Issue no: 843
• MAY 13 - 16, 2016
• PUBLISHED TWICE WEEKLY
PRICE: GEL 2.50
In this week’s issue... Georgia Drops 10 Spots to 111 for Environmental Performance NEWS PAGE 2
Council of Europe Launches Action Plan for Georgia (2016-2019) POLITICS PAGE 7
FOCUS ON UKRAINE TODAY
Georgian-born Zguladze Out as Ukrainian Government Purges Reformists
US to Activate European Missile Shield
Georgian President Backs Marriage Bill, Refuses to Take Stance on Same-Sex Unions SOCIETY PAGE 8
Shooting Dinosaurs: Ogden on the Georgian Film Industry
BY NICHOLAS WALLER
SOCIETY PAGE 11
Foreign Premieres of “They will Return” by Director Zaza Nanobashvili
he United States will activate its European missile defense shield beginning Thursday despite vehement protests from Russia who see the system as a direct threat to Moscow’s security in Europe. The project has been a decade in the making as Washington looked to develop a ballistic missile defense shield for its NATO allies in Europe. The system was originally intended for possible Iranianmade medium-range rockets, but Moscow saw the development of the system as a direct threat to the credibility of its nuclear deterrence. Continued on page 2
CULTURE PAGE 12
Young Pianist Sandro Nebieridze Wins Grand Prix in Moscow CULTURE PAGE 15
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Casualties Mount in North Georgia Drops 10 Spots Caucasus as Violence to 111 for Environmental Spreads in April-May Performance BY NICHOLAS WALLER
he North Caucasus experienced a dramatic spike in violence across the region in April as shootouts and suicide bombers claimed dozens of lives in the restive region. The majority of the attacks took place in the Scotland-sized republic of Dagestan on the Chechen and Azerbaijani borders. At least nine people were killed and two others wounded in mid-April during intense weeklong clashes between armed Islamic insurgents and Russian security service troops in Dagestan, according to reports by independent North Caucasus news outlet Kavkaz Uzel. Clashes occured in a village in Dagestan’s mountainous Sograti Gunib district when a 25-year-old man identified as Akhmed Shamkhalov opened fire on local police officials during a routine document check. Shamkhalov was killed in the ensuing shootout and was later linked by Russia’s FSB security services to a local militant group that had repeatedly threatened attacks on Russian interior ministry officials in recent months. A second deadly clash on April 14 in Dagestan’s Dzhengutay Buinaksk district – an area closer to the regional capital Makhachkala – broke out when traffic police operating in the area were fired upon by a driver and passenger who were later identified by local pro-Moscow officials as members of a local insurgent group. Local officials in Dagestan on April 29 reported that a retired police chief from the region’s Shamil District had been shot and killed by militants. Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee said on May 4 that three gunmen had been killed in an operation in Dagestan’s central Kizilyurt District. The committee identified one the militants killed in the operation as Omar Sabuyev, the alleged leader
of an organized crime group known as the Kizilyurt Gang. Six local policemen were later wounded in an insurgent attack at a security checkpoint in Chechnya on May 9. Chechnya’s Interior Ministry said the incident near the capital Grozny left three police officers severely wounded, though none was expected to succumb to their injuries. Islamic insurgents fighting in the isolated mountains of Chechnya claimed responsibility for the attacks. The incident took place on the 12th anniversary of the assassination of then-Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was killed in a bombing at Grozny’s central stadium during a Victory Day parade. Chechnya and Dagestan have been the epicenter of a low-level guerilla war between insurgents seeking to establish an Islamic state in the North Caucasus. The conflict stems from the period following the brutal Chechen wars in the 1990s. After Moscow re-established control over the republic, many former secular independence fighters turned to ever more brutal methods of combating their erstwhile enemy, while embracing an imported form of radical Islamist ideology that had been brought by Arab volunteers in the early 2000s.
BY NICHOLAS WALLER
he Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy’s recently published Environmental Performance Index (EPI) placed Georgia 111th on its list of 180 countries. The ranking sees Georgia drop 10 places compared to its previous ranking in 2014 The EPI index – first published in 2006 – quantifies and marks the environmental performance of a country by analysing its policies towards nine major environmental issues. According to the report, Georgia still lacks a coherent policy on a number of key environmental issues, including freshwater quality, toxic chemical exposure, municipal solid waste management, wetland loss and recycling.
The EPI revealed the Nordic nations of Finland, Iceland and Sweden as the world’s most eco-friendly countries. Georgia’s South Caucasus neighbors Azerbaijan and Armenia were placed 31st and 37th on the list, respectively. Azerbaijan’s relatively high rating is somewhat controversial with regards the heavily industrialized areas along the Caspian Sea, namely the ageing Soviet-era oil facilities near Sumgayit, where high rates of cancer and ground water poisoning are common. Sumgayit is often listed as one of the top 10 most polluted sites on Earth alongside Russia’s Dzhezhinsk chemical weapons plant and Norilsk’s mining and smelting facilities, as well as Ukraine’s abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Somalia, an East African country that has endured constant warfare since 1991, ranked last on the EPI index, coming in at 180.
US to Activate European Missile Shield Continued from page 1
“This system now gives us the capability to protect our NATO allies in Europe,” US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was quoted by Reuters as saying on May 11. He added that the system, installed at an air base located in Romania, is not directed toward Russia. The Kremlin, however, has reacted with repeated threats to counter a US-led defense system with the deployment of Iskander medium-range tactical nuclear warheads in Russia’s exclave Kaliningrad region and in Crimea, which Moscow invaded and illegally annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. The issue of missile defense has been one of the most toxic bones of contention in US-Russia bilateral relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Washington has sought to assuage Russian fears over the years that the shield is not directed at or capable of intercepting Moscow’s missile systems. Military analysts both in Russia and abroad believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strident oppo-
sition to the system is based on the Kremlin’s inability to reach a level of parity with NATO’s conventional ground forces, which continue to maintain a vastly superior edge in quality, supply and training over their Russian counterparts. Russia’s Defense Ministry in keenly aware that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a massive military modernization overhaul after a brief war with Georgia in 2008, Moscow’s nuclear deterrent remains the country’s only reliable trump card. The Romanian missile-defense site will form the heart of a larger network of US warships that are armed with radar and missile interceptor systems. The ships will jointly patrol the Black, Mediterranean and Baltic seas on a rotational basis with other naval ships belonging to fellow NATO members. A second missile defense installation located in Poland is expected to go online by early 2018 NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will arrive in Romania to attend the system’s launch on Thursday.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Georgian-born Zguladze Out as Ukrainian Government Purges Reformists BY NICHOLAS WALLER
n a move widely seen as a major blow to Ukraine’s reform movement, the country’s Georgian-born First Deputy Interior Minister Ekaterina Zguladze tendered her resignation to the country’s cabinet of ministers late Wednesday evening. Zguladze, a fiery 37-year-old reformer known by her diminutive “Eka”, previously served in the administration of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. She has been instrumental in overhauling Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt police force since being appointed to her position in December 2014. Zguladze did release a formal statement regarding her resignation. Her former boss, Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, later confirmed that she intended to step down in a Tweet late Wednesday. “Eka is stepping down as the first Deputy Minister. The government has satisfied her request. Sincerely: Big thanks for your job,” Avakov posted on his Twitter account. Avakov later said Zguladze would officially announce her resignation as well as her decision to remain in Ukraine as a member of a group of advisors. “She (Zguladze) has accepted my proposition to resign. She will continue to help reform the Ministry of Internal
came to prominence immediately after the 2013-14 Maidan Revolution overthrew disgraced former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, and powerful oligarchs who have long-standing ties to corrupt old guard politicians and warm relations with the Kremlin. Ukraine’s deeply entrenched oligarch class – led by Donetsk-based, pro-Russian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov – has in recent months forcefully pushed back against any attempt to overhaul the country’s corrupt post-Soviet political and economic structure.
