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Issue no: 1235

• MARCH 13 - 16, 2020 • PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY

In this week’s issue...

FOCUS

Coronavirus Updates: Georgia & the World

ON A GLOBAL PANDEMIC A look at measures being taken home and abroad to stop the spread

PRICE: GEL 2.50

NEWS PAGE 2

Georgian Government's Statement on Current Situation Regarding Coronavirus

PAGE 2

NEWS PAGE 2

The Last Tsar of Russia POLITICS PAGE 4

What Do the Amendments to the Georgian Election Code Imply? POLITICS PAGE 5

Image source: tuoitrenews.vn

GD & Opposition Agreement Named Important Step to Democracy by Major Intl' Allies BY ANA DUMBADZE

BUSINESS PAGE 7

How to Organize Events Without Producing So Much Waste? CENN/USAID Recommendations

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acilitators of the dialogue between Georgia’s political parties released a statement on the agreement achieved between the opposition and the government on Sunday March 8. “We congratulate the participants of the political dialogue on [Sunday’s] successful agreement, which represents a crucial step towards the depolarization and normalization of the political environment in Georgia in the run-up to the parliamentary elections later this year. "Today’s agreement foresees an election system for 2020 based on 120 proportional mandates and 30 majoritarian mandates, a fair composition of election districts, a 1% threshold, and a cap recognizing that no single party that wins less than 40% of the votes should be able to get its own majority in the next parliament. "The agreement is accompanied by a joint statement among the sides outlining the agreement and recognizing the wider objective of holding free and fair elections, including the necessity of addressing actions that could be perceived as an inappropriate politicization of

Study: Men Advance Career Easier than Woman in Georgian Public Sector

BUSINESS PAGE 8

R.O x Konoba to Play Georgia Again CULTURE PAGE 11

Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes and of avoiding any such actions in the future. "We recognize today’s agreement as a steppingstone on Georgia’s democratic path. We call on all sides to adhere to it and to safeguard its successful adoption in Parliament and subsequent implementation, for the benefit of the people

and country of Georgia,” reads the statement. After four rounds of talks and negotiations that ended without results, representatives of the Georgian government and opposition on March 8 reached the agreement on the electoral model. Continued on page 7

Georgia-Russia Rugby Match to be Held in Empty Stadium amid Coronavirus Risk SPORTS PAGE 11


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NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY

MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

Georgian Government's Statement on Current Situation Regarding Coronavirus BY ANA DUMBADZE

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he Government of Georgia on Thursday released a special statement regarding the current coronavirus situation in the country. Through the statement, the executive authorities explain the decisions and steps taken in the fight against the disease. "The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. The InterAgency Coordination Council led by the Prime Minister of Georgia is working in an intensive manner by taking into account the current situation in the country and global trends, thus implementing its own Action Plan in line with the pandemic preparedness announced by the WHO several days ago. "By taking into account the current statistics from all over the world, the situation in Georgia remains stable through coordinated and timely implemented measures. Nevertheless, the challenge is huge and each citizen should demonstrate a high degree of civil responsibility both towards oneself, as well as towards the general public. "The Government of Georgia and predominantly Ministries of Health, Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Economy, Education, Finance and Regional Development, along with other public institutions, have moved towards a 24/7 work schedule in the current emergency circumstances. "Currently, 24 individuals have been confirmed positive for COVID-19. Each patient is under comprehensive medical care, while citizens having had interaction with the infected individuals are subject to procedures defined by the Ministry of Health through its protocols. "The Inter-Agency Coordination Coun-

cil of the Government of Georgia regularly publishes new resolutions and recommendations in line with its Action Plan. "One of such most significant preventive measure is to avoid the intensive concentration of citizens in closed spaces. Therefore: 1. Nationwide holidays announced by education and child-care institutions have been extended to April 1, 2020; 2. Mandatory military recruitment scheduled for spring has also been postponed till April 13, 2020; 3. Part of staff employed at line ministries and other public institutions have been temporarily moved to a distance work schedule and namely those whose work profile does not require a physical presence at work will work from home. Such a recommendation is given to private companies as well. Though, we wish to underline that such a work schedule should not jeopardize the effective performance of one's duties and should not affect the staff remuneration; 4. Individuals on probation will be liberated from the duty of visiting the Probation Bureaus and from complying with requirements of the regime through April 14, 2020. The necessity of physical interaction with a probation officer, along with the compulsory meetings with social workers or psychologists is canceled at this point. Failure to visit probation bureaus will be deemed excusable and no legal consequences will follow; 5. Special conditions have been enforced for two weeks at penitentiary institutions. Accused and convicted inmates will be suspended the right of family, long-term and short-term visits as envisaged under the Code of Imprisonment, along with short-term visits outside the institutions restricting their freedom. Also, during the regime of special conditions, convicted inmates will be suspended the right to leave institutions for study and/ or work as well as on public holidays and

weekends. Also, newly admitted accused and convicted inmates will be placed in isolation from other accused and convicted inmates during the regime of special conditions. 6. Education, sports and other events envisaged for attendance of a wide number of people will be suspended in Georgia. • The following have already been suspended: highest-in-rank football championship of Georgia, age-related tournaments, national and age-specific rugby championships, volleyball championship, age-specific basketball tournaments, etc.; • Grand Prix in Judo originally scheduled for March 27-29 at Tbilisi Olympic Palace has been officially canceled on the decision of the International Judo Federation (IJF); • The Georgia-Russia game in rugby under the European aegis scheduled for March 14, 2020, at the Stadium Named after Mikheil Meskhi will be held with no spectators. With the resolution of the Inter-Agency Coordination Council of the Government of Georgia, restrictions are being extended for border crossing by air and land transportation both for citizens of Georgia and foreign travelers: The list of original countries - China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy - is extended

to also cover Germany, France, Spain and Austria. Individuals traveling from these countries are obliged to: 1. Present evidence of their lab test for the novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) (specifically the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Lab Test Results) which will be issued by a respective laboratory in the country of departure or a transit country, if traveling through a third country. 2. If and when an individual fails to present the PCR Lab Test Results, s/he should undergo an applicable epidemiologic inspection, followed with a compulsory 14 day-long quarantine procedure in line with the Rules defined by the Ministry of Refugees from Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Security of Georgia. "We urge citizens of Georgia to avoid traveling overseas if not for an unavoidable necessity! "The effective fight against the COVID19 requires not only the greatest caution and attention of the Government but society at large. Hence, absolute adherence to the rules of self-isolation is most important. We categorically call upon you to demonstrate civil consciousness and keep away from breaching the rules of self-isolation! "The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia ensures strict control over the

