be devoted to preventing such problems for the next season. “Unfortunately, we had some complications in winter resorts this year, in Gudauri and Bakuriani, in terms of water supply. It can be said unequivocally that we should have solved this problem. This should not have happened even though we know precisely today that the causes were both objective

and subjective. We understand that the problem is systemic and we understand that we should make relevant conclusions and 2020 should be devoted to preventing such problems for the next season,” Gakharia said. The United Water Supply Company of Georgia responded to the reports and said that due to the increasing number of tourists in Bakuriani, the water pressure was low which caused a problem with distribution. However, the problem was soon resolved and Bakuriani now has a steady water supply. As for the water issues in Gudauri, damage was detected in the water supply network. "The technical group worked to fix this problem," the company said. The United Water Supply Company recently took on a new head. Grigol Mandaria became the new head of the United Water Supply Company of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, having served as an advisor in water supply issues at the ministry since 2019. From 2012 he chaired the Water Supply Department at the Georgian National Energy Regulation Company (GNERC). He replaced Ekaterine Galdava, who will now continue serving at the Ministry.




New Project of Anagi Development: 'Villa Ambassadori' to be Placed in Ambassadori Kachreti Territory


BC Bank has been a strategic partner of Anagi Construction Company since 2017 and this partnership continues in terms of development. Soon, the new project of ‘Anagi Development’ - Villa Ambassador, will be located on the territory of Ambassadori Kachreti, which will be an integral part of the hotel. ‘Villa Ambassadori’ consists of Mukuzani, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi districts. The complex combines 45 exclusive design villas of 141.99 sq.m to 300 sq.m area. The villas are to be handed over with completed renovation, built-in kitchen furniture, gas stove and range hood. The complex will be completed in December 2020. Ambassadori Kachreti gives clients the opportunity to own a villa, enjoy all the services of a hotel, and, moreover, to earn rental income and get a high return on investment if they wish. Ambassadori Kachreti is located in Kakheti, 40 minutes’ drive from Tbilisi. The hotel facilities include: golf courses, indoor and outdoor pools, spa center, fitness center, restaurants, wine cellar, conference rooms, tennis courts, playgrounds, shooting range, stable and playground for kids. As part of the New Year offer, TBC Status users will be able to purchase a villa with a 7% discount at Villa Ambas-

sadori until January 31st. In case of purchasing more than 200 square meters, they will be gifted additional

golf cards. The construction company Anagi was founded 30 years ago and today it

employs more than 1500 people. TBC and Anagi have jointly implemented 11 projects so far.

During 2019, TBC invested more than GEL 132 million in both the construction and development sectors.




JANUARY 10 - 13, 2020

International Recognition: 35th Anniversary of Ecocenter for Environmental Protection

Meeting in New York with Mr. Kakha Imanadze, Ambassador of Georgia to UN. The meeting was attended by Ms. Nino Shekriladze, Advisor to the Ambassador. New York, US



n order to raise environmental education in society and community-based organizations throughout the South Caucasus, the Hydraulic Engineering and Amelioration Scientific-Research Institute established a cooperative ‘Hydro Technician’ in January 1985, which was later transformed into public organization ‘Ecocenter for Flood Prevention,’ whose founders were academician Tsotne Mirtskhulava, the UN expert on natural disasters in the Caucasus, and professors Pridon Shatberashvili and Otar Sichinava. Given the new legislative framework in Georgia, the aforementioned organization was re-registered on January 10, 2010, as a non-profit legal entity, the Ecocenter, with Academician of the Engineering Academy, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor Givi Gavardashvili, elected as its director. Under the leadership of Professor Givi

