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Issue no: 895

• NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016



In this week’s issue... UNM and GD Congratulate Trump on Winning the Elections NEWS PAGE 3

Voices from the US, Post-11/9 POLITICS PAGE 4

Church & Politics POLITICS PAGE 6

Your House in Lisi Green Town Awaits BUSINESS PAGE 10

FOCUS CARTOON: Brian Patrick Grady


Georgia congratulates President Trump amid hopes that the strategic partnership will hold

PAGE 2-8

EU-Funded ENPARD Summarizes a Successful 3 Years in Georgia


Turkmenistan Marks its 25th Day of Independence SOCIETY PAGE 12

INTERVIEW: Cecilia Zoppelletto, Director, Featured in GIFT 2016 CULTURE PAGE 13

Natakhtari Lemonade and Rugby Association Kick Off ‘Get into Rugby’ Project



he European Union (EU) funded European Neighborhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) evaluated its results achieved in Georgia over the last three years in Kutaisi, Imereti region, on November 8-9. The Interagency Conference was organized by ENPARD organization ‘People in Need’ in cooperation with the Akaki Tsereteli State University of Kutaisi and Czech University of Life Sciences of Prague. The conference was attended by ENPARD partners, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmer groups. The participants discussed the progress of the cooperative development component of the ENPARD program and discussed achieved results gained through major implementation methodologies, key findings and shared experience. It was noted that the cooperative system, sup-

Upgraded American BBQ Restaurant Offers Smoking Hot Experience in Tbilisi


Source: ENPARD

ported by ENPARD, can lead to the improved economic development of the country. The participants noted that for the further development

of cooperatives, strong support from the Ministry of Agriculture is essential. Continued on page 3




NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

MFA Reacts to US Election Results BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI


he Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, reacted to the US election results, saying Georgia supports the choice of the United States. "America is our strategic partner, and in 2017 we will celebrate 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. This relationship has been based on the mutual interests of our countries and

mutual benefit," he said. Janelidze also talked about the importance of the US Congress resolution on the territorial sovereignty of Georgia. He also expressed his support of both the Republican and Democrat parties. "We enjoy very solid support from the USA, which was further illustrated recently, in September, when the US Congress passed a resolution unanimously in support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. This reinforces the relations between Georgia and the United States and, therefore, any choice of the American people will continue to support these relationships," the Minister added.

Ian Kelly Says US Election Results Won’t Affect Geo-American Relations BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI


he US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, says that the 2016 US Presidential election results will not affect the Georgian-American relationship. He adds that proof can be found in the recent (September) Congress resolution, which supports the sovereignty of Georgia. "November 8 was a special day for the United States. We must listen to the people who want the changes. I think the United States' support for Georgia will not change. This is confirmed by the Congress resolution which supports the sovereignty of Georgia. I will continue to cooperate with the new administration in terms of providing support and maintain relationships with Georgia," Ambassador Kelly said.

Presidential Fund to Fix Fire-Damage in Ancient Vardzia Cave City Vardzia cave monastery. Source:



eorgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili has stated that the Presidential Fund is to allocate finances for restorative works of unique wall paintings in Vardzia cave city, which were damaged due to a fire a week ago. A group of experts evaluated the situation and decided that the paintings could be restored but the process would be very long and very complicated. The restoration works are scheduled from 2017 and the finances from the Presidential Fund will be spent on conservation of the paintings. Vardzia, located in South Georgia, is a 12-13th century cave complex featuring hundreds of rooms and passageways connecting caves carved into rock formations. The fire broke out at the Saint Mary church located inside one of the caves on November 1 and left the unique wall paintings covered in soot. The exact cause of the fire is unknown. However,

the Head of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Nikoloz Antidze stated it was allegedly a lit candle that caused the fire. Such damage of a cultural heritage site would normally incur sanctions, but as it is under the ownership and responsibility of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church, no sanctions will be applied. This regulation affects heritage sites under the ownership of any religious community. President Margvelashvili noted that the state policy towards cultural heritage preservation needs to be changed. He said that it should be defined how the State and the Patriarchate of Georgia share responsibilities for protection of cultural sites. “The State should be given an opportunity to protect its cultural heritage properly,” the President stated. Vardzia is a cave monastery city in southern Georgia, excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain on the left bank of the river Mtkvari, thirty kilometers from the town of Aspindza, Samtskhe-Javakheti region. At present the damaged part of the complex is closed to tourists and visitors. However, the other parts of the monastery are open as usual.




UNM & GD EU-Funded ENPARD Summarizes a Successful Congratulate Trump on 3 Years in Georgia Winning the Elections

Continued from page 1

The organizers gave farmers several recommendations regarding development of cooperative services, improving their access to financial loans and offered assistance to small farmers for the improvement of product quality. “The conference was very interesting as there were thorough, content-based discussions from all sides of the project. I can say that there are positive trends regarding the development of cooperatives that were presented at the conference,” said Cristina Casella, Attaché and Program Manager of the European Union Delegation to Georgia. Lauriane Gauny, Head of the mission of People in Need, noted that it was very important to gather all practitioners who have been involved in supporting cooperatives, as well the members of cooperatives and farmers. “There is increasing awareness and understanding among the program participants about the benefits of belonging to a cooperative,” she said. The EU-founded ENPARD program was launched in Georgia in 2013 under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. At present, the Strategy of Agricultural Development in Georgia 2015-2020 is the main policy document guiding the sectoral reforms in the country. The main objective of the Strategy is the develop-



ment of agriculture through strengthening small households and forming profitable production chains. Under the agreement, Georgia is obliged to promote agricultural and rural development, in particular through progressive convergence of policies and legislation, including sharing knowledge and best practices of rural development policies to promote the economic well-being of rural communities, enhance the administrative capacities at central and local level and to plan, evaluate, implement and enforce policies in accordance with

EU regulations and best practices. The EU is a key donor in this area in Georgia, which, within the Single Strategic Framework (SSF) 2014/2017 for Georgia, has to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector by means of increasing volume and value of outputs in the agriculture sector, increasing knowledge and improving agriculture technologies for small farmers, and increasing the role of small farmers in commercial farming. The EU’s main tool for achieving these aims in Georgia is the ENPARD program.

olitical parties United National Movement and Georgian Dream have released statements congratulating the USA’s newly Elected President Donald Trump on his victory in the 2016 presidential elections. Ruler party Georgian Dream also congratulated the Republican party on their victory. “Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia congratulates Mr. Trump on being elected as the US president. We also congratulate the Republican Party on winning the US congressional elections. “Georgian-American relations count more than 25 years of stable strategic partnership. Our relations have been developing under the rule of every government and leadership in different strategic directions. We are confident

that under the leadership of President Trump, Georgia and the US will continue the existing cooperation with new energy in order to ensure peace, security, freedom and economic development. “We reiterate our readiness to work closely with the new administration and Congress in order to deepen our already existing and successful strategic partnership and friendship between our countries,” read the statement of Georgian Dream. Opposition Party UNM also released a statement in which the party expressed its hopes to remain a strategic partner to the USA. "It is of crucial importance for the security of our country and the entire region to strengthen strategic relational ties between Georgia and the USA. We hope that the new president and the administration will keep intensive GeoAmerican ties and Georgia will remain in the US foreign policy agenda,” they said.