compliance with the rules of self-isolation in full coordination with the Ministry of Health of Georgia. "We stress that along with the medical care of our citizens, the Government of Georgia takes intensive steps towards effective response against those challenges that may affect the economy of the country through a further spread of COVID-19. Work is already actively pursued with businesses, including the banking and tourism sectors, along with other segments of the private sector. The economic team of the Government of Georgia will submit a specific Plan of Economic Incentives by close of business (COB) on March 12, 2020, to mitigate the potential impact caused by the global pandemic on the economy of Georgia. "It needs to be underlined that unfortunately due to the occupation of territories of Georgia and the closure of the so-called crossing points, the Government of Georgia lacks the possibility to deliver healthcare services to residents of such occupied territories, which is particularly vital in the given circumstances. As such, the Government of Georgia is working in an intensive manner through all possible means, including those with an engagement of international partners, to carry out preventive measures and provision of information to residents of the occupied territories and to ensure access to medical services in case of need. "In addition, it is very important that citizens of Georgia rely and trust only verified and officially validated information on the current situation related to COVID-19, which is available at a website designed and administered by the Government of Georgia at StopCoV.ge," reads the statement. 25 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Georgia so far. Currently, there are 295 people in quarantine and 49 people under supervision in hospitals in the country.

Coronavirus Updates: Georgia & the World BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

T

he world faces a growing number of travel restrictions imposed by many countries, suspended games that were looked forward to, and plunging economies, all due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus, which WHO this week declared a pandemic. China has said that the country has passed its peak of the virus, even going as far as loosening the restrictions, while Europe and America are facing the need to take stricter measures. From Friday March 13, a ban on traveling will start functioning on foreigners traveling to the United States. President Trump imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who have been in any of the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area in the previous two weeks. The limits will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families, although they could be subject to enhanced screening at the airports. The newly-declared pandemic is disrupting numerous sporting events. While the NBA suspended its season after a player preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus, Japan has said that there is no way to cancel the Summer Olympics. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said cancelling the summer Olympic Games was "impossible", further noting that Japan was "not thinking of changing directions nor changing plans at all". The usually intense rugby game between the Georgians and Russians will take place in Tbilisi on March 14 without any cheers from an audience, as attendance is prohibited due to the fear of Covid-2019. California has decided to ban mass

gatherings of 250 people or more until the end of March in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the office of Governor Gavin Newsom said. The country of Georgia might have to take the same measures, Paata Imnadze, Deputy Head of the Georgian National Disease Control Center, said on Thursday morning. The move is not planned yet, but Imnadze noted that “we don’t want to reach the state that was reached by other countries and then take this measure”. The ban might include gatherings like weddings and funerals. However, bans have already affected the educational sector in Georgia, with schools, colleges and kindergartens closing for disinfection on March 4, one week prior to the planned spring break. The preventive vacation was supposed to last until March 16, but on Wednesday, the off-time from educational institutions was extended to April 1. The decision was made by the Inter-Agency Council against Coronavirus. Some colleges, like the Free University of Tbilisi, have said they will continue the semester online, with more details to come. The latest coronavirus statistics in the world claim that there are a total of 126, 621 cases around the globe; 4,638 deaths from the virus; and recoveries of 68,322. The latest reports from the Georgian government say that Georgia has a total of 24 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the country. On March 10, eight new cases were taken into account, one of them a girl of 12 years old- a family member of the fourth confirmed case who returned from a vacation in Italy late February. On March 11, another new case was confirmed. The information was published on the website stopcov.ge, specially created by the local government to monitor

the spread of the virus in the country. Georgia has seen a rise in the number of quarantined people, as more and more citizens are asked to return to the country due to the state measures of citizen safety. On Thursday, 295 people were in quarantine and 49 people under supervision in hospitals in Georgia. One of the confirmed coronavirus cases is that of Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia Iuri Nozadze, who tested positive for Covid-2019 on Tuesday. The Ministry has assured society that there was no threat of the virus spreading from him to his employees. It was then revealed on March 12 that the Assistant to the Health Minister of Georgia Ekaterine Tikaradze, whose spouse has tested positive for the new coronavirus, is in self-isolation. The Minister said after the Cabinet meeting on Thursday that her assistant has tested negative for the coronavirus, however, she has chosen to remain in self-isolation. “My assistant has tested negative for the coronavirus but has been in selfisolation for one week, as a preventive measure,” Tikaradze said. On March 11, Turkey was the last of Georgia’s land neighbors to confirm the first coronavirus case. A day later, Georgia’s government announced their decision to set entry restrictions for incoming foreigners. Entry restrictions at the Georgian border will be imposed for citizens arriving from German, France, Austria, and Spain, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at the government meeting on Thursday morning. All Georgian nationals returning from these countries will undergo a 14-day quarantine regime, and foreign nationals must provide a PCR certificate proving

they are free from coronavirus at the border or undergo a quarantine regime. “The regime of crossing the Georgian border is tightening both for local and foreign citizens. We have already imposed some restrictions for citizens returning from China, South Korea and Italy, this regime will also apply to citizens arriving from Germany, France, Austria and Spain, which means that all Georgian citizens returning to their home country will undergo a 14-day quarantine regime while foreign citizens will have to submit a PCR certificate of coronavirus, otherwise they will undergo the 14-day quarantine,” the Prime Minister said. He added that each citizen of Georgia is recommended to refrain from traveling to foreign countries for several months. “This is a very important recommendation and we hope that our citizens will take this recommendation into account,” the head of the government said. While demanding PCR certificates from foreign nationals when entering the country seems reasonable, there are some factors that need to be considered. Some countries, like the UK, can find patients waiting weeks to get a PCR certificate, as thousands are being tested each day for the new coronavirus. On Wednesday, the British media outlet The Guardian wrote that “To avoid overwhelming limited testing facilities, the National Health Service (NHS) said it would test only people with a “high chance” of having the illness, meaning people who had had close contact with a confirmed case or who had recently gone to a high-risk country”, while The Sun wrote that “the NHS is planning to ‘ramp up’ testing facilities in the coming weeks so that 10,000 coronavirus tests can be performed each day. It’s also been promised that in most cases patients will

be informed whether they’re infected or not the same day.” As such, any Brits planning to come to Georgia may end up facing quarantine on arrival if Georgia expands its list of restricted countries before the NHS gets a handle on the testing. On Thursday morning, the Georgian Prime Minister assessed the country’s standing on preventive measures, and noted that all relevant agencies will work in emergency mode to help deal with the virus outbreak. "Considering the unfortunate statistics from all over the world, we can say that we are doing well coping with the challenges related to COVID-19, however, we have no reason to relax or be satisfied as yet," PM Gakharia said. “These challenges will increase daily and we are obliged to be appropriately prepared to respond to them. Primarily, we should take care of our elderly, children and each other, of course. Every government agency is moving to a 24/7 work schedule in the given emergency conditions. It particularly applies to the Ministries of Health, Interior, Education and Justice, along with those of Foreign Affairs and Finance through subsidiaries of the latter that operate at the border of the country,” he noted. Soothing the unceasing concern over the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian wrote on Wednesday evening that a newly-created remedy has helped a US patient recover from the disease. Hopes are rising over the experimental drug's effectiveness against coronavirus, as it has shown a positive outcome on a 35-year-old man in Washington; however, full trials are needed to prove the effectiveness of the drug. This will be coming in the next few weeks. Get the latest updates on georgiatoday.ge.