Gavardashvili, the Ecocenter for Environmental Protection has achieved great success both in Georgia and internationally. The Ecocenter currently has more than 70 employees, including specialists and experts from countries such as the US, England, Austria, Poland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Poland, Belarus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Japan, the Netherlands and representatives of other countries. Three administrative departments operate in the organization: ScientificResearch; the Design, Research, International Relations Department and the Scientific-Technical Council. Its main directions of research are raising public awareness of natural disasters and risks; restoration of damaged ecosystems and their biodiversity; combating natural disasters; environmental protection and small energy; protection and preservation of natural resources; rehabilitation of water collecting buildings, irrigation and drainage systems; drinking water supply for the population; researching the ecological problems of the Black Sea and reservoirs; development of new, energy-efficient

modern ecological directions; informing the public about renewable energy sources; conducting educational seminars and international conferences to train young specialists; and publishing relevant environmental brochures, holding actions, etc. In its 35 years of operating, Ecocenter specialists have prepared priority direction projects for Georgia such as: ‘Forecasting erosion-mudflow and landslide processes in Georgia's transport and energy corridors and developing new innovative measures for their control’ (funded by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure); ‘Project for the Regulation of the Kharkheti Gorge in Dusheti District’ (funded by the State Land Planning Project of Georgia, 1987), ‘Shiomghvime Monastery Mudslide Protection Project’ (funded by the Georgian Institute of Restoration, 1987); ‘Protecting the Tengiz (Kazakhstan) Oil Fields from Floods During Caspian Sea Storms’ (funded by the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan, 2000); Development of a sustainable development model for the territory in the watershed of the Aragvi River (funded by ‘Horizon Foundation’ 2003); ‘Assessment of the Current Condition of the Protective breakwater Situated South of the Poti Sea Port’ (funded by the Poti Sea Port, 2009); Design of stone gabions to protect the middle school in the village of Rtskmelura in Lentekhi Municipality against floods of the Tskhenistskali River (funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Assistance SDS, 2009); Design of engineering-rehabilitation activities from the top of the River Kumi to the Second Dam (financed by Cartu Bank and Tskaltubo Municipality, 2011); Geological and Chemical Laboratory Examination of Soil Samples Taken at the Baku-Tbilisi-Supsa Pipeline (funded by BP and the Environmental Geological Agency EGA, 2012); Conducting multiple hydrological studies and laboratory studies in the Khudoni Dam Project section at the River Enguri (funded by Ltd Trans Electrica Limited, 2012); Design of Flood – Landslide Treatment Measures on Erekle II Street in the city of Signaghi (funded by Signaghi Municipality, 2013); Preparation of documents related to project and expenses for rehabilitation of drinking water infrastructure in villages in auxiliary zones of Javakheti National Park - Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki District (funded by the German Branch of WWF in Georgia, 2014); ‘Project on Rehabilitation of Water Supply Buildings in the Village of Bodbiskhevi, Signaghi Municipality’ (financed by Sighnaghi Municipality, 2014); ‘Implementation of monitoring and scientificresearch activities in the watershed areas of the Nakra River right tributaries Laknashera and Lekverari’ (funded by Nakrahes Ltd, 2016); scientific research of the River Telavis Khevi watershed for elaboration of a Telavi land use plan and risk assessment of flooded areas of the city

