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Issue no: 971

• AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017



In this week’s issue... Washingtonian Article on First Georgian Restaurant in DC NEWS PAGE 2

BBC Reports on Human Chain Protest against Russian Occupation POLITICS PAGE 4

On the Wars & East-West Relations


A look at the past, present and predicted outcomes nine years on from the war that cost Georgia lives, land and power PAGE 3-6 Source: streampress.com

Georgia Awards US Company Heads for Contribution to Hepatitis C Elimination Program

Georgian Tourism Industry Becoming Interesting for Jews Worldwide BUSINESS PAGE 8

OK! Magazine to Release Special Batumi Edition for Regional Promotion SOCIETY PAGE 10


Batumi Music Fest: First Georgian Festival under UNESCO Patronage


eorgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has awarded the United States (US) Company Gilead Executive President John Martin with the Golden Fleece Order, and Executive Vice President Greg Alton with the Order of Honor for the contribution to the Hepatitis C Elimination Program

in Georgia. The award ceremony was held after a face-to-face meeting at the governmental administration. At the meeting, which was attended by the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, David Sergeenko, Kvirikashvili emphasized the special role of the medicines manufacturer company Gilead in the successful implementation of the unprecedented program of Hepatitis C. “At the meeting, we assessed the program as successful, having saved the lives of 40 thousand people,” the Minister of Health stated. The President of Gilead also underlined that the progress achieved through the implementation of the program is impressive. “It was an honor for me to discuss the implementation of the Hepatitis C program with the Prime Minister. We are impressed with the achieved results,” he said. According to Alton, the Georgian model of hepatitis elimination program is exemplary for the world. “This program is good for the people of Georgia but also it serves as a demonstration of what a country can do for its citizens: the model that has been applied in Georgia can eliminate Hepatitis C globally,” he stated. The health project ‘Georgia without Hepatitis C’ was launched in the country on April 21, 2015, when the government of Georgia and American


biotechnology company Gilead signed a memorandum of understanding. The project helps to reduce and prevent Hepatitis C cases in Georgia. The main goal of the project is to stop the disease from being highly contagious. The treatment is free of charge for citizens of Georgia. All applicants must undergo necessary laboratory examination and if the appropriate results are shown, the special commission decides if the applicant fits the project or not. During the first stage, Sofosbuvir was used as the primary medicine. However, for the second stage Havron was introduced, a newer medicine which is believed to cure 95% of Hepatitis C patients. The average index of Hepatitis C in Georgia is 7.7, which puts it in the top five countries in the world with a high rate of the disease. At present, more than 40,000 beneficiaries are included in the Hepatitis C program, with more than 31,000 treatment courses already completed.





AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017

Washingtonian Article on First Georgian Restaurant in DC BY TAMZIN WHITEWOOD


his autumn, Washington DC, USA, will see its first ever Georgian restaurant opening, to be aptly named 'Supra'. The opening has led to an article being published by the Washingtonian, a leading paper in the US capital. The article talks about the inspiration behind the restaurant, as well as the fact that Georgian Wine is also becoming more and more popular in the US. Owner Jonathan Nelms is not Georgian, but has had a lifelong connection to Georgia. Growing up in central Florida, Nelms befriended a Soviet-Georgian exchange student who came to his high school in 1989. Then, in the last year of the Soviet Union, Nelms went to what is now northern Russia, where he remembers everyone talking about Georgia being their favorite place. “In my mind, it was like this mythical land far away,” the article quotes him. As the years passed, Nelms ended up living in Moscow, where he frequented Georgian restaurants and fell in love with the food without even stepping foot

in the country. Nelms finally managed to visit Georgia and instantly fell in love with the melting-pot type cuisine the country has to offer, with influences from its neighboring countries. When he returned to the US, he and his wife Laura found themselves missing the food. Eventually, it inspired them to open their first restaurant. "Georgian cuisine shares some similarities with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, but the country’s relative mountainous isolation means it’s also quite unique. You’ll find kebabs with sour plum sauce or chili paste, but also a lot of vegetable dishes. Walnuts and pomegranates play prominently in the food, as do spices and herbs like tarragon, coriander, dried marigold petals, and blue fenugreek," the article reads. "Nelms has brought on Malkhaz Maisashvili, a former chef of the Embassy of Georgia who has most recently been working in New York, to lead the kitchen. Nelms had unknowingly tried Maisashvili’s food in 2011 in Tbilisi, where he was one of the executive chefs of a wellknown restaurant group specializing in Georgian cuisine. In recent years, when word got out that Nelms was looking to open a Georgian restaurant, it seemed

Photo courtesy of The Washingtonian

everyone he met was pointing him in Maisashvili’s direction," author Jessica Sidman continues. The article mentions dishes such as khinkali, describing in detail the etiquette

behind the dumplings, and how to eat them the Georgian way. "You hold them by a small nob of dough on top, take a little bite, sip out the hot liquid, then eat the whole thing. Georgians traditionally

put the nobs on their plate to count how many they’ve eaten". Supra is set to open in Washington DC in early autumn. Read the full article online at washingtonian.com.

ENOC Continues to Supply Crude Oil to Iran Despite Sanctions SOURCE: PIA


s previously reported, at the end of July, a VF Tanker-20 carrying crude oil produced by Dragon Oil, arrived at the dock of Baku Port, Azerbaijan. However, after a one-week delay related to the detection of some undeclared cargo on board, the vessel went to the Iranian port of Neka and discharged its crude oil to the terminal operated by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). On August 7, VF Tanker-20 loaded a new cargo of crude oil in Aladja Port, Turkmenistan and moved in the direc-

tion of Baku, Azerbaijan. However, soon after exiting the territorial waters of

Turkmenistan, the ship turned south and later arrived at Neka Port in Iran.

It is believed that this maneuver is linked to the fact that Dragon Oil and ENOC failed to obtain the necessary permissions from Turkmenistan government authorities (State Customs Services and others), allowing the supply of Turkmen crude oil to Iran, and, therefore, issued cargo and custom documents showing the port of discharge as Baku, Azerbaijan, for further transit delivery to Europe. It is said to be possible that Dragon Oil will be unable to obtain such permission due to the worsening of relations between Turkmenistan and Iran following a dispute over payment for Turkmen natural gas delivered to Iran and the intention of the Iranian side to sue Turkmenistan in international arbitration courts.

The ship movements might be explained as the attempts of Dragon Oil and ENOC to hide the true destination of crude oil delivery – Iran, and, therefore, to avoid being included on the list of companies violating US sanctions against Iran. NIOC and NICO (a trading structure of NIOC) and their related entities in various countries are included on the US sanctions list. At present, Dragon Oil and ENOC are loading the third crude oil cargo aboard vessel VF Tanker-13 (belonging to the same shipping company VF Tanker from Russia). Whether this vessel will go to Iran again, bypassing the US sanctions and customs regulations of Turkmenistan, remains to be seen.




