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facebook.com/ georgiatoday

Issue no: 869

• AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016



In this week’s issue...

After months of animosity, Erdogan travelled to Russia’s cultural capital to personally ask Putin’s forgiveness. Source:AP

Georgian President Blocks Bid for Referendum on Marriage Definition NEWS PAGE 2

Russia Keeping Georgia within Its Sphere of Influence POLITICS PAGE 4


Erdogan and Putin kiss and make up. But where does that leave the rest of the region? PAGE 3

Social Workers Granted Authority to Separate Children from Abusive Parents BY THEA MORRISON

Social workers will enjoy more authority. Source: Emaze.com


ollowing the amendments to the Law of Georgia on Elimination of Domestic Violence, Protection and Support of Victims of Domestic Violence, adopted by Parliament on July 22, 2016, from now on social workers will be able to separate children from abusive parents, legal representatives or other people. This law defines the unity of actions that are typical of domestic violence, its detection and prevention, within legal frames. It also includes guarantees of legal protection and support for domestic violence victims. Continued on page 2

Pankisi Gorge and the Second Generation ISIS Leadership POLITICS PAGE 5

Arakishvili Residence Offers Premium Apartments from $1000 sq.m in Tbilisi Center SOCIETY PAGE 9

Playing Dress-Up: Ogden on Georgia’s Western Aspirations SOCIETY PAGE 11

Innovative British Physical Theater Company Gecko Touring in Batumi CULTURE PAGE 13

Georgian Wins Silver in Judo at Rio Olympics SPORTS PAGE 15




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Russian, Iranian and Azeri Presidents Meet in Baku, Agree on Strategic Cooperation



ussian President Vladimir Putin on Monday met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani to discuss new energy and transportation projects in the Caspian Sea

region. At the meeting Putin, Aliyev and Rouhani signed a joint declaration that committed each country to intensifying their cooperation in efforts to fight terrorism, settle regional conflicts and develop energy and transportation ties in the Caspian Sea region “Azerbaijan and Iran are good neighbors and important partners for Russia…the three countries have a shared interest in coordinating our approaches on a broad range of regional and global issues. We have to continue promoting our multifaceted, practical approach towards trade and economic coop-

eration,” Putin said. The talks also focused on coordinating a renewed push for the construction of a transport corridor that would link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. India, Iran and Russia first proposed the plan in 2000, but Western trade sanctions on Moscow and Tehran in recent years have severely hindered the project’s development. “We believe that this cooperation serves the joint interests of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, in addition to the interests of the whole region,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. The trio also agreed to coordinate their efforts in the natural gas industry, including the delivery of gas to the European and Asian markets. The simultaneous meeting of the three leaders was a historic first. Putin has gone to great lengths to cultivate close ties with Azerbaijan and Iran, both of which have been at odds with the West in issues ranging from human rights to nuclear technology development.

Georgian President Blocks Bid for Referendum on Marriage Definition BY THEA MORRISON


eorgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili shot down a move to hold a national referendum that would constitutionally define marriage as a union of a man and woman. At a press conference held on Tuesday, Margvelashvili said Georgia's Civil Code already specifies marriage as “a voluntary union of a man and woman.” Margvelashvili added that the country’s existing legislation bans any move to change the constitution through a referendum. “If there is a desire to adopt a constitutional amendment over this issue…then a relevant bill would need to be debated by the parliament,” Margvelashvili said. The move to hold a referendum was first brought up by an activist group led by Alexander Bregadze, Soso Manjavidze and Zviad Tomaradze, who gathered 200,000 votes and asked the Central Election Commission (CEC) to register their request for a referendum.

The CEC approved the bid for a referendum on August 3 and sent it to Margvelashvili for his consent. Margvelashvili quashed the drive for a referendum after he declined to meet Bregadze, Manjavidze and Tomaradze after they refused to discuss the question the group wanted to have put forward to voters. “They (pro-referendum activists) chose the language of confrontation and blackmail and refused consultations, which clearly reveals that this group has narrow political objectives,” Dolidze said before the President’s Press-conference. Bregadze criticized Margvelashvili for rejecting the bid, saying the President’s decision was influenced “by lobbyists out to protect homosexuals’ rights”. The ruling Georgian Dream coalition first brought up the issue of legally defining marriage along strictly heterosexual lines, but a draft resolution on amending the constitution was not put to a vote in May during its first reading due to a lack of quorum in the parliament. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on August 4 that he supported a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Social Workers Granted Authority to Separate Children from Abusive Parents Continued from page 1

According to the law, after police representatives issue a restraining order, it is for the social workers to decide whether to separate the child from the abusive family member or not. The social worker's decision may be appealed in accordance with the law. However, the appeal does not suspend its effect. Moreover, separation of a child from an abusive parent or legal representative represents an extreme measure for ensuring the child’s safety. While deciding where to locate the abused minor, his idea should be taken into account, depending on his age and development level. If, due to some forms of violence in the family, a person specified in Article 11 of this Law applies to a court for a protection order, the court shall consider the relationship of the abusive parent/ parents with the minor. If traces of violence can be observed in the minor, the court may request to separate the minor from abusive parent/parents as a temporary measure, until the court makes its final decision. When considering the matter related to the right

of representation of the minor, account shall be taken of the fact that if the abusive parent retains the right to represent the minor it will be harmful to the interests of the minor. Parents may not retain joint custody of a minor if there is reasonable belief that one of the parents may commit violence against the minor. According to the legislation of Georgia, minors from the age of 14 may defend their rights and legitimate interests in court. In that case the court shall assign a procedural representative and hear the case. Minor claimants may disagree with their procedural representative and defend themselves. The court shall involve the guardianship and custody authority in such matters. The obligation to apply to the relevant authorities for identifying (primary identification) and responding to domestic violence against minors shall rest with medical institutions, childcare and educational institutions, the LEPL Social Service Agency, the guardianship and custodianship authorities and their authorized personnel, as well as other relevant institutions and their authorized personnel involved in child protection referral procedures provided by the legislation of Georgia.



Putin and Erdogan Mend Ties as Turkey Pivots to Russia BY NICHOLAS WALLER


ussian-Turkish relations have been at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War following the downing of a Russian bomber by a Turkish F-16 near the Syrian border in November 2015. In the immediate aftermath of the shoot down, Russian President Vladimir Putin could barely contain his anger, calling the incident “a personal stab in the back from (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan.” In a matter of days, the once closely aligned authoritarian leaders suddenly found themselves on opposite sides of an international incident that cost the life of a Russian pilot and pitted the two against one another in a bitter war of words over each other’s conduct on the world stage. The fallout was striking and the response from both Turkey and Russia even more surprising considering the ties the two historic rivals had forged for most of the

time Putin and Erdogan had been in power. Putin’s attempts over the last decade to restore Russia’s dominance over the former Soviet republics, and Erdogan’s dreams of creating a brand of neo-Ottomanism in Turkey’s former imperial dominions in the Balkans and Middle East, initially brought the two strongmen together as each shared a mutual disdain for democratic norms, human rights and a visceral hatred of the West. While historically Russia and Turkey had been bitter rivals in their respective spheres of influence, Putin and Erdogan seemed to set four centuries of animosity aside as the two pursued personal neo-imperialist goals that closely mirrored one another. Each backed the other as they consolidated power by increasingly more authoritarian means. Since the mid-2000s, Moscow and Ankara have moved ever-closer towards seeing one another as indispensable partners, even budding allies, in the defense of what the Kremlin calls “sovereign democracy” - a one-party dominant system that has been the official model of government in Russia and Turkey for the better part of a decade.