This is an ideal place for guests: high-quality services, a beautiful interior, an exquisite music program, a team of qualified managers and waiters, and delicious dishes. One who has visited our restaurant at least once will definitely be back and alway speak enthusiastically about Georgian House. Georgian chefs show guests our centuries-old traditions and developed history of our country. Therefore, as guardians of this treasure, we try not to change the taste features of our national dishes, to keep authenticity and offer guests everything as it was centuries ago. The menu of Georgian House is diverse: in the menu there are more than 200 dishes, including national, European and Asian dishes. The menu, with dishes from different regions of Georgia, is admirable to foreign guests. Most of the recipes passed down from generation to generation in families and then reached us. Some dishes, with the help of emigrants returned to Georgia, have been prepared in Georgian House for the first time. Periodically, our cooks create new dishes and the menu is constantly being updated. European cooks often visit us and we have culinary master classes of GeorgianEuropean dishes. If you wish to enjoy the diversity of new and century-old history dishes, come and you will realise you have found your Georgian home.




NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016



n November 8, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President-electoftheUnited States of America, defeating his democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton. Trump’s triumph shattered the entire country, especially its eastern and western parts which massively supporting Clinton’s candidacy. The morning of November 9 in the US was arguably well-described by a single phrase, "Never forget 9/11, always regret 11/9,” comparing Trump’s victory in the presidential race to the 9/11 tragedy. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where I am now based, has been an integral part of the US electoral process given that its Dean, Retired US Admiral James Stavridis, was expected to take one of the key roles in Clinton’s potential national security team. Stavridis, on the morning of November 9, summarized his position by saying,

“As we take a collective deep breath and review the outcome of this long and unfortunately ugly Presidential campaign, there are more questions than answers for the US body politic domestically.” The new President-elect is expected to face a very full inbox over the coming months. “Given his lack of experience in both governance generally and foreign affairs particularly, he will hopefully bring a businessman’s ability to prioritize and ultimately triage some of the most pressing problems ahead,” Stavridis said, continuing, “he will also bring in a largely unknown foreign policy, national security, intelligence and cyber security team.” Fletcher School students, representing over 35 countries worldwide, expressed their clearly anti-Trump views, stating that the future US Commander-in-Chief should not be a person with racist views and extreme disrespect toward women and immigrants in the nation. In addition, the young people spoke of their concern about Trump’s opposition of NATO and his respect toward Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Nicholas Normand, a French MA student at Fletcher wrote on his Facebook page, “America, you shattered so much of the confidence I had in the future, so much of what I believe in.” “And the winner is... Vladimir Putin,” said Zoltan Feher, a Hungarian diplomat currently doing his MA studies at Fletcher. “I expect that history will probably agree this was our turning point. Let's try to go out with some dignity, at least,” says Cody Parker, a New York resident, 25. Even though Trump has been distinguished by his appeasement rhetoric toward Russia and harsh critique of NATO, it is a matter of discussion who will take America’s key National Security offices in the near future. Among other variables and Trump’s alleged unpredictable personality, his future policies and strategies will probably be open to analysis once he composes his cabinet and makes his very first moves in America’s domestic and foreign affairs. Zviad Adzinbaia is an MA candidate in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Georgia’s PM Hopes for Continued Deep Strategic Partnership with US BY THEA MORRISON


he Georgian government has congratulated the new President of the United States (US) Donald Trump on winning the presidential elections held on November 8. Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, released a statement of congratulations, confirming the Georgian government is committed to continued cooperation with the US under the new administration. "I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Donald J. Trump on his victory in the presidential elec-

tions. The American people voted for change, oriented on making the US even stronger,” the PM’s statement reads. Kvirikashvli also highlighted the fact that Georgia and the US started building mutual relations after Georgia gained independence. “Based on the history on mutual trust and confidence, we have developed a strong, comprehensive and deep strategic partnership between our two nations,” the PM said, going on to reiterate that the Georgian government is committed to continue working with the US under the new leadership and administration for ensuring peace, security, development and freedom in the region and throughout the world.

Ukraine Reformist Central Banker Steadfast Under Political Pressure BY EUGEN ILADI


t midnight on October 31, an online database made public the incomes and assets of Ukrainian political officials. The so-called declaration system was meant to provide transparency and discourage corruption. Instead, Ukrainians became painfully aware how wealthy their government officials had become. Ukrainians, who earn a mere USD 200 a month, began to question the value of the anti-corruption campaign. Ukraine is deeply divided. On one side is an entrenched, moneyed elite that has steadfastly resisted reform. On the other side is a new coalition of young technocrats that wants to modernize the economy and get rid of corruption. Valeriya Gontareva, governor of the National Bank of the Ukraine, has emerged as a leader for the latter group and has come under fierce attack as a consequence. Prior to the Euromaidan revolution in 2014, the administration of former president Viktor Yanukovych allowed banks and bank owners to operate virtually without restrictions. Corruption was endemic. Many bank owners treated the institutions they oversaw as their personal pocketbooks. They routinely gave themselves extravagant loans with no intention of repaying them. Some even used the loans to buy more banks and increase their spheres of influence. Gontareva began dismantling these banks soon after taking the helm at NBU in June 2014, eventually closing nearly half of Ukraine’s 180 banks. In accordance with the law, she has transferred assets from shuttered banks to the Deposit Guarantee Fund, Ukraine’s equivalent of the FDIC, which reimbursed depositors for some of their pyramid-like scheme losses. As a result, many of Ukraine’s richest business executives were enraged by the loss of their banks and their access to easy cash. They include some of Ukraine’s most prominent oligarchs, such as Dmytro Firtash (Nadra Bank), Kostyantyn Zhyvago (Finance and Credit Bank) and Oleh Bakhmatiuk (Financial Initiative Bank, VAB Bank). These well-connected businessmen used their bank franchises as cash cows to generate revenues for partyrelated businesses and to fund their extravagant lifestyles. The National Bank of Ukraine’s decision to use a flexible exchange rate rather than a fixed rate exacerbated tensions with the nation’s elite, who saw the value

Valeriya Gontareva, governor of the National Bank of the Ukraine

of their holdings plummet. The National Bank had no choice but to devaluate in the face of a huge budget deficit. But the swift depreciation of the hryvnia led to a sharp rise in Ukraine’s annualized inflation to a whopping 61 percent in April 2015. Fortunately for Ukraine, Gontareva’s hardball monetary policy brought inflation down to 8 percent within a year. Gontareva’s determination to fight corruption and enforce a modernized monetary policy left her with few friends in the halls of power. The National Bank was dogged by demonstrations backed by failing bank owners. During meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, Ukrainian steel businessman and independent parliamentarian Serhiy Taruta distributed a thirtytwo-page pamphlet titled Gontareva: A Threat to the Economic Security of Ukraine. The pamphlet, poorly translated into English, called for Gontareva’s ouster. It describes her as “the most destructive force in the Ukrainian economy” even though most major economic indicators suggest the opposite. The pamphlet spurred action in the Ukranian capital of Kyiv. Just days after the IMF and World Bank meetings, Ukrainian parliamentarians introduced a draft law calling for major changes in the National Bank of Ukraine including stripping away its independence and dismissing Gontareva. In Parliament Gontareva’s opponents are led by Oleh Lyashko and Viktor Galasiuk, the chairman and deputy chairman respectively of the Radical Party and sponsors of the draft law. In his public declaration of assets, Lyashko listed only a single pitchfork. Batkivschyna Party leader Yuliya Tymoshenko has also thrown her weight behind Gontareva’s detractors, spurred from the shadows by billionaire oligarch Igor Kolomoysky and the Privat Clan. Kolomoysky runs Ukraine’s largest bank Continued on page 7