Working meeting with Professor Jerzy Erznakh. Warsaw, Poland, May 26, 2019

by expected floods (financed by Atelier Architect Ltd, 2018), etc. In addition, numerous expert works throughout the country have been carried out at the Ecocenter, including works for the assessment of small HPPs and the environmental impact of the first highway in Georgia. The grant projects developed by young scientists and funded by the Shota Rustaveli Georgian Science Foundation include, among others: ‘Socio-geographical survey of the quality of life among the populations of Georgia’s regions through developing new and alternative methods’ (Presidential Young Scientists Grant # 52/31, Head - Academic Doctor Natia Gavardashvili), ‘Increase of agricultural land areas for development of Kindzmarauli grape business by using colloidal fractions of the Duruji mudflats’ (Young Scientists Grant YS15_2.4.1_72, 2017, Supervisor - Academic Doctor Tamriko Supatashvili); ‘Reporting parameters of the high-dispersed clay of the Kolkheti lowland clay soils in the soilground setting for the prospective development of regional tourism’ (Young Scientists Grant # YS15_2.4.1_52, 2017, Supervisor - Academic Doctor Paata Sichinava); ‘Study of erosion-mudflow processes in the watershed area of the Vere River to ensure the safety of the Tbilisi population and their consideration when developing new alternative environmental schemes’ (Young Scientists Grant # S15_2.1.5_8, 2017, Supervisor - Academic Doctor Natia Gavardashvili). The following projects have been implemented in the Ecocenter with the support of the European Union and NATO: the Black Sea Scientific Network, FP-7 project (funded by EU-EU, 20092011); Water Resources Management in Trans-boundary Agroecosystems of South Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan (NATO-funded, 2008-2010). The Ecocenter, together with the Tsotne Mirtskhulava Institute of Water Economy

During the meeting the Chief of Section of Groundwater Systems and Settlements of UNESCO, Prof., AIiche Aureli and Associate Project Officer of Section on Earth Sciences and Geo - Hazards Risk Reduction of UNESCO PhD, Irina Pavlova. Paris, France, 15, May, 2019.

of the Georgian Technical University and the Environmental Geological Agency Ltd (Executive Director Lasha Topuria), has created a scientific consortium and is working on a grant project called Elastic Borehole Regulation (Donor - Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation, Innovation Research and Technological Development Grant # AR-18-1244, 2019-2021). An international project titled Development of Sustainable Cultural Tourism of the Black Sea Basin (EU funded (EU, CULTOUR-BSB), 2018-2020) is also being developed in cooperation with specialists from Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Turkey. In 2019, Ecocenter Scientists developed and submitted new projects to the EU Horizon 2020, NATO, Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia and UN Office in Georgia. Ecocenter’s slogan is ‘Ensuring Ecological Safety in the Caucasus Region Guaranteeing the Reduction of Eco-Migrants.’ By the UN Resolution of 18 June 2019, the Ecocenter was granted ‘Consultative Status of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’, an exclusive event for such a non-governmental organization in Georgia. Simultaneously with this, Professor Givi Gavardashvili, Director of the Ecocenter from New York to the UN Headquarters, received an official invitation to participate in the 74th UN Assembly on September 24-25. On June 21, 2019, the Ecocenter Directorate signed a contract with UNESCO's International Consortium ‘RURITAGE’ to conduct joint international scientific research for the protection of cultural heritage. In 2011, with the aim of educating young people in Georgia, the Ecocenter Directorate, together with the Tsotne Mirtskhulava Institute of Water Economy of the Georgian Technical University, established an international conference on ‘Contemporary Problems of Water Management, Environment, Construction and Architecture,’ in which more than 10 scientists from around the world are already involved. In 2019, a 9th conference was held. On October 1-5, 2018, the 5th International Conference on ‘Mudslides, Disasters, Risk, Forecasting, Protection’ was held in the Assembly Hall of the Georgian Technical University. The conference was attended by 250 professors and specialists from 25 countries around the world. Together with the International Association of Mudslides, the conference was also supported by the Director of the Ecocenter for Environmental Protection. We congratulate Dr. Givi Gavardashvili, Director of Ecocenter, Doctor of Technical Sciences, along with all of his scholars and international experts, on the 35th anniversary of the Organization and the granting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) advisory status, which marks yet another international recognition of Georgia's NGO.