3 Source: CNN

Putin’s United Russia - a conservative, nationalist, irredentist and fervently antiWestern political party – has become the spiritual and practical successor to the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has fundamentally transformed the previously secular Turkish Republic from a staunch NATO ally into a thorn in the side of West, as Erdogan has clashed with his erstwhile allies over ISIS, Israel, refugees and minority rights. But as their ambitions grew beyond the bonds that initially brought them together, both Putin and Erdogan found themselves on a predictable collision course once events in Ukraine and Syria spun out of control. But while Russia and Turkey found themselves on opposite sides in each conflict, Putin and Erdogan’s personal friendship kept the two countries from coming into direct conflict. That all changed with the shoot down of a Russian Su-24M attack bomber on November 24, 2015. In response to the downing, Moscow slapped harsh economic sanctions on Turkey and banned its citizens from

travelling to the scores of Mediterranean resorts on the Turkish coast. The travel ban had an immediate affect on the Turkish and Russian economies, as Turkey is the number one tourist destination for Russian citizens and a major source of revenue for Ankara. The sanctions also had a boomerang affect on Russia, as most agricultural imports from Turkey – Moscow’s largest trading partner for food products – came to an immediate stop and major building and development projects with Turkish companies were halted. Relations between the two countries went into a deep freeze in the ensuing months, while Putin and Erodgan engaged in a very public duel of personal barbs, with each accusing the other of cratering the mutual understanding they had always enjoyed. Both leaders demanded that the other apologize for the incident involving the Russian bomber. But following a failed coup attempt in July by members of the Turkish military who opposed Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism, Islamism and pivot away from decades-old ties to the West, Ankara’s

ruptured relations with Russia appear to be on the mend as Erdogan travelled to Russia to personally apologize to Putin and offer to end the on-going hostility between the two leaders. The change in Erdogan’s tone is striking, but not unexpected. Putin was a vocal supporter of Erdogan during the coup as well as during the Turkish security services’ crackdown on civil society and opposition groups in the weeks since the uprising was crushed. The Kremlin also hailed Erdogan’s order to arrest tens of thousands of journalists, civil servants, military personnel and educators as Turkey’s MiT security service moved swiftly to purge Turkish society of groups who oppose Erdogan and the AKP. Erdogan’s visit to Putin’s native city of St. Petersburg on Tuesday was a major step towards re-establishing the ties the two previously enjoyed. Putin vowed to open “a new period of close relations” as they rebuild ties and praised Erdogan’s handling of the coup and his move towards normalizing relations between Moscow and Ankara. Continued on page 6




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Russia Keeping Georgia within Its Sphere of Influence BY ANNA KALANDADZE, VOICE OF AMERICA GEORGIAN SERVICE


his week has seen Georgia and, to a lesser extent wider society, turn its mind back eight years to the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. We spoke to Laura Linderman, a Research Fellow with the DinuPatriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC about reasons and de-facto results of the Russia-Georgia war.

WHAT PRECIPITATED THE MILITARY ACTIVITIES IN GEORGIA BACK IN 2008 AND COULD THE MILITARY CONFLICT HAVE BEEN AVOIDED BY TIMELY WESTERN MEDIATION? In the years leading up to the 2008 war, South Ossetia was considered a “frozen conflict” that had little potential to erupt. The UN and the OSCE were tasked with aiding the peace effort and bringing stability to the area. Unfortunately, these organizations did not coordinate well with each other or expend significant resources to fix the situation. Arguably, the worst decision, however, was to allow the CIS to act as the local peacekeeper. Because Russia

is in the UN Security Council, the peace initiatives were often hindered or stalled. The Georgian government proposed a federal solution to South Ossetia’s status but was blocked by Russian and South Ossetian establishments. The Georgian government also fought to change the peacekeeping operation, without success. During these years, there were opportunities to improve the situation in South Ossetia and commit all sides to refraining from war but they weren’t taken up. Russian provocations in the region were numerous in the 1990s and 2000s and the Georgian authorities continually restrained themselves during these incidents. In the spring and summer of 2008, Georgian leadership repeatedly alerted western governments that Russia was preparing for war and they had evidence of it. These warnings were largely ignored.

WHAT WAS RUSSIA’S ULTIMATE GOAL WHEN ENTERING GEORGIA? COULD THE WEST HAVE BEEN MORE UNITED IN ITS RESPONSE TO THE VIOLATION OF GEORGIAN SOVEREIGNTY AND SANCTIONS INSTITUTED AGAINST RUSSIA? Russia used the war as a tool to try to prevent Georgia from further strengthening its ties with the West, such as further integration with NATO and the EU.

Laura Linderman, a Research Fellow with the DinuPatriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC

ened Russia to act in Ukraine.

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS LEARNED FOR GEORGIA AND THE WEST? WHAT ARE THE REPERCUSSIONS OR EFFECTS FOR REGIONAL AND WORLD GEOPOLITICS? Russia has solidified its control over the regions by slowly increasing its military presence there and undertaking a borderization practice. Georgia’s hope for regaining control of these territories seems more remote than ever. Source: www.rferl.org

Its goal was and is to keep Georgia firmly within its sphere of influence. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are also used as bargaining chips by Russia to try to influence Georgia’s domestic policy. Russia has solidified its control over the regions by slowly increasing its military presence there and undertaking a borderization practice. Georgia’s hope for regaining control of these territories seems more remote than ever. Additionally, one can see the 2008 war with Russia as interconnected with other frozen conflicts in the region such as in Transnistria. Part of Russia’s foreign

policy pattern is to maintain frozen conflicts to increase the Kremlin’s leverage over states it sees as part of its sphere of influence. These separatist areas become grey zones that serve to destabilize the states they occur in.

DID THE LACK OF WESTERN RESPONSE EMBOLDEN RUSSIA TO INVADE UKRAINE IN 2014? Yes. The United States and EU confined their response to Russia to strong words – rather than something more significant, such as sanctions. The lack of a strong response from the West may have embold-

Russia’s leaders have repeatedly insisted on a sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space. The war underlined the major security challenges Georgia faces. For a small country, national security is linked to survival – a poor decision can have outsized implications. The war reinforced Georgia’s western orientation, but it also exposed the West’s lack of dependability. If we look at how the West responded to Russian actions in Ukraine, which was to seemingly accept the annexation of Crimea, we can see that western powers will likely not be much help to Tbilisi with regards Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United States and Europe will continue to support a policy of nonrecognition but likely will not be much more help than that. Russia was successful in launching a disinformation campaign after the 2008 war. It had an effect on German public opinion and Russia has increased these media and misinformation campaigns in the time since the war because of this success.