Trump’s Election Ushers in a Period of Uncertainty for Emerging Nations BY NICHOLAS WALLER


he 2016 presidential election in the United States will be seen as a watershed moment in political history. For the first time in its history, the world’s oldest constitutional democracy elected a right wing, former reality TV populist as its president. Amidst all the hand wringing by supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Trump’s record of misogyny, sexism, racism, antiSemitism, Islamophobia and affinity for authoritarian leaders, real questions will now emerge about what kind of effect Donald Trump’s victory has for US foreign policy. Trump spent little time during his 16-month bid for the Oval Office talking about the specifics of his administration’s foreign policy. None of his surrogates or Trump himself offered any hint of how he would handle many of the world’s more troublesome hot spots – including the Caucasus. Trump often made outlandish, bellicose statements about how he would launch crippling attacks against ISIS, dismember the NATO military alliance and arm Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons. When hard evidence emerged that top members of Trump’s campaign team had close ties to Viktor Yanukovych, the ousted pro-Russian former president of Ukraine, it strengthened the conventional wisdom that Trump and many of his inner circle harbor warm feelings towards the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump has publicly praised on many occasions. It’s widely known that Trump’s top military advisors – Vice President-elect Mike Pence and former General Mike Flynn – believe that both Russia and the US have specific spheres of influence and have openly critiziced NATO for expanding into countries once part of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. Both men, Flynn in particular, have faced strong rebukes from other fellow high-ranking officers in the military and the intelligence community for what many perceive as the two being overly complimentary to Putin and dismissive of Russia’s revanchist foreign policy over the last two years. While the world can only speculate how President Trump will formulate his various strategies towards dealing with the world, one can assume that it will be markedly different from outgoing President Barack Obama’s view that American national interests are best served by working with a multipolar, globalized world. Trump’s campaign statements and the inner circle around him have frequently voiced opinions that appear to be aimed at dismantling decades-old alliances and ripping up trade deals that are the engines of the world’s economy. The overall net effect on developing countries like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine –all of whom have spent years trying to incorporate into the West by making moves to later join the European Union and NATO – will become a major question and point of deep anxiety in Tbilisi, Kyiv and Kishinev. Flynn, who is likely to be tapped as Trump’s National Security Advisor and who was sacked by Obama in 2014 as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) over his management style and conflicts with the White House over his insistence that the DIA focus on radical Islamic terrorism instead of the threat of Russian aggression following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. In an interview with the Washington Post, Flynn described himself as "not at all hostile to Russia," and was later described by Vox magazine as “having an open affection for Russia and its authoritarian government." Flynn has been a regular guest analyst on the Kremlin’s state-controlled mouthpiece RT (formerly Russia Today) where he frequently criticizes the ongoing existence of NATO and the West’s support for Ukraine’s democratic ambitions. At a 2015 gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT’s 10th anniversary, Flynn was seated next to Putin. His actions since leaving the military are seen by many of his former fellow soldiers as nothing less than traitorous. “Flynn’s flirtations with Russia and Putin are a disgrace to the army and to his country,” a former army officer and Afghan War vet said in a conversation just days before the election.

Mike Pence and President Donald Trump. Source: MICHAEL CONROY/AP

Trump’s inexperience, lack of knowledge and general disinterest in foreign policy will likely lead to a larger hand-on roll for the incoming national security advisor. Trump’s own hostility towards grassroots democratic movements – he’s frequently referred to the pro-democracy revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia and Hong Kong, as well as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre – as ‘riots’, ‘run by hooligans’. Coupled with Flynn’s admitted admiration for the Kremlin’s view that the world is divided into two halves, the Western oriented future for Georgia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries will come under threat. The governments in Tbilisi and Kyiv should not expect strong support over from the White House in the next four years, chiefly because the incoming administration does not view the former Soviet space as being anywhere near the top of their foreign policy agenda. A key appointment in Trump’s incoming cabinet could come in the form of John Bolton, whom many believe will be the next Secretary of State. Bolton was former President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the UN – though he was and remains a staunch opponent of the United Nations – and a key player in Bush’s inner circle of “neo-conservatives;” the chief architects of Bush’s Iraq War policy. Bolton’s bellicose style matches that of Trump’s and Flynn’s. His penchant for dressing down ranking officials in public has endeared him to Trump, as it closely resembles Trump’s own character on the reality TV show he once stared in. Bolton’s appointment will undoubtedly signal a far more combative and less cooperative tone from Washington. Trump, Flynn and Pence have all gone on record saying they are open to the possibility of ending economic sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and formally recognizing Moscow’s annexation of Crimea – a move that would be a cataclysmic rupture in the West’s coordinated efforts to stop Putin from taking similar actions in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. A heightened sense of anxiety will emerge in Tbilisi and Kishinev, where the Georgian and Moldovan governments are dealing with their own Russian-occupied breakaway regions. The sense from officials in both countries is that if the Trump administration is willing to hand over a vitally strategic region like Crimea to Putin, the current statuses of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria will certainly be put on the table by Moscow. Trump’s virulent hostility towards Western institutions including the EU and NATO, his maniacal obsession with beginning a trade war with China and his ability to alienate every Muslim country on Earth through his own bigotry and neo-Fascist diatribes will, once again, call into question the morality of the United States’ actions around the world. It will most certainly usher in a far more unilateral American foreign policy initiative over the next four years. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, countries that find themselves outside of the narrow worldview of the new Trump administration, will then be forced to go it alone until at least 2020.





NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

Church & Politics OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA


he Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia is going to visit Moscow. Again. According to the official statement, Ilia II of Georgia only plans to take part in the ritualistic side of events to congratulate the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow on his upcoming 70th birthday. However, if we recall the time five years ago, when Ilia visited Kirill for his birthday and also met Prime Minister Medvedev, there discussing the issue of IDPs returning to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, we can assume that apart from the clergy, Ilia II will also be meeting a number of

others. The same thing also happened two years later, when Ilia II visited Kirill to celebrate his own 35 Coronation Jubilee… and also met President Vladimir Putin. The current visit will continue for an extended period this time, starting November 18 and ending November 24. As Ilia II will return only the following day, he will not be in Georgia to attend the nation’s favorite St. George’s Day celebration. This further enhances interest towards the planned visit, and the Russian media has already made the first comments to the belief that, apart from the brotherly love of our Patriarch towards Kirill, he will also be “taking” Georgian Dream (GD) with him. Nezavisimaya Gazeta is confident that

the triumph of the GD in the parliamentary elections is the biggest gift that Georgia could present to Moscow, not only to Patriarch Kirill but to the Kremlin. Compared to the United National Movement, the current political party is in fact very interested in building relations with Russia. Today, everyone in Tbilisi is well aware that, without tight relations with Russia, the “ship” of the Georgian State won’t be able to “float.” Of course, the Georgian Patriarch also needs to discuss Ecclesiastic issues, not only political ones. In particular, the fate of Georgian churches and monasteries located in the occupied territories which are under the subordination of the Georgian Orthodox Church de jure, since, in fact, the high priests working there do not obey its rules and nor do they mention it during sermons. Whether the visit of the Patriarch of All Georgia signals an enhancement of relations between Tbilisi and Moscow is hard to say. It is significant that before the visit to Moscow representatives of the Orthodox Church of Georgia visited Brussels and held meetings in NATO Headquarters, bringing a message from Ilia II regarding the Black Sea security project and the role of Georgia in it. NATO is expected to make a decision about Georgia’s participation in the new military project by the end of this month. Whether the intensification of the Georgian Orthodox Church on the political front is accidental or not will probably become clear in the near future. However, almost everyone acknowledges the political role it plays in the processes, Brussels among them. “It is a great privilege for me to meet with archbishops and members of Geor-

gia’s Holy Synod, here for the first time,” said James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, at the meeting. “When the Deputy Secretary General of NATO was in Georgia he met head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II. The delegation members said that their position is to support of the will of the Georgian people. We know what an important role the Church plays in Georgian society.” Explaining the reason behind the political intensification of the Georgian Orthodox Church is not hard, since, when accused of rotating on a Russian orbit, it tries to deny sympathies towards Russia and to support the Georgian Dream in

the declaration of its pro-Western course. This narrative, as well as the actions of both sides, once again proves that the Georgian Dream is the number one partner of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The GD knows that being in harmony with the Church will guarantee its power and vice versa. The Church also owes a toast to the GD for upholding its privileges and authority.



NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

Russia, Georgia, My Wife & I OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE


happen to be one of those innocent martyrs personally suffering from the historically damaged and presently irredeemable RussianGeorgian relations, and the reason for my martyrdom is my longstanding marriage to a Russian citizen, who is an ardent patriot of her beloved Russia and a rather reasonable buff of Putin’s extravagantly arrogant style of leadership. This said, I have to state the fact that I am a native Georgian, reared in the lap of indigenous culture, who has by a sheer accident slaked his thirst for westernization straight from the Potomac waters. Incidentally, the main lady of my household is – almost eagerly – for the reincarnation of the Soviet Union in its original borders, thus lawfully and peacefully reincorporating the pilfered territories back into the Georgian mainland, whereas I might easily run amuck just at the thought that the monster could someday be back. My wonderful madam sincerely believes in the width and depth of the Great Russian soul and the fairness of its imperial covetousness, whereas I carnally hate all that the giant Russia has done to my minuscule Georgia. My better half is expressly proud of the Russian integrity with which it treats the world, whereas my heart and blood vessels are fit to bursting due to the meekness of the gullible believers that Russia will soon open its warm heart and noble mind to embrace its longrelinquished and torn-apart baby brother and heal its lacerated body. We could certainly try to reconcile our differences provided the discrepancies were of temporary character and readily curable, but they have persisted far longer than any tolerable limit of pain and,


Ukraine Reformist Central Banker Steadfast Under Political Pressure Continued from page 4

according to most experts, the chances of seeing a silver lining on the murky cloud of the Russian-Georgian intercourse is as slim as it has ever been. So what kind of a conjugal discourse you think the walls of my abode hear on an almost daily bases as we sit at the breakfast table – or otherwise – at home? The worst part of the whole story is that both of us are natural big mouths: we love to speak our minds loudly; we discuss the situation vehemently with no sign of attenuation; we also try to stay calm but we always end up in a nastily politicized quarrel. This is how politically dependent my family peace and bliss has become. And this is the way we both suffer, as the lovers of our respective countries in the middle of the pro-

crastinated Russian-Georgian territorial strife, of which no end is beheld on the misty horizon. By the way, the structure of the conflict is plain: Russia annexed Georgian territories, diplomatic relations between them are broken and reinstatement of said ties is unacceptable for Georgia until its territorial integrity is restored, which Russia will never allow. A real vicious circle! The Russian-Georgian conflict is the reason I have desisted from believing in mixed marriages – you fall in love with an outlander and marry the darling, and then only the devil knows what is going to happen. How many hundreds of years should we stick around to see Russia and Georgia in mutual friendship and

cooperation again, so that any mixed marriage between them is safe and ready to procreate the good instead of the evil. Nobody has even the faintest educated clue or at least a stray prognosis of what it would take to see those two nations back in the same warm and caring caboodle. Anybody’s guess is going to be wrong. Any forecast will be off target. Any prognostication will fail. No trained brain is strong enough to produce anything in least way smart for getting Russia and Georgia to “make it up.” Meanwhile, life goes on and marriages like mine are losing their usual charm, strength and legitimacy, saying nothing about the connubial power that must keep two blameless people together and happy.

and has been aggressively defending it against Gontareva’s reform attempts. While Lyashko and his allies say the legislation is popular, it is in fact a thinly veiled attempt to weaken the central bank and strengthen the hand of the kleptocratic elites. Gontareva enjoys wide support internationally and also at home among some key constituencies. Sixteen of Ukraine’s largest commercial banks, including reputable international ones like Raiffeisen, Banca Intesa and BNP Paribas, signed a letter in support of the independence of the National Bank of Ukraine and its Governor. The IMF, the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and ambassadors of the G7 Group have also offered their support for Gontareva’s reform policies and criticized attempts to weaken the role of the banking regulator. Ukraine needs reform. Aid from the International Monetary Fund, for example, is dependent on the independence of the central bank. What’s more, any move to limit the central bank’s independence would almost certainly end financial assistance from the West and jeopardize Ukraine’s relations with its creditors. Gontareva’s leadership opens a new chapter in Ukraine economic progress and anti-corruption fight. Her drive for transparency and modernization deserves wide support.




NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

Putin Ready to Restore Relations with Washington BY DIMITRI DOLABERIDZE Source:

Trumped! Ogden on The Results OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN


n a year which has seen beloved celebrity deaths and increasing division between the peoples of Europe, many are describing 2016 as the worst year ever. I daresay those who lived through 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 might disagree with them, but Donald Trump's election to the Presidency of the United States might well prove disastrous enough to make this year one of the worst in living memory. Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is deservedly unpopular, she would at least have kept the ship of state on course and stable, rather than trying to turn the ship into a floating hotel and casino that grants entry to people of the right background and creed, and then illuminated the whole thing with neon lights. Had Clinton won the presidency, the tangible changes would likely have been limited; Clinton's four years in the White House would probably have lacked the style and charisma of Barack Obama, but there would have been few surprises in terms of policy. That she is a proven liar matters little and less, since politics is devoid of honesty anyway. The Americans (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the civilized world) treated Barack Obama as a messiah whose talk of change would lead the world into a new golden age, with the old rivalries and wars of previous years firmly in the past. That nothing much changed at all was a big disappointment, but nor was it seen as a total disaster; if things hadn't changed, they hadn't gotten any worse either. Obama was revealed to be a fine orator whose few major achievements will be looked on more kindly due to his own charisma and, more importantly, that of his successor. For the first time, the result of a democratic process will not result in minor policy changes that people disagree with on principle but which have little tangible bearing on their lives. Democrat, Republican, Labor, Conservative...even if one's chosen candidate fails, generally the victor can be borne with, since they will be experienced politicians with realistic aspirations. Donald Trump is neither an experienced politician (nor, indeed, a politician at all) and his plans are unrealistic at best and discriminatory at worst. A petulant, spoiled businessman is to run the most powerful country on Earth. Even a day after the announcement, much has already been written about

the personal and professional failings of Donald Trump, and there is little to be optimistic about for both Americans and America's allies. That belief that NATO is obsolete and has failed to adapt in the post-Cold War era might have some merit behind it, but as the Russian Federation becomes increasingly aggressive, the Alliance must bolster its capabilities rather than dissolve, something which Trump described as being 'okay'. Indeed, Trump's admiration of Putin and sympathy towards Russia's actions in Syria have caused significant alarm. The President-elect simply does not view Moscow as a threat; the enemy he intends to fight is extremist Islam, by 'bombing the s*** out of ISIS' and preventing Muslims from entering the United States. A comprehensive examination of Trump's policies would fill several books, but something which has not been mentioned much is the effect his presidency might have on Eastern Europe. Despite Russia's aggressive policies, the Kremlin has made sure that its provocations do not step beyond the point of no return. Even if NATO as seen as being weak compared with Moscow's ruthlessness and disregard for international norms, the Alliance's unified military might have dissuaded Putin from pushing matters too far. A more sympathetic government in Washington with little regard for Europe (Trump was an outspoken supporter of Brexit) might embolden Russia, especially if common ground can be found between the Kremlin and the White House on fighting Islamic extremism. Should Trump reduce the USA's involvement in NATO – or withdraw entirely – the Baltic States might suddenly be at risk. Ukraine and Georgia would likely see far less assistance and attention from America; President Trump might well believe that despite Ukraine producing many Miss World contenders, Kiev and Tbilisi's sovereignty is a worthy price to pay for Russian cooperation in the Middle East. A man who consistently describes political and economic processes as 'deals' clearly does not grasp the intricate nature of global geopolitics. Negotiating the purchase or construction of a hotel does not equate to holding the arena between the Kurds, the Syrian rebel factions, and Bashar al-Assad. More could be written on this – and probably will, should the world last long enough – but for now, all there is to do is bid goodbye to Pax Americana, and hope for an early impeachment.