August 2008 War Museum Opens in Ergneti BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

A World Famous Jeans to Be Produced in Western Georgia BY THEA MORRISON


ara, Mango, Bershka and Massimo Dutti jeans are to be produced in Ozurgeti, western Georgia, from 2018. The Guria region Governor’s Press Office reports that Turkish company Baykanlar plans to invest GEL 2 million and will employ 300 people in

the first instance. Over the next three years, they plan to increase the investment volume by up to $15 million and employ up to 1500 people. Governor Gia Salukvadze said that Baykanlar was actively researching the possibility of opening a sewing factory in Georgia and held meetings in different regions of the country. “The decision was made to open the factory as a result of the intensive

cooperation of the regional administration with the Turkish side,” Salukvadze stated. Georgian company Ozurgeti Garment has already been registered for the project. The founders of the LLC have addressed the Ministry of Economy over the handover of real estate within the frames of the state-led program Produce in Georgia. The agreement between the Georgian side and Turkish company will be signed in the near future.

few meters from the occupation line, in the basement of the Ergneti village house of local resident Lia Chlachidze, a museum dedicated to the 2008 war was opened. Chlachidze’s house was burned down in August 2008. On rebuilding it, she began to collect photo materials, burned clothes, toys, plates and bomb shards- all mementos from the period of the RussiaGeorgia war given to her by the families

Photo Source: imedinews.ge

living in the village. She then founded the museum entirely at her own expense. “When we came home on August 19, 2008, we saw that there were only walls and ashes left of our house. It was a tragedy. Those five days of war in August 2008 were the most dramatic in our recent history and I wanted the museum to show that,” Chlachidze said in a TV comment to Rustavi 2. A car, riddled with bullet holes, stands in the yard of her house in Ergneti village, as one of the most poignant images of the war. The museum opening was attended by Georgian government officials.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017



his August 8 marked the ninth anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war and, quite naturally, public sentiments in Georgia have been high this week across the whole country. TV channels and various publications have been full of articles dedicated to the event. Amidst that, it is often easy to be misled as to why Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. It should be noted from the beginning that the Russian attitudes toward Georgia are neither based on racial or nationalistic premises. Moscow simply pursues a policy entirely based on geopolitical calculations. It is not even about grabbing additional Georgian land per se, as many want to think. The stationing of Russian military forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the effective occupation of those regions serves a number of military and security aims. The primary reason for fostering separatist regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the early 1990s was to get hold of the vitally important Roki Pass and Abkhazian seashore. Both these routes directly connect the breakaway territories with the Russian mainland. In other words, without control over Abkhazia

and South Ossetia, Moscow would have been simply shut off from processes in the South Caucasus. Yet another significance of the breakaway regions for the Russians has been to keep their troops as close as possible to Tbilisi. This has been done in order

Russian attitudes toward Georgia are neither based on racial nor nationalistic premises. Moscow simply pursues a policy entirely based on geopolitical calculations

The army barracks outside Gori, the central Georgian town bombed during the 5-day war, remembers the event by lowering the Georgian flag to half-mast

to constantly have any Georgian government under pressure by ramping up or cooling military activities in the breakaway regions. Georgia will always be interesting for Moscow due to its geographical position in the South Caucasus. And it is not only about barring Tbilisi from joining NATO or the EU. Russia’s goal historically has been to minimize the importance of the Caucasus mountain range as a barrier between the South Caucasus and the Russian mainland. An insecure, destabilized South Caucasus would be a serious problem for Moscow as it could spill over into the North Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan etc.). But it would be more problematic for Moscow if the South Caucasus was

stable and pro-western. It is exactly for these reasons that the Russians have been threatening the road, pipeline and railway infrastructure running from east Georgia to the Black Sea shore and vital to the entire region. In Moscow’s thinking, an unstable South Caucasus full of Russian troops (as is the case in our time) is what would limit, if not entirely preclude, Georgia from joining western alliances. Thus, these are those geopolitical imperatives which drive Russia’s foreign policy in the South Caucasus. We deal here not necessarily with the anti-Georgian government of Vladimir Putin, but rather a well-thought out strategy on the Russian part as to how to effectively project its military power into the region by limiting the barrier capacity of the Caucasus Mountains. This would also mean that in the event of a regime change in Moscow, it is very unlikely that there would be a change in Russian foreign policy towards the South Caucasus. It is in Russia’s vital interests to keep Georgia at least very weak and unstable. On the opposite side, the loss of Georgia to the West would mean a rapid decrease of Russian power with much wider ramifications for the entire former Soviet space. “Russia-free” Georgia is a nightmare for Moscow as the Kremlin would then be less able to pressure Azerbaijan on export routes. More-

over, the Caspian energy corridor would again see its relevance and Central Asian gas could reach Europe. Georgia in NATO/the EU would threaten Russia’s position in Armenia, too. Yerevan has its own reasons to be Russia’s close ally, but there are also powers which could challenge Armenia’s Russian dependence with NATO/EU member Georgia to their north. Moreover, the ability of Russia to operate its military base in Gyumri will also be questioned as it will be increasingly difficult to manage the base disconnected by NATO member Georgia. It would not even be so much about Russia’s ability to manage the Gyumri base, but the capabilities to counter prospective Western military bases in Georgia in case of military escalation. It is all very much hypothetical, but I try to show through this scenario how strategically important Georgia is for Russia. And this again brings us back to the events of 2008. There is no point trying to find mistakes or missed opportunities in Georgia’s foreign policy since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Whatever the foreign policy course of Tbilisi had been, the country would still have experienced Russian interference. Russia’s geopolitical imperatives simply demand wider access to the South Caucasus which, unfortunately for Georgia, lies through its territory.

BBC Reports on Human Chain Protest against Russian Occupation



he BBC reported on the peaceful protest against Russian occupation held on the Gori highway near the country’s Russian-controlled South Ossetia region, on August 8. The protest saw hundreds of Georgian citizens form a 400-meter human chain. The BBC article, titled ‘Georgians Mourn Russian Land Grab in South Ossetia War’ reported that hundreds of Georgians had formed a human chain. ‘Young and old held hands and stood in silence under the scorching sun’ author Rayhan Demytrie wrote in her article. Many protesters held Georgian flags and banners condemning the occupation.

The article quotes the words of one of the organizers of the protest, David Katsarava, “The war did not finish in 2008 - it continues every day, because the Russian occupiers are on our land”. "Our aim is to unite people and to give them the feeling that it's possible to change something in this war," Katsarava told Ms Demytrie. The article then recounts the story of the Russia-Georgia conflict in 2008, as “Georgia attempted to recapture the breakaway South Ossetia” from a massive Russian invasion which saw several towns, a Black Sea port and military airfields bombed by Russian Air Forces. “Several hundred people lost their lives and thousands of ethnic Georgians were displaced by the conflict,” the article goes on to say. Read the full article on BBC.com.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017



iming to take a closer look at US Vice President Mike Pence’s recent reassurances to Georgia, the anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war and other aspects of Georgia's foreign policy, we spoke to Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

HOW WOULD YOU SUMMARIZE PENCE’S MAIN MESSAGE TO GEORGIA? I think the Vice President has become the point person for the Administration on providing reassurance to the US allies and partners on the Eastern flank of Europe, along with Secretary Mattis. I think his goal while traveling there was to reassure Georgia and others of US support and to confirm that the US considers the Russian threat and challenge to these countries as something it would push against. The question that many people in the region and here have is the extent to which the Vice President or anybody else can speak for the US Administration and to what degree there is a coherent approach to any of these issues. I don’t have an answer to that, I doubt anybody does. These reassurances from Pence are very promising for Georgia, Estonia and others, but until there’s a message to back it up from the President, there’s still going to be a degree of concern in those countries about the US support they can expect.