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Pankisi Gorge and the Second Generation ISIS Leadership BY DR. VAKHTANG MAISAIA


espite enjoying a stabilizing momentum, Pankisi gorge is still attracting interest from the international and local media and society as a whole. After US forces allegedly assassinated Tarkhan Batirashvili (Abu Omar al Shishani), one of the key leaders of the infamous Islamic Caliphate, Pankisi once again became a go-to tour for media and experts alike. Therefore it came as no surprise when news broke of two audiotapes that the Syria-present Pankisian leadership of ISIS had allegedly sent home aiming to admonish those reluctant “to take arms in holy Jihad.” Judging from the ultimatum-like content of those audio addresses, it is evident that ISIS still holds Pankisi gorge in its plans. The fact that for the best part of the year, Pankisi has been as quiet and peaceful as never before definitely isn’t in ISIS’ interests. Even more so, with the rebranding and awarenessraising process in full flow as the locals try to overcome the harmful stereotypes that emerged during recent years. Personally, I happen to be in Pankisi quite often and I can truthfully attest that Pankisi gorge today is an altogether different beast compared to what it looked like back in 1999-2003. The sheer fact that a woman was elected there as a head of local government, speaks volumes about their capacity to change. Even these threatening messages from

ISIS’ new leadership prove that stability in the region rings alarm bells for them. However, ISIS might find it difficult to “enforce” its threats for the time being, with the situation in Syria and Iraq as volatile as ever. Jihadist military formations led by the “Jabhat Al-Nusra” have managed to unblock Allepo from a siege of Assadist military formations and are even conducting counter-attacks on the southern part of the besieged city. As for the ISIS-controlled territories, despite large scale attacks by the international coalition forces led by the American and Russian leadership (the times we live in!), ISIS Jihadists still preserve their military capability. As several key, charismatic leaders of ISIS were exterminated throughout the last two years, including so-called “Caliph” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and “Military Minister” Abu Omar al Shishani, new leaders prepare to prove themselves. The new ISIS political leadership still retains some Pankisian influence - The rule of the new caliph, Sheikh Mohammad al Adnani, is supported by Jihadist warlords of Georgian (Pankisian) origin Adam (Guram) Guramashvili (Faizullah al Shishani) as so-called “Justice Minister” and, as The Daily Beast recently reported, the brother of deceased Tarkhan Batirashvili, Tamaz, is believed to hold several governmental titles, among them “Interior Minister”. As for “War Minister,” the now vacant position is a coveted one, with influential Jihadist warlord Abu Muslim al-Turkmani the frontrunner to claim it. The second generation of the DAISH

Muslim Kushtanashvili, right, and Ramzan Baghakashvili, left, said to be taken in Syria in 2015 and sent to their parents. As many as 200 young men have gone to fight in Syria from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, the native region of Islamic State commander Omar al Shishani. Source: Kakheti Information Agency via AP

leadership is more radicalized and is prone to behave in a more drastic and aggressive manner. Recently, new leadership has given “official orders” to their supporters to re-activate their military operations in the North Caucasus region, aiming to become a dominant force at the regional scope. Based on DAISH mass-media electronic network Al-Hayat, “Russian-speaking Islamic State (IS) fighters incited their counterparts in the group's Caucasus Province, as well as lone wolves, to launch attacks in Russia

in order to preoccupy the Russians from mounting airstrikes in Syria.” This means that ISIS is mobilizing both manpower and political leverage to exact influence over the whole Caucasus. Yet another strange signal that everything is not as it should be was a recent mock call to a terrorist attack, made by a Pankisi Gorge resident on a social network. Thankfully, the situation was expertly resolved by the Georgian AntiTerrorist Center of the State Security Service (the author of the message was

tracked down, arrested and is facing charges of disseminating a terrorist threat attempt in accordance with Criminal Code of Georgia – Article 323). This is yet another case of how the situation in Syria and Iraq correlates with the situation in the whole Caucasus region and in Georgia, particularly. This is new reality in the Syrian War will have a continuing effect on Georgia and namely in Pankisi Gorge. Apparently, ISIS is determined to get Pankisi back to its fold.




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Putin and Erdogan Mend Ties as Turkey Pivots to Russia Continued from page 3

"Your visit today, despite there being a very difficult situation regarding domestic politics, indicates that we all want to restart dialogue and restore relations between Russia and Turkey," Putin said when receiving Erdogan. The dramatic shift in the dynamic between Moscow and Ankara has alarmed many in the West, who worry that Turkey’s pivot towards Russia could cause a fundamental crisis within NATO. The state-run AKP mouthpiece Anadolu Agency reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed in an interview that NATO-member Turkey would establish comprehensive military, intelligence and security ties with Russia. Cavusoglu went on to say that the West would only have itself to blame if it “lost” Turkey to Russia, and bluntly accused the European Union of backing the failed coup against Erdogan. “Turkey wanted to cooperate with the West and fellow NATO members up to this point,” Cavusoglu told Anadolu Agency. “But the reaction we got from Western governments didn’t satisfy us, so it’s natural for us to look for other options. But we don’t see this as a move against NATO.” The Turkish delegation’s visit to Russia on Tuesday was meant as not only a move towards restoring close, friendly ties with Erdogan’s old friend Putin, but amounted to a pointed signal to the West. That message was reinforced by Cavusoglu, when he told foreign journalists on Wednesday that confidence in the EU among the Turkish public “had fallen

since the July Coup” and said support for the European Union had fallen to “less than 20 percent” in the last month. “The West failed a test by supposedly being slow to condemn the bid to overthrow the President (Erdogan) and has failed to send a single representative to Ankara since the coup,” Cavusoglu said in his interview with Anadolu Agency. "Let me say openly and clearly that this is because the EU – the West in general – adopted a favorable position towards the coup plotters and even encouraged the putschists in their goals," said Cavusoglu. Erdogan reiterated his harsh criticism of the US and EU on Thursday, saying the West is making a grave mistake in their response to the failed coup, and renewed his demand that Washington extradite Erdogan’s archrival, Fethullah Gulen - a self-exiled Muslim cleric whom he accuses of orchestrating the coup. Many observers have speculated that Erdogan is attempting to gain diplomatic leverage over the West and mute criticism for his authoritarian domestic policies, while hoping that re-establishing his personal connection with Putin will end the crippling economic sanctions. For his part, Putin is likely looking at the strategic benefits of pulling Turkey away from its NATO allies as he hopes to triangulate his influence over the Black Sea, Caucasus and Upper Mesopotamian regions. By guaranteeing Erdogan’s loyalty, Putin would control traffic in the Black Sea, ensure his navy’s access to the strategic

Bosphorus Strait and Mediterranean beyond, as well as thwart NATO’s attempt to create a Black Sea fleet that would include aspiring members Ukraine and Georgia. But Putin’s greater goal may be to irreversibly cripple NATO’s presence in the Near East by cultivating an even closer relationship with Erdogan that would lead to the closure and dismantling of the US airbase in Incirlik – the closest used for operations against ISIS and Russia’s ally, Syria’s Bashir al-Assad. Incirlik has been a lynchpin in the US’ presence in the Middle East and Caucasus region since the Cold War. It houses NATO’s contribution of tactical nuclear weapons in the region and is a key base of operations for the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF). Erdogan blockaded the base and shut off its power during the attempted putsch after accusing both American and British commanders of sympathizing with the coup plotters and providing them with logistics support. If Moscow is able to coerce Erdogan into closing Incirlik – much in the same way it was able to buy off Kyrgyzstan’s government and force the closure of the US base at Manas, outside the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, Putin’s goal of destroying the NATO alliance may take a major step forward. If the Kremlin’s “new era of relations” with Turkey takes shape and isolationist US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump finds himself in the White House in January, Putin’s dream of putting an end to the post-Cold War order will come closer to reality in the coming months.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assesses Human Rights Situation in Occupied Regions BY THEA MORRISON


he Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA) released the second Quarterly Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Regions of Georgia, which covers the period from April to June 2016. The report was prepared by the MFA in coordination with various governmental agencies and reveals human rights violations in the occupied territories of Georgia during the given period. The report reads that gross violations of human rights, including arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary detention, restrictions on freedom of movement, mass infringement of property rights and restrictions on the right to receive education in the native language have been reported from the occupied territories. The report also stresses that Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russia. According to the document, the most alarming fact was the murder of Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria, who was killed by a so-called “border guard” along the occupation line with the Abkhazian region on May 19. The murder was committed in the village of Khurcha, Zugdidi district, located in the territory controlled by the government of Georgia. Othozoria’s murderer, Rashid Kanciogli, is under home arrest and despite several requests, the Abkhazian side refuses to transfer him to the Georgian side. “The full responsibility for it (Otkhozoria’s murder) lies with the Russian Federation as the power in effective