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ussian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the American people on the completion of the presidential elections. "We have closely followed the campaign. I want to congratulate the American people on the completion of the electoral cycle, and Mr. Donald Trump


with his victory," Putin said from the Kremlin. He added that Moscow is ready to do everything possible to restore relations with Washington on a sustainable development trajectory. "We have heard campaign statements from US presidential candidates, aimed at the restoration of [bilateral] relations," said the Russian leader, adding that Russia appreciates that "it will be a difficult path." "This will benefit both the Russian and American people and will have a

positive impact on the overall climate in world affairs, considering the special responsibility of Russia and the United States for the maintenance of global stability and security," the Russian President emphasized. Republican candidate Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017, taking over from Barack Obama. During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly expressed the desire to improve relations with Russia.




NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

International Insurance Consortium to Invest 7 mln GEL in Development of Georgian IC Group BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

A Your House in Lisi Green Town Awaits


ven a modest saving is sufficient to purchase an apartment in Green Town. With a mortgage loan from TBC Bank, it is possible to purchase an apartment at Lisi with just a 10 percent down payment. Green Town is the only residential complex in Tbilisi where green space and infrastructure make up 80 percent of the territory, with just 20 percent allocated for residential buildings. The residential buildings offer duplexes, townhouses and villas. Nearly every home includes a panoramic view over Tbilisi. “It is important for us to promote a new, healthy lifestyle in Georgia,” says Nodar Adeishvili, CEO of Lisi Development. “We offer not only comfort, the highest quality and service, but also piece of mind, green space and an eco-friendly environment. It is the best choice for families who prioritize a healthy lifestyle.” A fully functional kindergarten and two private schools (G. Zaldastanishvili

Georgian-American Academy and British-Georgian Academy) are already open in Lisi Green Town; Lisi Lake’s recreational zone, sulfur baths, a gym and a pool are also in the vicinity. The project is spread across 400 ha of land; the first district is already finished and the second is under construction. Lisi Green Town has received awards in different categories at the International Property Award, the world’s most prestigious award in the field of real estate, for the past several years. “Anyone who pays 10 percent of the apartment price as a down payment will receive the rest from us as a mortgage loan,” says Nino Khacheishvili, the Head of TBC Bank’s retail loan department. “Anyone can visit our mortgage center, purchase an apartment with conditions tailored to their needs and get a mortgage loan.” TBC Bank will review the income of the potential buyer using a simplified procedure; for non-residents, the loan term has been extended to 60 months.

n investment agreement was signed between the International Insurance Consortium (Netherlands) and IC Group according to which up to 7 million GEL will be invested in the Georgian Insurance Company, the Georgian side to hold 51 percent of shares and the Dutch 49 percent. The investment is aimed at the growth and development of the company, increase of job opportunities and updated operation form on the local market in the near future. Founded in 2005, IC Group quickly managed to become one of the most significant players on the Georgian insurance market despite the existing competitive environment. Following the acquisition of ‘People Insurance’ in May 2009, IC Group became one of the leaders in Georgian health insurance. Being a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (France, Georgia) Business Association and Georgian Insurance Association, the company is actively involved in the development of legislative regulations. IC Group regularly arranges trainings for its staff and sponsors their participation in international workshops, as well as financing Masters Programs for postgraduates. The company currently boasts more than 100 highly qualified employees. It is also a socially responsible company that respects traditions and business ethics, with "Keep the promise" its main credo. The International Insurance Consortium (IIC) has valuable knowledge and expertise in all areas related to insurance and social security. IIC is currently involved in projects across eight countries. It is represented in four countries by: IIC Netherlands, IIC Slovenia, IIC Ukraine and IIC Georgia. Its core activities include consulting and providing investments in order to support local companies and organizations in their strategic approaches and risk management decisions. The Consortium focuses on partnership with insurance companies operating in South-East and East Europe and the Black Sea region and provides long term investments, thus creating the basis for stable development of the companies and their benefiting from the existing networks and potential, as well from investor knowledge and expertise. The agreement between the Interna-

tional Insurance Consortium and IC group was signed at the Hotel Biltmore, Tbilisi, by Tengiz Mezurnishvili, Director of IC Group, and Jakob Westerlaken, Founder and Director of IIC. GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Mr. Westerlaken regarding the recent investment initiative.

WHAT LED TO YOUR DECISION TO INVEST IN GEORGIA AND IC GROUP? We always look at different markets and different countries for investment. For us it’s always very important to see the potential. It’s also crucial to have the support of local parties, meaning the government and the laws have to be good. It’s important to have an understanding of what’s happening on the market. We saw the need for products and that the market was growing and, most importantly, that people understand the need for insurance. IC Group is a company with a combination of transparency and a great team with strong product knowledge and experience. From day one we had good chemistry. At IIC we have extensive experience in risk management and we also consult in health management and sales methodologies, but our main drive is investment.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE RECENT INVESTMENT FOR BOTH PARTIES? I’ve been in insurance all my life. In Europe at the moment we have all kinds of insurance, from risk management onwards, and it’s really difficult to operate and build something new. I would like to build a system with good client satisfaction. What I believe is extremely important here in Georgia is that people understand that insurance is not something invented for no reason. We know how to make things

better and easier. We should increase that awareness. The second thing where the market can benefit is in social security, personal savings and health. We work in a lot of countries on health insurance and almost every country has the same issue: how much will the state pay and how much will the individual pay? If you, as an individual, don’t know what the state pays and what you have to pay, it’s an issue and this discussion with the state needs to be held. This is something that needs to be addressed and discussed, because health is something that people have the right to know about: what is there, what needs to be done, and how we can make it payable but also secure. This is what we do.

WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE CHANGED ON THE GEORGIAN INSURANCE MARKET? The first thing that needs to be changed is customer awareness. I think the insurance market here has not yet developed a system of explaining to the customer why they should choose a certain type of insurance. There’s nothing to help a customer to really make a choice. You must be able to buy an insurance policy whenever and wherever you want. This is simple, and this is truly where I believe we can bring new methodologies and new services to the market.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF IC GROUP? I want the insurance company to sell its customers products that they understand and need, so they feel satisfied knowing that if they have a claim, they will be happy with how we handle it. That is the service element we’re going to focus on for the future.