Affairs,” said Avakov. Zguladze first joined the Ukrainian government as one of dozens of foreign – mostly Georgian – pro-Western, reformist politicians who were given key positions in the post-Maidan Revolution Petro Poroshenko government. The group was tasked with fundamentally overhauling Ukraine’s political culture and steering the nation of 50 million out of Russia’s orbit and towards Euro-Atlantic integration. Ukraine’s corrupt, and often criminal, Soviet-style police force was seen as a major obstacle towards implementing fundamental reforms. As she had previously done in Georgia during her six-year term as First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Zguladze carried out a comprehensive overhaul of Ukraine’s traffic police that gained praise both in the country and in the West. She also helped rebuild Ukraine’s civic police and introduced new Western-trained patrol units – many of which included Ukrainian women for the first time – that quickly earned the trust of the local population.
REFORMISTS OUT AMID GOVERNMENT DISARRAY As the post-Maidan governing coalition fell into disarray in the late winter and earlyspring,leadingreformersthatincluded the widely lauded US-born former Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, ex-Economic and Trade Minister Aivaras Aboromavicius of Lithuania, Georgian-born former Deputy Prosecutor General David Sakvarelidze and his Ukrainian colleague Vitaly Kasko were all dismissed or forced from their posts and later replaced with individuals tied to Yanukovych. Zguladze’s resignation came only a day after Odessa’s reformist Deputy Governors, Maria Gaidar and Sasha Borovik – both of whom are closely aligned with Georgia’s former president-turned Odessa Regional Governor Saakashvili – were forced from office.
OLD GUARD PUSHES BACK Rumors of Zguladze’s demise have circulated throughout Kyiv in recent weeks as top reformers in the government have been forced to resign or been removed from their posts. Many analysts believe the moves are part of a larger power struggle between the Western-oriented reformists that
Eka Zguladze meeting with police officials in Odessa, June 2015. Source: Mayak
There are always celebrations in the ‘Georgian House’ restaurant: corporate events, birthdays and festive parties, weddings held in pomp… you will always see a lot of guests here. And just as it did in the 19th century, our refined interior creates a festive mood with its details and decor. A team of professionals stands ready to serve you at restaurant Georgian House, able to assist in the successful planning of your event- from the red carpet, a designer interior, champagne pyramid, guest book corner, candies, a fiery fountain, champagne show, special festive dishes, and hall layout and decoration, to a beautiful cake, projector, special festive lightning, sound equipment and a varied music program which is divided into Georgian and foreign blocks. Restaurant Georgian House is the first high-class restaurant in Georgia and selects only professionals as its partners. Our customers trust us for our steadily high level service and delicious food. The confirmation of this trust is in the awarding of our restaurant with the Golden Brand award. Georgian House became the most popular in Georgia in its business field. At the 11th Golden Brand award ceremony, a team of experts named the restaurant Georgian House a selected brand. One more triumph and another stimulation for the team of Georgian House, working 24 hours a day to please. Come and visit us! You will be sure to feel that you have found your “Georgian House.”
Continued on page 4
Georgian-born Zguladze Out as Ukrainian Government Purges Reformists Continued from page 3
Officials in the Poroshenko government have justified the moves by citing a new law on barring dual citizenship for members of the government. Critics, however, have said the decision to enforce the law was aimed at purging foreign-born proWestern reformers from Ukraine’s political establishment. Zgualdze’s recent attempts to deepen the reforms within the Interior Ministry has put her at loggerheads with Avakov and his associates, most of whom are backed by powerful oligarchs and Poroshenko, himself. Mounting accusations from the reform movement have grown louder in recent weeks as Zguladze and another Georgian national, Ukraine’s National Police Chief Khatia Dekanoidze, have seen their efforts to revamp the country’s law enforcement bodies blocked by the courts and the country’s Prosecutor General’s office. Police officers and law enforcement members previously sacked or lustrated for their ties to the Yanukovych regime have systematically been reinstated by the courts or independent appeals boards that are dominated by Yanukovych-era officials. Their reinstatement has led to increased pressure on the government’s reformers, many of whom are overruled or contradicted by more powerful elements in the judicial system and upper echelons of the interior ministry. The former head of the national police’s security department, Georgian-born Grigory Grigalashvili, was forced to resign and replaced by Avakov with Yevgeny Koval, a man tied to Yanuko-
vych’s feared Berkut riot police, who has been accused of widespread corruption and cracking down on protestors during the Maidan Revolution. In the aftermath of Zguladze’s resignation, speculation has now turned to how long her close ally Dekanoidze will remain in her post. According to Ukrainian weekly the Kyiv Post, Dekanoidze’s attempts to implement comprehensive reforms have been sabotaged by loyalists closely linked with Avakov. News site Ukrainska Pravda reported on Wednesday, citing an anonymous source, that Dekanoidze could also be fired or demoted to the position of advisor by the end of the week. In a separate development on Wednesday, another reformer closely associated with Saakashvili, Yulia Marushevska – who gained fame as the Maidan Revolution’s poster girl and who now serves as Odessa’s customs chief – was abruptly reprimanded by Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service. Roman Nasirov, the service’s director, recommended that Marushevska should be immediately removed from her position for negligence and lack of formal experience for the job. Nasirov was acting on the orders of Ukraine’s new Prime Minister and close Poroshenko ally Volodymyr Groysman, who ordered a comprehensive audit of all staff decisions made at the country’s customs offices. Both Saakashvili and Marushevska spoke out against the review, claiming it was aimed at halting ongoing reforms at Odessa’s port and further curtailing Saakashvili’s waning influence over national policy.
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Learning from Past Mistakes? OP-ED BY ZAZA JGARKAVA
he pre-election campaign will start on June 8 and last until midnight on October 8. Voting will begin at 8am on October 8. There is one month left until political parties can enter the ‘game’, but apparently the opposition have already set off, with the United National Movement (UNM) announcing street protests aimed at ex-premier Bidzina Ivanishvili and his construction projects, the Free Democrats’ complaining against the famous ‘cable case’ and General Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze, while the non-parliamentary opposition threatens to protest the election code. One wonders whether the many protestors will unite against the ruling government and if they do, when? The weight of protests is becoming more intense can be felt even in the political talk-shows. However, it is the actions of the government that matter more than the threats of the opposition, as it meets all with Olympian serenity. Political analysts say the governmental mood resembles that of the pre-Rose Revolution period, when Shevardnadze’s government acted as if nothing was wrong while the situation went from bad to worse. “Perhaps the government is taking into consideration the mistakes made in Shevardnadze’s era. However, the impression is that nobody in the government is thinking about anything and other than a single man – Bidzina Ivanishvili,
who came in the name of a Messiah,” said political analyst Soso Tsintsadze in his interview with the newspaper Rezonansi. Gia Khukhashvili, former analytical adviser of the government, also predicts the revolutionary development of processes. However, he thinks that the street rallies will take place not before, but after the elections: “It is highly likely that even those entities opposing each other will come out to the streets in protest to question the legitimacy of the elections. The government might face a crisis that is hard to overcome. In the midterm elections they had difficulties managing even one election district (Sagaredjo), so imagine managing the volume of Sagaredjo district multiplied by 75,” said Khukhashvili. Whether the roses will bloom in autumn and the predictions by analysts prove true depends heavily on the unity of the opposition- something which can already be excluded at this stage. It is truly hard to imagine that pro-Russian Patriotic Alliance and pro-Western National Movement or pro-Russian Nino Burjanadze and pro-Western Irakli Alasania will stand side by side. Perhaps this incompatibility is the main reason behind the calmness of the government. Maybe Georgian Dream is counting on that very non-united opposition, thinking it can easily beat them while they are divided. Nevertheless, the government should by all means take into consideration the precedents that are far beyond this logic. In autumn 1991, one ‘Large Coalition’ was formed. Nothing united the subjects apart from their hatred of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia; their only drive
the thirst for power. At that time, too, their method was to come together to get rid of the government, settling relations among themselves only afterwards and beating groups that had different orientation and aspirations later. What do the pro-Western Alasania and the Republican Berdzeneshvili brothers have in common with those ‘peasantworking class’ powers who united against President Saakashvili and finally gathered in the Georgian Dream? Obviously nothing other than their thirst for power. And we are already seeing the outcomes of all of this as our government is incapable and inefficient, while the development of our country has ground to a halt. We should assume that the oppositional parties will not allow such mistakes to be repeated. As for the announced street protests, these have not yet spread beyond the talk show studios. Obviously, the main oppositional power, the UNM, has completely different plans: turbulent rallies in the streets and pushing; using the helpless silence, indecision and weakness demonstrated daily by the current government to its benefit.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Dr Michael Carpenter Talks NATO Aspirations and Warsaw Expectations BY ANNA KALANDADZE, VOICE OF AMERICA’S GEORGIAN SERVICE
n April 22, Douglas Lute, US Ambassador to NATO, while speaking in London, said that even if NATO’s doors are open to new members, it did not intend to expand in the near future. One of the reasons cited was that it could destabilize Russia. To discuss the growing threat coming from Russia and Georgia’s NATO aspirations ahead of the Warsaw summit, we sat down with Dr. Michael Carpenter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, for an exclusive interview.