The MFA is concerned about the human rights situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and appeals to the international community to take immediate and adequate measures. Source: independent.co.uk

control of the region,” the document reads. Moreover, the MFA says that the occupation policy of the Russian Federation regarding the territory of Georgia deprives several hundreds of thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced People) of their internationally recognized right to a voluntary, safe and dignified return to places of their permanent residence. The Ministry also notes that on April 1, 2016, a so-called “Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Abkhazia” and “Law on Entry to and Exit from Abkhazia” became operational. After this the occupation regimes of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali started a new illegal wave of “passportization” in the occupied territories, which aims at classifying the population into categories of “citizens of Abkhazia” and “foreign citizens”. The MFA is concerned about the human rights situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and appeals to the international community to take immediate and adequate measures to prevent violations of human rights and all forms of ethnic discrimination in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. The Ministry started preparing quarterly reports on the human rights situation in the Occupied Regions of Georgia in 2015. In total, four such reports were prepared last year.




A Brighter Future for Gldani, Prison and All, From Potential MP



our Years ago (though for most of the Georgian population it still seems like yesterday) the word Gldani was on everyone’s lips, or, in the case of foreign audiences, on the monitors of their respective computers, as world media reported on what proved to be a widespread practice of prisoner abuse in Georgia’s penitentiary system. On the eve of the 2012 parliamentary elections, footage showing the sickening handling of inmates by prison officials emerged, secretly shot in Gldani prison. The Gldani footage was arguably what tipped the scales in favor of the Georgian Dream coalition and its leader, billionaire and now ex-PM, Bidzina Ivanishvili, against the established political elite spearheaded by then-President Saakash-

vili and his United National Movement. This is how Gldani came under the spotlight – one could say for all the wrong reasons, but there is really not so much to cheer about in one of Tbilisi’s largest districts. An unlucky absentee from the major facial re-do the former government was responsible for, Gldani stands a stumbling, monolithic block of buildings, scattered around with no regard to looks, ecology or functionality. Predominantly a middle class district, Gldani’s riches lay in its population, which is among the largest in Tbilisi. And this population is fed up – tired of waiting for a welcome change, tired of hoping for any potential for Gldani to become the industrial hub it is, bypassed as it is time and again. However, the elections are looming and the people are keen to listen to the politicians they’ll be voting for – and while many of their MP wannabes are

sticking to the traditional “we’ll do -insert whatever abstract good you fancy- formula,” an emerging candidate from Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats has been enjoying raving support as he lays into his vision of bringing Gldani to its deserved glory. Boasting a background in the defense ministry and later establishing his name as one of the top-ranked lawyers in the country, Free Dem’s recent addition, Prof. Amiran Giguashvili, was eager to use the opportunity to speak with GEORGIA TODAY on what he’s going to do with Gldani if elected. “Historically, Gldani was a place for industry, artisanship and employment, boasting solid middle class people,” Giguashvili told us. “Sadly, today this has changed for the worse and people here are really struggling. My top priority would be offering employment, but this is an old story, right? Everybody does that. What we are doing differently

is that we have a concrete, drawn up project – including the creation of a free industrial zone, where predominantly the Gldani population will be employed.” The central transit highway of the country runs through the middle of the district, with huge swathes of land completely underutilized, meaning its potential to open a free industrial zone there is high, something the government should be keen on. “I intend to present a legislative project to Parliament which implies full utilization of every square meter of land. Local guesthouses and other infrastructure, adjusted to transit route necessities, should also be built,” Giguashvili says. “A driver coming from Central Asia, Iran or Azerbaijan will learn he can have a comfortable rest in Gldani en-route.” The Free Democrats of Gldani are also looking into turning the infamous Gldani prison into an industrial block. “This is understandably a very sensi-

tive issue and we’re undergoing a testing and negotiations phase at the moment. We will see how feasible it is and, most of all, whether it will be in the interest of Gldani’s population, as well as in the interest of the inmates and their relatives, all the while enforcing effective judicial administration,” he explained, emphasizing that the general economic policy of his party, centering towards more robust financial welfare to the middle class, aims first and foremost to benefit Gldani and its population. “We don’t do dreams – we have a very realistic economic program. Minimal salary rises to 500 GEL, pension to 300 and allowances to 250 GEL; we think it’s feasible. And I personally think that Gldani is the place that could feel the effects of such policy in a most positive way,” Giguashvili concluded, adding that he’s hoping that the voters don’t allow themselves to be manipulated by the government in their judgement.




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

History Repeating: Reshaping the Map as Georgia Distracted by Internal Concerns

The 2008 War, a Defining Moment in Relations between Russia and the West Right after the invasion in 2008, the US launched a substantial support program and steps were taken against Russia that affected Russia-US relations. Source: Reuters/ David Mdzinarishvili



hile Georgian politics is busy with pre-election hassles, there are some revolutionary changes going on in the neighborhood, with the presidents of Russia and Iran having travelled to meet in Baku. Putin, Aliyev and Rouhani met to discuss the North–South Railway, the North-South energy corridor and other vital regional issues. Russian-Turkish “Bruderschaft” has been added to this, which once again confirmed the old truth that the only thing constant in the big politics is – interests. President Erdogan and President Putin reconciled, declaring Azerbaijan as a guarantee for this. The presidents met again in Saint Petersburg and agreed that from now on Baku will be added to their mutual cooperation line and that this geometric segment between Istanbul and Moscow will transform into a triangle. To put it simply, the presidents agreed on the increased influence of Russia in Azerbaijan. To whose or what expense all this happens we can only guess from the flattering compliments that Erdogan and Putin eagerly gave each other. “Dear Friend”, “Loyal Partner” are terms that successfully substituted those threatening ones which followed the shoot-down of the Russian bomber last year. “Welcome to Russia for this opportunity to discuss bilateral relations face to face,” President Putin told Erdogan. “Politically, the region expects a lot from us. I believe that our cooperation will play an important role in solving the regional problems,” Erdogan replied. Before the meeting of the presidents in Baku, Russian political analysts tried to guess the meaning of “regional problems”. President Erdogan had only to confirm the accuracy of their conclusions. After the Baku mini-summit the Head of Political

Research institute of CIS, Alexey Bychkov, declared that a historical decision will be made in the near future about the Karabakh conflict. “Although this decision will not be able to solve the entire Karabakh problem, it will at least set the base for opening the closed borders and giving the opportunity for people to move freely,” he said. About the same idea was voiced by the main ideologist of Putin’s policy, Markov, the director of Political Studies of Russia confirming that the opening of the railway corridor Moscow-Baku-Tehran will completely change the political configuration of not only the Caucasus but Northern and Southern politics as a whole. It seems history is repeating itself- 100 years ago in an agreement between the Bolshevik Lenin and Ataturk, the Caucasus was completely handed over to Russia at a time Georgia was busy flirting with the third internationalist. Today as well, while busy mocking the Olympic uniforms and counting the ratings of political parties before the upcoming elections, the map of the Caucasus is being outlined anew. The opening of the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border means that the border will be opened for Armenia, too, which will completely change the status quo built over the past 25 years, meaning that it will change the strategic importance of Georgia in the Caucasus. The brotherhood of Moscow and Istanbul, at the expense of interests of the White House, seemingly increases the chances of Washington strengthening its positions in Georgia actionably rather than making use of useless declarations. However, since taking advantage of these opportunities means real intervention in the area of the Russian influence, it is doubtful that the current or future US Administrations will have the relevant courage and skills to do so. Even if the Turkish-American conflict cools down now, which won’t be achieved easily, the Americans will still need to think about who they can count on in the region, if their steady ally – the Turkish army - loses the role which it had for decades.