American Radiator Specialty Company’s Top Brands Enter Georgian Market BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI

G Read. Learn. Enjoy. Pick up a copy of Georgia Today Education at any BIBLUS shop or phone 229 59 19

Price: 2 Gel

eorgian AutoCare offers the products of the largest American auto chemicals producing ‘Radiator Specialty Company’ (RSC) to the Georgian market with its major brands: Motor Medic, TiteSeal, Gunk, and Liquid Wrench. There are more than 100 products available in the RSC catalogue, ranging from automobile surface cleaners and degreasers to engine cleaners, solvents, vehicle maintenance chemicals, fuel system cleaners, leak repair, gas and diesel additives, and protective coating. The Radiator Specialty Company was founded in 1924 and has 90 years of experience in the manufacturing of auto chemical products. Today, it manufactures for auto, motorcycle, plumbing, marine, hardware and industrial applications.

The company owns a chemical factory and chemical laboratory specially designed for product quality control. All of the company products are manufactured in the US and claim to have a premium class, premium quality portfolio, which is the reason why Georgian Company AutoCare decided to become an exclusive partner and distributor for RSC, collaborating with the company’s

offices in North Carolina. AutoCare has been present on the Georgian market for almost a year, distributing RSC products in hypermarkets such as Domino and auto centers throughout Georgia in 200 locations. Web: Email: F: ge



NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016


he first American barbecue restaurant ‘Big Smokey’ can be found on Beniashvili Street, where previously only traditional Georgian restaurants were located, offering a modern menu and renovated concept. This news is the result of long preparation and the visit of the chef to the USA in order to learn the necessary exquisite and exceptionally tasty recipes. The designers worked tirelessly to create an interior where the guests will get authentically American Western vibes and a sense of Clint Eastwood himself. The kitchen has been equipped with American technology not found elsewhere in the South Caucasus- the highlight of which is the “Big Smokey” meat smoking machine for that unique barbecue taste. Meat is smoked within for 8 -16 hours- soft fragrant ribs and succulent fresh vegetables. "I started working on the idea of opening a restaurant with my American partner in 2012,” says restaurant co-owner Nicholas Kiknadze. “The American side provided training for the staff and the chef. Here, maintained high quality is ensured and every phase of the cooking process is fully controlled so that we comply with the relevant standards. The barbecue sauce and all the necessary food supplies are brought from America.” The restaurant opened 1 year ago, in October, and is designed for 60 guests.

During the work process, it became necessary to review the BBQ concept and present it in a form that would be acceptable to the local Georgian market. That is why the name of the restaurant, the environment and the menu is completely adapted to consumer requirements. Seven kinds of steak have been added to the main BBQ menu, as well as popular dishes demanded by Georgian customers.

In addition, Big Smokey offers live music on weekends and all major football matches are shown on the big screen 12: 00 am to 15:00 pm. There is a special discount for the lunch menu. The expansion of barbecue restaurant Big Smokey is planned early next year in one of the central districts of the city, where fast-food and delivery services will also be offered. ADVERTISING

International Experts Visit Georgia to Explore Country’s Rural Life BY TAMAR SVANIDZE


ozensofagriculturalexperts from various countries of the Europe and Caucasus region, as well as representatives of media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recently visited two regions of Georgia to explore entrepreneurship in rural areas of the country. At the beginning of the two-day trip, the group of foreign experts visited the Kakheti region, considered the birthplace of Georgian wine, where they discovered the Georgian traditional winemaking techniques and met with local farmers to discuss the prospects for agriculture production in the region. In regions where winemaking is a main source of income, farmers are dependent on development of the sector. Dozens of local farmers from Gurjaani, one of the municipalities of Kakheti, gathered at the community center to meet with the guests and discuss current problems and rural development prospects. Georgia farmer Ivane Basilashvili believes that following collapse of the Soviet Union, the county’s agro-economy is under transition. As he told the represented guests, Georgian farmers are struggling to escape the Soviet practice and approaches, when everything was based on collective wealth, and when private property did not exist. “We lived in Soviet times and most people, especially farmers, still have an ingrained soviet mentality and agroeducation. For us, it’s difficult to realise that now we live in capitalism where private property and private businesses are run by private persons. We need time to change our attitude and not to look

Source: CiDA

Upgraded American BBQ Restaurant Offers Smoking Hot Experience in Tbilisi


to the government to give subsidies or assistance. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the government shouldn’t make an effort to promote agriculture in the country,” Basilashvili told GEORGIA TODAY. After Kakheti, the travelling workshop headed to a remote area of the Bolnisi municipality in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia. The international team visited milk producing livestock ‘New Style’ and cheese factory ‘Cheese Hut’. Both enterprises have been in operation since 2015 and were established under the government funded ‘Preferential Agro Credit’ project. Goran Soster, a coordinator of ‘PREPARE: Partnership for Rural Europe,’ emphasized that the main goal of traveling through the rural parts of Georgia was to exchange knowledge with local farmers, explore local agro businesses and to help people improve the quality of rural life in Georgia. “When we come to foreign countries like Georgia, we usually say we are here to support building the bridge between governmental and non-governmental sides of rural areas. It has yielded good results to date and we are quite sure in the long term it will show results in Georgia,” Soster said. The travelling workshop was organized by the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) and international association ‘PREPARE: Partnership for Rural Europe’ under the cross-border economic development project.




NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016

Tourism Department of Adjara Surveys Customer Service in the Region BY NINO GUGUNISHVILI


n ongoing study by the Tourism Department of Adjara is surveying existing hotels, restaurants, tourist agencies, attractions, new touristic products, hostels

and guide services in the region to evaluate their quality. The process of evaluation is expected to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the services and to assist in planning future activities. The most successful players will be announced and awarded at the regional forum Magnolia 2016 by the end of the year. The survey is available to interested par-

ties on the Tourism Department of Adjara’s official website, and on facebook page visitbatumi. A printed version is also available in all tourist information offices of the region, where foreign tourists are the main visitors. Surveys from private companies operating in the sector and ratings from sites like TripAdvisor and are also added when evaluating tourist routes,

restaurants, hotels and hostels. For the evaluation of touristic agencies, surveys of transport companies, restaurants and hotels are added. The presentation of the online research project was held on November 9, at the Tourism Department of Adjara, attended by the representatives of the agencies and other companies related to the field.

Batumi. Source: Tourism Department of Ajara

Turkmenistan Marks its 25th Day of Independence

Filming You Filming Me: Svaneti BY TONY HANMER



n November 9, at the historic building of the Tbilisi City Assembly on Freedom Square, the reception dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Day of Independence of Turkmenistan took place. The Ambassador of Turkmenistan, Dovletmyrat Muratov, met a large group of guests composed of diplomats, representatives of international organizations, media and others. “The 27th of October 1991 marked our Independence Day,” he said. “It was a glorious day in the history of Turkmenistan. Having achieved Independence, Turkmenistan began on its way to independent development; reviving its glorious heroic history, original heritage, humanistic principles and noble traditions.” The country quickly improved both the state and social system and implemented large-scale economic reforms. “Turkmenistan has frequently been the venue for major international forums, the agenda of which include the pressing issues of the day. In 2016, Ashgabat [the capital] will host the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference, evidence of the increasing prestige of Turkmenistan in the world,” Mr. Muratov stated, adding: “At the present stage of independent development, our country is implementing comprehensive reforms in all branches of the economy, spheres of science, education, public health, sports, culture and tourism.” The Ambassador went on to talk about Turkmenistan’s large-scale energy projects- the gas pipelines of Turkmenistan-

Ambassador of Turkmenistan, Dovletmyrat Muratov and Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze

China and Turkmenistan-Iran. “Today, the state strategy of accelerated transformation of Turkmenistan from an agrarian state into a developed industrial power with a high technological and production cycle is becoming a reality.” Ambassador Muratov also touched on bilateral relations with Georgia: “The establishment of a fruitful dialogue with Georgia is one of the strategic directions of Turkmenistan's foreign policy. Relations between our countries are actively developing. The Georgia-Turkmenistan Intergovernmental Commission plays a significant role in intensifying our partnership. Bilateral relations include seeking ways to enhance our collaboration, the main directions of which are the transport and energy spheres and the development of transport corridors.” Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze congratulated the Turkmen people on their Independence Day. He underlined the friendly relations between the two countries and thanked Turkmenistan for its unequivocal support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Georgia and Turkmenistan have huge prospects for co-operation in large transport-energy projects,” he said, going on to highlight the importance of the Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, which will be held in Ashgabat on 26-27 November.