Giant Airport Development Projects to Be under Spotlight at GIAS 2020


arge airport development projects and infrastructure investments will come under the spotlight at the second edition of the Global Investment in Aviation Summit (GIAS 2020), which is due to be held on January 27-29. As countries are keen on catering to the stupendous growth in the global aviation sector, marked by continuous rising passenger numbers and expanding airline fleets, they are pumping billions of dollars toward expanding existing airports and building new ones. His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said: “The authority seeks to increase airspace capacity by adding more routes to neighboring countries and introducing a new navigation management system this year. The UAE has so far invested $270 billion (AED1 trillion) on the development of airport infrastructure projects across the country and a fleet of 884 commercial aircraft.” He added: “I believe there is a need to inject more money in order to keep pace with massive and successive developments in the sector." The aviation sector is experiencing significant and rapid growth in air transport and airport construction and expansion, leading to the growth of regional and global economies, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, the world's fastest growing market, although Europe still maintains strong growth prospects until 2040. According to forecast reports issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger numbers will rise to 4.72 billion in 2020, up 4.0% from the 4.54 billion passengers recorded in 2019. In light of this significant increase in passenger

traffic, it has become crucial to expand airports, which also offers a wide range of opportunities for providers of products and services in the aviation and its related sectors, worth billions of dollars. All these issues and figures will be highlighted at

Use of Soviet Rubles at Georgia’s Bakuriani Cableway BY TEA MARIAMIDZE


oviet-era Ruble coins are being given to visitors at Georgia’s Bakuriani cableway after they pay for cable car rides, a holidaymaker revealed on Facebook. Ana Marshania’s post went viral on Wednesday and as she says, many people contacted her who have found the same while holidaying in Bakuriani. The ski resort is one of the most beautiful in Georgia, located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level and 190 kilometers from the capital Tbilisi. “I did not want to get upset but where before you got a paper ticket after paying GEL [for the cable car], now you get soviet rubles with the hammer and sickle, stars and the inscription ‘The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’...They have a lot of them,” Marshania’s post reads. The Ministry of Economy responded to the information and noted that no use of Soviet Ruble has been seen at the cableways managed by their agency, the Mountain Resorts Development Company. The agency itself stated they operate only Didveli, Mitarbi and Kokhta cableways which are made by an Austrian company and their cable cars are totally automated. “The use of the Soviet Ruble on the cables under the management of the Mountain Resorts Development Company has not been detected,” the company said, adding that the cableway mentioned by the holidaymakers is in private ownership and has nothing to do with them. In connection with the incident, the State Security Service (SSS) is implementing the relevant procedures provided by the Georgian legislation. “In connection with the above-mentioned fact, acting under the auspices of the State Security Service, the Freedom Charter Commission established by the law of Georgia immediately began implementing the relevant procedures provided for by the legislation,” said the State Security Service. The agency also explained that this law, in compliance with international standards and universally

Image source: bm.ge

recognized principles and norms, intends to: eliminate the threat of crimes against the State, and terrorism and violation of the principles of state security; ensure the effective exercise of the legislative norms of Georgia and strengthen national security in accordance with modern practices; provide preventive measures against the principles of communist totalitarian and national socialist (Nazi) ideologies; remove the symbols and names of cult buildings, memorials, monuments, basreliefs, inscriptions, streets, squares, villages and settlements of the communist totalitarian regime, as well as prohibit the propaganda instruments and other means of communist totalitarian and national socialist (Nazi) ideologies. Totalitarian communist and fascist symbols are banned at the legislative level in Georgia. The Liberty Charter, adopted in 2011, bans the public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols, including statues or photos of the former Soviet leader and native Georgian, Joseph Stalin. The law does not apply to private individuals, but it establishes that the use of Soviet totalitarian symbols cannot be used on state and local selfgovernment buildings, squares and streets. Also, the use of these symbols is prohibited at public gatherings and public places. Georgia was the first post-Soviet country outside of the Baltics to ban former KGB operatives and senior Communist Party officials from holding public office. They are also prohibited from serving as university deans or judges.