steemed US diplomat and former US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad, shared his insights into the 2008 Russia-Georgia war in an exclusive interview with the Voice of America Georgian bureau.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO AVERT THE MILITARY CONFRONTATION AND SAVE INNOCENT LIVES? The war between Russia and Georgia, the attack, actually, by Russia, was one of the defining moments in relations between Russia and the West and it will affect bilateral relations for some time to come. We did our best, myself-as a US representative to the UN, to highlight the importance of what was going on and deter Russia from coming into Tbilisi, overthrowing the government and imposing a puppet regime there. We succeeded in part because of the unusual diplomatic steps and the revelations of conversations in which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State Dr. Rice that Saakashvili must go; also by revealing to the West that Russia was targeting regions beyond Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Today, the occupation continues. Lessons for the West and Georgiawhat Georgia could have done in that situation to preclude the war or what the West could have done -are issues that need to be studied by scholars.

WHAT DID THE INTERVENTION BY RUSSIA CHANGE FOR THE REGION AND FOR WORLD GEOPOLITICS? I think Georgia was one of the first instances of the implementation of the near abroad policy by President Putin in which it wanted to be the preeminent outside power in the neighborhood. There is a need for better understanding on the part of the West and Russia about the rules of the game in the area where NATO [forces] and former Soviet territories

We did our best to deter Russia from coming into Tbilisi

US diplomat and former US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad

are located. There are two different concepts, but whether or not understanding can be reached, steps must be taken to increase the capabilities of these counties to defend themselves. We have to ask whether NATO should expand to protect these countries or if some other arrangement including Russia needs to be reached. You noted correctly that first there was Georgia, then there was Ukraine and occupation, and integration of Crimea. There is an on-going debate in the US about how to best deal with Vladimir Putin and his design for the areas that were part of the Soviet Union. It looks like Putin wants to dominate these areas and considers them as his spheres of influence. This is an issue for the US, NATO and international community to address.

WHY WOULD THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY NOT IMPOSE SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA IN 2008? HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS WESTERN UNITY AGAINST RUSSIA’S ANNEXATION? We now have a sanctions policy in Ukraine and sanctions for Russia’s activities in Crimea. In Georgia, however, right after the invasion in 2008, the US launched a substantial support program and steps were taken against Russia that affected Russia-US relations. I think those and additional steps as tools are available to the US. But something fundamental needs to be thought about given Putin’s strategy. What can be done in the long term about American and Western responses visa-vis Russia’s strategy, especially in these areas? I hope answers will be debated in the US Presidential election campaign to come up with a US, and then Western, strategy towards Russia.



AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016


Arakishvili Residence Offers Premium Apartments from $1000 sq.m in Tbilisi Center BY TAMAR SVANIDZE


new premium-class residence complex is soon to appear in the central district of Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi. Located in the prestigious Vake district, the fourteen-floor apartment Arakishvili Residence offers a full package of services. Near to local favorites Mziuri Park and Gegeshidze Garden, the residency has an ideal location. GEORGIA TODAY spoke with Teona Akhobadze, Marketing Manager of Colliers International Georgia, which is providing the sales and marketing services of the Arakishvili Residence complex.

HOW IS COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT AND WHAT MAKES THIS PROJECT INTERESTING TO YOU? At the beginning Colliers International provided the development service for the Arakishvili Residence; now we are also providing marketing and sales of apartments. We are one of the leading global real estate services company, operating in more than 60 countries. Our Tbilisi office mostly covers Georgia, though we have some ongoing projects in Azerbaijan, too. Arakishvili Residence is a very interesting project by architec-

tural value and design. The building completely suits the infrastructure of the city and its location makes it a more interesting place to live. Colliers International is not alone in implementing this project as one of the leading banks, Bank of Georgia, is also a partner of the project. To be more precise, the project is being financed by the Bank of Georgia. This maintains the guarantee of completion of the construction processes- clients can use this risk-free opportunity to buy an apartment under construction.

WHAT MAKES ARAKISHVILI RESIDENCE SPECIAL? First of all location. We offer a very prestigious place to our customers to make their future home. The Residence has eighty-four apartments, a two-level car and bicycle parking area located on the building’s lower floor, and a sports area in the courtyard. Apartments have diverse planning, allowing clients to choose layout to their taste. The complex also offers 24/7 security service. It is in an ideal location which can be easily accessed

through private and public transport from Chavchavadze Avenue, located just 10 meters away. Educational institutions, shopping centers catering to children and adults, cafes, bars, and restaurants are located nearby. Apart from its wonderful location, the project is interesting in terms of its architectural value. With its soaring, natural-stone adorned columns and metal décor, the four-block, fourteen-storey structure’s façade is designed to fit well on Arakishvili Street and enhance the entire area’s visual appeal.

HOW CAN AN INTERESTED CLIENT PURCHASE AN APARTMENT IN THE ARAKISHVILI RESIDENCE COMPLEX? WHAT ARE THE TERMS AND BENEFITS? We have very exciting news for our clients. Currently, we have a special offera seasonal sale- whereby until September 15th, all customers can get apartments from USD 1000 for 1sq.m. The payment schedule and conditions are also very flexible. We have an interest free internal loan and the Bank of Georgia also offers mortgage loans from 6%.


Contact: www.edelbrand.ge Phone: 599 461908

GO SUCCESSFULLY? I understand that it’s not easy to trust a project which is under construction. However, there are several factors which function as guarantees that the project will run successfully. The Bank of Georgia is a financial guarantee for our customers that the money they pay for apartments will go not to a private company or person but in a Bank. Furthermore, construction is being carried out by reputable construction company ANAGI, which has been operating on the Georgian market since 1989 and has gained a reputation for honesty and good service in this sector. Apart from beautiful architecture and location, all those factors stand as advantages for the Arakishvili Residence complex.

WHEN WILL CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE THE CHANCE TO MOVE INTO THEIR NEW APARTMENTS AT ARAKISHVILI RESIDENCE? Construction began in January 2016 and is expected to be completed on November 30, 2017. Tel: 032 224 30 60 www.arakishvili.ge




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Pensioners Can Be Hired Thanks to New Governmental Program

Elizabeth Kelly



eorgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced a new program that will provide tax benefits to all companies that employ pensioners. “This does not imply the removal of pensions or social benefits. This is an opportunity for many experienced people to earn an extra income and share their experiences with younger

workers,” said Kvirikashvili. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Finance will both be involved in developing the program, Kvirikashvili said. As of July 1, Georgia’s retired population receives an average monthly pension of USD 77 (180 GEL). The government has pledged to add USD 38.3 million (90 million GEL) to the National Pension Fund in order to cope with the rising number citizens who are eligible for retirement benefits. Georgian pensions are available for women over 60 and for men over the age of 65.