V time again... GDS channel, which I later learned the meaning of, called me while I was at a TLG training weekend in Tskhaltubo, near Kutaisi. (TLG? Yes, I'm back with my old English teaching job, though just in Becho. Long Story. Later.). Could they come and film me in Svaneti? We negotiated a date for soon after my return home, and I broke the news to my wife. Before we started, the director had a chance to do some homework and see some of the other footage of me in Georgia which, it seems, has been building up over the years. She was a bit worried that there was nothing new to film. Tony taking his weekly bath in a large cooking tub? Check. Ushguli scenery, school, host family? Check. Mestia? Etseri school? Milking, my cheeses? Interviews with neighbors? Check, check, check! I assured her, though, that there was more

to my story, and that we could flesh out some details. We started at Becho school, with a scene of one of my co-teachers and I reviewing some English material with our enthusiastic grade eight class of six pupils. That was all they wanted there, and I couldn't persuade them to stay. Next, I suggested, as they knew I was a photographer, some shots of me in action. The weather was being kind; Ushba was out in full glory and looking to stay that way. So, a drive a few kilometer further up Becho, to a bit above the new bridge, where the village opens up into fields. There were some horses grazing near where the cameraman and I went, and these made a beautiful foreground for my wide-angle lens. They included a mare and foal, and two stallions who obligingly fought for the camera (not mine, but for TV), making some astonishing noises of challenge and rearing up against one another. I shot and was shot, and shot the shooter. They also did my main interview for the roughly 8-minute clip with this backdrop. Back to Etseri: wood chopping, potato storage in the barn. The cameraman went all out for this latter scene, getting into the potato bin and directing my

Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1350 members, at He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: trek



10 Galaktion Street

pouring of several buckets of the tubers. Anything for a creative angle, the same principle for stills as it is for video! Off to visit a neighbor with gifts of some of our own pumpkins and some persimmons which my wife brought back from Kakheti by the sackful; both of these things she loves and I don't, so she and anyone else are welcome to them. The neighbor had some gushing, embarrassingly kind things to say about us. Home again, for my wife's interview, which she enjoyed ("What do you two usually argue about?" and other questions to that point unasked). We showed them the guest rooms upstairs, and hopefully dispelled the director's stated view that all photos of Ushba must be similar with a big framed enlargement of my best version so far. It was all a rush, as I suppose TV work is; they must return to Tbilisi and have the footage edited down to its required length in two days. Now, the wait, followed by a download, watching, and posting links to the video. It's all in Georgian, but we hope you will still check it out; WE (having watched it now as I write) think they did a nice job on it. Eventually one might become famous enough to find these events an annoyance, but we're not there yet, or seeking to be there either. Oh yes, and GDS stands for Georgian Dream Studio.

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NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016


INTERVIEW: Cecilia Zoppelletto, Director, Featured in GIFT 2016 GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Cecilia Zoppelletto about her visit to Georgia and her film.

THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT. WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS SO FAR? I’ve just started out on my journey here. I’m very excited as I have so much to discover. I feel quite ignorant because there is a very rich culture and so much to see.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SHOOT A DOCUMENTARY IN THE CONGO? Because I was there on holiday. I have a background in TV journalism and now I work as a producer. The soul of a journalist pushes one to find out why things are how they are. In my film I wanted to bring out another side of the Congo. The respondents thought I was going to focus on the bad side of their stories, because a lot of journalists do this. I took pains to convince them that I was focusing on the good sides. I wanted to talk about culture and people’s dreams. Everybody thinks of the Congo as a place of rape, war, famine, poverty…. Nobody remembers that there is a nation who has a culture and a beautiful way of expressing it.



nternational Art festival GIFT is ongoing. On November 7, at Amirani cinema, it introduced the documentary ‘La Belle at the Movies’ by Italian film director, journalist and writer, Cecilia Zoppelletto, a debutant who has already gained recognition at a number of film festivals and large-scale international events. “'La Belle at the Movies' and movies like it can be thought of as a phenomena for modern documentary films,” said Keti Dolidze, founder of the festival. “While the film industry today chooses to gain success through technological innovations, the meaning of documentaries, their worth and part in developing a country and the world as a whole,

becomes even greater,” she said. Cecilia Zoppelletto’s concern is that, in spite of the Congo’s independence, there is a problem with identity. The movie is based on sincere interviews with interesting respondents. It is a retrospective of what was during the apartheid and what is now. Seemingly, independence does not bring happiness. Physical and spiritual famine reigns in the Congo, yet despite their extreme poverty, there are some who play several instruments, sing, and remember Congolese cinema of old. Their dreams are immortal. “When I arrived in Kinshasa, Congo, I saw a lot of billboard advertisements, but none of them were cinema posters,” Zoppelletto said following the Tbilisi screening. “I asked about it and they answered: we have no cinemas. This became my main inspiration.”

Date of issue 1936

DID YOU EVER FEEL IN DANGER THERE? In Kinshasa it was quite safe. I had total respect for the people there and often tried to start a conversation with them out of the usual African context. Those dialogues proved a success for Cecilia Zoppelletto in the film festival circuit. Among the films’ interviewees, there is one person who says that a large part of the world thinks the Congolese still have only oral education. But he underlines the traditions of Congo’s cinema, their past stars, and even recalls that they used to have a film called ‘Life is Beautiful.’ The director has a very human approach in recognizing and respecting her Congolese interviewees, clearly demonstrating that poverty is no barrier to a thirst for a valuable life.

Contemporary Film School Opens in Tbilisi BY NATIA LIPARTELIANI


new school of contemporary cinema has opened in Tbilisi at which industry professionals will teach the art of filmmaking to young aspiring filmmakers. The Caucasus School of New Cinema formally opened in April, however it has only been able to start receiving students now. Students will be able to learn film direction, script writing, casting and more. Film director Dimitri Mamulia had the idea to create the film school. “We are now in the year 2016 and we need new signs and language created by the young generation. I hope we can create new Georgian cinema with them,” Mamulia said. At the new school, programs are available in film direction and film dramaturgy. “There is a new format of schooling which means teaching not only the technical profession of filmmaking but also the required ‘vision’ to succeed in the

Award-winning filmmaker Nana Ekvtimishvili

field,” Mamulia said. Award-winning filmmaker Nana Ekvtimishvili is part of the teaching team at the new school, alongside other internationally recognized industry professionals like Otar Ioseliani, Salome Jashi, and Zaza Urushadze who will teach contemporary technical and creative methods for filmmaking. Programs in theater and acting art will be led by a group involving established and young directors like Robert Sturua and Data Tavadze.