BORDERS IN SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA? Putin’s visits to the region are in line with the Russian ambition over the last several years to align separatist regions politically, economically and in security terms with Russia. With South Ossetia, this has gone quite far; with Abkhazia it has been quite obstreperous. But there is an interest in the Kremlin to maximize direct Russian control of the region. At the same time, if not heading down the path of formal annexation, which was the case in Crimea leading to the sanctions, having de-facto control of these regions over the longer term is within the Kremlin’s interest. Moreover, moving the border posts along the lines of contact is a way for Moscow to keep a continuing pressure on Georgia, and to signal that the status-quo, established in 2008 is not the final one and what happens there in the longer term is going to depend on the political conjunction of the larger context of Russia’s relations with the West.

DO YOU THINK RUSSIA’S ACTIONS IN UKRAINE COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED BY A STRONGER INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO GEORGIA’S OCCUPATION? The US denounced Russia’s actions in Georgia in 2008 but did not move in a kinetic way. I think the US lacked options: Russia moved very quickly and the fighting was over in five days. There has been a lot of criticism of the Bush and Obama administrations for wanting to normalize and hit a reset process with Russia without considering the de-facto situation in Georgia. It’s an issue for debate and I don’t fault any of them for going down that path. But the Russians took away a lesson when they didn’t face longlasting effect: they were determined they could get away with a similar scenario in Ukraine. In some ways, it was a mis-

Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

calculation. Ultimately, it changed the contours of relations between US and Russia, and Russia and the EU in pretty fundamental ways, in a way that the invasion of Georgia did not.

WHAT ARE YOUR ARGUMENTS FOR OR AGAINST PROVIDING DEFENSIVE WEAPONS TO GEORGIA, CONSIDERING THE BIG PICTURE THAT THE COUNTRY LIVES UNDER RUSSIA’S ILLEGAL OCCUPATION? I have no objections to providing lethal, defensive assistance to Georgia. I think if it’s done, it’ll be a political decision and has to be part of a larger political calculation. Congress recently restarted

a conversation on providing lethal assistance to Ukraine. Again, in principle, I don’t think there is anything wrong with providing that assistance but given where the conflict currently is, a low-level, simmering conflict, I doubt the provision of US or European defensive assistance is going to make a decisive difference in the fighting in Ukraine and is likely to complicate the politics even further. So, while the timing isn’t great, if there’s a large-scale resumption of fighting, it’s an option that needs to be kept on the table for both Ukraine and Georgia.


Georgia’s moving as well as it can, given the political headwinds. The Association agreement was signed and is being implemented and the Georgian government is conducting reforms to bring the country closer to European standards. At the same time, there is less appetite in Brussels for bringing the new members into the EU or NATO, and that is just a fundamental reality that Georgia and other post-Soviet countries are going to face for some time in the future. The challenge for these institutions is to provide incentive for these countries to go ahead with the reforms and to remain valuable partners to the West when the lure of membership in these organizations is off the table at least in the foreseeable future.

EU Delegation, US Department of State Denounce Russian President’s Visit to Breakaway Abkhazia BY THEA MORRISON


ussian President, Vladimir Putin, visited Georgia’s occupied region of Abkhazia on August 8, a day which marked nine years since the five-day Georgia-Russia August war in 2008 which left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. The European Union (EU) Delegation to Georgia released a statement criticizing the visit. “The visit of the President of the Russian Federation to Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia on the day of the anniversary of the August 2008 war, like similar visits before it, infringes upon the principle of Georgia's territorial integrity and risks jeopardizing international efforts directed at the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the statement reads. The Delegation went on to recall the firm support of the European Union for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The United States Department of State released a statement urging Russia to respect Georgia's sovereignty and ter-

Source: Apsnypress.info

ritorial integrity. “The United States views the visit of President Putin to the Russian occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia as inappropriate and inconsistent with the principles underlying the Geneva International Discussions, to which Russia is a party,” the statement reads. Officials in Tbilisi also condemned the

visit, stating that the step was a legitimization of a forceful change of borders of the sovereign state through military aggression, ethnic cleansing and occupation. They called on the Russian Federation to cease its provocative actions against the Georgian statehood and respect the territorial integrity of the sovereign state

While in the breakaway region, Putin met with the so-called President of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, where he said that Moscow was committed to building a joint Russian-Abkhaz military contingent to ‘ensure the security of the people in Abkhazia’. "We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of

Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case,” Reuters quoted Putin. Russian news agency Tass reports that at the meeting Putin pointed to the need for optimal ways to develop Abkhazia’s economy for job creation and its own tax base. Apsnypress, the de facto Abkhazian state-led news agency, reported that the de facto president of Abkhazia stressed August 8 was a day of both mourning and thanks for Abkhazians and Ossetians. “On this day began the large-scale operation by the Georgian army and the decisive actions taken by Russia which enabled the preservation of South Ossetia and of course gave the possibility for further recognition of our governments, for which we convey enormous thanks,” the article quotes Khajimba as saying. Politico.eu reported that NATO was also critical of Putin’s visit to occupied Abkhazia. “President Putin’s visit to the Abkhazia region of Georgia, on the ninth anniversary of the armed conflict, is detrimental to international efforts to find a peaceful settlement,” the spokesman, Dylan White, said in a statement. “We regret that this visit was carried out without the prior consent of the Georgian authorities,” he added.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017

Why are they Still in Business? OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


he failure of the idea of communism and the demise of socialism 30 years ago on the territory of the former Soviet Union has mostly been succeeded by the appearance of the wildest possible capitalism on the selfsame territory, including in Georgia. Almost every possible brand in the world has emerged here since then, from Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to famous French perfume firms and wine stores. Tbilisi is literally overflowing with foreign vestment shops and kitchen utensil joints. Chic trade malls have become a regular sight here and restaurants look as rich as in any famous city of the world. These are all the unfailing features of a country which is flowing with milk and honey and where a high standard of living is a norm. Is this true or not in case of this particular country? Those who are fixtures in those stores and restaurants will say yes, but they are in a flagrant minority, and those who make the unfortunate majority will definitely

How can a nation with only 3.5 million people, the majority of whom cannot even pay their monthly utility bills, create a clientele for stores and restaurants with prices like that? Source: flipboard.com

say no. Let us go to those new-born malls and stores and count how many clients they enjoy round-the-clock. They are often more empty than not, only seeing the occasional straggler sauntering in to enjoy the air-conditioning in the summer heat or, in winter, to warm up. The reason for that emptiness is that the prices in those unnatural-for-a-poor-

country places are through the roof. Who buys food or merchandise there? How can a nation with only 3.5 million people, the majority of whom cannot even pay their monthly utility bills, create a clientele for stores and restaurants with prices like that? So, how come they are still in business? I think this is the question of the century,

and that question needs not only to be asked but answered, too. The survival of a business in an environment which is devoid of market features is almost impossible. If you don’t sell your product, how can you continue operating? There is something uncannily fishy in businesses which are not making money and are still out there in the marketplace.