Georgian-Born Entrepreneur’s UK Smoothie Company Hits Big Time BY TAMAR SVANIDZE


hree years ago inspired by his mom’s recipes for fresh smoothies, Georgianborn Guka Tavberidze set out to conquer the UK’s health food industry. Dubbing his new start-up “Savse” – Georgian for “crammed full,” chosen to reflect the nutritional qualities of his product – Tavberidze is well on his way to becoming one of Britain’s newest entrepreneurial success stories. ‘I wanted my customers to experience something ultra-healthy and the same way that I have been drinking all my life,” Tavberidze told the BBC. Tavberidze, 28, emigrated to the UK with his family in 1994. He later dropped out of Roehampton University, where he was working on a degree in English literature. He spent the next several years in and out of various uninspiring jobs but started researching the smoothie market in June 2011 when he thought back on the cocktails his mother made for him as a child. “I had no professional experience and no degree. I was just a normal guy with a dream of wanting to do something on my own,” he said. Tavberidze said what makes his smoothies dif-

ferent from his competitors is their use of heat pasteurization to kill the natural bacteria in the ingredients. After weeks of research, he discovered a process called high-pressure processing that which preserves the raw ingredients and keeps smoothies fresh and natural. “What I found was a lot of these fruit drinks are not as healthy as the labels would suggest – sometimes it is not actual fruit or vegetables, but just powder,” Tavberidze told the Guardian. The recipes originate from his mother, Nino, who began preparing the smoothies in Georgia more than 30 years ago. When she was pregnant, the doctors told her she had an iron deficiency and was told to drink spinach and apple juice. To neutralize the bitter taste of spinach, she began mixing the juice with other fruits. The concoction quickly became a family favorite. “I came home to see my mother in September 2011 and told her we needed to start marketing her smoothies and get into the business,” said Tavberidze. His uncle invested the initial £250,000-worth of capital and, armed with his mother’s recipes, he set out to build his start-up in January 2013. In just three years, Savse is now a USD 13 milliondollar company, with sales growing by 600 percent in the last 12 months and having caught the eye of the British media.



AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Edward Olive, Rap hiphop gangsters

Playing Dress-Up: Ogden on Georgia’s Western Aspirations OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN


ast week I wrote about the problems Georgia still has with a large portion of its male population, and I fear I may have given off the impression that many Georgians are anti-Western in some way. It's hard to be entirely balanced when I only have 750 words to play with, and a one-liner disclaimer seems to have mollified nobody, and so this week I'd like to discuss modern Georgians who are the antithesis of those who I described last week (and not just men this time, either). Over the last eighteen months I've become more involved with two sections of society that I find incredibly interesting, superficially similar to each other but inherently different beneath the surface. The first group are what I like to think of as truly modern people who are Georgian in much the same way that I am English, in that their nationality matters little and less. Unlike those men I discussed last week who can't go two minutes without grabbing someone by the collar and yelling 'Sakartvelo!' the males of this faction will discuss Georgia in a political context but rarely in a social sense. They acknowledge history and culture without letting either dictate how they should live, and aspire towards the West with a healthy (and entirely understandable) amount of scepticism over Europe and America's goodwill. Women of this ilk will discuss Georgian society rather more than their male counterparts, but this is to be expected since they inevitably come into contact with the types of men I discussed last week, and relay the same sorts of stories with ironic understatement and rolled eyes. In short, they're my favourite sort of Georgians (or people, I should say), but for some time I confused them with another group that I originally liked before things turned sour. These lads (and lasses) are also pro-West; in fact, they're so pro-West they do their utmost to pretend to be American. The other group I mentioned a few sentences ago invariably speak English very well, but the American wannabes know our language as well as native speakers (and infinitely better when I think back to the standard of English in Birmingham and Manchester). I was originally very happy to meet this group due to my ill-luck with Georgian men in years past, and I was delighted and surprised that they spoke English to each other even without the presence of a native speaker, and a few of them had the most convincing American accents. All of their Facebook interactions were in English, too. I was gradually introduced into this clique, but I was bemused when I met more of them and they didn't seem to regard meeting a native speaker of a language they spent most of their time talking as anything special. If I, an Englishman, spent all of my time speaking Spanish to other British people or Americans and then a Spaniard or a Mexican turned up, I rather think I'd have a different reaction beyond 'Yeah, cool, whatever'. They hosted Halloween parties in costume and watched all of the latest fashionable American comedies and super hero films; they lived with friends rather than families, and boasted about drug use and casual sex as they must have seen their favourite characters on their films and television programs do. Some of them sported tat-

toos of pop culture references or Asian characters, with one of the men talking about how he cooks naked in his apartment of friends 'and it's totally cool', and the girls post revealing pictures of themselves on social media. It soon became plain that their mannerisms and lifestyle was little more than affectation, doing these sorts of things simply because they're not what Georgians usually do. These are not the same as the Georgians of the first category, who reject traditional values because they're smart enough to recognize that they have no place in a modern European country; these American Georgians, who copy the lives of the characters off Friends and take their humor from Deadpool, kick against traditional culture in a far more aggressive way. I don't particularly mind how people choose to live their lives if it doesn't affect me, but it wasn't long before this artificial lack of interest in their own country and nationality became annoying. In fact, it was nothing short of bizarre; here were Georgians, with Georgian names and Georgian faces, dropping words like 'bro' and 'dude' at every available opportunity and generally treating things like an American frat house. Given the choice, I'd still rather endure the company of artificial Americans than people who talk about the Battle of Didgori as though they were there and Stalin as though he was some heavenly combination of Bismarck, Martin Luther King and Rambo, but I suppose the one thing that can be said for traditional Georgians is they don't pretend to be anything other than what they are...that is racist, homophobic, and intolerant, but at least it's an honest form of prejudice. (I jest, of course.) But if the future of Georgia lies in the hands of the first group I mentioned (and don't worry, it does) this country will turn out just fine.

I'd still rather endure the company of artificial Americans than people who talk about the Battle of Didgori as though they were there and Stalin as though he was some heavenly combination of Bismarck, Martin Luther King and Rambo





AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016

Reach for the Stars; Etseri, Svaneti and only then started studying English aged about 30. The modern world means that she can use this gift for translating books into Georgian, while still living on the small farm she and I run, and make pretty good money at it. I, too started my Georgia Today weekly job from Svaneti with a single email; no phone call, even. It was months before I went to Tbilisi, met any of the GT staff, and picked up my first nicely accumulated salary. A set of cutout yellow paper stars accumulated on the window of the upstairs meeting room, and they're there still. On each is written the dream of one young local participant in the week’s events, in English. One of them reports that "I have no dreams"... but I doubt this. The team of eight guests, from a variety of countries, all had stories to tell of having and striving for dreams and goals in life. They made great friends with the local children, inspired them it seems by the emotional goodbyes, and I fondly hope that they can come back to us to continue what they put hard work into achieving, both English-wise and as far as motivation and encouragement go, of which there were also plenty. They came, they cooked, they cleaned, they conquered!



ost of our guests to Hanmer Guest House don't bring all their own food, cook for or thoroughly clean up after themselves—that's what they pay us for, right? However, some have a different agenda and modus operandi. Some even come with quite other motives than tourism, although the beauty of Etseri's surrounding mountain landscapes makes itself powerfully felt to all, regardless of why they are here. A foreign friend of ours in Tbilisi wanted to add some summer fun to the English teaching which my wife and I do here from September through June, by bringing a small team and holding an English club. We had done such a thing in our home several years ago, and it managed to bring in about 1/3 of the entire schoolchildren's population of 60, which was quite something. It was twice weekly for July, the days and times set by the children for their convenience. This one was only for three days, but actually the numbers of participants were similarly high. Weather, mercifully, was kind enough to let the indoors/outdoors mix of events happen mostly as planned: hardly any rain, and none when they were arriving or leaving, indeed only a sprinkling on one of the days at all. Ages of the children ranged from some preschoolers with a mother in tow, to visiting posthigh school young ladies, but no one was turned away. The focus was on learning




more English through fun, but also on a theme: what are your dreams in life? A great question in this rural community, where many young people yearn to escape the cycle of farming and little else, head for the big city, study through