NEWS

GEORGIA TODAY MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

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Maintaining its Humanitarian Approach, the UAE Evacuates 215 Individuals of Different Nationalities from China’s Hubei Province

BY H.E. ESSA ALNOAIMI - THE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES IN GEORGIA

W

ithin the framework of its humanitarian approach, the United Arab Emirates strives for standing with the rest of the world to confront the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus "Covid19"emerged in China. His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed

Al Nahyan made a decision to evacuate approximately 215 individuals of several nationalities from China’s Hubei Province, upon the request of their governments. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, was commanded to supply an aircraft equipped with advanced medical services and specifically trained humanitarian response team, on Wednesday March 4. The evacuees were transported to Emirates humanitarian city, which was fully supplied with all the necessary equipment in order to undertake medi-

cal and laboratory tests to ensure their safety. Throughout the 14-day period of quarantine, they were provided with full healthcare service in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization. The Government of the UAE successfully carried out this humanitarian mission in coordination with Chinese government and the embassies of the countries in concern. These individuals will be returned to their homelands and families full of happiness and have already expressed their gratitude towards all who assisted in carrying out the evacuation process. The UAE is always a pioneer among the countries of the world in bringing such initiatives and extends a helping hand to people without discrimination of any kind based on race, religion or geographical location. This approach hails from the noble humanity and firm values of the country to enhance international efforts and reduce the aftermath of victims or affected people and tackle the challenges that hinder Mankind's journey towards stability and progressive development. Therefore, the UAE carried out its humanitarian duty in solidarity with those who were affected by the outbreak of coronavirus. Starting from early stages of coronavirus spread, the UAE openly supported the government and citizens of the People's Republic of China and then this humanitarian initiative was launched to evacuate the citizens of certain countries, most of whom were students. Finally, we can say that the humanitarian effort of the UAE and communication with the peoples of the world focuses on two subjects: health and education, which are the two main pillars of development in societies.

In the very heart of the city

Address: 17 Wine Ascent Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: (+995) 322 22 11 16 www.facebook.com/BricksTbilisi/

Georgian Citizen in Italy Recovers from Coronavirus

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Georgian citizen who was infected with COVID-19 in Italy has been discharged from the hospital as she recovered from the illness. “A Georgian citizen in Italy became infected with coronavirus and was undergoing due treatment at a hospital in Rome. Our citizen has recovered from the illness. She will return to her family healthy. We are delighted with the news”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani. The Georgian citizen residing in Italy was registered as infected with a pneumonia-like illness on March 4. The young woman underwent a course of treatment

at one of Rome’s clinics. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, pushing the threat beyond the global health emergency it had issued in January. The organization calls for countries to declare an emergency and focus on control rather than on mitigation in the healthcare system. As of now, 24 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Georgia. There are 295 people in quarantine and 49 remain in hospital. The Georgian government has moved to a state of emergency.


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POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY

MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

The Last Tsar of Russia OP-ED BY DAVID BRAGVADZE, GEORGIAN INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY POLICY

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week or two ago, most of the scholars of Putin’s Russia would think that they had solved each and every puzzle that this regime had to offer – Putin had nothing left in tank to shock and surprise them. Back in January, when he first mentioned the “possible initative” of introducing changes to the Russian constitution, the West’s collective eyebrow was unmoved: most of the changes were to be expected. The single novelty was his insistence to remove the word “successively” from the rule dealing with the procedures of electing a president. This was viewed as a rather formal, “for-the books” attempt of transforming Russia, with Putin firmly remaining in power, although nominally he would not be the “first man”. In less than two months, Putin proved once again that he can always surprise us when he decided that it might be a tad too hard for his liking to rule the country from behind the scenes, either that, or he decided he was belligerent enough not to pretend anymore. Many thought that since he already had experience of doing that in 2008-2012, running the country from the seat of Prime Minister with President Medvedev reduced to providing timed nods to his decisions, he’d pull something like that again – which position he’d settle for was the only point of argument. The question now is why Putin is putting up this charade: if he didnt want to go, he’d have just removed the “successive electing” part through one of his edicts. And it’s not like he would have

been the first: other eternal leaders of the Post Soviet world already resorted to this method, such as Belarus’ Lukashenko and Azerbaijan’s Alyev, in 2004 and 2009 respectively. The Kazakhstan constitution also rather helpfully clarifies that while the president can be elected only twice, this restriction doesn’t apply to the First President. Russian sources claim that Putin was in fact against changing that bit in the constitution. And probably because he took such a “principled” stand on this, man of superior morals that he is, it fell down to a member of the Duma from the majority “United Russia” party, to address the Duma with the initative to “annul” the previous presidential terms of Putin. Now Tereshkova should need no introduction to anyone from the Post Soviet world, but it seems that the “First woman in space” decided she has to leave a much more dubious legacy in history. The same sources also claim that Putin views this option favorably. Not that anyone thinks that it took much persuasion to get him agree to it. He’s got only one condition, apparently: the Constitutional Court of Russia should deem this procedure not against the constitution. Knowing the high degree of indeprendence of the Russian judicial system, nobody entertains the notion that the court’s decision will be any different to Tereshkova’s opinion. Now if you wanted to conduct a serious analysis of this absudist political sketch, you might ask yourself just why Putin is so adamantly against the successive terms? The naïve amongst us might think that Putin is trying to dupe us into thinking Russia is a democratic country. Well, the annulment of previous terms throws that theory out of the window. The only plausible explanation is offered by a famous line from F.