Who is helping them? Are businesses like this subsidized? Why? What is the bottom-line? What special goals are they pursuing? I can understand why people want to keep television and radio stations running without any remuneration – these are wonderful toys in the hands of those who make money elsewhere and consider radio and television as a medium which is worth investing money in, catering to their own, deeply private interests, but why do people keep merchandise stores which are not frequented at all, or are visited only sporadically? Perhaps this is a feature of the economy of a developing country where people are charitable enough to let the business environment mature so much that in a couple of hundred years they might yield something lucrative, letting tomorrow’s generation enjoy today’s investment in their noble predecessors. I apologize for my sarcasm, but I am sincerely interested in why it makes sense to run a store which is visited by no or few customers. Truth has become a very expensive commodity in our times but the human aspiration to its essence is so overwhelming that we cannot but stay curious. Would anybody venture to give me that piece of the truth?

Georgian Tourism Industry Becoming Interesting for Jews Worldwide INTERVIEW BY GEORGE BERNSTEIN


e spoke to Itsik Moshe, the President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business, about the Georgian tourism sector and the growing interest of the Jewish community in visiting the country. “Positive shifts can be observed in many directions,” Moshe tells us. “The following data is particularly interesting: firstly, there is a 55 percent increase in the number tourists from Israel compared to 2016 and a 43.6 percent increase only in the first half of 2017. The number of direct flights from Israel exceeds 80 per month in summer and the data only of June 2017 suggests that there is already a 37 percent increase in this direction as well. The number of airlines operating in the Georgian market and the number of annual international flights has also increased significantly”.

10 Galaktion Street

He goes on to tell us that the interest of the Jewish investors from various countries worldwide towards the Georgian tourism industry, real estate and hotel business is also increasing on a daily basis. The increase of demand for high class 5+ star hotels and boutique hotels, as well as 3-star hotels, can be observed.

WHAT PROJECTS ARE EXECUTED BY THE MEMBER COMPANIES AND INVESTORS THAT COME THROUGH YOUR ORGANIZATION? Our member companies are actively working in the hotel direction: the construction of Rixos Tbilisi is in its final phase with internal facing works underway. However, allegedly it will not be opened until the construction of the neighboring Panorama Tbilisi facade works are over; the high standard Rustaveli Boutique Hotel, with its original theme, is already functioning and has been handed over for management to a Georgian company; Final Construction permit for Art Hotel, another high-

level boutique hotel/museum in the bath district, has already been granted and the construction works will start as soon as the investors group is formatted; and one of the largest scale projects, Kass Boutique Hotel Group’s Hotel Gergeti, is to open in 2019. Currently, we are leading the negotiations with Akoris Group in Tbilisi to open the 3-star hotel Ibis Red by the dry bridge, following on from the group opening the Ibis Styles Tbilisi Center Hotel this year.

HOW WILL THE HOTEL BOOM REFLECT ON THE LOCAL TOURISM INDUSTRY? IS GEORGIA ATTRACTIVE IN TERMS OF TOURISM FOR THE JEWISH COMMUNITY WORLDWIDE? Let us begin with the raw numbers – in a period of two years there will be a shortage of about 5000 hotel rooms compared to the demand; a new trend of development of new directions in tourism can be observed; cultural tours are becoming especially important. Israeli House, with the Council of Europe

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge

Itsik Moshe, the President of the Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business

and its Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ) and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, are starting a new project: European Route of Jewish Heritage in Georgia, the presentation of this tour took place on June 27 in Jerusalem, while Georgian society will get acquainted

with it on September 5 in the hall of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. The project will be another step towards strengthening the relations of Georgia with the world’s Jewish community, which will be positivity reflected on the number of Jewish tourists coming from Israel as well as the rest of the world.




Without Citizen Involvement, There is No Self-Government BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


he whole idea behind local self-governance can be boiled down to one simple stance: that people should be given a share in decisions that concern their communities. In other words, the participation of citizens who take up part of the responsibility for their villages, towns and regions is the very essence of local self-governance. Even though the Georgian government has been carrying out local self-governance reforms for more than a decade, both local authorities and citizens are still getting used to the fact that they can and they should get actively involved with each other. According to a recent survey conducted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP), only 1 in 5 citizens approached local authorities over the past two years. This, experts say, needs to change in order for Georgia to complete its transformation from post-Soviet, centralized rule into a full-time democracy. Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Georgia, is, however, optimistic about the process. “More and more, people are becoming true owners of the regional and local governance reform in Georgia, with the country’s vibrant and active civil society helping to increasingly bridge this gap and bring local authorities and citizens closer together,” he said. Obviously, this sort of transformation requires huge efforts and doesn’t happen overnight. Together with changing the existing mentality and attitudes, thorough changes need to be made at all levels of state institutions, and in parallel with the introduction of new laws and regulations. These issues were addressed in the amendments to the Local Self-Governance Code, introduced in 2015. New regulations allowed the allocation of specific funds to local budgets to support citizen participation and introduced legal mechanisms enabling general community meetings and petitions. Based on those regulations, it is now possible for citizens to file a petition on any issue which falls under the local self-government’s competence and attend assembly meetings without prior arrange-

ment. Governors, mayors and sakrebulo (assembly) members are obligated to present their annual reports to the community and answer the citizen’s questions. Zviad Devdariani, Head of the Civil Development Agency (CiDA), noted that while there are definitely positive trends to see, there is still vast room for improvement for the governance system in general. “The role of self-governing bodies is to foster and initiate long-term partnerships with local communities instead of providing them with one-time assistance, and the role of NGOs and of international organizations is to ensure such links are established,” Devdariani told us. Support to the reform of the local self-governance system has come from numerous donor organizations. The governments of Switzerland and Austria, respectively, provide financial assistance to ‘Fostering Regional and Local Government in Georgia,’ a comprehensive program supporting the reform, facilitated by the UNDP with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia as a main partner institution. The program was launched back in 2012 and is set to continue until

Beyond Tbilisi: Calvert Journal Writes About Georgia

Drone view Mtskheta, Georgia (cinematography version). Source:Copter Ge



he London based Calvert Journal has published an article on tourism in Georgia, and the many great attractions to be seen outside of the capital. The article starts by mentioning the unmistakable hospitality of Georgians upon arriving at Tbilisi airport, with locals eager for tourists to try Georgian cuisine and visit the many attractions the country has to offer. "The wind blows warm and sweet as you step out of Tbilisi airport. The taxi drivers mingle around offering you a ride. You get in a car, start the inevitable carefree chat with the driver, and it comes as no surprise when he offers you a stopover for khinkali and kindzmarauli in Abanotubani, the capital’s ancient sulphuric baths district (his treat, of course): welcome to Georgia’s faultlessly welcoming capital," the article begins. The publication mentions that Tbilisi is a hard place to leave, with many things to see and do within the capital alone, yet goes on to say that it is well worth the minibus trip outside the city limits. "Signs for ‘Jvari’ will be staring down at you from every tourist board and the dusty windscreens

of hire cars around the city. Set in the mountain wilds not far from Tbilisi, it’s easy to dismiss Jvari as too touristy; the wise course, perhaps, is to set your alarm clock early, rent a car and head there before the crowds arrive. It was here on the mountain that Saint Nino, the bringer of Christianity to Georgia, erected a cross: ‘Jvari’ in Georgian. But leaving such holy matters to one side, this is a place to lose yourself in the otherworldly beauty, where rocks and rivers meet, haze-lit in the morning sun." Other parts of the country are also mentioned: "The cave city of Uplistsikhe (which means “the Lord’s fortress”) was one of Georgia’s first, before being abandoned by its residents in the 19th century. Uplistsikhe comprises various levels of caves and recesses carved into the rock face. It is a mirage among the sand dunes, a fairy-tale city in the middle of the rock formations known as Georgia’s “Grand Canyon”. The journey from Tbilisi, traversing Martian landscapes, brisk mountain streams and the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, is around two hours from end to end. Getting there on your own is complicated (you’ll have to take a bus to Gori and change, before walking several kilometers), so the best option is going with a driver and staying at Jvari en route. Rental cars start at 140 GEL ($58) per day in low season," says the author. Read the full article on calvertjournal.com.