GIAS 2020, which will be attended by key industry players. The Global Investment in Aviation Summit was launched in 2018 to establish a socioeconomic sustainable civil aviation system. Organized by Stra-

tegic Conferences and Exhibitions, GIAS has seen a participation of more than 850 international delegates and 120 investors from 60 countries, including Saudi Arabia, US, UK, India, Germany, France. For more details visit https://www.gias.ae/




JANUARY 10 - 13, 2020

2 Hydro, 1 Oxy: Etseri, Svaneti BLOG BY TONY HANMER


hat’s all water is: a couple of hydrogen atoms and one of oxygen. I’ve learned that, although the English and Georgian languages have no relationship, their roots for these and many other anciently known elements have the same meaning. “Hydrogen” means something like “parent of water” in both languages, and in Russian and others too; “oxygen” means “parent of burning” (or oxidation, to be exact). These two gases combine to form a molecule without which life on earth as we know it would be impossible. Another unique property of water is that when it freezes to ice, it expands and thus becomes lighter, in contrast to most other substances. This simple fact means that when bodies of water solidify from cold, they do from the top down, usually retaining a liquid layer below, in which aquatic life can continue. If they froze from the bottom up, this could not sustain water-based lifeforms. No wonder, either, that peoples like the Inuit who live in climates dominated by winter have so many words for forms of solid water, not just “frost”, “ice” and “snow”. Living in Svaneti since 2007 has shown me many of these variations. We might not have single words for them in English, but at least we can differentiate and describe them. My more intimate relationship with 2-hydro, 1-oxy has made me aware of the intricacy of the thing, its pickaxe-threatening, Titanic-crushing strength and hardness as well as its lacy potential to dissolve back into liquid at the lightest puff of my breath. And everything in between.

The hexagonal miracles of uncounted trillions of unique snowflakes, each never once repeated in history. The thin white ice on top of puddles with air underneath which makes the loudest, most satisfying crunch when you step on it. Frost swirls not only on the windows, but on steps and even in the mud. Layers of the slipperiest ice of all, thick and already slightly wet, ready to knock you right off your feet if you attempt to cross. Snow on the ground getting sculpted into more and more fantastic forms daily as sun, wind and humidity changes work their microclimatic magic on it. Growths of whole fields above Mestia of miraculous furlike frozen fronds where the humidity is comparatively greater and the sun and wind less. Bubbles moving slowly downhill as water trapped under thin ice makes its moves. Rivers inching towards being

ice-covered from the banks inwards; repeated splashings from them solidifying around plants at the water’s edge. Hoarfrost on trees further fractalizing their already non-integer dimensions; snow building up on branches silently over hours, sometimes heavy enough to break them down if you don’t knock it off first. Ice off roofs starting off thick, then evaporating to filigree of utterly impossible delicacy, supported by nothing but its tiny advantage over the law of gravity. (Or, in some winter locations like St Petersburg, Russia, remaining solid as long icicles, regularly falling multiple stories and killing a few people annually). Whole temporary hotels made of ice and snow in Scandinavia: well, if the Inuit can spend their whole winter lives like this, why can’t we all try it for a few nights? Snow and ice sculpture competitions in Harbin and Edmonton and

elsewhere, world famous- Three of my Edmonton friends once made the world’s record largest snow sculpture, asking road clearers in Memphis, USA to gather their snow into a box-form in an unused parking lot, then turning this into a giant polar bear. Winter’s water is to be appreciated for all these reasons, and hundreds more, some to be found only where YOU are, if you take the time to notice them. It’s worth it. 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 nearly 2000 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



Image source: The MIA of Georgia Facebook

7 Georgian Cities to be Supplied with New Fire Trucks BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE


n 2020, 30 new fire trucks will be put to work in seven cities of Georgia: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Borjomi, Zugdidi, Sighnaghi and Rustavi. Ioseb Chelidze, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, and Temur Mghebrishvili, the Head of the Special State

Protection Service, presented the trucks today. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has reported that the cars were produced in Germany specifically for Georgia, considering the country's terrain. The MIA additionally had German instructors training the Georgian firemen to get them comfortable with the new firefighting technology. The Georgian fire-fighters have already been introduced to the specifics of working with the new fire trucks.