Tyutchev’s poem: “ Russia is understood not by the mind”. Another question one might ask is why Putin optted against the “rule behindthe-scenes” option. Especially considering his experience, no-one in their right mind will claim he wasn’t the main man in 2008-2012, even though President Medvedev did his best to pretend he mattered. In 2008, Putin was 55 years old, today he is 67. Considering the fact that the presidential term has been extended from 4 to 6, in 2024 he will be 71 and one hopes that his body and mind at least have limits. Perhaps the all-powerful President of Russia is aware of time creeping up on him and doesn’t relish the manipulations that the behind-thescenes option entails. 55-year-old Putin would easily handle that, the 71-year-old version, and for six years at that, might

encounter some difficulties, so he probably doesn’t want the extra headaches. Clinging to power is the basic instinct for every dictator out there: they change laws, or just ignore them. It’s hard to say which of these two Putins went with here. One thing that’s certain, though, is that President Putin embarked on that rocky road that the most flamboyant African dictators trod before. To annul 4 (!) terms of presidential tenure can only be compared to what the infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin did, when he nonchalantly declared himself, in response to the United Kingdom freezing diplomatic relations with his regime, that he was, OFFICIALLY, “the conqueror of the empire of Great Britain” and the rightful King of Scotland. Despite his propensity to seize lands of other sovereign nations, Putin so far

hasn’t declared himself as the Grand Prince of Kievan Rus or the Hetman of Ukraine. Despite that, he can be called the Last Tsar of Russia. The Russian System will try to leave Putin in power as long as it can, as Putin and Russia have become synonymous. And one last question: What will the 83-year-old Putin do in 2036? Will he enjoy a much deserved (and delayed) retirement? Or will he decide to take some rest and move behind the scenes? Or maybe annul again? To be honest, it would save all of us all the headache if he just declared himself President for Life. As Tsar’s were. It’s only fitting. But before that, on March 17, 2024, Russia will have presidential elections. And the law-abiding citizens of Russia will cast their votes and elect Putin as if they have never done it before.


POLITICS

GEORGIA TODAY MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

5

What Do the Amendments to the Georgian Election Code Imply? BY TEA MARIAMIDZE

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he draft constitutional amendments regarding the new Georgian electoral system, agreed between the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) majority and the opposition parties on March 8, have been initiated in Parliament. The amendments read that the upcoming parliamentary elections in October 2020 will be held with 120 seats in the legislative body to be distributed via a proportional vote, and the remaining 30 via the majoritarian system. The agreement also envisages a fair composition of election districts, a 1% threshold, and a cap recognizing that no single party that wins less than 40% of the votes should be able to get its own majority in the next parliament. At the same time, blocks are allowed, though with a different threshold. The percentage of votes received by election blocs must be at least 1% multiplied to the number of political parties within the election bloc.

The project reads that to determine the number of seats won by a political party or election bloc, the number of actual votes it receives is multiplied by 120 and divided by the sum of the actual votes received by all political parties and election blocs that crossed the electoral threshold. The number received this way is the number of seats won by a political party or election bloc. If the number of seats won by political parties and election blocs is less than 120, the unbalanced mandates shall be distributed to the parties and election blocs that got the highest balance of votes. The percentage of the total number of seats won by the political party or bloc in the majoritarian system shall not exceed the percentage of the total number of votes in the proportional system and the sum of one quarter of this proportion. The constitutional amendments envisage the creation of 30 single-mandate majoritarian constituencies in accordance with the administrative boundaries in force at the time of the adoption of the law: Tbilisi Municipality: 1. Mtatsminda and Krtsanisi districts

Image source: droa.ge

2. Vake district 3. Saburtalo district 4. Isani district 5. Samgori district 6. Didube and Chugureti districts 7. Gldani district 8. Nadzaladevi district Other constituencies will be located in: 9. Akhmeta, Kvareli and Lagodekhi municipalities; 10. Gurjaani, Sagarejo, Dedoplistskaro and Signagi municipalities; 11. Rustavi Municipality and administrative units of Norio, Martkopi, Akhalsofeli, Sartichala, Gamarjveba, Akhali Samgori, Lemshveniera, Teleti, Kumi and Krtsanisi of Gardabani Municipality; 12. Marneuli and Gardabani municipalities; 13. Municipalities of Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro and Tsalka; 14. Mtskheta, Dusheti, Tianeti and Kazbegi municipalities; 15. Kaspi and Gori municipalities; 16. Khashuri and Kareli municipalities and administrative units of Variani,

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Nikozi, Tirdznisi, Skra and Shindisi of Gori Municipality; 17. Municipalities of Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Adigeni and Aspindza; 18. Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda municipalities; 19. Kutaisi Municipality; 20. Sachkhere, Chiatura and Kharagauli municipalities; 21. Tkibuli, Terjola, Zestafoni and Baghdati municipalities; 22. Municipalities of Samtredia, Tskaltubo, Vani and Khoni; 23. Zugdidi Municipality; 24. Poti, Khobi and Senaki municipalities; 25. The municipalities of Tsalenjikha, Chkhorotsku, Martvili and Abasha; 26. Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti and Chokhatauri municipalities; 27. Batumi Municipality; 28. Kobuleti municipality and administrative units of Makhinjauri, Ortabatumi, Akhalsheni and Peria in Khelvachauri municipality; 29. Khelvachauri, Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo municipalities;

30. The municipalities of Ambrolauri, Oni, Tsageri, Lentekhi and Mestia The draft reads that the rules and conditions for running for the elections, as well as the rules for the distribution of seats for members of parliament, shall be determined by the election law. The agreement reached between the authorities and the united opposition underlines that only the upcoming elections will be held by 120/30 system, changing from the previous 77/73 system. All following elections will take place through a fully proportional system which means that all 150 seats in the parliament will be distributed through proportional elections. The consensus between the ruling party and the majority was welcomed by the European Parliamentarians, Council of Europe, United States of Department of State, US Senators, NGOs and the diplomatic corps based in Georgia. Their positive assessments say that it is a step forward towards normalization of the political situation and a healthy electoral environment in Georgia.