the end of 2017. “The ‘Fostering Regional and Local Government in Georgia’ program consists of several major components. One is policy and legislative support primarily to the MRDI and of course to the local municipal and regional governance bodies,” Marika Shioshvili, Project Manager, UNDP told GEORGIA TODAY. “Another component of the project focuses on strategic planning at central, municipal and regional levels, seeing the implementation of regional development strategies together with local and regional municipalities, and that’s exactly the space where citizen participation is crucial; identifying and naming their priorities”. To provide that link, the program introduced a small grant scheme: a competition for local nongovernmental organizations on projects corresponding to the needs and priorities identified by the regional development strategies. The scheme resulted in 31 local projects implemented across the six regions of Georgia in 2016-2017. Now, as Marika Shioshvili says, it’s time for municipalities to step up to the new reality and use all possible tools to reach out to communities. “We always try to communicate that the munic-

ipality budget is for the needs of local citizens and communities and they are eligible to demand, attend the sakrebulo meetings, or apply with petitions,” David Jikia, Mayor of Rustavi and President of the National Association of Local Authorities (NALAG) told GEORGIA TODAY. He argues though that the relationship has to be mutual. “The majority of requests that we receive are about construction of recreational areas or football playgrounds, restoring roofs or building entrances. Though often it is difficult to make people comprehend that once the work is done, the care and maintenance should be largely the community’s responsibility,” the Mayor said. Merab Topchishvili, the Gamgebeli (Governor) of Marneuli, sees the independence of local authorities as a main factor of the successful implementation of the reform. He argues that giving greater opportunities for mayors and governors to make decisions independently, together with involvement of citizens in local budget planning, has resulted in countless grass-root activities and projects, such as pre-school and care centers or initiatives supporting women’s activity. In Marneuli, the so-called civic budget is one of the tools being introduced to ensure that local funds are distributed in a fair and inclusive manner. One of the projects financed through this budget was Women’s Room: a consultancy and training center where people are offered assistance in drafting and submitting their projects. This, Topchishvili says, has significantly increased the activity of citizens, women in particular. “It is still a common attitude that local authorities are responsible for everything, an idea coming from a Soviet past. It needs time and awarenessraising, but eventually it will change. We still need to understand that our town, city, country belongs to us and we are all responsible for it,” Topchishvili said. Looking back, it seems that a huge step forward has indeed been made since the times of the centralized planning pursued by Soviet authorities. But as the road takes Georgia further, new challenges emerge and the question as to whether Georgia reaches the destination of a full decentralization of powers and resources still remains open.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017

OK! Magazine to Release Special Batumi Edition for Regional Promotion



K! Magazine is to prepare a special edition: OK! Batumi, which is dedicated to the modern tendencies of the beautiful capital of Adjara, as well as to details of the lives and creativity of Batumi celebrities; those generations of successful faces who make up modern Adjara, as well as modern Georgia, by contributing to development in culture, arts, education, sports, business and civil society.

OK! Batumi will give significant space to tourism in Batumi and the Adjara region, offering readers the full low down on the unique tourism potential of the coastal-mountainous region. The concept was revealed on July 29, at Radisson Blu Hotel Batumi. The presentation of OK! Batumi will take place at the beginning of September in Batumi. Attending the festive reception were the representatives of the Adjaran Government, along with those of local business and show business, and guests of Batumi. Radisson Blu Hotel Batumi is the traditional supporter of Batumi cultural projects and readily hosted the celebratory event.

The supporters of OK! Batumi are: the Adjaran Ministry of Finance and Economy; the Tourism Department of Adjara, the Georgian National Tourism Administration and Batumi City Hall. OK! Batumi will be published in September and will be distributed around Tbilisi and throughout Georgia together with OK! Magazine. It will also be distributed to popular cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, beauty salons, clinics and shops in Batumi. You can now download OK! Magazine’s mobile application to catch all the important cultural and celebrity news (available in Georgian).

Some Assembly Required: Etseri, Svaneti



ou know that cute phrase, don’t you, dear reader? The one featured in large or tiny print on that item you’ve just acquired be it toy, electronic device or piece of furniture. The manufacturers cover their bases legally, so that when you get home and realize that the thing isn’t “plug ‘n’ play”, they can just point you to that text and let you know that the fun is just beginning. IKEA has turned this into an art form, a performance art, that is, in which the purchaser all too willingly participates and receives, at the end, the satisfaction of having participated. All tools, to say nothing of parts and fasteners, are included. So my wife tasked me with buying some kitchen furniture in Zugdidi for the ongoing upstairs second kitchen project of the guest house. This is where our selfservice guests will be free to cook and clean up for themselves, to save their money and our time. We needed a cupboard unit and a table, maybe with chairs. I perused the furniture shops all clustered on Rustaveli Street, near the railway station. Plenty of kitchen cabinets, but the set narrowed when I specified

that a) we don’t need a sink, b) it needn’t be more than 4 doors wide, and c) it must be packed into my 4x4, to be reassembled at the other end. I wasn’t expecting solid wood, had been instructed NOT to buy anything second hand no matter how good, so was expecting fiberboard, or DSP as it’s locally called. Not too expensive or fancy, but nice enough for a hopefully steady stream of upstairs guests to use for some years without falling apart. Finally, one set ticked all the boxes, and as a bonus, the same shop featured a good-looking table with a foldout leaf, going from minimum 6 to 8 or more sitters. I asked for it to be ready to load in a couple of hours, and drove away on other shopping business. How two men shorter than I am got the table top onto my car’s roof with no damage to the former, or to themselves is still beyond me, but my stretchy hooked ties soon had the thing subdued and not going anywhere. The rest we loaded inside, and off I went into the sunset towards home. A kind pair of friends staying as our guests offered to help me unpack and do the “some assembly” part; help which in the end I really needed. How many Germans, Armenians, Brits and Georgians does it take to set up half a kitchen? One of each, as it turns out (the Georgian

taking the photo, too), and the German lady was the stereotypical lead engineering mastermind behind figuring out what went where with what from all the disparate pieces we had. No tools came with our purchase, but we needed exactly one: a Philips screwdriver, check. Once we had the pieces separated as the first big job, we knew we were on uncertain ground when it came to order of operations, with no instructions included, just a photo of a similar finished item. And we did make a couple of mistakes which needed backtracking, undoing and then redoing in a better order. But one thing we could say was that not a single screw was missing from the whole large collection needed in the proceedings. The cabinet sat came in two pieces, one sitting on the other instead of being bolted to the wall (which would have required a magnetic stud finder to avoid hanging it on mere drywall). Nice and solid. Nothing wasted, no tempers frayed. My wife held or passed around screws, anchored this or that item when we needed some leverage to push the driver against, and generally encouraged us on. It helped hugely that she liked my choices of model and color, and she approved their fit into the existing space’s décor, too. The Armenian and I supplied the torque with a screwdriver each to speed things up. Now we are one step further along in the guest house’s flexibility plan to accommodate as many different kinds of guests as possible. Next, as the hot weather continues: a gazebo for twenty in the front yard! 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 1500 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017