HOW DO YOU SEE ASPIRANT COUNTRIES LIKE GEORGIA ON ONE HAND, AND ON THE OTHER HAND RUSSIA, TAKING MR LUTE’S STATEMENT, AND WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT? US policy is that we firmly support Georgia’s Euro Atlantic aspirations and that we stand by the message from the Budapest Summit in 2008 that affirms that
Georgia and Ukraine would become members of NATO, this language further reaffirmed in subsequent summits in Chicago and Wales. Our policy has not changed; we have a robust series of tools to support Georgia, including the Annual National Plan. NATO’s door remains open and all support continues. I’m
The tremendous number of troops that Georgia has contributed in Afghanistan are really the best soldiers that we see out there
proud to say that the Alliance will expand and, by inviting Montenegro, there is no better testament to that expansion.
DO YOU BELIEVE THE WEST SHOULD MODIFY ITS STRATEGY TOWARDS RUSSIA TO DETER MOSCOW? DOES, AS GENERAL BREEDLOVE SAID, RUSSIA AND INSTABILITY ON EUROPE’S SOUTHERN FLANK POSE SERIOUS THREATS TO US AND EUROPEAN SECURITY INTERESTS? There is no doubt that Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine have caused the Alliance to take a good look and reevaluate its security posture. There is a real need, following Russia’s aggressive moves in Ukraine, to enhance deterrence and defense of the Alliance. What you saw in Ukraine is a violation of the bedrock security of the international order, the inviolability of borders- something we had considered sacrosanct since World War II. So yes, the Alliance is adapting to the new threats it’s facing. As a matter fact, Russia’s security strategy published last year labels NATO and US as threats to Russia. So we are investing in ensuring defense and deterrence capa-
Dr. Michael Carpenter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia
bilities, such as a readiness action plan by NATO which has many different components to it. The US just announced that we’re quadrupling our investment to help European allies to USD 3.4 billion, and that will go to a variety of lines of effort to enhance rotational force posture in Europe by US forces, to include more pre-positioning of war-fighting equipment- the most modern war-fighting equipment, especially on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance and also other areas, more training, more exercises. It will include more investment in infrastructure to enable our forces to come in during the event of crises, and move rapidly. And lastly, it will invest in the resilience of our non NATO member countries and partners in the region to enable them to withstand coercion and overcome vulnerabilities that they face vis-à-vis aggressive Russia.
WHERE DO YOU SEE GEORGIA-NATO RELATIONS IN THE NEAR FUTURE, AND WHAT IS THE MOST LIKELY OUTCOME OF THE WARSAW SUMMIT FOR THE ALLIANCE AND FOR AN ASPIRANT COUNTRY LIKE GEORGIA? NATO and Georgia have a very close relationship. Georgia is the second largest nonNATO member contributor to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. 850 Georgian troops serve there without any caveats. They also contributed to the Iraq mission. Georgia is the only non-NATO member to be a member of the NATO response team. We deeply value Georgia’s contributions. Going forward, looking at Warsaw, I expect the Alliance will build off of the substantial package that is underway with Georgia, and this was declared in Wales. Continued on page 6
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Dr Michael Carpenter Where to Turn? Waiting for Talks NATO that Sigh of Relief Aspirations and Warsaw Expectations OP-ED BY NUGZAR B. RUHADZE
Continued from page 5
And bilaterally allies will continue to enhance the types of interactions that they have with Georgia. From a US perspective, we’ll look to enhance the types of training, exercises and interactions we have with the Georgian Armed Forces.
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE US-GEORGIA COOPERATION IN THE DEFENSE/MILITARY SPHERES? I would characterize military-to-military relations as excellent. The tremendous number of troops that Georgia has contributed in Afghanistan are really the best soldiers that we see out there. Georgia has seen 30 of its troops killed and more than 300 wounded in action, so it has really contributed a lot that we greatly value. Going forward, I think there is scope for doing more in Georgia. So as we approach the end of this Administration, we’ll be looking at what other trainings we should put in place to augment the Georgian deployment program- a program that trains Georgian troops to go on an expeditionary mission, like the one in Afghanistan, or to do counterinsurgency operations. All in all we’ll be looking at what other capabilities Georgia will need for self-defense and that will include additional training modules.
SOME EXPERTS SAY THE LACK OF THE WESTERN
REACTION, INCLUDING SANCTIONS, IN 2008 DURING THE RUSSIA-GEORGIA WAR EMBOLDENED RUSSIA TO MOVE INTO UKRAINE. WOULD YOU AGREE? I think we’ve seen over the course of the last 10 years an increasingly assertive and aggressive Russia. We saw that in Georgia. We certainly witnessed that in Ukraine and I think that the international community has recognized that in order to deter this type of aggression in future, significant cost needs to be imposed on Russia for behavior that transgresses international norms. So, as a response in terms of intervention in Crimea, the US has actually lead a diplomatic effort with not only our European partners, but also with others, including Japan, to impose sanctions on Russia. And those sanctions are tied to its intervention in Crimea, as well as subsequent intervention in the Donbas. It is clear that Russia recognizes that if there are costs imposed it will change its behavior. So, I think that this is the policy going forward and that it will serve us well.