What is the most important, the team of the clinic does not spare efforts to ensure the completion of this process in the shortest time period and offersthegentic research of the smbryo, much faciliating the procesure. Innova In Vitro clinic specializes in various directions, related to the field: In vitro fertiliziation; insemination; Donation-Surrogacy Programs; Gynecological Endocrinology; Neuroendocrinology; Conservative Gynecology; Estabilishing the causes of miscarriages and their appropriate treatment, as well as Contraception. Each client of the clinic is treated with a special care, accentuating the significance of individual factors. Therefore, the reproductologist is to individually evaluate the chances of success in each case. Through the high-quality of services, transparency of procedures and individual approach to the clientele, the Innova In Vitro clinic is now welcoming local, as well es the international patients from various countries of the globe. Z. Anjafaridze Str. 1 turn #6 Tel: 2-232-232 / 596-232-232 Mail: osidze_k@yahoo.com FB: Innova Invitro/ინოვა ინვიტრო


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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

Cooperation Between Dirsi & Bank of Georgia is Moving to a New Stage

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irsi has signed another agreement with the Bank of Georgia, which envisages offering simplified mortgage loan procedures to those wishing to purchase an apartment in a DIRSI residential complex. Dirsi has been working with Bank of Georgia since 2014. The com-

pany is constantly striving to create products tailored to customer needs; and this same purpose lies behind the joint offer of the Bank of Georgia and the development company. Being the largest residential complex in the city, comprising 3000 completed apartments, Dirsi pampers its residents with the finest infra-

structure and services to create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for living and leisure. These include but are not limited to a unique boulevard on

the river Mtkvari, pedestrian zones, infrastructure, a bicycle lane, basketball and football stadiums, cafes, a supermarket, a pharmacy, kindergar-

tens, a birthday party center and other commercial facilities. The investment in the construction of the complex over $170 million.


BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

GD & Opposition Agreement Named Important Step to Democracy by Major Intl' Allies Continued from page 1 The above decision was announced after a meeting held at the US Ambassador's residence, which was attended by newly appointed US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell. "This is a great benefit for all Georgians," Hartzell said after the meeting. “All parties achieved an agreement…I want to congratulate everyone that a compromise has been achieved,” the Ambassador said. The US Embassy to Georgia released the text of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the opposition and the government, expressing pleasure that the participants of the political dialogue reached a successful agreement, which is "an important step in the run-up to the parliamentary elections." “The undersigned parties agree to support changes to the election system based on the following draft text of the Constitution’s transitional provision defining the rules for the 2020 Parliamentary Elections,” the MoU reads. "The elected Parliament shall consist of 120 members elected through the proportional system and 30 members elected through the majoritarian system. The electoral threshold for proportional elections shall be set at 1%. "A capping mechanism will define that no single party that receives less than 40% of the votes cast is allowed to receive a majority of seats in the Parliament. Further caps and provisions will be introduced in the legislation with the aim of facilitating a more proportional distribution of mandates relative to the votes received by the parties. "The 30 electoral districts will be drawn in compliance with the relevant ruling of the Georgian Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission recommendation, suggesting that the deviation from the average electorate size of districts should not exceed 15%. Preference should always be given to creating districts within the same region unless the distribution of the electorate requires otherwise. Up to three limited exceptions from the above districting rules can be introduced throughout the country in the interest of encouraging the representation of ethnic minority groups, citizens residing in mountainous regions, or for accommodating particular geographic needs. "The Parliamentary majority will publicly present its proposed mapping of electoral districts, in line with the principles described above, no later than ten days from initiating the constitutional amendments in the Parliament. "Should there be early parliamentary elections between 2020 and 2024, the first such election will be held based on the election system guiding the 2020 elections. Any subsequent elections will be held based on the fully proportional election system as foreseen for the 2024 Parliamentary Elections. "The undersigned party declares full support for the above changes and commits to ensuring its affirmative votes in the Parliament to pass the constitutional amendments”. Brock Bierman, USAID Assistant Administrator, also echoed the agreement between the sides, expressing support toward Georgia's democratic future on behalf of the Organization. "We are encouraged by this weekend's agreement and look forward to Parliament's full adoption of electoral reforms leading to free, fair, and transparent 2020 elections. USAID will continue to support progress toward the democratic future that all Georgians deserve", Bierman wrote on social media. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who is Co-chair of the Friends of Georgia Group in the United States Congress, responded to the agreement. "My heartfelt 'congrats' to the people of Georgia for reaching an agreement on the 2020 parliamentary elections. Democracy is hard work, but worth it. Speaker Talakvadze and many others deserve appreciation for their work," the Republican Congressman tweeted. Kinzinger was among those US congressmen who warned the Georgian Dream of the possible complications to expect if they failed to reach an agreement on the 2020 parliamentary election system with opposition members. The Council of Europe endorsed the agreement reached between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition, saying that it "puts an end to the uncertainty that lasted for several months and opens the way to depolarization of the political debate, in the run-up of this year’s elections." "We welcome the political agreement reached yesterday, 8 March, by the majority and opposition in Georgia on the 2020 electoral system, which puts an end to the uncertainty that lasted for several months and opens the way to depolarization of the political debate, in the run-up of this year’s elections. Talks were facilitated by representatives of the international community in Georgia including from the European Union, the United States,

Germany and the Council of Europe. "We look forward to the adoption in Parliament of the provisions of this agreement, as well as all other necessary changes to the electoral legislation, in line with international recommendations. The Council of Europe including its Venice Commission will continue to offer its assistance to Georgian authorities towards successful completion of the process. "We commend political parties’ commitment to strive for the highest standards of the functioning of Georgia’s judiciary and protect judicial and electoral processes from inappropriate political interference. This will contribute to upholding the relevant provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Council of Europe standards on electoral matters," reads the statement. The Spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union released a statemen on the agreement, pointing out that it is an important and visible signal of political leadership from all sides which reflects a desire to decrease the unhealthy political polarization in Georgia. “On Sunday, all the main political parties in Georgia reached an agreement on constitutional amendments related to the election system in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding. The parties also signed a Joint Statement underlining the importance of free and fair parliamentary elections in 2020 and on the need to avoid actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes. This was the outcome of more than three months of intense negotiations facilitated by the representatives of the European Union, Germany, the Council of Europe and the United States, in Georgia. "This agreement is a very welcome, important and visible signal of political leadership from all sides which reflects a desire to decrease the unhealthy political polarisation in Georgia. We congratulate all the signatories as they have put the interests of the Georgian citizens and the consolidation of Georgia's democracy first. "We trust that all sides will adhere to the agreement and ensure its successful adoption in the Parliament in the coming weeks and later on effective implementation. We also call on all parties to swiftly and fully address the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations following the last elections, in order to ensure that the upcoming parliamentary elections attain the highest level of confidence by the Georgian people and the international community,” reads the statement. On March 10, four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) issued a joint statement welcoming the March 8 electoral system reform agreement. “Last Sunday marked a turning point in Georgia’s political life, as the representatives of the country’s main political forces agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding that defines the electoral system in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. "The accord foresees an electoral system for 2020 based on 120 proportional mandates and 30 majoritarian mandates, a cap determining that no single party that receives less than 40% of the votes can form its own majority, and a 1% electoral threshold. "We wish to congratulate all the participants of this sometimes arduous political dialogue for putting the greater interest of their country and their citizens first. Our gratitude also goes to the diplomats who have facilitated this process through their valuable mediation - in particular the EU Ambassador to Georgia, H.E. Carl Hartzell. "We are also pleased to note that the signatories have committed themselves to hold free and fair elections and to avoid any actions that could be interpreted as an inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s electoral or judicial processes. We would like to reiterate the importance of building trust in the judicial system and call to avoid any appointments to key positions that would not be conducive to this process. "We now call on our Georgian partners to fully implement the agreement and to ensure that the corresponding constitutional amendments are adopted swiftly by their parliament and that the next elections are held in accordance with the recommendations issued by the OSCE/ODIHR, as these steps will be decisive in further reducing the political polarisation of Georgia and consolidating its democracy. We also remind that pluralistic and balanced media are crucial for a smooth and successful electoral process,” reads the statement by leading MEPs. The statement was co-signed by David McAllister (EPP, DE), Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee; Marina Kaljurand (S&D, ET), Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the South Caucasus; Sven Mikser (S&D, ET), The European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for Georgia, and Viola Von Cramon Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, DE), European Parliament’s lead member for democracy support activities in Georgia.