Batumi Music Fest: First Georgian Festival under UNESCO Patronage



ounded by famous Georgian pianist Elisso Bolkvadze, who became UNESCO’s Artist for Peace in 2015, the Batumi Music Fest, member of the European Festivals Association (EFA), will kick off on September 2, running till September 8 at the Batumi Music Center Concert Hall. In its fifth year of existence, Batumi Music Fest promises to be one of the major cultural events this autumn. Back in 2013, when Elisso Bolkvadze came up with the idea of creating a classical music festival, she thought its concept would be somewhat similar to other musical festivals that already existed, bringing international artists to Georgia. But when she received the UNESCO Artist for Peace status, she decided that with new responsibilities and functions added as UNESCO Ambassador, she would change the focus of the Batumi Music Fest. “I knew that the Batumi Music Fest would be an excellent platform to promote the ideas of cultural diplomacy and the role of culture, and music in the peace building process. For Batumi Art Fest, being under UNESCO patronage is both prestigious and significant,” she told GEORGIA TODAY in an interview. “I decided to bring more of an educational focus to the festival, paying particular attention to discovery, assistance and the promotion of emerging new musical talent,” she said. Although the festival has already hosted a number of legendary pianists, for Elisso Bolkvadze, supporting those who are about to enter the scene is her number one priority. Add to that the fact that carrying UNESCO’s Artist for Peace status means she advocates UNESCO themes and values at the festival, one of them being helping children from conflict zones and those affected by war. “Since we have the fifth anniversary of the Batumi Music Fest this year, I decided to add another original theme to it, and we’re going to have a contest, to be financed by the international SOS Talent Foundation, with its president Michael Sogny himself coming to the festival. It’s not a huge contest; we just want to find talented children of ages 7, 10 and 14 that we could possibly support in their future careers. The contestants will not be judged by how they play, rather we’ll be evaluating their potential, and Michel Sogny will be in the jury, together with

two music pedagogues from Batumi and Giorgi Korkadze from Tbilisi with whom we actively cooperate.” Elisso says. Apart from monetary prizes, which, according to Bolkvadze, will be quite high, winners of the contest will hold a concert at TBC Gallery, supporter of the master classes to be given to children during the Batumi Music Fest. “TBC Bank has always been very supportive,” Bolkvadze says. Yet another novelty of the Batumi Music Fest this year is that, with financial assistance from the Ministry of Education and Science, an art camp is to be organized, seeing almost 300 children from all the regions of Georgia able to attend master classes and trainings during the festival. “Imagine, almost 300 children coming to Batumi from all the regions. The Ministry of Education and Science is fully covering their stay, in partnership with the Batumi Music Festival, and while in Batumi these children will have two trainings and will attend a concert. They are not musicians, though, and with the art camp like this one we attempt to raise their awareness and I’m deeply grateful to Aleksandre Jejelava for supporting this initiative of mine. For me, this is something really important and big; I think it’s the best I can do for my country, planting those tiny seeds in these children that will blossom some day in the future,” Bolkvadze told us. “It takes a lot of energy, time and effort to be in charge of organizing such a massive event as Batumi Music Fest, and there were many challenges that needed thinking through from the beginning. But it brings so much to me personally; the new encounters with extraordinary people, the knowledge. It’s inspiring to know you’re doing something important and valuable for your country which brings you so much satisfaction. The most important thing is that our festival has huge potential for development in the future, and for keeping its word,” she concluded. The festival Batumi Music Fest is organized with the financial support of Ministry of Culture of Georgia, and the Ministry of Culture of Adjara. Elisso Bolkvadze also runs a charity foundation ‘Lyra,’ supporting aspiring young pianists. For outstanding contribution to the development of culture and personal commitment to cultural exchanges between France and Georgia, Elisso Bolkvadze received the distinction of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Republic.




Time is Powerless to Heal Longing BY GEORGE LALIASHVILI, ART CRITIC


he works of Anna Steinhouse-Kandelaki immediately attracted my attention for the qualities that a modern artist needs in order to be able to assert herself in the world of art. Her works assured me that she has not reached figurative painting as a profession by chance and although her choosing to be an artist was delayed by twenty years, it seems to me to be a natural one. Before becoming an artist, Anna dedicated her life to a radically different career - banking, although creativity was always in her nature. As a result, some four years ago, she made the decision to permanently quit her career in the City of London and to dedicate herself to figurative painting. London’s ample artistic scene has undoubtedly contributed to Anna’s move towards her newly found passion. She frequented London’s abundant galleries and museums, most of all enjoying the exhibitions of modern artists. The bustle of London’s artistic world can be encouraging, but also confusing for newcomers. For some, it creates the illusion of quick success. There are numerous exhibitions held in London, but there are still very few that truly move the viewer. Anna became interested in and influenced by the works of various British artists: Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney. She started to study art at various London Art Schools, where an immense knowledge and experience has been accumulated and where any person seriously interested in art can get guidance and inspiration to develop their own work.

With her first exhibition at the graduate show at the Art Academy, this Georgian artist clearly showed herself to have used the experience and become a highly gifted artist. The five portraits that Anna presented were remarkable. Her works were successfully introduced to the wider public. Nowadays, one can often hear that figurative art has exhausted its purpose. I disagree. Figurative painting is as inexhaustible a phenomenon as the soul and the inner world of a human being. For a sensitive and creative portrait artist, figurative art will always remain a contemporary and unexpired genre. At the same time, it is important for a figurative portrait artist to have technical skills and a precise visual memory. Anna SteinhouseKandelaki possesses both. In addition, being a deep thinker and an intellectual,

Portrait of David Gigauri

she has unusual insights into the character of her subjects. She seems to find something interesting and unreachable in each individual, then depicts this on the canvas. Anna named her series of portraits for the exhibition “Home Away From Home” and portrayed Georgians in London who have been living and working far from their homes for a long time, but who have never lost spiritual touch with their historic homeland. It is true that those people are physically very far from Georgia but the homeland is frequently present in their thoughts. Self-assertion and adaptation of an adult person in a foreign country is like the re-planting of a grown tree in unfamiliar soil; it surely needs time to thrive again. But time is powerless to heal the longing that hangs above them like rain clouds. That is the instant that Anna seeks when painting a portrait and that is why she achieves such impressive results when it is done. She captures it perfectly. “Teresa’s Portrait” attracts the attention of viewers not only due to its accuracy but also due to its artistic courage. Anna manages to organically link the language of music and painting to each other in this work. Neat combinations of violet and amethyst and the inclusion of the view of The Muse, a sculptural masterpiece by well-known Georgian artist Merab Berdzenishvili, highlighted with a bright cobalt color in the right corner of the picture, creates a mysterious atmosphere where music is about to be born out of the painting. The views of the Metekhi Temple, Vakhtang Gorgasali’s statue and Georgian ornaments perfectly fit the portrait of Davit Gigauri, an outstanding young Georgian who has organized several events on Shota Rustaveli and his epic mediaeval poem, The Knight in the Pan-