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NOVEMBER 11 - 14, 2016


GEORGIAN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ARTS GIFT IN TBILISI October 15 – November 25 November 11 CAN’T PAY? WON’T PAY! Dario Fo Directed by Michele Panella Italian Focus Georgia-Italy Start time: 20:00 Address: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater, 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. November 12, 13 MURMEL MURMEL Dieter Roth Directed by Herbert Fritsch Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin Start time: 20:00 Address: Rustaveli Theater, 17 Rustaveli Ave. November 15,16 MEDEA: MATERIAL Heiner Müller Directed by Carmelo Rifici Italian Focus Proxima Res Milan, Italy Start time: 20.00 Address: Tumanishvili Film Actors Theater, 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 November 11 LULLEBY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL November 12 DREAM AND REALITY Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10 GEL GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 November 11 CHERRY ORCHARD Directed by Andro Enukidze Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL November 12 MARRIAGE N. Gogol Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL

November 13 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket: 5 GEL GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 November 11 RAMONA Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL November 12, 13, 17 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Rezo Gabriadze Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10, 15, 20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 11, 13 PERFORMANCE CONCRETE ZONE Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15 GEL November 16, 17 PERFORMANCE THE OLD MUSIC LOVERS MARK Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 10 GEL CIRCUS Address: 1 The Heroes Sq. Telephone: 2 98 58 61 November 12, 13 TRIUMPHANTS OF ARENA Start time: November 12 - 17:00, November 13 – 13:00, 17:00 Ticket: 10 GEL CINEMA

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Directed by Tate Taylor Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson Genre: Mystery, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 14:15, 19:00 Ticket: 9-14 GEL


DOCTOR STRANGE Directed by Scott Derrickson Cast: Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL

September 27 – September 22 (2017) EXHIBITION "STONE AGE GEORGIA"

RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00

PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia.

Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL November 11-15 OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL Directed by Mike Flanagan Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso Genre: Horror Language: Russian Start time: 16:45, 20:15, 22:30 Ticket: 10-14 GEL THE ACCOUNTANT Directed by Gavin O'Connor Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons Genre: Action, Crime, Drama Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 10-14 GEL DOCTOR STRANGE (Info Above) Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 13-14 GEL THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Info Above) Start time: 14:15, 22:30 Ticket: 9-14 GEL MUSEUM

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55


Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari November 11-17

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21

ARRIVAL Directed by Denis Villeneuve Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker


MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave.

Leonidze State Museum of Georgian Literature, 8 Chanturia Str. TOMORROW WILL BE YESTERDAY Tato Akhalkatsishvili, installation Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, 3 Rustaveli Ave. THE SIXTH ELEMENT International group exhibition (Georgia, France) Container Gallery, 10 Radiani Str. INNERFERRERA Vakho Bugadze, personal exhibition Sound: Dima Dadiani Dry Bridge, 27 Atoneli Str. MUSIC


THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Works by distinguished 20th century Georgian artists- Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 PIROSMANI’S "YARD CLEANER" AND "EAGLE SEIZING A HARE" ON DISPLAY September 28 - September 28 (2017) PIROSMANI’S ROE AT A STREAM Kept by the TsitsishviliGedevanishvili family from 1949 until 2011, the painting has never been exhibited to the public before. In 2011, the artwork left Georgia and was sold at Sotheby's auction. It appeared at the same auction again in 2016 where it was bought by Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Fund and donated to the Georgian National Museum. November 3-23 ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION OF GOGI ALEXI-MESKHISHVILI ZURAB TSERETELI MOMA TBILISI November 4-14 BRIAN GRIFFIN EXHIBITION 'MOTHER GEORGIA' FOR COMME DES GARCONS (1989) The collection displays 12 photographs and a VHS video. ARTISTERIUM, TBILISI 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION AND ART EVENTS November 4-14 KILL THE BUDDHA! International group exhibition Tbilisi History Museum Karvasla, 8 Sioni Str. I AM AN IDIOT, MOM! Art Area exhibition hall, 10 D. Abashidze Str. LIVING ROOM II International group exhibition with artists from Georgia, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and USA

TBILISI EVENT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 November 11 TBILISI JAZZ FESTIVAL 2016 GRAMMY AWARD WINNER TRUMPET PLAYER NIKOLAS PAYTON AND HIS TRIO Start time: 20:00 TBILISI CONCERT HALL Address: 1 Melikishvili St. Telephone: 2 99 00 99 November 12 TBILISI JAZZ FESTIVAL 2016 CANDY DULFER & BAND Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 60-100 GEL November 13 TBILISI JAZZ FESTIVAL 2016 GREGORY PORTER Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 40-100 GEL November 15 THE LIGHT YEAR AND NIKOLOZ RACHVELI Generation XXI with a rock cantata Lyrics by Terenti Graneli and Otar Chiladze The Light Year rock band and Eugine Mikeladze National Symphonic Orchestra will be performing in support of the Iavnana Charity Foundation Conductor: Nikoloz Rachveli Artistic Director: Gigi Gegelashvili (composer, singer) Start time: 20:00 Ticket: From 10 GEL MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 November 15, 17 JAM SESSION Leaders: Reso Kiknadze (sax), Nika Gabadze (guitar), Misha Japaridze (bass), Irakli Choladze / Gio Kapanadze (drums) Start time: 21:00 November 17 TANGO EVENING Milonga La Kumparsita Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL TBILISI HILLTOP Address: 27 Betlemi Str. November 13 LIVE: NATALIE BERIDZE & NIKAKOI Start time: 22:00 Ticket: 10 GEL




Natakhtari Lemonade and Rugby Association Kick Off ‘Get into Rugby’ Project Children playing rugby



he Georgian Rugby Association together with Georgian Rugby Union and Natakhtari Lemonade this week announced the start of the ‘Get into Rugby’ project, signing a memorandum of understanding. Get into Rugby is designed to promote tag rugby and raise awareness of healthy living. Since it entails the participation of school children, the rules are safe and tailored to children’s needs. The 2017 Natakthari Lemonade Cup festival will be held within the project frames. 169 schools are expected to enrol in the project and almost 300 school teachers will be re-trained to be able to work with over 3500 pupils. 150 schools are already participating in the project with 85 teachers currently benefitting from the retraining program and over 20 instructors specialized to work with school teachers. The project campaign is being realized under the Europe Rugby recommendations and standards. “We want it to become an unprecendented social and sports event in Georgia,” said Nikoloz Khundzakishvili, Corporate Affairs Director of Natakhtari Company during the presentation. “This project is the result of the success and hard work of our rugby players, the Rugby Union and our veteran sportsmen. “We are particularly delighted with

the active involvement of the private sector in recent years. What’s most important with this initiative is that the younger generation will have the chance to utilize their talent to the maximum. Future stars will be born!” said Tariel Khuchikashvili, Minsiter of Sports and Youth of Georgia. According to Giorgi Kacharava, President of the Georgian Rugby Association, within the framework of the project, school teachers of Physical Education will be retrained with the help of certified instructors. “For the moment over 100 schools are enrolled and possibly every Tbilisi school will participate. The goal of the Get into Rugby campaign is to get children acquainted with rugby



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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

values. At the same time the project focuses on developing Rugby playing skills,” he said. Gocha Svanidze, President of the Rugby Union of Georgia noted that the success of Rugby club largely ensured the growing interest in the ‘Get into Rugby’ project, both from children and their parents, who want their children to play rugby. “This project will definitely give our youth a unique chance to develop their talents and skills in rugby and become successful sportsmen in this field. It will also help to establish a healthy lifestyle and promote rugby as a sport, bringing sustainability to its development. I believe these children will certainly bring glory to our country.”

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Joseph Larsen, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze, Nino Gugunishvili, Thea Morrison, Natia Liparteliani

Photographer: Giorgi Pridonishvili Layout: Misha Mchedlishvili Webmaster: Sergey Gevenov Circulation Managers: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #895  

November 11 - 14, 2016

Issue #895  

November 11 - 14, 2016