Puri Guliani – this is what our ancestors called pastries that they earnestly created all over Georgia with variety of fillings. These pastries were later shared with important and beloved people, marking the significance of the dishes. That’s why we call our Sakhabazo (bakery) and kitchen Puri Guliani. Here we bring history to life and contribute to the everlasting tradition of Georgian baking. Every day our team creates new variations of traditional dishes, Guliani breads, pastries and mouthwatering desserts by using only Georgian wheat and regional products.

Saarbrucken Square, Tbilisi Call: 577 00 00 83 9:00AM - 11:00PM

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BUSINESS

GEORGIA TODAY

MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

How to Organize Events Without Producing So Much Waste? CENN/USAID Recommendations

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rrangingeco-friendlyevents will soon be a priority. Regardless of event size, there are simple steps an organizer can take to drastically reduce the negative impact on the environment. With sustainability and social responsibility hot topics these days, there is tremendous opportunity to make any high-profile event a platform for increasing public awareness about eco-friendly alternatives available and the importance of recycling. In order to contribute to decreasing the harmful impact on the environment, CENN/USAID WMTR program has developed a special Low Waste Event Guide that teaches companies and individuals how to reduce waste when organizing various events. The online version of the guide is available on the CENN Environmental Knowledge Portal (http:// environment.cenn.org/waste-management/).

The Low Waste Event Guide helps to plan events in a way that prevents as much waste as possible, which can be achieved through careful planning, clear communication with event organizers and attendees, and a bit of creativity. The guide explains the basics of low waste events by focusing on reducing paper, plastic, and food waste, and recycling what is left. The guide includes several practical and useful tips on how to organize events in a way that will create minimum damage to nature.

REDUCING PAPER WASTE “E-mail attendees the schedule and any event documents ahead of time,” the guide reads. Among many detailed tips, the Guide highlights the importance of sending out electronic invitations and advising attendees to keep an e-version of the invitation on the cloud or a smartphone. Making sure that an invitation is recy-

clable is also important. CENN advises those who care for the environment to avoid bright-colored, dark-colored, fluorescent or metallic papers, which cannot be recycled. If your event requires tickets, going digital or having a guest list ready is also highly recommended.

PLASTIC WASTE The second section of the guide focuses on reducing plastic waste. The first important issue in this direction is reducing plastic water/beverage bottles. To solve this, it is recommended to provide a water pitcher/glass dispensers and reusable cups, or offer beverages in recyclable glass bottles and/or aluminum cans when hosting the event. The event organizers are advised to provide reusable plates and metal utensils instead of single-use plastic items, particularly when it comes to single use condiment packaging, which results in unnecessary waste.

FOOD WASTE Reducing Food Waste is an important

part in terms of environment protection. The guide provides detailed tips on how to achieve this goal. One of the recommendations by CENN to event organizers is that caterers only prepare enough food for the number of attendees, keeping in mind that many people may not eat a full meal. It is also important to plan the menu to include only plant-based foods, as a reduction in meat consumption will lead to a reduction in dietary GHG emissions. Companies and individuals are advised to keep track of the amount of food leftover after the event and, if necessary, order that percentage less for the next event with the same caterer.

ment protection. Therefore, CENN gives recommendations on how to inform attendees of your event about waste recycling. It is also suggested to include a message that the event is zero waste in the invitations, speeches, presentation openings, social media posts, and pressreleases, and also place the message on the materials in order to raise public awareness. Following the event, organizers can bring the collected recyclable items to one of Tbilisi, Kobuleti, Khelvachauri or Batumi’s waste separation corners (the map of locations can be found in online version of the guide available on CENN website). “Alternatively, when planning the event, communicate with the local aggregating company Clean World and arrange with them to collect the separated waste,” reads the guide. Additional recommendations related to arranging eco-friendly event include avoiding decorations designed for onetime use (banners developed for this event, streamers, balloons, etc.); building your theme around recyclable décor; find venues that use alternative energy sources when possible (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass or hydro) and providing LED lights on timers/motion sensors if natural light isn’t possible. The full version of the Low Waste Event Guide is available on the CENN Environmental Knowledge Portal (http:// environment.cenn.org/waste-management/).

WASTE SORTING In order to ensure waste sorting, hosts of the events are suggested to place signage on bins to indicate which items can be put in which bin and note that all items placed in the recycling bin must be clean and dry. Education and awareness raising plays an important role in terms of environ-

Area Expo Postponed due to Coronavirus Risks

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rea Expo 2020, which was to be held at the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace on April 4-5, has been postponed due to the spread of COVID-19 virus in Georgia. Area Group considers holding the exhibition impossible given the high probability of spreading the virus in public spaces. The company regards such measures indispensable for taking care of the health of visitors, participants and the public in general. The new date for the event will be known in one week’s time, following thorough observation of the circumstances. Area Group wishes you good health and urges you to follow preventative measures. Area Expo, Georgia’s largest real estate exhibition-sale that

traditionally hosts up to 2000 visitors, is a platform whereby Georgian developers get a chance to offer special prices and terms to those interested in purchasing residential or commercial spaces. Area Group is holding the event for the third time in Tbilisi. Area Expo represents an annual exhibition-sale where the developers and financial institutions presented on the Georgian market gather in one space to provide access to diverse products and f inancial resources for people interested in acquiring real estate. The exhibition is likewise interesting for those who want to find information about the real estate market and study it. Here, one can observe market trends, discover business players in the field, and choose a business partner to invest in a real estate business.