he issue has already hit the point where one wants to vomit – it has taken us almost thirty years to decide whether we want or need to be part of the western military alliances and its economic unions to make ourselves comfortable as a nation, and to steer clear of the dangers hanging over our baffled heads like the sword of Damocles. And we are still where we have always been, making no substantial headway in the chosen direction – the officially chosen direction being a beeline towards NATO. We are told that we are right at the threshold of it, but stepping over the Rubicon is not yet allowed; we are promised wonders will happen, but the moon is still very far away; we are praised for our assiduousness in doing our homework, but the certificate of graduation is still locked up in Western political vaults; we are patted on our scrawny shoulders during diplomatic receptions in the most influential capitals of the world, but behind the impenetrable western doors, we are shown wagging fingers for wanting too much; we are tempted to challenge our former big brother but nobody gives us assurances of help if the Bear goes suddenly berserk; we are complete on the maps within our erstwhile geographic contours but this is only a craved-for picture of Georgia with no sanguine forecast. Look how rich we are with heartening pledges, but utterly deprived of actual deliveries on promises! There is one irrefutable truth working
here: Georgia will never again have the same sense of security it once had when it was conveniently parked in the soviet nest of nations, feeling as snug as a bug in a rug. At that time, we felt quite comfortable, save some of those worrisome soviet quirks and kinks. The anti-soviet revolution rendered us free as far as acquired liberty can go. We now need to take urgent steps towards effective cooperation with the rest of the world, pregnant with all kinds of perils that may hit Georgia, too. But those steps are hampered by certain components of the political process currently taking place in Georgia. I am talking about the nation-wide chasm concerning the country’s geopolitical orientation. This nation does not know for sure what it wants; this nation is confused about its geopolitical affiliations; this nation is at a total loss in terms of making a choice between steering itself towards west or towards north. And the gist of the problem is that consensus may not be expected in the next umpteen years concerning our niche in the family of nations, within which most members know almost exactly what they want, where they belong and what direction they wish to go. Where do we actually want to be? In the hands of the biggest western military alliance and economic union or in the déjà vu clutches of the still vibrant Russian neo-imperialism? Maybe in neither! Why is the situation in this country so dubious? Why is the nation split so painfully? Why are we vacillating so much between the two sources of our security? The answers come belatedly to these questions. We seem to be busier with sociological research of the ratings of our numerous political parties than with the response to these crucial questions.
Are we just sitting back and waiting for the manna from the sky to fall? Or are we in fact playing a double game in search of better ways of securing the military, political, and economic safety of the nation, courting both Russia and West at the same time? Locally, Georgia is torn apart on the issue of its geopolitical orientation within a motley bunch of political powers, vehemently opposing each other. I have written about the issue on many previous occasions but I have never been this caustic and pessimistic before. My fury was triggered by the heated open controversy between those powers. The impression is that they almost wanted to eat each other alive on the subject of Georgia’s belonging in NATO – the alliance which is not yet ready either politically or technically to consider our membership for real, though it talks profusely and enthusiastically about the possibility. It is said although that the majority of our people are supportive of Georgia’s western orientation and consider themselves Europeans, these are only sentiments. The business is not yet here, and it is also said that it will take a while to arrive. When I say business, I mean Georgia’s actual membership in EuroAtlantic structures, including NATO and the Eurounion in the first place. If this happened, any controversy about the issue would be happily obviated, and we would all sigh with relief.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Council of Europe Launches Action Plan for Georgia (2016-2019)
he Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Daniel Mitov, and Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, paid an official visit to Georgia on 9 May 2016. The official launching of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia (2016-2019) was held within the framework of the visit. The Action Plan includes projects that have been or will be carried out by the Council of Europe in Georgia during the period 2016 to 2019, aimed at promoting co-operation with the Government of Georgia towards strengthening human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Action Plan was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in March 2016, through consultations between the Government of Georgia and the Council of Europe. Georgian Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, Bulgarian Minister Mitov and Ms. Battaini-Dragoni delivered their remarks during the launching ceremony, which was followed by a working meeting led by Director of the Council of Europe Office of the Directorate General of Programs (ODGP), Verena Taylor, and Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Zalkaliani. Ms. Taylor, Chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Nino Gvenetadze, Deputy First Minister of Corrections of Georgia, Tamar Khulordava, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Ketevan Natriashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, Revaz Javelidze, Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Mamuka Vasadze, and member of the Central Election Commission, Zurab Khrikadze, addressed the partici-
pants of the meeting, which, among others, was attended by representatives of the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia and officials from various government agencies. Discussions during the working meeting focused on projects under the Council of Europe Action Plan 2016-2019. Representatives from the Georgian line ministries spoke about the priorities of cooperation with the Council of Europe under the Action Plan. Following the launching ceremony, the Bulgarian and Georgian Foreign Ministers and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe held a joint press conference. “We enjoy express support from our strategic partner – the European Union, as well as from EU Member States,” Minister Janelidze said. “We continue to make efforts to mobilize further support for the effective implementation of this ambitious Action Plan, and we are glad that a large part of the Action Plan for 2013-2015 has been fulfilled successfully, according to our partners. It means that Georgia continues to effectively comply with its commitments undertaken within the framework of the Council of Europe.” As part of their official visit to Georgia, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister and the Deputy Secretary General of the CoE held meetings with the President of Georgia, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the Speaker of the Parliament in which they highlighted the on-going reforms in Georgia in the areas of democracy, human rights and rule of law. Discussions also focused on the human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The guests also visited the occupation line near the village of Khurvaleti and laid a wreath at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Road Safety Conference Addresses Key Issues
Georgian President Backs Marriage Bill, Refuses to Take Stance on Same-Sex Unions BY TAMAR SVANIDZE
G Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Office in Georgia, addresses the conference. Photo: Zviad Adzinbaia
BY ZVIAD ADZINBAIA
ithin the last year 90 people have died and another 3,834 were injured in Tbilisi as a result of traffic
related incidents. The Georgia Alliance for Safe Roads (GASR) hosted a UN Decade of Action for Road Safety conference on Tuesday, May 10, at Hotel Rooms in Tbilisi. The event was organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and US Embassy in Tbilisi, involving some key representatives of the government and various other organizations. The conference addressed a number of core issues which concern safe roads, transport accidents and victims of such accidents in Georgia. The speakers highlighted that Georgia is one of the leading countries among EU states in terms of number of victims due to traffic accidents. Eka Laliashvili, Chair of the Board at GASR, said that in the EU, an average of 51 persons died per million citizens in car accidents in 2014, while in Georgia, this number reached 140. Laliashvili told GEORGIA TODAY that in order to reduce car accidents in EU countries, respective governments are carrying out suitable measures and implementing proper policies. The policies entail providing safe infrastructure
and transport through imposing speed limits and other kinds of bans. “All of which are accompanied by intensive educational campaigns,” Laliashvili explained, adding that complex approaches by government agencies will definitely serve as a precondition for a significant reduction in road accidents. Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Georgia Office, said that the UN considers road safety a top priority globally. “The General Assembly launched a decade of Action on Road Safety. Here in Georgia, road safety is a very important issue as many people die and many more are injured,” Sharp declared. He said his Office is very much encouraged to see a new national strategy and action plan on road safety from the government of Georgia. “Civil society, such as GASR, is initiating a myriad of actions in Georgia, and, overall, we are optimistic that we can make a difference and save the lives of Georgian citizens,” the UNDP official concluded. In his conference speech, Shalva Khutsishvili, Georgia’s Deputy Interior Minister, spoke of pilot programs that his structure has introduced for about 30 high schools in Georgia; educational actions that are of paramount importance in order to increase awareness on road safety among youngsters. “Issues of road safety are not properly perceived in this country and, as a consequence, the number of casualties is high,” Khutsishvili stated. In addition to the MIA initiative, a rep-