TK 379 TK 387 TK 383 TK 386 TK 382 TK 378 TK 381 TK 381 TK 380 TK 391 TK 393 TK 390 TK 392



EVERYDAY 1/2/4/5/6/7 3 EVERYDAY 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7 1/2/4/6/7 1/3/4/5/7



02:35 06:35 22:55 01:40 18:10 21:15 04:25 05:05 19:40 10:35 20:15 06:25 16:20

04:05 08:05 00:30+1 04:55 21:30 00:30+1 05:50 06:30 22:55 11:40 21:20 09:20 19:20

university, get a good job, and perhaps break out of what destiny seemingly has for them. A common enough problem around the world, one realizes, looking at urbanization trends. Over the three days, the idea of "reach-

10 Galaktion Street

ing for the stars", your perhaps far-off goals, was explored in some detail. My wife is also a great example of this, although she wasn't there this week. Coming from a rural background herself (Kakheti, east Georgia), she finished university in Tbilisi,

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 1300 members, at www.facebook. com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

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




Youngsters Seek Support to Help Friend Study in Top US School BY INITIATIVE GROUP “ZVIAD’S FRIENDS”


n Monday, August 15, an initiative group of Georgian youngsters are to host an event in order to bring financial support to young student Zviad Adzinbaia to co-fund his education in the US. This year, Zviad was accepted to the prestigious Tufts Fletcher School’s MA program in Law and Diplomacy. He has already received merit-based scholarships from the Fletcher School and the Prime Minister of Georgia. However, he is still missing $14,000 to realize his further plans. Zviad has a history of academic and scientific success, despite the difficulties of internal displacement caused by war and devastation in his homeland of Abkhazia, but acceptance to Tufts is by far his greatest step to date. Zviad, always dreaming big, believes a Fletcher education and experience will ultimately help him contribute to the well-being of his country. The Fletcher School, where Zviad is already expected, unites future leaders, diplomats and other professionals in different fields. As Zviad has to join the school in less than two weeks, having no alternative sources to finance the given amount, his friends are kindly asking the business sector and broader public to donate for a cause that will help Zviad achieve his goals. Guests from the business sector, state agencies and international organizations, as well as all interested individuals, are

welcome to come along and help support this young person in fulfilling his dream and receiving a high quality education in the United States. During the event, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy jazz, classical and pop-music performed by young Georgian musicians, while they make donations. Every little counts in Zviad’s dream to receive a world class education and contribute back to his country and people. WHEN: August 15, 2016, 19:00–21:30 WHERE: 7 Lado Gudiashvili Str. N7, Tbilisi Exhibition Hall of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia

We would greatly appreciate if you could RSVP in advance! Donations possible at: TBC Bank

Date of issue 1936

Account Number: GE03TB7444045061600004 Holder: Zviad Adzinbaia

PRICE 10.000 USD

Distant donations also open at platform: Generosity.com: https://www.generosity.com/ education-fundraising/help-me-become-apeace-builder--2/x/14640209 Contact person: Meriko Kajaia Mob: (995) 595 15 05 02 E-mail: merikokajaia@gmail.com


CONTACT PERSON 557 12 38 90

Innovative British Physical Theater Company Gecko Touring in Batumi


ulti-award winning and internationally acclaimed physical theater company Gecko presents ‘Institute,’ an intimate, funny and moving exploration of what it means to care. Set in a warped world of emotional compartmentalization and treatment where memories are filed, relationships scrutinized and the patient becomes the carer, four people undergo a series of extraordinary physical ‘treatments’ as they struggle to prepare themselves for

Very powerful, very relevant, you connect so quickly with the characters

FOR SALE: BMW – 321 model

the outside world. But a Gecko world is never as it first appears… Expect ingenious set design featuring giant filing cabinets from which fully formed memories, whole relationships and secrets are pulled out and filed away; visceral movement and intricate group choreography from the all-male cast; and moments of stunning tenderness and beauty that shine. The performances are held as a result of the long term partnership between the British Council and the Ministry of

Education, Culture and Sport of Adjara Autonomous Republic, as part of the British Council Performing Arts Support Program. British Theater Guide: "Institute offers us sometimes comic, sometimes beautiful imagery… A visceral, physical, intriguing treat." WHEN: 12, 13 and 14 August WHERE: Batumi Art Center, 1 Odissei Dimitriadi Str., Batumi TIME: 20:00




AUGUST 12 - 15, 2016


MOVEMENT THEATER Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 August 12 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry CINEMA

AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari August 12-18 SUICIDE SQUAD Directed by David Ayer Genre: Action, Crime, Fantasy Cast: Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Cara Delevingne Language: English Start time: 19:30 Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 16:45, 19:45 Ticket: 9-14 GEL JULIETA Directed by Pedro Almodóvar Genre: Drama Cast: Adriana Ugarte, Rossy de Palma, Emma Suárez Language: Russian Start time: 19:15, 22:00 Ticket: 13-14 GEL CAFÉ SOCIETY Directed by Woody Allen Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell Language: Russian Start time: 19:15, 22:15 Ticket: 13-14 GEL RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge Every Wednesday ticket: 5 GEL August 12-18 SUICIDE SQUAD

(Info Above) Start time: 14:15, 17:00, 22:35 Ticket: 9-14 GEL STAR TREK BEYOND Directed by Justin Lin Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba Language: Russian Start time: 19:15 Ticket: 12-13 GEL THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR Directed by James DeMonaco Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson Language: Russian Start time: 14:00, 20:00 Ticket: 9-14 GEL MUSEUM

GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION EXHIBITION OF GEORGIAN WEAPONRY NUMISMATIC TREASURY The exhibition showcases a long history of money circulation on the territory of modern Georgia from the 6th century BC. to 1834. June 11 – March 11 (2017) Georgian National Museum and Korneli Kekelidze National Center of Manuscripts present THE EXHIBITION “MEDIEVAL TREASURY” June 16 – December 16 THE EXHIBITION “NEW DISCOVERIES - GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY”

The exhibition will be held in the frame of the international conference On Salt, Copper, and Gold: The Origins of Early Mining and Metallurgy in the Caucasus"

DAY” BY TAMAR MELIKISHVILI The exhibition showcases 70 paintings depicting people united by emotions: passion, melancholy, alienation, and mystery.

June 12 – August 20 GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM AND ART CENTER " FOLIANT " PRESENT EXHIBITION "I SEE WITH MY FINGERS" The exhibition showcases artworks by the professors and students from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, students and their teachers from a variety of creative and educational institutions. Most of the artworks are created on topic of the Poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" and are dedicated to the 850 anniversary of Shota Rustaveli. The exhibition also showcases ceramic vessels and bronze axes from the Late Bronze Age, preserved at Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia and the easel of the Georgian National Artist - Rusudan Javrishvili (1918-1999). For the first time in Georgia, for those who "see with their fingers" the exhibition presents wine labels produced by local traditional winemakers written in Braille, and artworks made by dentistry center "Albius."

SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge

MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can discover the State's personal files of "subversive" Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts representing Sovietera cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors on which visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 July 6 – August 30 EXHIBITION “QUARTER OF THE

May 18 – September 11 AVANT-GARDE 1900-1937 The exposition showcases the collections of the Museum, including around 100 paintings and graphic works, archival material, avant-garde posters and books by Vasily Kandinsky, Niko Pirosmani, Mikhail Gelonov, Natalya Goncharova, Olga Rozanova, Kiril Zdanevich, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Ziga Valishevsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexei Kruchenykh, Robert Falk, Osvaldo Lichin, Alexander Shevchenko, Shalva Kikodze, Mikhail Bilanishvili, Voldemar Boberman, Lev Brun and Kliment Redko. August 4-14 GIORGI CHALADZE PERSONAL EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO HIS 85TH ANNIVERSARY The exhibition showcases 40 paintings and sculptures created from the 1960s to present day. Giorgi Chaladze is a painter and sculptor, and the founder of the Union of Artists from Rustavi. He was awarded the Medal of Honor of Georgia. GALLERY

THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze. June 24, 2016 – June 24, 2017 NIKO PIROSMANASHVILI’S WORKS “YARD CLEANER” AND “EAGLE SEIZING A HARE”


VITAMIN CUBES Address: Turtle Lake Telephone: 599 17 44 22 August 12 VITAMIN LAKE SESSIONS SAVAS PASCALIDIS KOZMANA Start time: 23:30 Ticket: 20 GEL August 13 AROUND THE TREE: MIKE SERVITO LIFE RECORDER TOKE LIVE THIRD SOUL Start time: 20 Ticket: 10-20 GEL MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 August 13, 16, 18 JAM SESSION AT MT LEADERS: RESO KIKNAZE QUINTET AND PAPUNA SHARIKADZE Free Admission Start time: 21:00 August 17 TANGO EVENING “MILONGA, LA CUMPARSITA” ARGENTINE TANGO DANCE NIGHT Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 5 GEL BATUMI

BLACK SEA ARENA Address: Shekvetili August 13 ENSEMBLE ERISIONI CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 7-20 GEL BATUMI TENNIS CLUB Address: Batumi Boulevard August 12 ORERA 55 Jubilee tour in Georgia Start time: 19:00 Ticket: 10-25 GEL August 14 SPHINX AND FRIENDS DATUNA LAZARISHVILI, MAIA KACHKACHISHVILI, ZVALI, VERIKO CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-40 GEL August 15 MERAB SEPASHVILI AND “KUCHIS BICHEBI” (BACKYARD BOYS)’S CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 20-50 GEL August 16 BAND BIG MOUNTAINS CONCERT Start time: 21:00 Ticket: 20-40 GEL August 16 DATO EVGENIDZE AND BAND CONCERT Start time: 20:00 Ticket: 15-25 GEL




Georgian Wins Learning the Lingua: Rio is Rio but Defi nitely not London Silver in Judo at Rio Olympics BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE

If you get lost at the Rio Olympics, don't bother to ask a volunteer for help


Lasha Kuprashvili



eorgian judoka Varlam Liparteliani won a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games on Wednesday in the men’s 90-kilogram

class. Liparteliani made it all the way to the final after defeating the 2015 World Champion Gwak Dong-han of South Korea. The 27-year-old then lost in the final against reigning World Champion, Japan’s Mashu Baker. Brought to tears on the awards podium, Liparteliani said in an interview with World Sport, “I am very happy, but I worked so very hard to be an Olympic

champion. I wanted it so badly. I put everything into achieving my goal. I got a medal, but this is not the one I was fighting so hard for.” The silver that Liparteliani won on Wednesday is Georgia’s second medal at the Rio Olympic Games. Fellow judoka, Lasha Shavdatuashvili, won bronze in the men’s 73-kilogram category on August 8. Liparteliani was the European Judo Champion in 2012, 2014 and 2016, as well as the runner-up in 2009, 2013 and 2015. Georgia sent 39 athletes to the Rio Games, the largest-ever Olympic team in the South Caucasus nation’s history. The Rio Games are the sixth Summer Olympics that Georgia has participated in as an independent country- the small nation of 3.7 million people competed as part of the Soviet Union’s Olympic Team until 1992.



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Editor-In-Chief: Katie Ruth Davies

he Olympic Games have become a regular, onceevery-four-year routine of the world – an extremely happy and joyous routine, too, as well as very expensive. I am lucky enough to have attended a couple of them in my lifetime, having noticed that all of them look and feel the same if they are done well, and are different from each other if compared in terms of faults and drawbacks. And I think Rio 2016 has distinguished itself very clearly with its dumbest-ever army of volunteers. They are simply unbelievable in their inability to be of any use at all. Ask a question on the territory of the Olympic Park and you get either a wrong answer or no response. That’s exactly how the system of information works here – yes, I am here! – at Rio 2016 through the brain and tongue of its volunteers. Don’t waste your time asking those volunteers a question- just glance at their passive, confused and lost faces and keep walking. If you accidentally make a mistake and try to find out where to go and how, you’ll end up in trouble because you are sure to be pointed in the wrong direction. These kids leave the impression that nobody has ever taught them anything, and because they have most probably received no special Olympic training, any regular ticket holder might know just as much as they do. Maybe more! I do not know how many Olympic journalists would uphold the topic but, personally, I could not help noticing it. Frankly, I have never seen anything more ridiculous than the kind of help that is being provided by Brazil’s young men and women in the capacity of Olympic volunteers. The world is full of information about the Olympic results. Thanks to the internet and the world’s television capability, you don’t have to be in Rio de Janeiro to

Journalists: Tony Hanmer, Tamar Svanidze, Zviad Adzinbaia, Beqa Kirtava, Meri Taliashvili, Eka Karsaulidze, Zaza Jgarkava, Maka Bibilashvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Maka Lomadze, Tim Ogden, Ana Akhalaia, Robert Isaf, Joseph Larsen, Will Cathcart, Vazha Tavberidze, Nugzar B. Ruhadze

be as informed as those physically rooting and chanting in various arenas. This is why I’m not wasting time on filling my current piece with new names and figures. It would be too simplistic to copy them from those endless info sources. I would rather go for something humanly more valuable and interesting – impressions, emotions, curiosities. And the volunteers’ saga is one of those. One of the reasons the volunteer force is permanently at a loss – in addition to zero preliminary training – should be complete absence of knowledge of the English language in the country. Upon my arrival here, I had to grab a Portuguese self-learner to acquire at least a smattering of the local lingua, and I think I have helped myself a lot. I remember our boys and girls working as volunteers at the Tbilisi-2015 European Youth Olympic Festival: smart, quick, beautiful and informed, and almost all of them speaking English. A comparative analysis between this and that culture would take

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

us too far way, so I’ll stay away from it this particular time. In a word, English here – in the Games – is as crippled and incomprehensible as it can get, which is more than a little inconvenience, to tell the truth. I just wonder if learning a minimum tongue of communication and skills for giving directions as part of Olympic training, made sense or not to the Games’ organizers who I’m sure are terribly proud of the job they have managed to do. Conclusively, I am certainly getting nostalgic for the logistical comfort I enjoyed in the London Olympics four years ago. And the British volunteer force – what an exquisite and well-versed and trained team of hosts! Feeling at home when you are away from your natural habitat means a lot. Do I feel at home in Rio like I did in London? No, I don’t! I only know that I’m at the 31st Olympic Games which would make anybody happy to be part of. And inconveniences aside, I’m very happy to be here.


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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #869  

August 12 - 15, 2016

Issue #869  

August 12 - 15, 2016