ther Skin, in Oxford and London. Anna has precisely pointed to how suitably the subject carries the pride of his homeland. The unusual composition of “Eka’s Portrait” has a particular effect on viewers. This work reminded me of the picture by the popular photographer Irving Penn, “Human Being in the Corner,” except that the Georgian painter has further intensified the feeling of being stuck. In my opinion, this portrait perfectly expresses the main theme of Anna’s graduation theme, “Home Away From Home”. It depicts the drama of “Double Absence” most powerfully – a feeling that is common for emigrants: being neither here nor there. The artist shows an incomplete view of a window (reality as seen by the model) and a framed landscape of the Georgian countryside (a piece of homeland) not as a whole, but split into two. I have also seen other portraits at Anna Kandelaki’s studio, which once again assured me that she really has significant abilities as a portraitist, and I am convinced that Anna will continue to grow in this direction. However, I have also seen several other highly impressive landscapes. I would particularly single out her work “Spring in Caucasus”. I believe that with the artist’s evidently intuitive sense of nature, she should further develop a body of work of landscape paintings. Georgian galleries used to have a very rich collection of portrait paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, but nowadays there are only a few artists who are seriously working in this genre. It seems as if the line was cut, and this is a serious loss for contemporary art in Georgia. Do we expect this genre to lose its significance and its revival not to be supported? I hope not. . . Anna Steinhouse-Kandelaki’s is the

Portrait of Eka Moniava

descendant of Nickoloz Kandelaki, a famous Georgian portrait sculptor. I considered it necessary to recall this, because when we look at Anna’s work, we have a feeling that they belong to a skillful painter rather than to a beginner. It seems like she has never lost touch with art, despite those twenty years when she had practically no connection to painting. She has been brave to return to the artistic calling, but she has revealed herself to be an intuitive portraitist whose art is never boring. The portraits talk to the viewer with infinite frankness and insight, about the mysterious beauty and strength of the human soul. They will surely always maintain urgency and relevance. Anna Steinhouse-Kandelaki has a wonderful intention to create a gallery of Georgians working abroad, people who are ambassadors of free will around the world and who let the world know about “the scanty but not small nation,” as George Leonidze called Georgia. Anna Steinhouse-Kandelaki’s portraits lead us to expect that she will fulfill this project and create a valuable artistic chronicle of her generation.




AUGUST 11 - 14, 2017


AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava Str. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 GEL August 11-17 THE DARK TOWER Directed by Nikolaj Arcel Cast: Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba Genre: Action, Adventure, FantasyAction, Adventure, Fa Language: Russian Start time: 19:00, 22:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS Directed by Luc Besson Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen Genre: Action, Adventure, SciFiAdventure, Fa Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 20:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL ANNABELLE: CREATION Directed by David F. Sandberg Cast: Alicia Vela-Bailey, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Fa Language: Russian Start time: 19:00, 22:45 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE BEGUILED Directed by Sofia Coppola Cast: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning Genre: Drama Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL DUNKIRK Directed by Christopher Nolan Cast: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh Genre: Action, Drama, History Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:00 Ticket: 10-14 GEL

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL August 11-17 THE DARK TOWER (Info Above) Start time: 19:00, 22:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (Info Above) Start time: 17:00, 20:10 Ticket: 10-14 GEL ALL EYEZ ON ME Directed by Benny Boom Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham Genre: Biography, Drama, Music Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket: 13-14 GEL MUSEUM


September 27 (2016) – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA May 18- November 18 EXHIBITION GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF 18TH-20TH CENTURIES MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Address: 1 Gudiashvili Str. Telephone: 299 99 09 March 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS COLLECTION The exhibition includes works by Bernardo Daddi, Lucas Cranach (Elder), Guido Reni, Jan Steen, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Vassily Kandinski; Masterpieces by Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 5 - September 11 EXHIBITION OF DAVID SULAKAURI'S ARTWORKS The exhibition features up to 100 works by David Sulakauri and a catalog of his artworks. This is the first wide-scale exhibition of the author dedicated to his 65th anniversary. July 11 – August 20 EXHIBITION FIELD OF FLOWERS The name "Field of Flowers" came from the eponymous poem Campo di Fiori by Czesław Miłosz, an honorary citizen of Kedainiai. He wrote it in 1943 in Warsaw during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The exhibition showcases artworks by 14 artists from different countries: Sergey Bratkov (Ukraine), Valery Orlov,

The Blue Noses Group, Yury Vassiliev, Alexandra Mitlyanskaya Oleg Kostyuk, Evgeny Umansky (Russia), Hubert Czerepok (Poland), Elisha Flotser (Israel), Mikhail Gulin (Belorussia), Carl Michael von Hausswoldd (Sweden), Ana Riaboshenko (Georgia), Jacob Kirkegaard (Denmark), Ram Katzir (Israel, Netherlands). MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY Address: 7 A. Ioseliani Str., Mestia July 30 – September 10 Georgian National Museum and Project ArtBeat present HERE A solo exhibition of New York based Georgian artist LEVAN MINDIASHVILI GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge Telephone: 215 73 00 June 8 – September 11 EXHIBITION CONSTELLATION Artworks by Chinese contemporary artists- Ai Weiwei, Hu Xiaoyuan, Li Shurui, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Lu Shanchuan, Ma Qiusha, Wang Guangle, Wang Sishun, Wang Yuyang, Xie Molin, Xu Qu, Xu Zhen, Yan Xing, Zhang Ding, Zhang Zhenyu, Zhao Yao and Zhao Zhao.


GEM FEST 2017 July 14 – August 14 https://gemfestival.com Start time: 9:00 – 12:00 Tickets: Opening Pass: 60 GEL, 3-Day Pass: 120 GEL, Week Multi Pass: 170 GEL, Multi Pass: 500 GEL, VIP Pass 2000 GEL. GEM Fest is a month-long electronic music festival. Blazing a new trail within sight of the Black Sea, some of the world's biggest house, techno and trance DJs make this a stand-out summer party. Now into its third year, GEM Fest 2017 offers more than 500 artists will perform on 9 stages alongside over 100 fun, sports and entertainment activities. Venue: Anaklia August 11 31337 (live), ALEXANDER POPOV, BELLA SARRIS, DASTIA, DUB TEMPTATION, FERNANDO COSTANTINI, FRANCESCA LOMBARDO, GIO SHENGELIA, GOING DEEPER, ISAbella, NIKA J, NUERA, NUJI, PASHA, PIERRE, RADAR, SEVDA, VLADILEN Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 12 BORIS BREJCHA Line Up: DESNA, BORIS BREJCHA, SPACE Resident DJs, JOACHIM AKA CURTIS JACOBS, SOFIA, RODINA Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 13 PAUL KALKBRENNER Line Up: GIO SHENGELIA, RECONDITE, PAUL KALKBRENNER, FJAAK, SPACE Resident DJs, HUBBLE, O.BEE, ANDREA FERLIN, TOPPER Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL August 14 ANDREA FERLIN, BACHO, COBERT, GIO SHENGELIA, HUBBLE, O.BEE, PASHA, SEVDA, SOFIA RODINA, TOMMA, TOPPER Start time: 09:00 Ticket: 100 GEL BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Tsikhisdziri, Adjara August 15 Black Sea Arena and Check in Georgia, Bravo Records and Altervision Group present: IRAKLI CHARKVIANI HISTORY Participants: Stefane, Oto Nemsadze, Mariko Lezhava, Nina Sublati, Levan Maspindzelashvili, Gvantsa Japaridze, Maia Darsmelidze, Soft Eject, Green Room, New One, Loudspeakers, Robi Kukhianidze and Outsider, Erekle Deisadze & Beqa Kundalini Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10-60 GEL MUSIC FESTIVAL SAIRME 2017 Address: Resort Sairme August 12 ENSEMBLE IALONI Start time: 17:00 Ticket: From 80 GEL




Honorary Citizens of Tbilisi: Marika Kvaliashvili INTERVIEW BY MAKA LOMADZE


amous composer Marika Kvaliashvili, has, together with many other awards, been awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi. She is a granddaughter of the first Georgian female bandmaster and singer Maro Tarkhnishvili, and aunt of famous variety singer Eka Kvaliashvili.