resentative of the Education Ministry said that they are engaged in making road safety related issues a part of the National Curriculum. Jumpstart, a local NGO, also introduced a new slogan for their ongoing awareness campaign, “Share the Road.” The campaign aims at changing human behavior regarding road safety through education. For the GASR, this conference is no inaugural event to addressing key road safety-related matters as the organization first united a group of volunteers and other local NGOs in late March, holding a rally to protest the rampant parking and road violations that occur on the pavements of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The protestors demanded that the police enforce the existing laws on pedestrian rights and issue fines to those who violate the regulations. The protestors later took to Tbilisi’s streets and proceeded to tag illegally parked cars with stickers demanding that the vehicle be moved. The participants of the Tuesday conference also included Davit Narmania, Mayor of Tbilisi; Courtney Autrian, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Tbilisi; Giorgi Seturidze, Head of the Road Departments of Georgia at the MIA; and Avtandil Talakvadze, Head of the Emergency Situations Management and Coordination Department. Georgia Today is proud to state its support for the Road Safety campaign: #ShareTheRoad
eorgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Wednesday refused to weigh in on the highly contentious issue of same-sex marriages in the country, but supported a recent bill defining civil unions as between a man and woman. At a question and answer session with Tbilisi public school students, Margvelashvili said the issue of homosexual unions is “not a topic of discussion” and any attempt to facilitate a national dialogue on the matter is only a ploy by politicians to divert public attention away from more pressing problems facing the country. “More than 20 percent of our land is under occupation by foreign military troops. Russian soldiers are stationed only 40 kilometers from Tbilisi. This is not an important enough issue that it needs to be discussed. It’s not of anyone’s concern. Don’t let politicians manipulate the situation and make you believe that this is an important problem facing the country,” Margvelashvili said while answering questions about European values in Georgia. Margvelashvili was quick to defend a new constitutional bill that defines marriage as a union between woman and man and said any controversy surrounding the law is meant as a smokescreen to cover other main problems that plague the country, including poverty, unemployment and corruption “This issue makes me want to sit down and think about who I am and how my ancestors would have thought about this topic. Instead of thinking carefully about the issue, they (the opposition) are trying to force me into believing that being Georgian means having a discussion about the definition of marriage. We’ve already done that through a civil code that says marriage is a union between a woman and a man,” he said. “99.9 percent of the Georgian population is in agreement regarding the definition of marriage. Georgian Law and the Georgian Parliament have already
reached an agreement on this…those speaking out about the issue of same-sex marriages is nothing but a “tempest in a teacup,” added Margvelashvili. On May 5, a bill defining marriage as strictly heterosexual in nature was discussed and backed by the parliamentary committee for human rights. The session was attended by LGBT rights activists, but the bill passed despite significant vocal opposition from various sectors of society. Members of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition have come out for the new law while the Republican Party, Free Democrats and United National Movement in most part opposed to the bill. Same-sex marriage is already banned under Georgia’s civil code, which defines marriage as a voluntary union between a man and woman. The wording of the Georgian Constitution, however, vaguely refers to the basis of marriage as the equality of rights and free will of two consenting adults. An initiative to legally define marriage was originally proposed former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in March 2014, as part of an overall discussion regarding anti-discrimination laws. Rights groups in Georgia have argued that despite the legalization of same-sex marriages, gay and lesbian couples would be unable to register their unions due to the country’s deeply conservative sexual and relationship mores.
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
PASHA Bank Named Fastest Growing Corporate Bank in Georgia
n April 18th, 2016, for the second year in a row PASHA Bank was named the Fastest Growing Corporate Bank in Georgia by the Global Banking and Finance Review Awards. A Baku-based financial institution, PASHA Bank has been providing corporate and investment banking services to large and medium-sized enterprises in Georgia since 2013. In this short time, the Bank has been awarded various international designations, one of them the Global Banking and Finance Review Award. Since its inception in 2011, it has aimed to reflect the innovation, achievement, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the Global Financial community. The Awards were created to recognize companies of all sizes which are prominent in particular areas of expertise and excellent within the financial world. “We are more than happy to win this award for the second year in a row. For a young company like
PASHA Bank this award is proof that we are moving in the right direction and that our team is doing its best to reach new heights together,” said Shahin Mammadov, CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors at PASHA Bank. “We strive to contribute to the growth and development of the Georgian and regional economy through funding value accretive projects while providing top-quality service both locally and regionally. We are committed to our long standing philosophy of doing business in an ethical, reliable and sustainable manner. International recognitions like this definitely help our motivation and self-confidence, which is so important for every young company.” The Awards have evolved and grown to include those in Banking, Foreign Exchange, Insurance, Pension Funds, Compliance & Advisory, Corporate Governance, Brokerage & Exchanges, Project Finance, Binary Options, Investment Management, Technology, Asset & Wealth Management, Exchange Traded Funds, Real Estate and other areas.
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MAY 13 - 16, 2016
The One that Got Away, or Hostile Takeover: Etseri, Svaneti DEAR DEBBIE LEE, I’m an amateur farmer in Upper Svaneti, with a couple of cows and seven or eight chickens. We had two roosters which grew up together and got along, but we gave the larger one away to distant neighbors because they didn’t have one. Now, the rooster of another, closer neighbor has started boldly invading my garden, fighting with our remaining, smaller rooster, and taking over his “harem”! The neighbor even told me the other day that his rooster had moved all my chickens onto his land for a while when I wasn’t looking! They didn’t stay there long, but the threat was obvious. The neighbor does have several hens, but not as many as I do, so I suppose that his rooster is after a larger flock of groupies with whom to stroke his own ego. He is a fine fellow, but this has got to stop. Whenever I’m out there, for morning or evening milking or other outside gardening work, I chase this foreign rooster back across the fence. But not five minutes later he’s back again, beating off his weaker rival and “jumping” my hens at every opportunity... I can’t be out there all day long guarding them against him! And his nature seems to be forcing him to behave like this, so while I don’t want to put up with it, am getting angrier and angrier to wanting to kill the monster, I can hardly actually blame him. Recently I tricked him into entering my barn, which he did with great trepidation, mostly because all the other chickens were in there too. Then I tried to shut him in there, but he squawked daringly past me out into freedom before I could shut the door. Eventually, with much stealth and care, I was able to repeat this successfully. I had blocked the little “manure window” in advance, so that he couldn’t get out via that, and after some minutes’ frantic chase, I actually caught him! Took an awkward “cellfie” to prove it, too. Then I tied his feet together with some string, and was preparing to tie him to a manger post; but he “gave me the slip” because my string was too humanely loose, and was gone again in a flash! Much groaning and gnashing of teeth, and some most evil thoughts of “coq au vin”. I may never be able to coax him back in there again now, my best way of catching him. I’ve looked online for “how to catch a chicken”, but the ways suggested are for one’s own bird, not for an outsider, which is naturally much more suspicious. I’m at my wits’ end, and my own poor rooster is most depressed, while my hens don’t seem to care who is their man! Help, please... Signed, Tortured Tony
DEAR TOR TURED, You
need to hav e a frank ta neighbors. I, lk with you r too, googled “catching ch ens”; the m ickost often re commended is actually at way night, while they’re roos either asleep ting, or at least much less al You need to ert. persuade th em to catch then, if you him can’t do anot her “barn jo your own, be b” of cause he ro osts in their and then th barn, ey must tie him up and out of the h get him abit of invad ing, whatev involves. If er that they’re real ly your frie they should nds, see the nec essity of this might also su . You ggest that h e is actually ing the life ruinof your roos ter, and mil threaten yo dly ur use of stro nger force ag him than m ainst erely chasin g him off if don’t comp they ly... Let me know how Best of luck it go es! , Debbie Lee