Book on Georgia’s Cultural Heritage Presented at Youth Art Palace BY ELENE DZEBISASHVILI


new book on Georgia's cultural heritage was presented at Tbilisi’s Art Palace. The leader of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who supported the project, attended the presentation. The exhibition of the two-volume book, titled Georgia: History, Culture, Ethnography, marked the culmination of a multi-year effort by Georgian researchers to efficiently gather historical material on subjects ranging from the gorgeous piercing tones of Georgian polyphonic singing, to the art of traditional stone masonry. The book is a unique English-language publication edited by musicologist Anzor Erkomaishvili, primarily known for his founding and leadership of the 'Rustavi' State Academic Ensemble of Georgian Folk Song and Dance. The book is the latest in a myriad of works produced by Erkomaishvili, who created the 'Martve' ensemble of folk singing in 1978 and was credited with "saving" the then-neglected heritage of Georgian national singing tradition. "Anzor Erkomaishvili is a role model of dignity, patriotism, morality and happiness, who has served Georgian culture for decades. I’m happy that I know him. Mr. Anzor Erkomaishvili devoted years to the work he is so passionate about. His works are unique to all of us. He will carry on doing more to boost and pre-

serve our culture," the leader of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili said at the presentation. “Readers will discover how unique and distinctive this culture is, and how it was developed by such a small country in the South Caucasus, the territory of which is recognized as the homeland of winemaking and the oldest dwelling of Man in Europe”, reads the comment by Nova Science Publishers.

“Sections of the publication deal with history and exhibits of pottery, stone masonry, winemaking, national costumes and ‘other elements of Georgian folk traditions,’ the US publishing house says in its summary of the release. The book includes a multimedia appendix with audio recordings of folk songs and church hymns, along with the recordings of folk dances, some of which date back to 1901.





JANUARY 10 - 13, 2020


TBILISI ZAKARIA PALIASHVILI OPERA AND BALLET THEATER 25 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 04 56 January 11, 14, 15, 16 THE NUTCRACKER Premiere A new version of the ChristmasNew Year fairytale Pyotr Tchaikovsky Ballet in two acts Staging Choreographers: Alexey Fadeechev and Nina Ananiashvili Staging Conductor: Papuna Ghvaberidze Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater Orchestra Conductor- Papuna Ghvaberidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-200 GEL GABRIADZE THEATER 14 Shavteli Str. January 10 STALINGRAD Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL January 11 THE AUTUMN OF MY SPRINGTIME Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL January 12 RAMONA Revaz Gabriadze Directed by Revaz Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20, 30 GEL January 16 REZO Animated documentary film Directed by Leo Gabriadze

English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL

book by Irina Koshoridze, Marina Dgebuadze, Natia Demurishvili, Nino Simonishvili

THE STATE YOUTH THEATER 101 Agmashenebeli Ave.


January 13 SUKHISHVILI (GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET) KIDS AND ‘ANA BANA’ New Year Charity Concert to benefit the children’s hospice Firefly World Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 30 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 EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS Until February 1 Exhibition NEANDERTHALS IN THE SOUTH CAUCASUS – TSUTSKVATI CAVE, OLD AND NEW DISCOVERIES The exhibition displays the latest findings of archeological and paleontological excavations discovered by Georgian National Museum's Tsutskvati Cave Archaeological Expedition. Until February 1 EXHIBITION "CHINESE ART IN GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM" dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and a

Until January 19 Project "Contemporary Art Gallery" presents the exhibition "How to Catch up with a Dead Hare" by Georgian contemporary artist ILIKO ZAUTASHVILI MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. Until January 20 Exhibition SVANETI-KHALDE REVOLT 18751876 Introducing the history of the uprising for the first time, the exhibition is based on archival documentation, ethnographic and photo-video materials, telling the story of the determination and selfsacrifice of the inhabitants of small mountainous village Khalde, the freedom-fighters who confronted the Russian imperial power. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave and jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, free yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms and discover optical illusions.


THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00 GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY Until February 29 Georgian National Museum and the Embassy of Italy in Georgia present the exhibition ROMA AETERNA. MASTERPIECES OF ROMAN SCULPTURE FROM THE DINO AND ERNESTA SANTARELLI FOUNDATION National Gallery features 33 sculptures depicting the stages of artistic or stylistic evolution from the Roman Republic to Neoclassical era. Until February 20 VALERIAN SIDAMON-ERISTAVI ANNIVERSARY-RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION Eristavi’s works include theater and cinema painting, and iconography; he created copies of medieval frescos; decorated museum expositions and parades; created illustrations for various manuals, and worked on newspaper caricatures and furniture sketches. NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF GEORGIA 1 Vaja Pshavela Ave. Untill January 31 MOUNTAIN PEAKS OF GEORGIA PHOTO EXHIBITION TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE Tbilisi Mall The first museum of digital art in Tbilisi. See Vazha-Pshavela's "Dried beech", a world of torches, and a digital space decorated with various graphic and visuals effects. In the main hall, through video projections and mirrors, you will discover that there is no boundary between Man and nature. Ticket: 10-30 GEL


MTATSMINDA PARK Until January 14 NEW YEAR MAGICAL DAYS IN MTATSMINDA PARK New Year concerts, Performances, Animators, Drummers, Attractions for all ages Start time: 12:00-18:00 Ticket: 17 GEL DEDAENA PARK Dedaena Park January 17 DuckTape Live, FOUR DIMENSIONAL MONSTER LOBSTERS, DuckTape, Moku j Start time: 12:00-18:00 Ticket: 10 GEL BASSIANI 2 Tsereteli Ave. January 17 BASSIANI / HOROOM: CLAUDIO PRC, ZITTO, BRYAN KASENIC, HVL Start time: 23:55 Ticket: 20-40 GEL REPUBLIC 6 First Republic Sq. January 13 Kraak and Smaak at Republic Blend of disco, funk, electronic and house music from Kraak & Smaak Soundsystem Doors Open - 23:00 Price: 40 – 960 GEL RUSTAVELI THEATER 17 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 72 68 68 www.rustavelitheatre.ge January 10-14 New Year's Concert Start time: January 10- 14:00, January 11, 12, 13, 1414:00, 17:00 Price: 10,15 GEL JAZZ CLUB SINGER 1 Melikishvili Ave. January 11 RESO KIKNADZE SEXTET AT SINGER Reso Kiknadze (Sax), Lasha Sakvarelidze (Sax), Nika Gabadze (Guitar), Luka Topuria (Piano), Khatia Koridze (Bass), Soso Tsagareishvili (Drums) Start time: 21:00 For reservations please call: 571 997 707 JAZZ AT KONKA 8 Sioni Str. January 15 DINI VIRSALADZE QUARTET FEAT DAVID JAPARIDZE (Percussion) Dini Virsaladze (Piano), Giorgi Samsonadze (Bass), Zuka Simonishvili (Guitar), Gio Kapanadze (Drums) Start time: 21:00 Price: 10 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. January 14 JAM SESSION Improv music Every Tuesday Musical director- Sandro Nikoladze Start time: 21:00 Price: 10 GEL




Young Georgian Violinist Set to Go Global BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI


eorgia’s rich musical culture, which counts centuries, is being more and more often seen on the world’s stages. Apart from the many prominent representatives of the Georgian musical scene that are internationally recognized, numerous talented Georgian youth musicians are following in their footsteps, aiming to upgrade their qualifications and achieve great success. Outstanding Georgian violinist Tamar Tkabladze is one of these youth representatives. At the age of 15, she has already achieved much and made great strides for an even better future. Tamar's interest in the violin comes from her family, as her grandfather was the first great hornist in Georgia, her father is a violinist, hornist, conductor of four orchestras, and her mother is a pianist. Her special talent was noticed at an early age. She has been participating in various competitions since the age of seven and has been invited to compete both in Georgia and throughout Europe. Tamar Tkabladze graduated from the