SOCIETY

GEORGIA TODAY MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

Epic Volleys: Etseri, Svaneti

BLOG BY TONY HANMER

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o need to panic for fear of guests with a scary virus! The international group of 12 which has come up from two weeks in Batumi has earned a good deal of local respect for its hard work in clearing the snow off the school’s outdoor sports stadium. (We measured: 0.9 x 12.7 x 25.2m = roughly 288 cubic m! Can my calculations for packed snow density be right that that weighs roughly… 138 tons?! That’s 11.5 tons, or over 200 times my body weight, for each of the 12 people). The gift of a new net and volleyballs was put to immediate use in the indoor gym, as soon as we could find the guy with the key and arrange openings. We cleared all the wrestling mats from the floor and swept it. Then, a few shouts over people’s fences that the game was on, word got around, and on the young men came. At least the regular rules of volleyball are recognized, so, no need to agree on this or that version. The village fellows are fiercely competitive, perhaps reminding one of the Haka ritual before a New Zealand rugby game; but our guests also acquitted themselves very well. As it turned out, neither team was purely one set or the other, so the “us versus them” idea was not very strong. We even had a few ladies taking part, and the locals included a boy just starting his teen years alongside men three times his age; all were equal to the play.

It got quite loud a few times, with shouting matches against one of the two net referees’ decisions, but generally his word was accepted. I was the other ref, or mostly bilingual scorekeeper, so that the foreigners could keep track. Several times the score went neck and neck past the required 25 points per game as the win must be by at least two points. There were several sets of best of three games, with a few spectators coming for the excitement, which was considerable as the level of skill was rather great, given that no one there was actually a professional. Beer was passed around, but not to excess; several local guys had a smoke during play. Our guests bought snacks for all from the shop near the end. Meanwhile, outside, shoveling of the outdoor arena continued, our group having enough members to spare for this simultaneously with playing volleyball, and a couple of them making lunch too! They returned to the lit space after supper, it being lit at night, for a final push for the day. Each morning I would round up a few free shovels and an extra wheelbarrow from neighbors glad to lend their support, and they dug in. The darkness of the astroturf means that a thin layer of snow left on it will quickly evaporate in the strong spring sun, which warms it well. Today it’s four-a-side soccer (including goalies) in this newly prepared, spotless, fenced-in quadrangle. First side to get four goals wins, regardless of time. Here, too, the locals are pressed hard by our guest team, which for a while even has a young lady from Nor-

way taking part and scoring. When I share the above statistics of snow removal, they are even more impressed, and express their gratitude, saying that at least another month would have gone by if the snow was left untouched. With a second week off from school, the children are delighted at their unexpected gift of a clean playing field so early. I, too, am pleased that the 1600m altitude doesn’t seem to affect my guests much. Tomorrow, they’ll do some house cleaning here, some snow removal for a lady expecting hay in her barn, and another stint of either soccer or volleyball. Then off home around the world, separating ways eventually, some perhaps to return, others possibly never, but who knows? All touched by this place and leaving much goodwill and fond memories behind. We then have quite a long hiatus before anyone is scheduled to appear on our doorstep from outside: a month or more, to wait and see as the virus creeps closer, today having appeared via foreigners in a village 10 km away. At least Etseri’s tourism season doesn’t start until early summer. A month might see things looking very different. Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer and photographer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with nearly 2000 members, at www.facebook. com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

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CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY

MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI CINEMA

Start time: 12:00, 14:30, 17:00, 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 10-19 GEL

AMIRANI CINEMA 36 Kostava St. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge

THE INVISIBLE MAN (Info above) Start time: 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 16-19 GEL

BLOODSHOT Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi Director: Dave Wilson Cast: Vin Diesel, Sam Heughan, Eiza González Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 17:00, 19:30, 22:15 Ticket: 13, 14 GEL

FANTASY ISLAND Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Horror Director: Jeff Wadlow Cast: Lucy Hale, Maggie Q , Portia Doubleday Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 16-19 GEL

THE INVISIBLE MAN Genre: Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi Director: Leigh Whannell Cast: Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 22:15 Ticket: 15 GEL

CAVEA CITY MALL SABURTALO 1 P. Kavtaradze Str. +995 32 255 50 000, 00 70 07 www.kinoafisha.ge

DOLITTLE Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy Director: Stephen Gaghan Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 12:00 Ticket: 11 GEL LITTLE WOMEN Genre: Drama, Romance Director: Greta Gerwig Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 19:45 Ticket: 15 GEL CAVEA GALLERIA 2/4 Rustaveli Ave. +995 32 255 50 000, 00 70 07 www.kinoafisha.ge BLOODSHOT (Info above)

BIRDS OF PREY Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime Director: Cathy Yan Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor Language: English Georgian Subtitles Start time: 17:00, 19:40, 22:15 Ticket: 19:25 GEL BLOODSHOT (Info above) Start time: 12:00, 14:00, 16:50, 19:30 Ticket: 10-19 GEL THE INVISIBLE MAN (Info above) Start time: 14:15 Ticket: 11-15 GEL FANTASY ISLAND (Info above) Start time: 17:00 Ticket: 13-16 GEL MUSEUM

The exhibition spaces of the Georgian National Museum will be temporarily closed to visitors

until March 17, in order to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus infection. GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM 3 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 299 80 22, 293 48 21 www.museum.ge Exhibitions: GEORGIAN COSTUME AND WEAPONRY OF THE 18TH-20TH CENTURIES NUMISMATIC TREASURY EXHIBITION STONE AGE GEORGIA ARCHEOLOGICAL TREASURE NEW LIFE TO THE ORIENTAL COLLECTIONS

The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors, where visitors can see documentaries of various historical events. MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS 10 Betlemi Str. Discover the Museum of Illusions Be brave and jump into an illusion created by the Vortex, deform the image of yourself in the Mirror Room, free yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size, and take selfies in every possible pose. Enjoy the collection of holograms and discover optical illusions. GALLERY

Until December 5 Ammunition, memorials, paintings, sculptures of oriental deity and household items - The Georgian National Museum presents THE UNKNOWN COLLECTION OF GENERAL ZURAB KOBIASHVILI

THE NATIONAL GALLERY 11 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 215 73 00

IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA 8 Sioni St. TEL (+995 32) 2 98 22 81

Until March 29 The Georgian National Museum presents an exhibition of Giorgi Gugushvili’s artworks CALLIGRAPHIC COMPOSITIONS The artist’s monumental vision is transformed into a dynamic and expressive flow in 21 compositions created in various media.