on to me led because he’s n” attempts, all fai io nt the mesve t ter go in He n d. ar more “b o a good frien als o’s wh r, Well, after a few up. bo igh e ne ening and tie him talk politely to th at rooster this ev th t to ge now, I did go and to ite n wr so s ely e, and I’ll lik thetic, and told hi uch for your advic m sage, was sympa ks an Th it! of is is the end SO... hopefully th I’m in a bind. er ev if you again Signed, rooster year, it was OUR me now that last ls Trouble-free Tony tel r en feel bo ev ’t igh dn ne di r t date: anothe him down”, bu ut “p to d ha e Ps Just a final up Sh b off! ite normal in the en tearing his com e goings-on are qu es th at th e attacking hers, ev oster os pp I su th killing our ro me until now, so en seems fine wi ev fe necessary to tell rior wi pe my su d to re... So, I bow ... Who knew? An the roost as it we le poultry kingdom ru m hi g tin er can, and let before the invad . knowledge
E, DEAR DEBBIE LE
Tony Hanmer 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
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Shooting Dinosaurs: Ogden on the Georgian Film Industry Georgia needs to show the country for what it is in its films- the hipster capital of Eastern Europe
OP-ED BY TIM OGDEN
veryone knows that Georgians are fiercely proud of their country, food and history; it is made abundantly clear to any visitor within hours of arriving in this country. Yet Georgians are also enamoured with their cinema industry, and with good reason. Georgians are an inherently dramatic people, which (from what I’ve seen) makes them natural actors. Not that I’m an expert; I studied drama at school because I was useless at art and downright dangerous in the design technology workshop, and had a small part on a Georgian soap opera last year (as a result of which I now have a devoted fanbase of women aged over 70). However, the experience at least taught me when people are uncomfortable and very aware that they are on camera... mostly because I looked as though someone had a gun to my head, while the Georgians around me performed with ease. Even people off the street who were roped into being extras suddenly starting acting (in every sense of the word) as though they’d been to drama school with Clooney and Depp. Damned convincing they were, too. I suppose quality actors are necessary due to the fact that Georgia does not have Hollywood’s millions at its disposal; there’s no room for any graduates of the Nicholas Cage school of acting here. The Georgian films that I’ve seen seem to attempt to paint a very realistic picture of things in this country as they are or were. Nana Ekvtimishvili’s ‘In Bloom’ is a stark portrait of Georgian life in the chaos of the 1990s, while Rusudan Chkonia’s ‘Keep Smiling’ shows Georgian poverty, desperation and misogyny at their best. But if you ask me, there’s room for
improvement. Not that I’m pretentious in my cinematic tastes; the only times I’ve sat through arthouse films have been to impress various lunatic arty girls in my youth (which was a price worth paying in the end, to be honest). I’m more of a car chase and gunfight sort of chap. I’m not suggesting Georgian films should have more of those, mostly because anybody filming a car chase in this country would have difficulty in conveying to the audience which is the car chase and which is passing traffic, but I do think that Georgia needs to show the country for what it is in its films. ‘In Bloom’ is a fine picture, and deserved the accolades it got; the same can be said for Zaza Urushadze’s ‘Tangerines’. How-
People in the film industry must appreciate that it is an industry and should be treated as such, otherwise prospective international coproducers will rapidly lose interest
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ever, neither of these show Georgia the way it is today. The turmoil of the 1990s is over, and really, there’s been more than enough drama in the Georgia of the last five or six years. I’m quite sure that foreign audiences who know little and less about Georgia will fail to understand that the depressing circumstances of post-Soviet Georgia are now little more than memory, and Tbilisi is now the hipster capital of Eastern Europe. The Georgian Ministry of Economics is forever banging the touristic drum, but people will be far more likely to visit this place if they can see it for what it looks like now as opposed to what it once was. I also think Georgians should do more comedy. Georgians are not a humourless people; far from it, in fact. Personally, I’m not enamoured with Georgian comedy as it is; even after jokes have been translated and explained, I’m still left wondering what was so funny. However, on a personal level Georgians rank alongside the British and the Russians as the funniest people I’ve met. I’m sure Georgians are capable of producing some natural, easy-going comedy movies, which reflect their day-to-day behaviour in ways that the contrived trash produced by people like Amiko Chokharadze never could. Speaking of behaviour, I regret to say that this is something which also needs to change. Zaza Urushadze and his team embarrassed themselves in Hollywood by play-fighting in front of their waiting limousine and then falling asleep during the Oscars ceremony; hardly the behaviour of professional people who deserve to win such a prestigious award. Likewise, the two bosses of a film company I once worked for here managed to secure invitations to the London film festival’s networking meetings which spanned a week, but spent the time getting drunk on complimentary wine and came back with no useful contacts.
People in the film industry must begin to appreciate that it is an industry and should be treated as such, otherwise prospective international co-producers
will rapidly lose interest. Yet I remain optimistic for Georgia’s cinematic future...but more gunfights, car chases and dinosaurs, please.
MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Foreign Premieres of “They will Return” by Director Zaza Nanobashvili
ith the blessing of Georgian Catholicos-Patriarch and direct participation of the clergy, the Anchiskhati’s canonical replica has been traveling to holy places and Georgian communities to make a pilgrimage. Traveling with the icon is informational literature and movies in different languages with the aim of familiarizing those overseas with Georgia and its sacred history. The movies were created by the pilgrim team head of Anchiskhati, director Zaza Nanobashvili. Generally, the movies are about Georgian sanctuaries, the pilgrimage of the Anchiskhati canonical replica, and immigrants. The director illustrates specifically forgotten stories of Anchistkhati and Iveron in films which have been awarded at Orthodox Film festivals on numerous occasions (F/F in Kiev “Pokrov” and F/F in Batumi “St. Andrew’s Cross” – for the best presenting of sanctuaries and historical events). Nanobashvili’s movies have been shown in more than 20 countries since 2008 in both Georgian and foreign communities. In recent years, besides Film Festivals, the director has been invited to symposiums and conferences, visits, cultural and official meetings. The documentary film “They’ll Return” Parts I and II is about immigrant life; how they left the country, about their reasons for not going back and the current demographic situation in Georgia.
Shooting began in 2008 with the pilgrimage of the Anchiskhati litany, mostly taking place in countries other than Georgia. This year the group visited several European countries before Easter: In Prague - Charles University, in Karlovy Vary; the Serbian church in Frankfurt, in Belgium – Brussel’s Georgian Church and in Paris – the St. Nino Immigrants Temple. By the blessing of the Georgian Patriarch, the icon was accompanied by T b i l i s i -Ts k n e t i ’s p r i e s t Io a n e (Okropiridze). The group was received warmly and important meetings took place in which both Georgian and foreign students were involved, sharing their thoughts and impressions. At every meeting, after movies showings and events, interviews were held. The organizers of the meeting in Prague was the Iveria Communitynamely Madina Kriz and Tamar Melikishvili. In Karlovy Vary: Asmat Shamatava, through which the icon was invited to the Orthodox Church in Karlovy Vary. In Frankfurt: the Serbian Church Father Marco and the group’s permanent host, Aleko Kalandarishvili. In Belgium the Brussel’s Archbishop Dositeos blessed the showing of Nanobashvili’s movies about immigrants and the history of Anchiskhati in the Brussel’s Residence Hall of St. King Tamar. At the time, parliamentarian Guguli Maghradze was on a visit to Brussels and also attended the meeting. After watching the movie, she
St. Nino church, Paris
delivered a cordial speech to the parish. Archbishop Dositeos also made a speech and blessed guests after watching the movie. And finally in Paris, with St. Nino church Father Archil’s blessing, the icon was placed in the Emigration Church of St. Nino. Immigrants of 1921 met the litany Anchiskhati with special
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honors and glory. This meeting was particularly important because the second part of the immigrant movie was exactly about the emigration of 1921. Besides other various holy places, the litany Anchiskhati was also placed in Mount Athos and visited Iveron on the celebration of Iveria’s Virgin
Mary icon. Father Archil and Father Ioane conducted the church service of Anchiskhati for national welfare. The film crew shot very interesting material about the offspring of 1921 immigrants which will be put together for the next part of the upcoming premiere of the film and shown to large audiences. On his recent travels abroad, the director took interviews from many famous people and had an interesting meeting with Greek singer Iovanna which was later used in the second part of the film. The group expresses its gratitude to organizers, representatives of embassies and hosts for the warm welcome and for its support of such important issues. The biggest problem that the group faced was transportation of the nonstandard size icon and the equipment of the crew. The airline Wizzair resolved this problem selflessly and gratuitously – (with the help of Tbilisi airport security service, Kutaisi airport and Wizzair’s employee Ms. Tamar Mshvenieradze.) This is the second time this airline helped the group. First from Warsaw and now from Budapest in both directions, thereby contributing to important work. The group expresses its profound gratitude to airline Wizzair and its management.