Tbilisi Evgeni Mikeladze Central Music School (tutored by Diana Jaiani) which helped her to perform at various competitions and concerts and aided her in becoming an outstanding violinist. She took master classes from foreign cellists and violinists and has achieved success at various national and international competitions, receiving numerous certificates, four Grand prix and one star. Most notable among these are: 1st place at a competition in Turkey 2013, aged eight, 1st place at a festival concert (by invitation) in Armenia 2013, 1st place at an international competition in Sweden 2016, 1st place at a competition (by invitation) in Germany 2017, 1st place at a concert in Russia in 2018, where she was invited by the great featured Conductor Vladimir Spivakov who was so excited about her talent that he even gave her a violin as a gift. Tamar performs complex compositions of famous composers, among them Nicolo Paganini, Felix Mendelssohn, Alan Hovhaness, Antonio Bazzini, and Pablo de Sarasate. Currently, she lives and studies in Great Britain, at Chetham’s Music School, Manchester, with full funding, earned due to her great talent. She says she was advised to continue her studies abroad so as to gain a greater wealth of experi-

ence and career advancement. Tamar’s performance left a great impression on foreign listeners and that is why they invited her to the UK, funded her studies and today she, with the help of the best teachers at the age of 15, is learning and developing her wonderful profes-

sion. Having already performed at concerts in the UK, she plans to perform at a competition in Italy in the near future. She says she has no trouble studying or living abroad. After graduating from school, she plans to enroll at the Royal College of Music and continue her stud-

ies. At this tender age, she already knows exactly what she wants, why she is there and knows she is going to dedicate her entire life to music. An admirable feat for a child, and just as rewarding for the people of Georgia who stand behind her.

Ariadna Shengelaia's Star to Be Opened in front of Rustaveli Cinema BY MARIAM MERABISHVILI


he star of the People's Artist of Georgia Ariadna Shengelaia will be opened in front of Tbilisi’s Rustaveli Cinema in an event to take place on January 13, the actor’s birthday. Griboedov Theater will also host a creative evening dedicated to the actress, reports the National Film Center of Georgia. Ariadna Shengelaia has lived in Tbilisi for years but deliberately stays out of the spotlight of public, having last appeared in front of an audience in 2007. But, after that 13-year hiatus, the actress will attend her own star opening and give audiences the chance to watch excerpts from her films and a video created with the support of the National Film Center, dedicated to her work. Although Ariadna Shengelaia is not of Georgian descent, Georgian viewers are well familiar with her roles. While studying at the Moscow Film Institute, Ariadna Shengelaia got to know Georgian film director Eldar Shengelaia. After marrying him, she moved to Tbilisi, became an actress for the Georgian Film Studio, created many memorable characters in Georgian cinema, and in 1979 was awarded the title of People's Artist of Georgia. Her works include: Tatiana in ‘Eugene Onegin,’ 1958; Eugene Grande in ‘Eugene Grande,’ 1960; Manol in ‘On the Bank of the Enguri’, 1961; Maria in ‘White Caravan,’ 1964; Vera Sheina in ‘The Garnet Bracelet,’ 1964; Lotta in ‘Crucified Island,’ 1968; Carolina in ‘Franz Liszt,’ 1970; Carolina in ‘Lunar Abduction,’ 1971 and Margalita in ‘Sherekilebi,’ 1974. At the same time, Ariadna Shengelaia was an actress at the Griboedov Theater and taught at the Theater University. “Dramatic art will always prevail if there is an actor with such talent on stage,” Akaki Khorava said of Ariadna Shengelaia's role in Medea Kuchukhidze's play ‘Anna Frank's Diary,’ which was staged in 1964.

Image source: National Film Center of Georgia



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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1217  

January 9 - 13, 2020

Issue #1217  

January 9 - 13, 2020