WHO IS MARIKA KVALIASHVILI? A Georgian composer and great confidante of nature. I often talk to nature.


Jazz Diaries: The Black Sea Jazz Fest 2017 REVIEW BY INGA MUMLADZE


ugust 2017. Apparently, that’s how diaries start. Eagerly awaiting the Black Sea Jazz Festival. I waited so long for this! Even spent my hardearned cash (that is, my boyfriend’s money) on tickets to Jamiroquai. The entrances were divided into three: Gold, Silver and… not Bronze, but VIP. The VIP was designed for the chosen ones: you could go to the concert straight from club Take Five. And considering that the Gold Pass cost 1000 GEL and the silver one 400, the VIP probably cost a small fortune. Or maybe it was invitation-only? There were plenty of foreigners around, which is a good thing and tells you how ignorant some people can be when they say concerts and festivals are a waste of public spending. These people, right there, were spending their money in Georgia, on things from cocktails to a hearty meal, and even I, with my rather limited grasp of economics, can understand that that’s a good thing. Sweltering hot. At about half past nine, the show began. What caught my ear from the very start was that the acoustics were quite mediocre, and all the noise and clearly too many people squeezed into the tiny space didn’t help, either. As far as I’m concerned, the performance was solid, though I couldn’t say that Jay put his everything out there. He came, he sang, and he left. Not exactly the ecstatic performances you hear people raving about. Might have something to do with his recent health problems, but still, it was way better and way more enjoyable than most of what we get to listen to live during summer. Not that I’m comparing Jay to the city marshrutka repertoire, of course. The next day saw De La Soul as the star performers, and despite not being a fan of them before, I loved every minute of it. Great enthusiasm! Great attitude! With Jamiroquai gone and social justice

restored, the three previously divided ticket spaces were united, there was not as much noise, you could actually move and dance if you wanted so, and you could even hear the music! All of this made this arguably the best day at the Black Sea Jazz Fest. At the end it rained, which was fine with us as it was a hot evening again and there were some kind people from the Heineken stand who gave out raincoats for free. I got one too! Yay for freebies! Definitely the best day. On the third day, Joss Stone- a beautiful woman with a vibrant, clear voice. It was raining again, and it was rather in character as Joss’s is the music best listened to while snuggled up on a sofa with your loved one, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand. Not exactly dancing material, but I still made an effort got my feet moving to two of her songs. One, she said, was written by her brother, who “had much better taste in music,” whereas Joss herself, turns out, was “all about the Spice Girls”. Well, that song was clearly my favorite, so I’m giving credit where its due. One thing I have to say is how much she talked with the audience. Not saying it’s a bad or a good thing, but in the end, she spent half of her concert talking to us. A bit too much communicating and reaching out for my liking, but then again, people liked it and I have a suspicion that many would have left earlier if not for her talking… in Georgian. Well, trying to – every once in while she’d go over to the Georgian soundman and ask him how to say this or that in Georgian. Then she’d come back to the center of the stage, having forgotten half of it. Very funny! She told us “Mikvarkhar” and “Madloba” and all the nice things. All positive energy, that Joss. Oh, and how could I forget? At the end, she brought out sunflowers (not seeds, actual sunflowers) and threw them to the public! How cool is that? And that about concludes my jazz diaries. I was satisfied. Happy, even, considering the heat, rain, noise and whatnot. Will go again next year, for sure. If you enjoy life and music, you should, too!



Commercial Director: Iva Merabishvili Marketing Manager: Mariam Giorgadze



Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison Photographer: Irakli Dolidze

Yes. Her repertoire contained around 500 folk songs. Thanks to my family, I was saturated with music from early childhood. She was the best teacher in life, too, being a very strong and wise woman. I owe her my sense of responsibility to everything. When you’re raised in such a family, you try your best to resemble your ancestors.

Here, in my home town, I see the trees that grew with me.

WHAT DOES BEING AN HONORARY CITIZEN OF TBILISI MEAN TO YOU? I would say that all awards are good when you don’t demand anything yourself. I’m thankful. However, the love of ordinary people, which I constantly get from the street, is the most precious gift of all. Being an Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi fills me with extra power and responsibility. They give you a symbolic key as if enabling you to open the main gate of your native city. It was some 10 years ago and I was really shy. It was an extremely happy occasion and a great honor. Normally, those who receive this award are not young any more. When I go to the regions, I still feel very firm soil under my feet, as people, regardless of their age, greet me with love. I belong to the whole of Georgia, as much as Tbilisi belongs to all our regions.


NATIVE INSPIRATION DOMINATES YOUR CREATIVITY… Yes. I may begin in minor but I always end up in major, as hope never dies. I have dedicated odes to all parts of Georgia and this is how I express my love for my country.


Had I been born in some remote village, I would still have to bear the grace of my native place and do good things for it, trying my best to give hope to others. I was born in Tbilisi, however, it does not mean that I'm better than those who were not born in the capital. Everyone is a child of certain towns or villages, suiting their homelands, if only he/she appreciates them thoroughly.


I was born and have lived in Tbilisi all my life. No matter how much it changes, it remains the same for me because I'm deeply in love with it. I like all its old and contemporary districts. The old districts take me back to my childhood and youth, while the new parts connect me with the future. I look with hope towards the future and am always happy with everything that's done for the good of Georgia. Of course, the old part of the city should be conserved as it embodies the primary image of Tbilisi. The new areas are good only if they're better than the old ones. The old parts shouldn't be changed much, as they are important not only for us but also for foreigners to help them better understand us.




For 10 days, maximum. I love Tbilisi, my district and house, and miss them even after two days.

If I had a chance, I’d like to arrange a creative soiree where my odes to Georgia will be performed.

Website Manager: Tamzin Whitewood Website Copy-Editor: Gabrielle Guerrier Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

Our traditions of Georgian supra and Tamada (toastmaster). Hrow we greet guests and what kind of hosts we are. Of course, our dishes and the decoration of our supras, too. We should get them acquainted with the celebration tradition of two major holidays of ours: Easter and New Year, later on, demonstrating our culture, which is most valuable. Our folklore, music and dance, is a pattern to the rest of the world. I have attended a lot of symposiums, but our folk is peerless. I am not biased in this case as I respect all other valuable cultures. But we are champions in folklore.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #971  

August 11 - 14, 2017

Issue #971  

August 11 - 14, 2017