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 13 - 16, 2016
‘Anna’s Life’ Takes First International Prize BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
feature-length film by Nino Basilaia ‘Anna’s Life’ received a Merit Award at the International Film Festival ‘Construir Cine’ in Argentina. This is first international recognition for the film about the difficult fate of a single mother. The Construir Cine International Film Festival itself has a consistent focus on the subject of work and workers. This year’s festival presented 40 films by directors from Chile, Spain, France, Japan, USA, Argentina and Georgia and took place in Buenos Aires from May 2 to 10. ‘Anna’s Life’ is a story of a young Geor-
gian single mother called Anna, who, hoping to improve her own living conditions and the life of her autistic son, who lives in a children’s home, decides to go and find work in the United States. However, the US embassy does not give her a visa. Taking a risk, she then sells her house and the gives money to an unknown man who promises to get her the required visa. Inevitably, he turns out to be an ordinary crook and the turns Anna’s life upside down. The two other main awards presented were the Best Feature Film, which went to ‘The Woman of Mud’ by Chilean director Sergio Castro San Martin, and the Award for Excellence, which judges presented to Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase for her work ‘A Bakery in Tokyo’. Georgian actress Ekaterine Demetradze
portrays the principal character of ‘Anna’s Life’. The film is a winner of a competition organized by the Georgian National Film Center. The world premiere of ‘Anna’s Life’ took place at the Göteborg International Film Festival (GIFF) in Sweden where it was nominated for an Ingmar Bergman Award. The film was also selected alongside 300 others to be screened at the Beijing International Film Festival last month. The 3rd International Film Festival Construir Cine was held in Buenos Aires with the support of the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts of Argentina. The main purpose of the festival is stimulating the creativity of contemporary filmmakers and supporting the production of independent films which describe the world of ordinary workers.
Learn about Georgian Cine Culture with the Monthly Expat CineClub BY IVETA GEDVILAITE
n January a small group of movie fans from different countries who are living in Tbilisi decided to launch the Tbilisi CineClub. The main aim was to get a deeper understanding about Georgian culture and to get familiar with the best Georgian movies. Thanks to a Former director of the Georgian National Film center, Nana Janelidze, and thanks also to the generosity of film directors, it was possible to
fulfil this dream. CineClub leaders Nonna Sagaan Gubler (responsible for relations with directors and protagonists) and Tobi Walsh (responsible for administration and venue) have been arranging unforgettable movie evenings since January- four such meetings and screenings at CineClub to date: “In bloom” by Nana Ekvtishvili (presented by David Vashadze from the Georgian National Film Center), “Tangerines” (director Zaza Urushadze presented the film), “Will there be a Theater up there?” (director, Nana Janelidze) and “Line of credit” by Salome Alexi (with main actress Nino Kasradze).
From May 17, Tbilisi CineClub plans to have monthly movie evenings at Amirani cinema with the kind support of Movie Distribution LTD. On Tuesdays or Mondays, movie fans will be able to watch the best Georgian movies and Georgian creative documentary films. After each screening, the film director, protagonist, producer or film critic will answer questions from the audience. It’s a great chance to get to know Georgia in a deep, interesting and entertaining way. The next filming to take place, on May 17, 7 pm, consists of two short films. The first, the 30-minute-long ‘Buba,’ is a film from the first female Georgian director Nutsa Ghoghoberidze (1930, without dialogue but with Russian and English subtitles). The story weaves a folkloristic tale of 1930s Racha. The second film “Felicita” is a 40-minute film of Salome Alexi, granddaughter of the director (Salome’s mother Lana Ghoghoberidze is also a famous Georgian director). The story tells of a woman who is illegally working in Italy. Her husband dies in an accident and she is unable to attend his funeral. Salome Alexi and Lana Ghoghoberidze will join CineClub after the screening for a discussion. New movie fans are very welcome! Tickets cost 3 GEL and can be purchased in Amirani Cinema and on kinoafisha.ge.
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MAY 13 - 16, 2016
WHAT’S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE
GABRIADZE THEATRE Address: 13 Shavtelis St. Telephone: 2 98 65 93 May 13 RAMONA Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari May 14 STALINGRAD Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari May 19 MARSHAL DE FANTIE’S DIAMOND Directed by Rezo Gabriadze English Subtitles Start time: 20:00 Ticket price: 10, 15 Lari GRIBOEDOVI THEATRE Address: 2 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 93 43 36 May 14 CASTING N. Kvijinadze Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari May 15 SCARLET SAIL Alexander Grin Directed by Avtandil Varsimashvili Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: From 5 Lari May 18 LATE LOVE A. Ostrovsky Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari May 19 I AM NIKOLAI GUMILOV Poetry Fantasy Language: Russian Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 5 Lari
VAKHTANG CHABUKIANI TBILISI BALLET ART STATE SCHOOL Address: 1 V. Vekua Telephone: 98 60 41, 93 12 63 May 18 LONELINESS Mamuka Salukvadze TAVPARAVNELI CHABUKI Manana Doiashvili Directed by: Lela Chincharauli Art Director: Nino Ananiashvili Start time: 18:00 Ticket price: 16 Lari Venue: Rustaveli Theater
TBILISI VASO ABASHIDZE MUSIC AND DRAMA STATE THEATRE Address: 182 D.Agmashenebeli Ave. Telephone: 2 34 80 90 www.musictheatre.ge May 19 MIDSUMMER NIGHT DREAM William Shakespeare Directed by Davit Doiashvili Language: Georgian Musical Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: From 8 Lari CINEMA
MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260
AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 2 99 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge
May 13, 14 SILENT REHEARSAL Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Performance Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 15 Lari
Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari
May 15 RECITATIVE IN THE CITY Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Start time: 21:00 Free Entry GEORGIAN STATE PANTOMIME THEATRE Address: 37 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 63 14 May 13 HOST AND GUEST Vaja Pshavela Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari May 14 KRIMANCHULI Directed by Amiran Shalikashvili Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari May 17 PSEUDOCYESIS Directed by Luka Chkhaidze Start time: 19:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari
Every Wednesday ticket price: 5 Lari May 13-19 THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE (Info Above) Start time: 12:30, 15:00, 17:15, 20:00 Ticket price: 8-16 Lari OUR KIND OF TRAITOR Directed by Susanna White Genre: Thriller Cast: Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgård Language: Russian Start time: 17:00, 19:45, 22:30 Ticket price: 11-16 Lari Captain America: Civil War (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 22:35 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari MUSEUM
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson Language: English Start time: 17:00 Language: Russian Start time: 22:15 Ticket price: 11-16 Lari
GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM Address: 4 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22, 2 93 48 21 www.museum.ge
THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE Directed by Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy Cast: Peter Dinklage, Tituss Burgess, Jason Sudeikis Language: Russian Start time: 11:45, 13:45, 15:00, 17:30 Ticket price: 8-12 Lari
THE CAUCASUS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION RENEWED EXHIBITION
A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING Directed by Tom Tykwer Genre: Comedy, Drama Cast: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury Language: Russian Start time: 19:45, 22:00 Ticket price: 15-16 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 55 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge
PERMANENT EXHIBITION: GEORGIAN ARCHAEOLOGY FROM 8TH MILLENNIUM B.C. TO 4TH CENTURY A.D
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. MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 3 Sh. Rustaveli Ave. PERMANENT EXHIBITION Here, visitors can enjoy the State’s personal files of “subversive” Georgian public figures, orders to shoot or exile, and other artifacts
representing Soviet-era cultural and political repression in Georgia. The exhibition hall is equipped with monitors where visitors can watch documentaries of various historical events. ART PALACE Address: 6 Kargareteli Str. Telephone: 295 35 63 May 10- May 17 ANDRIS AND MARIA LIEPA’S EXHIBITION SHALVA AMIRANASHVILI MUSEUM OF ART Address: 1 Lado Gudiashvili St. Telephone: 2 99 99 09 www.museum.ge May 10-15 EXHIBITION OF PAINTERS FROM RUSTAVI GALLERY
THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge PERMANENT EXHIBITION Niko Pirosmanashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili and sculptor Iakob Nikoladze CHUBINASHVILI NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER Address: 9 Atoneli Str. Telephone: 2 93 15 38 May 5-18 TAMAZ KHUTSISHVILI’S PERSONAL EXHIBITION KOLGA TBILSI PHOTO http://www.kolga.ge May 13 HERE TO STAY Works by Fabian Weiss Curated by: Inga Schneider ROAD WALLAH Dougie Wallace Curator: Tina Schelhorn AFGHANISTAN CHRONOTOPIA Simon Norfolk Curator: Tina Schelhorn CTRL-X. A TOPOGRAPHY OF E-WASTE CHAPTER III: INDIA Kai Löffelbein Curator: Tina Schelhorn FIRST PERSONAL IN GEORGIA. Sergo Edisherashvili Curator: Lika Mamatsashvili Openning: 16:30-17:30 Venue: Karvasla Museum ANGUS LEADLEY BROWN New York, August 2008. My first visit to New York ERROR IMAGES Opening: 19:00 Venue: Rooms Hotel Tbilisi May 13 MARI NAKANI We Build, We Ruin Opening: 19:00 Venue: Didi Gallery MUSIC
MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 May 17, 19 JAM SESSION WITH RESO KIKNADZE QUINTET Start time: 21:00 Free entry May 18 TANGO MILONGA Start time: 20:00 Tango Lesson: 5 Lari
GEORGIA TODAY MAY 13 - 16, 2016
Enjoy Immortal Painter Lado Gudiashvili during his 120th Birthday Celebration
Young Pianist Sandro Nebieridze Wins Grand Prix in Moscow BY EKA KARSAULIDZE
G The Minister of Culture and Tbilisi Mayor at the opening of the first exhibition of Lado Gudiashvili’s works
BY MAKA LOMADZE
his year Georgia is marking the 120th anniversary of one of the greatest names of local fine arts, one of the founders of the Georgian rich art school, Lado Gudiashvili. A series of exhibitions are planned this commemorative year, the first of which was opened on May 5 at his namesake exhibition hall near Kashueti Church off Rustaveli Avenue. The initial exposition represents his painting and graphic works completed in the 1940s. “Throughout the year people will have the chance to visit four exhibitions depicting different creative periods of the great painter,” said Mikheil Giorgadze, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection at the opening. “It would be no exaggeration to say that Lado Gudiashvili is one of the founders of the contemporary Georgian arts. His creative heritage is our national treasure.” “The huge heritage that Gudiashvili left us deserves appropriate appreciation and esteem. Therefore, Tbilisi City Hall is actively involved not only in fulfilling this project but also in ensuring that as many Georgians as possible are invited to see these pictures. We should bring our children, too, to get them get acquainted with these works from early age,” said Davit Narmania, Tbilisi Mayor. Nani Bregvadze, a well-known Georgian female singer, said, “I remember how Lado took a picture of me, as a part of a series, wearing clothing of different epochs. He left such a mark on this series that I cannot claim it as my own. I’m happy to be able to say I’ve met a great number of really interesting figures in my life, among whom Lado Gudiashvili stands out.” Buba Kikabidze, a very colorful Georgian singer and actor who played in
Giorgi Danelia’s film ‘Don’t Worry’ in which Gudiashvili himself dances most impressively, said, “He was a very quiet and innocent man. I am lucky to be able to say I lived during his lifetime, even getting to speak to him once or twice.” “Lado Gudiashvili belongs to those persons who have a big influence on a society and its spiritual life,” said Zurab Nizharadze, a well-known painter. “He simultaneously belongs to the East and the West, i.e. he is a bearer of a purely Georgian phenomenon. In his creative works a particular system of values is found that corresponds to our history, our present and future. Viva Lado Gudiashvili’s immortal art!” Lado Gudiashvili’s works are a mustsee. Especially keeping in mind that some consider it a miracle his works survived to this day. During the commonly known hijacking of an airplane in the 1980s (on which is based Dato Turashvili’s book ‘Jeans Generation’), when a group of Georgian youth tried to escape through the Iron Curtain as a sign of harsh protest to the Soviet rules, Gudiashvili’s only grand-daughter, one of the hijackers, was pardoned when Lado’s daughter threatened to destroy all the heritage of her talented father. It is thanks to this moment that Georgia got to keep this unique art treasure. The next exhibition will showcase Gudishvili’s painting and graphic works of the 1950s and will take place from June 22 to October 25. Only graphic works will be on display during the third exposition that is planned for November 1 to November 15. The final exhibition, scheduled for December 1-30, will enable viewers to see the works of his final creative period.
15-year-old Nebieridze studied at the Vano Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatory where he attended piano and composition classes
as well as scores for other instruments. At the Grand Piano Competition as his main composition, he performed the piece ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’ by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Matsuev joined an international jury from Russia, Israel, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Korea in struggling to choose a winner and so gave the first prize to two competitors. “These young musicians who appeared on stage are already mature artists. They are 100% ready to play grand concerts; each has a great personality; each is phenomenally tal-
ented,” said Matsuev. Nebieridze is a laureate of international contests including 2009 Musica. Sepashvili Klavierwettbewerb, 2012 Balys Dvarionas International Piano Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania, 2015 Astana Piano Passion competition in Kazakhstan, and many others. The pianist has toured extensively in Georgia and Europe. In recent years, he has also participated in the Night Serenades festival in Batumi and the Mozart@ Augsburg festival in Germany. He always tries to include his own compositions in the program.
The first exhibition will last until June 19. Address: Lado Gudiashvili Street 11 Opening Times: 11:00 to 18.30 daily except Mondays and official holidays Ticket Price: 5 Gel, 3 Gel for students and pensioners, Free for children under 6
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eorgian teenage pianist Sandro Nebieridze won the First Grand Piano Competition for young pianists in Moscow on May 5. Nebieridze shared first place with Alexander Malofeev from Russia. Both pianists were awarded with a monetary prize of USD 5,000, as well as receiving a hybrid piano Yamaha Avant Grand. 15 artists from Russia, Great Britain, China, Japan, South Korea, Belarus and Georgia attended the competition, however, only seven young pianists made it through to the final stage. Founder of the Competition, famous Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, said that the Grand Piano Competition is like the famous International Tchaikovsky Competition, but for young musicians. “The current young generation of musicians is very special: these children are amazingly talented and extraordinarily gifted. That is why I created this festival. My dream has come true because the level of performances is simply fantastic,” said Matsuev. 15-year-old Nebieridze studied at the Vano Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatory where he attended piano and composition classes. The talented musician also composed opera and piano music,
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