Until April 2 Georgian National Museum and art organisation Propaganda.network present the first exhibition of Iosen Gabashvili- FROM THE HISTORY OF MODERNISM: IOSEB GABASHVILI The exhibition unites up to 200 works in various mediums: painting, graphics, illustration, stage and film production design, created from 1920 to 1950. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION 4 Rustaveli Ave. TEL (+995 32) 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge

GRAND MASTERS FROM THE GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM COLLECTION XIX – XX CENTURY

HOLOSEUM 10 Betlemi Str. At the new Museum of Holograms in Tbilisi, 120 projectors splash art onto the walls, the characters turning, twisting and moving as visitors watch, bringing art to life. The museum has opened with an exhibition of NIKO PIROSMANI'S ART. Ticket: 19.50 GEL, children: 12.5 GEL, students: 14.5 GEL

SPHERO City Mall Saburtalo, Veranda, II Floor SPHERE A domed cognitive-entertainment space where you can become part of an impressive 360-degree panorama image. For all ages. TBILISI DIGITAL SPACE Tbilisi Mall The first museum of digital art in Tbilisi, where you will meet three different spaces: Vazha-Pshavela's "Dried beech", the world of torches, and a digital space decorated with various graphic and visuals effects. In the main hall, decorated with video projections and mirrors, you will discover that there is no boundary between Man and nature. THE GEORGIAN ROOM FOREST OF LIGHTS MAIN HALL WITH VIDEO PROJECTIONS AND MIRRORS DIGITAL EXHIBITION OF GUSTAV KLIMT The work of art nouveau painter Gustav Klimt is brought to life by digital technology in Tbilisi in an immersive exhibition that marks the 120th anniversary of the painter’s. See his works brought to life with sounds and music, and colors exploding throughout Digital Space’s immense projection surface for a one-of-a-kind experience. Ticket: 5-20 GEL MUSIC

SPACEHALL 2 A Tsereteli Ave March 13 GR – TOBIAS, ANSWER CODE REQUEST, MICHAILO, RYUU, ZAPA Get a new experience with wellknown artists, new sounds and magical vibes before the summer festival comes. Start time: 23:00 Price: 30 GEL

MAJESTIQUE GIFT STORE The ancient country of Georgia, over the past years, has been establishing itself as one of the top destinations for travel. Indeed, it is a country with an abundance of attractions: history, culture, architecture, polyphony, wine production and cuisine. MAJESTIQUE is an attempt, by Georgian art historians, to promote Georgian national theme. For that, the group used the concept of a gift store, which helps to reach out across international borders. MAJESTIQUE offers a variety of artworks by Georgian artists, as well as handmade jewelry, ceramic decorative items, handmade textiles, along with books, wine and gift packages made up with Georgian gastronomic goods. The store is located in Tbilisi Marriott Hotel, 13 Rustaveli Avenue. Doors are open every day from 10 to 7 pm. Email: Majestique.giftstore@gmail.com (+995) 599 55 92 20

*Majestique* Group wishes you a pleasant stay in our country!


CULTURE

GEORGIA TODAY MARCH 13 - 16, 2020

11

R.O x Konoba to Georgia-Russia Rugby Match to be Held in Play Georgia Again Empty Stadium amid SPORTS

BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

O

ur last live show in Tbilisi was unforgettable. While performing our song ‘On Our Knees’, we felt an emotion coming from the audience that we haven’t felt in any other country in the world. We’d very much like to thank the Georgians for this, - the members of the duo R. O x Konoba said about Georgia. So it’s pretty clear, why, then, the duo is returning to perform in Georgia for the fourth time.

In 2020, R.O. x Konoba will perform in Tbilisi’s MONO HALL on March 27. R.O x Konoba is a musical duo founded in Brussels, known for their alternative sound. Their music is a miscellaneous collection of sounds from instruments, machines, dreams and realities, melancholic vocal and pop melodies. R.O and Konoba are one of those duos in the contemporary music world that actually compliment and complete each other. R.O is a producer who’s been making music since he was 13. He has succeeded in becoming an expert of sound manipulation and blending future hip hop, soul and bass music. Konoba, whose

real name is Raphael Esterhazy, spent five years in the UK learning music production. Then he headed back to his native Belgium to launch a career as Konoba. While the duo did just fine in their solo careers, together as it turned out they work the best: their hit song On Our Knees was quick to reach 600,000 views on YouTube and now its official video has over 40 million views on the website. They’ve been collaborating since they met in 2015. The duo’s tune ‘Get Home’, a joyous mix of modern electro pop, came after On Our Knees and rose to popularity just as much. They recently completed the 10 Project. The idea was simple: the duo travelled for 10 months to 10 different countries, making one track in each of the countries. Composing and producing on the go, R.O x Konoba also collaborated with local filmmakers, making a video for each track that showcased their journey and the country they were traveling to. It was a win-win: while this proved to be a great marketing piece for each of these countries, the duo winded up creating an album of various styles and influences. The 10 Project cemented their place on the modern electro music scene. Georgia was one of the countries they filmed in their video clips in, for the song called ‘Roll the Dice’, and it was greeted with outstanding cheer at Tbilisi Open Air in the summer of 2018, when the duo performed the track, awakening patriotic sentiments in the audience. The duo first came to Georgia in 2017. The first and the upcoming show in March were both organized my Movement the event planner organization in Georgia. Tickets currently costing 40 GEL can be found online at tkt.ge. Minors under 16 are allowed with adult supervision.

Coronavirus Risk

BY ANA DUMBADZE

T

he Georgia-Russia rugby match scheduled for March 14 at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi will be held without spectators amid coronavirus fears, the Georgian Rugby Union has announced. Those citizens who have already bought tickets to attend the match, will get their ticket money back. “Given the current situation related to

the new coronavirus, the match between the Georgian and Russian rugby teams will be held without spectators. Those who have already bought the tickets to attend the match should address TKT. GE to get their money back. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you very much for being a fan," the Rugby Union of Georgia said in a statement. 24 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Georgia so far. Currently, there are 298 people in quarantine and 46 people under supervision in hospitals in the country.

US Embassy Diplomats to Read to Georgian Children in English Online BY NINI DAKHUNDARIDZE

I

n light of schools being closed in an effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus in Georgia, the US Embassy in Tbilisi has come up with an initiative that will help children continue their education. From March 13, every weekday at 2 PM via Facebook LIVE, an American diplo-

mat will read to you in English and talk about the brilliance and importance of the story. “This is a wonderful opportunity to work on your English and find out more about America,” writes the US Embassy in Tbilisi in a Facebook post, announcing the initiative. On Friday, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss will be read. Join the Facebook LIVE of the US Embassy in Tbilisi daily at 2 PM and become a part of this wonderful initiative.

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Profile for Georgia Today

Issue #1235  

March 13 - 16, 2020

Issue #1235  

March 13 - 16, 2020

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